African countries should hasten the adoption of the yuan as a reserve currency amid increased bilateral trade with China, a Kenyan economist said.
Bernard Ayieko, a Nairobi-based economist said in a commentary published by the Business Daily newspaper that the adoption of the yuan would boost the ability of African countries to attract new investments and trade favorably at the global market.
“The Chinese growing influence and the increase in Sino-Africa relations have brought to the fore a debate on the African countries’ need to adopt the renminbi as a currency reserve,” Ayieko added.
He said that the internalization of yuan, or renminbi, would boost globalization and foreign trade that Africa could leverage to propel growth.
“The call to internationalize the renminbi continues to reverberate across the world.
“African countries are mulling the need to use the renminbi as a reserve currency and a medium of exchange in international settlements,” Ayieko said.
The internationalization of yuan reached a milestone in 2016 when it joined the International Monetary Fund (IMF) basket of reserve currencies alongside the U.S. dollar, the Euro, Japanese Yen, and the British Pound.
“Premised on the increased trade, loans and grants to Africa from China, there has been an incessant debate in Africa that time is nigh for African countries to adopt the yuan as a reserve currency.
“The growing China-Africa trade has increased the yuan’s convertibility in settling financial transactions between countries.
“ yuan as a reserve currency, African countries will trade smoothly at both bilateral and multilateral levels because it will be easier to make international transactions between many countries that require diverse currencies for financial settlements,” Ayieko said.
(Edited by Emmanuel Yashim)
Coronavirus: Over 2m smallholder farmers to benefit from FG’s agric intervention programme
About 2.4 million smallholder farmers across the country have been earmarked to benefit from the Federal Government’s Agriculture for Food and Job Plan (AFJP), says Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono.
The minister made this known at the inauguration of the programme on Thursday in Katsina.
He added that it would ensure rapid emergence of a competitive food production, processing and distribution in Nigeria.
“Production of about 10,000,000 MT of food, cultivation of between 20,000 to100, 000 hectares of land per state based on land availability to an aggregate of 2.4 million farmers.
“These beneficiaries will be tied to farmlands, zero interest input financing loan, land clearing and preparation support, among others.”
Nanono stated that the programme would be executed in different batches, with over one million farmers to benefit from Batch A across the country, while Batch B beneficiaries would be announced in no distant time.
He stressed that, “this symbolic launch represents over 1,100,000 smallholder farmer beneficiaries in 36 states and the FCT on the Batch A list.
“This will be carried out under six partners namely AFEX, BabanGona, Value Seeds, Universal, Thrive Agric and Oxfam.”
He further said the strategies would generate appropriate welfare gains consistent with the Federal Government’s Economic Growth and Recovery Plan (EGRP) and Green Alternative strategies.
“The plan is also in tandem with the three pronged action plan of the ministry to deal with the impact of the pandemic on Nigerian agriculture and farmers,” he said.
He also thanked the company for providing Android tablets and safety kits to support the Ministry of Agriculture in ensuring efficient extension services.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, lauded the efforts of the Federal Government under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari for the visionary policies in the agriculture sector.
He said the sector was the bedrock of the economy, adding that any form of intervention or investment would go a long way in ensuring national development.
The Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture Production Services, Rep. Muntari Danduste, also thanked the President for the intervention.
He said the move would help cushion effects of the pandemic on the 2020 farming season in Katsina State and the nation at large.
Speaking, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Abdulkadir Mua’zu, said the presence of dignitaries at the event was an indication of the appreciation of the programme.
Mua’zu, who was represented by the Director, Department of Agriculture Extension, Mr Frank Kudla, said called for the continuous support of the stakeholders.
He added that their support would go a long way in ensuring that the objective of the AFJP was achieved.
He said ‘’our coming together is because we are determined to join forces for action against COVID-19 pandemic, hunger and poverty.
“I therefore, implore you all, especially our partners, to work hard to ensure that the core activities of this project is carried out to a logical conclusion in the coming months.’’
Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)
Commentary: China-Africa anti-epidemic efforts pave way for better world
Against the backdrop of the novel coronavirus still raging in many parts of the world, China and Africa will hold an extraordinary summit on Wednesday on enhancing anti-COVID-19 solidarity and further promoting ties.
It is the latest episode of the two sides’ painstaking yet effective efforts in containing the epidemic, and a reflection of their traditional friendship, mutual political trust and a brotherly bond that has stood the test of time, providing important inspiration for the global fight against the virus.
At the height of China’s battle with COVID-19, African countries extended precious support to China, with over 50 African leaders expressing solidarity and support in phone calls with Chinese leaders or public statements.
In return, when the virus was ravaging Africa, China was doing its utmost to provide its African brothers with various forms of support and assistance. From offering urgently needed supplies and sending medical teams, to holding virtual exchanges with medical experts and conducting training sessions for health personnel in Africa, China’s endeavors helped the continent effectively and properly respond to the pandemic.
China’s cooperative mindset and aforementioned approach were highly appreciated by African countries. African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat expressed thanks for China’s emergency assistance and described the two sides as “friends and, more importantly, comrades-in-arms.”
Gao Fei, a professor at China Foreign Affairs University, said China always reciprocates acts of friendship and kindness from others, and when its friends and brothers are in distress, it never sits by and does nothing.
A case in point is China’s assistance to Africa during the Ebola epidemic. As some countries evacuated their personnel from the affected areas, China rushed to Africa’s aid despite risks of infection, sending in medical teams and fighting alongside the African people until victory was declared.
The joint campaigns between China and Africa on public health security issues also marked a vivid illustration of the concept of a community with a shared future for humanity that demonstrates China’s sense of global responsibility.
Ruan Zongze, executive vice president at the China Institute of International Studies, said both China and Africa believe no country can beat off the deadly disease alone in this highly connected world. “We need to help those in need to overcome their difficulties and speed up efforts to build a global community of health for all,” he said.
China-Africa anti-pandemic cooperation is a reflection of China’s firm stance on promoting international cooperation against the global crisis. China delivered batches of medical supplies and sent medical experts to African countries, and Chinese medical teams in Africa have been actively helping local people guard against COVID-19.
China held nearly 400 training programs for tens of thousands of African medical workers, and has also been taking care of Africans in China, treating them like its family members. Among more than 3,000 African students in Wuhan and in Hubei Province, only one person got infected and was soon cured, while others have all been safe and sound.
An old Chinese saying goes that when brothers are of the same mind, they have the power to cut through metal. China and Africa, as good brothers sharing weal and woe together, have fought shoulder to shoulder on many international fronts and made their friendship a model for international relations and South-South cooperation.
From supporting each other’s fight for national independence and liberation to seeking common development hand in hand, China and Africa have garnered fruitful results in enhancing their national economies, improving people’s livelihood and boosting the voice of developing countries in the global arena.
It is believed that the upcoming extraordinary summit will provide China and Africa a new chance to enhance mutual trust and solidarity, advance multilateral cooperation, mitigate the impact of COVID-19 and achieve better development for all.
Chinese President to preside over China-Africa summit against COVID-19 on Wednesday
The summit is jointly proposed by China; South Africa, the rotating chair of the African Union (AU); and Senegal, co-chair of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.
It will be held via video link.
Leaders of African countries, including members of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government and rotating chairs of major African subregional organisations; and the chairperson of the AU Commission will attend the summit upon invitation.
The secretary-general of the UN and the director-general of the World Health Organisation will attend the meeting as special guests.
Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)
Africa’s confirmed COVID-19 cases pass 240,000 mark: Africa CDC
The Africa CDC in its latest update said the death toll from the pandemic also rose to 6,464 as of Monday afternoon, according to the Africa CDC.
The continental disease control and prevention agency, which noted that the virus had spread into 54 African countries, said that some 109,977 people who were infected with COVID-19 had recovered across the continent.
Amid the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the African continent, the highly affected African countries include South Africa, Egypt, Djibouti, Morocco, and Nigeria, it was noted.
The Africa CDC also said that the Southern Africa region is now the most affected area across the continent in terms of positive COVID-19 cases, overtaking the Northern Africa region.