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18 African Countries Grew GDP Above 5% in 2017—AfDB

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AfDB Nigeria Country office

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), Mr Akinwumi Adesina, has revealed that in 2017, the average GDP growth in Africa was 3.6 percent, up from 2.2 percent in 2016.

According to him, last year, 18 African countries grew above 5 percent in 2017, and 37 others above 3 percent.

Mr Adesina further disclosed the average GDP growth is projected to accelerate to 4.1 percent in 2018 and 2019.

The AfDB boss rolled out these figures when the bank hosted the annual luncheon of diplomats accredited to Côte d’Ivoire in Abidjan on Tuesday.

During the event, he urged the bank’s member countries to contribute to the 7th General Capital Increase to enable the institution to realise its development objectives.

Welcoming the diplomats on behalf of the Board of Directors, management and staff of the Bank Group, Mr Adesina shared perspectives on the performance of African economies, updated them on the institution’s activities and highlighted emerging economic issues for the Bank and the continent.

“The African Development Bank, your Bank, is reforming, innovating, leading and delivering more for Africa than ever before.

“With the strong support for a General Capital Increase by our Board of Directors, Governors of the Bank, and you, the Ambassadors representing our shareholder countries, Africa will indeed experience a much brighter and impactful future,” he said.

Mr Adesina said the continent remains resilient to global economic headwinds and climate shocks as related by the Bank’s 2018 Africa Economic Outlook published in Abidjan on January 17, 2018.

Bank makes impressive development impacts

In 2017, the Bank achieved impressive development impacts. Its ‘Light up and power Africa’ High 5 reached 4.4 million people with access to electricity.

Its ‘Feed Africa’ goal reached 8.5 million Africans with access to improved agriculture technologies, while its ‘Integrate Africa’ provided 14 million Africans with improved access to transport and the ‘Industrialize Africa’ provided 210,000 small businesses with access to financial services.

Also, the lender’s ‘Improving the quality of life’ High 5 provided 8.3 million Africans with improved access to water and sanitation.

Mr Adesina also shared important landmarks on the bank’s ongoing reforms and achievements over the past two years: achieving its highest annual disbursement ever in its history at $7.67 billion while maintaining its Triple ‘A’ rating by the major global rating agencies; investing $1.39 billion in 31 operations in the energy sector in 23 countries representing a 30 percent increase over 2017; launching its largest bond transaction, with a $2.5 billion 3-year global benchmark, followed by its largest ever 5-year global benchmark for $2 billion; and continues to grow its income, reversing a two-year declining trend; and recording a rise in 2016 in its net operating income to $556.6 million, which shot up to $855 million in 2017, and increased by almost 54 percent over 2016, and 73 percent increase over 2015.

Currently, the Bank is spearheading the development of the Desert-to-Power initiative to harness electricity from the sun all across the Sahel, designed to generate 10,000 MW of power, connect 250 million people to electricity, including providing 75 million people with off-grid systems.

A generous General Capital Increase will enable Bank to do more

The Bank is “reforming, changing, delivering and leading,” through the strong support it receives from it member countries, Mr Adesina said, adding that such support will be most needed during the General Capital Increase to help the Bank do more for Africa.

“At a time that we need to ramp up support to Africa for the SDGs, the Bank needs more resources through a General Capital Increase (GCI). The message could not have been heard louder than when the Ministers and Governors of the Bank from West and Central Africa came to the Bank recently. They unanimously supported the General Capital Increase for the Bank,” he said.

“The support of all shareholders will be crucial for the General Capital Increase of the Bank. The Bank should do more for Africa and we are working extremely hard to revamp the Bank, and put it in a much stronger position, with more highly capable staff and institutional capacity to deliver more … better and faster. Our ability to deliver in the past and now is a good indication that you can depend on us to deliver more in the future.”

Johannesburg to host Africa Investment Forum in November 2018

To mobilize African and global pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and institutional investors, to invest in Africa, the Bank has launched the Africa Investment Forum (AIF) to be held November 7-9 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The transactional forum is expected to become Africa’s premier investment marketplace, Mr Adesina said, noting that several peer institutions have indicated their interest in participating in what could become Africa’s largest private-sector investment accelerator.

In his response, the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps, Apostolic Nuncio to Côte d’Ivoire, Monsignor Joseph Spitieri, congratulated Mr Adesina on his 58th birthday and commended the Bank for helping pull people out of poverty.

“The success of your strategy encapsulated in the High 5s is testimony to your commitment to help people in Africa and reduce poverty,” the cleric said.

