West African resources

By mid-century, Nigeria is likely to be the third most populous country in the world, having overtaken the United States. This simple projection highlights some of the questions we address in this issue.

The World Today
1 minute READ

Alan Philps

Former Editor, The World Today, Communications and Publishing

How will Nigeria, and the other countries of West Africa, feed their growing populations and provide jobs for young people? In our cover story, Razia Khan looks at how a recalculation of the size of Nigeria’s economy is about to confirm it as the ‘giant of Africa’. But what will this mean for the 63 per cent of Nigerians who live on a dollar a day? Solving the problem of growing inequality requires better control of the region’s abundant resources. On other pages, authors look at the management of resources, from fish stocks to minerals and the oft-neglected agricultural sector.

Much ink has been spilt on the US withdrawing from overseas commitments. But what about Britain? asks Alistair Burt, former Foreign Office Minister. He looks at the parliamentary vote in August which stopped David Cameron from joining in a planned US-led missile strike on Syria. This precedent, he argues, has tipped the balance in favour of the legislature and subjected Government foreign policy to the calculations of backbenchers.

Anthony Loyd, who has visited Syria 13 times, laments that the threat of kidnap and death has deterred journalists from frontline reporting. The Syrian people have been eclipsed, and the conflict now appears to be waged between ‘rebel thugs and regime goons’.

The Swiss-born polymath Alain de Botton pleads for the news agenda be more positive. But he finds his attention distracted from weighty matters by a certain singer’s legs. The problem is that we – perhaps he means men – are ‘wired in unhelpful ways’.