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President Buhari, AfDB president urged global businesses and leaders to invest in Nigeria



By Olawale Afolabi

In a statement from the Communication and External Relations Department, AfDB, the two leaders made the call at the Nigeria International Economic Partnership Forum in New York.

The Nigerian government and the African Business Roundtable organised the event on the sidelines of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

The Nigerian president was represented by his Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari.

Several others from the private, public, investment, and donor community also spoke at the forum.

The leaders reassured participants that the country was still an investment destination of choice.

Buhari said the overall Nigerian economy was ripe for increased investment.

The president further highlighted his government’s measures to tackle insecurity and improve the country’s business climate.

“Our administration has put in much investment in improving security, and we are committed to doing much more.

“We will continue to give all necessary support to our security outfits to ensure they can tackle the challenge headlong.”

Buhari also highlighted initiatives his government was undertaking to enhance the country’s economic development.

This included intensifying policy reforms, bolstering governance, and encouraging public-private investments in social, human, and physical infrastructure.

“Nigeria could be the fastest growing African economy by 2050 and could move up the global GDP ratings to 14th in the same year.

“Provided we succeed in our efforts to diversify the economy away from oil and strengthen its institutions and infrastructure.”

According to him, Nigeria is already committed to diversifying the economy and the country is also enjoying significant results.

Buhari also cited the new Integrated National Financing Strategy for enhancing the impact of development finance and expanding the country’s ability to finance its Sustainable Development Goals.

The private sector is expected to play a significant role in driving the strategy.

Also speaking, the president of the AfDB said Nigeria had to fix its security situation.

“To attract greater foreign direct investment to Nigeria, we must fix the security situation.

“Capital does not like to be troubled. Ultimately, investment capital must be made comfortable. Only then can it be attracted.

“With the right conditions in place, we can confidently say Nigeria is a great investment destination.”

Adesina said even though Nigeria faced several challenges, the country remained an attractive investment destination.

He described Nigeria as an investors dream with a strong market pull, with a rapidly growing middle class, and burgeoning youth that could create demand and spur entrepreneurship.

“Investors must recognise this and invest. That’s why the AfDB, together with the Islamic Development Bank and the French Development Agency, is investing 618 million dollars in the Digital and Creative Enterprises Programme in Nigeria.

“The programme will support the creation of 225 creative start-ups and 451 digital technologies for small and medium-sized enterprises. They will create 6.1 million jobs and add 6.4 billion dollars to the economy.”

He further said the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and the Islamic Development Bank had provided 540 million dollars to develop special agro-industrial processing zones in the country.

The funding is expected to strengthen Nigeria’s food and agribusiness value chains and increase its competitiveness.

“That is the power of international partnerships working for Nigeria,” Adesina said.

According to the statement, Nigeria has inaugurated a National Development Plan (2021-2025) to generate 21 million full-time jobs and lift 35 million people out of poverty by 2025.

To achieve this, the country requires an investment commitment of about N348 trillion (about 809 billion dollars), which depends on strong partnerships between the private and public sectors.

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NIMASA, MWUN dialogue on fate of disengaged NNSL seafarers



By Seun Ibiyemi

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, and the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN have begun discussions on how to resolve the lingering issue of terminal benefits of Seafarers whose appointments were terminated due to the liquidation of the defunct Nigerian National Shipping Line, NNSL.

The Director General of NIMASA, Dr Bashir JamohOFR, and the Vice President of the Nigerian Labour Congress who is also the President General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, jointly announced an agreement for physical verification of the affected seafarers/next of kin as the case may apply; the nature of appointment of all affected seafarers, and the exact amount due each beneficiary.

The NIMASA DG also assured the Union that their position will be communicated to the Ministry of Marine and Blue Economy, to ensure the Government takes all necessary actions to bring to a conclusion the issue of NNSL.

“The issue of industrial harmony in the maritime sector is of uttermost interest to our administration at NIMASA. We have been at this for a while. NIMASA had offered N100 million as settlement, which the Union declined.

“We have also discovered that some of those demanding settlement did not even have any employment letter. We will follow the lead from our supervising Ministry and ensure the physical verification exercise is brought to a logical conclusion. Our Honourable Minister will be duly updated by the Agency. I look forward to closing this issue in months to come,” the DG said.

On his part, the President General, Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN) Comrade Adeyanju restated the commitment of the Union to peaceful resolution of disputes; to ensure the rights and privileges of workers are well protected, without disrupting productivity in the Maritime Sector. He commended the Jamoh led Management at NIMASA,urging others to follow suit.

