Key Development and Finance Updates
Report shows China as major supplier of arms to Africa
EXX Africa, a business risk intelligence firm, has reported that China is actively positioning itself as a major supplier of arms to the African continent. According to the report, entitled: “The Secret Chinese Arms Trade in the Horn of Africa”, China is stepping up its shipments of weapons to conflict zones through Djibouti in the Horn of Africa.
The Horn of Africa is the easternmost part of the African continent. It denotes the region containing Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia.
Beyond the commercial objective of increasing sales of Chinese manufactured weapons and military equipment, the report claims China also seeks to control a greater share of the weapons trade in Africa to protect its extensive infrastructure investments on the continent.
China, on the back of the One Belt, One Road initiative – a development strategy aimed at enhancing regional connectivity and embracing a brighter future – has made massive investments in East Africa, including railway lines, hydropower dams, and new port projects in countries such as Kenya, Sudan and Ethiopia.
The report stated that China is preparing to facilitate large-scale shipments of weapons and military equipment to African countries, particularly Sudan and South Sudan. Central to this strategy is China’s military logistics base in Djibouti, which also has a strategic port in a major shipping lane.
Dangote tops ranking of most valuable brands in Nigeria
Brand Nigeria, a marketing research firm, has ranked Dangote Group the most valuable brand in Nigeria for 2018. The company, in July, had also emerged the most admired brand of African origin in a survey carried out by Brand Leadership in conjunction with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
The CEO of Brand Nigeria, Taiwo Oluboyede, stated that 46 percent – the equivalent of 23 out of the listed top 50 brands in Nigeria – are Nigerian brands. Occupying the second position on the list is MTN Nigeria, followed by Globacom, Guaranty Trust Bank, Coca-Cola Nigeria, First Bank of Nigeria, Unilever Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc, Zenith Bank Plc, and Dufil Pharma Foods.
“We used the Brand Strength Model (BSM index),” Oluboyede said, explaining how the evaluation of the top 50 brands was carried out. “It is a model that measures a brand’s ability to deliver on its promise to the consumers from the consumer’s point of view. The model uses basic qualitative elements and there are seven variables that goes into the BSM model.”
The Chief Corporate Communication Officer of Dangote Group, Anthony Chiejina, said the expansion of the business – especially the Cement manufacturing arm, which has operations in 14 African countries, including Nigeria, Benin, Ghana, Senegal, South Africa and Zambia – has added to the popularity of the Dangote Group and its products.
Nigerian migrant returnees participate in business skills training
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has announced that more than 2,000 Nigerian returnees have participated in business skills training programmes in Lagos, Edo, Nasarawa, Kano and Kaduna states, since it launched in April 2017.
The spokesman for the United Nations agency, Paul Dillon, stated that the justconcluded training course graduated 270 participants. He said the returnees attended the weeklong training in Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria.
Dillon added that the training would be focusing on creating more sustainable businesses, and not just on regular trading, buying and selling. Hence, the concentration on agriculture-related businesses, which are more sustainable and more beneficial to the communities of the returnees.
IOM plans to organise a job fair later in September in collaboration with the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Ministry of Labour. This will give the returnees opportunity to meet leaders in the private sector and find jobs to match their skills.
Many of the returnees, according to Dillon, have also become involved in the collective reintegration schemes or community-based projects such as fruit juice, palm oil and plantain processing factories.
Chinese scientists develop new wound dressing material
Researchers at the Xi’an Jiatong University in Shaanxi, China have developed a new kind of adhesive antibacterial hydrogel that can be used in wound healing treatment. The research was published in the Biomaterials journal.
The self-healing, injectable hydrogel has multiple functions as a wound dressing, especially for joint skin damage. And according to the report, designing wound dressing materials with antibacterial properties, therapeutic effects and suitable mechanical properties has practical significance in healthcare.
Hydrogel wound dressing have gained popularity in recent years. With high adhesion, the hydrogel can seal wounds of any shape, and bonds with the wound’s edge, providing a physical barrier against contaminants while stimulating moist skin conditions.
The hydrogel, also, can help stop bleeding and prevent wound infection, promoting rapid healing of the wound. The skin-like material exhibits stretchable and compressible properties, which significantly reduce discomfort associated with traditional wound dressings.
President and CEO, Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote