WASHINGTON — Nigeria, which is one of the leading oil producers and exporters in the world, may see its economy stumble after a series of pre-election crises.
Reuters reported that a money laundering scandal hit the country’s banks as a bank governor, Lamido Sanusi, found significant discrepancies between Nigerian currency naira and the amount of dollars exchanged within the country.
The naira is weakened as politicians, who are jockeying for elections in 2015, are undermining it by buying more dollars in foreign exchanges and participating in money laundering, which exacerbates the naira’s woes. This counteracts the central banks’ attempt to prop up the naira by buying dollars.
Nigeria is Africa’s second-largest economy and is the continent’s biggest oil producer, yet this significant wealth has never reached the rest of the country’s citizens as it has been siphoned off by the elites and corrupt politicians.
It also does not help that this currency situation is hurt by internal strife, as the Nigerian government has enlisted the help of neighboring Niger to fight Islamist Boko Haram militants that continue to ravage the countryside.