Davido makes surprised appearance at Tunde Onakoya 58hr chess marathon in New York


Guinness World Record: Davido makes a surprise appearance at Times Square in New York to support Tunde Onakoya during his ongoing 58-hour chess marathon.


By Favour Nnabugwu 


GWR: Last day of Kunle Onakoya’s Game Time

Popular chess master, Tunde Onakoya, has begun his attempt to surpass the Guinness World Record for the longest chess marathon.

Onakoya announced the commencement via his X account with the caption, “Game time.”

The event, which is underway at New York City’s iconic Times Square, started at 10am on Wednesday, April 17, and is scheduled to end at 8pm on April 19.

Nigerians abroad have trooped to the venue to support Onakoya in his quest.

Among those out cheering Onakoya is Nigerian singer, Adekunle Kosoko, popularly known as Adekunle Gold.

Onakoya is set to engage in an intense chess marathon, aiming to play for 58 hours without a single defeat.

Onakoya had said he was embarking on the challenge “for the dreams of millions of children across Africa without access to education.”

The current Guinness World Record, set by Hallvard Haug Flatebø and Sjur Ferkingstad of Norway on November 11, 2018, stands at 56 hours, 9 minutes, and 37 second.

EU, GIZ, Orange launch a strategic partnership to support the digital transformation in cocoa sector, low-carbon transition in Côte d’Ivoire

By Favour Nnabugwu 



Orange (www.Orange.com), in partnership with the European Union and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) announces the launch of the “DigiGreen & Agri” project, an ambitious initiative to promote digital innovation for a transition to a more sustainable and inclusive economy in Cote D’Ivoire with joint funding €7.6million.

The overall objective of this project is to contribute to the creation of decent jobs, support the development and financing of startups within the ecosystem, and promote sustainable investments.

Initiated as part of the Team Europe Initiatives for sustainable cocoa and the low-carbon transition, the “DigiGreen & Agri” project focuses on the development of entrepreneurship, enhancing youth employability across the entire value chain of cocoa and sustainable agriculture, through digital technology. There will be a particular emphasis on youth in rural youth, women, girls, and people with disabilities through the Orange Digital Center in Côte d’Ivoire.

This ambitious partnership benefits from joint funding of €7.6 million and aims to achieve several strategic objectives:
Improving professional skills: the project aims to strengthen the professional skills of young people and women in the digital sector by offering them new opportunities in the constantly changing labour market.
Entrepreneurship promotion: “DigiGreen & Agri” will support the creation and strengthening of strong digital startups and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), thus fostering innovation and economic growth.

Development of sustainable digital solutions: the partnership will strengthen the capacities of startups and MSMEs to develop and market innovative digital solutions, thus contributing to the modernization and innovation of sustainable agriculture sectors, low-carbon transition and corporate social responsibility.

Acceleration of the growth of seed startups: a seed fund will be dedicated to financing the most promising startups. Orange and GIZ will draw on the expertise of the Digital Africa programme to provide funding to startups in the ecosystem to enable them to develop their activities and accelerate their growth.

By working closely with local stakeholders, Orange, the European Union and GIZ are committed to supporting young talent, promoting entrepreneurship and catalyzing economic development in the most vulnerable communities.

Orange and GIZ are collaborating under the develoPPP programme, which is implemented on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The DigiGreen & Agri project is supported by the special initiative “Decent Employment for a Just Transition” and co-financed by the European Union.

Francesca Di Mauro, Ambassador of the European Union to the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire: “I am delighted to attend the launch of this DigiGreen & Agri project, which places youth employability at the heart of its objectives, by proposing the development of new digital solutions for sustainable agriculture and the green economy and the creation of quality jobs. This project reflects the European desire to strengthen smart, clean and secure links in the digital sector, one of the pillars of the Global Gateway strategy. It is also the result of an excellent collaboration between the private and public sectors in team Europe format: Orange’s expertise and investments, in synergy with the development aid resources of the EU and Germany, are mobilized for the inclusive growth of the country.”

