This Country Recently Became Africa’s Largest Economy. Now It’s Too Big for Businesses to Ignore, By Melissa Cook

From a market on Lagos Island, Nigeria, the skyline of the city of Lagos is visible. Among many companies, there is a great deal of nervousness around investing in Nigeria.

Nigeria has overtaken South Africa as Africa’s largest economy. And with over 200 million people, it is the largest market in the continent, its population nearly twice the size of Ethiopia (110 million) or Egypt (102 million).

Yet among many companies, there is a great deal of nervousness around investing in Nigeria. One business development officer of a large company told me recently: “We’re not in Nigeria; one of our guys heard you can’t go there.”

This kind of second hand hearsay is a risky way to make proper business decisions. When firms make what we refer to as accidental decisions—those based on media reports or anecdotal evidence—it is hard to effectively quantify and manage risks.

Nigeria is definitely a challenging place to operate. But ultimately, the nation is too important to ignore.

Investment by the United States in Nigeria is Growing

Foreign direct investment stock from the United States into Nigeria was $5.8 billion in 2017, up 32.8 percent since 2016, according to the U.S. Trade Representative. However, a significant chunk of U.S. FDI in Nigeria and the continent goes into the resources sector.

The Commercial and Investment Dialogue with the Nigerian government, originally recommended by President Obama’s President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa, is now in full force, and earlier this year, the U.S. Commercial Service hosted the USA Trade Fair in Lagos, Nigeria—attended by more than 4,000 delegates. Many of America’s biggest firms were out in force, as were smaller names in the agribusiness, aviation, consumer, energy, industrials, and security sectors.

Now, other countries are starting to catch America’s lead—notably the Chinese.

China’s Africa Strategy Presents a Formidable Challenge

China is using all of its political, industrial, and financial might to build deep connections in Africa. Engagement is strategic, multilateral, and well-organized under the biennial Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and the Belt and Road Initiative.

Chinese construction firms are building road, rail, port, communications, mining, and energy projects funded by loans from The Export-Import Bank of China or state-owned banks, using Chinese machinery, and with Chinese operators often operating the asset after completion.

Source: UNCTAD World Investment Report 2018
Chinese business development teams visit Africa’s toughest neighborhoods to establish relationships—often long before most American executives have even considered an investment in the country in question. Headlines trumpet Chinese “investment” in Africa, but much of this is actually lending, rather than equity investment. International experience is helping Chinese firms improve their product quality, service delivery, and technological capabilities every day, making them ever-stronger global competitors.

The key to China’s success on the continent is that designing “good enough” equipment for the price their customers will pay. A Chinese-made truck starter will fail after a fraction of the starts a North American truck operator considers normal—but it will also cost a fraction of the price. Likewise, a Chinese-designed smartphone will work on local networks, enjoy long battery life, run the right apps—and come at an affordable price. Despite recent political hiccups, Huawei is the dominant supplier of communications and networking equipment on the continent. Africans benefit from the firm’s low-cost vendor financing, ultra-advanced technology, and turnkey service for modern network installations.

In Nigeria, Demand Exceeds Supply

Nigeria is famous for its power shortages. With only about 5GW of grid power available (on a good day), it’s no surprise that there is an estimated 20GW of captive, backup, and household-level power installed by the private sector.

But this isn’t just a risk. It’s also a business opportunity.

In 2011, Nigeria privatized the power generation and distribution portions of its electricity industry. Performance is well below expectations so far, thanks to gas supply shortages, below-contract tariffs, and poor cash collection. The opportunity? Most manufacturers run their own captive power plants—and they’re investing in advanced gas-fired turbines, high-efficiency production equipment, and renewable energy capacity. Households need prepaid electric meters, energy-efficient appliances, and more cost-effective standby generators.

The continent is becoming a big beneficiary of China’s large-scale investment in renewables—which are now vastly cheaper than they were just a decade ago. In Nigeria, solar, wind, and mini-hydro are rapidly filling in the gaps where grid power is unavailable. Local micro- or mini-grids can deliver power to light homes, charge phones, refrigerate medicines, preserve harvested produce, and bring the internet to schools.

In Nigeria, as elsewhere in Africa, the financial services sector is undergoing a transformation. Mobile money accounts are increasingly popular, led by M-PESA in Kenya. Mobile money has boosted economic activity and brought millions into the financial services sector.

