Nigeria has converted USD 500 million of its foreign reserve into Chinese Yuan as part of fulfilling its aim to convert up to 10% of its USD 36.4 billion foreign exchange reserves into Chinese currency. The country through its Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Raji Fashola has introduced Chinese language in public schools in Lagos to prepare Nigerians to tap into the expanding Chinese economy. Nigeria takes the lead in Africa in preparing its nationals to engage with both developed and re-emerging economies. According to Fashiola, “We must continue to think about what our world would be like in the next 20 to 30 years.”
There is great global optimism about Africa and its future. The International Monetary Fund projects that seven of the world’s ten fastest growing countries over the next five years will be from Africa. The Economist pointed out that sixty million African households are now officially middle-class. By 2015, that number is expected to reach a hundred million. This optimism has attracted great traffic to the continent from developed and emerging economies. This optimism and its ensuing investments in the continent will amount to little if Africa does not proactively position itself to engage with the rest of the world gainfully. It is imperative that Africa’s leaders from various sectors strategize on how their respective sectors ought to tap from this optimism. Universities, the media fraternity, government organs, the civil society, businesses and individuals ought to think about the future in relation with developed and emerging economies.
Depending on the strategies laid and how Africa manages to navigate its relationship with the developed and emerging economies, we are going to see a well-developed African continent, or an exploited continent. Fashiola has taken baby steps to think futures; other African countries should learn from Nigeria.
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