Public Broadcasting in a New Media Ecosystem

In this op-Ed Nigeria’s Uche Nworah examines how State-Owned Broadcasting Stations could stand the fierce competitive media environment in a fast changing world.

Uche Nworah, managing director / CEO Anambra Broadcasting Service Nigeria

We live in exciting and interesting times. Major disruptions continue to occur across different sectors, driven by technology, innovation and globalisation both pre, during and most likely post- Covid-19 pandemic.

Tom Godwin, Executive Vice President and Head of Innovation at U.S.A – based Zenith Media while discussing the changing global business environment pointed out the mind-blowing disruption that is taking place in some sectors. He mentioned for example, Uber, the largest taxi company in the world which owns no vehicles. Amazon, the largest bookstore in the world which owns no bookshops. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer in the world which owns no inventory, and Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, which owns no real estate. He concludes that ‘something interesting is happening’.

Here in Nigeria, looking at the media sector, our own Linda Ikeji, before she started Linda Ikeji TV was easily Nigeria’s highest earning media personality, but without any physical structure and facilities. She commands audiences and revenue that long established media organisations can only wish and dream about. There are many other examples.

The disruption in the media sector has been unprecedented especially in the digital era. We no longer talk about broadcasting but digital broadcasting. The language spoken today is no longer that of programmes and programming but of content, content provision and distribution. The present broadcast media eco-system in Nigeria poses huge threats but at the same time presents big opportunities for practitioners.

In the digital broadcast industry, It will appear that state-owned media organisations are the most affected in several ways; (1) Global and national economic challenges have led to massive reduction in government subvention (2) Reduced subvention has triggered a wide expectation for more internally generated revenue that is not readily realisable
(3) Advertising revenue continues to decline as advertisers appear to favour media stations on cable networks (DSTV, GOTV, StarTimes etc) which guarantee wider reach and audiences. (4) With the existing licensing, operational and regulatory framework by National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), terrestrial television with its localised/limited reach appears ‘dead’, and will always struggle against digital broadcast media on digital platforms and cable. Terrestrial TV has no future and is almost ‘dead’. It’s now a ‘poor man’s TV’, poor men being those who don’t have DSTV, Startimes or GOTV decoders or those that their subscriptions have expired. Not many people like the idea of switching from terrestrial TV antennas to DSTV and other cable decoders. It’s untidy. One decoder box for all (whether state owned or independent TV) appears just the right solution.(5) State media with reduced subvention and reduced advertising revenue are not able to fund the production of quality content which attracts and helps retain viewership, neither are they able to attract and retain creative staff (6) In the new media eco-system of ‘Content is King’ as mantra, state – owned media are increasingly being driven into extinction. If state owned broadcast media do not wake up to the realities of the times, they may soon find themselves in the media graveyard, just like their newspaper counterparts. In the 70s and 80s, every state in Nigeria had a thriving state owned newspaper, today, perhaps only a handful including Anambra’s National Light, off-shoot of Daily Star from the old Anambra state still manages to publish (7) Many state owned media still suffer the choking effects of state control including editorial interference and control
(8) Just like the laws setting them up which may have become obsolete, state- owned broadcast stations suffer from near -colonial, and military era hangover extending to their bureaucratic organograms incorporating obsolete job roles. These now require updating. A lean and flat organogram is recommended
(9) The civil and public service mindset have made many state -owned state media to become talent graveyards. They lack the dynamism, creativity and flexibility required to compete in today’s digital media world (10) Other issues have been identified as hindering the survival of state-owned TV stations including the analogue nature of their broadcast equipment, over bloated workforce etc.

What can state-owned broadcast media do differently? How can they compete in the new media eco-system? To survive will require new ways of thinking, and new ways of doing things on their parts. Some of these challenges have to be addressed by the stations themselves. Others fall under operating factors in the external environment beyond their control.

