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Nigeria’s Super Rich: How They Make, Spend Their Money


To make wealth is an achievement; the way it is spent is style. In most cases, successful individuals who have created wealth through wise and diligent investments in business hardly squander their money. They usually prefer to reinvest their capital, including the accrued profit over the years, into their businesses to increase their asset base and level of affluence.


The tendency, therefore, is that the richer they are, the more their business interests expand. In line with this corporate tradition, the rich investors get richer and, when they spend, they do so in a big way worthy of mention. This is because of the extensive attention attracted by their rare wherewithal and will to spend, including doling out money on humanitarian ground. Among Nigeria’s privileged people are:


Aliko Dangote


Nigerian business tycoon Aliko Dangote is the richest man in Africa. He is the founder, Dangote Group, West Africa’s largest publicly listed conglomerate with diverse business interests such as sugar refining, flour milling, textiles, real estate and salt processing. Dangote Cement, Dangote Foods (noodles) and Dansa Juice complete the chain. His total net worth is about $16.1 as at March 2013.


Dangote spends money in philanthropic activities. He has stepped up his philanthropy in recent years, giving over $100 million to causes ranging from education and health through flood relief, poverty alleviation to the arts. He acquired a private jet in April 2010 as a personal gift on the occasion of his 53rd birthday. The Bombardier Global Jet Express XRS (one out of a few) was estimated to cost $45 million. Dangote is also said to have purchased a private luxury yatch at the cost of $43 million made exclusively for his enjoyment. The yatch is named Mariya after his mother.


Mike Adenuga


Otunba Mike Adenuga built his fortune in business from banking, mobile telecom service and oil. He founded Globacom, now Nigeria’s second largest mobile phone network, in 2006. Globacom has more than 24 million subscribers in Nigeria, and also operates in the Republic of Benin. Adenuga made his first fortune at the young age of 26 in the 1970s by distributing lace and other materials. He later had another opportunity to expand his fortune during the military regime of Ibrahim Babangida when he was awarded a contract for the construction of military barracks in some military installations in the country. He is presently worth $4.7 billion, thus justifying him as one of Nigeria’s super-rich businessmen.


Adenuga loves spending money on what gives him joy. It could be said that, partly for this reason, he acquired a private Bombardier Global Express jet, fitted with the latest flight facilities. It is one of the most luxuriously built private jets in the world, just like that of Dangote.


Jim Ovia


Jim Ovia started building his fortunes when he founded Zenith Bank Group in 1990. The bank has grown to become West Africa’s second largest financial service provider by market capitalisation and asset base. His sources of wealth are banking, telecommunication and real estate investment.


He also owns Quantum Luxury Properties Limited, a private equity fund with special focus on Africa. Ovia’s total net worth is about $825 million.


He has embarked on the establishment of a free, co-educational high school, James Hope College, in Delta State, the place where he pondered his future as a young man. The school, an 18-month project, launches in September with an initial capacity for 420 students. He is also the founder of Mankind United To Support Total Education (MUSTE), an organisation providing scholarships for the underprivileged.


Abdussamad Rabiu


Lagos-based business tycoon Abdulsamad Rabiu is a son of Khalifa Isiyaku Rabiu, one of Nigeria’s most successful businessmen in the 1970s. Little wonder therefore that he followed in his father’s footsteps in business with interest in importing basic commodities such as rice, sugar and cement in the 1980s.


Abdussamad heads the BUA Group, a conglomerate with $1.9 billion in revenues and interests in sugar refining, vegetable oil processing and flour mills. The BUA Group also operates the BUA Cement, Nigeria’s first floating cement terminal, as well as Nigerian Oil Mill which processes edible oil. According to Forbes magazine report, he is the 21st richest African and is worth $675 million.


Folorunsho Alakija


Billionaire oil tycoon, fashion designer and philanthropist, Mrs Folorunsho Alakija is worth at least $3.3 billion against a recent Forbes’ rating which quoted her net worth as $600 million. She began her professional career in the 1970s as secretary of defunct International Merchant Bank of Nigeria, one of the country’s earliest investment banks.


This fashion design business led her into fortune. She was in a position to make and sell high-level clothing to the fashionable wives of some military big shots and other society women.


Also, Mrs Alakija is widely reported to own a private jet, Bombardier Global Express 6000 which cost about $46 million, added to acquisition of a property at Hyde Park. This is one of the ways she spends her wealth, which gives her happiness. Furthermore, she is a philanthropist who derives joy in giving assistance to widows and other less-privileged in society.


Tony Elumelu


Mr Tony Elumelu (CON) was born in Jos on March 22, 1963. He is a renowned economist, banker, investor and generous philanthropist. Elumelu is a recognised African leader in corporate business. After leading United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc to a higher level with the acquisition of Standard Trust Bank (STB) during the consolidation of the banking industry in 2005, he retired from the management of UBA in July 2010.


