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Russia-Ukraine Crisis: Africa Faces High Risk of Food Insecurity – ECA

War between Russia and Ukraine will have a major impact on food insecurity in Africa

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Agriculture - Investors King

The United Nations Economic Commission of Africa (UNECA) has revealed that the war between Russia and Ukraine will have a major impact on food insecurity in Africa, as the two countries provide 30 percent of the world’s wheat and barley needs.

During the 54th session of the ECA Conference of African Ministers of Finance, the Director, Sub-Regional Office for Southern (SRO-SA) Planning and Economic Development, Eunice G. Kamwendo disclosed that the continent faces a high risk of food insecurity because Russia and Ukraine are major global suppliers of agricultural commodities such as maize, wheat, oils and fertilizers to Africa.

“The two countries, combined, provide 30 percent of the world’s wheat and barley needs; supply nearly one-fifth of maize globally, and account for over half of the global market share in sunflower oil, among other commodities.

“According to estimates by the African Development Bank, the region’s GDP contracted by as much as 6.3 percent in 2020, compared to a 2.1 percent recession for the rest of Africa”, she said.

She further stated that African countries are most affected by the pandemic and the combined impact of the COVID-19 and the Ukraine crisis are likely to further aggravate liquidity issues constraining recovery. She added that as a region, Southern Africa contracted the most out of all the sub-regions in Africa due to Covid-19.

With the disruption of supplies arising from the war in Ukraine, Africa is facing a shortage of at least 30 million metric tonnes of food, especially wheat, maize, and soybeans imported from  Ukraine and Russia.

Before the war in Ukraine, countries in East, West, Middle, and Southern Africa, including Angola, Cameroon, Kenya, and Nigeria, were already grappling with soaring food prices due to extreme climate and weather events, such as floods, landslides, and droughts, and the Covid-19 pandemic, which disrupted production efforts and global supply chains.

Since Russia’s invasion, global food prices have reached another level. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s Food Price Index, global prices of food increased by  12.6 percent from February to March.

Investors King recalls that Human Rights Watch (HRW), in its April publication, had earlier said that many countries in East, West, Middle, and Southern Africa rely on Russia and Ukraine for a significant percentage of their wheat, fertilizer, or vegetable oils imports. However, the war disrupted global commodity markets and trade flows to Africa, increasing already high food prices in these regions.

“Even countries that import little from the two countries are indirectly impacted by higher world prices for key commodities,” HRW noted.

In addition, senior researcher on poverty and inequality at HRW, Lena Simet said: “Many countries in Africa were already in a food crisis. Rising prices are compounding the plight of millions of people thrown into poverty by the Covid-19 pandemic, requiring urgent action by governments and the international community.”

According to the March Food Prices Watch released by the National Bureau of Statistics, the average price of one bottle of Groundnut oil stood at N994.62 in March 2022, an increase of 46.00 percent from N681.23 in March 2021.

Also, the prepackaged wheat flour (golden penny 2kg) increased year on year (YoY) from N766.11 to N1,021.66 (35.99 percent increase) and from N1,021.66 to N1,041.82 on Month on Month (MoM) basis, a 1.97 percent increase. Imported high-quality rice (loose) sold at N544.21 in March 2021 and at N607.68 in March 2022 (YoY), an increase of 11.66 percent. It increased by 2.16% from N594.80 in February 2022  to N607.68 in March 20222.

Under the global and African human rights laws everyone has the right to sufficient and adequate food. To protect this right, governments are obligated to enact policies and initiate programmes to ensure that everyone can afford safe and nutritious food.

In view of this, Ghanaian investment banker and Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Ken Ofori-Atta has called for the nation’s partnership with the African Development Bank for the development of the continent.

Ofor-Atta added that the plan is to provide certified seeds of climate-adapted varieties to 20 million African farmers, which would see a rapid production of 38 million tonnes of food across Africa over the next two years.

