Kingsley Ibokette

Kingsley Ibokette

Kingsley Ibokette BT

Facebook announced it will be opening an office in Lagos, Nigeria - its second office on the African continent.

Aimed at supporting the entire Sub-Saharan Africa region, the office is expected to become operational in H2 2021 and will be the first on the continent to house a team of expert engineers building for the future of Africa and beyond.

Facebook’s office will be home to various teams servicing the continent from across the business, including Sales, Partnerships, Policy, Communications as well as Engineers.

Commenting, Ime Archibong, Facebook's Head of New Product Experimentation said: “The opening of our new office in Lagos, Nigeria presents new and exciting opportunities in digital innovations to be developed from the continent and taken to the rest of the world. All across Africa we’re seeing immense talent in the tech ecosystem, and I’m proud that with the upcoming opening of our new office, we’ll be building products for the future of Africa, and the rest of the world, with Africans at the helm. We look forward to contributing further to the African tech ecosystem.”

The investment of the new Facebook office follows the 2018 opening of NG_Hub, its first flagship community hub space in Africa in partnership with CcHub, and the 2019 opening of a Small Business Group (SBG) Operations Centre in Lagos, in partnership with Teleperformance. Providing outsourced support to all English-speaking advertisers across Sub-Saharan Africa, the SBG office supports Small Medium Businesses (SMBs) through its Advocacy, Community & Education (ACE) programme, as well as its Marketing Expert sales programmes – all aimed at enabling SMBs to accelerate the growth and development of their businesses.

“Our new office in Nigeria presents an important milestone which further reinforces our ongoing commitment to the region”, commented Kojo Boakye, Facebook’s Director of Public Policy, Africa. “Our mission in Africa is no different to elsewhere in the world - to build community and bring the world closer together, and I’m excited about the possibilities that this will create, not just in Nigeria, but across Africa.”

Since the opening of its first office in 2015, Facebook has made a number of investments across the continent, aimed at supporting and growing the tech ecosystem, expanding and providing reliable connectivity infrastructures and helping businesses to grow locally, regionally and globally. This includes the recent rollout of its SMB Grants programme in Nigeria and South Africa, aimed at supporting over 900 businesses by providing a combination of cash and ad credits to help small businesses as they rebuild from COVID. The development of 2Africa, the world’s largest subsea cable project that will deliver much needed internet capacity and reliability across large parts of Africa, as well as its ongoing training programmes across the continent which support various communities including students, SMBs, digital creatives, female entrepreneurs, start-up’s and developers. 

Nunu Ntshingila, Regional Director, Facebook Africa,said: “We’re delighted to be announcing our new office in Nigeria. Five years on from opening our first office on the continent in Johannesburg, South Africa, we’re continuing to invest in and support local talent, as well as the various communities that use our platforms. The office in Lagos will also be key in helping to expand how we service our clients across the continent.”

The Mozambican civil aviation authorities say only airlines from six countries have agreed to resume operations since the reopening of the country’s airspace this month.

The National Civil Aviation Institute said the airlines were from Portugal, Turkey, Qatar, Ethiopia, Kenya and South Africa.

The institute said countries planning to restart their flights should express interest in the Mozambican diplomatic missions of their respective countries.

The resumption of regular passenger and cargo flights is authorised based on the principal of reciprocity and only two weekly flights are allowed.

International passengers must have proof that they tested negative for Covid-19 in the last 72 hours, according to guidance by the institute issued this week.

The airlines are required to ensure preventive measures are observed including the wearing of masks, social distancing of at least 1.5 metres, and the planes must carry universal precautionary kits.

The airline crew should also undergo state-supervised mandatory quarantine for up to 24 hours.

The planes, passengers and cargo must be disinfected before disembarking, the guidelines say.

Source: BBC

Zimbabwean authorities are in discussions with several international investment banks to support a new stock exchange that will trade exclusively in foreign currency, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said.

“The interest has been huge,” Ncube told an analyst briefing. He declined to give further details.

Yvonne Mhango, sub-Saharan Africa economist at Renaissance Capital, told the briefing that uppermost on foreign investors’ minds was the ability to repatriate their capital. “What they want is a functioning stock exchange,” Mhango said.

