Items filtered by date: Tuesday, 28 August 2018
African migrants rejected by Italy in a standoff with the European Union on Aug. 15, said they had been held by smugglers for up to two years in Libya and many had been beaten, tortured and raped, the UN said on Tuesday.
 
The 150 migrants, mainly Eritreans and Somalis, were rescued in the Mediterranean but waited 10 days while
Italy’s anti-immigrant government refused to let them disembark, until Ireland, Albania and the Vatican
agreed to accept them.
A further 27 unaccompanied minors and 13 people needing urgent hospital treatment had earlier been allowed ashore in Italy, whose government had threatened to cut funds to the European Union unless other states took in the migrants.
 
The UN International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said its staff had gathered testimony from the migrants.
 
All were malnourished and exhausted and said they had been held against their will in Libya for up to two years, IOM spokesman Joel Millman told a UN briefing in Geneva.
 
“In Libya they complained that many had been beaten and tortured by smugglers and traffickers seeking ransom money from their families in their countries of origin,” he said.
 
“Italian doctors who attended all the women … reported that many of them said they had been raped while in Libya.”
 
He said IOM believed thousands of migrants were still being detained – held in safehouses or warehoused, but getting people to the shore had recently become more difficult because of violence in the west of the country.
 
A drop in the value of the Libyan dinar had also made it more difficult for sub-Saharan Africans hoping to earn enough in Libya to fund their sea voyage to Europe, prompting the smugglers to look for other nationalities with more resources.
 
Italian Interior Minister Salvini, who has led a popular crackdown against immigration since his government took office in June, has said he was under investigation by a Sicilian prosecutor for abuse of office, kidnapping and illegal arrest over the migrant standoff.
 
 
Vanguard.
Published in World
British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Paul Arkwright, on Monday revealed that the United Kingdom recently repatriated about £70 million loot to Nigeria.
 
Arkwright, who made this known to newsmen in Abuja said that the fund was recovered from a Nigerian convicted in an Italian court. He however refused to give out the name of the culprit.
 
He said, “There was an Italian court case with a particular person involved. A portion of the fund has been in the UK and that was the portion that was returned recently from the UK to Nigeria. So, it’s in that context that the £70 million was returned.”
 
He assured that more funds would be repatriated because the UK has no plans to keep any kobo stolen from Nigeria into the country.
 
“The British government has no intention of keeping one kobo of Nigerian funds in the UK, it all must come back to Nigeria. Just as in Nigeria, the UK feels that the judicial process is important, and we have to go through those processes before the money can be returned,” he said.
 
On the British Prime Minister Theresa May’s visit to President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, Arkwright hinted that what will dominate the discussion of the leaders will centre majorly on security, trade, investment and 2019 general elections.
 
 
Source: The Ripples…
Published in Bank & Finance

The Federal Government has expressed willingness to involve Nigerians in the diaspora in its strides to develop the country’s economy.

The effort, which is aimed at ensuring the realisation of the objectives of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), was contained in a statement issued in Abuja on Sunday by the Head, Press and Public Relations Unit, AbdulGaniyu Aminu.

The ERGP is a four-year medium term strategic blueprint of the Federal Government covering 2017 to 2020 and focusing on human capital investment, restoration of economic growth, and building a competitive economy.

According to the statement, the Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, is expected to begin a tour of the United States on Monday to this effect.

Amino said the tour would serve as an avenue to meet and discuss with Nigerians living abroad and advance a case for returning home and exploring opportunities in the country.

The statement also noted that the minister would travel to Cuba to sign a Memorandum of Understanding on science and technology.

“The visit to the United States of America which is from August 27 to September 4 will afford the minister the opportunity to meet with Nigerians in the United States to sensitise them to the numerous advantages of the Executive Order Five, which is to ensure the realisation of the objectives of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, 2017-2020.

“In accordance with section five (capacity building) of the Executive Order Five, the ministry is expected to take steps to encourage indigenous professionals in the Diaspora to return home and use their experience to develop Nigeria. Onu is expected to visit New York, Washington-DC and Florida.

“The minister will, at the end of the visit to the US, proceed to Cuba on September 5 to honour the invitation of the Government of Cuba to enable both countries to evaluate the possibilities of cooperation in the areas of science, technology and innovation.

“The two countries are expected to sign cooperation agreement in science, technology, and innovation, under the auspices of Ministries of Science and Technology of both countries,” he added

Amino pointed out that, Nigeria could domesticate some of Cuba’s technologies to reduce importation in line with the Executive Order Five since the country had advanced it’s technologies.

 

Business Insider

Published in Business
The Federal Government is putting the sum of N500 billion into wealth creation and poverty alleviation, Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has said.
 
Osinbajo featured at the question and answer session of the 58th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) on Tuesday at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
 
The theme of with the theme of the four-day conference is “Transition, Transformation and Sustainable Institutions”
 
He said that it was in recognition of the menace of poverty that the Federal Government rolled out the National Social Investment Programmes (NSIP) aimed at improving capacity and alleviating poverty.
 
“We started off in 2016 looking at a budget that was crafted differently; all along if you look at the way we have approached economic policies, it has always been the case of top-down approach.
 
