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Items filtered by date: Wednesday, 13 June 2018
Wednesday, 13 June 2018 15:57

Nigeria wins fashion World Cup

Another outfit and the Super Eagles are again the fashion icons of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The Super Eagles travel outfit has been hailed on social media  (Twitter/NFF)
The Super Eagles have ‘officially’ been crowned the kings of the fashion for the 2018 FIFA World Cup after their travel outfits to Russia were hailed on social media platforms.
The Super Eagles jerseys generated a lot of positive reactions of social media and the travel outfits have received similar praise on several media platforms.

The Daily Mail hails the outfit with a headline Nigeria steal the show again!, popular men’s magazine GQ stated that Nigeria Has Already Won the World Cup (of Style).

The Super Eagles have already gathered a lot of admirers through the kits and fashion outfits.

The Super Eagles outfit again a topic of discussion  (Twitter/NFF)
The travel outfits dominated the conversation on Twitter as some were of the opinion that the attire was not proper while some were impressed that Nigeria travelled to Russia in traditional outfits.

The native attire is a combination of white and green the country’s national colours, the shorts pure, white, the hat white with a touch of green while the tops are white with a design of an eagle on the collar and chest region.

The opinion about the travel outfits were split, there were some that applauded the effort of the indigenous designer.

A fan who admired the outfits said, "The Super Eagles of Nigeria looking fly on their way to Russia for the World Cup. Can we buy this one or it’s already sold out too?."

There were some that were not impressed with the country’s representatives flying out in native attires and that football should be the focus as travel outfits and jerseys will not win the World Cup.

A fan who was not impressed with the design condemned the maker of the attire as he said, "Please who designed this for #SuperEagles    Its horrible.."

The Super Eagles will now focus attention on their first game of the group stage against Croatia on Saturday, June 16 before subsequent matches against Iceland and Argentina.

Credit: Daily Mail

Published in Opinion & Analysis
Wednesday, 13 June 2018 10:24

youths to greatness - Ufot Ebong

Coming more than two years after its birth, 
the Special Assistant to the Governor on Technical Matters and Due Process, Elder Ufot Ebong, has described the Dakkada Philosophy, as a force, propelling Akwa Ibom youths to greatness. 
 
Ebong stated this yesterday, when he received a young indigene of the State, Mr Udoka Inwang, who has been selected for a six weeks training in Texas, United States of America. 
 
Inwang, an indigene of Etinan Local Government Area, was recently selected out of 11,000 Applicants, by the US Embassy, 
for the Mandela Washington Fellowship Training, 2018, in the University of Texas, United States. 
 
Continuing, the Governor's Aide who met with Mr Inwang at his Shelter Afrique Residence in Uyo, yesterday, congratulated him on his successful selection for the training and opined he will do the State proud in the US. 
 
Elder Ebong further described the Dakkada Philosophy as a force propelling Akwa Ibom youths to greatness and thanked Governor Emmanuel for justifying the confidence reposed in him by Akwa Ibomites. 
 
He urged other youths in the State to always take advantage of similar opportunities, saying Governor Emmanuel remains resolute in his youth empowerment agenda. 
 
On his part, Mr Udoka Inwang, while fielding questions from newsmen, shortly after meeting with Elder Ebong, pointed out he is the only Akwa Ibomite, out of 60 Nigerians, selected for the training in the World's most powerful Country. 
 
He said the training is an annual programme organised by the United Embassy, where 700 African Entrepreneurs Founders of Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) are selected for a six weeks training in the US. 
 
The training, according to him, will cut across Entrepreneurship, Civil Leadership and Public Management, after which they (applicants) will return to replicate the training in their various communities, with the aim to build other youths.
 
Recall that Governor Emmanuel had last Friday, June 8, 2018, while receiving Mr Inwang at Government House, Uyo, expressed happiness that youths in the State were gradually embracing the Dakkada Philosophy and promised to give him the necessary support, for the training.
Published in World
Luanda - Angolan President Joao Lourenco was elected few months ago promising an "economic miracle".
 
But the path to transforming the oil-dependent country's economy will be long and difficult - as was highlighted by anger over the de facto de-valuation of the local currency.
 
Since January, new central bank governor Jose de Lima Massano has been presiding over something of a fiscal revolution, weaning the local kwanza currency off its artificial peg to the dollar, and phasing in a floating exchange rate.
 
