The growth forecast for Sub-Saharan Africa has been cut by The World Bank, after the international financial institution backtracked from its previous growth projection for the African continent.
The World Bank had initially announced a growth forecast of 3.3 percent for Sub-Saharan Africa in 2019. But on Monday, the forecast was retracted, with The World Bank stating that its growth projection for Africa is now 2.8 percent.
Also, the bank cut its 2018 growth estimate for the regional economy to 2.3 per cent from last October’s predicted 2.7 percent growth.
Why the growth cut: The international financial institution said a decline in industrial production and a trade dispute between China and the United States of America will take a toll on Africa’s economic growth.
Also, a decade of rapid growth for the region was cut short by the commodity price slump of 2015.
Why it matters: The new projection means the economic growth will fail to keep up with population growth. This will make it the fourth year in a row that such will be recorded after slipping to below 3 percent in 2015.
“The slower-than-expected overall growth reflects ongoing global uncertainty, but increasingly comes from domestic macroeconomic instability including poorly managed debt, inflation and deficits.” -TWB
Focus on Three of Africa’s largest economy
About 60 percent of sub-Saharan Africa’s annual economic output is from Nigeria, South Africa and Angola. But their contribution to the growth momentum has been hampered by various challenges. According to The World Bank:
“This downward revision reflects slower growth in Nigeria and Angola, due to challenges in the oil sector, and subdued investment growth in South Africa, due to low business confidence.”
However, due to a modest pick-up in the non-oil sector, The World Bank reported that Nigeria’s economy grew from 0.8 percent in 2017, to an estimated 1.9 percent in 2018.
For South Africa, policy uncertainty in the country has left investors wary despite coming out of recession in the third quarter of last year. But Angola remains in recession due to weak oil production.
Meanwhile, countries like Zambia and Liberia have found it difficult to lure investors considering their High inflation and heavy debt loads, and this has affected their growth prospects.
But for the likes of Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Benin, and Ivory Coast whose economies do not depend on commodities, growth remains strong.
World Bank is worried by the rate of debt in Africa
The World Bank says countries are being exposed to vulnerabilities because of the region’s debt rate and the type of borrowing that countries are undertaking.
“External debt is shifting from traditional, concessional, publicly guaranteed sources to more private, market-based, and expensive sources of finance, putting countries at risk.
“By the end of 2018, nearly half of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa covered under the Low-Income Country Debt Sustainability Framework were at high risk of debt distress or in debt distress, more than double the number in 2013.”
World proffers solution to fast-track growth
The World Bank has urged African countries to adopt the use of information technology more effectively in its operations. According to Albert Zeufack, the chief economist for Africa at the bank, this could help boost annual growth by nearly two percent. He said it will be a game-changer for Africa.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 26th of September 2020, 136 new confirmed cases and 3 deaths were recorded in Nigeria
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 58,198 confirmed cases.
On the 26th of September 2020, 136 new confirmed cases and 3 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 7,968 samples across the country.
To date, 58,198 cases have been confirmed, 49,722 cases have been discharged and 1,106 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 502,545 tests have been carried out as of September 26th, 2020 compared to 494,577 tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 26th September 2020,
- Total Number of Cases – 58,198
- Total Number Discharged – 49,722
- Total Deaths – 1,106
- Total Tests Carried out – 502,545
According to the NCDC, the 136 new cases were reported from 16 states- Lagos (41), Ogun (27), Rivers (19), Abia (10), Oyo (6), Plateau (6), Bauchi (5), Ondo (5), Ekiti (4), Kaduna (4), Edo (3), Ebonyi (2), Bayelsa (1), Delta (1), Osun (1), Yobe (1).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 19,215, followed by Abuja (5,644), Plateau (3,379), Oyo (3,254), Edo (2,623), Kaduna (2,393), Rivers (2,324), Delta (1,802), Ogun (1,823), Kano (1,737), Ondo (1,625), Enugu (1,289), Ebonyi (1,040), Kwara (1,028), Abia (891), Gombe (864). Katsina (848), Osun (827), Borno (741), and Bauchi (697).
Imo State has recorded 566 cases, Benue (481), Nasarawa (449), Bayelsa (398), Jigawa (325), Ekiti (321), Akwa Ibom (288), Niger (259), Adamawa (237), Anambra (234), Sokoto (162), Taraba (95), Kebbi (93), Cross River (87), Zamfara (78), Yobe (76), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.
Lock Down and Curfew
In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.
The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.
On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.
On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.
