Information and news about nigeria


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

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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

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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’s Economies Thrive During Global Recovery
The global community is slowly recovering from economic difficulties across the board. However, countries in Africa continue to grow at rates that 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 by 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 the 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

Author Chinua Achebe Dies at 82Chinua 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, Chinua 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 1950s, 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 that will undoubtedly stand the test of time and inspire millions more.

Jake Simon

Source: Washington Post

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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

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As living conditions gradually improve for many of the 1 billion people who live in poverty, nowhere is the change so notable as in Africa, where over 300 million people still live in poverty. While the total number of Africans living on less than $1.25 per day has decreased over the past decade, much of this improvement has been in urban areas. 70 percent of Africa’s poor live in rural areas, and most depend on agricultural pursuits for their food and livelihood.

For those middle class Africans who live in cities, however, there are more opportunities than ever before to spend money at global corporations. Huge multi-national businesses such as Wal-Mart, as well as fast food chains and restaurants such as KFC and Domino’s Pizza, have continued to invest in Africa’s growing economy by opening new locations in urban and semi-urban areas.

Nigeria is at the forefront of business growth and development in Africa. With over 160 million inhabitants, Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country. Over 60 percent of those 160 million people, most of them in rural areas, still live below the poverty line. However, about a quarter of the country’s population falls into the middle class, earning between $480 and $645 per month. As the Nigerian middle class grows, its appetite for foreign brands, services, and foods has also grown.

Nigeria’s urban residents pay the equivalent of $22 USD for a double bacon cheeseburger at the restaurant chain Johnny Rockets, which recently opened a diner in Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city. A milkshake costs $11.25 USD. For the Nigerian middle class, dining at Johnny Rockets is a luxury they can afford only occasionally.

While those who have moved above the poverty line and into the middle class should have freedom in where and how to spend money, it is worthwhile to examine the potential negative impacts of the growth of multi-national corporations. The growth of global businesses contributes to ever-greater wealth inequality, as money becomes concentrated in the hands of the few who own and operate those businesses. Developing countries are better served by investing in and establishing strong local economies that utilize local talent and labor, support locally owned businesses, and keep wealth within the community.

– Kat Henrichs

Sources: Huffington Post, Rural Poverty Portal
Photo: Restaurant News

Nigeria's Progress Harming the PoorNigerian top officials have pledged to make Nigeria the region’s – or more ambitiously, Africa’s – leading business center. The progress that Nigeria has made in recent years is hard to miss and it is harming the poor. Last week, former President Bill Clinton traveled to Nigeria to help unveil the Eko Atlantic City, reclaimed land that, a recent New York Times article says, has been built up into a “Dubai-style shopping and housing development built out into the Atlantic Ocean.” Nigeria reclaiming this land means big things for its economy and will provide a lot of job opportunities for local community members. Clinton even praised the Eko Atlantic City project for being a destination hotspot for global investment.

However, there is an ugly side to Nigeria’s progress that is going unnoticed as this push for progress in Nigeria is actually displacing and harming the poor. In Lagos, the government’s vision for progress plowed over hundreds of wooden dwellings in the slum of Badia East, leveling it in 6 hours. This left thousands of Nigeria’s poorest residents without homes and without hope. The land on which people’s homes sat were seen as areas of prime real estate or areas where improvement and money could be made. In the future, new homes will be built on the land. Yet, the chances of the displaced being able to afford these homes are basically nonexistent, according to the Lagos State Commissioner for Housing.

Within 6 hours, thousands were displaced, many saying “they were [only] given 20 minutes, at most, to pack up their belongings” and leave, according to the New York Times article. In the wake of uplifting global development, it is important to remember that, despite progress, there will always be those who live on the fringes of society whose livelihoods must be taken into account when designing the frameworks of the future.

– Angela Hooks

Sources: NY Times, All Africa
Photo: Habitants

Why Investing in Africa is the Right MoveAccording to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), there is a 16 percent chance that global growth will dip below two percent this year. An unlikely contender as far as investment options are concerned, investing in Africa may be a lucrative opportunity for investors looking for solace in a declining global market.

Africa is notorious for being a troubled continent. However, as the economic problems begin to fade, stock markets are projected to rise, making Africa a prime candidate to overtake Asia in terms of economic growth by 2015.

The IMF has estimated that in the next five years, 10 out of the 20 fastest-growing economies will be in sub-Saharan Africa and two will be in North Africa. An example of exploding economic growth is Nigeria, where the average income has quadrupled since 2000. Sierra Leone, Ghana, Kenya, and Ethiopia are all seeing quick economic inclines as well.

While African markets are becoming more and more likely to expand rapidly in the next few years, making investing in Africa a lucrative choice, many investors are still reluctant to invest due to the lack of liquidity (ability to buy and sell) of African stock.

– Pete Grapentien

Source: The Telegraph