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Nigeria to deploy satellite technology for mining surveillance

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The Nigerian government will employ satellite technology to monitor mining sites around the country, according to a statement by Dele Alake, Minister of Solid Minerals Development.

Alake stated that this technology will support the 2,220 members of the Mining Marshal Corps—who are recruited from the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC)—in their efforts to combat illicit mining in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja.

To safeguard Nigeria’s natural riches, these corps members—who are dispersed throughout the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT)—have additionally undergone modern combat training from the military.

He said, We are introducing some technology, we are not just relying on men and materials alone. The satellite surveillance gadgets we are putting in there is to enable us to see in real-time in all mining sites in Nigeria.”

“So that when we notice any infraction, very quickly we can deploy the mining marshals to go there so we don’t even have to wait for any interpersonal communication. That reduces the time of knowledge and action.”

“Right now, we depend on people passing intelligence to us but when the satellite surveillance gadget is working, we will be able to see it ourselves. Which is a step forward on the right direction.

He pointed out that the solid mineral industry is rife with security issues that President Bola Tinubu’s administration inherited, like as banditry, kidnapping, and terrorism. Most mining operations take place in woods, which are hotbeds of these crimes.

The Tinubu administration is dedicated to cleaning up the industry and shifting its role so that it makes a major contribution to the GDP (gross domestic product) of Nigeria.

The minister claims that to quickly address these problems, cooperative efforts are being undertaken with other government agencies, including the Nigerian Army, the Police, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

According to Alake, the ministry is committed to ensuring that the GDP (gross domestic product) of Nigeria is contributed by the solid minerals sector rather than oil. He emphasized that the administration of President Bola Tinubu is putting policies and efforts into place to diversify the economy and soon bring in more money than oil. This change is essential, particularly in light of the worldwide movement toward energy transition, which will lower the oil demand.

To facilitate the energy transition, he said, Nigeria possesses essential minerals in commercial quantities in all of its states. To draw significant investors to the industry, the government is actively marketing these resources.

Mineral production in Nigeria reached 121,204,122,000 metric tons in December 2021. The mining industry has seen a steady decline in share, from 5.6% in 1980 to a little under 1% presently. In Q3 2022, the mining sector in Nigeria contributed 0.3% to the country’s GDP, which was less than the 0.2% it had in the same period the previous year.

The mining sectors of Botswana, Ghana, and South Africa, on the other hand, contribute 16%, 12.6%, and 7.3% of their respective economies, making them far more significant.

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As inflation slows down, Angolan central bank maintains stable interest rate

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The central bank of Angola maintained its main interest rate at 19.5% on Friday, noting a possible short-term improvement in the supply of necessities and a possible decrease in inflation.

To contain growing inflation, which has reached 30%, the Bank of Angola hiked its main rate by 50 basis points at its most recent monetary policy meeting in May after raising it by 100 basis points in March.

The annual inflation rate increased last month, from 30.16% in May to 31.00%, although at a slower rate than in prior months.

“The decision (on Friday) was motivated by the prospect of a slowdown in the rate of price growth and an improvement in the supply of essential goods,” said Central Bank Governor Manuel Tiago Dias.

“If current conditions prevail from August onwards, we predict a slowdown in year-on-year inflation,” Tiago Dias added.

Since the middle of last year, inflation has been increasing in the nation that produces oil in Africa.

By September, the central bank will make its next move on monetary policy.

 

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Bean disease affects 81% of major cocoa region in Ghana

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The International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO) reports that 81% of a significant cocoa-producing region in Ghana, the second-largest cocoa grower in the world, is affected by swollen shoot disease.

Due to unfavourable weather and disease in leading cocoa-producing countries, Ghana and Ivory Coast, prices for the ingredient used in chocolate have nearly doubled this year.

However, expectations are growing for better production the following season. About 60% of the cocoa produced worldwide is produced by the two nations combined.

 

The data on bean disease in Ghana’s Western North, the country’s third-largest cocoa-producing region by output, cast doubt on hopes for a production rebound partly because they show how severe the outbreak is still.

Usually, within a few years, the swollen shoot virus first lowers yields before killing trees. Cocoa cannot be replanted until the sick trees are removed and the soil is treated.

The ICCO reports that 330,456 hectares of Ghana’s 410,229-hectare Western North region are contaminated. The intergovernmental agency was using information from Ghana’s cocoa sector regulator, Cocobod, through its Cocoa Health and Extension Division (CHED).

 

At an industry gathering in April, Joseph Aidoo, the chief executive of that industry regulator, said Reuters that 500,000 hectares nationwide—or 25.7% of Ghana’s 1.94 million hectares of cocoa-growing land—were afflicted.

He claimed that an additional 100,000 hectares are unproductive because of old trees and that the nation has already treated an additional 100,000 hectares, opening a new tab for swollen shoot. Replanted trees require two to four years to reach maturity and yield beans following rehabilitation.

 

“Swollen shoot is a serious problem that’s not improved in the last 12 months and is not going away,” said Steve Wateridge, a veteran world expert on cocoa and head of research at Tropical Research Services by Expana.

The Ivory Coast’s authorities have been more cautious about disclosing the full scope of the outbreak to the public, but the ICCO said that swollen shoot is also spreading there. Wateridge previously informed Reuters that the infection probably affected up to 30% of Ivorian cocoa plants.

Ghana usually produces more than 800,000 tons of cocoa annually, but due to smuggling, disease, aged trees, illegal gold mining, and climate change, it is predicted to produce just over half that amount this season.

 

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