Written evidence submitted by Dr Eka Ikpe and Professor ‘Funmi Olonisakin, African Leadership Centre, King’s College London (IRN0027)

We carry out academic research that centres Global South contexts in theory and concept building in the fields of development, peace, security and leadership. Our research also reaches beyond the academic community and is policy influencing and has informed the work of the UK Department for International Development, UK Ministry of Defence, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, African Union and Economic Community of West African States. We are submitting evidence as scholars that have worked and been published extensively on Nigeria and as members of the Nigerian Diaspora that are committed to its progress.

The African Leadership Centre, School of Global Affairs, King’s College London explores issues of development, peace, security and leadership. Together with partners, it contributes to knowledge production, informs and influences debate, and offers innovative teaching and learning, at postgraduate level, across the noted themes. It is also devoted to the training of a next generation of scholars generating cutting edge knowledge for peace, security and development in Africa. It has a semi-autonomous research, policy and training sister centre in Nairobi, Kenya that is the product of a collaboration between King’s College London and the University of Nairobi.

Dr Eka Ikpe is a Senior Lecturer in Development Economics in Africa and Deputy Director at the African Leadership Centre; and Professor ‘Funmi Olonisakin is Professor of Security, Leadership and Development at the African Leadership Centre, King’s College London.

Nigeria and the UK’s Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy

The UK is clear on the significance of Nigeria as one of its key contexts of focus in its Integrated Review that sets out the path for cross-disciplinary global engagement in the near future. This is to be expected given Nigeria’s standing as the largest economy on the continent and one of the UK’s key African trading partners. This paper highlights three key points that should inform UK’s deployment of the priorities of its Integrated Review with Nigeria: Trade, Investment and intended focus on Science and Technology; Centring peace; and Nigeria as a regional actor.

1. Trade, Investment and intended focus on Science and Technology

i. A focus on trade in Nigeria provides an opportunity to improve on the UK’s previous trade vehicle in the European Partnership Agreements (EPAs) and its reliance on static comparative advantage. The EPAs have been problematised as reinforcing the disadvantages wrought by unequal exchange patterns that were entrenched in UK’s imperial legacy.[1] That legacy has had the enduring impact of positioning economies, including Nigeria, as exporters of lower value primary products and importing higher value manufactured goods as well as services. New trade arrangements with Nigeria will need to move beyond this towards supporting dynamic comparative advantage that will strengthen the imperative for Nigeria to export higher value goods and services to the UK and provide ample domestic policy space.[2] This will require that the UK not see Nigeria merely as a source of primary goods and a recipient of its higher value exports.

ii. The UK can play a significant role in challenging this structural pattern through its focus and commitment to Science and Technology investments that support and encourage technology transfer, dynamic local innovations, recognising and reinforcing skills with attention to energetic, dynamic and highly innovative young people. It can focus especially on technological solutions that have been wrought in resource-constrained contexts and show great levels of ingenuity particularly in supporting crucial real economy sectors of agriculture and manufacturing. There is scope to be attentive to smaller scale firms and entities by paying attention to industrial development on a scale that broadens the space for local value creation. This should enable collaboration that is also attentive to cleaner energy, greener technologies and approaches.   


iii. There is scope to prioritise sectors that enable intersectoral linkages (such as between agriculture and manufacturing). Nigeria has instituted industrial policy tools such as its Backward Integration Policy and trade policy including tariffs on selected sectors. These have not been without challenges including reinforcing business elite hierarchies and monopoly structures and poor efficiency, but they have also generated industrial production that has responded to national, regional, continental and global market needs.[3]

iv. Regarding intersectoral resource transfers, there is potential for higher technology industrial production as well as commitments to employment generation including local higher skilled staff. This appears to inform the model for syringe manufacturing and potential linkages with petroleum by-products, for domestic and regional markets.[4]

v. While it is important to support entrepreneurship, it is also necessary to engage and support systems and structures that underpin this including finance, public and private sector institutional frameworks and social infrastructure including local higher education institutions, among others. UK engagement can consider these more structural concerns by working with national as well as subnational (state) systems and structures in public and private sectors.

