Lagos

Piracy drill off Africa larger than ever

As piracy in the Gulf of Guinea off west Africa soars, professionals from over 20 nations are taking part in Obangame Express, a naval-exercise aimed at improving maritime safety and security in the region.

The issue of piracy and enforcement is one that needs to be tackled due to the fact that it’s a growing problem. This is mainly due to lack of ships and trained personnel which is required since large areas of water need to be patrolled and watched over. The more training done with various nations and navies, only helps in curbing the problem. More cooperation and training is needed, and such exercises will only help.

Qualcomm to open office in Lagos, Nigeria

Qualcommn has announced that they will open an office in Lagos, Nigeria.  The San Diego-based company said that the office will serve as a hub for the firm’s West Africa business operations, mobile operators and device manufacturers across the region.

Qualcomm Incorporated today announced the opening of a Lagos office by QCOM Wireless Technologies Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary, to serve as the Company’s hub for West Africa business operations.

The office will provide support to mobile operators and device manufacturers serving countries throughout the region, including Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Cameroon.Commenting on the Lagos office launch, Alexander Dadson, senior director of business development and managing director of Qualcomm’s West Africa operations, said “Qualcomm supports growth and development of the West Africa ICT sector. Toward this end, we are collaborating with regional partners to make cost-efficient 3G mobile devices and services more readily available.”

Leading research organizations estimate that roughly half of Nigeria’s population lives in rural areas, much of which is beyond the reach of fixed line broadband solutions. The high cost of traditional computing devices, such as desktop computers and laptops, also creates barriers to reaching West Africa’s consumers. Qualcomm’s integrated, single-chip solutions are enabling its partners to offer Internet-capable 3G devices (CDMA2000 and WCDMA/UMTS) that support different tiers of market needs – from high-end smartphones to low-cost handsets. The Company’s Engineering Services Group also works collaboratively with operators to assist in their deployment of cost-efficient wireless networks for both dense urban areas and rural regions.

“Qualcomm is committed to supporting its partners regardless of which 3G CDMA technology path they choose,” continued Dadson. “We also recognize that fulfilling the industry’s promise of anywhere, anytime wireless voice and data services will not be easy; it will take time, resources and close partnerships with policy makers and operators to make this vision a reality.

Our new Lagos office not only reflects Qualcomm’s long-term commitment to the region, but it also allows us to maintain close proximity to the people, governments and important industry events that are driving the West Africa ICT sector forward.”

This a great chance for not just the local Nigerian work force but surrounding  business people around the region to gain international business management and exprience in the global supply business chain from a world wide leading company such as Quallcomm.

Good to see an American firm taking the plunge after consistently seeing Indian firms outpace their western rivals.

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China and Nigeria jointly agree to build free trade zone in Lagos, Nigeria

Both Nigeria and China have agreed to build a massive free trade zone in Lagos.

China and Nigeria are building one of Africa’s largest free trade zones in the commercial capital, Lagos. Chinese companies will use the facility to manufacture goods for export throughout Africa.

On the tip of the Lekki Peninsula in Lagos, Nigeria and China are building a 16,000 hectare free trade zone to develop local manufacturing and reduce Nigeria’s dependence on imported consumer goods.

It is one of the fastest growing areas in Lagos State and will soon have a new deep water port, an international airport and new hotels as part of a 60-40 partnership between the Chinese government and Lagos State.

Adeyemo Thompson is deputy managing director of the Lekki Free Zone Development Company. He says construction is on schedule for Chinese shareholders that include the China Railway Construction Corporation and the China-Africa Development Fund.

“In accordance with the master plan and the projections that we have made, I think, the first phase of the zone, that is the 3,000 hectare zone, will probably be close to a $5 billion investment, that is inclusive of the infrastructure we going to put on the ground, the roads, the power plants, the water plants,” Thompson said.

The global financial crisis has reduced demand for Chinese goods in the United States and Europe. Thompson says the Nigerian free trade zone gives Chinese companies greater access to growing African markets for consumer goods, electrical equipment, and industrial products.

“Part of the reason why Lekki Free Zone is so attractive to the Chinese is that, the Chinese government is encouraging those companies which are shutting down in China to move out,” he added. “There are funds which the government has provided for these companies to encourage them to move out to come and set up their factories in other parts of the world. We have that market. Now the Nigeria government is also encouraging investors to go to China and probably buy those factories, which are shut down, maybe at a quarter of the price and bring them into Lekki, set it up and manufacture those goods which you know you have 100 percent market right here.”

Lagos State Governor Babatunde Fashola says the free trade zone will help develop Nigeria’s manufacturing sector while cutting prices for consumers.

“There is a huge market immediately waiting, when you look at the how much our people spend importing goods from across the world, or for how much they pay in excess baggage at major airports, bringing this here is like bringing home prosperity,” said Fashola.

Nearly 90 percent of products used in Nigeria come from outside the country. The free trade zone will allow Nigerians to buy many of the same products now produced in China without the cost of importing them, while creating jobs for Nigerian workers.

Chinese firms gain both more immediate access to African markets and far cheaper routes to ship their “Made in Nigeria” exports to Europe.

Nigeria needs all the foreign investment that it can get. The country is too dependent on oil exports, which account for 45% of GDP and growing.

Nigeria imports everything from toothpicks to cement, with a growing proportion of the goods coming from China. The Lekki Free Zone will enable Chinese and other manufacturers to test their products on Africa’s largest potential consumer market.

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