For example, in Nigeria, only Lagos Television (LTV), and Ogun State Television (OGTV) are the two state-owned television stations on the DSTV cable platform. This situation is most unfair as it bestows on the two stations superior advantages of wider audience and increased advertising revenue. Other state -owned stations make do with the 3KW transmitter and regional licence that NBC permits. This surely cannot be said to be a level playing field as the disadvantaged state stations that are denied access on the DSTV platform still carry the same operating costs by way of paying staff salaries and allowances, equipment maintenance, content production, diesel and other costs. For example, at Anambra Broadcasting Service, despite investments by Governor Willie Obiano in new digital equipment, construction of new digital studios, renewed focus on quality content production and other improvements, it has not been possible to secure approval to host the ABS TV on the DSTV platform. This is despite repeated visits, applications and meetings with the DSTV management including submission on hard drive of content types produced by ABS as demanded by DSTV. The story has been and is still that there are no new available channels on the DSTV platforms, but we see new channels being added every day with some platforms having up to 3.

The argument in some quarters that state-owned broadcast stations are heavy on propaganda and do not produce quality content is pre-judgemental and biased. In a free market place where the playing field is level, let the audience and advertisers determine that. With the ongoing efforts by the Federal Ministry of Information to launch an audience measurement system, it will be easy to make objective judgements. Let the market determine which station survives and which goes under. After all, we can not give all thumbs -up to all the channels on DSTV as having super contents.

Also, arguing that state-owned broadcasting stations are not yet ready for digital migration to the DSTV and other such platforms shortchanges and punishes those who are. All should not be painted with the same brush.

To survive, state -owned broadcasting stations may need to introduce other services and earn side income. Industry watchers have suggested selling or syndication of their content. Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS) has launched the Miss Anambra beauty pageant, publishes magazines, launched ABS Film Academy, promoted music and cultural events etc to earn additional revenue.

The regulator, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), the National Assembly, the Federal Ministry of Information, the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), Radio and Television Workers Union (RATTAWU) and other stakeholders should intervene by making it a matter of policy for DSTV and other cable platforms in Nigeria such as GOTV, StarTimes etc to allocate channels to state – owned TV stations on their respective platforms. This is an existential matter for state-owned broadcast media, and is the only way to ensure that no one is left behind in the emerging media eco-system. This will also help open up the space for fair competition, promote creativity, and guarantee increased employment, stop loss of jobs and enhance wider participation of youths in the creative economy at the state levels. If this is not done, our teeming youths who want to play in the media and creative economy will continue to migrate to Lagos. Can Lagos provide jobs for everybody?

To reach a wider audience, we at Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS) have had to resort to online streaming via our Facebook, Youtube and Instagram channels, including our website (absradiotv.com) some of our TV and radio content to satisfy the yearnings for home content by Ndi Anambra in the diaspora and other target groups. Other state TV stations could also adopt this model although it has huge cost and other implications. Also, the audience do complain of data streaming costs.

Opening up the cable TV space for state-owned TV stations to play in should form one of the key proposals in the ongoing consultations by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) which is seeking to review the 6th edition of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.

Nworah is Managing Director / CEO of Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS) Nigeria. This piece was originally published under the title State-Owned Broadcasting Stations and Media Ecosystem

NIDO, NIDCOM & the Nigerian Diaspora: partners or foes?

Virtual Town Hall Meeting With Hon (Barr.) Rita Orji, Chair House Committee on Diaspora 8th National Assembly

Nigerians in Diaspora in the Americas converged in a virtual town hall meeting on Saturday 9 May 2020 with Chairman Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, (NIDCOM) Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa. Ahead of the meeting, I sent the Honourable Chair some questions. On Saturday 30 May 2020 Nigerians in Diaspora in Europe are taking their turn for a follow up Virtual Town Hall Meeting with the Chairman House Committee on Diaspora of the 8th National Assembly, Hon. (Barr.) Rita Orji. Same questions, grosso modo, that I posed at the 9 May meeting are hereby tabled with Honourable Orji:

