Kenyan and British officials are working on a plan to make Nairobi Africa’s major financial hub. They have signed a co-operation agreement which reports say could result in growing investment in the city by at least $2 billion and build firmer links between the stock exchanges in London and Nairobi.
The pioneer entrant under the new arrangement is the British insurer Prudential which has opened its regional headquarters in Nairobi to serve customers in eight different countries. Kenyan mining company Mayflower Gold has also declared its intention to list its shares on the London and Nairobi stock exchanges in a deal worth £14m.
A financial hub is a city or region where a large quantity and range of financial services institutions are headquartered. As far back as 2007, the then Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Professor Chukwuma Soludo said Nigeria should deliberately work at becoming the financial hub of Africa and made reference to the benefits of Nigeria’s economic size, English-speaking nature, population, location, large economy, etc.
Soludo said, “If Nigeria does not act to take advantage of this emerging opportunity, another nation will move to fill the emerging need.”
Well, Kenya has done so and we have to ask ourselves exactly what we want to be in Africa and what we are doing to make that happen.
Nairobi’s advantages included political stability and British officials are said to be keen on encouraging pan-African businesses to move to Kenya and Nairobi in particular if they are service-based businesses.
Lagos and Abuja would have been expected to be firm contenders for this position especially given the quality of Nigerian banking and tech sectors but it makes sense to assume that the UK is looking for an African hub less likely to be affected by extremism and government hostility to the private sector.
International investors and foreign policymakers are not going to favor exposing themselves to a Nigeria that has a Government given to investing in chaos, corruption, violence, and poverty instead of order, due process, and wealth creation.
It has not helped that the government is blatantly pro-North while ownership and management of the formal private sector are largely in the hands of Southern Nigeria.
A well-organized South Nigeria would most likely have been a better option for the siting of an African financial hub but these things don’t happen in places where the government treats the private sector and the national economy like mortal enemies.
AFCFTA is here but a pro-North Nigerian Government that’s Anti-Business has shut the land borders and kept Nigerians discussing cows and murderous terrorists that it pampers while unleashing the Hordes of Hell on Southerners who do as much as frown. It is an untenable situation and something has to give lest all be taken away.
Southern Nigeria has to find a way to free itself so it can do the work required to place itself where it actually belongs and a key element of what has to be accomplished is political.
There is no escaping it.
Southern Nigerians in the private sector have to see the importance of aggregating and partnering with the Middle-Class to get enough political power in the South at least so they can negotiate better terms with Nigeria.
1st and 2nd world countries engage in midterm and long-term analysis of what they see as relevant factors and we have to accept that their analysis of Nigeria’s struggle with incompetence, economic failure, and Islamic extremism has made an option that should probably be avoided where possible.
Shoprite has left Nigeria.
Accenture has left Nigeria.
Shell is in the process of minimising its Nigerian presence.
There is a clear pattern.
We have to see what they are seeing and work on making sure that the Doomsday Scenario doesn’t happen.