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Buhari nominates Okonjo-Iweala as DG World Trade Organization

President Muhammadu Buhari nominated the former Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the economy, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, as the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

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Nigeria’s former finance minister, Okonjo-Iweala, gets IMF appointment

President Muhammadu Buhari has nominated the former Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, as the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

This was seen in a tweet posted by the Presidential aide on Digital and New Media, Tolu Ogunlesi, in the early hours of Friday, June 5, 2020.

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In the statement, Ogunlesi said that the current Director-General of the intergovernmental organization, Roberto Azevedo, is stepping down from his position on August 2020, a year ahead of the end of his tenure.

READ ALSO: Naira gains N68 against $1 at 12-month forward market, as devaluation concerns ease

Azevedo, who has been the head of the WTO since 2013, is stepping down at this critical period of global economic crisis and the trade war between the United States of America and China. The WTO head said this is the best way to avoid my chaos at the alliance, which has witnessed attacks from US President, Donald Trump.

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This means that the election that was earlier scheduled for 2021 when his tenure was supposed to expire might be coming up much earlier for a new four-year term.

READ MORE: Meet Ibrahim Agboola Gambari, President Buhari’s new Chief of Staff

Tolu Ogunlesi in his statement said, ”President Muhammadu Buhari has nominated Okonji-Iweala as Nigeria’s candidate for the position of the Director-General of World Trade Organization. DG Azevedo is stepping down in August 2020, a year earlier, so the election of the new DG, originally scheduled for 2021, may take place much earlier”.

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According to a monitored report, President Buhari withdrew the candidacy of Nigeria’s permanent representative to WTO, Yonov Frederik Agah, for the same position.

 

 

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Chike Olisah is a graduate of accountancy with over 15 years working experience in the financial service sector. He has worked in research and marketing departments of three top commercial banks. Chike is a senior member of the Nairametrics Editorial Team. You may contact him via his email- [email protected]

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President Trump dumps plan to force foreign students to leave the US

Trump administration had attempted to order foreign students to depart the country.

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President Trump dumps plan to force foreign students to leave the US, guidelines for foreign students returning to US schools

U.S President, Donald Trump has put aside a plan that was to order foreign students to leave the country. The Trump administration had attempted to order foreign students to depart the US to their own countries if their classes are to be taught online.

The announcement had triggered an outrage forcing the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, and a host of others to sue President Trump over the policy, arguing that “the measure was unlawful and would adversely affect their academic institutions.”

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READ ALSO: America announces modified guidelines for foreign students returning to its schools

According to details of one of the suit, one aspect of the modified guidelines, which has thus far proven to be quite controversial, requires foreign students to remain in their home countries if their courses are going be taught online. Foreign students who are already in the US were also directed to leave the country if their courses are online-based.

In a twist of events, Allison Burroughs, U.S District Judge in Massachusetts who sat on the suit announced that the US government along with Harvard and MIT came to a settlement after the Ivy League Schools sued over the new policy for foreign students.

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READ MORE: AMCON seizes Donald Duke’s home and bank accounts over N537 million debt.

The suit alleges that the modifications made to the Students and Exchange Visitor Programme (SEVP) by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) came without warning.

It would be recalled that by March the US government waived the F-1 and M-1 Visas that had a limit on online classes foreign students can take. The policy was reversed on July 6 by President Trump, as it would have affected University preparations for the coming semester.

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Harvard alone has about 5000 foreign students, including Nigerians, revising the US immigration guidelines on foreign students would cause disruptions in the coming autumn semester for foreign students.

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UPDATE: President Trump has been sued by MIT, Harvard over foreign students ban

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President Trump dumps plan to force foreign students to leave the US, guidelines for foreign students returning to US schools

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University have sued President Donald Trump over a new policy that restricts foreign students, whose courseworks would be taught online, from entering/remaining in the USA.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the suit was filed today in the US District Court in Boston, Massachusetts. The suit alleges that the modifications that were made to the Student and Exchange Visitor Programme (SEVP) by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), came without warning.

