Items filtered by date: Wednesday, 06 February 2019
Crude oil production by the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, has increased by 57,000 barrels per day.
 
This was disclosed in the January 2019 edition of the NNPC newsletter by the Group Managing Director of national oil company, Dr. Maikanti Baru.
 
According to the NNPC, crude production by the NPDC increased from 108,000bpd in 2016 to 165,000bpd in 2017.
 
According to Baru, with the development, the NNPC was well on its way to meeting the 500,000bpd target by 2020, adding that the NPDC had been a key contributor to the consistent year-to-year national crude oil production growth, which had seen a steady rise from an average of 1.2 million barrels of oil per day in 2016 to 1.86mbpd in 2017 and 2.06mbpd in 2018.
 
“It is also worthy to note that NPDC’s equity production share closed at over 200,700bpd, representing about 10 per cent of the national daily production.
 
“Its (NPDC) last average weekly production of 332,000bpd makes the target of 500,000bpd for 2020 achievable”, Baru said.
 
The NNPC GMD also noted that with the NPDC’s supply of over 700 million standard cubic feet of gas per day to the Escravos-Lagos Pipeline System, the company had become the largest gas supplier to the domestic market.
 
While giving reasons for NPDC’s achievements, Baru said they were due to the introduction of some initiatives such as the Asset Management Team structure, strategic financing and autonomy.
 
Others include the security architecture framework review of the company, which promoted cooperation with joint venture partners and enhanced the decision-making process.
 
“We will continue to pursue the growth plan to transform the NPDC to the premier upstream company in Nigeria and entire sub-Saharan Africa,” Baru said.
 
 
Source: NAN
Published in Business
Wednesday, 06 February 2019 11:38

Dollar steady, unfazed by Trump address

The dollar held steady against its peers on Wednesday, showing little reaction to U.S. President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address which touched upon trade and budget issues but provided investors with few surprises.
 
In an annual speech on Tuesday outlining his priorities for the coming year, President Trump said that illegal immigration was an urgent national crisis and reiterated his vow to build a border wall.
 
Trump also said any trade agreement with China “must include real, structural change to end unfair trade practices, reduce our chronic trade deficit, and protect American jobs.”
 
The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies was little changed at 96.072, after briefly touching a near two-week high of 96.135.
 
“Trump’s address did not contain surprises. He did not, for example, declare a state of emergency (over border funding) nor make surprising comments about China,” said Ayako Sera, senior market economist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust.
 
“The fall by the Australian dollar appears to have generated more attention,” Sera added.
 
The Australian dollar tumbled after central bank chief Philip Lowe opened the door to a possible rate cut after more than a year of signaling tighter future policy.
 
In his first public speech of the year, Lowe said rates could go in either direction, depending on the labor market and inflation.
 
The Aussie dollar was last down 1 per cent at $0.7165.
 
The Reserve Bank of Australia has left its official cash rate at a record low of 1.50 per cent since August 2016 and Governor Lowe had repeatedly emphasized the next move was more likely to be up.
 
The euro was little changed at $1.1400 after slipping 0.25 per cent the previous day to its lowest since Jan. 28.
 
The single currency was pressured after a survey released on Tuesday showed euro zone businesses expanded at their weakest rate since mid-2013 at the start of the year.
 
The dollar edged down 0.15 per cent to 109.78 yen after posting a gain of 0.4 per cent overnight.
 
While the Japanese currency’s big gains against the downtrodden Aussie was seen as a factor weighing on dollar/yen, the greenback stayed in reach of a five-week peak of 110.165 yen reached on Monday.
 
The dollar has been managed to hold its ground although U.S. Treasury yields declined the previous day and pulled back from one-week highs.
 
“The dollar is managing to draw support in spite of lower Treasury yields thanks to a combination of a dovish-sounding Federal Reserve and U.S. data, which has been relatively strong on the whole recently,” said Shusuke Yamada, chief Japan FX and equity strategist at Bank Of America Merrill Lynch.
 
The Australian dollar was down more than 1 per cent at 78.66 yen.
 
The pound remained on the back foot following a slump overnight. The currency was a shade lower at $1.2950 after brushing $1.2923, its lowest since Jan. 22.
 
Sterling had lost nearly 0.7 per cent on Tuesday on a weak Purchasing Managers’ Index data and uncertainty about Brexit talks.
 
UK cabinet ministers have secretly held talks on plans to delay Brexit by eight weeks, the Telegraph newspaper reported late on Tuesday.
 
The delay would postpone Brexit to May 24. Currently, Britain is due to leave the European Union on March 29. 
 
 
Source: Reuters
 
Published in Bank & Finance
The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, NIPC, has said that the country received investment committment worth $90.90 billion for 93 projects between January and December last year.
 
According to the NIPC, the Nigerian Investment commitment are in various sectors of the economy in 23 states and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
 
Figures from the commission show that the proposed investments for 2018 is a 27 per cent higher than the $66.36 billion figure recorded in 2017.
 
