Daily Watch – Nigeria battles diphtheria outbreak, Mali postpones presidential election

26th September 2023

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Limited and oil majors on Monday agreed to cut the time for concluding contract talks from three years to not more than six months (180 days), to speed up investment projects in the country. The new agreement signed with the companies, including Shell, Chevron, Eni, ExxonMobil and TotalEnergies, intends to make doing business in Nigeria easier. “So efficiency is going to be instilled in the process and will deliver more production,” said Oritsemeyiwa Eyesan, NNPC Vice President (upstream), after a signing ceremony attended by the heads of the subsidiaries of the oil majors. President Bola Tinubu is in a drive to increase Nigeria’s oil output. The presidency said international oil firms had committed $13.5 billion investments in the short term to raise production to 2.1 million barrels per day by December 2024.

The Nigerian government confirmed that 7,202 cases of diphtheria have been recorded in 18 states across the country. This was disclosed in a press statement jointly signed by the Federal Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, among other partners. The government said it confirmed 7,202 cases out of 11,587 suspected cases across 105 Local Government Areas in 18 states, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). It also said 453 deaths have occurred from the infection. According to the statement, Kano, the epicentre of the infection, recorded 6,185 cases. It also noted that 5,299 of the confirmed cases, which is 73.6 percent, occurred among children aged one to 14 years, with those aged five to 14 years bearing most of the brunt of the disease.

Ghana’s central bank on Monday, 25 September, kept its main interest rate at 30 percent, citing lower inflation, a stable exchange rate and relatively strong economic growth. Bank of Ghana Governor Ernest Addison said recent data suggested growth was more robust than expected, projecting GDP would expand by some 3 percent this year, compared with the IMF’s forecast of 1.6 percent. “The consensus view of the Monetary Policy Committee is that we should see stronger growth than projected under the IMF programme,” he told reporters. In a massive political development ahead of next year’s election, Ghana’s former trade minister, Alan Kyeremanten, announced on Monday he would resign from the ruling party and run as an independent candidate during the next presidential election in December 2024. 

The Malian military government has announced it will delay a presidential election scheduled for February 2024, which was aimed at returning civilian leaders to power in the conflict-ridden West African country. Two rounds of voting—initially set for 4-18 February—“will be slightly postponed for technical reasons,” government spokesman Abdoulaye Maiga told reporters on Monday, 25 September. Those reasons include issues linked to the adoption of a new constitution and a review of the electoral lists, he said. He also cited a dispute with French company Idemia, which the government said is involved in the census process. “The new dates for the presidential election will be communicated later,” Maiga said.