How should the ‘Giant of Africa’ develop, and what role should the ‘Power House of Europe’ play in this development, if any? The question is not new, and since Nigeria’s independence in 1960, countless policies and papers have been written by in Nigeria, Germany and Europe on how to develop, collaborate and grow. Alas, not much has come from the wave of papers, at least not in the view of the majority women and men living in Nigeria, whose living standards have been in decline ever since. This gap between policy and reality might be the reason why there has been a curiously enthusiastic reaction by different Nigerian players to the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation’s (BMZ) invitation to comment on their proposed ‘Marshall Plan With Africa’. The BMZ’s 2016 proposal for a Marshall Plan called for a change of parametres, a new eye-to-eye approach between mature nations on the one planet that we all inhabit.
It is in the search for practical approaches to a development that has the majority citizens as its centre that the Nigeria Office of the Heinrich Böll Foundation commissioned this paper. The Foundation has worked in Nigeria long enough to understand that the main actors in the development space are the formal and informal private sector, which need support from government policy making and civil society watchdog-ing. In reality, it is striking to observe how both government and civil society often leave out the private sector when they define development and draft development policies – only to find out that the policies and communiqués remain on the shelf without much implementation.
This paper is meant to spell out the private sector view on people-oriented development, and it was developed in collaboration with the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, NESG, as the main private sector platform of Nigeria. The task for the authors from the NESG was to identify the most suitable entry points for genuine, people-focused economic and social development for Nigeria - starting right now, right here - and to identify the parameters for fair and constructive international support that would reflect the historical obligations by industrialised countries.