Economic development, political stability and security all depend on effective governance at all levels. It is also a major contributor to stability and security. Good governance enhances economic benefits and speeds up economic transitions.
Democracy is associated with greater human capital accumulation, lower inflation, less political instability and greater economic freedom. It is inextricably linked to economic growth sources such as education level and lifespan improvement through educational institutions and healthcare.
In the 1950s, it was widely held that economic growth had a greater impact on democracy than previously thought. In his most significant study on the topic from 1959, Seymour Lipset asserts that one requirement for democracy is economic development.
The importance of political institutions and governance in explaining economic growth in developing countries has become increasingly apparent in recent years. Political institutions, in this context, refer to the means of group deliberation, as well as the controls over elected officials and influential economic and political interest groups.
Governance is the state’s ability to offer public good and how it intervenes to support or stifle various economic activities. For instance, in Nigeria, the mission of #FixPolitics is to establish a political class of servant-leaders and elevate the Office of the Citizen to its proper position. In the light of this, a democracy that works for everyone is fostered by its citizens, as evidenced by the three programmes that constitute its tripod. An informed and involved electorate, a political class that upholds certain values, and a changing political, electoral and constitutional landscape are the three legs.
#FixPolitics aims to create a strong electorate that includes voters from low- and middle-income groups, who are economically active, informed, engaged and active. Additionally, it aims to create a sizable base and pipeline for a disruptively innovative political class.
The executive, the legislature, the Independent National Electoral Commission and the security establishment are among the key political and electoral reform actors that #FixPolitics works to compel to take important reform-related actions for credible, transparent, free and fair elections.
Creating a think-tank
#FixPolitics created a sizable base and pipeline of a new and disruptive political class with its initiative to equip and empower the OOTC, which is the School of Politics, Policy and Governance.
SPPG is a unique institution created to draw in, nurture and produce a new breed of political leaders, who will pay attention to, and serve, the new class of informed citizens. The initiative is a brainchild of Dr Obiageli Ezekwesili, an economic policy expert, who has worked with Germany-based Robert Bosh Academy, which provides international decision-makers, opinion leaders and experts with space for private discussions and solution-focused cooperation on international affairs.
Politics and effective leadership for stable economy
A fundamental economic tenet states that any policy, even one that produces winners and others in the society, can be made to benefit everyone in society, if it benefits society as a whole.
Speaking to SPPG’s inaugural class, Ezekwesili asserted, “Without our fixing politics, it is irrational to imagine that we will have good governance. Those of us, who, in time past, always thought that we just needed to do something about governance without caring about politics completely, missed the ball.
“We missed the ball because politics is the foundation on which governance is conducted. Without politics in a democracy, you cannot have governance. The quality of your politics will determine the quality of your governance. We should worry about people who – knowing that the citizens do not see the link between politics and governance, therefore, provide leadership that is of no degree of excellence.”
The founders of modern economics are generally acknowledged to be Adam Smith, David Ricardo, and John Stuart Mill. However, they are identified as political economists. The political and economic worlds could not be thought of as separate by these early theorists.
Sound policies, key to Nigeria’s economic growth
Ezekwesili contends that Nigerians must resurrect the country’s economy, and that the best way to do this is to strengthen sensible policies and legal regulations, while regaining microeconomic stability.
She said, “There is serious need for reformation to enable those sectors to function and create the impetus for economic activities. Whether you are talking of the human development sector, health, education, economics, aviation, tourism or agriculture, structural reforms are needed for growth.
“You need to have a friendly environment in terms of regulations because for businesses to be productive, your policies must be friendly.”
She explained that the exchange rate would continue to decline sharply as long as there is limited supply of foreign currency entering the economy based on our income.
For Nigerians to have more to sell to the rest of the world and earn foreign currency, Ezekwesili said opportunities must be opened up for them.
“We need to pay attention to the talents of our citizens. We have those in the creative industry. Such sectors can unlock a lot for us as a country. We just need the supply of foreign exchange into the country. Once that happens, our exchange will be more stable, friendly and kind towards businesses and further multiply the expansion of the Gross Domestic Product,” she added.
Not just Nigeria, but Africa
Ezekwesili asserts that the world will fare better if Africa actively participates in the redesign of the current global architecture for a future that offers equal opportunity for everyone, anywhere, to succeed. She notes that Africa urgently needs disruptive leadership for economic progress.
“To be ready for this, Africa needs disruptive leaders who are constantly investing in finding better solutions to problems of their communities, countries and the world.
“We are raising ethical and competent, capable disruptive leaders for an Africa that sits at the global table of decision. And we are doing so, one leader at a time in significant numbers,” she added.
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