The local unit has been fixed at a rate of 166 to the dollar since 2016, even if the kwanza has changed hands at a rate of more than 400 for a dollar on the black market.
 
"We have an exchange rate that doesn't reflect reality," Massano conceded.
 
Officials are treading cautiously with the reforms.
 
Before the currency is allowed to float completely freely by the end of 2018, the kwanza is now trading between two rates that authorities are for now keeping secret to avoid speculation.
 
The central bank chief justified the move by pointing to the urgent need to stem the "continuing decline of currency reserves".
 
In 2014, Angola - which is Africa's second largest oil producer - was badly hit by the plunge in the price of crude which is by far the country's largest source of income.
 
The decline threw the country into a prolonged crisis.
 
After many years of a centrally-controlled exchange rate, Angola came dangerously close to recession and saw its dollar reserves severely depleted by an unsuccessful effort to prop-up the kwanza.
 
Angola was thought to have had $20bn in reserves at the start of 2017, which had slumped to $14bn by November, according to analysts.
 
"If our foreign currency spending continues at this pace, we run the risk of seeing (reserves) halve between now and the end of the year," warned central bank chief Massano.
 
Such a dramatic evaporation of hard currency prompted the new government to take action.
 
Major global brands such as the Emirates airlines have recently begun to back off from Angola because of the currency crisis.
 
 'Angola has no other choice' 
 
The Gulf carrier has been struggling to repatriate hard currency from its ticket sales to its head office because of strict exchange controls.
 
In September, President Lourenco succeeded long-serving strongman, Jose Eduardo dos Santos who had ruled the country - and its economy - with an iron fist for 38 years.
 
Lourenco has waged a campaign against corruption, notably targeting Dos Santos family members and challenging critics who said he would be puppet of the old regime.
 
His economic plan has been no less drastic, defined by austerity measures, privatisations and efforts to diversify the economy.
 
"Angola has no other choice but to diversify," said Lourenco at a press conference last week."It's absolutely vital - our survival depends on it."
 
The cornerstone of his reforms are efforts to lure foreign investors and their dollars back to Angola - not least through the currency shake-up.
 
The kwanza has lost 18% of its value against the dollar and 25 percent against the euro in just three weeks.
 
 Positive in the long-term? 
 
The shift quickly pushed up prices in the country where inflation officially already runs at 30%.
 
In the capital, where millions live in poverty, prices have fluctuated wildly.
 
"Any products that are imported are more expensive," complained Ibrahim Nour, a retailer in the Palanca district.
 
"This devaluation should have been done before, during the economic boom," argued Precisio Domingos, an economist at the Catholic University of Luanda.
 
"Now it's much harder for the people."
 
To avoid increasing the country's widening deficit, the government is now looking to renegotiate its debts -- a process described by finance minister Archer Mangueira as "a priority".
 
Investors have until now welcomed the reforms of Angola's new order.
 
"Lourenco is using the political capital he got after coming into office to make big strides," said William Jackson, an analyst at Capital Economics.
 
Source: News24
Published in Economy

The Federal High Court, Abuja has stopped the trial of the National Commandant, Peace Corps of Nigeria, Mr. Dickson Akor in the case preferred against him by the Nigerian Police Force.

The trial judge, Justice John Tsoho stopped the trial on Tuesday, on the grounds that the police failed to unseal the Corporate Head Office of the corps as ordered by the court. Giving a ruling, the judge asked that parties should stay action on the case until the order was respected. The appellant, Akor had asked the court to stop the trial pending when the police would obey the court order.

The judge held that the police was an institution established by law and, therefore, must not develop the habit of disregarding court orders and judgments with impunity. He maintained that it was wrong for the police to have disobeyed two decisions of the court which directed it to unseal the office in the last one year. The judge agreed with Mr John Ochogwu, counsel to Akor that keeping the office sealed had placed his client at a disadvantage in preparing for his defence in the alleged 13-count criminal charge preferred against him. Tsoho further held that the police had contravened Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution by refusing to give the defendant adequate time and opportunity to prove his innocence in the charge against him. “It has often been said that justice is not for one part but for all including the state. “In the instant case, the police cannot be said to be fair when the office of the defendant remained sealed on the instruction of the prosecution. “Let the point be made that the hand of the police is not clean by refusing to obey court judgments and at the same time seeking the defendant to obey provisions of the law,’’ he said. According to the judge, the court is swayed by the argument of counsel to Akor in his reply on points of law that the police flouted a valid order made by the court.