Elumelu, the originator of the concept of Africapitalism as an economic philosophy that reflects the commitment of players in the private sector towards the economic transformation of Africa through long-term investment, is a consummate patriot with a full-blown obsession for how he can make his country and continent a better part of the world.


Interest in paying family hospital bills, unpaid school fees, providing for families who cannot provide their needs — all form part of what Elumelu does through his catalytic philanthropic method of assisting human beings within the shores of Nigeria and Africa.


Hajiya Bola Shagaya


Hajiya Bola Shagaya is hailed as one of Nigeria’s richest businesswomen. She is the CEO of Bolmus International Limited. She has interests in several sectors ranging from oil and gas, banking, cash crops export, real estate, fast-moving consumer goods and photography.


She has been a very influential figure in Nigeria’s corridors of power for decades and has excelled in a society where the role of women has been restricted traditionally. Her rise to affluence and power is not attributed to parental or marital influence. This woman of means has skilfully built her network and wealth from a humble background, and has proven herself as an outstanding power broker with impressive entrepreneurial skills.


The graceful billionaire is not all about heavy-weight work. “I’m also a lover of sports, especially Polo”, she said. She has consistently supported Polo tournaments in Nigeria over the years.


Femi Otedola


Femi Otedola is the CEO of African Petroleum Plc. He was one of only two Nigerians (alongside Aliko Dangote) to appear on the 2009 Forbes list of 793 dollar-denominated billionaires in the world, with an estimated net worth of over US$1.2 billion. Femi Otedola is the Nigerian president and chief executive officer of Zenon Petroleum and Gas limited.


Forbes magazine estimates Femi Otedola’s net worth at $1.2 billion and ranks him as the 601st richest person in the world. According to Encomium magazine, Femi Otedola’s net worth is $3.5 billion.


He owns a private jet called Challenger Global 5000 and a yatch almost similar to Dangote’s named Nana after his wife.


Emeka Offor


Sir Emeka Offor, as he is often addressed rarely grants interviews, rather, he prefers his works, businesses and philanthropy to speak for him.


His multi-million business interest, Chrome Group, is a multifaceted organisation which originally started as an engineering outfit handling projects such as refinery maintenance, has today become by the grace of God, a conglomerate with diverse interests in Oil and Gas, Finance/Investments, Telecommunications, Insurance, Maritime, Destination Inspection, Real Estate and the Power Sector.


This Anambra State-born politician and businessman has heavily invested in education. The Sir Emeka Offor Foundation is the largest single sponsor of Books For Africa, a non-profitable organization, bringing in over $10 million worth of books, computers and other educational materials to our national institutions of learning and public libraries. He was reported to have also used his money to enthrone a governor in his home state.


Andy Uba


Initially named Nnamdi Uba and currently a member of the National Assembly as a Senator of the Federal Republic, Senator Andy Uba is a member of the famous Uba family in Anambra State. He is stupendously rich and was reported to have declared his assets to be worth N3trillion though he denied ever doing so.


Uba has a lot of lucrative business interests and he is connected with a number of charity works via a Foundation.



interesting stuff.


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Africa’s Drinking Problem: Alcoholism on the Rise as Beverage Multinationals Circle


In Kenya, depending on whom you ask, John Mututho is either a hero or a villain, but in a country consuming ever more alcohol, he is certainly a household name. In 2010, Mututho won a battle with the beverage industry to implement Kenya’s first alcohol-control act. It is known as the Mututho law and honors his brother, who died as a result of alcoholism. After his brother’s death in 2007, Mututho dedicated himself to the issue with a focus and vigor rare in Kenyan politicians pursuing social goals. But instead of being celebrated, Mututho was punished. In the following elections this year, he didn’t even win his party ticket. A Nairobi social worker who is forever mopping up the damage of alcoholism chuckles fondly as he tells me this story, as if it encapsulates his country today. “Do we drink because we’re Kenyan or are we Kenyan because we drink?” he ponders. “That is the question.”


His concerns are not limited to Kenya. Africa has a drinking problem. It is the new darling of multinational beverage companies looking to drive profits in an increasingly booze-saturated world. The continent has the perfect emerging-market conditions: a relatively small amount of commercial alcohol is being consumed; there is a rising middle class with disposable income; a huge market of young people is about to come of age; and there is an informal moonshine sector, up to 4 times the size of the commercial market, that governments would like to control.


But Africa is in no shape to cope with an influx of alcohol. Primary health care providers aren’t equipped to deal with the health effects. There is little or no recourse for irresponsible acts like driving while intoxicated. Chronic corruption means every new control measure is an opportunity for police to solicit bribes. While average per capita consumption figures (excluding South Africa) are very low, Africa has the highest proportion of binge drinkers in the world: 25% of those who drink drink too much, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Beverage companies dismiss that figure as poorly sourced, and certainly the problem is underresearched.


Then there are the problems of demographics. The “youth bulge” — a phenomenon a large share of the population is made up of children and young adults — helps ensure that many young drinkers are going to be unemployed. And the alcohol industry’s goal to get moonshine consumers drinking commercial brews is, according to critics, just a different version of the same problem.


