United Capital Plc, Others Back African SMEs with €77m
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Leading African investment banking group, United Capital Plc, has entered into partnership with global financial and corporate institutions to set up a Franco-African Investment Fund (FFA), with investible funds of €77 million.
According to a statement issued by the firm on Tuesday, the aim of the fund is to accelerate the growth of innovative and entrepreneurial African and French small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) with development projects on both continents.
It is important to note that this is the first cross border investment fund dedicated to the development of African and French SMEs, and will have a lifespan of 10 years.
The agreement to set up the fund was signed in Bamako, Mali on Saturday at the sideline of the Franco African Summit which was witnessed by the Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, French President Francois Hollande amongst other global leaders in the private and public sectors.
Bunmi Akinremi, The Deputy Group CEO of United Capital Plc, signed on behalf of United Capital, a limited partner on the French Africa Fund.
Other investors in the Franco-African Investment Fund apart from United Capital include: Societe Generale, Orange, BpiFrance, Africinvet, Caisse Nationale de Prevoyance Sociale of CDI, Proparco (AFD), SAHAM from Morocco, Financecom, the pension fund of the Central Bank of Kenya and other private investors in Kenya. The fund is sponsored by BpiFrance and Africinvet.
Beyond financial performance, particular attention will be paid to the positive impact of the Fund’s investments in terms of governance, transparency, job creation, and respect for social and environmental values.
The participation by United Capital is considered symbolic as it portends a strategic inroad into the continent, which would see it play big in an emerging continental economy. According to Akinremi, ‘The French government wants to explore growth markets and Africa has been identified as another area of growth. United Capital is keen to encourage the expansion of economic opportunity for Africa’.
Group Chief Executive Officer Oluwatoyin Sanni explained, “United Capital is committed to expanding its investment horizon and identifying prime opportunities to grow returns for its investors not just in Nigeria but on the African continent. The purpose of the fund aligns with what United Capital seeks to achieve in Africa”
The Fund will be split into half, with 50 percent to be invested in French SMEs who have interest in doing business in and with Africa and the other 50 percent will be invested in African SMEs. FFA will invest primarily in African SMEs with high growth potential in order to create champions of regional and even continental statures.
Beyond capital contribution, the Fund managers will assist French companies to grow in Africa and, conversely, African companies in their growth strategy in France and Europe.
Moghalu Explains Why CBN Naira Redesign Policy Woefully Failed
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
A former deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Kingsley Moghalu, has attributed the failure of the Naira redesign policy of the apex bank to the lack of effective risk management, its use as a political tool and others.
Last October, the central bank Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, announced that the designs of the N200, N500, and N1,000 denominations would be changed.
In a special press briefing, he disclosed that the new notes would be introduced into the banking system by December 15, while the old currency notes would cease to be legal tender from January 31, 2023.
However, the deadline was moved forward to February 10, and on March 3, the supreme court extended the deadline to December 31, 2023, meaning the old notes will remain valid by the end of the year.
From February 10 till now, Nigerians have been unable to have access to cash as commercial banks limit what customers can withdraw via their channels. In some cases, customers are limited to N1,000, N2,000, and N5,000 cash withdrawals, forcing them through an untold hardship and making a mess of the Naira redesign and cashless policies of the CBN.
While speaking on the issue, Mr Moghalu blamed his former employers for the failure of the policy, noting that they did not put the system under thorough scrutiny.
“The terrible suffering and economic loss Nigerians have experienced as a result of the faulty IMPLEMENTATION of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Naira redesign policy, the entry of the judiciary into central banking functions, all show clearly how our institutions— and Nigeria — fail when institutions that are meant to be operationally independent become politicized.
“Currency functions are a core part of any central bank’s mandate. To that extent, I had no problem with the policy, except for two vital issues. First, the 90-deadline, which I warned, was too short to be effectively executed. Second, the timing is so close to the elections.
“But, as later became clear, there was a haphazard and incoherent communication of the PURPOSES of the policy. In one breath, it was said to be to reduce the money supply and help tame inflation (after the bank had created and lent N23 trillion to the federal government illegally because that was way beyond approved limits under the CBN Act of 2007). Next, it was promoted as a national security measure to halt kidnapping, Naira hoarding and sundry crimes. Then, next, it became about free and fair elections to stop vote-buying.
“This last reason became the most important — and controversial — reason as the tempo of the 2023 presidential contest rose to boil point. Expectedly, politicians who felt the policy targeted them complained loudly and wanted the deadline extended, while those who believed it helped their own political agendas hailed the tight and impractical deadline and did not want it moved.
“Nigerians were trapped between the devil and the deep blue sea of a desire to curb the menace of vote-buying and the effective confiscation of their own money by the implementation failure of the policy.
“While increasing digital payments, another purported goal of the policy, was a good one, that thinking failed to consider the reality that the payment infrastructure was still not robust in many rural areas of our country, that cash remains king, and, as I said on an interview with @LadiAAle of @channelstv, we were carrying on as if it has now become a crime to use cash in Nigeria. Most important, as I raised the question in that same interview, what exactly is the mandate of the CBN? Had it now become to end vote buying in elections? Surely, we have anti-corruption institutions vested with such mandates, and to use the CBN for that primary purpose was to politicize the institution.
