Foreign policy in Nigeria has been shaped for many years before reaching a decent state. However, there are many factors that influence Nigerian foreign policy and we will analyze it today. Read the determinants of foreign policy in Nigeria and where they come from!
What factors are affecting foreign policy in Nigeria?
First of all, before we start talking about the internal and external factors that influence Nigerian foreign policy, we will have to define this term. Foreign policy is a certain set of principles, which the nation has adopted and subsequently followed for the implementation and security of its objectives on the international scene. Through foreign policy, international relations between countries and nations are established and developed. Every nation has its goals that they are trying to ensure through the exercise of national power.
To understand what are the factors that influence Nigerian foreign policy, we will have to conduct a detailed analysis of its configuration and development. It is significant to understand the context in which Nigerian foreign relations are formed. Our country has been independent for almost sixty years. There were two main stages of development that Nigeria went through: the first was the authoritarian domination of the army, while the second was the democratic civilian transition government. Of course, both have different characteristics and contradict each other.
The formulation of foreign policy in Nigeria has both internal and external factors. First of all, we should take a look at some internal factors and see how they have influenced Nigeria's policy.
Internal factors that influence Nigerian foreign policy
- History. This factor can be called internal, because it has been formed within Nigeria, with regard to policies that have been established over time. History is a factor that influences Nigeria's relations with other countries, based on their long-term interactions. For example, Nigeria has strong ties with Great Britain, as well as some Western European countries, due to the colonization experience of our country.
- Existing policies Nigeria has established some policies, which are not too easy to change. That is to say, those are internal policies, as well as those concerning other countries. These policies influence Nigeria's relations with other countries in different ways. Example provided, if the country with which Nigeria has a troubled relationship has established relations with the other country, then Nigeria will also consider it from the point of view of "making friends with its enemy". On the other hand, if the country that has a good relationship with Nigeria becomes allied with some other nation, then it will also become Nigeria's ally.
- Historical traditions These factors have effects very similar to the previous ones. Naturally, Nigeria will have a closer international relationship with those countries that share similar beliefs and traditions, than with those that are completely different.
- Population. Nigeria has a very large population and we all know that we are officially the biggest country in Africa for this factor. This is one of the main determinants of foreign policy, as is the diversity of the population, which is our next point.
- Ethnic and religious diversity Diversity is a good thing because there are not two people, groups or nations that can be completely the same and everyone can contribute something. However, this is also a risky thing, because of how much the beliefs and traditions of various ethnic and religious groups differ. Very often, the different communities are not able to reach a simple consensus when it comes to certain problems or questions to be solved.
- Economy. Nigeria is a country of mixed economy with average income. It has a market that is gradually emerging and even the sectors of production, technology, services, finance, communication and entertainment are expanding. Technically, Nigeria has one of the largest economies in the world. However, the country has serious economic problems due to the unequal contribution of sectors and problems like corruption.
- The personality of the leaders. Every country needs a strong leader who knows what to do in the international arena and how to make the other countries allies. The leader must have a critical thinking, an understanding of the situation, a charisma and a capacity for persuasion. The person who leads the country, as well as its surroundings, should have a plan to grow and take care of the economy and other branches of livelihood in the country.
- Public opinion. All countries are defined by the opinions that people hold. The views, which are generally held by the Nigerian population, are often considered the goals of the nation's foreign policy.
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These are the main internal factors, or domestic, that affect Nigerian foreign policy. However, there are also some external factors, which we can also analyze.
External factors that influence foreign policy in Nigeria
External factors are all other information, which does not depend on the background of the country's policies or other countries and their policies. These factors are as follows:
- Economic interest Every country that wants to trade with foreigners needs to build a solid base of business partners. In reality, every single country needs these, because everyone has strengths and weaknesses based on their geographical position and climate. For example, it is impossible to grow tasty apples in a desert or eat fish when the country has no access to the sea. Therefore, Nigeria has business partners interested exclusively in Nigerian products.
- National interest. This point provides for territorial integrity, social and economic developments and the safety of people's lives. These factors influence the country's foreign policy.
- Strategic allies. Nowadays everyone needs a friend to cover their shoulders, because there are many international alliances, and very often they are in competition with each other. Thus, Nigeria needs strategic allies to make sure they are together against some common issues.
- Natural resources. Nigeria is home to one of the largest concentrations of natural resources in the world. Even if politics on these resources could use some improvement, this pride will not be taken away from Nigeria. It houses large quantities of natural gas, oil, iron, coal, zinc, limestone, lead, niobium, tin and many other resources. The Nigerian oil and gas industry brings big gains in the country and oil exports have extended 80% of export earnings. The territory of Nigeria is very large and in every state there are different natural resources. This is the reason why foreign countries would like to trade with Nigeria and are ready to pay for the natural assets of our native country.
Nigeria always needs to improve its foreign policy to become a more established country in the world. Perhaps, if we take all these factors into consideration, we will be able to improve things.
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