Harvard University Uses Nigeria as a Case Study of a Failed African Country

Nigeria has yet again been ‘disgraced’ internationally, following an assignment Harvard University gave to its students in which Nigeria was used as a case study of a failed African country.

The question Harvard University gave its students reads;

Africa is growing. Seven of the the ten fastest growing economies in the world are in Africa, and the continent’s largest economies are becoming less dependent on extractive commodities. The continent’s rising middle class has demonstrated a taste for consumer goods and technological innovation, and Africa’s population-currently more than a billion people- is booming and overwhelmingly young at a time when populations in other regions are shrinking and aging.


Nigeria, sub-saharan Africa’s largest economy, epitomizes both the promise and the problems the continent faces in the 21st century. The contry had failed to thrive for its first thirty years as an independent nation, despite having a developmental head start relative to countries like China and India, as well as hundreds of billions of dollars in oil revenue.. Now, after pathbreaking reforms followed by signs of retrenchment, Nigeria’s new President faced both vast opportunity and grave challenges. Would the country flourish or founder in this new era? We will analyze key reforms in Nigeria’s economy, significant political developments, and the choices facing the country’s fast-growing private sector.

1. Why did Nigeria fail to thrive between 1960 and 1999, particularly relative to China and India?

2. How would you characterize former President Obasanjo’s legacy?

3. Are you bullish or bearish on the next fifteen years for Nigeria? What would make you change your mind? What opportunities do you see? What are the challenges (and risks)

This is coming after a 15-year-old Nigerian girl was offered admission to the prestigious Harvard University in United States of America. Saheela Ibraheem is the 15-year-old daughter of a Nigerian immigrant family living in New Jersey, United States. Since news broke about Saheela’s incredible acceptance to 13 of American’s prestigious Universities, local and International media took interests in the teen’s success story.


Written by How Africa


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  1. I believe in my country we will arise and bounce back. Thomas Edison failed 99 times before he invented the light bulb. Nigerians Do Not Give Up!! Look to the future as we say NO to corrupt leaders

  2. Labels stick on only those who accept defeat and surrender their self-esteem. The road is rough, hard, long and wavy. But we will rise as a people, proud, strong and free. That day will come. I believe it unshakably in my heart.

    • I’m encouraged by your submission, however, we need to come to come to terms to the unworkable realities about our dysfunctional Federal arrangements. As presently constituted Nigeria as County is plagued by its own self inflicting Hypocrisy.

      For fear of being seen as someone opposing the reluctant Federal government, a lot of its citizen would rather maintain a mischievous silence that press for critical reforms. Politics controls everything. It’s all about formulating the right policies through public institutions.

    • This your type of spirit is what very many lack that allows for unethical labelling from just anyone including the initiator of this unethical study. There’s no doubt we have very high surmountable odds but it couldn’t have made Nigeria a guinea pig for failed state study. It is mischievous, insulting and bad.
      Once we can get over the ruins of political divisionists who thrive in it and allows the democratic process to stabilize with its clearly improving tendencies, accountability, adherence to rule of law, transparency would be getting better achieved . The suffering education, health and infrastructures would get greater attention with time as it certainly has started. By this development, political process will be getting less tumoultous as genuinely educated citizens couldn’t be agents of manipulations, so poverty -ignorance -disease could ease.

  3. In any country where you find corrupt persons or politicians in positions of authority , the consequences are poverty,, injustice , inequality and others . Nigeria is a sleeping giant whose potentials are yet to be tapped till we get our leadership right . A leader who should be able to manage The 5M’s effectively and efficiently using best practice principles. The whole world is waiting for us to manifest in science and technology .

