Nigeria Will Fulfil Its Financial Obligation To AU – Buhari

Buhari, AUPresident Muhammadu Buhari said on Monday in Abuja that Nigeria will fulfil its financial obligation to the African Union (AU), particularly on programmes and operations aimed at ensuring durable peace, stability and security on the continent.

Receiving the AU Envoy on the Peace Fund, Dr. Donald Kaberuka, President Buhari said that supporting peace operations, under the auspices of the AU, in several countries affected by conflict remains a foreign policy priority for his administration.

Despite competing priorities on security and the economic downturn in the country, the President assured the AU envoy that Nigeria will also play a central role in seeking the EU and the UN to strengthen their support for crisis-prone African countries.

The President used the occasion of the visit of the AU envoy to weigh-in on the situation in South Sudan and appeal for peace and calm in the country.

“What is happening in South Sudan is extremely disturbing and it is a very dicey situation.

“The AU leadership has a crucial role in stabilizing the country and other African countries on the brink.

“What we can do urgently to stabilize South-Sudan is very important as African leaders meet in Kigali, Rwanda  this month and later in September at the UN,” the President said.

In his remarks, Kaberuka said funding AU-led peace support operations, which had remained a challenge for member-countries was further compounded early this year with the EU cut in its allocation to the AU Mission in Somalia by 20 per cent.

Kaberuka said the AU summit in Kigali is expected to agree on a roadmap of alternative financing for AU-led peace support operations, including a proposal for African nations to fund 25 per cent of the Fund’s budget while UN contributes the balance.

Aliko Dangote Is Forbes Africa’s Person Of The Year 2014

Aliko DangoteBillionaire businessman, Aliko Dangote, was on Thursday named Forbes Africa’s Person of the Year 2014.

At the unveiling ceremony in Nairobi, Kenya, Aliko Dangote, who has played key roles in Nigeria’s development, dedicated the award to Nigeria, noting he was proud to be African.

It was his fourth nomination for the position.

The panel of judges who decided Dangote fit the bill, said “Aliko Dangote is a lion of Africa in terms of business. He is second to none when it comes to investing in Africa, not just Nigeria. He is also a capitalist with a big heart. He puts his money where his mouth is and his foundation is a step forward for a man who wants to make a difference on the continent.”

Dangote clinched the award ahead of other finalists; South Africa’s Public Protector, Thuli Madonsela; Nigerian author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; Director-General of the Securities & Exchange Commission Nigeria, Arunma Oteh and President of the African Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka.

Ebola Causing Huge Damage To West Africa Economies – Development Bank

MSF health workers prepare at ELWA's hospital isolation camp during the visit of Senior U.N. System Coordinator for Ebola, Nabarro, in MonroviaThe African Development Bank (AfDB) president, Donald Kaberuka, has said that the Ebola Virus Disease is causing enormous damage to West African economies, draining budgetary resources and slashing economic growth by up to four per cent as foreign businessmen leave and projects are cancelled.

As transport companies suspend services, cutting off the region, governments and economists have warned that the worst outbreak of the hemorrhagic Ebola fever on record could crush the fragile economic gains made in Sierra Leone and Liberia following a decade of civil war in the 1990s.

Air France, the French network of Air France-KLM said on Wednesday it had suspended its flights to Sierra Leone following advice from the French government. France did not recommend suspending flights to Nigeria and Guinea.

Tough Border Controls

“Revenues are down, foreign exchange levels are down, markets are not functioning, airlines are not coming in, projects are being cancelled, business people have left – that is very, very damaging.

“The numbers I have had vary from one per cent to four per cent of GDP. That is a lot in a country with a GDP of US$6 billion,” Kaberuka said, when asked to quantify the impact.

Liberia has already said that it would have to lower its 2014 growth forecast, without giving a new one.

Sierra Leone Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources, Abdul Ignosis Koroma, also said that the government would miss its target of exporting $200 million in diamonds this year because of the Ebola outbreak, versus $186 million last year.

“There is no way the government can reach this amount since the districts where diamonds are mined are not Ebola-free, especially the main diamondiferous region Kono,” Koroma said. Miners, he added, are too afraid to go to alluvial diamonds pits in the country’s Ebola-stricken east.

Diamond trade had also been stopped by tough border controls to curb the spread of the virus, he said.

The AfDB this week donated $60 million towards essential supplies to help train medical workers and purchase supplies to fight the outbreak, which has already killed more than 1,400 people, mostly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The disease also has a toehold in Africa’s most populous country Nigeria, where it has killed five people, but authorities there say the outbreak has been contained. Only one out of 13 confirmed cases is still being treated in isolation in the commercial capital, Lagos.