This is an article I wrote in Foreign Policy about the role that Western countries play in African corruption.
It’s no secret that corruption is a problem in Africa. Some $50 billion in illicit finance flows out of the continent every year, according to the United Nations. In the first 40 years of independence alone, Nigeria’s leaders stole or
squandered an estimated $400 billion. But as the barbed comments from Buhari imply, these leaders had accomplices in the West. Britain and other developed countries are not the cause of Africa’s corruption, but they are certainly an impediment to its eradication.
African governments are fighting a battle on two fronts. Even when they successfully prosecute corruption at home, they often have to restart litigation in foreign countries to have any hope of accessing the stolen funds. In other words, they must litigate every crime twice: domestically to secure a conviction, and abroad to recover the money. This all but ensures that the stolen funds won’t be repatriated in full, since foreign lawyers typically collect a percentage of the money they recover. For African governments, illicit financial flows are lose-lose. But for Western firms, they’re win-win: There are profits to be made whether or not the money is eventually recovered and returned.
Interview with the new Emir of Kano Muhammed Sanusi II (AKA Sanusi Lamido Sanusi) about the Boko Haram insurgency in northern Nigeria.
Key points made by Sanusi:
- Islam “preaches education for all adherents”.
- Marrying young Muslim girls off at a young age is actually a cultural (not Islamic) practice “that is not consistent with the teachings of the (Muslim) religion)”.
- Poverty level in northern Nigeria provides a fertile breeding ground for militancy. Says the same thing happened in the Niger Delta.
- Boko Haram insurgency must be tackled via an economic “Marshall Plan” for northern Nigeria.
- Says insurgency calmed down in Kano because of investment in infrastructure there.
- “As long as people are gainfully employed they are not likely to jump into the bandwagon of insurgency”.
Interesting article in Foreign Policy about how the Boko Haram insurgency is fuelled by Nigeria’s bleak economic and demographic stats:
In Borno State:
- More than 98% of children aged under 2 are not vaccinated.
- 83% of young people are illiterate.
- 48.5% of children do not go to school.
Overall more than 60% of Nigeria’s population is aged under 25, and Nigeria spends less than 1% of its GDP on health (one of the lowest rates of health spending in the world).
Report on the growing online shopping sector in Nigeria.
Al-Jazeera report focusing on the economies of three African countries: Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Although Nigeria’s economy is typecast one-dimensionally about oil, Nigeria’s agriculture sector accounts for 40% of GDP. It also spends a whopping one-third of Nigeria’s federal budget on food imports.
Blackberry is facing fierce competition in Europe and America from smartphones like Android and iPhone. While Apple has been making headlines in Europe and America, Research in Motion (Blackberry’s Canadian owner), is looking to gain market share in Nigeria. There are four million people using smartphones in Nigeria, and half of those phones are Blackberries. In the next four years, that number is expected to hit 25 million.
Sub-Saharan Africa will be home to seven of the world’s ten fastest growing economies in the next five years. At a recent Thomson Reuters event, U.S. Sen. Christopher Coons joins top African investment managers and business leaders before a live audience to identify key opportunities and ways to address risks, in a panel moderated by Reuters Editor-at-Large Sir Harold Evans. The video features local investors such as Yemi Lalude of Adlevo Capital and Bismark Rewane of Financial Derivatives Company Limited as well as a number of Africa focused foreign investors. Watch the video below.
Good article in the Guardian about how Nigeria’s rising middle class are outnumbering most foreign shoppers in London.
*Nigeria has 142,000 visitors to the UK per year.
*US supermarket giant Wal-Mart sees space for 50 stores in Nigeria.
*Other big name brands like Apple see potential in Nigeria’s expanding economy and rising middle class.