Tag Archives: nigeria

Voices in the Web – Creating E-Platforms for Socioeconomic Discourse

Dotun Olutoke's Photographby Dotun Olutoke, honorable mention in the CIPE 2013 Blog Competition. Read the rest of the winning entries here.

When I was younger, the riddles and jokes section of Kiddies magazine oozed out an aroma that satisfied my reading pleasure. Of all the riddles I read as a kid, one remains memorable to me. It goes thus:

I am something. I am a good servant but a dangerous master.

What am I?

Electricity – was the answer I got after moments of a brain-tussling exercise.

As I grow older in this information-driven age, the relevance of this riddle came to the fore when social networking platforms were used as a mobilization arena for people to  protest against the removal of fuel subsidy in the ‘wee-days’ of 2012, specifically January 2-3. What used to be a platform where people share pictures, post comments about events, and connect with friends metamorphosed into a potent tool for rallying Nigerians of different religious, political, and social inclinations.

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Will the Roadmap for Nigeria’s Future Include Women?

Nigerian businesswomen take part in a CIPE-sponsored mentoring program in 2011.

Nigerian businesswomen take part in a CIPE-sponsored mentoring program in 2011.

Nigeria will soon begin a national discussion that could redefine the foundations of the entire country. Unfortunately, as originally planned, this process would have left women largely out of the conversation.

On March 17, a National Conference including delegates from government, civil society, and the private sector will convene to consider rewriting the military-era constitution, redefining the country’s internal borders and administrative structures, strengthening institutions to combat corruption, and many other issues that may shape Nigerian society for years or decades to come.

The conference could usher in important changes for a nation plagued by corruption, religious conflict, and poverty — but the original  pool of nearly 500 delegates included just 72 women from three associations. With a 75 percent majority required to take what could be fundamental decisions about the country’s future direction, women were at risk of being completely marginalized.

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To Harness Africa’s Demographic Dividend – Invest in People!

demographic-dividend

Naledi Modisaatsone is a CIPE-Atlas Corps Think Tank LINKS Fellow at the Urban Institute.

The demographic dividend is the accelerated economic growth that may result from a rapid decline in a country’s fertility and the subsequent change in the population age structure.

According to the latest UN population projections, Africa will have two billion people by 2040, with the share of 12-to-24-year-olds growing from 18 percent to 28 percent. The increment in size of this age cohort in Africa will be parallel to a decline in the same age group in every other region of the world. This anticipated rapid growth of the labor force possesses serious development challenges, as well as opportunities. The rising question is: how should Africa best prepare in order to benefit from the demographic change in the coming generation?

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10 Lessons from CIPE’s Webinar on Public-Private Dialogue

A public-private dialogue session with Senegalese President Macky Sall.

A public-private dialogue session with President Macky Sall in Senegal. CIPE partners organize such sessions in countries around the world.

In a webinar on July 11, Elias M. Dewah, former Executive Director of the Botswana Confederation of Commerce, Industry, and Manpower (BOCCIM), and other panelists shared prominent lessons from their experience with public-private dialogue initiatives in Africa and Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. Here are some of the highlights, addressed to private sector participants in advocacy.

  1. Be consistent and persistent in advocacy and dialogue to overcome government inertia.
  2. Remain independent from government but work with officials in an advocacy capacity.
  3. Be proactive and constructive. Don’t just criticize but offer alternative policy solutions.
  4. Come to the table with well-researched evidence. Link up with independent think tanks as needed.
  5. Be representative and inclusive of various sectors, not just a few elite businesses.
  6. Speak with one voice at all times.
  7. Move from issues involving transactions to systemic change.
  8. Make use of existing legal frameworks that provide for transparency and consultation.
  9. Find the most effective point of engagement in the legislative process – this could be in the drafting stage.
  10. Evaluate the impact. Look beyond dialogue processes at what is actually achieved.

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An Accidental Corruption Crusader

Yinka Osobu does not consider herself a crusader against corruption. In fact, she is a small business owner in Nigeria trying to keep costs down, manufacture quality products, and make a profit. She has been doing this for 18 years as the CEO of CMC Interiors, a furniture and fabric company based in Lagos.

However, when she was charged a different price for each container she imported, she grew frustrated. “There weren’t two containers that came in under the same regulations,” she said, noting how prices and regulations changed with no consistency or clarity. “I had reached the end of the road.”

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CIPE Opens Nigeria Office

After more than twenty years of innovative and impact-oriented programming in Nigeria, CIPE has opened the doors of its first brick-and-mortar office in Sub-Saharan Africa, located in Nigeria’s most populated city – Lagos.

“The opening of the Nigeria office is a significant benchmark for CIPE’s Africa programming on the continent,” said Abdulwahab Alkebsi, CIPE’s Regional Director for Africa and the Middle East, “It provides more on-the-ground capacity than CIPE has had before, but also solidifies our local presence, which we’ve managed for more than 20 years from Washington. This office will further our strategy of partnering locally to strengthen democratic and economic reforms.”

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Nigerian Youth Take On Sustainable Development

In June, world leaders converged in Brazil to discuss a topic of growing importance to countries world-wide: sustainable development. Despite months of hype for the Rio+20 Conference, however, participants left Brazil without any sort of global plan for addressing environmental, economic, and social concerns, and without even a statement saying that they should do so. Yet no matter how you judge the outcomes of Rio+20, the global attention it brought to the increasingly important topic of sustainable development is undeniable.

Sustainable development has different connotations to different people, but broadly in refers to lasting development that takes into account political, social, economic, and environmental factors. For individual countries, this means investing in economic sectors that create jobs for all, building better infrastructure to provide key services such as reliable electricity and transportation, and empowering political institutions that allow individuals and businesses to engage in advocacy and let their voices be heard.

For youth — the world’s fastest growing age group, and also the most over-represented among the world’s unemployed — the stakes of development’s success (and sustainability) are even higher.

In CIPE’s recently released  Economic Reform Feature Service article, Babatunde Oladosu and Michale Olumuyiwa Kayode, second and third place winners of the 2011 Youth Essay Contest in the sustainable development category, argue that youth can play an integral role in their country’s development by creating jobs, holding economic and political leaders accountable, and investing in local communities. Both authors also point to the importance of their own country, Nigeria, in investing in itself. Local actors, not foreign aid, must lead the way towards economic prosperity and democratic reform.

Read their winning essays: “Nigerian Youth and Sustainable Development,” and “Youth and Politico-Economic Development in Nigeria,” here.

Articles at a glance:

  • Youth can help make development sustainable and home-grown by increasing focus on job creation instead of job seeking, encouraging local business, and investing in their communities.
  • Nigerians—not international donors—are the best leaders of and investors in Nigeria’s economic, political, and social development.
  • Nigeria’s current state of affairs is a product of both the government and the citizens, and both parties must work together to resolve the country’s problems.

CIPE is also now accepting entries for the 2012 Youth Essay Competition, which focuses on the theme of entrepreneurship. Winner in each category will have their essays published as Feature Service articles and receive a $500 honorarium, and a special Grand Prize winner will be awarded the opportunity to attend an entrepreneurship conference in the United States in 2013. Find out more here.