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COAFR’s Visit To Nigeria An Opportunity For More EU Interventions, Says Chairperson

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Ms. Yamina Guerfi, Chairperson of the Council of the European Union’s Africa Working Party (COAFR), has stated that the team’s visit to Nigeria will provide the host country with an opportunity to evaluate European interventions at a round table.

Guerfi who spoke to journalists during the hosting of the team by the Belgian Ambassador to Nigeria and Rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Pieter Leenknegt, in Abuja on Monday evening, said the country may benefit from further interventions after the appraisal.

She stated that Nigeria was an obvious choice for the visit because the country has recently transitioned into a new administration, and the administration has expressed an interest in attracting foreign investment.

She also noted that Nigeria as the largest democracy and economy in Africa is a natural attraction to everyone and as such appealing to European Union.

Guerfi noted that slated during the visit are discussions with many facets of Nigerian communities, business, government and civil societies.

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Speaking on the visit of the team to Nigeria, the Belgian Ambassador said: “The good news is that the 17 EU Member States diplomats and the 6 eurocrats in the visiting COAFR delegation have chosen Nigeria among the 49 sub-Saharan African countries they could in theory have visited on their annual trip.

“Of course, our Nigerian guests tonight will only find this natural, as theirs is the economically biggest and most populous African nation. However, as we all know from the Eurovision Song Festival, in beauty contests between countries, there is often more than meets the eye, so congratulations to Nigeria and our dear EU Ambassador Samuela Isopi for lobbying the COAFR troops so well and making the final cut!

 

FOREIGN NEWS

World Bank, African Development Bank Partner To Halve Number Of Africans Living Without Electricity Access

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Ajay Banga, World Bank boss

The World Bank Group and the African Development Bank Group are partnering on an ambitious effort to provide at least 300 million people in Africa with electricity access by 2030.

The World Bank Group will work to connect 250 million people to electricity through distributed renewable energy systems or the distribution grid while the African Development Bank Group will support an additional 50 million people.

Access to electricity is a fundamental human right and is foundational to any successful development effort. Currently, 600 million Africans lack access to electricity, creating significant barriers to health care, education, productivity, digital inclusivity, and ultimately job creation.

“Electricity access is the bedrock of all development. It is a critical ingredient for economic growth and essential for job creation at scale. Our aspiration will only be realised with partnership and ambition. We will need policy action from governments, financing from multilateral development banks, and private sector investment to see this through,” said Ajay Banga, World Bank Group President.

This partnership is a demonstration of the determination of the World Bank Group and the African Development Bank Group to be bolder, bigger, and better at tackling one of the most pressing challenges in Africa.

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The initiative is the most recent manifestation of the World Bank Group’s commitment to become more impact-oriented and is the byproduct of a concerted workplan to build a better bank. It is aided by a constellation of regional energy programs that will now be aligned toward this common goal.

For the World Bank Group to connect 250 million people, $30 billion of public sector investment will be needed, of which IDA, the World Bank’s concessional arm for low-income countries, will be critical.

In addition, governments will need to put in place policies to attract private investment and reform their utilities so they are financially sound and efficient with tariff mechanisms that protect the poor.

Connecting 250 million people to electricity would open private sector investment opportunities in distributed renewable energy alone worth $9 billion.

Beyond that, there would be substantial opportunities for private investments in grid-connected renewable energy needed to power economies for growth.

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Nigeria, Cameroon Sign MoU to Fight Trans-Border Wildlife Trade, Others

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The Nigerian government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with neighbouring Cameroon to work together to combat transborder wildlife trade while also promoting ecosystem conservation and forestry resource management.

The agreement was signed on Friday in Abuja by Nigeria’s Minister of Environment, Balarabe Abbas, and Cameroon’s Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, Jules Doret Ndongo.

During the signing of the MoU (Cooperation Framework Agreement on Transboundary Ecosystem Conservation and Sustainable Management of Forestry and Wildlife Resources), the Nigerian Minister stated that the agreement represents a watershed moment and serves as a foundation for the establishment of a joint transboundary management framework.

He explained that the implementation of the agreement aims to supervise and coordinate identified areas of cooperation, ensure special protocols are consistent with identified areas of cooperation, collaborate in the implementation of common transboundary programmes, and develop the institutional and mobilisation of funds for the implementation of common transboundary programmes.

