ONE: Most Nigerians want constant electricity, in fact some people make the claim that Nigeria is a failed state mainly because of her inability to provide this basic infrastructure for her citizens. However, there is a city in Nigeria that enjoys “underground electrical systems and water supply networks, 24 hour-electricity supply (the only other place such privileged is the Nigerian President’s residence), extremely tight security, good road layout, a central sewage system and treatment plant and the well-cherished company of fellow wealthy folks”, Mfonobong Nsehe writes in a column with Forbes magazine. At last, evidence that Nigeria is not a failed state, as long as you can pay for it.
TWO: Bill & Melinda foundation has granted Donald Danforth plant science centre $8.3 million grant to develop in Nigeria and Kenya “cassava plants that have 30 times as much beta-carotene, four times as much iron and four times as much protein as traditional cassava”.
THREE: A report surfaced earlier last week that Nokia phones dominate the increasing mobile market in Africa. Nokia reported a market share of 66%. The next competitor is Samsung whose market share is far below Nokia’s at 12%. While Nokia is making huge profit in Africa, I wonder if they give back to the continent they sell most of their device in. One would hope.FOUR: I am deeply committed to the MDG 5 to reduce maternal mortality. In fact that is my main professional goal. I wrote about my shocking experience with maternal health in Nigeria here. Last week, Nigeria Health Watch wrote about the state of Nigerian mothers, reporting that our maternal mortality rate is actually much higher than previously reported. “Nigeria moved in the opposite direction of global trend, with a 1.4% increase each year, from 473/100,000 in 1990 to 608/100,000 by 2008”.
FIVE: Save the Children released the annual state of the world’s mother report this week. The report shows that a typical woman will die before the age of 50 in Nigeria. However, Nigeria is NOT one of the top 10 worst places to be a mother in the World. This brings a little bit of relief, although our number is still rather too high for comfort.
SIX: Last Thursday, May 5th Nigeria held a Tech Open Day. The event presented a unique opportunity for E-entrepreneurs and their supporters to present products and services to Sarah Lacy, a technology and entrepreneurship Journalist. The event brought out fantastic companies such as Dealfish, a free classifieds site, CashEnvoy, a web payment platform and many others. I hope for more events like this in the future.
Seven: It seems there is a major technology entrepreneurship revolution in the works for Nigeria. The buzz surrounding young tech companies is strong and there are committed young people everywhere doing great things in this field. Events such as Tech Open Day, G-Nigeria and many others attempt to showcase this major surge. I can only hope we sustain this excitement, Nigeria is in a unique place to drag West Africa into the 21st century and we might very produce her own Zuckerberg.
Eight: The Economist did a profile of the advertising industry in Nigeria. The article was fascinating in the way it painted the industry and its successes and challenges. I also found another glaring evidence of a deep cultural rift in the way companies have to create 2 very different campaigns to match the cosmopolitan culture of Western Nigeria, and juxtapose that with the incredible conservative culture of the Northern region. The article also illustrated the resurgence of patriotism in our culture, capturing this growing sentiment in the charming term “Naija”. The advertisers seem to think those who use this term love their country and are deeply patriotic. Apparently “foreign firms must assimilate with this new patriotism or die”. Some companies even change their names to emphatically state their commitment to these ideas. It is rather ironic that this term was the one the former Minister of information tried to ban last year. It just shows the huge gulf between those who govern and those who are govern in Nigeria. God bless Naija for life.
Nine: Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was featured in the famous Time 100 list of Influential people and he was one of the guests honored at the gala last week. He claimed to be “cleaning up not just banking but all Nigeria”. We wish him luck.
Ten: The leadership of the EFCC rearrested 4 “former bank chief executives who were sacked for mismanagement by the central bank during a $4 billion bailout in 2009”. The corruption agency apparently has fresh allegations and evidence of corruption and mismanagement against “Intercontinental Bank chief Erastus Akingbola, former Afribank boss Sebastian Adigwe, ex-Union Bank chief Bartholomew Ebong and former Finbank head Okey Nwosu”.