African financial-technology entrepreneurs are testing innovative—and potentially disruptive—services. Where regulations allow, entrepreneurs and mobile operators are introducing low-cost mobile payment, investment, insurance, savings, loans, and cross-border money transfer services using the latest technology.

According to the World Bank, small- and medium-sized enterprises create an estimated 4 of every 5 new jobs in emerging markets, yet traditional corporate banks are still focused on serving large corporate customers.

Can You Create Long-Term Shareholder Value Without Africa?

This isn’t a simple question, but it has to be asked as part of any long-term growth and risk analysis.

Public capital markets are relentless in pushing for short-term earnings and returns. Set aside today’s imperative to meet quarterly earnings expectations, ignore for a minute the potential for activists to disrupt your investment programs because they don’t see an immediate ROI on your long-term strategic investments.

The long-term survival of a business depends on its ability to adapt, grow, and participate in the global economy of the future—and countries like Nigeria are part of this story.

This article was culled from https://www.brinknews.com/this-country-recently-became-africas-largest-economy-now-its-too-big-for-businesses-to-ignore/

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FIFA Rankings: Nigeria Now Fourth In Africa, 44th In The World

Nigeria is now placed fourth in Africa and retains its 44th spot in the world with 1427 points as against October’s 1431 points in the FIFA/Coca Cola Rankings on released on Thursday.

Tunisia that led the continent’s teams in the last rankings dropped to second place behind Senegal, with the North African side dropping four places, now 26th in the world with 1493 points.

Senegal now top the CAF teams with 1505 points and placed 23rd in the world, while Morocco rests in third place with Congo DR in fifth after garnering 1440 and 1420 points as 40th and 49th placed respectively.

Belgium, France and Brazil remained unchanged as the highest ranked in the world with 1727, 1727 and 1676.

According to FIFA website, “www.fifa.com’’, defeats for the leading duo in the UEFA Nations League resulted in both dropping six ranking points.

Brazil, though still 50 points behind France added seven after wins over Uruguay that is seventh ranked and 55th placed Cameroon.

Meanwhile, the big climbers included African quintet of Mozambique (117th, up 5), Angola (125th, up 5), Sudan (127th, up 8), Comoros (143rd, up 5) and Gambia (166th, up 7).

The rise of Kosovo (131st, up 6) was also notable as it took them to their highest position ranking to date.

The next FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking will be published on Dec. 20.

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Nigeria MoU With General Electric On Narrow Gauge Railway Line Still On Course

An international Consortium led by General Electric (GE) of the United States signed an agreement for the concessioning of Nigerian narrow-gauge railway network.  The agreement was signed in April 2018 for $2billion.
The Consortium comprised SinoHydro, a leading infrastructure construction services company and Transnet, a leader in transportation and logistics infrastructure management and APM Terminals.
As part of the agreement, 10 locomotives and 200 wagons would be supplied to augment the existing rolling stock in Nigeria.  Overall, 200 locomotives will be supplied in the fullness of the concession.  The agreement would cover 3, 500 kilometers of existing narrow-gauge truck, which connect cities in the North and the South.
However, General Electric has handed over the leadership of the Consortium to South Africa’s Transnet, a leader in transportation and logistics infrastructure management.  This decision by General Electric is hinged on its decision to exit its transportation business.
Transnet Rail Engineering Company’s business includes “the maintenance, upgrade and manufacture of locomotives, wagons, coaches, rolling stock components and associated transport equipment.  The company operates seven factories in South Africa.
Other members of the Consortium – SinoHydro and APM Terminals will jointly execute the Nigerian Railway concessioning project.
Meanwhile, the Kaduna-based Nigerian Railway Property Company Limited is continuously selling railways land, renting its landed property and allowing private developers take over its warehouses and staff quarters as part of its mandate.
The Nigeria Railway Corporation has a huge holding of landed properties (staff quarters, training schools, workshops, foundries, staff club houses, railway stations and the corridor for its tracks) across the country.
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2018 WEF Global Competitiveness Report Ranks Nigeria 115 Out Of 140 Countries

The World Economic Forum in its 2018 Global Competitiveness Index, ranked Nigeria 115 out of 140 countries. This means it moved ten places upward from its 2017/2018 ranking of 125 out of 137 countries.

