Hello,

Many people hide their scars with an “I’m fine”, don’t be like them talk to someone today. And even at that sometimes in life, you just need a hug. No words, no advice, just a hug to make you feel better.

Helpful reminders we got this week as the world celebrated World Mental Health Day earlier this week.

Let’s dive into the news 😊

Nigeria

It’s about time we became a ‘Red Giant’

Not like stars, unfortunately – just with tomatoes.

News, please?

Oh, sorry. Mr Abdulkarim Lawal Kaita, Managing Director of Dangote Tomatoes (Nigeria’s biggest tomato plant) has called on the Federal Government to ban the importation of tomatoes.

In February, Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh announced the FG’s plans to ban tomato imports by 2021. But Dangote Tomatoes can’t take the subway.

According to Kaita, the company now has the capacity to produce for domestic consumption and exports, as it recently established a GreenHouse nursery in Kano, costing N3 billion and designed to process over 300 to 350 million tons of hybrid tomato seedlings.

Wow. This means a lot.

We’re glad you acknowledged that. In fact, it means more than we think. First, Nigeria spends about $350 million annually on processed tomato imports, which could be channelled to our local industries to curb the spoilage of locally produced tomatoes and boost our economy. Second, this could be a start to Nigeria sealing her name on the map of the world’s leading producers and exporters of tomatoes. Third, all things being equal the local tomato market competition would be strengthened for even more benefits to us, including and especially job creation.

Oh, and one more thing: no matter how you look at it, we’ll all be helping make Dangote richer. Guy’s a living legend. 🙌

Early  ̶B̶i̶r̶d̶ Budget

It’s that time of the year when companies & countries plan for the next year, Nigeria although known for passing its budget late appears to be trying to overturn that reputation as President Buhari presented the 2020 appropriation bill before a joint session of the National Assembly earlier this week.

Let’s break it down

The revenue estimated to fund the 2020 national budget is N8.155 trillion – which would be sourced from Oil (N2.64 trillion), Non-oil (N1.81 trillion), and others (N3.7 trillion).

While expenditure to be incurred is estimated to be  N10.33 trillion, leading to a 2.175 trillion deficit, this means the government would have to borrow to balance the budget.

A look at the break down of Budget allocation: 

Source: Stears Business

Okay, What should I know?

3 things amongst many worth knowing are:

    • Nigeria spends about 70% of its budget on recurrent expenditure and 30% on capital. While both are important, economists argue that capital spending is what provides real long-term growth.
  • The priority of this budget is on completing as many on-going projects as possible, rather than commencing new ones. Meaning, no funding for new projects without finishing the on-going projects.

How are things looking?

Over the past few years, things have been getting better in Nigeria. Comparing the figures as at January 2017 and August 2019, the country’s inflation has reduced from 18% to 11%. Also, Nigeria’s external reserves have gone up from $23 billion in October 2016 to about $42 billion in Sept 2019.

However, we still have a long way to go

@EfosaOjomo

Wow, Such feeling of entitlement! 😂

@gossyomega

We found this funny.

*DFI: Development Finance Institutions are institutions that provide risk capital for economic development projects on a non-commercial basis. Examples are Bank of Agriculture (BOA), Bank of Industry (BOA), Nigeria Export-Import Bank and others

Africa

There are cold rooms everywhere 🌨️

Earlier this week, the world got reminded about how much sexual assault women experience around the world, a timely reminder that came da few days to the International Day of the Girl Child and just 2 years after the #MeToo Movement.

I assume you’ll explain.

Undercover BBC journalists led by Kiki Mordi found their way to top Universities in Nigeria and Ghana, to bring to light, the unabating sexual molestation by lecturers, against female students in exchange for good grades.

Watch: Sex for grades: Undercover in West African universities 

Yikes!

Nkiru Mordi recalled her harassment story which led to her dropping out of the university without getting a degree. While others recounted tales of emotional trauma and physical withdrawal from men in general. 💔

How’s the world responding?

Outrage on social media with other people recounting similar experiences. On a bright note, the campaign has seen the official dismissal of the culprits but the law is yet to take its bearing.

@JKFagge

Would this ever end?

