Latest News April 18, 2017

news From All Africa

  • An excellent line-up of speakers and subjects for the 16th Africa Independents Forum

    ITE Group plc (, organiser of the Africa Independents Forum (, announced that it has finalised the programme and confirmed the speakers for the 16th edition of the forum, which will take place on 24th and 25th May in London.   

    As one of the foremost events on the international Oil and Gas calendar, the 16th Africa Independents Forum brings together all stakeholders in Africa’s upstream oil and gas to review the state of the industry and exchange ideas on game-changing opportunities for the future.  

    The two-day programme, designed around the theme “Shaping the Continent's Future in Upstream Oil & Gas”, will kick off with keynote speaker David Fassom, Director of Stellar Energy Advisors Ltd in London, delivering an overview of Africa’s Oil & Gas affairs.

    Broken down into six sessions, the subjects explored during the two days will cover crucial aspects of the industry and current and future challenges such as exploration, development and production, oil and gas assets in emerging, undervalued Sub-Saharan Africa and untapped potential in Africa, E&P strategy and corporate investment, finance, risk and contracts. (See full programme) (

    During the two days, delegates will benefit from invaluable insights from senior-level international speakers involved in Africa’s upstream industry. These include James Phillips, President & CEO, Africa Energy Corp, Cape Town; Maggy Shino, Petroleum Commissioner, Ministry of Mines & Energy, Namibia; Carlos Zacarias, Chairman, Instituto Nacional de Petroleo, Moçambique; and Jim Baban, Managing Director, Heritage Oil, St. Helier, amongst others (see full speaker list) (

    During Session Five, on Day 2, Anthony Gilby, CEO & Managing Director of Brisbane’s Tlou Energy, will present the company’s gas development projects. “We believe that Tlou is extremely well-positioned to progress with plans for the Lesedi gas-to-power project to achieve first power in 2019, after receiving a request for proposal from the Botswana government to deliver 100MW of power, plus having Independent Power Corporation signed as a development partner.”

    An “Outlook for Independents across Sub-Saharan Africa” will be presented by Gail Anderson, Research Director at Wood Mackenzie, renowned resources sector consultancy. In its global corporate outlook for 2017, Wood Mackenzie forecast that the oil and gas industry will turn cash flow positive for the first time since the downturn, saying that some international Independents and leading US unconventional players will deliver top-ranking performance on production growth metrics, subjects that will be explored further during the forum.

    Jasper Peijs, VP of Exploration Africa at BP, will address members of the PetroAfricanus Club – Africa’s oldest established network – at the 79th PetroAfricanus dinner, hosted by ITE at The Waldorf Hilton after the close of the first day of the forum.

    Sandy Stash, Group VP for Safety, Sustainability and External Affairs at London’s Tullow Oil, is the guest speaker at the 8th Global Women Petroleum & Energy Club Luncheon, designed to connect women in oil, gas and energy. Also at the Waldorf, it is co-hosted by ITE and Frontier Communications.

    Not only a renowned platform for corporate independents, international oil, gas and energy companies and Government officials to network, present their projects, propose new ventures and firm up partnerships and investment deals, the 16th Africa Independents Forum also offers exhibition and sponsorship opportunities for companies looking to promote their services to a senior level audience.

    For more information:

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Africa Independents Forum.

    Press contacts: 
    Sonika Greyvenstein 
    Tel: +27 11 880 7052 

    Amanda Wellbeloved
    Tel: +27 11 880 7052

    London office: +44 207 596 5076

    About ITE:
    ITE ( is one of the world’s leading organisers of international trade exhibitions and conferences and specialise in organising events in growing and developing markets. These events help to connect your business to the world.

    ITE organises over 240 exhibitions and conferences each year worldwide with many market leading events and well known brands in key industry sectors.

    The product range includes everything from niche specialist conferences through to globally significant trade fairs with mass appeal and influence. 

