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AfDB President, Adesina Calls for African Financial Stabilisation Mechanism

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The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, a recipient of the 2017 World Food Prize, and Professor Joseph E. Stiglitz, a recipient of the 2001 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, have called for a quick and comprehensive plan for debt restructuring in Africa.

At the launch of the African Development Bank’s 2021 edition of its annual African Economic Outlook, Adesina urged African governments to consider collectively establishing an African financial stabilization mechanism, which would give Africa the fiscal space it needs to deal with debt. Africa’s collective debt now stands at 70 percent of the continent’s gross domestic product (GDP).

“It is high time that we set up a homegrown financial stability mechanism where we work together to mutualise our funds and ensure we avoid the spillover effects that come from global pandemics or any external shocks,” the head of Africa’s premier financial institution said.

“We must start by making sure that we carry out the macroeconomic policy reforms and the fiscal policy reforms that we need to get done,” he said, adding that Africa “is not looking for a free pass. We are just looking for an equitable way in which Africa’s fiscal space gets dealt with.”

The idea was backed by Stiglitz, who proposed an international debt framework.

“That’s a question I’ve been very concerned with for a long time,” said Stiglitz. “You need debt restructuring, and that needs to be really high on the international agenda. Every country has bankruptcy laws but there’s no bankruptcy law for international debt. When there’s too much debt, it’s as much the creditor’s problem as the debtor’s problem.”

Stiglitz added: “What needs to be done with debt is comprehensive and quick restructuring. We don’t want to fall into the trap of doing too little, too late.” Stiglitz’s proposal calls for an international debt framework that includes the private sector, given its growing role as a source of government debt.

According to the African Economic Outlook, the share of commercial creditors in Africa’s external debt stock has more than doubled in the last two decades, from 17 percent in 2000 to 40 percent by the end of 2019.

Some hope has come in the form of new special drawing rights, potentially $500 billion, that the International Monetary Fund could issue, in accordance with the G20’s recommendation at the end of February. Adesina said these funds will “go a long way” to stabilizing foreign reserves and the exchange rate, allowing countries to handle debt and re-engage in massive pro-growth investments that will help them to quickly recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Adesina presented a proposed African Financial Stabilization Mechanism, strongly supported by Stiglitz, as a critically needed solution that would allow African countries to agree on a set of convergent macroeconomic policies and principles and pool funds. Adesina said: This will allow us to “deal with the cause of the illness and not always the symptoms.”

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FA Cup Semi-Finals, Copa del Rey Final Live on StarTimes

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Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristia

Top-flight European football awaits sports fans this weekend on StarTimes.  

Barcelona will seek their first glory this season as they battle Athletic Club in the Copa del Rey final on Saturday at 8:30 pm

The FA Cup semi-final clash between Tuchel’s Chelsea and Guardiola’s Manchester City will take place Saturday in Wembley at 5:30 pm. Leicester City will face Southampton on Sunday at 6:30 pm.

All matches will be aired live and in HD on StarTimes World Football Channel, currently sitting on its Basic for N1700 monthly and Smart Bouquet for N2200 monthly.

Tuchel has been a perennial trophy-winner with PSG and last season won the double with the club from the French capital.

Like Tuchel, his Manchester City counterpart, Pep Guardiola has made winning trophies his business. He seems on track to win his third league title with the club this season and would love to emulate the 2018/19 season, when they won the double.

Guardiola has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to team-selection, with Ilkay Gündogan and Portuguese centre back Ruben Dias arguably being the stand-out players for the side in the last few weeks.

Despite being a midfielder, Gündogan is the club’s top scorer this season so far and Chelsea will be hard-pressed to keep the German international at bay.

Sunday’s semi-final sees Leicester City take on Southampton and like the Chelsea v Manchester City game, the match will be played at Wembley.

The biggest problem Leicester face is that they are very dependent on the goals of Jamie Vardy and Kelechi Iheanacho, and if the two fail to score, Leicester struggle to win.

For Southampton, appearing in the semi-final is presumably, already a huge success, especially as they had to beat Arsenal to get there.

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Education

FEC Approves N532m For UI Library Extension

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The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved N532 million for the construction and furnishing of the University of Ibadan library extension.

Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, briefed State House correspondents after the virtual FEC meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

“The Minister of Education also presented a memo for the award of contract for the construction and furnishing of the extension of the University of Ibadan library.

“The memo, which was approved, is at the cost of N532 million with a completion period of 48 weeks,’’ the minister said.

Mohammed hinted that the memo was well received because of the need to extend the library facility in the university.

He said that for many years, the library had needed real extension, given the surge in the students’ population.

According to him, the extension project will comprise two suspended floors, two online reading areas and three cubicles,

It will also include one physically challenged reading area, four seminar rooms and one reprographic unit.

Other facilities are six staff offices, one control room, a general room, stores, four e-libraries, a coffee room, a technical service room, a media unit room, one galaxy/exhibition room and a journal publication unit, in addition to two reading areas.

“The contract was awarded to the UYK Nigeria limited and it is to be delivered in 48 weeks,’’ Mohammed said.

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Sony Music Africa Launches New Business Skills Programme to Build the Next Generation of Female Music Leaders

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Sony Music Africa has partnered with not-for-profit pan-African women empowerment platform, The Women of Music Business (WOMB), to launch a new ‘masterclass’ training programme, supporting women working in the African music industry and helping to build the next generation of senior female music executives in the continent.

Founded by multi-award-winning singer, songwriter and music producer, Berita Khumalo, WOMB will support up to 30 female artists, producers and managers with a minimum of two years’ experience in the music industry from across Africa. Run in partnership the renowned WITS Business School based in Johannesburg, participants will participants will benefit from expert training in financial management, philanthropy and social investment, developing the skills needed to build sustainable careers and businesses in the Africa music industry within the context of social entrepreneurship. Candidates will also benefit from networking and insights that strengthen their role as a future music industry leader in Africa.

“We’re delighted to be partnering with Sony Music Africa on a programme that will have a lasting impact on the African music industry,” said WOMB Founder, Berita Khumalo. “Africa faces numerous economic, political and social challenges that require young people to approach the music business with a long-term view to better the continent. Knowledge on social entrepreneurship is particularly important in advancing women-led businesses in the music industry. So by better understanding investment and philanthropy, women participating in the programme will learn how to integrate music with social contribution to create a significant and lasting impact.”

 “More than ever before, women music entrepreneurs are breaking barriers, steering their own narratives, building their own teams and finding success,” added Sean Watson, Managing Director, Sony Music Africa.

“However, with gender disparity in the African music industry being a social and economic issue, there is much more to do and I applaud Berita on leading the way across the continent. We hope our support for targeted programmes like this will provide a real boost in helping empower women in the African music industry with the knowledge, skills and opportunities needed to succeed.”

 The programme is the latest in a series of global initiatives, launched through Sony Music Entertainment’s $100 Million Social Justice Fund, which focused on addressing social inequality and injustice around the world.

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