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Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Makes Final Shortlist In WTO leadership Bid4 minutes read

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Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has reportedly made the final shortlist in the World Trade Organization (WTO) leadership bid.

The World Trade Organization is due to announce on Thursday the final two candidates from a shortlist of five to lead the agency.

Reports suggest that the final two are both women – Okonjo-Iweala and Yoo Myung-he of South Korea.

The WTO has never been led by a woman or an African. The hope is that having an African head the organisation could boost the continent’s trade, which has stagnated at 2% to 3% of the global average.

The successful candidate is expected to be announced next month.

The new director general will have to deal with the US-China trade dispute and increased global protectionism.

President Donald Trump’s administration has also blocked the appointment of judges to the WTO’s main dispute body, badly impairing one of the organisation’s key functions.

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Katagum has called on Heads of State Delegations to the WTO to endorse Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the selection exercises intensifies.

Katagum,in a statement issued on Thursday as Chairperson of the Okonjo-Uweala Campaign Team, urged that the former Nigeria’s Minister of Finance be endorsed based on her antecedence, competence and statement to the General Council.

She charged Heads of Delegations to read again the statement of intent and agenda submitted by Okonjo-Iweala, describing the former Nigerian Minister of Finance as “the best choice for the job”.

She commended the series of endorsements of Dr Iweala’s candidacy from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to the European Union (EU).

She said: “These are excellent testimonies of her eminent qualification for the top job as the WTO of today needs a DG with multiple skills to revive the challenged spirit of trade liberalisation world wide.

“The WTO faces a lot of problems currently, and confronting these challenges necessarily requires building trust among the membership especially as the problems are not solely of a technical nature.

“Only a DG with the requisite political and negotiating skills coupled with multilateral experience can ensure deep engagement of the Members in order to restore trust and build a truly efficient organisation.”

“Dr Iweala’s qualities and experience in managing multilateral issues, in trade facilitation and negotiation as well as brokering deals and agreements with high political stakes, puts her in good standing.

“Her suitability is a product of past and present experience garnered from her Vice Presidency at the World Bank; Finance Ministry portfolio in Nigeria; and her other current global assignments.

Katagum, Nigeria’s former envoy, Permanent Delegate to UNESCO, further noted that with the effect of Covid-19 pandemic on global economy, a person of Okonjo-Iweala standing is required to steer the ship of the WTO.

“When all indices are taken into consideration, the WTO indeed needs an internationalist, a multilateralist, a skilled and tested negotiator – all traits the General Council can find in the Nigerian and ECOWAS nominee.

“I believe she brings exactly the right combination of skills and experience (public sector, international civil society, multilateral organisations and worldwide network of contacts) needed to lead this organisation in the future,” she added.

The World Trade Organisation members have selected Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee as two final candidates to advance to the final round in the race to lead the Geneva-based trade body.

WTO General Council Chairman David Walker will formally announce the results to the institution’s delegates on October 8 in Geneva.

By implication, three candidates have been edged out of the race by the selected duo.

Three candidates, UK’s Liam Fox, Kenya’s Amina Jibril, and Saudi Arabia’s Mohammad Al-Tuwaijri, have been edged out of the race as they did not secure enough support in the second round of consultations.

The third and final phase of the consultation process will begin later this month and run until Nov. 6, after which the WTO will endeavour to name a consensus winner of the race.

At the end of the selection exercises, if the WTO members are unable to select a leader by consensus, a vote requiring a qualified majority could be held as a last resort.

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Food Prices In Nigeria Went Up In September – Nigeria Bureau of Statistics

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Food prices in Nigeria increased in September according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

NBS made the assertion in a report titled ‘Selected food price watch data’ for the month of September 2020.

The report said the average price of one dozen of eggs medium size increased year-on-year by 5.245% and month-on-month by 0.37% to N480.76 in September 2020 from N478.97 in August 2020.

It stated that the average price of eggs medium size (price of one) increased year-on-year by 3.87 % and month-on-month by 0.28 % to N42.90 in September from N42.78 in August.

The average price of 1kg of rice (imported high quality sold loose) increased year-on-year by 39.07% and month-on-month by 2.87% to N516.13 in September 2020 from N501.71 in August.