vi. Improving access to technology is crucial to challenging the colonial legacy of technology dependence that has informed attempts as higher value production in many parts of Africa, including Nigeria. This has been laid bare, with the ongoing negotiations around securing a TRIPS waiver for wider production of vaccines. Several Global North economies have so far challenged the request for a TRIPS waiver on vaccines and wider medical products from economies that are largely from the Global South, including Nigeria (as part of the African Group).[5] There are contentions between maintaining profitability for the pharmaceutical industry, global production of vaccines and wider wellbeing even in a moment of crisis. Arguments have been made around the risk to private sector innovation even where the UK government is believed to have underwritten much of the cost of such innovation.[6] The reality of complex interdependencies between states and markets should give the UK government the impetus to insist on the wider good in its investments.

vii. Given the moment, vaccine development and production is a space within which the UK can negotiate with other Global North economies to support the broader benefits of wider science and technology transformation. This could move beyond wider consumption and accessibility to support development and production of much needed medical devices and vaccines, in contexts including Nigeria. Nigeria is noted as having a history of human vaccine production (and still produces veterinary vaccines) which faltered as a result of the deindustrialisation that accompanied the IMF and World Bank’s structural adjustment programmes over the 1980s and 1990s.[7] There is a renewed commitment towards this at national and subnational levels that would be a sound space for innovation and exchanges across Nigerian and African universities and scientific centres, strengthened local pharmaceutical companies and the prioritisation of internal markets and retaining value locally, regionally and continentally alongside the global market.

viii. Nigeria has been one of the largest recipients of Chinese finance and investment, especially in West Africa. Chinese capital has been important in its contribution to plugging a savings-investment gap and technology gap especially in relation to building infrastructure that does not reinforce a disarticulated economy as previous infrastructural development (in the colonial era) has done. This also occurred in the midst of global development policy directions and support from traditional Global North partners that prioritised programmatic interventions instead of infrastructure. Chinese finance has been (in addition to continental sources- African Development Bank) important for critical infrastructural developments, such as rail transport infrastructure in Nigeria.[8]

ix. The attention of the UK to corruption is welcome. It should centre the significance of illicit financial flows. The UK is noted as the fourth recipient of illicit financial flows from the African continent.[9] Nigeria is estimated to lose 10 billion USD annually as a result of this, with the petroleum and gas sector as a main source due to bribery, illegal exploration and tax evasion.[10] While attention should be rightly maintained on the illicit extraction of funds by serving and former government officials and their wider networks there must also be focus on actions including offshore financing, smuggling, transfer pricing and over invoicing, especially given the dominance of IFF in natural resource sectors.[11] Here the UK can also influence other countries whose multinational corporations benefit even more than it does from IFF due to mis-invoicing in the petroleum sector. The UK’s engagement should also be collegial for greater effectiveness towards addressing this pressing issue. It could draw on its own experiences of managing corruption and allegations of corruption at home to present opportunities for mutual lessons learning and sharing that examine the strengths and gaps in existing structures and the opportunities as well as the challenges for building better and improved structures and systems.

2. Centring Peace

i. No meaningful trade and investment can occur in an environment of insecurity and instability. Nigeria’s security challenges are multidimensional and complex. Peace is possible if there is a full appreciation of this complexity and a willingness by all concerned – federal and state level governments, all conflict actors and their external partners – to pursue all available options with commitment and sincerity. Nigeria is battling violent conflict and contestation on many fronts – including, for example, continuing insurgency by Boko Haram and ISWAP, lingering grievances in the Niger Delta, IPOB militancy and escalating violence between herders and farmers – with associated violence including banditry, kidnapping and ransom all of which are becoming widespread.[12] There is also a vibrant show of voice dominated by certain demographic groups, particularly vibrant youth constituencies. The tensions that attend claims of youth exclusion came to the fore with the Endsars protest and the call for a reform of the security establishment.[13]

ii. A number of factors characterise the failure of the Nigerian government to find sustainable solutions to the security challenge. The first is the over-reliance on militarised response to the country’s wide-ranging security challenges. The second is that the citizens have a deep lack of trust in the state and solutions emanating from the government. The third is the limited attention paid to the rapidly changing demographics in which the average age is 18 years with a different approach to the pursuit of justice and equity. Who will mediate between the state and the people? Finding common ground requires a willingness by all parties to look for solutions outside of militarised approaches.

