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Infos: Nigeria bets on new deep seaport to drive economic growth

A Shipping container is seen at the Lekki deep seaport before it was commission by Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari in Lagos, Nigeria, Monday, Jan. 23, 2023.   –   Copyright © africanews Sunday Alamba/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved By Rédaction Africanews and AP Last updated: 1 hour ago Nigeria Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari marked Monday

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Infos: Nigeria bets on new deep seaport to drive economic growth
A Shipping container is seen at the Lekki deep seaport before it was commission by Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari in Lagos, Nigeria, Monday, Jan. 23, 2023.   –  

Copyright © africanews

Sunday Alamba/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved

Nigeria

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari marked Monday (Jan. 23) the opening of a $1.5 billion, Chinese-funded deep seaport in the commercial hub of Lagos that authorities hope will help grow the West African nation's ailing economy.

The Lekki Deep Sea Port is one of the biggest in West Africa and will create hundreds of thousands of jobs in addition to easing cargo congestion that costs billions of dollars in annual revenue, Lagos Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu said Monday.

The port — whose container terminal is able to handle at least 2.5 million 20-foot standard containers per year — will be operated as a joint venture between the Nigerian government, Lagos state, Singapore-based Tolaram Group and state-owned China Harbor Engineering Company. Both foreign companies own a majority stake of 75% in the project.

Divert traffic from congested ports

Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy but growth has been stalled for many years because of poor infrastructure and mismanagement. Although it has six major seaports, more than 80% of the country's imports are handled by just two of the ports in Lagos, where congestion has led to a massive loss in revenue as cargoes are often diverted to other West African nations.

Authorities say the new deep seaport on the eastern edge of Lagos would divert traffic from congested ports and shore up earnings, with expected economic benefits of more than $360 billion.

Experts, however, argue it would make a “minimal difference” if existing pitfalls are not removed, including ensuring connections between ports and inland areas.

“There is poor and underinvested rail network connectivity, and the roads are not in top-notch condition,” said Ayotunde Abiodun, an economic analyst with the Lagos-based SBM Intelligence firm. “Also, the automation of processes at the port must be prioritized.”

As the port begins to operate with the first commercial vessel arriving Sunday (Jan.29), the Lagos governor said ships docking at the port “could be up to four times the size of vessels that currently berth at both Tin Can and Apapa ports,” the other two ports in Lagos.

The project would drive economic development not just for Lagos but for the entire country, according to Cui Jianchun, Chinese ambassador to Nigeria.

“This is (the) engine of the economy not only for (the) governor of Lagos but also for the Federal Republic of Nigeria,” Jianchun said. “This is equity of investment. This is not a loan, this is not borrowing — this is investment.”

Dwindling foreign direct investments

Agriculture and trade are key drivers of Nigeria’s economy, but widespread insecurity in the agricultural-rich north, dwindling foreign direct investments and endemic corruption have slowed economic growth amid reduced earnings from crude oil.

The government has turned to international lenders and funders to help grow the economy through critical projects, among them China, whose footprint are on some of Nigeria’s most important infrastructure such as rail networks and airport terminals.

The port has “immense potential” for the economy of Nigeria, which is battling a 33% unemployment rate and an ailing economy, said Abiodun, the analyst who added that industry players must work together for this to happen.

In the maritime sector, “there needs to be interagency engagement on important issues affecting industry operators,” Abiodun said. “A more troubling challenge has been the focus of these agencies on revenue generation rather than on value service delivery. This needs to change.”

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            Infos: Bomb injures at least 12 people near a market in north-eastern DR Congo

            Congolese Defense Forces soldiers inspect the scene of an attack near the town of Oicha, 30 kms (20 miles) from Beni, Democratic Republic of Congo, Friday July 23, 2021.   –   Copyright © africanews Al-hadji Kudra Maliro/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved. By Rédaction Africanews and AP Last updated: 5 hours ago Democratic Republic Of

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            Infos: Bomb injures at least 12 people near a market in north-eastern DR Congo
            Congolese Defense Forces soldiers inspect the scene of an attack near the town of Oicha, 30 kms (20 miles) from Beni, Democratic Republic of Congo, Friday July 23, 2021.   –  

            Copyright © africanews

            Al-hadji Kudra Maliro/Copyright 2021 The AP. All rights reserved.

            Democratic Republic Of Congo

            A bomb exploded at a market in eastern Congo on Wednesday (Jan. 25), injuring at least a dozen people, authorities said.

            An unknown person detonated a bomb inside a bag in North Kivu's Beni town, said Tharcisse Katembo, a local official.

            “Damage was documented (and) at least 12 people were injured. They were injured in the lower limbs, others in their upper limbs and others were hit in the head,” he told reporters in Beni.

            The victims were taken to the hospital and an investigation was underway, Katembo said.

            No one claimed responsibility for the bomb. However, attacks by the Allied Democratic Forces, which is believed to be linked with the Islamic State extremist movement, have been increasing in North Kivu, according to the United Nations.

            Deadly violence

            Earlier this month, at least 14 people were killed and dozens injured in an attack on a church in Kasindi town, which was claimed by Islamic State. It said in its Aamaq news outlet that it planted an explosive device inside the church and detonated it while people were praying.

            Since April, attacks by the Allied Democratic Forces have killed at least 370 civilians, and the group has abducted several hundred more, including a significant number of children, the U.N. says.

            The explosion Wednesday (Jan. 25) occurred in a local market next to a cassava mill, witnesses said.

            Danny Syaghuswa, 16, said he was sitting on his motorcycle when a man in a striped shirt put a small bag behind a door, saying he would come back for it, according to an interview with local reporters heard by The Associated Press. “Less than five minutes after he left the bomb exploded,” Syaghuswa said.

