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Integrating Africa’s Air Connectivity

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NIMASA
  • Integrating Africa’s Air Connectivity

The anticipated prosperity of Africa’s 1.25 billion people and projected economic growth of over $6.36 billion is hanging in the balance.

Reason: Africa’s economic growth is being threatened by challenges not limited to hurdles of connecting flights among its major capitals.

It is for this reason that experts have canvassed a single African transport management to make it seamless for carriers on the continent to operate flights among capitals without restrictions.

That drive received a boost last week when Nigeria’s Overland Airways operated a flight between Lagos and Niamey, the Nigerien capital in Northwest Africa.

Overland is the only carrier to operate the Atlantic/Sahel/Sahara route after the liquidation of Nigeria Airways over 15 years ago.

According to Overland Airways Managing Director, Captain Edward Boyo, the operations were part of efforts to activate the principles of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), put together by African governments and heads of state at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa.

Boyo said the flight between Niamey and Lagos would boost economic activities, including trade, investment and tourism on the Atlantic and Sahel and Sahara regions.

He said it was part of efforts to boost economic integration among African countries.

Boyo said besides plans to connect passengers from Niger into Overland route network in Nigeria, saying the airline will link passengers into Abuja, Kano, Katsina, Calabar, Enugu and other destinations.

The Overland Airways boss also commended the civil aviation authority on Niger Republic in granting the necessary approval for the airline to start flights into the West African country.

He said: “We believe in African economic integration that would assist to bind business, social and cultural values.

“Because we see air transport as an intangible economic infrastructure, we plead government support through conducive operating environment to sustain this flight.

” We ask the government of Niger Republic to support air transport infrastructure to open up the country.”

Boyo said soon, Overland would also connect flights to Chad Republic and Accra, Ghana to integrate many countries into its West African route network.

He said: “Flight connectivity challenges in West Afruca will not be resolved in one day. That explains our over one decade plan to resolve this challenge in our business and expansion plan.

” What we have done to consolidate our operations and continue to grow from Nigeria, which is big market into other West African countries. Niamey into Sokoto, Abuja sector is already being pursued. Once we get the regulatory approvals, we will plan our entry into Chad Republic and Accra in Ghana.”

Also, Minister of Transport, Niger Republic, Mahamadou Karidio said the flight by Overland Airways would assist to open up Niamey to other West African capitals.

He said they look forward to Overland Airways to connect Niamey to the world through safe, reliable flight services.

Karidio said the flight service was a demonstration of the relationship between the two countries to boost West African economy.

He said: “It took many years for this to materialise and we have constantly made efforts to improve aviation infrastructure through our commitment to build an international airport.

“We believe one of the ways to attract airlines to fly into our country is by having a good airport. With this partnership with Overland Airways flights are now open to Abuja, Cotonou and other capital cities in West Africa.

“We need to continuously improve air transport because Niger Republic is a landlocked country. We will rely on Overland Airways to connect Niamey to the world. This flight service will have economic impact on businesses in the two countries by creating opportunities for business, investment and tourism.

” It will create flight connectivity across the West African region and also create opportunities for regional and long haul connections for flights from Niger Republic into United States, Europe and other parts of the world.

” We hope Overland Airways will increase the flight frequency and offer competitive fares to end the challenge of over 16 years that will have grappled with how to get direct flights into Niamey.”

Also, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Niger Republic, Attahiru Haliru said the flight services would bring people from both countries together for business , trade and investment, which he said a good tool for diplomatic relationship.

Haliru said: ”Flight services between Nigeria and her neighbour Niger, will not only create job opportunities but will increase the volume of commerce, trade and the gross domestic product of both countries.

Nigerians Association in Niger Republic President, Ellias Okute said the introduction of direct flight services between Lagos and Niamey would be a huge relief to the business community in both countries.

Okute said: “It is a great relief in addressing the difficulties we experience traveling between the countries.

“Before now, we spend more travel time, connecting flight through Togo, Lome before getting to Niamey.

“This in the past led to loss of lives vets through accidents on the road and robbery attack. But, we can now flight from Lagos to Niamey to Lagos. We urge Overland Airways to, sustain the flight , so that we in the business community could exploit opportunities in Niger.”

Also, Niger’s Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC) Director-General, Ahmed Ayaha said Overland Airways met the regulatory requirements for the operations.

He said with Overland Airways safety and technical rating as an International Air Transport Association (IATA)-certified carrier, he was confident of safe operations in line with international standards and recommended practices.

Ayaha said: ”As an IATA operations safety certified airline with good safety record, its operations in terms of safety and security is guaranteed.”

Also, Overland Airways Chief Operating Officer, Mrs Aanu Benson said the twice weekly flights would connect Lagos, Cotonou and Niamey.

She said: “Our Lagos – Cotonou – Niamey flight offers opportunities for travelers in Niger Republic to get to Nigeria and Benin Republic for business and pleasure in addition to connecting regional and long haul flights from Lagos to other parts of Africa, Europe United States, Middle East and Asia.

