Nigeria: NBCC Projects £20 Billion Trade Volume Between Nigeria, UK By 2020


The Guardian by Faith Oparaugo

August 26, 2014

BILATERAL trade volume between Nigeria and the United Kingdom is expected to hit £20 billion in the next six years, President and Chairman of council, Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC) Prince Adeyemi Adefulu, has said.

Adefulu said the volume of business between the two countries has grown rapidly in the last four years, increasing from £4 billion to £8 billion, but noted that this growth has “merely scratched the surface.”

The NBCC President was speaking at a media briefing in Lagos on the activities to mark the centenary of Anglo-Nigeria trade relations by the chamber, in conjunction with the United Kingdom Trade & Investment Agency (UKTI).

He said that though the relationship between Nigeria and Britain has witnessed ups and downs, the bond has been long and enduring.

He listed some of the key factors that would enhance Nigerian-British trade relations to include creating an enabling environment by the government through right policies, encouraging the process of more export of non-oil products, well oiled value chain of export of products from packaging to storage, transportation, among others, noting that Nigeria’s export commodity goods have acquired bad reputation in the UK market as a result of poor standard in processing and product packaging.

Adefulu said the export potential to UK is huge with a population of over three million Nigerians and other Africans living in Britain.

The centenary celebration of the Anglo-Nigeria trade relations is a three-event affair beginning with a lecture in November 11 at MUSON Centre Lagos to be delivered by a senior cabinet member of the British parliament and chaired by a former Head of State of Nigeria.

There will also be a presidential dinner and awards at the Civic Centre, Lagos, while an NBCC Golf Classics to be held at the Ikeja Golf Club between Friday and Saturday November 28-29 to bring the celebration to a close.

The NBCC President, who justified the centenary celebration after a similar celebration by the Federal Government, said the planned activities will re-energise the trade relations between Nigeria and Britain, which he said started between 1672 and 1750 when the Royal Niger Company was charted to administer the territory that later became Nigeria.


Kia to Announce New Auto Factory in Mexico as Rivals Grow


Bloomberg News by Nacha Cattan and Brendan Case

August 27, 2014

Kia Motors Corp. (000270) plans to build its first assembly plant in Mexico as the South Korean automaker follows European and Asian rivals in adding regional production.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto is announcing the project at 11:30 a.m. in Mexico City, according to a government statement. The investment probably will top the 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) for a Daimler AG-Nissan Motor Co. factory unveiled in June, said a person with knowledge of the matter.

Kia’s commitment expands on Mexico’s auto-manufacturing prowess. The nation’s output is poised to surpass 3 million vehicles this year for the first time, according to the Mexican Automobile Industry Association, buoyed by plant openings since November for Nissan, Honda Motor Co. (7267) and Mazda Motor Corp.

“Having a Korean company enter Mexico will mean that practically all global automakers will be represented in the country,” Armando Soto, president of Kaso y Asociados, a Mexico City-based auto industry consultant, said in a telephone interview. “It will also trigger large investments from Korean auto-parts companies.”

The statement from Pena Nieto’s office didn’t spell out what models would be produced at the factory. It will be in Pesqueria, near Monterrey, a second person with direct knowledge of the matter said. That would make Seoul-based Kia the first automaker with an assembly facility in Nuevo Leon state, based on a tally compiled by the automobile trade group.

Scott McKee, director of corporate communications for Kia Motors America, declined to comment ahead of today’s announcement.

Kia is partly owned by Hyundai Motor Co. (005380) Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said last year that Hyundai was among automakers considering building a Mexico plant.

Bayerische Motoren Werke AG followed the Daimler-Nissan announcement by saying last month that it would spend $1 billion on a new Mexican factory.

Australia, Indonesia Sign a Code of Conduct Over Intelligence


Wall Street Journal by Rob Taylor

August 27, 2014

CANBERRA, Australia—A new intelligence code of conduct between Australia and Indonesia meant to soothe a diplomatic spat about spying will help increase cooperation and combat the threat of militants returning home from fighting in Syria and Iraq, Australia’s government said.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop flew to the Indonesian island of Bali on Wednesday to sign a code of conduct sought by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. Mr. Yudhoyono demanded that the accord be made last year, after revelations that Australian spy agencies in 2009 tried to tap his phone shortly after two Jakarta hotel bombings.

