Africa’s missing presence – and why it defines the economic destinies of many

For centuries, the world was in a state of economic stasis. In other words, if you check the gross world product (aggregate of all national GDPs) over the last 2000 years, nothing was happening on a large scale. But things started to change. The data (the map above) shows the real wealth of nations since that Adam Smith classic of the invisible hand and productivity. Until Africa begins to appear on this map, it will not be able to improve the well-being of its citizens.

More money in the national purse does not improve the lives of citizens. This is why crude oil money deceives. You receive 10 billion dollars in your bank account with limited economic activity since the oil is taken raw and transferred to another country to be refined. Of course, you can employ 20,000 people. With limited economic activity, your GDP is $20 billion. This GDP is a measure of your economic activity which gives us jobs and opportunities.

But someone who doesn’t have oil, but gets $5 billion in the bank from their agricultural processes, outshines. Yes, agriculture involves many economic activities: cultivation, transport, processing, etc. Because GDP measures economic activities, not money in the bank, this person may end up having a GDP of $40 billion since this agriculture enables many activities, providing the means to sustain lives.

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In our modern history, nothing does this economic translation better than manufacturing. Unfortunately, Africa has no impact in this. This must change for Nigeria and Africa.

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