“We wish the Bank success in its endeavours to improve the lot of the most deprived people in Africa,” he added.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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Economy

NGX Group Targets Private Equity Investments, Mergers, Acquisitions

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NGX Group Shares

By Dipo Olowookere

In order to make shareholders enjoy the benefits of demutualisation and maximize returns, the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Group Plc is currently undertaking some financial planning activities.

These steps are being engineered by the Group CEO of the organisation, Mr Oscar Onyema, and they include the possibility of mergers and acquisitions, private equity investments, treasury management, capital allocation and fundraising.

According to Mr Onyema, the company is well-positioned to achieve these goals, going by its financial performance in 2020, expressing optimism that these strategies would make the organisation’s shares attract investors when they are eventually listed on the NGX Limited.

“As the group progresses its plans to list on Nigerian Exchange Limited, there are exciting days ahead. The financial performance of the Group in 2020 showed strong resilience and prospects for growth.

“The group ended 2020 in a sound financial position with net asset growth of over 10 per cent to N31.28 billion and income and resulting surplus after tax valued at N6.02 billion and N1.84 billion respectively.

“In the context of COVID-19 pandemic, we maintained tight cost controls, which reduced expenses by 13 per cent despite investments in technology that allowed remote operations with zero downtime,” he had said.

On Thursday, September 9, 2021, the NGX Group held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Abuja. It was the first yearly shareholders’ gathering after the demutualisation of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

At the meeting, shareholders approved all the resolutions proposed by the board, including the re-election of the non-executive directors who were retiring by rotation; the election of the members of the audit committee; the proposed remuneration for the board and non-executive members of the erstwhile national council of the NSE; and the introduction of equity-based incentives to employees’ remuneration, including an Employee Share Ownership Plan (ESOP) and a Performance-Based Long-Term Incentive Plan.

NGX Group, leading by example as a new corporate entity, is committed to the highest governance standards, recognising its role in critical capital markets infrastructure.

Much like leading exchanges in the world today (London Stock Exchange Group, Intercontinental Exchange, Singapore Exchange, Japan Exchange Group) and other African exchanges such as Johannesburg Stock Exchange and FMDQ, the demutualised NSE gave rise to a group structure with attendant benefits.

Today, NGX Group stands as the non-operating holding company with three (3) subsidiaries – the operating Exchange, Nigerian Exchange Limited led by Mr Temi Popoola, as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO); the independent regulatory company, NGX Regulation Limited led by Ms Tinuade Awe as the CEO; and the real estate company, NGX Real Estate with Mr Gabriel Igbeka serving as Acting CEO. Each of these entities is governed by independent boards, the composition of which was not only strategic but in line with acceptable practices.

At an Extra-Ordinary General Meeting (EGM) of the then members of NSE in March 2020, a resolution was passed pertaining to the appointment of the inaugural board of NGX Group, post demutualisation.

The process relating to the selection of council (board) members was duly followed and the identified candidates were taken through a rigorous due diligence exercise before passing through the internal governance process, being submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission for approval and thereafter, presented to previous members at the 2020 EGM.

The members agreed to the importance of maintaining continuity and preserving The Exchange’s collective knowledge and learned experience (institutional memory) as well as retaining stakeholder confidence and maintaining market stability.

It was, therefore, agreed that the composition of the Boards would comprise individuals selected from the erstwhile National Council and external candidates. This understanding was contained in the Scheme of Arrangement dated 20 January 2020 between the NSE and the dealing and ordinary members of the NSE in respect of the demutualisation of the exchange (the Scheme).

The scheme was approved at the Court Ordered meeting held on 3 March 2020. The approved Scheme of Arrangement was sanctioned by the court on May 14, 2020, and filed at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) on June 1, 2020, and it became effective on the date it was filed at the CAC.

NGX Group’s board currently has 11 members and out of the 11 directors, five have direct or indirect shareholdings in the company providing strong representation for the company’s shareholders.

In addition, going above the statutorily required minimum that a public company shall have at least three independent directors (S.275 (1) CAMA 2020), NGX Group went with four independent directors.

Transition agreements expected to last for 18 months were also agreed and it was recognized that subsequent composition of the Board following this transition period will evolve in line with existing rules and regulations, market standards, competitive realities and succession planning policies.

The composition of the inaugural board – comprising some members of the erstwhile council and new members – was approved at the EGM, on the condition that their appointment would become effective post demutualisation.

The market continues to repose confidence in NGX Group evidenced by the statement from the Chairman, Association of Securities Dealing Houses of Nigeria, representing the largest shareholder group in the company, Mr Onyewenchukwu Ezeagu, who stated prior to the recent 60th AGM, “As major shareholders, we were involved in all the processes of demutualisation.

