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Project July 24, 2013

Nigeria: U.S. Dollars and Dubious Results

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Image by Ameto Akpe. Nigeria, 2013.

Soft power, according to Joseph Nye, a former Harvard professor who invented the phrase over 20 years ago, is an important foreign policy tool that countries like the U.S. employ to get other nations to adopt their policy goals.

In Nigeria, American soft power – in the form of various development and support programs – mostly targets Northern states where poverty, high infant and maternal mortality rates, illiteracy and radical Islam shape the economic and social realities.

However, the last couple of years have seen potentially dangerous anti-American sentiments in northern Nigeria morph into a manifestation of serious anti-Western, anti-Christian, and anti-democratic militancy in the form of Boko Haram.

In this project, Nigerian journalist and 2013 Persephone Miel fellow Ameto Akpe documents the true impact of soft power in the region – humanizing the statistics, while exploring themes of sustainability and accountability.