Daily Watch – Abuja to lose $10bn to geopolitical tensions, Ghana ‘incentivises’ illegal mining

3rd May 2023

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said Nigeria could lose an estimated $10 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) and official development assistance inflows to geopolitical tensions. The IMF, in its Sub-Saharan Africa report, said the figure is about half of the country’s annual Gross Domestic Product. The Washington-based lender said the reduction in FDI, in the long run, could also hinder much-needed technology transfer.” IMF further said that if geopolitical tensions were to escalate, countries could be hit by higher import prices or even lose access to key export markets. It added that about half of Sub-Saharan Africa’s value of global trade could be impacted. The IMF added that the region’s economy could experience a permanent decline of up to four percent of GDP after 10 years.

Nigeria’s government deducted over ₦78 billion from allocations made to the states for external debt servicing, according to the Punch. This was according to data from the Federation Account Allocation Committee Disbursement reports published by the National Bureau of Statistics. The deductions were made in 2022 from the allocations given to state governments from the Federation Account. The state with the most deductions was Lagos, with about ₦23.61 billion deducted in 2022 for external debt servicing; followed by Kaduna (₦10.25 billion) and Cross River (₦7.56 billion). The least affected states were Borno (₦309.79 million), Delta (₦417.54 million) and Zamfara (₦417.96 million).

Ghana’s Attorney-General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, says the slow pace of criminal trials and grant of bail to illegal miners who return to sites is hampering the fight against “galamsey.” He, however, says more than 700 persons are standing trial for various offences. The talk regarding illegal mining is on the front burner following a report by former Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng on alleged high-level government complicity in illegal mining. Dame said 119 criminal cases involving the prosecution of about 727 individuals for offences connected with illegal mining have been at the High Court and some circuit courts around the country since January 2022. Four regions—Eastern, Ashanti, Western and Greater-Accra—are the main regions in which the prosecution of persons engaged in illegal mining is being conducted. The nationalities of the accused persons range from Ghanaians, Chinese, Nigerians, Nigerien, and Burkinabe to other West African nationals.

Sudan’s warring military factions agreed to a new and longer seven-day ceasefire from Thursday, 4 May, neighbour and mediator South Sudan said, even as more air strikes and shooting in the Khartoum capital region undercut their latest truce. South Sudan’s foreign ministry said, in a statement on Tuesday, that mediation championed by its President Salva Kiir had led both sides to agree to a longer 4 – 11 May truce, once the current one expires, and to name envoys for peace talks. On Tuesday, witnesses reported more air strikes in the cities of Omdurman and Bahri, both on the opposite bank of the Nile from Khartoum. Al Jazeera said Sudanese army warplanes were targeting RSF positions, and anti-aircraft fire could be heard from Khartoum. More than 100,000 refugees have crossed from Sudan to neighbouring countries.