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AfCFTA Appoints Three Nigerians as Members of Advisory Council




Three Nigerians have been named as members of the 14-member Advisory Council of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The 14-member advisory council has been set up to serve as the continent’s Trade and Industrial Development Advisory Council.

This update was revealed in a statement issued by the AfCFTA secretariat on Tuesday, 1st March 2022. The three Nigerians, according to the AfCFTA are Prof. Oyebanji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, Dr Adeyemi Dipeolu and Ms Jane Ezirigwe.

The AfCFTA is a free trade area established in March 2018. The initiative was devised by the African Continental Free Trade Agreement among 54 of the 55 African Union nations making it the largest free-trade area in the world in terms of participating countries.

Initially, the AfCFTA agreement required members to clear tariffs from 90% of goods, thereby allowing free access to commodities, goods, and services across the continent. The agreement was also created to improve intra-African trade.

Statement by the AfCFTA reads in part: “This is imperative given the low levels of investments in industrial production, which is also a major contributor to the low percentage of intra-African trade. Africa has 17 percent of the global population and fastest-growing middle class but only accounts for 2.1 percent of global trade and three percent of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It is against this background that Secretary-General, Wamkele Mene convened a brainstorming workshop to discuss the matters of trade and industrial development, which led to his proposal to constitute an Advisory Council.”

Three Nigerians Named as Members

Prof. Oyebanji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka: Prof. Oyebanji is the Special Advisor to the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) on Industrialisation. The prof is a globally respected leader in the field of development economics. He has contributed immensely to urbanisation and economic development.

Dr Adeyemi Dipeolu: Dipeolu is the Special Adviser to Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on Economic Matters.

Ms Jane Ezirigwe: Ezirigwe is a research fellow at the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies (NIALS). Her research interest includes food and agriculture, law, human rights and development.

Other members of the 14-member council include Dr Arkebe Oqubay, a Senior Minister and Special Adviser to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia; Dr Rob Davies, former South African Minister of Trade and Industry; Dr Taffere Tesfachew, former director of the Division on Africa and Least Developed Countries, UNCTAD; Prof. Carlos Lopes, former Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa; Dr Celestin Monga, visiting Professor of Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government; Amb. Magda Shahin, Prof. Caroline Ncube; Prof. Fiona Tregenna, Dr Stephen Karingi, Dr Gainmore Zanamwe, and Prof. Faizel Ismail former Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and author of “AfCFTA and Developmental Regionalism”.

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Nigeria’s Power Sector to Get $7.5bn from $30bn African Electrification Initiative, Says Minister Adelabu



Power - Investors King

Minister of Power Adebayo Adelabu has said that Nigeria is set to receive a portion of a $30 billion investment aimed at electrifying Africa.

During a visit to Splendor Electric Nigeria Limited, Adelabu revealed that the World Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB) have committed to this ambitious initiative with Nigeria slated to receive approximately $7.5 billion, or 25% of the total fund.

The groundbreaking initiative is designed to extend electrification to an additional 300 million Africans over the next five years.

This large-scale project aims to address the energy deficit that has long plagued the continent and is expected to transform the power infrastructure significantly.

Adelabu expressed optimism about Nigeria’s role in the project, citing the country’s large population and ongoing power sector reforms as key factors in securing a substantial share of the funds.

“I want to inform you of the proposal or the intention, which is at an advanced stage, by the World Bank and the African Development Bank to spend about $30 billion to extend electrification to an additional 300 million Africans within the next five years. Nigeria is going to participate fully in this. I am confident that nothing less than 20% or 25% of this fund would come into Nigeria because of our population,” Adelabu stated.

The minister’s visit to Splendor Electric Nigeria Limited, a porcelain insulator company, underscores the government’s commitment to involving local businesses in the electrification drive.

The investment will focus on enhancing and upgrading power infrastructure, which is crucial for improving electricity access and reliability across Nigeria.

Despite the promising news, Nigeria continues to face significant challenges in its power sector. The country’s power grid has suffered frequent collapses, with the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics reporting less than 13 million electricity customers and frequent nationwide blackouts.