According to the new ranking, Nigeria improved in four(4)  of  twelve (12) ranking pillars, namely;

1.Infrastructure

2.Health

3.Business Dynamism

4.Innovation Capability

The current GCI ranking template has the following twelve (12) as pillars for assessment;

  1. Institutions
  2. ICT Adoption

4.Macroeconomic environment

6.Skill

7.Product .Market

8.Labour Market

9.Financial System

10.Market Size

11.Business Dynamism

12.Innovation capability

Nigeria was ranked 127 out of 138 countries in the 2016/2017 edition report and 124 out of 140 in the 2015/2016 GCI ranking.

 Areas that Nigeria will require improvement in the 2018 GCI competitiveness report, include;

  1. Institutions
  2. ICT Adoption

3.Macroeconomic environment

4.Skill

5.Product Market

6.Labour Market

7.Financial System

8.Market Size

Featuring the Global Competitiveness Index, the Report assesses the competitiveness landscape of 140 economies, providing unique insight into the drivers of their productivity and prosperity. Discover the 2018 edition’s rankings, key findings, your economy’s scorecard, and much more.

The 2018 edition of the Global Competitiveness Report represents a milestone in the four-decade history of the series, with the introduction of the new Global Competitiveness Index 4.0. The new index sheds light on an emerging set of drivers of productivity and long-term growth in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It provides a much-needed compass for policy-makers and other stakeholders to help shape economic strategies and monitor progress.

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Sixty Four (64) Achievements Of President Muhammadu Buhari In Agricultural Sector

