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The East African : May 24th 2015
The EastAfrican NEWS MAY 23-29,2015 deal with 40 yea≥s of a≥≥ested development Nigerian youths protest in 2010 in Abuja against the state of the nation, lack of security and electricity as well as for electoral reform. Picture: AFP office thieves. Jonathan will be remembered as the first civilian president to peacefully hand over power to another. That, matter-of-factly, is an undeservedly glittering end to what has been an unflattering four years.” Think tanks and savants of African politics have however observed that Nigeria’s peaceful political transition was a defining moment, a democratic tonic for Africa. It set a good precedent for scheduled elections across the continent this year, as Ethiopians are expected to go to the polls in May; Burundi, the Central African Republic, Guinea and Somaliland (June); Togo (July); Cote d’Ivoire and Tanzania (October). Voters will also elect new leaders in Ghana and Cape Verde in 2016. Thankfully, the domino ef- many of whom have silently supported his bid for the nation’s top job. In his acceptance speech, he said, “I shall work for those who voted for me as well as those who voted against and even those who did not vote at all.” Running back to the future Meanwhile, how did one of Africa’s most influential economies, in its quest for political and socio-economic rejuvenation, come to this juncture in its history? Nigeria has experienced at least 40 years of arrested development. Successive governments failed to (re)build savings buffers. Hobbled internally for decades by ethnic and religious strife, the global view of Nigeria has always been defined by its ignoble contradictions: A youthful population, which means it is a commercial Eldorado in the making; economic underperformance and the slow pace of development despite the country’s abundant human and material resources; and despite all these, the consistent positive contributions of Nigeria to the global humanitarian, scientific, economic, and cultural order over the years. Prior to 1999, military ré- gimes had governed the country for 16 years. Many argue that those 16 years stunted growth and socio-economic development. But has the country fared any better after 16 years of democracy? The answer to this question is obvious. Nigeria has expe- rienced some measure of economic growth mixed with little development and plenty of disappointment. Nigeria’s only Nobel laure- ate, Prof Wole Soyinka, described the build-up to the presidential and national assembly elections as the most vicious, unprincipled, vulgar and violent he had ever witnessed. “This one was like a no- holds-barred kind of election, especially, frankly, from the incumbency side. One shouldn’t be too surprised anyway given the kind of people who are manning the barricades for the incumbent candidate.” The immediate verdict by Nigeria’s media and civil society on the impact of the Jonathan presidency on business and the economy has been somewhat complimentary. Fisayo Soyombo, editor of the Cable, an online newspaper, believes that, “In the final analysis, history will be kinder to Jonathan than his underwhelming four years deserve — because he will not be remembered as the one who made life difficult for Nigerians with fuel price increases less than a year into his tenure; or the one under whose watch Boko Haram blossomed; or the one in whose time the naira fell to its all-time low; or the one in whose care billions of nairas disappeared without consequence; or the one who granted state pardon to one of Nigeria’s most notorious and ignominious public fect of Nigeria’s actions and inactions has never been lost on its leaders. Constantly fishing for respect and eager to be perceived as “Big Brother,” Nigeria has never been shy of playing a leading role in the affairs of the African Union and the 15-member nation regional bloc, the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas). Nigeria’s $540 billion econ- omy represents 77 per cent of West Africa’s wealth and two-thirds of its population. Nigeria’s GDP has been projected to hit $790 billion by 2019. Statistically, one in four Af- ricans is Nigerian. The Nigerian economy is responsible for a quarter of the investment flux on the continent. The country’s infrastructure ecosystem may be 50 years behind schedule, but this has not stopped the world from doing business with Nigeria. The world’s major airlines all fly to Nigeria’s major cities of Lagos, Abuja, Enugu, Port Harcourt and Kano in search of passenger and cargo traffic, and they can’t have enough of this market. The rest of Africa and Afri- cans in the diaspora also cannot get enough of Nigerian movies and music, warts and all. In West Africa, the Nigerian influence is even more pervasive: Its companies and citizens ply every economic sector across the Ecowas region. Formal trade between Ni- geria and between Ecowas and the rest of Africa is certainly not enough. Intra-Africa trade still accounts for only about 7 per cent of Africa’s total trade. The change that Buhari has promised Nigerians must certainly include improvement on this statistic, reaching out to partners across subSaharan africa for economic value creation. Buhari also wants to implement a “Mar- shall Plan” for the impoverished communities in the Niger Delta regions of southern Nigeria, which produces the country’s oil, and sections of northern and eastern Nigeria where Boko Haram has taken advantage of the decrepit social and economic conditions to wreak havoc. Forecast Buhari is known to have little interest in politicking, and is likely to appoint trusted aides and technocrats to the political and economic management roles of his administration. He will however find himself in a deep fiscal hole, in a very vulnerable position in terms of oil revenue and because of the amount of fraud and stealing in the system, says Bismark Rewane, a respected economist and chief executive of Financial Derivatives, a financial services consultancy in Lagos. “He is a welfare-oriented leader, so he has to do things for the people — health, education — but he can’t do those with an empty cheque book.” To compete globally and raise its status out of the so called Third World, Nigeria desperately needs to build modern power stations, airports, roads and high speed railway infrastructure. Diversifying tax collection from the current overreliance on oil will certainly help. Outside of petroleum industry activities, tax contributes just 5 per cent to GDP. Jide Akintunde, editor-in- chief of Financial Nigeria magazine, believes that real change will mean accelerating the pace of reforms and deepening the gains of the past decade, especially in the key petroleum, services and agriculture sectors. “Nigeria’s potential is currently locked up in agriculture. The potential here needs to be unlocked. With more invest- ments in the agriculture value chain, we will save more money, grow external earnings and create more sustainable jobs.” Forecasters at Citigroup believe Nigeria’s growth this year will top 5 per cent. Buhari will certainly be in- heriting a lot more that the unfinished business of making Nigeria an agriculturally industrialised economy, fixing education, healthcare, unemployment, power, police-community relations and the huge infrastructure deficit. “This country has to be fixed... with the engine running,” says Prof Yemi Osinbajo, Buhari’s vice presidentelect. The Buhari-Osinbajo presi- dency has the next four years to succeed or fail. Muyiwa Moyela is a Nige≥ian jou≥nalist 13 REQUEST FOR EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST (EOI) TENDER TITLE: TENDER NUMBER: COMPETITION OFFICER TO OPERATIONALISE EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY COMPETITION POLICY AND LAW PRQ20141768 The East African Community (EAC) is a regional organization mandated by the governments of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda to spearhead the East African economic, social and political integration agenda. In line with this, the EAC Secretariat based in Arusha – Tanzania with support from TMEA seeks to recruit a suitable and qualified Consultant who will support the Secretariat and East African Community Competition Authority to implement activities related to EAC competition policy and law in the context of the EAC Customs Union and Common Market Protocals The detailed Terms of Reference for this consultancy and the application form can be obtained at TradeMark East Africa’s website http://www.trademarkea.com/getinvolved/procurement/. Interested and qualified Individual Consultants must register and apply online ONLY on the TradeMark East Africa procurement portal at the website: http://procurement.trademarkea.com. Any queries must be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. The closing date for applications is 15 June 2015 Only successful applicants will be contacted. TMEA cannot answer any query relating to this tender three days or less prior to the submission deadline.
May 17th 2015
May 31st 2015