The NIPC figures also showed that a huge chunk of the investment goes to mining and quarrying, which accounted for 35 per cent of the total value.
 
This is followed by the manufacturing sector with 24 per cent, while construction with 20 per cent, transportation and storage with 15 per cent followed, respectively, while other sectors accounted for the balance of six percent.
 
The NIPC also revealed that the investment commitments were made by investors from 20 countries, with domestic investors accounting for a huge chunk of the proposed investments with about 33 per cent of the value.
 
This is followed by investors from the United Arab Emirates with 20 per cent, France stood at 18 per cent, and the United Kingdom 10 per cent while the balance of 19 per cent were investment commitments made by other investors from other countries.
 
On the location of the proposed projects, the NIPC said the FCT was the biggest beneficiary as it got about 21 per cent of the total investment pledged during the period, Rivers State accounted for 18 per cent, while Lagos and Bayelsa got 14 per cent and 13 per cent, respectively
 
It stated that the other states accounted for the balance of 34 per cent.
 
 
Source: PmNews
Published in Business

The complex relationship between Africa and China has become even more complicated this year. Initially, 2018 was set to reaffirm the bond through the latest Forum on China-Africa Cooperation summit held in Beijing in September.

The summit delivered its usual pageant of African leaders, side deals, and the announcement of a USD$60 billion financing package. The year also saw the recurrence of misgivings about the relationship.

The most explicit theme of this conversation was debt. Donald Trump’s US administration added fuel to smouldering anxiety, and China found itself having to defend its lending to Africa – at home and globally. At the same time, African governments are battling rumours that they are about to hand over state assets to the Chinese.

The debt debate is flawed – not least for underestimating Western contributions to African debt. Nevertheless, it is revealing. In particular, the debate reflects an anxiety that has haunted relations between China and the continent since the beginning of this century: the massive power gap between China and individual African countries.

Power imbalances

The constant rhetoric of win-win cooperation between China and Africa has never adequately answered the simple structural question at the heart of the relationship. That is: how is an economy the size of Benin’s or Togo’s, for example, supposed to meaningfully engage with the Chinese behemoth? It’s a bit like trying to speed up your bicycle by grabbing on to a passing jumbo jet. It can take you to the next level, or it can simply rip off your arms.

The fundamental economic and power imbalance between China and African countries has led to the relationship being criticised as neocolonial. The truth, however, is that African governments exercise more agency than they are given credit for. This includes frequently playing China and traditional Western development partners off against one another.

The word “agency” is key here: to what extent is Africa able to freely make its own decisions and drive the best deals with China?

Our new research focused on this issue. We looked at two emerging areas shaping African agency in relation to China. These are reforms to the African Union (AU) and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The initiative involves a massive infrastructure rollout aimed at linking China to Europe and beyond. The aim is to set up a zone of shared development that encompasses Central and Western Asia and Africa.

The AU and the Belt and Road initiative

The AU has proposed a set of reforms to streamline African negotiations at events like the FOCAC under the auspices of the continental body. This could be seen as a step towards the frequently repeated goal of Africa negotiating collectively with China. But, in fact, we show that it faces significant resistance from within the continent. This comes both from powerful states worried about losing control of their bilateral relationships with China, and from smaller states worried about being excluded.

China’s BRI reveals other aspects of African agency. It’s structured by numerous bilateral agreements, but is also subject to regional as well as local pressures. The way the initiative’s projects have been pulled into national debates involving opposition politics shows that the range of actors constituting African agency is potentially much wider than national governments.

We argue that before African agency can be maximised, this aspect of relations between China and particular African governments needs to be taken into account. Thinking about the issue has so far fixated on the role of national governments, to the exclusion of other actors. The biggest include regional economic communities such as Nepad and the AU. The smaller ones comprise opposition parties, civil society, local businesses and communities. All contribute to and constitute African agency.

What is this agency, how does it work and how can it be strengthened?

Understanding African agency

We identified three key areas where African agency can be located.

Firstly, African agency is expressed in the frameworks and documents that govern bodies like the forum. For example, in the early days arrangements paid relatively little attention to the issue of industrialisation. That changed after the formal adoption in 2015 of the AU’s Agenda 2063 – its blueprint for Africa’s sustainable development. The forum held that year saw an uptick in how many times the issue was mentioned.

By 2016, African industrialisation had become a key initiative of China’s presidency of the G20. Beijing directed an unprecedented level of G20 attention to the continent.

By 2018, the Beijing summit ended with fewer declarations of intent relating to industrialisation. Instead, it had become integrated into the continental and bilateral planning processes. In particular, it features regularly in discussions on development financing. Likewise the word “training” was mentioned over 40 times and in virtually every section of the Beijing Action Plan.

This suggests there is a shift from declarations of intent to more specific engagement towards industrialisation. This doesn’t necessarily guarantee the success of Africa’s industrialisation. But it shows that China responds to African agenda-setting.

