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IMF boss discloses immediate priority 

International Monetary Fund (IMF) has disclosed that its immediate priority is to help countries to minimise their risk of economic crises.

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IMF discloses immediate priority , Reduce funding oil subsidy - IMF to Nigeria , IMF: 40% of African countries can't pay back their debts , Nigeria among countries that pushed Global debt to $188 trillion - IMF , Coronavirus: World Bank, IMF to support Nigeria and other member countries affected, IMF, World Bank to hold meetings via conference call over Coronavirus epidemic, IMF advises banks to suspend dividend payment

International Monetary Fund (IMF) has disclosed that its immediate priority is to help countries, including Nigeria to minimise their risk of economic crises. In a letter to the IMF’s Executive Board, the newly appointed Managing Director of the fund, Kristalina Georgieva said the Fund would not lose sight of its long-term objective, as it aims at helping countries cope with their downturns.

[READ MORE: IMF replaces Lagarde, gets new Managing Director]

Georgieva’s statement partly read: “As I noted in my statement to the executive board, our immediate priority is to help countries minimise the risk of crises and be ready to cope with downturns.   

“Yet, we should not lose sight of our long-term objective – to support sound monetary, fiscal and structural policies to build stronger economies and improve people’s lives. This means also dealing with issues like inequalities, climate risks and rapid technological change.”   

Kristalina Georgieva

Kristalina Georgieva

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The new IMF boss further expressed that she looked forward to working with all the Fund’s 189-member countries, the executive board and staff, and with all its partners in the years ahead. 

Nigeria’s economic overview: With a population of almost 200 million people, Nigeria accounts for about 47% of West Africa’s population. With an abundance of resources, it is Africa’s biggest oil exporter, and also has the largest natural gas reserves on the continent. 

World Bank reported that Nigeria emerged from recession in 2017, with a growth rate of 0.8%, driven mainly by the oil sector. Growth was higher in 2018 (at 1.9%) and more broad-based. However, it still fell below the population growth rate, government projections and pre-recession levels.  

The oil and gas sector, according to the bank’s report, reverted to contraction from the second quarter of the year and the non-oil economy was thus the main driver of growth in 2018.  

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While agriculture slowed down significantly due to conflict and weather events, non-oil, non-agricultural growth, which remained negative up to the third quarter of 2017 strengthened through 2018 – but remained weak – with services (primarily information and communications technology) resuming as the key driver. 

As the oil sector is not labour-intensive, and the non-oil economy was still relatively weak, nearly a quarter of the workforce was unemployed in 2018; and another 20% under-employed. 

[READ ALSO: IMF reiterates the need for Nigeria, others to completely ditch fuel subsidy]

What you should know: Georgieva, Bulgarian economist had been appointed to replace Christine Lagarde, who resigned to become head of the European Central Bank (ECB). Georgieva’s five-year term as Managing Director of the IMF will take effect on Tuesday, October 1, 2019. 

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Georgieva served as the interim President for the World Bank Group between February 1, and April 8, 2019. 

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Famuyiwa Damilare is a trained journalist. He holds a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Mass Communication at the prestigious Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ).Damilare is an innovative and transformational leader with broad-based expertise in journalism and media practice at large. He has explored his proven ability in the areas of reporting, curating and generating contents, creatively establishing social media engagements, and mobile editing of videos. It is safe to say he’s a multimedia journalist.

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President Biden directs international air travelers must quarantine upon arrival

President Joe Biden has directed international air travellers to quarantine upon arrival in the United States.

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Joe Biden gains additional 4.6 million Twitter followers in less than 12 hours

The United States President Joe Biden has issued an executive order on Thursday that makes it mandatory for international air travellers to quarantine upon arrival in the US.

Similarly, the executive order also includes a directive that all interstate travellers in the US will be expected to wear a face mask. This travel order applies to airports and planes, trains, ferries, intercity buses and public transportation, but grants them the ability to issue exemptions.

READ: Here is reason Turkish Airlines was allowed to land in Abuja 

What the US President is saying in the executive order

According to a report from Reuters, President Biden’s order says, ‘‘To the extent, feasible air travellers must comply with applicable U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines concerning international travel ‘including recommended periods of self-quarantine.

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However, the executive order does not explain how it will be enforced as the implementation still remains quite hazy.

READ: A Joe Biden presidency and its impact on Nigeria’s oil

The order also directs US agencies to engage with Canada and Mexico on public health protocols for land ports of entry including implementing CDC guidelines. Almost all non-essential travel at US land borders with Canada and Mexico has been suspended till February 21.

