The World Bank Group has pledged a $500 million aid in support of Rwanda’s recovery plan from the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the World Bank Country Manager for Rwanda, Rolande Pryce, the fund will go into supporting vaccine procurement and deployment, financial support to Micro and Small and Medium Enterprises, commercializing agriculture and promoting digital inclusion all part of supporting Rwanda’s resilient recovery.
The fund is expected to come in handy in speeding up Covid-19 vaccine access, as well as enabling the resumption and recovery of business activities.
Among the gaps that the pledged aid is expected to fill is curbing poverty levels which the World Bank estimates could go up as a result of lockdowns, social distancing, and increased costs associated with the pandemic.
In the latest World Bank Rwanda Economic Update, it is estimated that the poverty headcount is likely to rise by 5.1 percentage points (more than 550,000 people) in 2021, with more than 80 per cent of the new poor in rural areas. Across the continent, an estimated 32 million people could be plunged into poverty.
Further studies by the World Bank also showed that the impact of Covid-19 disproportionately affects women in Rwanda.
While Rwanda’s employment to population ratio decreased by 5 percentage points from 48.3 to 43 per cent through the lockdown period, the international lender noted that there was a larger decrease among female workers (6.2 percentage points versus 4 per cent among male workers).
This is partly because Rwandan women are more likely to be seasonal workers and more likely to be taking care of a sick relative.
The World Bank experts say the poverty effect is likely to be more in rural areas in Rwanda with rural residents taking longer to recover and graduate economically.
According to the World Bank’s Senior Economist Calvin Djiofack “although the welfare losses in Rwanda’s rural areas are lower than those in the urban areas in the short term, rural households are more likely to remain trapped in poverty over the long term. The long-term adverse effect of the pandemic increases disproportionally more among rural households and the poorest households, accentuating inequality.”
The Bank, however, noted that ongoing responses by the government in social protection have played a role in curbing the increase in poverty.
Nestlé Nigeria Posts N39.35Bln Profit in 2020
Nestlé Nigeria Plc has reported revenue of N287.08 billion for the 2020 financial year.
The company’s audited result released on the Nigerian Stock Exchange showed that the revenue was higher by 1.1 per cent in contrast with N284.04 billion recorded in 2019 comparative period.
Gross profit for the year stood at N 119.21 billion compared with N128.15 billion achieved in the corresponding period of 2019.
Also, the company posted profit after tax of N39.25 billion during the review period against N45.68 billion in 2019.
The board in addition to N25 per share interim dividend already paid in December 2020, proposed an additional dividend of N 35.50 per share making for a total dividend of N60.50 for 2020.
The proposed dividend would be submitted for approval at the company’s Annual General Meeting on June 22.
Commenting on the results, Mr Wassim Elhusseini, Managing Director and CEO of Nestlé Nigeria, said that the company strengthened market leadership across its categories.
“Amidst a very challenging business environment in 2020, we strengthened market leadership across our categories. Thanks to our high performing team, we successfully continued to provide our consumers with high-quality affordable foods and beverages to enjoy every day.
“In line with our purpose of unlocking the power of food to enhance quality of life for everyone today and for generations to come, we broadened our portfolio in 2020 to help our consumers fulfil their nutrition needs.
“Our latest innovation is the new GOLDEN MORN Multi-Cereal, fortified with iron and other vitamins and minerals,” Elhusseini said.
Speaking on future outlook, he said that the company would remain committed to supply of high-quality nutritious foods and beverages to consumers.
“Going into 2021 – which portends to be another challenging year – we will continue to focus on keeping our people safe, continued supply of high-quality nutritious foods and beverages to consumers as well as caring for our communities and the planet.
“We will also keep supporting our business partners as we strengthen our operations to adapt to the rapidly changing reality,” he said.
Zambian High Court Cancels State Acquisition of CEC Company Power Lines
Judge Elita Phiri-Mwikisa of a High Court in Zambia has quashed last year’s decision by the Minister of Energy, Matthew Nkhuwa, to declare a private company’s electricity transmission lines as a common carrier.
By declaring infrastructure owned by the Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC), Zambia’s leading supplier of electricity to the mines, as “common carrier”, Nkhuwa effectively placed the company under obligation to provide its facilities to any entity that wished to use the transmission lines – provided they agreed the terms and conditions set by Zambia’s Energy Regulation Board (ERB) with CEC.
However, CEC dragged the Zambian government before the courts, arguing that Nkhuwa’s decision amounted to “expropriation” of its infrastructure.
In her ruling, Judge Phiri-Mwikisa of the Lusaka High Court said the Minister’s decision to declare CEC’s transmission and distribution lines as common carrier through the passing of S.I No.57 of 2020, took away CEC’s rights to negotiate terms and conditions of use of its infrastructure in view of the fact that any enterprise can use CEC’s infractructure at the wheeling charge that ERB has set, which CEC had argued was not cost effective.
“In fact, KCM has abrogated its contractual obligations under the Power Supply Agreement (PSA) to pay the debt owed to CEC amounting to USD 144 million. I agree with CEC that S.I No. 57 of 2020 is too wide in its application, in that it affects all the applicant’s transmission and distribution lines instead of only affecting lines supplying power to KCM,” Judge Mwikisa said.
She added, “The respondent’s decisions were illegal and tainted with procedural impropriety. All in all, I find that the applicant has succeeded on all grounds…I accordingly quash the decision of the minister of 29 May 2020, to declare the applicant’s transmission and distribution lines as a common carrier.”
Analysts had argued that the move was meant to aid Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), the local unit of Indian mining giant Vedanta, which has been under control government control since May 2019.
Okonjo-Iweala’s First Day at Work as WTO Director-General
As Nigeria’s Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala resumes her role as the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the former Nigerian Finance Minister went straight into business, as she was at a meeting of the Congress of the WTO.
She makes double history as the first woman and first African to be in the role.
In her first day in office, the former former World Bank Vice President said she’s in one of the most important institutions in the world. She indicated her readiness for the huge task ahead of the organisation.
Okonjo-Iweala saw off competition from several strong contenders before becoming the chosen candidate for the top office of the WTO.
She’s an experienced economist and one of the most respected Africans in the world.
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