1) The anti-corruption drive of Mr. President put to a halt the exogenous leakages in the Agricultural sector to encourage, empower, and enhance the locally made farm produce thereby increasing our internally generated revenue (IGR) index and foreign exchange capacity and reserve to over $45 Billion in cash and bonds.
2) President Buhari initiated the Home Grown Feeding Programme which is designed to put an end to importation and market monopoly of farm produce that can be grown here in our country which is a pilot vehicle to sustainable economic, agricultural, academic and job creation across the length and breadth of our nation.
3) Under President Buhari, the Standing Inter-Ministerial Technical Committee on Zero-Reject of Agricultural Commodities and Produce / Non-oil Exports in Nigeria was inaugurated.
4) Under the Buhari-led administration, Nigeria has benefitted from 13.1billion Euros honeybee project.
5) The Buhari administration has commenced steps improving the standards of Nigeria’s agricultural exports to align with global standards due to the rejection of our produce at the EU Border Controls.
6) Under President Buhari, Standards and Quality Control measures have been developed in.
7) Under President Buhari administration at the end of 2016, agricultural goods as share of total trade got N212.73bn and 4.02 per cent and Agricultural goods exports were 2.7 per cent higher in Q4 2016 than Q3 2016.
8) Under the Buhari-led administration, Sesame seeds contributed N6.46billion to Agricultural product exports in the fourth quarter of 2016.
9) In the fourth quarter of 2016, Frozen shrimps and prawns chipped in N4.4billion to Agricultural product exports under PMB’s administration.
10) Under President Buhari administration in the fourth quarter of 2016, Flour and meals of soya beans contributed N2.59billion to agricultural product exports
11) Under President Buhari administration in the fourth quarter of 2016, cashew nuts in shell contributed N0.95billion to Agricultural product exports with the Buhari-led administration.
12) Crude palm kernel accounted for N0.62 billion of the total Agricultural exports under the President Buhari administration in the fourth quarter of 2016.
13) Under the President Buhari administration the agricultural universities coordinating agency is being revitalised as stipulated in the enabling Act which will work closely with the Nigerian University Commission and development partners to re-focus the universities of agriculture in the country.
14) The Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises (LIFE) programme was initiated by the Buhari Administration and it is aimed at bringing life back to rural communities through the empowerment of youth, women and other vulnerable groups across the country.
15) Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises (LIFE) Programme initiated by the President Buhari administration is geared towards promoting community-based on-farm and off-farm business activities as a model for job and wealth creation amongst unemployed youth and women in rural and suburban households.
16) Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises (LIFE) Programmes under President Buhari are expected to establish 150,000 cooperatives nationwide under commodity value chain groups.
17) Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises (LIFE) programme under President Buhari will establish and operate up to 1,000 cottage industries in the country, and ultimately engage about 1,995,500 youth and 997,500 women for enhanced productivity.
18) Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises (LIFE) programme under President Buhari would add about 5,965,000 metric tons of foods to the national food store.
19) Anchor Borrowers’ Programme is an intervention of the Buhari administration aimed at fast-tracking access of rural farmers to finance productivity.
20) The Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP) of the Central Bank of Nigeria under the Buhari-led administration has made available N82billion in funding to 350,000 farmers of rice, wheat, maize, cotton, cassava, poultry, soy beans and groundnut; who have cultivated about 400,000 hectares of land.
21) The Buhari-led administration has made provision of agricultural credit for financing the production of rice, wheat, ginger, maize and soybeans in Kebbi, Niger, Kaduna, Kano, Enugu, Benue, Zamfara, Anambra and Kwara States.
22) The Anchor Borrower’s Programme (ABP) under Buhari’s administration has provided quantum of money for dry season farming in 2015, wet season rice and wheat farming in 2016 and is currently supporting the 2016 dry season farming in many states.
23) The President Buhari administration has commenced the use of National Soil Map Data, with the promotion of the use of soil-specific fertilizer formulations and application in prescribed dosages based on soil types following the conduct of soil mapping/test to enhance agricultural production and productivity.
24) Under President Buhari administration a resurrected interest in agriculture has awakened among small holder farmers.
25) Under the Buhari-led administration, Nigeria’s fertilizer market is growing.
26) The President Buhari administration has signed an agreement with the Government of Morocco for the supply of fertilizer raw materials on concessionary terms to boost local blending to facilitate making soil and crop-specific fertilizer blends available and accessible to smallholder Nigeria farmers.
27) The Ministry of Agriculture under President Buhari is facilitating the timely access of farmers to appropriate quality seeds.
28) The President Buhari administration has facilitated seed trading locally and internationally through the application of regionally agreed principles and rules.
29) The enabling environment for private investment in the seed industry has  been created by the Buhari-led administration.
30) Under President Buhari, the National Irrigation Policy and Strategy has been developed and focuses on the need to overcome the irrigation challenges and put available irrigation facilities in the country into effective use.
31) The PMB Administration has assessed the status of infrastructure in all the 12 River Basin Development Authorities (RBDAs) hence, commenced immediate and effective use of the facilities for commercial farming.
32) Under President Buhari, the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) has been strengthened for improved delivery of services through consolidation and recapitalisation in collaboration with the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) to ensure loan disbursement at a single digit interest regime in the agricultural sector as obtainable in developed and emerging economies.
33) The President Buhari administration has approved the restructuring, re-capitalising and repositioning of the Bank of Agriculture (BOA).
34) The Buhari administration has secured the approval of a grant of $1.1 million from the African Development Bank (AfDB) for the restructuring of the Bank of Agriculture, aimed at staff training to strengthen service delivery.
