[October 1, 2010 marks the 50th anniversary of Nigeria's independence. To celebrate this historic date, Africa.com welcomes our newest "featured blogger," Ambassador Robin Renee Sanders, the former U.S. ambassador to Nigeria.]
Nigeria’s next, critically important elections appear to be slated for April 2011. In the months leading up to those elections, there are two key things to keep in mind. I call them the two R’s: Nigeria’s Resilience and Nigeria’s Resolve. Do not underestimate either.
Arts & Culture
What does the only Black member of the 2006-07 Class of Loeb Fellows, whose fellowship year was dominated, if not defined, by the topic of race and architecture, do when he goes to South Africa? He goes in search of Black African architects, of course. While America continues to revisit the lingering social, economic and political conditions of our post-Katrina society that are so clearly connected to issues of race and class, our Loeb class traveled from the Harvard Graduate School of Design to South Africa for two weeks this past May to learn as much as we could from a country in transition after generations of apartheid.
Sathima Bea Benjamin is a jazz vocalist from Cape Town, South Africa who has made the shores of America her home and she pours the spirit of South Africa in every note she sings. With the help of Duke Ellington, Benjamin arrived in New York City with her pianist husband, Abdullah Ibrahim, in the 1960s and never looked back. Escaping the brutality of apartheid, Ibrahim and Benjamin hoped that through music, they could survive being in exile through four-part harmony. And they did.
Social Enterprise & Philanthropy
[This Changemakers article is Part One of a three-part series focused on SME investment opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa, also featured on Social Edge and Changemakers.]
The global economic downturn may seem an unlikely opportunity for creating jobs and wealth, but optimists at the forefront of developing world finance and business argue that now is precisely the moment for big things.
Nigeria is a major driver of the economic boom sweeping through Africa. At a conference at the New York Stock Exchange last week, Emmanuel Ikazaboh, the acting CEO of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, predicted that 1000 companies will be actively traded within the next five years. The investment bank, Goldman Sachs, has placed Nigeria in the “Next Eleven,” a list of countries whose economies will lead the world in GDP growth by 2050.
Arts & Culture
Each time I visit Johannesburg, I am inspired by its vitality and versatility. South Africa‘s economic powerhouse is a destination not only for business and investment, but also for the young, fabulous and chic searching for opportunity, adventure, and fun.
This week, world leaders are assembling in New York to review progress toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). If past gatherings are any indication, we can expect to hear countless speeches and media stories about how Sub-Saharan Africa remains woefully off-track and that billions of dollars in new aid packages are required. These types of blanket statements perpetuate the misguided myth that Africa is a monolithic land of depravity and development disappointment. One cannot deny that such localized places exist – such as Somalia or Zimbabwe. However, these hot spots increasingly have become isolated islands of instability on an otherwise surging continent. Let us put aside the African cliché and instead focus our lens on the stars – the MDG Trailblazers.
Social Enterprise & Philanthropy
On Tuesday, September 21, 2010, President Bill Clinton opened his sixth annual Clinton Global Initiative in New York City with the numbers: 90 countries represented, 67 current and former heads of state in attendance along with more than 600 business leaders, more than 500 leaders from NGOs and philanthropic organizations and some 800 volunteers making sure that everything works smoothly.
Business & Finance
More than 10 years ago, President Bill Clinton told his economics team: “Africa needs to be seen and understood country by country. The news is dominated by those countries enduring tragic conditions. But many countries are ready for investment.”
Ten years ago, Heads of State from across the world promised “to spare no effort to free their fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty, to which more than a billion of them are currently subjected”. The historic Millennium Declaration was duly adopted and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were established, with the aim of reversing the grinding poverty, hunger and disease affecting billions of people.