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Economy

Poverty reduction: Economist calls for single digit lending rate, to achieve set goals

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A Don, Dr Austine Nwaeze, has called for the reduction of lending rate to single digit, to enable the Federal Government achieve its target of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.

Dr Nwaeze, who lectures in Economics at the Pan Atlantic University, Lagos made the suggestion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Lagos.

The economist said the government should persuade the apex bank to cut down lending rate from 13.5 per cent to single digit, to boost the productive sector.

NAN reports that President Muhammadu Buhari said that the Federal Government will lift at least 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years.

The president said this during his inaugural address for a second term in office on Wednesday in Abuja.

He said his administration would henceforth begin to lay the foundation for accomplishing the poverty reduction goal by offering a leadership with a sense of purpose.

According to Nwaeze, if the Federal Government must achieve such a laudable programme, there is need for more support for the SMEs.

“The monitoring authorities must lower the rate to one single digit to enable commercial banks issue cheaper funds to prospective businesses.

“A single digit rate is what many of the advanced economies of the world adopt to boost their businesses and tackle poverty,” he said.

“The government reforms in the ease of doing business must be sustained to encourage growth, while multiple taxes by the tiers of government should be addressed.”

Nwaeze said that the N5, 000 reduction in the registration fee of businesses should be extended to 2021 from 2020.

He said the government could pull millions of Nigerians out of poverty by implementing many of the innovations from our agricultural research institutes.

According to him, this will encourage more Nigerians to venture into agriculture and make a living out of it, as well as make the country to be food sufficient.

He said that since the President had four years to stay in office, the party should sell the idea to his successor for the policy to be implemented to the letter.

 

 

Foreign

Interview: Uzbekistan could benefit from China’s experience in reducing poverty, expert says

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China‘s experience in reducing poverty could inspire Uzbekistan to address its own problem in this regard, a Uzbek Sinologist said here on Friday.

The concept of building a moderately prosperous society, or “xiaokang,” in China by 2020 is “playing an important role in reducing poverty,” Ismatulla Bekmuratov, a professor of the Tashkent State Institute of Oriental Studies, told Xinhua in an interview.

The concept “underlines a kind of ‘road map’ for the gradual overcoming of poverty in China and this experience can be applied in Uzbekistan as well,” Bekmuratov said.

Bekmuratov praised China‘s success in reducing poverty, referring to the more than 700 million people who have risen from poverty in the country, which led to a sharp drop in the total number of impoverished worldwide.

Chinese‘s provision of social guarantees including education, medical care and housing to poor families, and opportunities for the poor to run their own family businesses are worth learning, Bekmuratov said.

Poverty reduction remains a high priority for Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev since he came into power in 2016. This week, Mirziyoyev instructed the government to set up a new institution to address poverty in the country.

Around 4-5 million people or some 12 to 15 percent of the population in Uzbekistan now live below the poverty line, according to the president.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

UNECA projects COVID-19 could push 29 million Africans into extreme poverty

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The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) on Wednesday projected that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic could push 29 million people into extreme poverty across Africa.

“Africa was already witnessing the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis even before its impact on public health and may see its growth slow down by 1.8 to 2.6 percent of GDP, which could push 29 million people into extreme poverty,” the UNECA said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

The ECA further stressed that the containment measures established in 42 African countries to protect populations from the COVID-19 pandemic “have already cost the region some 69 billion U.S. dollars per month and are expected to have a negative impact on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the region.”

Vera Songwe, UN Under Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the UNECA, also on Wednesday stressed the urgent need to set COVID-19 recovery milestones across the continent in an efforts to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

“We are yet to know how long the COVID-19 crisis will last, but we need to set the milestones for recovery now,” the ECA chief told a webinar on “Rethinking the economy and academic paradigms in post-COVID-19 Africa.”

The ECA chief also elaborated on a number of issues that are critical for the development of post-COVID-19 crisis exit strategies, which include improving economic governance to ensure funds benefit those who need them the most, developing the digital economy, mitigating the impact of climate change, redesigning financial systems for better use of domestic financial resources such as African pension funds and reviving regional consumption through the African Continental Free Trade Area.

The webinar also provided participants with an opportunity for an initial discussion on how to rebuild African economies and re-design the study of economics to make it fit for purpose to African countries.

Some African economists argued for monetary integration of the continent as a pivotal measure for moving forward.

Various challenges were discussed such as the informal sector, where workers have been particularly negatively impacted by the crisis. Additionally, discussions touched on access to the Internet and its impact, in a continent where only a minority of the 330 million children unable to go to school have been able to study online as only 20 percent of Africans have access to stable internet connectivity. Participants also called for the redistribution of value chains and the development of African pharmaceutical industries. In this regard, panelists said it was necessary for the African diaspora to lead on technology transfer to the continent and for countries to master it.