The global lenders would handle clearing and settlement of trades, thereby guaranteeing investors’ funds, Zimbabwe Stock Exchange Chief Executive Officer Justin Bgoni said at the event. The companies involved in talks are based in Africa, Asia and Europe, he said.

The exchange, to be known as VFEX and based in the resort town of Victoria Falls, will open in “a couple of weeks,” said Bgoni, who will also head the bourse.

 

Source: Bloomberg

 

The activities of the Djibouti Sovereign Fund (Fonds Souverain de Djibouti - FSD) were officially launched on Monday, September 14 at the presidential palace in the capital. Following the implementation decrees promulgated on June 24, 2020, a special inter-ministerial committee was held under the high authority of President Ismaël Omar Guelleh, in the presence of the Prime Minister, members of the government and the Fund's administrators.

The Sovereign Fund presents itself as an ambitious and innovative financial instrument aimed at turbocharging the country's development. It will strive to modernize the country's economy, to boost the growth of a competitive private sector and to enhance the development of the public productive sector, one of the essential instruments of this transformation.

Among the personalities present were the co-chairmen of SouthBridge, Mr. Donald Kaberuka (in videoconference) and Lionel Zinsou, as well as Mr. William Ediko, partner, who advised the Republic of Djibouti in setting up the Fund. Also present, Mr. Amir Jahanguiri, partner at law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher, who advised the government for this project.

The holding of the inter-ministerial committee was also an opportunity to formalize the appointment of the Managing Director of the FSD, the Senegalese Mamadou Mbaye. A seasoned professional, Mr. Mbaye is a graduate of École Polytechnique and École nationale de la statistique et de l'administration économique (ENSAE) in France. He brings with him an outstanding experience in both the private and public sectors. He was previously Vice-President of the Sovereign Fund for Strategic Investments of Senegal (Fonsis).

The creation of the FSD is a flagship measure of the "Vision 2035", a long-term development strategy of the Republic of Djibouti which aims to position the country as a leading commercial, logistics, port and digital hub.

Established in the form of a private limited company whose sole shareholder is and will remain the State of Djibouti, the Fund aims to "collect" national wealth to leverage Djibouti's ability to invest quickly. 

Ethiopian Airlines Group has successfully completed a new passenger terminal at its hub Addis Ababa Bole International Airport with emphasis on Bio Security and Bio Safety measures.

The new terminal has a capacity to accommodate 22 million passengers annually, the spacious terminal is designed to offer contactless and a convenient experience with the help of digitally equipped amenities. Besides the spacious check-in hall with sixty check-in counters, new immigration, security screening, boarding gates, travellator and panoramic lifts, the new terminal also features shopping malls, restaurants, entertainment areas, fully air-conditioned and features a ultra-luxurious new 5000 square metre lounge, plenty of relaxed seating and offering a first class dining experience.  .

In addition, for departing passengers it has three contact gates for wide body aircraft along with ten remote contact gates with travellator, escalator, and panoramic lifts. It will house thirty-two arrival immigration counters with eight e-gate provisions at the mezzanine floor level.

Regarding the expanded infrastructure, Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines remarked:

I am very pleased to witness the realisation of a brand-new terminal at our Hub. While Addis Ababa Bole International Airport has overtaken Dubai to become the largest gateway to Africa last year, the new terminal will play a key role in cementing that position. What makes the new terminal unique is that it’s the first terminal in the world to be completed after Covid-19. It was designed, not re-purposed, with Bio safety and Bio security in mind.  I’m sure our esteemed customers will highly appreciate that. "

Aviation infrastructure expansion is one of the core pillars of Ethiopian’s Vision 2025. Ethiopian is continuously working on expanding airport facilities. The features of the new airport play a key role in protecting passengers’ and employees’ safety as airport experience becomes contactless.

All is set now for the kickoff of the Tanga-Hoima Pipeline, with Tanzania looking to March 2021 for the start of the construction of the $3.5 billion project.

This followed Friday's confirmed agreement between French oil company Total and the Ugandan government over differences which forced the project to stall since 2018.

An initial plan for Tanzania and Uganda to have first oil flow in 2020 through the Uganda-Tanzania Crude Oil Pipe Line (UTCOP) was delayed after investors dragged their feet in making final investment decisions.

