World Bank in its recent report for October 2020, titled “Charting the road to recovery” has warned Nigeria and other Africans not to relax despite recording lower cases and mortality rates comparatively to other regions of the world.
The report cautioned African countries not to let their guard down, a part of the report read thus: “With the notable exception of South Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa appears to have so far escaped the worst of the health crisis. As of September 28, the numbers of COVID-19 confirmed cases and deaths in the region were, respectively, 3.4 and 2.5 percent of those registered worldwide. However, great uncertainty surrounds the scale and trajectory of the pandemic in the region. The occurrence of a second wave in Europe and the United States and concerns about a potential second wave in African countries are fueling further uncertainty about the persistence and spread of the virus.”
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Commenting on the impact of the pandemic on African economies, the report noted that the pandemic had endangered a decade of hard-earned economic progress as economic activity in the region is expected to contract by 3.3% in 2020. It opined that by the end of 2021, the region’s GDP per capita will likely regress to its level in 2007.
Narrowing it down, the report warned that in West and Central Africa, the decline in growth will be mainly driven by oil exporters. Non-resources intensive countries, including Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Senegal, will slow but not contract, helped by relatively more robust growth in the agricultural sector. Corroborating this fact is the recent contraction of Nigeria’s economy by -6.10%. A part of the report stated: “Excluding Nigeria, growth in West and Central Africa is projected to rise to 3.0 percent in 2021.”
Why this matters: The report warned that in Africa, COVID-19 could push up to 40 million people into extreme poverty, erasing at least five years of progress in fighting poverty. Similarly, COVID-19 could set back progress in building human capital, as school closures will affect nearly 253 million students, potentially causing losses in learning. Therefore, it is imperative for the right policy mix which comprises sound macroeconomic and fiscal policies to be adopted.
Way forward: The report stated that the road to recovery will be long and steep, and opined that sustained recovery will depend on how fast African countries prioritize policy actions and investments that address the challenge of creating more, better and inclusive jobs. Some of the highlights of its policy recommendations include; Expanding digital infrastructure and making connectivity affordable, reliable, and universal.
Creating jobs in Sub-Saharan Africa will require a decisive shift from exporting raw materials to greater value addition and intra-Africa value chains.
Enhancing rural-urban and inland-coastal connectivity and investing in cities will raise agricultural productivity and re-allocate resources to more efficient job creating locations.
Full implementation of the African Free Continental Trade Agreement (AFCTA)
At least 1,588 people were killed in Nigeria as at Q3 2020 – SBM Intelligence
At least 1,588 have been reportedly killed in Nigeria between July to September 2020.
At least 1,588 have been reportedly killed in Nigeria between July to September 2020, according to findings by SBM Intelligence.
The findings also revealed that 137 security personnel have been hacked to death within the period under view.
According to the findings, the breakdown of people killed by geo-political zones includes; 638 in North-West, 544 in North-East, 194 in North Central, 93 in South-South, 70 in South-East and 49 in South-West.
Further breakdown revealed that the following people were killed;
- 683 Civilians
- 366 Bandits
- 366 Boko-Haram members
- 119 Army officers
- 59 cultists
- 11 armed robbers
- 10 police officers
- 8 kidnappers
- 5 DSS officers
- 3 NSCDC officers
- 3 smugglers.
The percentage of people killed by geo-political zones is depicted below;
Source: Nairametrics from SBM Intelligence data
What this means
The data displayed is a major source of concern to security officials and Nigerians at large. The major highlight is the number of civilians killed, which is higher than the number recorded for armed bandits, terrorist and other crime-related offences.
This is alarming and puts the country in bad light, especially as there is a growing concern of human rights abuses, torture and extrajudicial killings in the country, as alleged by Amnesty International.
The breakdown of people killed by states is also depicted below;
Source: Author’s computation from SBM Intelligence data
Remittances to sub-Saharan Africa totaled $48 billion in 2019
According to the World Bank, the remittances to sub-Saharan Africa totalled $48 billion last year.
