President Muhammadu Buhari has called for more global support for the development of the Niger Basin area and its resources.
President Buhari made the call on Thursday while declaring the 12th virtual Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Niger Basin Authority (NBA) open in Abuja.
According to a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President observed that River Niger, commonly called Djoliba in Guinea and Mali, offers enormous development opportunities in the fields of agriculture, animal husbandry, fishing, fish farming, hydro-power, hydraulics and navigation.
According to him, the river, which provides a source of sustenance to more than 160 million Africans, deserves to continually be showcased to the world so that it could attract the sort of attention and resources, which would, in turn, improve the lives and livelihood of the people who depend on it.
“It is, therefore, necessary to continue to promote its enormous potential for the benefit of our people and to improve the socio-economic development of the region,” he said.
The Nigerian leader expressed appreciation to technical and financial partners, including the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Global Environment Fund (GEF), the German Financial Cooperation (KFW), for identifying with the vision and projects of the authority.
He urged them to continue to support efforts at developing the Niger Basin in the fight against pollution and the degradation of ecosystems, in order to manage its resources in a sustainable and equitable manner.
Buhari, who is the outgoing Chairman of the NBA Leaders’ Summit, also used the occasion to give an account of his five-year stewardship, piloting the affairs of the institution.
“Excellencies, it has been a privilege to lead this Summit of Heads of State and Government for the past five years, since you all unanimously endorsed me as the Chairman at the 11th Summit held in Cotonou, Benin Republic on 8th January 2016 to lead our common Institution.
“Of the several decisions taken at the Summit, only the decision on funding of the NBA 2016-2024 Operational Plan is yet to be fully implemented.
“It is pertinent to note that there are some ongoing programmes like support to Ground Water Management in Niger Basin (AGES), project II to strengthen NBA and its Member Countries’ technical capacity and human resources for improving transboundary groundwater resource management in the Niger Basin,” he said.
The President also listed other ongoing programmes to include the Integrated Development and Adaptation to Climate Change in Niger Basin financed by the AfDB, GEF, KFW and NBA member countries to improve the resilience of the Niger River ecosystems and populations through sustainable management of natural resources.
The Nigerian leader explained that the climate change programme will cover the nine NBA members-countries- Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Nigeria and Chad.
“Distinguished delegates, it should be noted, to our collective delight that these achievements were only possible with your active support.
“It is also my pleasure to tell this meeting that there is an improvement in our organization’s financial status as member countries are striving hard to pay their annual contributions in a timely manner,” he said.
The President also commended all member countries for their unflinching efforts towards contributing to the construction of a befitting Headquarters for the NBA, noting with appreciation the commitments made so far.
On behalf of member countries, President Buhari while thanking the outgoing Executive Secretary, Mr. Abderahim Bireme Hamid, for serving the Authority, noted that the 12th Summit is expected to appoint a new Executive Secretary and a Chairman.
“At this Summit, my tenure as the Chairman Summit of Heads of State and Government of our common institution comes to an end as I will hand over to a new Chairman.
“I urge you to extend maximum cooperation to the new Chairman for the continued smooth running of our Institution”, he said.
Meanwhile, Buhari has congratulated President Roch Kaboré of Burkina Faso on his appointment as the new Chairman of the Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Niger Basin Authority (NBA).
In his closing address at the virtual 12th summit of the Heads of State and Government of NBA, President Buhari, who is the outgoing Chair, said the Institution had ‘‘the utmost confidence’’ in President Kabore’s ability to steer the affairs of the Niger Basin Authority for the next two years.
‘‘Let me, on behalf of all Heads of State and Government of NBA, wish His Excellency President of the Republic of Burkina Faso, a very successful tenure,” the President said.
The Nigerian leader also congratulated member states of the NBA for a job well done, calling on them to continue to muster the needed political will and courage to implement the far-reaching decisions agreed at the Summit.
The President also expressed deep appreciation and gratitude to leaders and member-countries who attended the Summit as well as their ‘‘unwavering support and cooperation during my five-year tenure as Chairman of Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Authority.”
Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) Begins Full Operations of Lagos-Ibadan Train, Releases Timetable
The newly completed Lagos – Ibadan standard gauge railway service from Lagos to Ibadan will commence full operations on Tuesday, according to the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC).
The management of NRC disclosed this in a statement signed by Mr. Jerry Oche in Lagos on Sunday.
According to Oche, the Lagos Ibadan Train Services will henceforth be available in the morning.
He said “The updated timetable for Tuesday to Friday is as follows: Lagos to Ibadan: 8:00 a:m from Mobolaji Johnson Station at Alogo megi Ebute – Meta Lagos. Also, the train will take off from Ibadan to Lagos: 8:00 am from Obafemi Awolowo Station at Moniya.
“The train will take off from Lagos to Ibadan: 4:00 pm from Mobolaji Johnson Station Alagomji, while from Ibadan to Lagos: 4:00 pm from Obafemi Awolowo Station at Moniya.
