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Thursday, 05 December 2019

Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC, a subsidiary of Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, has emerged as the financial institution that attracted the highest amount of capital investment in the third quarter of 2019.

This was contained in the Nigerian Capital Importation report of the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics. According to the report, Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC attracted $1,630.91 million in Q3 2019, which equates to 30.38% of the total capital inflow during the same period.

The Nigerian Capital Importation Q2 report earlier released by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics in September, 2019, also revealed that Stanbic IBTC PLC attracted 30.34% of the total capital inflow into the country.

Dr. Demola Sogunle, Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC, stated that the report identifying the bank as facilitating the highest amount of capital inflows reflects the immense contribution of the financial institution to the Nigerian economy. He added that the bank would continue to take the lead in the facilitation of business transactions that would inject foreign capital into the country.

The report reflected that the total value of capital imported into the country as at Q3 2019 was $5,367.56 million. A breakdown showed that the largest amount of capital importation by type was through portfolio investments which amounted to $2,999.5 million (55.88%); while Other Investment accounted for $2,167.98 million of total capital. Foreign Direct Investment made up $200.08 million of total capital imported in Q3 2019.

The Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Capital Importation Q3 2019 Report outlines Nigeria’s economic outlook, showing the total value of capital inflow into Nigeria. While Lagos State emerged as the top destination of capital investment in Nigeria in Q3 2019 with $4,976.40 million, the United Kingdom was the biggest source of capital investment into Nigeria during the third quarter. The value of capital inflow into Nigeria was $2,011.14, representing 37.47% of the total capital inflow.

Published in Bank & Finance

Pirates have kidnapped 19 sailors after waylaying a Hong Kong flagged supertanker, Nave Constellation, loaded with oil. The ship owned by Navios Maritime Acquisition Corporation, was attacked during the evening hours of Dec. 3 while the ship was travelling through Nigerian waters.

The attack occurred roughly 60-70 nautical miles south (reports vary) of Nigeria’s Bonny Island Offshore Terminal, where the ship was stocked with cargo.

Seven crew members were left aboard the ship by the pirates.

According to reports, 18 of the kidnapped were Indian nationals. One was Turk.

Security firm Dryad Global believes the attack is part of a growing trend. Six incidents and four kidnappings have been recorded in the area in recent times.

The string of attacks suggests a well-armed and resourceful pirate action group, most likely operating from one or more “mothership”-type vessels, with other smaller, nimbler crafts at their disposal.

A representative for the tanker’s owner said the top concern was for the kidnapped crew, according to the New Indian Express.

Navios as Owners and Anglo-Eastern as Technical and Crew Managers’ prime concern is the safety and early return of the 19 persons taken by the pirate gang. All the appropriate authorities, including the Flag State, have been alerted and are responding and all the necessary action is being taken to secure their wellbeing and early release.”

After piracy died down in Somalia waters, West Africa has taken over as the Africa’s biggest piracy hotspot.

Oil piracy is also big in the Gulf of Mexico, where the number of incidents is also on the rise

Published in Travel & Tourism

The phrase “medical xenophobia” is often used to describe the negative attitudes and practices of South African health care professionals towards refugees and migrants. It is used whenever foreign nationals are denied access to any medical treatment or care.

Research on migration and health in South Africa has documented public health care providers as indiscriminately practising “medical xenophobia”. But this dominant, single narrative around migrants and health care is misleading.

My recent research showed that there was more complexity, ambivalence and a range of possible experiences of non-nationals in South Africa’s public health care system. I conducted the research in a public health clinic in Musina, a small town on the border of South Africa and Zimbabwe.

I found that frontline health care workers provided services, including HIV treatment, to black African migrants who are often at the receiving end of xenophobic sentiment and violence. This was in spite of several institutional and policy-related challenges.

Discretion and innovation played a crucial role in inclusive health care delivery to migrants in a country marred by high xenophobic sentiment. This was because health care providers subscribed to an ethos of what was right for the patient.

Public health and individual discretion

There are a few issues with the current framing of “medical xenophobia”. First, the focus on attitudes – and not health care delivery – reflects a particular generalisation of how health providers are perceived to treat African migrants in South Africa.

This framing does not consider challenges facing the health system. These include shortages of medical personnel. Many migrants seeking care in South Africa’s public health system do face challenges arising from being “foreigners”. But there are other grounds beyond citizenship or legal status on which medical care might be denied. Not all cases of poor treatment are “medical xenophobia”.

South Africans also face challenges with the public health care system. These are related to the general shortages of nurses and doctors. Other challenges include high bed occupancy, high workload, low morale among nurses in public health facilities and the burden of the HIV pandemic.

Second, existing policy responses to communicable diseases in South Africa and the southern African region do not adequately cater for migrants. For example, treatment guidelines in South Africa have been found to be incomplete or inapplicable to migrant patients. Policies and programmes in the Southern African Development Community on communicable diseases such as HIV do not extend to migrant patients.

Health care providers often have to operate within these institutional, bureaucratic and policy constraints.

This scenario makes frontline discretion unavoidable. Health care providers have to rely on their own judgement to determine what “best practices” to invoke with relatively little input or interference from other institutions.

In spite of these challenges, frontline health care providers were doing their best to provide health services to black African migrants. They bypassed institutional and policy-related barriers to registering and treating undocumented migrants, non-native speaking migrants and migrants without referral letters.

This suggests that the experiences of non-nationals in South Africa’s public health care system were more complex and varied than implied by the dominant discourse on “medical xenophobia”.

It is true that some health care providers stereotyped migrant patients and blamed them for their destitution. But my research showed that these stereotypes didn’t directly translate to the exclusion of migrant patients from health care services. This was because of the health workers’ strong professional conduct and an awareness of the public health implications of not providing migrant patients with HIV treatment.

