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Sunday, 22 March 2020
Emirates, one of the world’s biggest international airlines, is suspending all flights to Nigeria, France, Germany, New York and New Jersey due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Nigeria, France, Germany flights would be suspended from March 23 until further notice, a company email said.

Flights to New York JFK and New Jersey’s Newark EWR would be suspended from March 24 until further notice, another company email said.

The airline did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

Emirates, which has already suspended dozens of routes, said in the emails it was halting the routes because of the virus epidemic that has shattered global travel demand.

Published in Travel & Tourism
Massive medical supplies donated by China’s Jack Ma Foundation to 54 African countries to battle coronavirus, arrived on Sunday morning in Addis Ababa, through an Ethiopian Airlines cargo flight.

They include 5.4 million face masks, kits for 1.08 million detection tests, 40,000 sets of protective clothing and 60,000 sets of protective face shields, according to the Jack Ma Foundation.

The supplies will first be distributed to countries throughout Africa which are particularly vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The remaining 600,000 masks are expected to reach Addis Ababa and be distributed to more African nations over the next few weeks, it said.

The relief initiative forms part of Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation’s ongoing efforts to contain the spread of the COVID-19 and provide aid to afflicted communities across the globe.

Earlier this week, the foundations had announced their commitment to donating 100,000 medical masks, 20,000 test kits and 1,000 protective suits and face shields to each of the 54 nations on the African continent. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across Africa has climbed to 1,114 as 40 African countries reported confirmed cases as of Saturday afternoon, the Africa Center for Disease Control and Prevention disclosed on Saturday.

Collaboration and partnership with the Alibaba-led Electronic World Trade Platform (eWTP) hubs in Ethiopia and Rwanda is expected to prompt the distribution across Africa. The flight with the shipment landed at the eWTP hub in Ethiopia, which will help facilitate transport and distribution of donations throughout the continent. “Getting these donations to all 54 African countries, with diverse geographic conditions and different levels of infrastructure, is a great logistical and transportation challenge. We are working around the clock to make the delivery as fast as possible. ” according to a Jack Ma Foundation statement. “With our technology and eWTP Hubs, we are doing our utmost to quickly deliver these donations, so the supplies can reach those who need them most,” added Song Juntao, Secretary-General of eWTP.

This donation is part of global efforts that the Jack Ma and Alibaba Foundations have promoted to support the areas of the world most affected by the COVID-19 crisis, sourcing and delivering various types of medical supplies to countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, United States, Italy, Belgium, France, Spain, the Netherlands and Slovenia. Established by Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba Group, the Jack Ma Foundation was founded in 2014 and has been focusing on education, entrepreneurship, women’s leadership, and the environment.

Published in World
The devaluation of Nigeria’s currency Naira by the Central Bank of Nigeria from the official rate of N307 to N360 has triggered mixed reactions from analysts.

Prof. Uche Uwaleke, a professor of Finance and Capital Market at the Nasarawa State University said the devaluation of the nation’s currency by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will discourage round-tripping and return of foreign investors.

He said the devaluation would have positive implications for financial markets.

Uwaleke added that the development would encourage return of foreign investors who left our financial market because of multiple exchange rates.

On the flip side, he noted that the development would have negative implications for inflation and the 2020 budget predicted on N305 per dollar.

Prof. Sheriffdeen Tella, Professor of Economics, Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun, said the news of the naira devaluation was not surprising but was unfortunate.

“The pressure in the foreign exchange market we have witnessed in the last few weeks was not caused by the demand for foreign currency to buy inputs for production.

“It’s from people who are trying to hold foreign currency either for the speculative purpose for possible travels or to lodge the same in their foreign accounts where BVN is not available to reveal their identities.

“So, devaluing the currency will encourage further speculative attack on the naira. Haven emptied the sovereign wealth fund (SWF) account and Excess crude account, the CBN should not have taken this panic measure now that the recession has not taken root in the economy.

“It was a wrong move that was not based on the causal factor of the foreign currency demand pressure,” Tella said.

The Central Bank of Nigeria said it merely adjusted the price of Naira and did not devalue it as reported.

