- FG Partners Local Vehicle Manufacturers to Produce Ventilators
The Federal Government has partnered local vehicle manufacturers to commence the production of ventilators in the country, according to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo.
According to the minister, the government had opened discussions with Innoson Vehicles Manufacturing Company and other key indigenous vehicle manufacturing firms to start producing ventilators in Nigeria.
“We are also engaging our indigenous car manufacturers at this time to prepare them to tweak their operations to begin the manufacture of ‘Made in Nigeria’ ventilators – critical medical equipment in the fight against the virus,” he said.
The ministry had last month set up a committee on “the sustainable production and delivery of essential commodities” during the #COVIDー19 pandemic, amongst others.
It should be recalled that the Federal Government through the Ministry of Finance had approached Elon Musk for assistance regarding extra ventilators after the billionaire tweeted that he had extra FDA approved ventilators.
The tweet was later deleted after Nigerians on twitter attacked the government for begging for something as cheap as ventilators despite the nation’s resources.
Adebayo, however, stated that the ministry has now working with the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN); the Nigerian Association of Chamber of Commerce Industry Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA); Nigerian Traders Association (NANTS); and other relevant stakeholders to ensure continuous production of essential items like food, pharmaceutical and medical products.
African Development Bank Group and Ethiopia Sign $118 Million Grant Agreement to Support Agro industrial park, Youth Employment
The African Development Bank Group and the Government of Ethiopia have signed two separate grant agreements for new projects to boost youth employment and electricity trade between Ethiopia and Djibouti.
The grants fall under the Bank Group’s concessional lending window, the African Development Fund, and will go towards the Productivity Enhancement to Support Agro Industrial Parks and Youth Employment Project worth $47 million, and the $71 million Ethiopia-Djibouti Second Power Interconnection Project, which aims to boost electricity trade between Ethiopia and neighbouring Djibouti.
The industrial parks and youth project will see the development of irrigation and water management infrastructure around the Integrated Agro-Industrial Parks, offering opportunities for graduate “agri-preneurs” to establish agro-related, commercially viable businesses. The $102 million venture is being co-financed with the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), with a $5.25 million contribution by the Ethiopian government.
Under the scheme, 12,607 ha of irrigated land would be developed and about 3,000 youths will receive both agronomic/agriculture and business development training. Bank financing is expected to cover 4,607 ha and BADEA financing another 8,000 ha.
The irrigation infrastructure will strengthen water users’ associations; protect the water-shed areas around the irrigation schemes; go towards training farmers and youth agri-preneurs on soil and water conservation practices, agricultural production, value addition and marketing; and support established youth SMEs to access credit.
The project will be implemented over a five-year period (2021-2026) under the supervision of the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy and the country’s Irrigation Development Commission.
The Ethiopia-Djibouti Second Power Interconnection Project follows an earlier Bank-financed power interconnection project between the two countries, and builds on its accrued benefits over the last 10 years. It will enable the construction of about 300 km of interconnector lines, 170 km of transmission lines to reinforce the network within Ethiopia, and new construction and expansion of substations in the two countries. In Djibouti, expected benefits include a 65% increase in customer connections and a sharp reduction in the use of thermal generation plants from 100% to around 16%. In Ethiopia, the project would lead to higher incomes from the power trade which over the last 10 years stood at over $275 million in revenue from power exports.
Upon completion, Ethiopia’s revenue from power exports will increase, while at the same time boosting Djibouti’s access to reliable, affordable, and clean electricity and lowering its greenhouse gas emissions.
“By enhancing economic ties through increased cross-border power trade and improved economic competitiveness, the project will contribute towards harnessing regional peace and stability and addressing regional fragility,” said Dr. Abdul Kamara, Deputy Director General, East Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office of the African Development Bank.
The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group approved funding of both projects on 7 July 2021. The grant agreements were signed on 21 July 2021 by Ethiopian Finance Minister Ahmed Shide, and Kamara.
The African Development Bank is a major player in Ethiopia’s development agenda and currently has operations valued at about $1.76 billion, covering basic services, energy, transport, water supply and sanitation, agriculture, governance, and the private sector.
Nigeria Moves To Boost Export With N50B Expansion Facility
Nigeria is poised to boost its non-oil exports leveraging the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Trade Promotion Organisations (TPOs) Network.
The network, which was recently inaugurated, is geared towards increasing the volume of trade within the region.
The Executive Director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Segun Awolowo is also the inaugural President of the ECOWAS TPOs.
The NEPC has started repositioning the nation’s export through the implementation of its N50 billion Export Expansion Facility Programme (EEFP).
