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OPEC to Rollover Crude Oil Output Cut Deal

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OPEC is to roll over a deal on cutting crude supplies at a meeting next week and discuss deepening the curbs that have been in place since January 1, 2019. A deal between OPEC and allies, including Russia, to curb oil output by 1.2 million barrels runs out at the end of June.


With the expiration of the agreement this week, the group has scheduled meetings from July 1-2 in Vienna, Austria to discuss the next steps.
However, Iraq’s Oil Minister, Thamer Ghadhban, has said the group would extend the current deal and consider deeper production cuts.
He said the issue would be discussed in Vienna but declined to specify what alternative level of cuts were being suggested.

“The rollover at least would be at the same level because it has not been very effective, it has been effective to a certain level to minimize the glut in the market, but there are now ideas or calls for agreeing (on) even more,” Ghadhban said on the sidelines of the CWC Iraq Petroleum Conference in London.

Reuters reported that Algeria had floated an idea of deepening the cut by some 600,000 bpd, to make it 1.8 million barrels per day.
Oil prices hit their highest in about a month on Wednesday, buoyed by United States government data that showed a larger-than-expected drawdown in crude stocks as exports hit a record high, and surprise drops in refined product stockpiles.

The price of the global benchmark, Brent crude, which dropped to $65 per barrel yesterday, had risen $1.44, or 2.2 per cent to settle at $66.49 a barrel on Wednesday, while the US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose $1.55, or 2.7 per cent, to settle at $59.38 a barrel.
The product drawdown comes at the same time as news that the largest and oldest refinery on the US East Coast would be shut after a massive fire last week caused substantial damage.

According to agency reports, Philadelphia Energy Solutions plans to shut down the 335,000 bpd refinery complex next month.
The crude inventory fall and refinery outage added to uncertainty over oil supplies created by the war of words between Washington and Tehran.

This has prompted fears that oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s busiest oil supply route, could be disrupted.
Asked if a war was brewing, US President Donald Trump told Fox Business Network on Wednesday: “I hope we don’t but we are in a very strong position if something should happen.”

Tehran has condemned a fresh round of US sanctions, describing it as “mentally retarded.”
But the US Special Representative on Iran, Brian Hook, told Reuters in an interview yesterday that the United States’ policy of maximum economic pressure on Tehran was working.

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Xenophobia: Nigerians in SA look forward to the two presidents meeting

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Nigerian Citizens Association in South Africa (NICASA), is optimistic that the meeting between Nigerian and South African Presidents in October, will bring lasting solutions to the recurrent xenophobia.

The President of NICASA, Mr Ben Okoli, made this known in a telephone conversation with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) from Johannesburg, South Africa.

Okoli said President Muhammadu Buhari and his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa, were expected to meet in October to discuss modalities to address attacks on Nigerians living in that country.

“We are looking forward to the state visit by President Buhari and we believe his coming will help reduce the suffering Nigerians go through in South Africa.

“We will use the opportunity to lay our complaints to the president and highlight security of lives and properties of our members, as the area of concern that we want addressed.

“We will also be able to get assurance from our host country’s president towards securing lives and properties of Nigerians here.

“We hope the visit will comfort Nigerians here, because we expect our plight to be tabled before the host government, so they can provide adequate protection to ensure Nigerians feel safe,” he said.

He lamented the high handedness of police operatives in South Africa on matters that concerned Nigerians, saying issues like brutality and killings should be brought to the fore at the meeting.

“We will list all potentials that could bring about economic benefits and growth to Nigerians through the anticipated state visit,” he said.

He said that Nigerians ha, without any fear of contradiction, contributed immensely to the growth of the South African economy.

“We urge the South African Government to ensure that the attacks do not reoccur. We appeal to them to device alternative strategies since previous efforts to stop xenophobia have not worked.

“We believe xenophobia can be stopped and therefore appeal to the South African government to provide succour to foreigners who have lost their source of livelihood, especially Nigerians.

He commended the Nigerian Consulate General to South Africa, Godwin Adama, for the pro-active steps he had so far taken to douse tension via the media in that country.

“The mission’s gate has never been shut against Nigerians; it has always kept its door open.

“What happened is that after the crisis in Pretoria where South African’s destroyed Nigerian businesses and property, those whose property were destroyed went to the mission out of frustration and anger.

“I understand the situation; it is not easy for somebody to lose his property and just be watching; but the mission gate was not shut against them,” he said.

He said they were invite in and received by an official of the consulate who went as far as organising food and drinks for them to make sure that they are comfortable.

“So they were attended to and nobody would say that the gate was shut against them.

“The mission allowed them in even though they came in by force and destroyed part of the entrance.

“They were encouraged to go and calculate their losses and bring back the report through the organisation. So, we are actually collaborating with people who have lost their property.

“We are taking inventory of what our people lost, which I will make available to the high commissioner in due time,” Okoli said.

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Travel & Tourism

Uber hopes to expand its bus system to Lagos

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Uber is hoping to expand its imprint on public transportation in Africa’s largest city.

The ride-hailing firm is working on plans to help develop a bus system for Lagos, a gridlocked metropolis with over 20 million people. Company representatives have met with transport officials from the city, toured the terminals of the newly-launched smart city buses, and discussed plans for collaboration, Uber’s general manager for sub-Saharan Africa Alon Lits confirmed to Quartz Africa on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Cape Town.

