Daniel Adetoritse Tonwe
Rich Nation, Poor People: The Anatomy of Economic Growth without Development with Cases from Africa, South America, Europe and Asia, Resyin Publications, 2019, Lagos State, 215
The book, Rich Nation, Poor People: The Anatomy of Economic Growth without Development with Cases from Africa, South America, Europe and Asia, by Johnson A. Egonmwan, in the domain of Development Economics, is one with universal appeal in the sphere of growth and development in the context of wealth and poverty of nations. The principal objective the author set out to achieve is to illuminate the dynamics in rich and poor nations as it pertains to the role resources play in the attainment of their status.
The dilemma as to why some nations that are endowed with enormous resources are not able to grow wealth and have very low standard of living, while some other nations that have meagre or no resource endowments have thriving economies with enviable high standard of living for their populace is exhaustively unravelled by the author in this book.
This book is an excellent resource to students, teachers/lecturers in the social and management sciences, scholars, civil servants, public and private sector managers, management consultants, policy makers, legislators, opinion leaders and, indeed, all who are interested in the fascinating and inescapable sphere of wealth and poverty of nations. In reviewing this book, the criteria principally included content, organisation and reference sources.
This phenomenal and timely book by Egonmwan is not entirely surprising, as he has been a very prolific writer with twelve outstanding books in the sphere of administration, development and e-governance amongst others to his credit. He is uniquely an academic with versatile practical experience in the public and private sectors in Nigeria and several international institutions such as World Bank, UNDP, UK DFID and the EU where he served as independent specialist consultant.
The book is structured into fourteen explicit and well integrated chapters. Starting with an insightful introduction to an overview of the economic history of Nigeria, theories and models of economic development, conceptualisation of economic growth, the question of the possibility of growth without development, the quality and structure of growth in the Nigerian State, conceptualisation of economic development, characterisation of economic development, differentiation of economic growth and economic development, obstacles to growth and development in poor countries, especially in Nigeria, development traps in Nigeria, highlights of countries that are great exporters of goods without natural resources, the secrets of development and finally, the way forward to achieving development in oil rich but poor countries of which Nigeria is a part.
The central thesis of this book is predicated on the need to clearly understand and differentiate the concepts of economic growth and economic development and also to comprehend the indices for measuring their attainment levels as countries make effort to transform from the state of mere economic growth to economic development. Economic growth is usually not achieved with much difficulty unlike economic development.
Egonmwan set out to achieve this goal by clearly articulating the characteristics of countries that are growing, nevertheless not developing, citing the case of Venezuela, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), as well as Nigeria. He argues that there is no correlation between the magnitude of resources available to a nation and the level of development that a nation is able to attain.
The book is well-documented with supportive data in a simple and easy to follow manner such that the thesis could easily be deduced by the reader. Discussions and analyses of issues in the various chapters of the book are based on current materials from local, national and international authoritative sources. While the authors’ work may be categorised as a small or at best a moderate book, the volume of data, analyses and information the author is able to put into this space is amazing.