Donald Trump’s administration has decided to stop funding the Safer Skies for Africa programme that used to take place in Nigeria. This has left the organisers in limbo as there is no fund to keep the programme running.
Reason for the action of the US: The United States Government made the decision to stop its financial backing without giving reasons. This could affect logistics as the Accident Investigation Bureau, the organisers of the Safer Skies for Africa programme has not found another sponsor to fill the vacuum.
The event used to be attended by the Heads of Accident Investigation Bureaux from several African countries. It was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation and Nigeria’s Accident Investigation Bureau for many years.
Speaking on the decision of the U.S. to back out of the programme, the Commissioner and Chief Executive Officer of the Investigation Bureau in Nigeria, Akin Olateru, said, “Today (yesterday), we have come to the end of the programme where we brought in African nations to an aviation safety gathering sponsored by AIB Nigeria in conjunction with the Safe Sky Africa, which is the Department of Transport in the U.S., and the U.S NTSB.
“Unfortunately, I heard the programme has come to an end as the U.S. Government will no longer sponsor it. This is very unfortunate because Africa has really benefited from this programme.”
He added that, “I cannot speak on behalf of the U.S. Government on why they decided to stop funding the Safe Skies for Africa project. All I know is that we were told that the project has stopped.”
Replacement underway: The Accident Investigation Bureau has tasked African leaders to come together in order to salvage the situation. Olateru said he had approached the African Development Bank (AfDB) for support to keep running the programme, urging the bank to take over the initiative to enable African skies to remain safer.
“I think we Africans should put heads together on how we can help ourselves. We have approached AfDB, under its corporate social responsibility, to take up the sponsorship of the programme. We owe it to ourselves to work together as a team and strengthen aviation and make aviation a safer place to be.”
Explaining further on the process of finding a replacement, Olateru said the bureau would partner with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to facilitate the release of funds from AfDB.
“I had a meeting with the ICAO president two months ago in Montreal, Canada. I had a discussion with him on how AfDB can continue to sponsor this project through ICAO because AfDB will not just release money to AIB Nigeria. It must be an independent organisation, which is ICAO. It is not just to Nigeria but to African nations.
“There will be another meeting during the next ICAO Assembly on the clear-cut modality on how to get this done. So, talks are still on, on how to make this work.”
TikTok to relocate headquarters to London following approval by UK ministers
The technology firm has been under heavy scrutiny and criticism from the US government.
ByteDance Ltd, the parent company of TikTok, is in the process of relocating its headquarters from Beijing to London, following a deal that was approved by UK ministers.
A report by Reuters also noted that the Chinese company’s founders will soon officially announce their intention to set up an office in London.
This move may likely upset President Donald Trump, who had announced plans to ban TikTok in the United States of America. The US considers the UK as a reliable ally.
Nairametrics had reported about 2 weeks ago that the Beijing-based video-sharing social networking firm, had been in discussions with the British Government over the relocation of its headquarters to London. The move has been perceived by analysts/observers seen as part of ByteDance’s strategy to distance itself from its Chinese ownership.
The technology firm has been under heavy scrutiny and criticism from the US Government over suspicions that China could be forcing it to turn over data. Earlier this year, the company was even labeled a potential counterintelligence threat by senior members of the US congress.
ByteDance recently came under intense pressure from the White House and US lawmakers to sell off TikTok’s US operations. It now has a 45-day deadline to negotiate with Microsoft over such a deal.
ByteDance Ltd is looking at all the available options to resolve its dispute with the American Government. In the meantime, Chief Executive Officer, Zhang Yiming, said no decision has been taken regarding the proposed sale of its US operations to Microsoft Corp.
The relocation of its headquarters to London might come as a surprise considering the current tension/dispute between the technology firm and the United States Government, who are close allies of the UK.
It can be recalled that amid tensions between China and some Western Countries and in solidarity with the United States, the British Government recently banned Chinese Telecom firm, Huawei’s 5G networks in the country. According to the UK Government, Huawei’s products posed a threat to the security of the UK’s infrastructure.
Lagos state lists conditions that must be met by churches, mosques before reopening
The government specified that the conditions must be met for worship centres to open.
The Lagos State Government has introduced some measures and conditions that must be met/fulfiled by all religious centres and places of worships that are planning to reopen, following further relaxation of lockdown.
