The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) says it will allocate 500 million dollars from its Nigeria-Africa Trade and Investment Promotion Fund to support Nigerian manufacturers.
According to a statement by the bank on Thursday, the Afreximbank President, Prof. Benedict Oramah made this known at the 47th Annual General Meeting of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN).
Oramah said that the facility would enable manufacturers to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
He said that the opportunity for African manufacturers under the AfCFTA was phenomenal and that intra-regional trade in the manufacturing sector could rise to more than 150 billion dollars by 2022.
“The coming into force of the AfCFTA opens the wider African market to Nigerian manufacturers, creating a market of 1.2 billion people and a combined GDP of about 2.5 trillion dollars.
“By 2022, the AfCFTA is expected to bring the share of intra-African trade from current levels of about 16 per cent to 22 per cent, bringing total intra-African trade to about 250 billion dollars, from about 160 billion dollars.
“The preferences that the AfCFTA offers can make Nigerian manufactured goods more competitive in many African markets and can also make it possible to achieve integration into regional and global supply chains,” he said.
Oramah recommended that Nigeria should prioritise labour-intensive light manufacturing in its industrial policy in order to enable manufacturers and others to begin to appreciate that the country’s most abundant resource was its labour.
He noted that private sector-promoted heavy industries should be supported under a special arrangement that targets the production of critical industrial raw materials, such as petrochemicals, machine tools, cement and steel.
He also mentioned the Intra-African Investment Guarantee Facility, a series of facilities under the Trade Financing Programme, the Franchise Financing Facility and the Guarantee Programme covering an array of scenarios.
The Nigerian Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika has said that the Federal Government of Nigeria remains committed to the establishment of a national carrier for the country, alongside provision for maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities for aircraft and the implementation of other components of the aviation roadmap.
The minister stated this at a meeting with members of the Joint Aviation Unions Forum, an umbrella body of all unions in the aviation sector, a statement issued by the Director, Press and Public Affairs, Federal Ministry of Aviation, James Odaudu, in Abuja on Friday reveals.
According to the minister, the establishment of a national carrier would further position Nigeria to compete with other nations in line with the Single African Air Transport Market project and develop as a regional hub for air transportation.
He also disclosed that the establishment of MROs would save the country a lot of foreign exchange that would otherwise be spent by airline operators sending their aircraft abroad for checks.
Promising to work with the unions in implementing the road map, Sirika noted that the roadmap would go a long way to advance the sector and position it to meet emerging challenges.
He said: “I promise that there will be good understanding between us to drive the activities of our industry towards contributing more to national development. I will do everything reasonably possible to make the newly re-established ministry live up to the expectations of all stakeholders in the sector.
“This task, I think, is for you as well; not for me alone. It is for all of us. We will continue to hold stakeholders’ meetings with the unions, staff, the management and players within the industry.
“We will be committed to better welfare while expecting your full cooperation towards the implementation of the aviation roadmap which was developed during our first tenure.”
The minister further revealed that the ministry would continue to lay emphasis on the safety and security of air travellers, adding that the recent acquisition of a calibration aircraft for the country and the closure of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu for rehabilitation were some of the steps being taken to guarantee the safety of the nation’s airspace.
In reaction to the Xenophobic attacks on Nigerian citizens, The Federal Government of Nigeria has been urged by a human rights lawyer to impose economic sanctions against South African business interests in Nigeria
Mr. Paul Eshiamomoh, a human rights lawyer, told Press on Friday in Abuja that this would be more impactful as a way to compel their government to be proactive against the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians than resorting to mob actions across the country. He implored Nigerians to remain calm to avoid worsening the xenophobic attacks against Nigerians and other foreign nationals in South Africa.
“I do not believe shutting down South African businesses in Nigeria will solve the problem and I do not subscribe to violent reprisal attacks against South Africans living in Nigeria or their businesses. The Federal Government can impose sanctions against their business interests in Nigeria. I believe that every diplomatic action should be matched with a diplomatic solution. So if Nigeria’s government does not take steps to send a signal to South African authorities against this barbaric act the situation will get worse,” he said.
