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What do Nigeria's recent kidnappings and bombings spell for foreign investment?

Nigeria's five-year struggle against Boko Haram is beginning to wear on investor enthusiasm, and an attack during the World Economic Forum in Abuja could further shake investor confidence.

This image, taken from video posted by Boko Haram sympathizers in 2012, shows the leader of the radical Islamist sect Imam Abubakar Shekau. Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the April 15, 2014, mass abduction of nearly 300 teenage schoolgirls in northeast Nigeria.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) event that kicked off today, May 7, in Nigeria’s capital Abuja presents a high-stakes test for Africa’s largest economy as its security forces struggle to deal with a spate of car bombings and a highly publicized mass kidnapping.

A major attack during the event would shake investor confidence in Nigeria, says our correspondent in Abuja. The capital has already been roiled by this week’s peaceful demonstrations over the government’s inability to find more than 200 girls kidnapped from a school in the country’s northeast.

Meanwhile, fears are growing that Boko Haram, the Islamist extremist group that has claimed responsibility for the abduction, will carry out a third car bomb attack in the capital. The group took responsibility for twice bombing a bus station in the past few weeks, and Boko Haram Leader Abubakar Shekau has vowed to strike again. An attack during the summit would majorly rattle Nigeria’s reputation internationally.

“When Boko Haram makes a threat, they usually make good on those threats,” our correspondent says. “So if [Shekau] says there will be more car bombs, there probably will be.”

This WEF meeting is focused specifically on Africa, and will attract a who’s who of world leaders, including the heads of state of Kenya, Ghana, Mali, Rwanda, Togo, and Senegal, as well as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. The summit comes on the heels of Nigeria officially becoming Africa’s largest economy after rebasing its gross domestic product in April.

But the five-year struggle against Boko Haram is beginning to wear on investor enthusiasm in the country.... For the rest of the story, continue reading at our new business publication Monitor Global Outlook.

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