  • Casablanca and Nairobi rank as leading destinations for Fortune 500 companies establishing international headquarters

    The Middle East Africa (MEA) region has become increasingly important for the majority of global Fortune 500 companies, according to a new report released by Infomineo (, a global business research company specialising in Africa and the Middle East.

    The report focuses on multinationals looking at entering, or already present, in the Middle East and Africa region. Overall, there was a 17% increase in the number of Fortune 500 companies in MEA in 2016 compared to 2015, with Johannesburg being the leading destination for Africa.

    The Infomineo analysis includes the regional footprint of multinationals in the MEA region, the most commonly chosen cities, and the factors which influence the selection of a region, country and city – each element revealing the dynamic growth patterns within the region and a clear trend of Fortune 500 companies establishing presence in MEA.

    In 2016, 196 Fortune 500 companies had established a dedicated regional headquarters in the MEA region. In the Middle-East, Dubai is the most popular choice with 138 companies establishing a dedicated entity in the city. There has also been a marked uptick in companies deciding to cover MEA from outside of the region – 38 companies up from 22 have established a regional headquarters in areas such as London, Brussels and Paris. The leading regional destinations on the Fortune 500 list include Dubai, Johannesburg, Casablanca, Nairobi, Lagos, and Cairo. Egypt remains behind the leaders due to political instability, however, it has seen a 250% increase in Fortune 500 investment since 2015. Germany and France are leading in terms of coverage rate while China has the lowest presence in the region.

    Industry type plays a pivotal role in the selection of city and country. Financial services are more likely to base MEA coverage from London, while technology companies are more inclined towards Casablanca or Lagos. The latter city is also the premier location for organisations looking to manage their operations across Western Africa with 12 Fortune 500 companies already established in the city. Automotive and Healthcare tend to have a presence in both Africa and the Middle East, while Technology is more inclined to having a presence from the outside.

    Nairobi, in Kenya, is the leading destination for the FMCG companies and tends to be the top choice for organisations looking to service Eastern Africa. Dubai and Johannesburg are the most popular hubs overall, but both Casablanca and Nairobi are rapidly gaining traction and international awareness. Casablanca has the highest growth rate overall, while Dubai has the highest count. The same can be said for London, which has tripled its number of regional HQs serving the region, acting as an MEA hub. Given the geographical proximity and the talent pool present in the city, it could be that London is playing the role of a first step into the MEA region, especially for Japanese and North American companies.

    There are numerous factors which impact on the organisation’s selection of a specific city. These include the local market potential, maturity of the industry, existing competitors, political stability and the quality of the employment market, among others. Determining the attractiveness of a location along these clear lines assures the Fortune 500 companies of a stable and profitable investment and significantly mitigates risk. The most attractive cities are Dubai, Johannesburg, Casablanca and Nairobi, and at the lower end of the spectrum, Cairo, Paris, Algiers and Cape Town.

    Infomineo has undertaken in-depth analysis and research on the MEA region, revealing the various factors inhibiting or inspiring Fortune 500 uptake. The findings provide organisations with a thorough understanding of markets and factors which ensure a steady base of operations from which organisations can expand into the growing MEA market, and establish brand and identity within the growing middle classes. Further data on the report can be found here ( 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Infomineo.

    Editorial contacts:
    Red Ribbon Communications
    Bilqees Gabier
    083 923 9939

    About Infomineo:
    Infomineo ( is a business research specialist in Africa and the Middle East. Its mission is to provide accurate and up-to-date data needed by companies to make informed decisions, facilitating investment in the region, and in turn, helping create economic opportunities and jobs. 

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  • Malawi peacekeepers get ready to deploy to DRC with UK support

    Malawi, through its military — the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) — is successfully making a positive impression as a professional and active troop contributor to United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations, having committed battalions to the Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) from the height of the post-electoral crisis in 2011 to mid-2013 and to help protect vulnerable citizens from rebel groups in eastern DRC from late 2013 up to date.