Published in Bank & Finance

Emirates, one of the world’s biggest international airlines, is suspending all flights to France, Germany, Nigeria, New York and New Jersey due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to Reuters.

The state-owned airline has already suspended dozens of routes, crucial to its Dubai hub that is dependent on millions of passengers passing through each year.

Flights to France, Germany and Nigeria would be suspended from March 23, until further notice, a company email said.

Emirates operates services to France’s Paris, Lyon and Nice, Germany’s Frankfurt, Munich, Duesseldorf and Hamburg, and Nigeria’s Abuja and Lagos.

Flights to New York JFK and New Jersey’s Newark EWR would be suspended from March 24 until further notice, another company email said.

Emirates did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The airline said in the emails it was suspending the flights because of measures and restrictions imposed to control the spread of the deadly virus.

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways said on Saturday it was suspending flights to Pakistan’s Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore from March 21, Belgium’s Brussels from March 22 and Switzerland’s Zurich from March 24.

Governments around the world have imposed tight entry requirements and in some instances suspended flights.

The United Arab Emirates, which has reported 140 cases of the virus, including two deaths, has temporarily banned all foreigners from entering the country, including residents.

Middle East airlines are facing a liquidity crisis, putting hundreds of thousands of jobs across the region at risk because of the virus epidemic that has shattered global travel demand, the industry’s largest body warned on Thursday.

 

- Reuters

Published in Travel & Tourism

Angola on Saturday confirmed its first two cases of coronavirus, while Mauritius recorded its first death as the virus spreads across Africa.

The continent has been slower to feel the impact than Asia or Europe, and most of its reported cases have been foreigners or people who have returned from abroad.

But confirmed infections have started to accelerate, with more than 830 across Africa, according to a Reuters tally, and concerns are growing about its ability to handle a surge in cases without the depth of medical facilities available in more developed economies.

Angola’s first cases were two male Angolan residents who flew back from Portugal on March 17 and 18, Health minister Silvia Lutucuta told a briefing.

Zimbabwe reported its first case on Friday, and a second on Saturday, while the island of Mauritius, with 14 cases, reported its first death, a person who had travelled from Belgium via Dubai.

Many African countries have already shut borders, closed schools and universities and barred large public gatherings to curb the spread of the virus, which has infected over 250,000 people around the world and claimed more than 10,000 lives.

South Africa, which has the most cases in sub-Saharan Africa, confirmed 38 news cases, taking its total to 240.

Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria, confirmed 10 new cases including the first three in the capital Abuja, bringing its total to 22.

 

- Reuters

Published in Economy

Netflix has increased its investment in Nigeria’s film industry, Nollywood. The dominant streaming company announced its presence via its newly created Twitter handle, NetflixNaija, while also detailing plans to commission original content by partnering with local creatives and investing in the space.

The streamer has ordered an as-yet-untitled six-part series that will be directed by local directors Akin Omotoso, Daniel Oriahi and CJ Obasi.

This is a welcome development for the industry. Apart from the visibility and increased viewership, Netflix also gives Nigerian filmmakers a strategy to combat the adverse impact of piracy in Nigeria. It’s not the first attempt at this. An indigenous streaming platform, IrokoTV, established in 2011, has been using streaming to distribute Nollywood content while staying out of the reach of pirates.

Nollywood is the second largest employer after agriculture in Nigeria. In 2014, Nollywood was worth $5.1 billion and made up 5% of Nigeria’s GDP. Although the first Nigerian films were made in the 1960s it wasn’t until the 1990s and 2000s that the industry blossomed as filmmakers took advantage of digital technology and internet distribution. Nollywood filmmakers have largely run an independent model for over three decades, producing about 50 movies a week.

Lax copyright laws and enforcement allow piracy to continue, though. For years, pirates have stolen Nigerian filmmakers’ profits at the end of the distribution chain by replicating and distributing films within days of VCD/DVD release. These losses lock up the industry’s full potential, as filmmakers experience difficulty in attracting funding for ambitious projects.

Creative freedom? Not yet

Netflix investment is great, but maximising the new resources depends on certain legal fundamentals. Are Nollywood filmmakers and stakeholders conversant with the ownership rights regime in the evolving digital copyright era? Will Nollywood get value for its rich creative resources when negotiating across licensing and other transactional platforms? How well would the Nigerian intellectual property laws – particularly its copyright laws – protect Nollywood creators in dealings with Netflix and other sophisticated partners?