The International Energy Agency highlighted that Nigeria’s national grid experienced 46 collapses from 2017 to 2023, exacerbating the nation’s energy crisis.

To combat these issues, the government is also advancing the Presidential Power Initiative, a project in collaboration with Siemens, which aims to build thousands of new lines and numerous transmission and injection substations.

Adelabu noted that the pilot phase of this initiative is nearing completion and that Phase 1 will commence soon.

With over 200 million people and a chronic energy shortfall, Nigeria’s power sector is in urgent need of overhaul.

The additional $7.5 billion from the African Electrification Initiative represents a critical step toward achieving reliable and widespread electricity access.

The investment is expected to stimulate not only infrastructure development but also economic growth, creating opportunities for local companies and improving the quality of life for millions of Nigerians.

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Climb as Markets Eye Potential US Rate Cuts in September



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Oil prices rose during the Asian trading session today on speculation that the U.S. Federal Reserve may begin cutting interest rates as soon as September.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, increased by 32 cents to $82.95 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude oil climbed 34 cents to $80.47.

The anticipation of rate cuts stems from recent U.S. inflation and labor market data indicating a trend towards disinflation and balanced employment, according to ANZ Research.

The Federal Reserve is set to review its policy on July 30-31, with expectations of holding rates steady but providing clues for potential cuts in September.

The potential rate cuts could stimulate economic activity, increasing demand for oil. This optimism has been partially offset by recent concerns over China’s slower-than-expected economic growth, which could dampen global oil demand.

President Joe Biden’s announcement to not seek re-election and endorse Vice President Kamala Harris had minimal impact on oil markets.

Analysts suggest that U.S. presidential influence on oil production is limited, although a potential Trump presidency could boost oil demand due to his stance against electric vehicles.

In response to economic challenges, China surprised markets by lowering key policy and lending rates. While these measures aim to bolster the economy, analysts remain cautious about their immediate impact on oil demand.

With OPEC+ production cuts continuing to support prices, the focus remains on the U.S. Federal Reserve’s next moves.

Any decision to cut rates could further influence oil prices in the coming months, highlighting the interconnectedness of global economic policies and energy markets.

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Dangote Refinery Clash Threatens Nigeria’s Oil Sector Stability



Crude oil

Nigeria’s oil and gas sector is facing a new challenge as a dispute between Dangote Industries Limited and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Agency (NMDPRA) intensifies.

The disagreement centers on claims by NMDPRA that diesel from the Dangote Refinery contains high sulfur levels, making it inferior to imported products.

The $20 billion Dangote Refinery, located near Lagos, has the potential to process half of Nigeria’s daily oil output, promising to reduce dependency on foreign fuel imports and create thousands of jobs.

However, the recent accusations have cast a shadow over what should be a significant achievement for Africa’s largest economy.

Industry experts warn that the ongoing conflict could deter future investments in Nigeria’s oil sector.

“Regulatory uncertainty is a major disincentive for investors,” said Luqman Agboola, head of energy at Sofidia Capital. “Any factor affecting foreign investment impacts the entire value chain, risking potential energy deals.”

The regulatory body, led by Farouk Ahmed, maintains that Nigeria cannot rely solely on the Dangote facility to meet its petroleum needs, emphasizing the need for diverse sources.

This position has stirred controversy, with critics accusing the agency of attempting to undermine a vital national asset.

Amidst these tensions, energy analyst Charles Ogbeide described the agency’s comments as reckless, noting that the refinery is still in its commissioning stages and is working to optimize its sulfur output.

In response, Dangote Industries has called for fair assessments of its products, asserting that their diesel meets African standards.

The refinery’s leadership argues that certain factions may have ulterior motives, aiming to stifle progress through misinformation.

As the dispute continues, the broader implications for Nigeria’s oil sector remain uncertain. The outcome will likely influence not only domestic production but also the country’s standing in the global energy market.

Observers hope for a resolution that supports both industrial growth and regulatory integrity, ensuring stability in a sector crucial to Nigeria’s economy.

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