Total is now seeking to conclude a similar host government agreement with Tanzania, whose territory the pipe will traverse, to complete the tendering process for all engineering, procurement and construction contracts, according to the statement.

The country coordinator for the East African Crude Oil Pipe Line (Eacop) in Tanzania, Mr Salum Mnuna, told The Citizen that Tanzania is going on with similar negotiations that have been concluded between Total and Uganda.

 

Credit: The Citizen

South Sudan's Council of Ministers has lifted the ban on learning that President Salva Kiir imposed in March in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus ins schools.

In an exclusive interview with The EastAfrican in Juba on Saturday, Information minister Michael Makuei confirmed the development, saying it followed a comprehensive study by the National Taskforce on Covid-19.

"This decision was based on the report presented by the taskforce. It observed that the level of infection has reduced and there have been no more cases in the last few weeks," he said.

"After that study, it was decided that schools and higher learning institutions should re-open at times to be fixed by the General and Higher Education ministries. The guidelines to be followed will be issued by the concerned ministries."

Mr Makuei added that the council also lifted restrictions on working hours, saying that starting next week, offices will open from 8am to 5pm.

Tough measures

In March, the government took steps such as closing borders, schools and non-essential businesses, banning interstate travel and limiting public transport in its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. 

But in July, Save the Children, Unicef and Unesco released a press statement calling on nations to review the suspension of learning.

The humanitarian agencies called for the reopening schools, saying evidence shows children are harmed in other way by extended stays at home.

The organisations stressed that many children were malnourished due to the absence of school feeding programmes and that they also faced abuse.

In May, the Ministry of General Education and Instructions reported 23 cases of teenage pregnancies in Western Equatoria State alone.

And in July, Eastern Equatoria State authorities said the redundancy caused by the Covid-19 lockdown left over 125 teenage girls pregnant since the emergence of the virus in South Sudan.

As of Sunday, South Sudan had 2,578 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, including 49 deaths and 1,438 recoveries.

 

Source: Daily Nation

A United Kingdom court on Thursday ordered the British Virgin Islands firm, Process and Industrial Development, to pay £1.5m to Nigeria within 21 days.

According a statement by Dr. Umar Gwandu, the spokesperson for the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, the UK court ordered P&ID to pay the money to Nigeria to cover the legal costs incurred by the Federal Government in successfully obtaining the court’s permission for an extension of time to challenge the $10bn arbitral award the company obtained against Nigeria.

The statement read, “The Federal Republic of Nigeria today (Thursday) appeared in the English High Court for a scheduled hearing.

“The hearing followed the major victory secured by Federal Republic of Nigeria last Friday (September 4), allowing it to bring a fraud challenge against a $10bnn arbitration award obtained by vulture-fund-backed P&ID well outside the normal time limits.

“FRN will now proceed to a full fraud trial. The hearing today was held to decide procedural and costs issues relating to the FRN’s applications to challenge the arbitration award, and to determine the short term directions to trial.

“Cranston J ordered P&ID to make an interim payment of more than £1.5 million within 21 days to cover legal costs the FRN incurred as part of their successful application for the extension of time to challenge the arbitration award and procedural hearing earlier in the year.

“A case management conference to determine the full trial window is scheduled to take place after November 2020.”

The statement also stated that the Thursday’s order by the British court “is another crucial win for Nigeria in our ongoing fight against the vulture-fund-backed P&ID.”

It added, “We are pleased that the English courts have taken our fraud challenge seriously, and awarded us a substantial interim payment in respect of our successful application for an extension of time to challenge the award.”

Justice Ross Cranston had in a landmark judgment, on September 4, granted the Federal Government permission to challenge the final arbitral award delivered by a London arbitration tribunal in favour of P&ID and against Nigeria in January 2017.

The judge in the judgement agreed that there was prima facie case of fraud in the agreements leading to the award which should be inquired into.

The award which stood at $9.6bn as of 2019 has risen to $10bn.

The tribunal had held Nigeria liable for the alleged breach of a Gas Supply Processing Agreement it entered into with P&ID in 2010.

But the Nigerian government had approached the UK court requesting an extension of time within which to challenge the final arbitral award on the basis that the GSPA and the award were tainted by fraud.

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