During the visit of the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel to Nigeria, Volkswagen took the opportunity to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the presence of both the Chancellor and His Excellency, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja to develop a joint vision for an automotive hub in that country. The Head of Volkswagen Sub-Saharan Region, Thomas Schaefer signed the agreement on behalf of Volkswagen with the Nigeria’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okey Enelamah.
 
The Volkswagen Brand thus took the next step in expanding its influence and presence in Sub-Saharan Africa. This comes a day after the signing of the MoU in Ghana in the presence of Chancellor Merkel and Vice President of Ghana, Mahamudu Bawumia whereby Volkswagen committed to set up a vehicle assembly and conduct a detailed feasibility study for the development of an integrated Mobility Solution in Ghana.
 
In the MoU, Volkswagen undertakes to implement a phased approach in relation to the assembly of vehicles, initially from assembly kits with the long term view of establishing Nigeria as an automotive hub on the West Coast of Africa. This will include establishing a training academy in conjunction with the German Government, which will train the initial employees. The academy will also provide broader technical training in automotive skills. It is also intended that a comprehensive Volkswagen vehicle and service network is developed in the country subject to commercial viability.
 
In turn the Nigerian Government undertakes to accelerate the approval of the Nigerian Automotive Policy, currently under consideration. This includes the gradual transition from the importation of used cars to the manufacture and distribution of new passenger vehicles.
 
The Government has committed to providing a conducive legislative environment that will encourage the manufacturing of motor vehicles in Nigeria.
 
Nigeria’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okey Enelamah, who signed on behalf of his government, said: “The MoU is a major step in our walk towards the development of the automotive industry to achieve its potential contribution to the continuous economic development of the country.”
 
“We believe in the strategic and catalytic role of the automotive industry in the diversification of the Nigerian economy and we remain committed to encouraging and partnering with relevant stakeholders, especially investors and friends of Nigeria. Our overall objective is to restore assembly and develop local content, thereby creating employment, acquiring technology and reducing pressure on the country’s balance of payment, ” added Dr. Enelamah
 
Thomas Schaefer commented: “This week Volkswagen has been able to demonstrate with conviction that it is serious about its intentions in Sub-Saharan Africa. We are well placed to become a dominant player in Africa, as the continent continues to stabilise and develop economically, as the last frontier for the automotive industry.”
 
Volkswagen has a fully-fledged manufacturing facility in South Africa, and assembles vehicles in Kenya, Algeria as well as in Rwanda, in conjunction with an Integrated Mobility Solution offering Community Car Sharing and shortly to be launched Ride Hailing.
 
Under its TRANSFORM 2025+ brand strategy, Volkswagen is strengthening the regions and focusing on new up-and-coming markets. Alongside North and South America as well as China, the Sub-Sahara region plays an increasingly important role. Although the African automotive market is comparatively small today, the region could develop into an automotive growth market of the future.
 
Volkswagen will continue to grow its importer network in Sub-Saharan Africa and explore other opportunities for growth and development. As a next step, exploratory talks are being held with the Government of Ethiopia.
 
“We are only starting with our initiatives in Africa and will continue to develop sales and service networks where applicable. We are also looking at future assembly locations to determine if the markets have the potential and the necessary policy frameworks to be developed, to accommodate vehicle assembly,” added Schaefer.
 
Thomas Schaefer is also the President of the Association of African Automobile Manufacturers and stated in his capacity as the President that he believed that it was important that a Pan African Auto pact be developed to promote and grow a connected Auto Industry in Africa.
 
“Africa’s time is now and with good alignment between the African countries with automotive aspirations we can create intra African trade and a Win-Win situation for all,” concluded Schaefer.
 
 
Source: Vanguard
The UK Government has announced a new £70-million programme to create 100,000 jobs in Nigeria says the Minister of State for Africa, Harriett Baldwin.
 
Baldwin said this during a business event as part of the activities for Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit to Nigeria on Wednesday.
 
Baldwin, who led a business delegation to the event, said that the programme would raise the income of three million people from the poorest parts of Nigeria.
 
