40 years export profile: Nigeria punches below Vietnam, Malaysia — AfDB adviser


By Tobi Adetunji

Senior Adviser on Industrialization to the President of the African Development Bank, Oyebanji Oyeleran-Oyeyinka, has lamented that the country’s export profile has remained almost the same for about 40 years, comparing Nigeria with other countries that expanded their exports per capita over the years.

Oyebanji make this clarification this during a press conference on how Nigeria could leverage AfDB’s initiative on Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones, which was held at the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning earlier in the week.

He noted that Nigeria, Malaysia and Vietnam were at the same level of resource dependency 40 years ago. In other words, they get almost 70-80 per cent of their external revenue from one source – oil revenue. But all these countries moved away from that oil dependency.

Sighting further illustration, he said, “Today, for example, when you look at the export profile of a country like Vietnam that was at war for 20 years up to 1975, the export of Vietnam last year, 2020, was $384bn compared to Nigeria, $35bn. So, we exported just 10 per cent of what the country can export.

“It looks the same in Malaysia. When you look at the export per capita of these countries, in Malaysia, for example, the export per capita result is $7,100 per person. If you look at a country like my country here [Nigeria], export per capita is about $160; Vietnam is close to $4,000,” he said.

Highlighting the factors responsible, he lamented that the country was caught up in a short-term dependency on easy-money making process, which is a cause of crisis for the country.

“Even the oil that we export, when you divide the population of Nigeria by the barrel of oil that we export every day, ours is just about $160 per person. When you look at a country like Saudi Arabia with a very low population, it is almost $4,000 per person. So, Nigeria is not oil rich. Nigeria is simply oil-dependent.

“This is the cause of the crisis because we have not moved away from what we might call short-term dependency on easy-money making into hard work. Manufacturing and industrialization is hard work, and this is what has gotten us to where we are today,” he said

Distinguishing between Oil rich countries and oil dependent, he noted that, Nigeria is not an oil rich country but an oil-dependent country.

“Nigeria is not an oil rich country. We make a mistake to think that Nigeria is an oil rich country. Nigeria is an oil-dependent country.

“This is a classification that you need to understand. Oil-dependent countries are those that rely on a single commodity like oil for their revenue, particularly external revenue,” he said.