BusinessDay

What India has done better than Nigeria – PwC

India, which shares many similarities with Nigeria, has outperformed Africa’s most populous nation in several areas, a new report released by PwC, an accounting and consulting firm, shows.

“India and Nigeria share many commonalities as two large democracies that have emerged from similar historical pasts,” said PwC in the report titled ‘Nigeria-India: Learnings from two large economies’.

It said in 2019, India recorded a GDP per capita of $6,997 while that of Nigeria was $5,363.

“Nigeria, despite having a GDP per capita comparable to India, has done a poor job of turning GDP into well-being,” PwC said. “This is evident from the significant differences in the Human Development Index (HDI) rankings.”

It noted that Nigeria was classified as a country in the low HDI category while India was classified in the medium HDI, with an HDI of 0.539 and 0.645 respectively.

“Nigeria’s recent GDP performance has been worrisome, especially with a drastic increase in the unemployment rate,” the report said, adding that the unemployment rate increased considerably from 10.4 percent in 2015 to 33.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020.

It said the average annual GDP growth rate for Nigeria was 1.2 percent during the period 2015 to 2019, whereas India recorded an average annual GDP growth rate of 6.7 percent in the same period.

India’s export of goods and services is $546 billion, which is approximately eight times more than Nigeria’s which is approximately$ 70 billion, according to PwC.

It said: “The key difference between the export trends of the two countries is that India has 40 percent of its exports coming from services whereas Nigeria majors in oil exports and manages approximately 7 percent of exports from services.

“However, these differences are also indicative of possibilities that Nigeria and India can collaborate on through knowledge sharing, having similar economic levels and social structures, as well as English, being a common language of governance and business between the two nations.”

In the latest ease of doing business rankings by the World Bank, India stands at 63 whereas Nigeria stands at 131, according to the report.

It said: “This signifies that the regulatory environment in India is more supportive of local businesses than in Nigeria. An economy that is more supportive of local businesses can grow faster and combat the scourge of socioeconomic exclusion and the incidence of poverty.

“This explains why India’s ease of doing business success is translating into faster growth and eradicating poverty. This is something Nigeria can learn from in order to stimulate inclusive, sustainable, and robust growth.”

PwC said the export of services is a huge area of opportunity that can be explored by Nigeria.

It said India’s share of world services as of 2018 stood at 3.5 percent, which is seven times more than the 0.5 percent recorded in 1995.

The report said this growth could be primarily attributed to the rise of ICT services, and medical and wellness tourism.

It said: “The primary reason behind the growth of the services sector in India is the underlying infrastructure for producing an economically vibrant and skilled workforce.

“The majority of services being exported, mainly ICT services, require a skilled workforce. Through its huge number of engineering educational institutions, India has been producing a workforce with the required skillset. Nigeria, growing with similar demographics, can toe the same path, producing a skilled workforce in order to increase its export of services in the next few years.”

India, a major player in the Asian medical tourism industry, was ranked 10th globally in the medical tourism industry, from 2020 to 2021, according to the report.

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PwC said India’s medical visa policy and the constantly improving health system had made the country one of the most patronised countries for healthcare.

“Nigeria, once considered to have one of the worst healthcare infrastructures in the world, has made considerable progress in its healthcare infrastructure and should continue to invest in the development of its health system. This is important to provide better healthcare services for its citizens and drive growth in the country’s medical tourism industry,” it said.

The report said over the last decade, India had seen significant growth in terms of development with the Government of India (GoI) playing a key role.

“With over 1.2 billion people enrolled, creating the world’s largest biometric and unique identification number database, Aadhaar, is just one example of how the state is enabling development across the country,” it said.

It added that the development in India is concentrated in various areas such as hard infrastructure, ease of doing business, technology adoption, and government-to-citizen services.

“India experienced a year-on-year average growth rate of 3.79 percent in the quality of the overall infrastructure index between 2012 and 2017, whereas Nigeria experienced a decline in its average growth rate at -6.38 percent in the same period,” PwC said.

It said since 2017, the Indian government had been actively committed to increasing infrastructural development.

It noted in 2019, the central government unveiled the National Infrastructure Pipeline, an investment plan of $1.3 trillion targeted at improving and providing world-class infrastructure in identified sectors across the country.

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