HOW FREE IS FREE TRADE

The period between the ages of 13 and 16 years in the life of a male child and between the ages of 11 and 14 years in the life of a female child is a period when parents should brace up to their parental duties to ensure that their wards grow up to become responsible citizens and adults. This period known as puberty is when sexual maturity occurs. This maturation is evidenced in females by the onset of menstruation, in males by the production of semen, and in both by the enlargement of their respective reproductive organs. Rapid growth occurs and is marked by a range of physiological changes. Various secondary sexual characteristics also appear for the first time during puberty; in males, production of body hair increases markedly, particularly in the pubic, axillary and facial regions, and the voice usually changes and becomes deeper in tone. In females, hair also appears in the pubic and axillary regions, and the breasts become enlarged.
Just as the parents are expected to brace up to their responsibilities, children also have major roles to play to ensure that they become the responsible adults the society expects them to be. In the first instance, children must accept that they need proper guidance and must deliberately follow wise counsel. Discreetness is a vital virtue for any child to covet. There is a popular Yoruba adage that says “ti iṣu ẹni ba ta, a fi ọwọ bo jẹ ni”, it simply means that if one’s yam sprouts healthy tubers, one is expected to discretely consume it. To contextualize this, using a girl going through puberty as a case study when she suddenly realizes that she is growing bigger and experiencing some unusual sensations in certain sensitive parts of her body, the wise and sensible thing to do is to become more discreet in the manner she carries or throws herself around particularly in the presence of the opposite sex so as not to attract the kind of attention that she may not be able to manage. For the sake of emphasis, any relationship that is consummated between a man or a matured boy and a girl going through puberty based on the girl’s new-found looks is unwholesome and can only lead to trouble. Like my people the Yorubas will say “ere kini aja nba ẹkun se”, meaning what kind of a relationship can exist between a dog and a tiger, except for one being the eaten and the other the eater.
Still dwelling on the above analogy, value appreciation is pivotal to resource optimization, so it is almost certain that one will most likely waste a resource that one does not know the actual worth of. According to British economist David Ricardo, analyzing the essence of comparative advantage in free trade, said that some nations lacked an absolute advantage in the production of any commodity. However, even these nations could gain from free trade if they concentrated on producing commodities in which they had the smallest disadvantage. One thing is clear, Africa cannot all of a sudden become industrialized; the reality as it is today is that Africa’s comparative advantage is in the area of supply of raw materials. The continent by the benevolence of God is the biggest producer of some of the raw materials for the production of most products in the world today. Consequently, Africa should take cognizance of its strengths and weaknesses so as to ensure that it always gets a good deal in return for the raw materials it’s able to bring to the market.
I am a member of what is known as the Borderless Alliance in West Africa and just finished our third annual conference with the theme, ‘’Enabling Growth”, so I thought it will be both interesting and instructive for us to examine in this edition of IWA some of the issues that were deliberated on which brought to the fore the need for and the efforts being made to remove all barriers to trade within West Africa. In addition, among other very interesting stories that we have complied for you, we also had the privilege of interviewing the Tanzanian High Commissioner to Nigeria, His Excellency Daniel O Njoolay, and he shared his thoughts on the need for Africans to do more business amongst themselves, according to him we have the population which is a large enough market to exploit just as countries such as China and India did for formidable trade growth. It is the only way African trade alliance can blossom. All these are packaged for your pleasurable reading as I welcome you to another year of great exploits as we transverse the great African landscape. I want to thank you so much for your commitment to IWA.

TRADING SENSE

My mother is from Ijebu, a town in Ogun state, south west Nigeria, where the people are generally noted for being astute business men and women with the propensity to save and conserve funds. I guess that is the reason my mum has always exhibited what I consider a never-give-an-inch posture, while haggling to buy anything. Unfortunately, I have turned out to be a weak negotiator because I seem to have failed to imbibe this very potent trading trait which is arguably a standard practice through which most people arrive at mutually agreed price for goods and services in Africa.
Since goods and services will always have to be exchanged, it is expedient for every human being to at least develop a level of trading skill. However, going by the trend in the international trading landscape, Africa and Africans has continued to fall short in this regard. Undeniably, several individuals’ particularly African leaders acquired stupendous wealth from being slave traders. Tinubu square, a commercial centre in today’s Lagos, Nigeria, is named after a major nineteenth century slave trader, Madam Tinubu who rose from a humble background to become a very wealthy woman and later one of Nigeria’s pioneering nationalists.
In evaluating this illicit trade and the state of trade in Africa today one cannot but ask oneself if Africa derived any socio-economic gain from slave trade and how far did the illicit trade impact on the social economic lives of Europeans, either positively or negatively? It is also imperative to carefully examine and ascertain if the quality of the goods and services that Africa is currently parading in the world market the very best she can offer? We also need to ask ourselves if the people we have put forward as leaders and negotiators are the best we can offer.
Africa is evidently holding on to the ‘short end of the stick’, as regards international trade, she deserves and can get much more than she is getting in exchange for her goods and services if only she can brace up and get sensible in the way she trades with the rest of the world.
Just like yesterday, IWA is five and as team leader I can confidently say that we are better prepared to face the next five years, having seen the good, the bad and the ugly sides of the publishing world in Africa, particularly in Nigeria where we are situated. As part of our plans to commemorate the fifth anniversary and in fulfillment of our commitment to you to always deliver good value for the money you invest in purchasing IWA, we had planned a flag off of another value adding product from our stable which we have tagged African Home Front Forum (AHFF), at the close of 2013 but have had to rescheduled the flag off to the beginning of the second quarter of 2014. We are also rebranding the tourism segment of IWA to be manned by a very experienced editor, Mr. Tayo Adelaja as well as also bringing on board an interesting contributor in the person of Laila St. Matthew – Daniel.
2013 was certainly an eventful year, but to my mind the most remarkable of the things that happen was the death and burial of “Madiba”, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, who because of the sacrificial life that he lived was probably one of the most celebrated Africans that ever lived, thus we are featuring some of his most popular quotes while on earth as well as some snap shots of some of the celebrities that attended his burial in this edition. On the cover page we decided to beam our search light on how Africa has continued to allow very careless poaching of elephants in her savannahs and forests such that they have become graveyards rather than the sanctuaries that they use to be for elephants. The release of this edition into the market is also likely to be to be slightly late because I attended the Calabar Festival and I am so glad to report that the government and people of Cross River state Nigeria have kept fate with what is today regarded as the biggest street party in Africa.
I will like to use this auspicious time to thank our ardent readers and customers for their unflinching support for IWA in the past five years for without you there won’t be us, so we thank you. I pray that GOD will continue to bless your various businesses. I will also wish you compliment of the season and may the New Year bring lots of goodness into our different homes. Salute!

THANKSGIVING DAY!

NELSON ROLIHLAHLA MANDELA was born on the 18th of July,1918, so in a couple of weeks, ‘Madiba’, fondly referred to as the father of the South African nation will be ninety five years old. Like most people in his age bracket, his health has not been in the best of state. His condition however deteriorated recently which has seen him, in and out of the hospital to the extent that he has now been confined to intensive care at the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Pretoria, South Africa, for the past few weeks. As to be expected, news peddlers all over the world are trying to take advantage of the situation, churning out all sorts of news, most of which are not very pleasant and as such may have become disturbing to his family, who are obviously dealing with so much pain over the state of the legend himself who also happens to be a husband, father, grandfather, great grandfather, etc.
My people always say that the bigger one’s head is, the more the head aches, so I am not really surprised, the world is literarily standing still for one of the greatest Africans living today and probably Africa’s most illustrious son. I agree that there is no way I can feel the exact pains of the family because I am not family, but I am an African who loves and admires this man who did not just say- “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others”, but has also lived these words. In my opinion it’s time to take a cue from one of ‘Madiba’s books; ‘My long Walk to Freedom’ which says: “I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.”
I see today as ‘Thanksgiving Day’, with the world collectively acknowledging that my hero has fulfilled his destiny. ‘Thanksgiving Day’, by definition is a day set apart for giving thanks; however those who are able to rejoice the most on ‘Thanksgiving Day’ are those who, in spite of all the odds are able to reap bountifully. Success usually does not come on a platter of gold; it’s only the fittest that survives in today’s world. Nonetheless, ‘Madiba’, in another quote of his, emphasizing the fact that success is possible for all, said that “It always seems impossible until it’s done”,
A lot of African Leaders have lived and died but none, and I stand to be corrected, has ever received this kind of global attention, accolades and empathy that this great African commands.
I am not sure that ‘Madiba’ himself bargained for this kind of over whelming recognition for the contributions he has made to the freedom of his people, he said, and I believe; “I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.”
I, like most people in the world, send my prayers and heartfelt best wishes to ‘Madiba’, his immediate family, friends, government and the entire people of South Africa at this sober time and want them to really see that it’s time for Thanksgiving!