Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

25 February 2014

Nigeria: Investors Nervous After Central Banker Suspension - and They're Right

analysis

For those nervous about Nigeria, Lamido Sanusi was a comforting, reassuring presence at the helm of the central bank. He is the country's Trevor Manuel - a steady pair of hands implementing much-needed banking reforms and fighting corruption.

But now he's gone, sacrificed by a president more intent on consolidating his own power than protecting the Nigerian economy. It's not a good sign.

When it comes to attracting foreign investment, Nigeria is a hard sell. Yes, the economy is booming, but we all know that this growth is disproportionately, almost grotesquely, reliant on an unsustainable oil boom.

Then there's the corruption, the political instability, even the (unfair) stereotypes of Nigerian businessmen as scam artists and fraudsters - all contribute to a feeling that investing in Nigeria, while perhaps lucrative, is only for the very brave.

As of Thursday last week, potential investors are going to have to be even braver.

In an unexpected (and possibly illegal) move, President Goodluck Jonathan summarily suspended Lamido Sanusi, the head of the Central Bank of Nigeria. In his not quite six years in the position, Sanusi garnered widespread domestic and international respect for his reform of the banking sector and his ...

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