Every February 6, the world marks the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, FGM.
As with many traditional practices, FGM is carried out by communities as a cultural practice and is often associated with ethnic identity. FGM is a contributor to the high morbidity and mortality rate among women and young girls in Africa.
Breakfast Central’s Olisa Chukwumah and Tolulope Adeleru- Balogun spoke with Selina Nkoile who is with the Network for Adolescent Youth of Africa where she is a Girls Rights Champion.
Selina expressed that in her community it is more than just a cut it is a celebration, rite of passage that marks the graduation of a female from girlhood to womanhood, it is a significant stage in the community that involves the elders and blessings from their fathers.
She also highlighted that the implications of the cut of FGM on these girls are but not limited to; dropping out of school, child marriages, teenage pregnancies, health complications, and also death from bleeding during the process.
She urged international agencies and financial agencies to find their way down to the grassroots as it would really help the situation.
International collaborations, Nkoile added, should have and involve community leaders at the heart of their planning because these community leaders are the best people to make recommendations and they are the ones that know how to end this issue. If this is not done there won’t be a significant change.
Afreximbank, AAAM Sign MoU on Africa Auto Industry Financing
Under the terms of the MoU, Afreximbank and AAAM will work together to enhance the emergence of regional value chains with a focus on value-added manufacturing created through partnerships between global original equipment manufacturers, suppliers, and local partners.
The African Export-Import Bank and the African Association of Automotive Manufacturers have signed a memorandum of understanding on the financing and promotion of the automotive industry in Africa.
Afreximbank President, Prof. Benedict Oramah, notes the strategic partnership with AAAM will facilitate the implementation of the bank’s automotive programme, which aims to catalyze the development of the automotive industry in Africa as the continent commences trade under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Under the terms of the MoU, Afreximbank and AAAM will work together to enhance the emergence of regional value chains in Africa with a focus on value-added manufacturing created through partnerships between global original equipment manufacturers, suppliers, and local partners.
Both organizations plan to undertake studies to map potential regional automotive value chains on the African continent in regional economic clusters, in order to enable the manufacture of automotive components for supply to hub assemblers.
The Afreximbank and AAAM will also collaborate to provide financing to industry players along the automotive value chain in order to support the emergence of the African automotive industry.
Potential interventions will include lines of credit, direct financing, project financing, supply-chain financing, guarantees, equity financing, among others in Africa.
The MoU also provides for the partners to support, in conjunction with the African Union Commission and the AfCFTA Secretariat, the development of coherent national, regional, and continental automotive policies and strategies on the continent.
According to the AAAM: with an integrated market under the AfCFTA, abundant and cheap labor, natural resource wealth, and a growing middle class, African countries are increasingly turning their attention to support the emergence of their automotive industries.
Therefore, the alliance between Afreximbank and AAAM will be an opportunity to fuel the aspirations of African countries towards re-focusing their economies on industrialization and export manufacturing and fostering the emergence of regional value chains.
The African Association of Automotive Manufacturers CEO David Coffey has also commended the move saying the signing of the MoU with Afreximbank is an exciting milestone for the development of the automotive industry in Africa.
Morocco’s Energy Firm Receives $965,000 AfDB Grant
Morocco’s energy service firm, Société d’Ingénierie Energétique (SIE), has obtained a $965,000 grant from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to support its growth plans.
The AfDB, in a statement, said the deal was sealed on Tuesday and channelled through its Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA).
Brice Mikpomhpoue, Officer in Charge at the North Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office of the AfDB, said the grant will provide SIE with operational tools to develop a pipeline of bankable energy efficient investment projects.
SEFA is an AfDB-managed special fund, providing finance for renewable energy. SIE is transiting into the first Super Energy Service Company (ESCO) initiative in Africa.
Amid growing demand, Morocco aims to meet its energy needs by combining large-scale energy efficiency strategies and renewable energy investments, the Bank said.
Super ESCOs are vehicles for channelling funds into public sector energy efficiency investments such as hospitals, schools and street lighting, laying the foundation for private investment later in the commercial and industrial sectors.
“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.
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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