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ideas have consequences

You are here:Home>>Items filtered by date: May 2016
 
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  • Ethiopia:Several Killed in Communal Violence in Western Ethiopia
    [Addis Standard] Several people were killed, many of them hacked to death, in yet another communal violence, this time in Illu Aba Bora (Illubabor) zone of the Oromia regional state in western Ethiopia, according to two sources who spoke to Addis Standard by phone. The news has been confirmed this morning by Addisu Arega Kitessa, head of the Oromia regional state communication affairs bureau.
  • Africa:Africa Rising to Meet Future Population Challenges
    [Deutsche Welle] Meetings like the Rebranding Africa Forum bring together some of Africa's most vibrant and innovative young minds to discuss future challenges facing the continent. But when does the talking stop and the action begin?
  • Nigeria:Police Inspector Detained for Shooting Three Farmers Over N50 Bribe
    [Vanguard] A Police Inspector in Ondo state is in trouble for allegedly shooting three farmers on commercial motorcycle, popularly called Okada over N50 bribe (Egunje).

 

 

A Kenyan diplomat has written to the dean of the Africa Diplomatic Corps to protest what she terms as uncivilized, undiplomatic, irresponsible, degrading and insulting behavior by an Egyptian diplomat after he allegedly called sub-Saharan Africans "slaves and dogs."


The diplomats sent a formal complaint to Kenya's foreign ministry after the alleged remark at the UN Environmental Assembly last week, Yvonne Khamati, chairwoman of the African Diplomatic Corps Technical Committee, said on Tuesday. (Photo: YouTube Video Grab)Yvonne Khamati, the chairwoman of the African Diplomatic Corp Technical Committee



Yvonne Khamati, the chairwoman of the African Diplomatic Corp Technical Committee, said in a letter dated May 29 that the head of the Egyptian delegation made the remarks at the end of the United Nations Environment Assembly last week that Kenya hosted.




Khamati is asking for an apology and that Egypt should be stopped from representing Africa in any leadership position.

 

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS NAIROBI, Kenya




Nigeria has teetered on a precipice in the past one year, under Muhammadu Buhari.  I first met Muhammadu Buhari in Washington in July 2015, during his first official post-election visit to the United States, on President Obama’s invitation.  Meeting President Buhari and his aides, at the White House guest house- Blair House, and at a US Chamber of Commerce dinner in DC, provided neutral grounds for brief personal interactions, without the excessive layers of handlers.  While I liked Buhari’s amiable demeanor, I left with apprehensions, pursuant to my awareness of the huge security challenges and strife that Nigeria faces.






However, these meetings now feel like ages ago; considering that Nigeria under Buhari has continued to witness serious security concerns, and a severe economic crisis.  Nigeria is currently either facing bleak political and economic crossroads, or on the verge of a huge opportunity for a “rebirth” and reemergence as a truly stable country.





Rising Insecurity




Two things that grab major attention about Nigeria these days are insecurity and mega corruption.  We will discuss insecurity and get back to corruption later.  Insecurity, whether driven by Boko Haram’s new tactics of suicide-bombing of soft targets; or attacks on Nigerian communities by Fulani Cattle-Herders; or attacks on energy infrastructure with new vigor by Niger Delta Militants; or agitations by the neo Biafra-movements, Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) and Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB); Nigeria is on the edge.





All the above causes of insecurity resonate the same way outside Nigeria-they drive away investors.  President Buhari must handle the above threats delicately; because though “one” of them at a time may fray Nigeria but not decimate the country; nevertheless, “all” of them at the “same time” could destroy the African giant.


President Buhari



President Buhari’s policies as president may not have caused Boko Haram, or the Niger Delta militancy, given that he served briefly as Commander-in-Chief about 32 (thirty Two) years ago, before the complete rise of full militancy.  However, Buhari’s manner of handling all these delicate issues, will either mark him as a formidable African Statesman, or inadvertently create the pathway for the demise of the giant of Africa.





It is my considered opinion so far, that Buhari is not doing enough to calm the frayed nerves of southern Nigerians, pursuant to the several vicious attacks of the Fulani Herdsmen rampaging southward in Nigeria.  Some recent attacks in Plateau state, Benue state, Delta state, and Enugu state signal vastly emboldened ferocity by the Fulani Herdsmen.  There are insinuations that Fulani Herdsmen are the mobile-wing of Boko Haram.





Security, The Economy, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) & Nigeria’s 37th State





No sane investor will invest in a place where they will not only lose their investment, but also suffer the potential peril of loss of life or limb, not even the Nigerian Diaspora.  The Diasporas are the only “foreigners” who also happen to have total allegiance, when it comes to investing in Nigeria ($82 billion in 2012).  It is my considered opinion that the Nigerian Diaspora is Nigeria’s 37th state.  At a population of between 4 and 5 million worldwide, the Diaspora should now be classified as Nigeria’s 37th state; especially given that the Diaspora contributes more to Nigeria, than it benefits from Nigeria.





