It was recently announced in July 2015 that Brass in Bayelsa State, Nigeria has been designated as an “Oil and Gas Free Zone” by the federal government. It was shocking to find out at a popular Nigerian eatery on the Old Kent Road, London that some university educated and hardworking men (originally from various parts of the Niger delta) solemnly thought “Oil and Gas Free Zone” (OGFZ) meant that Brass will be free from all oil and gas exploitation i.e. become a protected green zone. Such a misunderstanding is not unusual since the “free” like “foreign aid” in the global economy mean the opposite of their customary meanings. Continue reading
Botswana, a prosperous African nation (population: 2 million), where I have worked a long time ago fits very well with one of Mancur Olson’s clearest thoughts on the conditions of economic growth and prosperity of a nation i.e. (a) having a small population and (b) that population being homogeneous. This is a development on Olson’s Logic Collective Action in which the smaller the group (population) and the more they have compatible shared interests (shared incentives) which should minimise or eliminate free-riding (getting something for nothing) and the better the economy will perform. Multi-ethnic societies like Nigeria (250 ethnic groups at least in 6 distinct geopolitical zones) with a mammoth population (at least 160 million) can never emulate Botswana, according to Olson’s logic and I agree. However, there are alternative views on the subject of economic growth.