The African Development Bank (AfDB) has disclosed that Nigeria is the largest contributor to West Africa’s wealth creation. The country makes about 75% contribution to regional Gross Domestic Product.
This was revealed by Mr. Ebrima Faal, the bank’s Senior Director for Nigeria who gave an interview to newsmen at the ongoing Annual Meetings of the bank in Malabo, Republic of Equatorial Guinea.
The annual gathering avails experts, businesses, think-tanks, civil society groups, governments, and the academia the opportunities to share their unpretentious assessments of regional integration efforts. They also use the occasion to chart a new course on critical issues regarding the development of Africa. This year’s theme is “Regional Integration for Africa’s Economic Prosperity”.
According to Faal, Nigeria’s trade policy is anchored on the Economic Community of West African States, as it maintains the coordinating role it plays in the region through the public sector and its active private sector.
Free Trade: On Nigeria’s attempt to integrate trade in West Africa, Faal stated that the country had performed relatively well in terms of free movement of goods and people, through the ratification of relevant ECOWAS instruments bordering on the free movement of persons, workers, and rights of establishments.
He further disclosed that Nigeria allows citizens who possess the valid travel documents from all other ECOWAS countries to enter its borders visa-free. However, the country had ceaselessly made strides in trade integration with various attempts to unify documentation and simplify processes that will enable free flow of trade across its borders.
“Nigeria has an active Export Promotion Council (NEPC), which champions implementation of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme, the main operational tool for promoting Free Trade in West Africa. However, there is still much to be done on the integration of its productive value chains, especially in the areas of agriculture and the manufacturing sector for exports.”
Collaboration with Ebonyi State: In the meantime, AfDB will collaborate with the Ebonyi State Government on the $70 million Ebonyi Ring Road project. The regional road project was approved by the Federal Executive Council in April 2019.
Faal emphasized that the road would open up the state for trade with Cameroon and other close neighbours. This is because the road crosses through the Enugu-Bamenda road corridor at two points, thus providing the residents in the zone easier access into Cameroon and other neighbouring states.
Bottom line: Mr Faal stated that the development bank would maintain its focus on improving the institutional framework for the management of projects in the region through capacity support.
Gokada Founder, Fahim Saleh murdered in New York apartment
Mr. Fahim Saleh’s body was found decapitated and dismembered with an electric saw.
Fahim Saleh, the entrepreneur who founded Gokada, has been murdered in his luxury New York City apartment, according to the New York Times.
Police detectives in New York disclosed that Mr Saleh’s body was found decapitated and dismembered with an electric saw. His head, limbs, and torso were said to have been found in different parts of the apartment after whoever murdered him tried to clean up the crime scene.
The police also revealed that plastic bags were found on the scene of the murder, which they say could have been an effort to “clean up” evidence of the murder.
The casualty was identified as 33 years old, Fahim Saleh, tech entrepreneur and Gokada founder who owned the apartment. His body was found by his sister, 3:30 pm New York time after she went to check on him after not hearing from him in 24 hours, calling the police immediately after finding the body.
Police also believe his sister’s arrival may have interrupted the evidence clean up, as the electric saw was still plugged in. Police are investigating it as a case of homicide.
Surveillance video showed Mr. Saleh entering the elevator with someone else in a black mask and suit, the person also follows Saleh as he enters his apartment, and a fight began between the two. Police say there is a second exit through a service entrance in the apartment.
Fahim Saleh was born in Saudi Arabia to Bangladeshi parents before settling in New York with his family and started coding as a teenager. He founded PrankDial after graduating from Bentley University where he recorded his first success in tech.
He founded the bike hailing company Gokada, which began operations in Lagos 2 years ago. Gokada has raised $12.4 million according to Startup listing site Crunchbase. During their venture capital raise of $5.3 million in 2019, Saleh announced plans to expand Gokada services into a club with restaurants, letting drivers relax and get things they need from a Gokada shop such as food.
Gokada had to reduce operations in Lagos after the February Okada ban. The Lagos Sate Government had banned okada services in Apapa LGA, Apapa Iganmu LCDA, Lagos Mainland LGA, Yaba LCDA, Surulere LGA, Itire-Ikate LCDA, Coker-Aguda LCDA, Ikeja LGA, Onigbongbo LCDA, Ojodu LCDA, Eti-Osa LGA, Ikoyi-Obalende LCDA, Iru-Victoria Island LCDA, Lagos Island LGA and Lagos Island East LCDA.
Moderna’s shares gain over 16% as COVID-19 vaccine passes first human trial
Participants received two doses of the potential vaccine.
Moderna’s share price gained over 16% on Tuesday after the U.S drugmaker disclosed that its potential vaccine in containing the COVID-19 virus had produced a “robust” immune response in all the 45 patients in its first phase of the human trial, according to data released yesterday night in the peer-reviewed New England Journal of Medicine.
