Global food prices continued to rise for the second consecutive month in July, the Food and Agriculture Organisation says. The increase was led by vegetable oils and dairy products. FAO’s price index, which tracks international prices of the most commonly traded food commodities, averaged 94.2 points in July against 93.1 points recorded in June. According to the organisation, the food price index increased by 1.2 percent from June and nearly 1.0 percent higher than July 2019. The United Nations food agency said that its vegetable oil price index increased 7.6 percent since June to reach a five-month high.while the dairy price index rose 3.5 percent in the month under review with all products from butter and cheese to milk powders rising.. The FAO’s cereal price index was practically unchanged from June, although maize and sorghum prices registered sharp increases, while those of rice fell, reflecting prospects of large 2020 harvests. Wheat prices changed little amid slow trade activity, the report said. The meat price index, in contrast (June), declined by 1.8 percent in July and averaged 9.2 percent below its level of July 2019,” the FAO report showed. Meanwhile, according to the UN food agency, the sugar price index increased by 1.4 percent.

The Zambian subsidiary of Nigeria’s Access Bank is buying Cavmont Capital Holdings, the Zambian arm of Namibian financial services group Capricorn, for a nominal fee of 1 kwacha or $0.0014). According to Capricorn, it has agreed to reinvest 300 million kwacha into the new entity as part of the agreement. The Namibian entity owns 98.03% of Cavmont Capital Holdings, which owns 100% of loss-making Cavmont Bank. Under the terms of the deal, Access Bank Zambia will acquire the entire issued ordinary share capital, assets and liabilities of Cavmont Bank. The bank recorded a loss after tax of 19.8 million Namibian dollars or $1.14 million in 2019, an improvement on a 46.6 million Namibian dollar loss in 2018. Access Bank Zambia Managing Director Joana Bannerman said the merger, which will see the combined bank becoming a top 10 bank in Zambia, will increase the bank’s scale and improve its operating leverage by enabling Access bank to deliver its existing retail and wholesale offerings to a wider base of customers. The deal is expected to be completed during October 2020, subject to regulatory approvals from relevant authorities.

The total debt deposit money banks in Nigeria owed telcos through use of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data rose to ₦70 billion. The CEO of Nigerian Communications Commission, Garba Danbatta said during a Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria forum that the debt accumulated followed the regulator’s suspension of its determination on USSD pricing last year. The telecoms operators and banks had locked horns over which of them will deduct charges for transactions carried out through the USSD platform provided by telecom infrastructure. The final settlement of the issue would be achieved through a tripartite agreement among the lenders, the Central Bank of Nigeria and the telecoms regulator, Danbatta added.

The United States Government has advised its citizen to reconsider travelling to Nigeria due to Covid-19, terrorism, kidnapping, civil unrest, and maritime crime. The U.S. government gave the advisory on its Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs’ website. The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 had on Thursday during its routine briefing announced the gradual reopening of international flights and train services across the country. The U.S. specifically advised its citizens not to travel to Borno, Yobe, and northern part of Adamawa State due to terrorism. It also listed Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, and Yobe States as areas vulnerable to kidnapping. For maritime crimes, civil unrest, kidnapping and other crimes, the consulate listed the coastal states of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross Rivers, Delta, and Rivers states (with the exception of Port Harcourt) as vulnerable areas.