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World truly moving away from fossil fuels – WTO Chief



World truly moving away from fossil fuels – WTO Chief

…Lauds Dangote refinery on Commitment to play the desired role***

Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of World Trade Organisation (WTO) says indications of the world moving away from fossil fuel is not mistakable but aims to achieve zero gas emission.

Okonjo-Iweala also expressed satisfaction with Nigeria’s latest refinery by Alhaji Aliko Dangote’s although fossil fuel was being phased out.

Okonjo-Iweala, who stated this on Tuesday in Abuja while meeting with captains of industry, said that phasing out fossil fuel would combat gas emission totally.

“Meanwhile, the world is going greener slowly but surely, fossil fuels are on the way out we shall soon have the largest refinery being built in the world by Alhaji Aliko Dangote.

“It is an incredible feat, I am only sorry that we did not encourage and support this years ago, this should have been the case.

“But it is being made now, even though we are talking of fossil fuel phase-out but we shall still have a transition period of the use of oil and gas.

“Indications of the world moving away from fossil fuel is not mistakable. For example, China is the largest greenhouse gas emitter in the world.

“But it has submitted to less zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2060 and it is pushing electric cars very high and incentivising its young people to buy only electric cars.

“The European Union is aiming for less zero by 2050; cars and carmakers are all going electric, general motors want to phase out the entire combustion engine for new cars and trucks within 15 years.

The WTO D-G  further noted that by 2025, Norway would want all its new cars to be electric.

Also read:  WTO to deliver technical assistance, quality upgrade to Nigeria – Okonjo-Iweala

She disclosed that in Glasgow, Scotland,  in November 2021, government from around the world had accepted to announce new ambitious commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emision.

She noted that climate change was real and a threat to lives and livelihood around the world, and Nigeria was no exception.

According to her Africans are especially vulnerable to problems they did not create, and contribute small percentage of global emission but suffer most on climate change.

“Northern Nigeria faces an increased risk of drought and desertification, with major impacts on agriculture and cattle rearing.

“In the south, risks are flooding, soil erosion and rising sea level especially in the Niger Delta,” she noted.

In the long run, she said switching to a low carbon economy was inevitable adding that it was also in Nigeria’s interest and could be managed in the energy sector and the wider economy.

She, however, advised that Nigeria needed to use its resources wisely and minimise recourse to commercial death.

Dangote, in response, said Nigeria needed a lot of assistance from the WTO to make AfCFTA work well adding that most countries were not following the rules.

He said that apart from its refinery in view, it was also into petro-chemical which was oil-based adding that new technology was in progress to produce petrochemicals from oil.

“By this quarter, Nigeria will be the largest exporter of Urea (fertiliser) in Africa,” he said.

Okonjo-Iweala, who assumed duty on March 1, as the newly-selected WTO’s Director-General is in Nigeria to express appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari and stimulate economic activities.


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Russia writes off $23bn debt for Africa – Putin



Russia sends almost 12m tons of grain to Africa says Putin

…Pledges additional $90 million***

Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, says the Russian Government has written off $23 billion debt burden of African countries.

Putin spoke at the plenary session of the ongoing second Russia–Africa Summit 2023 held from July 27 to July 28.

He said Moscow would allocate an additional $90 million for these purposes.

Putin said Russia was advocating the expansion of representation of African countries in the UN Security Council and other UN structures.

“Russia and Africa strive to develop cooperation in all areas and strengthen ‘honest, open, constructive’ partnership.

“Russia will also assist in opening new African embassies and consulates in Russia,” he said.

According to him, the reopening of embassies in Burkina Faso and Equatorial Guinea is going as planned.

He said sovereignty was “not a one-time achieved state,” and it must be constantly protected.

Putin also offered assistance to Africa in countering threats such as terrorism, piracy, and transnational crimes adding that it would continue to train personnel from African countries.

He assured that Russian businesses have a lot to offer partners from Africa.

Putin said transition to national currencies and the establishment of transport and logistics chains would contribute to the increase in mutual trade turnover.

“Russia is ready to provide trade preferences to Africa, support the creation of modern production sectors, agricultural sector, and provide assistance through relevant international structures and agencies.

“Russia will always be a responsible international supplier of agricultural products,” he said.

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U.S. Coastguard Finds ‘debris field’ Near Missing Vessel



A “debris field” has been discovered within the search area for the missing Titan submersible, the U.S. Coastguard (USCG) said on Thursday.

The agency said a remotely-operated vehicle made the discovery near the wreckage of the Titanic on Thursday.

The hunt for the missing deep-sea vessel is still an “active search and rescue” mission after it lost communication on Sunday.

The vessel was about 700 kilometres south of St John’s, Newfoundland, during a voyage to the Titanic shipwreck off the coast of Canada.

Coastguard officials said they were “evaluating the information” following Thursday’s debris discovery.

A press conference will be held at the Coastguard base in Boston to “discuss the findings” at 8pm (1900 GMT).

Rear Admiral John Mauger, the first Coastguard district commander, and Captain Jamie Frederick, first Coastguard district response coordinator, will lead the press conference.

Founding member of the Board of Trustees of The Explorers Club, Hamish Harding, was on board the undersea craft, alongside UK-based businessman Shahzada Dawood, his son Suleman Dawood, and OceanGate’s chief executive and founder Stockton Rush, as well as French submersible pilot Paul-Henri Nargeolet.

The USCG said the ROV that made the discovery was from the Canadian Horizon Arctic ship – with the debris being found on the sea floor near the Titanic wreckage.

Assistance from the Royal Air Force (RAF) is due to arrive in St John’s on Thursday after it confirmed a request was received overnight for help with the movement of additional commercial equipment.

Two RAF planes, a C-17 Globemaster and A400 Atlas, departed RAF Lossiemouth in north-east Scotland on Thursday.

A British submariner and equipment from a UK firm have been sent to help the search at the request of the U.S. Coastguard, Downing Street said.

Royal Navy submariner Lieutenant Commander Richard Kantharia, who was on exchange with the U.S. Navy, has been seconded to the search and rescue team.

OceanGate Expeditions estimated the oxygen supply on the 6.7 metre-long vessel would last 96 hours, giving rescuers a deadline of around midday on Thursday.

Experts said the chances of finding the sub and rescuing those inside were diminishing.

Former Royal Navy submarine captain Ryan Ramsey told the PA news agency: “The outlook is bleak, that’s the only word for it as this tragic event unfolds and almost the closing stages of where this changes from rescue to a salvage mission.”

The Titan is believed to be about 900 miles east and 400 miles south of Newfoundland.

It is not known how deep the vessel is, with the seabed being around 3,800 metres from the surface. 

– dpa

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Customs Intercepts 414 Sacks Of Donkey Skin, Contraband worth N71.2m



The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Kebbi Command, says it has intercepted a truck loaded with 414 sacks of donkey meat and skins along the Bunza-Kamba axis of the state.

Dr Ben Oramalugo, the Customs Area Controller, made this known while briefing newsmen on the command’s activities, in Birnin Kebbi on Friday.

He said that the seizure of the donkey skin and meat was among the 17 smuggled items intercepted by the command between April 15 and May 15.

“Notably, on Sunday, May 14, following an intelligence report on prohibited items about to be smuggled out of the country through Bunza down to Maje axis, we detailed our officers to increase surveillance along the said routes.

“And through stop-and-search, the officers were able to intercept a truck loaded with 414 sacks of donkey skin and meat along Bunza-Kamba Axis.”

He added that among other items seized were two Toyota Camry 2013 and two Honda Jazz 2005.

Others are, 55 bales of secondhand clothes, 4,925 liters of PMS, 13 bags of foreign parboiled rice, five kegs of vegetable oil, a Volvo truck and one Toyota Corolla used for smuggling items, among others.

“The Duty Paid Value of the seized items is N71.2 million.

“All these successes have been achieved through constant vigilance and intelligence gathering by the officers and men of the command,” he said.

Oramalugo also revealed that the command was able to generate N127.3 million in the month of April.

“This is as a result of the efforts we put in place through routine stakeholders’ engagements and applying advice received from community leaders and indigenous retired and serving security personnel, among others.”

Oramalugo commended patriotic citizens, eminent personalities, host communities, and other stakeholders for providing useful information and advice.

“We appreciate our sister agencies for their prompt intervention when we seek reinforcement,” the controller said.

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