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Boosting Development In Africa Via AfDB’s  Investment Forum

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The African Development Bank (AfDB), put the financial outlay to finance Africa’s development needs at between 600 to 700 billion US dollars annually.
Of this amount, about 130-170 billion US dollars, was needed annually to address infrastructural deficit.
In order to get the needed funds to address the numerous development challenges in Africa, the AfDB launched the African Investment Forum (AIF).
The AIF is a platform to mobilise private equity funds, sovereign wealth funds and the private sector to facilitate infrastructure projects with the capacity to transform the continent.
The inaugural edition of the AIF was held in South Africa, while the second edition was also scheduled to hold in Johannesburg, South Africa, from November 11 to November 13.
Ahead of the November meeting, AfDB President,  Dr Akinwumi Adesina, has appealed to investors to attend the bank’s 2019 AIF.
He spoke at Africa 50 General Shareholders meeting, held recently in Kigali, Rwanda.
Adesina said that Africa was ready for massive investments and offered an attractive investment destination.
He said that AIF, will bring together members with vested interest in Africa’s growth and development
“If you are an investor, do not miss Africa Investment Forum 2019, Africa is ready for massive investments and the environment is getting more attractive for investors.
“One such investment is the construction of the bridge that will connect the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo, a 550 million dollar transaction being led by Africa 50 in partnership with AfDB,” he said.
Adesina emphasised that the recently launched African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) had opened possibilities for an integrated single market for Africa.
He, however, pointed out that the continent needed to be connected through roads, rail, ports, airports, ICT backbones and energy corridors in order to enjoy the full benefits of the agreement.
Africa 50 is an innovative fund for developing and financing infrastructure in Africa, funded by AfDB, African governments, private and institutional investors.
“Africa 50 is on track to launch a private sector third party fund to leverage one billion dollar from private sector institutional investors.
“I encourage countries that have not yet joined Africa50 to do so.
“Join us as we move towards a future of great promise for Africa. Join us as we lay the foundation for a more prosperous Africa,” Adesina said.
Nigeria Country Department of AfDB, in collaboration with Africa Finance Corporation, recently organised a road show in Abuja, to sensitise stakeholders on gains of the AIF.
Ekiti governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi, who spoke at the event, emphasised the role of private capital to deliver the infrastructure required to grow Nigeria’s economy.
While expressing hope that Nigeria and other African countries would record significant investments that will boost the economy, Fayemi said that private investments are critical in providing jobs for millions of young Nigerians.
According to him, with the support of AfDB, African Finance Corporation and the quality of investors that attended the inaugural edition, the second edition would be successful.
“I am confident that if we put our best foot forward, we will receive significant funding commitment for investments across Nigeria and Africa,’’ the governor said.
Senior Bank Director,  Nigeria Country Office, of AfDB, Mr Ebrima Faal,  highlighted Nigeria’s prominence during the 2018 forum.
He pointed out that Nigeria was very visible and urged industry players and policy makers to maximise opportunities that the 2019 forum would provide.
Faal urged them to connect, engage and close high-impact deals.
He further recounted that last year’s edition of AIF held in South Africa recorded attendance of  2000 participants, representing 87 countries, including eight heads of government.
“Deals worth 46.9 billion dollars were discussed with 49 deals valued at 38.7 billion dollars secured.
“These figures are not just impressive for an attempt at something that has never been done on the continent, but phenomenal.
“The AfDB and its partners are excited to present you with the only platform that allows you to instantly pitch and close monumental deals on the spot.
“We encourage you to engage early and wholesomely to be part of re-writing Africa’s economic history,’’ Faal said.
According to Africa Finance Corporation Senior Director, Mr Taiwo Adeniji, “building on the success recorded in 2018, it is expected that Nigeria will be a major participant at the 2019 forum.
“The Africa Finance Corporation is keen to support Nigerian businesses across sectors to ensure effective project implementation to boost economic development.
“We are now seeing positive momentum in building transparent and durable institutions to anchor the political economy, promote and support development of the private sector.
“This is in order to increase the pace, depth and spread of economic growth in Africa,’’ Adeniji said.
On his part, a former Minister of Information and Communications, Mr Frank Nweke, identified early preparations as crucial in positioning Nigeria to meet international business and social impact investors eager to invest in Africa.
“Early preparation is also key, not only to prepare for the deals but being able to present them to a wide range of global investors.
“These investors are coming from different classes.
“We are talking about pension funds, sovereign wealth funds globally and in the continent, asset managers, commercial investment bankers so it is a wide array of investors that we are looking at.
“So we need to showcase very high transactions; we need to prepare projects and this is essential,’’ Nweke said.
Similarly, former Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, urged the federal government to support the preparation.
“Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) must sit down to discuss what we expect.
“This preparation has to be done every time we are going to a forum.
“So when they go, they come into contact with investors and they will be interested in what is being presented.
“The potential investor wants to see where you are coming from, from the beginning to the end, they want to see their way through,’’ she said.
The Head, Private Sector Investment Operations, AIF/AfDB, Mr Odiogo Ezekiel, stressed that getting the projects bankable is also critical.
With the awareness raised through the road show, stakeholders say Nigeria will record more investment opportunities after the 2019 AIF.
Uwadileke writes for News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

 

Ikenna Uwadileke

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CAC Registers 245,000  SMEs Free Of Charge

