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Vijaya Ramachandran is a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development. She works on the impact of the business environment on the productivity of firms in developing countries, and is the coauthor of an essay titled "Development as Diffusion: Manufacturing Productivity and Africa's Missing Middle,” published in the Oxford Handbook on Economics and Africa. Vijaya is also studying the unintended consequences of rich countries’ anti-money laundering policies on financial inclusion in poor countries. She has published her research in journals such as World Development, Development Policy Review, Governance, Prism, and AIDS and is the author of a CGD book, Africa’s Private Sector: What’s Wrong with the Business Environment and What to Do About It. Prior to joining CGD, Vijaya worked at the World Bank and in the Executive Office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations. She also served on the faculties of Georgetown University and Duke University. Her work has appeared in several media outlets including the Economist, Financial Times, Guardian, Washington Post, New York Times, National Public Radio, and Vox.
At the next meeting of its Executive Board in Rome on November 8, the management of the World Food Programme (WFP) will propose an expanded financing facility to the tune of $557 million to fund advance purchases of food. This is a welcome news that has the potential to cut hunger, by stretching WFP dollars and speeding deliveries.
Moving from the clearly obsolete G-7 to a broader group that reflects the reality of today’s world makes eminent sense. Doing it on the basis of a grouping improvised during the crisis-before-last (and making sure that it included the then-favorite finance ministers of the U.S. and Canadian sponsors) is squandering the opportunity to move up to a credible, transparent, global governance platform.
The average Nigerian tech firm faces 30+ power outages per month, according to a new survey
Center for Global Development
WASHINGTON – Nigeria’s young tech sector faces a major hurdle in an unreliable power supply, with the average tech firm reporting 30+ power outages per month, according to a major new survey of the country’s tech sector by the Center for Global Development and the ONE Campaign.
The survey covered 93 tech firms, which encompasses the majority of Nigeria’s tech industry. Firms were asked about a range of potential business obstacles, including access to credit and electricity, corruption, taxation, the legal system, and more. Political instability, access to finance, and reliable power were the most severe constraints, according to respondents.
Nigeria is becoming a major African destination for tech investment, driven in part by a large, well-connected population, but the survey raises concerns about the fundamentals of the business environment tech entrepreneurs have to operate in.
“Everyone is talking about 5G access or startup accelerators, but we found Nigeria’s tech industry is struggling with much more basic problems, like unreliable electricity. The firms we talked to are dealing with dozens of power outages per month. That’s hard for any business, and especially for a technology company,” said Vijaya Ramachandran, one of the authors of the report and a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development.
“Basically, Nigeria’s 21st century economy is being held back by a very 20th century problem: lack of power,” she said.
Some of the survey findings:
57% of tech firms surveyed said reliable access to power was a “major” or “severe” obstacle to their business.
53 of the tech firms surveyed reported 30+ outages, and another 22 reported more than 20 outages per month.
A typical power outage was 2-3 hours for most firms, although for a significant group (about 15%), the lights usually stay off for 5 or more hours at a time.
A third of firms surveyed report losing more than 20% of their sales due to power outages.
“We know that unreliable power is a huge issue across Nigeria, and now we have data on just how badly outages are affecting technology companies. Big Silicon Valley investments and government-sponsored tech hubs can be helpful, but Nigeria needs to get the basic business environment right first. That means providing the energy infrastructure all businesses need to flourish,” Ramachandran said.
The full report of survey findings is available at https://www.cgdev.org/reader/new-economy-africa-opportunities-nigerias-emerging-technology-sector
Update: On March 29, the U.S. Senate confirmed Pamela White to be Ambassador of the United States of America to the Republic of Haiti.
Assuming she is confirmed by the Senate, Pamela White is set to become the next U.S. ambassador to Haiti. In her March 14 confirmation hearing, White and the senators agreed on one message: Haiti’s unstable government is impeding post-earthquake recovery, including U.S. aid efforts. But White could consider alternative approaches—from migration policy to mobile money—that might do more to help Haitians right now.