“We are here today to talk about technology links between the UK Fintech sector and the Nigerian Fintech sector and will bring inward investment in terms of this important sector of technology.
 
“Today, it is all about celebrating those links through technology and I am very excited that the Prime Minister is announcing today a new £70 million programme that will create some 100,000 jobs in Nigeria and will also raise the income of three million people from the poorest parts of Nigeria.”
 
The minister said that the event was celebrating the role of growing businesses and entrepreneurs and also highlighted the partnerships of both countries in the area of technological development.
 
She added that the delegation consisted of various UK businesses were willing to invest “the kind of capital that creates jobs”.
 
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the Ministers of Finance and Power, Works and Housing, Kemi Adeosun and Babatunde Fashola respectively, attended the event.
 
Osinbajo said that the Federal Government was keen on driving technology development in the country in support of the government’s economic growth plan.
 
The vice president said there was the need to create the right environment for technology companies to thrive and further gave an assurance of the government’s commitment to support innovation in the country.
 
“I think just looking at some of the start-ups that we see today, many of them started while the recession was on and they proved, by just a number of jobs, value and wealth created, that this is the future starting today.
 
“This is why we have started up first with the creativity and technology advisory group; many of these start-ups are members of this group where they help to formulate policies with Federal Government policy makers especially in fintech, which are some of the new areas we need to formulate policies.
 
NAN also reports that the event, held at Ventures Park, an innovation hub and co-working space for entrepreneurs, showcased a number of products from start-up entrepreneurs.
 
The founder of Ventures Park, Mr. Kola Aina, said that the government’s `ease of doing business’ policy had been “relatively helpful” to the growth of small and medium-scale business in the country.
 
“There is also a lot of talk about incentives like the pioneer start-ups programmes that we are looking to see how start-ups can begin to benefit from.
 
“More than ever before, we are starting to see a lot of support from the government.”
 
The event simultaneously held a panel discussion highlighting opportunities for doing business among businessmen of both countries.
 
The panel included Fashola, Adeosun and other key government representatives.
 
The Lord Mayor of the City of London, Charles Bowman, was also part of the discussions alongside several other UK businessmen.
 
May’s visit to Nigeria is part of her tour of some African countries.
 
The Prime Minister is expected in Nairobi on Thursday, where she will meet President Uhuru Kenyatta and see British soldiers from Kenya and other African countries in the techniques needed to identify and destroy improvised explosive devices before they go to fight Al-Shabaab in Somalia.
 
The prime minister is on a trade mission in an attempt to bolster Britain’s post-Brexit fortunes. This is her first visit to Africa since she became prime minister in 2016.
 
She is accompanied by a 30-man business delegation as part of her efforts to “deepen and strengthen” partnerships around the world as the UK prepares to leave the European Union next year.
British Prime Minister, Theresa May, has arrived at FMDQ Security Exchange building, Victoria Island, Lagos, for a meeting with the Nigerian business community.
 
The prime minister, accompanied by members of her trade delegation, arrived at the venue at 6.30 p.m. on Wednesday.
 
Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Mr. Femi Otedola, and Mr. Tony Elumelu, among others, had earlier assembled at the venue.
 
The meeting, expected to last for 40 minutes, would provide an opportunity for forging more bilateral relations between Nigeria and the United Kingdom.
 
May had earlier on Wednesday afternoon arrived the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Ikeja, in Lagos after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.
 
She is billed to spend time with victims of modern slavery during her brief stay in the nation’s commercial hub.
 
The prime minister’s visit to Lagos comes barely eight weeks after the French President, Mr. Emmanuel Macron, visited the African Shrine in Ikeja, Lagos.
 
Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, accompanied by his deputy, among other state officials, received the prime minister at the airport.
 
After the reception, May drove out of the airport to attend to her engagements in the state.
 
After May’s meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja, Nigeria and Britain signed agreements on Defence and Security partnership, among others.
 
May’s visit to Nigeria is part of her tour of three African countries.
 
 
Vanguard...
Theresa May will lead an ambitious trip to Africa this week on her first visit to the continent as Prime Minister.
 
