Forgive us our Debt 🙏

Are virtual haircuts becoming a thing?

Hello, It’s been another week of the lockdown. How are you holding up?

While most persons are familiar with how to stay safe and protect themselves, a few need to be reminded that Amala doesn’t cure Coronavirus.

Please Note: We changed our Mailing service provider, please add us to your contact list or move from promotions/spam to Primary folder.

Now to the Stories of the Week


Forgive us our Debt

Nigeria and China’s relationship looks interesting right with Nigeria making many requests.

In the past few weeks, there have been many talks about Debt forgiveness by African Countries. And of course, Nigeria is already doing this by asking the Chinese government to forgive its loan or allow it to delay repayment.

How much of the loan should be forgiven?

We’re not sure. However, as at 31st December 2019, Nigeria owed China $3.175 Billion (N12.27 Trillion). 

If the loan is forgiven, That sounds like a good thing right...

Yeah maybe, however, as hinted by Feyi Fahwehim there’s also something worrying about asking China for debt forgiveness.

The way a lot of debt agreements work is that the ones gotten for infrastructural reasons, the projects are also executed by a company from the lending nation. You get a loan from China, and the deal is a Chinese company executes the project.

Therefore a significant portion of the Chinese debt Nigeria has gotten in the last few years and many are tied to projects that are still unfinished.

Case in point: A lot of Nigeria’s debts to China are for rail projects that are ongoing. Would China cancel the debt and still go-ahead to complete them?

Most likely, China would rather take the latter option- delaying repayment for a while. For Nigeria, any option taken by China would favour her.

Also, There have been complaints that Africans and significantly Nigerians are being maltreated in China.

Why so?

Most recently, Imported cases have been the major source of the spread of the virus in China.

As per Brooking, Chinese Local authorities have identified Africa as the source of the largest number of imported COVID-19 cases—among all foreign cases identified in Guangzhou, 76 per cent have been from African countries, including 36 per cent from Nigeria alone. As a result, local Chinese started to fear that all Africans in the city were infected and contagious, bringing an eruption of local resentment, evictions, refusals of service, and maltreatment.

What’s the Nigerian government doing about this?

It appears to be handling it well and is considering evacuating Nigerians in China.

In a meeting with China’s ambassador to Nigeria, Nigerian Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila addressed the issue.

We can only hope that the issue would be resolved quickly.


How’s the testing going?

It’s been another week in Nigeria as most people stayed indoors while relevant parties worked on reducing the spread of the virus. However, we’ve seen more cases, more cases because there’s more testing being done. 

How much more Testing is being done?

Last week it was slightly over 5,000 persons tested, this week, it’s a bit over 6,649 persons tested (Nigeria’s total population is ~200M). An increase of ~1,600 persons in a week with the average confirmed cases being less than 10% of that.

How prepared is the Nigerian government for more testing?

Nigeria, according to the minister of Health currently has 12 functional COVID-19 testing laboratories, with a capacity to test 1,500 samples daily.  At maximum capacity that should translate to 18,000 persons a day and 126,000 persons a week.  Why aren’t more persons being tested then?

How’s the government deciding who to test?

Currently, only contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases with fever and respiratory tract symptoms, however, it’s considering adding with fever and respiratory tract symptoms of unknown cause.

Big Picture: The usual chant would be to ask that more be done, however, there’s a shortage of testing kits worldwide.  While testing kits appear to be the major bottleneck in discovering more cases, we can only hope that the spread is also being curbed by the policies being put in place.


Are virtual haircuts becoming a thing?

Edgar Chaparro (Unsplash)

These past few weeks, the World’s economy has seen a lot of transformations and while this has continued to disrupt people’s lives, in the bid to adjust to current realities virtual businesses are attempting more online reinventions.  

You Probably need a haircut:  Even with the tremendous increase in demand for haircut materials, a lot of people still cannot cut their hair. A  tech entrepreneur launched You probably need a haircut, a service platform that helps people who are stranded with their hair overgrowth. It's more like your plug to a professional hairstylist, where you are paired with a barber who takes you through a step-by-step haircut routine via a video chat for a fee.

Helping pink-collar jobs thrive:  Regular beauty service providers are booking more skype and zoom appointments because there are rising needs for these services. While there is nothing wrong with experimenting on your own and having some failed D.I.Y, this has everyone appreciating the place of our care-oriented workers. You look good and also support hairstylists who are out of work this period.

Take out: The digital space has always been an afterthought for these types of services but now that physical spaces are no longer top priority, people search alternatives and are fast adapting to more digital explorations.


Africa and Connectivity: Helios Towers expanding in Africa

The UK telecommunications company has set aside $350m for expansion in providing connectivity services.

So..what does Helios do?

Helios Towers primarily specializes in providing towers and related network equipment to large mobile network operators like MTN Group, Airtel Africa and Vodacom, who in turn use this infrastructure to provide data services and connectivity to end consumers and businesses. It owns 7,000 mobile communications towers in South Africa, Republic of the Congo, Ghana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania. 

Problem meets Opportunity

As you may know, a business primarily solves a problem, and for Helios Towers, that is the lack of tower infrastructure in African markets. While the firm has been able to acquire tower assets from wireless carriers who are looking into other ventures, the rise in the use of smartphones and faster internet connectivity makes it a profitable business segment into the foreseeable future.

Expansion

The firm raised $364 million during its IPO last year in October with the motive of entering new African markets and adding to their portfolio of towers. This year its CEO claimed that it plans to buy 2500 towers and build a similar number over the next five years. However, restriction of movement is delaying its expansion because it is unable to do essential tower expansion activities like on-site surveys. 

Zoom Out

Bridging the connectivity of people in Africa serves the deeper purpose of closing the economic gap between Africa and developed parts of the world. This could stimulate development in other vital sectors such as power, transport and education.


The US, China and WHO

@ianbremmer

President Trump opting to pull out funding from the WHO because he believes the WHO is being influenced by the Chinese government.

The accusations

The WHO’s international experts didn’t get access to the country until Director-General Tedros Adhanom visited President Xi Jinping at the end of January.

The WHO didn’t scrutinize information from Chinese authorities properly

The WHO has failed to recognize the initial failings of the Chinese government in curbing the spread of the virus, instead only heaping praises on them.

What does the UN think?

Currently overwhelmed by the pandemic, António Guterres, the U.N. secretary-general, said the middle of a pandemic was not the time to cut funding.

What do we think?

This accusations clearly raise a question on the independence and objectivity of the WHO. Founded after World War II as the U.N.’s public health arm, it is empowered to warn nations of health threats and to issue recommendations.

Could this also be part of the endless of accusations made by the US on China, in the bid to shift the focus from itself and it’s own failings in handling the current situation?


Worth Reading 📚


Quote 💭

“The correct lesson to learn from surprises is that the world is surprising.” 

— Daniel Kahneman

Thank you for reading this week’s edition of Cloout 😊

Written by Daniel Adeyemi, Bright Azuh & Damilola Amusan