India on Wednesday unveiled the world’s tallest statue in the western state of Gujurat in celebration of her unity.
Towering at 182 metres, the Statue of Unity is a tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, a hero of India’s freedom struggle and the country’s first deputy prime minister.
Patel, a Gujarati, was known as the ‘Iron man of India’ as he went about persuading all the princely states to join the Indian union after independence from British rule in 1947.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also hails from Gujarat, dedicated Patel’s statue to the people of India on the 142th birth anniversary of the statesman’s birth.
The record-breaking monument, which towers over the Narmada River, was built at a cost of 29.89 billion rupees (430 million dollars).
Based on award-winning sculptor Ram Sutar’s creation, the statue was built by engineering firm Larsen and Toubro.
The bronze statue, which depicts Patel wearing the traditional Indian attire of a dhoti and a shawl, took 33 months to build and involved 250 engineers and 3400 workers, according to the Press Information Bureau of India.
“To build this statue, [hundreds of thousands) of farmers from all over India came together to donate their tools, portions of their soil and a mass movement developed around the statue,” Modi said in his speech.
Thousands of policemen guarded the venue during the inauguration, as local tribal people have been holding protests in recent months claiming the project had destroyed natural resources, the Times of India newspaper reported.
The 128-metre Spring Temple Buddha in China had previously held the record for tallest statue.
India has overtaken the Netherlands as Nigeria’s major export trading partner in the second quarter of 2018, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The NBS had ranked the Netherlands as the country’s leading export trading partner in Q1 2018, having recorded N963.5 billion in value of exported commodities.
But the latest Foreign Trade Statistics by the bureau showed that 16.19 percent of the Nigeria’s Q2 2018 export trade worth N722.6 billion was moved to India against N457.6 billion worth of commodities exported to the Netherlands in the review quarter.
It said other major export destinations of the country include Spain, South Africa and United States with value of commodities at N426.1 billion or 9.6 percent, N359.8 billion or 8.1 percent and N306.5 billion or 6.9 percent respectively.
“In the reviewing quarter, mineral products accounted for N4,275.3 billion or 95.8% of the total export from Nigeria. This category of export was dominated by Crude Oil exports which contributed N3,728.4 billion or 83.5% of total exports,” it added.
According to the statistics bureau, the total value of Nigeria’s merchandise trade dropped from N7.21 trillion in Q1, 2018 to N6.57 trillion in the second quarter of 2018.
It said the contraction of total trade in the reviewing quarter was mainly driven by the decline in both
imports and exports.
“The trade balance in Q2, 2018 was a surplus of N2,356.60 billion, which is an 8.36% increase from the
figure in Q1, 2018 (N2,174.60 billion) and a 399.82% increase from the figure in Q1, 2017 (N471.48 billion),” it said.
“Total Imports value was N2,106.7 billion in Q2, 2018, -16.3% lower than Q1, 2018 (N2,518.26 billion) and –
19.9%% lower than Q1, 2017 (N2,631.65 billion),” the NBS said.
The top five import destinations for Nigeria were China, Netherlands, Belgium, India and United States which respectively accounted for N531.6 billion or 25.2 percent, N181 billion or 8.6 percent, N170.9 billion or 8.1 percent, N145.0 billion or 6.9 percent and N141.5 billion or 6.7 percent.
The bureau further said, “Total export value amounted to N4,463.3 billion in Q2, 2018, representing a contraction of -4.9% over Q1, 2018 (N4,692.86 billion) and a growth of 43.8% over Q2, 2017 (N3,102.14 billion).”
Source: The Ripples
Nigeria and India are making moves to explore opportunities in renewable energy development as part of the international agreements signed by both countries.Indian High Commissioner, Nagabhushana Reddy, at a Business meeting in Abuja, said the home government was committed to deriving at least 30 per cent of its power needs from renewable energy by 2030.
Reddy noted that exploring areas of cooperation in renewable energy would build on existing partnerships between both countries, especially as Nigeria, was member of the International Solar Alliance (ISA).