35) The President Buhari administration has embarked on the re-validation of the claims of agro- dealers and input suppliers under the 2014 wet and 2014/2015 dry seasons to ensure that genuine claims are paid by the government.
36) The President Buhari administration has facilitated the payment of the sum of N20 billion, as part of the debts owed agro-dealers while efforts are on to fully settle the outstanding liabilities.
37) The President Buhari administration has established a N50 billion mechanisation fund to facilitate the second phase of Agricultural Equipment Hiring Enterprise (AEHE) to roll-out 6,000 tractors and 13,000 harvest and post-harvest equipment units across the country.
38) With the Buhari-led administration, Tractors and Implements were rolled out in Ilorin and Abuja on January 12, 2016, to support targeted commodity value chains.
39) The rising spate of hostilities and attendant insecurity arising from clashes between crop farmers and nomadic herdsmen has raised serious concern within the government. Accordingly, the PMB administration has commenced efforts towards resolution of pastoralists-farmers conflicts through the provision of 55,000 hectares of land by 11 states as part of the 5,000 hectares each expected from the 19 northern states for the development of pasture/paddocks grazing reserves.
40) The Buhari administration has established 40 large scale rice processing plants and 18 High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCGF) plants with a stake commitment of China EXIM (85 per cent) and Nigeria Bank of Industry (BoI) (15 per cent) through concessional credit facilities of US$383,140,375.60 for the rice mills and US$143,722,202.40 for the HQCF Plants.
41) The President Buhari administration through the Ministry of Agriculture is embarking on a programme of distribution of rice mills, of ten tons per day capacity, 20 tons a day, 40 tons a day, 50 tons and a few 100 tons. Collectively between them, the capacity for rice milling will be close to 3,000 tons a day nationwide. That is expected to close the gap between paddy availability and mills to process it.
42) The President Buhari administration has established 10 large scale rice processing plants and 6 High Quality Cassava Flour plants to be owned and operated by the private sector and would be funded by the Special Rice Processing Intervention Fund and the WB Assisted Agricultural Development Policy Operation [AgDPO] Funds.
43) Through President Buhari administration, Real GDP in agriculture grew by 4.11 per cent in the year 2016, and this growth rate was higher than that recorded in 2015 of 3.72 per cent.
44) Under Buhari’s administration as captured by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), there was a continuing strong growth in Agriculture (especially Crop Production) in the Q4 of 2016.
45) Agriculture contributed 21.26 per cent to nominal GDP in the Q4 of 2016 and the sector grew by 6.45 per cent year-on-year under President Buhari administration.
46) In the Buhari-led administration, the contribution of Agriculture to overall GDP in real terms was 25.49 per cent in the quarter under review, higher than its share of 24.18 per cent in the corresponding quarter of 2015.
47) The Ministry of Agriculture under President Buhari administration also provided 2283 bags of industrial salt to hides and skin dealers in 12 targeted states.
48) The President Buhari administration placed ban on rice importation and that has saved Nigeria an average of $5 Million daily.
49) The growing success story on agriculture in Buhari’s Administration has prompted more youths to commence full production in agriculture.
50) More than 7 million Nigerians are actively employed in agriculture under the Buhari Government’s diversification agenda and the Ministry of Agriculture is working to ensure that Agriculture will offer 20 million jobs in the nearest future.
51) Nigeria’s milled rice production has increased by about 60 percent, from 2.5 million MT in 2015, to 4 million MT in 2017 under the President Buhari administration.
52) The Buhari-led administration set up the Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI) to deliver commercially significant quantities of affordable and high quality fertilizer to the Nigerian farmer at the right time
53) The Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI) under the President Buhari administration has resulted in the revitalization of 14 blending plants across the country, with a total installed capacity in excess of 2 million MT.
54) The Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI) under the President Buhari administration has resulted in benefits which will include annual savings of US$200 million in foreign exchange, and N60 billion annually in budgetary provisions for Fertilizer subsidies.
55) Under President Buhari administration, the current cumulative in terms of IGR generated through Agriculture since the fall in price of crude globally has placed agriculture as the best alternative for creating wealth and increasing our National Foreign Reserve to an all-time high.
56) Nigeria’s economy has since bounced back after the recession of 2015/2016 and has continued to grow back as the strongest stabilizing economy in Africa under Buhari-led administration.
57) Through the Buhari-led administration, agriculture is already ripe to be the next green oil and global gold the world has ever seen and the green-rush will lead all roads to Nigeria.
58) Buhari-led Administration has revived 11 moribund plants with a combined capacity of over two million metric tonnes.
59) In 2017 under the President Buhari administration, Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI) delivered 10 million 50kg bags(500,000MT) of NPK 20:10:10 fertilizer at a price of N5,500 in time for the wet season which is down from the price of N9,000 per 50kg bag in 2016, a 40% reduction in price.
60) Under President Buhari administration there is a higher patronage for the country’s rail network due to movement of raw materials and finished goods.
61) Under President Buhari administration, the bag-making sector of the economy was boosted, with over 10million packaging bags produced exclusively for Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI).
62) The Presidential Fertilizer Initiative (PFI) has been able to create 60,000 direct jobs and even a higher number of indirect jobs under the Buhari-led administration.
63) The Buhari-led administration has cut down on imports of agricultural products in order to enable self-sufficiency in food production and consumption.
64) Under President Buhari administration, The Green Alternative (TGA) was initiated, a major policy thrust to build an agri-business economy capable of delivering sustained prosperity by meeting domestic food security goals, generate exports, support sustainable income and job.
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Finally, Nigeria Evades The Egmont Group Hammer, By Ayobami Akanji

