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Kenya Airways flies to Mogadishu after a decade

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Kenya Airways becomes the third international airline to fly the increasingly competitive Nairobi — Mogadishu route.
Dec 19, 2018: After a break of 12 years, Kenya Airways made a test flight to Mogadishu, Somalia on December 18, as part of routine preparations preceding the formal launch of the direct flight in January 2019.
The carrier has leased a 50-seater Embraer ERJ-145 jet from the regional Aircraft Leasing Services (ALS) that is expected to operate daily flights between Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi and Aden Adde International Airport, Mogadishu. The daily schedule is expected to offer connections to the rest of Africa, the Middle Asia and the USA.
Kenya Airways becomes the third international airline to fly the increasingly competitive Nairobi — Mogadishu route. Turkish Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines are already operating daily flights into Mogadishu, while Qatar Airlines recently announced plans to start scheduled flights to the Horn of Africa country.
Kenya Airways chief executive Sebastian Mikosz said, “Introducing more destination on the African continent is a major development and achievement as part of our strategy.”
Somali government authorities have attributed the growing interest in Somalia as a destination, to the improving aviation safety and the general security situation in the country that has boosted investor confidence and led to the return of Somalis from the diaspora.
Said Eliye, the director of operations and international relations at the Mogadishu airport divulged that with the rising confidence in the country’s security, more international airlines are in talks to launch flights to Mogadishu in the coming years. He said Qatar Airways and commercial carriers from Egypt, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Uganda have expressed interest in operating flights to Somalia.
“We are always striving to have a safe airport as well as good service and safety. With support from African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), the security has improved quite a lot. The airport authority in conjunction with AMISOM has partnered to ensure there is security and safety. That is our number one priority.”
The African Union Mission in Somalia supports the Somali security forces in securing key installations in Somalia, such as the international airport and has been instrumental in the return to relative peace and normalcy in the country, after more than two decades of civil strife and an insurgency that lasted almost a decade.
Kenya Airways has suspended its direct flights to Somalia in 2006 due to escalated terror threats and attacks by Al-shabaab.

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Genevieve Nnaji, Lola Shoneyin, Uzoamaka Aduba, others make AWP Network Power List

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This year, we are introducing Africa’s leading women by recognizing 40 African women with powerful, inspiring and influential voices.

At the AWP Network, we aim to encourage more African women with powerful voices who will continue to create programs and policies that support the development and growth of African women and girls.
Here’s the 2018 AWP Network Power List
. Okwui Okpokwasili (Nigeria): Winner of the 2018 MacArthur Foundation Genius Award.
An artist, performer, choreographer, and writer, Okpokwasili’s multidisciplinary performance pieces draw viewers into the interior lives of women of colour, particularly those of African and African-American women, whose stories have long been overlooked and rendered invisible.
. Uzoamaka Aduba (Nigeria): Award-winning actor and one of only two actors to win an Emmy in both comedy and drama categories for the same role.

. Genevieve Nnaji (Nigeria): Award-winning actor, writer and director whose film, Lionheart, was acquired by Netflix, making it the first original Nigerian movie to be acquired by Netflix. She is also recognized as the first actor to win the Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Actress in a leading role.
. Simidele Adeagbo (Nigeria): Africa’s first female skeleton athlete. She was the first African woman to compete in skeleton at the 2018 Winter Games. She is also a 2018 Obama Foundation Leader.
. Bibi Bakare-Yusuf (Nigeria): is co-founder and publishing director of one of Africa’s most beloved indie presses, Cassava Republic.
Bakare-Yusuf was selected the 2018 Brittle Paper African Literary Person of the Year, the award recognizes individuals who work behind the scenes to hold up the African literary establishment.
. Margaret Mary-Wilson (Nigeria): Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President at UnitedHealthcare Global.
Mary-Wilson is a 2018 ‘Women Worth Watching’ award winner and she received the ‘Mark of Excellence’ award for her work in global health transformation at the 2018 Africa Diaspora Awards.
She proudly supports African LGBTQ, a nonprofit organization established to empower and educate abused and endangered LGBTQ individuals of African descent across the globe.
. Stella Williams (Nigeria): Founder of NiWard, an organization focused on transforming Nigeria’s rural agricultural sector.
NiWard provides a collaborative platform for women farmers, women scientists and women researchers to fight hunger, malnutrition, and poverty. Williams is a retired Professor of Agricultural Economics at Obafemi Awolowo University in Osun State.