She’ll be the first British Prime Minister to visit Sub-Saharan Africa since 2013, and the first to go to Kenya for over 30 years.
 
This visit comes at a time of enormous change across Africa with a unique opportunity, as the UK moves towards Brexit, for a truly Global Britain to invest in and work alongside African nations, with mutual benefits.
 
The Prime Minister’s central message will be focused on a renewed partnership between the UK and Africa, which will seek to maximise shared opportunities and tackle common challenges in a continent that is growing at a rapid pace – from the Sahara to South Africa.
 
She will use a speech on the opening day of the visit in Cape Town to set out how we can build this partnership side by side with Africa, particularly by bringing the transformative power of private sector trade and investment from the UK to a continent that is home to 16% of the world’s people but just 3% of FDI and 3% of global goods trade.
 
As Africa seeks to meet the needs of its growing population the visit will also emphasise that it is in the world’s interest to help secure African stability, jobs and growth because conflict, poor work prospects and economic instability will continue to encourage migration and dangerous journeys to Europe.
 
Because nations cannot prosper without security, the Prime Minister will also use the visit to announce further support to tackle instability across the region.
 
Prime Minister Theresa May said:
 
Africa stands right on the cusp of playing a transformative role in the global economy, and as longstanding partners this trip is a unique opportunity at a unique time for the UK to set out our ambition to work even closer together.
 
A more prosperous, growing and trading Africa is in all of our interests and its incredible potential will only be realised through a concerted partnership between governments, global institutions and business.
 
As we prepare to leave the European Union, now is the time for the UK to deepen and strengthen its global partnerships. This week I am looking forward to discussing how we can do that alongside Africa to help deliver important investment and jobs as well as continue to work together to maintain stability and security.
 
 
I am proud to be leading this ambitious trip to Africa and to become the first UK Prime Minister in over 30 years to visit Kenya.
 
The Prime Minister will be joined by a business delegation made up of 29 representatives from UK business – half of which are SMEs – from across all regions of the UK and its devolved administrations. The delegation shows the breadth and depth of British expertise in technology, infrastructure, and financial and professional services.
 
Delegates include:
 
the London Stock Exchange
Cardiff-based cooling technology firm Sure Chill
solar tech provider Northumbria Energy from North Tyneside
London-based start-up Farm.ink who have created a knowledge-sharing mobile platform for farmers
Northern Irish agri-tech leader Devenish Nutrition
the world-renowned Scotch Whisky Association and Midlands manufacturing giant JCB
Also travelling are Trade Minister George Hollingbery and Minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin. Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns will join the visit in South Africa to support the Welsh companies in the business delegation, while the Lord Mayor of London Charles Bowman is also accompanying the Prime Minister.
 
The Prime Minister will begin her trip in Cape Town in South Africa where she’ll see President Cyril Ramaphosa and meet young people and business leaders.
 
While in South Africa the Prime Minister will present the Mendi bell to President Ramaphosa in a ceremony at Cape Town’s presidential office the Tuynhuys – over a century after it was lost in a shipwreck.
 
Over 600 troops, the majority black South Africans, died when the Mendi tragically sank in the English Channel in 1917, on their way to join the Allied forces on the Western Front. It was the worst maritime disaster in South Africa’s history, and the Mendi has become a symbol of the country’s First World War remembrance.
 
In Nigeria the Prime Minister will meet President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja and spend time in Lagos meeting victims of modern slavery – a cause Theresa May has worked passionately to tackle.
 
In Nairobi she will meet President Uhuru Kenyatta and see British soldiers training troops from Kenya and other African countries in the techniques needed to identify and destroy improvised explosive devices before they go to fight Al-Shabaab in Somalia.
 
She will also commit to helping support the next generation of energetic, ambitious young Kenyans as they seek to build a more prosperous country in the years ahead.
 
 
Source: PMNEWSNIGERIA
United States President, Donald Trump, has called his Nigeria counterpart, Muhammadu Buhari, “so lifeless,” after their April meeting.
 
Buhari and Trump met at the White House on April 30. Both leaders discussed issues bordering on fighting terrorism and economic growth.
 
