President Muhammadu Buhari will depart Abuja Wednesday, July 6, to participate in the International Development Association (IDA) for Africa Summit in Dakar, Senegal.
An institution of the World Bank Group, IDA is deepening its support to drive a resilient recovery for countries hit by the global crises of climate and COVID -19, growing levels of insecurity and more recently, by the impact of the war in Ukraine through its historic $93 billion 20th replenishment cycle (IDA20) which goes into effect between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2025.
At the High Level event slated for Thursday, July 7 and hosted by President Macky Sall of the Republic of Senegal, President Buhari is expected to join other African leaders in an open Dialogue on Development Challenges and priorities as well as transformational initiatives that will lead to an outcome document, the Dakar Declaration.
This commitment is expected to chart the way forward for the transformation of the economies of these nations in partnership with the World Bank/IDA.
Topics slated for discussion include: Financing for Recovery and Economic Transformation in Africa; Agriculture, Livestock and Food Security; Human Capital; Digital and Technological Innovation; and Energy Transition and Climate Change.
According to his spokesman, Garba Shehu, the president will be accompanied on the trip by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Geoffery Onyeama; Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; as well as Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo.
Others on the entourage are : the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele; Director- General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Amb. Ahmed Rufa’i Abubakar; Director-General, Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha; and the Managing Director of the Bank of Industry, Olukayode Pitan. President Buhari is expected back in the country at the end of the Summit on Thursday, July 7.
President Muhammadu Buhari has returned to the country from the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Last Thursday, Buhari embarked on a four-day trip to the Ethiopian capital where he joined other African heads of states for the 35th Ordinary Session of Assembly of the AU.
He also used the opportunity to hold bilateral meetings with some leaders, with a shared interest in improving trade relations, partnering to tackle security challenges and maintaining relations with multilateral institutions for sustainable development.
The President was accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Agriculture, Mohammed Abubakar and Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouk.
The African Union has condemned a recent “wave” of military coups that has seen an unprecedented number of member states suspended from the bloc, a senior official said Sunday, the last day of its annual summit.
The putsches were among the main issues expected to be discussed at the summit, along with the AU’s ties to Israel and its response to a grinding war in the north of host country Ethiopia.
Less than two weeks before the summit began Saturday, Burkina Faso became the fourth country to be suspended by the AU after disgruntled soldiers toppled President Roch Marc Christian Kabore.
Guinea, Mali and Sudan are also currently suspended.
“Every African leader in the assembly has condemned unequivocally… the wave of unconstitutional changes of government,” Bankole Adeoye, head of the AU’s Peace and Security Council, told a press conference Sunday.
“Do your research: At no time in the history of the African Union have we had four countries in one calendar year, in 12 months, been suspended,” Adeoye said.
Addressing African foreign ministers ahead of the summit, Moussa Faki Mahamat, chair of the African Union Commission, denounced a “worrying resurgence” of such military coups.
But the AU has been accused of an inconsistent response, notably by not suspending Chad after a military council took over following the death of longtime President Idriss Deby Itno on the battlefield last April.
And while Adeoye touted the AU’s use of suspensions to punish coup leaders, analysts say the body must be more proactive to prevent putsches.
“It is only when crisis hits that we say, ‘Gosh, how come this country is falling apart like this so quickly?'” Solomon Dersso, founder of the AU-focused Amani Africa think-tank, told AFP this week.
Israel debate paused
Also on Sunday, leaders agreed to suspend debate on Faki’s controversial decision to accept the accreditation of Israel, postponing a potentially divisive vote.
Faki’s move last July drew protest from influential members including South Africa and Algeria which argued that it flew in the face of AU statements supporting the Palestinian Territories.
Both countries pushed to have the issue put on the summit agenda.
As the summit opened Saturday, Faki defended Israel’s accreditation, saying it could be “an instrument in the service of peace” while calling for “a serene debate”.
He also said the AU’s commitment to the Palestinian push for independence was “unchanging and can only continue to grow stronger”.
Palestinian prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh on Saturday called for Israel’s accreditation to be revoked, saying it “should never be rewarded” for its “apartheid regime”.
The AU normally prizes consensus, but it was unclear how a vote would have fared, with a two-thirds majority required to overrule Faki.
Instead a six-country committee will study the issue, diplomats told AFP Sunday.
Along with South Africa and Algeria, the committee will include Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo, who supported Faki’s move, as well as Cameroon and Nigeria, the diplomats said.
Israel’s foreign ministry said the AU had “rejected attempts by Algeria and South Africa to revoke” its accreditation.
“The committee’s conclusions will be presented at the African Union Summit in 2023,” the ministry said in a statement.
Ethiopia peace push
It was unclear whether the summit, most of which took place behind closed doors, substantively addressed the 15-month war in Ethiopia, which pits Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government against fighters from the northern Tigray region.
The fact that Ethiopia hosts the AU makes any intervention by the bloc especially delicate, and Faki waited until last August — nine months after fighting began — to appoint Olusegun Obasanjo as a special envoy tasked with trying to broker a ceasefire.
Ethiopia has also held a seat on the Peace and Security Council throughout the conflict, though it failed in its bid to stay on the 15-member body for the next term, diplomats said.
Adeoye said Sunday it was “not true” that the AU had been slow to respond to a war that has left thousands dead and, according to the United Nations, driven hundreds of thousands to the brink of starvation.
“There was no way the AU would not engage on such a situation given its exact location in Ethiopia,” he said.
Obasanjo will head to war-hit areas this week, and the AU will provide “experts from the African continent” to back up his push for dialogue, Adeoye said.
But the United States did invite Taiwan, which it does not recognize as an independent country but holds up as a model democracy.
China baulks at any use of the word “Taiwan” that lends a sense of international legitimacy to the democratic self-ruled island, which Beijing claims as part of its territory and has vowed to one day seize — by force if needed.
The US move is guaranteed to further inflame tensions between the two superpowers.
“I agree Taiwan more than qualifies- but it does seem to be (the) only democratic govt invited that the US govt does not officially recognize. So its inclusion is a big deal,” tweeted Julian Ku, a Hofstra University law professor whose specialities include China.
India, often called “the world’s biggest democracy,” will be present despite increasing criticism from human rights defenders over democratic backsliding under Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
So too will Pakistan, despite its checkered relationship with Washington.
Democracy in Decline
Turkey, a NATO ally of the United States whose President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was dubbed an “autocrat” by Biden, did not make the list.
In the Middle East, only Israel and Iraq were invited. The traditional Arab allies of the US — Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates — are all absent.
Biden also invited Brazil, which is led by controversial far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.
In Europe, Poland is represented, despite recurring tensions with Brussels over respect for the rule of law, but Hungary’s far-right Prime Minister Viktor Orban is not.
On the African side, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, South Africa, Nigeria and Niger are invited.
“For this kick-off Summit… there’s a case for getting a broad set of actors into the room: it provides for a better exchange of ideas than setting a perfect bar for qualification,” Laleh Ispahani of the Open Society Foundations told AFP.
Rather than using the summit as an anti-China meeting, Ispahani urged Biden to address “the serious decline of democracy around the world – including relatively robust models like the US.”
This summit is being organized as democracy has suffered setbacks in countries where the US had placed great hopes.
Sudan and Myanmar have experienced military coups, Ethiopia is in the midst of a conflict that could lead to its “implosion,” according to US diplomats, and the Taliban took power in Afghanistan following the withdrawal of US troops after two decades.
The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki has said he has no plans to join another political party, reassuring that his party affiliation will not alter development plans for the state.
Obaseki, who spoke during a Banquet in Benin City, as part of activities for this year’s Alaghodaro Summit, said his government is committed to ensuring a progressive and prosperous Edo State where all citizens will live life to the fullest.
“No matter the persuasion to join any political party, I will not. I will continue to provide leadership for all Edo people. We don’t need to join another political party to develop Edo State to become a home for all,” he said.
“Our goal is to position Edo where it should be, as our State has been created to provide leadership for this country; that is how it has been and will always be.”
Obaseki said the Alaghodaro Summit has become a platform which his administration is using to prepare the youths of the Edo State for tomorrow’s leadership position.
