Nigeria and Angola: WEEK FIVE

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The Governor of Nigeria’s Rivers State, Chibuike Totimi Amaechi, I would define as a ‘cheetah’. Nigeria is predicted to surpass South Africa within the next few years as SSA’s largest economy. That is because the country is enriched in oil. According to this Slate.com article, Amaechi has a wide-ranging development agenda. Money has been directed into creating an industrial zone and programs to support the farming industry, and dozens of new schools.

“However, the vast majority of its 175 million people remain poor. Even as the economy expanded by an impressive average of 7.2 percent a year between 2004 and 2010, an additional 43.7 million people fell below the poverty line. The delta’s persistent security problems are a direct reflection of the depths of Nigeria’s inequality.”-Klasa

Amaechi wants to tackle Nigeria’s poverty issue by creating a social security system and to create employment. NGOs are non-existent at least in Rivers State because it is too dangerous, so the government has to tackle the issues themselves, a progressive characteristic of a cheetah.

As for my other country, Angola, its president can be considered a ‘cheetah’. BBC News notes that President Dos Santos has led Angola to recovery after its 27-year civil war in 2002. It also says that he turned the country’s formerly socialist economy into a fast-growing economy. Like Nigeria, Angola is extremely rich in oil. Dos Santos trained in radar technology and oil engineering in the Soviet Union when he was younger. I think that it is promising that a leader of n oil-rich country has actually been trained in dealing with its most profitable natural resource.

From the past few weeks of reading, I have noticed that it is almost impossible to raise a SSA country out of poverty if they don’t have any profitable natural resources. A lot of these places are landlocked (Malawi), or war-torn, or face severe droughts and cannot even produce a sufficient sum of food. Nigeria and Angola are both countries that have improving economies, and that is because they sit on tons of oil.

Another ‘cheetah’ in Nigeria, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, can be credited toward building Nigeria’s democracy. As I mentioned before, Nigeria’s economy is expected to catch up to South Africa’s soon.

“Africa’s most-populous nation is growing twice as fast as its continental rival, South Africa, and holds nearly as much in foreign reserves, around $50 billion. Nigeria’s GDP may be smaller — $292 billion to South Africa’s $354 billion — but it is expected to catch up soon. The country’s GDP per capita also doubled from $1,400 in 2000 to an estimated $2,800 in 2012.”
Read more: Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala | Provocateurs | OZY

Okonjo-Iweala is Nigeria’s minister of finance and economy. She had a bachelor’s degree from Harvard and a Ph.D. in regional economic development from MIT. She spent 12 years at the World Bank (5 as managing director). She convinced the Paris Club to Creditors to cancel $18 billion (60 percent) of Nigeria’s debt, and instead focus on investing Nigeria’s savings on reaching their MDGs. In her TED talk, she urges developed nations to invest in Africa. In 2012 alone, Nigeria earned $85.73 billion in direct foreign investment.

Nigeria is ranking pretty well on being a developing democracy, in a huge part due to its ‘cheetahs.’ Angola, on the other hand, has seen a bit of a slump recently in its progress. The government poorly managed public debt. A drought struck the country last year, which combined with an already weak global economy, slowed down Angola’s GDP growth, which had been growing, in 2013. In 2010, the parliament ruled that direct presidential elections would be abolished, and the leader of the parliament’s largest party would become president, very undemocratic.

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