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Business News

Chinese President Xi Jinping visits Africa amidst trade war with US

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived Senegal on a four-nation African visit.

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Chinese President, Xi Jinping has on Saturday, arrived the Senegalese capital, Dakar. His visit marks the beginning of a four-nation African visit, seeking deeper military and economic ties. His trade visit will also take him to Rwanda, Mauritius and South Africa; the latter for a summit of BRICS countries: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The summit is coming amid the China-United States, billion dollar trade war.

Jinping pledged to strengthen economic ties with Africa – a continent already awash with cheap Chinese loans in exchange for minerals and huge construction projects. Africa, in recent times have witnessed more trade with China, making her Africa’s largest trading partner.

Also, Djibouti this month, launched a China-backed free trade zone that is considered to be the largest in Africa. Earlier this month, China hosted dozens of African military officials for the first China-Africa defense forum, which saw China overtaking the US in arms sales to Africa in recent years.

Jinping’s visit, which is his fourth Africa visit, also showcased China’s sweeping “Belt and Road” initiative that envisages linking Beijing to Africa, Europe and other parts of Asia via a network of ports, railways, power plants and economic zones.

Though, the United States and other critics have warned African nations against compounding Chinese debt, despite the high profile projects such as infrastructure and economic growth for the continent. This they consider, might lead to African nations handing over controlling stakes in strategic assets to China.

According to the China-Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins University, Chinese government, banks and contractors have loaned more than $94 billion to African governments and state-owned companies from 2000 to 2015.

Recall May, 2018, Nairametrics reported a Naira-Yuan swap deal reached by the Nigerian Government and the Chinese Government. The Peoples Bank of China (PBOC) disclosed this in a notice on its website. Governor Godwin Emefiele signed on behalf of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), while Governor Yi Gang signed on behalf of the PBOC. The size of the swap facility is RMB 15 billion/NGN 720 billion. The agreement is valid for three years and can be extended upon mutual consent.

Nairametrics also reported last week, the start of the trade of Yuan for the first time after Nigeria secured a Naira-Yuan currency swap deal. CBN had asked commercial banks to bid for renminbi on Friday. The results, are however, expected to be out by Monday.

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Energy

LNG boss tasks FG to begin the monetization of Nigeria’s gas

Mr Attah has urged the FG to take the gas sector more seriously as the future of Nigeria’s energy lies with it.

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The MD and CEO of Nigeria LNG Limited Mr. Tony Attah has tasked the Federal Government to begin the revamping and monetization of the Gas sector in Nigeria.

He made this statement while making his presentation at the 2nd virtual Nigerian Gas Association (NGA) Industry Multilogues, with the theme: “Powering Forward, Enabling Nigeria’s Industrialization via Gas.”

Mr. Tony Attah drew the attention of the audience to the hidden treasure in the Nigerian Gas industry which he believes is not getting enough attention from the government.

On the future of gas as an alternative energy source, Mr. Attah stated that the developed world is already keying into gas as an alternative to crude oil. Gas has proven to be a cleaner and more sustainable alternative.

He exclaimed that Nigeria is very rich in gas and yet poor in energy. Nigeria is the 9th country with the largest gas reserves in the world but makes very little use of it.

Mr. Attah went further to paint a clear picture of the promise of investing in gas using the success achieved by Qatar. Qatar is currently the largest LNG exporter in the world.

We just touched on a quick case study of Qatar. Someone mentioned Qatar already from a poor fishing country to a gas giant and it took just 10 years, which is why we, as Nigeria LNG, firmly believe in the conversation and the narrative about the declaration of the decade of gas.

“We believe it is possible. If you look at Qatar from 1995, when they really went into gas development, we were just two years behind Qatar. So, Qatar’s first LNG was in 1997.

Nigeria’s first LNG was in 1999, just two years behind. But then, within 10 years, because of the deliberateness of the government and focus on gas, they have gone to 77 million tonnes and we are at best, 22 million tonnes,” Attah said.

Mr. Attah stressed further the importance of the gas sector in Nigeria’s future. He recalled that the Nigerian Government declared 2021-2030 as the decade of gas. He pleaded with the government to take the sector more seriously as the future of Nigeria’s energy lies with it.

Gas is the future. That future is now, and just as the Minister of State has made us to realize, gas is food in fertilizer. Gas is transport as you saw in the Auto gas project that was declared.

Gas is life, as a matter of fact, for cooking, for heating, for existence. Gas is development in manufacturing, gas is power. Gas is everything. “We think it’s time for gas. It’s time for Nigeria to diversify and that is why we fully support the decade of gas,” he said.

What you should know

  • Early last year, the director of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) Mr Sarki Auwalu confirmed that Nigeria’s proven gas reserve stood at 203.16 trillion cubic feet.
  • Nigeria has the 9th largest gas reserves in the world. It is also the 6th largest exporter of gas.
  • The Federal Government declared the year 2021–2030 as the “Year of the Gas“. It pledged to finally kick start the development and commercialization of Nigeria’s huge gas reserves.

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Obituaries

Ex-Diamond Bank chairman, Seyi Bickersteth is dead

The death has been announced of Seyi Bickersteth, a former chairman of Diamond Bank Board of Directors.

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Erstwhile chairman of Diamond Bank Board of Directors, Mr. Seyi Bickersteth is dead.

According to multiple sources, Mr Bickersteth was found dead in his Ikoyi apartment. The cause of his death is yet to be unravelled as at the time of reporting this.

Until his death, Mr Bickersteth was a Regional Managing Partner and Chairman of Andersen Tax, Africa. According to his LinkedIn profile, he started his career at Arthur Andersen as a partner and rose through the echelons to his most recent position, in a career that spanned over forty years.

Mr Bickersteth is an alumnus of the famous University of Ibadan and York University, Canada where he obtained a Bachelor`s and Masters’ degrees in Economics respectively. He is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (FCA) and Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (FCTI).

Mr Bickersteth was most remembered for his pioneering role as a team leader of Arthur Anderson team in the 1988 International Merchant Bank (IMB) restructuring exercise. He served in various leadership positions and Boards in top firms like; KPMG, ARM and the defunct Diamond Bank.

Nairametrics had earlier reported the resignation of Mr Bickersteth from the Board of Diamond Bank in 2018.

Details of his burial and other relevant information will be subsequently communicated.

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