The Nigerian government has allowed Dangote Cement to resume exports across its land borders, raising hopes that Africa’s largest economy may be opening up trade with neighbours after a year-long blockade. President Muhammadu Buhari‘s administration gave its authorization for Africa’s biggest producer to export cement to Niger and Togo in the third quarter for the first time in ten months, CEO Michel Puchercos said on an investor call in Lagos. The exemption to Dangote Cement is seen as a softening of the government’s position on a border closure that started in August last year and could open the way for other businesses to fully resume exports across the country’s land barriers. Nigerian authorities closed borders with neighbouring countries including Benin and Niger to curb smuggling and boost local production. Although the blockade encouraged the consumption of locally grown produce such as rice, it hurt factories across West Africa, which rely on Nigeria’s market of 200 million people and led to a surge in domestic food prices. Dangote resumed land export with “restricted volumes,” and plans to grow the trade using the sea channels, according to Puchercos.

The economic cost of the #EndSARS protest disruption is estimated at 1.5 trillion or approximately 1.03 percent of the GDP and 11.47 percent of the 2021 budget, according to research firm Financial Derivatives Company. “This suggests that the economic recovery path could be longer than anticipated. Massive investment in job-elastic sectors with minimal control on the pricing mechanism will serve as catalysts and would ensure a sustained ‘take-off’,” the FDC, led by economist Bismarck Rewane, said in its latest economic bulletin. The FDC said the protests magnified existing output challenges and supply chain disruptions. “This coupled with money supply saturation, higher logistics costs, the CBN’s forex rationing as well as forex restriction for imported finished goods have heightened inflationary pressures,” it said. According to the FDC, commodity prices increased by an average of 25 per cent last month as the protests exacerbated existing output constraints and supply chain disruption. “The EndSARS protest is expected to have both direct and indirect costs on government revenue. Government revenue is expected to fall as streams of income such as BRT buses are affected. “We also expect a squeeze in corporate margins following the looting and destruction of private properties.” This would in turn affect tax revenue in the coming months, the report added.

An Abu Dhabi Federal Court of Appeal in the United Arab Emirates has convicted six Nigerians over aiding the funding of Boko Haram. The conviction was upheld by the appellate court after they lost at a lower court. Surajo Abubakar Muhammad and Saleh Yusuf Adamu received life sentences. The others, Ibrahim Ali Alhassan, AbdurRahman Ado Musa, Bashir Ali Yusuf and Muhammad Ibrahim Isa each got ten-year sentences. Court documents show that between 2015 and 2016, the convicts were involved in cash transfers totalling $782,000 to Boko Haram, an act contrary to the UAE’s Federal Anti-Terrorism Law of 2017. The country’s National Security Bureau said an investigation of the Nigerians “confirmed their involvement and membership of Boko Haram”. They were arrested between 16 and 17 April 2017. Most of the transactions were facilitated by two undercover Boko Haram agents based in Nigeria, one named “Alhaji Sa’idu” and the other, a certain “Alhaji Ashiru” was described as “a Nigerian government official”.

More than 3,000 Ivorians have fled to neighbouring Liberia, a UN refugee agency official in the capital Monrovia said Monday, escaping electoral violence triggered by a contentious presidential poll. Côte d’Ivoire’s President Alassane Ouattara won a third term on October 31 by a landslide, but his political opponents had boycotted the poll after accusing him of breaking a two-term limit for presidents. Opposition to Ouattara’s candidacy in Francophone West Africa’s top economy has led to clashes which have claimed at least 40 lives since August. “We have 3,600 people who have already crossed from Ivory Coast to Liberia,” said Roseline Okoro, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees’ representative in Monrovia, adding that numbers had surged in the past week. Hundreds more have fled to neighbouring Togo and Ghana, according to the UNHCR. Liberia is still recovering after back-to-back civil wars from 1989 to 2003 and the 2014-16 Ebola crisis. Among other economic woes, Liberia’s 4.8 million people struggle with regular shortages of fuel and banknotes, as well as rampant inflation. Sester Logan, the director of the Liberian government’s refugee agency, said the country is not “economically ready to host the influx of refugees”. He added that the actual number of people fleeing electoral violence was difficult to determine because of the porosity of Liberia’s border with Côte d’Ivoire.