Overview of Key Challenges and Strengths/Opportunities
A good plan starts with a sound analysis of the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT). We must understand what challenges we need to overcome and the opportunities for doing so. In this synopsis, we highlight just a few, to provide context to the Manifesto
2.1: Some Key Challenges we need to overcome
The environment constitutes Anambra's major existential threat. Its landmass and population density are second only to Lagos, with its 4,844 square kilometres of land threatened by over 900 active erosion sites.
The annual flooding of riverine communities and inland roads/communities is a grave environmental threat. Much of the land space is rapidly being built up without proper planning of the cities, communities, and markets. For example, there are very few streets with pedestrian walkways and open markets sprawling unto the roads/streets, as well as communities without recreation grounds/facilities or planned road networks, etc.
Despite having one of the most developed road networks in the country, many of the roads still need attention; many communities are still without tarred roads, and long traffic jams at critical junctions especially during festive periods.
There is a massive influx of non-skilled population from all over Nigeria in search of opportunities. On the other hand, it is estimated that over 60 per cent of Ndi Anambra’s non-land assets and productive human capital reside outside Anambra.
Its economy is dominated by informal commercial activities. A fundamental structural weakness is the low fiscal capacity of the state government. Although the state IGR has more than tripled over the past seven years, its size is still a minuscule 0.7% of the State GDP in 2020, and the government's total actual expenditure per person was N11,990 in 2020. This is to highlight the severe fiscal constraint which must be overcome in order for the State to make the required investment for the future.
About 2.75% of the residents have access to health insurance. There is not yet a universal access to clean pipe borne water or sustainable waste and sewage management. Education curricula and infrastructure are yet to be fully aligned to the problem solving orientation required in the digital age and there are still some thousands of children out of school; etc. Access to cheap, uninterrupted power supply is limited. Although the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) states that Anambra in 2020 has poverty incidence of 14.78% (compared with national average of 40%, and many states ranging between 50- 85%) and lowest unemployment rate of 13.1% and underemployment rate of 17%, the goal is to drive these numbers to lower single digits.
The per capita income of Anambra is certainly higher than the national average and higher than many African countries. However, the goal is to leapfrog from a lower middle income status into the upper middle income status in the medium term.
2.2: Key Strengths and Opportunities
Yet, we see critical levers and opportunities to build upon such as:
The “Can Do”, or “Never Say Die” attitude as well as “homeland group consciousness” of Ndi Anambra are potent weapons to be fully exploited to mobilize our people to contribute maximally to the transformation of Anambra.
Anambra State is a hub with boundaries with the North, South-South, and three other states in the South East. The completion of the Second Niger Bridge which merges Onitsha and Asaba as twin cities as well as the potential of an Onitsha River port provides immense opportunities. The recent award of contract to the MTN to rapidly rehabilitate the Onitsha- Enugu Expressway under the Infrastructure Tax credit scheme of the FGN is an important milestone.
There are many initiatives of the FGN especially its programmes on and investments in items under the concurrent legislative list as well as the development banks that Anambra must position to fully exploit. There are also enormous funding opportunities by the DFIs.
Its domestic and external Diaspora population is second to none, remitting more than US$1 billion per annum to Anambra. It is also the state estimated to have the highest concentration of entrepreneurs per square kilometre in Africa.
The dynamics of the global economy offer opportunities to exploit, especially the AfCFTA. Furthermore, as effective unit labour cost rises in China and India, their firms (manufacturers) will continue to seek lower cost locations, and Anambra can opportunistically position to harness these flying geese.
Digitization and the consequent Fourth Industrial Revolution present both threats to the existing production structures and employment but also enormous opportunities to leapfrog and create new wealth. From artificial intelligence, robotics to augmented reality and block chain technology, there are opportunities to immerse our youths into the stream and redefine their future.
Previous governors especially since 1999 (Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju, Dr. Nwabueze Ngige, and Mr. Peter Obi) did their best. The current governor, Chief Willie M. Obiano, has certainly advanced the state much higher than he met it. Anecdotal evidence points to Anambra as the 4th largest state economy. According to the NBS, the poverty rate dropped from 53% in 2010 to 14.78% in 2020, while it has the lowest rate of unemployment and underemployment at 13.1% and 17% respectively.
Anambra is still rated one of the safest states in Nigeria, with a comparatively fair road network, and about 850 kilometres of fibre optic broadband cable with opportunities for last mile connectivity. A new international airport has been completed and an international conference/convention centre will soon be completed. The state has consistently been one of the top three performers in the Senior Secondary Certificate examinations throughout the country.
Anambra State is listed as one of the most improved on the World Bank Ease of Doing Business ranking in Nigeria. Anambra was mentioned as one of the five states that showed the largest advance towards the global best frontier on the World Bank Subnational Doing Business in Nigeria Index of 2018.
The Light Up Anambra project provides street lighting to over 1,800 Km of roads in Anambra, thereby promoting the “night economy” and improving security. The security architecture of the state is a strong foundation to build upon in securing life and property in the state.
The Anambra State Small Business Agency (ASBA) and the Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency (ANSIPPA) are key institutions to deliver structured business development; attract, promote and protect investments, etc.
Continuing and strengthening the Public Private Partnership (PPP) between the Anambra State Housing Corporation and the private sector is a framework for developing new model and livable estates.
Continuing support to, and collaboration with, strategic private investments such as the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC), Ibeto gas to power plant, as well as other private investors provide an opportunity to resolve the electricity challenge.
Anambra is now officially a petroleum-bearing state. Although the new status may not dramatically improve its revenue from the Federation Account, there are opportunities which such a status confers on the state.
The list of our strengths is long and there are several low-hanging fruits to harness.