The 10 must-read Stears articles of 2022

Today we’re reflecting on what Stears Insights covered in 2022.

Below you’ll find stories that are both sobering and hopeful, exemplary of the anxiety of an election moment and the possibility of an economic future. The most popular stories reveal an essential Dickensian tale that is Nigeria. 

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1. 2023 Elections: things to ignore from Nigerian Presidential candidates

In our debut governance article for Nigeria’s 2023 election cycle, one of our in-house economists and political buffs warns Nigerians about what they should and should not accept from politicians as campaigns heat up.

“For example, in 2015, Buhari promised a slew of eye-catching objectives. He promised at least three million jobs yearly, GDP growth of 10%, stabilising the naira, 40,000 MW of power, and the most ironic of them all: banning government officials from getting medical treatment abroad.”

Read the full article here

2. Assessing Peter Obi's manifesto plans

After emerging as the third force candidate for Nigeria’s upcoming general elections, Peter Obi released his Manifesto weeks after the two larger parties had released theirs. Was it worth the wait?

“Like Tinubu’s plans, export promotion is Peter Obi’s goal. Still, PO’s plans show a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness between agricultural productivity, industrial growth, and insecurity."

Read the full article here

3. What is President Buhari’s economic legacy?

Buhari came into office in 2015 on the promise of change. Arguably he delivered; it just wasn’t the kind of change we all expected. 

“It is harder than it looks to bankrupt a country. So, this article pays homage to the masterful execution we have witnessed in the last seven years. To all aspiring policymakers, here is how you bankrupt a nation in nine steps.”

Read the full article here

4. How much is your salary worth today?

Our analysts dissect Nigeria’s inflation problem from many angles over the last few years, but arguably none has hit home quite like this.

“Using this calculator, people can determine how much their income is worth, how much it has changed and how much they should be earning to match the value of their initial income.”

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5. 🔒 Why is Google building internet infrastructure for Nigeria?

Google plans to solve Nigeria’s internet poverty problem through Equiano—its subsea internet cable that will run from Portugal to South Africa along the Atlantic Coast of Africa. But what happens when behemoths like Google increase their stake in countries’ digital infrastructure?

“…whoever builds a thing determines the shape of it. For example, if the government fully funds the development of a road, the typical way it gets paid for is through taxes on citizens. However, a similar good provided by the private sector might look more like a toll on the road, leading to users who cannot pay being excluded.”

Read the full article here

6. 🔒 Why Nigeria should no longer be called an 'oil-based economy'

The structure of the Nigerian economy has changed significantly in the last 20 years and continues to change, yet we still hold on to old ideas. People still refer to Nigeria as a mono-product economy and an oil-based economy. 

“The oil sector contributed only 7.49% to the economy in the third quarter of 2021. On the other hand, the non-oil economy was 92.51% of the entire economy.”

Read the full article here

7. 🔒 Will the $1.5bn Lekki deep seaport end Lagos' woes?

The expected output from Dangote’s refinery and other surrounding businesses depends on the success of the Lekki Deep Seaport, which in turn greatly depends on enhanced road infrastructure and railway connectivity. You'll understand the consequences if you’ve tried getting in and out of Apapa at rush hour.

“The problem, however, is that the completion timeline for this road construction is yet to be announced, and it is still not a silver bullet for eliminating traffic gridlock. Although Apapa’s road network has expanded, there are still traffic challenges.”

Read the full article here

8. 🔒 What is the role of Peter Obi’s third force?

Nigerians tend to measure the success of any third force on the simple metric of whether or not it wins an election.

“It is a costly error to think that election results are the only valid measure of the usefulness of third parties in a presidential democracy. …One of the most important things to understand is that winning elections is not the only way to achieve desired policy outcomes.”

Read the full article here

9. 🔒 Why Dangote's refinery won't solve our fuel crisis

Nigeria was in the middle of fuel scarcity when this was published. Colloquially people often look forward to Dangote’s refinery as the solution to 4 am queues and shady black-market fuel vendors. 

“...the current scarcity we’re experiencing could still happen even with Dangote’s refinery supplying petrol. If there’s no deregulation of the petrol market, Dangote’s refinery would still be the sole supplier of petrol in the country.”

Read the full article here

10. 🔒 Why is Nigeria's national grid always collapsing?

Nigerians use the state of electricity supply for small talk the way the British pick the weather. It’s expected, considering that in the last twelve and a half years, spanning the period from 2010 to the first half of 2022, Nigeria’s power grid suffered at least 222 partial and total collapses,

“Technical issues affect the grid's stability, but the power sector's commercial problems are arguably more significant. From gas supply shortages to metering and payment problems, the commercial issues are a significant roadblock to solving the technical issues.”

Read the full article here