Nigeria / by Alistair Galloway

Nigeria is on the brink of a crisis of food shortages, predominantly in the former Boko Haram strongholds of Borno province as well as Adamawa and Yobe. At least 55,000 people in the north east are in famine-like conditions and the United Nations (UN) estimates that around 120,000 people, most of them children, are at risk of starving to death next year. Boko Haram carried out a double suicide bombing at a market in Madagali in the north east on 9 December, killing 45 people. On 24 December, the Nigerian government claimed victory over Boko Haram after the military seized the last remaining insurgent stronghold of “Camp Zero” in the Sambisa forest. This is not the first time the government has claimed victory against Boko Haram. The group will survive for some time yet; it has spilled over into Niger, Chad and Cameroon. Although they may no longer control cohesive territories, it is highly likely that there will be further violence from Boko Haram in 2017. As the recession continues in Nigeria, the government has put forward its largest-ever budget which aims to stimulate the economy. The Central Bank has also been working to sell assets to help clear dollar-denominated obligations with a focus on fuel importers, airlines, machinery manufacturers, and agricultural chemicals and raw materials. The rise in the global price of oil following the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Country's (OPEC) decision to reduce supply has been welcomed. However, Nigeria faces competition for its light crude and is being held back by its low refining capacity, which is also a key cause of the fuel shortages that are becoming severe and causing sectors such as aviation to grind to a halt.

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