The African 8 – How Cupid can play a role in Nigeria 2015

Nigeria Flag

NIGERIA 2015

African 8 flags small

Happy New Year and Best Wishes!

Nothing like starting the year with a new post!

Can you name all the flags pictured above?

If not, don’t worry because they are listed below.

From Left – Right.

Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, Algeria, Angola, Morocco, Sudan and Kenya.

So what relevance do these countries have with the title African 8?

Firstly, they represent 8 countries in Africa, and secondly they signify the 8 largest economies in the Continent with Nigeria taking top spot.

The next series of blog posts will be dedicated to looking out the opportunities and challenges that will be faced over 2015 for these 8 nations. The first post begins with Nigeria.

Nigeria

  • Most Populous Black Nation on Earth
  • Largest Country in Africa by population (170 million)
  • Largest Economy in Africa
  • Fastest Growing African Country by population and forecast to double by 2036 according to World Bank

Lets face it, Nigeria opens a platform for interesting discussions and whether you like the country or not, it is too big to ignore when debating economic and strategic issues in moving Africa forward.

So what does 2015 have in store for Nigeria?

IMF forecast for 2015 suggest that economic growth will increase by 7.3%, a strong indication that there are more reason to be hopeful of the Nigerian Economy.

However the recent turmoil caused by the US decision to stop importing oil from Nigeria, and the subsequent oil price crash that followed, has added a shade of uncertainty to Nigeria; bringing to light questions of whether they can be capable of governing without oil revenues.

Yet again, Nigeria is exposed and unless serious measures are reserved to boost infant industries, the continuous dependency on oil revenues to fund government initiatives will destroy the nation. Like how the US have reduced their dependency on importing oil due to their boost in domestic oil production, Nigeria must learn a lesson and fast if it is to ever reduce the impacts associated with the fluctuations of oil prices.


Jonathan Goodluck

2015 General Election

2015 also brings the Nigerian general election, a significant moment in the political landscape, which impacts not just local people but Nigeria’s major trading partners. Thus far, Nigeria has had 16 years of uninterrupted democracy, governed by one party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). However this has not been without the absence of violence that has often occurred prior and after the election.

Nigeria is cautious, The World is cautious, and the failure to control Boko Haram (Militant Group) over the years has crippled not just Goodluck Jonathan’s credibility but public confidence over the government’s capability.

Bad luck?

It will be interesting to see if Goodluck Jonathan will be given an opportunity to redeem himself should he be successful in winning the election.

On the other hand, could the rise of General Buhari, the presidential candidate under All Progressives Congress (APC), bring back the element of steel that has not been present in recent years and install back public confidence that has been deteriorating?

Or will the fact that he has contested in the last three elections and lost be an indication that his popularity can never be shared across the country?

There is more reason to believe that he is finally getting the public recognition he has been craving for, coupled with the fact that Nigerians are tired of the same ruling party that have governed since 1999.

Whatever happens the role politics plays in every Nigerian must be taken with great seriousness, and should be noted that Nigerians will go to great lengths to ensure that any hint of injustice is voiced out. It will be reckless, or even, criminal if procedures to safeguard a fair election are not well implemented.

Nigeria have the individuals to spark change and the resources that many countries will be envious of and can see vast improvements in areas of corruption and and governance only if the people in power desire to create such a system that act as a deterrent and one that puts Nigerians are the heart of the agenda.

We know they have potential, but potential is boring. Nigeria can change only if they want to.

The General Election is held on 14th February 2015, Valentines Day. Lets hope the spirit of love on that day will be enough to overcome any thoughts of violence.

Cupid, Nigerians need you.

Web

New Bank New Africa?

The New Development Bank formed by the members of the BRICS in July 2014 seek to put the interest of Africa at its forefront, a continent starved of much needed infrastructure.

