Global Diplomatic News: Week 45

Nigeria Donates $500,000 & Logistics Support Towards Guinea Bissau Election

The Nigerian government has approved the donation of $500,000, over 350 electoral kits and seven vehicles, to facilitate a successful conduct of Guinea Bissau legislative election, scheduled for November 18, 2018.

The Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama, announced this when Special Representative of the UN Secretary General to Guinea Bissau, Mr. Jose Filho, visited him in Abuja. Mr. Onyeama expressed delight that Nigeria was able to play that important role stressing that President Buhari in his capacity as the Chairperson of ECOWAS was watching the situation in Guinea Bissau very closely.

According to Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama:

“It is in the framework of establishing peace and stability in Guinea Bissau that Mr . President has approved a substantial number of elections kits to enable them to carry out this election.

Without those kits that are over 350, it is going to be difficult to carry out the election.

The last batch of it is about to be delivered, and in addition, Mr . President has approved the supply of seven vehicles with about 500,000 dollars.

Guinea Bissau is very important for the ECOWAS sub region as you know that President Muhammadu Buhari is the chairperson of the ECOWAS and interested in the political situation of Guinea Bissau.”

Mr. Onyeama said Nigeria, UN and ECOWAS are determined to ensure complete political stability in Guinea Bissau to permit economic development that the country needs.

Mr. Jose Filho , thanked the Government of Nigeria stating:

“We came here to exchange view and express appreciation, not in the name of Guinea Bissau, but in the name of the of the international community because I represent the UN in Guinea Bissau. I thank Nigeria for the assistance to Guinea Bissau.”

 

Nigeria & Botswana Sign Agreements On Cultural Affairs & Diplomatic Relations

Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, has said Nigeria and Botswana have signed agreements on cultural cooperation and diplomatic relations as part of efforts to deepen bilateral relations.

The minister stated this in Abuja after the 4th session of Nigeria-Botswanan Joint Permanent Commission for Cooperation (BNJPCC).

According to Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama:

“The signing of the agreements on the JPCC signalled our collective desire to promote political, economic, cultural, social, educational, scientific relations among others.

It also marked a strategic cooperation and partnership to boost economic growth and create employment opportunities thus making a contribution in the fight against poverty and underdevelopment in our countries.

As members of both commonwealth and African Union, we should consult on regular basis with a view to strategically cooperate with each other in these prime organisations to achieve our set objectives.”

He said the meeting had broaden the scope of collaboration between Nigeria and Botswana and also paved the way for regular political exchanges at a higher level.

The Botswana Minister of International Affairs and Cooperation, Unity Dow, expressed satisfaction with the existing relations between the two countries and reiterated the necessity to reinforce these relations for mutual benefits.

She stressed the need to deepen cooperation politically, economically, social-culturally and in all aspects of development in line with the principle of African Union. The minister said the relation should be broaden from economic and technical cooperation to social cultural, human resources and manpower development as well as legal and defence cooperation.

 

ATAF Re-elects Tunder Fowler As African Tax Chairman

The Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Tunde Fowler, has been re-elected as Council Chairman of the African Tax Administration Forum (ATAF) for a fresh two-year term.

This was disclosed in a press release signed by Wahab Gbadamosi, FIRS’ Head of Communications and Servicom Department.

According to the press release, Fowler was returned unopposed by all ATAF Council members at the Forum’s 5th General Assembly meeting, in Gaborone, Botswana.

He led the organisation in the last two years, with commendable applause from members of the organisation. His candidature was not opposed by any of the 26 countries that participated in the elections.

Burundi, Burkina Faso and Mauritius contested the position of the Vice-Chairman, which Mauritius won.

Established in 2009, ATAF, the continental association of tax authorities, has 38 members.

Fowler succeeded Mr. Gershem T. Pasi, the Commissioner- General of Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, in 2016.  Under Fowler, ATAF has made tremendous strides.

Last year in Abuja, ATAF launched the landmark ATAF Transfer Pricing Toolkit, which is assisting African countries to prevent huge financial losses through new Transfer Pricing Rules.

Many African Tax Authorities are leveraging the toolkit to contain financial leakages from their economy.

Also, ATAF under Fowler has given Africa a global voice in global tax matters.

ATAF is leading the world in African position on Tax Affairs, with its representation on High Level Talks on stemming Illicit Financial Flows (IFF). Under Fowler, the Forum has also launched the African Tax Outlook, through which African Tax administrations are sharing data.

It has equally strengthened the capacities of African Tax Administration Authorities, with its organisation of quality technical training on the continent.

Global Diplomatic News: Week 36

Dr. Omobola Johnson Named To World Wide Web Foundation Board [2018]

After a 3-year tenure as an Honorary Chairperson of the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) where she provided guidance and advocacy to help drive down internet costs, Dr. Omobola Johnson is joining the Web Wide Web Foundation as a board member.

The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) — a global coalition, led by the Web Foundation, working to make broadband affordable for all.

The World Wide Web Foundation was founded in 2009 by Sir Tim Berners-Lee to ‘advance the open web as a public good and a basic right.’

A part of an official statement by the A4AI reads:

“As the second Honorary Chair of A4AI — a role she assumed on September 1, 2015 — Omobola has provided invaluable policy guidance and has led high-level advocacy efforts to drive down the cost of internet. In that time, both A4AI’s membership and its international profile have grown, and the Alliance has achieved important policy victories, including the adoption of the ‘1 for 2’ affordability target by Nigeria, Ghana, ECOWAS and the UN Broadband Commission.”

