- ECOWAS Issues Deadline to Resolve Gambian Crisis
Chairperson of the of the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) Heads of State and Government and the Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, has issued deadline for the resolution of the political logjam in Gambia.
In her address at the 50th Ordinary Session of the Authority and Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS in Abuja, she noted that the progress made by the ECOWAS Mission led by her to Gambia on December 13, to mediate in the logjam was successful, but stressed that the will of the people as expressed through their votes in the December 1, must be respected.
Gambia had conducted a presidential election on December 1, which saw the opposition candidate, Adama Barrow defeating the incumbent president, Yahya Jammeh. Shortly after the election the incumbent president conceded defeat. However, on December 10, Jammeh rescinded his concession and called for a fresh election.
The ECOWAS Mission led by Sirleaf, comprising Presidents John Mahama, Muhammadu Buhari and Ernest Bai Koroma, accompanied by Dr. Mohamed Chambas, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General to West Africa and the Sahel, met with all the parties in Banjul on December 13, to ensure that the will of the people was respected.
But Sirleaf has called for the resolution of the political impasse before January 19, the date for the inauguration of the new government. She said: “It is now important that the Authority, at this Summit, considers recommended measures to bring this matter to successful conclusion before January 19, the constituted date when the mandate of the incumbent President expires.”
On security in the sub-region, Sirleaf expressed concern on the recurring terrorist attacks on civilians and the military by the Boko Haram insurgents in Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin.
She said: “We remain very concerned about the Boko Haram recurring attacks in Nigeria and other countries of the Lake Chad Basin. There is equal concern regarding terrorist attacks on civilians and military targets in Mali. The negative impact of these attacks does not take away from the significant progress of President Kieta and his government in the implementation of the Malian Peace and Reconciliation Agreements.
“Moreover, the Chiefs of Defence Staff at recent regional meetings have formulated strategic security interventions to address these terrorist activities.
“Another challenge in the region is the Transhumance security, which has resulted in the loss of lives and negative impact on regional food security. I am pleased that the Commission has taken the necessary actions to address this challenge from a human security perspective.
“In this regard, the Authority expects an integrated approach, which will support the Commission’s efforts at deepening Regional Livestock Movement Management Control System, noting that the Nigerian approach to managing its Transhumance challenges is a model that can be shared at bilateral levels with other Member States encountering the same problems.”
Reacting to President Muhammadu Buhari’s call for reduction in the cost of governance across the regional body’s institution, she said president of the ECOWAS Commission is already taking firm action to rationalise the structure of the commission, and to contain cost through more efficient financial management and effective use of resources consistent with the current economic situation.
President Buhari had called for a reduction in the cost of governance across all the regional body’s institutions, as part of the effort to halt the current global economic crisis.
In his welcome address, he stressed that it was imperative that measures be urgently taken to review the ECOWAS Treaty. This, according to him, is in order to make the regional body responsive to new national, regional and global challenges.
He also called on the regional leaders to make deliberate efforts to improve on governance and accountability at all levels, while ensuring the implementation of development programmes and schemes in their respective countries.
China and EU Seek Partnership: Xi Jinping Proposes Key Trade Alliance
Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed his desire for China and the European Union (EU) to become key trade partners and foster trust in supply chains, during a meeting with EU leaders in Beijing.
The talks marked the first in-person summit between the two sides in four years and addressed a range of economic concerns, including data flows and market access.
Xi emphasized China’s commitment to high-quality development and opening up, positioning the EU as a crucial partner in economic and trade cooperation.
He envisioned the EU as a trusted collaborator in industrial and supply chain cooperation, aiming for mutual benefits and win-win results.
The summit delved into longstanding issues, such as efforts by Europe to “de-risk” its supply chains and the EU’s anti-subsidies investigation into Chinese-made electric vehicles.
China criticized the investigation, urging the EU to avoid using it for “trade protectionism.”
Xi called for the elimination of interference between China and the EU, a statement likely directed at the United States, which has taken actions, including enlisting the Netherlands, to curb China’s development of high-end semiconductors.
The EU leaders, Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, described their conversation with Xi as “good and candid.”
They discussed the main challenges amid increasing geopolitical frictions, emphasizing a commitment to balanced trade relations and pledging to enhance people-to-people exchanges.
During the meeting, Italy formally informed China of its exit from the Belt and Road Initiative, highlighting ongoing strains between the EU and China.
Xi discussed Belt and Road with EU leaders, expressing a willingness to connect it with the EU’s Global Gateway infrastructure plan.
However, deep issues remain, including Russia’s war in Ukraine, trade imbalances, and Chinese overcapacity exported to Europe.
Jens Eskelund, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, stressed the need to address these issues to foster a positive relationship between Beijing and Brussels.
UAE Commits $30 Billion as COP28 Climate Talks Kick Off in Dubai
Nigeria Eyes BRICS Membership within Two Years as Foreign Minister Emphasizes Strategic Alignment
In a strategic move towards global economic collaboration, Nigeria is aspiring to join the BRICS group of nations within the next two years.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, affirmed that Nigeria is open to aligning itself with groups that demonstrate good intentions, well-meaning goals, and clearly defined objectives.
Tuggar stated, “Nigeria has come of age to decide for itself who her partners should be and where they should be; being multiple aligned is in our best interest.”
He emphasized the need for Nigeria to be part of influential groups like BRICS and the G-20, citing criteria such as population and economy size that position Nigeria as a natural candidate.
BRICS, comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, stands as a formidable bloc of emerging market powers.
In a recent move to expand its influence, BRICS invited six additional nations, including Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Argentina, Ethiopia, and the United Arab Emirates, to join the group.
Nigeria, as Africa’s largest economy, has been absent from the BRICS alliance, prompting discussions on the potential economic and political advantages the bloc could offer the country.
Analysts have noted that BRICS membership could provide Nigeria with significant leverage on the global stage.
Vice President Kashim Shettima clarified that Nigeria did not apply for BRICS membership after the bloc’s announcement of new members in August.
Shettima emphasized the principled approach of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, highlighting a commitment to consensus building in decisions related to international partnerships.
As Nigeria eyes BRICS membership, the move is seen as a strategic step towards enhancing its global economic and diplomatic influence.
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