In response to the revelations, Indonesia recalled its ambassador to Canberra for six months and suspended cooperation with Australia on border security and defense exercises, although Indonesian observers did attend an air-combat exercise in the northern Australian city of Darwin earlier this month.

Before meeting her Indonesian counterpart Marty Natalegawa to sign the agreement, Ms. Bishop sidestepped questions on whether the code would curtail spying between the two countries during an interview with Australian radio.

“This specifically says that Australia and Indonesia will not use our resources, including our intelligence resources, to harm each other’s interests,” she said. “In fact, it enhances the opportunities for cooperation between our intelligence agencies and anticipates a greater level of engagement between Australian intelligence agencies and Indonesian intelligence agencies.”

The Indonesian Foreign Ministry didn’t immediately comment. Mr. Yudhoyono had pressed for an agreement by August, in part to pressure Australia but also to avoid leaving a diplomatic issue hanging over the country’s new president.

Australia has warned of a “disturbingly large” migration of Islamic militants from home and elsewhere joining the conflict in Iraq, and is trying to increase regional counterterrorism cooperation to guard against any future threat. The U.S. on Wednesday signed a deal with Australia to share visa and immigration information in an effort to tighten border control, while Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said extra customs officials have been placed at airports to make travel in and out of the country by militant suspects more difficult.

Since Islamic militants who trained and fought with al Qaeda in Afghanistan in the 1980s bombed a Bali nightclub in 2002, more than 90 Australians have been killed by extremists in Indonesia. Australia’s heavily fortified embassy in Jakarta was bombed in 2004, killing nine Indonesian workers.

But the recent rise of the Islamic State in Iraq has stirred concern that Indonesia’s homegrown militant movements, which have been fractured largely due to police action, could experience a revival. Mr. Yudhoyono earlier this month condemned religious extremism and said the Islamic State’s violence was an embarrassment to Muslims. He said he ordered Indonesia’s police and military to block militant websites and combat the spread of support for the Islamic State.

Ms. Bishop said the limits on espionage activities were “particularly pertinent” in light of the foreign fighters being drawn to join the Islamic State, which she said included a significant number of Indonesians. In addition, Australia has become the largest per capita source of foreign fighters within the Islamic State’s ranks. Australia’s outgoing intelligence chief on Wednesday said about 60 Australians were believed to have traveled to Iraq to join two main al Qaeda derivatives, the al Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

“We believe 15 Australians have already been killed in the current conflicts, including two young Australian suicide bombers,” said David Irvine, the outgoing Director-General of Security for Australia’s government.

Australia conservative government has moved to introduce new legislation aimed at strengthening the ability of intelligence agencies and police to monitor and detain suspected militants.

Jonathan sets aside N50 bn for farm mechanization


Premium Times by Talatu Usman

August 25, 2014

President Goodluck Jonathan has directed the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to set aside a N50 billion mechanization intervention support fund. The directive was given by Vice President Namadi Sambo while flagging off the 100,000 metric tons grains Silos and the Agricultural Equipment Hiring Centres in Nigeria, on behalf of President Goodluck Jonathan. According to Mr. Sambo, the money will enable the speedy establishment of the 1,200 private sector driven Agricultural Equipment Hiring Enterprises, AEHE, across Nigerian states. Mr. Sambo said “as we produce more food, it has become necessary to expand our food storage capacity and reduce post-harvest losses. The development of strategic grains reserve is central to our policy of stabilizing food prices for consumers and assuring guaranteed minimum prices and market access for farmers”. “That is why I launched the Agricultural Transformation Agenda in 2011, with the goal of producing an additional 20 million metric tons of food by 2015”. Vice President Sambo said that current records indicate that 21 million metric tons were produced by Nigerian farmers surpassing set target and achieving increased food production in the past three years. The Vice President said the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has completed a total of six silos with a capacity of 250,000 metric tons, MT, since November 2013 with a further 625,000 MT silos to be completed by December 2014, making a total of 875,000 MT silos capacity completed within two years. The Vice President said the Agricultural Transformation Agenda is achieving great strides in government’s efforts to turn Nigeria into a self-sufficient country. “Our Growth Enhancement Scheme and the e-wallet system for reaching farmers with fertilizers and improved seeds through the mobile phones, have reached 14 million farmers by 2014”. He expressed delight that Nigeria is the first in Africa to develop the e-wallet system which is now being replicated in several African countries. Mr. Sambo said the agricultural mechanization program will be driven through a public private partnership involving private sector manufacturers of tractors and agricultural machinery, service provider operators, financial institutions and government”. He commended the Minister of Agriculture, Akinwunmi Adesina, the Minister of State, Asabe Ahmed, and their team in the ministry for the impressive progress achieved. Earlier, Mr. Adesina said private sector investments in agriculture are expanding. “Our food import bill has declined from N 1.1 trillion ($ 6.9 billion) in 2009 to N 684.7 billion ($4.35 billion) by December 2013 and continues to decline in 2014,”Mr. Adesina said. He, however, added that despite the gains, certain challenges remain. “One of such challenges is the low level of mechanization of the agriculture sector,” Mr. Adesina said. 

