Africa debate: Is Nigeria prepared to lead a continent?

A billboard of a annual Felabration low-pitched festival during a New Afrika Shrine in Lagos (19 Jul 2012)

Nigeria recently overtook South Africa to spin Africa’s biggest economy. But a nation faces innumerable problems – including a heartless Islamist-led insurgency, high levels of poverty, and widespread corruption. Can it now spin a continent’s leader? BBC Africa canvassed a views of both Nigerians and other Africans.

Simi Fajemirokun, Nigerian

A Nigerian tyro smiles as she attends autonomy day celebrations in Lagos on 1  Oct  2013

Nigeria is already heading Africa by a perfect distance of a population, a presentation as a largest economy on a continent and a informative bravery around a song and film attention opposite a globe.

History provides serve justification of this in Nigeria’s peacekeeping purpose in West Africa, that brought fortitude to a region, quelling a polite wars in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

So how good is Nigeria fulfilling a care role? At present, Nigeria’s leaders miss a clarity of recognition and purpose and this has led to confused policies and blunders such as a abduction of a Chibok girls, a flitting of an anti-gay law and too many others to mention.

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  • $509.9bn (£307.6bn) GDP in 2013

  • 68 mobile phones per 100 people

  • 52 years life outlook

  • 57% adult preparation rate

This bad care also overshadows a extraordinary things function behind a scenes, though as a aged gives approach to a new, a softened Nigeria is being unveiled.

From record to conform to music, Nigeria’s subsequent era have suggested a open tip – that Nigeria was unfailing to lead Africa.

Nigeria’s Afrobeats stars

Nigeria contribution and figures

Inside Nigeria’s tip happy club

Simi Fajemirokun is a supervision consultant in Abuja

Simon Allison, South African

Johannesburg skyline (12 Jun 2010)

No, is a perspective from Johannesburg. Economically, Nigeria’s newly arrogant sum domestic product (GDP) means really tiny here.

We know that these are usually re-arranged numbers on some bureaucrat’s spreadsheet, and that a economy is still some-more diversified, tolerable and eventually appealing to investors.

Our genuine regard is political. Nigeria and South Africa are sealed in a extreme scuffle over who will be a African superpower, and Nigeria has usually attacked us of a many manly advantage.

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Tune in to a BBC World Service during 1200 GMT on Friday 27 Jun to listen to The Africa Debate: Is Nigeria prepared to lead Africa? It will also be rebroadcast that day in Africa during 1900 GMT.

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South Africa’s pre-eminence in continental affairs, and a membership of institutions such as a G20 and Brics, as good as a intensity permanent chair on a UN Security Council, rests on a explain to be Africa’s largest economy.

That pretension now belongs to Nigeria, that is also Africa’s many populous country. So, who should be represented on these bodies?

South Africa’s concerns are compounded by fears, voiced secretly by supervision officials and diplomats, that chaotic, corruption-prone Nigeria is non-professional to assume a layer of continental leadership.

Most South Africans would tend to agree: The notice persists of Nigerians as drug dealers and 419 scammers, creation it tough for Nigeria to be taken severely here.

The migrants doing business in SA townships

South Africa contribution and figures

Simon Allison is Africa match of South Africa’s Daily Maverick journal

Nicole Amarteifio, Ghanaian

As shortly as we design one nation to lead a whole continent, it is as if a other countries, numbering some-more than 50, are excluded of all responsibility.

Whether a nation has a competition of 150 million people or 3 million people, any African nation is obliged for a care of a continent – possibly it is included with resources or not.

It is like a send race, where a group is usually as clever as a weakest runner.

Nigeria's Metu Obina (C), runs between Zimbabwe's Lewis Banda (L) and Burkina Faso's Idrissa Sanou (R) to win a Men's 4 x 100 send final on 20 Jul 2007 during a All-African-Games in Algiers

In a same way, a African continent is usually as clever as a weakest country.

So, we should all find a weakest nation in Africa, spin to it and ask: Are we prepared to lead?

Nicole Amarteifio is creator of a web series, An African City

Antony Ragui, Kenyan

When we launched a I Paid A Bribe website to request crime in Kenya, my subsequent nation of concentration was Nigeria.

But bureaucracy and miss of goodwill was a barrier. Nigeria is barbarous for diseased governance, regulatory failure, diseased care and an unstructured economy. This creates a opening for crime to thrive.

Kenyans take partial in a explanation in  Nairobi on 17 Feb 2010

Nigeria is famous for many things, some of them positive, like football, song and Nollywood movies.

It also has a clever banking participation in Africa and boasts Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, a continent-wide investor.

But it is also famous for crime and crime. Many Kenyans partly censure Nigerians for stricter immigration rules, quite for travelling to a UK and South Africa.

I remember being stopped by etiquette officers during Heathrow, a categorical airfield in London. The reason? we was seen articulate to a Nigerian who had usually been arrested for ferrying drugs.

All of this is unpropitious to Nigeria’s picture as a personality of a continent. To take a care position, Nigeria contingency repair a foundations.

Is Nigeria critical about rebellious corruption?