One of the most vocal of those critics is Bill Sinkele. A former alcoholic originally from the U.S., he has worked for 18 years with some of Kenya’s most marginalized groups, from prostitutes on the coast to alcoholic kids in the capital’s slums. He has just concluded research in Kenya for the WHO that shows underage drinkers know what brand they’ll drink well before they hit the legal drinking age of 18. “The alcohol industry is prepping these kids!” he says. Billboards in the capital Nairobi present “the Snapp sisters,” three shimmering women who look like a young Destiny’s Child drinking Snapp, a sugary apple-flavored alcopop. The advertisements are aimed at women, a group in which, according to Sinkele, alcoholism is rising alarmingly.


Governments are starting to address the issue, not least because it could damage their growing economies. Twelve percent of those ages between 15 and 24 are hooked on alcohol, Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta announced at the country’s second alcohol-and-drug-abuse conference in June. He says the country faces a critical challenge, but there is a disconnect between policy and implementation. Members of the audience at the conference took turns to stand up and berate a senior police officer following a panel discussion. According to industry delegates, alcoholism, protection rackets and the fallout from 24-hour drinking “canteens” are all problems that exist within the Kenyan police force. If that’s the case, they argued, what hope is there for implementing laws? The debonair officer was unruffled: “If our officers are doing that and you’re not letting their bosses know, then you’re not assisting,” he said.


One of the things Sinkele finds most astonishing is that multinational companies are getting tax breaks for selling beer to people on the breadline. While governments in the West are considering minimum pricing standards for alcohol, in nearly a dozen countries across Africa, amid soaring food prices, governments are applying tax breaks to booze, which, according to the WHO, kills more people than AIDS or tuberculosis. “It’s better-assisted suicide,” Sinkele says.


In Kenya, multinational beverage company Diageo’s second best-selling beer, Senator Keg, is served in 300-ml servings for around 30 U.S. cents. The company, which reportedly controls a staggering 97% of the beer market, until June enjoyed a 100% tax exemption on Senator to keep it cheap. “This gave consumers a safer alternative to unregulated and bad-quality brews, which often lead to fatalities,” says Brenda Mbathi, group corporate-relations director of East African Breweries Ltd., which is a subsidiary of Diageo. Sinkele says the new government realized the tax break was nonsensical, which is why they rescinded it.


Deflecting allegations of exploitation, companies are operating a host of social enterprises, which also secure large tax breaks. SABMiller, one of the world’s largest brewers, has pioneered Impala, the first beer made from cassava, a tough, drought-resistant root grown across Africa that boosts local economies. SABMiller says the product was designed to compete with illicit alcohol, not necessarily to provide a social service. SABMiller is also selling a brand of chibuku, a popular fermented brew with a texture like gruel, in 10 markets. “If governments are looking to encourage a low-alcohol society, then actually beer ought to play a substantial role in that,” SABMiller’s Nigel Fairbrass says. Beverage manufacturers don’t want alcoholics, after all — they want loyal customers for life.


Alcohol consumption is likely to increase, as seen in South Africa, one of the world’s heaviest drinking nations. The wealthier demographic, the so-called rising Africans, will have the means to cope with it, but the rest — those referred to by Oxford economist Paul Collier as “the bottom billion” — might not. In Mathare, one of the Nairobi’s notorious slums, people are forced to pick over rubbish alongside pigs. The Mathare River running the length of the slum is not a water source but a toxic waste-laden vein. On the river’s southern bank, the largest of four illegal moonshine distilleries runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. “It’s the cash crop of Mathare,” says James Anunda, taking time out from manning the scalding barrels of distillate. He is only 18 years old, but his swollen fingers attest to five years in the business.


This 50-proof moonshine, known as chang’aa, tastes filthy, but nearly everybody there drinks it. The distillery exports to the neighboring province, turns over close to $1 million per year and employs more than 100 people. The lucky ones become “tycoons” and employ younger men to “cook.” Others atrophy. The filthy black mud of the riverbank is dotted with casualties of chang’aa, those either red-eyed and unsteady or fast asleep. Workers at the distillery claim never to have produced a fatal brew. It is later, they say, when it’s mixed with embalming fluid, fuel, or even antiretrovirals, that the problems start. Police come to Anunda’s distillery every day to collect an average of $14.50. Occasionally they stage a raid, then return the next day for their bribe.


On a given night, little tin shacks with no windows are filled with drinkers seeking escape from their lives. A dollar buys you eight watered-down shots. Drinkers measure their alcohol capacity in shillings. “I’m a hundred and fifty, then, blackout,” one man says, demonstrating it with a flourish. His regular objective, he says, is to accrue sufficient funds to reach that point.






interesting read.

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Africa Top 10 Problems: Not the ones You were thinking about!


