The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected the Nigerian economy to grow by 3.4 percent in 2022, up from 2.7 percent earlier projected. IMF disclosed this on Tuesday in its April World Economic Outlook (WEO) report released as part of activities at the ongoing IMF/World Bank spring meetings. It, however, reduced the global growth projection to 3.6 percent in both 2022 and 2023, citing the impact of the costly humanitarian crisis economic damage from the Russian war on Ukraine. The IMF also projected that Russia’s economy would shrink by 8.5 percent this year while Ukraine’s economy would also decline by 35 percent. “The war in Ukraine has triggered a costly humanitarian crisis that demands a peaceful resolution,” the report reads. “At the same time, economic damage from the conflict will contribute to a significant slowdown in global growth in 2022 and add to inflation. Fuel and food prices have increased rapidly, hitting vulnerable populations in low-income countries hardest.” According to the report, global growth will slow from an estimated 6.1 percent in 2021 to 3.6 per cent in 2022 and 2023. This is 0.8 and 0.2 percentage points lower for 2022 and 2023 than projected in January. Beyond 2023, global growth is forecast to decline to about 3.3 percent over the medium term,” the report added. “War-induced commodity price increases and broadening price pressures have led to 2022 inflation projections of 5.7 percent in advanced economies and 8.7 percent in emerging market and developing economies — 1.8 and 2.8 percentage points higher than projected last January. Multilateral efforts to respond to the humanitarian crisis, prevent further economic fragmentation, maintain global liquidity, manage debt distress, tackle climate change, and end the pandemic are essential.”

The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has sealed off the buildings of some government ministries and agencies over accumulated waste management debts. The government buildings were on Tuesday sealed by the city authorities for owing the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB) about ₦10 billion. The FCTA, in the company of heavily armed security operatives drawn from different security wings, trooped into some ministries to implement the action. Some of the ministries and government-owned agencies identified to be indebted include the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing located at Mabushi, Federal Ministry of Defence, Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Character Commission, Federal Ministry of Trade & Investment, Federal Ministry of Education, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in Wuse, among others. Prior to this development, the government-owned ministries, at the request of FCTA, who took the case to court, had been asked to appear before the Magistrate Court sitting in Wuse 2, on March 30, an invitation they allegedly failed to honour. AEPB Director Osilama Braimah, who is also the Chairman of the Special Debt Taskforce which sealed off the affected buildings, gave the breakdown of the amount the named parastatals are owing the waste management for its services over the years. “The Federal Ministry of Works — ₦9,998,625.00; the Federal Ministry of Defence — ₦17,220,775.00; the Federal Character Commission — ₦10,128,906.25; the Civil Service Commission — ₦2,451,649.50; and the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission — ₦21,683,750.00. Others are the Federal Ministry of Health — ₦14,204,843.75; the Federal Ministry of Trade & Investment — ₦19,222,287.50; the Federal Ministry of Education Hqtrs – ₦25,838,275; and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps Wuse — ₦16,583,031.25,” Mr Braimah told journalists on Tuesday. He said the AEPB had tried to negotiate a better approach to debt settlement but “many of them refused to take this opportunity seriously.” Mr Braimah added that the step taken on Tuesday is just one of the many to come as the exercise will cover not only public buildings but also private enterprises indebted to the board.

Several Nigerian Air Force (NAF) officers are feared to have been killed in a plane crash that occurred on Tuesday in Kaduna state. Details of the incident are still sketchy. The Cable reported that the incident involved a training aircraft that had two pilots on board. The development comes 11 months after a NAF aircraft crashed in Kaduna. The incident, which occurred in May 2021, involved a Beechcraft 350, and the aircraft crashed around the Kaduna international airport. Then Chief of Army Staff Ibrahim Attahiru and 10 other military officers who were on board when the plane crashed died. Attahiru was said to be on his way to Kaduna to attend a passing-out parade for army recruits. Following the incident, members of the minority caucus in the house of representatives had asked the federal government to ensure that a “system-wide investigation” is conducted into such incidents involving military aircraft in the country.

African startups attracted a record $5.2 billion in venture capital last year, bouncing back from a pandemic-induced dip in 2020 with a nearly five-fold increase in investments, according to data released by an industry group on Tuesday. The success of companies like Nigeria’s Paystack, acquired in 2020 by U.S. payments firm Stripe, and fellow fintech Flutterwave, valued at over $3 billion, has fuelled international interest in up-and-coming businesses on the continent. “African startups raised more in 2021 alone than the preceding seven years combined,” the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (AVCA), which promotes private investment on the continent, wrote in a report. Much of the investor focus has been on fintech start-ups seeking to meet the needs of the continent’s largely unbanked population. The data compiled by AVCA showed the financial sector accounted for 60% of the investments by value and nearly a third of deals by volume. Nigeria, a hotbed of new fintech firms, was the leading destination for venture capital in Africa last year, surpassing South Africa, the continent’s most developed economy. Most venture capital deals were concentrated in early-stage funding rounds. However, late-stage funding ballooned in 2021, including a nearly 40-fold increase in financing raised by Series C fundraising rounds. Fintechs Chipper Cash, MFS Africa, Yoco, and OPay together raised $833 million via Series C funding rounds. While deals of less than $1 million represented nearly a third of transactions by volume, those worth over $50 million accounted for 62% of the total value of venture capital financing in Africa last year.