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Is Africa Not Cemetery Like Putin Said?

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  • Is Africa Not Cemetery Like Putin Said?

Two weeks ago, some Africans across the cyberspace were angry following the publication of a comment attributed to Russian President Vladimir Putin describing Africa as a cemetery where African leaders are buried.

Here are Putin’s reasons: “When an African becomes rich, his bank accounts are in Switzerland. He travels to France for Medical treatment and he invests in Germany.

He prays in Rome or Mecca. His children study in Europe. He travels to Canada, U.S, and Europe for tourism.

However, if he dies, he will be buried in his native country in Africa. Africa is just a cemetery for Africans. How could a cemetery be developed?” he asked.

Despite the need for patriotism, President Putin is not also wrong. Numbers of African elites take pride in spending millions of taxpayers’ money abroad at the expense of their nations. In fact, there is a provision for a medical trip and foreign education by the Central Bank of Nigeria, a certain percentage of the national foreign exchange is allocated to those traveling abroad for either medical treatment or education.

Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, takes a regular medical trip to the United Kingdom and at a time stayed for 159 days while poor Nigerians without access to such medical facility die of basic illness. Most government hospitals in Nigeria are empty without drugs and thousands of medical doctors have moved and still moving to developed economies where they are better paid and equipped.

A recent report shows that because of brain drain in the health sector, Nigeria now has one medical doctor catering for 5,000 patients instead of the usual one to 600 patients.

According to Dr Ekpe Phillips, the Chairman of Nigeria Medical Association, FCT Chapter: “We hear doctors collapsing because the workload is too much because their colleagues have left to find a greener pasture.”

“Brain drain is now becoming pandemic and sad news because government did not and still is not doing enough; there is no serious commitment to stemming this syndrome.”

It is impossible to effectively invest or stay committed to a facility you may never use period!

In fact, the presidency has already announced another medical holiday to the United Kingdom this December. The story is not different across the African continent.

In Zimbabwe, former president Robert Mugabe is currently receiving medical treatment in Singapore, a trip sponsored by the state and he has been there for close to three months. That is one of the poorest nations on earth with just $927 GDP per capita, spending millions to sustain the Singaporean health sector.

Ali Bongon, Gabon’s President, who fell ill on October 24, just arrived in Morocco last week following a month treatment at a hospital in Saudi Arabia. Surprisingly, that was a week after Putin’s comment.

In 2016, a research revealed that Africa spent over USD$6 billion on outbound medical treatment. Nigeria alone contributed over USD$1 billion of that number.

The question is why can’t Africa use the USD$6 billion spent in one year to develop her health sector and take care of everyone and not just selected few?

A 5-year estimation showed Africa will spend USD$30 billion on foreign medical trips and that number is projected to jump to over $60 billion in 10 years, that is exactly the same amount African leaders used Africa’s facilities to secure from China as a loan in 2018.

It would be hard to disagree with Putin when numbers of African leaders have died abroad after expensive medical treatment.

Levy Mwanawasa of Zambia died in France, while Michael Sata from the same country passed away in the UK. Both were flown home to be buried in Zambia.

Guinea Bissau’s Malam Bacai Sanha died in France, Ethiopia’s Meles Zenawi died in Belgium, Gabon’s Omar Bongo died in Spain, Nigeria’s Stella Obasanjo died in Spain and the number goes on.

Former Nigeria’s president Musa Yar’Adua made it home from Saudi Arabia but died shortly after, same with Ghana’s Atta Mills who died in Accra after returning from a medical trip in the US.

Until Africans learn to consume African products, high unemployment rate, weak investment interest due to poor infrastructures and low standard of living will remain high.

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.

Government

COVID-19 Vaccine: African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) to Purchase 270 Million Doses for Nigeria, Other African Nations

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African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) Approves $2 Billion for the Purchase of 270 million Doses for African Nations

African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) said it has approved $2 billion for the purchase of 270 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for African nations, including Nigeria.

Prof. Benedict Oramah, the President of the Bank, disclosed this at a virtual Africa Soft Power Series held on Tuesday.

He, however, stated that the lender is looking to raise more funds for the COVID-19 vaccines’ acquisition.

He said: “The African Union knows that unless you put the virus away, your economy can’t come back. If Africa didn’t do anything, it would become a COVID-19 continent when other parts of the world have already moved on.
“Recall that it took seven years during the heat of HIV for them to come to Africa after 12 million people had died.

“With the assistance of the AU, we were able to get 270 million vaccines and financing need of about $2 billion. Afreximbank then went ahead to secure the $2 billion. But that money for the 270 million doses could only add 15 per cent to the 20 per cent that Covax was bringing.

He added that this is not the time to wait for handouts or free vaccines as other countries will naturally sort themselves out before African nations.

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China Calls for Better China-U.S. Relations

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China Calls for China-U.S. Relations

Senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi said on Monday the United States and China could work together on issues like climate change and the coronavirus pandemic if they repaired their damaged bilateral relationship.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang urged Washington to respect China’s core interests, stop “smearing” the ruling Communist Party, stop interfering in Beijing’s internal affairs and stop “conniving” with separatist forces for Taiwan’s independence.

“Over the past few years, the United States basically cut off bilateral dialogue at all levels,” Wang said in prepared remarks translated into English.

“We stand ready to have candid communication with the U.S. side, and engage in dialogues aimed at solving problems.”

Wang pointed to a recent call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden as a positive step.

Washington and Beijing have clashed on multiple fronts including trade, accusations of human rights crimes against the Uighur Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region and Beijing’s territorial claims in the resources-rich South China Sea.

The Biden administration has, however, signalled it will maintain pressure on Beijing. Biden has voiced concern about Beijing’s “coercive and unfair” trade practices and endorsed of a Trump administration determination that China has committed genocide in Xinjiang.

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U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

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President Trump Signs Executive Order In Oval Office Of The White House

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for a New York City prosecutor to obtain former President Donald Trump’s tax returns and other financial records as part of a criminal investigation, a blow to his quest to conceal details of his finances.

The justices without comment rebuffed Trump’s request to put on hold an Oct. 7 lower court ruling directing the former Republican president’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, to comply with a subpoena to turn over the materials to a grand jury convened by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a Democrat.

“The work continues,” Vance said in a statement issued after the court’s action.

Vance had previously said in a letter to Trump’s lawyers that his office would be free to immediately enforce the subpoena if the justices rejected Trump’s request.

A lawyer for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority included three Trump appointees, had already ruled once in the dispute, last July rejecting Trump’s broad argument that he was immune from criminal probes as a sitting president.

Unlike all other recent U.S. presidents, Trump refused during his four years in office to make his tax returns public. The data could provide details on his wealth and the activities of his family real-estate company, the Trump Organization.

Trump, who left office on Jan. 20 after being defeated in his Nov. 3 re-election bid by Democrat Joe Biden, continues to face an array of legal issues concerning his personal and business conduct.

Vance issued a subpoena to Mazars in August 2019 seeking Trump’s corporate and personal tax returns from 2011 to 2018. Trump’s lawyers sued to block the subpoena, arguing that as a sitting president, Trump had absolute immunity from state criminal investigations.

The Supreme Court in its July ruling rejected those arguments but said Trump could raise other objections to the subpoena. Trump’s lawyers then argued before lower courts that the subpoena was overly broad and amounted to political harassment, but U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in August and the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in October rejected those claims.

Vance’s investigation, which began more than two years ago, had focused on hush money payments that the president’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen made before the 2016 election to two women – adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal – who said they had sexual encounters with Trump.

In recent court filings, Vance has suggested that the probe is now broader and could focus on potential bank, tax and insurance fraud, as well as falsification of business records.

In separate litigation, the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives was seeking to subpoena similar records. The Supreme Court in July sent that matter back to lower courts for further review.

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