NNPC says local operators must improve capacity to achieve low cost of oil production
The NNPC has mandated local oil companies to improve capacity to so as to reduce oil production cost.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said that indigenous companies operating in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector must upscale their capacity for global competitiveness in order to achieve the target of reducing the cost of oil production in Nigeria on a sustainable basis.
This was disclosed by the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Mallam Mele Kyari, at a virtual stakeholder’s consultative summit which was organized by the Senate Committee on Local Content.
According to a press release by NNPC, which was signed by its Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Dr. Kennie Obateru, the NNPC GMD said that there was need to amend the Local Content Act to reflect current realities in the industry.
Kyari, who was represented by the Group General Manager, Corporate Planning & Strategy (CP&S), Mrs Eyesan Oritsemeyiwa, argued that there was a need to have a legislation to resolve the issues of funding challenges faced by local players, stressing that oil and gas business required high technical skills and competence to compete favourably at the global stage.
Speaking further on the need for greater capacity building on the part of indigenous companies, the GMD said the nation’s education system has a great role to play in the development of highly skilled technical manpower, adding that any legislation on Nigerian content development that fails to embrace issues of investment in the educational system was not likely to achieve much.
He said, “In terms of the interaction between industry and education, we think these new bills would present a good model that we should work with. People are the greatest assets of any nation. If you have the best brains in the industry today, as long as you are not getting a good replacement for them from the educational sector when they grow old and retire, then your industry will collapse.”
The NNPC boss pointed out that the nation has made some good progress from the era when there was no single indigenous operator in the oil and gas industry to the current situation where local operators have risen to double digits, stressing that the trend should be encouraged.
He praised the National Assembly’s initiative to review and amend the Local Content Act and urged the committee to ensure that it is carried out in a timely fashion in order for the law to deliver maximum value for the nation.
The GMD commended the legislators for the plan to extend the local content law beyond the oil and gas industry to other sectors of the nation’s economy, stressing that it would open up the non-oil sectors to growth and development.
The local content initiative has been identified as being very critical to the development of Nigeria’s oil and gas sector as the Federal Government plans to reduce the cost of production of crude oil to $10 per barrel in the face of the recent crash in crude oil prices.
The Federal Government has provided the sum of $350 million as the Nigerian Content Intervention Fund to help support local participation in the oil and gas sector.
Local Content: @NNPCgroup Advocates Capacity Upgrade for Indigenous Operators
In order to achieve the target of reducing the cost of oil production in Nigeria on a sustainable basis, @NNPCgroup says indigenous companies operating in the…
— NNPC Group (@NNPCgroup) September 26, 2020
NNPC signs gas development and commercialization deal with SEEPCO
NNPC and SEEPCO have signed a gas development and commercialization deal.
The state oil giant, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has signed a gas development deal with Sterling Exploration and Energy Production Company (SEEPCO).
The agreement between the 2 oil firms is for the development and commercialization of gas from Oil Mining Lease (OML) 143 that could help reduce gas flaring in the country.
The disclosure was contained in a press statement that was issued by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division of NNPC, Dr Kennie Obateru, on Saturday, September 26, 2020, in Abuja.
According to the statement, the Group Managing Director of NNPC, Malam Mele Kyari, while speaking at the agreement-signing ceremony which held at the NNPC Towers, described the execution of the deal as a great milestone as well as a testament to NNPC’s commitment to facilitating the nation’s transformation into a gas-powered economy.
Kyari disclosed that the deal would not only help reduce gas flaring and its environmental hazards but would also promote gas production and utilization in the domestic market.
The NNPC boss also commended SEEPCO for its unwavering commitment to gas development and commercialization in the country which has led to the establishment of a Special Purpose Vehicle that will help expand gas utilization in the country as a cleaner, cheaper and more reliable alternative form of energy.
On his part, the Chairman of SEEPCO, Mr Tony Chukwueke, described the deal as an essential partnership that would help the company fulfil the pledge it made to support the efforts of the Nigerian government to eliminate gas flaring by monetizing it.
He commended NNPC and the Group Managing Director for ensuring the execution of the agreement which he described central to the achievement of the company’s cardinal objective of boosting the production of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), condensate and dry gas for the Nigerian market, adding that the company has invested about $600 million for that purpose.
This is coming at a time when the Federal Government is shifting focus to gas utilization as an alternative source of energy especially with the increase in the retail pump price of petrol. This is one of the various initiatives by the government as represented by the NNPC towards providing alternative sources of energy.