Africa viewpoint: Nollywood and religion

Antony Ragui set adult a we Paid a Bribe website in Nairobi

Elnathan John, Nigerian

Vehicles bake after an dispute in Abuja on 14 Apr 2014

Two vital questions arise: Is Africa going anywhere? Is Nigeria prepared to lead itself out of a possess chaos? we would like to wish that a answer to both questions is yes. But hope, distinct faith, is premised on reason and justification.

In annoy of clever claims of a rising continent, countries still work during cranky purposes, transport within a continent is prohibitively expensive, vital powers antagonize any other, competing instead of cooperating, and misery and dispute is on a increase.

While there is definite explanation of mercantile expansion that has resulted in Nigeria apropos a largest economy in Africa, most of this expansion has had zero to do with supervision planning, process or promotion, save for new billionaires whose fast acquired resources flows from supervision contracts, monopolies and astray business practices.

This is probable usually in a nation where law is diseased or plainly tranquil by cabals. When private business flourishes, it does so in annoy of Nigeria’s infrastructure – and domestic and amicable systems – being dysfunctional.

A male loading unfeeling on a bike during Buruku, in Kaduna State, Nigeria (February 2006)Most Nigerian still onslaught to acquire a simple living

Worse still, Nigeria is possibly cruel or in rejection about a crises that bluster a relations fortitude heading adult to a 2015 elections – from a Boko Haram rebellion to clashes between tillage communities and pastoralists.

It seems all that a receptive mind can have is faith.

Boko Haram predicament in deadliest phase

Who are Nigeria’s Boko Haram Islamists?

Elnathan John is a counsel and author formed in Abuja

Chibundu Onuzo, Nigerian

Much has been done of Nigeria’s inclusion into business guru Jim Neill’s sorcery acronyms. Hurrah! Nigeria done it into a Mint bar – Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey – that Mr Neill identifies as a rising powerhouses, rivalling Brics – Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa.

Greatness is usually turn a bend. Already, we have started sauce a part.

GDP in 2012 and 2050

Last month, we hosted a World Economic Forum (WEF). This year, we rebased a GDP to uncover new growth.

But to safeguard that ours is not a box of character of over substance, we contingency residence a basis – education, health, security, electricity and roads.

Twelve-year-old, Kemi Olajuwon, who has to dump out of propagandize some days to sell smoked fish and make income  in a Obalende area of Lagos, Nigeria, on  Jun 17, 2014

I have a relations who roughly died from feign drugs. He swallowed tablet after tablet for a condition that usually run-down until luckily he detected his medicine was done of chalk.

That was before Dora Akunyili became a conduct of a Nigerian Agency for Food and Drug Control in 2008. Under her leadership, a tawdry products that flooded a Nigerian marketplace were burning out in a matter of years.

Mrs Akunyili, who recently died, demonstrated how fast mutation could take place in a zone when a personality is peaceful to step adult to a plate.

Nigeria has some-more soothing energy than any other nation on a continent. Our enlightenment is exported around film and music.

Femi Kuti, Nigerian musician and son of late Afrobeat idol Fela Kuti, performs during a 45th Montreux Jazz Festival on 14 Jul 2011

I was in South Africa progressing this year and we met many Joburgers bending on Nollywood films and there was no bar or cafeteria we stepped into whose playlist did not have Nigerian music. Thus in some areas, we already lead a continent.

Yet, on issues like medical and education, smaller countries like Rwanda and Mauritius continue to consistently outperform us.

Perhaps we overreach size. Kwame Nkrumah, Thomas Sankara and Amilcar Cabral were all group from comparatively tiny countries whose care softened a lives of their adults and gave them station in Africa and a world.

Leadership can renovate a country, no matter how slight a borders or how shoal a healthy apparatus deposits. One can usually suppose a wonders that would take place if Nigeria’s abounding resources was interconnected with idealist leadership.

Why are a Mint countries special?

Chibundu Onuzo is a Nigerian author study in a UK


Ronak Gopaldas, South African

Investors are clamouring to get into Nigeria – and it’s easy to see why. The country’s constrained investment proposition, vast expansion prospects, low open debt and a clever outmost change piece means that a nation is good placed to spin a informal personality and mercantile powerhouse.

That is over and above a compared advantages of aloft oil prices. Overall prospects for a economy sojourn clever notwithstanding a state of Nigeria’s politics – volatile, formidable and mostly messy.

Building stocked with fireworks on glow in Lagos Island on 26  Dec  2012

While high levels of misery and stagnation will spasmodic mix with a country’s racial and eremite cleavages to emanate a reduction that will brief over into outbreaks of violence, a nation is doubtful to devolve into a unsuccessful state.

Nigeria’s change is subsequent from a vast competition of some-more than 150 million people, abounding healthy resources, an intent and entrepreneurial diaspora, persisting reforms in a energy and banking sectors, and rising opportunities in a agricultural, production and services sectors of a fast flourishing economy.

Despite a domestic logjams, and some approaching and astonishing setbacks along a way, Nigeria will expected have some-more hits than misses in a prolonged term.

How Nigeria became Africa’s biggest economy

Ronak Gopaldas is a risk researcher formed in Johannesburg

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