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Economy

$2 Billion Lekki Deep Sea Port Berths First Cargo

The Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) on Friday announced that the $2 billion Lekki Deep Sea Port in Lagos has docked its first ship.

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Deep Sea port - Investors King

The Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) on Friday announced that the $2 billion Lekki Deep Sea Port in Lagos has docked its first ship.

Mohammed Bello-Koko, the Managing Director of NPA, who received the marine vessel “Zhen Hua 28”, explained that the Lekki Deep Sea Port would help decongest Apapa Ports and reduce ship waiting time by about 60%.

Estimated at $2 billion, Lekki Deep Seaport was constructed by China Habour Engineering firm to ease shipment pressure and improve the efficiency of Nigeria’s maritime economy.

According to Koko, the port has the capacity to evacuate and handle more cargoes because of a series of automation integrated into it during construction.

“The successful delivery today (yesterday) at the Lekki Deep Seaport of three Super Post Panamax state-of-the art Ship to Shore (STS) Cranes and 10 Rubber Tyred Gantries (RTG) is a testament to the unflinching commitment of NPA to providing the support necessary for placing Nigeria on the global list of countries with Deep Seaports.

Koko said: “The successful delivery of these very important equipment which are critical for the Lekki Deep Seaport to commence operations before the end of the year 2022 is a demonstration of our readiness to take trade facilitation a notch higher. This has been made possible by the tremendous backing of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Ministry of Transportation who have over the time played a key role from the initial construction stage and also granted fast tracked approval for this historic exercise.

“For us at the NPA, the coming on stream of Lekki symbolises a lot of positives. Apart from being Nigeria’s first Deep Seaport, Lekki Port will also be the first fully automated port at take-off. This provides an insight into the path we are already toeing as a management team to govern the operationalisation of not just the forthcoming Badagry, Ibom and Bonny Deep Seaports, but also of the reconstruction of the aged Tin-Can Port, where work is set to commence once we secure the necessary approvals from the Federal Ministry of Transportation and FEC, respectively.”

He stated that “automation remains the most veritable tool for assuring port efficiency, and as most of us are aware, the NPA is working assiduously under the technical guidance of the International Maritime Organization to deploy the Port Community System (PCS), which will enable us respond squarely to the dictates of global trade facilitation and optimise the opportunities of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement to which Nigeria is signatory.”

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Economy

Oxford Business Group signs MoU with Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry for 2023 Economic Analysis

Nigeria’s plans to put the private sector at the heart of the next phase of its economic development will be explored in a forthcoming report by the global research and advisory company Oxford Business Group (OBG).

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2023 Economic Analysis

Nigeria’s plans to put the private sector at the heart of the next phase of its economic development will be explored in a forthcoming report by the global research and advisory company Oxford Business Group (OBG).

The Report: Nigeria 2023 will look in detail at the key sectors of the country’s economy with high growth potential, which include agriculture, energy, ICT and industry.

It will also consider the important role earmarked for public-private partnerships in supporting Nigeria’s infrastructure development, with major projects such as the Lekki Free Zone and the Lekki-Epe road among those in the spotlight.

The openings that are expected to emerge from the African Continental Free Trade Area will be another focal point, with in-depth analysis provided of the potential that the initiative holds for boosting exports and fostering new trade partnerships.

Other topics set for coverage include a drive under way to encourage innovation and the introduction of tech solutions across the economic sectors, with the aim of galvanising growth in nascent segments, such as fintech.

OBG has signed a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) as it begins work on The Report: Nigeria 2023. Under the agreement, the LCCI will team up with OBG to produce the Group’s first post-pandemic analysis of Nigeria’s investment opportunities and economic development, and other related content.

The MoU was signed by Wen Qian Chang, Country Director, OBG, and Chinyere Almona, Director General, LCCI.

Commenting after the signing, Almona said that OBG’s new report comes at a time when Nigeria is looking to the private sector to unlock the potential of key legislative reforms put in place in recent years and spearhead a new era of growth.