iii. It will be important for the UK to consider how it will engage the federal government alongside state and subnational regional level apparatuses in a way that is productive and supportive in what appears to be a pivotal moment of change. There may be a potentially positive outcome from engaging security through from the lens of peace and supporting Nigerians in their efforts towards sustaining peace. While we are not suggesting that the UK is a likely arbiter in this complex situation, it is important that its engagement does not exacerbate present conditions. This thus implies several things. The first is a conscious de-emphasising of military support in response to internal conflicts (excluding the regional context in the Sahel) that can be de-escalated. It is important the current level of UK military support to Nigeria (both in terms of deployment of military personnel and equipment) does not increase even with deteriorating internal conflict situation. The second is listening to and engaging a range of actors across milieus of society, market and the state across strata of national and subnational, that are intricately interlinked even if they are erroneously treated as self-sufficient constructs.

iv. Trying to excavate and elevate mutualities and interdependencies will be crucial for such an endeavour. There are historical conversations that attend these contestations so that it is significant to engage these spaces with that in mind. There are particularities of the colonial period that have influenced the construct of parts of Northern Nigeria, economic extraction that has influenced the South-South region and the civil war that influenced the construct of parts of the South East Nigeria that are brought to bear in this current period of contestations.[14] These are part of state-building conversations that are components of a complex process of making Nigeria that can be read also as journeying towards recovery and rehabilitation from the experience of colonisation and independence about 60 years ago. The UK’s engagement on security matters should move beyond a focus on security, even if that is important, to centring concerns around peace sustaining and identifying, recognising and supporting the actions of the various constituencies in the present as well as giving space to historical root causes.

v. The inclusiveness of actors in these spaces is critical. Processes to support trust building across different constituencies as well as supporting the building of platforms that will connect local, national, state, meso-level actors for intergenerational conversations that project the presence and voice of a range of young people. This needs to be gendered and recognise what spaces allow for the broadest engagement.[15]

3. Nigeria as a regional actor

i. Nigeria is seen as a hegemon in the West Africa region and in the continent as a whole, both in terms of its economic weight and its actions over time. While this status has become weakened in recent times not least because of Nigeria’s internal security challenges, there is scope for the UK Integrated Review to engage with Nigeria, as a leading actor, in the most prominent ambition of the continent, the African Continental Free Trade Area. This implies engaging Nigeria also as part of a whole in the AfCFTA’s ambitions for industrial production, prioritising the continental market that also supports the production and trade of higher value manufactured goods. This can imply that investments in Nigeria have the potential to cater to national, regional and continental markets.


ii. Key to this agenda is access to technology, finance and technology within which the African Development Bank plays a significant role as does Nigeria through the Nigeria Trust Fund. The Bank has been an important player in a historical role of supporting the rearticulation of regional infrastructure towards economic and trade integration. There is scope for UK engagement to support the work of the Bank in collaboration with member states including Nigeria. This should also be attentive to potential challenges of donor leverage that can steer the Bank away from pivotal concerns especially at critical moments.[16]










June 2021

[1] Ikpe, E. 2017. The Development Objectives of EPAs and Emerging Lessons for UK- Africa Trade and Development Relations. In The Future of Africa-UK Trade And Development Cooperation Relations In The Transitional And Post Brexit Period https://royalafricansociety.org/wpcontent/uploads/2019/10/APPG-for-Africa_Future-of-Africa-UK-Relations-Post-Brexit.pdf

[2] Royal Africa Society and All-Party Parliamentary Group for Africa. 2020. UK-Africa Trade after Brexit: Challenges and Opportunities: A Briefing For The All-Party Parliamentary Group For Africa November 2020

[3] Akinyoade, A. and Uche, C., 2018. Development built on crony capitalism? The case of Dangote Cement. Business History, 60(6), pp.833-858.