Corruption is worse than prostitution. The latter might endanger the morals of an individual, the former invariably endangers the morals of the entire country – Karl Kraus

The Egmont Group, is a network of 157 countries or Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs) across the world. The Group serves as a hub where members exchange financial intelligence which aids them in fighting money-laundering and terrorism financing.

It is poignant to add that FIUs are uniquely positioned to cooperate and support national and international efforts in tracing clandestine movement of funds, as they are trusted gateways for sharing financial information domestically and internationally, in compliance with global Anti Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) standards.

It was a big news when the story broke of Nigeria’s Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) being disconnected by the EGMONT Working Group on July 5, 2017 at its plenary of Heads of FIUs in Macau. Nigeria was  disconnected after the FIU identified two issues which Nigeria must address before September 2018 plenary to ensure the suspension is lifted or risk outright expulsion.

However, the concerns bordered on the expectation of the group for a review of the relevant provisions of the EFCC Act which, currently, is the law that created the NFIU, to guarantee the “protection of confidentiality, specifically as regards the status of Suspicious Transfer Reports information derived from international exchanges”  and not an outright passage of a new law.

Furthermore, if the expulsion was  allowed to happen – it would have practically destabilized Nigeria’s financial industry. Nigeria would be blacklisted in international finance; Visa, MasterCard amongst others, issued by Nigerian financial institutions will be rejected, correspondent banking will erode, risk profile of the country will plummet, our ability to attract critical capital that will boost the economy will be reduced and over all, the confidence in Nigeria’s financial industry will plummet.

Correspondingly, to show the administration’s seriousness in changing the tide swiftly, and given the importance of the intelligence gotten from the EGMONT Group, the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, set up an ad-hoc committee to realign the NFIU with the sole aim of ensuring Nigeria’s membership is restored, which finally led to lifting of the suspension of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) during its 25th plenary in Sydney, Australia.  The NFIU has an independent legal framework which was confirmed by the Egmont Group fact-finding mission who paid an unscheduled visit to the NFIU office in Abuja. An excited staff of the NFIU said this of the visitation “They inspected all our facilities and they were impressed. So, at the meeting on Wednesday in Sydney, the report was tabled before the plenary and the suspension was lifted.”

The NFIU will now  act as the central body in Nigeria responsible for requesting, receiving, analysing and disseminating financial and other information to all law enforcement and security agencies and other relevant authorities.

Conversely, this move, signing of the bill by President Buhari  will boost and help Nigeria’s fight against corruption. It will  improve confidentiality in the handling of financial informations. The NFIU is now an independent and operationally autonomous body, institutionally domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and will now consolidate effectively the recently signed Executive Order 6, aimed at strengthening the fight against corruption in Nigeria.

Moreover, the current administration has placed the fight against corruption on the top burner as the country signed on to various strategic international institutions to help curb the adverse effects of grand corruption on Nigerians such as; the Open Government Partnership (OGP), an MOU with the Global Forum for Asset Recovery (GFAR) aside homegrown solutions like the Treasury Single Account (TSA), Efficiency Unit (E Unit), Whistleblower policy while President Buhari has used every international fora to advocate the return of stolen assets back to Nigeria.

Akanji is a political strategist, and writes from Abuja

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China To Support Nigeria In building Mambila Hydroelectric Power Project

The Chinese Government has agreed To support Nigeria to build the 3050 Megawatts Mambilla Hydroelectric Power Project.

Nigeria’s Minister of Finance Kemi Adesoun and Wang Xiaotoa, Director-General, International Development Agency, in the presence of President Muhammadu Buhari and President Xi Jinping of China, signed the concessional loan agreement between Galaxy Backbone Limited and Huawei Technologies Limited (HUAWEI).

Nigeria and China also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the One Belt One Road Initiative (OBOR).

Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama and He Lifeng, Director, China’s National Development and Reform Commission signed the OBOR- an initiative of President Xi, which focuses on improving connectivity and cooperation among multiple countries spread across the continents of Asia, Africa and Europe.

Earlier during his meeting with President Xi, the Nigerian leader, while commending the Chinese government for successfully hosting the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) solicited support for the Mambilla hydropower project.

Noting that Mambilla project remains a key priority to Nigeria, the President also sought additional Chinese funding for four airport terminal projects as well as the Abuja light rail project.

President Buhari told his Chinese counterpart that since his last visit to China in 2016, the brotherly relationship between both countries had continued to flourish.

President Buhari noted that in the period under review, China had provided concessionary loans to fund critical infrastructure projects in Nigeria, adding that these interventions have positively impacted millions of Nigerians and will continue to do so for generations to come.

The Nigerian leader also lauded China’s support for two permanent seats for Africa at the United Nations, noting that the reform of the Security Council would ensure equitable representation for the continent.

