The Eastern Region of Nigeria enjoyed rapid industrialization in the 1960’s and was acknowledged as one the fastest growing economy in the World. This growth was halted by the 3-year Civil War in Nigeria (from 1967 – 1969), and the economy of the South East, as well as the industries of the region have not recovered ever since. Efforts to revamp the economy and ginger growth and economic development have not met the expectations. The current South-East region was at the heart of this rapid growth and eventual bust, along with its sister region, the South-South zone.
In addition to the effects of the civil war are the increasing population and its dynamics on the economy which resulted in theand the resultant movement of skilled workforce to seek employment or other sources of livelihood in other parts of the country and abroadbeyond. Lack of employment opportunities in the region has contributed significantly to agitations and youth restiveness for which addressing the underlying factors of economic development will help to stem the security challenges the nation faces.
The Eastern Region achieved the rapid economic growth because of its size as an integral block and its organized leadership. The old Eastern Region gave birth to nine (9) Sstates of today of which the South East region has five (5) States. Unfortunately, the five states States in the South East have not found the Will (unlike other regional blocks) to jointly address critical projects which an individual single state State will not typically have the resources to undertake. This has severely stunted economic development of the South East, resulting in exodus of talented skilled workforce out of the region in search of employment and growth opportunities.
In the light of the above, it became necessary for the establishment of a platform that forms the nexus for planning and executing major overarching initiatives that affect the entire South East region. It is intended that the platform will be driven by private sector but should have strong collaboration with the governments of the five South East states. Such an organization will hold joint summits on a variety of relevant topics; facilitate the development of master plans for those projects that are overarching in the region including infrastructure, agriculture, healthcare tourism, industrialization, security, etc.
It will facilitate and support the sourcing funds in collaboration with its sister organizations for economic development and for master plans development for the region. It should facilitate and support the formation of ad hoc and standing committees or organizations that ensure the achievement of the South East objectives.
It will not work on specific State government projects unless a state government seeks its advice and invites it to play a role in the project development/implementation. Following the above, the South East Economic and Security Summit Group registered the South East Region Economic Development Company (SEREDEC) which is a company limited by guarantee as a standing organization for the achievement of these objectives.
SEREDEC will serve as a robust platform to drive sustainable economic growth and social development as well as enhancement of security in the South-East region. It will serve to support think-tanks for development strategies, mobilization of resources and coordination of policies involving all the critical stakeholders (Federal, State, Local Government, Communities and the Private Sector) for collaboration. Additional role will include advising the South East governments on strategies for creating conducive environment to attract and retain needed investment and investors.