If ChatGPT were to be Nigeria’s National Economic Adviser

When it comes to reading, many people tend to judge a document by its author before they read its contents. They trust or reject the information based on their perception of the writer. They favor those who share their views or background and dismiss those who do not. But what if we had an alternative that might reduce our bias and help us focus on the issues and solutions that matter? Enter Artificial Intelligence, AI, such as Bing AI and ChatGPT, that can offer us unbiased insights that we might have otherwise missed. We are a people of deep religious belief; spiritual and mystical. Bing AI can be the Digital Oracle to consult with and receive answers to deep-rooted questions of any range.

Chat with Bing AI:

To see how AI can help us overcome bias, I asked Bing AI some questions and got interesting insights summarized from various internet sources on Nigerian political and economic situation. We must not lose sight of the fact that these AI services basically rewrite and summarize articles in the fraction of the time it would normally require a human to research them. Bing AI’s edge over CharGPT is its currency. While the latter could only produce knowledge as of 2021, the former draws from both past and current pools of knowledge.

Question 1: Given the tendencies and propensity for violence after elections in many African countries, what is the likelihood of violence erupting in Nigeria after the 2023 presidential elections?

“That’s a very good question,” Bing AI responded. “Nigeria’s future is uncertain and depends on many factors such as political stability, economic growth, social cohesion, environmental sustainability, and regional integration. Some experts have created scenarios that provide a map of probable future events in the country from now up to 2060. These scenarios are not predictions or prescriptions but rather explorations of different possibilities based on current trends and drivers of change.”

Bing AI then shared an article from The Guardian (https://guardian.ng/property/experts-map-out-scenarios-for-nigerias-future-by-2060/) that enumerated four interesting scenarios for Nigeria’s future: The Rise of the Phoenix, The Land of Lost Opportunities, The Two Nations, and The Survival of the Fittest. When asked which scenario is most likely to happen, I replied, “I always think good of my country and project good in my thoughts about its future as well.” Bing AI replied, “It is natural to have a bias towards good and to hope for the best for one’s country. However, it is also important to be aware of the challenges and risks that may hinder or derail the desired outcomes. These scenarios can help to identify the opportunities and threats that may arise in the future and to prepare for them accordingly. They can also inspire action and dialogue among different stakeholders to shape a better future for Nigeria.”

Question 2: How do you think Nigeria could grow to truly become the giant of Africa? Are there external influences that could hinder this goal?

“That’s a very interesting question,” Bing AI responded. “Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and has a lot of potential to grow and become a regional leader. However, it also faces many challenges that could hinder its development, such as economic crisis, ethnicity, governance, and security. These are some of the major challenges that Nigeria needs to overcome if it wants to achieve its full potential as the giant of Africa. It will require political will, social cohesion, economic reform, and international cooperation to do so.”

Question 3: In a resource-hungry world where every nation is competing for raw and mineral resources, there are nations whose needs for our resources might conflict and even impede implementation of our development agendas. How do we cope?

“That’s a complex and important question,” Bing AI replied. “Nigeria is a country that is rich in natural resources, such as crude oil, natural gas, coal, iron ore, limestone, bitumen, gold, and rock salt.

These resources have the potential to contribute to the economic development and social welfare of Nigeria. However, Nigeria also faces many challenges in managing its natural resources effectively and sustainably. Some of these challenges are:

  • Resource curse: This is a phenomenon where countries with abundant natural resources tend to have lower economic growth, higher poverty, and more political instability than countries with fewer natural resources. This could be due to factors such as corruption, mismanagement, rent-seeking, conflict, and environmental degradation. Nigeria has been affected by the resource curse, especially in its oil sector, which accounts for about 90% of its export earnings and 60% of its government revenue.
  • Resource dependency: This is a situation where a country relies heavily on one or a few natural resources for its economic growth and development. This could make the country vulnerable to external shocks such as price fluctuations, market changes, or trade restrictions. Nigeria has been dependent on its oil sector for decades, which has exposed it to boom-and-bust cycles and reduced its incentives to diversify its economy into other sectors such as agriculture or manufacturing.
  • Resource conflict: As mentioned earlier, this is a type of conflict that arises from the scarcity or unequal distribution of natural resources. Nigeria has experienced several resource conflicts over the years, such as the Niger Delta crisis between local communities and oil companies over environmental pollution and compensation issues, the Boko Haram insurgency in the northeast over land and water resources, and the farmer-herder clashes in the middle belt over grazing rights and access to water sources.