Working around the system

Health care providers in the clinic I visited came up with a system of using the date of birth to identify and keep a record of undocumented migrant patients. This replaced the 13-digit South African identity number, which is normally used to open patient files. Several of them used notions of morality, ethics and public service to frame their decision making. They understood health care to be a right for everyone, in line with Section 27 of the country’s constitution.

Others provided HIV treatment to migrant patients without referral letters. This decision was also mediated by how patients professed their “belonging” through “alternative” forms of knowledge and expertise. For example, one nurse claimed that she only provided anteretroviral therapy if migrant patients demonstrated knowledge of their medication, or if they brought a medicine container for a refill.

Health care providers reported difficulties interacting with migrant patients who spoke Swahili, French, Portuguese or Chewa. Staff and local patients worked together to ensure that migrant patients accessed health care services, often in extremely demanding circumstances. Health care providers made the effort to connect with migrant patients through informal interpreters by asking co-workers or patients fluent in these non-native languages to translate in English or other native languages.

These health care providers didn’t use language, documentation and referral letters to discriminate against migrant patients. They used innovation, creativity and compromise to provide services to migrant patients living with HIV.

Way forward

Policymakers need to recognise the importance of human relationships, communication networks, leadership and motivation in strengthening the country’s ailing public health system.

More crucially, activists need to identify the informal, inclusive and innovative practices of health care providers in addressing challenges related to documentation, referrals and language.

This should be coupled with calls to strengthen and invest in these grassroots responses to build greater solidarity. This is what can be done while waiting for policymakers to respond to ongoing calls for public health care systems to adequately engage with mobility.The Conversation

 

Kudakwashe Vanyoro, Research Communications Officer and Doctoral Researcher at the African Centre for Migration & Society, University of the Witwatersrand

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Published in Economy

The United States and Sudan have agreed to upgrade their diplomatic ties by exchanging ambassadors for the first time in more than two decades, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday.

The announcement of a return to ambassadorial-level representation after 23 years came as Sudan’s new prime minister, Abdalla Hamdok, wrapped up his first visit to Washington.

He met senior administration officials, including Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Mark Green, head of the US Agency for International Development.

“This decision is a meaningful step forward in strengthening the US-Sudan bilateral relationship, particularly as the civilian-led transitional government works to implement the vast reforms under the political agreement and constitutional declaration” from August, Pompeo said in a statement.

Hamdok was in Washington seeking support for Sudan’s transition toward democracy since the ouster of strongman Omar al-Bashir amid widespread protests against his rule.

Pompeo praised Hamdok for installing a civilian cabinet, making key personnel changes and committing to democratic elections after a transition period.

Published in World
Thursday, 05 December 2019 05:30

What Can we Expect? 2020 Cyber Predictions

As the 2020 budget meetings come and go - teams are forced to assess their current defenses by analyzing their historical attacks in order to anticipate/predict future attack trends. 

A difficult but worthwhile exercise for security leadership as they attempt to assess the adversaries’ trajectory and work to remain several moves ahead.  More often than not, adversaries stay true to their methods but only make slight variations to their attacks - why change what historically works?!  Which leads me to be first 2020 premonition. 

A sharper concentration of cloud attacks.  Companies continue to flock to cloud deployments, both private and public, to regain budget and unburden their IT departments.  Teams have slightly more control and oversight over private cloud deployments but the public multi-tenant cloud deployments are target rich for an attacker.  No need for the adversary to enumerate their prey when they can infiltrate the ‘entire herd’.  By studying how a single cloud technology operates from infrastructure to defenses, adversaries become more efficient and significantly decrease their attack costs.

Most adversaries are driven by financial gains and a significant operating metric for them revolves around their operational costs.  Very similar to our defensive budgets, adversaries must weigh their operating costs against their potential profits.  Therefore, their motivation to gain access to cloud environments provide an exponential financial gain.

I am not saying “all” cloud deployments are doomed but security teams must absolutely have a voice at the table when deciding ‘which’ cloud environment.  Security teams must evaluate and scrutinize cloud security practices to ensure due diligence is being performed by the vendor - for instance, ensuring the cloud vendor is undergoing routine penetration tests and not only resolving any weaknesses identified but how quickly is their security team identifying the penetration test.

Staggering Surge of Botnet Armies. Botnet armies are nothing new, however, as endpoint devices in households become “connected” and schools provide each individual student with personal computing devices it opens the doors for widespread takeover.  I can appreciate the benefits of every single student having a tablet (or equivalent) for schooling. 

However, I struggle to find the legitimacy of why my refrigerator needs an Internet connection, or for that matter, a video conferencing feature. As with any botnet army the individual devices don’t hold any real threat value but when controlled in the masses they provide a formidable attack mechanism for cyber criminals.  Whether used for computation resources (think brute forcing passwords) or used to launch denial of service attacks against a target the volume of botnet armies will surely increase exponentially.

An Operational Technology line will fall victim to a ransomware threat. Operational Technology networks are the primary lifesource for oil, gas and energy companies, as well as, massive manufacturing industries such as automotive.  These environments typically rely heavily on older infrastructure and technology and are infrequently updated to the latest security levels.  Oftentimes, OT networks are overlooked because they don’t have the traditional weak points most organizations are defending for two primary reasons:

1) they generally are not connected to the Internet and 2) do not have the high number of end users who are susceptible to crafty email spear phish attacks or ‘click-happy’ websurfing. 

But as manufacturers live and die by product branding the importance for a company to comply with criminal demands warrants a lofty ransom threat.  I predict 2020 will see at least one high-value OT network get infiltrated and held for ransom.  

 

By Ryan Trost, Co-founder and CTO, ThreatQuotient

Published in Opinion & Analysis
  1. Opinions and Analysis

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