Helms School of Government


Master of Arts in Public Policy (MAPP)


Yuri Tuppince


Economic Development, Nigeria, Global Capitalism, Capitalism, Neomarxism, Dependency


Political Science | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration


The topic of this research, the impact of global capitalism on economic development in Nigeria, sought to understand the role global capitalism has played in Nigeria’s economic development. Nigeria is presently considered a third-world country; however, researchers and economic observers expect that, based on the number of resources in the country, the standard of living of its citizens should be a lot better than it is currently. It is relevant to question why this is so, especially given that capitalism, which is so successful in many developed countries today, was introduced to Nigeria officially in 1986 by the World Bank through the structural adjustment plan. Through the scientific research process, this research examines why this is so and whether capitalism has aided or hindered development. While it is possible to argue that if Nigeria is underdeveloped today, capitalism has not done it any good, the country’s underdevelopment may not entirely be the fault of capitalism. Instead, it may have been caused by other intervening variables. This research examined the role of all those intervening variables in creating underdevelopment in Nigeria. Variables such as slavery, colonialism, and imperialism were examined to analyze their impact on the level of development in Nigeria. A neo-liberal view was also examined to balance the neo-Marxist view and other radical perspectives to understand Nigeria’s problems. Finally, internal factors such as corruption and conflicts were also examined to have an overview of the internal perspective of the problems of development in Nigeria. However, being the focus of this research, more critical analysis and data gathering was performed to examine the role of global capitalism on development in Nigeria. The literature review examined different contrasting opinions to understand where the debate lay on the topic at hand. Dependency theory was also introduced as the theoretical framework for analyzing the subject matter and interpreting the different scholars’ arguments on the topic. Finally, global capitalism and economic development concepts were x-rayed to know from an in-depth perspective what these concepts mean and how they interact with other intervening variables affecting Nigeria’s development. In the research methodology, a quantitative analysis was employed with the causal approach. Secondary data that the World Bank had already gathered were also relied on and analyzed through statistical methods such as descriptive statistics and linear regression analysis. Thereby, global capitalism was represented with numerical variables such as imports, crude-oil exports, and government expenditure. The purpose was to employ variables representing global capitalism in numerical calculable forms. The World Bank developed the Structural Adjustment Plan (SAP) to introduce capitalism to Nigeria in 1986. These SAP pre-conditions were increasing importation, increasing exportation of crude oil, and reducing government spending. These three key variables were the central part of the Structural Adjustment Plan along with currency devaluation. The significance of 1986 is that the SAP was adopted in Nigeria for the first time, leading to its embracing capitalism. In conclusion, after data analysis and interpretation, the evidence of scientific research asserts that global capitalism has positively affected development in Nigeria. Hence, while seeking the answer to the underdevelopment question in Nigeria, one could conclude that global capitalism is not the cause of underdevelopment, but in its capacity, it has aided development in Nigeria. Additionally, recommendations were made that other variables such as corruption and insecurity could be examined in the future as directions for further research.