There is a boom for Africa-focused money transfer companies, as diaspora wanted to help their families amid COVID 19 pandemic. According to the World Bank, the remittances to sub-Saharan Africa totalled $48 billion last year. This development is despite predictions from the World Bank of a historic 20% drop to $445 billion in remittances to poorer countries this year, as a result of a pandemic-induced global economic slump.
Remittance companies got an additional boost early on in the pandemic, when African central banks reduced fees and loosened limits on digital transactions, to encourage the public to use digital services to facilitate social distancing.
According to Dare Okoudjou, Founder of MFS Africa, “I would probably agree with the World Bank that the total amount (of remittances) will go down, but anyone who’s in digital would actually gain market share and see their volume go up.”
What you should know
Nairametric had earlier reported that PricewaterhouseCoopers, a global tax and consulting firm, estimated that migrant remittances to Nigeria could grow to US$34.8 billion by 2023.
The pandemic gave remittance companies an advantage over their main competition in Africa; the sprawling informal networks of traders, bus drivers, and travellers used by many migrants to send money home.
- Remittances to sub-Saharan Africa officially totaled $48 billion last year, according to the World Bank. Experts, however, said this figure only tells a part of the story, though much of the monies Africans ship home via informal networks is absent from official data.
- Amongst the industry executives, the shift is likely to last as digital remittance services are typically cheaper, faster, and safer than informal networks, which are difficult for governments to regulate.
- Online remittance company, WorldRemit, reported last week that transfers to Zimbabwe via its service had doubled over the past six months.
- Azimo, a UK-headquartered remittance company, whose major African markets include Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya, saw a nearly 200% increase over the expected number of new customers in April, May, and June.
- According to Kenyan central bank data, remittances to Kenya were up 6.5%; though, August compared to the same period last year. Remittance inflows to Zimbabwe were up 33% through July.
- Remittance companies got an additional boost early on in the pandemic when African central banks reduced fees and loosened limits on digital transactions, to encourage the public to use digital services to facilitate social distancing.
- MFS Africa, which runs networks across 36 African countries to channel remittances between mobile money accounts, has seen year-on-year transaction growth of over 90% in 2020.
- The company, which runs networks across 36 African countries to channel remittances between mobile money accounts, has seen year-on-year transaction growth of over 90% in 2020.
- Mukuru based in South Africa, which focuses mainly on African remittances and allows customers to send both cash and groceries, has seen a roughly 75% acceleration in growth compared to last year.
What they are saying
Having fled an economic implosion in his native Zimbabwe, Brighton Takawira was able to support his mother back home with modest earnings from a small perfume business he set up in South Africa.
Brighton Takawira uses the Mukuru remittance app which enables him to send money and groceries home to family in Zimbabwe from his home in Pinetown, South Africa. Then the pandemic struck and borders closed. The buses he had used to send his cash stopped running. According to him, “I had to send something, even a few dollars, though it meant sometimes going without bread”
According to Patrick Roussel, Head of mobile financial services Africa at French telecom company, Orange, “We saw an increase of transfers as the diaspora wanted to help their families”
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According to Andy Jury, Chief Executive of Mukuru, South Africa, “We’ve seen an influx of new customers, and we see them mainly coming to us from the informal market.”
Inferno razes down SUBEB office in Ondo State
The SUBEB annex office in Akure, Ondo State has been razed down by a mysterious fire.
The Ondo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) annex office in Oke Eda, Akure has been allegedly razed down by fire. The inferno affected the marketing office of the state government-owned television station, which also housed the building.
The cause of the inferno still remains unknown, as investigations are underway.
What you should know
Recently there have been reported cases of arson, lootings, and killings perpetrated by hoodlums. It is yet to be known if this incident is related to the hijacked #EndSARS protests.
What they are saying
Confirming the incident, an anonymous staff opined that the fire incident might have happened overnight. She also said that all buildings and files in the offices were affected by the fire.
“All the buildings, because it was made of wood, are gone. It was completely burnt.
“We can’t lay our hands on anything. Everything in the office is gone,” she said.