Sunday, February 12, 2012

Nigeria’s poverty and corruption still bar way to promising future

29 January 2012

By Fiona Rintoul

It might be hard to believe in the light of recent fatal bombings claimed by the Islamist sect Boko Haram in the northern part of the country, but return-hungry investors have Nigeria in their sights. Jim O’Neill, chief economist at Goldman Sachs, has been talking up the country, which is home to almost 20 per cent of Africa’s population, since 2010.

And the numbers do look good. Nigeria was the fourth-fastest growing economy in the world between 2001 and 2010, according to analysis by The Economist. The International Monetary Fund predicts economic growth of 6.6 per cent in 2012. Nigeria is Africa’s largest oil producer with 2.5m barrels extracted in 2010.

But there is no shortage of problems, and this means the time scale for Nigeria’s great promise to be fulfilled is unclear, according to Roelof Horne, portfolio manager in the frontier investments team at Investec Asset Management.

Boko Haram and the recent fuel protests are obviously among the problems. But the number one structural issue, and a contributing factor to every other woe from poverty to the unreliable electricity supply, is what Muhammad Jameel Yusha’u, senior lecturer in media and politics at Northumbria University, calls “the C-word”: corruption.

No comments:

Post a Comment