The Economic Development of Nigeria: Report of a Mission Organized by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development at the Request of the Governments of Nigeria and the United Kingdom

By World Bank | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

In the past 15 years Nigeria has experienced a remarkable transformation, economic, social and political. The leisurely pace of the prewar economy has accelerated, living standards generally have improved, educational facilities have expanded, and the people are participating in government in increasing measure. Yet this is only a start. Production methods are still primitive, the great majority of the population is illiterate and standards of nutrition, housing and medical care are low. The people of Nigeria are anxious to live better and hence to produce more goods, in greater variety; they want to become better educated; they show a growing willingness to modify those social institutions which hold back economic progress and to accept methods of social, economic and political organization which elsewhere have proved conducive to such progress. In all this they have the encouragement and active support of the British authorities.

The mission's task was to appraise the economic development prospects of Nigeria and to recommend practical measures for their realization. We found that the prospects for economic expansion in the long run are good. But it seems equally clear that for the immediate future the rate of growth is not likely to be much faster than it has been for the last few years.

Nigeria has two of the essentials for a development program: manpower and funds. In this respect, it is more fortunate than other countries in Africa. There is lacking, however, the supply of technical and managerial skills and the knowledge of the country's resources necessary to carry out an accelerated program of economic development. Research, survey and extension services in agriculture, forestry, hydrology and industry, the construction of roads and schools and other public works--in short, the kinds of services customarily provided by the government--have failed to keep up with the expansion of the economy. And so although the country's wealth

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