Even with the Nigeria being the most economically successful African country within the entire continent of Africa, it still receives a substantial amount of foreign aid from more developed countries. These countries include the United States and Great Britain, as Nigeria is the tenth highest recipient of United States foreign aid with $693.85 million dollars and the Great Britain committing to spending over $1 billion dollars in foreign aid in Nigeria. The United State’s goals through foreign aid in Nigeria are to reduce extreme poverty and improve the quality of life for Nigeria’s vulnerable communities at the federal, state, and local levels; reduce corruption strengthen the private sector as a source of job creation; improve the quality of social service delivery; and prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. However, the majority of the aid from the United States in Nigeria is to protect Nigerian citizens from the Boko Haram. This is a similar goal of Great Britain as well as hundreds of millions of British pounds are being given to Nigeria to fight off the Boko Haram. However, due to a poor governmental infrastructure in Nigeria, the hundreds of millions of dollars being provided by the U.S. and Great Britain are not being allocated properly as the Boko Haram is still thriving and making insurgencies in Nigeria.
A large reason that foreign aid has not made a significant impact in Nigeria is due to the fact that there are substantial amounts of corruption in Nigeria’s government system. Due to such corruption, the money being provided by the U.S. and Great Britain to help solve some of Nigeria’s major issues is not being used the way that these two developed countries had hoped. Instead, the money is either being pocketed by government officials or being used for the wrong reasons. A prime example of this is that a large portion of the millions of British pounds that Great Britain is pouring into Nigeria for combating the Boko Haram is instead being exploited by Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari to hunt down opposition politicians that were previously in power. Meanwhile, while Buhari fails to address the problem that is the Boko Haram, which is currently considered the deadliest terrorist group in the world, continues to take innocent lives within Nigeria’s northern regions where the militant group’s stronghold is located. According to a U.S. official, “There is no doubt the growing strength of Boko Haram is because President Buhari is far more interested in settling scores with his political opponents that concentrating his energy on defeating terrorists.”
An interesting point that Moyo made in her piece that started to make me think about Nigeria’s economic situation and their foreign aid situation she asks the question: “What if,” she asks, “one by one, African countries each received a phone call … telling them that in exactly five years the aid taps would be shut off- permanently?” In the case of Nigeria, due to their large amount of oil and petroleum reserves, I think that the most affluent country in Africa would do just fine if foreign aid was cut off to the country. If a country’s government can manage to pay its legislators the highest salaries in the world, with a basic wage of £122,000, and 80 per cent of the country’s substantial oil revenues go to the government, Nigeria should be able to do just fine without foreign aid. In my opinion, this interesting, yet radical question points out the real problem in Nigeria, which is not the Boko Haram, but corruption within its own government. The huge flow of oil wealth allows for the government to not have to rely on taxpayers for its income, so it does not have to answer to the people, which fosters rampant corruption and economic disparity since there is no investment in the infrastructure as the country’s leaders cream off its wealth. How does a country that has by far the highest GDP in the entire continent of Africa still have over 70% of its population living below the poverty line? The answer is pure greed.
Moyo, Dambisa. Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is a Better Way for Africa. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009. Print.