Meanwhile, the average price of 1kg of tomato increased year-on-year by 26.12% and decreased month-on-month by -1.01% to N286.92 in September from N289.86 in August.

Similarly, it added, the average price of 1kg of yam tuber increased year-on-year by 29.11% and decreased month on month by -4.08% to N245.62 in September 2020 from N256.06 in August 2020.

Incidentally, as the 24hour curfew across many states in Nigeria last, after the resent spat of violent attacks in some cities it has impacted on current prices. And cause more increase. Now, a piece of egg now sells for N70 to N100 each.

The prices of other food items have increased and could further spiked if movement restrictions are not relaxed very soon.

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Tunisia Exports 3,000 Tonnes Of Fruit To Libya In 20 Days

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Tunisa exported no fewer than 3,000 tonnes of fruit to Libya in the first 20 days of October, local media reported.

The exports were through the three commercial Sfax, Sousse and Bizerte maritime lines.

The head of the Sales Department of the Inter-Professional Fruit Group (GIFruits), Tarek Tira, said the fruit export process, mainly for pomegranates, resumed its regular pace despite the closure of the road linking Tunisia with the Libyan land border since last September.

He said a cargo-carrying more than 1200 tonnes of fruit, including 700 tonnes of pomegranates, left Sfax port on Thursday to Tripoli.

Adding that another ship carrying nearly 350 tonnes of fruit will also sail for Libya from the same port.

Tira pointed out that the Libyan market is the first in Tunisia in terms of fruit marketing (more than 30%).

Since September, the export of Tunisian agricultural products, essentially fruits, has been experiencing a blockage, following the closure of the border road at Ben Guerdane by demonstrators. This has hindered the passage of Tunisian and Libyan trucks in both directions.

Vice-president of the board of directors of GIFruits Ibrahim Trabelsi expressed regret, considering the importance of the Libyan market. “It absorbs between 30 and 50% of agricultural products,” he said, adding the current situation could collapse the Tunisian fruit industry.

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UACN Tops Gainers’ Table As Nigeria’s Bourse Rebounds By N59M

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The Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE), on Thursday, rebounded with a growth of N59 billion in spite of social unrest and curfew in major cities of the country.

Specifically, the market capitalisation which opened at N14.870 trillion rose by N59 billion or 0.40 per cent to close at N14.929 trillion.

Also, the All-Share Index increased by 114.38 points or 0.40 per cent to close at 28,563.87 compared with 28,449.49 achieved on Wednesday.

The upturn was impacted by gains recorded in large and medium capitalised stocks, amongst which are; MTN Nigeria Communications, Stanbic IBTC Holdings, UACN, Lafarge Africa and Dangote Sugar Refinery.

Market sentiment measured by the market breadth was positive with 21 stocks gainers against 12 losers.

UACN drove the gainers’ table in percentage table, growing by 8.33 per cent to close at N7.15 per share.

Union Diagnostic followed with eight per cent to close at 27k, while FCMB Group rose by 7.96 per cent to close at N2.44 per share.

United Capital increased by 6.44 per cent to close at N3.80, while Neimeth appreciated by 5.26 per cent to close at N1.80 per share.

Conversely, Wapic Insurance led the losers’ chart in percentage terms dropping by 9.09 per cent to close at 40k per share.

UACN Property Development trailed with 3.66 per cent to close at 79k, while GlaxoSmithKline shed 3.57 per cent to close at N5.40 per share.

International Breweries dipped 2.95 per cent to close at N6.25, while Fidelity Bank depreciated by 2.50 per cent to close at N1.95 per share.

However, the total volume traded decreased by 4.67 per cent with an exchange of 311.33 million shares worth N4.69 billion traded in 3,375 deals.

This was in contrast with a total of 326.58 million shares valued at N4.22 billion transacted in 4,367 deals on Wednesday.

Transactions in the shares of Guaranty Trust Bank topped the activity chart with 77.84 million shares worth N2.34 billion.

Access Bank followed with 57.66 million shares valued at N442.78 million, while Zenith Bank traded 39.58 million shares worth N813.77 million.

FBN Holdings sold 21.75 million shares valued at N131.58 million, while United Bank for Africa transacted 18.16 million shares worth N122.81 million

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