You are browsing the archive for 2013 September 01.

Avatar of admin

by admin

Nigeria's Reagan?

September 1, 2013 in Economics

By Marian L. Tupy

Marian L. Tupy

The media’s attention in Nigeria is focused on its attempt to subdue Boko Haram, an Islamic jihadist militant terrorist organization that operates in that country’s Muslim provinces and that has been responsible for massacring hundreds of Christians and for the burning of schools and churches. However, the contest for Nigeria’s presidency is slowly taking shape. The 2015 election is likely to be dominated by economic issues and persistent poverty as much as concerns over internal security. In the past, capitalism was a dirty word in much of Africa. Today, many African countries are liberalizing, and some outspoken leaders, such as Orji Uzor Kalu, the former governor of Nigeria’s Abia state, are happy to proclaim the virtues of the free market.

The new millennium has been good to Africa. Its economy grew at an average annual rate of 4.9 percent between 2000 and 2008. Then came the financial crisis and growth dipped to 2 percent. However, since 2009, growth has averaged 5.4 percent. Between 2001 and 2010, six out of 10 of the fastest-growing economies in the world were in Africa. According to McKinsey and Co., a global management consulting firm, natural resources accounted for only about a third of Africa’s newfound growth. The rest resulted from internal structural changes that included the reduction of inflation, foreign debt, budget deficits, taxes and trade barriers, and improvements in the business and legal environments.

Africa may be slowly changing, but many Africans are rightly dissatisfied with the pace of reforms. Mr. Kalu started trading palm oil while still a teenager and grew his business to an international corporation with interests in oil and gas, banking and finance, media and publishing, real estate, manufacturing, insurance and tourism. By the time he became governor of Abia state in 1999, he was a wealthy man. Most Nigerian politicians, he points out, become wealthy during their time in the governor’s mansion. Today, Mr. Kalu is busy building political alliances that in 2015 could make him Nigeria’s next president.

Nigeria has never had a president committed to small government, privatization and liberalization.”

One of Mr. Kalu’s recent initiatives was to help establish a cross-party pressure group called the G37. The group’s main goal is to ensure that the next presidential election is free and fair. That would be quite an accomplishment, considering that Nigeria’s 2007 presidential election was mired by fraud, and the 2011 …read more

Source: OP-EDS