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African development

“Nigeria Wouldn’t Have Gone Into Recession If Okonjo-Iweala Was Still Finance Minister” – Tunji Andrews

Dr. Ngozi would likely push for a lot of trade that would spur job creation and development in some of the most vulnerable parts of the world as well as create some sort of liberation for some of the poorest countries.

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The first woman and first African to become the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation has a track record of taking on seemingly intractable problems. Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has said that she can be a ‘clear set of eyes’ for the global trade body.

Asides from reforming trade rules and counter protectionism heightened by COVID-19, her new responsibility would have her broker international trade talks in the face of persistent U.S.-China conflict. Financial expert and founder of Awabah, Tunji Andrews joined us on Breakfast Central to discuss Dr. Ngozi’s work experience in relation to her new position.

Andrews pointed out that jobs that have to do with linking communities or societies are more about the pedigree of the person holding the office. “She comes from a very long pedigree line and has a vast reach, therefore the position cannot be too difficult since she has experts under her. Her main job is bringing these superpowers together.”

“When she was the Co-ordinating Minister of the economy, she did so well that her exit left a vacuum. If she was there, it is unlikely that Nigeria would have fallen into a recession”, he added.

The financial expert also thinks Dr. Ngozi, being a big mackerel person, would push for a lot of trade that would spur job creation and development in some of the most vulnerable parts of the world as well as create some sort of liberation for some of the poorest countries. In his words, “it is one thing to say that Nigeria is suffering and another thing to know exactly what Nigeria needs to get out of hardship. It is important to have someone who has a unique understanding of the pinpoints of the people.”

In establishing the approach to her job delivery, Tunji Andrews suggested that the first point of call would be trying to help the EU and UK smoothen their trade conversations with BREXIT. Also, her job is to try to smoothen the relationship between China and the US. Around Africa, she has a hard nut to crack as regards free trade.

In conclusion, Andrews indicated trust in Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s ability to do the job of WTO DG excellently. “Relationship is most important when it comes to world conversations and I believe this is what she’s bringing to the table, it’s just unfortunate that Nigeria did not observe it about her in good time.”

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Culture and Tourism

Icons on Nigeria’s ₦10 Note Inspired Oscar Nominated Movie, ‘Milkmaid’ – Ovbiagele

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It may no longer be news that Nigerian movie, ‘Milkmaid’, is in contention for an award in the 2021 Oscars International Films Category, what is news is the revelation that the film was inspired by a denomination of the Nigerian currency.

“The screenplay was inspired by the two iconic figures at the back of the 10 Naira note, those are the Fulani milkmaids who were carrying their calabashes.

Desmond Ovbiagele, who produced Milkmaid, said his film was inspired by two iconic figures on the ₦10 note. The movie, itself, tells the story of two sisters who were abducted from their village during an insurgency in Northeast Nigeria.

“So I sought to imagine what would happen if the two characters were caught up in an insurgency situation. How would their lives play out and how would they adjust to the new way of life that would be imposed on them.

On the choice of language used in the movie, Ovbiagele said “one could have chosen the easier decision to shoot the film in English language, but because we were striving for authenticity, we didn’t think it would be authentic enough for people in that rural area setting to speak `Queens English’.

The former Investment Banker turned movie producer said he was overwhelmed by the nomination of the movie for the Oscars adding that it was an accolade to reward the efforts of the cast and crew.

“… to fly the Nigerian flag at the Oscars, a Nation of 200 million people, the most prolific film making industry in the world by volume is a tremendous honour,” he said.

The film has already won five Africa Movie Academy Awards, including Best Film.

Oscars organisers, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, will announce nominations for the Academy Awards on March 15 in Los Angeles, U.S.A.

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Business News

RwandAir Suspends Flights to Southern Africa for Fear of Covid-19 Variant

According to a statement released on Monday by the airline, February 8, the suspended routes include Johannesburg and Cape Town in South Africa, Lusaka in Zambia, and Harare in Zimbabwe.

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Rwanda’s national carrier, RwandAir, has suspended its flight to three southern Africa routes with immediate effect owing to the emerging global concerns of the Covid-19 variants prevalent in the region.

According to a statement released on Monday by the airline, February 8, the suspended routes include Johannesburg and Cape Town in South Africa, Lusaka in Zambia, and Harare in Zimbabwe.

In a statement posted on Twitter, the airline said: “Scheduled flights will resume as soon as there is more clarity on the situation.”

Part of the statement also reads: “Affected customers can rebook and fly at a later date at no additional cost or request for a fund.”

Reports indicate that South Africa was among the countries which detected new variants of Covid-19, a few weeks ago, alongside other countries include Brazil, Britain among others.

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However, with the variants spreading rapidly across the Southern Africa region, experts say that this will arguably make the fight against Covid-19 more difficult.

The South African government has already stalled its roll-out of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine after a study showed “disappointing” results against its new Covid-19 variant.

South Africa received one million doses of the AstraZeneca jab and was due to start vaccinating.

Scientists say the virus strain accounts for 90% of new Covid-19 cases in South Africa.

After months of lockdown last year, RwandAir resumed commercial flights in August 2020 across its global network, including most of its routes on the continent, as well as some long-haul destinations such as London Heathrow, Brussels and Dubai.

The airline recently launched its twice-weekly flights to Central Africa Republic’s capital Bangui as part of its recovery strategy from the devastating economic impact of Covid-19 pandemic.

All passengers arriving in Rwanda are required to present a negative Covid-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test taken within 72 hours of boarding their flights.

Upon arrival, they are required to self-quarantine for seven days and take a free of charge PCR test at the end of this period.

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