The Diaspora provides “direct-aide” to Nigeria ($21 billion in 2014), carrying substantial burdens in education for kith and kin; medical care for an aging population; and augmenting the entire hospitality industry in middle and southern Nigeria.  In-fact, the only reason why multiple Boko Haram insurgencies do not exist in Nigeria, is precisely because the Diaspora is bridging the gap between government services or the lack of, and citizen’s needs.







President Buhari must learn to court this 37th state in a manner that reflects the material value they bring into Nigeria.  Meanwhile, what many “Politically Exposed Person’s (PEP’s)” in Nigeria do on the other hand is pretty obvious; they prefer to take resources out, to offshore havens.






As stated earlier, the bulk of Nigeria’s FDI assistance comes directly, or is facilitated by the Nigerian Diaspora, especially from the US and Europe.  However, when Buhari sought to appoint an Advisor for Foreign Affairs and the Diaspora, Buhari appointed Abike Dabiri-Erewa, as Senior Special Assistant.  Abike Dabiri-Erewa has never lived or worked outside Nigeria, except for visiting the US for a 4 to 6 weeks course years ago; thus Abike Dabiri-Erewa has insufficient experience and network to liaise with the Diaspora.





Appointing Dabiri-Erewa as Senior Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora brings the presidents overall judgment into question.  How can Abike Dabiri-Erewa understand a people she has never lived or worked amongst, most of whom have lived outside Nigeria for 20 years or more?  This appointment is a recipe for failure in the administration’s Diaspora policy.






The US Nigerian Diaspora alone number approximately 2 million; many among these have achieved substantially in their host countries and are among the best in their professions; not tapping these persons is either a matter of poor judgment, or something far more sinister-a fear of excellence and embrace of mediocrity??






The Anti-Corruption Campaign and the Race for a Legacy






The world is following the anti-corruption fight in Nigeria with substantial interest.  It is evident that corruption of a very serious and reckless nature ran amok in Nigeria, in the past 20 years.







President Buhari must stay resolute on corruption, since the clampdown on corruption may become the cornerstone of his legacy.  There is nothing normal about a clique, or cabal cornering public funds in the billions of USD, and sharing such funds among themselves, their political associates, and their family members.  News reports of ongoing trials are rife with Defense officials, including the office of the National Security Adviser, service chiefs, and other officials cornering funds in the neighborhood of $15 billion dollars (USD)!!








The same looted funds could have provided robust infrastructure in Energy, Petroleum Refining, Internet connectivity; and youth training, thereby preparing Nigeria for 21st century productivity.  In-fact, the United States should be wary about releasing remaining trapped funds, which were seized from corrupt regimes in the past, until a program that requires sufficient hybrid oversight can be ascertained.  Previously returned funds were re-looted in the recent past.









Many hapless Nigerians, including the Diaspora, and the rest of the world, will stand with a government with an anti-corruption agenda.  Therefore this anti-corruption campaign must be followed to its logical conclusion.  Refunding embezzled funds is really not enough, an environment that fosters sanctions must be established, otherwise, the country will just be recycling corruption.






None of the people facing corruption allegations; from defense officials, to ex-ministers, to ex-governors, and billionaire public servants, are above Nigeria.  They may cry fake cries of ethnic marginalization, or rent crowds of fake supporters, or attempt to compromise judges, to derail their trials.  But eventually, Nigerians will learn that these people are truly dispensable, and that heavens will not fall when they are convicted and jailed.





On Sovereign National Conference






Given the strife and resentments arising from various Nigeria regions, I believe that a “sober” Sovereign National Conference is imperative in Nigeria, given perceived injustice in many quarters.  In-fact, political wisdom and statesmanship dictates that Buhari should be visiting regions of Nigeria that perceive marginalization, to reassure them that it is not the intention of his government.  Unfortunately, we are seeing the opposite, an aloof haughtiness that threatens alienation for this government.







State Internal Revenues and Other Matters




The 36 states of Nigeria have opportunities to pursue serious economic independence from the federal government; they should do this by seeking avenues for diverse internal revenue, including investments into their various states.  A movement in this direction could lead to a gradual devolution of economic power to the regions, leading to reduced inter-community and inter-ethnic strife and resentment, and local youth discontent.







Many state governors with high youth populations in Nigeria do not seem to realize they are sitting on gunpowder that could explode anytime.  The federal and state governments need proactive youth development programs, with the federal government working closely with the states, to execute and implement these programs.  A steady delegation of responsibilities for development, to state and local governments, should become the mantra in Nigeria.







