Ditch the growth mindset, Nigeria is becoming more unfair
Inequality amid economic growth. Source: Stears Business

I have been thinking a lot about growth recently—what it means, why it's important, and how to achieve it. I'm in a reflective mood about this, not just because I work at a startup. But also because I live in a country where the assumptions people make about our economic growth do not translate to daily lived experience. Here, international trade and tourist investments can increase. And at the same time, the standard of living of average citizens continues to fall.

Some takeaways

  • Countries typically chart economic progress based on how much they have grown. They often use Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which illustrates a change in the value of goods and services an economy has produced within a given period.

  • However, other signifiers of economic progress should not be overlooked. For example, the Gini coefficient tells us that South Africa is the world's most unequal country with a score of 63 (0 means all income is equally shared, while 100 means only one person holds the entire country's income).

  • Even with a Gini coefficient of 35.1, Nigeria is still a highly unequal society. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, 46.5% of Nigerian households do not have a coping strategy when facing negative economic shocks.

Up until recently, foreign direct investment (FDI) has been flowing into our country as we focused on creating "megacities" or reproducing the fortunes of other countries like the USA and Dubai.

This led to visible (and misleading) signifiers of "progress," like extensive investments in private real estate projects which remain unoccupied, while unemployment and national insecurity deepened. Development has meant shinier renovations, even as we have become—over the years—the world's poverty capital.

When we talk about economic growth, we typically go by Gross Domestic Product (GDP). We believe that measuring GDP tells us an enormous amount about how a nation is

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Fadekemi Abiru

Fadekemi Abiru

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