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West African nations break off French colonization, name common currency

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Eight West African countries Saturday agreed to change the name of their common currency to Eco and severed the CFA franc’s links to former colonial ruler France.

The CFA franc was initially pegged to the French franc and has been linked to the euro for about two decades.

Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo currently use the currency. All the countries are former French colonies with the exception of Guinea-Bissau.

The announcement was made Saturday during a visit by French President Emmanuel Macron to Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer and France’s former main colony in West Africa.

Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara, speaking in the country’s economic capital Abidjan, announced “three major changes”.

These included “a change of name” of the currency, he said, adding that the others would be “stopping holding 50 percent of the reserves in the French Treasury” and the “withdrawal of French governance” in any aspect related to the currency.

Macron hailed it as a “historic reform”, adding: “The Eco will see the light of day in 2020.”

The deal took six months in the making, a French source said.

The CFA franc’s value was moored to the euro after its introduction two decades ago, at a fixed rate of 655.96 CFA francs to one euro.

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The Bank of France holds half of the currency’s total reserves, but France does not make money on its deposits stewardship, annually paying a ceiling interest rate of 0.75 percent to member states.

The arrangement guarantees unlimited convertibility of CFA francs into euros and facilitates inter-zone transfers.

CFA notes and coins are printed and minted at a Bank of France facility in the southern town of Chamalieres.

The CFA franc, created in 1945, was seen by many as a sign of French interference in its former African colonies even after the countries became independent.

The Economic Community of West African States regional bloc, known as ECOWAS, earlier Saturday urged members to push on with efforts to establish a common currency, optimistically slated to launch next year.

The bloc insists it is aiming to have the Eco in place in 2020, but almost none of the 15 countries in the group currently meet criteria to join.

Stumbling Blocks

ECOWAS “urges member states to continue efforts to meet the convergence criteria”, commission chief Jean-Claude Kassi Brou said after a summit of regional leaders in the Nigerian capital Abuja.

The key demands for entry are to have a deficit of less than 3 percent of gross domestic product, inflation of 10 percent or under and debts worth less than 70 percent of GDP.

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Economists say they understand the thinking behind the currency plan but believe it is unrealistic and could even be dangerous for the region’s economies which are dominated by one single country, Nigeria, which accounts for two-thirds of the region’s economic output.

Nigeria’s Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed told AFP “there’s still more work that we need to do individually to meet the convergence criteria”.

ECOWAS was set up in 1975 and comprises Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo — representing a total population of around 385 million.

Eight of them currently use the CFA franc, moored to the single European currency and gathered in an organisation called the West African Monetary Union, or WAMU.

But the seven other ECOWAS countries have their own currencies, none of them freely convertible.

AFP

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Osun Economic Summit: FG to Site Specialised Agricultural Market In Ijebu – Jesa

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The Federal Government has expressed its readiness to site a specialised agricultural produce and international fish market in Ijebu –Jesa,  Oriade Local Government Area of Osun.

The Osun state Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Mr Adedayo Adewole disclosed this at a meeting of the Project Implementation Committee (PIC) in Osogbo, the state capital.

Adedayo explained that the Federal Ministry of Trade and Investment, in conjunction with Agricultural Traders Welfare Association (ATWA), would be executing the project in the state.

According to the Commissioner, the project is a fallout of the economic and investment summit organised by the state government in November 2019 and targeted at boosting the economy of the state.

He said apart from the fact that the project upon implementation would boost the economy of Osun, it would also boost the business of fish farmers and marketers in the state and its environs .

Earlier, the representative of the PIC, Dr Joseph Okeke, lauded the state government for promoting discussion of the economic transformation of the state and Nigeria in general through agriculture and agricultural value chain.

Okeke, who also doubles as the National President of ATWA, noted that the project was targeted towards economic diversification by the Federal Government in the area of specialised agricultural market.

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“It is also geared toward job creation, enhancing economic activities and facilitating exportation of Nigerian commodities”, he added.

The committee, comprising of the project facilitator, Dr Gabriel Eniola, Osun Fish Farmers Association Chairman, Mr Tope Ogundipe and Osun Commissioner for Lands and Physical Planning, Mr Nathaniel Agunbiade among others later inspected the site.

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Adewale Raji gets another term as Odu’a Investment GMD

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Odu’a Investments Limited on Tuesday reappointed its Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (GMD/CEO), Mr Adewale Raji for another term.

Contained in a statement issued by the company, Mr Raji’s reappointment followed an endorsement of his performance by the international auditing and management consultancy firm, KPMG, engaged by the six owner states of Osun, Ondo, Oyo, Ogun, Ekiti and Lagos to evaluate his performance in the last five years.

With his fresh appointment, Raji will now lead the conglomerate for another five years.

It would be recalled that his  five-year tenure had expired on May 31, 2019 but the shareholders granted him a six-month extension to allow KPMG assess  his performance. However, following a satisfactory evaluation, the shareholders at a meeting held on October 28, 2019 renewed his appointment for another term of five years with effect from June 1, 2019 and the Board also ratified the appointment.

No doubt, Raji’s first tenure witnessed significant growth in the Profit Before Tax from N378m and N495m in 2013 to N849m and N1.061b in 2018 for the holding company and the group respectively. In the same five-year period, a gross dividend of N1.208b was paid out to shareholders which is a record of consecutive dividend payout in the history of the company.

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His team initiated new businesses, particularly in agric-business and processing and the company was better managed with a very high sense of accountability and transparency while upholding the principles of corporate governance and safeguarding the interest of shareholders.

 

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30 Shops In Gbagi Marked For Demolition

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At least about 20 to 30 shops housed by Bola Ige International Business Complex, Gbagi, Ibadan have been marked for demolition by the Oyo state government.

The government said as part of its efforts  in restoring the popular market back to international standard, the identified shops which it described as illegally built would be demolished.

The state  commissioner for Commerce, Trade and Investment,  Hon. Adeniyi Adebisi, informed that the action became necessary in restoring Bola Ige International Business Complex, Gbagi, Ibadan back to international standard as provided in the master plan of the market so as to create a conducive environment for businesses within the State to thrive.

The Commissioner further added that the task force committee set up by Governor Seyi Makinde to restructure the business complex has submitted its report and implementation would follow in due course.

He, however  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.

 

 

 

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