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UK-Africa Forum on Trade, Policy and Reform to Examine the Future of Trade and Avenues for Policy Reform

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Invest Africa - Investors King

Invest Africa, a Pan-African business and investment platform, aims to build constructive dialogue between policy makers and business leaders from the UK and Africa during the Forum. James Duddridge MP, Minister for Africa, Emma Wade-Smith OBE, H.M. Trade Commissioner for Africa, and His Excellency Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of Finance of the Republic of Ghana will feature in the programme.

The Forum will feature Dr Mo Ibrahim in conversation with CNBC Africa, discussing why supporting good governance is essential to driving growth and improving livelihoods across the continent. Speaking earlier this month, the Sudanese-British businessman called attention to the impact of Covid-19 on governance in Africa, highlighting job creation, improved education and healthcare and investment in economic development as essential conditions to building healthy democracies.

The Forum brings together speakers from Invest Africa’s membership, including Absa international; DHL; Casa Orascom; TTRO; Mischon de Reya; Tysers; Pernod Ricard and Afreximbank.

An explosion of trade with Africa

The Forum comes at an opportune time as trading under the AfCFTA commenced on the 1 January 2021, accelerating intra-African trade, and boosting Africa’s trading position in the global market.

This, combined with the UK’s departure from the European Union, has seen a rise in investment interest in Africa. The UK trade envoy to Egypt was recently quoted in the UK press, saying that Egypt ‘can be the “gateway” to an explosion of trade with Africa.’ Earlier this year, Helen Grant, Conservative MP and trade envoy to Nigeria claimed a trade deal with the country could be significant for the UK.  Ms Grant boasted of Nigeria’s emerging economy and the impact it could have for British business (https://bit.ly/3z9gQ5g) in terms of financial services, agriculture, and tech.

In March 2021, the UK signed a trade partnership agreement with Ghana, that secures tariff-free trade and provides a platform for greater economic and cultural cooperation. In practical terms, it means that Ghanaian products such as bananas, tinned tuna and cocoa will benefit from tariff-free access to the United Kingdom.

In fact, as of June this year, the UK Government website lists over 15 trade agreements that the government has concluded in Africa. Where the agreement has not yet been ratified, provisional application or bridging mechanisms have been put in place to ensure continuity of trade. African countries with deals in place come from across the continent, including Egypt and Morocco in the North, Botswana and Lesotho in the South, Kenya in the East and Ghana in the West.

The private sector sees the potential too. Cheryl Buss, CEO of Absa International and a speaker at the Invest Africa Forum next week, was recently interviewed by a London financial newspaper and was optimistic about trade between the UK and Africa. She stated that “the UK is in a position to strengthen its relationships with Africa post-Brexit.  This will lead to a more collaborative relationship based around trade and investment. Moreover, international trade opportunities into Africa are often facilitated via London, with the majority of European-African capital flows going through the City. “

Regulatory frameworks are fundamental to investors

Karen Taylor, CEO of Invest Africa and Lord Popat, UK Trade Envoy to the DRC and other panellists took part in an international trade webinar this month, hosted by the Congolese Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain. The event looked at regional integration and UK strategic investments in the DRC and the Republic of Angola.

Taylor echoed Dr Mo Ibrahim’s support of good governance during the event, making the following comments: “UK and international global investors are very much looking at ESG factors, critical to their decisions on which countries they are going to invest in and which companies they are going to invest in, so good governance is crucial for facilitating investment. Regulatory frameworks are also fundamental to the investors, and we need to make sure that they are in place to attract them in the first place so that they have that confidence and if it is not there it will hinder capital flow”.

Intra-African trade optimism is tempered by an acknowledgement of the challenges that investors face, ranging from logistical issues to regulatory frameworks. These challenges – and opportunities – will be discussed in the Invest Africa UK-Africa Forum.

To attend Invest Africa’s UK-Africa Forum on Trade, Policy and Reform on the 15th of June, register online at https://bit.ly/3ggn0YA.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Goya Foods Takes Legal Action to Assert ‘Goya Olive Oil’ Trademark Ownership

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Goya Foods

“Goya Olive Oil” trademark in Nigeria, Goya Foods Incorporated has initiated legal proceedings against the Registrar of Trademarks under the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment.

The case, numbered FHC/ABJ/CS/883/2023, was brought before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Goya Foods, a prominent producer and distributor of foods and beverages across the United States, Spanish-speaking countries, and Nigeria, seeks to enforce a longstanding consent judgment issued by the court in December 2006.

The judgment directed the Registrar to rectify the Trademarks Register to reflect Goya Foods Incorporated as the rightful owner of the “Goya Olive Oil” trademark, without any further formalities.