    The UK has been one of the leading supporters in enabling Malawi to fulfill her peacekeeping ambitions through provision of training and material support. Eighty UK military trainers have prepared a total of 3,420 Malawian peacekeepers for deployments in the complex peacekeeping theatres. MDF’s Peace Support Wing at the Malawi Armed Forces College also received UK funding towards its establishment.

    During the closing ceremony of the pre-deployment training for 9th Malawi contingent, that will deploy in the DRC as MALBATT 5, the British High Commissioner to Malawi, Ms Holly Tett, commended Malawi troops for the exceptional reputation they have developed in peacekeeping through the performance of previous MALBATT battle groups.

    Ms Tett said:

    “The long-suffering people of the DRC have very few guardian angels to look up to, you need to fill this gap. You all need to conduct yourselves in a manner that honours your fine military heritage and stands proud against the tyranny of those that have long exploited the people of the DRC. The UK’s support to Malawian troops in peacekeeping operations is yet another positive outcome when two Commonwealth partners work together”.

    In his remarks, Commander of the Malawi Defence Force General Griffin Spoon Phiri said it was a proud moment for MDF to be able to generate a force, MALBATT 9 FIB 5, to represent Malawi in DRC, as this was a vision that once seemed impossible. Phiri thanked the British government for the support that has made MDF to be a shining example in Africa and the world at large.

    MALBATT 5 Battalion comprising 850 personnel, 56 of which are women, will deploy later in May to Eastern DRC, on the border with Uganda, where they will confront notorious rebel groups such as Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (NALU).

    Malawi’s troops will fight as part of the Force Intervention Brigade (FIB), also comprising troops from South Africa and Tanzania, which has an unprecedented UN mandate to go after and neutralise the armed groups that cause untold atrocities to civilians and prevent the attainment of stability in Eastern DRC.

    The 1st Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland conducted the training with support from the British Peace Support Team based in South Africa.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of British High Commission – Lilongwe.

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  • IMF Reaches Staff-Level Agreement for Completion of First Review of Tunisia’s Extended Fund Facility
    • The IMF supports the government's efforts to create economic opportunities and jobs for all Tunisians, stabilize public finances for the benefit of future generations, and protect the vulnerable in these challenging times.
    • Tunisia’s economy faces significant challenges, including high external and fiscal deficits, increasing debt, and growth that is too low to reduce unemployment.
    • Increasing social spending and strengthening the social safety net will protect the most vulnerable and their purchasing power.

    An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission led by Mr. Björn Rother visited Tunis from April 7– 18, 2017, to conduct the first review of Tunisia’s economic program supported by the four-year IMF Extended Fund Facility (EFF) approved in May 2016 (see Press Release No. 16/238). 

    At the conclusion of the mission, Mr. Rother issued the following statement:

    “Following productive talks, the IMF staff team and the Tunisian authorities reached a staff-level agreement on the policies needed to complete the first review of Tunisia’s EFF. The staff level agreement is subject to approval by the IMF’s Executive Board. Completion of the review would make available SDR 227.3 million (about US$308 million), bringing total disbursements under the EFF to about US$627.5 million.

    “Tunisia’s economy faces significant challenges. Fiscal and external deficits reached record levels, the wage bill as a percent of GDP has climbed to one of the highest in the world, and public debt further increased to 63 percent of GDP at the end of 2016. Core inflation edged up. Growth in 2017 is expected to double to 2.3 percent, but will remain too low to significantly reduce unemployment, especially in the interior regions and among the youth.

    “The difficult economic situation requires strong and urgent action to maintain macroeconomic stability and boost job creation. The IMF team welcomes the determination of the national unity government to act swiftly, guided by priorities of the “Accord de Carthage” and the 5-year Development Plan. The policies supported by the EFF are helping to translate the authorities’ agenda into specific actions.

