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Global Oil Prices Fall Ahead of OPEC Meeting

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As the alliance of Oil producing countries under OPEC meet on Thursday, global oil prices have reportedly fallen according to sector experts.

Details indicate that the alliance is expected to loosen the taps after prices got off to their best ever start to a year.

But it’s unclear how robustly the group will act, with the Saudi Arabian energy minister calling for producers to remain “extremely cautious.”

The market continues to face risks in the near term. China’s Unipec was re-offering cargoes of April Angolan crude amid weaker sales.

Diesel demand in India was also down versus a year earlier amid record pump prices in the country. Both point to a limit on some of the recent firmness seen within the oil market.

“Now that oil’s back at $60, there’s going to be a push to wean off of those cuts,” said Stewart Glickman, energy equity analyst at CFRA Research.

“The question is how much are they going to bring back. The biggest risk is if supply presumes we’re back to pre-pandemic demand in 2021 and that turns out not to be the case.”

Still, there has been a raft of bullish calls in recent weeks predicting the rally will continue as the producer response trails consumption, while maintenance in North Sea fields is set to further reduce supply.

There are also some signs that demand is starting to pick up. U.S. gasoline demand jumped by 1 million barrels a day last week to 8.76 million barrels a day, a level comparable to March 2020 before the pandemic, according to Descartes Labs.

“People have become very optimistic about the ability of OPEC+ to manage a return to a balanced market,” said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research.

The market continues to “see improved demand down the road and OPEC+ not oversupplying the market as they ramp up again.”

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies must decide how much output gets restored — and at what pace — with current reductions amounting to just over 7 million barrels a day, or 7% of global supply.

The 23-nation coalition will choose whether to revive a 500,000-barrel tranche in April, and in addition, whether the Saudis confirm an extra 1 million barrels they’ve taken offline will return as scheduled.

Citigroup Inc. thinks the coalition will boost output by about 500,000 barrels a day next month, with Saudi Arabia unlikely to continue its voluntary curbs.

“A higher oil-price environment, an increasingly promising demand picture by summer, and the recovering but still growing U.S. oil production outlook for 2021 should give OPEC+ the confidence to slightly increase supply,” said Louise Dickson, an analyst at consultant Rystad Energy AS.

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Germany, Rwanda Sign Rwf90B Financing Agreement

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Finance Minister, Dr. Uzziel Ndagijimana, and the Germany Ambassador to Rwanda, Dr. Thomas Kurz, today signed two agreements worth € 78 million (Approximately Frw 90 billion).

The financing and technical cooperation agreement is the outcome of the Inter-Governmental Negotiations that were concluded last Year between our two respective Governments.

59 million Euros of the grant agreement will be provided through KFW Development Bank and will support various initiatives including technical and vocational training, promotion of export oriented SMEs, through the support to Export Credit Facility in Rwanda under BRD, promotion of green investments as well as ICT support.

The remaining Euros19 million will be channeled through GIZ and will support decentralization and good governance, prevention of sexual and gender based violence among others.

Speaking after the signing event, Minister Ndagijimana said the financial support extended to Rwanda will support key areas that are critical to the attainment of the country’s development objectives.

“This support comes at a critical juncture given the effects COVID-19 has had on our social –economic advancement. We look forward to boosting these important areas that are in line with our National Strategy for Transformation. We thank Germany for the strong cooperation and solidarity especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,“ Minister Ndagijimana said.

Ambassador Kurz stressed: “These Agreements underline the long-standing and proven cooperation between our two countries based on friendship and mutual trust. Germany is committed to support Rwanda in its Economic Recovery Process and the implementation of NST 1 in order to reach the SDGs and to leave no one behind.”

The Division of Labor allows Germany development cooperation programme to be active in Education (including TVET); Decentralization and Good Governance, Private Sector Development and Youth; Public Financial Management (PFM); Financial Development. Germany also supports Regional Projects: Centre of Excellence for Health, Improvement of the Investment Climate, Microfinance sector-MIFSSA, ICGLR and Energy.

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Malawi Issues 86 Licenses For Cannabis Production

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Malawi’s Cannabis Regulatory Authority said on Friday they had issued 86 licenses to 35 companies and cooperatives to venture into cannabis cultivation for industrial hemp production.

Boniface Kadzamila the Board Chairman of Cannabis Regulatory Authority made the announcement from Lilongwe on Friday afternoon.

He said that a total of 41 companies applied but only 35 of them satisfied the requirements.

According to him the authority has issued licenses for cultivation, processing and storage and has not yet issued any license for export of cannabis.

A recent analysis by Invegrow Limited, one of the firms that conducted research on industrial hemp, found that a kilogram of industrial hemp could fetch U$1,444 on the market that there is potential for direct annual benefit for Malawians in excess of U$ 135,440,973 on 16.5 hectares or U$8,803,663 per five hectares.

The analysis further indicated that the crop has ready markets whose global value chain is worth U$9billion thus giving local Malawi investors a basis to take up cannabis production.

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ex-Nakumatt CEO’s Home Auctioned

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Atul Shah, the former chief executive officer of the collapsed retail giant Nakumatt lost his home to auctioneers over a U$18,609,740 debt.

The auction follows the conclusion of a protracted court battle after the Kenyan High Court dismissed a petition seeking to overturn the forced sale of the high-end property by KCB Group.

Justice Francis Tuiyott dismissed the petition by the administrator of the collapsed Supermarket chain, saying it has no chance of success.

Nakumatt’s court-appointed administrator had opposed the sale on grounds that the auction failed to follow the law, and tagged Mr Shah as an interested party to suit.

The bank, through Leakey Auctioneers, early in the year quietly sold the property, which Mr Shah had used as additional security as Nakumatt’s guarantor to offer comfort to the multiple bank loans.

“This court is not persuaded that the suit, as currently presented, demonstrates a prima facie case with a probability of success. Being unable to surmount that hurdle, it is needless for this court to discuss other aspects raised in the application,” the judge said.

KCB had earlier sold Mr Shah’s prime property in Industrial Area, Nairobi, to Furniture Palace International Ltd for about U$9,677,064 court records show.

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