The lawsuit, exclusively revealed to sources, underscores Goya Foods’ determination to safeguard its intellectual property against alleged infringements.

According to court documents, Goya Foods obtained the consent judgment against Chikason Industries Limited, which was accused of marketing “Goya Olive Oil” in Nigeria, thus infringing on Goya Foods’ registered trademark.

Legal counsel for Goya Foods, Ade Adedeji, SAN, emphasized the necessity of rectifying the Trademarks Register to protect their trademark interests effectively.

Despite appeals to the Registrar, the requested rectification has not been implemented, prompting Goya Foods to escalate the matter through legal channels.

The case has been adjourned to September 27, 2024, for further proceedings, highlighting the complexity and significance of trademark disputes in the global marketplace.

Goya Foods remains committed to upholding its brand integrity and securing its proprietary interests amidst the evolving landscape of international trademark law.

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IOCs Accused of Blocking Direct Crude Sales to Dangote Refinery

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Dangote Refinery

Dangote Industries Limited (DIL) has accused International Oil Companies (IOCs) of obstructing direct crude oil sales to its refinery and forcing the company to use costly middlemen.

This development comes after a statement by the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) suggested a “willing buyer-willing seller” dynamic was in place as mandated by the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).

Devakumar Edwin, Vice President of DIL, countered NUPRC CEO Gbenga Komolafe’s claims, stating that IOCs consistently make it difficult for local refiners by pushing sales through international trading arms, which inflate prices and bypass Nigerian laws.

“These middlemen earn unjustified margins on crude produced and consumed within Nigeria,” Edwin stated.

He noted that only one local producer, Sapetro, has sold directly to DIL, while others insist on using trading arms abroad.

Edwin detailed the financial impact, citing instances where DIL was charged a $2-$4 premium per barrel above the official price.

In April, DIL paid $96.23 per barrel for Bonga crude, which included significant premiums, compared to a much lower premium for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude.

While acknowledging NUPRC’s support in resolving some supply issues, Edwin urged the regulatory body to revisit pricing policies to ensure fair market practices.

“Market liquidity is essential for fair pricing. We hope NUPRC addresses these issues to prevent price gouging,” he stated.

This dispute highlights ongoing challenges in Nigeria’s oil sector, where domestic refiners struggle to secure local crude amidst complex market dynamics.

The outcome of these negotiations could significantly impact the refinery’s operations and broader industry practices.

The situation underscores the need for transparent and efficient crude supply systems to bolster Nigeria’s refining capacity and economic growth.

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Dangote’s $20 Billion Refinery to Begin Petrol Sales Next Month

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Petrol - Investors King

Aliko Dangote announced on Monday that his long-awaited $20 billion refinery complex will commence petrol sales starting next month.

The announcement came during a press briefing held at the refinery site in Lagos, where Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, detailed the project’s progress and future plans.

“We are proud to announce that the Dangote Refinery will begin selling petrol from August,” Dangote stated confidently.

“This milestone marks the culmination of years of meticulous planning, construction, and overcoming numerous challenges.”

Dangote’s refinery, touted as the largest single-train refinery in the world, is designed to process 650,000 barrels of crude oil per day once fully operational.

The facility aims to not only meet Nigeria’s domestic demand for refined petroleum products but also contribute significantly to export markets across West Africa.

“We have entered the steady-state production phase earlier this year, and now we are ready to begin commercial sales,” Dangote explained. “Initially, we will focus on petrol production, with plans to expand our product range as we ramp up to full capacity.”

The refinery’s launch is expected to alleviate Nigeria’s longstanding dependence on imported refined products, thereby boosting the country’s energy security and reducing foreign exchange outflows associated with fuel imports.

Beyond petrol sales, Dangote revealed ambitious plans to list both the refinery and its associated fertilizer plant on the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX) by the first quarter of 2025.

This move aims to attract broader investor participation and unlock additional value for shareholders.

“We are committed to transparency and accountability in our operations,” Dangote emphasized. “Listing these subsidiaries on the NGX will not only strengthen our corporate governance framework but also enhance the refinery’s financial sustainability.”

Challenges and Future Prospects

Despite celebrating the imminent commencement of petrol sales, Dangote acknowledged challenges encountered during the project’s execution, including delays in securing land for a petrochemical facility in Ogun State, which incurred substantial costs.

“We faced bureaucratic hurdles that resulted in significant delays and financial losses,” Dangote lamented. “Nevertheless, we remain steadfast in our commitment to advancing Nigeria’s industrial capabilities and contributing to economic growth.”

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