WILLIAMS: Nigeria's Promise and Potential; the Falling Unemployment Rate Is the Bad Good News
Byline: Armstrong Williams
While Americans celebrated Jan. 1 as just the start of another new year, the date was a major milestone in the history of Nigeria. It marked 100 years to the day since the separate protectorates of Southern and Northern Nigeria were united.
There are many signs that Nigeria is increasingly catching the attention of the world and cementing its position as a leading force in Africa. It possesses one of the strongest militaries on the continent, which Nigeria has been forced to rely upon as it combats the Islamist terrorists of Boko Haram.
The group, which may be receiving help from al Qaeda and al-Qaeda-inspired fighters, has attempted to thwart Nigeria's modern-day progress with sickening suicide attacks and the vicious targeting of Christians. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has demonstrated an iron-clad resolve to safeguard his citizens and to take far-reaching steps to ensure that the jihadists do not succeed.
But when it comes to assessing Nigeria's future, the focus should be on economic indicators that reveal enormous opportunity for Mr. Jonathan's countrymen as well as outside investors and the nation's allies.
For the second year in a row, the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development has named Nigeria as the top destination for foreign direct investments in Africa with inflows of nearly $9 billion in foreign direct investment. The influx of that amount of capital should help spur further economic growth and kick-start a new era of prosperity for Nigeria.
Further evidence of that positive momentum was the opening by GE of a $1 billion service and manufacturing facility in 2013. The American titan of industry has been active in Nigeria for decades, but this marks the largest-ever investment in sub-Saharan Africa. Other blue-chip American companies ranging from Coca-Cola and Intel to Apple, Google and Microsoft have a presence in Nigeria, and Procter & Gamble runs a factory there. …