• Friday, July 19, 2024
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Let’s kill corruption so that Africa’s future would be better than its past

Let’s kill corruption so that Africa’s future would be better than its past

To meet Africa’s future challenges Mo Ibrahim argued that Africa needs better governance and better-elected leaders. Mo says the past is gone and we should bother less about it. Instead, we should focus on development and rely on ourselves. Only we are responsible for our future and that of millions of Africans yet unborn. He also noted that the West must be more transparent and accountable in their dealings with Africa and completely eradicate doublespeak in their relations with the third world and Africa in particular.

However, I do not completely share the optimism of the Respected Elder Stateman about the future. Let’s examine some of the reasons for my pessimism. Examples from key countries in Sub-Saharan Africa point to deep corrupt practices that would drag the economy and polity backwards. Let’s look at Nigeria. At the Kadinvest 2022 lecture, the 14th Emir of Kano and Former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria warned that corruption with mismanagement has brought us to this place of unprecedented inflation that has crippled the economic and social life of the country and radical measures are needed for the resuscitation of the polity. In the midst of these crises, politicians are busy flaunting empty scorecards asking people to reward them with more tenure when they should be in all truth and fairness, kicked out of office, thoroughly investigated and stolen public funds recovered from them. What do we have? lack of courage by our anti-graft agencies across the board.

Members of the civil society groups have wondered if a new Nuhu Ribadu can be found to shake up the system and bring to a halt or reduce this unprecedent graft and mismanagement. Emir Sanusi wondered if the Saudis , Kuwaitis , Qataris and other major members of Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries are smiling to the bank because of the war in Ukraine how come Nigeria is not doing the same as these fellow oil producers.

According to the Israeli Think Tank The Moshe Dayan Centre between 2020 and 2021, international demand for oil increased as COVID restrictions eased. This pushed up prices and, as a result, Middle East OPEC states experienced a massive increase in oil export revenues from $244 billion to $446 billion. Oil prices have risen sharply over the last few months. This has been the result of the recovery of demand following the reduction of COVID related restrictions and then the disruption of international markets due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The result has been a large increase in the revenues of Middle East producers, especially those that have been able to increase their production. Saudi Arabia is the biggest of these. Its revenues from sales of crude oil have increased dramatically. In the first quarter of 2021 they came to $39 billion, by the first quarter of 2022, they had risen 92 percent and reached $75 billion. At this rate they will reach $300 billion, compared with $119 billion in 2020 and $202 billion in 2021.

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In the UAE, where oil production declined, revenues rose from about $33 billion in 2020 to $46 billion in 2021. According to the World Bank, the Middle East and North Africa faces a growing divide between the oil exporting countries—which benefit from high oil prices and high COVID-19 vaccination rates—and the oil importers, which face higher food and energy prices, deteriorating external balances, and relatively low vaccination rates. Risks include drought, policy uncertainty, new outbreaks of COVID-19, and geopolitical tensions threatening to raise prices further, erode real incomes, and aggravate social tensions.

The rise in fuel prices is aggravating the food crisis. The surge in food prices since mid-2020 has been driven by the recovery in demand following the Covid-19 crisis, adverse weather impacts on supply, a growing number of trade restrictions on food products, and rapidly soaring input costs, notably energy and fertilizers. The war in Ukraine has increased energy prices, which have had effects on food supply chains through rising energy and fertilizer prices. The Countries in the Middle East are adjusting as it were with excess funds coming their way because of Putin’s wars with Ukraine utilized for the development of their region.

Nigeria’s case is unfortunate because our food security situation is challenged by this war while we seem not to be benefitting from it in many ways. The world is looking at alternative source of energy and we are talking of oil theft and graft in our petroleum industry. It is shameful that since the exploration of oil since Oloibiri till today we do not have reliable mechanism for determining the exact amount of oil and gas extracted from the crust of the delta and other locations. So back to Emir Sanusi a war our peers in the OPEC cartel are benefitting from is a lose – lose situation for us.

The “Economist” quoting Male Kyari the NNPC boss that these galaxy of oil thieves include army officers, government officials , and even religious leaders. This is obviously sounding like what is called state capture in South Africa. The South African dimension is equally pathetic as the key officials of the ruling party (( The African National Congress) have captured the Commonwealth of the South African nation and determined to milk it dry. Apartheid is very bad but corruption is worse. The departure of President Jacob Zuma did not change anything the system and party that produced him is making many people question if the country is not going through its third era of colonialism after the British and the Boer hijack. The recent attempt by President Cyril Ramaphosa to sweep under the carpet a money laundering allegation him further stains the South African presidency.

The story from the East Africa precisely Kenyan is not better as William Ruto takes power in Kenya, corruption allegations persist and may remain so through out his stay in office. While most of the allegations are not totally proven and he may escape with the application of the immunity clause thereby lacking the moral authority needed to occupy the high office of the President of the Kenyan State.

Mo Ibrahim should take a good look at the custodians of the future of Africa and rethink his position. Nigerians are emigrating and ‘Japa’ has become an obsession for many of our youths . Many of them see the flight from the motherland as an achievement even when the colour of the future not very bright. For our future not to be worse than our past , we must kill corruption before corruption kills us all in Africa. We must enforce zero tolerance for corruption. Michael A. Umogun (fnimn) is a public policy analyst and chartered marketing professional. [email protected]