“These have been challenging times for Nigeria, with recession and high inflation weighing on the country’s economic performance. However, higher oil prices and a rise in post-Covid remittances, are combining to improve the outlook,” she said. “Oxford Business Group is known for producing highly regarded, detailed resources on emerging economies and has consistently provided accurate, in-depth analysis of Nigeria’s economic development over the years. I look forward to working closely with its representatives to highlight the latest openings across the economy as the country prepares for a new chapter in its growth story.”

Chang said she was delighted to have the LCCI on board for OBG’s 2023 report on Nigeria, with the country looking to build on its strengths, led by an abundant supply of natural resources, a sizeable workforce and a vibrant business scene, in the recovery phase.

“Long a regional powerhouse, Nigeria is now assessing the impact of measures adopted during the pandemic aimed at strengthening resilience and enabling the economy to withstand future shocks,” she said. “The private sector is recognised as the linchpin of Nigeria’s economic strength, with businesses ably supported by key organisations such as the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which provides a broad range of services aimed at encouraging innovation and growth. I’m thrilled that our research into the many investment opportunities emerging in Lagos and beyond will benefit from the local knowledge and expertise of its members.”

The Report: Nigeria 2023 will mark the culmination of more than a year of field research by a team of analysts from Oxford Business Group. It will be a vital guide to the many facets of the country, including its macroeconomics, infrastructure, banking and other sectoral developments. OBG’s publication will also contain contributions from leading representatives across the public and private sectors.

The Report: Nigeria 2023 will be available online and in print. It will form part of a series of tailored studies that OBG is currently producing with its partners, alongside other highly relevant, go-to research tools, including ESG and Future Readiness reports, country-specific Growth and Recovery Outlook articles and interviews.

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Economy

IPPIS Helps Uncover 70,000 Ghost Workers, TSA Saves Over N10 Trillion, Says FG

The Federal Government has said its recently enforced Integration Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) has helped uncovered 70,000 ghost workers in the civil service system.

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Treasury Single Account

The Federal Government has said its recently enforced Integration Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) has helped uncovered 70,000 ghost workers in the civil service system.

Dr. Dasuki Arabi, the Director-General, Bureau of Public Service Reforms, stated at the 43rd session of the ministerial briefing organised by the Presidential Communication Team at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Thursday.

According to the Director-General, the Federal Government has saved at least N220 billion through IPPIS and about N10 trillion via the Treasury Single Account (TSA) since it was fully implemented by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Explaining the advantages of IPPIS, Arabi said the Federal Government can now give an account of the total Federal Civil Service personnel working in the country. He puts the total at 720,000 as of today.

Arabi said, “With the introduction of IPPIS, about 70,000 ghost workers have been eliminated from the payroll. We have a one-shot opportunity to look at IPPIS and say, as of today, we have 720,000 public servants working for Nigeria.

“We’ve been able to reduce more than N220bn wastage through wrong management of IPPIS on payroll by ministries, departments and agencies of government. We have reduced the budget deficits and changed the budget composition.

“We have succeeded in getting the Treasury Single Account deployed in all ministries, departments and agencies of government. Challenges have come in that implementation at the initial stage, but we are overcoming that and the government is able to save over N10tn over the years because whatever you’re generating now goes into a Treasury Single Account that is managed by somebody else, not you.

“And the government, especially at the top, is always able to see what has come into our Treasury Single Account today and what has gone out of that. So planning has been simplified. Budgeting has been simplified.”

The Integrated Financial Management Information System digitised government business and “reduced man-to-man contact and processing payments in ministries, departments and agencies.”

He said, “Transparency has been improved. A lot of things are done even outside the office. But the most important thing is the ability given to central agencies, the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, and the Ministry of Finance to see what is happening in all government MDAs because GIFMIS is not controlled by the agencies.

“It is controlled by the central agencies, but every activity you are doing under GIFMIS somebody is watching you and is monitoring that activity. This is a great achievement for us and for all of you and for all Nigerians.”

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