As Sanusi Is Suspended, Is Nigeria Still The World’s Market Darling?

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As Nigeria has shifted from a corruption-addled frontier state to one of the world’s few emerging market bright spots, it has been assisted enormously by the charisma and gravitas of two of its financial leaders. One is the coordinating minister for the economy and minister of finance,┬áNgozi Okonjo-Iweala, familiar on the multilateral bank meeting circuit for her strong leadership, candidacy for the world Bank presidency – and her colourful headscarves. The other is central bank governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, sharp-suited and sharper-minded. It’s never been entirely clear how well the two people, or at least their institutions, get along, but they present to the world a credible, smart, articulate face for a country whose finances have often been murky.

But now Sanusi, who was due to step down in June, has been suspended by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan over allegations of “financial recklessness and misconduct.” Few in the west take these words – taken verbatim from a statement issued by the president through his media adviser, Reuben Abati – at face value, and the result has been to erode confidence in one of the few market darlings of frontier-spirited fund managers in recent years.

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Chris Wright
Chris Wright
Chris is a journalist specialising in business and financial journalism across Asia, Australia and the Middle East. He is Asia editor for Euromoney magazine and has written for publications including the Financial Times, Institutional Investor, Forbes, Asiamoney, the Australian Financial Review, Discovery Channel Magazine, Qantas: The Australian Way and BRW. He is the author of No More Worlds to Conquer, published by HarperCollins.

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