“The flight will connect the Sahel region to the dense business and tourism opportunities in Cotonou and Lagos both in coastal West Africa thereby stimulating trade and commercial activities in the three countries.”

She further said: “We must bring to life the whole essence and meaning of Economic Community of West African States in the region with quality flight services across the network.

“The Lagos-Cotonou-Niamey flights will connect traders, business people and holiday makers to the rich farming livestock industry, leather industry and milk industry in Niger Republic.”

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.

Crude Oil

Oil Dips Below $62 in New York Though Banks Say Rally Can Extend

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Oil

Oil Dips Below $62 in New York Though Banks Say Rally Can Extend

Oil retreated from an earlier rally with investment banks and traders predicting the market can go significantly higher in the months to come.

Futures in New York pared much of an earlier increase to $63 a barrel as the dollar climbed and equities slipped. Bank of America said prices could reach $70 at some point this year, while Socar Trading SA sees global benchmark Brent hitting $80 a barrel before the end of the year as the glut of inventories built up during the Covid-19 pandemic is drained by the summer.

The loss of oil output after the big freeze in the U.S. should help the market firm as much of the world emerges from lockdowns, according to Trafigura Group. Inventory data due later Tuesday from the American Petroleum Institute and more from the Energy Department on Wednesday will shed more light on how the Texas freeze disrupted U.S. oil supply last week.

Oil has surged this year after Saudi Arabia pledged to unilaterally cut 1 million barrels a day in February and March, with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. predicting the rally will accelerate as demand outpaces global supply. Russia and Riyadh, however, will next week once again head into an OPEC+ meeting with differing opinions about adding more crude to the market.

“The freeze in the U.S. has proved supportive as production was cut,” said Hans van Cleef, senior energy economist at ABN Amro. “We still expect that Russia will push for a significant rise in production,” which could soon weigh on prices, he said.

PRICES

  • West Texas Intermediate for April fell 27 cents to $61.43 a barrel at 9:20 a.m. New York time
  • Brent for April settlement fell 8 cents to $65.16

Brent’s prompt timespread firmed in a bullish backwardation structure to the widest in more than a year. The gap rose above $1 a barrel on Tuesday before easing to 87 cents. That compares with 25 cents at the start of the month.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. and oil trader Vitol Group shot down talk of a new oil supercycle, though they said a lack of supply response will keep prices for crude prices firm in the short term.

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Rise With Storm-hit U.S. Output Set for Slow Return

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Crude oil

Oil Prices Rise With Storm-hit U.S. Output Set for Slow Return

Oil prices rose on Monday as the slow return of U.S. crude output cut by frigid conditions served as a reminder of the tight supply situation, just as demand recovers from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brent crude was up $1.38, or 2.2%, at $64.29 per barrel. West Texas Intermediate gained $1.38, or 2.33%, to trade at $60.62 per barrel.

Abnormally cold weather in Texas and the Plains states forced the shutdown of up to 4 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude production along with 21 billion cubic feet of natural gas output, analysts estimated.

Shale oil producers in the region could take at least two weeks to restart the more than 2 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude output affected, sources said, as frozen pipes and power supply interruptions slow their recovery.

“With three-quarters of fracking crews standing down, the likelihood of a fast resumption is low,” ANZ Research said in a note.

For the first time since November, U.S. drilling companies cut the number of oil rigs operating due to the cold and snow enveloping Texas, New Mexico and other energy-producing centres.

OPEC+ oil producers are set to meet on March 4, with sources saying the group is likely to ease curbs on supply after April given a recovery in prices, although any increase in output will likely be modest given lingering uncertainty over the pandemic.

“Saudi Arabia is eager to pursue yet higher prices in order to cover its social break-even expenses at around $80 a barrel while Russia is strongly focused on unwinding current cuts and getting back to normal production,” said SEB chief commodity analyst Bjarne Schieldrop.

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Crude Oil

Crude Oil Rose Above $65 Per Barrel as US Production Drop Due to Texas Weather

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oil

Crude Oil Rose Above $65 Per Barrel as US Production Drop Due to Texas Weather

Oil prices rose to $65.47 per barrel on Thursday as crude oil production dropped in the US due to frigid Texas weather.

The unusual weather has left millions in the dark and forced oil producers to shut down production. According to reports, at least the winter blast has claimed 24 lives.

Brent crude oil gained $2 to $65.47 on Thursday morning before pulling back to $64.62 per barrel around 11:00 am Nigerian time.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 2.3 percent to settle at $61.74 per barrel.

“This has just sent us to the next level,” said Bob Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho in New York. “Crude oil WTI will probably max out somewhere pretty close to $65.65, refinery utilization rate will probably slide to somewhere around 76%,” Yawger said.

However, the report that Saudi Arabia plans to increase production in the coming months weighed on crude oil as it can be seen in the chart below.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Saudi Arabian Energy Minister, warned that it was too early to declare victory against the COVID-19 virus and that oil producers must remain “extremely cautious”.

“We are in a much better place than we were a year ago, but I must warn, once again, against complacency. The uncertainty is very high, and we have to be extremely cautious,” he told an energy industry event.

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