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Food Insecurity Threatens 15% of Africans—WFP

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Food Insecurity

By Adedapo Adesanya

The socioeconomic situation of the urban poor in Sub-Saharan Africa has worsened following the COVID-19 pandemic, with millions of people facing acute food insecurity and malnutrition, according to a new report by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UNHABITAT) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

The new report shines a spotlight on urban vulnerabilities and food insecurity amidst the global pandemic, revealing that the urban poor in Africa has been disproportionately affected.

The analysis reveals that the urban poor often relies on the informal economy, live in overcrowded settlements, and have limited access to basic social services including water, sanitation and health and formal social safety nets.

Moreover, urban livelihoods in Sub-Saharan Africa are less diversified, irregular, unstable and are predominantly informal and more reliant on markets and the cash economy.

In this context, the loss of income combined with price surges due to COVID-19 containment measures, and the closure of informal markets on which the urban poor rely for a large part of their food supplies, have all undermined their ability to access nutritious foods.

While the pandemic has affected all segments of society, urban poor living in slums and informal settlements, who make up more than 60 per cent of the total population of Sub-Saharan Africa, were particularly hard hit, with over 90 per cent of the COVID-19 cases recorded in cities.

An estimated 68.1 million women, men and children among the urban population were at risk of acute food insecurity in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2020.

This includes 22 million in Central Africa, 16 million in West Africa, 15.7 million in East Africa and 14.4 million in Southern Africa, representing 15 per cent of the total urban populations in the region.

According to Mr Chris Nikoi, WFP’s Regional Director for Western Africa, “Hunger and malnutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa have long been associated with rural areas. But the pandemic is revealing the changing face of hunger, exposing vulnerabilities of the urban poor.

“This report is a wake-up call for us all to boost urban food security, sustainable livelihoods, including social protection, in order to empower the urban poor and make them more resilient to shocks,” he added.

Mr Oumar Sylla, Director, UNHABITAT Regional Office for Africa called on governments to prioritize and enhance social protection systems and to upgrade basic social services to urban populations, particularly for those living in slum areas and informal settlements.

“Considering the current trends of urbanization that are largely driven by those migrating from the rural to the urban in search for economic opportunities and better access to services, food assistance programmes must be augmented and tailored to meet the needs of the urban poor, many of whom have no access to formal social insurance systems.

“With the number of Africa’s urban population projected to increase to 1.5 billion by 2050, collaborations in policy design, implementation and assessments across governments and agencies that work on health, WASH and social welfare is ultimately necessary to enhance programming and address multiple dimensions of urban deprivations,” Mr Sylla added.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Economy

Market Gains 0.12% on Interests in Guinness, FBNH, Cadbury Nigeria

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guinness nigeria

By Dipo Olowookere

Interests in the shares of Guinness Nigeria, Cadbury Nigeria, FBN Holdings and others lifted the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited by 0.12 per cent on Friday.

From analysis of the trading data, the consumer goods, banking and energy sectors saw significant bargain hunting activities during the session, leaving their respective index closing higher by 0.57 per cent, 0.41 per cent, and 0.03 per cent.

However, the insurance counter witnessed a pocket of profit-taking as its index went down by 0.09 per cent, while the industrial goods sector closed the way it opened for the session.

When the bourse finish for the day, the All-Share Index (ASI) was up by 59.33 points to settle at 49,024.16 points compared with the previous day’s 48,964.83 points as the market capitalisation finished N32 billion higher to N26.452 trillion from N26.420 trillion.

The market breadth was positive yesterday, with 17 price gainers and 10 price losers, indicating a strong investor sentiment.

RT Briscoe appreciated by 9.68 per cent to trade at 34 Kobo, May and Baker rose by 9.63 per cent to N4.10, Guinness Nigeria improved by 9.29 per cent to N82.90, Jaiz Bank climbed higher by 8.43 per cent to 90 Kobo, and UPDC expanded by 8.42 per cent to N1.03.

At the other side of the table, Ikeja Hotel was on top after its value crashed by 9.68 per cent to N1.12, Sovereign Trust Insurance fell by 6.90 per cent to 27 Kobo, NAHCO dropped 3.51 per cent to sell for N5.50, UPDC REIT went down by 3.13 per cent to N3.10, and Neimeth depreciated by 2.10 per cent to N1.40.

Business Post reports that the level of activity improved on the last trading session of the week as the trading volume, value and number of deals increased by 61.58 per cent, 65.96 per cent and 3.67 per cent, respectively.

This was because investors transacted 356.7 million shares worth N3.7 billion in 3,219 deals as against the 220.8 million shares worth N2.3 billion transacted on Thursday in 3,105 deals.

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Economy

Nigeria at 62: Buhari Says Borrowing Necessary for Growth

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Buhari stimulating economic growth

By Adedapo Adesanya

In what would be his last Independence Day address, President Muhammadu Buhari, on Saturday, defended his government’s borrowing policy, describing it as a necessary step to provide the infrastructure that would expand opportunities for the growth of the Nigerian economy.

Mr Buhari stated in the address to the country on October 1, 2022, that, “The federal government is already expanding port operations to ensure that they provide opportunities for the growth of the Nigerian economy.

“We have also continued to accelerate our infrastructure development through serviceable and transparent borrowing, improved capital inflow & increased revenue generation by expanding the tax bases and prudent management of investment proceeds in the Sovereign Wealth Fund.

“To further open up our communities to economic activities, we have continued to boost our railway infrastructure with the completion of a good number of critical railways and at the same time rehabilitating as well as upgrading obsolete equipment.”

The President also noted that no village in the country was left behind in the regime’s Social Investment Programmes such as N-Power, trader-moni, market moni, etc.

“I am pleased to inform my fellow citizens that besides our emphasis on infrastructural development with its attendant opportunities for job creation, employment generation and subsequent poverty reduction, our focused intervention directly to Nigerians through the National Social Investment Programme is also yielding benefits.

“There is hardly any ward, village or local government in Nigeria today that has not benefited from one of the following: N-Power, trader-moni, market moni, subsidized loans, business grants or Conditional Cash Transfers.

“All the programmes mentioned above along with various interventions by the National Social Investment Programme, direct support to victims of flooding and other forms of disasters have provided succour to the affected Nigerians,” Mr Buhari said.

He also promised Nigerians that he would ensure free and fair elections come 2023 and called for more youth and women participation in the electoral cycle.

He said, “Having witnessed at close quarters the pains, anguish and disappointment of being a victim of an unfair electoral process, the pursuit of an electoral system and processes that guarantee the election of leaders by citizens remains the guiding light as I prepare to wind down our administration.

“You would all agree that the recent elections in the past two years in some states, notably Anambra, Ekiti and Osun and a few federal constituencies, have shown a high degree of credibility, transparency and freedom of choice with the people’s votes actually counting. This I promise would be improved upon as we move towards the 2023 general elections,” he said.

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Economy

CSCS, NASD Lifts Unlisted Stock Market by 0.61%

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Unlisted Stock Market

By Adedapo Adesanya

The final trading session on the NASD over-the-counter (OTC) Securities Exchange in September 2022 ended on a positive note on Friday, with the bourse closing 0.61 per cent lower.

Business Post reports that the bullish performance was buoyed by the rise in the share prices of Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc and NASD Plc.

Consequently, the market capitalisation of the unlisted stock market increased by N5.83 billion to close at N968.60 billion versus Thursday’s N962.77 billion as the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) expanded by 4.44 basis points to end the day at 735.79 points as against the 731.35 points it recorded in the previous session.

Yesterday, CSCS Plc improved by N1.07 to sell at N14.17 per share compared to the N13.10 per share of the preceding session, while NASD Plc gained N1 to close at N13.00 per unit in contrast to the preceding day’s N14.00 per unit.

But the bullish trend did not extend to the activity chart as the volume of securities traded by investors decreased by 55.1 per cent to 105,440 units from the 725,984 units transacted a day earlier.

In the same pattern, the value of transactions went down by 96.1 per cent to N1.6 million from N41.5 million, while the number of deals increased by 50 per cent to six deals from the four deals recorded on Thursday.

At the end of the session, AG Mortgage Bank Plc remained the most traded stock by volume (year-to-date) with 2.3 billion units valued at N1.2 billion, CSCS Plc stood in second place with 687.6 million units valued at N14.3 billion as Mixta Real Estate Plc was in third place with 178.1 million units valued at N313.4 million.

CSCS Plc was also the most traded stock by value (year-to-date) with 687.6 million units worth N14.3 billion, VFD Group Plc was in second place with 27.7 million units valued at N7.4 billion, and FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc was in third place with 14.3 million units worth N1.7 billion.

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