The CDC recommends a 7-day quarantine for people arriving in the United States from nearly all countries.

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READ: Biden reverses US immigration ban on Nigeria, others

Biden is directing agencies to reconsider international contact tracing requirements for U.S.-bound passengers, which was abandoned by the Trump White House, as well as the possibility of follow-up Covid-19 testing for travellers after they arrive in the United States.

In addition, the US President has also directed that all travellers including US citizens, will be required to show proof of a negative Covid-19 test before entering the country from abroad in an order that underscores the CDC policy announced last week.

READ: Air travellers across Nigerian Airports hit 8.5 million in 6-month

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What you should know

  • It can be recalled that the Trump administration had resisted calls for the enforcement of a mask-wearing requirement.
  • The Biden administration has also announced that it would reimpose coronavirus-related ban on most non-U.S. citizens arriving from European Union, Brazil, the United Kingdom.
  • This follows the lifting of the restrictions by former US President, Donald Trump through an executive order on Monday.

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Joe Biden sworn-in as the 46th President of the United States

The whole world watched in awe as Joe Biden was sworn in as the new President of the United States.

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Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th President of the United States.

The 78-year-old Democrat and former Vice president to Barack Obama is being sworn in after emerging the winner of last year’s Presidential elections.

Biden’s running mate, Kamala Devi Harris was sworn in as vice president by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, becoming the first woman and the first black and Asian-American person elevated to serve in a role a heartbeat from the presidency.

The inauguration took place at the US Capitol, the same building that was stormed on January 6, by Donald Trump’s violent supporters.

Trump who for months refused to conceded to Biden’s victory at the polls left the White House for the final time hours earlier and flew to Florida after making it clear weeks ago that he will not be attending the inauguration.

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Trump’s Vice, Mike Pence attended the ceremony, as he skipped Trump’s farewell military salute event at Andrews base.

The ceremony includes musical performances by Lady Gaga – who sang the national anthem – as well as Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks.

Former Presidents; Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton were all present at the inuaguration

What you should know

  • At 78, Biden is the oldest president ever to take the oath of office.
  • In his speech, Biden swore to defend the constitution and the country “against all enemies, foreign and domestic”.
  • History was made as Kamala Harris became America’s first female, first Black and first Asian American vice-president.
  • Donald Trump skipped the ceremony, becoming the first president not to attend his successor’s inauguration since 1869.

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Joe Biden to return United States to WHO on first day as President

In-coming US President, Joe Biden has resolved to immediately return the country back to the WHO after his inauguration.

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What would a Joe Biden Presidency mean for Nigeria?

The US President-elect Joe Biden plans to immediately return back the country to the World Health Organization (WHO) on the first day after his inauguration as he intends to make a sweeping review of the policies of outgoing President, Donald Trump.

This is as he intends to send top US medical expert Anthony Fauci to speak to the group in a strong rejection of Donald Trump’s snubs and criticisms during the coronavirus pandemic.

This disclosure is contained in a fact sheet released by President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team.

READ: Joe Biden gains additional 4.6 million Twitter followers in less than 12 hours

According to a report by Bloomberg, the incoming administration plans to take part in the WHO executive board meeting this week, with Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, heading the delegation and speaking.

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The statement says that as soon as the United States resumes its engagement with the WHO, the new administration will work with the body to strengthen and reform the UN health agency.

READ: Banking giant, Deutsch Bank to cut ties with President Trump

What this means

  • With these announced plans, the Joe Biden administration is showing that it intends to set a new science-based tone in seeking to reverse Donald Trump’s dismissal of strategies to mitigate the virus as well as seek international cooperation in addressing the pandemic.
  • It also further reinforces the incoming President’s earlier criticism of Trump’s handling of the pandemic especially in the early days rather than laying blames.

READ: U.S dollar stays firm, Joe Biden to unveil COVID-19 support programs

What you should know

  • It can be recalled that President Donald Trump in May 2020, announced that the US would exit the WHO because of what he said was its undue deference to China and failure to provide accurate information about the coronavirus.
  • He often referred to the UN health agency as being controlled by China and criticized their handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The US had been the WHO’s largest contributor, providing $400 million to $500 million in mandatory and voluntary contributions annually, with Trump’s last year decision drawing sharp criticism in Congress, as well as from allies in Europe.

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