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India, Mauritius Set To Finalise Free Trade Agreement2 minutes read

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The governments of India and Mauritius are set to finalise a free trade agreement (FTA) that will further strenghtened economic ties between both countries.

India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, in a statement on Wednesday, said the “proposed India-Mauritius Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA) seeks to mutually benefit both the countries in the area of trade in goods and services.”

“At present, we have a number of different comprehensive partnership arrangements with countries around the world and we are in the process of finalising a CECPA with Mauritius,” the statement quoted Goyal as saying at the CII-EXIM Bank Digital Conclave on India Africa project partnership.

He also said that recently India and the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) decided for early resumption of negotiations for a preferential trading agreement (PTA).

The SACU consists of Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland.

A PTA is slightly different from a free trade agreement (FTA). In FTA, two sides reduce or eliminate duties on the maximum number of products they trade in, whereas in a PTA, the tariffs are eliminated or cut on certain number of items.

The minister said that in the near future, India will be happy to work more closely with the African free trade zone.

Further, he said India will continue to support Africa through lines of credit in priority sectors such as agriculture, irrigation, health, digital technology, power plants, transmission lines, and rail infrastructure.

As of June 2020, India has committed USD 12.7 billion for 40 countries in Africa on highly favourable terms, he added.

The bilateral trade, he said, grew from about USD 7 billion to nearly USD 67 billion in the last 20 years and “it has tremendous potential for further growth in the years to come”.

India is the fifth largest investor in African continent with a cumulative investment of over USD 54 billion in the last few years in areas like oil and gas, mining, banking, and textile.

“There is a huge scope for manifold increase in Indian investments in the wake of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AFCTA),” he said, adding “we can mutually benefit through establishment of India-Africa value chains in many areas such as textiles, pharma, auto, agro processing and information and communication technology”.

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Air Tanzania Resumes Scheduled Flights To Harare

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Air Tanzania resumed scheduled flights to Harare on Wednesday after a seven-month suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The airline joins a host of other regional and international airlines that have resumed flights into Zimbabwe after the country reopened its skies at in October.

Some of the airlines that have resumed flights into the southern African country include Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Kenyan Airways, South African Airlink and Fastjet.

“The flights resume today on Oct. 27 2020 and will be served initially twice weekly on Tuesday and Friday.

“Air Tanzania will operate the route via Lusaka, Zambia using a Dash8-Q400 aircraft,’’ the airline said in a statement Tuesday.

An official at the airline said as with the new normal, the flights would be operated under new COVID-19 health regulations.

“We are thrilled to be resuming the Lusaka-Harare flights. This South bound route connects both Lusaka and Harare business people, tourists and academics to the port city of Dar-es-Salaam and beyond,” the official said.

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BREAKING: Okonjo-Iweala Emerges WTO Director-General

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Former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has been named the new Director-General of the World Trade Organization, WTO.

She defeated the trade minister from South Korea by polling 104 votes from 164 member countries.

This makes her the first African to occupy the position of DG WTO.

Details Later…

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Nigeria To Construct 10 New Airports

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Nigeria’s Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, on Tuesday, told federal lawmakers the West African country has concluded plans to build 10 new airports.

The minister revealed this when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Aviation for the 2021 budget defence by the ministry and its agencies.

Sirika said that the civil aviation had witnessed growth saying that the number of airports in the country had increased.

“There are airports coming up in Benue, Ebonyi, Ekiti, Lafia, Damaturu, Anambra and so forth. All of these show that civil aviation is growing during this administration,” he said.

Sirika said both the executive arm of government and the National Assembly had done justice to the civil aviation sector since 2015 when the current administration came on board through the development of a roadmap, which was being implemented.

“So, we have about 10 new airports coming up; that is almost half the number of airports we used to have in Nigeria. We are adding 50 per cent of the number of airports,” Sirika said.

He also noted that Kebbi, Osubi, Dutse, Jigawa airports were taken over by the Federal Government while the Gombe State Government had also written the federal authorities, asking it to take over the Gombe Airport.

Meanwhile, Sirika told newsmen after the budget defence that the national carrier, Nigeria Air, was part of the Aviation sector roadmap, which would be delivered before 2023.

“We are on it. The transaction adviser has brought in the outline business case. It is being reviewed by Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC).

“Soon after it completion, it will go to the Federal Executive Council fir approved. We will not leave this government without having it in place,” Sirika said.

On the need to site another airport in Lokoja, Kogi, as alternate to Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja, Sirika said, “Lokoja is an important Northern town.

“Lokoja is a cosmopolitan town, it’s a mini Nigeria and it is extremely very important in growth and development of our country.

“We have a lot of agricultural activities around there. There is fishery, there is perishable item production and so on.

“So sitting an airport there is quite apt. For me, it is something we should have done long ago for its importance,” Sirika said.

On the issues of dilapidated equipment at some airports across the country, Sirika said it was a work in progress as the airports were being attended to one after the other based on priority.

“We don’t have the resources to take them all at once. We are attending to them according to their needs in terms of safety and security.

“Certainly we are making Ilorin one of the best airports because in the first place it is an alternate for Lagos,” Sirika said.

Chairman of the Committee, Sen. Smart Adeyemi, said that observations were made by the committee on how to assist the aviation industry.

“This is more importantly as the world grappled with global recession, aviation becomes a very important sector that requires the attention of any progressive government.

“I am happy to see that there is an improvement in what is being proposed for 2021 compared with the outgoing year.

“Aviation is important because when the economy is down for a developing nation as ours, it makes sense to focus on aviation in order to be able to accelerate socio-economic activities.

“Aviation must be given serious attention and I am happy this government has responded to that,” Adeyemi said.

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