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CBN Advocates Investment in Housing Sector to Mitigate Recession

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The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has advocated for sustainable investment in housing development to mitigate the economic challenges the economy is presently facing.

Answering reporters’ questions in the just-concluded Africa’s Housing Agenda, jointly organized by the African Union for Housing Finance (AUHF) and the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC) in Abuja at the weekend, Emefiele suggested sustainable investment in housing to grow it from its dismal 1 percent contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Represented by Mr. Ahmed Abdullahi, a Director in the bank, he said if the housing sector can contribute over 80 percent to GDP in the United States of America (USA), it can also be used to improve the economy significantly.

He said: “If you look at the housing market in Nigeria and in Africa, compared to the more developed economies, you will find that the housing markets in Africa are indeed largely underdeveloped.

“The contribution of the housing market to the GDP in Nigeria is less than 1 percent, compared to that of the U.S, which accounts for over 80 percent.”

According to him, the housing sector in the U.S. represents the highest financial assets class in the world as it is the highest contributor to its capital market combined, adding that it represents a higher subsection of that country’s economy.

He advised African governments to use the housing sector as stimulant to grow the economy thereby increasing its contribution to GDP.

“If you look at Nigeria’s 1 percent contribution of housing to GDP, imagine what the economy will look like when it is grown to 80 percent.” the CBN governor said.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) Plans to Invest $200 Million in Airtel Africa’s Mobile Money Business

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Airtel Africa Plc - Investors King

Airtel Africa has signed an agreement with under which Qatar Holding LLC, an affiliate of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), plans to invest $200 million in Airtel Mobile Commerce BV (“AMC BV”), a subsidiary of Airtel Africa plc (the “Transaction”).

The Transaction values Airtel Africa’s mobile money business at $2.65 billion on a cash and debt free basis. QIA will hold a minority stake in AMC BV upon completion of the Transaction (alongside other minority investors), with Airtel Africa continuing to hold the majority stake. The Transaction is subject to customary closing conditions.

Following the announcement on 18 March 2021 of a $200m investment in AMC BV by TPG’s The Rise Fund, on 1 April 2021 of a $100m investment in AMC BV by MasterCard and the sale of the Group’s telecommunication towers companies in Madagascar and Malawi on 23 March 2021, the Transaction is a continuation of the Group’s pursuit of strategic asset monetization and investment opportunities, and it is the aim of Airtel Africa to explore the potential listing of the mobile money business within four years.

The proceeds from the Transaction will be used to reduce Group debt and invest in network and sales infrastructure in the respective operating countries.

Airtel Africa mobile money services

Operating under the Airtel Money brand, Airtel Africa’s mobile money services is a leading digital mobile financial services platform catering to a large addressable market in Africa (characterised by limited access to formal financial institutions with limited banking infrastructure) and includes mobile wallet deposit and withdrawals, merchant and commercial payments, benefits transfers, loans and savings, virtual card and international money transfers.

Mobile money services are available across the Group’s 14 countries of operation, however in Nigeria the Group offers Airtel Money services through a partnership with a local bank and has applied for its own mobile banking licence. It is the intention that all mobile money operations will be owned and operated by AMC BV.

In our most recent reported results for Q1’22, the mobile money services (corresponding to all the businesses that are intended to be transferred to AMC BV) delivered a strong operational
performance:

 Generated revenue of $124m ($496m annualised), and underlying EBITDA of $60m ($240m annualised) at a margin of 48.8%.
 Year on year revenue growth for the quarter was 53.7% in constant currency, largely driven by 24.6% growth in the customer base to 23.1 million, and 25.4% ARPU growth.
 Growth in transaction value was 64.4% (constant currency) to $14.7bn ($59bn annualised).

Our mobile money business benefits from strong network presence with our core telecom business through the extensive distribution platform of kiosks and mini shops as well as dedicated Airtel Money
branches supplementing our extensive agent network, to facilitate customers’ access to assured wallet and cash.

We have a clear strategy to continue to drive sustainable long-term growth in Airtel Money with a focus on assured float availability, distribution expansion and increased usage cases for our customers.

Last year we added partnerships with Mastercard, Samsung, Asante, Standard Chartered Bank, MoneyGram, Mukuru and WorldRemit to expand both the range and depth of the Airtel Money offerings and to further drive customer growth and penetration.

The profits before tax in the full year ending 31 March 2021 and the value of gross assets as of that date, attributable to the mobile money businesses were $185m and $668m, respectively.

Key elements of the Transaction

 Agreement values Airtel Africa’s mobile money business at $2.65bn on a cash and debt free basis.

 AMC BV, a subsidiary of Airtel Africa, is the holding company for several of Airtel Africa’s mobile money operations; and it is intended that ultimately it shall own and operate the mobile
money businesses across all of Airtel Africa’s fourteen operating countries once the inclusion of the remaining mobile money operations under AMC BV perimeter is completed.

