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AfDB to support Nigeria’s agro-processing zones with $300 million 

The AfDB has reiterated its support for the agricultural sector by collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to create Agro-processing zones in the country.

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AfDB to support Nigeria's agro-processing zones with $300 million

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has reiterated its support for the agricultural sector by collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to implement the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) project in Nigeria.

The project, which the bank is said to be supporting with $300 million, is expected to commence in July this year.

AfDB to implement agro-processing zones with $300 million 

According to the AfDB President’s Senior Special Adviser on Industrialisation, Prof. Oyebanji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, the zones are designed to concentrate agro-processing activities within areas of high agricultural potential.

While speaking during the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones inception workshop held in Abuja, Oyelaran-Oyeyinka explained that the AfDB was ready to rally development partners to provide grants and loans for the project while also providing capacity building and technical advice.

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Oyelaran-Oyeyinka noted that in the first phase of the project, the agro-processing zones would spread among the six geopolitical zones of the country. This he said would create more access for both farmers and entrepreneurs.

[READ MORE: Africa’s agric sector to worth $1 trillion in 2030 – AfDB)

Oyelaran-Oyeyinka words: “The project worth is $500 million. The processes we are putting in place now are the requirements by the bank. We have to do identification, reappraisal and write a report, to make sure that the clients are involved. We are hoping that by July or August, we will go to the board and get the money disbursed to Nigeria because it is already budgeted.

 “For us, the central actors are the private sector people, we don’t want to make it a government thing, we want to make sure it is private-sector driven. Companies like the Flour Mill, Dangote Group, we are talking to all of them, even the smaller ones, we are inviting all of them to come on board.

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“And those are the one that will set up factories and farms and so forth. But apart from that web, we also have the Bank of Industry (BoI), NIRSAL, National Sovereign Authority, which will be helping us to package infrastructure,” he said.

Why this matters: The aim of this project, according to AfDB, is to create jobs, boost food security and reduce food imports. The zones would, therefore, enable agricultural producers, processors and distributors to operate in one vicinity.

Oyelaran-Oyeyinka added that the bank had started similar projects like this across 15 countries, he urged Nigeria to emulate success stories in countries like Gabon and Senegal where SAPZs had contributed to economic growth.

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Chidinma holds a degree in Mass communication from Caleb University Lagos and a Masters in view in Public Relations. She strongly believes in self development which has made her volunteer with an NGO on girl child development. She loves writing, reading and travelling. You may contact her via - [email protected]

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Business News

WHO warns Africa in danger of being left behind in Covid-19 vaccination

The WHO has warned that Africa is in danger of being left behind in Covid-19 vaccination.

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AstraZeneca suspends COVID-19 vaccine final stage trial over safety concerns, COVID-19: J&J starts vaccine trials on humans after success on monkeys

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that Africa is in danger of being left behind in Covid-19 vaccination as countries from other regions strike bilateral deals, thereby driving up prices.

This follows the development and approval of safe and effective vaccine less than a year after the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic, regarded as a stunning achievement.

This disclosure was made by the WHO’s Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti while speaking during a virtual press conference which was facilitated by APO Group.

Dr Moeti was joined at the press briefing by the Managing Director, Country Programmes, Gavi, Thabani Maphosa and UNICEF Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa, Mohamed Fall.

What the WHO’s Regional Director for Africa is saying

Dr Moeti stated that as of early this week, 40 million Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered in 50 mostly high-income countries with Guinea being the only low-income country on the continent to have provided doses to only 25 people so far.

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According to her, Seychelles is the only high-income country on the continent where a national Covid-19 vaccination campaign has started.

She said, “We first, not me first, is the only way to end the pandemic. Vaccine hoarding will only prolong the ordeal and delay Africa’s recovery. It is deeply unjust that the most vulnerable Africans are forced to wait for vaccines while lower-risk groups in rich countries are made safe.

“Health workers and vulnerable people in Africa need urgent access to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines.’’

What the Managing Director, Country Programmes, GAVI, is saying

Mr Thabani Maphosa, the Managing Director, Country Programmes at GAVI, a partner in the alliance, was quoted as saying delivery would begin soon.

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He said, “COVAX is on track to start delivering vaccine doses and begin ensuring global access to vaccines. This massive international undertaking has been made possible thanks to donations work towards dose-sharing deals and deals with manufacturers that have brought us to almost 2 billion doses secured. We look forward to rollout in the coming weeks.”

What you should know

  • COVAX facility is an international alliance which is backed by the WHO, Gavi, the vaccine alliance and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), to ensure equitable distribution of the Covid-19 vaccines among all countries regardless of income level.
  • The alliance has secured 2 billion doses of the Covid-19 vaccine for Africa from 5 producers, with options of over 1 billion more doses.
  • COVAX has committed to vaccinating no fewer than 20% of the population in Africa by the end of 2021.
  • Priority will be given to health workers and other vulnerable groups, such as older persons and those with pre-existing health conditions.
  • An initial 30 million vaccine doses are expected to begin arriving in countries by March.
  • The United Nations in its report said that a maximum of 600 million doses will be disbursed, based on 2 doses per person.

