his month’s prize letter South Sudan Slippery slope?
Well said, Editor Anver Versi. Once again, your thoughts are prescient and perti- nent in warning of the pitfalls of founding a new nation. The Republic of South Sudan, with its immense dormant riches – especially the cursed oil – will be bound to be seen as easy prey by those who are more venal than its idealistic newly independent government. I hope those in power will be reading your magazine (Editorial, ‘South Sudan – Watch out for slippery surfaces’, African Business, August/September 2011 issue).
Where there is oil, the vultures will gather. The new republic provides a huge potential for foreign investors and the wolves are circling the sitting duck. Oil, of course, is the main prize, as we all know.
There are no public records on what reservoirs of oil the Republic of South Sudan is sitting on and oil is a finite resource. Yet there is discussion about building a new pipeline to Mombasa to be funded by oil revenues. Would it not be better to invest that money in agriculture and improving the fertility of the land? Or building the infrastructure of the nation? In addition, banks, supermarkets and the purveyors of alcohol are seeking to establish their foothold and exert their charms on the inhabitants of the land.
James Githa Nairobi, Kenya LETERS African Business Awards World-class performance
President Salva Kiir Mayardit of the Republic of South Sudan: urged to invest wisely in building his new nation.
May I add my congratulations to your African business achievers? (‘African Business Awards salute continental cham- pions’, African Business, August/September 2011 issue).
I was fortunate to be invited as a guest to this enjoyable event, for which I extend my thanks to the organisers, and it is an evening I shall long remember.
No less than three breweries are already seeking to set themselves up, though it cannot be denied there is a demand for their wares now the South is independent. However, it is interesting that one of them is investing in local industry, setting up farmers to grow cassava and process it into starch for its beers, so perhaps the pressing issue of food security may also be addressed, albeit indirectly.
We can only hope the people of the new republic, which at present shows so much promise, keep their heads.
It was an occasion for pride in the achievements of our business leaders in the length and breadth of the African continent.
And what is more, the fact that the event was attended by no less than two British government ministers is testament to the importance it now has in the international sphere and the growing international recognition which Africa’s business leaders are being accorded. World class indeed!
Alhaji Bamanga Tukur is spot on! (‘The media’s invaluable role, African Business, July 2011 issue). There is indeed an unbreakable link between a free media and a democratic society and it is only to be hoped that the African media can move forward by playing their part honourably in Africa’s future.
Tukur mentions their growing power and credibility. However, as that power grows, the media needs to guard against the danger of falling into the role of the harlot throughout the ages, as it is commonly said, of having “power without responsibility”.
London, UK The media Don’t play the harlot
For a warning of what may happen when the media get out of control, one only has to look at the phone-hacking scandal that continues to engulf the British press, which was once thought of as the pinnacle of journalism to which other nations aspired.
Let us hope that the African media do not take a leaf out of the British book. If their investigations and reports are to be given credence, and if they are to make use of their power for the common good, they must ensure that their conduct is above board in every respect. I am sure there are many stories to be told, and in particular as relating to Africa’s burgeoning economies and thriving business sector – in comparison to the ailing Eurozone – and responsible media can do much good for our continent. And here I cite African Business magazine as a positive standard bearer.
Bradford, UK .
Personality Hats off to African women
Iwas so pleased to read your profile of the magnificent lady, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, in your last issue (‘Okonjo-Iweals heads team Jonathan’, African Business, August/Septem- ber 2011 issue). I was surprised and happy that she had accepted the invitation by President Goodluck Jonathan to serve the nation,.
Prize Letter Win a free annual subscription! AfricanBusinesswill award a free one-year subscription to the reader whose letter is chosen as the Prize Letter for that month. (Existing subscribers will receive a free annual renewal.) Your views on Africa and matters affecting Africa are very important to this publication. We encourage you to share them with thousands of our readers in Africa and all over the world. Please address your comments to: The Editor, African Business, 7 Coldbath Square, London ECIR 4LQ, UK, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. All letters and emails must bear the writer’s name and address, although you can ask for your name to be withheld.
What the world of finance needs is more ladies like her, fighting for transparency. As the saying goes, if Lehman Brothers had been Lehman Sisters, the financial crisis in Europe and the US would never have happened. If you need further proof of this, you need only to read the British newspapers this week about the £1.3bn losses suffered by the bank UBS through a rogue (male) trader.
Lucy Adebola Lagos, Nigeria
African Business | October 2011