Each Nigerian state is reasonably endowed, and the states should be encouraged to go forth and generate their own internal revenues for their sustenance.  Nigeria’s economy stands a much better chance of growing from within, in the exchange of goods and services among the states, amid the local production of goods.







Nigeria’s Unspoken Assets






It is not obvious that this government realizes that some of Nigeria’s richest endowments are in her intellectual property-think “Nollywood” and the burgeoning music and entertainment industry.  The bright-light of Nigeria’s recognition worldwide over the past 20 years, is her entertainment industry, which is now a bona fide export to all Africa, the Caribbean, and increasingly the entire black world.  Nigerian entertainers are already raking in millions performing in other African countries.  They deserve attention and recognition that we have not seen from this government.





Intellectual property (arts & entertainment), are a huge untapped reservoir of foreign exchange for Nigeria.  It is noteworthy that an entertainment group from Sweden “Abba” was generating more foreign exchange for Sweden during their prime, than the Swedish auto giant “Volvo”.






President Buhari should bear in mind that every country or region have their own issues to deal with; therefore, the sooner Nigeria starts looking inwards, and cutting their coats down to size, the sooner Nigeria begins to arise as a truly stable nation.  Hoping to sell finite resources under the ground for posterity, in order to fund development is dangerous economics.





Appointing Envoys and the Rise of a New Nigeria





Soon President Buhari will begin the process of appointing foreign emissaries/Ambassadors.  It is very important that Mr. Buhari appoints capable hands with international exposure to represent him while he concentrates on the huge domestic problems the country faces right now.


Mbonu with Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee, at US CongressMbonu with Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee, at US Congress




Nigeria is lucky to have very capable hands in various countries, these people have sufficient backgrounds in the countries they live in, to guide Nigeria in engaging with foreign nations.  President Buhari should be watchful to appoint Ambassadors who can interact sufficiently with their host countries; there is no time to learn in ambassadorial roles; ambassadors should hit the ground running.





Also, appointing the right people will enable Buhari to have confidence on Nigeria’s emissaries, and provide opportunities for a new Nigeria to emerge.  Anything less will amount to wasted opportunities, and keep the country revolving in a vicious cycle of underdevelopment.





Either-way, carrying Nigerians along on this epic journey is the number one job for Muhammadu Buhari.





S. Okey Mbonu       Executive Director, NAL Council (Nigerian-American Leadership Council), Washington, DC                   
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
----
The Author is the Executive Director of Washington DC-based NAL Council (Nigerian-American Leadership Council Web: www.nalcouncil.org).  Mbonu attended American University Washington DC and the University of the District of Columbia School of law, and holds a Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD) law degree.  He previously served as Commissioner for Housing & Community Development in Prince George’s Maryland.


Mbonu frequently appears at the US Congress, as an expert on Nigeria and US-Nigeria matters.  He also frequently appears as Expert Analyst on US Media, and has been acknowledged; “A Powerful Voice on US-Nigerian Affairs” by US Media Giant, MSNBC (February 14, 2015).  The NAL Council is the pre-eminent think-tank in Washington that is focused on US-Nigeria relations, and Nigerian matters.  


Mbonu can be reached at: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Tel: 202 379-2848, Ext. 301.

Another bombshell on Nigeria's current inflation rate is coming from Professor Stevie Hanke of applied economics, Johns Hopkins University and director of the Troubled Currencies Project at Cato Institute. He professed  that the discrepancy on the modus of the  tabulation  of Nigeria's inflation rate does not reflect the true reality of the higher  inflationary trends.


Prof. Hanke writes that  the  implied Nigeria’s inflation rate is 58.6 percent not 12.77% as formulated and provided by  Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in concert with the  Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).


Recently, same Prof. Hanke called Nigeria’s naira a junk currency. His words:

"Nigeria is in trouble. Amid double-digit inflation, Nigeria's foreign reserves are dwindling as the government races to shore up a swooning currency, the naira.”


And then he uttered the famous  “J”  word :,

“The currency (naira) is junk and the government is incompetent and corrupt. The only sure-fire way to solve all these problems is for Nigeria to officially replace its junk currency."



Now in his latest commentary titled “Nigeria’s growing economic troubles” he argued that inflation rate calculation and tabulation was much smaller from the real inflationary trends because the Central Bank of Nigeria was assigned  a lower coefficient of 4.6 percent that invariably masks the real inflation rate.



Professor Hanke writes: “This large discrepancy between the most recent official annual inflation rate of 12.77 percent and my implied inflation rate of 58.6 percent calls again for the use of a lie coefficient. The formula for utilizing this lie coefficient is as follows: (official data) × (lie coefficient) = real estimate. At present, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s lie coefficient is 4.6.”



He further argues: “Without a major currency reform (read: the installation of a currency board), the weakness of Nigeria’s naira will not end anytime soon. This is bad news for inflation, which, according to my Cato Troubled Currencies Project estimate, has exploded to an annual rate of 58.6 percent. This is a long way from the official estimate (see the chart below).”