Africa is not poor. Africa is a rich continent inhabited by poor people. Once we fix the people problem, everything else will fall into place. In this post, I share what I consider to be the top 10 problems affecting the people ability to fix themselves and subsequently take control of their destiny.


1. The Poverty Porn


Humanitarian organization like UNICEF, Doctors without Borders, and alike have done more damage to Africa than the marginal positive impact they supposedly have had.


In order to raise money for their operations, they have engaged into a “poverty porn” depicting Africa with the most degrading, and humiliating images. African people dignity is not something they cared about. The huge billboard and magazines photos showing Africa at its worst now fill the mind of billions of people around the world, and unfortunately those people can’t help but think about Africa only trough those images. (In the same time, those medias won’t show the photo of a dead American or English soldier, because it’s shocking and doesn’t respect human dignity)


The worst consequence of this “free publicity” is the way it has deeply impacted Africans self-perception and self-image.


The “Poverty porn” of the NGOs, the humanitarian organizations, and Western medias is the problem number one because it sabotages Africans self-image, weakens their sell-confidence and resolve, and contributed hugely to the hate and racism Africans face all over the world.’


2. International Aid


If foreign aid would develop any place, Africa will be the most developed continent in the world.


International AID is now doing more harm to Africa than good. It became the main tool used by foreign governments and organizations to corrupt the African elite, and get them to behave so irrationally toward their own populations and the basic interest of their countries.


Aside corruption and the criminality, International Aid is the root of the 5 Stars colonization disease that cripple the African elite which dislike the responsibility and the self sacrifice that comes with being in control of a nation destiny. As far as they enjoyed the status offered by their positions, they never liked the responsibilities demanded by the jobs, therefore they use international aid programs as substitute to their responsibilities.


If Africa needs any aid, the most urgent one is to get rid of the 40 billions corruption industry (called International Aid) that shackles its youth and elite, cultivates and maintains the beggar mentality.


How would you develop any country when the dream of the majority of its youth and elite is not entrepreneurship, innovation, education and self-sufficiency, but the dream to have a job with a humanitarian organization or to get their project financed by some International aid Agency or proxy.



3. International Medias


A friend of mine recently told me that the “Global Lying System” (referring to the western medias covering African news) is one of the biggest threat to peace and development in Africa. African tribes are created in London, Brussels and Paris by journalists.


The colonial heritage of those journalists (unless they are instructed to do so) makes them to see Africa only as a collection of tribes and focus their coverage on what they call as tribal issues. They create new realities like “People from the North” compared to “people from the South” or “people from the West”. They invent new divisions with creative imagination, like the Belgians falsely created the “Tutsi” and “Hutu” tribes in Rwanda which ultimately lead to the genocide in 1994.

The influence of western medias in Africa is very negative, and could be considered as part of Africa problems.

The second most negative effect of the western medias in Africa is that they tend to focus their attention on what the Europeans or the White people are doing in Africa or for Africa, and how they are saving Africa, therefore continuing to create the false impression that Africa is a hopeless place with lazy people that could be saved only by the white man.


4. The Colonial Borders


The current African countries borders are nonsenses. A study done in the years 70s showed that African nations had less trade between themselves than before colonization (How Europe Underdeveloped Africa). The situation has not change much since then.


There is no immediate solution, but initiative like the African passport or Visa would greatly improve the movement of people and increase the potential of intellectual and commercial exchanges.


5. Ignorance of the Books of Machiavelli, Hegel & Darwinism


The western elite that currently rules the world has 3 majors intellectuals influences: Machiavelli (How to rule over people with cynicism and deception), Hegel (using the Hegelian dialectic of history they consider the western civilization as the end of history) and Darwin (the Survival belongs to the fittest, therefore the white race should stay at the top and rule over other races).


Maya Angelou always advise the African-American elite to read The prince of Machiavelli, because, she said, without a proper understanding of this book, you won’t understand the western elite. The Prince is their bedside book. it contains the main principle all imperialist applies: “If you want to control the people, separate the people and you can rule them. Divide them and you can conquer them.”


The ignorance by the African elite of the principles by which the western Elite think and act is a major cause of their permanent naivete and incompetency.


6. The Rich Subaltern Mentality


There are two kinds of people in Africa, those who can’t make a living regardless of how much they put in, and those with lavish lifestyle and privileges regardless of how little they contribute.


The first group is made of those who has not contact with “white” people, and the second is made of people who has contact with “white” people.


If you live in Africa or know some African people, make a list of 10 people you know or have heard about who have a “good life” and social privileges. You’ll quickly find out that 90% those who have a good life are people who work for the “white” or with the “white”. They serve foreign-owned or controlled companies, organizations or foreign NGOs in Africa. They have big houses, nice cars, home servants, and enjoy high social status and privileges.


I call those the “Rich subalterns” or the “Selected subalterns”. (“White” in Africa is used for “European”, “Chinese”, “Lebanese”, “American”, etc. In the context of this article it could be easily replaced by “foreigners”.)


What is the problem?


