African business, politics and lifestyle
What’s in a name?
My 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)