News Roundup

Nigeria vaccinates over 8000 people against COVID-19
About 8,000 Nigerians have received their first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines across the 35 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Faisal Shuaib, has said. Nigeria began vaccination on March 5, 2021, after it received nearly 4 million doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines from COVAX. There have also been ongoing concerns by citizens on the safety of the AstraZeneca vaccines, but the minister reassured that the vaccines are safe and no adverse effect has been recorded in the country.

Nigeria’s inflation rate hit four-year high
Nigerians cannot afford to buy as much as they used to as food cost continue to surge, aggravating the pains already inflicted by the pandemic and economic slowdown. Headline inflation rate jumped to four-year high at 17.33 percent in February, from 16.47 percent in January 2021, according to a report released by the National Bureau of Statistics. On year-on-year basis, this is the highest since February 2017. This signals a decline in purchasing power of Nigerians as prices of goods and services are skyrocketing without a corresponding increase in income, making life miserable for the country’s large population.

Nigeria unemployment rises to 33%
The jobless rate in Nigeria rose to 33.3 percent in the three months in the fourth quarter of 2020, up from 27.1 percent in the second quarter of 2020 according to a report published by the National Bureau of Statistics. To put it in perspective, Nigeria’s total number of jobless people is equal to the entire population of Niger. This means that the country could witness more insecurity challenges as more people will become desperate to survive.

Nigerians will now pay ₦6.98 every time they use USSD banking service
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has imposed a ₦6.98 service charge on Nigerians for all USSD transactions. Customers will pay a flat fee of N6.98 per transaction every time they use USSD services from March 16, a statement jointly signed by the apex bank and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said. The deal was part of an agreement reached with banks following a disagreement between banks and telecom firms over USSD and other text message transaction requests. This charge will be in place regardless of the number of sessions per transaction. The government also resolved that the banks should not impose any additional charges on customers for the use of the USSD channel. For instance, if you wanted to transfer money from your account, you would normally be charged for every session it takes until you complete the transaction. A session could be rated as up to 20 seconds spent on the platform, and you could normally be charged ₦4 for those seconds. The new resolution will end the previous practice of charging on a per session basis for USSD transactions.

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Kanye West becomes the Richest Black Man in American History with a Net Worth of More Than $6 Billion
Now worth a whopping $6.6 billion, producer, rapper, and fashion mogul Kanye West is the richest African American in the United States, according to Forbes Magazine. He is now also the third richest celebrity in the world, behind only Steven Spielberg ($7 billion) and George Lucas ($10 billion). He is also reportedly the richest Black person in American history. He jumps from fourth place to first place, surpassing Oprah Winfrey’s $3.5 billion net worth, David Steward’s $3.9 billion net worth and Robert F. Smith’s $6.5 billion. Michael Jordan is now the fifth-richest Black person in the US, with a net worth of $2.2 billion. West has also amassed $122 million in cash, stock and investments in estranged wife Kim Kardashian’s clothing line, SKIMS, as well as $110 million from his music catalogue.

PayPal and Flutterwave partner to enable African merchants receive payments
PayPal users anywhere in the world can now pay African merchants directly, thanks to a new partnership between the US payments giant and Flutterwave. African payments company Flutterwave is collaborating with PayPal to allow PayPal customers globally to pay African merchants through its “Pay with PayPal” feature. Via this partnership, African businesses can connect with the more than 377 million PayPal accounts globally and overcome the challenges presented by the highly fragmented and complex payment and banking infrastructure on the continent. According to a statement by Flutterwave, the integration with PayPal is live and operational across 50 African countries and worldwide. That means small business owners and freelancers who use Flutterwave in places like Kenya, South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Mauritius, Malawi, Mozambique & Senegal will be able to accept payments from PayPal users worldwide.

Nigeria ranks 16th in FBI’s global worst affected by internet crimes
Nigeria has been ranked 16th in FBI’s list of countries which are worst affected by internet crimes. The State-specific statistics which can be found within the 2020 Internet Crime Report and in the accompanying 2020 State Reports, includes information from 791,790 complaints of suspected internet crime, an increase of more than 300,000 complaints from 2019. The reported losses also exceeded $4.2 billion. Nigeria and South Africa were listed among the ‘worst’ 20. South Africa was rated sixth with 1,754 victims while Nigeria had 443 victims. Countries like Pakistan, China, Columbia, and Hong Kong ranked better than Nigeria. The top three crimes reported by victims in 2020 were phishing scams, non-payment/non-delivery scams, and extortion. Victims lost the most money to business email compromise scams, romance and confidence schemes, and investment fraud.

Tanzania swears in Samia Suluhu Hassan as first female president after the death of President John Magufuli

Tanzanian Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan was sworn in Friday as the country’s first female president, two days after the death of President John Magufuli. Hassan took the oath at the statehouse in the city of Dar es Salaam in a televised ceremony on the state TV. In an address shortly after she was sworn in, Hassan said Magufuli’s body would be moved to several locations around the country over the next few days for private and public farewell events. According to her, he will then be laid to rest in his hometown, Chato, on March 25.

Burna Boy, Wizkid wins Grammy Award
Nigeria Afrobeats stars Burna Boy and Wizkid have both won awards at the 2021 Grammys. Burna Boy won the Best Global Music Album category while Wizkid won the Best Music Video for his song with Beyoncé; Brown Skin Girl, from Lion King: The Gift album. Beyoncé’s daughter Blue Ivy was also a winner on the song. Burna Boy, real name Damini Ogulu, a nominee for a second consecutive year, won with his Twice as Tall album. The 63rd Grammy Awards is traditionally billed as “music’s biggest night.”