The problem is that you can’t develop a country or continent where the majority of people who have the potential to become leaders are raised to be “good subalterns” to be successful.




Young people aspire to emulate the most successful models in their society, and now the only visible and tangible model available is the rich subaltern model.


7. Lack of Domestic Leadership Education


Africa is not poor, Africa has a leadership problem. For any society to prosper it should have a endogenous system of identifying, training and coaching its future leaders. Some countries do it through their military services, some do it through elite schools, and some others do it through informal coaching and assistance organizations or secret societies.


The main issue about Africa leadership is not the quality of its individuals, but the quality of the group of individuals. Individually there are lot of brilliant people, but collectively they fail to work together harmoniously on long term vision, and commit with integrity and loyalty to their country or long term vision.


The reason behind this failure is that most the so called leaders are trained outside their country and context, by people who has no knowledge of the context in which their leadership skills would apply. Additionally, the heterogeneity of the systems in which they have trained make it difficult to make them work well together.


8. Lack of Science & Engineering Education


A study done few years ago at the Stanford University (I’m struggling to find my source) demonstrated how colonial powers tend to drastically reduce the study of science and engineering in the countries they have occupied. They would favor literature and subaltern studies that would make the graduates just good enough to assist them in running the colonies or the occupied countries.


Results, Africa has a lot of “talkers”, people with oratory prowess. Now, We don’t need more of those lawyers, sociologists, philosophers, but more scientists and engineers.


9. Lack of International Intelligence network


Africa knowledge of the world is very limited. I’d agree that most of my fellow Africans have very little idea of the world they are living in, specially the forces and trends that are shaping it.


This lack of intelligence is bad, because it leaves the continent unaware of events and shifts that could affect it.


10. The Crab Mentality


If you put several crabs into a bucket, and if one of them begins to crawl out, one or more of the other crabs will put it back down and prevent its escape. It’s called Crab Mentality.


This is a good metaphor for us as Africans to Unite and create strong networks that support each other, while avoiding the Judas goats.






really interesting article.

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The Top 10 Fears of African Diaspora About Africa


They wash dishes in restaurants, clean toilets and look after elderly incontinent people in the West. That makes the majority of the 30 million who have emigrated from Africa. Some are much luckier, they work in subaltern management positions in corporate America or in public institution in Europe. Few are real stars, successful with high pay and social status.


Regardless of their current fate, they all share one thing in common: most of them want to return to Africa.


The recent medias’ drumbeat about “Africa is Rising” is making them restless and hopeful because most of them have quite a petty life in the West. They are constantly harassed by the state police, crushed by daily racism from their neighbors and strangers, economically and politically isolated, and with very little hope for a near-future improvement.


Unfortunately their dream to return home is painfully held back by deep fears and unanswered questions.


Here are the top 10 fears of the African diaspora about Africa, and also the top 10 questions most of them are confronted with. (You can see full questions list at


Top 10 Fears


1. I know few people who have returned but failed, and had to come back to Europe.


2. I’m not successful here. I don’t have money. I’ll be ashamed to return just with my suitcase.


3. I don’t know how I’ll face all the social pressure and people asking me money.


4. I want to start a business back home, but everything is political in Africa. If you don’t have connections, your business could be crushed and closed at any time by officials.


5. How to explain my decision to my parents, my family, my friends? I’m afraid of their reaction.


6. How can I be sure that my professional experience will translate into something useful when I return to Africa? The work conditions are not good there.


7. I’m afraid of political instability. Every election is a matter of life and death with widespread of violence and fear.


8. There is no health insurance in Africa like I have here. The health system in my country has completely collapsed, what will I do if me or my family would get sick? How to find a good health insurance company?


9. I don’t have local connections anymore. My friends are now here. I’ll feel alone and isolated there. How to rebuild my social network locally before moving back?


10. I don’t have a place where to live. I don’t want to return to my parents house. Where will I live and host my family when I don’t have that much money?


Top 10 Questions


1. Is there any local association or group of Returned Africans that I can join or get support from?


2. How to deal will the feeling of failure of returning back without lot of money?


3. What to do if I don’t have any money to return with?


4. Is there any organization or support group that help people who want to return to Africa?


5. How to find a job when you are not yet in Africa?


6. I want to start a business back home. Where can I find accurate and non-biased information?


7. How to find a house or an apartment to rent? What risks to avoid?


8. Which Banks or Financial organizations give loans to people in the diaspora to buy or build their house?


9. I’m married to a European, how can I convince him/her to move back to Africa with me?


10. How to find the best hospitals/Good Doctors for my family, and the best school and kindergarten for our kids?


A recent study showed that 70% of African graduates in the diaspora are willing to return to build Africa.