  1. To what extent is NIDCOM legitimate, considering that more than a year after its establishment, its Board has not been constituted? What exactly is the problem?
  2. How effective do you believe a lone Board member in the person of the Chairman, can be? Under what checks & balances can a lone Board member operate NIDCOM without effending the provisions of its Establishment Act? 
  3. It’s alleged that some activities of those in Govt., have derailed strategic approach to Diaspora engagement e.g. by overtly/covertly encouraging set up of new Diaspora organisations, thereby defeating Gov. Diaspora Policy. To what extent are you involved in such divisive politics and how do you justify such behaviour?
  4. Nigerian Diaspora is alleged not to be unified, in-fighting… What do you say to those who accuse you and your cohorts of engineering or supporting Diaspora disunity because it favours your political agenda? Is a strong Diaspora a threat to you & colleagues?
  5. Don’t you see any incompatibility, if not conflict of interest, in the two positions that run concurrently: Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Mr President on Diaspora and at the same time Chairman of NIDCOM? Do we have any evidence that the position of SSA Diaspora has been relinquished? 
  6. Won’t it be more value-adding for Nigeria, transparent, Good Governance as President Mohammadu Buhari advocates, if the role of SSA Diaspora & Chair NIDCOM are independent from each other and occupied by two different persons, not just one individual?
  7. Nearly 20yrs after @NigeriaGov under President Olusegun Obasanjo established NIDO to unify Diaspora input in national development, there are calls for reform of the org. Some clandestine reform efforts have failed. Are aware of such failed attempts? What reforms do you want to see?

Collins Nweke
Belgium 🇧🇪

NIDCOM ILLEGITIMATELY OPERATING AGAINST ITS ACT?

Nigerians in Diaspora in the Americas will converge in a virtual town hall meeting on Saturday 9 May 2020 with Chairman Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, (NIDCOM) Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa. Ahead of the meeting, here are my questions for the Honourable Chairman:

  1. To what extent is NIDCOM legitimate, considering that more than a year after its establishment, its Board has not been constituted? What exactly is the problem?
  2. How effective have you being Madam Chairman, as a lone Board member? Under what checks & balances do you operate NIDCOM without effending the provisions of its Establishment Act?
  3. It’s alleged that some activities of those in Govt. including you, have derailed strategic approach to Diaspora engagement e.g. by overtly/covertly encouraging set up of new Diaspora organisations, thereby defeating Gov. Diaspora Policy. Pls explain.
  4. Nigerian Diaspora is alleged not to be unified, in-fighting… What do you say to those who accuse you and your cohorts of engineering or supporting Diaspora disunity because it favours your agenda? Is a strong Diaspora a threat to you & colleagues?
  5. Don’t you see any incompatibility, if not conflict of interest, in the two positions you occupy concurrently: Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Mr President on Diaspora and at the same time Chairman of NIDCOM?
  6. Won’t it be more value-adding for Nigeria, transparent, Good Governance as President Mohammadu Buhari advocates, if the role of SSA Diaspora & Chair NIDCOM are independent from each other and occupied by two different persons, not just yourself?
  7. Nearly 20yrs after @NigeriaGov under President Olusegun Obasanjo established NIDO to unify Diaspora input in national development, there are calls for reform of the org. Some clandestine reform efforts have failed. What reforms do you want to see?

Collins Nweke
Belgium 🇧🇪

Communication and Governance of Coronavirus Crisis Management: initial thoughts

In observing the management of the Coronavirus and the crises around it, I have underlined two skills and leadership take-home specifically in regards to the strategies deployed in Belgium (Europe) and New York State (United States of America). In a separate note I shall zero in on the Communication Strategy of an African country and possibly draw comparison with another African State.

Belgium achieved an early bipartisan agreement for the communications on the Coronavirus to be left with the medical experts and the scientists, not the politicians. The daily briefing has since been in the hands of top experts who are highly professional, objective and completely devoid of politics in their excellent delivery.

When (note that I didn’t say if)😎😜 I become the President of Nigeria and have to deal with any national crisis of comparable nature, I’d remember to adopt same strategy That is what I have learnt from the crisis management so far😎

New York Governor on the other hand has gained my respect with his proactive communication strategy. In his daily briefing, he flanks himself by scientists and health experts, to make the technical inputs but it is instructive for any discerning mind, how well he’s worked with Data Scientists and Communication Experts to develop highly effective proactive communications which he personally delivers as Chief Executive (call it taking charge or responsibility) pretty skilfully.