 QIA will invest $200m through a secondary purchase of shares in AMC BV from Airtel Africa. The transaction will close in two stages: $150m will be invested at first close, subject to customary closing conditions, including necessary regulatory filings, with $50m to be invested at second close once further transfers of certain mobile money operations and contracts into the AMC BV perimeter have been completed.

The Transaction first close is expected in August. From first close, QIA will be entitled to appoint a director to the board of AMC BV and to certain customary information and minority protection rights.

Comment on the deal, Raghunath Mandava, CEO of Airtel Africa, said “With today’s announcement we are pleased to welcome QIA as a prospective investor in our mobile money business, joining both Mastercard and TPG’s The Rise Fund as a further partner to help us realise the full potential from the substantial opportunity to bank the unbanked across Africa.”

Mansoor bin Ebrahim Al-Mahmoud, CEO of QIA, added that “We are delighted to build on our support of Airtel Africa in promoting financial inclusion to the large and growing population of Sub-Saharan Africa. Airtel Money plays a critical role in facilitating economic activity, including for customers without access to traditional financial services. We firmly believe in its mission to expand these efforts over the coming years.”

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West and Central Africa’s Investment Environment and Infrastructure Opportunities in Spotlight

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A new focus report produced by Oxford Business Group (OBG), in partnership with the international brokerage network Groupe Ascoma, will explore the increased focus on compliance, transparency and ethical practices in the West and Central African markets as the region looks to attract investment for its economic development.

Titled “Governance, Risk and Compliance in West and Central Africa”, the focus report will provide in-depth analysis of key issues relating to insurance and reinsurance, against the broader regional socio-economic landscape, in an easy-to-navigate and accessible format, featuring essential data and infographics.

The report will shine a spotlight on the way that doing business is evolving across the region’s economies at a time when ECOWAS members are keen to source funding for a vast range of intra-continental and domestic infrastructure projects.

Subscribers will find detailed coverage of the key role that private sector players such as Ascoma are expected to play in driving change and instilling a culture of insurance and reinsurance across business communities by identifying risks common to the region and providing effective, tailored solutions to them.

The report will examine specific areas of the economy in which governance, risk and compliance (GRC) principles are being given added weight, including energy, infrastructure, mining and the financial services industry.

It will also include an in-depth interview with Farid Chedid, CEO and Chairman, Groupe Ascoma, in which he explains how GRC dynamics are helping the company achieve its objectives, while supporting the region’s bid to make future economic growth sustainable. “Ascoma is committed to the economic and infrastructure development of Africa, and applying Global, Risk and Compliance principles is essential for our operations, not only in the continent but also in the Middle East and the rest of the world. Transparency, compliance, and business ethics are top priorities for us in the moment of investing in any country”. Commenting ahead of the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for the report, Bernardo Bruzzone, OBG’s Regional Editor for Africa, said that the new report with Ascoma was timely, given the added importance that both corporations and governments are attaching to GRC principles.

“Business environments are changing globally on the back of new requirements from investors, with tighter regulations and greater transparency,” Bruzzone said. “Our research with Ascoma will plot the GRC trends that are gaining momentum regionally, while also highlighting the positive impact they could have on West and Central Africa’s potential as an investment destination.”

“Governance Risk and Compliance in West and Central Africa” will form part of a series of tailored reports which OBG is currently producing with its partners, alongside other highly relevant, go-to research tools, including a range of country-specific Growth and Recovery Outlook articles and interviews.

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How to Save, Invest and Earn in US Dollar in Nigeria

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The continuous plunge in Naira value against global counterparts has made saving in US Dollar, US Dollar investments and earning in United States Dollar attractive to Nigerians and citizens of other import-dependent emerging economies.

In the last 18 months, Naira was devalued four times from N306/US$1 to the current Central Bank of Nigeria’s exchange rate of N410/US$1. However, Nigerian economic structure coupled with limited foreign revenue generation has created chronic dollar scarcity that made access to US Dollar at N410 impossible for most Nigerians and businesses that operate in the country.

This means, most Nigerians are forced to patronise the parallel market, popularly known as the black market, to exchange their hard-earned Naira or foreign currencies at much higher rates. A situation that has eroded the profitability of businesses, escalated the inflation rate, dragged on new job creation and weighed on consumer spending.

Currency experts have said Naira’s true exchange rate to American Dollar is at over N550 and it is inevitable given the mono-product nature of Africa’s largest economy. It means Naira will decline further, and subsequently, affect your future return on investments and business decisions.

Therefore, Investors King has put together how to navigate Naira uncertainties by saving, investing and earning in US Dollars while living in Nigeria.

How to Save Money in US Dollar in Nigeria

There are several ways Nigerians can save money in US Dollar, one of such ways, is to open a US Dollar (note that you can also open A Euro, Pounds Sterling) domiciliary bank account in any Deposit Money Bank in the country, exchange your Naira to US Dollar at the black market and save the exchanged US Dollar in your Domiciliary Bank Account.

While this is a conventional method, it is stressful and exposes one to all kinds of risk given that the black market is not regulated and usually conducted in the open.

However, the advent of Financial Technology (fintech) companies have helped ease the process and one can now save in US Dollar without visiting the black market or leaving the comfort of his/her home.

Companies like Trove Technologies Limited, Chaka Technologies Limited, Rise and Bamboo allow Nigerians to deposit in US Dollars from their Naira bank account.

Read about Securities and Exchange Commission regulatory issues with investment platforms.

Each of the platform quote Naira-US Dollar exchange rate for buying (exchanging Naira to US Dollar) and selling (exchanging US dollar to Naira) daily. With this, a potential depositor can determine the forex rate he/she wants to deposit.

Here is how to sign up on any of the platforms

Download their mobile application and click on signup. Complete the signup form and send in your identification for verification. Once approved, click dollar deposit and you will be redirected to the Naira-US dollar exchange rate and ask to transfer Naira from your Nigerian bank account to a designated bank account. The quoted rate will be used to credit your account in US dollars. The process is the same if you are withdrawing.

Now here is the logic, you can leave your money in US Dollar and wait until Naira decline further against US Dollar to profit from forex differential or start investing in US Dollar on the platform you deposit your US Dollar. To start investing and earn in US Dollar keep reading.

How to Invest in US Dollar in Nigeria

Each of these platforms has a partnership with a US-regulated stockbroker that allows them to offer foreign stocks to Nigerians. They also offer Nigerian stocks, meaning potential investors can trade global and local stocks on their phones with ease.

Therefore, you can learn to trade foreign stocks with as little as $20 dollars while saving simultaneously to give yourself an opportunity to profit from both your investment and Naira decline. The good thing about these platforms is that you can do all these with your smartphone. To learn how to trade foreign stocks, contact us.

Few other platforms, Cowrywise, Afrinvest, Stanbic IBTC, offer US Dollar investment opportunities.

Cowrywise – Dollar Mutual Fund investment

Investors can now invest in Cowrywise Dollar mutual funds called the United Capital Nigerian Eurobond Fund. “You’re probably wondering why it’s called a Eurobond fund when it’s a dollar-based investment option. We’re here to break it down for you,” Cowrywise stated.

Eurobond funds are a type of bond. This type of bond is issued in the host countries currency. A great example is that the Nigerian government can issue a bond that is denominated in dollars to allow foreign investors to have access to them too.

Now you’re probably wondering what a bond is. A bond is an agreement between two different parties. Another great example is that it’s like having a friend borrow from you and payback with a set interest rate. This means a government bond is simply the government borrowing money from the public with the agreement to pay back with a certain interest rate.

How to set up a Nigerian Eurobond investment plan

  1. Download the latest version of the Cowrywise app on the Playstore or Appstore.
  2. Signup and create a free account. You can log in after this.
  3. Tap “Actions”, followed by “Invest in Mutual Funds”.
  4. Select “Nigerian Eurobond Fund” to invest in.

Afrinvest Dollar Fund

The Afrinvest Dollar Fund is an open-ended mutual fund that Afrinvest invests in Dollar-denominated Securities registered in Nigeria.

The objective of the Fund is to achieve income generation and capital appreciation in the short to medium term for investors with dollars and designed to deliver significantly higher returns than what is obtainable from the average domiciliary account in the local banks. There is free entry and exit for investors subject to the prevailing Fund price.

  • Capital appreciation
  • Competitive returns
  • Diversified portfolio; and
  • Regular and steady income stream.

The issue price is $100 per unit but there is a minimum initial subscription of 10 units or US$1000. The minimum holding period is 180 days. This means your investment needs to stay untouched within this period.

The projected return is 6 to 7.5% per annum.

To subscribe, click any of the links below to get the subscription form. Email the completed form to aaml@afrinvest.com

Stanbic IBTC Dollar Fund

Stanbic IBTC Dollar Fund is similar to Afrinvest Dollar Fund.

Stanbic IBTC provides currency diversification, income generation, and stable growth in USD. The leading financial institution seeks to achieve this by investing a minimum of 70 percent of investors’ funds in high-quality Eurobonds, a maximum of 25 percent in short-term USD deposits, and a maximum of 10 percenr in USD equities approved and registered by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Nigeria.

Here is Highlight of Stanbic IBTC Dollar Fund

  • Stanbic IBTC Dollar Fund (SIDF) was launched in January 2017
  • The Fund invests a minimum of 70% of its portfolio in high quality Eurobonds, , maximum of 25% in short term USD deposits and a maximum of 10% in USD equities
  • 180 days minimum holding period
  • The penalty for redeeming within the minimum holding period is 20% on the accrued income
  • The minimum investment amount is $1,000 while additional investment is $500
  • It is an open ended Fund
  • The risk profile is “Moderately Conservative”
  • The expense ratio is 3.5%
  • The management fee is 1.5%

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