Like any business person you see the best opportunities in the middle of a crisis and look for how to both help and win from help you offer – something China is currently trying to do but seems to be backfiring.
Whether they win or lose, give them credit for thinking and planning the long game, the success will depend on their adversary.
The question on my mind is this, does Nigeria leadership see any opportunity in COVID-19 crisis?
I do. If we have intelligence services worthy of talking about, they should have seen the opportunity even before COVID-19 and should have been educating leadership on it, that is what the CIA does.
The opportunity began the moment Trump stepped into office and took a hostile position towards China. America feels threatened by China and its growing influence.
America felt there was nothing it could do about it. It was the largest consumer of Chinese made goods; its economy depended on the low-cost manufacturing coming out of China.
America industry giants rely on this massive and cheap labor to remain competitive globally.
I remember a certain document presented to a certain leader in Nigeria in March of 2016 titled:
Firestarter – “the catalyst for the emergence of Nigeria as an economic superpower”
In the document, was a strategy to challenge Chinese dominance in manufacturing or at best give it a run for its money.
All the ingredients needed were seating on our table.
The plan laid out detailed steps on how to accomplish this objective, it required some investment from government to train and create a skilled workforce.
The market driven strategy would have turned our economy around within the first 36 months of this administration.
To be honest, there was nothing unique about the plan.
It combined a strategy deployed by the State of Georgia during the 2008 economic downturn in the US and the German full labor strategy with the Indian mass training program, into what I called the “Firestarter”, designed for the Nigeria environment, with some creative ideas on execution.
I remember stating emphatically at that meeting that if Nigeria must grow, we MUST see China as a natural competitor and it was a bad idea for the president to go ask for $2bn loan, if the economic “Firestarter” was to be considered.
Back to China, USA
These countries plan long term, the economic “Firestarter” if given any consideration should come off the shelf right now for execution.
America sees China’s growing influence as a threat to its national security.
It needs a new manufacturing partner for its economy or industries to protect itself.
It cannot continue to feed China with its consumptions, which continues to strengthen China.
I think there is an opportunity for Nigeria in this quiet global war for dominance.
America has a need. Nigeria can fill the need to grow itself.
No other country in the world has the clime to create a competing environment to China’s manufacturing like Nigeria.
I asked myself many times over, do we have a think tank, a strategic thinking group that looks at global events and activities and try to position Nigeria to benefit from these events and activities.
These groups exist within the CIA and State department.
Their activities can run in parallel with our efforts to stop COVID-19 in Nigeria.
Our leaders or at least our intelligence services should have seen this battle of the giants coming for more than a decade.
America needs to exit China. How could we not see it and plan for it and be prepared to take advantage of it?. Where are the strategic thinkers?
COVID-19 has now opened the door for the conversation to be had with America.
But how can we if we are totally unprepared for it?. The “Firestarter” program could have prepared us for this moment.
It is a perfect time for a beautiful alliance between my 2 beloved countries America and Nigeria, if there is anything Donald Trump would love more than to show his love for black people, it would be to show how he created a manufacturing market in Africa to support Americas economy.
Psych war is legitimate strategy, especially on an egotistical president for the benefit of my beloved country, America.
Open Nigeria to low cost manufacturing. Turn our vast land into production/manufacturing base for the world, with America guaranteeing the business.
This is an opportunity for strategic thinkers in our state department, intelligence services and trade negotiator to offer Nigeria as an alternative to China.
Yes, it will take a few years, but America can afford those few years plus a trillion dollars investment to free itself of China. The opportunity and the time are NOW.
We should have seen this coming and should have been waiting quietly like a tiger in the woods, waiting for the moment to pounce. That day is here, NOW!
Today, America needs to break its dependence on China, and we are caught flat-footed. This is our chance to turn Nigeria around.
Nigeria’s economy will explode, we will create a large middle-class population.
We will take tens of millions of young men and women from poverty to middle class, our institutions of learning will become more vibrant,
Employment will grow at an accelerated pace from Sokoto to Rivers State, industries will pop up all over the country, our economy will outgrow most European countries.
Development will soar, healthcare services will rival many in the world as affordability improves. Poverty in the north will drop like a rocket.
I know what many people will say. we have no money; we have no power.
Provide tax credit for alternative power to individuals, landlords and businesses, incentivize real estate developers and 70% of Nigeria will be powered overnight. My host in 2016 could not grasp this concept.
Donald Trump is furious, China has endangered his Presidency.
Congress is scared Americas consumption will continue to fuel Chinas power and growth
Americas security is in peril, its dominance is at risk, all of these presents us the best opportunity we will get in a 100-years to turn our country around.
These are the times you strike as a chess player; these are the times great leaders and strategic thinkers rise for their people.
America will invest any amount to protect itself, including investing in Nigeria for power resources, training and whatever it needs to free itself of China.
It is up to us to pitch the benefits to America. There is no amount of money too much to save itself and retain its global dominance.
The dollar is under threat because of Chinese manufacturing and growing influence, it is time we take sides for our own selfish interest, every country does.
America wants to grow its alternative power industry, so it can compete with China.
It will gladly guarantee construction of solar power plant across Nigeria to help power the manufacturing of products for its industries.
Solar power plants will be everywhere to power the factories for its enterprises in Nigeria.
Nigeria will rise like a Phoenix from the ashes to once again be “Giant of Africa”.
It will all come at a cost, a worthy cost that makes our lives better. A high cost to our current political leadership:
- Strengthening of our democracy
- Elections without violence
- Accountable govt
America’s investment in Nigeria will not be about Nigeria but for its own self-preservation, we will just be the beneficiary. It is a win-win situation for both countries.
Mr. President, his trade dept, state dept, and strategic teams should be at America’s door with a proposal to open our doors to their manufacturers, provide incentives, tax break and guarantees.
Promise them West Africa if you must. (Afterall we are 56% and soon to be 70% of the region).
America will invest any amount not to lose to China, we should seize the opportunity.
For as long as Americas consumption feeds China’s growth America will forever play catch up.
We will be strategically and the savior. $1trillion dollars investment is Chump change to America, to get back its pride, power, and global dominance.
Africa will be fastest growing economy in the next 20-years, a powerful Nigeria as an ally will be quite good for America and this romance may just catch on fire.
Turn training programs into a “Marshall Program” with millions of youths taken off Okada and out of motor parks and turned into middle class, skilled workers.
Population size, literate workforce, hard-working, easy to train young population, we have what is needed.
We have a few natural advantages over China. We speak good, fluent English.
Distance: it would take half the time to ship products from China to 80% of the world, when shipping from Nigeria.
We are at the center of the world and the world will love us.
What is there to lose? The worst we will get is a NO, America needs Nigeria and Nigeria needs America. Just musing about my two beloved countries.
About the Author
Kayode Aladesuyi is the Chairman/CTO AdsMyWay
Featured Image: fi.co
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