As for me, the point that must be succinctly  made is that the  reality of the surging inflationary trend  is unquestionable and it is self- evident in the lives of Nigerians. The higher food prices, higher transportation fares and increase in price of petrol are making existential question of decent live hoods  unbearable in Nigeria.  We can park numbers, statistics  and tabulations for the experts but we must recognized that things are no longer at ease.



When Prof. Hanke called  naira a "junk currency",  I did categorically disagreed with him because if left unchallenged then he must be right. This time around I would like to disprove him but only CBN and NBS have methodological formula for tabulating inflation rate.



Image result for emeka chiakweluEmeka  Chiakwelu, Principal Policy Strategist at AFRIPOL. His works have appeared in Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Forbes and many other important journals around the world. His writings have also been cited in many economic books, publications and many institutions of higher learning including tagteam Harvard Education. Africa Political & Economic Strategic Center (AFRIPOL) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa.   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it       www.afripol.org


China and Africa friendship as trade partners can sometimes brings some devastating rumor that can threaten the  friendship.  The rumor sweeping the entire land of Zambia is that Chinese are sending cans of human flesh to Zambia and Africa.



In a statement released by China's ambassador to Zambia, he categorically denied the rumour and deemed it a slanderous misinformation :"Today a local tabloid newspaper is openly spreading a rumor, claiming that the Chinese use human meat to make corned beef and sell it to Africa. This is completely a malicious slandering and vilification which is absolutely unacceptable to us."



Even the Chinese state media also accused Zambian tabloids of spearheading the false rumour  especially those  "people with ulterior motives were attempting to destroy the long-standing partnership between Zambia and China."



In the Zambian taboilds "Some reports quoted people who allegedly worked in Chinese meat factories as saying that the practice had begun because China had run out of space to bury their dead or that Beijing reserved its good, nonhuman meat for more powerful countries.



Such rumors are, of course, untrue. As the hoax-busting website Snopes.com notes, the photographs shared online that purport to show "human flesh" were from a 2012 marketing stunt for the video-game Resident Evil 6,"  reported by US Washington post.




China has a along time relationship with Zambia and has built many projects in Zambia. But this relationship has  not been without troubles. For in the past  "there have been a number of scandals involving Chinese projects in Zambia, including an explosion at a factory in 2005 that killed more than 50 Zambian workers."



China requested an investigation from the government of Zambia  and has received a statement of regrets  from Zambian government. 


Christopher Mulenga, Zambian Deputy Defense Minister was quoted saying that : "The government of Zambia regrets the incident in view of the warm relations that exist between Zambia and China," Mulenga was quoted as saying by China's official Xinhua News Agency. "We shall make sure that relevant government authorities will take up the investigations and give a comprehensive statement."




This type of rumour is not peculiar to China.  BBC has once written a false news about human flesh being sold and consumed in Anambra State, Nigeria. But later BBC apologized and withdrew the story.

 

 



(CNSNews.com) -- "In your nation, God is being eroded, eclipsed, liquidated," Cardinal Robert Sarah from Equatorial Guinea, who was appointed as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments by Pope Francis in 2014, told hundreds of prominent Catholic clergy and lay people attending the 12th annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast Tuesday in Washington. 



In what he called "portentous times" for the Catholic Church and for the world, Cardinal Sarah condemned same-sex marriage, transgender bathroom laws, and attacks on the family as "demonic".



“All manner of immorality is not only accepted and tolerated today in advanced societies, it is even promoted as a social good,” the African cardinal said. “The result is hostility to Christians and increasingly, religious persecution.”




“This is not an ideological war between competing ideas,” Sarah told the D.C. gathering. “This is about defending ourselves, children and future generations from the demonic idolatry that says children do not need mothers and fathers. It denies human nature and wants to cut off an entire generation from God.”




“The entire world looks to you, waiting and praying to see what America resolves on the present unprecedented challenges the world faces today. Such is your influence and responsibility,” said the archbishop emeritus of Conakry, Guinea.




“I encourage you to truly make use of the freedom willed by your founding fathers lest you lose it,” he warned his American audience.




Quoting St. John Paul II that “the future of the world and the Church pass through the family,” Sarah pointed out that “this is why the Holy Father openly and vigorously defends Church teaching on contraception, abortion, homosexuality, reproductive technologies, the education of children, and much more.”





“The generous and responsible love of spouses made visible through the self-giving of parents who welcome children as a gift of God makes love visible in our generation. It makes present the perfect charity of eternity. ‘If you see charity, you see the Trinity,’ wrote St. Augustine,” the cardinal noted.




However, a broken family can also be the source of deep psychological wounds, he said.