Axel Klaphake, Director of Division GIZ: “This unprecedented cooperation format between GIZ, the European Union and Orange is the first development partnership with the private sector cofunded by the European Union and implemented by the develoPPP programme with the support of the Special Initiative «Decent Employment for a Just Transition» commissioned by the BMZ in Côte d’Ivoire. It will reach a very broad target group and create synergies with other cooperation programmes currently in place in Côte d’Ivoire. Technical and financial support for startups will help create jobs and build the capacity of young entrepreneurs to come up with innovative ideas to strengthen the agricultural sector, especially the sustainable cocoa sector. We are pleased to launch this partnership with our public and private partners and thank all the actors who made this cooperation possible.”

Jérôme Hénique, CEO Orange Middle East & Africa: “Orange’s commitment to sustainable development and innovation is once again taking shape today through our partnership with the German Cooperation and the European Union to support the digital transformation of the cocoa sector in Côte d’Ivoire. The Orange Digital Centers are essential vectors of this transformation, offering a free and open innovation ecosystem, with a particular focus on youth, women and vulnerable people. Together, we are taking up the challenge of building an inclusive and environmentally friendly digital future for a more sustainable and prosperous economy. “

Mamadou Bamba, Managing Director Orange Côte d’Ivoire: “This project is a concrete illustration of Orange’s commitment to sustainable development in Africa. As a responsible digital operator, we believe that digital can play a crucial role in solving the challenges of the 21st century. That is why we are proud to partner with the European Union and GIZ to implement this ambitious project. I am convinced that the DigiGreen & Agri project will have a positive and lasting impact on the cocoa sector in Côte d’Ivoire and will help create jobs and improve the living conditions of farmers and people.”

Nigeria’s Tade Omotosho to partake in Polish elections April 7

By Favour Nnabugwu 
A Nigerian by name Dr Tade Daniel Omotosho will partake in Polish elections come April 7, 2024, says his decision to contest the elections is informed by his quest for impact.
“I’m thrilled to announce my candidacy for the position of Wolomin county councillor in the upcoming Polish district and local government elections,” Dr Tade Daniel Omotosho said in a press release.
Wołomin County, whose administrative seat Wolomin lies 22 kilometres north-east of Warsaw, has a population of 247,288.
Omotosho, an academic who is the current Director for MBA programs at Coventry University UK (Poland Campus).
“A few weeks back, my tenure as the Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Organization Poland was completed. However, my journey for impact continues,” he said.
“This historic step does not only represent me but also countless Africans residing in Poland,” he added
Omotosho, who is also the founder of the Centre for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Poland (cdei.pl), hopes to inspire both the Polish-African youth and the entire Polish-African community by his candidacy.
“I shall continue to lead by example as a proud Nigerian citizen embodying resilience and service,” he vowed.
There are about 5,400 Africans in the country, most of whom came to the country as students. In addition, there are naturalised Black citizens as well as a young generation of Polish-born Blacks.
As small as the community is, it has recorded successes in Polish politics, as two Africans have been elected to the Polish national parliament at different times, Omotosho noted. This is an inspiration to the young generation, which has become more assertive, to participate in politics and society.
The return of large scale Oil and Gas & ramifications of Angola’s growing downstream sector

By Favour Nnabugwu 



International oil companies (IOCs) are driving multiple exploration and production projects including Kaombo North, the Eastern and Western hubs at Block 15/06 operated by Eni Angola.

The IOC as well as CLOV Phase 2 and Dalia Phase 3 at Block 17 operated by TotalEnergies.

And earlier this year, Angola surpassed Nigeria as the top oil-producing country in Africa. In April, Angola produced 1.06 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil, while Nigeria and Algeria both produced 0.999 million bpd.

