World Experts to Discuss Africa’s Economic Integration

ALL is now set for the eighth edition of the African Economic Conference. The event will take place in Johannesburg, South Africa, from October 28 to 30, with the theme “Regional Integration in Africa.” The conference is to be jointly organised by the African Development Bank, AfDB, the UN Economic Commission for Africa, ECA and the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP.

This year’s African Economic Conference will bring together top policy-makers, heads of states, leading researchers and experienced development practitioners from Africa and around the world to discuss issues arising from African countries’ efforts to pool resources and integrate their economies for the development of their regional and individual economies.

The conference will also examine the efforts being made in different sectors and areas, including finance, road transport, power pools, water resource management, fiscal convergence and labour mobility. Discussions will focus on issues specific to middle-income countries and those peculiar to fragile states.

The 2013 AEC will also discuss the constraints effective integration faces, the poorly developed network of regional infrastructure, especially in transport, energy and communications, and the unsuitable array of legal, institutional and regulatory frameworks, all of which cannot be ignored. The delegates will look into solutions to facilitate regional integration.

The AEC will also provide a unique forum for in-depth presentations of policy-oriented research by both established academics and emerging talents from the continent. The conference will be opened by Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa; Helen Clark, administrator of UNDP; Donald Kaberuka, president of the African Development Bank; and Abdalla Hamdok, deputy executive secretary of ECA, will also speak at the opening session.


New Face of Doing Business


THE new trading engine, X-Gen, will change the face of doing business, not only in the Nigerian capital market but also in Africa. Ade Bajomo, executive director, operations and technology, Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, said the development would reinforce Nigeria’s position as a regional financial centre.

He said that the delivery of the new age technology serves as a testimony that the NSE has succeeded in achieving one of its key goals of providing 21st century technologies to support the growth of the Nigerian capital market “Today, we are trading live on X-Gen and this is a result of a focused, disciplined and intensive 12-month project involving the NSE, its technical partners and the broker dealer community. We believe that the successful implementation of this modern, world-class trading technology suite is a significant development that will change the experience of doing business in not only the Nigerian capital market but also in Africa,” he said.

Bajomo observed that by deploying the industry’s leading trading engine, the NSE has made it clear to the domestic and international market participants that it is dedicated to operating a high performance, low latency, robust, scalable and flexible marketplace. The new trading platform is based on a number of leading technologies, including NASDAQ OMX’s XStream matching engine, and the NSE’s flexible and robust X-GEN Market Database, developed from scratch by the NSE and its technical partners, and will support trading of cash equities, bonds and derivatives from 2014, giving wider access to real time data, improved market transparency and governance.

Improving Nigeria-Russia Trade Relations


THE federal government has unveiled plans to improve trade relations between Nigeria and Russia.  Assam Assam, Nigeria’s Ambassador to Russia and Nikolay Udovichenko, Russian Ambassador to Nigeria, said the two countries had agreed to deepen the level of trade between each other.

Assam said the volume of trade between the two countries which stands at about $300m, was unacceptable considering the 50 years of their trade relations. To boost the level of trade, he said both countries’ chambers of commerce and industry would be holding the first Nigeria-Russia Business and Investment Forum in Moscow on October 9 and 10, 2013.

This, he stated, would help to open up new vistas of economic collaboration between both countries as they celebrate 50 years of socio-economic and political relations. “The forum couldn’t have come at a better time than now considering the quality exchanges that both countries have had in the last one-and-a-half years. Nigeria and Russia have had 50 years of diplomatic relations and that is why, as part of the business forum and by virtue of very prominent Nigerians who will be coming to Moscow for the forum, we have decided to use it as an opportunity to improve trade with Russia,” he said.

He described the Russian economy as one of the biggest in Europe, adding that Nigeria had a lot to learn from the transformation of the economy since the break-up of the old Russia in 1992. Assam said a few Nigerian companies were currently doing businesses in Russia, adding that with policy direction, the country’s economic cooperation with Russia would be greatly enhanced.

On his part, Udovichenko said a lot of Russian companies would be visiting Nigeria to explore ways of improving bilateral relations. He said with this, the economic relations between the two countries would be enhanced.

Ban on Importation of Second-Hand Vehicles


THE federal government has approved a new Automotive Industrial Policy Development Plan for the country. The decision was taken at the Federal Executive Council meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan, on Wednesday, October 2. As a first step, the federal government said all vehicles purchased by it would be from local assembly plants, except they were specialised and could not be produced in the country.

The government hopes to reduce the high vehicle importation bill, which stood at $3.4bn (N550bn) in 2012 through the policy. Olusegun Aganga, minister of industry, trade and investment, said after the meeting that the policy was aimed at transforming the Nigerian automotive industry and attracting investments into the sector. He said a situation where the nation spent N4.2 billion on the importation of vehicles into the country in 2010 was eating deep into the foreign reserves. He said in arriving at the policy, which took about nine months to put together, the government got the input of some car manufacturing giants like Nissan and Toyota. These companies, he added, would soon announce their investments in the country.

“A transformed automotive industry will realise its potential as a major driver of economic growth and diversification, job creation, local value addition, and technology acquisition. These recommendations were adopted at various conferences and consultations with stakeholders, including some original equipment manufacturers. After deliberation, the council approved the Automotive Industrial Policy Development Plan. Council also approved that the government should direct that all vehicles purchased by the government should be from the local assembly plants unless it is specialised in nature and the National Automotive Council, NAC has certified that it is not produced in Nigeria “The Council approved that the recommendation should be backed by an appropriate legislation to give comfort to investors that there will be no abrupt change in policy,” he said.

According to him, highlights of the new policy include the establishment of three automotive clusters across the country, the revival of the metal/steel sector and the tyre manufacturing industry to support the sector. He noted that the government would work on tariff to encourage local manufacture and discourage importation of vehicles.

Compiled by Anayo Ezugwu

— Oct. 14, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

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