According to him, “Our politics is being driven by data. We will continue to do our best as a government to make life better for our people who trusted us with their votes.
“In the last five years, we have been in the foundation laying stage for the development of Edo State. That era has passed and now, it’s time to move as fast as possible in developing the State as the challenges and barriers have been taken care of.”
Earlier, former National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Governor of Edo State, John- Odigie Oyegun commended Obaseki for curbing irregular migration among Edo youths.
According to him, “Today, our youths are no longer traveling through the Mediterranean Sea as you have curbed the menace of irregular migration. Our youths are now being prepared for the future with the use of technology.
“When Edo prospers, the nation will prosper; our artifacts are all over the world, our achievements are all over; this is what Alaghodaro is all about.”
President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday departed Abuja for Glasgow in Scotland where he will be attending the 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The President is scheduled to deliver his national statement at the High-Level Segment for Heads of State and Government at the conference on Tuesday, November 2.
President Buhari’s address is expected to highlight Nigeria’s key priorities and action to tackle climate change as well as progress on the country’s transition to a low carbon economy, consistent with achieving the Paris Climate Agreement.
The conference, hosted by the United Kingdom in partnership with Italy, will bring parties together to help accelerate action towards the Paris Agreement as well as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Given Nigeria’s leading role in taking climate action and as a signatory to the Paris Agreement, COP 26 will afford a unique opportunity for the Nigerian delegation to work with other parties to make progress on the main goals of the conference including securing global net-zero by mid-century and keeping 1.5C within reach; adapting to protect communities and natural habitats as well as mobilising the much-needed finances to meet the set targets.
In Glasgow, President Buhari will participate in some side-line events hosted by US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron.
The President will be accompanied by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of State, Environment, Sharon Ikeazor; National Security Adviser, Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (Rtd) and Director-General, National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar.
President Buhari will thereafter travel to Paris, France on an official visit to reciprocate an earlier one to Nigeria by the French President Emmanuel Macron, and also attend the Paris Peace Forum 2021, the fourth edition to be hosted by the French president.
It will have Heads of State and Government and CEOs of major multinationals, as well as several civil society actors, gathering to advance concrete solutions to the enormous challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and to improve global governance in times of COVID-19.
The summit will focus on spurring a more solid and inclusive recovery by addressing the various gaps in global governance, offering initiatives to better tend to the global commons, and putting forward new principles of action for the post-COVID world.
While the President is in Paris, the Nigerian government will organize the Nigeria-Paris Forum.
The event is expected to pull a crowd of Nigerian and French investors, government and business leaders, diplomats, and the media in the hope of showcasing opportunities on both sides as well as bringing enlightenment to bear on the prevailing security, economic, and investment climate in Nigeria.
President Buhari is expected back in the country after the engagements.
As world leaders flock to Rome for the G20 summit, President Joe Biden kicks off a trip aimed at reasserting US international credentials, starting at a meeting Friday with Catholic ally Pope Francis.
The president left Washington with a spring in his step after unveiling a “historic” framework for a vast social spending plan — although it remains to be seen if it can win the support of lawmakers.
After weeks of internal party feuding, and with his personal ratings slumping, Biden wants to use the twin summits in Europe this week — the G20 and UN climate talks in Glasgow — to prove his political clout.
He sees himself as the spokesman for democracy in the face of authoritarian regimes, notably China.
But he opens the trip on a more intimate note, having landed early Friday in Rome, he will head first to the Vatican, for what is expected to be a largely good-humoured sit-down with Pope Francis.
Only the second ever Catholic president, Biden is open about his faith and almost never misses Sunday mass.
He has met the head of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics three times already, but this will be their first since the 78-year old was elected president.
Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Wednesday the White House expects the talks to be “warm”.
Biden has spoken of the strength he drew from his faith faced with a series of bereavements — after his first wife and their daughter were killed in a car accident, and his son Beau later died of cancer.
He and the pope share a range of concerns, from poverty to climate change and the coronavirus pandemic.
But there is potential for a falling out should either leader raise the red-button issue of abortion.
Biden supports the right to choose, while Francis, 84, has slammed terminating pregnancies as “murder”.
