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Monday, 16 December 2019

Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote has projected an exponential growth in the revenue of his conglomerate from the present $4billion yearly to $30 billion in 2021. The projected revenue is 88 per cent of Nigeria’s 2020 national budget of $34.72billion or N10.59 trillion.

Dangote gave the cheering news to the minister of finance, budget and national planning Zainab Ahmed when she visited the huge petrochemical complex nearing completion in Lekki.

He said that the group had adopted measures that would help it to expand its revenue base from four billion dollars to 30 billion dollars annually beginning from 2021.

He said that the firm was ready to transform the nation’s domestic market by providing forex through expanded operations capacity of its group in the refinery, petrochemical, fertilizer and other supporting projects.

“Our refinery can meet 100 percent of the Nigerian requirements of all liquid products such as: gasoline, diesel, kerosene and aviation jet. It will also have surplus of each of these products for export,’’ he said.

He added that the ongoing projects at the Lekki Free Trade Zone had the capacity to generate about 32,000 direct and indirect jobs during and after completion.

“With the new areas of investments, we are doing just four billion dollars of revenue now.

” By the time we finish and beginning from 2021, we will be having $30 billion of revenue because we will by then have the refinery, petrochemical and fertilizer all coming on stream, also, over a million tons of rice.

“We will have about 600,000 tons of locally made sugar by that time and our cement will have gone further.

“And beginning from January next year, eight million export facility of our cement company to other African countries to generate foreign exchange will commence operations,’’ he said.

Dangote said that the firm was targeting to meet the nation’s forex needs through its huge investment by turning around the group’s entire 20 billion dollars’ investment.

He said this would yield the annual 30 billion dollars domestic revenue.

He said that the firm has been able to meet its energy needs and called on other private sector investors to partner government in power supply to have a meaningful GDP growth.

“By the time we finished this refinery and other projects, for us as a company we are going to record a major change, we are looking at moving from 4 billion dollars revenue to 30 billion dollars revenue.

“That will strengthen us to invest more money in our domestic economy”.

Dangote told the minister: “We don’t want Nigeria to be an import based economy but rather an export based economy.

“We have tried that in cement and it has really worked in the sense that we are looking at exporting almost 500 million dollars worth of cement in the next one to two years,’’ he said.

Zainab Ahmed praised Dangote group for its foreign exchange earning plans.

She commended the foresight and tenacity of Aliko Dangote, the President of the Dangote Group for pursuing the huge projects despite various challenges.

She pledged the Federal Government’s continued support for local businesses to thrive and attract investors.

“Dangote Group is creating a large export industry that will help to bring in foreign exchange into the country reserves and as a business, he will be growing his revenue base from four billion dollars to 30 billion US dollars.

“We are very confident that once Dangote Refinery commences operations, it will save us over 10 billion dollars that Nigeria was spending on importing crude oil and it will also help us to build local capacity and create jobs,’’ she said.

Ahmed said that the savings from such an investment would strengthen Nigeria’s macro economy to attract more investors.

The minister said that the opportunities were good for the Dangote Group but would be better for Nigeria which would enjoy several benefits .

She said the the Dangote Group had the capacity to fund the infrastructure needs of the ambitious projects and would continue to enjoy government’s waivers available to other businesses in the nation.

She added that the projects had begun to create thousands of jobs and bringing several specialisations and skills to Nigeria.

The minister later inspected the ongoing Apapa-Oshodi-Ojota-Oworonsoki Expressway project under reconstruction .

She commended the quality of rigid pavement being constructed.

The minister said that 19 roads across the country were being built under the tax credit scheme which Dangote Group leveraged on to take up the project.

Ahmed called on other private sector investors to buy into the scheme to bridge road infrastructure gap in the nation.

“This is the kind of standard that we want roads to have in Nigeria,“ she said

Published in Business
Monday, 16 December 2019 12:21

“Frozen 2” grosses $1 billion in 2019

“Frozen 2” is the sixth Disney movie this year to hit $1 billion globally, strengthening the studio’s sheer dominance over the box office.

Those ticket sales extend the benchmark Disney set over summer, with five other films — “Avengers: Endgame,” “Aladdin,” “Toy Story 4,” “The Lion King” and “Captain Marvel” — joining the billion-dollar club in a single year. “Frozen 2” is Disney Animation’s third movie to cross $1 billion and now stands as the seventh-biggest animated film ever.

Earlier in December, Disney became the first studio in history to surpass $10 billion worldwide, and that’s before “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” arrives in theaters Dec. 20.

“Frozen 2” is already the eighth-highest grossing movie of the year. In North America, the fantasy follow-up has generated $367 million. The film grossed $600 million overseas, powered by especially strong showings in China ($111.5 million), Korea ($85.4 million), Japan ($67.3 million) and the United Kingdom ($49.6 million).

