I was born in Lagos, Nigeria and from a very young age I have always been politically conscious. I think my biggest source of political awareness came from listening to my mum, uncle and Dad debate politics in our living room every weekend. These conversations made me read Newspapers and watch the news because I wanted to understand the things they said, I therefore always excelled in Social Studies and Current Affairs in primary school. I followed these interests through high school and college as I confronted and experienced in real time Nigeria’s struggle with development.
I completed College with a First Class in Economics and was lucky to get a full scholarship to study International Development at the London School of Economics (LSE) – one of my best experiences till date. Studying at the LSE provided me with great exposure and made me understand the interactions between social, political and economic factors which affect development. It should therefore come as no surprise that this blog was launched after I handed in my dissertation at the LSE, I became more intellectually curious and I needed an outlet to articulate my views on critical development issues and also engage others. Needless to say, this blog has served this purpose and has also become a platform where I share valuable career information for those in the field of International development.
The geographic scope of issues on the blog has also expanded to include non-Nigerian issues because having lived and worked in various cities in Ghana, Nigeria, the UK and the US and visited many others, I see myself as a global citizen. As such, I try to analyse critical global issues especially the extent to which they affect Africa.
Since the LSE, I have spent my career working with global organisations focused on private sector development in Africa and my experience has been nothing short of eye-opening. In my short life time, I am yet to learn of any country that achieved real economic growth and long-term development through foreign aid or natural resource dependence; however, there are tons of empirical evidence- from China to Singapore to South Korea – of countries that have managed to eliminate poverty and build prosperity through a vibrant private sector. This explains why I have dedicated the rest of my career to understand how Africa can industrialize and build a strong private sector.
In September 2018, I begin an Mphil in Development Studies at the University of Oxford, England. My goal is to engage more deeply with some of these issues I already discussed with a particular focus on ‘Innovation Policy and Industrialization‘. The world is currently undergoing the fourth industrial revolution and there is no reason why Africa should be left behind like it has always been. I want to use my research to re-imagine new and improved ways through which African countries can leverage innovation policy to achieve industrialization.
You can reach me on:
Linkedin: Nwamaka Ogbonna