  4. We are not going to go anywhere by just saying it, what are the actions we have taken as youths to move forward (nothing) we are here hoping and praying for a miracle, we all have social media accounts but we put it to no use, the youths are so corrupt, indulging in fraudulent acts praying for manner yo fall from above, we keep saying our leaders are corrupt, I agree, but we as youths what have we done even with the little power we have, we’ve done nothing absolutely nothing, go back in history check it and confirm it Nnamdi Azikiwe wasn’t up to 30 when he started fighting for our independence, Ojukwu wasn’t up to 30 when he was agitating for Biafra I could go on and on, but the children of this generation I really don’t get, take a que from other countries check people who are fighting the government they aren’t even up to 30 so we as youths need to stand up, think just for one second dont be won over by bribe, look at what you stand to gain when you make a decision at the long run, politicians would bribe you to vote and when they are in office stealing your money you start complaining, if you vote for who you want they would win, as for me I’m voting for a young Nigerian man who was interviewed on CNN

  5. Nigeria is a great nation. The nation is labeled because it has refused going some of the evil ways of the acclaimed great nations. Nigeria is not guilty of enslaving other peoples of other smaller or weaker nations around it to built up itself. Nigeria has refused engaging in immoral altitudes like homosexuality, gay marriages and abortion that have taken center stage on some nation’s policies. We may have challenges on economy and politics, we may be having a financial corrupt nation but we have one of the best moral nation.

  6. Nigeria is never a failed nation. We have challenges like any other nation and we are trying to fix them. Our nation may score low on economy and politics but we remain one of the most moral nations as of today. Nigeria has rejected signing for the practices of evil and abominable altitude like homosexuality, gay marriages and abortions. We have refused enslaving and colonising lesser nations around us.

    • Morals, to what extend is our morality profiting us?. Your guess is as good as mine. We are UST full of empty morals. No human sympathy a d empathy. It takes more than just morals, empty one for that matter to grow and develop. We at not willing to do that. Nigeria has never been united before. The system is not helping matters either and some are profiteering from the awkward system. That is why referendum for free federalism and physical policy will only remained but a flirting illusion. When the chance is given for us to choose our leaders. We choose old worn out cargoes. Grand father’s struggling to eat talk more of understanding the complex economic problems bedeviling us. Worst, our choice are based on negative sentiments-religion especially the north. Some also feel they are here to rule others despite being the least qualified. I thing one problem also is we have never been free at any point in time. While he British left, we inherited a terrible feudal system from one colonial masters to another. The north. We re never united because we never agreed in the first place to be one. Just a few of our problems. We are the architect of our mischief. We are doom except we change for good. My humble view.

  7. The destruction of the middle class by the political class, The “if you cant beat them, join them” syndrome, The endemic political and socioeconomic corruption in the Nigerian system, and the Docility of the Nigerian Youths who are ever ready to Mortgage there tomorrow for today! ; can never make Nigeria great again. We only need to learn from Malaysia, India, China, Brazil & Taiwan etc who were once rated third world Nigeria, but today Nigeria is 10th World whiles the former are Developed economies! Nigeria including you & I should hold our political leaders accountable and say no to political leaders/jobbers and there supporters who after destroying our Educational, Industrial, Hospital , etc systems, send there wards overseas, because they have no hope on the country!!!! They can’t build our roads, but they use our money to buy 4 wheels made in other countries, even when they are supposed to build roads and the car manufacturing companies here, in order to give us jobs!!!
    Which way Nigeria? No Way!!!!

  8. Wonderful presentation, I share same ifeaology with you in this and am saying; I will encourage as much as possible to vote a credible young leader as a president.

  9. The fact that they claimed we failed is a good evidence that we are trying and not dormant. Achieving success and breakthrough as a country is gradual and varies from country to country depending on so many factors.
    Nigeria will surely rise fully, blossom and take its rightful place among the comity of Nations.
    The world will not wait endlessly for us

  10. This kind of study was done in the early nineties by imf and published in their quarterly publication “finance and development ” that one was how economic forecast failed in the case of Nigeria.

  11. When the inhabitants of this earth awaken to the indisputable truth that European standards and values have brought the entire world to the brink of enviornmental, economic, political and social destruction and then unequivocably reject their illusion of progress and greatness,then shall Africa’s former glory begin the process of restoration from the plague of an imitation of life spiritually and physically forced upon us by powers that have never had our best interests in mind.