The rights lawyer expressed dismay over the ability of South African police authorities to prevent the attacks against Nigerians.
“South African authorities are not proactive in saving the lives and properties of Nigerians. I am therefore calling on the Nigerian government to evacuate Nigerians who are willing to come back home,” he said.
He, however, appealed to the Federal Government to continue in its efforts to provide job opportunities for Nigerians to tackle the rate of Nigerians travelling abroad in search of jobs.
News reports that the Nigerian government through its Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, asked the South African authorities to pay compensation to Nigerians whose properties were destroyed during the attack.
Robert Mugabe, the African revolutionary hero who liberated his country from white rule but then turned the new, independent nation of Zimbabwe into his personal fiefdom and a virtual one-party state during his 37-year reign, has died, the country's current president said on Friday. Mugabe was 95.
"It is with the utmost sadness that I announce the passing on of Zimbabwe's founding father and former President, Cde Robert Mugabe," Mugabe's successor, President Emmerson Mnangagwa, posted on his official Twitter account.
Mugabe was forced out of power by a military coup in 2017. The cause of death was not immediately confirmed, but Mugabe had long battled health issues.
Robert Gabriel Mugabe was born into poverty in 1924 in what was then Southern Rhodesia, a British colony named after the notorious colonialist Cecil John Rhodes. Like neighboring South Africa, Rhodesia was allowed self-rule, but under a brutal system run by the white minority.
Mugabe was educated in Catholic missionary schools and became a teacher in what was then known as Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia. He later lived in Ghana when that country became the first African nation granted independence from Britain in 1957. He returned to Southern Rhodesia in 1960. Five years later the country's white rulers broke away from their British overlords in order to keep power and renamed the country Rhodesia.
Mugabe was one of the founders of a revolutionary political party in Rhodesia called the Zimbabwe African National Union, or ZANU-PF. His actions led to him being imprisoned in 1964 without trial. He served 11 years behind bars, but while in prison, he was chosen as president of ZANU-PF.
After his release, he directed guerrilla warfare efforts against Rhodesia's white government from exile in Mozambique.
Mugabe became known as a skilled negotiator during his time in exile, according to BBC News.
He made a name for himself during the independence movement, and Mugabe's ZANU-PF won an overwhelming majority in the first free elections in what had been officially renamed Zimbabwe in 1980. Mugabe then became the country's first post-independence prime minister.
"The phase we are entering, the phase of independence should be regarded as a phase conferring upon all of us — the people of Zimbabwe — whether we are black or white — full sovereignty, full democratic rights," Mugabe said in 1980.
Zimbabwe seemed to have a promising future, but bitter divisions remained. Mugabe soon moved to consolidate his ZANU-PF party's hold on the country, crushing his opponents in a brutal crackdown in which thousands of people were killed. He altered the constitution in 1987 to make himself president.
Although Mugabe initially invested heavily in social programs, including education and health, Zimbabwe's fortunes turned dramatically over the next decade. Mugabe blamed the white farmers, who remained in the country after the civil war, for economic malaise, and a vote was ordered to alter the constitution so the government could confiscate white-owned farms. The referendum was defeated, but Mugabe ordered his followers to carry out the farm seizures anyway.
Between 2000 and 2001, more than 1,000 farms were seized, Steve Kroft of "60 Minutes" reported at the time. A group of Mugabe's followers called the "war veterans" drove the white farm owners off their land, wrecked homes and barns, killed livestock and then left the land fallow.
"The white farmer is the crudest of the whites in this country," Mugabe told Kroft, "the most backwater in terms of enlightenment and education."
The wife of one white farmer who was forced to drink diesel fuel before being shot blamed Mugabe for her husband's murder.
"Why?" Mugabe asked Kroft during the interview. "I wasn't there, I didn't give instructions to anyone."
The farm seizures led to condemnation by the international community, and loans to Zimbabwe were banned. Once known as the bread basket of Africa, Zimbabwe's farming industry collapsed and the country descended into desperate poverty.