“There is a democratic norm that no person or institution is above the law,” the judge said. He consequently stopped the trial pending when there was evidence that the police had complied with the order of the court. The police had in 2017, slammed a 90-count charge against Akor but the charges were later reduced to 13 by the office of the Attorney-General. Justice Gabriel Kolawole, had in a judgment on an enforcement of fundamental human rights suit, ordered the police to unseal the corporate head office of the corps. He made the order based on the grounds that the action was unlawful, illegal and a breach of the fundamental rights of the Peace Corps members to own property.

The judge had awarded N12.5m against police and in favour of Akor and 49 others over their unlawful arrest and detention by police. Tsoho, had in another decision ordered police to vacate the office of the organization on the grounds that the presence of police in the office was against the law.

Source: NAN

Published in Bank & Finance
Foreign exchange, forex, sales by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) was dominated in 2017 by Forwards contracts which accounted for $11.2 billion or 70 percent of total sales. Unlike spots transactions which involves immediate delivery, forwards are transactions which involves delivery of forex at a future agreed date but at current exchange rate. 
 
A breakdown of the annual report of the Financial Market Department of the apex bank for 2017 revealed that forex sales for forward contracts rose by 44 percent to $11.2 billion in 2017 from $5.8 billion in 2016. This exceeded the 30 percent increase in total foreign exchange sales by the CBN which rose to $15.8 billion in 2017 from $12.2 billion in 2016. CBN Headquarters Managing Director/Chief Executive, Financial Derivatives Company Limited, Mr. Bismarck Rewane, however, noted that this trend will not persist in 2018, as the conditions that necessitated the dominance of forwards contract no longer exist. Speaking to Vanguard, he said: “When you buy into a forward contract, you are buying at the official rate but they will deliver to you in 90 days and in some cases 120 days. “When the CBN had shortage of foreign exchange they managed it by doing forwards contract but now that the reserves are strong, they are doing spot transactions. 
 
The benefit of the forwards is that it helps to manage the cash flow and secondly, the implied rate is different from the effective rate. That is, if they sell to you at N330 per dollar, and take your money 90 days ahead, by the time you add the treasury bills rate to it, you will find out that effectively you have paid N340 per dollar. So it is another way of devaluing the currency. “But the constraints that led to that last year are no longer there. We have gone beyond that now. That time the reserves were doing $23 billion to $24 billion, but now we don’t need to panic.” The report had stated: “In 2017, the CBN maintained its direct intervention in the inter-bank foreign exchange market to cushion the demand pressure and ensure exchange rate stability. 
 
Consequently, a total of $15.82 billion was sold at the inter-bank segment. “This comprised $1.53 billion at the inter-bank spot, $1.39 billion for invisibles, $1.07  billion for SMEs,  $622 million at the I & E, while forwards sales were $11.19  billion. On the other hand, the Bank purchased $6.09 billion at the inter-bank market. Thus, net sales by the Bank amounted to $9.73 billion. 
 
The sum of $10.73 billion matured at the forwards segment, while $1.92 billion remained outstanding at end-December 2017. “In the preceding year, $12.16 billion was sold at the inter-bank market, comprising $6.30 billion spot and $5.85 billion at the forwards. In the same vein, the Bank purchased $130.98 million, resulting in a net sale of $12.24 billion. The sum of $4.29 billion matured at the forwards, while $1.56 billion remained outstanding at end-December 2016.”
 
 
Source: VanguardNG
Published in Bank & Finance
Wednesday, 13 June 2018 07:07

Moscow Expert calls for BRICS rating agency

Kester Kenn Klomegah based in Moscow Experts on regional strategic policy have urged BRICS member countries to step up efforts towards setting up its own credit rating agency as an effective mechanism to consolidate the bloc’s new multifaceted spheres of cooperation.

BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) is currently working on a set of new proposals including the establishment of women business club and a rating agency, among others, for the 10th edition of BRICS Summit scheduled to take place from 25-27 July, 2018, in Johannesburg, South Africa.

As far back in 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India called upon members of BRICS to take begin the BRICS credit rating agency. India has long held the view that a new rating agency would provide an immense contribution to the existing knowledge of rating systems. Since then, there have been discussions at several conferences and forums, the latest was during the special panel session on the future prospects of BRICS at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum late May.

