Information and news about nigeria

Recently, insurgents have kept polio teams out of vulnerable areas. Distrust of all things American and the belief that the polio vaccine was being used to control the population has led to outspokenness against the treatment from some, and outright violence from others. In the latter part of last year alone, there were eight polio workers that were killed due to such rhetoric. However, the latest casualty in this battle is a child less than one year old, who died in a hospital.

The child’s father, Taj Muhammad, said that polio teams had not been to their area in three years due to such activity. The child joins 257 children that have succumbed to the disease in the past two years in Pakistan.

The Pakistani government suspended UN-supported vaccinations following the shooting of two female polio workers on May 28th. Radio Free Europe’s Pashto station Radio Mashaal has nevertheless been working to connect aid workers to the communities that need them. Radio Mashaal’s approach, which includes inviting religious and secular figures of authority such as mullahs and doctors to engage in discussion has, according to one doctor, led to a 50 percent drop in the number of parents who refused to administer polio drops to their children.

Yet, Pakistan—along with Afghanistan and Nigeria—remains one of the few places on the planet where polio remains an epidemic.

– Samantha Mauney

Sources: Radio Free Europe, LA Times
Photo: Gates Foundation

Boko Haram is a militant terrorist organization whose goal is to overthrow the government of Nigeria and institute Sharia law. Nigeria is characterized by two areas defined by wealth: the poor north and the rich south. It is no surprise that Boko Haram operates in northern Nigeria, where it can capitalize on poor economic conditions to recruit new members.

Translating to “western education is forbidden” in English, Boko Haram rejects western ideals and forbids the use of modern technology, considering it to be a western invention. Since the group’s emergence in 2009, they have claimed responsibility for a number of terrorist attacks against the administration of President Goodluck Jonathon. A recent attack involved the suicide bombings of three churches in northern Nigeria in which 50 people perished.

Jonathon’s method of dealing with the conflict has been brutal, to say the least. The Nigerian President declared a state of emergency in the country in April, beginning a new offensive against Boko Haram. Unfortunately, the army has been unnecessarily brutal with civilians, causing a significant contingent of poor Nigerians to ally themselves with Boko Haram. A writer from The Economist has pointed out that “More Nigerians are killed by the police every year than by Boko Haram.”

The founder of the group was Muhammad Yusuf, a disenfranchised Nigerian youth who dropped out of secondary school to study the Qur’an in North Africa. Yusuf was one of the thousands of al-majiri who grew up in northern Nigeria. These children are extremely poor students of Islam who pay for their own education through begging. When Yusuf returned to his native town of Maiduguri in the early 2000s, his fervent sermons appealed to the al-majiri. Yusuf’s Boko Haram allowed youngsters to earn a living while fighting against the government that perpetuated their poverty.

African Studies scholar Aliyu Odamah Musa recognized the persuasive power of radicalism to the poor in a 2012 article featured in the Journal of African Media Studies, stating: “Acute poverty, as is experienced by people in the area (Northern Nigeria), is highly likely to encourage people to allow groups like Boko Haram to manipulate them.” Musa goes on to suggest that development efforts need to be made in northern Nigeria in order to prevent young people from falling in with Boko Haram. As ties between Boko Haram and al-Qaeda are discovered, it would be in the best interest of the United States to adhere to the logic of Musa and invest in the economic development of northern Nigeria.

Josh Forgét

Sources: The Economist, BBC, The Christian Science Monitor
Photo: GlobalPost

africa economic development commodity industrialization un
A new report from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Union says the key to long-term development in Africa is commodity-based industrialization. The study collected data mostly from nine African countries and the continent’s five sub-regions. Those countries are Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia.

The report urges African nations to take advantage of their abundance of natural resources by using a commodity-based industrialization strategy. Each nation should frame its own specific policy for commodity-based industrialization so that it can direct its own development.  This is necessary to address poverty and gender disparities, youth unemployment, and other challenges African nations faces. The report states that “massive industrialization based on commodities in Africa is imperative, possible, and beneficial.”

Instead of African nations shipping raw materials to foreign nations to make commodities which are of higher value, the report recommends adding value to raw materials locally. Not only does this increase the profit to African nations but also fosters diversification of technological capabilities, an expansion of an advantageous skills base, and deepened industrial infrastructures in individual countries.

Case studies were prepared for Algeria, Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Zambia.

Essee Oruma

Source: UN News Centre

Polio Immunization Still Matters Eradication Transmission Prevention
The widespread strategic implementation of polio immunization has reduced the number of reported cases by 99% since 1988. However, as long as there are countries where polio immunization is not widespread, there is a significant risk of this highly contagious virus exploding. The World Health Organization reports, “[failure] to eradicate polio from these last remaining strongholds could result in as many as 200 000 new cases every year, within 10 years, all over the world.” The strongholds referred to are some of the poorest and most dangerous countries in the world: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.

