Episode 1 of 3
In the first of a new series, Robin Denselow reports on Africa at 50, visiting countries which are celebrating their landmark anniversary this year.
What were the hopes and aspirations at the time they won their freedom from colonialism in 1960? What are today's challenges and opportunities? This week Robin visits Nigeria, formerly a British colony.
Despite vast oil wealth, the lights regularly go out, there's a heated national debate about corruption, and the country spends billions of dollars importing food when it could be growing it.
Robin meets a businessman who makes power cables, but can't get regular electricity to manufacture them, a state governor who wants to change agriculture and education, and a group of young activists vowing to change next year's presidential election. One of the country's most powerful politicians acknowledges the problems.
But despite the challenges- Nollywood, the home grown film industry is thriving, and the legacy of the nation's favourite rebel musician Fela Kuti lives on at the New Shrine in Lagos.
Celebrated novelist Chinua Achebe recalls independence in 1960 and warns Nigerians are wasting their talents and resources.
Producer: Liz Carney
A Unique production for BBC Radio 4.