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AfDB, AIMS To Transform Industry-Led Research In Africa

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the African Institute of Mathematics and Sciences (AIMS) are now in a landmark relationship to build a research institution in the league of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The bank said this in a statement by its Communications Officer, Mr Emeka Anuforo, on Wednesday in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
He said former President Olusegun Obasanjo led a delegation of the High-Level Advisory Council of AIMS to a meeting with the bank in Abidjan.
At the meeting, a 10-year partnership proposal was made to build mathematical and scientific capacity in Africa, strengthen industry linkages and create a competitive industrial and innovative space.
He said that Obasanjo was the Patron of the council for AIMS’ Next Einstein Initiative, while former Ghanaian President, Mr John Kufuor was Vice-Chair.
Obasanjo described the visit as a huge opportunity for the bank and aims to forge an extraordinary partnership to support African countries in the expansion of mathematical science education, training and research.
He commended the AfDB President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, for championing Africa’s development and assured that the proposed partnership was critical for the continent’s future.
“If we are going to make substantial progress in industrialisation within the next decades the continent must produce well motivated and well trained young innovators,” he said.
Adesina emphasised the need for Africa to develop with pride and pledged the bank’s commitment to build a partnership with AIMS that would allow the continent to compete with the rest of the world.
“We must recognize that the world is moving fast. Consequently, how can Africa position itself in a rapidly changing world so that it does not become disadvantaged?”
“We are a knowledge-driven bank and think our partnership will help us build quantum knowledge for growth.
“We are excited about the focus on young people and we also like the regional integration dimension of the work that AIMS does.”
Adesina also promised to convene a meeting of donors to discuss AIMS’ funding request, anf the need for greater participation by the private sector.
Of particulay interest are key industries that benefit from the institution’s research and work in science, technology and innovation.
He described the involvement of industry-led research as the driving force of the Silicon Valley and made a case for venture capital and private equity funds to support research outputs from the continent.
Neil Turok, founder of AIMS, described the bank as a leading institution in Africa, adding that the institute was excited about the prospect of a partnership.
He said AIMS’ research and industry-led capacity development aligned with the bank’s High 5s, including its regional integration targets.
“I was trained to believe in Africa. I can tell you AIMS is the most exciting and dynamic science and educational institution in the world and what has driven the institution are the young students from Africa.
“What we are doing at AIMS is to transform Africa by giving opportunities to the youth.
“AIMS is African-owned, African-run, African-operated, but it hosts the best scientists in the world to give African young scientists the stuff they need.
“Our goal is to be the MIT for Africa. We know the impact MIT has on U.S. industry and we want to create the same for Africa, but we struggle with sustainable funding.
“We want to work with AfDB to develop sustainable funding,” he said.
The aim of the partnership programme is to ensure that each of the 54 African countries has an additional 100-250 world-class specialists in mathematical sciences by 2020 to lead research and innovation in various fields.
The cost of the partnership is projected at 54.6 million dollars.

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Imported Goods Killing Local Production – Presidency

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The Presidency has frowned at the rate of consumption of imported goods in the country, and has urged Nigerian consumers to change their mindset and patronise locally-produced goods, especially in the agricultural sector, to boost revenue and job creation.
Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, disclosed this while speaking at a one-day seminar/exhibition with the theme, “Re-orientation towards ensuring preference and consumption of domestic agro-allied products”, which was organised by Zakclair Investment Limited.
Adesina, who was represented by the Special Assistant to the President on New Media, Tolu Ogunlesi, said more Nigerians would be financially empowered when people patronise locally manufactured goods.
He explained that no nation could truly develop its production capacity when its economy was based on imported products.
The presidential spokesperson observed that most developed nations of the world were those whose economies were based on the local production of goods.
He said the unbridled importation of products was weighing heavily on the country’s foreign exchange reserve.
“We must also be willing to innovate with our local products in ways that can get us a wider audience.
“Instead of expending scarce resources and importing goods and services, we can channel them to create jobs for people. We need to believe more in the value of what is indigenous to us, as a people.
“When we consume locally made products, there will be less pressure on our foreign exchange. In the same breath, the value addition that happens locally means jobs.
“The economic value of consuming locally made goods is in all the jobs that will be created.
“I think that with the kind of market that we have in Nigeria, 200 million people, you can see there is a lot that we can do with domestic products”, Adesuna said.
Delivering the keynote address, the Executive Secretary of the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, Prof. Garba Sharabutu, urged stakeholders to stop paying lip service to the efforts to drive the consumption of made-in-Nigeria products, saying “we need to take it from words to action”.
Earlier, the CEO of Zakclair Investment Ltd, Adelabu Abdulrazak, explained that with the country’s ailing economy, there was a need to direct attention to preference and consumption of locally-made products.
“Consequently, we believe there is a need for a discourse in this aspect of our national life with the aim to infuse patriotism, encourage policies that tackle this lifestyle, reorientate our citizens and massively stimulate the growth of our economy,” he said.

