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GLOBAL TOURISM CONFAB: My Regret for Coming to Nigeria Without Family  – UNWTO Boss



UNWTO proposes Hollywood-Nollywood collaborations to export African culture

Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO)  Secretary-General has expressed regret in coming to Nigeria for the Organisation’s first Global Conference on Linking Tourism, Culture, and Creative Industries.

Speaking at a Gala Dinner and Command Performance in Lagos, the UNWTO boss said the regret was that he came to Nigeria without his friends and family members to witness the hospitality, music, and top-notch cultural performances he and other participants were treated to.

 One of the activities lined up for the three-day conference aimed at transforming the tourism sector into a preferred sector, and the creative industry into a creative economy.

“I really regret that I did not come here with my family members and friends to witness all these performances, but I will be back

“I want to say that It is really amazing and many thanks you showed us the best of your country, the best of the culture of your country, which is really unique.

“That is why people around the world have to come to Nigeria.

“That is why you need more international visitors to come here to see the beauty and see all these authentic cultures you have,” he said.

Pololikashvili expressed gratitude to the Federal Government for accepting to host the conference and wished the country “peace, prosperity, health, wealth and all the best”.

He commended the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed for his passion for the industry and for his wisdom which he said the Organisation had benefited from immensely.

“Nigeria has one of the best tourism ministers in the world and  I am sure that the ministers here will agree and will not be upset with me.

“Thank you Mr. Minister for your good heart, for your wisdom for your hospitality because tourism is about hospitality and friendship, nothing else.

“You are really the best example of how to be a good boss, and how to be a good friend,” he said.

Earlier while welcoming the guests to the gala night, the minister said he was not ready to bore them with speeches but to allow them to partake in what the country could offer in the area of entertainment.

Mohammed however thanked his colleague’s Ministers from Namibia, Ivory Coast, Congo Kinshasa,

 Gambia, Togo, Benin, and Sierra Leone for honoring him by being at the gala night.

He also thanked all the experts that participated in the workshops as well as everybody who in one way or another other had contributed to making the conference a success.

The highlights of the night were cultural dances and displays by the Nigerian troupe and dance drama on the unity of Nigeria.

There were also cultural dances of the Ashanti from Ghana, Kikuyu from Kenya, and Zulu from South Africa performed by Bolanle Austen-Peters Production.

The Awards were given to individuals, entities, and corporate bodies on culture, tourism,  and creativity categories.

Some of the awardees in the culture category are, the Ofala Festival which was received personally by the Obi of Onitsha, His Majesty Igwe Nnaemeka Alfred Achebe, and some members of his traditional council.

The award given to Argungu Fishing Festival was received by three Emirs from Argungu Emirate in Kebbi state while the Osun Oshogbo Festival also received award on the culture category.

Some of the awardees in tourism and creativity categories are Goge Africa Productions, Wale Akinboboye, Segun Arinze, Charles Novia, Ali Baba, Ali Nuhu, Bolanle Austen-Peters Chioma Ude, and Dare Art-Alade.

 The high points of the night were the christening of Pololikashvili with three Nigerian names, Danladi, Anaemeka, and Omotunde.

The Secretary-General, his team, Mohammed and other tourism ministers at the gala nite also thrilled the audience when they danced to Nigerian ace musician, Kizz Daniel’s hit song, “Buga’’.

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Gulf of Guinea: UN Official urges Stronger Action to Tackle Piracy 



Gulf of Guinea: UN Official urges Stronger Action to Tackle Piracy 

A senior UN official, Ms. Martha Pobee has called on countries and their international partners to accelerate efforts to counter the singular threat of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.

Pobee, an Assistant Secretary-General in the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA) made the appeal while briefing the Security Council at UN headquarters in New York on Tuesday.

Presenting the Secretary-General’s latest report on the issue, Pobee warned of a shifting situation that would require greater response.

According to her, the decline in incidents is the result of concerted efforts by national authorities, supported by regional and international partners, both on land and at sea.

Actions such as increased patrols, deployment of naval assets, enhanced coordination, as well as convictions, have served as deterrents to criminal activity.

However, she said piracy in the Gulf of Guinea had morphed over this period.

“Pirate groups are adapting to changing dynamics both at sea and in coastal areas,” she said.

“In this respect, the recent decrease in instances of piracy may in part be attributable to the shift by criminal networks to other forms of maritime and riverine crime, such as oil bunkering and theft, which they likely view as both less risky and more profitable”.

She stressed that it was imperative for States and their regional and international partners to accelerate efforts to establish security in the Gulf of Guinea, as outlined in the Yaoundé Code of Conduct, signed in June 2013.

Pobee pointed to some of the achievements since then, such as the recent signing of an agreement to establish a Multinational Maritime Coordination Centre (MMCC) for a zone that covers Cabo Verde, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Mali and Senegal.

A maritime exercise involving 17 of the 19 countries that border the Gulf of Guinea, as well as eight international partners, was also conducted last in October over an area stretching from Senegal to Angola.

She also underscored the UN’s continued political and technical assistance to States, including through agencies such as the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

“At present, there is no firm evidence to suggest any potential or possible linkages between terrorist and pirate groups,” she told the Council.

“However, addressing the underlying social, economic, and environmental challenges faced by communities in the region will ultimately serve to contain both threats.”

Pobee said the UN is also strengthening collaboration with international financial institutions to support countries in addressing the underlying causes of fragility and security.

With the 10th anniversary of the Yaoundé framework approaching, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) chief, Ghada Waly while briefing pointed to the opportunity to dedicate greater attention, resources and action to supporting maritime security and the rule of law in the Gulf of Guinea.

