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Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, shortlists firms to build 4th Mainland Bridge. RIP traffic jam?

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The state government of Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, has shortlisted a consortium led by Portugal’s builder Mota-Engil and two Chinese ventures to build a $2.5 billion bridge.

An official of the government revealed that the construction of the bridge is expected to relieve severe congestion in the mega-city.

Lagos is currently home to what used to be the longest bridge in Africa, the Third Mainland Bridge, it was displaced from its position when the 6th October Bridge located in Cairo was completed.

The new project, dubbed Fourth Mainland Bridge, would be a 37-kilometre, to be built under a public-private partnership.

The bridge will include three toll plazas, nine interchanges, and a design speed of 120 kilometres per hour, said Jubril Gawat, a senior spokesperson for the Lagos state governor.

The governor’s spokesperson further revealed that the bid winner will be announced before the end of the year.

Lagos is a densely populated part of Nigeria with a special case of traffic congestion. The state’s population is said to be growing at a percentage rate that is 10 times faster than those of New York and Los Angeles cities in the United States of America.

Lagos currently accommodates 40 percent of the total registered vehicles in Nigeria.

Beyond addressing the traffic challenges of Lagos, the construction of the bridge will plug a big gap in Nigeria’s infrastructure deficit. Specifically for Lagos, Nigeria’s industrial hub, the state governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu at a round table recently stressed that “given the rising population and limited geography space that we have, Lagos will indeed require about $15 billion over the next five years on infrastructure alone.

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Progress as Kenya’s January 2023 inflation rate slows to 9.0%

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The Kenyan statistics office has revealed that the country’s inflation rate slowed to 9.0% year-on-year in January from 9.1% a month earlier.

The latest inflation figure makes it the third straight month that inflation has fallen in the East African country. The figure hit 9.6% in October, its highest level since May 2017. January’s inflation is still above the government’s preferred band of 2.5%-7.5%.

The statement by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics shows that on a monthly basis, inflation was 0.2% compared with 0.5% in December.

Inflation inched down to 9.1% in December, the second straight month of decrease, but still above the government’s preferred band of 2.5-7.5%.

Kenya’s central bank on Monday announced a new monetary policy holding its benchmark lending rate steady at 8.75%.

According to African Development Bank, Kenyan economic growth is projected to decelerate to 5.9% in 2022 and 5.7% in 2023, driven on the demand side by a decline in domestic and external demand caused by lower income and by an increase in food and fuel import costs and on the supply side by tepid economic activity across sectors due to cost-push factors.

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Nigeria’s legislature approves extra $2.2 bln central bank loans to government

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Nigeria’s debt crisis isn’t going away anytime soon as the country’s lower house of parliament has approved President Muhammadu Buhari’s request to borrow an extra $2.2 billion.

According to the lawmakers, the approval is in temporary advance from the country’s central bank.

Nigeria’s minister of Finance in December made the revelation that the country will henceforth focus on concessionary loans from the World Bank, Islamic Development Bank, African Development Bank, and others for external loans, Ahmed told Reuters in Abuja after a cabinet meeting.

The legislators plan to discuss with officials in order to turn central bank loans to the government worth 23.7 trillion naira ($52 billion) into long-term debt.

President Buhari asked parliament in December for approval to convert central bank’s temporary advance to government into 40-year bonds at 9% interest to cut interest payments but lawmakers questioned the plan.

Government debt in Nigeria averaged 73641.06 USD Million from 2012 until 2022, reaching an all-time high of 103312.80 USD Million in the second quarter of 2022 and a record low of 48361.37 USD Million in the first quarter of 2013.

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