America wants to send $720 million in foreign aid to Nigeria in 2015



August 20, 2014

President Obama’s administration is requesting $720,892,000 as foreign aid for Nigeria for the 2015 fiscal year. 63 per cent of this is being sought for dealing with HIV-AIDS; the largest sector request.

As of 2012, the prevalence rate of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in Nigeria, among adults aged 15–49 was 3.1 percent. The country has been described as having the second largest number of individuals living with HIV – the virus that causes AIDS.

Top 10 US foreign aid destinationForeign assistance requests are originally made by the American “president’s administration, not individual countries, before being submitted to” the United States (US) Congress.

To help you understand how money given to other countries by the US is spent, GlobalPost used data from the US State Department to generate a series of charts showing all the requests for foreign aid made by the US government for the 2015 fiscal year.

Nigeria remains Africa’s largest recipient of US donor aid.

Nigeria’s offshore oil, gas market is huge, says Baker Hughes


BusinessDay by Femi Asu

August 21, 2014

Nigeria’s huge offshore oil and gas resources, which remain largely dormant, present opportunities for oil service providers such as Baker Hughes, which says it is poised to remain a major player in big offshore plays in the country.

Speaking at the Baker Hughes Techno Day Conference and Exhibition on Wednesday in Lagos, Ayo Shote, vice president and managing director, Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea at Baker Hughes, said the company’s presence in the offshore market in Nigeria was limited prior to 2006, adding that restructuring in the Nigerian oil and gas industry boosted involvement in the offshore space. “We invested, we brought in technology, we invested in people and also we were able to reach some deepwater tendencies and that helped to improve our response.”

“Now going forward, offshore continues to be important. There is no way we can take our eyes off that. So we are focused on the offshore market. For us that is one of our biggest growth areas. And we will continue to invest in people, in infrastructure, in equipment and in technology to ensure that we remain a major player in the big offshore plays in Nigeria,” he told BusinessDay on the sidelines of the event.

Nigeria’s offshore space is bigger than what we have done in the past. We have fields out there that we have not taken advantage of, according to Shote.

Nigeria boasts of huge offshore oil and gas resources yet to be exploited amid regulatory and security risks. Current exploration activities in Nigeria are mostly focused in the deep and ultra-deep offshore areas with some activities planned in the Chad basin, located in the North East of the country, notes KPMG’s 2014 Oil and Gas Africa report, adding that the future for expanding oil reserves is likely to be in deep offshore fields.

Investment in Africa’s oil and gas business is expected to increase between now and down through 2016 and beyond, Shote said.
According to him, Africa cannot be left out in the entire global energy landscape, stating that “we will continue to remain important and grow. We have been in Nigeria since the beginning. In Nigeria we are seeing the increasing importance of indigenous participation.”

He said to support the increased investment in Africa’s oil and gas business, the company has a huge presence in the continent.

US-Africa relations: Nigeria is looking at other areas of exports

The Africa Report by Tolu Ogunlesi
August 14, 2014
Posted on Thursday, 14 August 2014 12:37

US-Africa relations: Nigeria is looking at other areas of exports – Ohuabunwa

By Tolu Ogunlesi
Sam Ohuabunwa, National President of the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce. Photo©

Sam Ohuabunwa, National President of the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC) says the US will show increasing presence in the Gulf of Guinea because it is a strategic area to protect, both in terms of trade and geopolitical stability.

What’s your view of US-Nigeria business relations at the moment?