She urged the international community to help governments develop their capacities and legal frameworks, with domestic laws that criminalise piracy and enable prosecution.

“We must improve investigation and prosecution capacities, to give teeth to enforcement efforts and reach a ‘legal finish’ to every case pursued,” she said.

Waly highlighted the need to be quick to respond to the shifting trends in piracy to “prevent the threat from simply taking a different form”.

She called for developing a regional framework to expand cooperation and urged vigilance against the possibility of terrorist groups in the Sahel linking up with criminal enterprises in coastal regions.

The UNODC Executive Director also underscored the crucial need to address the root causes of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea by working with vulnerable coastal communities.

These populations are also dealing with challenges such as environmental degradation and biodiversity loss, fuelled by climate change and illegal fishing.

“Criminals at sea must be stopped and held accountable, but to ensure a truly sustainable response, due attention must be paid to the people who may become such criminals, the factors that drive them to it, and the people most affected,” she said.

“We must pursue community-based crime prevention strategies and engage with at-risk and marginalised youth to cultivate personal and social skills, prevent risky behaviors, and grant them opportunities.”

Waly said UNODC is supporting the development of community-based crime prevention strategies in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, which she hopes will be replicated in other coastal communities.

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World Bank urges Nigeria to fix public finances to promote development



World Bank urges Nigeria to fix public finances to promote development
World Bank-Maritime First Newspaper

The World Bank says Nigeria must fix its public finances, in order to promote inclusive and sustainable development.

This is contained in the World Bank Nigeria Public Finance Review Report released on Monday in Abuja.

A copy of the report was obtained from the World Bank’s website.

According to the report, macroeconomic and fiscal reforms are urgently needed to lift Nigeria’s development outcomes, which are severely constrained by inefficient use of resources.

”For years, a large share of Nigeria’s resources have financed inefficient and regressive subsidies for petrol, electricity, and foreign exchange.

“Not all these subsidies are accounted for in the budget, which makes them difficult to track and scrutinise.

“However, available data suggest that these subsidies, which accounted for more than the amount spent on education, health, and social protection in 2021, benefit primarily wealthy households.”

The statement said that these subsidies also distort incentives, discourage investment, and crowd-out spending on pro-poor programmes, thereby, hindering progress in Nigeria’s social development.

It said Nigeria had one of the lowest public expenditure and revenue levels in the world, undermining the government’s ability to improve service delivery.

“Between 2015 and 2021, total public spending in Nigeria averaged 12 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), less than half the world average of 30 percent.”

The statement said improving service delivery in Nigeria required more resources.

“Therefore, one of the most critical aspects of meeting Nigeria’s vast development needs lies in raising more revenues, as the country ranks consistently among the world’s poorest-performing countries in terms of public revenue mobilisation.

“With total revenues averaging just seven percent of GDP in 2015-2021, far below the global average of 24 percent. ”

It said low tax rates and poor utilisation of tax bases, weaknesses in tax administration, and large deductions from oil revenues were constraining Nigeria’s inability to generate enough revenues.

The statement quoted the World Bank Group President, David Malpass as saying “Nigeria’s government urgently needs to strengthen fiscal management and create a unified, stable market-based exchange rate”.

“The government also needs to phase out its costly, regressive fuel subsidy and rationalise preferential trade restrictions and tax exemptions.

“These would lay the groundwork for the increases in public revenues and spending needed to improve development outcomes.”

Malpass said decisive moves would significantly improve the business-enabling environment in Nigeria, attract foreign direct investment, and reduce inflation.

He said the World Bank was ready to increase support to Nigeria as it designs and implements these critical reforms.

The statement also quoted Nigeria’s Country Director, Shubham Chaudhuri as saying “Nigeria is at a critical historical juncture and has a choice to make.

“A child born in Nigeria today will be only 36 percent as productive when she grows up as she could be if she had access to effective public education and health services, and has a life expectancy of only 55 years.”

Chaudhuri said these stark indicators illustrate the urgency for action by Nigeria’s policymakers to improve the macroeconomic and fiscal framework, to sustainably enhance the quality of spending and public services at federal and state levels.

The statement said the Nigeria Public Finance Review was conducted at the request of the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning.

It said the report was prepared in close collaboration with the Budget Office of the Federation, the National Bureau of Statistics, (NBS), the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, and the Debt Management Office (DMO).

It aims to inform the public debate on Nigeria’s future by providing a thorough analysis of the fiscal performance and necessary reforms needed to establish a robust and sustainable development model.

The aim is to provide broad-based economic opportunities for all Nigerians.

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UNWTO proposes Hollywood-Nollywood collaborations to export African culture



UNWTO proposes Hollywood-Nollywood collaborations to export African culture

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) on Wednesday proposed a collaboration between Nollywood and Hollywood to further export the African culture.

Zurab Pololikashuili, Secretary General, UNWTO, said this during the UNWTO Conference on “Linking Tourism, Culture and the Creative Industries”, held in Lagos.

Pololikashuili, who said he was impressed with Nollywood performance over the years, noted that the proposed collaboration would feature a roadshow using cinemas and the creative industry to export the potential of tourism and African culture.

“We can do a lot of things together, if we can speak on this from Nollywood and Hollywood, and we agree, then at our next meeting, we will sign the necessary documents.

“With this, it will be easier to understand one another, I say congratulations to Nigerians, to have succeeded with Nollywood.

“The various presentations have been interesting and amazing and I am happy to have made new friends here in Nigeria,” he said.

The three-day global conference which commenced on Nov. 14 would end on Nov. 16.

The conference attracted delegates from across the globe.

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