Nigeria, Economic Community of West African States, Major World Economies Adopt Abuja Statement

Nigeria, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), World Trade Organisation (WTO), Friends of Investment Facilitation for Development (FIFD) and participants at the High Level Policy and Private Sector Trade and Investment Facilitation Partnership Forum today adopted a declaration titled “The Abuja Statement” at the close of the two-day event, which saw the participation of over 30 African countries as well as major world economies.

The Forum was opened yesterday the 2nd of November by Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo with the support of the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah.

The Abuja Statement on “Deepening Africa’s Integration in the Global Economy through Trade and Investment Facilitation for Development” was unanimously adopted after two days of intensive deliberations between policy makers and the business community from around the world.

The Statement reaffirmed that trade and investment are inseparable and remain indispensable “twin engines” for economic growth, modernization and development of Africa.

It reiterated the need to scale up investments in “connectivity” – infrastructure – ports, transport corridors and telecommunications networks to enable Africa participate and benefit from today’s integrated and digital global economy. It supported the ongoing Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) negotiations in Africa.

The Statement said: “One of the central objectives of the High Level Forum was to examine how the WTO could contribute to facilitating the required investment –as well as trade by developing multilateral approaches to improving transparent, cutting red tape, streamlining procedures and strengthening international cooperation with the aim of expanding sustainable pro-development investment.”

Furthermore, the Statement noted: “Participants underscored the importance of enabling developing and least developing countries to increase their participation in global investment flows, including by mobilizing resources needed to address their technical and capacity constraints.”

The Statement called for a successful 11th WTO Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires in December to strengthen the WTO as a global public good that remains central to the welfare, prosperity and development of all its members.

The Statement further emphasized that policies, institutions and best practices are required for expanding the required investment in the domestic economies of African countries, the region and continent.

In his reaction, Minister Enelamah said: “The new narrative of Nigeria out there: that the country is positive, pro-development, pro-business and pro-enabling environment for business.”

On his part, the Director General/Chief Negotiator of the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations (NOTN) Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe stated that “This High Level Forum on Trade and Investment Facilitation held in Abuja, was an acknowledgment of Nigeria’s economic and trade policy leadership in West Africa, Africa and the global economy.”

The High Level Forum was co-hosted by the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (http://FMITI.gov.ng), ECOWAS in partnership with FIFD. Members of FIFD coalition are Nigeria, Argentina, China, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Hong Kong China, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Pakistan, Russia, Singapore, Switzerland, Canada, the European Union and Qatar.

Other participants at the Forum were WTO DG Roberto Azevedo; Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Mukhisa Kituyi, African Union (AU) Commissioner for Trade and Industry Albert Muchanga, President of ECOWAS Commission Marcel Alain de Souza and CEOs and business leaders from Hauwei, Procter and Gamble, Vodacom, etc.

Signed
Constance C. Ikokwu
Strategy & Communications Adviser to Minister
Constance.Ikokwu@FMITI.gov.ng
Twitter: @ccikokwu
@TradeInvestNG

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment, Nigeria.

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WHO helps Kenya guard against Marburg Virus Disease

The World Health Organization is helping the Kenyan Ministry of Health guard against the spread of Marburg Virus Disease from neighbouring Uganda.

Health authorities are strengthening preparedness measures in Trans Nzoia and West Pokot counties along the border with Uganda, where an outbreak was officially declared on 19 October.

Although no MVD cases have been confirmed in Kenya, the Ministry of Health has set up a national task force to coordinate all rapid response activities, including WHO, the Kenya Red Cross Society, the the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and UNICEF. Several joint teams have been deployed to conduct risk assessments and initiate contact tracing and surveillance in Trans Nzoia and West Pokot.

WHO is supporting enhanced surveillance and lab testing, an active search for potential cases and their contacts, community engagement, and isolation and treatment units.

