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UK Signs Enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement with Nigeria



UK Signs Enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement with Nigeria

By: Michael Mike

The United Kingdom has signed an Enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership (ETIP) with Nigeria to boost trade and investment between the two countries and unlock new opportunities for UK and Nigerian businesses.

UK Minister for Trade and Business Kemi Badenoch signed the ETIP alongside her Nigerian counterpart Nigerian Trade Minister Doris Nkiruka Uzoka-Anite on Tuesday in Abuja.

The Enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership (ETIP) is the first the UK has signed with an African country and is designed to grow the UK and Nigeria’s already thriving trading relationship, which totalled £7 billion in the year to September 2023.

This arrangement will pave the way for opportunities in sectors crucial to both economies such as finance and legal services as well as foster new collaborations in innovative areas like the creatives industry. The visit by the Secretary of State comes a week ahead of a UK Government-led fashion and beauty trade delegation to Nigeria.

The ETIP also initiates further collaboration on the UK’s ambitious Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS), launched last year which puts in place simpler and more generous trading terms for Nigeria and 36 other African countries.

Nigeria is a major beneficiary of changes introduced by the DCTS and will see tariff reductions on over 3000 products, meaning that 99% of existing Nigerian exports to the UK by value will be duty free. Tariffs have been removed on Nigerian goods which promote value addition in important non-oil export sectors such as cocoa butter and paste, sesame oil and clothing and apparel. These changes will boost trade with the UK and support the Federal Government of Nigeria’s wider trade policy priorities.

Badenoch said: “The UK and Nigeria are vital partners, with longstanding historical and economic ties.

“UK businesses are already seeing huge success in Nigeria – one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

“I’m delighted to be here to sign our new enhanced partnership which will allow UK firms to export their world-class goods and services more easily and expand their footprint in Nigeria.”

Nigerian Minister for Trade Doris Nkiruka Uzoka-Anite said: “The UK is one of our long-standing strategic partners with whom we share strong ties, and it gladdens me that this relationship is set to deepen as we sign the Enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership.

“This partnership will see Nigeria-UK relations move beyond one of shared history and strong ties to one of shared economic prosperity. From increasing market access and supporting our vibrant businesses, to creating more jobs and accelerate greater investments in sectors of mutual interests.”

The ETIP will help to build on the significant progress already made in resolving market access barriers in the education and financial sectors, which have led to a more favourable trading environment for UK and Nigerian businesses.

In addition, through this partnership, there is an opportunity to leverage UK and international investment from the City of London, which is home to the top financial and professional services.

TheCityUK International Managing Director Nicola Watkinson said: “Nigeria is an important growth market for the UK-based financial and related professional services industry and TheCityUK welcomes the signing of the new ETIP.
“We look forward to continuing our engagement through the working groups to increase market access and remove regulatory frictions.”

During the visit, Minister Badenoch will also hold a groundbreaking ceremony at Abuja’s first industrial park built by UK-Turkish construction firm Zeberced Ltd to open its support services areas at the site.

The UK government has been supporting the firm in a number of areas. The $144m industrial park is set to create 620 direct jobs and 1,650 indirect jobs and provide a base for major firms to access central and northern Nigeria.

The UK trade minister will in addition, witness the signing of a landmark energy agreement between UK based energy firm Konexa and Nigerian power generation company North South Power (NSP).

The agreement will enable Konexa to supply Nigerian Breweries PLC with 100% renewable power, promote sustainable development and clean energy adoption, and lead to infrastructure investments of over £14 million.

Konexa CEO Pradeep Pursnani said: “This is a very important milestone for Konexa, North South Power, Nigerian Breweries, and all our investment partners. Over the last few years, Konexa has been working on a disruptive model that matches customer energy demand with renewable energy supply.

“We are looking forward to investing more than £120m in renewable energy generation, transmission, distribution, and battery storage solutions to help our customers transition away from the use of fossil fuel.”

UK exports to Nigeria were £4 billion in the 12 months to the end of September 2023, an increase of 3% in current prices from the 12 months to September 2022.Of this, £1.3 billion were goods and £2.6 billion were services.

The ETIP will build on the UK’s Developing Countries Trading Scheme, which has already granted enhanced preferential access for over 3000 products, meaning that 99% of existing Nigerian exports to the UK by value will be duty free.

Tariffs have been removed on Nigerian goods in important non-oil export sectors such as cocoa butter and paste, sesame oil and clothing and apparel.

For example, 14% of tariffs have been removed on prepared tomatoes, 4.5% removed on sesame oil, 6.4% removed for woven cotton, 4.5% removed on cocoa paste, and 12.5% removed on plantains.