“The rupture of the foundational relationship of someone’s life through separation, divorce or distorted imposters of the family such as co-habitation or same-sex unions is a deep wound that closes the heart to self-giving love into death, and even leads to cynicism and despair. These situations cause damage to the little children through inflicting upon them deep existential doubt about love….





"This is why the devil is so intent on destroying the family. If the family is destroyed, we lose our God-given anthropological foundations, and so find it more difficult to welcome the saving good news of Jesus Christ: self-giving, fruitful love.”




“Sadly, the advent of artificial reproductive technologies, surrogacy, so-called homosexual marriage, and other evils of gender idolatry will inflict even more wounds in the midst of the generation we live with,” said Sarah, who is also the author of God or Nothing.





“Advanced societies including, I regret, this nation, have done and continue to do anything possible to legalize such situations….This is why it is so important to fight to protect the family, the first cell of the life of the Church in every society.”





The cardinal warned that “hidden” forms of religious persecution are just as damaging to believers as physical attacks.


"Even in this yet young 21st century of barely 16 years, one million people have been martyred around the world because of their belief in Jesus Christ. Yet the violence against Christians is not just physical, it is also political, ideological and cultural.





"This form of religious persecution is equally damaging, yet more hidden. It does not destroy physically, but spiritually… This is the will of the Evil One: to close Heaven out of envy.



“Do we not see signs of this insidious war in this great nation of the United States?" Sarah asked. 



"In the name of tolerance, the Church’s teaching on marriage, sexuality and [the] human person are being dismantled. The legalization of same-sex marriage, your beginning to accept contraception within healthcare programs and even bathroom bills that allow men to use the women’s restroom and locker rooms.





“Should not a biological man use the men’s restroom? How simpler can that concept be?” the cardinal asked to applause and laughter from the audience.




“How low we are sinking for a nation built on a set of moral claims about God, the human person, the meaning of life and the purpose of society, even by America’s first settlers and founders….




“George Washington wrote that the establishment of civil and religious liberty was the motive that induced him into the field of battle. Today we find ourselves before the battle of sickness…. I call this sickness the liquidation, the eclipse of God.”



The Church’s challenge today is to “fight with courage and hope… and not be afraid to raise her voice to denounce the hypocrites, manipulators and the false prophets” who would lead the faithful astray.




“The battle to preserve the roots of mankind is perhaps the greatest challenge the world has faced since its origins,” Sarah said.



“Be prophetic, be faithful, pray” for the soul of America and to “help stem the tide of evil that is spreading throughout the world,” the cardinal exhorted. “For in the end, it is God or nothing.”

Where many politicians have tried and failed, Peter Obi the former governor of Anambra State and the candidate for the senate has managed to succeed, if not triumphed. It will not be understatement to call Peter Obi one of the most successful Igbo politicians in the contemporary Nigeria’s disconcerted political topography.  





Obi as an astute politician understands the theatrics of modern politics and the application of political triangulation that is rooted in the third force of political arrangement.  Obi comprehends the sense and sensibility of his political grassroots especially the voting religious and business groups in the Igbo political sphere especially in Anambra State. 




Obi is among the rarely Nigerian politician that can be described as a personality of a 21stcentury; a disciplined caliber that understands political economy and its application in the polity. With a capitalistic conscience grounded on private enterprise and enriched with an experience on public policy he derived as a former governor of Anambra State, his political ambition appears regimented.





His public policy understanding, prowess and scope together with his experience as a business executive was vividly portrayed in his political career.  His logicality and reasoning shows a serious mind and a dedicated citizenship that is willing to apply his best for the greater good of our country Nigeria.





How did he able to emerge as most respectful and successful politician despite the low trust of politicians in Eastern Nigeria?




Yes, he represented the modern politics of third force which is rooted in political triangulation. The study of the act of successful politics with zenith attention on the environment is the permeable to a political triangulation, which becomes as a means to define oneself with successful tools to accomplish a given task at hand.





Triangulation was first introduced into political lexicon by Dick Morris, the chief political adviser to President of the United States. Triangulation as Dick Morris philosophized is anchored on    a given politician taking “ a position that not only blended the best of each party's views but also transcended them to constitute a third force in the debate.”




Obi style of governance in rooted in discipline and simplicity. He comes to work on time, does his work and goes home to his family at the end of day.  His governorship was controversy free and I am no way suggesting that he is a saint. But he has demonstrated that he can do his job without distraction and pandemonium. 





So far, the former governor of Anambra, Peter Obi has demonstrated that longevity in politics especially in Anambra State is attainable when you are willing to work for it. With many political foes and well wishers, the greatest strength of Obi will be his ability to leverage his profound political calculus for survival and success in the uncanny world of politics.