Secondly, African agency is diffused across various levels and among various actors. Any analysis of African agency has to consider the complex interactions between continental bodies like the AU, regional economic blocs, national governments, civil society, business, and local communities. Each plays a role in shaping African decision making in relation to China. Partnerships that cut across the state-business-civil society divide are as important as state led initiatives in articulating policy initiatives in relation to China.

Thirdly, it’s important to think of the changing terms of agency as African governments face growing debt burdens via such initiatives as the BRI. For instance, rumours that the Zambian government offered its national electricity supplier as collateral in exchange for a new tranche of Chinese loans have reportedly caused political division at home.

Critics have focused on debt as diminishing African agency. What they’ve ignored are the significant financial and reputational risks to China.

Maximising African agency

As Africa becomes more involved in global initiatives, and as it moves towards greater continental integration via AU reforms and the Continental Free Trade Agreement, the need increases to think harder and more creatively about what African agency means. It isn’t enough to simply reiterate the call for Africa to negotiate collectively with China – not least because this disregards the complex interactions between African governments.

Rather, it’s time for more comprehensive thinking about how African agency manifests across actors and geographic scales. Only once we have a firmer handle on this can we move towards maximising it.The Conversation

 

Yu-Shan Wu, Foreign policy researcher and doctoral candidate, University of the Witwatersrand; Chris Alden, Professor of International Relations, London School of Economics and Political Science, and Cobus van Staden, Senior Researcher: China Africa, South African Institute of International Affairs

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

Published in Opinion & Analysis

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa invited opposition leaders to a meeting on Wednesday to draw up terms for a national dialogue, they said, following a brutal crackdown on anti-government protests.

More than 20 politicians who contested July’s presidential election were invited, two of whom - Lovemore Madhuku and Noah Manyika - said they would attend. It would be the first meeting between Mnangagwa and opponents since he took power from Robert Mugabe in November 2017.

Manyika however said he believed conditions were not yet right for meaningful dialogue, which could only happen if hundreds of people detained during the crackdown were released and soldiers withdrawn from streets and checkpoints.

“It can only take place if, as the president promised upon his return from his overseas trip, the heads of those who have been responsible for brutalising citizens roll,” Manyika said.

On Tuesday, a nationwide strike by public sector teachers for better pay got off to a patchy start, as some stayed at home while others attended school but did not teach amid fears of further intimidation.

The president hiked fuel costs by 150 percent last month and immediately travelled abroad, triggering unrest that drew a violent response from security forces and eventually persuaded him to cut short his foreign tour.

On his return home, Mnangagwa promised action against brutality by police and troops and called for a national dialogue. There was no immediate comment on Tuesday’s invitation from Mnangagwa or his spokesman.

Nelson Chamisa, who heads the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party and who counts Manyika among his allies, could not be reached for comment.

The MDC believes Zimbabwe is reverting to the authoritarian rule that characterised the regime of long-time leader Mugabe, and says the election that confirmed Mnangagwa as president in July was rigged, an allegation the judiciary rejected.

‘REPORT ALL INTIMIDATION’

The southern African nation is mired in an economic crisis marked by soaring inflation and shortages of cash, fuel and medicines. Many government workers are demanding wage rises and payments in dollars to compensate.

On Tuesday the striking Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA), the biggest teaching union, said most of its members had stayed at home but that security agents had gone to some schools taking details of absent teachers.

The union accused authorities of spreading fake news to discourage teachers from going on strike after state media reported that the stoppage had been called off. “Report all forms of intimidation, we are building a dossier of such,” ZIMTA said in a notice to members. Cabinet ministers declined to answer questions on the strike at a media briefing in Harare.

In schools around the centre of the capital, most teachers appeared to have turned up for work, but some were not taking lessons, witnesses said. In a classroom at a primary school in Harare’s Mbare township, a Reuters photographer saw one teacher eating from her lunch box in class while pupils sat quietly.

Zimbabwe has more than 100,000 public-sector teachers.

 

- Reuters

Published in Economy
In a bid to contain the increasing number of refugees and asylum seekers wanting to illegally force their way to greener pastures, the US has deployed an additional 2,000 troops to its border with Mexico.
 
That much information was revealed by the Pentagon which noted that the addition will bring the total number of troops stationed on the southern border to about 4,300.
 
The Pentagon added that the soldiers would help border-patrol agents, carry out surveillance work and install miles of razor wire.
 
In addition, the US defence department said 3,750 extra soldiers would be sent to the border, although many will replace troops already there. The first deployments took place in November.
 
“Additional units are being deployed for 90 days, and we will continue to evaluate the force composition required to meet the mission to protect and secure the southern border,” a Pentagon statement said.
 
The move by the Pentagon comes after President Donald Trump battled Congress for funds to build a wall along the border saying such a measure is needed to stop illegal immigration.
 
 
Source: Routers
Published in World
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