Punch quoted Global business newspaper, Financial Times, in a recent publication, as saying that as Trump is set to welcome President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, the newspaper, in an article titled, ‘Africa looks for something new out of Trump,’ claimed that the US leader described Buhari, whom he met officially in April, as ‘so lifeless.’
 
The paper added that Trump warned his aides that he never wanted to meet someone ‘so lifeless’ again.
 
“The first meeting with Nigeria’s ailing 75-year-old Muhammadu Buhari in April ended with the US president telling aides he never wanted to meet someone so lifeless again, according to three people familiar with the matter,” Financial Times claimed.
 
Trump had, at a meet-the-press held by the two leaders, praised the Buhari administration. He commended the President’s effort in tackling corruption and insurgency.
 
The 72-year-old American president had then called Nigeria one of the most beautiful places on earth, adding that he would love to visit someday.
 
 
Source: Punch
President Muhammadu Buhari will on Tuesday, next week inaugurate the $250million state-of-the-art International Breweries in Ogun State.
 
The brewery, said to be the biggest in West Africa, is located at kilometre 3, Flowergate Industrial Scheme, along the Abeokuta-Sagamu Expressway.
 
The Plant Manager, Tony Agah, speaking to journalists at the premises of the factory, said the plant is the brewer’s fourth brewery in Nigeria after those in Ilesa, Onitsha, and Port-Harcourt.
 
According to him, about 90 per cent of the company’s raw materials would be sourced locally, adding that it had already employed 300 staff.
 
 
Agah said the brewery would have significant multiplier impact on the value chain within Ogun State and its environs as well as provide direct and indirect employment for the people, and also support Nigeria’s foreign direct investment aspiration.
 
The Managing Director, Annabelle Degroot, speaking about the inauguration, described the plant as a major step towards its strategic goal of producing high-quality drinks locally.
 
Her words: “Objectively, International Breweries Plc is a brand that places a premium on quality. Bearing this in mind, we will spare no expense or effort in ensuring that Nigerians are treated to the best traditions in brewing, with outstanding recipes, superior ingredients, innovation and world class techniques. The outcome is to ensure satisfaction and enjoyment for our consumers.”
 
Degroot added that the plant would provide a great opportunity to engage qualified locals, who are excited about the prospects of forging a career with the brand, while thousands of both direct and indirect jobs would be created.
 
She said: “One of the objectives of the company is to create job opportunities for the people of Ogun State as well as Nigerians in general. The plant will also be instrumental in empowering farmers as most of the raw materials required will be sourced locally. This will, in turn, contribute to the economic development of the country.”
 
International Brewery is one of the 300 companies that the Governor Ibikunle Amosun administration has attracted to the State since assumption of power in 2011.
 
 
Tribune

President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday signed an Instrument of Accession to the International Cocoa Agreement (ICA), 2010.

The pact was the seventh ICA adopted at the United Nations Cocoa Conference in 2010 following the contribution of ICA, 1972, 1975, 1980, 1986, 1993 and ICA, 2001 to the development of the world cocoa economy.

The ICA, 2010 was administered by the International Cocoa Organization, which was established by the ICA, 1972 and functions through the International Cocoa Council, the highest authority of the organization.

A statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to the President, Garba Shehu, said that decision followed the approval by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for Nigeria to accede to the agreement.

Following the execution of the instrument of accession, Nigeria undertakes “faithfully to abide by all the stipulations therein contained” in the agreement, according to the statement.

“Among other benefits, the agreement is expected to strengthen cooperation between exporting and importing member countries; improve their cocoa economies through active and better focused project development and strategies for capacity-building,” the statement read.

It is also expected to build on the successes of the 2001 Agreement by “implementing measures leading to an increase in the income of cocoa farmers and by supporting cocoa producers in improving the functioning of their cocoa economies.”

The statement added that the 2010 agreement would also “deliver cocoa of better quality, take effective account of food-safety issues and help establish social, economic and environmental sustainability, so that farmers are rewarded for producing cocoa that meets ethical and environmental considerations.”