    “Creating more economic opportunity for all Tunisians and protecting the health of public finance are at the heart of the government’s economic strategy. In the near term, the priorities center on increasing tax revenue in an equitable way, implementing the civil service reform strategy that puts the wage bill on a sustainable trajectory, reducing energy subsidies, and covering the immediate liquidity deficits in the social security system. Increasing social spending and improving the targeting of the social safety net will protect the most vulnerable and their purchasing power in these difficult times. A tighter monetary policy would counteract inflationary pressures, and greater exchange rate flexibility would help narrow the large trade deficit.

    “The government has made encouraging progress in advancing delayed reforms to tackle the structural barriers weighing on the Tunisian economy. Critical elements of this agenda include new legislation for investment and competition, work towards the establishment of a new constitutional body for the fight against corruption, and measures to reform public banks and public enterprises. Comprehensive pension reform will make the retirement system viable for future generations.

    “Tunisia’s participation in the G20 initiative Compact with Africa will be an opportunity to build on the success of last November’s investor conference Tunisia 2020 and re-affirm the government’s determination to build a better economic future for Tunisia. Rigorously implementing the comprehensive reform package supported under the EFF will ultimately unlock the significant long-term potential of the Tunisian economy and improve living conditions of all Tunisians.

    “Staff met with the Head of  Government Youssef Chahed, Minister of Finance Lamia Zribi, Minister of Investment Fadhel Abdelkefi, Minister of Energy Hela Cheikhrouhou, and Central Bank Governor Chedly Ayari. It also had discussions with representatives of Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail (UGTT), Union Tunisienne de l’Industrie, du Commerce et de l’Artisanat (UTICA), and civil society; and coordinated closely with the World Bank and other external partners of Tunisia. The mission would like to thank the authorities and all those with whom they met for their warm welcome and the frank and productive discussions.”

    Distributed by APO on behalf of International Monetary Fund (IMF).

    End-of-Mission press releases include statements of IMF staff teams that convey preliminary findings. The views expressed in this statement are those of the IMF staff and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF’s Executive Board. Based on the preliminary findings of this mission, staff will prepare a report that, subject to management approval, will be presented to the IMF's Executive Board for discussion and decision.

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  • UN reaffirms commitment to supporting Nigeria in addressing economic recession and North-East Crisis

    The Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator of the United Nations in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, has reaffirmed his commitment and that of the United Nations system in Nigeria towards supporting the country’s efforts aimed at addressing current challenges such as the current economic recession and responding to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the North-East. “I am also aware of the numerous challenges in the middle-belt and in the south of the country”, Mr Kallon acknowledged during his one-week mission (10 – 14 April 2017) to Lagos State where he engaged Lagos State government, the private sector, the media and a few Federal Government parastatals. He further committed to supporting the government in implementing the recently launched Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).  

    “Addressing these challenges”, he noted, “would require a strong partnership between the Federal and State Governments and the United Nations.” “We need each other’s support and a strong partnership. A Stable North-East is good for business, a prosperous Lagos, is fertile ground for more investment and a stronger Nigeria is good for Africa.” He added.

    Mr Kallon, who is also UNDP Nigeria Resident Representative, disclosed that his visit to Lagos afforded him an opportunity to engage with the Governor of Lagos State, H. E. Mr Akinwunmi Ambode and reach out to the private sector in order to explore avenues for enhanced partnership in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and in addressing or the crisis in the North-East.

    Discussing with Governor Ambode, Mr Kallon observed that “the phenomenal past growth and future growth prospects of Lagos should accrue equitably to all segments of society and all geographic areas of the State. There is need to ensure that the fruits of prosperity in the State are enjoyed by all. There is need to sustainably tame the ocean, pay attention to improving access to basic services while addressing poverty in all its dimensions without leaving anyone behind.” He emphasized, noting that the SDGs provided a framework which the State could use to address its development challenges.

    “SDGs as a development framework is about national vision, national leadership and national ownership. We thus have a clear roadmap for the SDGs mainstreaming process. We should move with speed to begin its implementation bearing in mind that our comparative advantage does not lie in provision of financial resources but rather in technical expertise, cutting edge policy advisory support, institutional capacity building and convening power, bringing together all development actors around the table to discuss topical development issues.” He explained.