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Spotlight Stories

Google threatens to remove its search engine from Australia due to media code

Google has threatened to remove its search engine from Australia due to the media code introduced by the government.

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Google made a whooping $4.7b from news content in 2018, Google Threatens To Remove Its Search Engine From Australia Due To Media Code

Google said that it will disable its search engine in Australia if the government proceeds with a media code that would force it and Facebook Inc to pay local media companies for sharing their content.

The code requires Google and Facebook to enter mandatory arbitration with media companies if they cannot reach an agreement over the value of their content within three months.

It also requires the platforms to give the news businesses 14 days’ notice of algorithm changes, and non-discrimination provisions have been put in place to stop the tech giants from taking retaliatory action such as removing content or punishing organisations that participate in the code.

READ: Satoshi Nakamoto’s unspent BTCs worth $10.9 billion

Mel Silva, Google Australia and New Zealand VP told Australia’s Senate Economics Legislation Committee today that Google would shut off the search in Australia if the government’s proposed media bargaining code becomes law. According to her, “The code’s arbitration model with bias criteria presents an unmanageable financial and operational risk for Google”

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Australia announced the legislation last month after an investigation found Alphabet Inc-owned Google and social media giant Facebook held too much market power in the media industry, a situation it said posed a potential threat to a well-functioning democracy.

READ: Facebook Oversight Board to review decision to suspend Trump’s account

Prime Minister of Australia, Scott Morrison said Australia would not respond to the threats as news media companies fired back at suggestions their content did not add value to the platforms. “Australia makes our rules for things you can do in Australia. That’s done in our Parliament. It’s done by our government, and that’s how things work here in Australia,” he said. “People who want to work with that, in Australia, you’re very welcome. But we don’t respond to threats.”

READ: Betting on Bitcoin is better than investing in PayPal, Google, Facebook, Amazon

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What you should know

  • Google’s threats follow similar remarks made by Facebook Australia’s managing director, Will Easton in September, who announced plans to remove news articles from the social media’s main app if the media code is passed by Parliament.
  • To avoid the operation of the code, Google and Facebook have no option but to cease linking to news altogether. If Google can’t reliably separate news results from other search results, then logically it may have to pull its entire search service from Australia.
  • Google’s threat to limit its services in Australia came just hours after the internet giant reached a content-payment deal with some French news publishers.
  • This new media code will affect millions of Australians who use Google Search and Facebook every month.

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Companies

Flour Mills moves to diversify funding sources with N29.8 billion bond listing

Flour Mills Nigeria Plc lists N29.8 billion bonds to diversify funding sources from the Nigerian capital market.

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Flour Mills makes one of the largest contributions to COVID-19 relief fund

Flour Mills Nigeria Plc’s fresh N29.8 bond listing will help the nation’s leading food business company to explore diversified funding sources from the Nigerian capital market, with the hope of enhancing growth and the development of the company.

This statement was made by the Group Managing Director of FMN, Mr. Omoboyede Olusanya, at the listing of the Tranche A and Tranche B bonds valued at N29.8 billion on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

The food and the agro-allied company which has remained Nigeria’s largest and oldest integrated agro-allied business with a broad profile and robust Pan-Africa distribution issued these bonds under its N70 billion Bond Issuance Programme.

Olusanya said that the company would continue to explore funding opportunities inherent in the capital market to ensure business growth and continuity.

While speaking about the Credit Rating of the Programme, he disclosed that FMN’s credit rating, as well as the operational financing of the Group, have improved considerably.

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According to him, the bonds floated by Flour Mill will help to strengthen the company’s capital base and provide the needed working capital required by the Company. He added that Flour Mills Group will continue to deleverage and replace short term financing with longer-tenured and lower price funding to optimize capital structure and reduce financing cost.

He noted that Flour Mills will continue to explore opportunities to raise fundings via the capital market as this enables the company to diversify its funding sources and continue to play a role in the capital market as a significant player in it.

What they are saying

The Group Managing Director of FMN, Mr. Omoboyede Olusanya, at the virtual event, said;

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  • “We are delighted with the response from the market, we are happy to be listed.
  • “We are introducing an N29.9 billion listing under an N70 billion bond issuance cover; we will continue to raise funding to diversify our funding sources.
  • “The company remains passionate about feeding the nation to improve the quality of living for Nigerians through increased production and investments in backward integration.”

What you should know

  • With the successful issuance of the new N29.8bn Tranche A and Bonds, FMN has utilized its bond issuance program registered in 2018.
  • It is important to note that the Senior Unsecured bond listing includes an N4.89bn under Series 4 Tranche A of the bond issuance programme, at a 5.5% rate for 5 years, due by 2025, and a 25bn under Series 4 Tranche B of the same program at a 6.25% rate for a tenure of 7 years, due by 2027.
  • The bond proceeds will be used to refinance existing debt obligations. It will also help the company take collaborative actions to diversify the company’s financing options beyond expensive short term debt.

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