Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Images of life in Nigeria

I'd ask my students to predict how the young men profiled in this BBC report and their customers would be involved in politics and how they might react to government actions.

On a more substantive note, I'd ask them to find out more about the issue of clean water and the government role in providing it. It's an issue that all governments have to deal with, so that would be the beginning of a comparative exercise.

The water vendors of Nigeria

"Isa earns a hard living pushing a heavy water cart around the rutted streets of the suburbs of Nigeria's capital, Abuja.

"He is one of tens of thousands of water vendors who deliver jerry cans full of water to houses built without any kind of sanitation...

"Nigeria is Africa's most populous nation, and according to analysts has made over $1.1 trillion in revenues from the oil industry over the last 30 years; but most Nigerians still rely on people like Isa for their water...

"Isa pays around 10 naira ($0.07, £0.05) per jerry can at the borehole and sells for double that.

"He makes around 700 naira a day ($4.70, £3.20), to cover food and living costs.

"A large Nigerian family may need around 10 of these jerry-cans every day, customers say.

"That adds up to about $486 (£339) every year, a massive pressure on a country where the average person lives on $2 a day...

"The urban poor in developing world cities including Abuja pay much more for their water than citizens of rich cities such as New York or Tokyo...

"Virtually none of the suburbs of Nigeria's capital city have what is known here as "pipe-born water" provided by the government.

"Private individuals have to drill boreholes [wells] for themselves...

"John, a 25-year-old borehole manager, says the place he looks after in Nyanya Gwandara earns his boss 7,000 naira ($47, £32) a day.

"His customers are grateful.

"'We cannot wait for the government to do anything, we are relying on other wealthy people to dig boreholes,' says Janet Daniels, who lives in the area.

"She cannot afford to buy the water from the delivery boys, so comes every morning to the borehole to save money.

"She fills two 20-litre buckets every morning and carries them on her head back to her home...

"Abuja, like other cities in Nigeria, is rapidly growing.

"The government has fallen so far behind in providing water here, it may never catch up.

"Over the last year the price of a jerry-can of water has doubled..."

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At 8:42 AM, Blogger Ken Wedding said...

China to strengthen water control in light of shortage

"China will tighten water resources management and take measures to reduce waste to cope with worsening water shortage, Water Resources Minister Chen Lei said here Saturday.

"Water shortage impelled us take into consideration of overall economic and social development and economical use of water resources to ensure sustainable economic and social development, Chen said at a national conference in Guilin, in southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

"China is planning to reduce water consumption per unit of GDP to 125 cubic meters by 2020, down 60 percent from now, Chen said...

"More than 200 million rural people face drinking water shortages..."


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