Connect with us

Markets

UK ‘ll Use Aid Budget to Boost Trade in Africa, Says May

Published

on

Theresa May
  • UK ‘ll Use Aid Budget to Boost Trade in Africa, Says May

Britain will use its international aid budget to boost its interests and deepen trade ties with Africa, Prime Minister Theresa May said yesterday.

She is due in Nigeria today to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari and to visist Lagos before leaving for Kenya on the last leg of her three-nation African tour.

Speaking in Cape Town yesterday, Mrs May said she wanted Britain to become the biggest investor in Africa out of the Group of Seven nations, overtaking the united States by using the aid budget to help British companies invest on the continent.

The government has held out the prospect of increased trade with non-European Union countries as one of the major selling points of Brexit as it prepares to leave the bloc, currently its biggest trading partner, in March next year.

In April, Britain hosted a meeting of Commonwealth countries, including South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria, seeking to reinvigorate the network of mostly former colonies and drum up new trade amongst its members.

May recommitted to maintaining the overall British aid budget at 0.7 per cent of economic output but said she would use it in a way that helped Britain.

“I am unashamed about the need to ensure that our aid programme works for the UK,” May said.

“Today I am committing that our development spending will not only combat extreme poverty, but at the same time tackle global challenges and support our own national interest.”

Britain’s overseas aid last year was 13.9 billion pounds (18 billion dollars).

May, who was accompanied by a delegation of British business executives, also said Britain would work with African states to tackle insecurity and migration by creating jobs.

“It is in the world’s interest to see that those jobs are created, to tackle the causes and symptoms of extremism and instability, to deal with migration flows and to encourage clean growth,” May said.

According to the UN Conference on Trade and Development, British direct investment in Africa was 43 billion pounds ($55.5 billion) in 2016, compared to 44 billion pounds (56.7 billion dollars) from the U. S.

Investment from France, which maintains close ties with its former colonies in West Africa, stood at 38 billion pounds ($49 billion) and from China, rapidly becoming a major player in Africa, 31 billion pounds (40 billion).

Mrs May said 87 million Nigerians were living below the poverty line of $1 and 90 cents per day.

She said: “Much of Nigeria is thriving, with many individuals enjoying the fruits of a resurgent economy, yet 87 million Nigerians live below $1 and 90 cents a day, making it home to more very poor people than any other nation in the world.”

The Prime Minister noted that achieving inclusive growth was a major challenge across the world.

She stressed that Africa needs to create 50,000 new jobs per day to keep employment rate at its current levels till 2035.

”Today I am committing that our development spending will not only combat extreme poverty but at the same time tackle global challenges and support our own national interest.

“It is in the world’s interest to see that those jobs are created, to tackle the causes and symptoms of extremism and instability, to deal with migration flows and to encourage clean growth,” she added.

The UK’s historical relationship with many African countries still counts for something, but, as Prime Minister Theresa May will find on her trip to the continent, the UK now vies for attention with larger economies offering greater riches.

The continent’s leaders need to decide who to prioritise: an ambitious but friendly China, the huge European Union bloc, the potential riches of the United States, or the historically-linked United Kingdom.

The prime minister’s trip comes a week before the huge Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Beijing. Dozens of African heads of state are expected there and China may offer new trade and finance deals. Mrs May’s trip seems rather low key in comparison.

Yesterday, Mrs May flew into Cape Town where she met young people, before delivering a keynote speech on trade and how UK private sector investment could be brought into Africa.

After a bilateral meeting with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, she visited Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years.

She had a guided tour and was handed a key to open the cell Mr Mandela was imprisoned in, before writing in the guestbook: “His legacy lives on in the hopes and dreams of young people here in South Africa and around the world.”

Today, Mrs May wil meet President Buhari in Abuja before meeting victims of modern slavery in Lagos.

She will leave for Kenya for a meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta, visit British troops and a business school before her Africvan trip is rounded off with a state dinner hosted by Mr Kenyatta.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

Continue Reading
Comments

Energy

Egypt Increases Fuel Prices by 15% Amid IMF Deal

Published

on

Petrol - Investors King

Egypt has raised fuel prices by up to 15% as the country looks to cut state subsidies as part of a new agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The oil ministry announced increases across a variety of fuel products, including gasoline, diesel, and kerosene.

However, fuel oil used for electricity and food-related industries will remain unaffected to protect essential services.

This decision comes after a pricing committee’s quarterly review, reflecting Egypt’s commitment to align with its financial obligations under the IMF pact.

Egypt is in the midst of recalibrating its economy following a massive $57 billion bailout, orchestrated with the IMF and the United Arab Emirates.

The IMF, which has expanded its support to $8 billion, emphasizes the need for Egypt to replace untargeted fuel subsidies with more focused social spending.

This is seen as a crucial component of a sustainable fiscal strategy aimed at stabilizing the nation’s finances.

Effective immediately, the cost of diesel will increase to 11.5 Egyptian pounds per liter from 10.

Gasoline prices have also risen, with 95, 92, and 80-octane types now costing 15, 13.75, and 12.25 pounds per liter, respectively.

Despite the hikes, Egypt’s fuel prices remain among the lowest globally, trailing only behind nations like Iran and Libya.