While the outlook for Angola’s upstream industry is more than optimistic, the country’s downstream sector still has some way to go. Currently, Angola’s sole operational refinery is the Luanda Refinery, which has only been able to meet 20% of the country’s demand for refined products.

As a result of this lack of infrastructure, Angola spends over USD1.7 billion annually on oil imports despite vast petroleum reserves totaling approximately 9 billion barrels of oil and 11 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

But even here, the outlook is promising. Angolan President João Lourenço and Minister of Mineral Resources, Oil, and Gas, Diamantino Azevedo have made strengthening the country’s oil and gas refining capacity a priority.

Their objectives are to meet domestic energy demand, reduce oil imports, and maximize the monetization of energy resources for regional and global markets.

These efforts got off to a strong start in 2022, when Angola expanded the Luanda Refinery in cooperation with Italian oil major, Eni, increasing the plant’s daily production to 1,200 metric tonnes per day.

In addition, several new facilities, namely the Cabinda, Soyo, and Lobito refineries, are in the works

Phase 1 of the Cabinda refinery — a 30,000 bpd crude unit that produces diesel, heavy fuel, jet fuel, and naphtha — is expected to be operational in mid-2024. Cabinda’s capacity will double to 60,000 bpd when the final phase of construction is completed.

As recently as this month, Africa Finance Corporation and African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) announced a USD335 million credit facility for the project, which will cover the first phase of construction. The refinery is being developed by the UK’s Gemcorp Holding Limited (GHL) in partnership with Angola’s national oil company, Sonangol.
The Soyo refinery project is scheduled to be completed in 2025. Angola’s Ministry of Mineral Resources and Petroleum has awarded the tender for the construction of the 100,000-bpd refinery in Soyo to U.S.-based Quanten Consortium Angola LLC. The consortium will design, build, own, and operate the deep-conversion refinery. In addition to the refinery, Quanten will develop a tank farm, marine terminal, and infrastructure there.

Furthermore, a 200,000-bpd refinery in Lobito province is being developed, with services provided by Japanese conglomerate JGC Holdings. Sonangol has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China National Chemical Engineering (CNCEC) for the construction of this refinery. The MoU aims to secure financing for the project and may lead to a contract for construction by the Chinese company. The refinery, expected to be operational by 2026, will have a capacity of producing up to 200,000 bpd.

In 2022, Minister Azevedo said that building refineries and modernizing the existing one would allow Angola to sustain its energy supply and reduce the steep costs associated with energy imports. He and President Lourenço have continued to move the country closer to realizing those benefits — and several others.

Scaling up its refining capacity will enable Angola to maximize the monetization of its energy resources. With new projects like Eni’s Ndungu Early Production Project and TotalEnergies’ CLOV floating production, storage, and offloading unit, Angola aims to trade ready-to-use fuels with Europe, reducing Europe’s reliance on Russian resources.

Further, downstream activities such as marketing and distribution will set the stage for job creation and business opportunities, from running service stations to supplying lubricant oils.

Also important, Angola will be better positioned to meet regional energy demands. As more refineries come online, Angola can utilize such cross-border trade systems as the Central African Pipeline System and the Angola-Zambia pipeline to deliver refined products to other African countries

Driving growth in Angola’s downstream sector is only one example of the steps Angola’s government has taken in recent years to strengthen the country’s energy industry.

To attract investment and further encourage production, the Angolan government has implemented extensive reforms, including simplifying control mechanisms, offering fiscal incentives for the development of marginal oil fields, establishing regulations for well abandonment and decommissioning, and enacting the country’s first natural gas law.

The African Energy Chamber sees the efforts by President Lourenço and Minister Azevedo as major wins for Angola that will help ensure ongoing foreign investment, energy security, and economic growth.

AfDB appoints Ousmane Fall as Director, Non-Sovereign Operations, Private Sector,

By Favour Nnabugwu


The African Development Bank Group has appointed Ousmane Fall, a Senegalese national, as Director of Non-Sovereign Operations and Private Sector, effective from the 1st of August 2023.