Polio is a viral infection that attacks the nervous system of non-immunized children. Children under 5 have the highest risk of contracting the virus. Polio sometimes results in partial or full paralysis, but there is no indication of who or why paralysis occurs. Paralysis can occur within a few hours of contracting the virus. Between 5 to 10% of the paralysis cases result in lung muscle paralysis and death.

Anyone can be a symptomless carrier. The infection can be spread without notice through person-to-person contact to thousands before the first case of polio paralysis emerges. The disease enters through the mouth and multiplies in the intestines. The virus is then excreted into the environment and spread through contaminated food and water. Flies are also suspected to transmit the virus.

A global action plan to eradicate polio calls on donors to make a down payment of 5.5 billion dollars which would take us to the 2018 end game. Another 1.1 billion dollars will keep the world polio-free for the foreseeable future. Compared to the 527.5 billion dollar US Department of Defense budget for 2013, this is a drop in the bucket that quantifiably improves human security. Defend our children from polio. Make total polio immunization a reality.

Katherine Zobre
Sources: WHO, Polio Global Eradication Initiative

africa nation economic growth

Africa promises a bright new future. Population projections show that in the next 25 years Africa will more than recover its population losses from the ’80s and ’90s. At the same time, investment companies see Africa as having some of the world’s most promising opportunities for sharp economic growth.

1. South Africa is the leading economy in the continent. South Africa plays the role of the continent’s economic powerhouse, by providing the continent’s other countries with goods and services, as well as investments. South Africa has a stake in seeing the standard of living rise in its potential trading partners and that this will continue to stimulate economic growth in the continent.

2. Nigeria has a large population base and a thriving petroleum export business. Nigeria is consolidating political reform, as exemplified by two peaceful transfers of power within the past decade. Nigeria also has demonstrated its prowess in mobile telecommunications technology.

3. Angola is growing rapidly due to oil exports. Angola’s economy is vulnerable because it lacks diversity but for the time being it is rapidly expanding its infrastructure as part of a controversial “infrastructure for oil” trade agreement with China, which critics believe benefits the Chinese more than the Angolans.

4.  Ghana is “one of the fastest growing economies in the world.” Ghana’s economic growth is based primarily on its oil production, but  political and economic reforms that were in place nearly two decades before oil was discovered in 2007, play a major role in the country’s long-term economic prospects and sustainability, even though Ghana’s rate of growth will not remain at its current astronomical levels.

5. Ethiopia represents a huge market that can drive economic growth and integration in the Horn of Africa region. Ethiopia’s economic growth has been fueled by hydroelectric power, which enables it to export electricity to neighboring countries. Ethiopia has also benefited from large-scale government investment in agriculture, industrialization, and infrastructure.

-Essee Oruma

Source: Christian Science Monitor

During an orientation on women’s maternal health, The Target States High Impact Project (TSHIP), a non-government organization funded by USAID, released its findings that Eclampsia is the cause of 80% of deaths that occur during childbirth in Nigeria.

Eclampsia is a condition when the infected woman experiences extreme bleeding while giving birth. Pregnant women suffering from Eclampia will experience chest pains, convulsions, seizures, and hallucinations. The disease then attacks all of her multiorgans like the brain, lungs, livier, and chest.

The good news is that Eclampsia can be cured if the infected woman is treated in time. Testing urine samples and changes in blood pressuring during pregnancy can identify the disease before the woman goes into labor. Once Eclampsia is detected, it can be treated with Magnesium Sulphate, an injection that brings the woman back to consciousness while she is in labor. The best way to ensure a safe birth is by going to a doctor once labor begins.

Dr. Habib Sadauki, TSHIP Deputy Chief of Party Maternal, warned women of the dangers of giving birth at home. When having a home birth and severe bleeding occurs, the woman is at high risk of dying during labor. If pregnant women would “seek adequate antenatal services” when they are in labor, maternal deaths could be reduced by 70%.

At the conference, Dr. Sadauki explained how malaria and anemia are the other two main causes of deaths during pregnancies. Once again, he urges women to seek medical attention and also to sleep in insecticide-treated mosquito nets. Childbirth can a very dangerous time for the mother and child and Dr. Sadauki hopes that pregnant women will seek medical attention to prevent possible disease and death.

– Mary Penn

Source: Vanguard
Photo: School Work Helper

Development Aid_opt
The GDP, growth, and income derivatives of sub-Saharan African nations help to inform NGO’s in both the structure and deployment of a well targeted policy of development. However, what if the data linking economic indicators and development in Africa were both statistically flawed and misleading? Surprisingly, there is an increasing body of evidence showing that much of the economic numbers currently being reported to aid and development organizations are in fact fictional, and that little is actually known about the income generation of many African nations.