Emeka ChiakweluEmeka  Chiakwelu, Principal Policy Strategist at AFRIPOL. His works have appeared in Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Forbes and many other important journals around the world. His writings have also been cited in many economic books, publications and many institutions of higher learning including tagteam Harvard Education. Africa Political & Economic Strategic Center (AFRIPOL) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa.   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it       www.afripol.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

World Health Organization (WHO) released a ranking data  that placed Onitsha as the most polluted city in the world.  Out of the twenty most polluted cities in the world Onitsha was ranked number one.



“The most polluted city in the world, according to the WHO data, is Onitsha, a fast-growing port and transit city in south-eastern Nigeria that recorded levels of nearly 600 micrograms per cubic metre of PM10s - around 30 times the WHO recommended level of 20 micrograms per cubic metre… the data only includes measurements for particulates and does not include forms of air pollution such as NO2 and ozone, ”  as reported by UK Guardian.



"Particulate matter," also known as particle pollution or PM, is a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets. Particle pollution is made up of a number of components, including acids (such as nitrates and sulfates), organic chemicals, metals, and soil or dust particles."



World Economic Forum also added that :
“Of the 3,000 cities in the WHO’s air quality database, the most polluted at the time of measurement was Onitsha, a fast-growing city in Nigeria, which recorded roughly 30 times more than the WHO’s recommended levels of PM10 particles. Peshawar in Pakistan was in second place, followed by Zabol in Iran.
These cities are mostly located in rapidly growing economies in the Middle East and South East Asia. Four of the 20 urban areas with the worst air quality at the time of measurement were in Nigeria, three were in Saudi Arabia, three were in India, and two in Iran.

China, which has been working to tackle its air pollution problem, is the only country with just one city on the most polluted list.




The Eastern Mediterranean (covering the Middle East and parts of North Africa) and South East Asia were the regions that performed worst overall in the database – with urban air pollution rising 5% in more than two-thirds of cities. Annual mean levels of air pollution in cities in these regions often exceeded five to 10 times WHO limits.  Among mega-cities (urban areas with over 14 million inhabitants) Delhi and Cairo had the highest levels of urban air pollution. “



Pm Graph


Dr Maria Neira, director of public health at the WHO in Geneva, said

“We have a public health emergency in many countries. Urban air pollution continues to rise at an alarming rate, wreaking havoc on human health. It’s dramatic, one of the biggest problems we are facing globally, with terrible future costs to society. The cost for countries is enormous. Air pollution affects economies and people’s quality of life. It leads to major chronic diseases and to people ultimately dying.”

 

The power of life and death is in the tongue                                                                                                               -                                                                                 
- Proverb 18:21


Words, images and remarks are powerful. Again, spoken words have consequences.  One of United States of America most respected and influential economist, Steve Hanke, a professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins made a remark on Nigeria’s naira currency during an interview with CNBC, which I philosophically disagreed.  Professor Hanke called naira a “junk” currency.



Professor Hanke is also co-director of the Institute for Applied Economics, Global Health, and the Study of Business Enterprise at The Johns Hopkins University. At Cato Institute he is a senior fellow and director of the Troubled Currencies Project and has been a senior adviser at the Renmin University of China’s International Monetary Research Institute in Beijing for some time.  Therefore when he speaks the world of commerce and currency listens.



Professor Hanke said:


"Nigeria is in trouble. Amid double-digit inflation, Nigeria's foreign reserves are dwindling as the government races to shore up a swooning currency, the naira.”

And then he made the devastating “J” statement,


“The currency (naira) is junk and the government is incompetent and corrupt. The only sure-fire way to solve all these problems is for Nigeria to officially replace its junk currency."



Those who are not accustom on how remarks and words affect global commerce and currency, when spoken by a highly esteemed economist like Prof. Hanke will be asking:  what is the big deal?


Yes, it is a big deal because in most cases perception does become reality. Already, inflation is biting hard on ordinary Nigerians due to the weakening naira but further destruction of the currency will totally destabilize the country’s economic and financial topography.



Steve Hanke, a professor of applied economics at Johns HopkinsProfessor Hanke



As I mentioned in one of my articles on naira and wealth of a nation: The value and worth of a currency is determined by the wealth of a nation.  In this era of global capitalism, a wealth of nation goes beyond the conventional valuation based on the natural and human resources.  A nation’s image, perception, security and stability also played an important role in the determination of a nation’s wealth. Therefore currency and its value become the bellwether and principal indicator of
the economic status and financial wellbeing of a given nation.




I did agree with Hanke that “Nigeria is in trouble” and I will further assent that the cause of that is rooted in corruption and incompetence. But it must be made crystal clear that the mismanagement of naira and economy has been a long time problem. Therefore there is no easy way out; neither is there a panacea that can immediately neutralize the surging and contemporary calamity facing the country.