In a report credited to CNBC, about 45 patients produced neutralizing antibodies, which scientists believe is important for building immunity. It also provided more promising data that the vaccine may give some protection against the coronavirus. In the trial, each participant received a 25, 100 or 250 microgram dose, with 15 people in each dose group. Participants received two doses of the potential vaccine.
“After two vaccinations, the COVID-19 vaccine generated a “robust” immune response in all participants in all dose cohorts,” Moderna said. The company also disclosed that the levels of neutralizing antibodies in patients in the high dose group were fourfold higher than in recovered COVID-19 patients.
“These Phase 1 data demonstrate that vaccination with mRNA-1273 elicits a robust immune response across all dose levels and clearly support the choice of 100 µg in a prime and boost regimen as the optimal dose for the Phase 3 study,” Moderna’s chief medical officer, Tal Zaks, said in a statement. “We look forward to beginning our Phase 3 study of mRNA-1273 this month to demonstrate our vaccine’s ability to significantly reduce the risk of COVID-19 disease.”
Quick fact about COVID-19: Although for some individuals, the COVID-19 virus causes only mild illness, it can make other individuals seriously ill. The disease can be very fatal, especially among older individuals, and those with compromised immunities (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart problems) appear to be more susceptible.
Recall that about a month ago, Nairametrics reported news of a series of tests carried on laboratory mice with Moderna Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine showing hope that it might not increase the risk of more serious diseases and that one dose might provide protection against the COVID-19 virus.
Moderna also disclosed that the COVID-19 vaccine was generally well-tolerated, though more than half of the participants reported mild or moderate symptoms such as fatigue, muscle aches, or pain at the injection site.
How to access new CBN’s Agric fund
Each non-interest deposit Bank to set aside 5% of its PAT annually as contribution to the Fund.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has unveiled guidelines for a Non-Interest Financial Institutions under its Agri-Business, Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme (AGSMEIS) and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF).
This was disclosed by the apex bank via its website on Tuesday. The guidelines also included the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme (AADS) and seven other intervention schemes in its bouquet.
How the AGSMEIS works
* The CBN would create a Fund to be known as ‘AGSMEIS Non-Interest Fund’ that will be domiciled in a dedicated account with the apex bank.
* Each non-interest deposit Bank (full-fledged or window) was to set aside 5% of its Profit After Tax (PAT) annually as contribution to the Fund.
* Each non-interest Deposit Bank was also to transfer its contribution to the CBN not later than 10 working days after the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the participating bank.
* Eligible activities under the Scheme are businesses across the agricultural value chain, covering production, inputs supply, storage, processing, logistics and marketing.
* Others included MSMEs in the real sector including manufacturing, ICT, mining, petrochemicals and the creative industry as well as other activities as the CBN may determine from time to time.
How to access fund
The application of the Fund shall be categorised into three broad components. They are debt, equity and developmental components.
• The debt component shall constitute 50% of the fund which shall be disbursed as financings to eligible businesses through Non-Interest Deposit Money Banks.
*Asset purchased shall be registered with the National Collateral Registry (NCR).
* Financing limit: N10,000,000
* Mark-up: 5% per annum
* Tenor: Up to 7 years (depending on the nature/gestation period of the
* Moratorium: Maximum of 18 months for principal and 6 months on mark-up.
* Duly completed application form.
* Bank Verification Number (BVN).
* Certificate of Training from recognised Entrepreneurship Development Institution (EDI) or evidence of membership of organised private sector association.
* Letter of Introduction from any of the following: Clergy, Village Head, District Head, Traditional Ruler, senior civil servant etc (for individuals, microenterprises only).
* Evidence of registration of business name or certificate of incorporation and filing of annual returns (where applicable) in compliance with the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (1990).
Last month, the CBN announced that it has unveiled a framework that will integrate a non-interest window in all its intervention programmes aimed at supporting businesses and households that have been impacted negatively by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement, the apex bank said the integration will focus mainly on its Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) as well as the Targeted Credit Facility (TCF).
Why it matters: The Scheme will be for start-ups, business expansion or revival of ailing companies and shall be in compliance with provisions of BOFIA (1991) as amended and the principles underpinning operations of NIFIs.
“The MSMEDF for NIFIs guidelines are aimed to channel low return funds to the MSME sub-sector of the Nigerian economy through participating Financial Institutions (PFIs) to enhance access by MSMEs to financial services.
“Similarly, the non-interest guidelines for the AADS are aimed at engaging a minimum of 370,000 youths in agricultural production across the country between now and 2023, in order to reduce unemployment among the youth in the country,” it added.
While the specific objectives of the MSMEDF for NIFIs are to increase the productivity and output of microenterprises, job creation and engender inclusive growth, those of the AADS are to increase agricultural production towards food security, job creation and economic diversification.
* It is targeted at Nigerian youth between 18 and 35 years, seek to promote interaction among state governments, the CBN and other stakeholders in the agricultural value chain in each state.
* To enhance job creation in the agricultural sector, with focus on two crops where States have comparative advantage.
* Others were the Real Sector Support Facility (RSSF) revised guidelines (V3); the Real Sector Support Facility (RSSF) among others.