We hope so, but this whole episode reminds us of three things:

We live a world where it’s actually #SexForEverything, which is disgusting; Money forever stops nonsense – the investigative job done by BBC was powered by good money. And lastly, Nigeria is yet to introduce a law that really protects the oppressed.

@oluwatoy0si

“We need to uphold the equal rights, voices and influence of girls in our families, communities and nations. Girls can be powerful agents of change, and nothing should keep them from participating fully in all areas of life.” — UN Secretary-General António Guterres

Africa

Angola is living off Oil that belongs to DR Congo

In the heart of Central Africa lies two neighbouring countries, Angola and DR Congo (DRC). While the former generates over 75% of its revenue from the exportation of oil, the latter relies on other natural resources like cobalt ore, copper and diamond to generate revenue.

Okay, I’m listening

However, that could all change as under the UN Convention that governs which strips of sea belong to which countries, the DRC could legitimately lay claim to enormous oil fields currently held by Angola. It could argue that reserves responsible for about half of Angola’s production are actually in Congolese waters and become one of Africa’s largest oil producers overnight.

But why haven’t they done that yet?

Political Influence

In 1997, Angola was influential in the defeat of Congo’s Mobuto, an infamous kleptocrat (fancy name for a government that takes from the nation’s resources for personal enrichment) and also the survival of the Kabila family in the Second Congo War. This established a fundamental political influence for Angola in DRC.

Bribery

The age-old vice of bribery is also one of the tools Angola government officials used to stop DRC from making claims to the oil.

JIZ (Joint Interest Zone)

To create a compromise, the Joint Interest Zone (JIZ) was established in 2004 to share maritime rights and resources between both countries but DRC’s gains were not substantial because Angola only ceded very little territory.

The scheme was closely controlled by ex-President Kabila who made sure that negotiations were handled by his inner circle instead of the relevant government divisions. Oil rights were also sold to a company called Nessergy with owners known to be close friends of the Kabila regime. These rights were resold for three hundred times the original price! 😩

Will the situation ever change?

Not anytime soon. As the influence of kickback and bribes make staking a claim to the oil territory difficult for DRC. Even with Felix Tsshisekdi becoming President this year, the old guard in Kabila and his goons still poses a major challenge due to his influence.

“Ambazonia”, Latin for “another South Sudan”

Africa is on the verge of adding another country to her list… or not?

Spill.

Cameroon’s English-speaking provinces remain in a web of crisis after three years. Currently, about 3,000 lives and 500,000 persons have been lost and displaced respectively.

Walk me down history lane.

Sure, why not? In 1919, Cameroon had been colonized by Britain and France, who shared the country in an 80-20 ratio. After the French colony gained independence in 1960 and became the ‘Republic of Cameroon,’ the British colony opted by a United Nations organized vote to unite with the Republic. This new entity became the Federal Republic of Cameroon. The problem took root when the federation was scrapped in 1972, giving rise to the United Republic of Cameroon.

In 1984, President Paul Biya erased ‘United’ from the country’s official name, returning it to (you guessed right!) the exact name it had before the English-speaking provinces joined.

The insurrection was quite calm until 2016 when teachers and lawyers began protesting against the use of French in schools and courts. The government (remember: of a majorly French-speaking country) responded with brute force, causing rebels to declare independence for the (English-speaking) region called “Ambazonia.”

Wow. They have to be tackling the issue in some way.

Yes. A few days ago, President Paul Biya called for a ‘National Dialogue.’ This Dialogue proposed the adoption of special status for the Anglophone regions and the return of the country’s name to ‘United Republic of Cameroon.’ Apparently, not everyone is encouraged by these, and it’s highly uncertain they will calm the storm.

International

The NBA vs China   

It only takes a spark to start a flame. A tweet from Daryl Morey, the GM for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association (NBA) saying “fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong”, has shown the world how far China is willing to go to protect its ideals.

Backstory: In recent months Hongkong has been protesting against a bill which would subject Hong Kong residents and visitors to the mainland Chinese jurisdiction – HongKong was once part of China but it’s now sorta on its own with strings attached. This bill would undermine the autonomy of the region and appears to be all part of a ploy by China to bring HongKong under its full control.

China’s Response?

China responded by having major sports channels and Chinese business partners suspending broadcasting and partnership with Rockets. But it’s beyond that…as nearly 500 million Chinese people streamed NBA content last year (FYI: The U.S.’ entire population is ~330 million).

