Nigeria 2030: Alternate Scenarios for Africa’s Powerhouse
Student: Wilson F. Terrall
Advisor: Professor Michael F. Oppenheimer
This thesis paper examines the political, economic, and social characteristics that define the country of Nigeria, Africa’s largest country by GDP and population. It then identifies a set of eight prominent drivers that will have the greatest influence on Nigeria’s future and uses the interaction of these drivers to create three plausible, distinct scenarios for Nigeria in the next decade. These three scenarios are Fragmentation, Stagnation, and Emergence, representing an attempt to manage the uncertainty of a rapidly changing world facing the Covid-19 pandemic, a large-scale conventional conflict between Russia and Ukraine, democratic backsliding, and the effects of climate change. The scenario process reveals several drivers to be of primary importance for Nigeria’s future and contain implications for domestic policymakers as well as U.S. foreign policy. Challenges and opportunities emerge from the scenarios, such as managing the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. The U.S. has an opportunity to use vaccine diplomacy to strengthen its relationship with Nigeria and reassert global leadership. The deteriorating security situation across the country is a major challenge for the Nigerian government and drives the political and economic stability of the country. Finally, the competition between the U.S. and China in Africa within each scenario highlights the ultimate importance of Nigeria to build a more stable, prosperous, and sustainable future in West Africa, the African continent, and indeed, the entire world.