Working groups and business dialogues will take place to ensure businesses on both sides benefit and have access to the opportunities the ETIP presents.

Following the Secretary of State’s visit, His Majesty’s Deputy Trade Commissioner for Africa, will be leading a fashion and beauty retail Trade Mission from the UK to Nigeria with 8 UK brands looking to form retail and e-commerce partnerships in Nigeria. These include the Boohoo Group, Kartel Watches and The Gel Bottle amongst others.

Konexa has a Generation and Trading license, TUoS (Transmission use of system) agreement with TCN and DUoS (Distribution use of System) agreement with DISCOS that enables them to wheel renewable electrons through transmission and distribution networks to supply customers, including investment in improving the network.

North South Power (NSP) is an indigenous power generation company with over 600MW of operating hydro already operating on the national grid (approx. 8% of national energy supply). The Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) being signed is for a new 30MW hydro asset that they are commissioning in December 2024

The new deal will help supply Nigerian Breweries (Heineken,Kaduna), with 100% renewable power – using a combination of Hydropower, battery storage and a power management system – marking a significant step towards sustainable industrial operations in the region.

UK Signs Enhanced Trade and Investment Partnership Agreement with Nigeria

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Rwanda Warns that Allowing Hatred, Disunity to Fester Could Lead to Genocide



Rwanda Warns that Allowing Hatred, Disunity to Fester Could Lead to Genocide

By: Michael Mike

Rwanda has warned of the dangers of allowing hatred and disunity to fester, insisting that this could lead to genocide like it witnessed over 30 years ago where a million people were killed in the spate of 100 days.

The Rwandan High Commissioner to Nigeria, Christophe Bazivamo, stated this at the 30th commemoration of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Abuja.

The commemoration is observed under the multi-year theme, “Remember – Unite – Renew”.

Bazivamo stated that the path to lasting peace demands constant vigilance, adding that “As we renew, we restate our unbreakable pledge to fight intolerance, discrimination, ethnic hatred, hate speeches, genocide revisionism, and denial in all their forms.

“Unfortunately, this is happening today just beyond Rwanda’s borders in the Great Lakes region. We should never allow the embers of hatred to reignite.”

The High Commissioner further said: stated: “On this Kwibuka 30, together, we can ensure that the memory of the victims becomes a powerful force for good, inspiring future generations to choose peace over hate, unity over division, and hope over despair.

“This can be achieved in different ways including putting course lessons about the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in schools and the establishment of memory symbols in remembrance of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi to educate the young and the next generation on the need to fight hate ideologies and stand against any form of discrimination and divisionism. Let us work together to build a world where such atrocities never happen again.”

In his remarks, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar conveyed the condolences of the Nigerian government to the survivors of the genocide.

Tuggar represented by a former ambassador to Sudan, Safiu Olaniyan said: “Genocide should not be allowed to raise its head ever again.”

The Secretary General, United Nations, Antonio Guterres urged the world to stand as one against all forms of hatred and discrimination.

Guterres whose speech was read at the occasion by the UN Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Mohamed Malick Fall noted that: “To those who would seek to divide us, we must deliver a clear, unequivocal and urgent message: never again.

“We can draw a straight line between the senseless slaughter of one million Tutsi — as well as some Hutu and others who opposed the genocide — and the decades of hate speech that preceded it, enflamed by ethnic tensions and the long shadow of colonialism.

“Today, around the world, the darkest impulses of humanity are being awakened once more by the voices of extremism, division and hate.

“On this solemn day of remembrance, let’s pledge to stand as one against all forms of hatred and discrimination.

In his remarks, a retired Nigerian Navy admiral, Samuel Alade who witnessed the genocide while in Rwanda said, “I commend the tenacity of purpose and the commitment of the Rwandans to make their nation an example of relevance.”

Rwanda Warns that Allowing Hatred, Disunity to Fester Could Lead to Genocide

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Earthquake: Emergency agency warns about aftershocks in New York



Earthquake: Emergency agency warns about aftershocks in New York

New York State Emergency Management has warned that  residents might experience aftershocks of the 4.8 magnitude  earthquake, which occurred in the city and New Jersey on Friday.

The North American correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the earthquake, which occurred at 10:23a.m. local time ,eight miles northwest of Bridgewater, New Jersey ,affected some areas in New York.

It rattled skyscrapers and buildings across Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.

The  emergency agency, in a safety alert issued , urged the public to call 911 if they were experiencing an emergency.

“ An earthquake occurred in New Jersey. The earthquake has been felt throughout New York State. Aftershocks may occur. Call 9-1-1 only if you or others are injured or have  an emergency’’

An earthquake with a magnitude of 4.8 is generally considered moderate, though it appears to be among the biggest earthquakes to ever affect New York City.