. Fatima Kyari Mohammed (Nigeria): Permanent Observer for the African Union.
Prior to this role, she was a Senior Special Adviser to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, where her work focused on peace and security, regional integration and organizational development.
. Lola Shoneyin (Nigeria): Founder and convener of the Ake Arts and Book Festival – an annual literary, cultural and arts event, which takes place in Abeokuta, Ogun State. The festival provides new and established writers from across the world to promote, develop and celebrate their creativity on the African continent. Shoneyin is also a poet and author of The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives.
. Habiba Ali (Nigeria): A pioneer in the renewable energies field. She is the founder, managing director and CEO of Sosai Renewable Energies, an innovative company that brings reliable and affordable renewable energy products to those who need it most. Her sustainable energy solutions provide communities with unforeseen economic growth, increased capacity and the potential for greater business development.
. Pamela Adie (Nigeria): Executive Director of Equality Hub, an organization working to advance the rights and elevate the voices of lesbian, bisexual, and queer women in Nigeria through visual storytelling. She is also a 2018 Obama Foundation Leader.
. Emma Nyra (Nigeria): Award-winning recording artist and founder of Nyra Nation. Nyra is focused on increasing the pipeline of female artists in Nigeria’s male-dominated music industry. To date, she has collaborated with other female artists to include Cynthia Morgan and Victoria Kimani.
. Tomi Otudeko (Nigeria): Founder of Itanna, an intensive training program for tech-enabled Nigerian startups. Itanna focuses on developing and supporting Nigeria’s tech ecosystem. Otudeko is also Head of Innovation and Sustainability at the Honeywell Group.
. Odunayo Eweniyi (Nigeria): Co-founder of Piggybank.ng, a company that securely makes saving money possible by combining discipline plus
flexibility to enable customers grow and reach their savings target. Eweniyi also founded PushCV.ng.

. Lotanna Igwe Odunze (Nigeria) is an entrepreneur, talented artist and a rape survivor. Odunze was sued by her rapist in Superior Court of the District of Columbia for defamation of character. The case was dismissed with prejudice. Odunze represents a growing number of young women in Nigeria who advocate for civil rights, justice and equality.
. Juliet Kego Ume-Onyido (Nigeria): Engineer, advocate, poet and founder of Whole Woman Network. Kego supports and advocates for the rights of women and girls in Nigeria.
. Honey Ogundeyi (Nigeria): Tech Entrepreneur and founder of Fashpa Online, a global marketplace to discover Fashion, Jewellery and Art from Africa and the Diaspora.
. Mercy Makinde (Nigeria): Founder of the Amazing Amazon Women Empowerment Initiative, an organization fighting for the rights of marginalized groups and working to end domestic violence and sexual abuse in these communities.
. Oluwatoyin Alake (Nigeria): An IFC-Milken Institute Fellow and equities product manager at the Nigerian Stock Exchange. In her role, she is responsible for products traded on the exchange with a focus to improve the depth of the Nigerian Capital Markets through the creation of investment vehicles as well as the facilitation of efficient pricing, transparency and liquidity.
. Weird MC (Nigeria): Social entrepreneur and artist known for her English and Yoruba Lyrics. Weird MC has continuously spoken of how she was discriminated against by her male counterparts in Nigeria’s hip-hop industry. She continues to be a voice for women in Nigeria’s music space.
. Latifat Balogun (Nigeria): Founder of Hatlab Ice Cream, a company specializing in the production and retail of traditional Italian ice cream in Nigeria. HatLab was awarded the International Gold Star for leadership and commitment to quality and the business is expanding beyond its current position in three states with an eye on the international market.
. Francesca Onomarie Uriri (Nigeria): Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Leading Ladies Africa, an organization that supports the career growth and development of African women. She currently serves as the Head of Communications in West Africa for Uber.

