World Bank. Photo: GETTYIMAGES
Sir: Like many Africans, Nigerians have an inherent suspicion of international institutions operating on the continent. It surely has as much to do with clouded colonial memories that just will not go away and the lingering feeling that the presence and operations of these international institutions in Africa have something do with fostering neocolonialism.
However, in spite of what lingering resentment there is, it has become inescapable that in a world increasingly connected by technology and united by the bonds forged by common problems, African countries cannot afford to be left out or behind, for experience has shown that it is better to commandeer a seat at the negotiation table and there make demands than to stay away and sulk while inimical decisions are reached. Countries that have over the years made isolationism and insularity their fortes have come to the harsh realisation that at the end of the day, it is their citizens that bear the brunt.
The World Bank recently predicted that more people in Nigeria and its sub-Saharan neighbours are expected to fall into extreme poverty. According to a report recently released by the Washington-based bank and titled ‘‘Global Economic Prospects,’’ Russia`s invasion of Ukraine and the resultant effects on the commodity market, supply chains, inflation and financial conditions have intensified the slowdown in economic growth.
According to David Malpass, the World Bank president, the world is facing the deepest global recession since World War II with the possibility rising of a high global inflation eventually resulting in tightened monetary policy in advanced countries which might lead to financial stress on emerging markets and developing economies.
As per the report, growth in sub-Saharan Africa is projected to slow to 3.7 per cent this year, reflecting forecast downgrades of over 60 per cent of regional economies. The report also predicted that more people in sub-Saharan Africa are expected to fall into extreme poverty, especially in countries reliant on imports of food and fuel.
For many years, calls by experts that the Nigerian economy be diversified to curtail overdependence on oil have largely fallen on deaf ears. The result is that Africa`s most populous country is burdened with an economy which is nowhere close to its full potential because it is severely limited. This largely accounts for the fact that about 91 million Nigerians live below the poverty line.
The prediction by experts is that with the war in Ukraine causing global food prices to soar, many more Nigerians would cascade into poverty as their disposal incomes become severely affected.
Although it has long appeared that insecurity and its solutions would shape the 2023 general elections, the economy was always thought to be a nagging concern to Nigerians. There is no doubt that with poverty rising, Nigerians would narrow down their choices in the elections next year to those who can drastically improve the economy while securing Nigerians as well.
Kene Obiezu, firstname.lastname@example.org