The EEFP is a part of the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP) whose development and implementation is being led by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
EEFP is expected to significantly raise the volume of non-oil exports in Nigeria, and it is a spin-off of the Zero Oil Plan developed by NEPC and approved by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Besides providing financial support for the average Nigerian exporter, the EEFP will engender the establishment of top-notch warehouses in the country, close to airports where Nigerian goods meant for export would be packaged to global competitive standards ahead of their exportation.
The EEFP, in line with the ESP, is focused on cushioning the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the non-oil export sector, thereby safeguarding jobs and creating new ones.
Earlier in March, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Chief Niyi Adebayo, inaugurated the EEFP and the first online Grant Management Portal (GMP) for non-oil exports.
While the EEFP is being implemented by the NEPC, the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment are the supervisory body over the agency and its operations.
The programme anticipated 500 beneficiaries since the inauguration but it has received more than 3,500 applications for the grant, out of which more than 2,000 were verified after meeting the eligibility criteria.
Federal Government officials say further details and plans on disbursement to final successful beneficiaries are being awaited.
More so, Adebayo said that aside from being an intervention to save and create jobs, the programme would support resilience in shoring up the foreign exchange, diversification, modernisation of Nigeria’s economy and acceleration of economic growth and economic support.
Under the EEPF, there are 16 programmes as approved in the Implementation Work plan under seven workstreams.
The workstreams are Capacity Building, Emergency Interventions, Export Aggregation, Export Inclusion, Export Trade facilitation, Institutional Strengthening and Market Development.
The Emergency Intervention is to support existing exporters in responding to shocks caused by COVID-19, while Market Development involves penetrating identified export markets as value chain analysis for priority products, leveraging Africa Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) and other trade treaties.
Considering the significant role it plays in growing the Nigerian economy, the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector is the target group of support from the EEFP and the Export Development Fund (EDF).
At the recent inauguration of the TPO Network, Osinbajo said that there was the need to expand intra-regional trade in the ECOWAS sub-region, with the opportunities presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement.
On his part, Awolowo had said that the network would work towards facilitating the ease of trade for MSMEs within the ECOWAS region and Africa in general.
Unequal Access To Vaccine Slowing Down Global Economic Recovery- Okonjo-Iweala
African countries are lagging behind in their vaccination programme as only 20 million or 1.5 percent of the population have been fully vaccinated compared with 42 percent of people in the developed countries, according to the head of global trade watchdog.
According to the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, across Asia, Africa, and Latin America, where vaccination rates are low, COVID-19 deaths are reaching new highs.
Okonjo-Iweala, who spoke at a High-Level Dialogue on “Expanding COVID-19 vaccine manufacture to promote equitable access,” denounced the unequal access to Covid-19 vaccine as unacceptable, “for moral, practical, and economic reasons.”
She said, “Unequal access to vaccines is a major reason for the global economy’s K-shaped recovery, in which advanced economies and a few others are surging ahead, while the rest lag behind amid rising poverty, hunger and unemployment.”
The WTO chief said that 1.1 billion doses were administered worldwide in June, 45 percent more than in May, and more than double the total for April.
However, she regretted that of those 1.1 billion doses in June, only 1.4 percent went to Africans, who account for 17 percent of the global population.
“Only 0.24 percent went to people in low-income countries. And both shares declined even further in the first half of July.
“In developed countries, 94 doses have been administered for every 100 residents. In Africa, the figure is 4.5. In low-income countries, it’s 1.6,” Okonjo-Iweala said.
The WTO chief said production of covid-19 vaccines could reach 11 billion does this year, “provided new vaccines, such as Novavax and several others, secure regulatory approval.
“If production does reach 11 billion, it could help take care of global demand – in the absence of booster shot requirements.”
At the High-Level Dialogue on “Expanding COVID-19 vaccine manufacture to promote equitable access,” participants include senior policymakers, heads of multilateral agencies, vaccine manufacturers, development finance institutions, global health initiatives and public health activists.
The event, which was held under the Chatham House Rule, aimed to identify obstacles and propose solutions for increasing vaccine production and closing the wide gap in vaccination rates between rich and poor countries.
Participants described current and projected production volumes as well as plans for new investments in production capacity. They shared experiences about specific supply chain bottlenecks they were encountering, from export restrictions and raw material shortages to onerous regulatory processes, and exchanged ideas on how these might be addressed.
They discussed issues around the transfer of know-how and technology as well as factors influencing their decisions on licensing intellectual property.
While there was broad agreement on the importance of keeping supply chains open and predictable, different perspectives were expressed on the proposed waiver of the WTO’s Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights Agreement provisions pertaining to vaccines and other products needed to combat COVID-19.
The discussions also touched upon a wide range of issues where greater international cooperation would be beneficial. For instance, multiple participants noted that uncoordinated national recognition of WHO-approved vaccines could leave many vaccinated people unable to travel to places where their vaccines are not recognised. In this regard, they urged countries to accept all WHO-approved vaccines.
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