El resurgimiento de la diplomacia petrolera de Nigeria

Rusia no es el único país que ve el petróleo como una manera de transformar su estatus global. En estos días, el mantra del presidente Umar Yar’Adua, que asumió el poder en 2007 tras unas polémicas elecciones, es transformar el país en una de las 20 mayores economías del mundo para el año 2020. Yar’Adua y su Partido Democrático del Pueblo (PDP) está esforzándose por marcar su autoridad en un país agitado y difícil de manejar de 140 millones de personas, y el gobierno considera el crecimiento rápido como la mejor manera de lograr esa meta.

A los nigerianos les vendría bien un poco de esperanza. Olusegun Obasanjo, que se convirtió en el primer presidente electo de Nigeria en 1999 después de cerca de dos décadas de dictadura militar, dejó amplias áreas del país atrapadas en la pobreza cuando entregó el poder a Yar’Adua el año pasado. En momentos en que el petróleo está llegando a los 100 dólares el barril y gigantes como Estados Unidos y China, hambrientos de energía, golpean una y otra vez las puertas de Nigeria, el principal productor de petróleo de África desea usar los petrodólares para solucionar los problemas económicos del país y marcar una mayor presencia en el ámbito internacional.

Durante lo más alto del último boom petrolero de fines de los años 70, los gobernantes militares de Nigeria nacionalizaron los bienes de British Petroleum y se convirtieron en adalides de la cooperación panafricana, financiando varios movimientos de liberación africanos. Una y otra vez los intereses de Occidente y de Nigeria entraron en conflicto, pero Nigeria siempre se mantuvo firme.

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