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the ICA, 2010 was agreed with a view to strengthening the global cocoa sector, supporting its sustainable development and increasing the benefits to all stakeholders.

It highlighted eleven objectives as rationales for the pact, they comprise to; promote international cooperation in the world cocoa economy; provide an appropriate framework for discussion on all cocoa matters among governments, and with the private sector; contribute to the strengthening of the national cocoa economies of Member countries; obtain fair prices leading to equitable economic returns to both producers and consumers in the cocoa value chain.

The objectives also include to; promote a sustainable cocoa economy; encourage research and the implementation of its findings; promote transparency in the world cocoa economy, and in particular in the cocoa trade, as well as to promote the elimination of trade barriers; promote and to encourage; consumption of chocolate and cocoa-based products in order to increase demand for cocoa.

Others include to; encourage Members to promote cocoa quality and to develop appropriate food safety procedures in the cocoa sector; encourage Members to develop and implement strategies to enhance the capacity of local communities and small-scale farmers to benefit from cocoa production and thereby contribute to poverty alleviation; facilitate the availability of information on financial tools and services that can assist cocoa producers, including access to credit and approaches to managing risk.

Currently, Nigeria rely on crude oil as its major source of revenue, accounting for about 70 percent of its total revenue and over 90 percent for its export earnings. The nation’s economy recorded its worst decline since 1987 in 2016 on the back of drop in the prices of crude oil in the international market in 2014.

Nigeria recorded five consecutive negative Gross Domestic Product growth rates from -0.67 percent in Q1 2016 to -0.91 percent in Q1 2017. It officially emerged from recession in Q3 2017 after two consecutive positive GDP growth. A development which had prompted the Federal Government to devise other means to diversify the economy away from oil into solid minerals, agriculture, among others to forestall a recurrence of the 2016 economic distress.

With the latest agreement, Nigeria is now a cocoa exporting member of the International Cocoa Organization and the International Cocoa Council, implying cocoa could become another alternative source of revenue generation and foreign exchange earnings as global organizations renewed their efforts to develop the cocoa sector.

Nigeria’s economy is expected to grow more slowly this year than previously forecast as investors hold off before elections in early 2019, a Reuters poll showed on Friday, while Kenyan growth is forecast at more than double the pace.

In the poll taken in the past week, analysts and economists’ forecasts showed a median of 2.1 percent growth for Nigeria, accelerating to 3.0 percent next year.

That was a significant downgrade from the previous poll taken three months ago, which showed Africa’s largest economy expanding 2.6 percent this year after a lacklustre 0.8 percent in 2017.

“Upcoming elections and the associated high-wire politics already underway would instigate caution on the part of economic stakeholders,” said Rafiq Raji, chief economist at Macroafricaintel in Lagos, who expects the economy to slow in the next few quarters.

“Business and investment decisions are thus likely to be postponed till after the 2019 elections,” he added.

Nigerians vote in February. On Tuesday, 16 senators quit President Muhammadu Buhari’s ruling party and the country’s third most senior politician said he might follow suit, in a blow to the leader who is seeking re-election next year.

This comes at a tough time for the economy. Growth slowed in the first quarter of 2018 for the first time since the country pulled out of recession last year as the non-oil sector struggled.

Fellow heavyweight South Africa also suffered its worst quarterly contraction in nine years, in a reminder to investors of the huge challenge President Cyril Ramaphosa faces to deliver long term economic growth.

A separate survey earlier this month showed South African GDP is expected to grow 1.5 percent this year. [ECILT/ZA] However, Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago shocked markets last week when he revealed the Bank projects growth at only 1.2 percent, slower than last year.

It is a different story for Kenya, east Africa’s biggest economy, where analysts’ forecasts showed a median of 5.5 percent growth this year despite its debt problems. That was unchanged from a poll taken three months ago.

Growth is expected to accelerate next year to 5.9 percent, slightly faster than in the last survey.

Raji attributed this to the fact that Kenya is now an oil producer, even though robust production levels are a long way off. He cautioned that the recent suspension of production by Tullow on security grounds could cause problems.