When Prof. Hanke said, “The only sure-fire way to solve all these problems is for Nigeria to officially replace its junk currency."  I would like to know for sure what he is actually saying. Does he want Nigeria to come up with a new currency or is he implying that further devaluation of naira is necessary and inevitable? Whatever he might be saying or implying, Nigeria problem cannot be solve with his subscriptions and suggestions.



Nigeria is in a deeper hole beyond the perception of the educated and influential professor of allied economics. Nigeria has a macroeconomics dislocation that hinges on its one commodity based economy and mismanagement rooted on mediocrity and corruption. A nation that failed to do the right thing will also pay the price when the time for reckoning comes.





Due to colonial inferiority complex embedded in low-self esteem,  Africa’s policy makers have failed to look inward but every step of the way laid their trust, hope and projections on IMF, World Bank and any  other institutions that are using Africa as a Petri-dish to convolute, fabricate and conjure policies that may not be workable  in any other place.  Surely, Nigeria’s naira is in trouble but nevertheless, it is not a junk currency.





Emeka  Chiakwelu, Principal Policy Strategist at AFRIPOL. His works have appeared in Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Forbes and many other important journals around the world. His writings have also been cited in many economic books, publications and many institutions of higher learning including tagteam Harvard Education. Africa Political & Economic Strategic Center (AFRIPOL) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa.   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it       www.afripol.org



Another corruption summit will again take place in London. This time around the chief organizer and town crier is David Cameron’s Great Britain. The last one about two years ago was initiated by G8 and we are still waiting for solutions and results.


“Police Minister, Judith Collins will represent the Prime Minister at the London Anti-Corruption Summit being hosted by UK Prime Minister David Cameron on 12 May 2016. The Summit will promote the importance of exposing corruption, punishing those responsible and supporting those who have suffered, and driving out the culture of corruption, where it exists. Prime Minister Cameron is also inviting the leaders of the world’s major international institutions that play a key role in anti-corruption efforts around the globe.”


Not to be called Afro-pessimist but how meetings are enough? Experts and organizers of all these summits know what to do to eradicate, if not minimize corruption but continue to play politics with it.   Evidently, what they lack is the willpower and chutzpah to do the right thing.


Corruption is decelerating and impending progress in Africa. In "Panama Papers" report many individuals and entities were embroiled in tax evasions and denied countries from getting funds that can be utilized to develop infrastructures. Where are United Nations, European Union and African Union on doing credible and verifiable investigations on Panama papers?




As noted by Alex de Waal, “Africa loses at least $50 billion a year — and probably much, much more than that — perfectly lawfully. About 60% of this loss is from aggressive tax avoidance by multinational corporations, which organise their accounts so that they make their profits in tax havens, where they pay little or no tax. Much of the remainder is from organised crime with a smaller amount from corruption. This was the headline finding of the High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, headed by former South African President Thabo Mbeki, a year ago.”



And he further stressed that the “amount is the same or smaller than international development assistance ($52 billion per year) or remittances ($62 billion). If we take the accumulated stock of these illicit financial flows since 1970 and factor in the returns on this capital, Africa has provided the rest of the world with $1.7 trillion, at a conservative estimate. Africa is a capital exporter.”


The problem of corruption especially in Africa and indeed in the developing countries is an old and tiring story not because it has lost its importance but for the fact that the level of hypocrisy associated with it, is blatantly overwhelming.



Many a times we have heard the war cry and proposals to defeat corruption particularly the war against corruption. But instead of corruption to be diminishing and ebbing away, it is rather gaining momentum. 



So this time around, can we take this summit serious or  is it  just another intellectual and esoteric exercise?


Corruption poses a great danger in Africa especially among the oil producing nations of Africa. The former South African president Thabo Mbek, who became the chairman of a panel that monitors Africa's unlawful financial capital flight, reported that "Over 50 billion U.S. dollars is illicitly transferred from Africa annually with multinational corporations being the main culprits."


And it was further stated by the panel that "Sub-Saharan Africa has experienced an exodus of more than 700 billion dollars in capital flight since 1970, a sum that far surpasses the region's external debt outstanding of roughly 175 billion dollars. It is believed that some of the money wound up in private accounts at the same banks that were making loans to African governments."



The sources of the capital flight comes mostly from earnings of oil and mineral exports and Osita Ogbu, a Fellow at Brookings suggested that  "billions of dollars in debt that Africa has accumulated in its post-colonial era are partially a result of irresponsible foreign lenders," as China.org.cn reported.



When it comes to bribery and money laundering, Royal African Society reported: "The World Bank estimates that $1 trillion is paid in bribes each year throughout the world. African countries are prominent among those said to be corrupt in Transparency International's Corruption Index and the negative impact of high levels of bribery and theft is compounded by the tendency to take the ill-gotten proceeds out of the continent. Indeed, the African Union estimates that the continent loses as much as $148 billion a year to corruption. This money is rarely invested in Africa but finds its way into the international banking system and often into western banks. The proceeds of corrupt practices in Africa, (which the African experts group recommended in 2002 should be classified as a 'crime against humanity' because of its impact on ordinary people), are often laundered and made respectable by some of the most well-known banks in the City of London or the discreet personal bankers of Geneva and Zurich."