A rival group, the Movement for Democratic Change, grew in power and won a majority in the first round of elections in 2008. But its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, pulled out of the runoff after violence that left an estimated 200 people dead, according to NPR.
But through the chaos Mugabe lost some of his grip on power. The U.S., EU and many of his fellow African leaders tried to pressure him into leaving. In a defiant speech before Parliament in 2008, Mugabe claimed the international criticism, which extended to his handling of a vicious cholera epidemic, was a "pack of lies," and vowed he would not be intimidated into leaving.
"I will never, never, never surrender," he said. "Zimbabwe is mine, I am a Zimbabwean. Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans."
In 2009 he was forced to agree to a power-sharing agreement with Tsvangirai, but he managed to keep most of the power for himself. The economy went into free-fall. Unemployment soared and diseases were rampant. The Zimbabwe dollar was being printed in denominations of billions amid astronomical inflation.
Mugabe insisted he had won a clear victory in a contested 2013 election, and ended the power-sharing agreement. But his grip on power only lasted a few more years. He was finally ousted when his longtime allies, the country's military commanders, turned against him amid concerns he was setting up his wife, Grace, as his successor.
Mugabe had battled a number of health problems in recent years, and was receiving medical treatment in Singapore when he died. He had been there since April.
Mugabe once insisted he would never retire or go into exile. "I fought for Zimbabwe, and when I die I will be buried in Zimbabwe, nowhere else," he said in 2003.
Credit: CBS News
Zimbabwean public sector doctors went on strike on Tuesday for the second time in less than a year to demand a further salary increase amid soaring living costs, as President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government struggles with a deteriorating economy.
Zimbabwe is mired in its worst economic crisis in a decade, with triple-digit inflation, rolling power cuts and shortages of U.S. dollars, basic goods, medicines and fuel that have revived memories of the hyperinflation that forced it to ditch its currency in 2009.
Mnangagwa’s government has proposed big pay rises for doctors and other public sector workers in an attempt to avert crippling strikes. Police have banned a series of protests called by the opposition in major cities and have used tear gas and water cannon to disperse demonstrators.
The main unions representing doctors and teachers, who make up the bulk of public service workers, said they had rejected the government’s salary offers, which would see the lowest paid worker earning 1,023 Zimbabwe dollars ($90.45) a month.
The doctors accepted their 60% pay increase but said it was not sufficient to avert the strike action. The teachers are not currently on strike.
The doctors are looking for another 401% pay hike that they want indexed to the U.S. dollar.
“We met with the government representatives yesterday and they promised to expedite other allowances for health personnel but so far it has just been empty promises,” the head of the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA), Peter Magombeyi, told Reuters.
“They have taken us for granted for too long, but we are ready to go back to work as soon as they offer us something tangible, which has not been forthcoming so far.”
“ASSESSING THE SITUATION”
At the turn of the year, junior doctors held a 40-day strike for better pay and conditions that crippled public hospitals. It ended without a deal being reached and with doctors threatening further stoppages.
Most junior doctors stayed away on Tuesday at the largest two public hospitals, Parirenyatwa and Harare Central, a Reuters witness said.
A few junior doctors turned up to work, but said they would not report for work on Wednesday. Some senior doctors also said they would join the strike.
“Today we were assessing the situation but we are not coming in tomorrow(Today). The strike will be in full swing,” a junior doctor at Harare Central Hospital told Reuters.
The Health Services Board (HSB), which represents the government, said in a statement late on Monday that it was surprised the doctors were taking strike action despite accepting the earlier pay offer.
ZHDA wants wages, which were previously pegged to the U.S. dollar, to be paid at the prevailing inter-bank market rate and says its members can no longer afford to report for duty due to surging inflation and the deterioration in the economy.
Their current salaries are worth less than 10% of what they were before the peg was scrapped due to high inflation.
Zimbabwe dollar is trading at 11.31 against the U.S. dollar in the interbank market and 13.10 in the black market. Both rates are used to buy goods.