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Strategic Horizons: Don't Count on U.S. Security Partnership With Nigeria

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Nigeria could be a dominant political force and engine for economic development in Africa and beyond. It has a large population with a highly educated professional class. Its proven petroleum reserves are the world's 10th largest. And its military is one of the largest in sub-Saharan Africa, with extensive experience in multinational peacekeeping.

Unfortunately, though, Nigeria's problems run as deep as its potential. It has suffered some of the most rapacious and persistent government corruption in the world. Nigerian leaders, both military and civilian, have stolen untold billions while the nation sinks deeper into poverty. Many Nigerians use their impressive entrepreneurial skill for crime rather than national development. Nigeria's ethnic and religious complexity often paralyzes the political process and makes it a spoils system for whatever group dominates the state. Its borders, like most in Africa, are porous and artificial, a legacy of colonialism rather than a reflection of cultural or social realities. And like much of Africa, the majority of Nigerians are young, many of them frustrated and angered by the lack of educational and economic opportunity ...

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