Experts Discuss Land Governance To Increase Agricultural Investment
By Dipo Olowookere
Land in Africa has become the safest asset for those with spare funds to invest. With its growing population, Rwanda, like many other countries on the continent, has also been attracting progressively more property developers to construct thousands of houses, and thus address its urban housing challenges.
Under the land use consolidation-farming model, a policy implemented in 2008, the government of Rwanda has also been seeking to increase agricultural land and intensify its production. According to the government statistics, the agricultural land increased from 28,016 Ha in 2008 to 502,916 Ha in 2011.
Representatives of farmers and of civil society organisations, providers of small, low-interest loans and Rwanda government officials met this Tuesday in Kigali to discuss how to mainstream land governance in agricultural strategies and plans.
The meeting was organized by the Land Policy Initiative – an joint initiative of the UN Economic Commission (ECA), African Union Commission (AUC), and the African Development Bank (AfDB)- in partnership with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Government of Rwanda.
The participants discussed the project to mainstream Land Policy and Governance into the Comprehensive Africa Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP), a continent-wide project that seeks to strengthen inter-institutional collaboration on land reform programs, secure land rights, provide equal access to land, and promote responsible agriculture investments to advance agricultural and rural transformation.
According to LPI, Rwanda was chosen as one of six pilot countries to implement CAADP because it provides a great example of how land governance issues can be addressed. Other countries in the initiative are: Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Malawi and Tanzania.
“By conceptualizing an agriculture programme that has the securing of land rights and the consolidation of land use at its core, Rwanda has not only enhanced agricultural productivity but also harnessed economies of scale and improved market access and incomes,” said Andrew Mold, Acting Director of ECA in Eastern Africa.
The CAADP project is expected to raise awareness and build the capacity of African countries to better address land governance concerns and support agricultural investment plans.
OPEC+ Likely to Keep Output Cut Levels as Group Meets April 3
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies (OPEC+) will likely stick to its existing deal to cut oil output at a meeting on Monday, April 3.
According to Reuters, this was said disclosed by five delegates from the producer group after oil prices recovered following a drop to 15-month lows due to banking fears and demand worries.
Brent crude has recovered towards $80 a barrel after falling to near $70 on March 20 as fears ease about a global banking crisis and as a halt in exports from Iraq’s Kurdistan region curbs supplies.
OPEC+ is due to hold a virtual meeting of its ministerial monitoring panel, which includes Russia and Saudi Arabia, on Monday.
The consensus was that Kurdistan curbs and recent price drops were not sufficiently important to affect the overall OPEC+ policy path for 2023.
Kurdistan’s crude oil exports – around 400,000 barrels per day shipped through an Iraqi-Turkey pipeline to Ceyhan and then on tankers to the international markets – were halted late last week by the federal government of Iraq.
Last week, the International Chamber of Commerce ruled in favour of Iraq against Turkey in a dispute over crude flows from Kurdistan. Iraq had argued that Turkey shouldn’t allow Kurdish oil exports via the Iraq-Turkey pipeline and Ceyhan without approval from the federal government of Iraq.
Talks between officials from Kurdistan and from the Iraq federal government have failed in recent days, but they are set to continue next week.
Three other OPEC+ delegates also told Reuters that any policy changes were unlikely on Monday. After those talks, the next full OPEC+ meeting is not until June.
Last November, OPEC+ reduced its output target by 2 million barrels per day – the largest cut since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The same reduction applies for the whole of 2023.
Saudi Arabia’s energy minister, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, has said OPEC+ will stick to the reduced target until the end of the year.
Oando to Quit Nigerian, Johannesburg Stock Exchanges
By Dipo Olowookere
The board of Oando Plc has informed the investing community of its intention to leave the Nigerian and Johannesburg stock exchanges in the coming months.
The reason for exiting the stock market, according to the energy firm, is to become a private company and to achieve this, its core investor, Ocean and Oil Development Partners Limited (OODP), has offered to buy all the shares held by minority shareholders in Oando.
OODP is offering to pay N7.07 in cash or its equivalent in South African Rand (ZAR) for each of the stock, which it said represents a 58 per cent premium to the last traded share price of Oando on Tuesday, March 28, 2023, being the day prior to the date it submitted the scheme application to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Oando trades its shares on the floors of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).
This news comes hours after the company announced that it had bounced back into profitability after years of dishing out losses to the frustration of shareholders.
In its unaudited financial results for 2021, Oando reported a profit after tax of N34.7 billion, in contrast to the loss after tax of N140.7 billion of the preceding year.
Before now, Oando has had it rough with regulators in Nigeria, leading to its suspension from the market and a court tussle over allegations that it tampered with its financial statements to deceive investors.
In the notice released this week, Oando said after the acquisition of “the shares of all minority shareholders in Oando,” it would “subsequently be delisted from NGX and JSE and re-registered as a private company.”
At the moment, the energy firm said it has “applied for the SEC’s No Objection to the scheme, noting that the deal is “subject to the approval of the shareholders of Oando at the Court-Ordered Meeting of the company, as well as the sanction of the Federal High Court.”
However, it disclosed that, “The terms and conditions of the transaction will be provided in the scheme document, which will be dispatched to all shareholders following the receipt of an order from the Federal High Court to convene a Court-Ordered Meeting,” promising to update the market “upon receipt of requisite approvals from shareholders and regulators.”
Ajay Banga to Become World Bank President Unopposed
By Adedapo Adesanya
The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors has announced Mr Ajay Banga, a US national, as the only nominee for the position of the bank’s next president and may clinch the post if he passes the next hurdle.
This was contained in a statement issued by the World Bank on Friday.
“The World Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors today confirmed that, as announced on February 22, the period for submitting nominations for the position of the next President of the World Bank Group closed on Wednesday at 6:00 pm ET.”
“The board received one nomination and would like to announce that Ajay Banga, a US national, will be considered for the position.
“In accordance with established procedures, the Board of Executive Directors will conduct a formal interview with the candidate in Washington D.C., and expect to conclude the Presidential election in due course,” the board said.
US President Joe Biden in February nominated Mr Banga to lead the World Bank, saying he is “well equipped” to lead the global institution at “this critical moment in history.”
No other country proposed an alternate candidate for the prestigious post.
Mr Banga, 63, was born in India and is a naturalised US citizen. He has led Mastercard Inc and now currently serves as Vice Chairman at General Atlantic.
If confirmed, Mr Banga would become the first-ever Indian-American to head either of the two top international financial institutions, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
Mr Banga is expected to replace the current World Bank president, Mr David Malpass, who will step down in June, nearly a year before his term is scheduled to expire.
Mr Malpass faced strong criticism over the bank’s commitment to climate action and over his personal views on climate change.
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