“But many Nigerians, as usual, did not think deeply about the implications of this line of thinking and action because of their political passions against presumably corrupt politicians.
“Today, whatever may have been the benefits of the Naira redesign policy have been cancelled out by the economic and social gridlock it has created. We are still suffering from it after the almighty presidential election has come and gone.
“There are several lessons here. One such lesson is the importance of effective risk management, which was evidently absent in the conception and execution of the policy.
“I had highlighted this in a previous intervention. But there is the fundamental lesson of whether our institutions in Nigeria have been hijacked and subverted from serving the Nigerian people and our economy to serving personal and political agendas, including a dishonest use of a war against corruption as an attractive shiny object.
“One day, we will count the losses to the Nigerian economy, the legitimacy and effectiveness of a once-prestigious institution, and to the legitimacy of the Nigerian state itself, of the partisan politicization and de-professionalization of the leadership of the CBN.
“Our apex bank, along with the judiciary, is one of the key institutional prisms through which foreign countries and investors abroad and at home assess the functioning or otherwise of the Nigerian state. Turning it into a political football was and is a big mistake, and a strong indicator of state failure,” he wrote via his verified Twitter page.
OTC Stock Market Drops 0.22% as 11, CSCS Record Losses
By Adedapo Adesanya
Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc and 11 Plc suffered losses on Thursday, causing the NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange to deflate by 0.22 per cent.
The duo overturned the gains recorded by FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc and Geo-Fluids Plc.
Data obtained by Business Post showed that CSCS Plc lost 5 Kobo to quote at N14.00 per unit versus the previous day’s N14.05 per unit, while 11 Plc lost N10 to close at N140.00 per unit compared with Wednesday’s value of N150.00 per unit.
On the flip side, FrieslandCampina appreciated by 59 Kobo to finish at N76.00 per share versus the previous closing price of N75.41 per share, as Geo-Fluids Plc gained 14 Kobo to close at N1.64 per share as against the previous day’s N1.50 per share.
At the close of transactions, investors lost N2.11 billion as the value of the OTC stock market closed at N959.06 billion, in contrast to the midweek’s N961.17 billion.
Following the same trend, the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) decreased at the close of trades by 1.61 points to 729.87 points from 731.48 points.
It was observed that the volume of securities traded in the session went down by 77.2 per cent to 5.2 million from 23.1 million units, the value of stocks expanded by 139.5 per cent to N24.3 million from N10.1 million, while the number of deals increased by 7.7 per cent to 14 deals from 13 deals.
Geo-Fluids Plc remained the most traded stock by volume on a year-to-date basis with 460.3 million units valued at N501.9 million, UBN Property Plc transacted 365.8 units worth N309.5 million, while IGI Plc was in third place with 71.1 million units valued at N5.1 million.
Conversely, VFD Group Plc was the most traded stock by value on a year-to-date basis with 7.3 million units worth N1.7 billion, Geo-Fluids Plc has transacted 460.3 million units valued at N501.9 million to retained second place, while UBN Property Plc was in third place with 365.8 million units worth N309.5 million.
Nigerian Naira Loses Against US Dollar
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Nigerian Naira depreciated on the American Dollar at the Peer-2-Peer (P2P), the Investors and Exporters (I&E), and the black market segments of the foreign exchange (FX) market on Thursday, March 24.
In the P2P market, the value of the local currency fell by N2 to sell at N755/$1 compared to the previous trading session’s exchange rate of N753/$1.
Also, in the official FX window, the domestic currency lost 17 Kobo or 0.04 per cent to quote at N461.67/$1 during the session, in contrast to the preceding day’s value of N461.50/$1.
The Naira weakened against the greenback yesterday amid a moderation in the value of forex trades achieved. The turnover stood at $80.03 million, 81.5 per cent or $351.74 million lower than the $431.77 million reported a day earlier.
In the parallel market, the depreciated against the US Dollar on Thursday by N1 to quote at N742/$1 compared with Wednesday’s N741/$1.
In the same vein, in the interbank segment, the Nigerian currency depreciated against the British Pound Sterling by N1.42 to close at N566.08/£1 versus the midweek session’s N564.66/£1.
Similarly, the Naira lost 73 Kobo against the Euro during the trading session to sell at N497.72/€1 compared with the previous day’s rate of N496.99/€1.
Meanwhile, yesterday, the cryptocurrency market shrugged off the US Federal Reserve’s 25-basis point rate hike and ongoing concerns about the banking sector and future monetary policy decisions.
Bitcoin (BTC), the largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, jumped 2.4 per cent to sell at $28,295.37, as its rival, Ethereum (ETH), went up by 3.6 per cent to quote at $1,812.05.
Litecoin (LTC) grew by 9.0 per cent to $95.58, Dogecoin (DOGE) went up by 2.9 per cent to $0.0768, Solana (SOL) improved by 2.5 per cent to $22.04, Ripple (XRP) recorded a 2.3 per cent appreciation to trade at $0.435, Cardano (ADA) gained 1.5 per cent to settle at $0.3667, and Binance Coin (BNB) added 1.3 per cent to its value to finish at $326.77, while the United States Tether (USDT) and Binance USD (BUSD) remained unchanged at $1.00 each.
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