            Images of the attack circulating on chat groups show people lying on the floor. One woman in blood-stained clothes was carrying a small child.

            Violence has wracked eastern Congo for decades as more than 120 armed groups and self-defense militias fight for land and power. Nearly 6 million people are internally displaced, and hundreds of thousands are facing extreme food insecurity, according to the United Nations.

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                        Infos: South African farmer warns of ‘lots of food shortages’ amidst ongoing power cuts

                        South African farmer warns of 'lots of food shortages' amidst ongoing power cuts   –   Copyright © africanews Cleared By Rédaction Africanews and AFP Last updated: 4 hours ago South Africa From dairy farms unable to keep milk refrigerated, to chickens suffocating en masse as ventilators fall idle, an energy crisis is taking a heavy toll

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                        Infos: South African farmer warns of ‘lots of food shortages’ amidst ongoing power cuts
                        South African farmer warns of 'lots of food shortages' amidst ongoing power cuts   –  

                        Copyright © africanews

                        Cleared

                        South Africa

                        From dairy farms unable to keep milk refrigerated, to chickens suffocating en masse as ventilators fall idle, an energy crisis is taking a heavy toll on South Africa's food sector, industry groups said.

                        Record power cuts have caused shortages of some staples, threatening price rises that could make some popular items too expensive for poor families, agricultural industry body AgriSA said.

                        “The affordability of food is going to be a challenge particularly to the lower income household, especially with chicken which is one of the cheapest protein staples in the country,” AgriSA's chief economist, Kulani Siweya, said.

                        Scheduled blackouts, known as load-shedding, have burdened Africa's most industrialised economy for years, with state-owned energy firm Eskom failing to keep pace with demand and maintain its ageing coal power infrastructure.

                        But the outages reached new extremes over the past 12 months.

                        Poultry farmer Herman Du Preez, said at least 40,000 of his chickens were asphyxiated last week with disruptions in power supply causing the farm's ventilation system to stop working.

                        “It wasn't a pretty sight to see how much money we lost due to the fact that Eskom is so unreliable,” Du Preez said on Monday at his farm in the North West province.

                        Power cuts have also slowed down operations at slaughter houses, triggering chicken “shortages”, said Izaak Breitenbach, general manager of the South African Poultry Association.

                        “The milk industry is also having challenges with processing their milk and the load shedding does impede on their cold storage facilities,” added Siweya of AgriSA.

                        In a Monday newsletter, president Cyril Ramaphosa said he was aware of the “farmers that are unable to keep their produce fresh” as a result of blackouts.

                        But he offered no promise of ending the scheduled cuts, anytime soon.

                        “We must be realistic about our challenges and about what it is going to take to fix them. While we all desperately want to, we cannot end load shedding overnight,” he wrote.

                        South Africa's record power cuts are causing shortages of some staples,and  threatening price rises that could make some popular items too expensive for poor families

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                                    Infos: Ahead visit to DR Congo, Pope Francis denounces “colonialist mentality” towards Africa

                                    Pope Francis   –   Copyright © africanews AP Photo By Rédaction Africanews Last updated: 3 hours ago Democratic Republic Of Congo In an exclusive interview with the Associated Press at the Vatican, just a week ahead of his scheduled trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, Pope Francis denounced a “colonialist mentality” of

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                                    Infos: Ahead visit to DR Congo, Pope Francis denounces “colonialist mentality” towards Africa
                                    Pope Francis   –  

                                    Copyright © africanews

                                    AP Photo

                                    Democratic Republic Of Congo

                                    In an exclusive interview with the Associated Press at the Vatican, just a week ahead of his scheduled trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, Pope Francis denounced a “colonialist mentality” of the international community toward Africa.

                                    “There is a historical, geographical reality. In Italian it is said 'Africa va fruttata', that is, Africa is meant to be exploited. And that is a kind of colonialist mentality that remains,” said Francis on Tuesday.

                                    He pointed to a problem of attitude toward the African continent.

                                    “A kind of colonialist mentality…remains,” Francis said.

                                    “That is a problem of our attitude and of not yet (having the) courage of total independence on their part.”

                                    Earlier in January Francis had sent his condolences to the victims of a bombing on a Pentecostal church in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

                                    Islamic militants claimed the attack, which killed at least 14 people and injured more than 60.

                                    Francis is due to arrive in the capital of Congolese Kinshasa on Jan. 31 for a three-day visit.

                                    When it was originally scheduled for July, the trip was supposed to include a stop in Goma, the capital of North Kivu province.

                                    The Vatican scrapped that leg of the trip, amid a new wave of attacks in parts of North Kivu.

                                    Continent afflicted by “internal wars”

                                    Violence has wracked eastern Congo for decades as more than 120 armed groups and self-defence militias fight for land and power.

                                    “Africa is in turmoil” said Francis talking about the “internal wars” afflicting the continent.

                                    “And is also suffering from the invasion of exploiters” he added.

                                    In The AP Interview on Tuesday, Francis also addressed what he called a problem of “tribalism” in Africa.

                                    “The tribalism is also very strong, for example to appoint a bishop in a diocese, one has to look carefully, that he belongs to the group – not to say tribe – that he belongs to the group,” he said adding that during a visit to Kenya, a crowd chanted repeatedly “no to tribalism.”

                                    “It was a scream from the whole stadium. They themselves feel that difficulty, it is a people that is consolidating itself more and more in freedom.”

                                    The fighting has exacerbated eastern Congo’s dire humanitarian crisis.

                                    Almost 6 million people are internally displaced and hundreds of thousands are facing extreme food insecurity, according to the United Nations.

                                    While he won't be going to Goma, Francis will meet with some residents from the east and victims of the conflict in Kinshasa.

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