Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Cultural Impediments to Socio-Economic Development in Nigeria: Lessons from the Chinese Economy

Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Cultural Impediments to Socio-Economic Development in Nigeria: Lessons from the Chinese Economy

Article excerpt


This paper attempts to describe how human environment is an important determinant of socio-economic development. Over the past three decades, Nigeria has been confronted with deep-seated socio-economic crisis evident in high level of poverty, inflation, foreign debt overhang, closure of industries, epileptic power supply, budget deficit, absolute lack of good governance at the grass root, environmental degradation and high unemployment. In the early part of the 21st century, there was high hope among Nigerians that the emergence of democracy and the increasing global capitalist markets feasible in the oil and telecommunication sectors will result in high level of accelerated development. Elsewhere in Asia, globalization and world capitalist market have changed the faces of fundamental problems of underdevelopment. Studies have even confirmed that the successes recorded by China in the global markets confirm that a country's economy does not grow in vacuum; it exists within the environment and thrives therein. The failure and crises experienced in Nigeria today have been linked with cultural factors such as corruption, leadership failure, lack of entrepreneurial skills, over dependence on western values and culture, insincerity and weak bureaucracies. Using quantitative data and content analysis, the paper concludes that Nigerian government at all levels must rise up to the challenges posed by the problems of underdevelopment in the 21st century.

Keywords: cultural impediments, socio-economic development, good governance, global markets, poverty, underdevelopment

1. Introduction

Although Nigeria is rich in human and material resources, its economic and political developments have been fraught with crises since independence in 1960. Indices of the failure of the Nigerian state are today evident in the pervasive cases of hunger, inflation, budget deficits, debt overhang, street begging, prostitution, frauds, high crime rates in major cities, collapse of manufacturing industries, corruption in public service and stagnation in entrepreneurial development. While the Nigerian economy has been preoccupied with these crises, it has also become difficult for sustainable development to take place in the country (Onimode, 1993; Dibie, 1998; NISER, 2000; UNDP, 2006). Until recently, the international community was not poised at looking at the specific factors that have contributed to economic stagnation in Africa and proffer formidable solutions to addressing economic development, good governance and the rule of law.

With the collapse of the World Bank and International Monetary Funds Policy's projects on Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) in Africa, many questions have been raised by scholars on the factors impeding economic development in leading African nations including Nigeria (Ake, 1996; Jega, 2003). They argued that economic liberization in other parts of the world have continued to yield anticipated results, increasing global trade and technological advancements such that by the end of the 21st century some emergent economies have appeared on the global capitalist markets. It is no gainsaying the fact that the likes of Indonesia, China, Japan and Malaysia are now making new waves in the global markets. While this thinking continues about global capitalist development, researches conducted by the United Nations and the World Bank et al. have shown that Nigeria's economic development is routinely constrained by some inherent cultural factors (NISER, 2000). It is in an attempt to identify, discuss and proffer possible suggestions to this problem that we have embarked on this heuristic exercise. This paper is divided into five sections including the introduction. Section two contains the theoretical framework while section three embarks on a brief analysis of the origin of the Nigerian economic crisis. The penultimate section identifies the cultural impediments to Nigeria's economic prosperity. …

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