The powerful effect or impact is that because he has used data to tell his stories, he’s able to preempt the public, tell them when cases will rise but also talk to the preparations in place to mitigate the situation. He has also efficiently used same data management skills to illustrate where help is expected from Trump’s Federal Government; acknowledge the help when they arrive; and sound the alarm bell when they ain’t forthcoming. Of course his strategy has equally put the impossible Donald under soft but enormous pressure to act well towards New York State. The Governor has gained unprecedented political credibility as a consequence of these deliberate, not incidental, actions.

Lessons that I learnt? When I become Governor of Delta State of Nigeria, I’d put together a multidisciplinary team of advisors, give them a generous resource base and charge them to work in synergy for all Deltans. I’d do the strategic communications as Chief Executive but the credit will unambiguously go to them.

So help me, us God!😎😎🤣🤣🤣🤣

Collins Nweke

Coronavirus: panic reactions to partial lockdown

Reactions especially from Governments but also from citizens ought to be based on science

In Belgium, we have gone into partial lockdown as a consequence of the Coronavirus pandemic. Professionally, I’m not expected at work before 3 April. I can therefore talk of a partial self isolation since I’d be working from home as much as possible. All appointments are cancelled except a crucial political engagement that requires me to show up for Council Business routinely on Thursdays. 

This morning I called up my local mini-supermarket to know if they are open and for how long. As it turned out the opening hours are unchanged. So I thought to dash out and pick up (not stock up on!) a few groceries. Shocking that though everything I needed was available except milk, the proprietor of my local mini-supermarket told me that the stock up on or hoarding of milk and water was absolutely unnecessary. Normal supply will be maintained and there’s absolutely nothing to worry about. He teased me further: Collins I know you politicians sometimes take some funny and stupid  decisions but I’m sure you guys are not that mad to allow food scarcity! 

Politicians may indeed take mad decisions sometimes but as social animals, we have more to worry about. I’m curious to know in the coming weeks how Belgians will remain sane without visiting cafes and restaurants. Food and drinks in restaurants and cafes are means to an end. The end is community, social contact and socialising. I’m curious to know in the coming weeks how much Italians will get used to not shaking hands, hugging and pecking. What will the Brits do without the museum and concerts…

These are issues that are more concerning for people as social animals than Coronavirus infection especially for those with no preexisting medical conditions. The virus won’t kill them any more than common cold would hardly leave any lasting impact on their health. I’ve had a few interviews on Coronavirus since the outbreak 😷 In one of the conversations, I warned about spreading of fear and the tendency of politicians to ignore science and expert medical advise.

Based on responses from different capitals of the world, we can’t help but conclude that panic was at the heart of all the reactions. Reactions should have been based on science, not fear, not politics! 

I hope that post-Coronavirus, global solidarity and cooperation will be (re)kindled. Under a body like the World Health Organisaion, one will expect that a global convention on uniform response to global pandemic is worked out, negotiated and underwritten by every nations of the world. Its focus should be to entrust management of such pandemics when they occur to a global team of rapid response experts drawn from National Centres for Disease Control. The expert team works out a global plan which must be uniformly executed.  This looks to me a viable way to counter the current situation where countries take different measures that are either scientifically baseless or that run at cross-purposes. 

As simple and basic as this sounds, it is curious why after previous pandemics, the most recent of which was the Ebola virus, the global community did not act? I recall a TEDtalk given some five years ago by Bill Gates in which he expressed exactly the same sentiment about a need to work out a global response strategy for global pandemic. No action was taken. Why?