Fall takes on this new role with 17 years of experience. He spent the last four years at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), where he provided strategic leadership on country planning and ministerial dialogue in the African infrastructure space.

At the IFC, Fall covered various sectors, namely water, waste and sanitation; transport and energy; logistics; and telecommunications. He also oversaw the establishment of the Municipal Financing Platform for Sub-Saharan Africa.

Fall developed and executed the first asset-backed securities investment for access to energy in Africa, as well as the first private sector investments in hydro and solar in Gabon and Benin. Other firsts were a gas-to-power strategy for the Senegalese government, and the first municipal financing strategy for the cities of Dakar, Cotonou, Abidjan, and Douala.

He also led business development efforts across Africa, building strong relationships with private sector clients, central and local governments, cities, and selected sovereign-owned entities on the ground.

Fall earlier worked at the African Development Bank Group for 10 years. He held several positions, including those of acting manager for the Strategy and Transactions Support Division, and officer in charge for the Non-Sovereign Infrastructure Division, providing key advisory services and transaction support to Non-Sovereign Operations origination departments. He oversaw project officers in such areas as debt and guarantee transactions design, project bankability assessment, capital structuring, project credit enhancement, financial leveraging, and financial modelling.

He also spearheaded knowledge management and training on non-sovereign operations. He established non-sovereign operations modules on project finance, corporate loans, financial modelling, technical assistance, client relationship management, and equity investments. Fall was a successful investment officer, delivering landmark private sector transactions at the Bank.

He has extensive knowledge of African debt and equity markets, guarantee products, derivatives, and credit enhancement instruments. Fall led the execution of the first African Development Bank Group non-sovereign operations transactions in agriculture, health and education, and the first port dredging and gas-to-power projects. He also served in the Bank’s Public Sector Department, where he worked on solar projects in Morocco, hydro projects in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Guinea, and other transmission projects in Nigeria and Zambia. He also worked in the Risk Department, where he contributed to the definition and implementation of the Bank’s Capital Adequacy Framework and Exposure Management Policy.

Before joining the African Development Bank, Fall was an investment banker in the Structured Finance Division of Société Générale in Paris.

Fall holds a Master of Science in Finance from INSEEC Business and Management School in France (2005).

Commenting on his appointment, Fall said: “I am honoured and grateful that President Adesina appointed me to this position. I look forward to working under his leadership to serve the premier financial institution of the continent in its ambitious vision to transform the African continent through the private sector.”

African Development Bank president, Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina, said: “Ousmane has a proven track record of delivering results in private sector transactions. He will ensure the overall effectiveness of the Bank’s Private Sector operations through non-sovereign operations project and corporate portfolio management as well as transaction support to non-sovereign operations origination departments.”

Ajay Banga is 14th President of the World Bank

By Favour Nnabugwu


The Executive Directors of the World Bank today selected Ajay Banga as President of the World Bank for a five-year term beginning June 2, 2023.

Ajay Banga most recently served as Vice Chairman at General Atlantic. Previously, he was President and CEO of Mastercard, a global organization with nearly 24,000 employees.  Under his leadership, MasterCard launched the Center for Inclusive Growth, which advances equitable and sustainable economic growth and financial inclusion around the world. He was Honorary Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce, serving as Chairman from 2020-2022.

He became an advisor to General Atlantic’s climate-focused fund, BeyondNetZero, at its inception in 2021. Banga served as Co-Chair of the Partnership for Central America, a coalition of private organizations that works to advance economic opportunity across underserved populations in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. He was previously on the Boards of the American Red Cross, Kraft Foods, and Dow Inc.

Ajay Banga is a co-founder of The Cyber Readiness Institute and was Vice Chair of the Economic Club of New York. He was awarded the Foreign Policy Association Medal in 2012, the Padma Shri Award by the President of India in 2016, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and the Business Council for International Understanding’s Global Leadership Award in 2019, and the Distinguished Friends of Singapore Public Service Star in 2021.

