An economy in trouble?
Secretary of State John Kerry will attend the May 29 inauguration of Nigerian President Elect Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja next week. Buhari stands to replace Goodluck Jonathan, and will take his place in the history books as the first challenger to ever oust an incumbent president in a Nigerian election.
Unlike Kerry’s recent visit to Somalia, this visit will not be unprecedented. Before January’s elections, Kerry visited the country and warned officials that their future relationship with the US depended upon the completion of a successful election.
(One could make a fair argument that the elections weren’t completely successful—many Nigerian polling places—especially those in the conflict-torn northeastern states—played host to violence and intimidation tactics, and prevented a solid majority of the population from casting a vote.)
Kerry’s visit is likely to constitute more than just a celebration of a new regime, however. Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy, and most successful oil producer, but their first quarter returns reflect the nervousness of their investors, and suggest trouble for the economy:
Foreign investment to Nigeria fell by nearly a third with the United States a “key driver” of the decline in the first quarter of 2015, compared to the same period last year, the National Bureau of Statistics said.
“High levels of uncertainty in the quarter due to a postponed election and depressed oil prices resulted in year on year declines in inflows” of $1.23 billion or 31.6 percent, said a new report published this week.
The decline is even sharper, at $1.8 billion or more than 40 percent, when comparing the last quarter of 2014 to the first quarter of 2015, it said.
Capital importation to Africa’s biggest oil producer totaled $2.67 billion for the opening quarter, the lowest in two years, the bureau said, quoting figures from the Central Bank of Nigeria.
You really can’t blame the investors here—the heralded elections that led to the rise of Buhari were delayed six weeks earlier this year during a coalition effort to fight against the rise of Boko Haram.
Meanwhile, northeast Nigeria continues to be a hotbed for the insurgency. Yesterday, a suicide bomber killed 8 people when he blew himself up at a livestock market in Garkida village:
The bomber blew himself up in the crowded livestock market around 1:15 p.m. while traders were conducting business in the weekly market.
“From the information I received from Garkida, the suicide attack killed nine people including the bomber while 14 others sustained serious injuries and are receiving treatment in hospital,” said Jerry Kundusi?, a member of the Adamawa state parliament for the region.
Garkida, in the Gombi district, is 120 kilometers from the state capital, Yola.
“Business was picking up when we heard a loud explosion coming from the gates of the market and we instantly knew we had been attacked,” cattle trader Buba Jada said.
“We rushed to the scene, where we met nine dead bodies including the bomber’s dismembered body and 14 people badly injured sprawled on the ground,” Jada said.
No one has taken credit for the attacks, but most on the ground assume that Boko Haram is behind it. This is a fair assumption; northeast Nigeria is Boko’s main base of operations, and Adamawa (the state where Garkida village is located) has experienced the brunt of the insurgent group’s brutality.
Boko Haram continues to conduct raids in the region, signaling to the world that a change in regime has no bearing on the group’s goals of establishing a caliphate.
Buhari ran and won on a platform that emphasized the “do-nothing” approach the Jonathan regime took with regards to Boko and the crisis in northeast Nigeria. While it remains to be seen how Buhari will react to the persistent violence in the region, military efforts to push Boko Haram out of previously-gained territory have been successful.DONATE
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