I want to think that lessons were not learnt from the Ebola crisis first and foremost because African leaders are either too stupid to proffer sustainable solutions. Or they are too corrupt to commit resources to issues with no direct exclusive benefits to them. Or both! Going a bit further, Ebola happened mainly in Africa and was largely contained there after claiming tens of thousands of lives. Western nations, who have the skills, technology and resources, felt that the problem was far from their beds and saw no urgency in acting around global pandemic management. On the risk of sounding naïf, I want to believe that Coronavirus, having unleashed serious havoc out in the West and still terrorising us today, we’d now see how much a global action plan is not only an urgency of our time but an imperative that can’t be ignored or postponed.

Anioma People’s Declaration 2020

Declaration of statehood by the Anioma people of Nigeria

Proposed Anioma State of Nigeria
Map of Anioma

(1) We, the Anioma people declare that if granted our state in 2020, we shall generate enough electricity to power the whole of Nigeria by 2030. We shall build hydro-electric power plants at Uguozala, Ebu, Illah, Asaba, Onitsha, Nzam and Atani on the banks of the River Niger that will generate at least 50,000MW of electricity

(2) As our state will straddle the River Niger with territory in both the current Delta and Anambra states, we pledge to build six river crossings over the next 20 years. Each crossing will be at least four lanes wide

(3) We will construct Nigeria’s first underwater tunnel, building a 1km tunnel between Asaba and Onitsha

(4) We will construct at least two railway river crossings, with one linking Illah and Nzam and another linking Asaba and Onitsha

(5) We shall develop the world’s largest rubber plantation at Idumeje Ugboko with accompanying processing plants. Our goal is to attract the likes of Pirelli, Michelin, Firestone, Dunlop, etc. We will also aim to build the world’s largest condom and surgical glove factory at Umunede and the world’s largest rubber boot factory at Okpanam

(6) We shall construct Africa’s first underwater restaurant at Illah. This restaurant shall be made of glass and shall be situated under the River Niger

(7) As we shall be part of the southeast geo-political zone, we shall construct dual carriageways linking Onitsha with Enugu, Owerri, Abakaliki, Awka and Umuahia

(8) Asaba and Onitsha shall have high speed train lines linking them with Abuja, Port Harcourt and Lagos. Our capital Asaba shall be linked to every state capital in Nigeria by rail

(9) Anioma State will be the first state in Nigeria to refuse to accept any federal allocation. We refuse to join in this parasitic charade as it is contrary to our cultural values and an affront to our industrious nature

(10) We shall dredge the River Niger up to Onitsha and Asaba, enabling large Panamax ships to sail upstream. Our aim is the create Africa’s largest inland cargo port at Onitsha

A Richer Literary World with ‘Sons of the Soil’

I am honoured to offer some commentaries as a Reader at the book launch of Ben Ajuzie in Brussels, Belgium on Friday, 20 September 2019. I make bold to conclude that the work of fiction is an enrichment of the Belgo-Afro literary landscape.

Author Bernard (Ben) Ajuzie, Sons of the Soil

The world of literature will be richer on Friday 20 September 2019 with the official launch in Brussels, Belgium of the work of fiction “Sons of the Soil”. Authored by Bernard (Ben) Ajuzie, himself a study in diversity, Sons of the Soil holds a mirror to humanity. Through this mirror we are able to view ourselves from diverse prisms. 

In reading even just a part of Sons of the Soila kaleidoscope of self-evaluating questions can’t help but whirl up your head: am I the concerned father that also happens to be King of Sumanguru Kingdom, one of the principle characters of the over 300-page fiction? Do I best fit in the shoes of Gawiwy, Dr Banjo or Gabito, the master schemers? How much does Chubido, the loyal friend mirror my personality? Could it well be that my exterior defeats my inner calm, a different set of ambitions and a near zero sense of worldliness, making me the Prince Jeje of our time; heir apparent to the Sumanguru throne with no ambitions for the crown? How much does Chief Tirie represent my ambitious uncle, who would stop at nothing to get that which he sets his eyes on, undermining all and crushing everything that stands on his way? 

In more ways than one, there are Sons of the Soil in us all, be it in our daily lives as ordinary mortals or as parts of a cabal that constitute present day politics and politicking or community set-ups. Considering that Sons of the Soil speaks candidly to us all, it is a reference work to own. 