“The standard gauge train schedule on Saturday from Lagos to Ibadan: 8:30 am from Mobolaji Johnson Station at Alagomeji while the train will leave from Ibadan to Lagos: 8:30 am from Obafemi Awolowo Station at Moniya.
“For Saturday evening from Lagos to Ibadan: 6:00 pm from Mobolaji Johnson Station at Alagomji, while the train will take off from Ibadan to Lagos: 6:00 pm from Obafemi Awolowo Station at Moniya,” Oche said.
He added that the Alagomeji, Abeokuta, and Moniya were still the stop stations of the Lagos Ibadan Train Services
MyOffice to Supply 220 Million Rubles Worth of Licenses to Republic of Burundi
MyOffice, a Russian developer of office software for document collaboration and communication, announced the expansion of cooperation with the Republic of Burundi. MyOffice distribution partner in Africa, Independence.digital, and INGO Tech s.a.r.l., a Burundian IT company and integrator, have signed a contract, under which Russian office software licenses worth about 220 million rubles ($3 million) will be supplied.
This news was reported by Dmitry Komissarov, General Director of MyOffice, at Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum 2021.
In accordance with the contract, over the course of five years, the customer will receive MyOffice Standard and MyOffice Professional licenses, depending on their needs. The purchased office software will be installed on the national servers of the Republic of Burundi. The purchase of Russian software will help bolster the digital independence of the country and organize the secure storage of electronic documents and files. At the same time, full control over user data will be ensured.
MyOffice has been ramping up business relations with the Republic since 2019, when the company announced at the Russia-Africa Summit and Economic Forum that it would supply 300 licenses of MyOffice Professional to the Government of Burundi. At the time, it was the first international contract for the Russian developer.
“The Republic of Burundi has been successfully using Russian software for two years now. Several top government officials have been trained at a certified training center in Russia and have mastered the office software. The decision to expand cooperation was made in the wake of the positive experience of using Russian office software and our high evaluation of its reliability,” said Rossalyn Kamariza, CEO of INGO Tech.
“The digitalization of the African countries is progressing by leaps and bounds and has a direct impact on their economic well-being. According to the estimates of independent analytical agencies, fast-paced implementation of modern technological products will cause the GDP of the region to grow by $148–318 billion by 2025,” stated Dmitry Komissarov, General Director of MyOffice.
“Our contract for the supply of MyOffice software shows that the government of the Republic of Burundi not only cares about the economic development of its country, but also pays great attention to the security of the digital solutions it uses. In turn, for MyOffice, this commercial delivery during the pandemic, with many international processes slowed down, is an important milestone in bolstering its position on the global market and a spectacular example of the high export potential of Russian IT solutions.”
Cuba’s Central Bank Suspends US Dollar Deposits Nationwide
Cuba, the island country located where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic Ocean meet, said this week U.S. dollars will be suspended in the country.
The mandate comes from the country’s central bank and foreign tourists have been told to leave U.S. dollars at home when visiting. The announcement was invoked at a roundtable discussion that was aired on state-sponsored Cuban television.
“In view of the obstacles that the U.S. embargo creates for the national bank system to deposit abroad the U.S. dollars that are collected in the country, a decision was made to temporarily suspend deposits in U.S. banknotes in Cuba’s bank and financial system,” the Central Bank of Cuba (Banco Central de Cuba, BCC) members said.
Yamilé Berra Cires, the vice president of the BCC, explained during the roundtable discussion that at the beginning of the Trump administration’s leadership, the U.S. tightened the embargo’s grip. The United States has had an embargo with Cuba since 1958 and the U.S. has had numerous issues with Cuba during the Eisenhower presidency and Kennedy presidency as well. After the 2008 crisis, the U.S. and Cuba seemed to gravitate toward friendlier terms during the Obama presidency.
However, BCC vice president Berra Cires claims issues have gotten worse since Trump and said 24 foreign banks stopped dealing with Cuba. Berra Cires also said during the roundtable discussion that 95 foreign financial institutions reported on the transgressions of Cuban national banks doing business with counterparties. “It is ever more difficult for Cuba to find international banking or financing institutions willing to receive, convert or process U.S. currency in cash,” Berra Cires further remarked.
“People who will be coming into the country during this time will have to arrive with a currency other than the dollar,” Francisco Mayobre Lence the BCC’s first vice president said.
Of course, after hearing about the USD ban in Cuba, members of the cryptocurrency community wanted Cuba to adopt digital currencies like El Salvador recently did with bitcoin. “It’s like [a] 50-year embargo. It’s really depressing,” one individual wrote about the Cuba situation with America on Reddit. “Will they take crypto now?” another Redditor asked in the r/cryptocurrency thread. Another crypto enthusiast responded to the question and said:
I doubt they want to be the last Latin American country to do so.
Minister-president of the Cuban central bank, Marta Sabina Wilson González explained during the roundtable discussion that Cuba had no choice but to make the decision. “We had no choice but to take this measure, which we are explaining at the Round Table, as we always do when it is a measure that affects the people, who will understand that there is no other option,” the minister detailed.
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