The United States has been a major trading partner of Nigeria, and was the leading importer of Nigeria’s crude oil for several years. But given the continuous rise in the price of crude oil to the point where it’s now profitable for it to develop shale oil, and the tweaking of policy to focus on being a strategic reservoir for oil and gas as a way of dealing with future possible global conflicts, right now there’s a change in the equation. Nigeria for a long time had the balance of payments in its favour when dealing with America, because of the outflow of exports.

But with the decline [in US oil imports from Nigeria] that balance has highly changed now, and we’re getting to the level where maybe the balance will be in favour of America. Nigeria and America are conscious of that, and on both sides are pushing to see that this change in the dynamics does not imperil their long-lasting trade relationship. America is constantly promoting its exports into Nigeria in the area of technology and IT and knowledge products; Nigeria of course is looking at how it can shore up other areas of exports to see the possibilities of at least having a balanced trade, even if things do not return to the previous position.

What do you think is most likely to fill up the gap created by the changing trade dynamics in oil and gas?

I think that we may not find anything in the short term to fill it up, [at best we’ll] minimise the shortfall in the trade deficit or balances. I think Nigeria is looking at agriculture as a major opportunity to deal with that. Nigeria is also looking at solid minerals, and at entertainment; cultural exports in terms of music and such things. Certainly because of the growing population of diaspora Africans in the United States, Nigerian entertainment – music, films – have a fairly good market there. But the major area is in agriculture, ensuring that we have products, especially fresh products, vegetables, [horticultural produce], such things that America is in constant need of.

I also think this is an opportunity for Nigeria to revamp the [access] offered by the US through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), to take advantage of that that preferential opportunity to export agriculture-related products: leather, garments, textile products. I think Nigeria has now also began to pay some more attention to that area, because when oil was dominating the trade, it wasn’t significant.

In light of the challenge of Boko Haram, how do you think security issues and geopolitics will affect US-Nigeria relations?

The challenge we have is that there is a feeling in the United States that the Nigerian government is not doing its best in dealing with security issues. That has affected the relationship in some ways because America is regularly issuing advisory notices to its nationals on the insecurity in Nigeria. And of course you know that some high-ranking politicians in America including John McCain have made unsavory statements about President [Goodluck Jonathan] and the way the government is handling security. We cannot deny that this has ruffled some feathers. But I also believe that given the sense of balance that I see with the US government under Barack Obama, there’s a greater understanding in terms of the needed support for fighting the kind of war that Nigeria is fighting.

Barack Obama understands that the war against terror is not like fighting in Vietnam; against a known enemy that has a definitive apparatus and is delineated geographically. We’re fighting an enemy that is faceless. The American government understands that, and have volunteered to offer technical and intelligence assistance to Nigeria, and even maybe selection and sale of security equipment.

In the area of security and terrorism today nobody has better experience than the US, and Nigeria would do well and I think is doing well to learn from that expertise and experience. By and large, yes, America will show some increasing geopolitical presence because they believe the Gulf of Guinea is still a strategic area to protect, not only because of global oil but also because of other issues related to geopolitical stability. If Nigeria is destabilized in any way America understands what impact it will have on the global economy and on demographics.

There have been accusations that President Obama has not done a lot for Africa, especially for a person seen as a ‘son’ of the continent. People point to programmes like AGOA under President Clinton and PEPFAR under George Bush, a Republican President. What are your thoughts on this belief that President Obama hasn’t offered any landmark assistance to Africa?

The point is that there were expectations, and it’s not out of place for Africans to expect that if past American Presidents, who were not of African descent, could take certain policies that were pro-Africa – I know how much hurdle it was to get AGOA through – that an African-American [President] would do something spectacular. That hasn’t happened, so I believe it is a legitimate disappointment for Africans and they are entitled to that opinion. That doesn’t make it right – he’s not an African president, [but] we live in a world where we have expectations.

We were campaigning for Obama here and all over Africa as if our votes would have counted. It was because it was exciting to know that a second generation African could take that position. So we’re entitled to feel that way that Obama on the balance hasn’t done anything spectacular for Africa; he hasn’t even visited Nigeria. He hasn’t spent enough time in Africa, I’m hoping he’ll do so since he’s now in his second term; he has proven that he is a true American, he’s balanced, he can handle geopolitical issues as well if not better than his predecessors. Now nobody will doubt his American-ness and [how] fit he is for the job. I would wish on behalf of the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce, and all those who do love America in Nigeria, and who do business with America, that he should spend some time in and focus a little bit on Africa, and do something for which Africa would be grateful to America.