Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria and Chairman of the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2023) Advisory Council, has emphasized the significance of cooperation and collaboration to unlock the untapped potential of the African continent. Speaking at the IATF2023 held in Cairo, Egypt, Obasanjo highlighted the role of intra-African trade in fostering industrialization and job creation.
Beyond being a platform for the exhibition of goods and services, Obasanjo characterized the IATF2023 as a nexus for networking, collaboration, and knowledge sharing. He stressed that this spirit of cooperation and collaboration is essential to harnessing the untapped potential of the African continent. The trade fair serves as a commitment to economic integration and a determination to create a prosperous future for Africa and its Diaspora nations.
Obasanjo urged African leaders, policymakers, and representatives to create an environment conducive to trade by eliminating unnecessary bureaucracy, harmonizing regulations, and investing in essential infrastructure. He sees the IATF2023 as a stepping stone toward a future where African nations trade freely, breaking down barriers and opening doors of opportunity.
The former president called on entrepreneurs and innovators to seize the moment and build bridges of commerce between nations and communities. He encouraged them to embrace the entrepreneurial spirit, leverage technology to unlock new markets, and empower women-owned businesses.
IATF2023, Africa’s largest trade and investment fair, is expected to attract over 1,600 exhibitors and 35,000 visitors and buyers. Organized by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) in collaboration with the African Union and AfCFTA Secretariat, the event’s theme is “Connecting African Markets,” and it is scheduled to run from November 9 to November 15. The IATF is an instrumental initiative in driving economic integration and showcasing the diverse potential of the African continent.
During the event, Mrs. Kanayo Awani, the Executive Vice-President of Intra-African Trade Bank, Afreximbank, emphasized the need for a multi-faceted approach to address challenges affecting Africa’s creative and cultural industries. She highlighted areas such as improving access to finance, strengthening intellectual property rights, investing in infrastructure and technology, and promoting trade and investment. The IATF2023 aims to facilitate economic growth, create employment opportunities, preserve cultural heritage, and shape a vibrant and diverse creative landscape in Africa.
FG Allocates N3.2bn for State-of-the-Art Screening Machines in Major Airports
Nigeria has approved N3.2 billion for the acquisition of advanced screening machines at five major international airports in a move to enhance aviation security. The Minister of Aviation, Festus Keyamo, disclosed this development after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, chaired by President Bola Tinubu in Abuja.
The airports set to benefit from this initiative include Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Murtala Muhammad International Airport, Port Harcourt International Airport, Aminu Kano International Airport, and Enugu International Airport. The plan involves implementing sophisticated explosive and narcotic detection screening systems to replace manual bag searches.
Festus Keyamo highlighted the inefficiencies and challenges faced by passengers during manual bag searches, emphasizing the need for an improved system. The new detection machines are expected to swiftly identify explosives or illicit substances as bags pass through the screening process, streamlining the security procedures at airports.
“This is what Nigerians would be interested in because since I came to office, we have been inundated with complaints of the harrowing experiences that passengers go through at the airports where they have to physically search their bags,” said Keyamo. He outlined the plan to implement a system similar to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in America, ensuring a more efficient and secure screening process.
The awarded contracts, totaling N3.2 billion, will cover the supply and installation of customized explosives and narcotics detection screening systems with remote and dual view capabilities. This investment is anticipated to significantly enhance security measures within Nigeria’s aviation sector.
In addition to this development, Minister Keyamo announced that the Federal Executive Council (FEC) ratified Nigeria’s bilateral air service agreement with the Republic of Guyana, further strengthening diplomatic ties in the aviation sector.
Stakeholders Commend Kyari’s Reappointment, Urge Swift Implementation of Gas Policy
Stakeholders in the oil and gas sector have expressed approval for the reappointment of Malam Mele Kyari as the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of the National Petroleum Company Ltd. (NNPCL). President Bola Tinubu’s decision to extend Kyari’s tenure has garnered positive reactions from industry insiders, who see it as a strategic move to ensure stability and further the ongoing reform initiatives in the sector.
Former President of the Nigerian Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE), Mr. Ajibola Oyebamiji, highlighted the crucial need to operationalize the refineries. He called on Kyari to use his renewed term to boost production, implement the gas policy, incentivize gas exploration, and support local gas utilization.
Oyebamiji stated, “The GCEO’s reappointment is a welcome development and cheering news for the oil and gas industry. He is a round peg in a round hole. For the stability of the industry and implementation of the ongoing reform policies, it is well-deserved.”
Dr. Emeka Akabogu, Executive Vice Chairman of OTL Africa Downstream, noted the pragmatic nature of Kyari’s reappointment in light of NNPCL’s transition into full private sector operations. Akabogu acknowledged Kyari’s efforts in this transitional phase and stressed the importance of organizational stability.
On his expectations, Akabogu stated, “I anticipate that he strengthens the establishment of a robust and competitive national oil company capable of competing both locally and internationally. It’s crucial for NNPCL to adhere strictly to competition regulations, especially when engaging with local operators in the downstream value chain.”
The newly appointed board of NNPCL features Chief Pius Akinyelure as the Non-Executive Board Chairman, Alhaji Umar Ajiya as the Chief Financial Officer, and Mr. Ledum Mitee as a Non-Executive Director, among others. The stakeholders’ emphasis on the swift implementation of the gas policy underscores the industry’s eagerness for strategic measures aligned with both national and international standards.
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