According to him, ISA intends to provide dedicated platform for cooperation among solar resource rich countries and mobilise $1 trillion funds for future solar generation, storage and technology across the world.He said: “We are opening a new chapter of India-Nigeria economic engagement by moving into the power sector relating to renewable energy. India had been present in Nigeria in the power sector mostly in the areas of distribution and transmission.”
Reddy also said that both countries would sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in the renewable sector to create a joint working group to develop projects for enhanced and effective collaboration.
Earlier, President of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Kayode Adetokunbo, called on the Federal Government to harmonise policies on renewable energy to create single body for the implementation of relevant policies. Adetokunbo said: “There is no clarity in policies and we need all the advantages solar power and renewable energy can offer and put it in one agency that has multi-sectoral approach so that other relevant agencies can work together as a team.”
He added that promoting synergy among stakeholders would create jobs and fast track economic development in line with the government’s economic growth plan.A representative of Nigerian chapter of Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, Rajneesh Gupta, said that there are ongoing enlightenment campaigns on promoting renewable energy in Nigeria.
He said: “Simba Solar has been educating Nigerians on renewable energy technologies, and how it can deliver value. We are also training electricians and budding entrepreneurs that can key into these technologies to the end users.”“Electricity generation is fluctuating this year, peaking 5,090megawatts as government continued to show determination to produce an energy mix with 30 per cent component of renewable energy out of the gross energy produced by 2030.”
Source: The Guardian
Experts at the 52nd African Development Bank Annual Meetings, which started Monday in Ahmedabad, India, have identified the missing links to building a strong trade and investment relationship that will lead to sustainable development in India and Africa.
Those missing links are the inability of African countries to exploit the preferential trade agreements provided by India; the need for capacity-building of small and business enterprises in Africa to bring out their real potential; using technology to leapfrog development in many sectors like education; and the inability of Indian financial institutions to push credit facilities to banks in Africa.
Manoj Dwivedi, Indian Administrative Service (IAS) Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Department of Commerce, Government of India, highlighted the four missing links when he address the audience at a panel session on African India Co-operation entitled: “Exploring Diversity: Promoting Trade and Investment”. He was joined by Admassu Tadesse, President and Chief Executive of Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (TDB), who said that his bank has been opening up to India for support it with credit facilities but it has not taken the opportunity.
“It’s time to consolidate our trade agreement preferably with trade blocs such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS),” said Dwivedi, adding that out of 21 countries, which offered duty-free partnership 11 of them have not subscribed to it.
Mahmood Mansoor, Executive Secretary of Comesa Clearing House, Zimbabwe, who was a participant at the session, concurred. Mansoor insisted that only India can address the problem.
Other panelists included David Rasquinha, Managing Director, Export-Import Bank of India; Sfiso Buthelezi, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Finance, Republic of South Africa; Abdoulaye Fall, Vice-President, Operations, ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development.
India and Africa have had robust trade relations. Bilateral trade between them has risen around five-fold in the decade from US $11.9 billion in 2005-2006 to US $56.7 billion in 2015-2016. The rapid growth in bilateral trade flows has come about because both Indian and African Governments have systematically brought down the barriers to seamless bilateral trade flows, by dismantling various tariff and non-tariff barriers. Private sectors in both regions have been at the helm of various trade promotion and facilitation initiatives.
According to a theme paper on “Africa-India Cooperation 2017: Partnerships to Industrialise and Move Africa up the Value Chains”, India has steadily opened up its markets to African exports. The result is that Africa’s trade surplus with India has increased rapidly, albeit driven in large part by a narrow range of suppliers and commodities. Consequently, today India’s export to Africa have increased almost four-fold from US $7 billion in 2005-2006 to US $25 billion in 2015-2016, accounting for 9.5 percent share in India’s total exports.
Conversely, India’s imports from Africa, increased seven-fold from US $4.9 billion in 2005-2006 to US $31.7 billion in 2015-2016, accounting for 8.3 percent share in India’s imports total imports. India’s imports from Africa grew at an annual average of 29.8 percent during 2005-2006 to 2015-2016, as against India’s exports to Africa that grew at an annual average of 15.9 percent during the same period.
Read more - African Development Bank (AfDB) Group website.