Today on the podcast, Olumayowa Okediran, a Young Voices Advocate based out of Nigeria. Olumayowa wrote a piece in CapX titled “ Let us choose how rare our burgers are” and was kind enough to call into the podcast to talk abut it.
The United Nations (UN) has called for $5.6 billion in donations to fight a famine that threatens over 20 million people in Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen. In Nigeria alone, upwards of 5 million people face acute food shortages.
In a country of over 170 billion people, there are fewer than 5,000 tractors.
Considering the progress Nigeria has made in food security since the 1980s, the country’s placement on the list is disheartening. While the UN’s efforts might bring temporary relief, the root causes of this famine must be addressed to prevent similar crises in the future. Boko Haram might be partly responsible for this crisis, but the reality is that Nigeria’s famine is worsened by protectionist policies that restrict agricultural trade and force Nigerians to depend on insufficient domestic food production.
Restricted Food Imports
In 1983, Nigeria averaged less than 2,000 calories per person per day. By 1998, Nigeria had caught up to the global average of over 2,630 calories. However, food production has dropped in recent years because Nigerian agriculture is stuck in the past. In a country of over 170 billion people, there are fewer than 5,000 tractors. Traditional small scale farming permeates the food production In Nigeria. Small plots a couple of hectares in size account for 90 percent of domestic food production. With a growing population, such small-scale production has become insufficient.
The most populous black nation in the world, Nigeria is witnessing a tense political and economic situation, along with internal mishaps. On the other hand, the President, Muhammadu Buhari, has been on a month’s long medical leave. In lieu of this, he has remained out of the country, in the United Kingdom since January 19, 2017. He was supposed to return back to work on the 6th February, 2017. However, in a written statement to the National Assembly, he informed the parliament of his desire to extend his leave in order to complete a pending series of tests recommended by his doctors.
The mysterious disappearance after brokering peace talks in the Gambia and a continued stay in the UK have led to deepening suspicions that his health is far worse than the reports claim. The 74-year- old former military dictator has been dogged by speculation about whether he was physically fit for office even before he took power in May 2015.
The Nigerian government recently launched the Social Investment Programme (SIP), a welfare scheme aimed at alleviating poverty. Through SIP, the government plans to feed 3.5 million schoolchildren, create jobs and offer loans to 1.6 million Nigerians. The program’s framework might seem noble and appealing, but its dependence on borrowing makes poverty eradication doubtful while increasing the country’s debt profile and general interest rate.
First, current levels of poverty in Nigeria are linked to debt incurred in the 1980s and 1990s. This debt has hindered each successive administration’s ability to spend on development projects to reduce poverty. Thus, borrowing to fund SIP will inflate the country’s already high debt profile, and negatively influence individual financial security as average income decreases while tax increases. These changes in financial strength will consequently affect savings and investment, which are prerequisites for poverty reduction.
While the government hopes the scheme will help drive entrepreneurship, SIP will do the opposite. If Nigeria’s creditors doubt the government’s inability to repay borrowed funds (likely considering the dwindling oil revenue), there will be higher demands on interest rates to counteract the risk, thereby upsetting general interest rates. This means potential entrepreneurs might get discouraged and existing businesses might not risk high interest loans to expand. This decrease in business growth and economic strength can possibly lead to more poverty.
Over 100 student-leaders from some tertiary institutions gathered at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in Ile-Ife, Osun State to listen to stories that changed lives and the course of events in some institutions.
It was at an event tagged #ShareYourStory organised by African Students For Liberty (ASFL).
Supported by the United States-based Atlas Network, the event featured speakers from Nigeria, South Africa and Europe. The African Programme Manager of Students For Liberty (SFL), Olumayowa Okediran, led the speakers.
Others were SFL Deputy African Programme Manager Chukwuemeka Ezeugo, CAMPUSLIFE Editor Wale Ajetunmobi, Director of The Bastiat Society Adewale Bankole, an entrepreneurship expert, Bunmi Fadiora, an ASFL Local Coordinator, Lilian David, Martin Van Staden (South Africa) and SFL Programme Director in Europe Yael Ossowski.
The event’s objective was to bring campus leaders together for advocacy on free society and to share practical ideas on how to promote the ideals of tolerance, liberty, entrepreneurship and free markets among students.
In line with the theme of the event, each speaker shared his personal experience and how the ideas of liberty have helped him/her in life pursuits.
Read the full article at Nigeria’s The Nationnewspaper.