As the saying goes, different strokes for different folks! Readers are bound to make their individual assessment of the literary style deployed by Ben in this latest work, either in isolation or in comparison with his first book “Southern Realities Northern Dreams”. I for one see in Ben with his latest literary outing, a writer that is dramatically coming of age. I will not belabor you with neither volumes nor details but allow me the latitude to consider this oxymoron I extracted from page 301, and it reads “Chief Tirie laid face down and the earth appeared to shield it from the shame it refused to embrace when he was dealing other people…”  Before that, on page 300 to be precise, he had painted a literally picture of a Chief whose past would not let loose. Hear this “The Chief’s latest fear was not his failure to achieve, but the idea that the gods are on the hunt following his vows before the oracles”. Even poets and fans of poetry would have a field day with Sons of the Soil published by the National Library of Nigeria. An overzealous man had done everything and stopped at nothing to achieve his innocuous ambitions, knew that he had stepped on too many toes and made uncountable enemies. Will he be glorified, any legacy to celebrate? Perhaps not hence before drawing his last breath, he had this poetic rendition to spare:

“All who wish me gored

Are free to come forward

And party my end”

If I could indulge you a little more, allow me dwell for a brief moment on where the author, Ben Ajuzie derived the impetus to deliver such masterpiece of literature. As averred earlier on, Ben is a study in diversity. A Nigerian of Igbo extraction, his early influences are to be found in Limbe, West of the Cameroons, Accra and Anloga in Ghana where he enjoyed his secondary education before a homeward journey back to his home state of Abia in Nigeria. At the State University there in a semi-rural, semi-urban town of Uturu, he bagged a bachelor’s degree in Food Science & Technology. Thereafter, like his character Jeje, a sojourn away from Africa, brought him to Belgium’s Vrije Universiteit, Brussels for dual Masters, one in Human Ecology and the other a master’s in educational research & Psychology.  Ben’s rich and diverse background is a baggage that informs but also enriches his literary outing. 

Worthy of final mention is the crossover elements in Sons of the Soil. The setting of the fiction may understandably be Africa, but the fact of the writer maturing in Europe is evident in his coinages, metaphors and the oxymorons that dot the novel here and there. It is only fair to assert that this work is an interesting, if not a curious addition to the Belgo-Afro literature, which at present is in its infancy. My assessment is that Sons of the Soil leaves the first-generation African Diaspora and their European friends and family with nostalgia while their children, the second-generation Diaspora, will find in the book, tales of the influences that shaped their dads and mums, uncles and aunties. 

Commentary by Collins Nweke

Ostend, Belgium

Curious African Development Agenda from Japan

TICAD7 2019 Yokohama, Japan

Since 1993 Japan has conferenced six times with African leaders with a seventh session billed to commence today, 27 August 2019 in Yokohama. Initially attracting only a handful of African Heads of State, the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAN) now has virtually all African Presidents and Prime Ministers jostling for visibility. It is now being recognized as one of the most important and visible vehicles for strengthening Japan’s relationship with Africa. A multilateral and international forum focusing on African development, the theme for TICAD7 “Africa and Yokohama: Sharing Passion for the Future” raises questions as to whose future is being positively served here. 

Japan says it pursues two major approaches to guide its relations with African countries, namely quality growth:  inclusiveness, sustainability as well as resilience and human security: capacity building focusing on each individual in Africa. With the inception of TICAD, Japan took the lead in fostering international discussion on Africa’s development. TICAD’s innovative approaches include advocating African ownershipand international partnership; promoting the participation of international organizations, donor countries, private sector and civil society; and creating follow-up and review mechanisms to ensure the progress of programmes and projects.

After 23 years of its existence, the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD6) was held at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) on 27 – 28 August 2016, making it the first TICAD held on African continent. The theme of TICAD VI was Advancing Africa’s sustainable Development agenda: TICAD Partnership for Shared Prosperity’It adopted three pillars for Japan’s cooperation policy with Africa. Firstly, promotion of economic structural changes through economic diversification and industrialization. Secondly, promoting a resilient health system for high quality of life, and thirdly, promoting social stabilization for shared prosperity. 

