The African Union has announced that the first commercial deal of the world’s biggest free-trade pact, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA), will be taking off on January 1, 2021, as virtual meetings will be used to complete the outstanding discussions and negotiations.
The free trade agreement, which was signed last year and was supposed to take off on July 1, this year, had been delayed due to the coronavirus disease outbreak that has set back negotiations on the protocol for trade in goods, including tariff concessions.
Nairametrics had some months ago reported the delay in the take-off of AFCFTA, a $3.4 trillion economic block, due to the pandemic. Although the agreement was already legally in force, several details need to be ironed out as part of phase one of the process in order to make the July deadline a reality.
The continental body that is leading this trade deal, African Union, in a statement said that the outstanding negotiations will be finalized through a new African Virtual Trade Diplomacy Platform which is developed as a public-private partnership between the African Union Commission and over 20 African multinational companies.
The free trade area, which is the world’s biggest free-trade zone by area, is expected to be fully operational by 2030. It has 55 member countries that have signed on to join including Nigeria, out of which 28 of them have ratified that agreement.
Africa is behind other parts of the world in terms of internal trade, with intra-continental trade accounting for just 15% of the total when compared to what is obtainable in Asia which is 58% and over 70% in Europe.
The AFCFTA agreement is expected to substantially increase trade within the region by lowering or eliminating cross-border tariffs on 90% of goods, thereby facilitating the movement of capital and people, promoting investment and paving the way for a continent-wide customs union.
BREAKING: Dangote delays London Stock Exchange listing
Dangote Cement Plc isn’t expected to attempt a U.K. initial public offering until at least 2023.
Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, is once again delaying plans to list Nigeria’s second most capitalized company on the London Stock Exchange, rather choosing other options like boosting exports and the Nigerian company’s foreign-exchange reserves in a report credited to Bloomberg.
Dangote Cement Plc, Africa’s biggest producer of building material isn’t expected to attempt a U.K. initial public offering until at least 2023, Temilade Aduroja, Head of Investor Relations, at the Lagos-based company, said by email.
“The London listing is not something which will happen in the short to medium term. We are focused on our export strategy and increasing our foreign-currency revenue,” he said.
Dangote, a major shareholder of Dangote Cement, with a net worth of more than $14 billion has longed for the company to have a secondary London Stock Exchange listing to diversify its holding and gain more leverage to cheaper funds on international markets.
Aliko Dangote said in 2018 that the listing would happen the following year (2019), only for Brian Egan, former Chief Financial Officer, to state that 2020 was more likely.
More detail later as the story is developing…
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 28th of October 2020, 147 new confirmed cases and 4 deaths were recorded in Nigeria
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 62,371 confirmed cases.
On the 28th of October 2020, 147 new confirmed cases and 4 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 3,270 samples across the country.
To date, 62,371 cases have been confirmed, 58,095 cases have been discharged and 1,139 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 617,750 tests have been carried out as of October 28th, 2020 compared to 614,480 tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 28th October 2020,
- Total Number of Cases – 62,371
- Total Number Discharged – 58,095
- Total Deaths – 1,1139
- Total Tests Carried out – 617,750
According to the NCDC, the 147 new cases were reported from 12 states- Lagos (82), FCT (20), Rivers (9), Kaduna (8), Plateau (8), Benue (5), Edo (3), Kano (3), Nasarawa (3), Taraba (3), Ogun (2), Bauchi (1).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 21,017, followed by Abuja (6,028), Plateau (3,622), Oyo (3,433), Rivers (2,790), Edo (2,657), Kaduna (2,633), Ogun (2,016), Delta (1,813), Kano (1,746), Ondo (1,666), Enugu (1,314), Kwara (1,069), Ebonyi (1,049), Katsina (952), Osun (923), Abia (898), Gombe (883). Borno (745), and Bauchi (711).
Imo State has recorded 616 cases, Benue (491), Nasarawa (482), Bayelsa (403), Ekiti (332), Jigawa (325), Akwa Ibom (295), Anambra (277), Niger (274), Adamawa (257), Sokoto (165), Taraba (143), Kebbi (93), Cross River (87), Yobe (82), Zamfara (79), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.
Lock Down and Curfew
In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.
The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.
On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.
On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.
House of Reps to make Youths globally competitive
House of Representatives is determined to make the Youths globally competitive.
“Facts don’t lie, a government that has devoted N500bn to youth empowerment every year. There’s Trader Moni, N-Power, and several others, they are all there,” he added.
Gbajabiamila added that the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has done a lot about youth empowerment and is ready to do more.