The pontiff has nonetheless distanced himself from a push by conservative US bishops to deny communion to politicians supportive of abortion rights — which would include Biden.
After Francis, Biden crosses the Tiber into the heart of the Eternal City to meet Prime Minister Mario Draghi — the man, dubbed “Super Mario”, tasked with reforming Italy after the devastation of Covid-19.
The G20 host, a former head of the European Central Bank famous for his efforts to save the euro from collapse, is being closely watched in Washington for his plans to set debt-laden and politically fractious Italy back on track.
But while Draghi is the new star of European politics, Biden seems to have lost some of his shine.
The president, who appears confident his $1.75 trillion social spending plan is in the bag, hopes to use the G20 and the COP26 climate summit to show the world “America is back”.
He will doubtless boast about the package including “the most significant investment to deal with the climate crisis ever” — 550 billion dollars to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
The veteran foreign policy expert is determined to distance himself from the unilateralism of ex-president Donald Trump, and will be seeking to soothe ruffled feathers.
He will also have some fence-mending to do after a chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan, which irritated US allies, and a major spat over nuclear-powered submarines.
He may need to reserve his biggest charm offensive for French President Emmanuel Macron, who is he due to meet on Friday for the first time since the subs row.
Paris was furious after Australia ditched a major deal to buy French submarines last month, saying it was negotiating a new defence pact with the US and Britain.
President Muhammadu Buhari has explained how his administration took painful decisions to invest for a prosperous future of all Nigerians.
Speaking on Tuesday in Saudi Arabia at an investment conference organised by the Future Investment Initiative Institute, the Nigerian leader said upon assuming office in 2015, his government understood the importance on inclusive policies for sustainable peace.
“In the past six years, our government took very painful but necessary decisions to invest for a long-term prosperous future knowing very well that this will come with short term pains,” the President was quoted as saying via a statement issued by his media aide, Garba Shehu.
“Nigeria’s population today exceeds 200 million people. Some 70 percent are under 35 years old. When we came into government in 2015, we were quick to realise that long-term peace and stability of our country is dependent on having inclusive and humane policies.”
He said the Federal Government will keep encouraging public and private initiatives that increase investments in health, education, capacity building, youth empowerment, gender equality, poverty eradication, climate change and food security.
This, according to him, will go a long way in reenergizing the global economy in a post COVID-19 era.
Buhari attributed the growing social unrest to inequalities and unfair policies that exclude majority from opportunities for participation, admonishing world leaders and global investors to prioritize on inclusive and humane policies.
Reacting to the theme of the summit, ‘Investing in Humanity’, President Buhari said the Nigerian perspective remains a focus on people oriented development policies, with diversification from oil to more inclusive sectors such as agriculture, ICT and mining; tackling corruption, insecurity and climate change and introducing Social Investment Programmes.
Buhari commended the organizers of this year’s summit for the foresight to look at “investment”, not only from a profitability and wealth accumulation point of view, but also bringing prosperity to humanity in general.
The humane approach to investment, he said, is the only way to address the global challenges we face, especially in the Covid-19 era.
The President noted that investment in humanity must also take into consideration the effects of debt burden on nations, which had been worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic.
He added, “We cannot invest in humanity without relieving our countries from the crushing effects of the debt burden especially when the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the risk of deepening the debt portfolio of poor countries.
“These nations increasingly allocate more and more resources towards external debt servicing and repayment at the expense of the health, education and other services that contribute to the overall wellbeing of their population.”
Describing the summit as a credible forum for interaction between the public and private sectors, to explore ways of advancing economic growth, development and global prosperity, the President said Nigeria’s diversification efforts continue to yield results, particularly in agriculture.
President Buhari told the gathering of world leaders, global investors and asset managers that the oil sector was already undergoing a reform that would make it more attractive and inclusive.
“Two months ago, I signed the Petroleum Industry Act. The Act will serve as a catalyst to liberalize our petroleum sector. It has introduced a number of incentives such as tax holidays, 100 percent ownership, zero interest loans and easy transfer of funds. In addition, we have highly skilled in-country workforce and a large domestic market.
