In order to enable Nigeria to benefit fully from the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) and take advantage of the opportunities it provides, the Nigerian ports are undergoing infrastructure reforms.
The Managing Director, Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala-Usman, stated that this would ensure smooth transmission of goods and investments through the ports. According to her, it would boost the trade relationship between Nigeria and other countries.
Why it matters: Infrastructure upgrade creates opportunities for the nation. The deplorable state of the ports in Nigeria has become a trade barrier, preventing connectivity, which is costly to companies depending on the ports for importing and exporting of goods. Bala-Usman said with this removed, and dredging of seaports, as well as the elimination of corruption, and manual processes in the sector, enormous opportunities would be recorded.
Bala-Usman, who disclosed the infrastructure reforms at the ports during the 2019 International Ports and Terminal (NIMPORT) Conference and Expo, said the changeover would engender effectiveness in Nigeria when the AfCFTA comes into full effect.
“Investment in infrastructure will give the opportunity to link critical hinterlands with rails, waterways, rehabilitation of roads leading to the ports and deliberate policies put in place to improve the transport sector.
[READ MORE: NCC to capitalize on AfCFTA to boost economic gains)
“All the investments in infrastructure with the signing of the AfCFTA are aimed at integrating the economy of the country and removing barriers,” she told The Nation.
Other challenges confronting AfCFTA: Aside from the port issue, the road network is another problem for traders in Nigeria. Both the port and road connectivity have cost companies millions of naira. President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote disclosed late last month that his company lost N25 billion to the poor state of Oshodi-Apapa Expressway. A year before (2018), Dangote Group had disclosed that the salt and sugar arm of the group lost about N2 billion monthly which was caused by the perennial traffic gridlocks on the Apapa ports road.
Meanwhile, as reported by Nairametrics, NASCON Allied Industries Plc, one of the subsidiaries of Dangote Industries Limited, has moved some of its operations away from Apapa to Oregun and Port Harcourt. While disclosing the development, the company’s Managing Director, Paul Farrer, said the decision to move its operations was in response to the lingering gridlock in Apapa.
Farrer said the Apapa gridlock was one of the key risks to the company’s business last year. He added that the Apapa gridlock affected the movement of raw materials to Oregun, timely delivery of finished goods to customers and increased turn-around time of the company’s trucks. So, if the deplorable road network and port congestion continue, AfCFTA will hold no benefit for Nigeria’s economy.
Uganda Elections: Museveni re-elected for 6th term with 58.6% of the votes
Uganda’s President Museveni has won a 6th term in office as the opposition alleges wide-scale rigging.
The President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, has been re-elected as President, gathering 5.85 million votes compared to 3.48 million votes by main opposition leader, Robert Kyagulanyi, a.k.a Bobi Wine.
According to Reuters, this victory represents 58.6% of the vote cast while Bobi Wine got 34.8%
Bobi Wine announced that the election results show this is the most fraudulent election in the history of Uganda and urged his followers to reject the result.
What you should know
- Yoweri Museveni, aged 76, has been President of the East African nation since 1986.
- Bobi Wine claimed via his official Twitter handle that military men jumped over his fence and took control of his home yesterday.
Combined Vaccine Manufacturing capacity to hit 6.8 billion doses in 2021
COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing capacity is expected to hit 6.8 billion doses in 2021.
Meristem Group disclosed that the combined effort in manufacturing COVID-19 vaccines for global use is expected to yield about 6.8 billion doses in 2021.
This was revealed in the Annual Outlook 2021 report presented by Meristem Group, titled “Bracing for a different future.”
According to the report, the existing manufacturing capacity will only be sufficient enough to immunize about 44% of the global population, which would create obvious vaccination gap and make the pandemic last longer than necessary.
The report states,
- “The cold temperature requirements for vaccine storage pose major logistics concern particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and other low-income countries. WHO estimates that about 50% of vaccines are wasted every year, largely due to a lack of temperature control.”
According to the report, the estimated 6.8billion doses are expected to be collaboratively manufactured as follows: CanSino – 0.2billion, AstraZeneca – 3.0 billion, Gamaleya – 0.3billion, Moderna – 0.4billion, Pfizer-BioNtech – 1.3billion, SinoPharm – 1billion, and SinoVac – 0.6billion.
What you should know
- The global population as of 2020 is 7.8billion and 70% is required to achieve herd immunity (otherwise called herd protection)
- Herd Immunity or herd protection is achieved when you have most of the population immunized against an infectious disease.
- 2 doses of the vaccines are required for each person for immunity.
- It is expected that between 11 and 15 billion doses would be required to achieve the desired herd immunity, globally.
- From all indications, herd immunity may not be achieved until mid or late 2022, with the subsisting 100% vaccine production capacity utilization in 2021 – with neither production nor distribution losses.
- To achieve regulatory approval, a vaccine must undergo a three-stage clinical development process after the exploratory and pre-clinical stages and the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sets a phase 3 efficacy benchmark of 50%.
Covid-19: Global deaths surpass 2 million
Global casualty record for the Covid-19 pandemic surpassed 2 million deaths on Friday.
The Global casualty record for the Covid-19 pandemic surpassed 2 million deaths on Friday, with the United States accounting for 1 in every 5 deaths, as it has recorded over 386,000 casualties so far.
This was disclosed in a report by Reuters in its Covid-19 tally reported on Friday evening.
After the United States, Brazil, Mexico, India and the U.K contribute nearly 50% of the combined casualties.
The report also disclosed that an average of 11,900 casualties are recorded per day in year 2021, despite the fact that it took 9 months for the world to record 1 million casualties.
United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said the 2 million death count was “a heart-wrenching milestone.”
- “Behind this staggering number are names and faces: the smile now only a memory, the seat forever empty at the dinner table, the room that echoes with the silence of a loved one,” he added.
The WHO warned that 2021 could be tougher due to the nature of new variants which transmit the disease faster.
- “We are going into a second year of this. It could even be tougher given the transmission dynamics and some of the issues that we are seeing,” WHO Chief, Mike Ryan, said.
Analysts expect the global death toll to surpass 3 million by April 2021.
What you should know
- Nairametrics reported that the total number of covid-19 cases in Nigeria had surpassed the 100,000 mark on Sunday 10th January 2021, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
- The African Union stated that it secured 270 million Covid-19 vaccine doses for the continent from drug manufacturers to supplement the COVAX programme, a step towards the commencement of the complex task of vaccinating over 1.2 billion people with limited financial resources.
- The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control on Friday 15th January 2021, announced that 1,867 new cases of the covid-19 virus were recorded across 24 states in the country. This represents the highest number of cases recorded in a single day.