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Nigeria, Canada To Collaborate On Biosafety, Biosecurity

The Canadian government says it will collaborate with Nigeria to improve and strengthen development of biosafety and biosecurity program.

Counsellor, Canadian High Commission in Nigeria, Daniel Arsenault, made this known in Abuja during the first annual Biosafety Conference in Nigeria, themed “promoting partnership for efficient national biosafety and biosecurity programs in Nigeria.”

The Canadian government represented by its counsellor, Daniel Arsenault says partnering with Nigeria will enable the country step up its biosecurity preparedness to handle any emergencies.

The Nigerian government said having successfully combated Ebola, Lassa fever and other epidemics, partnering with relevant agency will be a boost to biosafety program in the country.

The conference said an improved biosafety program will ensure early recognition of emerging pest and disease threats, integrated responses to threats, rationalization of controls.

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Nigeria’s GDP Records Growth In 2nd Quarter

Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Report (GDP) has grown 1.50% in the second quarter against 1.95% in the first quarter of 2018.

According to the GDP report released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the second quarter GDP is driven by the non-oil sector 2.05% growth indicating an increase in the second quarter of 2018.

According to the NBS, Growth in Q2 2018 was 0.79% points higher when compared to the second quarter of 2017 which recorded a growth of 0.72%,  but –0.45% points lower than 1.95% recorded in the first quarter of 2018. On a quarter on quarter basis, real GDP growth was 2.94%.

Growth in Q2 2018 was driven by developments in the non-oil sector as Services sector recorded its strongest positive growth since 2016. However, the relatively slower growth when compared to Q1 2018 and Q2 2017 could be attributed to developments in both the oil and non-oil sectors.

Oil output fell to 1.85 million barrels a day from the 2 million barrels in the first quarter.

According to the report, agriculture GDP grew by 1.19% in the period under review as against 3.0% in the first quarter of 2018.

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British Prime Minister, Theresa May To Visit Nigeria This Week

British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Paul Arkwight, has revealed that the Prime Minister, Theresa May, will visit Nigeria this week.

Arkwight, made known via his Twitter handle, @paulTarkwight.

The tweet read: “Delighted to welcome British Prime Minister to Nigeria this week. A huge opportunity for both our countries to work in partnership on trade, security and tackling the scourge of #modernslavery and human trafficking.”

Below is the full text of the press release announcing her visit:

Theresa May will lead an ambitious trip to Africa this week on her first visit to the continent as Prime Minister.

She’ll be the first British Prime Minister to visit Sub-Saharan Africa since 2013, and the first to go to Kenya for over 30 years.

This visit comes at a time of enormous change across Africa with a unique opportunity, as the UK moves towards Brexit, for a truly Global Britain to invest in and work alongside African nations, with mutual benefits.

The Prime Minister’s central message will be focused on a renewed partnership between the UK and Africa, which will seek to maximise shared opportunities and tackle common challenges in a continent that is growing at a rapid pace – from the Sahara to South Africa.

She will use a speech on the opening day of the visit in Cape Town to set out how we can build this partnership side by side with Africa, particularly by bringing the transformative power of private sector trade and investment from the UK to a continent that is home to 16% of the world’s people but just 3% of FDI and 3% of global goods trade.

As Africa seeks to meet the needs of its growing population the visit will also emphasise that it is in the world’s interest to help secure African stability, jobs and growth because conflict, poor work prospects and economic instability will continue to encourage migration and dangerous journeys to Europe.

Because nations cannot prosper without security, the Prime Minister will also use the visit to announce further support to tackle instability across the region.

Prime Minister Theresa May said:

Africa stands right on the cusp of playing a transformative role in the global economy, and as longstanding partners this trip is a unique opportunity at a unique time for the UK to set out our ambition to work even closer together.

A more prosperous, growing and trading Africa is in all of our interests and its incredible potential will only be realised through a concerted partnership between governments, global institutions and business.

As we prepare to leave the European Union, now is the time for the UK to deepen and strengthen its global partnerships. This week I am looking forward to discussing how we can do that alongside Africa to help deliver important investment and jobs as well as continue to work together to maintain stability and security.

I am proud to be leading this ambitious trip to Africa and to become the first UK Prime Minister in over 30 years to visit Kenya.

