Although Britain colonized Nigeria and the two countries have maintained close ties since independence, illegal immigrants will not be allowed to remain in the United Kingdom. Britain sent back 48 persons last week but it was erroneously reported as 500 by the media. The development made British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr Paul Arkwright write an Op- Ed where he stated that people who break the rules cannot expect to remain in the UK illegally but for Nigerians who want to travel to Britain for business or leisure, the doors are wide open.
Nigerians did not have the time to dwell on this as the content of several documents gotten from the World Bank by a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Nigeria, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) raised questions about how funds stolen by erstwhile Head of State Late Gen. Sanni Abacha, was spent, after the World Bank helped Nigeria to recover the money from Switzerland. One thing the NGO asked for was the probe of former Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
But Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari was flying around the world — from Malta to Paris to South Africa — and there was no time to answer the call by SERAP. Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta followed the same route. But they were not frolicking about; they were attending important meetings. The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (COHGM) held in Malta followed by the 2015 Paris Climate Conference (COP21) where Kenyatta got a $200 million dam construction deal, and the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Johannesburg where China pledged $60 billion in African aid.
But how will Nigeria’s President Buhari and South Africa’s Zuma mediate in the regulatory issue going on between the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) and South African company MTN. The fine handed down by the regulator has seen MTN’s shares plunge 30 percent since October and an inexcusable typo by the Nigerian regulator worsened things.
MTN is not the only South African country to be fined. Standard Bank is also paying fines in the United States, the United Kingdom and Tanzania over a bribery scandal involving its Tanzania unit. Tanzania will be paid $7.05 million which will not be wasted by any means.
South Africa has more troubles; its state-owned airline is facing mounting financial losses as other important sectors of the economy continue their poor performance. All these have sent a bad signal to investors who now prefer Turkey to Africa’s most advanced economy. But look at the bright side, gambling revenue is rising and Naspers is expanding in the United States. Young South Africans are also working to ensure a better future for the country and throwing it all into entrepreneurship, thanks to the country’s entrepreneurship friendliness. But we have to do something about gender violence first.
In East Africa’s largest economy, President Uhuru Kenyatta promised to fight corruption but his police force cannot stand those demonstrating against corruption. Thank God the central bank governor does not like money and can manage inflation and external shocks. We will deal with the corrupt police later.
But Africa should still be worried about oil prices, especially Nigeria and Angola, as OPEC is not living up to expectations. In the meantime, Nigeria can end fuel scarcity and fund the rest of 2015, thanks to Senate approval of a supplementary budget. But what is Africa’s largest economy going to do about its dwindling reserves and the unimpressive anti-corruption crusade? There is a reason Burger King went to Ivory Coast first when it expanded to West Africa.
The good thing about hosting a pope is that good things follow if you like; Uganda now has cheap Wi-fi from Google. But civilians got killed in Central Africa Republic just days after the Pope held a meeting in a mosque.
As Africa hopes for an end to war and strife someday, the continent must brace up for the challenges posed by climate change. The COP21 was a great opportunity for Africa which the continent grabbed with both arms. With $2 billion aid from France and locally $20 billion for 10 gigawatts of renewable energy, among others, Africa is getting armed against climate change.
The free and fair elections in Burkina Faso is also a sign of good things to come.