FG, UNDP launch roadmap to drive Nigeria’s development

The Federal Government and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have jointly launched the ‘Imagine Nigeria’ report, a roadmap that explores alternative pathways to further the country’s development.

The report looks into Nigeria’s future in the coming decades and presents an approach to transforming the country’s trajectory, where no one is left behind. It also provides a licence for a collective rethink for Nigeria grounded on the premise of the unexplored economic alternatives, the demographic dividend and the unmatched talent of citizens.

Over 300 Nigerians in the country and the diaspora participated in an independent consultative review of progress and exploration of ideas captured in the report that proposes development pathways.

In attendance at the official launch which held virtually on Wednesday include: vice president Yemi Osinbajo; President Muhammadu Buhari, was represented by Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, minister of state, Finance, Budget & National Planning; Clem Agba, minister of State for Budget and National Planning and Mohamed Yahya, resident representative UNDP Nigeria, among others.

Speaking at the launch, Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo described ‘Imagine Nigeria’ as a bold, unblinkered exploration of the great possibilities of Nigeria. He said the project provided the licence to imagine a Nigeria freed of its past and current challenges and able to engage the future with the best possible tools in human and material capital.

He added that the “ultimate objective was to answer the question what would it take to transform Nigeria.It is a process of reflection and discussion by all Nigerians especially young Nigerians on what the future of our country should look like. Imagine Nigeria hopes to stimulate interest and attention around issues of innovation, green economy, trust, leadership and framing a more positive national narrative.”

Osinbajo also noted that ‘Imagine Nigeria’ proposes that Nigerians can build a more inclusive and resilient nation, overcoming prevailing challenges facing Nigeria, such as the unprecedented impact of COVID-19, diminishing oil revenue, climate change, the rising cost of living, inequalities, poverty, and levels of insecurity, among others.

Also speaking at the launch, the UNDP resident representative, Mohamed Yahya noted that Nigeria’s reimagination is critical not only for the country but also for the African continent and the world.

According to Yahya, “Imagine Nigeria is about creating a shift for a new African agenda and development narrative. It calls on Nigeria to facilitate new forms of collaboration for the country and Africa so that the continent can take its well-deserved seat in the global arena while also providing a basis for the country’s transformation.

“A key recommendation from the series of conversations so far is the urgent need for structural transformation, economic diversification, and wealth creation, catalysed by the green economy. It is not just about going green; it is about global leadership and how Nigeria can help lead the world in a new direction. It is about building a new economy and forging new realities in which Nigeria is a global leader and the destination for investors working to solve African and global challenges.”

The report notes that, among many other African countries, Nigeria remains a major powerhouse with numerous unexplored or fully utilised prospects that citizens can harness for national transformation.

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It pointed out that the country’s sheer size and population makes Nigeria one of Africa’s biggest market and economy, while also noting that the creative industry provides the country with unparalleled soft power while the Nigerian private sector, particularly the youth, are leading Africa’s innovation and technological revolution.

The report added that Nigeria holds considerable potential to contribute to the realisation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

Linking Nigeria’s current challenges and opportunities in the context of prevailing and emerging global trends, the report explores possible future scenarios for the country. It identifies five pillars of intervention that Nigeria should prioritise and jointly act upon to build a better future for all its citizens.

These include building a culture of innovation, catalysing the green economy, leading the African agenda, building trust within the society as well as between government and the governed, and facilitating a national narrative flowing from people-led discourse.

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