Monday, March 20, 2006

You Just Have To Do Something People Want

...I guess that's how to make wealth, get money, grow rich, whatever. I plucked that quote from this article, which I'm still reading, and which I found on this guy, Max's blog.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Of course Ka-Shing is on the list.

MSN reports on the annual Forbes list of the world's richest people. Pardon my cheap joke on the name of this year's number 10, from Hong Kong.
The original article is here.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Action Tourism- is this the way forward?

Often countries like Nigeria, Angola, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon- African countries with immense oil and gas wealth often pay lip service to diversifying their economic base. However, it has often not moved beyond the rhetoric phrases of the political leaders of these countries. On the other hand countries like United Arab Emirates and Norway with declining Oil reserve have confronted their fast depleting national wealth in a more precise and succint manner. UAE specifically is a good example: turning to Tourism and Trade as a key revenue generator for the future. With its oil reserve depleting in 2015, it has invested heavily in tourism - building over 4 man made Island currently and experiencing a technology and property boom that goes with it. The Free Trade concept around its Zero Duty zones of Dubai and Abu Dhabi have also turned this pennisular nation to the fastest and most modern Middle Eastern economy, far ahead of both Israel and Saudi Arabia - even though these countries are bigger and more powerful by many standards.

I just came back from the city Island of South Padre off the coast of Mexico and Texas : called "Texico"- joining college spring breakers to catch up on some of the missen fun of college days (just because of engineering- don't blame me). I liked South Padre Island , and cannot get past how this kind of tourism spot cannot be in our continent and specifically Nigeria. Starting with 5 beach or Island settlements in Lagos, Ondo, Delta, Rivers and Cross Rivers- Nigeria can develop infrastructure - road, electricity and water and encourage local property investors to put up posh clubs, parks, golf courses, food joints (mama put will do), condominums and hotels as well as convention centers to facilitate this push into real tourism. Instead of the dispersed 30 day public holiday we currently run, government can grant its own workers (that account for 25-40% of formal workforce) a long public holiday similar to the memorial day weekend or thanksgiving weekend- to jump start this critical sector yearly. Bonuses and offers to entice local vacationers to these developed beach spots in Nigerian coastal cities will achieve among many things economic revival for these towns and cities, increased diversification of our economy, better understanding of the peculiar nature of the geography of these areas which will encourage other zones to become more interested in their development(since we all definitely enjoy good vacations) and better health for Nigerians that seem to have the word "vacation" missing from their dictionary with a resultant high rate of cardiac arrest and sudden death.

It is my belief that the way forward for Nigerian tourism is not bringing in foreign tourists. We already have a 120 million man strong market for local tourism and it provides a unique opportunity to strenghten national unity as well as our economy. Until practical steps are taken in this direction and our leaders start leading by example (case in point all governors and the President can head to the new beach cities to encourage vacationers to be there as well), then we will just be wasting precious newspaper space by vaunting some myopic economic development vis a vis diversification policy. You can check out my Flash-Album (No Flash?) of my visit to South Padre island and I must say it is highly recommended.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Perspectives. From the outside looking in.

I recently emailed an old friend who's American and whose work/life interests include penetrating the African investment market.
I hope he checks out this blog / that I can help him along in his quest ;)

Meanwhile, I just found a host of other "oyinbo-in-Nigeria" weblogs, by using the search blogs button at the top of this page with keyword "Nigeria."
I've learned a lot about my country from being an outsider (living in the US) these past years and definitely from reading outsider accounts of the place.

I'll only link to this, this, and this, but you can find a lot more.

Previously on UpNaira