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Nigerian Woes
Northern Nigeria Falls Behind the South

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.

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  • Andrew Allison

    Could it be that the insurgency is a result of the longstanding economic blight? It seems as though the (Christian) south may have brought this upon itself by not sharing its wealth with the (Muslim) north.

    • Fat_Man

      Islamist Jihadi groups like Boko Haram, are not the products of poverty. Osama bin Laden was stinking rich. Most often Jihadi warriors are drawn from middle class and upper class families. It is an ideology, not a reaction.

      • Andrew Allison

        Some of the organizers of Jihadi terrorism, bin Laden being the iconic example, are indeed from privileged backgrounds, but the ground in which they sowed the seeds of terrorism needed to be fertile. With very few exceptions, Islamic nations are poverty-stricken. The ground has being fertilized in Europe by largely economic issues which have the young and restless (of all religions) un- and under-employed, and we are starting to see the results in the rise of the far left and right.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    In order for the north to become wealthy it would have to become Christian like the south, which means getting rid of Boko Haram and the Islam from which it spawned. With the exception of where the Christian West has developed oil resources, every Islamic country exists in poverty and squalor. It is the backward Islamic culture which prevents the development of wealth, not the lack of Socialist Wealth Redistribution boondoggles.

    • B-Sabre

      “Every Islamic country exists in poverty and squalor.”
      I don’t think Dubai falls into that category, for one.

      • Fat_Man

        Dubai has oil. Jackson excluded the case of oil. When Dubai’s oil is gone they will go back fishing and they will be poor and live in misery.

        • B-Sabre

          No, they probably won’t. Unlike the Saudis, Dubai has made a conscious, concerted effort to move awary from an “oil curse” economy to become an economic, technological and commercial hub for the region. They probably have a good chance of becoming the Switzerland/Hong Kong of the Gulf after the oil becomes an afterthought.
          I think the whole “Christianity Good/Islam Bad” dichotomy is a false one in an economic picture. There are plenty Christian nations in Africa that have the resources to be prosperous that are mired in poverty and misery just as bad or worse than anything in the Islamic world. There are plenty of historical, cultural and regional forces at play here besides the fact of whether they pray at a mosque or a church.

  • rheddles

    the factors that led to Boko Haram’s reign of terror in the north


    and what might be done about them.

    There’s the rub. It’s sort of like asking what could be done about the Lutherans and Catholics in 1620. Some times you just have to wait for them to get old or die off.

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