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El-Sisi, Tshisekedi Pledge to Strengthen Bilateral Ties

The two presidents held an extended session of bilateral talks focused on strengthening relations and cooperation, to achieve security and stability in the continent.

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President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi of Egypt has declared his country’s enthusiasm to strengthen bilateral relations and consolidate strategic cooperation with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

El-Sisi’s remarks came as he received his DRC counterpart, Felix Tshisekedi, at the Al-Ittihadiya Palace in Cairo. This is Tshisekedi’s first official visit to Egypt since his election as President.

According to Egyptian Presidency Spokesperson Bassam Rady, the two presidents held an extended session of bilateral talks, in the presence of delegations from both countries which focused on strengthening relations and cooperation, in order to achieve security and stability in the continent.

President El-Sisi commended the growing relations between Egypt and the DRC on the political, economic, security, and cultural fields, as well as the coordination between both countries in developing the human capacity.

He also stated the importance of developing bilateral cooperation projects, in order to promote trade exchange and investments in various fields.

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President Felix Tshisekedi expressed his country’s appreciation for the distinguished historic relations with Egypt, and the latter’s political support for his country. He also reiterated the DRC’s keenness to develop bilateral relations with Egypt, especially in trade and economic cooperation.

Tshisekedi also praised the contribution made by Egyptian companies in Congo in support of construction, energy, and infrastructure development projects. At the same time, he also expressed the aspiration to increase Egyptian investments in his country, as well as to maximise the technical support provided by Egypt.

DRC’s President highlighted the need to benefit from the Egyptian experience and vision to promote joint African action, in order to address the challenges faced by the continent.

He also noted that this involves intensified cooperation between African countries, as a means of maintaining regional peace and security, and that the Egyptian position in Africa is aimed at achieving stability.

Egyptian Presidency Spokesperson Bassam Rady also said that the meeting tackled the latest regional developments of mutual interest, especially the issue of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Both Presidents agreed to strengthen coordination and joint consultation with the aim of reaching a binding agreement between all parties.

President of the DRC Felix Tshisekedi will be the chair of the African Union (AU) in 2021 succeeding South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

During a joint press conference held to mark Tshisekedi’s visit to Cairo, President El-Sisi said that the discussions tackled strengthened cooperation between the two countries. The focus here is also particularly on water resources and irrigation, in order to maximise the benefits from River Nile resources.

The Egyptian President also emphasised that the River Nile is a source of cooperation and development, and a common lifeline for the people in Nile Basin countries.

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West Africa Business News

Nestlé Nigeria Posts N39.35Bln Profit in 2020

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Nestlé Nigeria Plc has reported revenue of N287.08 billion for the 2020 financial year.

The company’s audited result released on the Nigerian Stock Exchange showed that the revenue was higher by 1.1 per cent in contrast with N284.04 billion recorded in 2019 comparative period.

Gross profit for the year stood at N 119.21 billion compared with N128.15 billion achieved in the corresponding period of 2019.

Also, the company posted profit after tax of N39.25 billion during the review period against N45.68 billion in 2019.

The board in addition to N25 per share interim dividend already paid in December 2020, proposed an additional dividend of N 35.50 per share making for a total dividend of N60.50 for 2020.

The proposed dividend would be submitted for approval at the company’s Annual General Meeting on June 22.

Commenting on the results, Mr Wassim Elhusseini, Managing Director and CEO of Nestlé Nigeria, said that the company strengthened market leadership across its categories.

“Amidst a very challenging business environment in 2020, we strengthened market leadership across our categories. Thanks to our high performing team, we successfully continued to provide our consumers with high-quality affordable foods and beverages to enjoy every day.

“In line with our purpose of unlocking the power of food to enhance quality of life for everyone today and for generations to come, we broadened our portfolio in 2020 to help our consumers fulfil their nutrition needs.

“Our latest innovation is the new GOLDEN MORN Multi-Cereal, fortified with iron and other vitamins and minerals,” Elhusseini said.

Speaking on future outlook, he said that the company would remain committed to supply of high-quality nutritious foods and beverages to consumers.

“Going into 2021 – which portends to be another challenging year – we will continue to focus on keeping our people safe, continued supply of high-quality nutritious foods and beverages to consumers as well as caring for our communities and the planet.

“We will also keep supporting our business partners as we strengthen our operations to adapt to the rapidly changing reality,” he said.

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East Africa Business News

Zambian High Court Cancels State Acquisition of CEC Company Power Lines

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Judge Elita Phiri-Mwikisa of a High Court in Zambia has quashed last year’s decision by the Minister of Energy, Matthew Nkhuwa, to declare a private company’s electricity transmission lines as a common carrier.

By declaring infrastructure owned by the Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC), Zambia’s leading supplier of electricity to the mines, as “common carrier”, Nkhuwa effectively placed the company under obligation to provide its facilities to any entity that wished to use the transmission lines – provided they agreed the terms and conditions set by Zambia’s Energy Regulation Board (ERB) with CEC.

However, CEC dragged the Zambian government before the courts, arguing that Nkhuwa’s decision amounted to “expropriation” of its infrastructure.

In her ruling, Judge Phiri-Mwikisa of the Lusaka High Court said the Minister’s decision to declare CEC’s transmission and distribution lines as common carrier through the passing of S.I No.57 of 2020, took away CEC’s rights to negotiate terms and conditions of use of its infrastructure in view of the fact that any enterprise can use CEC’s infractructure at the wheeling charge that ERB has set, which CEC had argued was not cost effective.

“In fact, KCM has abrogated its contractual obligations under the Power Supply Agreement (PSA) to pay the debt owed to CEC amounting to USD 144 million. I agree with CEC that S.I No. 57 of 2020 is too wide in its application, in that it affects all the applicant’s transmission and distribution lines instead of only affecting lines supplying power to KCM,” Judge Mwikisa said.

She added, “The respondent’s decisions were illegal and tainted with procedural impropriety. All in all, I find that the applicant has succeeded on all grounds…I accordingly quash the decision of the minister of 29 May 2020, to declare the applicant’s transmission and distribution lines as a common carrier.”

Analysts had argued that the move was meant to aid Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), the local unit of Indian mining giant Vedanta, which has been under control government control since May 2019.

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Okonjo-Iweala’s First Day at Work as WTO Director-General

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As Nigeria’s Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala resumes her role as the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the former Nigerian Finance Minister went straight into business, as she was at a meeting of the Congress of the WTO.

She makes double history as the first woman and first African to be in the role.

In her first day in office, the former former World Bank Vice President said she’s in one of the most important institutions in the world. She indicated her readiness for the huge task ahead of the organisation.

Okonjo-Iweala saw off competition from several strong contenders before becoming the chosen candidate for the top office of the WTO.

She’s an experienced economist and one of the most respected Africans in the world.

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