Brazil, Russia, India, China and its latest addition, South Africa form the acronym for the world’s five major emerging economies, BRICS.
“It’s difficult for Nigeria to become as big as a BRIC, (at least in my lifetime) because it’s kind of starting from a low base,” Jim O’Neill, former chairman of Goldman Sachs Assets Management told CNBC Africa.
The acronym was coined by O’Neill in 2001 and he believes that even if the much anticipated data revisions make Nigeria the same size as South Africa, China creates as much as that every three months.
“To get to that league, Nigeria would have to grow at 20 per cent for 20 years, if you get everything right,” he added.
According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the country emerged as the number one destination for Foreign Direct Investment in Africa. However, O’Neill believes the excitement should be minimal.
“To be at that kind of size is not so easy and I think in this moment of excitement, people shouldn’t get too carried away because having been in the financial markets for 30 years, I love the phrase, under promise and over deliver,” he explained.
“It can certainly get to be one of the 10 biggest economies in the world in 2050 and it needs to do the obvious things such as education infrastructure, power and reduce corruption.”
Nonetheless, Nigeria is still more attractive than a lot of the other countries on the continent as its population continues to be a major source of desirability.
“It’s got a lot of people. It’s pretty simple, 20 per cent of the whole continent’s population. That’s what made me focus on it in the first place,” he said.