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Okonjo-Iweala joins South Africa’s presidential economic advisory council as nation struggles with recession

Contrary to claims that Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was appointed to lead South Africa’s presidential economic advisory council as the country struggles with recession, a close aide to the two-time finance minister has disclosed that she is only a member of the council. 

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Okonjo-Iweala joins South Africa's presidential economic advisory council as nation struggles with recession

Contrary to a report that Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was appointed to lead South Africa’s presidential economic advisory council as the country struggles with recession, a close aide to the two-time finance minister has disclosed that she is only a member of the council.

A tweet by Okonjo-Iweala, which was accompanied with a picture she took with South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa and members of the council, had led to the misconceptions that she might have been appointed to lead the presidential economic advisory council due to the recession South Africa is currently in.

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Her tweet read, “With President Ramaphosa, members of cabinet, and members of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council in Pretoria discussing sources of growth for the South African economy and win-win economic interactions with the continent.”

Okonjo-Iweala joins South Africa's presidential economic advisory council as nation struggles with recession

South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa.

But according to a close aide of the two-time finance minister, Okonjo-Iweala had been appointed as a member of the South Africa’s presidential economic advisory council. And the picture she tweeted was from the council’s second meeting on Friday in Tshwane, South Africa.

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Why South Africa appointed her? Okonjo-Iweala’s appointment was made possible because the council consist of local and international economic thought leaders. The group offer their counsel to President Ramaphosa on economic policies.

READ ALSO: Buhari constitutes new Economic Advisory Council, as Soludo, Rewane, make list

In a statement published on its website, the presidency stated, “The council will ensure greater coherence and consistency in the implementation of economic policy and ensure that government and society in general is better equipped to respond to changing economic circumstances”.

The council, which is made up of local and international economic thought leaders, is expected to “advise the president and government more broadly, facilitating the development and implementation of economic policies that spur inclusive growth.

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Olalekan is a certified media practitioner from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). In the era of media convergence, Olalekan is a valuable asset, with ability to curate and broadcast news. His zeal to write was developed out of passion to shape people’s thought and opinion; serving as a guideline for their daily lives. Contact for tips: fakoyejo.olalekan@nairametrics.com.

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Air Peace to evacuate stranded Indians from Lagos to Kerala

A list of the passengers to be attended to has already been given and the flight shall depart Lagos on May 30, 2020, to Cochin Airport, Kerala.

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Air Peace signs deal with Brazillian aerospace company , Air Peace suspends flight operations over COVID-19

The management of Air Peace Nigeria has been contacted by the Indian High Commission in Nigeria to undertake the evacuation of stranded Indian nationals to Kerala, India. This was disclosed by the airline via its Twitter handle.

The airline explained that a list of passengers that would be attended to have been released and it has started reaching out to the Indians on Saturday.

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It stated, “A list of the passengers to be attended to has already been given to us and we have commenced reaching out to them. The flight shall depart Lagos on May 30, 2020, to Cochin Airport, Kerala.”

The flight is not free anyway. According to the airline, payments are expected immediately and they are Economy is $1.300 and Business class is tag $1,700. “You are equally allowed to pay in Naira at N460/$,” it added.

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However, some Indians in Nigeria has reacted with mixed feelings to the development on Twitter. While some were ready to join the flight back home, others called for the refund of ticket fare booked a week ago.

READ ALSO: Hope rises as Emefiele set to meet MTN, 4 banks today.

For instance, Jayant Khamesra requested for the refund ticket fare of N568, 100, which he paid for a flight from Lagos to Delhi.

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He said, “Please refund ticket fare P47812 LAGOS to DELHI. No show by Air Peace and it is been 1 week now, there has been no refund or confirmation of the same. Reference ALHN79 amount N568,100. I am sure a good world-class carrier like Air Peace won’t delay refunds purposely. Please act fast.

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Reports: China may defer loans owed by Nigeria and others

The Chinese have always done their lending on the idea that individual projects contribute to structural transformation and economic development.

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China, Coronavirus causes prices of Chinese products in Nigeria to soar

Africa has been the delight of most foreign investors and they have been taken advantage of several opportunities especially foreign portfolio investments. But when it comes to debt one country ranks top in Africa.

China is at the fore of Africa’s debt drive, making the Asian nation Africa’s largest bilateral creditor, as it has given the continent loan worth $152 billion in 18 years (between 2000 and 2018.)

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With such huge loan, a lot of critics are concerned over how feasible it would be for African nations to refund the credit with the advent of Coronavirus, which has eaten deep into the fabrics of the nations.