I have quite a lot on my mind but my priority thought centers around the fact that Japan’s curious departure from the traditional overseas development assistance #ODA strategy is a commentary on the changing landscape of international development. It does not seem to me that Japan’s major interest is about developing Africa. It is more like, and rightfully so, building Japan’s economy taking advantage of the abundant resources that Africa has, which includes 89% of world’s total reserves of platinum, 60% of diamonds, 53% of cobalt, 37% of zirconium.Japan is known to actively deploy its diplomacy towards Africa in order to maintain the momentum. The Japan–African Regional Economic Communities (RECs) Summit Roundtable for instance, was held in New York on the margins of the 2013 UN General Assembly, chaired by Prime Minister Abe. In the roundtable, participants exchanged views on agricultural development and food security. In addition, from November 24 to December 5, 2013, Japan dispatched a Public and Private Sector Joint Mission for Promoting Trade and Investment for Africa to the Republic of the Congo, the Gabonese Republic, and Ivory Coast. Thus, Japan hopes to further develop its relations with Africa through such follow-up measures to TICAD. Furthermore, Prime Minister Abe visited three African countries in 2014, fulfilling his promise at TICAD5 to visit Africa in the near future.


Africa has become a bride everyone wants to court. But the big question is: does #Africa realize how beautiful a bride it is and why everyone wants her? Has Africa got a strategy to harness its potentials and yield dividend for its overwhelmingly growing youthful but restive population? With the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement #AfCFTA now a reality, one would hope that sooner rather than later, Africa will begin to grow for itself, leaders who would help drive the developed but never implemented continent-wide agenda for development through which they relate with the likes of TICAD & FOCAC (Forum on China-Africa Cooperation). An Africa-wide Agenda with country strategies should be anchored on the notion that different African countries have different competitive advantages over one another. Until Africa emerges with leaders who understand that fair trading conditions with Western nations will yield more dividends than aid, the continent will continue to be poor and under-developed.

Whole Society Approach to Counter-Terrorism

www.youtube.com/watch

Today the United Nations wraps up a two-day regional conference in #Nairobi, #Kenya 🇰🇪 on global actions to prevent and combat terrorism. Here in a news bulletin on #TRTWorld, I shared a brief view on its global implication and what it portends for Africa. https://youtu.be/GgliHkKFM1I

Economic Diplomacy & the Diaspora

I was delighted to have made a presentation at a Multi-sectoral Stakeholders Economic Investment Summit organised bySME Secretariat and hosted at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce, Victoria Island, Lagos Nigeria on Monday 21 January 2019

Jeffrey Onyeama Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria

I used the opportunity to review the Nigerian Economic Diplomacy Initiative (NEDI) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria under President Muhammadu Buhari. After a general refresher of what NEDI is all about, I dropped the following conclusions on this policy initiative:

  • NEDI is a strategically important policy tool with huge potentials to make a structural difference in economic regeneration of Nigeria with focus on non-oil sector
  • NEDI made a good start but has clearly not lived up to its biddings. It has failed rather woefully in showing evidence that it has made a convincing start in delivering on the important task of enhancing inter-agency collaborations
  • There is no visible effort on the part of NEDI to genuinely engage the Diaspora in a result-oriented way
  • Unless there is a change of course, NEDI is marked to fail!

I wrapped up with these sets of recommendations:

  • Foreign trade component should be introduced into the operations of all Ministries, Departments & Agencies (MDAs)
  • A NEDI Attaché should have a sitting in all major Missions of Nigeria worldwide where possible or the role unambiguously integrated into the duties of all diplomats charged with economic affairs
  • A formal working relationship should be initiated with Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) worldwide to enhance professional Diaspora mobilization
  • Clear targets should be set for inward investment flows as aconsequence of NEDI activities

Access to the integral PowerPoint Presentation on Economic Diplomacy & the Diaspora is possible:https://1drv.ms/p/s!AuyRKnHzz067wRMWQFFnd28yiaXL