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Commission Extends Deadline For Digital Money Operators’ Registration

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The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has announced the extension of deadline for registration of online money lenders and operators, otherwise known as Digital Money Lenders (DML).
Making the registration extension known in a statement that was made available to The Tide at the weekend, the FCCPC Chief Executive Officer, Babatunde Irukera, said the process has been extended to March 27, 2023.
The FCCPC boss stated that the extra time was to ensure that the registration of DML whose registration was still in process was adequately achieved, and to also prevent significant market disruptions.
It is the third time the commission has postponed the deadline for registration, since it enforced compulsory registration in August 2022.
“On December 6, 2022, in furtherance of the collaboration of the Inter-Agency Joint Task Force, the FCCPC extended the deadline for the registration of DML to January 31, 2023.
“This was to ensure the registration of DMLs whose registration was still in process and to prevent significant market disruptions.
“The Commission noted, however, that several DMLs have not yet provided all relevant documentation to complete their registration process.
“To this end, the Commission is further extending the registration deadline to Monday, March 27, 2023″, The statement read in part.
The FCCPC recently released a limited interim regulatory and registration framework for digital lending in order to curb unethical interest rates, violation of consumer privacy, and other unethical lending practices perpetrated by unchecked digital lenders in the country.

By: Corlins Walter

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Manager Clarifies PH Airlines Building Occupancy Issues

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The Port Harcourt Airport Manager, Mr Felix Akinbinu, has given reasons for the delay by airlines operating at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, in occupying the newly commissioned Airport Building.
Noting that airlines still operate from the Terminal building, he said the nature of business operations of airlines is such that makes them operate from the terminal building in order to meet the boarding requirements for passengers.
Akinbinu, who disclosed this while interacting with aviation correspondents, stated that the newly commissioned airlines building is not just for airlines alone.
He said it’s office space for any group or individuals to use, though it bears the name, “Airline Building”.
According to him, the airlines will still operate from the terminal building because the newly commissioned airlines building is to provide additional office space for airlines to accommodate their other activities and staff.
“To be frank with you, what we have in the new airlines building is just eight office space accommodation, and it is not only for airlines, it is open to everyone or group that need an office space.
“It is not that we are ordering the airlines to leave the terminal building, not at all, because they are to operate at the terminal building for the ease of their business and passengers facilitation.
“It is also not an issue of disobedience on their side for still operating at the terminal building. All they will do is to acquire additional office space for their staff and operations”, Akinbinu said.
The Tide’s check earlier showed that the new airlines building is sited at a distance place from the terminal building, which makes it difficult for airlines to easily access, considering their style of business operations.
Some officials of airlines The Tide interacted with stated that they will not operate from the new airlines building because it was sited across the airport major road, distant from the terminal.
They, therefore, urged the airport management to consider the nature of their operations, and make alternative for them.
It would be recalled that the Managing Director, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Salisu Yadudu, represented by the Director of Operations, Murktar Munye, had at the commissioning ceremony of the airlines building, early December last year, directed the airport manager to ensure that airlines occupy the building immediately.
This, he said, was to decongest the terminal building. But the building is yet to be occupied.

By: Corlins Walter

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