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AfDB, Portugal and Cape Verde sign Lusophone Compact

The deal aims to accelerate private sector development in Portuguese-speaking countries of Africa

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AfDB, Portugal and Cape Verde sign Lusophone Compact
Photo credit: AfDB

The African Development Bank and the governments of Cape Verde and Portugal have signed a country-specific Memorandum of Understanding for the implementation of the Lusophone Compact, which aims to accelerate private sector development in Portuguese-speaking countries of Africa.

Olavo Correia, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Cape Verde described the occasion as “an important day for Cape Verde”, noting that it demonstrated the country’s commitment to press forward with private sector growth.

“We are confident that the Compact will assist us in diversifying and strengthening Cape Verde’s economy in the coming years,” Correia added.

The Lusophone Compact is a financing platform, involving the African Development Bank, Portugal, and the six Portuguese-speaking countries of Africa (PALOPs): Angola, Cape Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and Sao Tome and Principe.

Following the signing of the general Lusophone Compact at the Africa Investment Forum on November 2018, the Bank and Portugal are signing country-specific agreements with each PALOP, focusing on the needs of each country. Mozambique’s was signed in March 2019, and an agreement with Angola will be signed on July 10.

According to Moono, “the Compact will help address Cape Verde’s infrastructure bottlenecks that limit private sector development and diversification. That will transform sectors such as agriculture transformation, the blue economy and small industry to support inclusive growth and formal job creation for the youth and women of Cabo Verde.”

The Portuguese Government allocated €400m in guarantees and other risk-sharing mechanisms in the 2019 national budget to support the implementation of the Compact, de Paiva said.

Projects eligible under the Compact are expected to align with the Bank’s development priorities, relevant country strategy papers and national development plans and involve the host country and at least two other Compact signatories. Focus will primarily be on renewable energies, agribusiness and agricultural value chains, water and sanitation, infrastructures, tourism, financing and ICT.

The Cape Verde MoU identifies a list of potential investment projects worth around $470 million, which will be analysed by the Lusophone Compact country focal points from the Bank, Cape Verde, and Portugal and prioritized for further support.

The MoU also provides for technical assistance projects to accelerate private sector and PPP growth.  In Cape Verde and elsewhere, project preparation has been identified as one of the main impediments to making projects bankable.

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Zimbabweans lament after price of bread rises by 60% overnight

Bakers said they were forced to hike their prices due to rising production costs

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Zimbabweans lament after price of bread rises by 60% overnight

The price of bread shot up 60 per cent overnight in Zimbabwe, in the latest blow for a population already struggling with spiralling living costs.

Zimbabweans can barely keep pace with the price rises that have rekindled fears of hyperinflation which reached 500 billion per cent a decade ago and forced the country to trash its own currency.

Already, many families live on one meal a day, with the country in the grip of a major downturn that has provoked biting shortages of basics such as fuel and medicine.

Bakers said they were forced to hike their prices due to rising production costs.

Electricity prices have “gone up significantly, the price of fuel has also been going up weekly, the prices of raw materials have also gone up including the cost of importing wheat,” said Dennis Wala, the president of the National Bakers’ Association.

Electricity is only available for around six hours a day, forcing many bakers to use generators to run their ovens.

“The bread manufacturer is at the end of the value chain and we have to factor in all these costs, but we don’t prescribe prices to our members,” Wala told reporters.

The price of a loaf of bread soared to 15 Zimbabwe dollars (around US$1) on Wednesday from nine dollars the previous day, according to a correspondent.

Bread is the second most important staple in the country after a thick cornmeal porridge known in the local Shona language as “sadza”.

After decades of mismanagement under former President Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe reached absurd levels of hyperinflation in 2008-2009 when the central bank started printing money.

Mugabe’s successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa has failed to stop the latest inflation surge, last week begging for patience to bring the economy back from the “dead”.

But the economy is near breaking point.

Hundreds of thousands of government workers said this week they could no longer afford to report for duty as their wages had been rendered almost worthless.

Last week, the authorities quadrupled the price of electricity — which is already in short supply after a 400 per cent hike in August.

Earlier this month, the price of fuel rose more than 25 per cent, the latest in series of regular increases.

The official inflation rate was 290 per cent last month, but economists estimate it is at least double that figure.

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Nigeria to sign military cooperation deal with Russia

Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari is due to meet Putin on the sidelines of a Russia-Africa summit in Sochi

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Nigeria to sign military cooperation deal with Russia

Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari hopes to sign a military-technical cooperation deal with Russia at talks with President Vladimir Putin this month that will help it fight Boko Haram militants.

The Nigerian leader is due to meet Putin on the sidelines of a Russia-Africa summit in the Black Sea city of Sochi amid a push by Moscow to expand its influence in Africa.

“We’re sure that with Russian help we’ll manage to crush Boko Haram, given Russia’s experience combating Islamic State in Syria,” Nigerian envoy, Steve Ugbah said in an interview with Russia’s RIA news agency, adding that Nigeria was interested in purchasing Russian helicopters, planes, tanks and other military equipment.

Ugbah says a military-technical cooperation deal between Russia and Nigeria had already been drafted and that it is awaiting finalisation. 

“We hope President Buhari can take the talks to their logical end. The agreement will open new possibilities in such areas as the supply of military equipment and training for specialists,” he adds.

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Nigeria, Cameroon to plan Cocoa price cartel

The plan suggested by Nigeria is part of a trend by cocoa growers in West Africa and Latin America

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Nigeria, Cameroon to plan Cocoa price cartel

Nigeria aims to team up with Cameroon to agree on a premium for its cocoa with buyers, after the world’s top growers, Ivory Coast and Ghana set a price floor for the crop.

The plan suggested by Nigeria, the world’s fourth-largest cocoa producer, is part of a trend which has seen growers in West Africa and Latin America seek to influence prices in the global market.

The move follows Ghana and Ivory Coast’s union in July, which set the price for a ton of cocoa from their countries at $2,600 plus a $400 premium described as “living income differential”.

READ: Cocoa industry stakeholders accept Ghana, Ivory Coast price

Both countries produced 60 per cent of the world’s cocoa in 2018.

Vice President of the World Cocoa Producers Organisation, Sayina Riman says discussions will be held with the private sector and the Nigerian Government before formal talks are held with Cameroon.  

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