Two contrasting views of Africa this week in the British press.

On Wednesday The Financial Times published a “Special Report” on Africa’s oil and gas, giving it an upbeat assessment. Under the headline: “Continent all set to balance power” the paper reported how: “West Africa, with its copious reserves of natural gas, its sweet light oil and its favourable location between Europe and the US is one of the regions already helping balance the power among the world’s oil producers.”

To the FT the future for African oil and gas is bright. It quoted Ron Mobed from IHS Energy: “Oil and gas companies are increasingly seeking access to larger oil reserves in Africa to meet growing global demand”. Africa will supply 30 per cent of the world’s growth by 2010, said the paper.

The Independent, meanwhile, published a piece on Nigeria, Called “Into the Heart of Darkness,” reporting, like we did yesterday in the Blog, how the country was slipping into civil war due to the oil conflict in the Delta. “Today, the cycle of injustice, poverty and violence continues”, said The Independent.

So there we have it: If you believe the FT everything is rosy in Africa. But we know this not to be true. Is West Africa going to be source of growth for the world economy or is Nigeria going to rip itself apart? I fear the later. I also fear it is already too late.