As news reports flow in, that several developed countries are systematically steering away from fossil fuel dependency, the time has come to begin to have frank conversations as to the contribution of natural resources to our woes as a country, and more particularly as a State, and how to cure this problem known globally as the “Resource Curse.”
There is a plethora of information in public domain that the resource curse, also known as Dutch Disease or the paradox of plenty, refers to the contradiction that countries with an abundance of natural resources (like fossil fuels and certain minerals), tend to have less economic growth, less democracy, and worse development outcomes (like in education and women empowerment) than countries with fewer natural resources. Most experts believe the resource curse is not universal or inevitable, but affects certain types of countries or regions under certain conditions. When a country strikes hydrocarbons, a sudden inflow of dollar-denominated revenues often leads to a sharp appreciation in the domestic currency. That tends to make non-oil sectors like agriculture and manufacturing less competitive on world markets, thus leaving oil to dominate the economy. The oil windfall tends to destroy every local industry other than oil. Sectors like education, power, agriculture, etc. soon fall victim. Nigeria wouldn’t be so vulnerable if it had saved some of the oil windfall, like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Norway and others. The reliance on oil makes Nigeria vulnerable to outside shocks. When the price of oil collapsed in 2014, Nigeria relied on oil for 90% of its exports, and its already weak foreign-exchange reserves started to drain fast. The rest is history, as they say.
Rivers people must be wise and avoid the resource curse by turning to quality education and self-improvement. Education has answers to the poverty that the resource curse has thrown Rivers people into. Statistics has it that some 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty if all students in low-income countries acquired basic reading skills. And 61% of the 123 million children who have trouble reading are girls. Without education girls, families and communities are trapped in a cycle of poverty as –
– every 3 seconds a girl becomes a child bride,
– 4 out of 5 victims of human trafficking are girls, and
– the no 1 cause of death for girls 15 to 19 years is childbirth.
Educating our girls especially will have multiplier effect on our growth and development in both the short term and the long term. Both school owners and teachers should see themselves on a mission to help humanity. And students should vow to break the circle of poverty through the use of their God-given brains. To prepare for the future, the time to start is NOW.
Our guest speaker this weekend is Mr. Ross Alabo-George, a distinguished Data Scientist & CEO of Proxy Logics Nigeria. He will throw more light on the topic, Evolutional Development, Fortifying for the Future.
Our amiable people of Rivers State, don’t forget to always let your manners speak for you.
God bless and keep you and your families. And God bless Rivers State.
Her Excellency, Justice (Mrs.) Eberechi Suzzette Nyesom-Wike
The Wife of the Governor of Rivers State and
Initiator of the RivEthics Character Development Programme.
You can also listen to and download the Pidgin English version of this Episode below