World Bank launches $8billion CPS for Nigeria


Nigerian Tribune by Gbola Subair

July 8, 2014

The launching event aims to make the objectives and outcomes of the strategy known to all beneficiaries, namely the federal and state government officials, the MDAs (federal and state), media, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), the private sector, academics, researchers, professionals and other stakeholders.

The new strategy’s endorsement comes at an opportune time, just as Nigeria is redoubling its efforts to tackle critical development challenges and is committing itself to lift major constraints that are hindering it from achieving broad-based, inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction goals, analysts said.

The new partnership strategy, jointly developed with the government of Nigeria, would support the country’s Vision 20: 2020 plan and its transformation agenda; which set out Nigeria’s long-term development objectives and the medium-term strategy for operating the vision, sources said.

The strategy includes support for a bold and ambitious program of development targets and interventions for the next four years.

According to the Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minster of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, “the Country Partnership Strategy is very commendable and in line with the Transformation Agenda of the Federal Government. It supports our development objective.”

Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, also said “the new strategy is a joint product, developed in close consultation with the Government of Nigeria and stakeholders under the Country Assistance Framework, a strategic platform developed by Nigeria’s partners to coordinate interventions and leverage resources to deliver strong results and development solutions,” said. “It reflects Nigeria’s development aspirations and commits the World Bank Group to working hand-in-hand to unleash Nigeria’s potential for the benefit of all Nigerians.”


Nigeria Has Biggest African Growth Potential for Microsoft


ITWeb Africa by Simnikiwe Mzekandaba

July 2, 2014

Nigeria holds the key for Microsoft’s future growth in Africa, according to the company’s former South African managing director Mteto Nyati.

Nyati made this statement at a media briefing on Tuesday, when he announced his promotion as the general manager for Microsoft’s Middle East and Africa (MEA) emerging regions.

For the past six years, Nyati led Microsoft South Africa as the unit’s managing director. His promotion to an emerging region role means that is expected to oversee countries such as Nigeria, Bahrain, Iraq, Libya, Tunisia, Lebanon and Jordan.

At the briefing, Nyati explained that Microsoft expects its African business to double in size over the next four to five years, but he declined to disclose current revenues.

“Nigeria being a country that has the biggest potential for us,” said Nyati.

Nigeria has come more sharply into Microsoft’s focus this year.

The software giant has appointed South African IT veteran Kabelo Makwane as Microsoft Nigeria country manager.

Meanwhile, Nigeria has this month joined South Africa and Egypt in being self-sufficient business units that manage their own resources.

South Africa; though, is Microsoft’s biggest business unit on the continent.

Earlier this year, Makwane told ITWeb Africa that Nigerian revenues are six times smaller than that of the South African office.

But Nigeria has a booming economy that has recorded over 6% annual growth over the last five years, and a population that surpasses 160 million people.

Nigeria also overtook South Africa this year as the continent’s biggest economy owing to a gross domestic product (GDP) recalculation.

More broadly speaking, Microsoft doesn’t have a physical presence in all 35 countries in the MEA region.

However, that could change, Nyati said.

“We are looking for growth, we are looking at making investments in these areas and looking at helping country leaders of these territories to drive growth for the Microsoft corporation.

“Our view about these countries is that we are seeing the opportunities in the long term, ” he said.

Nyati also announced that the South African operations is being led by the company’s former chief operating officer, Zoaib Hoosen.

Hoosen has been with Microsoft SA for the past three years.

Going forward Microsoft SA intends focus on skills and entrepreneurship to create jobs, affordable access and devices, Hoosen told the audience.

“I am really excited about the potential and through this how we will be able to create jobs and really enable South Africa to drive our economic development and become more globally competitive. I look forward to the new challenge,” he said.

Turkey rejects Kurdish independence, wants Iraq unity government, officials say


Reuters by Johnny Hogg and Orhan Coskun

June 30, 2014

(Reuters) – Turkey opposes independence for a Kurdish state in northern Iraq and wants a unity government in Baghdad to counter the threat by Islamist Sunni rebels who have seized large swathes of territory in recent weeks, Turkish officials said.

Iraqi Kurds have benefited from the recent turmoil sweeping the country by occupying territory abandoned by government forces fleeing the advance of Sunni fighters led by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which took Iraq’s second city Mosul earlier this month.

Turkey has good relations with the semi-autonomous Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in Iraq but would not support moves to push for independence from Baghdad, a Turkish government official said in response to questions from Reuters on Monday.

“Turkey’s position is for the territorial integrity and political unity of Iraq, that’s it,” the official said anonymously, in order to speak more freely.

“(We) are not in favor of any independence, that would be detrimental to that unity. Nothing like that could be discussed,” the official stated, adding that Ankara is backing calls for the creation of a consensus or unity government to represent the interests of all Iraqis.

There has been mounting speculation over the past few weeks that Ankara’s poor relations with the central Shi’ite-led government of Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki could lead to Turkey accepting or supporting a Kurdish breakaway from Baghdad.

Comments in the Financial Times on Saturday by Huseyin Celik, a spokesman for Turkey’s ruling AK Party, have been interpreted as suggesting Ankara would tolerate an independent Kurdish state if Iraq were to fall apart.

“If Iraq is divided and it is inevitable, they are our brothers… Unfortunately the situation in Iraq is not good, and it looks like it is going to be divided,” Celik was quoted as saying.

However another Turkish official at the prime minister’s office last week appeared to pour cold water on the idea, telling Reuters that “the integrity of Iraq is very important to Turkey”.

Turkey has in the past been cool to efforts for greater autonomy for Iraqi Kurdistan for fear of stirring up separatist feelings among its own Kurds, who fought a decades-long insurgency in which an estimated 40,000 people were killed.

Peace talks led to a cease-fire in that conflict last year.

This year, Turkey allowed Iraqi Kurds to pipe oil to export for the first time, pumping it to a Turkish port over Baghdad’s objections.

The first tankers of Kurdish oil were bought in recent weeks by Israel, whose Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced support for Kurdish statehood on Sunday, taking a position that appeared to clash with the U.S. preference to keep Iraq united.

The Kurds have seized on the recent sectarian chaos in Iraq to expand their autonomous northern territory to include Kirkuk, a city they consider their ancestral capital, perched on vast oil deposits that could support an independent state.

Kurdish officials say the ISIL advance has transformed Iraq, requiring a renegotiation of the settlement in place since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003, under which they rule themselves but remain within Iraq in return for a fixed percentage of its overall oil revenue.

Iraq’s five million Kurds have ethnic compatriots in Iran, Syria and Turkey, and have so far hesitated to declare full independence, in part to avoid angering neighboring countries.

Turkey has in recent years pursued deeper ties with Iraqi Kurds, partnering up in the exploration and production of oil fields in Iraqi Kurdistan and signing multi-billion dollar oil and gas deals last November.