International Relations Project Topics

An Assessment of the Impact of Nigeria’s Foreign Policy on Economic Development in the 4th Republic (1999-2022)

An Assessment of the Impact of Nigeria's Foreign Policy on Economic Development in the 4th Republic (1999-2022)

An Assessment of the Impact of Nigeria’s Foreign Policy on Economic Development in the 4th Republic (1999-2022)

Chapter One

Objectives of the Study

The objectives of this research study are to:

  1. Assess the impact of Nigeria’s foreign policy on its economic development during the 4th Republic (1999-2022).
  2. Examine the challenges and opportunities presented by Nigeria’s foreign policy in the pursuit of economic development during the 4th Republic.
  3. Provide policy recommendations for enhancing the alignment of Nigeria’s foreign policy with its economic development objectives in the future.



Conceptual Review

Foreign Policy and Economic Development

Foreign policy is a crucial instrument through which nations engage with the international community, influencing their economic development trajectory. Defined by Abati (2019) as a set of strategies employed by a nation to interact with other countries, foreign policy encompasses a multifaceted approach that includes diplomatic, economic, and security considerations. Its components are diverse, ranging from trade agreements and diplomatic initiatives to peacekeeping efforts and international partnerships (Akinterinwa, 2022). This essay delves into the multifaceted relationship between foreign policy and economic development, examining its definition, historical perspectives, and illustrative examples.

The definition of foreign policy encompasses a nation’s overarching strategy in dealing with other countries, involving a combination of diplomatic, economic, and security considerations (Abati, 2019). Diplomatic interactions and negotiations, trade agreements, and participation in international organizations are integral components. These components collectively shape the nation’s stance on the global stage, influencing its economic prosperity.

Historically, foreign policy has played a pivotal role in shaping the economic fortunes of nations. Morgenthau (2016) argued that the struggle for power and peace is deeply intertwined with international relations, where foreign policy choices can have profound effects on a nation’s economic growth. For instance, the post-World War II era saw the implementation of the Marshall Plan, an ambitious foreign policy initiative by the United States to aid the economic recovery of war-torn European nations (Morgenthau, 2016). This historical perspective highlights how foreign policy, when strategically employed, can contribute to economic revitalization.

Examining examples of foreign policy strategies affecting economic development provides insights into the intricate relationship between the two. Nigeria, often referred to as the “Giant of Africa,” has grappled with economic challenges during its 4th Republic (Akindele, 2021). The country’s foreign policy during this period witnessed transformations reflecting the changing global geopolitical landscape (Akinterinwa, 2022). Nigeria’s participation in peacekeeping missions across Africa is a notable example (Saliu, 2020). While commendable for regional stability, the economic impact requires scrutiny. Contributions of troops and resources to stabilize conflict-ridden regions necessitated substantial financial and human resources, raising questions about resource allocation between security and economic development needs (Berdal, 2021).

Moreover, Nigeria engaged in various international partnerships, trade agreements, and diplomatic initiatives during this period (Akinterinwa, 2017)—these engagements aimed to promote economic cooperation and attract foreign investments. However, the translation of these endeavours into tangible economic benefits remains a critical question (Ajaebili & Oyewole, 2021). The outcomes of diplomatic efforts to strengthen trade relations and attract foreign investments could potentially have facilitated economic growth if effectively harnessed (Saliu, 2020).

Economic Diplomacy and International Relations

Economic diplomacy, a subset of foreign policy, is a strategic approach employed by nations to foster economic relations and advance national economic interests on the global stage. It involves a multifaceted set of activities aimed at promoting trade, investment, and economic cooperation with other countries (Ajaebili & Oyewole, 2021). This section explores the concept of economic diplomacy, its role in international relations, and the mechanisms of bilateral and multilateral economic cooperation.

Economic diplomacy is the application of diplomatic strategies to achieve economic objectives. As Abati (2019) notes, it involves leveraging diplomatic channels and negotiations to create an enabling environment for economic activities, both domestically and internationally. At its core, economic diplomacy seeks to enhance a nation’s economic well-being by facilitating trade, attracting foreign investments, and fostering economic partnerships (Ajaebili & Oyewole, 2021).

The role of economic diplomacy is multifaceted. Firstly, it serves as a tool for advancing a nation’s economic interests in the global arena. Through diplomatic negotiations, countries can secure favourable trade agreements, promote their products and services in international markets, and attract foreign direct investment (FDI) (Akinterinwa, 2017). Secondly, economic diplomacy contributes to the overall diplomatic objectives of a nation by creating a positive image that can enhance diplomatic relationships (Eze, 2017). Lastly, it helps address economic challenges and disparities, contributing to a nation’s economic growth and development (Ajaebili & Oyewole, 2021).

Bilateral economic cooperation involves interactions and agreements between two nations to enhance their economic relations. This can include trade agreements, investment partnerships, and joint economic development projects. Nigeria, for instance, has engaged in bilateral economic cooperation with various countries to promote trade and investment (Akinterinwa, 2017). These agreements often outline the terms of economic collaboration, including tariffs, trade quotas, and investment incentives.



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