Other topics raised during the webinar also include opportunities to digitize African economies and to rethink the architecture of African universities so that students can enjoy better access to quality education from home.

On Wednesday, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) disclosed that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases across the African continent surpassed 158,318 as the death toll from the ongoing pandemic surged to 4,508 as of Wednesday afternoon.

The continental disease control and prevention agency also disclosed that some 67,630 people who have been infected with the COVID-19 have recovered across the continent so far.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Poverty rate at 41 pct in Angola

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Angola’s poverty rate stands at 41 percent, meaning that about 4 out of 10 Angolans have a consumption level below the poverty line of 12,181 kwanzas (21 U.S. dollars) per month, said the 2020 Poverty Report for Angola on Tuesday.

The poverty rate in rural areas is 57.2 percent, almost double that in urban areas, which is 29.8 percent, according to the report released by Angola’s National Statistics Institute.

Luanda has the lowest poverty rate of 20 percent, while Cunene Province and Moxico province have the highest rate of 62 percent, the report said.

(XINHUA)

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Economy

AfDB reduces poverty, fosters inclusive growth in Africa after transformative action

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) says it has delivered on its goals of reducing poverty and fostering inclusive growth on the continent.

The bank made the assertion on Tuesday in a document released as part of 2020 Annual Meetings Series by its Communications and External Relations Department.

The AfDB Annual Meetings is scheduled to take place in August at Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

The bank explained that it had scaled up development support for its 54 regional member countries and recorded remarkable successes in recent years in its renewed push to help deliver life-changing impact to livelihoods.

It stated that for the past five decades, the AfDB Group had been at the forefront of driving Africa’s economic transformation, leveraging its diverse resources and unique know-how as an indigenous development finance institution.

According to AfDB, in overall, the Bank’s investments have benefited millions of Africans through its 10-year strategy which it began implementing from 2013.

On landmark general capital increase, the bank noted that at an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting in October 2019 in Abidjan, Governors of the Bank, representing shareholders from 80 countries, approved a landmark 115 billion dollars increase in capital for the continent’s foremost financial institution.

It said the increase was the largest in the history of the Bank since its establishment in 1964, more than doubled its capital from 93 billion dollars to 208 billion dollars.

The AfDB noted that this solidified the Bank’s leadership in development financing for the continent.

In December 2019, donors announced a remarkable 7.6 billion dollars to replenish the African Development Fund (ADF).

“The replenishment represented a 35 per cent increase in financing for low-income African countries at the end of the 15th replenishment of the African Development Fund, the concessional window of the Bank Group.

The ADF contributes to poverty reduction and economic and social development in the 38 least developed African countries by providing concessional funding for projects and programmes, as well as technical assistance for studies and capacity-building activities.

“In resource mobilization for Women-Owned Businesses at G7 summit, at the G7 summit of world leaders in Biarritz, France, in August 2019.

At summit, the President of the Bank Group, Akinwumi Adesina, successfully inaugurated a global campaign of the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) to mobilize three billion dollars for women entrepreneurs in Africa, with strong support and resources from G7 leaders and nations.

During the summit, French President Emmanuel Macron announced France’s contribution of 135 million dollars to the AFAWA initiative to encourage women’s access to funding in Africa. The amount represents more than half the financial support of 251 million dollars promised by the G7 governments.

Also in 2019 Africa Investment Forum (AIF), following a highly successful inaugural event, the Bank secured more than 40 billion dollars worth of investment interest in less than 72 hours at the second edition of the Africa Investment Forum held in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Forum, Africa’s largest marketplace for mobilizing capital, featured 56 boardroom deals valued at 67.6 billion dollars– a 44 per cent increase from the 2018 debut” it explained.

The bank disclosed that in transparent institution, the AfDB was ranked 4th globally in transparency among 45 multilateral and bilateral institutions by Publish What You Fund, an outfit that consisted 19 developed economies.


Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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General news

Expert tasks organisations on shared value initiative to reduce poverty

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A Professor of Strategic Management, Chris Ogbechie, on Tuesday urged business organisations to adopt the concept of shared value to empower local communities, reduce poverty and ensure long-term business successes.

Ogbechie of Strategic Management, Lagos Business School (LBS), made the call at an online training programme for journalists tagged: “Advancing Nutrition, Health and Wellness through the Media”.

It was organised by the Nestlé Nigeria Plc in collaboration with the Lagos Business School.

He described shared value concept as policies and operating practices that enhance the competitiveness of a company while simultaneously advancing the economic and social conditions in its host community.

According to him, today, the world is faced with numerous social problems, global pandemic such as outbreak of diseases, pollution, malnutrition and the problem of climate change.

“Business organisations can be solutions to these problems, because a company thrives better if the society that host it thrives better.

“Business organisation cannot be making progress or profit while its host community or society is not progressing.

“Business organisation profits from solving social problems in the society it operates.

“Government alone cannot solve the problems in our society, but private businesses or companies can assist to solve social and economic problems, reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development goals.

“For instance, if each beverage company in Nigeria can invest in the productivity of local farmers, especially in the rural areas where they are economically deprived with many social problems.

“Empowers these farmers with skills to cultivate right species of maize, sorghum, millet or cocoa. When they harvest, these companies will buy from them and shun importing their raw materials.

“By doing so, the local farmers are producing quality raw materials for the company; they are making money and their poverty is alleviated.

“The company is also using the raw materials to produce products to meet the needs of customers.

“So, it is a win-win cycle that can guarantee sustainability, profit and long-term business success,” Ogbechie said.

He said that the the concept of shared value was not just about producing products, but about purpose to drive a strong economy with healthy populace, vibrant workforce and profitable businesses.

“The more companies help farmers to make money in the rural communities, urban migration will reduce, poverty will reduce and the standard of living will improve.

“If companies can adopt this concept within their catchment areas, the better for our nation.

“Sustainability is an ensuring long term business success while contributing toward economic and social development and a healthy environment,” he said.


Edited By: Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Foreign

China focuses on poorest groups in decisive battle against poverty

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China aims to eradicate absolute poverty by 2020. Find out how local governments in some of the poorest regions in the country have helped villagers out of poverty. #BeatingPoverty

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Spanish gov’t approves minimum income to fight extreme poverty

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The Spanish government on Friday confirmed that it has approved a guaranteed minimum income aimed at dealing with extreme poverty and the economic effects of the coronavirus crisis on the country’s most vulnerable citizens.

The measure, assuring a guaranteed income of between 462 euros and 1,050 euros (514 U.S. dollars to 1,170 U.S. dollars) a month for people at risk of poverty, will cost the country around 3,000 million euros a year and was approved at Friday’s cabinet meeting.

Individuals will receive 462 euros a month and an extra 139 euros a month for each additional dependent.

The government calculates the minimum income will reach over 800,000 of Spain‘s poorest households and help around 2.3 million people in the coming months.

“This is a historic day for our democracy. Today we see a major step forward in social rights,” said Pablo Iglesias, Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Social Rights.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez posted on social media that the minimum income was “a policy to guarantee the income for those who are suffering the most, to combat poverty and to help the economic recovery of our country.”

“We have spent years defending the need of a guaranteed minimum income which acts as a safety net for the most vulnerable and a net which is more urgent than ever in the crisis we are going through,” he said.

“The recovery after COVID-19 won’t be fair if it fails to reach everyone. Nobody will be left behind,” wrote Sanchez.

The income will be available to anyone aged between 23-65 years of age, who has lived independently for three years, made social security payments for a year and is currently registered as looking for employment. (1 euro = 1.11 U.S. dollars)

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

COVID-19 to put 86 mln more children into household poverty by yearend: UNICEF

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The economic fallout of COVID-19 could push up to 86 million more children into household poverty by the end of 2020, an increase of 15 percent, according to a new analysis released on Thursday by the UN Children‘s Fund (UNICEF) and Save the Children.

Without urgent action to protect families from the financial hardships caused by the pandemic, the total number of children living below the national poverty line in low- and middle-income countries could reach 672 million by yearend, said UNICEF in a press release.

Nearly two-thirds of these children live in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Countries across Europe and Central Asia could see the most significant increase, up to 44 percent across the region. Latin America and the Caribbean could see a 22-percent increase, said UNICEF.

“The coronavirus pandemic has triggered an unprecedented socio-economic crisis that is draining resources for families all over the world,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF executive director. “The scale and depth of financial hardship among families threatens to roll back years of progress in reducing child poverty and to leave children deprived of essential services. Without concerted action, families barely getting by could be pushed into poverty, and the poorest families could face levels of deprivation that have not been seen for decades.”

The impact of the global economic crisis caused by the pandemic and related containment policies is two-fold. Immediate loss of income means families are less able to afford the basics, less likely to access health care or education, and more at risk of child marriage, violence, exploitation and abuse. For the poorest families, lack of access to social care services or compensatory measures further limits their ability to abide by containment and physical distancing measures, and thus further increases their exposure to infection, said UNICEF.

For children living in countries already affected by conflict and violence, the impact of COVID-19 will further increase the risk of instability and of households falling into poverty, it warned.

To address and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on children in poor households, Save the Children and UNICEF call for rapid and large-scale expansion of social protection systems and programs, including cash transfers, school feeding and child benefits.

Governments must also invest in other forms of social protection, fiscal policies, employment and labor market interventions to support families. This includes expanding universal access to quality health care and other services, and investing in family-friendly policies, such as paid leave and childcare, said the two organizations.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

China aims for complete victory in poverty elimination

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As China‘s annual sessions of the top legislature and political advisory body get into full swing in Beijing, legislators and political advisors are pooling wisdom on how to realize the goal of poverty elimination. #twosessions

(XINHUA)

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