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ECOWAS single currency: Task force to give assessment in June

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The ECOWAS Task Force on the region’s single currency would meet in June to give the assessment on the studies of the currency, President of the commission, Mr Jean-Claude Brou, has said.

Brou said this while presenting the Community Work Programme at the ongoing ordinary session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja on Friday.

The commission’s president said that stakeholders in the region’s economic and finance sectors, including the central banks and ministers of finance, had been deliberating on the single currency.

“The single currency is a topic that is very important because it completes the free movement of persons for a single market and if there is a single currency, one can carry out trade and there is need for harmonisation.

“Deliberations are being carried out with the central banks and the ministers of finance in the region and some key issues are being discussed.

“Issues such as the convergence criteria, the best exchange regime to adopt with challenges and costs involved so as to give the best conditions for the community.

“The studies that are being carried out would be completed by next month so that we can have the proposals and make progress.”

Brou said that the meeting would determine the possibility of achieving the single currency by 2020 set by the Heads of State.

“It will be on the basis of the results of all the studies on the assessment that is currently being done that we will see where we stand exactly but the objectives have been set by the Heads of State,” he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the Authority of Heads of State and Government had set aside 2020 for West African countries to achieve the single currency which would promote economic integration.

The commission’s president, while presenting the community report to the parliament in November 2018, said that many member states had yet to meet the macroeconomic convergence criteria required for a monetary union.

The three primary criteria that are being used are a budget deficit of not more than three per cent; average annual inflation of less than 10 per cent with a long term goal of not more than five per cent by 2019; and gross reserves that can finance at least three months of imports.

Edited by Muhammad Suleiman Tola

Foreign

Police hose G7 protesters in south France as summit begins

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Protesters

A few hundred people, many of whom have covered their faces with masks and scarves, have been marching though the city, screaming anti-police slogans.

The march is occurring in the part of the city surrounded by rivers from both sides, with bridges blocked by the police.

At one of the bridges protesters began provoking the police, who hosed them four times in response and then fired teargas at the crowd.

The procession is currently repeating its previous route.

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Star chef serves G7 leaders endangered bluefin tuna for dinner 

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Dinner

Star chef Cedric Bechade’s first course was a piperade, a typical dish of peppers, onions and tomatoes, and then a “marmitako,” a traditional fish stew made with fresh bluefin tuna that was caught by fishermen in the town of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, south of Biarritz.

The Atlantic bluefin tuna is an increasingly endangered species due to overfishing and is on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species.

YEE

(Edited by Emmanuel Yashim)

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35,000 join rally against racism in eastern German city rally

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Rally

The demonstration is organised by the group Unteilbar (Indivisible), which staged a similar protest in the capital, Berlin, last year, drawing 250,000 people.

”Tens of thousands of people from Dresden … as well as from many parts of Germany have shown their unmistakeable support for solidarity instead of exclusion,” said Ana-Cara Methmann, a spokeswoman for the organisers.

Among the attendees were Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and the leaders of the far-left Die Linke party, Bernd Riexinger and Katja Kipping.

“Racism and discrimination have no place in our society, and neither do cuts to social services or the restriction of fundamental rights,” organiser Ario Mirzaie said.

The Unteilbar demonstration was taking place one week before state elections in Saxony and Brandenburg, in which the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party is expected to make significant gains.

The AfD is campaigning on an anti-immigration platform.

“Unteilbar … stands against any form of group-based misanthropy and anti-feminism, against limiting basic free rights, against social decline and poverty – for a society in which all people can live free from fear,” the organizers said a day before the rally.

YEE

(Exited by Emmanuel Yashim)

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20,000 join rally against racism in eastern German city of Dresden

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Rally

The demonstration is organised by the group Unteilbar (Indivisible), which staged a similar protest in the capital Berlin last year, drawing 250,000 people.

The group was due to give a more exact estimate of turnout later in the afternoon.

Among the attendees were Finance Minister, Olaf Scholz, and the leaders of the far-left Die Linke party, Bernd Riexinger and Katja Kipping.

The Unteilbar demonstration was taking place, one week before state elections in Saxony and Brandenburg, in which the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party is expected to make significant gains.

The AfD is campaigning on an anti-immigration platform.

“Unteilbar stands for an open and free society.

AIB

Edited by Abdulfatah Babatunde

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EU’s Tusk sees more reasons to keep Russia out of G7

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The President of the European Council on Saturday rebuffed Donald Trump’s suggestion that Russia is readmitted to the Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies, saying there were even more reasons than before for keeping Moscow out.

The U.S. president has said it would be “appropriate” to have Russia re-join what used to be the G8, which Russia was excluded from in 2014 after it annexed Ukraine’s Crimea and then backed an anti-Kiev rebellion in the industrial region of Donbas in eastern Ukraine.

“One year ago, in Canada, President Trump suggested re-inviting Russia to G7, stating openly that Crimea’s annexation by Russia was partially justified.

“And that we should accept this fact,’’ said Donald Tusk who, as president of the European Council, represents the EU’s 28 member states.

“Under no condition can we agree with this logic,’’ he added.

Earlier this week Germany, France and Britain also rejected the idea of inviting Russia back into the group.

The EU and the U.S. have imposed sanctions on Russia over its role in the Ukraine conflict, in which some 13,000 people have been killed to date, according to UN data.

Fighting continues in Donbas, albeit at a low intensity, and a peace process brokered by Berlin and Paris has stalled.

Tusk said the reasons for Moscow’s ejection from the group remain valid and there have been new reasons since then for its continued exclusion, including “the Russian provocation on the Azov Sea’’, an apparent reference to the detention of Ukrainian sailors last year.

“Second: when Russia was invited to G7 for the first time, it was believed that it would pursue the path of liberal democracy, rule of law and human rights.

“Is there anyone among us, who can say with full conviction, not out of business calculation, that Russia is on that path?’’ Tusk asked.

He said he would try to convince leaders at the G7 summit that it would be better to invite Ukraine’s president to the next G7 meeting rather than bring Russia back into their fold.

Trump has praised Russian President Vladimir Putin despite Western criticism of his record and discord over the group’s relationship with Moscow is just one of several areas of tension in trans-Atlantic ties that will be on display at the summit.

AIB

Edited by Abdulfatah Babatunde

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