“As a first step towards creating such an agency, we propose the countries offer their national agencies to form a network. Our partnership with one of the Chinese rating agencies, Golden Credit, could be used as a prototype of this network,” Ekaterina Trofimova, Chief Executive Officer of the Analytical Credit Rating Agency, said.

There are also similar views. “Many foreign countries most often consider or rate BRICS countries, enterprises and financial institutions get a biased evaluation. We would like to see more neutral ones that we can further relate to,” according to Sergey Katyrin, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation. It’s necessary to have unbiased ratings of institutions of BRICS countries as there are is open to the world and consistently expanding ties with concerned countries and seek integration into business associations, he explained.

Jayshree Sengupta, a Research Fellow from the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi, India, thinks that BRICS want to have their own rating agency and are set to have it soon because the three international rating agencies Moody's, Fitch and Standard & Poor that dominate the world sovereign rating market have been rather unfair to BRICS members and other developing countries. They frequently downgrade them on unjust grounds and criteria that serve western political interests. They downgraded Brazil and Russia in 2017 and keep changing their grading about India, creating much uncertainty.

Sengupta indicated in an email interview that “their 'issuer paid' model of rating is biased and BRICS members are perhaps contemplating having their own rating agency on 'investor pays' model which may be more appropriate for their Emerging Market economies.”

While expressing the fact that the idea is highly laudable, Francis Kornegay, a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Global Dialogue, University of South Africa, explained recently to me that “it has something to do with the global economic balance of power as to whether there is sufficient leverage among BRICS countries and other emerging powers to provide such an alternative.”

Kornegay specializes on global geopolitical and strategic trends and he is also a long-term analyst of global South and emerging power dynamics and US foreign policy. As such, he recently produced, as lead co-editor, Laying the BRICS of a New Global Order: From Yekaterinburg 2009 to eThekwini 2013 (Africa Institute of South Africa).

The BRICS economic growth rate is increasing. “Starting last year, all BRICS countries have demonstrated positive trend in economic growth. Moreover, we expect that the growth rate will be increasing through 2018 and 2019, especially in India,” according to Yaroslav Lisovolik, Chief Economist and Managing Director for Research at the Eurasian Development Bank.

Thus, a BRICS own rating agency has the benefit of reducing the dependency of sovereign and corporate ratings of the developing world on the verdicts of the “big three” referring to Moody’s, Standard & Poor and Fitch. “The fact that all five BRICS economies are to participate in launching the ratings agency serves as a wide enough base to create sufficient demand and use of its ratings compared to the relatively narrow potential of national rating agencies,” he explained.

In other words, an alliance among the largest developing countries is crucial in launching such an enterprise - on top of the possibilities of operating in the BRICS countries themselves and there may also be the possibility to expand the operations of such an agency to the regional partners of BRICS countries, Lisovolik suggested.

On his part, Brazilian Ambassador to Russia, Jose Vallim Antonio Guerreiro questioned how the procedures of existing rating agencies could be applicable to all economies. “The question is whether this procedure includes all the relevant factors. You may need to look for alternative indicators and broad approaches to assess the health of economies,” he argued. “I do not believe that the new agency will be something to resist the existing institutions. They do their job, and certainly, there is a demand for their services. But it is possible that the BRICS countries will elaborate a different approach.”

Some experts still cast doubts about the feasibility of the project. “As far as I know, this endeavour was considered too expensive and not feasible at the moment,” Professor Georgy Toloraya, Executive Director at the National Committee on BRICS Research in Russia, wrote me simply without detailed discussion on the topic.

But, an Associate Researcher at the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), who requested for anonymity, strongly suggested that the BRICS credit rating agency as a business project could be well-managed if given to India, or at best, to China that previously offered a larger part of seed capital for the establishment of the New Development Bank.

The Financial Times reported that BRICS countries have long deliberated on plans to establish their own rating agency along with the formation of the New Development Bank. The BRICS member countries (namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) collectively represent about 26% of the world’s geographic area and are home to 2.88 billion people, about 42% of the world’s population. *Kester Kenn Klomegah frequently writes about issues connecting Russia, Africa and BRICS.

