- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
Nigerian prince says China is winning with investment push in largest African economy
Question of the Day
A key player in Nigeria’s emergence as Africa’s largest economy says U.S. companies are ceding investment opportunities to China and the Obama administration should do more to reverse the trend.
“The Obama administration has to focus more on Nigeria,” said Prince Adetokunbo Sijuwade, whose family holds royal status in a vital corner of southern Nigeria and is invested heavily in transportation and oil infrastructures. “We feel that we can learn from the U.S. in terms of expertise.”
In an exclusive interview with editors and reporters at The Washington Times, Prince Sijuwade addressed the friction between Nigeria’s Christian and Muslim populations, security challenges in countering the Boko Haram terrorist group and accusations of rampant corruption.
But his plea to the Obama White House and assertion that China has surpassed the U.S. in almost every major sector of the Nigerian economy stood out, with new GDP figures announced over the weekend showing that Nigeria has surpassed South Africa as the continent’s largest economy.
He said U.S. and European companies continue to dominate investment in Nigeria’s off-shore oil exploitation fronts, but noted that Chinese interests are increasing just about everywhere else in the economy, particularly banking, construction, and power generation and distribution.
In addition, Chinese firms have wedged themselves into Nigeria’s rapidly expanding free market by “offering cheap interest rates” on investment across multiple sectors, he said. U.S. companies are likely to miss out on Nigeria’s boom without a concerted effort by Washington to encourage more investment.
Prince Sijuwade speculated that several factors may have deterred U.S. investors in recent years, from concerns about government corruption to security. But he argued that allegations of widespread corruption in Nigeria are “overstated.”
“Corruption is all over the world,” he said, noting potential U.S. investors’ fears of violating the Justice Department’s anti-corruption laws as an inhibiting factor on Nigerian investment.
He noted that oil services giant Halliburton was forced to pay an $800 million settlement for violating in Nigeria the Justice Department’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), which aims to deter U.S. businesses from engaging in “pay-to-play” tactics in foreign nations.
“It did scare people off in terms of private investment. People are thinking ‘If I go to Nigeria, what’s going to happen? I’m going to get locked up?’” Prince Sijuwade said of the Halliburton case. “But I think that message also makes a country better in terms of looking from the American side of business. If you go in, go in and do the job in the best manner possible, don’t cut corners.”
“It will reduce, corruption,” he said of the FCPA. “It has reduced corruption.”
The prince also suggested some U.S. firms may be hesitant to invest in Nigeria over concerns about stability and security. What is frustrating, he said, is that threat posed by the most publicized terrorist group in Nigeria — Boko Haram — has been partially overblown in the international media.
With Nigeria’s oil wealth concentrated in the predominantly the Christian south, Boko Haram began as a group that fed off social and economic frustrations among Muslims in the north.
The State Department last year named Boko Haram a foreign terrorist group. But for many observers it is better characterized as a nebulous movement than a jihadist group with ties to al Qaeda.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Kellan Howell, an investigative reporter for The Washington Times, covers campaign finance and government accountability. Originally from Williamsburg, Va., Kellan graduated from James Madison University where she received bachelor’s degrees in media arts and design and international affairs with a concentration in western European politics.
During her time at JMU, she interned for British technology and business news website “ITPro” ...
- Border service faulted on staffing levels
- GOP report sees ties between rich donors, green 'nonprofits'
- Joan Rivers: CNN should be 'ashamed' of its Israel, Gaza reporting
- Rahm Emanuel: Send illegal immigrant shelter kids to Chicago
- DCCC raising money on suggestion Obama impeachment is imminent
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- House backs faster deportations, cancels 'Dreamer' policy
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
- HATCH: Destroying the Senate and our liberties
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors