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.

Danlami Basharu Is Re-elected Into UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Danlami Basharu, has been re-elected into the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities for the 2019 to 2021 term, in a contested election.

Danlami Basharu, whose first term expires in December, was elected at the first round with 108 votes alongside Lithuania – 111 votes, Australia – 107, Switzerland-104, South Korea – 99, and Ghana – 92.

However, 16 other countries went into the second round of election during which three representing Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico respectively were elected, while 30 countries initially sponsored candidates but eight withdrew at the last minute.

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol is one of the most widely-ratified international human rights treaties, which reaffirms that people with disabilities are entitled to the same treatment as everybody else.

Mr. Danlami Basharu, former President, Joint National Association of Persons with Disability, said:

“Currently, we are working on a programme with National Human Rights Commission and the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development in order to promote the awareness of the Convention in Nigeria.

And there have been quite a number of changes in the sense that various corporate organisations are realising the need to make their buildings accessible for persons with disabilities such as wheelchairs users and so on.

In that way, such persons can have access to employment and to education, to healthcare facilities and to social services; the National Disability Bill has been passed by the parliament and waiting for President’s assent.

The bill actually has designated the position for a National Commission for Persons with Disabilities in Nigeria, which will actually help to alleviate a lot of the challenges that persons with disabilities encounter in Nigeria.”

Tijjani Bande, Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the UN, applauded the election, saying:

“We wrote a letter to all the Missions telling them that the Nigerian Government was interested in the candidature of Basharu and this was followed by personal visits by the Mission to explain why this was important to us.

We arranged bilateral meetings with many missions in support of our candidates. We had agreements with several other Missions of mutual support, which we adhere to.

We also had a big event at the mission, to let the candidate interact with the all delegations; it was very well attended and we thank all those who gave a lot of support to our candidate.

Especially, the feel was really a very heavy one, and to be number two out of number 22, even though we started like just five months to the election when some have started three years earlier than we did.

But we also would like to say that when we have agreements, we stick to our agreements. We are not also unmindful of the fact that we do not go for many positions.

We select positions because we believe that other countries also have contributions to make in other committees and we try not to be all over the place.

So we are selective in the committees we go for. We are very grateful to all those who worked very hard.

It is an important position because it is dealing with a class of rights, not general rights but rights of those who are usually ignored and this is the measure of your humanity.

It’s how you connect and ensure the rights of those who, if left on their own, might be easily ignored; for example, you don’t know except through this effort, what challenges the disabled go through.

And to now insist on our understanding their rights and what is also our obligation to make sure they are given their full rights as human beings, this is important.

And that platform (CRPD) is very important and that is why all countries try to send their very best to advance that cause and we are very grateful Nigeria has an excellent candidate and he went through.

He would add the voice of Nigeria to the global efforts to protect and advance the rights of the disabled in whatever facet or area of disability we are talking about.”