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Nigeria to Issue Green Bonds in April

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  • Nigeria to Issue Green Bonds in April

The federal government is finalising arrangements to issue the nation’s first green bond in the first quarter of this year.

The Minister of Environment, Mrs. Amina Mohammed, stated this while answering questions from State House correspondents at the end of a meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

Green bonds enable capital-raising and investment for new and existing projects with environmental benefits.

The Sovereign Green Bonds project is part of a strategic process by the federal government to add to the nation’s funding options to stimulate the rebound of the economy and offer the vast majority of Nigerians a new alternative.

Mohammed said the bonds had attracted much interest with people bringing their technical supports.

According to her, with the arrangements in place, international green bonds may be issued by the end of the year.

She said: “The green bond is very much on track for issuance in the first quarter of this year. We have had so much interest and people are actually bringing in technical support.

“This is the sovereign green bond and I think that is very important to note because what we want to do again is taking the NDCs and bringing it to life.

“It is not just a document we signed. It is taking projects out of there that will rely on resources coming from the country.

“To do that first we have to make sure it has integrity but by the end of the year, we can talk about issuing green bonds that are international.

“We already had indications from the stock exchange in the UK, China, who issue most of the green bonds in the world today over 400billion, they will be happy to come in our direction and do so.

“This is finding additional funding and focusing on better on looking at low emission projects and so it is important to see the Ministry of Power involved, Agriculture, FCT coming up with the transportation programme and the environment coming up with something on deforestation.

“So look out for the green bonds, by the beginning of April we should have it.”

Also yesterday, the council approved a Revised National Policy on Environment just as it held a valedictory service for the Minister of Environment, Amina Muhammed, who is leaving the cabinet for the position of the United Nations Deputy Secretary-General.

Muhammed said the policy looked at “all the different inter-sectoral issues that we have whether it is with water, health, power or agriculture and bring them in to have a multi-sectoral response.”

The minister noted that the policy was first formulated in 1991 and last revised in 1999.

She said: “It has become imperative that we’ve this new policy framework because what we really wanted to do is to capture some of the emerging issues that have come since then as regards environment.

“These concerns such as climate change, coastal erosion, desertification, erosion, pollution and insecurity which have been exacerbated by the struggles for environment resources, we see this in country at all levels.”

Mohammed said the new policy framework put in place a much better opportunity to engage with states, local governments and communities and executing the priorities of the change agenda.”

She also spoke on the dumping of waste in Delta State saying that government had last Tuesday sent a team to the place.

The outgoing minister said the team had secured the site to ensure no more waste was dumped there.

The former minister said government would investigate how the waste was dumped there and by who to ensure that it did not happen again.

Asked what the country stood to benefit from her appointment as Deputy Secretary General of the UN, she said the country would be able to benefit from some of the UN resolutions which the country had signed.

Mohammed said her being at UN would give Nigeria an edge at getting solutions to some of the challenges the country faced.

She said that in the next two weeks or so, the UN Security Council would be visiting Nigeria.

Adding that, “When it does, we will be showing the officials exactly what the president has been highlighting and the nexus between poverty, conflict and climate change. They will visit the north east and they will see some of the root causes of our young people being dragged to a life of terrorism.”

She said the UN has institutions that would help in tackling the problems of malnutrition on children, maternal health and other health challenges the country was grappling with.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Economy

Onyeama: Qatar To Invest $5bn In Nigeria’s Economy

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The oil-rich state of Qatar is to invest a total of $5 billion in Nigeria’s economy, the Foreign Affairs Minister, Godfrey Onyeama, has disclosed.

Onyeama, who spoke Sunday at a send forth dinner in honour of Nigeria’s Ambassador-designate to the State of Qatar, who is also the outgoing Director of Protocol (DOP) at the State House, Ambassador Yakubu Ahmed, also stated that recent career ambassadorial appointments made by the gederal government was based on merit, experience and professionalism.

The minister further said there had been discussions with Qatar on partnership with Nigeria’s Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF), for significant investments in the region of $5 billion in the Nigerian economy.

According to him, ‘‘Qatar is a weighty and strategic country and very strategic in that part of the world and we are putting our best feet forward to advance the interest of our country economically and in other areas.”

He recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari had visited the State of Qatar in 2016 and the Emir of Qatar, Tamim Bin Hammad Al-Thani, reciprocated with a State visit in 2019.

Onyeama also explained that only trusted hands with a track record of diligence, experience and professionalism in the Foreign Service were recently appointed career ambassadors by the federal government.

The minister said the appointment of Ahmed and other career ambassadors were predicated on posting dedicated and keen Foreign Service practitioners to serve as image makers of the country.

He said: ‘‘Ambassador Yakubu Ahmed is a dedicated professional with a penchant for rigour and detail. He is very capable and one of the best in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He is personable, affable, extremely friendly, dispassionate and objective.

‘‘He is going to head a very important mission, a very important country, reckoned to be one of the richest countries in the world, per capita, and there’s a lot we will be doing with the State of Qatar.”

Also speaking, the Deputy Chief of Staff, Adeola Rahman Ipaye, described the honoree as a ‘‘perfect gentleman, very even-natured and always well turned out’’.

