Africa News blog

African business, politics and lifestyle

What’s in a name?

March 1, 2010

nigerMy colleague Emma Farge has blogged  on the confusion that arose in oil markets after reports of a coup in Niger caused erroneous rumours that last month’s military takeover had taken place in Nigeria, a similar-sounding country with its own history of  interventions by the men in uniform.

This is not the first time the confusion has arisen. During my time as a correspondent in Lagos in the 1980s, a report appeared on the front page of a local newspaper saying Nigeria had rescheduled its foreign debt, an important issue at the time and a story I certainly did not want to miss.

I even got a call from a diplomat at a foreign embassy asking what was going on, and suggesting we discuss it over lunch.

What was going on was that a French-language report about another African country rescheduling its (much smaller) debts had been mistranslated. You guessed it — it was Niger of course.

I found the offending report and was able to show it to my embassy contact. Lunch was a much more relaxed affair after that, for both of us.

(Picture shows soldiers from the military junta in Niger after  last month’s coup)


Very interesting. I met a few people who thought since the names are similar, that the coup would also be in Nigeria. Interesting article.

Posted by Njeri | Report as abusive

There will be no coup in Nigeria. So find pleasure in something else!

Posted by gabrielo | Report as abusive

And who is saying that in the age of technology, information is not important? Well, i guess u need information to know Nigeria is not Niger, hello?

Posted by doctorjay317 | Report as abusive

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