The Executive Directors followed the selection process agreed by shareholders in 2011. The process included an open, merit-based, and transparent nomination where any national of the Bank’s membership could be proposed by any Executive Director or Governor through an Executive Director. This was then followed by thorough due diligence and a comprehensive interview of Mr. Banga by the Executive Directors.

The Board looks forward to working with Mr. Banga on the World Bank Group Evolution process, as discussed at the April 2023 Spring Meetings, and on all the World Bank Group’s ambitions and efforts aimed at tackling the toughest development challenges facing developing countries.

The President of the World Bank Group is also the Chair of the Board of the Executive Directors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). The President is also ex officio chair of the Board of Directors of the International Development Association (IDA), International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and of the Administrative Council of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

Nigeria, 9 other countries rank top 10 in air pollution

By Favour Nnabugwu
Nigeria is among the top 10 African countries with air pollution in the world with 36 percent of pollution ranking 18th in the 5th Annual World Air Quality Report.
First on the list of the othe 9 countried is Chad with 89.7 percent air pollution, followed by Burkina Faso with 63.0 positioned as number 6th; Egypt is 9th with 46.5 percent; Sudan is 12th with 44.6 percent; Rwanda is 44.0 percent, 13th; Uganda is 39.6 percent, 17th; Ethiopia is 31.3 percent, 23rd;  Ghana 30.2 percent, 27th and Gabon 25.0 percent, 32nd
The biggest threat to environmental health in the world still involves air pollution. Over six million deaths annually and 93 billion days of illness are attributed to poor air quality globally. The total economic cost exceeds $8 trillion, or 6.1% of the annual global gross domestic product. Numerous health conditions, such as asthma, lung diseases, heart disease, and early mortality, are brought on by and made worse by exposure to air pollution.
Populations that are already at risk are most severely affected by air pollution. More than 90% of deaths attributed to pollution take place in low- and middle-income nations. There is a higher risk of developing or worsening health conditions in children under the age of 18, pregnant women, and older adults who are exposed to air pollution.
As a result, it is important to know the air health of the region you’re residing in, which is why IQAir, an organization mandated to fight the effects of polluted air. IQAir also operates the world’s largest free real-time air quality information platform.
 The air quality scientists at IQAir examined data from over 30,000 air quality monitoring stations spread across 7,323 locations in 131 countries, territories, and regions for this year’s report.
According to the data collated, Africa continues to be the continent with the lowest representation, despite an increase from 13 countries represented in 2021 to 19 countries included in this year’s report.
 Out of 54 countries, only 19 have enough information on air quality. The data analyzed for this report comes exclusively from empirically measured PM2.5 data collected from ground-level air monitoring stations. The PM2.5 measurement data in this report is aggregated from both regulatory air quality monitoring instrumentation and low-cost air quality sensors.
These devices are operated by government agencies, educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and individual citizens who contribute to the monitoring of their local air quality.
PM2.5 concentration describes the amount of fine particulate aerosol particles up to 2.5 microns in diameter and is used as the standard air quality indicator for the World Air Quality Report. Measured in micrograms per cubic meter (μg/m3 ), PM2.5 is one of six major air pollutants commonly used in the classification of air quality.
Tanzanian, AfDB sign for Kakono Hydropower project

By Favour Nnabugwu


Tanzania and the African Development Bank (AfDB) signed a loan agreement for a total of $161.47 million (or about Sh374.9 billion) to be used in financing the Kakono Hydropower Project in Kagera.

The 87.8 MW project, whose total cost exceeds Sh700 billion, is also financed by the European Union (EU) and the French Development Agency or Agence française de développement (AFD).