Despite the cracks in continent, Africa is making large strides in certain issues in comparison to the last decade or so. Is it time to get excited? Well yes, but a lot of work needs to be done if we’re to continue to remain hopeful.

Africa needs help and simply offering pain relief in the form of Aid does not address the underlying issues which plague the continent but instead creates societies that become dependent on Aid.


New Development Bank?

The introduction of the New Development Bank (NDB) signalled a pivotal moment in who to approach, in regards to how projects are financed. The establishment of the World Bank and the IMF in 1945 following the Second World War brought about a new way to access loans for countries that were in need of rebuilding.

However, the emergence of the BRICS added a twist in demonstrating how economies like China can outperform economic powerhouses like the USA.  Calls to reform the World Bank voting power system were highlighted, to enable countries like China a greater say in global economic decisions. Unfortunately other members of the institution did not endorse this wholeheartedly.

Fears of bias in favour of the West, who have a larger voice in World Bank and IMF has been a long serving debate, and so the introduction of the NDB set up by the BRICS could create a fairer environment in dealing with Africa’s needs.

cape town infrastructure

The Challenge

Africa requires about $93bn a year for the next decade according to a World Bank Report if it stands any chance in closing the infrastructure gap between other continents and sustaining strong levels of growth for years to come.  The NDB however does not have such capacity to offer these demands, but at the very least provides the continent with greater choice for financing projects.

It is the responsibility of the BRICS nations to remain focussed in creating a bank that seeks to contribute to the development of Africa. It will be an absolute failure if this primary objective is not given the attention it rightfully needs.


Talking Points

An initial fund of $100bn for financing projects has been set up by the BRICS, with the headquarters at Shanghai, China, whilst the African Headquarters is located in South Africa.

Could they offer Africa a fairer voice and cheaper finance that the continent have longed cried for?

And if so, is there a danger that offering cheaper long term finance to Africa could overlook the real concerns such as risk?

Answers to these questions will really be put to the test from 2016, when the first scheduled finance offering is set to commence. It is imperative that African nations take responsibility in ensuring that subject matters such as governance are faced head on in the meantime.

For the foreseeable future Africa is

building works

Who Knows Africa?

African footprint logo

Before one indulges in the economic issues that surround the continent, and the opportunities and threats that are visible in the short and long term, it is paramount that the first post is dedicated in exploring what Africa is, and what it has to offer.

So What do we know ?

Although the term Africa is often used as one item, it is important to not treat the issues of the continent as homogeneous. Africa is one continent but just like the number of playing cards in a deck, there are 54 countries that make up Africa, each with an separate identity that somewhat differs from one another. Out of the 54 countries, 52 were colonised by foreign countries which included France, Portugal and England.

Adding to this, Africa consists of approximately

  • 2000 spoken languages, a remarkable accolade that demonstrates such large-scale diversity. People have different traditions in relation to their native language, and ultimately have a different outlook on life.
  • 1.1BN people in Africa, roughly about the size of Europe and the US combined, and is forecast to continue growing at an alarming rate.  1 in 6 are Africans!
  • Half of the population are under 25, which has led to the calling of Africa being the home for the young.  Who said young people can’t rule the world?

Again, some of Africa’s problem lies with the fact that it is often treated as one of the same.  Olu’s cultural influences in relation to his country, Nigeria, will vastly differ from Samir in Morocco, and so there are limited room for comparison aside from that they are both Africans. Breaking down Africa into sub regions gives a better reading in discovering what issues are worth talking about, otherwise one will not be able to fully understand the dynamics of the continent.

The Last Frontier…

The African continent boasts of one of the most sought after riches that the world has to offer in resources, and is widely seen as the continent that has yet to fully unlock the rewards that it has long been promised.

Often described as the last frontier of the world, there is strong indication from the emergence of countries such as South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya, that something is working, and it is crucial that efforts are made to continually improve economic conditions.

There is no better time in discussing the issues Africa has to address in order to move forward.

Ignore Africa at your peril..