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Wednesday, 28th October 2020
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Nornickel, the world’s largest producer of palladium and high-grade nickel and a major producer of platinum and copper, has signed cooperation agreements with three organizations representing the indigenous peoples of the Taimyr Peninsula.

These organizations represent over 90% of the indigenous population living in the north of Russia. Nornickel has developed jointly with them a comprehensive, five-year support programme totalling 2 billion roubles. The new programme expiring in 2024 includes a wide range of various initiatives aimed at the protection of the natural habitat and support of the traditional activities of the indigenous peoples, as well as funding for housing, medical, infrastructural, touristic, educational, and cultural projects. The list of these projects has been defined with an immediate input from the local indigenous communities, which should provide the basis for the most efficient cooperation between indigenous peoples, local governments, and industrial companies regarding regional development.

The programme has been developed as a follow-up to an ethnographic expedition carried out this summer in the Taimyr Peninsula, involving over  100 interviews and various polls of indigenous communities . A number of priority areas for support have been identified through these polls and interviews, which include creation of seasonal jobs in tourism and other industries, reindeer husbandry, fishing, and hunting. The initiatives already included into the roadmap include construction of workshops for reindeer and fish processing, purchase of refrigeration units, construction of an ethnical complex with workshops for fur processing, subsidisies of helicopter transportation, targeted training for professions in demand at Nornickel, and publishing of textbooks in indigenous languages and many other ad hoc and complex initiatives. The presentation with more details is available here.

Andrey Grachev, Vice President, Federal and Regional Programmes, of Nornickel, has commented on the cooperation agreements: “We have jointly defined new systemic initiatives aiming at the support of indigenous peoples living in the Taimyr Penimsula, which have now been consolidated in an agreement. This is a 2 billion roubles programme comprising over 40 initiatives  in the next five years. Firstly, it is aimed at stimulating the economic activity of the indigenous peoples and facilitating the use of renewable resources – the basis of their traditional lifestyle. Nornickel has a long history of close cooperation with organisations representing the interests of indigenous communities in the regions of our operations, ensuring transparency in decision-making and that joint projects are implemented in the most efficient manner possible.”

Grigory Ledkov, President of the Association of Indigenous Minorities of the North, Siberia and the Far East of the Russian Federation, added: “This agreement can serve as an example for other companies, as it emphasizes the importance of preserving the habitat of indigenous people and protecting our values and traditions.

The full-scale ethnographic expedition to hear the opinions of indigenous populations has already become a huge step in the right direction and will serve as a model for future projects of this kind. The results of this expedition will help to make to develop initiatives which will be of paramount importance for indigenous populations. We are confident that the agreement will help us find new joint approaches to sustainable living and working in the North, as well as resolve other pressing issues facing local communities.”

The agreement has been signed by Andrey Grachev, Nornickel’s Vice President,  Federal and Regional Programmes, Grigory Ledkov, President of the Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North, Siberia, and the Far East of the Russian Federation,Artur Gayulsky, President of the Regional Association of Indigenous Peoples of the Krasnoyarsk Territory, and Grigory Dyukarev, Chairman of the Association of Indigenous Minorities of Taimyr, Krasnoyarsk Territory.

Nornickel participates regularly in projects aiming at the socio-economic development and support of the indigenous populations of the Taimyr Peninsula, which include air transportation, the procurement of building materials and diesel fuel, as well as cultural events and celebrations.  Particular attention is paid to preserving the languages of the indigenous peoples of the North. Nornickel’s participation in the reconstruction and construction of various social facilities is another important way in which the company offers its support to local communities. Nornickel has funded the full reconstruction of Neptun swimming pool , the children’s orphanage centre and sports complex in Dudinka town, and construction of a cultural centre in the village of Kheta. Nornickel has also co-funded the construction of a sports and recreation centre in Dudinka. The Company’s total financial support towards support and development of the regions, where indigenous populations reside permanently, amounted to 277 million roubles from 2018 to 2020.

ABOUT THE COMPANY

MMC Norilsk Nickel is a diversified mining and metallurgical company, the world’s largest producer of palladium and high-grade nickel and a major producer of platinum and copper. The company also produces cobalt, rhodium, silver, gold, iridium, ruthenium, selenium, tellurium, sulphur and other products.

The production units of Norilsk Nickel Group are located at the Norilsk Industrial District, on the Kola Peninsula and Zabaykalsky Krai in Russia as well as in Finland and South Africa.

MMC Norilsk Nickel shares are listed on the Moscow and on the Saint-Petersburg Stock Exchanges, ADRs are traded over the counter in the US and on the London, Berlin and Frankfurt Stock Exchanges.  

At the Pyramids of Giza, just a handful of tourists walks among the ancient wonders. Twelve people showed up to admire Luxor’s towering colonnades the day it reopened this month. At Egypt’s Red Sea resorts, visitor numbers are well below previous years.

Even as international flights and tourist spots open up and Egypt’s coronavirus cases remain in check, officials, hotel owners and tour guides concede that the key winter season starting in October is going to be tough.