The government signed an agreement with the AFD on its portion of the deal, totaling 110 million euros, just one week prior to yesterday’s new development, according to Finance and Planning Minister Mwigulu Nchemba, who spoke during the signing ceremony (about Sh272.6 billion).

The 35 million euro (Sh86.7 billion) grant from the EU, which will be managed by AFD, is the final amount of the total project cost that has not yet been agreed upon.
Following this important milestone, I request the grant arrangement between AFD and EU to be expedited in order to have the full package of financing ready for the project,” Dr. Nchemba, stated.

He emphasized that increasing on-grid energy production from the least expensive renewable sources is the Kakono Hydropower Project’s overall development goal in order to address the electricity deficits in north-western Tanzania.

In the northwest corner of Tanzania, in the Lake Zone, where expensive diesel generators are frequently turned on to either supplement the grid supply or improve the quality of supply to avoid protracted blackouts and brownouts, the development of the project will replace the use of fossil fuels.

Dr. Nchemba predicts that the project will be finished in five years. It will entail building an 87.8 MW hydropower plant as well as a primary school, a health center, and a 28 km long asphalted access road that is part of the Project. He continued by saying that this will ultimately result in an improvement in the local communities standard of living.

He continued by saying that the project also entails the provision of evacuation facilities and the execution of the plan for environmental and social management and monitoring. The Third Five Year Development Plan (FYDP III) of the country and the broad plan of the Sixth Phase Government are both supported by the Kakono Hydropower Project.

Dr. Nchemba also added that the targeted objective is to create a competitive and industrial economy for human development by strengthening the business and investment-enabling environment, productive infrastructure, reliable access to energy, and systems for education and training

Nigeria, Israel tightens partnership in entrepreneurship, others

By Favour Nnabugwu




Nigeria and Israel have commenced collaborative moves to deepen partnership in innovation, entrepreneurship and production with the aim of harnessing Nigeria’s huge potentials for its technological development.

The two nations agreed on these when the Israeli Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Michael Freeman, paid a working visit to the Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund,TETFund, Arc. Sonny Echono ,at the Fund’s Headquarters in Abuja.

Speaking during the visit, Ambassador Freeman expressed Israel’s desire to work with Nigeria in the area of technology and entrepreneurship development, describing Nigeria as a country of huge potentials due to its teeming youth population.

While describing Israel as a leading country in technology and innovation, Ambassador Freeman disclosed that 45% of Israel’s GDP comes from innovation and entrepreneurship start-ups, as the country’s major economic sectors are involved in high technology and industrial manufacturing.

He stated that with Nigeria’s huge potential, if same could be achieved, or even a 30% GDP addition to Nigeria coming from technology, innovation and entrepreneurship, it would hasten Nigeria’s economic development.

The Israeli Ambassador further stated that Nigeria possesses the potential to be a destination for businesses if innovative developments are harnessed, particularly through innovation incubation hubs.

This, he said, would provide young Nigerians who have entrepreneurship potentials but lacked expertise an avenue to be mentored and guided in the right direction.

Mr. Freeman also spoke about the Innovation Fellowship for Aspiring Inventors and Researchers (i-Fair) programme, an initiative borne out of the need to raise a generation of innovators, inventors and researchers in Nigeria; especially among the youths. He noted that the Embassy has worked closely with the office of the Vice President on the programme, which has spanned across two editions and also called for stronger partnership with the Fund in the upcoming Third Edition.

In his remarks, Arc. Sonny S.T Echono expressed appreciation to the Israeli Ambassador for his visit and commitment towards strengthening ties with TETFund in Nigeria’s quest for technological and economic development.

While expressing excitement at the numerous benefits derivable from the partnership, he stated that “If innovation and entrepreneurship can provide 45% of Israel GDP, one can only imagine what 10 0r 20% will do to Nigeria’s GDP with our population”.

According to Echono, there is a global consensus that Nigerians are hardworking and intelligent if provided with the right incentives, and one can envision what can be unlocked through technology, innovation and entrepreneurship.