Sub-Saharan African nations such as Ghana and Nigeria have raised the eyebrows of World Bank leaders and policy makers with their upward revisions of their economic outputs over the last several years. Both countries initially reported their GDPs as much lower than they actually were, with the former upwardly revising their numbers by 60% and the latter increasing theirs by 15%. These numbers – although seemingly unimportant from the outset – have huge implications in regards to economic status and aid apportionment. The net result of misleading economic indicators and development in Africa means that resources allocated to specific countries by donors may in fact be better utilized by nations with lower GDP’s, and that targeted development plans may or may not be yielding the results originally reported.

Regarding the misleading economic indicators and development in Africa, New York Times author Jeffrey Sachs noted that current Malawi leadership “broke old donor-led shibboleths by establishing new government programs to get fertilizer and high-yield seeds to impoverished peasant farmers who could not afford these inputs. Farm yields soared once nitrogen got back into the depleted soils.”

The generous aid packages deployed by well meaning NGO’s have been instrumentally important in the international development of many low-income countries. However, flawed economic indicators and development in Africa leads to a misappropriation of aid that could be better used by other “high-priority” targets requiring greater attention and economic assistance. International aid is a finite resource that carries with it equal amounts of opportunity and responsibility, and should be allocated primarily to those nations that are plagued by the loop of global poverty.

– Brian Turner

Source CNN
Photo The Guardian

africa economies thrive during recovery
The global community is slowly recovering from economic difficulties across the board. However, countries in Africa continue to grow at rates which surpass all but their Asian counterparts.

According to the International Monetary Fund, African economies will remain strong throughout this year and next. GDP for the region is expected to increase 5.3 percent while certain countries will experience even larger growth rates. Mozambique’s economy is projected to increase by 8.4 percent while Nigeria will increase by 7.2 percent. Despite the drop in the value of gold, South Africa is expected to grow by 3.3 percent this year and 6.1 percent next year. In its entirety, the global recovery is occurring at a much slower pace.

These numbers do not seem that extreme unless they’re compared to the United States’ growth rate which is predicted to increase this year to three percent. This is up from last year’s increase of roughly 2.2 percent.

In tough economic conditions such as these, the United States is being left behind in the cultivation of African businesses and economy. China has been extremely aggressive in creating these relationships and has been reaping the benefits of it. China’s total economic growth is set for 7.7 percent growth this year.

By having a lax or overcautious attitude regarding African investment (both philanthropic and purely business), it is very possible that the United States is missing out on being a part of future success.

– Pete Grapentien

Photo: A Never Ending Dream

Chinua Achebe, author of “Things Fall Apart,” and widely considered to be the father of modern African literature, has died at the age of 82. His passing was confirmed by his publisher on March 22, 2013. For nearly his entire life, Achebe passionately advocated for democracy in his home country of Nigeria; he was and is an inspiration to millions who still yearn for peace and freedom.

Living in London in the late 1950’s, Achebe struggled to find a publisher for his first work. “Things Fall Apart” was finally published in 1958, and its influence cannot be overstated. It has been described as “among the most important books of the 20th century, [and] a universally acknowledged starting point for postcolonial, indigenous African fiction.” A story about a tribal Nigerian man’s troubles with British colonialists, Achebe’s novel influenced famous authors like Toni Morrison and Junot Diaz.

After catapulting into the center of the debate over Nigerian democracy, Achebe had found himself at times being labeled an enemy of the state, and at other times refusing prestigious literary awards from what he considered to be an illegitimate government. A tireless critic of authoritarianism, he claimed that it stifles individuals and creates mediocrity, which “destroys the very fabric of a country as surely as a war.” He urged Nigerians and all Africans to be passionate about the future, and to use that passion to work to bring their visions into reality. Achebe lived much of his life in the United States, mostly for his own safety. He had taught at Brown University since 2009, previously working at Bard College. He leaves behind a legacy which will undoubtedly stand the test of time and inspire millions more.

Jake Simon

Source: Washington Post


Africa produces some of the most brilliant artists, athletes, and activists worldwide.  From the media industry to the political stage, these African celebrities are working to improve lives.  The Borgen Project presents the top 10 African celebrities to follow.

1. Patricia Amira, Nigerian, TV Personality

Patricia Amira is a self-proclaimed “optimistic realist” and “closet artist.”  She is the “Oprah” of Africa and hosts one of the continent’s most popular talk shows.  The Patricia Show transcends national boundaries and identities.  The show focuses on achievements across Africa and aims to create social and cultural transformation. The Pan-African talk show is broadcasted in over 45 African countries and averages over 10 million viewers.  She currently serves as the Director of the Festival of African Fashion and Arts.  The festival encourages collaboration among designers and emphasizes the importance of artists.  Amira is also a spokesperson against human trafficking.