And it further stressed that "while the Swiss have been cleaning up their banking system, the City of London is now the laundry of choice for much dirty money."Therefore this is not the time to give a lip service and issue press releases that will be buried in heaps of failures of yesterdays.



Anti-corruption legislation is utmost important to be enacted in the West with regards to money laundering. For the responsibility of fighting corruption is too complex and gigantic to be left for one party. Both Africa and West must partake in the fight against corruption. The West must enact banking laws that will fish out bankers that accept laundered money and tainted wealth from corrupt African leaders and bureaucrats. Ill-gotten wealth must be returned to Africa without much ado, while the culprits must be exposed and prosecuted.




Emeka Chiakwelu, Principal Policy Strategist at Afripol. Africa Political & Economic Strategic Center (AFRIPOL) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa. www.afripol.org   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it




 


"Nigeria is in trouble," Steve Hanke, a professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins, told CNBC in an interview. Amid double-digit inflation, Nigeria's foreign reserves are dwindling as the government races to shore up a swooning currency, the naira.


The currency is junk and the government is incompetent and corrupt," said Johns Hopkins' Hanke. "The only sure-fire way to solve all these problems is for Nigeria to officially replace its junk currency."


========================
Pop quiz: Which oil rich economy hammered by the global slump in crude is in the throes of a full-fledged economic crisis — complete with rationing, civil strife and runaway inflation stoked by a weak currency?


If you guessed Venezuela, you'd be wrong. Although the South American country teeters on the edge of collapse and fits the above scenario, those same circumstances actually apply to Nigeria. Once a powerhouse of West Africa's economy, the effects of slumping oil prices have converged with mounting security concerns and widespread energy shortages. The OPEC country, which produces more than 2 million barrels of oil per day, is resorting to rationing crude: In order to fill their tanks, citizens must endure long lines overseen by authorities.


Nigeria "is caught in a macro hurricane," famed short seller James Chanos told the annual Sohn Investment Conference last week. With currency reserves running low, the country could have "a big problem" within a few years, he said. Calling the country "a borderline failed state," Chanos added that he was shorting South African assets, in part because of their exposure to Nigeria.


In the year that Nigerians elected a new president, oil prices collapsed by at least 30 percent. This week, Nigeria's stock market staged a relief rally after the closely watched MSCI Frontier Markets Index decided to keep the country in the benchmark, after warning last month that Nigeria was at risk of being booted from the index. Still, the outlook for Africa's largest economy remains grim. The extremist group Boko Haram has created significant political and security challenges for the embattled government of Muhammadu Buhari, and raise risks that could hit oil production.



"Nigeria is in trouble," Steve Hanke, a professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins, told CNBC in an interview. Amid double-digit inflation, Nigeria's foreign reserves are dwindling as the government races to shore up a swooning currency, the naira.


Using a purchasing power parity metric, Hanke estimates that the country's prices are surging by a whopping 46 percent, far above the official rate of between 11 and 13 percent. Weak growth — Nigeria's economy expanded by less than 3 percent last year — has done little to curb soaring food prices, which have risen every month since December 2015.



Meanwhile, oil prices remain firmly under $50 per barrel, heightening the risk of what consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers noted in a 2015 report could become a "security shock," as weak growth feeds political instability. Currently, the country's 2016 budget assumes an oil price of $38 per barrel. Razia Khan, chief economist for Africa at Standard Chartered, expects crude will rise later in the year, but growth is likely to remain muted. Khan noted that the International Monetary Fund "expects growth to decline even further in 2016, to 2.3 percent."




Oil gives Nigeria around 95 percent of its foreign earnings. Should crude remain at current levels, PwC expects growth to contract and oil revenues to dwindle to $20 billion. Meanwhile, the currency has already overshot PwC's worst-case forecast for this year, blowing past 320 to the U.S. dollar recently. "The currency is junk and the government is incompetent and corrupt," said Johns Hopkins' Hanke. "The only sure-fire way to solve all these problems is for Nigeria to officially replace its junk currency."



Nigeria still has limited access to capital markets, and a $6 billion currency swap agreement with China may help contain the naira's losses. Yet with oil still hovering near historic lows, analysts are skeptical Nigeria will see a turnaround anytime soon. "Following a tumultuous year for the naira in 2015 we believe the any recovery in the currency will have to be supported by a marked improvement in the crude oil price," Standard Chartered's Khan said, adding that oil would need to rise to near $55 to offset the effects of an "oversupplied market."
— CNBC's Dawn Giel contributed to this article.

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