“We can save lives if sick people are identified early. Together with the Ministry of Health, we are actively looking for suspected cases and following up on their contacts,” said Dr. Rudi Eggers, WHO Representative in Kenya. “WHO staff in both Uganda and Kenya are coordinating cross border response activities including surveillance, contact tracing and active case search. This is key to breaking the chain of transmission and containing the outbreak.”

A 73-year-old traditional healer in Trans Nzoia County tested negative for the virus on 01 November, after samples were transported to the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) in Nairobi. She had come into contact with a Ugandan national with confirmed MVD who sought her out for treatment with herbal remedies.

WHO is working with the Kenyan Ministry of Health to prepare local hospitals for possible cases, ensure the safe and timely transport of lab samples, provide information to local communities, and enhance preparedness measures and cross-border coordination.

WHO has delivered 300 kits of personal protective equipment; with an additional 2,000 PPE kits on the way.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Health Organization (WHO).

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Lack of Signage at World Heritage and Other Sites of Significance

The Portfolio Committee on Tourism today received a briefing from the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) on the provision of signage on routes to world heritage and other tourist sites.

Places of significance are key in the tourism landscape and enhance the visitor’s experience. One such site is the Dr. Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela capture site in KwaZulu-Natal, which has no signage from the N3. The quality of tourists’ experiences is dependent on branding, but signage to tourist sites across the country is dealt with in a fragmented way. Consistent, quality signage to world heritage sites and other tourist destinations is required.

The Committee notes the commitment from Sanral to conduct a policy review to prioritise signage to major tourist attractions and other sites of significance. Sanral is also commended for the commitment to prioritise the Mandela capture site as part of the centenary celebrations for Dr. Mandela’s birthday.

The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, Ms. Beatrice Ngcobo, said that signage not only provides directions for overseas tourists but also for locals, who become aware of tourism offerings in their locality. This boosts the local economy and destination image.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of South Africa: The Parliament.

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South Africa has Plenty of Local Content to Share with Cuba – Fubbs

The Trade and Industry Portfolio Committee Chairperson, Ms. Joan Fubbs says that South Africa has plenty of local content which it can share with Cuba to ensure that both countries pursue a trade agenda that is mutually beneficial and cements trade relations. Fubbs said this during her visit to the South African Pavilion currently showcasing local products and services at the Havana International Fair (FIHAV), in Havana, Cuba.

Fubbs expressed her approval at the calibre of exhibitors brought to Havana by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) and she urged the department to persuade many more local businesspeople to identify Cuba as a trade destination of choice.

“I have seen many of our pavilions and actually this is one of the finest. We have plenty of local content which we can share with Cuba, content such as our strong wine sector which is labour-intensive, the chemicals and manufacturing sector which is also well represented here for the Cubans to interrogate and address whatever inquiries they may have. We also have our South African Boatbuilders Export Council. The agro-processing, health, hygiene and cleaning products sectors are also well represented. We can trade more in these products with our Cuban counterparts,” she said.

In addition, Fubbs mentioned that there was a lot that South Africa could also gain from trading with Cuba.

“In the main it will be what they produce in terms of their chemicals, medical products coffee. A lot of people are not aware that Cuba produces outstanding coffee. But perhaps most of all it is the training that Cuba invests in her people. That is the lesson we can take with ourselves back to South Africa. It is through the investing of her people that Cuba has survived and continues to survive going forward,” said Fubbs.

According to Fubbs, Cuba could serve as South Africa’s gateway to the Caribbean and South America.

“We have got embassies here, and we already have missions in South America but how great it would be if we could use Cuban shipping from the coasts of Africa to store and warehouse goods here in Cuba so that they are closer to the South Americas. So I do believe there is much more we can do as South Africa and Cuba. I think this is a great opportunity for south Africa to share what is has with Cuba and to deepen the relationship we have,” she said.

South Africa is hosting a pavilion at the Havana International Fair that is currently underway in Cuba. The Havana International Fair is the most general trade fair in Cuba and the Caribbean as well as one with the most representatives from Latin America.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of The Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa.

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