“We are comfortable with the agenda of the meeting as we have been part of the whole process. The proposed resolutions had been made public in the course of the demutualisation. The meeting will bring about a renewed relationship between the NGX Group and its stakeholders.”

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Economy

Buhari Orders Kyari to Incorporate NNPC, Ararume to Chair Board

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NNPC profit 44 years

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the incorporation of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, a statement from the presidency on Sunday confirm.

The Group Managing Director (GMD) of NNPC, Mr Mele Kyari, was asked to see to the success of this directive, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, disclosed in the statement issued today.

The President’s spokesman said this order was given by Mr Buhari in his capacity as the Minister of Petroleum Resources “in consonance with Section 53(1) of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, which requires the Minister of Petroleum Resources to cause for the incorporation of the NNPC Limited within six months of commencement of the Act in consultation with the Minister of Finance on the nominal shares of the company.”

The NNPC chief was, therefore, given the mandate to “take necessary steps to ensure that the incorporation of the NNPC Limited is consistent with the provisions of the PIA 2021.”

A few weeks ago, the President signed the PIA, giving room for the state-owned oil agency to become a commercial organisation under the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020.

Before now, the NNPC was operating as a government agency and was solely responsible for the importation of petrol into the country.

But as a part of efforts to make the oil industry more attractive to investors, the government made the sector more transparent by signing the PIA into law.

In the statement issued today, Mr Adesina said President Buhari, by the power also vested in him under Section 59(2) of the PIA 2021, has approved the appointment of the board and management of the NNPC Limited, with effect from the date of incorporation of the company.

It was disclosed that Mr Ifeanyi Ararume was selected as the chairman of the board, while Mr Kyari and Umar Ajiya are to serve as the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, respectively.

“Other board members are Dr Tajudeen Umar (North East), Mrs Lami O. Ahmed (North Central), Mallam Mohammed Lawal (North West), Senator Margaret Chuba Okadigbo (South East), Barrister Constance Harry Marshal (South South), and Chief Pius Akinyelure (South West),” the statement said.

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Economy

Interswitch Recruits More Quickteller Paypoint Agents

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Quickteller Paypoint agents

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

More Quickteller Paypoint agents have been recruited in a recent market activation drive targeted at cities across Nigeria to grow the nation’s economy and deepen financial inclusion.

The new agents will be gainfully engaged and empowered to generate income, provide financial services and grow to empower others subsequently.

This is under the Interswitch Financial Inclusion Services (IFIS) and the agent will offer the company’s services in Agege, Alimosho, Ikorodu and Ajah, with some areas in Abuja expected to be reached next week.

They will be expected to easily carry out regular financial transactions such as bill payment, funds transfer, cash deposits, cash withdrawals, account opening, insurance and airtime recharge etc.

“Quickteller Paypoint is designed to empower Nigerians by creating income-generating opportunities for unemployed Nigerians and increase streams of income for employed Nigerians thereby facilitating business in both the rural and urban parts of Nigeria,” the Group Head, Growth Marketing, Merchant and Ecosystem at Interswitch, Mr Olawale Akanbi, stated.

“This activation by Quickteller Paypoint is looking to onboard new agents on the Quickteller Paypoint platform.

“By so doing, we are not only empowering Nigerians to earn income, but we are also providing them a platform with which they are able to provide meaningful services to their communities and eventually grow to employ and empower others,” he added.

The recruited agents and other potential agents are onboarded by registering on the Quickteller Paypoint platform. Required documentations include; passport photograph, recent utility bill (electricity, waste or water bill) that shows the location, a valid ID card (National ID, Voter’s card, driver’s license or international passport) and business registration documents (if the business name is CAC registered).

After registration, the agent is required to fund his/her wallet with at least N1000, this qualifies him/her for a free android POS and starter kit. The starter kit contains free visibility banner, power bank and daily journal to document transactions.

In addition, Quickteller agents enjoy competitive commissions and stimulating incentives such as travel opportunities, trainings, business support etc. helping them grow and scale their businesses faster.

Quickteller Paypoint platform is a service of Interswitch Group enabled to support the financial inclusion agenda of the federal government. Currently, Quickteller Paypoint has over 35,000 agents spread across the country.

Quickteller Paypoint is the trade name for Interswitch Financial Inclusion Services (IFIS) Agent locations. It is a one-stop-shop robust consumer service platform for convenient airtime recharge, funds transfer and bill payment.

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