According to official sources, Nigeria needs to spend $100 billion every year until 2045 to plug its infrastructure gap. But on average, the country has struggled to make an adequate annual investment on issues like the 17 million housing deficit, which keeps growing at 20% yearly; roads, 70% of which are unpaved, and railways, some of which are now slowly coming to life. 

In any case, many will argue that the country has seen a growth in infrastructural development in the last few years. However, to understand the nuances behind this “supposed” growth, we’ve curated this week’s stories for you. 

1. Barely chugging along: An economy without rail transport

First on our list is an analysis of the Nigerian economy today without an adequate railway transport system. There has been the development of the Abuja-Kaduna rail and, more recently, the Lagos-Ibadan kickoff. But railway development has been happening at a slow pace. Could it have occurred quicker? And how has this affected our economy’s growth and development? This story has the answers.

Read the full article here

2. Fibre optics and the end of slow internet in Nigeria

Data, as we know it, is life. This data could be raw information, and in this instance, it is having the tool, i.e. internet, to access information. A new world could see Nigeria transitioning successfully to a knowledge-based economy. Unfortunately, we can’t do that with crawling internet speeds. More than half of the country has to cope with internet speeds around 0.03mbps, which hampers developmental potential. But there are ways to improve the deficiency in internet infrastructure and boost internet penetration. One is fibre optics, and this story breaks down all the modalities involved. 

Read the full article here 


3. Meet one of the financiers behind Africa’s high-impact projects

Solving complex problems is a trait to admire in anyone. So when you find an organisation that makes it a goal to solve issues by providing the finances and expert solutions, they are worth talking about. The Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) is one such organisation, and it has taken on the challenge of solving Africa’s infrastructure deficit. This story breaks down why the corporation was created, its work, and crucially, how it makes returns on its almost $10 billion investments in projects across 35 countries on the continent.

Read the full article here 


4. Modular refineries and the path to reducing fuel imports

We often hear of modular refineries—a necessary makeshift infrastructure for refining crude oil. But not many people can articulate what they can do for Nigeria. In December, the President hinted that these kinds of refineries could potentially shift Nigeria from an importer to an exporter of petroleum products. But can they? And even if they can, do they have the necessary equipment to produce refined oil substantially? This story has a good breakdown of modular refineries and assesses their potential in ending Nigeria’s petrol import problem.

Read the full article here 


5. Nigeria’s costly rural road deficit keeps millions stuck

Nearly half of Nigerians live and commute within rural communities. However, basic infrastructure like roads remain a luxury as almost 90% are in poor conditions. Issues from waist-high flood levels and lack of adequate drainage are not only common, but they also prevent the swift flow of economic activities like commuting to school or work. So, who is responsible for fixing rural roads and why are so many left in deplorable conditions? 

Read the full article here to find out. 


6. From the eyes of a traveller: The viability of Lagos-Ibadan railway

This is a Stears Business favourite as it is one of our premium travel pieces. As we mentioned earlier, the Lagos-Ibadan railway was recently launched. For our development analyst, Gbemisola, telling this story meant opting for a first-hand experience of the brand new rail line to bring you this fully immersive piece. She spells out very clearly what it means to be on the right track when it comes to rail development. 

Read the full article here 


7. Nigeria’s housing crisis: Evaluating public and private intervention

Nigeria’s housing deficit is a crisis that entrepreneurs and the government are trying to solve in several ways. Some creatively, others, not quite. One creative example, though, is how technology is playing a role in making housing more affordable. This story gives a breakdown of how the likes of Muster, Spleet, and Fibre target a market of young workers in Lagos to meet their housing demands.  

Read the full article here 


8. Human vs physical capital: Where should Nigeria spend money?

An economy that doesn’t upgrade its capital will either stagnate or go backwards. Imagine if Nigeria didn’t upgrade its roads and machinery and its population kept increasing. The economy will not be able to produce enough output for the new mouths to feed. But infrastructural development has even more nuance. It’s not just about producing more physical capital; human capital is also crucial for long-term growth. What’s the point of having new infrastructure if there aren’t enough trained workers or educated citizens to take advantage of them? 

Read the full article here 


9. Is Nigeria ready for bicycles?

Why does cycling thrive in some countries and not in others? People worldwide (including Nigeria) have been using bicycles to move around for over 200 years. It is a simple, affordable and reliable means of transport. And their environmental benefits could have us all pedalling into prosperity with reduced air and noise pollution. But for many countries like Nigeria, people shun cycling because Nigeria’s current road infrastructure isn’t bicycle-friendly. However, this article points out the steps we can take to get us to a bicycle economy.

Read the full article here


10. Travelling by water in Lagos: High cost and solutions

Water projects are one aspect of critical infrastructure we should talk about more often. Without them, most of the goods we consume in the country might be harder to import. And with them, movement can be much more accessible across the country. So for this story, we focused on what it would take to get more people in Lagos—one of Nigeria’s most populated states travelling by water. We also looked at the kind of infrastructure we need to encourage basic transportation from one point to the next.

Read the full article here 


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