In addition to New York and New Jersey, the quake was felt in parts of Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts .

New York governor Kathy Hochul said that the impact of the earthquake was being assessed.

“My team is assessing impacts and any damage that may have occurred, and we will update the public throughout the day.” she wrote on X .

Earthquake: Emergency agency warns about aftershocks in New York

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Gaza: US Failed Resolution at UN was Biased- Envoy



Gaza: US Failed Resolution at UN was Biased- Envoy

By: Michael Mike

The Palestinian Ambassador to Nigeria, Abdullah Shawesh has described as biased the failed United States resolution on Gaza.

Shawesh, who spoke to journalists at the weekend during his weekly briefing on the ongoing Israeli attacks on Gaza, also alleged that Israel has violated Ramadan ceasefire agreement,

He said U.S was biased in its resolution as it failed to call for immediate ceasefire.

Shawesh said, “On Friday, March 22, the USA presented a resolution before the Security Council, which did not pass due to a veto. In this regard, and despite many other criticisms, I would like to highlight the following points:

“So all what you hear on the media about the ceasefire resolution is spout empty words. The US resolution fail to call for an immediate ceasefire that the secretary of state Blinken theorize for it on the media day before tabling it on the security council as the magic stack to put an end to the human suffering in Gaza.

“The US resolution fell short of condemning the ongoing Israeli massacre against the Palestinian people. Instead, it gave Israel the green light to continue its textbook genocide.

“The US resolution emprise and incubated all the Israeli claims about Oct 7 even before any independent fact finding mission or inquiry mission established by independent intergovernmental body to come with final report on what happened on that day.

“The US resolution mentioned the 132 Israeli hostages in Gaza but did not say a word about the more than 7,000 abducted and hostage Palestinians in Israeli concentration camps and prisons, all of whom are subjected to torture, degradation, and ill-treatment, resulting in the deaths of 12 of them so far.

“This is a clear form of racism and white supremacy, prioritizing the lives of Israelis over the lives of Palestinians.

“The US resolution deliberately did not mention any single words on the UN body, UNRWA, which is the most expert and capable body to tackle the humanitarian crises in Gaza, in clear complicity to support the Israeli occupation request to dismantle it. When it came to the humanitarian assistance to the Palestinian no one can deny the crucial role that the UNRWA played since Al-Nakba 1948.

“It is important to note that the US Congress voted not to resume funding for UNRWA until at least 2025, a move welcomed by Israel, which declared that the UN agency will not be part of Gaza’s future.

The US did not mention Israel as the occupation power except one time in the context of the two state solution.”

He also accused the Israeli authorities of not respecting UN resolution which called for ceasefire during the ongoing Ramadan.

He said, “On Monday, March 25, the Security Council adopted the Resolution 2728 calling for an immediate ceasefire during the month of Ramadan. While the ink on the resolution is not yet dry, Israeli cannon barrels are still firing and claiming more innocent Palestinian lives.

“On a practical level, this means Israel has turned its back on the Security Council. Israeli pushback on the UN ceasefire resolution, and the war minister Yoav Gallant said Israel has no moral right to stop the war in Gaza.

“The Israeli occupation authorities have continued their aggression, restrictions, and repressive measures in the occupied West Bank since the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan.

“They have deployed more than 24 military battalions there, imposed a comprehensive siege, cut off ties with partial sieges on all regions and towns, deployed over 750 checkpoints, installed more iron gates, and forced citizens to travel on bumpy roads that consume their time and money.”

He condemned the continue sales of weapons to Isreal, he said according Mary Lawlor – UN special rapporteur on human rights defenders: “There is no moral argument that justifies the continued sales of weapons to Israel. Over the past six months, Israel has unequivocally proven that it uses Western and foreign weapons indiscriminately against the Palestinian people. Why does the West continue to supply them?”

He also asked the everyone to pay attention to the UN Secretary General, António Guterres words that: “Palestinians in Gaza — children, women, men – remain stuck in a non-stop nightmare. Communities obliterated. Homes demolished. Entire families and generations wiped out. With hunger and starvation stalking the population. It is monstrous that after so much suffering over so many months, Palestinians in Gaza are marking Ramadan with Israeli bombs still falling, bullets still flying, artillery still pounding, and humanitarian assistance still facing obstacle upon obstacle.”

Shawesh said: “According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health as of Sunday, March 24, approximately 32,200 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli occupation forces. Among the victims, 72% were women (around 8,800) and children (approximately 13,750). Additionally, around 74,500 Palestinians have been injured, with a majority being women and children. It is estimated that more than 8,100 people are missing under the rubble.

Gaza: US Failed Resolution at UN was Biased- Envoy

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