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NIGERIA: ???????? ????? ?????? ??????? ?? ????? ????????????????? ??????? ??????????? ???? ?????

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While the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) offers limitless opportunities for the industrialization of Africa, authorities across the continent must take the right policy actions to actualize them, according to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN.

He stated that such actions include the protection of local industries and improving value chains.

Prof. Osinbajo stated this in a message delivered today at a ‘Roundtable on Industrialization in Africa themed “Positioning African Industries for Economic Transformation and Continental Free Trade”, organized by the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) to celebrate its Golden Jubilee.

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According to the Vice President, “for certain, the AfCFTA is indispensable if industrial development is to take off in Africa because it offers wider markets and economies of scale which are essential for manufacturing to be competitive.

“We must take policy actions to create an environment in which businesses can thrive. To start with, we must adopt the right type of macroeconomic and industrial policies.

“It is important for African governments to provide a stable macroeconomic environment which avoids and smoothens out volatility in prices, sharp deteriorations in the current account and budget deficits and of course, rapid accumulation in debt burdens.”

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Speaking on actions that will boost manufacturing, Prof. Osinbajo said “on the industrial side, policies like tariffs, quotas, subsidies and non-tariff barriers which protect our infant industries so that they can create jobs and enable learning are vital.”

He then added that “well negotiated rules of origin are important in the context of the free trade agreements as they are key to preventing trans-shipment and the deflection of trade. Without them, firms from non-state parties could set up simple labelling operations in one member State with a view to shipping already finished products to another member State without really adding any value.”

Prof. Osinbajo observed that it is important for MAN to involve itself in an advisory capacity to government negotiators “as we go further into the rules of origin negotiations (these rules negotiations have, of course, started), but I think as we go on, we should get more contributions and advise from MAN.”

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“Our manufacturers must also strive to become competitive after clearly specified time periods so that they can withstand the ever present danger of stiff competition from imports. In other words, while our manufacturing industries must be nurtured and supported, they cannot remain infants forever,” the VP added.

Emphasizing the point about enhancing industrial competitiveness, Prof. Osinbajo noted that “one of the ways to increase the competitiveness of African industries is to develop and deepen regional value chains wherein production systems starting from conception and design right through to supply of raw materials, processing, transport, storage, marketing and sales take place within our countries and continent.”

Citing examples of Nigeria and South Africa, the VP explained thus: “when we export commodities to the rest of the world, we are also exporting jobs and the positive spillover effects such as learning that come with manufacturing are lost.

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“Happily, we are already beginning to see some green shoots emerging in this regard as Nigerian fertiliser blenders obtain phosphates from Morocco for blending with urea produced in our petrochemical plants. Similarly, South African car manufacturers already buy leather for car seats from Botswana. We however need much more of such activities.

He said there are a number of other things that need to be put in place quite quickly “if we are to see the kind of manufacturing activity that we desire. First of all, we need to develop a strong infrastructural base. Extensive, cheap and affordable infrastructure is vital for the success of our economies.

“We must build a network of roads, bridges and rail that will facilitate the movement of goods and people just as we build the electricity plants to power our factories and the broadband networks that lubricate modern business. It would also be essential in the interim to develop sites with dedicated infrastructural and regulatory structures like Special Economic Zones and Shared Facilities for small businesses.”

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Prof. Osinbajo added that another major objective of policies aimed at preparing industries for AfCFTA “must be to ease payments across borders and implementation of the protocols on free movement of persons”.

Continuing, the VP said in the pre-recorded message “it is particularly important in this regard to rapidly operationalise the effort by Afreximbank to establish a Pan-African Payments and Settlement Platform. This will go a long way in creating the desired continental payments system and also in facilitating cross-border informal trade which is estimated to be about $93 billion per annum.”

Meanwhile, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN is leaving Abuja today on a short visit to Arusha, Tanzania where he will be received by his Tanzanian counterpart, Dr. Philip Mpango.

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While in Arusha, Prof. Osinbajo would visit the African Court of Justice and Human Rights (ACJHR), an African Union agency in Arusha, among other engagements before he returns to Abuja on Monday.

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2nd September 2021

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Nigeria

Ijaws Diaspora: Queen Josephine Diete-Spiff of Twon Brass Kingdom Seeks Collaboration to Tackle Poverty, Trafficking, Violence Against Ijaw Women

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Queen of Twon Brass Kingdom and President of the Queens of the Niger Delta Initiative, Her Majesty, Dr Josephine Diete-Spiff, Esq JP called on the Ijaws in Diaspora on the need for an effective and efficient collaboration to meet the yearning and aspirations of Ijaw women in order for them to be empowered to achieve their fullest abilities and potential in every sphere of their life.

The Royal Queen made the call during her paper presentation on the occasion of the Ijaw Diaspora Convention held recently in New Jersey, United States of America.

Speaking on the theme: “Effective Collaboration with the Ijaw Diaspora: Hope for the Ijaw Women”, Queen Josephine noted that the Ijaw woman is majestic, full of strength, beautiful, hardworking, long-suffering, compassionate and caring for her children and loved ones.

She said that the description which depicted a typical Ijaw woman as with a pan on her head, a baby wrapped on her back and her work implements in her hands, ready to provide for the family under the hot African sun and Niger Delta rain, unperturbed by the harsh experiences of life shows she is tenacious and hardworking.

She said, “Unfortunately, today, the evil of industrialization in the name of oil and gas extraction and the attendant land grab/pollution have put a lot of our women out of the traditional livelihood occupation of fishing and farming which gave them prosperity in the past thus pushing them into poverty and loss of control of the children-a basis for the numerous vices among our youths today.

According to her, Ijaw women are mostly breadwinners and the nurturers of their families, adding that their livelihood was greatly impeded by the challenging environment of the Niger Delta, which though rich in oil and income generating opportunities, same are out of the reach of the Ijaw woman.

The wife of the former Rivers State Military Governor further emphasized that Ijaw women are agents of social change, if given the opportunity, adding that a collaboration with the Ijaw Diaspora will be a welcome development in changing the narrative of Ijaw Women in the livelihood scheme of survival.

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“The Ijaw woman’s means of survival are also threatened by a growing trend of farm produce theft and flooding. Added to her woes are kidnapping, herder invasion, and early widowhood, leading to loss of socio-economic subsistence. She also suffers from the attendant factors of poverty increased by lack of education, susceptibility to violence, cultism, health challenges, underage motherhood, in addition to some harmful traditional practices. The list is endless.”

Proposing avenues which require effective partnership, Queen Josephine called on the Ijaw Diaspora to collaborate with Ijaw women in homeland in areas of Interventions in Violence and Ill-Treatment Against Ijaw Women, Ijaw Women/Girl Child Education, Ijaw Women Empowerment, Encouraging Ijaw Women to Participate in Politics and take up Leadership Positions.

“It’s undeniable that the Ijaw Diaspora has assets for collaboration due to their international exposure, international contacts, financial resources, human and mental resources that override the economic capabilities of their counterparts in the homeland. Therefore, they can offer training, assist in primary healthcare, provide resources and partner with the Ijaw women in their homeland.

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“Collaboration with the Ijaw diaspora will be impossible without a formidable platform for operational collaboration and communication. One, therefore, recommends the creation of a most needed platform for efficient synergy between Ijaw diaspora and Ijaw women at home.

“So that the local Ijaw women can be empowered to achieve their fullest abilities and potential in every sphere of their life. For every Ijaw woman to fulfil the requirements of her heart and be free from any form of oppression, she needs to be liberated and confident in herself. Her desired accomplishment in life is a sine qua non for the benefit of the Ijaw ethnic nationality”, she stressed.

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