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READ ALSO: America announces modified guidelines for foreign students returning to its schools

The impromptu nature of the modifications, therefore, has left Harvard and MIT with no choice but to think it was “arbitrary and capricious”.

Recall that ICE had on Monday announced the eagerly awaited modifications ahead of foreign students’ return to US campuses for the autumn semester.

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READ ALSO: Rethinking Inclusive Education: COVID-19 realities, post implications on education

One aspect of the modified guidelines, which has thus far proven to be quite controversial, requires foreign students to remain in their home countries if their courses are going be taught online. Foreign students who are already in the US were also directed to leave the country if their courses are online-based.

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Harvard University is one of the ivy league American schools that recently announced plans to teach their courseworks entirely online, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Harvard’s plan is such that students living on campus and off campus would attend classes online. However, the reviewed SEVP guideline by ICE has disrupted that plan.

CNN International quoted Harvard University President, Larry Bacow, to have said:

“The order came down without notice—its cruelty surpassed only by its recklessness. It appears that it was designed purposefully to place pressure on colleges and universities to open their on-campus classrooms for in-person instruction this fall, without regard to concerns for the health and safety of students, instructors, and others.

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“This comes at a time when the United States has been setting daily records for the number of new infections, with more than 300,000 new cases reported since July 1.”

Similarly, MIT’s president L. Rafael Reif, issued a strongly-worded statement condemning the development. According to him, ICE’s modified SEVP guidelines “disrupts our international students’ lives and jeopardizes their academic and research pursuits.”

He went further to write that MIT’s “international students now have many questions – about their visas, their health, their families and their ability to continue working toward an MIT degree. Unspoken, but unmistakable, is one more question: Am I welcome? At MIT, the answer, unequivocally, is yes.” 

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Note that this story matters because of its international ramifications. Harvard University alone has about 5,000 foreign students, some of whom are Nigerians. The revised guidelines by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement is bound to disrupt these students autumn semester unless the US Government rescinds the directive.

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Africa’s GDP could fall by 3.4% in 2020 if COVID-19 continues – AfDB 

The bank warns projected GDP losses for 2021 ranges from $27.6 billion to $47 billion.

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Akinwunmi Adesina, Afdb, Africa’s GDP could fall by 3.4% in 2020 if COVID-19 continues – AFDB

The African Development Bank (AFDB) published its African Economic Outlook 20202 Supplement on Tuesday and warned that the continent’s GDP would fall by at least 1.7%, and if the coronavirus pandemic continues into the second half of 2020, it could contract up to 3.4%. 

“Real GDP in Africa is projected to contract by 1.7% in 2020, dropping by 5.6 percentage points from the January 2020 pre-COVID-19 projection of the virus, if the virus has a substantial impact but of short duration. If it continues beyond the first half of 2020, there would be a deeper GDP contraction in 20202 of 3.4% down by 7.3 percentage points from growth projected before the outbreak of COVID-19,” the bank said. 

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AFDB warns that cumulative GDP losses could range between $173.1 billion and $236.7 billion in 2020-2021. 

“Africa could suffer GDP losses in 20202 between $145.5 billion (baseline) and $189.7 billion (worst case) from the pre-COVID-19 estimated GDP of $2.59 trillion for 2020”. 

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The bank warned some losses will be carried over into 2021, as the projected recovery would be partial, and warns projected GDP losses for 2021 ranges from $27.6 billion to $47 billion (worst case). 

READ MORE: Aviation: Aviation sector grasps for stimulus in worst ever crisis

The bank said countries with poor healthcare systems, oil-exporting nations, tourism-dependent nations and other resource-dependent nations will be the hardest hit. 

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The bank calls for countries to reopen economies and advised a “phased and incremental approach that carefully evaluates the trade-off between restarting economic activity to quickly and safeguarding the health of the population”. 

READ ALSO: Recession: Nigerian economy to slide by 3.4% in 2020 – IMF

The Economic Outlook Supplement is a revised projection from an earlier January outlook that projected 3.9% growth from Africa’s largest multilateral bank. 

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