Africa needs qualified human resources to develop. “Africa as a whole spends an estimated $4 billion every year in Western expat salaries for positions that could be filled by the African professionals who leave the continent” reports, and “It is estimated there will be a 75% increase in the use of expatriate staff over the next three years, and the strategic use of these resources will be a critical success factor to help establish and grow business across Africa.” –


“If you believe in Africa and know the potential of our continent, you will agree with me that you have more opportunities in Africa than anywhere else. If you don’t believe me, go to your nearest African international airport and count the number of people from overseas arriving to do business.


My heart actually breaks when I read or hear about Africa’s youth trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to get to the rich West to wash dishes in restaurants, clean toilets and look after elderly incontinent people. Were these fine daughters and sons of Africa to have a second thought, they would put themselves into better use and in their own motherland.” said my friend Ian Mvula






this is some funny stuff. :D:D

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WoW! Africa is coming along pretty quick. With 1 billion + people, i hope they take off and make something out of themselves. Might take a decade, or even a century, but i hope they pull it off.


There would always be those that undermine it, or even try to pit each other against. North Africans vs. Sub Saharan Africans.

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Btw, i didnt' know Ethiopia had the 2nd largest pop. in Africa. I always thought it was Egypt or another North African country....but i am happy for 'em.


Is Madagascar really considered part of Africa Horta? :) I mean its' just an Island, what do the people look like? Madoow, Cadaan, Mixed? or sii kale? :)

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Nin-Yaaban;981851 wrote:
WoW! Africa is coming along pretty quick. With 1 billion + people, i hope they take off and make something out of themselves. Might take a decade, or even a century, but i hope they pull it off.


^^^ i'm not so sure, you know............



Against the Gospel of “Africa Rising”


Almost ten years ago, Binyavanga Wainana mocked the relentless bashing of Africa for what it is: ignorance. Nowadays, however, a new gospel could use similar deriding: “tell them six of the ten fastest growing economies in the world are in Africa; drop names like Aliko Dangote and Isabel Dos Santos alongside Magatte Wade and Bethlehem Alemu; point to the 300 million middle class Africans; showcase the bustling cafes and glossy shopping malls with the latest products; spotlight the growing cities with towering structures; and always summon technology as your solution for everything. If they mention conflict, disease or poverty, chastise them for their antiquated colonial ways and refer them back to your points above.”


What’s the problem? In the interest of tackling the distorted and singular narrative of Africa as a continent of need, the “Africa rising” discourse is reinforcing its own one-dimensional story. Bolstered by recent advances in economic growth rates, Africa has been turned into a brand, a product to be packaged and sold on the merits of its financial worth. Its value is discussed and negotiated yet conversations too often exclude the context and implications of the current economic growth or the policies and institutions that sustain it. Africa is certainly rising, but how is it rising? And who is or isn’t rising with it?


The continent’s burgeoning middle class has driven much of that discourse. Stories about its growth, increasing wealth and expanding expenditure have contributed to portray an Africa on the ascent. Prospects are so promising that Mthuli Ncube, chief economist of the African Development Bank (AfDB), suggested that we recalibrate our development priorities:


[Aid and development strategy] will have to concentrate less on the bottom of the pyramid and move to the middle, which means it has to be supportive of private sector initiatives, which then are the way middle class people conduct their lives.


This sentiment is echoed regularly by development institutions.


Never mind that the middle class is a precarious and expansive category lumping together people spending $2 to $20 a day. Let’s also ignore that the so-called “floating class” at the bottom end of the spectrum represent almost 40% of said middle class, people who contend with questions like affording school fees and medical treatment on a regular basis. If we cherry pick the middle, what happens to the rest? It is one thing to use the middle class to unpack singular depictions of the continent, it is another to pivot all development policies and priorities towards them.


The economic model of the United States has informed much of the growth-oriented policies that international institutions prescribe and developing countries follow. But is that model any good? Over the last 25 years, the US economy boomed and collapsed, options in consumer goods grew exponentially while the number of consumers able to afford them shrunk. Despite political discourse on America’s middle-class, inequality increased. In the last four years, 95% of all income gains have gone to the top 1%. Inequality is a choice, as Paul Krugman argued recently, and


…the United States provides a particularly grim example for the world. Because, in so many ways, America often ‘leads the world’, if others follow America’s example, it does not portend well for the future.

On the continent, despite improvements in national economies, technology, and certain human development indicators, almost 2 Africans out of 3 remain affected by poverty. The number of poor people has doubled since 1980s and among the world’s 10 most unequal countries, six are in Africa. In a recent survey of more than 50,000 people in 34 African countries about current economic conditions, half say they struggle to meet daily needs like food, clear water, and medicine. The problem with the “rising Africa” narrative is that it isn’t creating a space for their voices and struggles to come to the surface. In centering the discourse on those who are doing well, the resource-poor are written out of mainstream narratives.


Beyond narratives, I am concerned about the dismissive tenor towards the structures capable of expanding the benefits of growth and of addressing inequality — government and the social sector. The state is often presented as a barrier, a liability ripe with corruption and inefficiency that can be leapfrogged by technology and enterprise. At most, the state’s value is to facilitate an investment-friendly environment for business. Where there is a problem, business can resolve it.


The World Bank and IMF have waged a sustained assault on African public services over several decades, and have never been called to account for the profound and lasting damage they have done.


With corruption, repression, and leadership failures in many countries, it’s hardly a mystery why the state has earned such a bad reputation. However, the implicit exclusion of governments absolves them from their responsibility and undermines the potential role of the state, further endangering the prospects of just and equitable societies. With a weak government, who will hold the private and social sectors accountable? And if the state is as irrelevant as the discourse is rendering it, then why does it occupy so much of the critique in the first place?


Increased investments in the private sector may in fact continue to strengthen the GDP’s of countries, as Tony Elumelu highlights, but they won’t address growing issues of inequality. Who will provide the social services needed to establish safety nets and protection for those at the bottom? Despite the creative offerings of essential services by the private sector, the fundamental needs like access to roads, clean water, energy, education and health must still involve the state. Business interests may flourish with or without a state, but countries can’t make progress without good governance. Leadership, transparency, civic engagement, organizing and advocacy must therefore remain central in the “Africa” dialogue.


The current discourse on Africa’s future also touts the end of aid and the rise of business as the continent’s savior. Aid agencies and NGOs are often viewed as relics of an old era, marked by need, charity and dependence, a stain on Africa’s history that has corrupted our collective stories. It is clear today that aid is not an engine of growth: the mistake of the past two decades was relying on it as a development tool. Many aid agencies and charities continue to offer much fodder for critique, of which Invisible Children’s public hunt for Kony has become a symbol. Still, the blanket rejection of this sector is a disservice to critical dialogue and necessary improvements.


The discourse on the role of aid too often lacks nuance and context. Efforts must be made to distinguish humanitarian intervention from development action, aid agencies from civil society actors, international organizations from local ones and, most importantly, the ineffective ones from those that are innovative and transformational. Demands for greater efficiency, accountability and impact are essential drivers of change but they shouldn’t come at the expense of the entire social sector. We must find ways to promote promising and effective models while eliminating those that are failing.


In doing so, Africans should remain vigilant. The concept of “African-led development” seems to have bridged many past divides, bringing under the same banner institutions like the World Bank with African advocates. Platforms that were once closed are now open to African voices, be it TED or the New York Times. It isn’t uncommon to see Africans represented on high-level panels organized by the likes of USAID. As the priorities and spaces of activists and institutions converge, we should however ask ourselves: which Africans are gaining entry to institutional and mainstream development spaces and why? Is this change indicative of tangible shifts in power or is it simply a cosmetic facelift? On the continent or in the diaspora, we have insights into a different and constantly shifting picture of our communities, and that complex mosaic is still missing from most narratives.


The conversation on Africa’s rise will likely continue to grow as various African nations climb the income ladder. Integral to that conversation are definitions and measures: is success defined by how much GDPs grow, how many phones Africans own, tech hubs they start, investments they attract or billionaires they count among their ranks? Or is it measured by the inequality gaps that are reduced, the livelihoods that are strengthened, and the freedoms expanded? In the prevailing “Africa rising” discourse it is all about the former. If we want meaningful and transformative change, we need to pursue the latter as well.






interesting article.

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East African nations agree on monetary union


Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi will merge currencies gradually over the next ten years to boost trade.



Kampala, Uganda


The leaders of five East African countries have signed a protocol laying the groundwork for a monetary union within 10 years that they expect will expand regional trade.


''The promise of economic development and prosperity hinges on our integration'' - Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta


Heads of state of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi, which have already signed a common market and a single customs union, said on Saturday that the protocol would allow them to progressively converge their currencies.


In the run-up to achieving a common currency, the East African Community (EAC) nations aim to harmonise monetary and fiscal policies and establish a common central bank. Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda already present their budgets simultaneously every June.


The plan by the region of about 135 million people, a new frontier for oil and gas exploration, is also meant to draw foreign investment and wean EAC countries off external aid.


"The promise of economic development and prosperity hinges on our integration," said Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta.


"Businesses will find more freedom to trade and invest more widely, and foreign investors will find additional, irresistible reasons to pitch tent in our region," said Kenyatta, leader of the biggest economy in east Africa.


Kenyatta, who is due to face trial at the International Criminal Court on crimes against humanity charges in February, took over the chairmanship of the bloc from Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, hosting the summit.


Kenya has launched a $13.8 billion Chinese-built railway that aims to cut transport costs, part of regional plans that also include building new ports and railways.


Challenges ahead


Landlocked Uganda and Kenya have discovered oil, while Tanzania has vast natural gas reserves, which require improved infrastructure and foreign investment so they can be exploited.


Tanzania, where the bloc's secretariat is based, has complained that it has been sidelined in discussions to plan these projects, but Kenyatta said the EAC was still united.


Kenneth Kitariko, chief executive officer at African Alliance Uganda, an investment advisory firm, said the monetary union would boost efficiency in the region's economy estimated at about $85 billion in combined gross domestic product.