Ipaye said he had no doubt that the newly appointed ambassador would serve the country well in Qatar, adding that: ‘‘We are further encouraged that when he completes this assignment, he would return to serve Nigeria in a higher capacity.’’

In his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijjani Umar, while congratulating the outgoing DOP on his appointment, lauded Ahmed for excellent service to the State House and the nation.

‘‘He served this institution and the nation with the deepest sense of responsibility and it is very important that we establish a tradition where the system appreciates those who have served it well and those who will continue to serve it well,’’ he said.

Umar urged the new envoy to keep very fond memories of his time at the Presidential Villa, assuring him of the prayers and goodwill of all the staff.

Responding, Ahmed thanked President Buhari for the great honour and privilege of making him his principal representative in Doha, Qatar.

The Ambassador-designate pledged to deplore his energy and skill to the promotion of the existing cordial relationship between Nigeria and Qatar, particularly in the areas of economic, political, cultural and consular affairs as well as other key areas.

Ahmed, who joined Nigeria’s Foreign Service in 1993, said during his years in public service he had learnt that ‘‘patriotism, selfless service, diligence, determination and perseverance will always result in the achievement of the desired objective’’.

According to him, these virtues would be his ‘‘watchword’’ in the pursuit of Nigeria’s foreign policy objectives and the attainment of national interests.

The Ambassador-designate singled out for appreciation the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, and the state Chief of Protocol, Ambassador Lawal Kazaure, saying he had learnt a lot working under their mentorship.

He expressed gratitude to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Permanent Secretary, State House for giving him the opportunity of a memorable work experience in the State House.

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Economy

France, Nigeria to Build New Partnership

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France is currently aiming at building a new partnership with Nigeria, with the dispatching of its Minister in charge of Foreign Trade and Attractiveness, Franck Riester, to Nigeria.

Riester, who was expected at the time of filing this report on Monday, is scheduled to visit Nigeria from 12-14 April, 2021.

A statement from the French Embassy in Nigeria said: “Franck Riester is visiting Nigeria from 12 to 14 April, a visit that follows up on the priorities set by French President Emmanuel Macron during his official visit to Nigeria in July 2018 and his desire to build a new partnership between Africa and France.

“As the largest economy in Africa and the economic engine of West Africa, Nigeria is indeed a major partner for France, the first in sub-Saharan Africa with bilateral trade amounting to a total of 4.5 billion USD in 2019 (2.3 billion USD in 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic).”

It disclosed that the minister will have several official meetings in Abuja and Lagos, in order to underline the importance of the bilateral economic relationship and to prepare the summit on the financing of African economies in Paris on 18 May.

It revealed that the objective of the mission is also to further strengthen the links between the French and Nigerian private sectors, and “in this regard, the minister will have in-depth discussions with the main Nigerian economic actors to strengthen bilateral cooperation and investments, both in Nigeria and in France, particularly in the logistics sector”.

It said while in the country, the minister would meet with young Nigerian entrepreneurs in the cultural and creative industries sector, to discuss the major role of their country in African creativity and the development of the African entrepreneurial ecosystem, with the support of France.

It further said: “The minister will also open the ‘Choose Africa’ conference, a €3.5 billion initiative by President Emmanuel Macron dedicated to supporting the development of start-ups and SMEs in Africa to enable the continent to benefit fully from the opportunities of the digital revolution.”

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Economy

COVID-19: USAID to Provide $3m Grant, Technical Assistance to Combat Food Insecurity in Nigeria

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The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is providing financial grant and technical assistance worth $3 million to combat food insecurity in Nigeria compounded by COVID-19 pandemic.

A statement by the agency on Monday said: “On April 12, 2021, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Nigeria launched a COVID-19 Food Security Challenge that will provide $3 million in grant funding and technical assistance to youth-led and mid-stage companies working in food value chains in Nigeria.”

The statement lamented that Nigeria is experiencing food insecurity compounded by the COVID-19 global pandemic and its effects on the food value chain in the country.

It stated that the pandemic has disrupted the already fragile agricultural value chains, especially smallholder farmers’ ability to produce, process and distribute food, which has disrupted agricultural productivity and markets, and negatively impacted livelihoods, especially among vulnerable households, women and youth.

The USAID Mission Director, Anne Patterson, said: “We are launching the COVID-19 Food Security Challenge to help innovative Nigerians alleviate food insecurity.

“This assistance encourages private sector-led solutions to boost food production, processing and create market linkage along the agriculture value chain in a sustainable way across Nigeria.”

The statement revealed that in launching the challenge, USAID seeks commercially viable youth-led and mid-stage companies already working in food production, processing, and distribution, noting that successful applicants will present ideas that demonstrably help farmers and other stakeholders in the agricultural value chain increase, agricultural productivity and food security within the next six months.

According to the statement, the challenge will award 15 to 25 youth-led companies up to $75,000 each and award 10 to 15 mid-stage companies up to $150,000 each.

Winners will receive funding and technical assistance to rapidly expand their activities to mitigate the effect of COVID-19 on Nigeria’s food value chain and improve the resilience of vulnerable households to the negative impacts of the pandemic.

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