According to Variety “Frozen 2” debuted to $130 million at the domestic box office ahead of Thanksgiving, setting a November record for an animated movie. It also becomes the first cartooned film outside of summer to hit triple digits in its inaugural weekend. The film continued its dominance through Turkey Day, cementing a new industry high-water mark with $123 million over the five-day holiday frame.

Directed by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, “Frozen 2” continues the adventures of Princesses Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kristen Bell), who reunite with Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and Olaf (Josh Gad) and embark on an adventure beyond Arendelle to find out why Elsa was born with magical powers.

Published in Business
Monday, 16 December 2019 09:42

Jamaica crowned Miss World

Miss World Jamaica, Toni-Ann Singh has been crowned the 69th Miss World

Toni-Ann Singh aged 23 has been crowned the 69th Miss World by her predecessor Vanessa Ponce de Leon at the grand final hosted by Peter Andre and Megan Young.

A tearful newly crowned Miss World 2019 said: “So honored and grateful for this opportunity but most of all I’m thinking about the work that needs to be done and that I have the platform and the means to do it. I’m ready to get out there and work. I’m excited!”

Toni is a women’s studies and psychology student at Florida State University who aspires to be a medical doctor. Previously she has worked as president of the Caribbean students association on campus. In her free time Toni enjoys singing, cooking, vlogging, volunteering and singing. Her special talent is that she can sing classical opera. The most important thing in Toni’s life is her mother who has facilitated her dream by supporting her in every way possible.

Lulu, one of Britain's most iconic singers, with an internationally renowned voice performed a very festive ‘Run Rudolph Run and closed the show performing ‘Shout’, The show opened with Kerry Ellis, a West End and Broadway star singing ‘Rise Like A Phoenix’ with other performances by Andre singing ‘Mysterious Girl’ and Misunderstood, an all-singing all-dancing duo from South London who performed ‘Girls in London’ with the final 12 contestants.

UK broadcaster and TV celebrity Piers Morgan asked the final five contestants their last question before the judges had to decide who would wear the famous blue crown. Celebrating the icon theme, Zandra Rhodes was one of the judges.

Miss World France, Ophely Mezino was the runner up, and Miss World India, Suman Rao was placed third after the culmination of a month-long Miss World Festival that saw contestants from 111 countries competing in a number of fast track challenges.

Published in World

Former leader of the radical South African left, Julius Malema, was unsurprisingly reappointed on Saturday night at the head of his party, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) meeting Congress in Johannesburg.

“For the position of president, it is Mr. Julius Malema,” Terry Tselane, a private company official in charge of organizing the election, told the 3,000 party delegates.

Aged 38, Mr. Malema founded the EFF in 2013 after his ouster from the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

Still wearing his red beret as “commander in chief” of the movement, he presents himself as the defender of the poorest and advocates the redistribution of wealth for the benefit of the country’s black majority, whose situation has improved little, a quarter of a century after the fall of apartheid.

His anti-capitalist and willingly anti-White rhetoric, particularly in favour of expropriation without compensation of land held in majority by the white minority, has led to multiple lawsuits.

In last May’s general elections, the EFF won nearly 11% of the vote, a significant increase over the previous election, and increased the number of its members in the Cape Town Parliament from 25 to 44.

“We represent the poor and oppressed here,” Julius Malema reaffirmed on Saturday by opening his party’s congress.

“The scars of colonialism and apartheid are still there. The failure to change the property structures in our economy and return the land to our people has resulted in our people having political rights, but no economic freedom,” he said to applause.

The EFF congress – the second in its young history – is disrupted by a controversy arising from its refusal to accredit several local media, including the online news website Daily Maverick, which published several articles accusing party leaders of embezzlement.

“No other party in post-apartheid South Africa has been considered as much of an enemy of society as the EFF,” Malema lamented in the gallery, denying the corruption charges as “a storm in a glass of water.

In solidarity with the banned media, the news channel eNCA has decided to suspend its coverage of the congress.

“Good riddance,” the EFF reacted in a statement.

Malema wants the six-year-old organisation to have a presence everywhere on the continent.

“Our vision is not these small-minded things you’re thinking about; we want to lead Africa. We want a United States of Africa with one currency, economy, and judiciary,” Malema said.


Credit: Africa Global Village 

Published in Economy

The upsurge of Somali piracy after 2005 led to significant international activity in the Horn of Africa. Naval missions, training programmes, capital investment and capacity building projects were among the responses to the threat. States in the region also started to focus on the dangers and opportunities associated with the sea.