That could be bad news for the economy. Tourism accounts for up to 15% of Egypt’s national output, and officials said it was losing around $1 billion each month after the sector all but shut down from March as the coronavirus pandemic struck.

Egyptian officials say they are making every effort to reassure tourists about their safety and encourage them to visit in the hope that the sector revives gradually.

Egypt is not alone in seeing tourism slump, but it takes a heavy toll on a country that has tapped the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for $8 billion in new loans this year.

“We used to see about 50 buses here. Now there are none,” said Samir, a souvenir trader who has been working at the pyramids south of Cairo for more than 30 years and has been selling his possessions to pay his son’s school fees.

“We only had one bus, a week ago, full of Russians. They took some photos and left.”

A showpiece museum next to the pyramids is due to open next year, increasing the need for a rapid recovery in 2021.

Westerners typically flock to Egypt’s historic sites and golden sands between October and May to avoid the cold at home and the excessive heat of Egypt’s summer.

As the sector gears up, hotel resorts are operating at below half capacity and major sites remain virtually empty, tourist workers and official said.

Some 220,000 tourists have visited the Red Sea province and South Sinai - home to the Sharm el-Sheikh resort - since July 1, less than 10% of last year’s levels, said Ghada Shalaby, a deputy minister at the ministry of tourism and antiquities.

NILE CRUISES

Shalaby said visitors were gradually returning to the coastal resorts, but people’s safety took priority over boosting tourism numbers.

Hotels currently have capacity capped at 50% in line with health regulations.

Occupancy at Sharm el-Sheikh is 30-35% and in Egypt’s Red Sea Governorate and the resort of Hurghada it is 35-45%, a tourism ministry official said.

As sites in Luxor, across the River Nile from the Valley of the Kings, reopened on Sept. 1, a single group of 12 tourists showed up on a visit from Hurghada, said Tharwat Agamy, head of the regional branch of the Egyptian Travel Agents Association. A few more have visited the city daily since then. 

Nile cruises are due to restart in October, but there is little expectation that bookings will pick up without a return of charter flights.

“We hope that next year tourism will be working,” said Agamy.

The state has moved to protect the sector with emergency funding, and more than 9,000 registered tour guides will receive 500 pounds ($32) monthly until the end of the year. Tourism firms are pleading for exemptions on some fees to be extended.

Mohamed Othman, who owns a Nile cruise boat and a hotel and markets cultural tourism in southern Egypt, said he was hopeful for some bookings in November, and reopening sent an important signal, even if “an influx won’t happen overnight”.

Officially recorded coronavirus cases have fallen to under 200 daily from highs of about 1,500 daily in mid-June. 

Officials say tourist sites and hotels are subject to strict controls. Those entering the country are required to take PCR tests. But the European Union has not added Egypt to its safe travel list.

“We are sparing no effort to ensure that all measures are in place for the return of tourism to the maximum possible capacity and to spread reassurance to the tourists,” said Shalaby.

At Cairo’s Khan al Khalili market, a popular tourist shopping spot, many stores are shuttered.

“There is no one,” said Sayed Abel Khaleq, a silver shop owner.

-Reuters

Kenya Airways expects to see a drop in revenues of between 60 billion Kenyan shillings ($555.30 million) and 70 billion shillings for full year 2020, its chief executive said on Friday, after posting a wider first half pretax loss.

“In terms of projected revenue for up to the end o the year, we see that we will have a decline of about between 60 and 70 billion shillings, probably more, depending on how the uptake in demand is,” Allan Kilavuka told an online investor briefing.($1 = 108.0500 Kenyan shillings)

-Reuters

The first scheduled international flight landed at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos on Saturday after the over five-month shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The federal government had fixed September 5 for the reopening of airports for international flights starting with the MMIA and the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja.

Strict COVID-19 protocols were put in place by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) in preparation for the reopening.

The federal government, through the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, released protocols for departing and arriving passengers, part of which was the negative PCR test.

As the airport reopened, the first flight operated by Middle East Airlines, ME 571 from Beirut, Lebanon, landed at the airport at about 2:18 pm with 222 passengers and 17 crew members.

However, Daily Trust on Sunday reports that there was no flight to Abuja yesterday while another British Airways flight was being expected at the time of filing this report.

-Daily Trust

Nigeria will resume international flights from Sept. 5, the head of the aviation regulatory body said on Thursday, marking a week-long delay to the resumption date previously announced by the government.

Airports have been closed since March 23 to all but essential international flights as part of the country’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Last week Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika said four flights would begin landing daily in commercial hub Lagos, and four in the capital Abuja from Aug. 29.

But the director general of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Musa Nuhu, announced the revised time at a news conference in Abuja for the task force on coronavirus. 

“While airlines and airports were ready, other non-aviation logistics require the one-week extension to be ready,” said Musa, explaining the reasons for the week-long delay.

Nigeria resumed domestic flights on July 8.

-Reuters 

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