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Nigerian government projects 3.01% GDP growth in 2019

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The Nigerian government says it projects a 3.01% Gross Domestic Product, GDP, growth in 2019, indicating a steady rise after the country exited recession in the Second Quarter of 2017.
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, stated this on Monday while speaking at the 10thPresidential Quarterly Business Forum held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Udoma said that the figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, showed that GDP growth for the Third Quarter of 2018 showed that the economy grew by over one percent, while the Fourth Quarter growth was about two percent.
He said: “The fundamentals of the Nigerian economy are strong; the main indices are positive and growing.
“2017 was better than 2016; 2018 was better than 2017; 2019 will be even better than 2018.
“We are expecting a growth rate of 3.01% in 2019.”
Udoma said Nigeria’s growth rate was interesting because the improvement in the GDP growth rate in Sub-Saharan Africa is driven by the improvement in the growth prospects in Nigeria.
“So internationally, everybody accepts that Nigeria is improving and growing.”
Economic Diversification
Udoma said that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration was focused on diversification of the economy in partnership with the private sector.
He said that government has remained focused on the implementation of the policies and programmes of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP despite the forth-coming general election in Nigeria.
The Budget Minister also highlighted the administration’s Social Investment Programme, whose components at targeting at solving the problems of unemployment, giving access to credit to petty traders and feeding school children.
In her presentation, Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, said there is a clear and strategic focus to improve both oil and non-oil revenue by the administration.
Other ministers who gave overview of the activities and performances of their ministries in the past three years of the Buhari administration were those Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola; Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu; Agriculture Audu Ogbeh; and Industry Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah.
The presentations of the ministers were followed by an interactive session during which questions, comments and suggestions were made by the members of the organized private sector, who attended the forum.
Speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting, former Minister of Industry, Mrs. Nike Akande, said she was impressed with what government was doing.
Akande, who is also the President of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, NEPAD, said that there was need for government to talk more about the its policies, programmes and projects to enable people to know what is being done.
Also speaking, the National Vice President of the National Association of Small Scale Industrialists, Auwal Ibrahim, said the government was doing a lot of work, without talking about it.
He called for more engagement between the government and the private sector in the implementation of the policies of government.

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Commission uncovers forceful and illegal deductions by Network providers

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The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has expressed displeasure over the unacceptably high level of consumer complaints in respect of forceful subscriptions to Value-Added Services (VAS), as well as airtime deductions for these subscriptions.
In a statement, the Commission said it has initiated several initiatives to tackle the menace which include the institution of a comprehensive investigation and resolution process, the Do-not-Disturb (DND) facility and the imposition of sanctions for breach.
The NCC also carried out a long and comprehensive investigative audit into VAS subscriptions across all MNO and VAS platforms.
The investigative audit was led by the Compliance Monitoring & Enforcement Department of the Commission, with participation from its other Departments such as the Technical Standards and Network Integrity (TSNI), Consumer Affairs Bureau (CAB), Legal & Regulatory Services (LRS), and Licensing & Authorisation (L&A).
Out Come
The Audit Team analysed subscribers’ Call Detail Records from MNOs and subscription logs from VAS providers over a period of two years, leading to the conclusion that a huge percentage of VAS services were not voluntarily subscribed for.
The audit team also found that some providers had implemented disingenuous mechanisms by which large numbers of innocent consumers were “forcefully” subscribed to VAS platforms, leading to regular deduction of their airtime without their consent.
The NCC also explained that, ”it has persistently insisted that actions of this sort are unacceptable as they are in direct breach of its Act and regulatory instruments on the matter.
”Such actions also undermine the very foundations of the customer/service provider relationship, that is, transparency and trust.”
Action to be taken
Based on the outcome of the investigative audit, the Commission said that “it would direct the indicted organisations to make refunds to affected consumers as appropriate.”
Imposing sanctions
The Commission has also considered and would impose appropriate sanctions as necessary this in line with the Commission’s commitment to evidence-based interventions.
Also, the NCC would suspend or outrightly decommission some VAS platforms and services in the overall interests of consumers.
NCC has assured consumers that these measures would be implemented with minimal inconvenience to them and count on the understanding of consumers who may be affected by these measures.
”We will continue to use all available resources to protect the rights of consumers of telecoms services and to ensure that they get appropriate value for their interactions with service and platform providers,” the Commission added.

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Atiku Meets Southeast Business Community, Promises To Expand SMEs

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The Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate in the 2019 Presidential Election, Atiku Abubakar says his expectation if voted into power is to expand businesses, create jobs, and ensure functionality of dry ports in the southeast region.

Atiku who was speaking at a town hall meeting with the south east business community at the aba sports club in Abia state, expressed his determination to tackle challenges facing Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), manufacturing and industries in the zone.
The former vice president explains that he wants to see Nigeria working again through wealth, prosperity and job creation in the country.

Describing SMEs and entrepreneurship as the live wire of any economy, the PDP presidential candidate notes that aba can be turned into an SME sub-region.
Abia Governor Okezie Ikpeazu said the PDP presidential candidate understands the importance of aba in the business and manufacturing sector of Nigeria and expressed the belief that an Atiku presidency will proffer solutions to the existing problems of the business community.
The PDP presidential candidate also interacted with several support groups from the state.

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Access Bank acquires Diamond Bank Plc

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The Board of Diamond Bank Plc has announced Access Bank PLC as the most preferred institution for a merger.

With this, Access Bank has therefore acquired Diamond Bank after the two Banks signed a memorandum of Agreement, MoA.

Diamond Bank in a statement obtained from its website wrote “that following a strategic review leading to a competitive process, the Board has selected Access Bank Plc as the preferred bidder with respect to a potential merger of the two banks that will create Nigeria and Africa’s largest retail bank by customers.

According to the statement, “Board of Diamond Bank believes that the merger is in the best interest of all stakeholders including, employees, customers, depositors and shareholders and has agreed to recommend the offer to Diamond Bank’s shareholders. Completion of the merger is subject to certain shareholder and regulatory approvals.”

The statement further reads “proposed merger would involve Access Bank acquiring the entire issued share capital of Diamond Bank in exchange for a combination of cash and shares in Access Bank via a Scheme of Merger. Based on the agreement reached by the Boards of the two financial institutions, Diamond Bank shareholders will receive a consideration of N3.13 per share, comprising of N1.00 per share in cash and the allotment of 2 New Access Bank ordinary shares for every 7 Diamond Bank ordinary shares held as at the Implementation Date. The offer represents a premium of 260% to the closing market price of N0.87 per share of Diamond Bank on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (“NSE”) as of December 13, 2018, the date of the final binding offer.”

Diamond Bank further explained that “Immediately following completion of the merger, Diamond Bank would be absorbed into Access Bank and it will cease to exist under Nigerian law. The current listing of Diamond Bank’s shares on the NSE and the listing of Diamond Bank’s global depositary receipts on the London Stock Exchange will be canceled, upon the merger becoming effective.”

On its part, Access Bank confirmed signing the MoA while explaining shareholders allotment of dividends said” shareholders will receive N3.13 per share, comprising
1. A cash consideration of N1.00(one Naira) per Diamond Bank shares, representing a total cash amount of N23,160,388,968(twenty-three billion, one hundred and sixty thousand, nine hundred and sixty-eight Naira) or US $75,588,736.84(seventy-five million, five hundred and eighty-eight thousand, seven hundred and thirty-six dollars and eighty-four cents). And
2. The allotment of 6,617,253,991(six billion, six hundred and seventeen million, two hundred and fifty-three thousand, nine hundred and ninety-one) new Access Bank ordinary shares, representing the 2 new Access Bank ordinary shares for every 7 Diamond Bank shares.
Access Bank also stated that “the completion of the transaction would be subject to formal regulatory and shareholder approvals.”

Diamond Bank expects the transaction to complete in the first half of 2019.

Uzoma Dozie, the Chief Executive Officer of Diamond Bank, said: “The proposed combination with Access Bank will create one of Africa’s leading financial institutions. There is a clear strategic rationale for the proposed merger and strong complementarities between the two institutions. While Diamond Bank has pioneered Nigeria’s largest technology-led retail banking platform, Access Bank is one of Nigeria’s leading full-service commercial banks. Consolidation in the Nigerian banking industry is an inevitable, natural progression in a sector where the gap between Tier 1 and Tier 2 banks has been widening and scale has become critical; where technology will disrupt the traditional business model while enabling broader financial inclusion”.

The board of Diamond Bank believes that the proposed combination of the two operations provides an exciting prospect for all stakeholders in both businesses and will create a financial institution with the scale, strength, and expertise to capitalise on the significant opportunities in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa more broadly.”

Herbert Wigwe, CEO of Access Bank, said: “Access Bank has a strong track record of acquisition and integration and has a clear growth strategy. Access Bank and Diamond Bank have complementary operations and similar values, and a merger with Diamond Bank, with its leadership in digital and mobile-led retail banking, could accelerate our strategy as a significant corporate and retail bank in Nigeria and a Pan-African financial services champion. Access Bank has a strong financial profile with attractive returns and a robust capital position with 20.1% CAR as at 30 September 2018. We believe that this platform, together with the two banks’ shared focus on innovation, financial inclusion, and sustainability, can bring benefits to Access Bank and Diamond Bank customers, staff and shareholders.”

Exotix Capital acted as international financial advisor to Diamond Bank, and Templars acted as Nigerian legal counsel. While Citigroup Global Markets Limited and Chapel Hill Denham acted as Financial Advisers to Access Bank and Banwo&Ighadalo acted as Access Bank’s Legal Advisers.

 

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Nigeria’s economy grew 1.81 pct in Q3, driven by non-oil sector, stats office says

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Nigeria’s economy grew 1.81 percent in the third quarter of 2018 from a year earlier, pushed higher by the non-oil sector, the statistics office said on Monday.

The figures are a slight improvement from the previous quarter, when a slowdown in growth sparked fears that Africa’s biggest oil producer might enter recession for the second time in three years.

But a sluggish recovery since 2017 could bode poorly for President Muhammadu Buhari, who is seeking a second term in February 2019 elections and for whom economic rejuvenation has been a key pillar of policy.

The non-oil sector grew 2.32 percent in the third quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said, adding that information and communication services were the main driver of the expansion.
Oil production rose slightly to 1.94 million barrels per day (mbpd) in the period, from 1.84 mbpd in the previous quarter, yet the sector’s growth contracted 2.91 percent from the previous year when production was at 2.02 mbpd, the statistics office said.

 

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Animals replace humans on Kenya’s new currency

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Kenya has dropped the images of presidents from newly minted cash coins, in what is seen as an attempt to prevent their glorification.
Previous coins bore the images of Kenya’s three ex-rulers: Jomo Kenyatta, Daniel arap Moi and Mwai Kibaki.
Many Kenyans saw this as an attempt by their leaders to promote themselves, and to personalise the state.
The new ones have images of the country’s famous wildlife, including lions, elephants, giraffes and rhinos.
President Uhuru Kenyatta – the son of Kenya’s first leader Jomo Kenyatta – said the new coins were a “big change” and showed “our nation has come a long way”.
All three of the incumbent’s predecessors had their images printed on the currency during their rule.
Mr Kibaki, who won elections in 2002 ending Mr Moi’s 24-year rule, broke a promise not to have his image printed on money.
Intense public pressure led to a new constitution, adopted in 2010, to entrench democracy and human rights. It states that the currency “shall not bear the portrait of any individual”.
The central bank has fulfilled the requirement in the case of coins, and is likely to do the same when it prints new notes.
The bank said the choice of animals gives “physical expression to a newly reborn and prosperous” Kenya, and shows respect for the environment.

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Nigeria’s cabinet approves N7.13bn for maritime security

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Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council has approved N7.13bn (about $22.995million) for security in Nigeria’s coastal waterway.
Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, stated this on Wednesday while briefing State House correspondents on the outcome of meeting of the Federal Executive Council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Amaechi said the contract was approved for six companies to protect six sections of the coastal waterway.
He said that the contract was approved to enhance security in the maritime sector.

Steady recovery from recession
Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, said that he presented a report to the cabinet meeting that indicated that the economy, when measured by real GDP, grew at 1.81% in the 3rd quarter 2018 compared to 1.5% in the 2nd quarter of 2018.
He stated that the Federal Executive Council noted that economic growth continued to be driven by the non oil sector which grew by 3.32% in the 3rd quarter.
“This has been the strongest growth in non-oil GDP in twelve consecutive quarters since the fourth quarter of 2015,” he said.
Udoma said the non oil growth was driven by transportation, electricity, telecommunication, metal oils, quarry among others.
“In addition, agriculture and manufacturing sectors also grew, agriculture by 1.91% manufacturing by 1.92%.
“These are stronger growth than in the 2nd quarter, so overall, council most encouraged by these results shows improvement in the economy.
“It also shows that our plans are working it equally shows that we need to intensify our economy and keep fit with our reforms through continuous implementation of the ERGP in order to continue to attract investments and set the economy on a more sustainable inclusive growth trajectory.”
Udoma said the cabinet was encouraged by this and believed that the economy would do even better in the 4th quarter.

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Nigeria Is An Investment Destination Of Choice, – Osinbajo Tells German Investors

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo says Nigeria is a leading investment destination for potential and serious investors.

Speaking at the first Nigeria-German business dialogue in berlin, the vice president said investment opportunities in Nigeria are abundant and increasing.
Professor Osinbajo explained that given the economic and trading developments in other parts of the world, Nigeria has become an investment destination of choice.

Referencing a recent McKinsey report, the vice president pointed out that, “consumer spending in Africa was $1.4 trillion by 2015, with Nigeria, Egypt and South Africa accounting for more than half of that total.
He noted that there is also increasing economic opportunities in Nigeria because of deliberate actions by government to diversify the economy and improve the business environment.
While applauding the existing relations between Nigeria and Germany, the vice president said that Nigeria is a natural partner of Germany, which is also the largest economy in the European Union, and also its most populous country.
Professor Osinbajo maintained that both countries are potential locomotives of growth, trade and investment between Africa and Europe, and this has led to a significant exchange of high-level visits between both countries, including, most recently, the visit to Nigeria by Chancellor Angela Merkel at the end of august.

The vice president told the gathering that the various investment opportunities strengthen the resolve of the buhari presidency’s strong commitment to the diversification policy; because of abundant untapped resources in some critical sectors of the economy such as agriculture, mining and technology.
Citing areas investors could tap into, Professor Osinbajo remarked that, “agriculture perhaps presents one of the best investment opportunities in Nigeria.
He noted that only three years ago, Nigeria was importing five million dollars worth of rice daily but is now producing locally ten million metric tonnes of paddy rice annually.
The vice president pointed out that diversification of the Nigerian economy is also reflected in the manufacturing sector, in mining and oil and gas.

