Tuesday 27 June 2017
(Voice of America 06/21/17)
WASHINGTON DC — On June 5, Saudi Arabia and its allies, including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, accusing it of funding extremist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic State. In response, Qatar said it was the victim of a policy of “domination and control” by its larger neighbor and that Saudi Arabia was, in fact, the one responsible for backing extremism. So what is the truth? Fundamentalist strains of Islam, including Saudi-born Salafism and Wahhabism, form the ideological bedrock for most terror groups. According to a study by Leif Wenar of King’s College London based on the Global Terrorism Database, three out of four terror attacks...
(BBC News Africa 06/19/17)
Up to half the food aid meant for people who have fled Nigeria's Islamist insurgency has reportedly not been delivered, the government says. It described it as a "diversion of relief materials", which correspondents say is a euphemism for theft. A statement from the acting president's office added that security was being beefed up to protect the deliveries. As a result of Boko Haram violence some 8.5 million Nigerians in the north-east need life-saving aid, officials say. Poor rains have exacerbated a problem caused by fighting with Boko Haram Islamist militants, which has forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes. People in north-east Nigeria are also facing a possible famine, the UN said in March. In the...
(BBC News Africa 06/14/17)
In our series of letters from African journalists, novelist and writer Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani considers growing calls for changes in the way Nigeria is governed. The chants of discontent among the more than 300 different tongues amalgamated by the British into one nation called Nigeria never seem to end. As one ethnic group pauses to catch its breath, another mounts the world media stage, while others await their big moment. Nigeria's system of government encourages this attention seeking. Each of...
(BBC News Africa 06/12/17)
Pope Francis has told a group of Nigerian priests to pledge obedience to him or face suspension from the church. The row is over the refusal by clergy in the diocese of Ahiara to accept the appointment of a bishop made in 2012. The pontiff told an audience of Nigerian Catholics in Rome last week that the "people of God are scandalised" by what has happened. It is unusual for the pope to issue this kind of threat, says the...
(RFI(EN) 06/12/17)
In this edition of Spotlight on Africa, RFI's Zeenat Hansrod speaks to the Nigerian artist who makes Hijarbies, that's Barbie dolls wearing the hijab. They are already Instagram celebrities and are being sold worldwide.
(Bloomberg 06/08/17)
Nigeria’s traditional currency-forwards market is facing competition from an upstart. Bond investors and speculators are switching away from non-deliverable forwards that are based on the main interbank exchange rate, which is tightly controlled by the central bank. They are increasingly pricing their contracts with rates from the more liberal foreign-exchange window policy makers opened six weeks ago. As Nigeria takes tentative steps toward currency liberalization amid economic turmoil caused by lower oil prices, the emergence of a parallel NDF market...
(Bloomberg 06/08/17)
Nigeria said it will feed 1.8 million people in the country’s northeast where a militant insurgency has wrecked the local economy and pushed the population to the brink of famine. The federal government will distribute 40,000 metric tons of food including rice, maize, sorghum and soya beans to displaced persons, the office of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who is acting leader while President Muhammadu Buhari is on sick leave in the U.K., said in a statement on Wednesday. Officials want...
(Bloomberg 05/31/17)
Nigeria, Angola and Zimbabwe are being left in leadership limbo as their ailing rulers spend weeks abroad seeking medical attention. The presidents of the three African nations all wield considerable power, and their absence has stoked investor uncertainty and stirred talk about succession. The situation hasn’t been helped by their governments’ failure to disclose what’s wrong with them. “Despite an average population age of around 17 to 19, many sub-Saharan African countries have elderly leaders in their 70s or above,”...
(Voice of America 05/31/17)
The United Nations is warning that more than 1.4 million people in northeastern Nigeria could face famine by September because of a severe funding shortage. To date, only 28 percent of the U.N. appeal for more than $1 billion to provide humanitarian aid for nearly seven million people has been received. Since Boko Haram militants began their armed rebellion against the government of Nigeria in 2009, the United Nations estimates more than 20,000 people have been killed, nearly two million...
(Washington Post 05/31/17)
The old man’s house had become a camp for the displaced. In the back yard, groups of women boiled water for rice. Small children skittered across the dirt, running into the bedroom, where they careened around the long, skinny legs of Elijah Karama. “Because of the conditions, they are mine to take care of,” said Karama, 57, more tired than proud. By conditions, he meant Boko Haram’s destruction of vast areas of northeastern Nigeria, and the hunger crisis that has...