“So, we look at how to improve industry; how to improve manufacturing; we look at how to give loans to Micro Small and Medium Enterprises(MSMEs).
 
“The approach we adopted in 2016 was first to create to create a safety net; so we, for the first time, we put in the budget a line for is called NSIP; that is N500 billion for NSIP and that is the largest of its kind in the history of the country.
 
“The N500 billion covers conditional cash transfer to the poorest; one million of the poorest; we work with the World Bank for special coverage to determine the beneficiaries.’’
 
He said that the Federal Government targeted 5 million poor people but was hindered by scare resources.
 
The vice-president said that 500,000 graduates had been employed under the N-Power which was a part of NSIP for providing jobs to graduates.
 
He also listed TraderMoni scheme which was a micro-credit scheme aimed at the empowering 2 million petty traders.
 
According to Osinbajo, one way of checking poverty is to incrementally improve capacity and put money in the hands of the poorest which is what NSIP is doing.
 
Osinbajo, who is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said that there was need for strong institutions in order to make justice system effective.
 
“The government is frequently criticised for not being able to secure convictions; there are those who say the prosecution is not prepared, there those who say the defence is engaging in dialectic tactics.
 
“There are those who say the judiciary is slow or the judiciary is compromised; but all of these have to do with our administration of justice system and we are very much a part of it.
 
“There is a sense in which we must accept responsibility for the discipline of lawyers; dialectics is part of our system; so, I think it is beyond government.
 
“Strong institutions such as the NBA needs to rise to the occasion and it really calls for self regulation; government is not going to make the laws to change that,’’ he said.
 
He said that the stakeholder should not allow a situation where the administration of justice system became ineffective because if it did, building a moral society would be undermined almost entirely.
 
Earlier in his remark, the Outgoing NBA President, Abubakar Mahmoud, described Osinbajo as a pillar of support to the association.
 
He said that the vice-president had been exemplary, adding that the NBA was proud of him.
 
 
The Guardian
Published in Country Profiles

Construction of a motorway in Guinea-Bissau, estimated to cost US$16.5 million and with funding from the People’s Republic of China, is expected to begin shortly, according to a statement from the Ministry of Public Works, Buildings and Urban Development released on Tuesday in Bissau.

The statement said that Minister Óscar Barbosa and the Chinese ambassador to China, Jin Hongjun, held a meeting where, among other things, they agreed on the need to start work on this project that will connect Bissau to the town of Safim, 15 kilometres north of the capital.

Both parties spoke of the preliminary work to be done, namely the identification of properties and residences that will be affected along the stretch and calculate the value of the respective damages, the statement said.

The work will be carried out by companies from China and will have a local workforce, said the press release which did not specify the exact date of commencement of work.

The motorway in question, “a modern engineering work,” according to the former Chinese ambassador to Guinea-Bissau, Wang Hua, will have three lanes in each direction and its own lighting.

Credit: macauhub

Published in Engineering
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
Published in World
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
Published in World

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s meeting with his US counterpart Donald Trump at the White House carries symbolic as well as real value.

The two leaders have met once before – on the sidelines of the 2017 G7 meeting in Italy. But this is the first official visit to the White House since Trump’s election and since Kenyatta’s highly controversial 2017 re-election.

So why the visit, and why now?

The White House has cast it as an opportunity to deepen the strategic relationship between the two countries, and to advance mutual interests in trade, security and regional leadership by way of reaffirming

Kenya’s position as a corner stone of peace and stability in Africa.

For Kenyatta, it’s an opportunity to reset Kenya’s position as a leading regional actor and Africa’s “ambassador”.

From a strategic perspective, Kenya has been a crucial player in the war on terror given its frontier status with Somalia. It has been a central player in the UN African Union Mission to Somalia force that’s seeking defeat the Al-Shabaab terror group.

Kenya has suffered retaliatory action as a result of its role. Twenty years ago it was one of the first countries in Africa to bear the brunt of Al-Qaeda with a lethal terror attack in Nairobi. This placed Kenya firmly in the position of a strategic player, ensuring the success of the war on terror in East and Central Africa for which the US has strategic interests.

So Kenyatta’s visit will seek to consolidate continuing US military support. This will be through various channels, among them the counter terrorism partnership fund and the combating terrorism fellowship programme. He will also want a commitment to the US’s continued military at Manda Bay and Camp Simba, a Kenya naval base for anti-terrorism operations.

Kenyatta has recently played a lead role as regional broker by hosting a number of peace initiatives in the South Sudan peace process. Despite US reservations, the most recent peace accord appears to be holding, with Kenya taking some credit for the tentative success.

The US will seek to ensure that Kenya continues to play a constructive leadership role and a guarantor of the peace process in South Sudan given its tremendous leverage on that country’s leadership.

Other pressing issues will include trade and foreign direct investment. Here Kenyatta will have to tread carefully given Kenya’s increasingly close ties with China.

And Kenyatta will have his work cut out trying to navigate Trump’s world. How he manages to gain meaningful compromise from an unpredictable and beleaguered host will be keenly watched both at home and far beyond.