These measures were contained in a press statement that was issued by the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and seen by Nairametrics.
Nairametrics had reported that the Lagos State Governor on Saturday, August 1, during his 17th briefing on the state’s COVID-19 response, announced the reopening of worship centres with effect from August 7th. Now, the Lagos State Government has specified that the following conditions must be met for worship centres that are planning to open;
- Only regular services/gatherings are permitted to hold. Night vigils and other non-regular programmes remain prohibited until further notice.
- Attendees above 65 years are strongly discouraged from attending worship services.
- Consider holding services and gatherings in large, well-ventilated areas or outdoors, as circumstances and faith tradition allow.
- No face mask, no entry policy, must be maintained throughout the duration of the services.
- Regular cleaning and disinfection of facilities must be carried out to maintain clean and hygienic environments before and after every service.
- Appropriate screening equipment for COVID-19 symptoms such as a contactless temperature check must be available for entrants into the facility.
- It is mandatory to provide hand-washing facilities and sanitizers at the entry and exit point of the premises.
- National emergency response phone lines must be displayed prominently on the premises.
- Handshakes, hugs and high fives are not permitted at services or gatherings and this should be emphasized by displaying appropriate signs prominently.
- The use of stationary collection boxes and electronic methods for collection of the offering must be encouraged.
- The flow of human traffic in and out of these places of worship must be conducted in an organized and orderly manner.
The Governor urged Lagosians to fully comply with the measures outlined in the new regulations, stressing that Lagos State Safety Commission has a statutory responsibility to monitor the activities and operations of all organizations and worship centres that have been permitted to re-open.
*COVID-19* : Measures taken by the Lagos State Government to further relax the lockdown.@jidesanwoolu @drobafemihamzat @gbenga_omo @gboyegaakosile @Mr_JAGss#LASG #ForAGreaterLagos #LagosAgainstCovid19 pic.twitter.com/0t8ti49wYz
— The Lagos State Govt (@followlasg) August 2, 2020
Shoprite to leave Nigeria after 15 years
Shoprite announced its plan to sell off its Nigerian operations.
South African retailer, Shoprite International Limited announced earlier today that it is considering a potential divestment from its Nigerian operation – Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited.
This was disclosed in the company’s latest operational and voluntary trading update which was published this morning.
Backstory: The South African retailer has been struggling in Nigeria in recent years owing largely to increased competition and government policies such as border closures and local production of consumables. Nairametrics reported in April that Shoprite Nigeria lost 8.1% of sales in the H2 of 2019, which was related to the September 2019 xenophobic attacks.
Meanwhile, Shoprite is not the only South African company that has recently announced exit from Nigeria. Nairametrics also reported that another South company, Mr. Price, would be exiting Nigeria to focus on the South African market. Already, the company has closed 4 out of its 5 retail outlets in Nigeria.
Unfortunately, Nigeria’s ‘difficult’ business environment has been blamed for these major divestments.
Shoprite, which has spent 15 years in Nigeria stated that customer visits for the year declined by 7.4% due to the pandemic lockdowns. It also noted that outside South Africa, sales only increased by 0.1%, and an overall decline in sales of 1.4% for the year.
“Following approaches from various potential investors, and in line with our re-evaluation of the Group’s operating model in Nigeria, the Board has decided to initiate a formal process to consider the potential sale of all, or a majority stake, in Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of Shoprite International Limited.
“As such, Retail Supermarkets Nigeria Limited may be classified as a discontinued operation when Shoprite reports its results for the year. Any further updates will be provided to the market at the appropriate time,” the update read in part.
Shoprite joins two other South African retailers, Mr. Price and Woolworths who have also announced exists from Nigeria due to a harsh operating environment.
What this means: Shoprite’s exit from Nigeria once again brings to the fore the challenges South African companies are facing in Africa’s largest economy as they try to replicate the successes of MTN.
- Shoprite is a flagship retail outlet in Nigeria and has been the major anchor tenant for shopping mall developers in Nigeria.
- With their exit, funding for the development of shopping malls in Nigeria could be in jeopardy as anchor tenants are the major drivers of mall constructions. However, the new owners, could sustain this drive and continue to expand beyond its current coverage locations.
- The future for Shoprite and its employees will now depend on the ability of its South African parent company to find buyers.