The concept of ‘restructuring’ in Nigeria has become one of the most used languages in the political world today. Political and elite citizens are calling on the federal government to restructure the country’s economy. It is no use that Nigeria’s economy is in a deplorable state and it has gotten so bad to the extent that Nigeria has now overtaken India as the nation with the highest number of those living in extreme poverty.
Reno Omokri is a bestselling author, avid traveler, and shaker of tables and tormentor of dictators. He spoke on Restructuring and how the AFTA (African Continental Free Trade Agreement) can end the Mediterranean crisis. It was noted that the Mediterranean migrant crisis was not always about Africans trying to cross over to European countries via the Mediterranean.
It’s surprising to know that Europe has gone through this crisis before, during the Second World War. The Europeans were running away from hunger, war threat to peace, and searching for better opportunity. The world powers at that time knew that if the chaos going on in Europe wasn’t curbed, then it would end up spreading to other parts of the world, like America, and end up destabilizing America. This made the then U.S. president, sign the Marshall Plan on April 3rd, 1948 as the ‘European recovery programme’ which entails Europe to completely restructure their continent, so as to enable them to come together as one, to receive the aid and put it into good use.
That was America’s solution to the happenings in Europe. America, therefore, gave Europe 12.4 billion dollars in aid. According to Reno, it was the Marshall plan that led to the restructuring of Europe because, at that time, the Europeans had to work together to address the problems that led to the war in Europe and the migrant crisis as well. They set up a committee in 1948 (OECD) to help them utilize the money for their aid and restructure Europe.
Reno Omokri’s TEDx talk on economic restructuring points out the need for we as Africans and Nigerians to learn from the way/method Europe had used in restructuring its economic crisis. The difference between Africa and Europe of then is that Europe faced their problems by considering restructuring which led to peace and stability. Thanks to the committee, OECD (Organization for European Economic Co-operation) that helped them become a continent with high-income economies.
The question now is how can Africa address its own Mediterranean crisis? Reno gave his own solution by putting it plainly that ‘if we do not restructure/change how Africa works, Africans will keep walking out of Africa’ which is already happening. He further said that we need to invent what the Europeans did, with only a slight modification to suit our preferences. He said African body like the AU (African Union) shouldn’t only focus on political/regional restructuring but on Economic restructuring.
He stated that Economic restructuring in Europe made it easier for them to generate, develop and distribute wealth within Europe. He stressed that Africans should be able to do the same because if for instance, European countries buy raw products cheaply from Africa, and take it back to Europe to process it and then bring back the finished product back to Africa. Like Nas -Andres in France makes the popular St Louis sugar which goes majorly in Nigeria. Therefore the African Free Trade Establishment should be able to regulate all these.
He pointed that the way Africa is set up, it is easier for Africans to do business with Europeans than with fellow Africans. He finally noted that Nigeria, the giant of Africa, refused to sign the ACFTA (African Continental Free Trade Agreement). for instance, last year, Nigeria imported 17.3 billion liters of petrol/gasoline. But if we have signed the ACFTA, we can take our oil and refine it in other African countries like Senegal etc. Meaning that Nigeria will not spend up to 7 billion dollars in importing petroleum and that money will equally circulate round Africa, therefore making it a Win-Win scenario.
He pointed out that, Nigerians should elect leaders who are of the restructuring mindset because there will be more opportunities in Africa if things are restructured.
He ended his speech with; ‘Never underestimate the big difference, small changes can make’.
Today is the best day to post this. When we do this, I will then joyously say, Happy Independence day. A revolution is on the way.