Tullow aims to produce the first oil from its $2.9 billion Kenya project by 2021, allowing the country to export crude. However, protests and security problems have halted a pilot scheme which trucks around 600 barrels of oil per day to a storage facility in Mombasa.

Major African economies are also at risk to what may be more difficult times for the world economy.

Reuters polls of several hundred economists taken this month show global economic activity remains solid but has already passed its peak, with protectionist trade policies likely to slow activity significantly.

“(The) knock-on impact of higher trade tariffs will weigh on inflation and consumption expenditure in advanced economies,” said Gaimin Nonyane, head of economic research at Ecobank Group. “Extended risk-off sentiment is also a downside risk to price levels and growth in developing countries.”

But many sub-Saharan African economies have been relatively insulated from the challenges facing larger global economies. In Ethiopia, for example, growth has averaged nearly 10 percent for the past decade, albeit from a very low base.

 

Source: Reuters

An update received from the office of the Vice President of Nigeria on the state of foreign investment inflow into the economy has indicated that about $83.9 billion worth of investments were announced between January 2017 and the end of the first quarter of 2018, Q1’18. Osinbajo The report titled, “2018 Making Business Work”, evaluated government’s efforts in improving the business environment in Nigeria and was presented to the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, by the Enabling Business Environment Secretariat in the Vice President’s office during the monthly meeting of the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC). 
 
A breakdown of capital investments as contained in the report showed that in 2017, over $66 billion worth of investments were announced, comprising 112 projects across 27 states and the FCT Abuja, while an additional $17.9 billion worth of investments were announced in quarter 1 of 2018, as actual capital importation stood at $6.3 billion, representing over six times the value in the first quarter of 2017, Q1’17. 
 
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity Office of the Vice President, Laolu Akande, who unfolded the report yesterday, stated that measurable progress has been recorded on multiple fronts as the economy responds to key government interventions particularly in the areas of economic growth, inflation, foreign exchange & external reserves, capital market, investment, infrastructure and social investment programmes. Looking at the journey so far, according to him, the report indicated that under economic growth, the rigorous implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP, led the economy out of a recession in 2017; it grew to 0.83 percent, up from -1.58 percent recorded in 2016, on the back of improvements in agriculture, industry and trade. It further stated that the economy has registered four consecutive quarters of steady growth. 
 
In the first quarter of 2018, the economy grew 1.95 percent and is projected to grow by up to 3.0 percent over the year, driven by stronger oil prices, stable production, increased non-oil output and improved foreign exchange availability. The report also indicated that for the first time in Nigeria, under the competitiveness section of the ERGP, soft infrastructure is expressly recognized as a deliberate strategy to attain economic development through the facilitation of an enabling business environment for businesses to thrive. 
 
The report specifically recognized government’s efforts in improving the effectiveness of soft infrastructure such as the financial system; the education system; health care system; the system of government; law enforcement; and emergency service. According to the report, “Nigeria’s reforms have so far seen it successfully move 24 places up the World Bank Ease of Doing Business rankings. Overall, in the current reform cycle, the PEBEC focused on three pillars to accelerate and expand the impact of completed reforms. 
 
The focus will be on deepening existing reforms. Complete pending initiatives and ensure implementation of completed reforms launched in 2017, including communication and consequence management, as well as making the reforms sustainable.” On inflation, the report indicated that the pressure on prices is easing and inflation fell 16 consecutive months from 18.72 percent in January 2017 to 11.60 percent in May 2018.
 
 
 
Source: Vanguard
Nigeria’s president, Muhammadu Buhari has been elected as the new Chairman of the ‏Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
 
Buhari was elected at the just concluded ECOWAS Summit in Lome, Togo on Tuesday.
 
“The announcement was made shortly after a closed session of Heads of State of the Commission,” Bashir Ahmad, Personal Assistant to Buhari on New Media and Engagement said in a tweet on Tuesday.
 
According to him, “President Muhammadu Buhari has been elected the new Chairman of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) at the just concluded ECOWAS Summit in Lome, Togo.
 
“The announcement was made shortly after a closed session of Heads of State of the Commission.”
 
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