“In mining, we have also made several opportunities available for investors. Nigeria is a country rich in minerals from gold, iron ore, tin, zinc, cobalt, lithium, limestone, phosphate, bitumen and many others. We have made the licensing process easier and also made extensive investments in rail and transportation.
“Infrastructure investments represent significant potential for investors in Nigeria. We have opportunities in seaports, rail, toll roads, real estate, renewable energy and many others. We have created several institutions that are available to co-invest with you in Nigeria.
“We have the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority and more recently, I approved the creation of Infrastructure Corporation of Nigeria. These institutions are run as independent world class institutions to make investments in the country and are available to co-invest with you,” he further explained.
The Nigerian leader urged more interest in infrastructure such as healthcare and education, which “present enormous opportunities for investors in a country our size.”
President Muhammadu Buhari will on Monday, October 25, 2021, depart for Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to participate in the investment conference organised by the Future Investment Initiative Institute.
This was disclosed in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media & Publicity, Garba Shehu.
The President will be joined at the 5th edition of the flagship investment event by business executives from Nigeria, bankers, Captains of industry and energy experts to discuss issues on the future of investments across the globe.
The three-day event, with the theme, INVESTMENT IN HUMANITY, which will host global executives and asset managers, will deliberate on progress and prosperity with energy; true final frontiers in investments; science in action; and impact of climate change on communities among others.
President Buhari will perform the lesser Hajj in Madina & Makka before returning to the country on Friday.
Among those set to accompany him on the trip are the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Amb Zubairu Dada, Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, National Security Adviser, Maj. Gen Babagana Monguno, Director General of National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ahmed Rufai Abubakar, Managing Director of Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority, Uche Orji and Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa.
Some participants from the private sector include: Alhaji Mohammed Indimi, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Tope Shonubi, Wale Tinubu, Alhaji Abdulsamad Rabiu, Hassan Usman, Omoboyode Olusanya, Abubakar Suleiman, Herbert Wigwe and Leo Stan Ekeh.
Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi says the state’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) has increased from N450 million to N800 million monthly.
He disclosed this on Thursday during the Fountain Summit 2021 with the theme ‘Investment Attractiveness and Economic Development in Ekiti State’ which held in Ado-Ekiti.
Fayemi, who is also the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), however, said his administration has plans to boost the IGR to hit a landmark N1 billion monthly.
As part of measures to achieve the target, the governor said the south-west state will “fully implement the autonomy of our internally revenue service to complement the digitization of revenue collection launched last year.”
“We have also focused on increasing Internally Generated Revenue significantly. When we retuned to government, the state was earning an average of N450 million per month which has now gone up by 45 per cent to N800 million,” he said.
“We now have a goal to attain N1 billion per month in 2021 which we have successfully achieved twice already.”
If the N1 billion target is achieved, Fayemi explained that the state government would have more funds for capital projects while developing the state further.
While noting that his administration has just completed the Ekiti State Geographic Information System Infrastructure, the governor believes the move would enable the government reform its land and property administration process thereby leading to more increased revenue.
The Ekiti governor also gave an account of some projects ranging from roads to schools, healthcare facilities, embarked on his administration to better the lives of the people of the state.
According to him, the state government is also investing in security, building an independent power projects, tackling environmental and climate issues, water and sanitation among others.
He added, “Despite our lean resources, we have begun the implementation of the minimum wage in the state. In addition, we have kept our word to make salary and pension payments sacrosanct and we have not failed in this since our very first month in office.
“Our commitment is to continue the prioritization of staff welfare in development to ensure that the civil service which is the engine room of any government is well resourced to deliver optimal result.”
President Muhammadu Buhari is currently in Accra, Ghana participating in the 59th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government.
The Summit is chaired by Ghanaian President, Nana Akufo-Addo.
President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina is also at the Summit.
The Presidency earlier in a statement on Friday announced that President Buhari will be joining other Heads of State of Government of ECOWAS for the mid-year statutory meeting of the regional bloc, with the exception of Mali, which was recently suspended from the group.
Former President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, ECOWAS Special Envoy, and Mediator to Mali is also at the event and expected to present a report on his latest working visit to the West African country to the summit of the Heads of State.