The Minister stated: “Apart from the global phenomenon of climate change and environmental challenges, social factors such as overpopulation, poverty, and food insecurity have continued to push these resources to the brink of extinction. While this is going on, transboundary criminality such as illegal logging, poaching and wildlife trafficking have further aggravated the trend and seem to have vindicated the reverberating but appalling warning revealed in the landmark Inter-Governmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), 2019 Global Assessment Report that about one million species are threatened with extinction, and many within decades.

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“With our common border spanning over 1,500 km, halting and reversing the unsavoury trend cannot be achieved by the political will and commitment in a country alone but more promising is the adoption of bilateral and multilateral approaches particularly when considering the continuum and migratory nature of these resources against the backdrop of the complexities of their transboundary management and conservation.

“To that extent, the event of today is of great significance as it does not only underscore the commitment of the Renewed Hope Agenda of the present Government to collaborate with Cameroon to manage and conserve our shared natural resources but also demonstrates the importance of bilateral cooperation in tackling global challenges. As a result of this long history, this agreement can be viewed as a fitting response to the parties’ international commitments.

“It symbolises a milestone and provides a platform for the establishment of a joint transboundary management framework, which will facilitate cooperation and coordination between our countries on matters relating to the conservation and sustainable use of our natural resources. This framework will be instrumental in ensuring the effective conservation and sustainable management of our forests and wildlife resources, which are critical to our ecosystem services, livelihoods, and sustainable development.

“This agreement will further facilitate the development and implementation of joint programmes and projects for the conservation and sustainable management of transboundary ecosystems, and also foster the sharing of experiences, knowledge, and best practices between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Republic of Cameroon.”

On his part, the Minister of Forestry and Wildlife, Cameroon, Jules Doret Ndongo assured that Cameroon would do everything possible to implement the agreement.

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He said, “The over-exploitation of forestry resources and poaching, especially cross-border poaching, are serious threats to the sustainable management of our natural resources and constitute thus one of the causes of climate change.

“Given its significance, I hereby urge all parties involved in this process to become more committed to the implementation of this instrument.Rest assured that Cameroon’s government will do everything in its power to put this agreement into effect,” he said.

“It marks a watershed moment and serves as the foundation for the development of a joint transboundary management framework, which will facilitate cooperation and coordination among our countries on issues related to the conservation and sustainable use of our natural resources.

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ECOWAS Court To Train Sierra Leone Lawyers, Law Students

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Justice Asante and some lawyers

The ECOWAS Court will hold a training programme for Sierra Leone lawyers and law students on the sidelines of its 2024 international conference to deepen their knowledge of the Court and improve their practice, according to the Court’s President, Justice Edward Amoako Asante.

The president stated during a meeting with the executive of the Sierra Leone Bar Association (SLBA) in Freetown on Tuesday that the resource persons for the training will be senior lawyers from the Court who will attend the conference.

He stated that the training would hopefully fill a knowledge gap in the Court among legal practitioners in the country, given that the majority of the lawyers appearing before the Court for Sierra Leone cases were from outside the country.

Justice Asante urged the leadership of the SLBA to help with the process for the successful conduct of the training, working in collaboration with other relevant bodies in the country including the leadership of the law school to streamline the participation and other elements of the training.

He announced that the President of the SLBA, Eddinia Michaela Swallow Esq., will deliver a goodwill message at the Court’s 2024 conference, which will be historic because it will be the first time the President of a country’s bar association has been permitted to do so since the inaugural conference in 2004.
Earlier, the President of the SLBA had thanked the Court for the ‘amazing opportunity,’ granted the country to host the conference describing it as the fulfilment of a dream for her and members of the legal profession in the country.

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She suggested that the Court collaborate with Member State bar associations to educate lawyers about the Court’s specifics in order to improve their practice, particularly for those who may appear before the Court.
Justice Asante is leading a 12-member delegation from the Court to discuss arrangements for the successful hosting of the Court’s 2024 international conference, which is scheduled to take place between May 13th and 16th, 2024.

The conference’s theme is “Improving the role, relevance, and effectiveness of the ECOWAS Court of Justice by strengthening synergies between the Court and national stakeholders.”

The President stated that it will serve as a forum for constructive discussions about the Court’s strengths and weaknesses in its relationships with various national stakeholders, as well as practical solutions to improve the Court’s role, relevance, and effectiveness.

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