In her response, Dr. Omobola Johnson said:

“So honoured to be asked to join the Web FOUNDATION Board. Looking forward to contributing to making all of the web available to all of the people.

So honoured to be asked to join the Web FOUNDATION Board. Looking forward to contributing to making all of the web available to all of the people.”

 

Nigeria-China Trade Value Reaches $7.2 Billion [January 2018 – June 2018]

The China Commercial Consular to Nigeria, Mr. Hongliang Gao, has put the present value of trade between Nigeria and China at $7.2 billion, making China the third largest trading partner with Nigeria.

At the opening ceremony of the 2018 China-Nigeria Trade Fair in Lagos, Mr. Gao stated:

“Nigeria is Africa’s first population country and the largest economy. It is rich in natural resources, fertile land and huge market potential. In recent years, the friendship between China and Nigeria have been further strengthened, high-level exchanges have become closer, political mutual trust has deepened, bilateral economic and trade cooperation have achieved fruitful results, and the scale of trade has continued to expand.

From January to June this year, the bilateral trade volume between China and Nigeria reached $7.2 billion. It increased by 7. 6 per cent year-on-year.

At present, Nigeria is China’s third largest trading partner in Africa, the largest engineering contracting market and an important investment destination.
The continuous and in-depth development of China-Nigeria economic and trade relations is in the common interest of the two peoples.”

He further spoke on the just concluded China Africa Summit, saying:

“Chinese President Xi Jinping shared the friendship and discussed the plans with the leaders of African countries. The Beijing Summit of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum is a major event in the historical development of China-Africa relations.

It has established a historical monument of China-Africa friendly exchanges, played a strong voice of China-Africa economic and trade cooperation, and point out the future development direction of China –Africa relations.

The China-Africa Cooperation Forum closed successfully yesterday. Today, the 2018 China -Nigeria Expo has entered Lagos and was grandly opened.

It is just the right time. The Expo is an important measure for the organisers and exhibitors to actively respond to the national interest.”

President Muhammadu Buhari Elected ECOWAS Chairman [2018]

President Muhammadu Buhari has been elected the new chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The president’s election was one of the highpoints of the 53rd Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS, which held in the Togolese capital.

In his acceptance remarks, the Nigerian leader, who commended his colleagues for his election, noted that he did not offer himself for the post, “but you refused to take my no for an answer.”

He, however, told his fellow leaders that, “I am truly humbled and pledge to serve and work with all of you to deliver on peace, security, good governance and socio-economic development” of the sub-region, and “take our organisation to greater heights.”

President Buhari also commended his immediate predecessor and President of Togo, Faure Gnassingbe, for successfully hosting two important meetings of the Joint Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and ECOWAS as well as the 53rd Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS.

The new chairman had earlier been presented with the emblem of ECOWAS by the outgoing chairman, while the next meeting of the organisation will take place in Abuja on December 21, 2018.

Aliko Dangote Is UNWTO’s First African Ambassador For Responsible Tourism

Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili of the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), has named Aliko Dangote an Ambassador for Responsible Tourism in the framework of the 61st Regional Commission meeting for Africa, celebrated in Abuja, Nigeria.

According to Zurab Pololikashvili:

“With this appointment, Mr. Dangote is added to the list of personalities named by UNWTO as Ambassadors for Responsible Tourism, whom we hope will act as messengers of our legacy and vision across the globe.”

Considered one of the most successful businessmen in Africa, Aliko Dangote founded the Dangote Group 30 years ago and turned his enterprise into the largest business conglomerate in West Africa.

Mr. Dangote also set up the largest Foundation in Africa, the Dangote Foundation, devoted to providing nutrition, health and education to the continent’s most vulnerable people.

Tourism is an activity with enormous economic importance, which favours an approach that links countries. UNWTO is committed to making well-managed tourism a source of sustainable and responsible development, and of growth opportunities for communities and economies.

Morocco & Nigeria Sign 3 Cooperation Agreements [2018]

President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and King Mohammed VI of Morocco supervised the signing of three bilateral cooperation agreements in Rabat, Morocco capital city. The cooperation agreements focused on strengthening economic relations on gas resource development, global investments, and agricultural training and management.

One of the agreements is linked to the strategic project of gas pipeline connecting Nigeria and Morocco. The regional gas pipeline will see Nigeria supplying gas to countries in West Africa sub-region, Morocco and Europe.

According to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu:

“The feasibility study of the agreement on the pipeline, which was signed by the Group General Manager, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr. Farouq Garba, and Mrs. Amina Benkhadra, director-general of the National Office of Hydrocarbon and Mines, will be concluded by July 2018.

The construction of the pipeline will be phased and based on increasing needs of the countries crossed and Europe for the period of 25 years.

The Nigeria Morocco Gas Pipeline, designed to be 5,660km long, will reduce gas flaring in Nigeria and encourage diversification of energy resources in the country, while cutting down poverty through the creation of more job opportunities.

The NMGP will further encourage utilisation of gas in the sub-region for cooking, and discourage desertification.”

According to Garba Shehu, the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, Mr. Uche Orji; and the Chief Executive Officer, Office of the Management of Phosphate in Morocco, Mr. Mostafa Terrab, also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the development of a chemical plant in Nigeria for producing ammonia and its derivatives.

On the third agreement, the Nigerian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, and his Moroccan counterpart, Mr. Aziz Akhannouch, signed a cooperation agreement on vocational training and technical supervision to enhance skills on better management of agricultural outfits in Nigeria.