Published in Bank & Finance

Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province is being held to ransom by an Islamist guerrilla movement. After months of skirmishes between police and members of the Al Sunnah wa Jama’ah, the region has now erupted into full violence.

Since mid-May, 35 people have died in a series of brutal attacks. Various people have been beheaded, hundreds of houses have been burned and residents have been advised to be cautious. On June 8 local staff at Anadarko, an international oil and gas company, refused to go to work because they feared an attack. The company then asked its foreign staff not to leave their compound. The US embassy also asked its nationals to leave the province immediately.

The state has in recent months responded forcefully to the emergence of this threat. Hundreds of men and women have been arrested. Some mosques have been closed and others have been destroyed. In some areas, Muslims have been discouraged from wearing religious garb. This has prompted some sheikhs to warn that Mozambique’s government must not alienate all Muslims because of a fringe group’s activities.

There are economic as well as religious and security issues at play. Cabo Delgado province borders Tanzania and is home to 2.3 million people, 58% of whom are Muslim. In the past few years massive oil and gas reserves have been discovered. These resources are set to lead to the development of a multibillion dollar industry in Cabo Delgado, and a rosier future for Mozambique’s economy as a whole.

The prospect of a full-scale war has alarmed many people. The state, civil society and oil explorers are worried about what the violence will mean.

How did it reach this point? Several factors – social, economic and political – have allowed an Islamist insurgency to develop in the north of Mozambique. Most are local issues rather than the outcome of an international, cross-border conspiracy.

The group’s evolution

The birth of Al Sunnah wa Jama’ah is very similar to what was seen with Boko Haram in Nigeria. It started as a religious sect which transformed into a guerrilla group.

Al Sunnah wa Jama’ah is Arabic for “people of the Sunnah community”. The group is also known as Al-Shabaab (The Youth), even though it has no connections with the Somali movement of the same name.

It is estimated that the movement now has between about 350 and 1,500 members who are organised in tens of small cells along the coast of Northern Mozambique.

The sect’s initial goal was to enforce sharia law (Islamic law). It tried to do so by withdrawing from society and the state whose schooling, health system and laws it rejected. Such posture led to much tension.

Some suggest that the movement also calls itself “Swahili Sunna” (Swahili path) to reflect a dream to restore the Swahili grandeur of the 19th century when sheikdoms and sultanates dominated the area.

Despite the movement’s lofty ideals, some analysts still argue that it is motivated by greed rather than grievance. The group is even said to have become involved in illegal mining, logging, poaching, and contraband, making millions of dollars a week through these criminal activities.

But these assertions are not backed by hard evidence and it’s difficult to imagine that a guerrilla group which would make US$3 million a week still fights with only machetes and very few guns.

A developing crisis

The genesis of the current crisis has its roots in the militarisation of the Al Sunnah wa Jama’ah in 2016. In that year, tensions with other Muslims and the state increased and the movement began to prepare for armed action.

In October 2017 a group of 30 men attacked three police stations in Mocimboa da Praia. They killed two policemen, stole arms and ammunition, and occupied the town. Promising not to harm the residents, the guerrillas eventually withdrew to set up military bases in the forest.

Some scholars have suggested that the group is part of a broader international Islamic terrorist network. It is true that there are cross-border linkages at play: Mozambique’s police have said that the guerrillas received military training in Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

But I would argue that Mozambique’s new guerrilla movement is primarily a local phenomenon with very specific historical and social dynamics. The movement emerged within a particular religious, social and ethnic group known as the Mwani. They feel they have been marginalised for decades by migration into their area, a lack of economic development, and their neighbours’ political clout.

Possible solutions

Ultimately, if the movement sustains its current levels of violence, oil and gas majors might move oil and gas processing plants offshore. This would probably lead to a loss of jobs locally. Ongoing violence could also lead to a displacement crisis as hundreds flee the area to escape the violence.

The Mozambican state has responded to the latest crisis by entering into security agreements with the governments of Tanzania, DRC and Uganda; by setting up a regional military command; and by moving more troops into the North.

But the state and its partners need to also devise non-military measures. They need to constructively engage with issues of land ownership, begin to address sectarian tensions, and avoid vexing Muslims in their security operations if they want to prevent the Islamist guerrillas from tapping into local grievances and gaining more ground.

 

Eric Morier-Genoud, Lecturer in African history, Queen's University Belfast

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Published in Economy

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