Who else is affected?

  • Nike: Nike did more than $6.2 billion in sales in Greater China – a term generally used to refer to mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan –  last year. It could be at risk of Chinese consumers being encouraged by the government to not purchase NBA-branded or basketball-related merchandise.

  • Activision Blizzard: Under pressure from China, the US video-game giant banned a HK player for speaking out… only to kickstart a #BoycottBlizzard campaign among longtime players.

  • Others such as Zara, which critics accused the Spanish retailer of picking sides in the conflict, forcing Zara to issue a public apology. Also, Vans the American shoemaker removed a protest-themed entry from its annual design contest only to accidentally kickstart a #BoycottVans movement. And humorously south Park, after being banned from China for making an episode called “Band in China,” the American comedy show’s creators escalated the feud by issuing a sarcastic apology.

Why it matters?

*|FNAME|* China appears to be flexing its new economic clout in protecting itself from any opposing views.

As per Nikkie Asian Review, “No matter how trivial or unintended the perceived insult, offenders must be punished until they acquiesce, usually with a ritualistic kowtowing public apology.”

It’s the Year of the Pig but…

2019 is the Year of the Pig in the Chinese zodiac, but the stars seem to be far from aligned.

What’s happening?

Everyone knows China is the world’s most populous country. But what everyone doesn’t know is that she’s also the world’s largest pork consumer. And following a recent disaster, Chinese livestock farmers have found a solution: breed humongous pigs.

What disaster?

The African Swine Fever (ASF), caused by a terrible virus which apparently loves pigs. It’s a fever which causes loss of blood from ruptured blood vessels in its hosts, among other terrible symptoms. It’s highly contagious, but luckily it does not (yet) cause disease in humans.

Currently, China has lost 100 million pigs – a third of its pig population–to ASF. Thus, not only is supply now far from meeting demand; pork farmers have suffered huge losses. It’s so serious that it could shake China’s social stability.

So what’s the way out for them?

Basically, it’s become a battle of economics and ego. Increase in demand means an increase in price, so farmers like Pang Cong are trying to get the best off of this crisis. A giant pig weighing more than 499kg could now sell for about $1,400.

China hosts the world’s largest pig market, and the government is doing everything to prevent market collapse, like offering discounts and limiting the amount of pork purchasable in some cities. Higher prices would pressure China to import even more pork from the rest of the world, and according to analysts, it’s no longer a question of if, but when.

War first, then Freedom 

Turkey recently launched a military operation against the Kurds.

Excuse me, who are the Kurds?

Kurds, are a group of about 30 million people spread across the Middle East region of Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria, who has been an ally to the US in fighting terrorist group ISIS, whilst also having gained ground in the area.

Okay, now tell me what happened

Apparently someone wants freedom (I mean, who doesn’t?) but its appears freedom is not coming anytime soon. Turkey sees the Kurdish military as terrorists who want to achieve political independence of their own state in the region and so they chose to attack them.

Who will help the Kurds?

If you guessed the US you’re wrong! Although the US been working with the Kurdish troops in the war against the ISIS, it isn’t going to be part of this particular clash. Trump quickly withdrew his troops from the Syrian border and with no American troop around, Turkey attacked the Kurds; it has been a battleground all the way, with few dead and many displaced.

What will happen now?

Well…now that the Kurds are no longer fighting the ISIS but the Turkish military, there is a huge possibility that the ISIS will make a come back in North Syria and it will end in tears.

Going for $3,000 

Meet the “Jesus Shoes,” a pair of Holy Water-filled, Frankincense-scented Nike Air Max 97’s and undeniably the most blessed item you can rock this year. 😇

Wanna get one? You’d have to join the long queue as it’s sold out already.

Here are other weird ways people are spending their money.

Worth checking out 

Why Japanese gamers don’t buy Xbox 

Reducing corruption requires a special kind of investment – TED Talk 

Just Girls?

Silicon Valley Is Trying Out a New Mantra: Make a Profit

Thank you for reading this week’s edition. Please share it with a Friend.

And don’t forget to talk to someone or give someone a hug today. 🤗

Was this forwarded to you? Please Subscribe here.

Got a question about something you don’t understand from this newsletter? Ask us here