[4] Ikpe, E., 2020. Covid-19 and Manufacturing in Africa: Reflections on Syringe Manufacturing in Nigeria. ALC OP-Ed, 5(4) https://kclpure.kcl.ac.uk/portal/files/137275291/Op_ed_Vol_5_Issue_4.pdf

[5] WTO. 2020. Waiver from Certain Provisions of the TRIPS Agreement for the Prevention,

Containment and Treatment Of Covid-19 Communication From India And South Africa
IP/C/W/669 https://docs.wto.org/dol2fe/Pages/SS/directdoc.aspx?filename=q:/IP/C/W669.pdf&Open=TrueWTO. 2021. TRIPS Council to continue to discuss temporary IP waiver, revised proposal expected in May. WTO News. 30 April 2021. https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news21_e/trip_30apr21_e.htm; The US noted its limited support to progress the negotiation on TRIPS waiver for vaccine production. Office of the United States Trade Representative. 2021. Statement from Ambassador Katherine Tai on the Covid-19 Trips Waiver. https://ustr.gov/about-us/policy-offices/press-office/press-releases/2021/may/statement-ambassador-katherine-tai-covid-19-trips-waiver

[6] Cross, S., Rho, Y., Reddy, H., Pepperrell, T., Rodgers, F., Osborne, R., Eni-Olotu, A., Banerjee, R., Wimmer, S. and Keestra, S., 2021. Who funded the research behind the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine? approximating the funding to the University of Oxford for the research and development of the ChAdOx vaccine technology. MedRXiv.

[7] Oluwayelu, D.O. 2021. What it will take to produce vaccines in Nigeria: money’s just the first step. The Conversation. February 7 2021; Ikpe, E., 2014, The Development Planning Era and Developmental Statehood: The Pursuit of Structural Transformation in Nigeria. Review of African Political Economy, 41(142), pp. 545–560.

[8] Chen, Y., 2018. China's Role in Nigerian Railway Development and Implications for Security and Development. United States Institute of Peace.

[9] Signé, L., Sow, M. and Madden, P., 2020. Illicit Financial Flows in Africa: Drivers, Destinations, and Policy options. Africa Growth Initiative Policy Brief. https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/Illicit-financial-flows-in-Africa.pdf

[10] The Guardian News 2021. Nigeria loses $10bn to illicit financial flows – ICPC. 05 March 2021. https://guardian.ng/news/nigeria-loses-10bn-to-illicit-financial-flows-icpc/; NEITI.2019. Averting Illicit Financial Flows in Nigeria’s Extractive Industries.

[11] There have been announcements of movement towards corporation tax minimum payments by multinational corporations but these are below Nigeria’s own corporation tax rate.

[12] See International Crisis Group,  Crisis Watch Nigeria, May 2021 at: https://www.crisisgroup.org/africa/west-africa/nigeria

[13] Funmi Olonisakin, Endsars: A National Conversation for a Better Nigerian StateBusiness Day, Nigeria, 26 October 2020.

[14] Ikpe, E., 2020. Developmental Post-Conflict Reconstruction in Postindependence Nigeria: Lessons from Asian Developmental States. Journal of Peacebuilding & Development; Sanusi, L. 2017. Nigeria between the Past and the Future: Culture, Governance and Development, Keynote Lecture, SOAS Africa Conference. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciV5Vi-3Adw

[15] Wilton Park Conference on Conflict and Peacebuilding in Northern Nigeria Wednesday 26 - Thursday 27 May 2021 | WP1761V1- co-organised by Wilton Park, African Leadership Centre and the African Peacebuilding Network, Social Science Research Council.

[16] Ikpe, E., 2020. The AfDB and Negotiating Finance Hegemonies: Journeying towards its Origins of Industrial Development and Regionalisation. CODESRIA Bulletin, (9)