These are some of the ways that Nigeria’s natural resources could conflict with or impede its development agenda. The development agenda of Nigeria is guided by various policies and plans such as:

  • The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) 2017-2020: This is a medium-term plan that aims to achieve macroeconomic stability and economic diversification by focusing on five priority areas: stabilizing the macroeconomic environment; achieving agriculture and food security; ensuring energy sufficiency; improving transportation infrastructure; and driving industrialization through small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
  • The Country Partnership Framework (CPF) 2021-2024: This is a strategy that outlines how the World Bank Group will support Nigeria’s development objectives to end extreme poverty and increase shared prosperity by focusing on four key areas: investing in human capital; promoting jobs and economic transformation and diversification; enhancing resilience; and strengthening governance institutions and service delivery.

These are some of the policies and plans that aim to advance Nigeria’s development agenda in spite of the resource-hungry world. However, they will require effective implementation and coordination among various stakeholders to achieve their desired outcomes.”

Question 4: What can you say about economic imperialism where the country is compelled, through soft power, to implement policies that may only largely favour the powers behind the policies?

Without missing a bit, Bing responded “Economic imperialism is a term that can have different meanings depending on the context. One possible meaning is the use of economic power to exert control over other countries, regions, or peoples~. ~This can involve controlling natural resources, manipulating trade and investment, and exploiting labor and markets~. ~Another possible meaning is the extension of the main ideas of neoclassical economics to other disciplines of social sciences~. [This can involve ignoring or simplifying important social issues such as race, class, power, and conflict. https://gmuconsults.com/finance/economic-imperialism/

In either case, economic imperialism could pose a challenge for Nigeria’s development agenda if it faces external pressures or influences that may not align with its own interests and values. For example, Nigeria may have to deal with:

            *          Trade barriers: These are restrictions or regulations that limit the free flow of goods and services between countries. They can include tariffs, quotas, subsidies, sanctions, and embargoes. Trade barriers can be used by powerful countries to protect their own industries or markets or to punish or coerce other countries into complying with their demands.

            *          Debt traps: These are situations where a country borrows money from another country or institution but cannot repay it due to high interest rates or unfavorable terms. ~The lender can then use the debt as leverage to extract political or economic concessions from the borrower or to gain access to its natural resources or markets.

            *          Cultural hegemony: This is a form of domination where a dominant culture imposes its values, beliefs, and norms on a subordinate culture through various means such as education, media, religion, and language. ~Cultural hegemony can erode the identity and diversity of the subordinate culture and make it more susceptible to manipulation or exploitation by the dominant culture~.

These are some examples of how economic imperialism could affect Nigeria’s development agenda. However, Nigeria could also resist or counteract these influences by:

            *          Strengthening regional integration: This involves enhancing cooperation and coordination among neighboring countries or regions on various issues such as trade, security, infrastructure, and governance.  [Regional integration can help create a larger and more diversified market for goods and services; increase bargaining power and influence in international affairs; and foster solidarity and mutual support among members. (https://www.britannica.com/topic/Western-colonialism/Economic-imperialism)

* Promoting local ownership: This involves ensuring that Nigerian citizens and institutions have a greater say and stake in their own development process. ~This can include increasing participation and accountability in decision-making; enhancing transparency and anti-corruption measures; supporting local entrepreneurs and innovators; and protecting local cultures and traditions.”

The government should sit, I mean chat with Bing AI, for diverse ideas it could use. The question of what the problems are had been fully answered, courtesy of an emerging artificial intelligence. What remains is to develop the implementation strategy. For that, the AI can assist as well.

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