Nigeria was recently discovered to be Africa’s largest economy, but its wealth isn’t spread evenly. While the mainly Christian south grows more prosperous, the north remains plagued by Islamic insurgents and longstanding economic blight.A Financial Times article provides a good background on the north’s troubles:
The north’s inhabitants, although more numerous than in the south, are far poorer, and therefore a less attractive market for the banks, telecoms providers and retailers that are thriving in pockets of comparative affluence in the south.Prospects of bridging the gap have been complicated by the insurgency.While the south and federal capital in the centre have become magnets for global and local investors, the massacres, bombing and kidnappings carried out by Boko Haram have turned much of the north into a no-go zone.“They have got to address the disparity in wealth between the north and south,” says a western businessman who has done business in the north and who asked not to be named for fear of jeopardising his investment.
As the kidnapped schoolgirls make headlines around the world, it’s worth stepping back to look at the factors that led to Boko Haram’s reign of terror in the north—and what might be done about them. Read the whole thing.