    That process has begun in Dimona, Israel in the Village of Peace.

  12. This is truly pathetic. Nigeria is supposed to be the United States of Africans but the reverse is the case, still crawling like a baby even though she is a mama.
    Nigeria would have been the sunshine of the continent and she STILL CAN, if only this sleeping giant can wake up it’s slumber and shrug off the following forces causing the nation not to grow.
    *Nigeria have been bedevilled with bad leadership.
    *Nigeria have been held down by evil people who call themselves “state men”
    *Most Nigeria’s have been brainwashed by religion and ethnicity.
    * Nigeria is under sabotage both economical and political.
    * Lack of positive national orientation.
    * Some outside forces would not want Nigeria to get it right. It’s population, landmass and resources would be seen as a threat to some world powers.
    Oh! Nigeria l challenge you to be the commanding voice you were made to have. I wish you will find that voice and bellow it out for Africa for the whole world to hear.

  13. We all know that there is no hope for prosperity under the current lock-down, predatory, system of dog eat dog, in which most “reap” where they did not sow. There cannot be no peace & prosperity as long as you suppress merit & justice. Let’s restructure this country into a confederation where the components can take their life in their hands ti engender healthy competition & galvanise growth & development

  14. Well said, well said indeed…they have expected that Nigeria as others would bend the knee though it hasn’t yet occurred in the capacity desired. Meanwhile though in silence among some of your ECOWAS affiliates go & see for yourself where you will find that silent submission is already in full affect. “May the heavenly father bless your country that you will keep the will to continue adhere to your righteously moral principles” you who love, value, & cherish the sancity of marriage. Allowing foreigners that lawfully & legally marry Nigerians to be seen as Nigerians immediately & right away with no delay & shortly after to be given their passport & citizenship rights following suit. You have shown a great deal of respect to what marriage is…blessings to you as others have been forced to wait for those same rights “the right to respected” anywhere @ times from five to ten years on up having to also meet language requirements though it wasn’t an initial requirement that hindered the couples right to marry to begin with “BLESSINGS AGAIN 2U” as I am sure that you will not be forgotten! We know who protects what and exactly what’s being valued!

  15. Young Nigerians should wake up and shrug off the toga of enslavement by the politically inept politicians. Power is not gotten easily without a fight. Stop being used as tugs to protect and rig elections for the corrupt, serial politicians.
    The youths should open their eyes and ensure corrupt politicians do not come back come 2023. Start the preparation now. Enough of these humiliating treatments to Nigerians in the diaspora.

  16. The fact remains that all the former president didn’t do enough, the people in government all no interest really for the country to excel. Africans are their own problem. After the colonization, colonies still exist till today go to Senegal , Cameroun, Central African Republic, even Nigeria and so on. They can’t take their future in the hand. All the monies African leaders stole are banked in European banks . Europeans should first thing first , place embargo on keeping host of those money. And moreover I think European I mean the colonia masters left African continent too fast. We are corrupt is in our blood . The early we do away with corruption, no head way. For africa to grow in human and capital we must avoid corruption, nepotism and other vices.

  17. Nigeria is damn too big for the mindset and the type leadership that is steering her at present. A country where corruption is endemic and the leaders are specialists in sectionalism, nepotism, tribalism and favouritism and religious bigotry just can’t develop. A country which uses the source of her wealth to develop certain parts and neglects the area where wealth comes from can never develop evenly.
    A country where the administration lets her people be killed by others, without her preparedness to intervene in the mindless killings will never develop.
    Nigeria will remain an underdog in development until true democracy and true federalism is entrenched in it or at worst, it divides and let different nationalities that constitute it, can then develop at there pace.

  18. I believe u are totally off topic. Failure in comparison to China and India. Nigeria is not a failed state but it’s a failure taking into account what they can achieve

  19. I think the main problem of this country Nigeria is the constitution. Let’s get rid of the old one ( 1999 amended) and write the new one, making the government to be responsible for it’s citizens and get other things straight.

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