Book cover of Econonmic Diversification in Nigeria

Book by alumna Zainab Usman chosen among FT's best for 2022

A new book by alumna Zainab Usman which explores the challenges Nigeria faces in diversifying its economy beyond oil has been chosen as one of the best economics books of 2022 by the Financial Times' Martin Wolf.

Economic Diversification in Nigeria: The Politics of Building a Post-Oil Economy is published by Bloomsbury and draws on Zainab's doctoral work at ODID.

Nigeria has for long been regarded as the poster child for the 'curse' of oil wealth. Yet despite this, Nigeria achieved strong economic growth for over a decade in the 21st century, driven largely by policy reforms in non-oil sectors. This open access book argues that Nigeria's major development challenge is not the 'oil curse', but rather one of achieving economic diversification beyond oil, subsistence agriculture, informal activities, and across its subnational entities. Through analysis drawing on economic data, policy documents, and interviews, Usman argues that Nigeria's challenge of economic diversification is situated within the political setting of an unstable distribution of power among individual, group, and institutional actors.

Since the turn of the century, policymaking by successive Nigerian governments has, despite superficial partisan differences, been oriented towards short-term crisis management of macroeconomic stabilization, restoring growth and selective public sector reforms. To diversify Nigeria's economy, this book argues that successive governments must reorient towards a consistent focus on pro-productivity and pro-poor policies, alongside comprehensive civil service and security sector overhaul. These policy priorities, Nigeria's ruling elites are belatedly acknowledging, are crucial to achieving economic transformation; a policy shift that requires a confrontation with the roots of perpetual political crisis, and an attempt to stabilize the balance of power towards equity and inclusion.

Zainab completed her DPhil in International Developement at ODID in 2017.

Zainab Usman (2022) Economic Diversification in Nigeria: The Politics of Building a Post-Oil Economy, Bloomsbury

Read the review.