"In a monetary union, the absence of currency risk provides a greater incentive to trade," he said.


Kitariko said, however, that achieving a successful monetary union would require convergence of the union's economies, hinting that some challenges lay ahead.


"Adjusting to a single monetary and exchange rate policy is an inescapable feature of monetary union ... but this will take time and may be painful for some," he said, referring to the fact that some countries may struggle to meet agreed benchmarks.






interesting developments.

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Equatorial Guinea. The oil rich central African nation is the richest country per capita in Africa. If you know any Africans (friends/relatives) trying to risk their lives in the Middle east as slaves, tell them we do have options, here in Africa.


God bless Africa.

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Dispelling stereotypes about Africans


What makes an “authentic” African? Who is an “authentic” African? I often spend hours asking myself : Will I be an “authentic” African if I put away my biological individualism and refer to myself as one? Will I be an “authentic” African when I become familiar with all her countries? I speak fluent Hausa (the most common language spoken in northern Nigeria), I wear pants from Senegal, walk in Moroccan slippers and eat South African pap, yet I am not starving. I did not witness genocide. I have never suffered from drought. I do not cook using firewood and I do not live in a shed. I’ve had malaria more than three times and I am still alive and healthy. Am I not “authentically” African?


Upon my arrival at the African Leadership Academy, between feelings of excitement and expectation, I carried my single stories bundled in a sack, imprisoned, yet striving to get out. In this fictional sack, a South African was demanding an HIV test to declare her negative status and a Nigerian was swearing upon his sister’s grave that he had never been in possession of drugs. Also in my bag was a Kenyan, whose entire life was spent trying to get a long-distance medal because, apparently, true Kenyans have speed in their DNAs. Then, the all too familiar prey: a Muslim woman was caught up between covering herself as the Qur’an instructed, or wearing less clothes so as not to be referred to as a terrorist.


Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie said: “To create a single story, you show a people as one thing and only one thing over and over again and that is what they become.” Of course we cannot say that these widespread stereotypes are completely fictional, but they are just pigments of the truth. As I unpacked this sack during the course of my first term, I made friends with Kenyans that were proudly Maasai, who spoke fluent Swahili, but never even attempted to run. I met many South Africans who were HIV negative, but had in mind that Nigerians were drug addicts. I was born a Nigerian Muslim, and so I represent all the perceptions about both Nigerians and Muslims. However, I am neither a drug addict nor a terrorist.


People of my generation are defacing their natural forms just to feel accepted into the society. In Nigeria, it is very conventional to think that the noble people come from the Hausa tribe, while the people that seem to be after almost nothing but money are of the Igbo tribe. Stereotypes are the over-generalisations created towards a particular group of people due to class, race, gender, country, religion, looks and any other feature we may not openly relate to. This behavior comes with a belief that whatever we do not immediately identify as “normal” should be recognised and, possibly, corrected. It emphasises how different, rather than similar, we are from one another. Stereotypes can be used to create or destroy us, but we must not let them define us as a country, race, gender or class.


During my African studies class, we were asked to conduct research on African countries we had never heard of and observe the image and information being given to people that have never been there. The dominant images were of indigenous people, mostly naked or half -dressed women with black, sagging bosoms who lived in huts. Natives who suffered from famine and many easily identified diseases such as malnutrition, malaria and HIV and Aids. There were images of African mothers, in tears, deciding between which child to feed and which one to let go. Child soldiers, genocide and slums represented the “accurate” definition of what our beloved African continent is really all about. And of course there were pictures of wild animals, which many in the West believe are the only appealing thing in Africa.


I did not see a picture of Wole Soyinka, the first black man to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986, or Nelson Mandela, who spent 27 years in prison for the freedom of his country. I looked for Haile Selassie, who resisted the Italian invasion of Abyssinia (now Ethiopia) in the 1930s and saved the country from colonisation, but not a picture of his was found. What of Dr Christiaan Barnard, the South African who performed the first heart transplant in 1967? Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry that produces more movies annually than Hollywood, striving to promote the African culture, was not even acknowledged.


Mandela once said: “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can be taught to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes even more naturally to the human heart than its opposition.” It is very easy for us to intensely dislike people for the stereotypes that they have, but we must also understand that they are only acting upon the single stories they are exposed to. What if they had heard differently? What if we give them the truth, rather than pigments of it? What if they learn about the earlier civilisations of African countries before the ruthless arrival of the British? As a society, we can seek to dispel stereotypes through education and a social action. We can seek to give the world the full stories of Africans – how many children actually attend schools and sit for both the SATs and the Cambridge International Examinations, for example.


Another Nigerian novelist, Chinua Achebe, said: “If you do not like someone’s story, write your own.” I will write my own stories because I do not condone the oversimplified image of Africa. Stereotypes divide us as countries, continents, cultures, nations and most importantly, as individuals.


Khadija Sanusi is a first-year student at the African Leadership Academy.






interesting article.

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