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Nigeria looks to have U.S. travel ban lifted2 minutes read

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According to Nigerian Foreign Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, the country has begun working on the security and information sharing requirements for the lifting of a U.S. travel ban on prospective immigrants.

Speaking at a joint news conference in Washington with U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, Onyeama says Nigeria was ‘blindsided’ by the U.S. decision to add it and five other countries to an expanded version of the U.S. visa ban. 

U.S. President, Donald Trump issued an expanded version of his travel ban on Friday as part of a presidential proclamation which states that Washington would suspend the issuance of visas that can lead to permanent residency for nationals of Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar and Nigeria. 

Temporary visas for tourists, business people, students and workers from those nations will not be affected, it states. 

U.S. officials say the countries failed to meet its security and information-sharing standards, which necessitated the new restrictions. 

“We’ve identified all those requirements and we had actually started working on all them,” Onyeama said. “It was very gratifying to come here, speaking to U.S. officials and to understand more clearly the reasoning behind this.” 

Nigeria, the most populous nation in Africa, is the biggest country on the list whose citizens will be suspended from U.S. visas that can lead to permanent residency. 

Pompeo also declared that Nigeria could do more in sharing important national security information, adding that he is ‘optimistic’ that Abuja will move in that direction. 

Some of the areas are security measures taken with regards to passports and information about criminal histories and suspected terrorist information being made available. 

“With regards to lost and stolen passports, we’re putting in place the architecture that will now make that – the information and the data on that – immediately available to the U.S. and all the member states, member countries of Interpol,” Onyeama adds. 

The original travel ban, issued in 2017, barred nearly all immigrants and travellers from seven countries with majority Muslim populations. This was revised amid court challenges, but the U.S. Supreme Court ultimately upheld it in 2018. 

The new travel ban will take effect on Feb. 21, according to the proclamation. 

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African Entrepreneur, Mahmood Ahmadu, Receives Forbes ‘Best of Africa’ Award

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Mahmood Ahmadu, the founder of Africa’s leading multi-business IT conglomerate – Online Integrated Solutions – has been honoured as one of Africa’s best by Forbes.

Ahmadu was one of the three business leaders presented with the Forbes Best of Africa Award for 2020 in a virtual ceremony held on September 11.

Ahmadu received the award in recognition of several philanthropic activities he has led and contributed to – in a personal capacity as well as through corporate social responsibility initiatives.

The ceremony was part of an online roundtable supported by the World Philanthropy Network and will feature a keynote address by former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo.

Forbes Custom’s Awards Committee has followed Ahmadu’s remarkable business career, for some years now. However, this award is in particular recognition of his transition, from prominent African businessman to one of the continent’s most significant philanthropists.

Ahmadu has championed several empowering initiatives and social causes, over the years – including scholarships to China for African students, mentoring programmes for outstanding young academic talent and contributions to the Diabetes Association – in addition to several on-going donations that have benefitted individuals and charitable institutions.

A serial entrepreneur, with a penchant for introducing tech-driven innovations to the market, Ahmadu first came to prominence in the early 80s, as a leading light among earlier pioneers in GSM technology, in northern Nigeria. Since then his varied ventures have spanned industries such as mining, real estate, construction, agriculture, e-education, e-healthcare, finTech and more. Ahmadu’s business interests currently span across 53 countries and five continents.

Ahmadu has previously been the recipient of several national and international awards – including UK’s first Empowering Communities Award, the Nigerian Economic Development Award 2016, Officer of the Order Of Niger Award, and more.

Thanking Forbes for their recognition of his commitment to social causes, he reiterated his commitment to continue creating a positive impact on African communities.

“I’m humbled to be named one of the recipients of the Forbes Best of Africa Awards 2020”, Ahmadu said.

“I’m touched by the fact that this award is as much in recognition of giving back to the community, as it is for business innovation and professional success. This honour is also an acknowledgement of the many talented and passionate individuals who are part of my team. It will be a huge motivation for us to continue on our mission to create an African IT conglomerate to rival the best in the world, while also being mindful of giving back and empowering the community,” he said.

A proponent of the use of technology to empower individuals, Ahmadu is a business leader working on ushering in a future of democratised, quick and easy access to mission-critical services. His entrepreneurial journey is entwined with the larger vision of creating state-of-the-art infrastructure for African governments, communities and individuals.

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Nigeria’s Polaris Bank Appoints Segun Opeke As Executive Director

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Polaris Bank Ltd and Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria has appointed Mr Segun Opeke as an Executive Director, a statement has said.

The bank’s Company Secretary, Mr Babatunde Osibodu, in a statement on Saturday, said Opeke’s appointment comes on the heels of the recent appointment of, Mr Innocent Ike, as the Acting Managing Director of the Bank.

He said that Opeke, until the appointment, was the Directorate Head, Lagos Business.

“Opeke has over 25 years of hands-on work experience acquired from leading Nigerian commercial banks with over 15 of these years in Senior and Executive Management roles.

“The Lagos Directorate under his leadership recorded outstanding growth and contributed significantly to the turnaround of the bank, evidenced by its impressive financial performance recorded in the 2019 financial year.

“By this appointment, he is expected to strengthen the bank’s leadership aspirations in the banking industry leveraging his wealth of experience and contributing greatly to its ongoing corporate transformation programme,” he said.

Osibodu said Opeke had occupied strategic roles in various institutions including FSB International Bank, Prudent Bank and Chartered Bank where he started his banking career.

“Following the emergence of Skye Bank in 2006, Segun worked as the Bank’s Treasurer and Regional Director for Victoria Island and Ikoyi.

“He was also the Group Head for Corporate Banking, Aviation and Maritime Group at various times.

“As a member of the Bank’s Executive Committee, he has remained a strong asset for the institution making insightful contributions and bringing real value on board,” Osibodu added.

He said that Opeke’s appointment as Executive Director, Lagos Business, would further strengthen the management and board in actualising the bank’s leadership aspirations.

“Opeke holds a BSc. (Banking and Finance) and an MBA from the University of Lagos.

“He is an alumnus of the Columbia Business School, New York.

“He has attended several professional, management and leadership programmes in world-class institutions including INSEAD and Euromoney, London.

“Opeke is credited with making immense contributions in change management, corporate finance/restructuring and digital transformation.

“Polaris Bank is a future-determining bank committed to delivering industry-defining products, and services, across all sectors of the Nigerian economy,” Osibodu added.

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Egypt Supplies Garlic Worth $5M To Brazilian Market In Eight Months

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Brazil’s Secretariat of Foreign Trade (SECEX), in a recently released data, revealed that Egypt exported over $5m worth of garlic into the Brazilian market in 2020.

The data showed that the figure was for the first eight months in 2020, making the North African country one of the main suppliers of garlic to Brazil.

Egypt first exported garlic into the Brazilian market in July 2019, earning around $2.3m by the year’s end. Since then, Egypt has become Brazil’s fifth-largest international garlic supplier behind Argentina, China, Spain and Chile.

At a point in 2020, Egypt – one of the world’s main garlic producers, in fourth place behind China, India and Bangladesh – rose to the second-largest supplier of the product to Brazil.

The country harvests 280,000 tons per year.

The garlic harvest in Egypt runs from September to July, and recently, exports from the African country reached 40,000 tons, which generated more than $42m.

Garlic is one of the oldest plants in Egypt.

Brazil imported 165,400 tons of garlic in 2019, worth $225m, a slight increase over 2018 when the Brazilian market imported 164.8 thousand tons of garlic from abroad, valued at $172m.

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