The latest increase follows recent adjustments to the price of subsidized bread, another key staple for Egyptians, underscoring the government’s resolve to navigate its economic crisis through tough reforms.

While the rise in fuel costs is expected to impact millions, analysts suggest the inflationary effects might be moderate.

EFG Hermes noted that the gradual removal of subsidies and a potential hike in power tariffs could have a relatively limited impact on overall consumer prices.

They predict that the deceleration in inflation will persist throughout the year.

Egypt’s efforts to manage inflation have shown progress, with headline inflation slowing for the fourth consecutive month in June.

This trend offers a glimmer of hope for the government as it strives to balance economic stability with social welfare.

The IMF and Egyptian officials are scheduled to meet on July 29 for a third review of the loan program. Approval from the IMF board could unlock an additional $820 million tranche, further supporting Egypt’s economic restructuring.

Continue Reading

Crude Oil

Oil Prices Rise on U.S. Inventory Draws Despite Global Demand Worries

Published

on

Oil

Oil prices gained on Wednesday following the reduction in U.S. crude and fuel inventories.

However, the market remains cautious due to ongoing concerns about weak global demand.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian crude oil is priced, increased by 66 cents, or 0.81% to $81.67 a barrel. Similarly, U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude climbed 78 cents, or 1.01%, to $77.74 per barrel.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported a substantial decline in crude inventories by 3.7 million barrels last week, surpassing analysts’ expectations of a 1.6-million-barrel draw.

Gasoline stocks also fell by 5.6 million barrels, while distillate stockpiles decreased by 2.8 million barrels, contradicting predictions of a 250,000-barrel increase.

Phil Flynn, an analyst at Price Futures Group, described the EIA report as “very bullish,” indicating a potential for future crude draws as demand appears to outpace supply.

Despite these positive inventory trends, the market is still wary of global demand weaknesses. Concerns stem from a lackluster summer driving season in the U.S., which is expected to result in lower second-quarter earnings for refiners.

Also, economic challenges in China, the world’s largest crude importer, and declining oil deliveries to India, the third-largest importer, contribute to the apprehension about global demand.

Wildfires in Canada have further complicated the supply landscape, forcing some producers to cut back on production.

Imperial Oil, for instance, has reduced non-essential staff at its Kearl oil sands site as a precautionary measure.

While prices snapped a three-session losing streak due to the inventory draws and supply risks, the market remains under pressure.

Factors such as ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas, and China’s economic slowdown, continue to weigh heavily on traders’ minds.

In recent sessions, WTI had fallen 7%, with Brent down nearly 5%, reflecting the volatility and uncertainty gripping the market.

As the industry navigates these complex dynamics, analysts and investors alike are closely monitoring developments that could further impact oil prices.

Continue Reading

Commodities

Economic Strain Halts Nigeria’s Cocoa Industry: From 15 Factories to 5

Published

on

cocoa-tree

Once a bustling sector, Nigeria’s cocoa processing industry has hit a distressing low with operational factories dwindling from 15 to just five.

The cocoa industry, once a vibrant part of Nigeria’s economy, is now struggling to maintain even a fraction of its previous capacity.

The five remaining factories, operating at a combined utilization of merely 20,000 metric tons annually, now run at only 8% of their installed capacity.

This stark reduction from a robust 250,000 metric tons reflects the sector’s profound troubles.

Felix Oladunjoye, chairman of the Cocoa Processors Association of Nigeria (COPAN), voiced his concerns in a recent briefing, calling for an emergency declaration in the sector.

“The challenges are monumental. We need at least five times the working capital we had last year just to secure essential inputs,” Oladunjoye said.

Rising costs, especially in energy, alongside a cumbersome regulatory environment, have compounded the sector’s woes.

Farmers, who previously sold their cocoa beans to processors, now prefer to sell to merchants who offer higher prices.

This shift has further strained the remaining processors, who struggle to compete and maintain operations under the harsh economic conditions.

Also, multiple layers of taxation and high energy costs have rendered processing increasingly unviable.

Adding to the industry’s plight are new export regulations proposed by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

Oladunjoye criticized these regulations as duplicative and detrimental, predicting they would lead to higher costs and penalties for exporters.

“These regulations will only worsen our situation, leading to more shutdowns and job losses,” he warned.

The cocoa processing sector is not only suffering from internal economic challenges but also from a tough external environment.

Nigerian processors are finding it difficult to compete with their counterparts in Ghana and Ivory Coast, who benefit from lower production costs and more favorable export conditions.

Despite Nigeria’s potential as a top cocoa producer, with a global ranking of the fourth-largest supplier in the 2021/2022 season, the industry is struggling to capitalize on its opportunities.

The decline in processing capacity and the industry’s current state of distress highlight the urgent need for policy interventions and financial support.

The government’s export drive initiatives, aimed at boosting the sector, seem to be falling short. With the industry facing over N500 billion in tied-up investments and debts, the call for a focused rescue plan has never been more urgent.

The cocoa sector remains a significant part of Nigeria’s economy, but without substantial support and reforms, it risks falling further into disrepair.

Continue Reading
Advertisement




Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending