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AfDB President, Adesina confident of “very promising future” for continent

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“The future of our continent is looking very promising indeed,” African Development Bank Group President Akinwumi Adesina declared in the opening words of his address to diplomats  at a lunch organised today, Tuesday, in Abidjan.

Adesina referred to the Bank’s recent flagship publication, the African Economic Outlook 2019 which noted that the recovery in commodity prices is driving domestic demand and infrastructure investment, while real Africa’s GDP continued to improve in 2018 to 4.1%. The Bank expects growth of 4% this year and 4.1% in 2020.

Economic opportunities in Africa are generating considerable interest globally. For example, the agreement in March 2018 establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will create the largest free trade area in the world. The CFTA will provide an unprecedented framework with the capacity to increase trade by at least 100% in Africa.

“The African Development Bank is at the centre of the actions taken to ensure the success of the continental free-trade area. We have invested over one billion dollars to support the financing of trade in Africa,” Adesina said.

The Bank, whose triple-A rating with stable outlook has been reconfirmed by the four major global rating agencies, has also invested $1 billion in Afreximbank, including $650 million in credit lines for trade finance and $350 million in insurance.

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The free movement of people on the continent is another important driver of development. “We need to break down all barriers that impede the free movement of people across the continent, especially that of workers, because this is vital for promoting investment,” Adesina said.

In its report on intra-African investment, the African Development Bank emphasised the significant increase incross-border investments – $12 billion last year, up from $2 billion in 2010. Under the G20 Compact with Africa, the Bank has worked with the World Bank and the IMF to provide assistance to African countries, particularly to improve company regulations and the business environment.

“Africa will not develop through aid, but through investment”, said Adesina. This is whythe African Development Bank, with its partners, launched the highly successful Africa Investment Forum (AIF)  in Johannesburg, South Africa last November, securing investment interest in 49 deals across Africa worth over $38 billion in just two days.

The African Development Bank continues to invest in infrastructure to connect countries and improve their competitiveness. It has provided $16 million to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for the preparation of feasibility studies for the Lagos-Abidjan corridor. It has also funded 1000 kilometres of road between Addis Ababa and Mombasa, which has increased trade fivefold between Ethiopia and Kenya.

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The Bank was the lead lender for the construction of the historic Senegambia bridge linking Gambia and Senegal which opened on 21 January 2019. And the Bank’s investment portfolio in Côte d’Ivoire has tripled in the last three years, reaching $1.8 billion in 2018.

The Bank is taking a lead role in the “Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation” (TAAT) initiative, which seeks to accelerate the dissemination of agricultural technologies throughout the continent, not only to improve yields, but also to fight against the consequences of global warming and against pests, such as Fall Armyworm. “The crucial point for the economic development of Africa is that we have to radically transform our agriculture,” Adesina declared.

The Bank’s High 5  priorities are already producing significant impacts across the continent,” said the Bank’s President.In 2018, 4.5 million people were connected to electrical grids.Nearly 20 million more people have access to improved agricultural technologies.Industrial investments in the private sector have benefited 1.1 million people.Some 14 million people have gained access to improved transport services, while another 8 million people have benefited from better access to water and sanitation.These impacts encourage the Bank to redouble its support for economic and social development in Africa.

“We need to achieve universal access to electricity. We need to help Africa to become self-sufficient in food. We need to achieve a fully integrated continent. We need to industrialize Africa and improve the quality of life for its people,” Adesina concluded.

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Makinde spends 74 hours with state officials drawing plan to transform agriculture

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IITA, AfDB salute Makinde’s vision

At a retreat in Cotonou, Republic of Benin to chart a path for transforming agriculture, Oyo State Governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde set a record in governance, by spending more than 72 hours with his state officials designing an implementation plan for Oyo state agribusiness.

The governor also promised officials of the state that the administration will give agriculture the necessary ‘political will’ to play its role and transform the economic fortunes of the state.

“I want to assure all the participants that Oyo State will provide the political will needed to make the state the agribusiness hub of Nigeria,” Gov Makinde said at the retreat that was facilitated by the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Cotonou, Republic of Benin, 15-19 August.

Gov Makinde pledged to attract more private investments to agriculture by providing an enabling environment for the private sector to invest in the state. He said the state would ensure agribusiness-friendly policies that would boost investor confidence.

Since assumption of office on 29 May 2019, Gov Makinde has pledged to transform the narrative of agriculture with the view to making it the pillar of the state’s economic development. The retreat provided an opportunity for the Governor to unveil his vision for agriculture in the state.

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Dr Kenton Dashiell, IITA Deputy Director-General, Partnerships for Delivery commended the governor for demonstrating an uncommon leadership style by participating in all the sessions of the three-day retreat.

“I have never seen such a commitment from a governor… and I believe the document coming out of this retreat will help the state to achieve the vision of an agribusiness hub for Nigeria,” he added.

Dr. Martin Fregene, Director for Agriculture and Agro-Allied division with the African Development Bank said the commitment of the state to agriculture was a step in the right direction.

“Let me also commend you (the governor of Oyo state) for organizing this very important meeting, and participating fully in it to have a vision and an implementation plan for agribusiness in the state,” he added via skype.

Dr. Fregene urged the state government to adopt the agri-business approach to unlock the potential of agriculture in the state.

“For Oyo state to move forward in agriculture, you must treat agriculture as a business,” he explained.

According to the AfDB director, the Bank would be willing to support the state in its quest to transform agriculture.

The retreat had four sessions comprising: Developing a vision for the state in agriculture, identifying the obstacles to the vision, developing strategic actions to deal with the obstacles to the vision, and developing an implementation plan.

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Adebowale Akande, Executive Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture gave thumbs up to the retreat, adding that recommendations from the retreat would help the state to achieve its vision of becoming an agribusiness hub.

Makinde appoints Owoseni, former Lagos, Benue Commissioner of Police, Special Adviser.

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Bola Ige complex wants to reclaim lost glory, as Oyo govt reveals plan

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As part of the efforts of the Oyo State Government in creating conducive environment for businesses within the State to thrive, the present administration has revealed its plan in restoring Bola Ige International Business Complex, Gbagi, Ibadan back to international standard as provided in the master plan of the market.

 

This was contained in a communique issued after a stakeholders’ meeting held recently at the market between the market leaders and the task force committee set up by Governor Seyi Makinde to restructure the business complex.

 

The Chairman of the task force committee, Sanitarian Olusoji Oyewole in his briefing, assured the market men and women that the State Government remained committed to providing them the basic facilities that would promote the economic activities in the market.

 

“The Oyo State Government under the leadership of Engineer Seyi Makinde has deemed it fit to ensure that Bola Ige International Business Complex regains its lost age-long status as a major hub of wholesale textile materials, servicing both neighboring, far and distant States in Nigeria,” he said.

 

“The intention of the administration in setting up this task force is not to witch-hunt anyone in the market but rather towards seeking their cooperation and support for proper waste dumping of refuse, hygienic toilet facilities,

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large number of parking lots for convenience and easy access to the market as well as considerable open spaces in construction of approved buildings.”

 

He, thereafter urged the market community to keep to the environmental laws and town planning regulations of the State, noting that the market stood to benefit if commercial activities were carried out in clean and serene environment.

 

In his remarks, the representative of the elders’ forum in the market, Chief Adebayo expressed appreciation to the State Government and further pledged support of the market community towards the actualization of restoring the market to international standard.

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Pay For Temporary Use of Road Setbacks or We Take Them Over’ – Oyo Govt Warns Business Organizations

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Business organizations that built on the mandatory setbacks on major roads in Oyo State for temporary usage have been warned to pay for these spaces or have them taken over by government.

 

The Executive chairman, Oyo State Internal Revenue Service (OYSIRS), Aremo John Adeleke disclosed this on Thursday, saying the State administration was not happy with the attitude of most organizations using these spaces for failing to meet their financial obligations to the State despite being served many demand notices by the Board of Internal Revenue (BIR).

 

Adeleke who spoke with Journalists at his office shortly after an enforcement exercise under the Management of Public Space Scheme (MOPS) embarked upon by Oyo State Internal Revenue Services (OYSIRS) and the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources.

 

He stated that for Government to be able to provide amenities in the State, organizations and other business owners needed to remit taxes, levies and dues to the rightful place as their civic duties.

 

He said, “Setbacks in public places are government properties and to use them, there should be payment for temporary use of such places. Most organizations have taken this for granted for so long and that is what necessitated our action at this point.

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“The focus of the first phase of the enforcement exercise is on the Banking Industry after that we will move to other sub-sectors. The government will recover the setbacks unless those affected do what is required.

 

“In the past, series of correspondence, plea and stakeholders meeting with those concerned yielded no response. Also,the second phase will come soonest and will reach others that refused to comply with the payment option.”

 

While appreciating those that complied,The Executive chairman implored other business owners and individuals with outstanding taxes,levies,charges and fees to pay up so as to forestall drastic step against them.

 

Among areas covered during the exercise are Total Garden, Agodi and Bodija all within Ibadan metropolis.

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