The vice president also availed investors of opportunities in the service sector, with particular reference to the hospitality sector and budding tourism industries.
He stated that, “about 1.8 million international travellers spend two nights on average at Nigeria’s estimated 10,000 hotel rooms yearly.
According to him, this generated about US$210 million in revenue for the industry in 2017, which barely reflects on Nigeria’s US$500 billion GDP size.”
Investors who spoke earlier expressed delight and confidence in the growth capacity of the Nigerian economy and the on going impact of the economic blueprint of the buhari administration.

The chairman of the German-African business association Stefan Liebing acknowledged the huge investment potential of Nigeria and hoped for improved relations between the two countries

 

 

PHOTOS:
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Nigerian-German Investment Dialogue in Berlin, Germany.

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Vice President launches free wifi service in Abuja Market

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Nigeria’s Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo has launched the Google Station at the Wuse Market, Abuja.
The station, which he launched on Thursday, would provide free internet access to traders, workers and all those engaged in commercial activities at the market.
Idea from the US
Speaking at the event, the Vice President said that he got the idea of setting up Google stations in markets when he visited the Silicon Valley in the United States a couple of months ago.
According to him, during his discussions with the officials of Google, he was informed about Google Station Free Wifi in railway stations in India and suggested that it could also be set up in markets in Nigeria.
“The CEO of Google was talking about this and I said if you can put this in railway stations in India, then you must put them in markets in Nigeria.
“I’m sure at the time he wasn’t quite certain what markets would look like but we agreed on principle and they have been working on it since then.
“It’s incredible that today we have here at the Wuse market free wifi facilities in fulfillment of that promise that was made two, three months ago,” he explained.
Professor Osinbajo said that the station was important because it gives access to the common man.
“One of the key reasons it is important for us to do this is because of our own policy as a government to ensure that we democratise access in various ways so that the man in the street, the common man, can have access to the things that other people have,” he stated.
The Vice President said this informed the provision of solar power in markets in various parts of Nigeria.
He said; “We were in Sabo Gari market the other day, where we have 39 shops that are now powered by solar power and also by bio-fuel power.”
Professor Osinbajo said that apart from Sabo Gari, Ariaria Market in Aba, Abia State, South East Nigeria and Sura Market, Lagos, have also been provided with solar power.
“As a matter of fact, Ariaria has solar and a formal plant right there. We have also one in Lagos at the Sura Market and several other markets.
“The reason of course is that economic sites, where many of our people do their business must be powered. We must give them the same sort of access that bigger industries have.
“That bottom of the pyramid, the people in the streets not just the people who buy and sell…You find such guys, who after retiring from pushing their barrows and trying to get their business done, have access to the Wifi,” he stated.
“We are told that our own interaction with the wifi is almost a hundred times more than the likes of India, Thailand and Malaysia.
“It just shows you the massive potentials out there of Nigerians who are waiting to be connected to the internet to benefit in one way or the other.
“So, I think it is a very exciting moment for us and we are looking for the expansion of this service and all of our efforts to as many markets as possible,“ Professor Osinbajo explained.
The Vice President stressed that the country would be more prosperous if more Nigerians have access to the internet.
He commended Google and its Nigerian partner, Backbone Communication Network for establishing the station in the Wuse Market.
The Managing Director of the Backbone Communication Network, Ibrahim Dikko, said the partnership of his firm with Google would bring free, high quality, wifi to all possible locations in Nigeria.
He said this would be done in the markets, motor parks, hospitals and other public places in the country.
Also speaking, the Next Billion User Partner Lead for Africa, Seidu Abdullahi said the best interaction the firm has seen, in terms of time spent on the internet, comes from Nigeria.
Vice President Osinbajo also used the opportunity of the visit to Wuse Market to inspect the distribution and impact of the TraderMoni scheme at the market, amidst the cheers of traders.

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Winning Tuesday with Aesthetic doctor, Ifeoma Ejikeme at the Adonia Medical Clinic. : The Young Netpreneur for the Week.

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