The Prime Minister will be joined by a business delegation made up of 29 representatives from UK business – half of which are SMEs – from across all regions of the UK and its devolved administrations. The delegation shows the breadth and depth of British expertise in technology, infrastructure, and financial and professional services.

Delegates include:

the London Stock Exchange Cardiff-based cooling technology firm Sure Chill solar tech provider Northumbria Energy from North Tyneside London-based start-up Farm.ink who have created a knowledge-sharing mobile platform for farmers Northern Irish agri-tech leader Devenish Nutrition the world-renowned Scotch Whisky Association and Midlands manufacturing giant JCB.

Also travelling are Trade Minister George Hollingbery and Minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin. Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns will join the visit in South Africa to support the Welsh companies in the business delegation, while the Lord Mayor of London Charles Bowman is also accompanying the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister will begin her trip in Cape Town in South Africa where she’ll see President Cyril Ramaphosa and meet young people and business leaders.

While in South Africa the Prime Minister will present the Mendi bell to President Ramaphosa in a ceremony at Cape Town’s presidential office the Tuynhuys – over a century after it was lost in a shipwreck.

Over 600 troops, the majority black South Africans, died when the Mendi tragically sank in the English Channel in 1917, on their way to join the Allied forces on the Western Front. It was the worst maritime disaster in South Africa’s history, and the Mendi has become a symbol of the country’s First World War remembrance.

In Nigeria the Prime Minister will meet President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja and spend time in Lagos meeting victims of modern slavery – a cause Theresa May has worked passionately to tackle.

In Nairobi she will meet President Uhuru Kenyatta and see British soldiers training troops from Kenya and other African countries in the techniques needed to identify and destroy improvised explosive devices before they go to fight Al-Shabaab in Somalia.

She will also commit to helping support the next generation of energetic, ambitious young Kenyans as they seek to build a more prosperous country in the years ahead.

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Nigeria–Bound Russian Ship With Illegal Ammunition In 20 containers Held In South Africa

A Nigeria–bound Russian ship is being detained in South Africa for carrying illegal arms.

The cargo ship, LADA, was arrested on Sunday at the Port of Nura, near Port Elizabeth city, following a tip-off.

According to a report by Fletmon.com,  security checks on the vessel revealed arms and explosives believed to be illegal in 20 containers.

It was learnt that an investigation by South Africa’s criminal investigation organisation – The Hawks – revealed that the cargo was heading for Nigeria’s commercial city Lagos and the United States.

The detained ship  had sailed since May from Ust-Luga, Russia, Baltic sea, visiting India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Mozambique and Tanzania ports prior to its arrival in South Africa.

Investigation of the matter was ongoing yesterday.

In recent times, security agencies and the Nigeria Customs Service have been intercepting illegal arms and ammunition in large consignments at the nation’s ports.

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U.S. Ambassador Brownback Urges Nigerians To Strengthen Ethno-Religious Tolerance

The U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, Samuel Brownback, has urged Nigerian political office holders, representatives of civil society and religious leaders to avoid amplifying ethno-religious tension in the country and to focus on peacebuilding.

At a one-day national youth dialogue on ethno-religious tolerance organized by the U.S Consulate General Lagos, in partnership with the African Youths Initiative for Crime Prevention (AYICRIP), Ambassador Brownback, who met with a group of religious leaders during a recent visit to Nigeria in June, commended increased inter-faith engagement and dialogue in Nigeria, but noted that the country can do more to protect citizens’ right to religious freedom.

“When I visited Nigeria in June, I met with communities from all different faiths located all over the country and heard about how interfaith groups and people from every religion have come together to begin stopping the violence at the community level, which is a great starting point,”  Brownback said.

“However, we need to do better than just achieving tolerance; we need to truly care for each other. The people who stand for peace do not do this because they are from the same ethnic group, or because they share a common religion.  They believe the lives of everyone are sacred,” he added.

U.S. Consul General John Bray, who opened the event, reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to supporting initiatives that promote peace and admonished Nigerians to ensure that cyclical communal violence does not threaten national unity.

“Each of us has a role to play in tamping down tensions between communities of all kinds,” Bray noted.

“It is in your hands to ensure that this tragic violence does not descend into broader ethnic and religious fighting, and a cycle of reprisals.  We must all make sure that the fighting does not eat away at the fabric of Nigeria, the multi-religious and multiethnic tolerance that makes this a great and unified nation,” he concluded.

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