2. Nneka, Nigerian, Musician

Nneka is a soul musician of Nigerian-German descent.  Investigative journalism and philosophy inform her music, and she often writes about poverty, war, and and social justice issues.  Nneka emphasizes the importance of understanding balance and harmony.  “It’s important that you recognize yourself as part of the system, too, and that the only way we can make things work is by realizing we are part of the same entity,” Nneka said.

3. Didier Drogba, Ivorian, Soccer Player

Didier Drogba was a leading striker for England’s Chelsea football club and head captain of the Cote D’Ivoire national team.  His performance on the field is impressive, but he made headlines at the 2006 FIFA World Cup for something much greater.  Drogba begged on live television for a cease-fire on the Ivory Coast.  The warring factions subsided within one week.  The Telegraph reporter Alex Hayes noted that Drogba is “the face of his country; the symbol of a new, post-civil war Ivory Coast.”  He also created the Didier Drogba Foundation, a foundation “to provide financial and material support in both health and education to the African people.”  The foundation recently partnered with United Against Malaria (UAM) to help fight malaria.

4. Wole Soyinka, Nigerian, Playwright

Wole Soyinka is a playwright, author, and political activist from Nigeria.  Soyinka entered the political stage after lobbying for a cease-fire during Nigeria’s civil war.  “The greatest threat to freedom is the absence of criticism,” Soyinka said.  This led to his imprisonment for 22 months.  He was released in 1969, and he began publishing again.  Soyinka became the first African to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1986.  His novel The Interpreters analyzes the experiences of six different African intellectuals.

5. Neill Blomkamp, South African, Movie Director

Neill Blomkamp is a movie director known for his documentary, handheld cinema style.  He blends natural and computer-generated elements effortlessly.  Blomkamp co-wrote and directed District 9.  The film focused on extraterrestrial refugees in a South African slum.  The title derived from real events during the apartheid era at District Six, Cape Town. The film received international fame, and box office sales totaled $200 million.  Time magazine named Blomkamp one of the “100 Most Influential People of 2009.” 

6. Binyavanga Wainaina, Kenyan, Author

Binyavanga Wainaina founded the first literary magazine in East Africa, entitled Kwani?.  The magazine is known as “the most renown literary journal in sub-Saharan Africa.”  Wainaina created the magazine after winning the 2002 Caine Prize for African Writing.  The Caine Prize is an annual literary award for the best original short story by an African writer.  He is known for authoring “How to Write About Africa.”  The short story is known as one of the most satirical pieces ever written about Africa.

 7. Genevieve Nnaji, Nigerian, Actress

Genevieve Nnaji skyrocketed from a middle class upbringing to Nollywood stardom.  She is one of the most popular African celebrities.  Nnaji grew up in Lagos, Nigeria as one of eight children.  Nnaji began her acting career at eight years old on Ripples, a Nigerian soap opera.  She is now one of Africa’s most popular actresses.  At only 32 years old, she has starred in over 80 feature films.  She is one of the best paid actresses in Nollywood—Nigeria’s feature film industry.   “I have always maintained that when they [Hollywood directors and actors] are ready for a young African woman to take part in a project that they will come looking for us,” Nnaji said.

8. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nigerian, Writer

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is one of Africa’s leading contemporary authors.  She is the author of the novels Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun.  Adichie delivered a popular TED Talk after publishing The Thing around Your Neck, a collection of short stories.  She warns against judging a person or country based on limited information.  “The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story,” Adichie said.  Nigerian history and tragedies inspire her literature.  She is one of the most notable authors of disaporan literature.

9. Rokia Traoré, Malian, Musician

Rokia Traoré became famous in 1997 with the release of her first album Mouneissa.  Malian singer Ali Farka Touré helped Traoré develop her sound, and she later earned “Best African Discovery” from the Radio France Internationale.  Traoré’s father was a Malian Diplomat, and she traveled extensively as a child.  Her travels in Algeria, Saudi Arabia, France, and Belgium influenced her music.  Traoré joined the 30 Songs/30 Days campaign in September 2012.  The campaign supported the Half the Sky movement, based on the book by the same name.  The movement focuses on sex trafficking, sexual violence, and female education.

10. Alek Wek, Sudanese, Supermodel

Alex Wek is a supermodel, fashion designer, and political activist.  Wek fled Sudan at the age of 14 to escape the civil war. She moved to London, England with her parents and eight siblings and was later discovered at an outdoor market.  Ford Models, one of the world’s top modeling agencies, signed her in 1996.  By 1997, she was the first African model to appear on the cover of Elle magazine.  Wek continues to model but is also a member of the U.S. Committee for Refugees’ Advisory Council.  Wek works with World Vision to combat AIDS.  She is also an ambassador for Doctors Without Borders in Sudan.  She belongs to the Dinka ethnic group

– Whitney M. Wyszynski

Source: Forbes