In June, Uber’s chief business officer Brook Entwistle visited the city and met with the Lagos state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu. Any plans would require full approval and collaboration by the state government which is known for its proclivity for bureaucratic control.

The moves are indicative of Uber’s plan to become the “Amazon” for transportation and tap into riders’ preferred mobility options. It’s also part of a strategy to add into its array of locally-popular forms of motorized transport, given the roll-out of boda-boda motorcycles in cities like Kampala, three-wheeled tuk-tuks in Dar es Salaam, or quick-trip, low-cost options on fuel-efficient vehicles in Nairobi. The e-hailing firm has also been partnering with transit agencies in cities to expand transportation access, decrease car ownership, and reduce congestion.

The bus options offer a “huge opportunity,” Lits said, given millions of people across the continent use them to move on a daily basis. In Lagos, about 80% of total daily passenger trips as of 2015 were made by public transport dominated by buses.

One option Uber could consider for the city is to offer real-time transit information and cashless ticketing on the Lagos Bus Services, allowing riders to plan their journeys and buy tickets. Traffic is a major challenge in Lagos with inadequate traffic guidance, bad roads, and unruly drivers making it all the worse. The city also does not yet have a modern light railway system for regular commuters though it is building one.

“I think the bus will prove to be a game-changer for Lagos and is obviously very much needed,” Lits said. He also added city officials were “excited” by the prospects of partnership. “It is a longer-term engagement but it is something we are willing to do and I think grateful for the willingness on the other side.”

The ride-hailing giant has launched similar experiments in cities including Denver, where commuters can buy, book and pay for bus and train rides using an in-app ticketing service

Six years after launching in Africa, Uber has been constantly adapting its business models to the needs of local markets amid competition from rivals. For example, African cities, led by Nairobi and Lagos, played a key role in driving Uber’s global strategy around cash. Last December, the San Francisco-based company launched its first bus service globally in Cairo: another traffic-clogged city where local firm SWVL was already using technology to help customers reserve seats on clean, air-conditioned, and high-quality buses.

After raising about $80 million in the past two years, SWVL has now expanded to Kenya and Pakistan and is looking to move into Nigeria, South Africa, and Côte d’Ivoire, chief executive Mostafa Kandil recently told Quartz. In Kenya, Safaricom-backed Little also launched a bus service to bring order to the unruly public matatu buses.”

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World News

Women entrepreneurs in Africa get $251 million support

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Some African women entrepreneurs have just received a huge boost of $251 million support from the G7 Leaders through the initiative of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA).

The AFAWA is an initiative which is geared towards improving women’s access to financing through funds disbursement, training, and mentorship.

French President, who is also the President of the G7, Emmanuel Macron looked forward to the utilization of the funds in the development of Africa.
“I am particularly proud, as the current G7 president, that the program we are supporting today, the AFAWA initiative, comes from an African organization, the African Development Bank, which works with African guarantee funds and a network of African banks,” Macron stated at the G7 Summit.
Angelique Kidjo, the program ambassador and the President of AfDB President, Akinwumi Adesina expressed their joy to be associated with the initiative.

“African women are the backbone of the continent. I’m thrilled to bring their voice to the G7. AFAWA is essential for our continent,” the Beninoise artist and UNICEF ambassador, Angelique Kidjo said at the event.

The AfDB President, Akinwumi Adesina applauded the extraordinary support of all the G7 Heads of State and government to African women, which he said would close the finance gap between male and female entrepreneurs.

“This is a great day for African women. Investing in women entrepreneurs in Africa is important because women are not only Africa’s future. They are Africa’s present. Currently, women operate over 40% of SMEs in Africa, but there is a financing gap of $42 billion between male and female entrepreneurs. This gap must be closed, and quickly.”

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World News

Brazil rejects aid from G7 countries for Amazon forest fire

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Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro on Monday rejected aid from G7 countries to fight raging wildfires in the Amazon. Brazil has been gripped by massive blazes ravaging the world’s largest rainforest, prompting countries from across the world to express sympathy and support to combat the crisis.

Although other South American countries within Amazon paths are also fighting wildfires, Brazil alone has seen over 72,000 fire outbreaks in 2019, with an 84% increase on the same period a year earlier, the country’s National Institute for Space Research said. More than half of the wildfires were in the Amazon, which falls mostly in Brazil.

Sao Paulo, Brazil’s most populous city and commercial centre, has also been challenged by the fires, raising concerns that the rainforest is giving way to land-clearing operations and other activities intended to transform the land for agricultural use.

Experts at the University of Maryland in the United States said farmers clearing land for next year’s farming searching had contributed to the inferno, which is now affecting over three million species of plants and animals and one million indigenous people.

Mr Bolsonaro deployed 44,000 soldiers to fight the fires on Friday, insisting the country was capable of handling the crisis.

As part of efforts to combat the crisis, leaders of the G7 — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US — meeting in Biarritz, France, announced a $22m donation on Monday to procure new fire-fighting planes and other equipment for Brazil.

But Brazil has not shown its willingness to accept the support, with a top official saying Europe would have a better need for the fund.
“We appreciate (the offer), but maybe those resources are more relevant to reforest Europe,” Onyx Lorenzoni, chief of staff to Mr Bolsonaro, told Brazil G1 news website.

“Macron cannot even avoid a foreseeable fire in a church that is a world heritage site. What does he intend to teach our country?” Mr Lorenzoni added, in an apparent jibe at France over the fire in April that devastated the Notre-Dame Cathedral.

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