(Financial Times 05/26/17)
Senate passes first of five bills aimed at unlocking billions of dollars in investment. Nigeria’s senate has passed the first of a series of laws aimed at overhauling the troubled oil sector in what lawmakers say is an initial step towards unlocking billions of dollars in investment. This bill’s passage comes after 12 years of attempts by the legislature to agree a new legal framework for the industry, on which Nigeria depends for 70 per cent of its revenues and...
(Bloomberg 05/24/17)
Nigeria’s central bank will increase dollar sales to support the economy and bolster the naira after leaving its key interest rate at a record high level. “Interventions will be more vigorous and intense,” Governor Godwin Emefiele told reporters in the capital, Abuja, after announcing the Monetary Policy Committee’s decision to keep the benchmark rate at 14 percent. “Loosening monetary policy would exacerbate inflationary pressure” and reverse the naira’s gains on the parallel market, he said. The central bank has kept...
(Bloomberg 05/23/17)
Nigeria’s economy continued its slump and contracted for a fifth consecutive quarter in the three months through March after the oil industry shrank and agricultural expansion slowed. Gross domestic product in Africa’s most-populous nation shrank 0.5 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, compared with a revised 1.7 percent contraction in the final three months of 2016, the Abuja-based National Bureau of Statistics said in an emailed statement Tuesday. The median of eight economist estimates compiled by Bloomberg...
(Bloomberg 05/23/17)
Bola Tinubu, an influential leader of Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress, denounced reports that soldiers and politicians may be plotting a coup, saying democracy in Africa’s most populous nation is too mature to be overthrown. Army Chief of Staff Tukur Buratai said last week he’d received information that “individuals have been approaching some officers and soldiers” to discuss a plot and warned that they should desist. “We had a warning that some people were trying to entice the military out...
(Bloomberg 05/23/17)
Nigeria is battling to stave off famine in the northeastern state of Borno where a seven-year-old insurgency by Islamist militants has forced more than 2 million people to flee their homes and wrecked the local economy. While aid agencies estimate that as many as 1.4 million people are facing an emergency and 44,000 are close to starvation, they’ve raised only a fifth of the $1.05 billion needed for the operation to provide assistance this year. Nigeria is one of four...
(Bloomberg 05/22/17)
Nigeria’s central bank will keep monetary policy tight as dollar shortages persist, Deputy Governor Joseph Nnanna said before an interest-rate announcement next week. Now is not the time to ease policy, he said in an interview Thursday in the capital, Abuja. Inflation slowed for a third month in April, but at 17.2 percent remains almost double the upper limit of the bank’s 6 percent to 9 percent target. “We are battling with liquidity as it were, so tight monetary policy...
(The Guardian 05/22/17)
The 82 Nigerian schoolgirls recently released after more than three years in Boko Haram captivity were finally reunited with their families on Saturday in a public display of emotion. Images from the scene showed brightly dressed families rushing through the crowd to hug the girls. One small group sank to their knees, with a woman raising her hands to the heavens as if in church. A beaming father picked his daughter up and swung her around in the air. Some...
(Voice of America 05/18/17)
Another Nigerian schoolgirl kidnapped by Boko Haram terrorists two years ago is free after escaping her captors. A spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari gave no details Wednesday, but said Nigerian soldiers found her and brought her to the capital. Her escape comes two weeks after Boko Haram freed 82 of the girls in a prisoner swap with the government. They are expected to be reunited with their families in the coming days. The Islamist group kidnapped 276 girls from their...
(Bloomberg 05/18/17)
Thousands of farmers in northern Nigeria contracted to grow tomatoes for a set price are shunning the crop this season after pests destroyed much of last year’s produce, leaving the processing factory set up by Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, short of raw materials. Established to process 1,200 metric tons of tomatoes each day and produce 400,000 tons of paste annually, the Dangote Farms Ltd. factory, just outside the northern city of Kano, was designed to meet Nigeria’s domestic needs...
(Bloomberg 05/18/17)
Steinhoff International Holdings NV plans to list its African assets separately as the acquisitive retailer seeks a new prize for shareholders following this year’s failed merger talks with Shoprite Holdings Ltd. The company said Wednesday it will seek to list businesses including clothing retailer Pepkor and furniture chain JD Group Ltd. on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, about 18 months after moving its primary listing to Frankfurt from the South African commercial hub. The new business could be worth as much...

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