Banking on trade

In many ways US-Kenya relations is in uncharted territory. And given Trump’s penchant for bilateralism, Kenyatta will hope to master the art of the deal by minimising the negative impact of “America first” agenda on Kenya-US trade relations.

During Barack Obama’s presidency, imports from Kenya more than doubled . In 2015, 12.3% of US AFRICA FDI went to Kenya. But Trump’s “America first” stance has led to a review of Africa partnerships as well as a renegotiation of bilateral trade agreements.

Amid this policy uncertainty, Kenyatta will want to discuss how to boost trade relations to augment Kenya’s domestic economy given the very broad economic agenda he has set himself to transform the country. Kenya’s economy had suffered from electoral volatility and a slowdown in foreign direct investment, particularly from the US. Kenyatta will be keen to explore how to jump start this with his US counterpart in addition to ensuring the continued robustness of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) from which Kenya has greatly benefited.

The Kenyan president can point to the fact that it remains a destination of choice for many US corporations that have established themselves in the domestic economy. These include Coca-Cola, General Electric, Google and IBM.

Kenya-China relations

Kenya’s relationship with China has been growing in leaps and bounds. This is clear from the rise in foreign direct investment flows from China over the past 10 years.

In addition, China has firmly developed a substantial economic and trade strategic relationship with Kenya – from manufacturing to infrastructure development. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by the US. The wide gauge railway project, among many others, has established Beijing as an indispensable developmental partner.

To reflect this importance, one of Kenyatta’s first foreign trips was to Beijing.

This growing closeness has caused concern in Washington. The US is keen to retain its traditional sphere of influence and is often wary of other players, particularly China, chipping away at it.

The Conversation

With the increasing trade war with China, the US will seek reassurance that its interests in the region will not be compromised by Beijing’s increasing aggressive overtures in Kenya as well as in the region more broadly.

 

David E Kiwuwa, Associate Professor of International Studies, University of Nottingham

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Published in World
The Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has reported that for the first time since Nigeria’s exit from recession, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has recorded growth.
 
Driven by the non-oil sector, GDP which grew by 2.05 per cent in the second quarters of 2018 represented the strongest growth in non-oil GDP since fourth quarter of 2015.
 
“Non-oil GDP growth was -0.18% in Q1 2016, -0.38% in Q2 2016, 0.03% in Q3 2016, -0.33% in Q4 2016, 0.72% in Q1 2017, 0.45% in Q2 2017, -0.76% in Q3 2017, 1.45% in Q4 2017and 0.76% Q1 2018.
 
“GDP grew strongly in Q2 2018 by 2.05%. Non-oil growth was driven by transportation which grew by 21.76% supported by growth in construction which grew by 7.66% and electricity which grew by 7.59%.
 
“Other non-oil sectors that drove growth in Q2 2018 include telecommunication which grew by 11.51%, water supply and sewage which grew by 11.98% and broadcasting which grew by 21.92%.’’
 
The non-oil sector performance was however constrained by agriculture that grew by 1.3% compared to 3.00% in Q1 2018 and 3.01% in Q2 2017.
 
Q2 2018 GDP growth was also constrained by oil GDP with crude oil and gas production contracting by -3.95% compared to 14.77% in Q1 2018 and 3.53% in Q2 2017
 
Services GDP recorded its best performance in 9 quarters, growing by 2.12% in Q2 2018 compared to -0.47% in Q1 2018 and -0.85% in Q2 2017.
 
Statistician General and Chief Executive Officer of National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Dr. Yemi Kale, last week denied reports quoting that Nigerian economy had yet to recover from recession.
 
Kale categorically said that Nigeria was out of recession and that at no time did he suggest otherwise.
 
His denial was contained in a statement released on Monday by the Bureau’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. J. Ichedi.
 
NBS said that it reported in the second quarter of 2017 that the country was out of recession as the country recorded the first positive growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) following five quarters of contradiction.
 
He said that economic growth as measured by GDP has remained positive ever since with 0.72% in second quarter of 2017; 1.17% in third quarter of 2017; 2.11% in fourth quarter; and 1.95% in first quarter of 2018.
 
Ichedi said that NBS had continued to explain that there would be economic recovery after the recession.
 
The economic after recession moves gradually towards sustainable strong growth which “is the stage we are now’’.
 
This is the position which the CEO told Arise Television in an interview, he said.
 
The CEO, he said, told the television that the economy was in the second state of recovery and heading toward sustainable growth which is the last stage’’.
 
“This should not be wrongly interpreted as the economy is still in recession,’’ Ichedi said.
 
According to a report by a local newspaper on Monday, the Statistician-General was quoted to have lamented the performance of the nation’s economy in the second quarter of the year.
 
 
Source: NAN
Published in News Economy
The Senate and House of Representatives Joint Committees on Electoral Matters on Monday adopted N143bn as the workable budget for the 2019 polls.
 
The committee members, just rising from a meeting at the National Assembly, rejected the earlier version of N189.2bn, a combination of the N143bn and another N45.6bn proposed to be vired from the 2019 budget.
 
According to the lawmakers, they would only approve N143bn.
 
Published in Country Profiles
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