Nollywood is disadvantaged at present, but there is hope.

A customer looks at some Nollywood movies in a shop at Idumota market in Lagos. Cristina Aldehuela/AFP/Getty Images

Licensing is defined as the process of obtaining permission from the owner of a TV show or movie for various purposes, and online streaming is no different. A licensing agreement is established under the terms of a legally binding contract between the content owners and Netflix, and each agreement varies. Some licences will last into perpetuity, while others are limited for a time. This is why Netflix is constantly updating consumers on what will be available, and also what will soon disappear.

Netflix licenses out content that does not belong to it from the entity that owns that content. This vastly oversimplifies the process, but Netflix gets written permission from rights holders to show their movies. That permission comes in the form of a licence (a contract) that allows the use of copyrighted creations, contingent upon various limitations and fees.

For original content, the company gets into specialised agreements with production houses. These agreements are made within the copyright regimes of the United States. Sound knowledge of these licence contracts and how they are structured is crucial for Nollywood’s growth.

Nigeria lags behind on copyright

Nigeria’s copyright law was first governed by the English Copyright Act 1911, which was made applicable to Nigeria by the colonial powers of Great Britain. Nigeria applied the 1911 Act until it was replaced with the Copyright Act of 1970. This act was considered inadequate because it failed to combat and punish the increasing rate of piracy and other copyright infringements. Hence the birth of the 1988 Act, later amended and recodified.

In 2012, the Nigerian Copyright Commission led the drafting of a new copyright bill, published in 2015. But the country’s National Assembly hasn’t passed it into law.

From the late 1990s, the global intellectual property regime encountered disruptive changes because of the influence of digital technology. The World Intellectual Property Organisation led the charge to change intellectual property laws to respond to digital creations and protect creativity. The outcome is the current global digitalised intellectual property regimes.

Nigeria, with its archaic copyright regime, still lags behind. The country’s copyright laws and others which may complement copyright – including torts, contract and e-commerce laws – have not been updated since 1999. How can Nigerian creatives thrive globally if the minimum threshold for protecting their content isn’t modernised?

Nollywood’s creative handicap

Being the most successful video streaming platform, Netflix possesses the resources to protect its legal and business interest. Some commentators believe that it might become a monopoly in the streaming industry. This scenario will adversely affect Nollywood by limiting the bargaining space for alternatives. Local player IrokoTV needs to devise new strategies to compete.

In my earlier research between 2016 and 2018, I had discussions and interviews with some Nollywood stakeholders who raised their concerns about the inadequacy of digital copyright regimes in Nigeria to protect their creative interest.

A street clothing seller passes by two movie vendor stands at Idumota market in Lagos. Cristina Aldehuela/AFP/Getty Images

If these concerns aren’t properly addressed, Nollywood creators may be operating in an unequal legal and economic environment which favours the video-on-demand partners. Nigeria’s copyright laws are outdated and in need of reform to adapt to current digitalised intellectual property regimes and productive methods.

How Nigeria can fix it

For Nollywood to fully compete at the global level, it should adopt a smart, proactive approach. Nigerian creators and policymakers need collaboration to achieve progress. Most importantly, it is time for the proposed amended Nigerian Copyright Act to become law. The amended law will help protect Nollywood in the digital market place.

Nigerian copyright management organisations and performer rights organisations have to educate themselves and plan programmes to enforce the rights of their members. With digital platforms, the formation of contracts entails different legal regimes. Nigerian creatives need a reformed and recognised idea submission agency based on a deliberate policy and legal framework.

Nollywood should also focus on the economics of creativity. The industry needs metrics to track and measure skills and output of performances. A collaborative partnership with experts in economics, analytics, statistics and adjacent fields will help. Nigerian universities should revamp their curricula to train existing and emerging lawyers to master the intricacies of digital licensing so they can advise Nollywood’s creative industry.The Conversation

 

Samuel Andrews, Professor of Intellectual Property Law, University of Gondar

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

Published in Business
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