    Responding, Governor Ambode reiterated the commitment of Lagos State Government to working with the United Nations. “We are willing and ready to learn from the UN experience and technical expertise.” He said.

    Earlier on his mission, the Resident Coordinator paid a courtesy call on Nigeria’s former President, Chief Olusegun Obansanjo at his Hilltop residence in Abeokuta and also engaged with the Chairman of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote on the humanitarian crisis in North-East Nigeria and the need to act fast within the next eighteen months.

    Mr Kallon who was accompanied on the mission by a few Heads of UN Agencies in Nigeria and other technical experts, also had interactive sessions with representatives of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in Lagos State; management of Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO) and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).

    Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Lagos.

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  • Minister Davies and Deputy Minister Magwanishe Conclude France Visit

    The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies and his Deputy Gratitude Magwanishe, have arrived back in South Africa from Paris where they attended the Joint Economic Commission (JEC) between South Africa and France. The JEC was preceded by the South Africa – France Business Forum which was attended by business delegations from both countries.

    Minister Davies message to the French was that time for passive shareholders is over and that Radical Economic Transformation is the way to go.

    “We cannot have an economy in which ownership, control and leadership is only confined to a small section of the population.  We need to broaden the base of participation in our economy, so for us black economic empowerment is imperative.  What we are looking at in the model of empowerment that we have put to companies, is we are particularly focusing on empowering people to become real players in the real economy. Rather than being shareholders in somebody else`s company where they are not playing a leading role or developing their capacities,” said Minister Davies.

    Our trade relations with France and the European Union (EU) are governed by the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) which came to force last year. The EPA replaces the trade chapter of the Trade Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA). The SADC EPA group (Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland) is now a common framework for all the members.  Minister Davies highlighted that the EPA’s is also providing a way to ensure that Brexit does not disrupt our trade relations either with the United Kingdom or the EU. He emphasised that the EPA will continue to guide our trade relations with the EU after the Brexit.

    Minister Davies and Deputy Minister Magwanishe also held bilateral meetings with French Minister of State for the Industry, Digital Sector and Innovation: Christophe Sirugue and Minister of State for European Affairs and International Trade: Harlem Desir. Minister Davies and Minister Sirugue delivered keynote addresses at the Business Forum which was followed by presentations and business to business interaction. The Joint Economic Commission was opened with keynote addresses by Minister Davies and Minister Desir.  Minister Davies stated that trade and investment figures shows that there is an opportunity for South African businesses to increase the exports to France and for French companies increases their investment into South Africa in targeted sector.

    South African exports to France increased from R6.6 billion in 2012 to R8.1 billion in 2016 showing an average growth of 7%over the mentioned period. However, South Africa has been facing a massive trade deficit between these years as imports from France increased from R20.3 billion in 2012 to 41.5 billion in 2016. South Africa’s imports from France in 2016 compared to 2015 showed an increase of 35%, double than the percentage increase in our export to France last year.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of The Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa.

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  • Vera Songwe appointed Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa

    United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres, has appointed Vera Songwe as ECA’s Executive Secretary. The Cameroonian economist and banking executive is the first woman to ever serve in this role.

    Ms. Songwe has been working as the International Finance Corporation’s regional director for Africa covering West and Central Africa since 2015. She is also a non-resident Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institute: Global Development and Africa Growth Initiative (since 2011).

    She brings to the position a longstanding track record of policy advice and results oriented implementation in the region, coupled with a strong strategic vision for the region. 