READ MORE: COVID-19: Could Africa’s Awakening be the Silver Lining?

Head, China Africa Research Initiative, Johns Hopkins University, Deborah Brautigam, explained that in a Bloomberg article that it is likely for China to agree to delay but not forgive its $152 billion of loans, an approach at odds with prior forbearance plans from groups including the Paris Club. Her reason:

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The Chinese have always done their lending on the idea that individual projects contribute to structural transformation and economic development. Those projects might be good projects and viable projects to get countries to a new stage where they might be in a position to repay the loans.

The $152 billion loans: The loans include facilities made between 2000 and 2018. While many have been repaid on schedule, she explained that it shows how much China’s lending has grown in Africa amid a push for political and economic clout through an overseas infrastructure investment plan, which was started by President Xi Jinping in 2013.

READ ALSO: Nigeria needs a bailout

China will also provide $2 billion over two years to support the fight against the pandemic, especially in developing countries, Xi said in a speech to the World Health Assembly.

The good news is that China is typically willing to negotiate payment extensions. Usually, it’s not that difficult to lengthen the payment period or lengthen the maturity of loans. China has backed the G-20 plan, although it hasn’t participated in previous global debt relief initiatives. All told, according to IIF data, China’s outstanding debt claims reached $5.5 trillion last year,” she added.

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Nigeria owes China about $3.1 billion more than 10% of the $27.6 billion external debt stock. Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, disclosed in February that the Federal Government decided to go for a $17 billion loans from China as the World Bank and the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) failed to show much interest in Nigeria during the recession.

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READ ALSO: Opera refutes Hindenburg Research’s allegation that it violated Google’s policy 

The minister explained that the global lender, AfDB, and other lending institutions failed to show much interest in the nation during the recession period, which lasted for a year, as this made it requested the loan from the China-Exim Bank.

She disclosed to the Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Loans that 70% of the loan, which is about $17 billion, would come from the China-Exim Bank as Nigeria is in need of $22.8 billion to balance the $29.96 billion loan request. Meanwhile, the remaining loan would be sourced from other lending institutions such as the Islamic Development Bank.

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Africa’s richest woman claims decision to freeze her assets was based on “fake passport”

As Nairametrics reported in January, Africa’s richest woman’ assets were frozen following allegations that she embezzled over $1 billion from Angola’s diamond marketing firm, Sodiam, as well as from Sonangol.

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Africa’s richest woman is in troubled waters, Africa’s richest woman has been dragged to court for corruption 

Africa’s richest woman, Isabel dos Santos, is still fighting hard to exonerate herself and reclaim her assets which were frozen earlier this year by the Angolan Government. In her latest defence, she claimed that the probe against her was based on a fake passport that was signed by late popular Hollywood actor, Bruce Lee.

In a statement that was made available to the press yesterday, the embattled businesswoman explained that the Luanda Civil court and a magistrate of the Supreme Court, accepted the fake passport as evidence. It was based on that that a court order was given to freeze her assets.

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“The Angolan state used the fabricated evidence in an exparte court claims – meaning Ms dos Santos and her lawyers were not present to contest the  allegations. The forged evidence was relevant and material in supporting the case. 

“The Angolan Prosecutor went to the Luanda Civil Court and a magistrate of the Supreme Court in order to obtain the judgements, based on this fraudulent procedure. Those judgements were automatically enforced in Portugal without review by the Portuguese judiciary, a result of a convention between Portuguese speaking countries and judicial treaty,” the statement said in parts.

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READ MORE: Nigerians dominate Forbes’ black billionaires list

Apparently, dos Santos and her lawyers were only granted access to the court documents and evidence by the end of May. It was then that they came across the fake passport.

Based on the latest revelations, Nairametrics understands that an internet fraudster posing as a representative of Isabel dos Santos had entered into talks with a Japanese company named Synapse Corporation Inc. The fraudster had sent the fake passport of dos Santos to the Japanese and even made a loan offer. Prosecutors used these as evidence that dos Santos was tryingto negotiate the sale of her stakes in Unitel in order for her to flee from Angola.

READ ALSO: 3 things critics of Dangote won’t like about Dangote Cement’s latest results.

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READ MORE: Nigeria wants international oil companies to pay up now 

As Nairametrics reported in January, Africa’s richest woman’ assets were frozen following allegations that she embezzled over $1 billion from Angola’s diamond marketing firm, Sodiam, as well as from Sonangol. Isabel dos Santos, who was Chairwoman of Sonangol for some years, had immediately denied the allegation.

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