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The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) says it has registered more than 245,000 Small and Medium Enterp-rises  free of charge.
The Registrar-General, Alhaji Garba Abubakar,  said in Abuja on Wednesday that it did this with the approval of the Federal Government.
The Federal Government, he said, approved the free registration of 250,000 business names as part of its intervention to assuage the economic effect of Covid-19.
He said the Federal  Government paid 50 per cent of the cost of registration to CAC and more than 245,000 business names were consequently registered.
Abubakar explained that the process was electronic and applicants also got their certificates electronically.
He added that the numbers were divided between the 36 states of the federation and the FCT noting that Lagos, Abia and Kano States had the largest numbers.
He said free registration of 6, 606 business names was approved for 33 states while Abia, Lagos and Kano States would have 7, 906, 9,084 and 8,406 respectively.
Abubakar noted that aggregators were appointed and paid to collect SMEs information and submit same to CAC.
He explained that the commission provided special access for the aggregators for effective service delivery since they were responsible for scanning and uploading of documents.
He added that CAC had to take over from one of the aggregators appointed for two states but failed to deliver.
Abubakar said also that the intervention of CAC and appointment of substitute aggregators to take over in the two states sped up the process, already nearing completion.
“We are hoping that by end of September the exercise will come to an end,’’ he said.

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IPMAN Seeks Foreign Partnership For Robust Refinery Deal

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The Chairman, Rivers State Chapter of Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN),  Mr King Eppie, has said that he would be seeking the partnership of foreign bodies as part of his plans to strengthen the association.
Eppie said this when he spoke in a chat with newsmen in his office in Eleme, Eleme Local Government Area, Rivers State, Wednesday.
He pointed out that such plans would also encourage business growth especially to some of his members whom he said are  experiencing stormy business weather.
According to him, the challenging business condition was as a result of  non functional refineries in the country, stressing the need to seek for partnership.
He said that since its core business area was petroleum products, that his leadership would do all within its reach to improve the  system.
The Rivers IPMAN boss,  expressed hope that the ailing refineries in the country would bounce back to life.
“ I will be happy to see the refineries working again. Most of our members are suffering and business is no longer what it used to be, that’s why I want the refineries to come back to operation”, he said.
About the issue of legal battle in the association, he said that his team has been vindicated by the Apex court by declaring him the authentic chairman of IPMAN in Rivers State.
He recalled that the association was in a legal battle for about eight years, but expressed joy over its victorious end.
To those who were on the other side of the divide, he said that he has extended an olive branch to them as part of his plans to run an  all inclusive government.
“ The platform for those who went to court against us has been created for them to come back to the fold. IPMAN is one in the state and we are open to all, that is why we want everyone to come back”, he said.
The Tide learnt that the IPMAN chairman is  barely one week in office after years of legal battle that greeted the association as a result of leadership tussle.

By:King Onunwor

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1,818 MSMEs Benefit From Covid-19 Recovery Package In Delta

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No fewer than 1,818 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) have benefited from Federal Government and the World Bank Covid-19 Action Recovery Economic Stimulus (NG-CARES) in Delta.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa addressed the beneficiaries at the launch of funds disbursement in Asaba on Wednesday.
He commended the Federal Government and the World Bank for the partnership to provide succour for those affected by the pandemic in the country.
He said that now that the scheme had been domesticated in the state, the beneficiaries were in the first phase of the programme.
Okowa also lauded the Nigeria Governor’s Forum (NGF) for supporting the federal government to ensure that the programme was approved by the World Bank for implementation in Nigeria.
He also thanked the World Bank for the intervention and for working with state governments in the country towards cushioning the socio-economic effects of Covid-19 pandemic on the people, particularly the poor and vulnerable.
According to Okowa, today’s ceremony is a major step at putting MSMEs that are badly hurt by the pandemic on the path of recovery and growth.
He said this was “more so, with the disbursement of funds to the first set of 1,818 beneficiaries who have met the World Bank stipulated eligibility criteria within the initial six months.
“A total of 2,529 MSMEs are expected to receive grants to support post-covid-19 loans, operational costs and to enhance their IT capabilities.
“Indeed, we are glad to be part of the CARES programme of the Federal Government.
“The focus of intervention clearly aligns with the priority of the state government to give relief to those whose lives, businesses, jobs and means of livelihood have been distorted by the pandemic.
“The programme, which we have domesticated as the Delta CARES, is a two-year emergency recovery programme.
“It is aimed at supporting state governments’ budgeted programme of expenditures and interventions.
“It is to enable them to expand access to livelihood support, food security services, and grants for poor and vulnerable households and firms,” he said.
He said that the programme would also directly support 25,269 poor and vulnerable households with social transfers, basic services and livelihood grants.
The governor said it would as well support 13,976 farmers to boost food production and ensure smooth functioning of the food supply chain.
“The outlined figures are the targets stipulated by the World Bank, but do not preclude the State Government from scaling up if the need arises.
“It is my expectation that those charged with the implementation of Delta-CARES will be faithful in executing the mandate so that the desired results are achieved, bearing in mind that it is a Programme for Result (PforR),” Okowa said.
On his part, Dr Barry Pere-Gbe, Chairman, Steering Committee for Delta-CARES and State Commissioner for Economic Planning, commended Okowa for providing the funds for the programme.
Pere-Gbe was represented by the Commissioner for Youths Development, Mr Ifeanyi Egwunyenga.
He said that the main focus of the programme was to bring succour to residents whose means of livelihood had been disrupted by the impacts of Covid-19.
He said that the programme was hinged on three thematic area.

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