Nigeria Emerges Total Power in Africa By 2040

Jakkie Cilliers


Nigeria has been forecast to emerge as the total powerful country in Africa by 2040, according to Jakkie Cilliers, executive director of the Institute of Security Studies in South Africa

| By Maureen Chigbo | Jun 18, 2015 @ 14:25 GMT |

Nigeria will emerge as the total power in Africa by 2040, according to Jakkie Cilliers, executive director of Institute of Security Studies, South Africa. Cilliers, who is also a security expert, at the seminar on “Africa’s Big five: Power and Influence in Africa” today in Kaduna, Nigeria, said that Nigeria was growing at a rapid rate as the largest economy in Africa. He listed the Africa’s Big five as Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Africa at the seminar organised by Gwarzo Institute of Security Studies, Kaduna.

Of all these countries, which make up 40 percent of Africa population, only Nigeria has got significant global power, Cilliers said. “Nigeria is growing faster and growth so rapid. Nigeria in 2040 will have the total power in Africa. It is not among the major powers in the world but has the potential. Nigeria grows faster than anybody because of the population. It is the greatest economy in Africa. Ethiopia grows 2 percent but 10 percent faster than Nigeria. Africa is growing at 6 percent. China grew at 10 percent for so many years. for Africa to catch up it has to grow at 10 percent. It has significant high population growth rate. Nigeria will overtake Egypt eventually,” he said. He, however, said that Algeria spends a lot more on defense than all the big five in Africa. Nigeria’s defense expenditure is also rising rapidly compared with Egypt which is declining he said describing, Africa and Middle east as the most violent regions in the world.

“Africa has a security and military challenge. Africans spend a little on defense, France and US come to help. With Boko Haram, the international community is coming to help Nigeria, this giant of Africa. Ethiopia comes from a low base and rising steadily,” Cilliers said.

Stating that forecasting is not prediction but it is used to look at what is possible, where we are coming from and where we are going, he said: “We need to plan for the future. Our forecast is based on the knowledge of today. When you use real data to do forecasting it gives you a picture of what is possible.” He listed the measurement of power in Africa to include demographics, economy, military expenditure, diplomacy (Soft power – not easy and not accurate for forecast). He said that the reality about power – income and wealth – people might have the same levels of income but wealth is built up over the years just like power takes time to build up. “It will take time for China to catch up with the United States in terms of buildup in power. Despite the story of rising Africa it is still on the margins of power. It is rising but not rising for all of us. This century belongs to US”, Cilliers said.

According to him, there is a difference between projection and potential of power which some countries are better than others. “Nigeria’s ability to project power is limited by internal violence. Egypt blows its weight and has a lot of international connection. South Africa, a member of BRICS and G-20, projects its power. Ethiopia deploys more troops than any of the four countries combined. Nigeria and Egypt because of internal problems have scaled back deployment of troops international. The nature of government serves as a means to translate the potential for power. Ethiopia does so well because it is an authoritarian state as it is much more difficult to do that in a democratic state which has to do with rule of laws and procedures.”

“Africa will remain on the margins of global power. Except for the potential of Nigeria, it is difficult to perceive one country as the leading power in Africa amongst the five big powers in Africa. Governance matters and mediates the exercise of power. Africa holds 8 percent of global power. The all five have 40 percent of Africa population, 50 percent economy and 58 percent of defense spending. In future, Africa will remain multi-polar in power distribution and quality of government will determine how Africa shows its power globally,” he said.


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