Kenya and Djibouti, two states directly affected by piracy, achieved widespread reform of their domestic maritime sectors through new national initiatives and assistance from external partners. Djibouti’s President Ismail Guelleh recently commented during talks with Kenya on security and trade links that

What happens in Somalia has an immediate impact on all of us.

At its height, between 2008 and 2012, it is estimated that Somali piracy cost the Kenyan shipping industry between US$300 million and $400 million every year. This was as a result of increased costs (including insurance) and a decline in coastal tourism. It also damaged Djibouti’s maritime industry, financial sector and international trade.

The upsurge of piracy after 2005 had a number of causes. It grew from poverty and lawlessness in Somalia alongside opportunity and a low risk of getting caught. By 2013 the threat had been reduced. This was due to a combination of naval patrols, private armed guards, self defence measures on board ships and capacity building efforts ashore.

Historically, most states in the Horn of Africa have struggled with limited capacity to address maritime insecurity. Their naval assets, training, human resources, institutional and judicial structures, monitoring and surveillance have all been critically underfunded.

But the international response to piracy – and the investments and partnerships that emerged – have helped some states to improve in these areas.

More importantly perhaps, since the decline in piracy attacks, Kenya and Djibouti have been paying more attention to policies around maritime governance and “blue” economic development. This relates to sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, job creation and ocean ecosystem health. The refocus marks a shift from traditional investments related to land based conflict and land borders.

In a recent article, I examine how Kenya and Djibouti reformed their domestic maritime sectors following a decline in acts of piracy. The study sheds new light on the limitations and challenges facing domestic maritime sectors in Africa as well as some of the innovative approaches taken.

A key point is that blue economic growth is not possible without addressing security threats at sea. This includes building a robust maritime security sector, improving ocean health and regulating human activity at sea in a more sustainable way.

International partnerships

Many of the new developments in the region have been supported by international partners. The Djibouti Navy and Coastguard work closely with the US Navy. Together, for example, they are developing capacity for stopping and searching suspicious vessels. This is important in countering the illicit trafficking in people and smuggling of migrants through Djiboutian waters.

Djibouti has also benefited from Chinese direct investment, which accounts for nearly 40% of the funding for its major investment projects. Chinese state-owned firms have built some of Djibouti’s largest maritime related infrastructure projects. These include the Doraleh Multipurpose Port, a new railway connection between Djibouti and Addis Ababa, and the opening of China’s first foreign military facility.

This is a clear example of Beijing prioritising its growing economic and security interests in Africa. And advancing its “massive and geopolitically ambitious” Belt and Road Initiative.

Kenya, too, has received international assistance and investment. This includes support to set up the Regional Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in Mombasa. Organisations like the International Maritime Organisation have led training for staff from the centre and for the Kenyan Navy.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has provided law enforcement training for the Kenyan Maritime Police Unit. It also opened a new high-security courtroom in Shimo La Tewa, Mombasa, for cases of maritime piracy and other serious criminal offences.

National refocus

At a national level, there is evidence of a fundamental shift towards building a more secure and sustainable domestic maritime sector.

For example, Kenya has created a new coastguard service. Its job is to police the country’s ocean territory and to ensure that Kenya benefits from its water resources. The country has new naval training partnerships, maritime capacity building projects and an implementation committee to coordinate “blue economic” activities. These include fisheries, shipping, port infrastructure, tourism and environmental protection.

For its part, Djibouti has rapidly developed its maritime sector and recognised the financial benefits of leasing coastal real estate. The country has an ambitious development plan titled “Djibouti Vision 2035”. This sets out its aspiration to become a maritime hub and the “Singapore of Africa”. It’s trading on the fact that it has a similar strategic position along one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.

All of these approaches require robust laws and regulations governing human activities at sea. They also call for a capable and flexible coastguard and navy to enforce these regulations and secure coastal waters against threats such as piracy, fisheries crime and the illicit smuggling of drugs, weapons and people.

The way forward

There are lessons in the Horn of Africa experience for other regions of Africa facing similar maritime insecurities. One example is the Gulf of Guinea.

The first lesson is that there’s a need to convince coastal states with weak maritime capacities of the untapped potential of the blue economy. Even reputational damage can harm tourism, development and investment in coastal regions. This was clearly illustrated in the case of Kenya.

Blue economic growth needs a safe and secure maritime environment for merchant shipping in particular. It can also help alleviate poverty in coastal regions, provide alternatives to criminal livelihoods, and allow local communities more ownership of issues that affect them.

Ultimately, maritime security and blue economic growth need to be considered as a unified policy issue.The Conversation


Robert McCabe, Assistant Professor, Coventry University

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

Published in Economy
  1. Opinions and Analysis


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