    Ms. Songwe was previously Country Director for Senegal, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Mauritania at the World Bank (2012-2015), Adviser to the Managing Director of the World Bank for Africa, Europe and Central Asia and South Asia Regions (2008-2011) and Lead Country Sector Coordinator (2005-2008). 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

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  • The United States Urges Students Interested in Study Abroad to Beware of Fraud

    This is the time of year when U.S. colleges and universities send out acceptance letters to students for the coming academic year.  While this is an exciting time for anyone seeking to study in the United States, it is also a time to be wary of scams and fraud. Unscrupulous businesses and individuals may seek to obtain money by claiming to represent a university in the U.S. and offer a scholarship. 

    Often times these scams will ask the recipient to send money for application or visa fees, with the promise that they will receive instructions on how to receive a visa later?  As a rule of thumb, if you receive an offer from a university or college but did not apply to that institution, it is most likely not a legitimate offer.  If you still are not sure, you can often check by visiting the website of the university and using the contact information provided there to inquire about the offer.  Never use the contact information provided in an unsolicited offer of acceptance.

    Studying in the United States can be a rewarding and enriching experience both for international students and their American classmates.  The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa is committed to facilitating legitimate travel for qualified visa applicants.  You can find more information about the process of applying for a student visa here: 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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  • Dangote will be the largest exporter of rice in 5 years to come – AfDB President

    Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), says billionaire businessman, Aliko Dangote (, may become the largest exporter of rice in the world by 2021.

    Speaking at the Mo Ibrahim Forum in Morocco over the weekend, Adesina said Africa must focus on agriculture to drive growth and create jobs on the continent.

    “I remember when I was minister of Agriculture in Nigeria. Aliko Dangote was there, and he was our biggest importer at the time, and he and I used to have all the time to dialogue,” Adesina said.

    “One day, I was in my office, about 10 O’clock, Aliko walks in, Ngozi was minister of finance. Aliko bangs on my door and said ‘minister I came to see you’, and I said ‘what are we going to disagree on this time?’

    “He said no, I have actually looked at the policies, and the policies you put in place for import substitution are very right policies. So, I have changed my business model from being an importer to being a local producer.”

    Adesina narrated the role Dangote played in his happiest day as a minister in Nigeria.

    “I said what exactly are you going to do. He said I will put in $300 million into producing and processing rice in Nigeria. I said yippee! I went home, I told my wife, my best day as minister,” he said.

    “He comes back three months after that, he says I have changed my mind, I said ‘what in the world happened?’ He said no, I have changed my mind from $300 million to a billion dollars.

    “If they continue that policy, he would probably be the single largest producer of rice in the world, in about four years. The reason why I was so excited about that is that agriculture is cool, agriculture is a business…agriculture pays.”

    Adesina was named Forbes Africa Person of the Year 2013, while Dangote won the same award in 2014.

    It would be recalled that a tripartite agreement put together by the Dangote Rice limited to create jobs for 16,000 outgrower rice farmers in Sokoto was recently signed with the Sokoto State government and rice growers in the country after which he launched the rice outgrowers scheme in Sokoto.

    Aliko Dangote , the Chairman of Dangote Rice Limited, Asaid he was moved to go into rice cultivation because of the genuine interest of the Federal government to revive agriculture as the mainstay of the economy, and reduce importation of foods that could be produced locally.

    He lamented that Nigeria consumes 6.5 Mtn of rice which costs the nation over 2 billion dollars annually pointing out that it is heartening that the government now has policy direction that encourages private sector’s active participation in agriculture.

    He disclosed then that “In the next three years we want to produce one million tons of quality rice and make it available and affordable to the people. We hope to do 150, 000 ha and when we are done, Nigeria will not have anything to do with importation of rice.

    “Dangote Rice outgrowers scheme is committed to creating significant number of jobs, increasing the incomes of smallholders farmers and ensuring food security in the country by providing high quality seeds, fertilizers and agro-chemicals as well as technical assistance on best agricultural practice to farmers.

    “This Scheme will help to diversify the economy, alleviate poverty and reduce the nation's import bill. The scheme has been designed as a one stop solution for the rice value chain,” Dangote stated. 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Dangote Group.

    Media Contact:
    Francis Awowole-Browne
    +234 806 630 4898

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