“I would like to commend NIMASA under Dr Jamoh, for the unflinching commitment to industrial harmony. He is always a phone call away to resolve any issue. Yes, NIMASA offered N100 million to offset the terminal benefits.

“However, if others like Nigerian Ports Authority, Nigerian Shippers Council and the rest also add funds, there will be enough to go round the expected beneficiaries. As we did for dockworkers when a flat rate of two hundred thousand was paid during port concession; that is what we want, putting into consideration the realities on ground now.”

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COP28: Airtel Africa calls for enabling policy environment, collaboration for climate action in Africa



The Group CEO of Airtel Africa plc, Segun Ogunsanya, has reiterated the importance of an enabling policy environment for sustainable development and climate action in partnership with Africa’s private sector at COP28.

Mr. Ogunsanya, a member of the United Nations Global Compact’s African Business Leaders Coalition (ABLC), addressed a distinguished audience at a COP28 side event co-hosted by Airtel Africa and the ABLC.

Guests included the President of Botswana, His Excellency Mokgweetsi Masisi; the Finance Minister of Nigeria, Mr. Wale Edun; the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Nigeria, Mr. Nyesom Wike; Ms. Sanda Ojiambo, the Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC); Chairman of BUA Group Nigeria limited, Abdul Samad Rabiu and several business leaders from across Africa.

The Group CEO of Airtel Africa urged African business leaders and governments to join forces to advance sustainable growth, development, and prosperity across the continent.

He said, “We stress the importance of an enabling policy environment for sustainable development and climate action in partnership with Africa’s private sector. Livelihood and living must go together.”

He also shared details of Airtel Africa’s environmental stewardship initiatives. These include ‘Project Green,’ launched in 2022, and focused on circular economy practices, especially in the responsible replacement of end-of-life equipment to minimise potential adverse environmental impacts.

Furthermore, in March 2023, Airtel Africa joined the multi-stakeholder partnership to eliminate open waste burning from Africa. This collaborative effort with local authorities, private companies, community groups, civil society and development partners targets a 60 percent reduction by 2030 and complete elimination of open waste burning by 2040.

Mr. Ogunsanya declared, “Airtel Africa’s corporate purpose, our driving force, is to ‘transform lives.’ This is not simply a slogan but a genuine passion that informs every aspect of our operations and every decision we take.”

He concluded, “It is our firm belief that African businesses, including Airtel Africa, stand ready to leverage global markets to accelerate the transition to a future-fit economy. We must deliver economic development, inclusive growth and GHG emissions reduction at the same time to enjoy the fruits of sustainability.”

The United Nations African Business Leaders Coalition (ABLC) is a collaborative initiative comprising African business CEOs committed to fostering sustainable growth, prosperity, and development throughout the African continent.

Members in the coalition, including Airtel Africa, committed to escalating the adoption of renewable energy, investing in climate-adaptation solutions, and ensuring an equitable transition. During COP28, the ABLC released a policy recommendation urging governments to establish conducive regulatory frameworks that facilitate collective climate action.

The recommendation further advocates for the setting of decarbonization targets and the acceleration of initiatives such as green minerals and climate adaptation programs and calls for increased access to climate financing to support these endeavors.

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Non-Interest Financing critical to funding amidst high debt service levels — Wale Edun



By Matthew Denis

The Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Mr. Wale Edun has stated that the country needs Non-Interest Financing  as a critical sector towards funding as the country is faced with high levels of debt servicing.

The Minister’s disclosure at the SEC Nigeria-Islamic Financial Service Board (IFSB) International Forum held in Abuja on Wednesday.

He said, “Non-interest financing is a critical part of funding and that is because as we all know, we are faced with three crises right now which are the climate, and biodiversity but there is also a debt crisis in major countries and of course, the available solution is non-debt, equity and financing mechanisms that will eliminate the pains of paying interest on loans. Rather, it is better to have a participatory opportunity that equity and non-interest finance gives.

“And so what we are saying here is a critical piece of the solution to the crises of the world currently, including the fact that for the rapid and inclusive growth this administration desires, we need to have green projects so we don’t only need to have projects funded by equity.

“As we all know, our debt service levels and revenue to debt service ratio are so high and currently constrained.”

The Minister stressed that there is fiscal exhaustion in many parts of the world and there is also a need to finance green projects.

“So the only way to grow our economy is not just relying on foreign direct investments, and domestic investments but tap into the world of non-interest financing.”

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