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Enelamah: Nigerians Will Start Witnessing Huge Foreign Direct Investments in 2017

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Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah
  • Nigerians Will Start Witnessing Huge Foreign Direct Investments in 2017

Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelamah, in this interview with journalists said that trade and investment in Nigeria is about to be revolutionised, as key stimulus packages and other investment drives embarked upon by the Federal Government, will start to yield fruits from 2017.

Can you tell us the investments that came into the country, which can be trace to the efforts of the Buhari administration in the last one-year?

Yes, people are surprised about how big investment inflows have been in the last one-year, because they came in large chunks. But let me tell you that we have gotten well over $20b. This is because of the major infrastructural projects government is embarking upon. But again, what we call an inflow is not just about the money physically, but also the commitments that have come. So, if you look at the infrastructural projects that we are doing, there is N20b or more infrastructure projects with the China EXIM bank. It has been signed and it’s now being implemented around railways and related infrastructure. There is an agreement with General Electric for which $2b has been committed in the last one year.

There are private sector investments also. For instance, Chellarams, which sold a major part of their business to Kelloggs of the United States; that deal is worth about  $400million. There was a deal that was done by Chi- the fruit juice company with Coca-Cola, which is also worth hundreds of million of dollars. There is also a deal, where BUA sold something to one of the international players, which bought a part of that group. Again, it is sizable sum. However, we want to increase the steady inflow of foreign direct investment across all levels, because there are many more people waiting on the sidelines apart from the big stakeholders who are doing multi-billion naira infrastructural projects.

As you know, Nigeria Investment Promotion Council has just appointed a new head for the private sector. As a government we want to partner with the private sector, government doesn’t have all the money it needs to develop the country, therefore government is willing and committed to partnering with the private sector players. Another thing I want to say regarding investment is that the oil companies have reached an agreement that is now being finalised to bring in more money into the oil sector.

Government has talked a lot about diversifying the economy, what role is your ministry playing in this regard?

First, let me say that when I think about the Nigerian economy, I think in terms of what the economy has been traditionally, and what we want it to be with the ongoing reforms. I think in the past, what was good about the Nigerian economy is that the diversification process has started to some degree, if you look at the GDP and the composition. When the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) rebased the economy, one of the things we found out was that the GDP was no longer what we thought it was. Services, for instance had grown, people were going into non-traditional areas and we found things like telecoms had grown, we found things like trade and other items had grown, traditional manufacturing was about 10 per cent and agriculture was about 20 plus percent. Oil, in terms of GDP was about 10 percent. However, when it comes to the revenues of government, we also found out that oil was still about 75 percent or more, even though that reform has started.

Secondly, we found out that the foreign exchange earnings of government; over 90 percent of it was also from oil. So, when we talk about the new economy that is diversified, what we want is to clearly diversify our sources of revenues in terms of foreign exchange earnings. In order to do that, we need to do a number of things.

One is that the sectors of the GDP that are significant, but don’t contribute revenue in monetary form need to be better monetized, which means we need to give them the resources they need to be more productive beyond subsistence level like agriculture. We need to empower our people to do productive agriculture that is profitable, so that they can pay taxes, they can export and do the things that people do, as opposed to just producing hand-to-mouth to eat, which is really part of GDP, but frankly doesn’t impact on the revenue in any form. It also means the government needed to be more attentive to the people.

What do I mean by that, we need to create a more formal economy not because we want to put more burden on people, but because we want to recognise them. Under a formal economy setting, it’s almost as if they are non existent, they are not registered anywhere, whereas if you look at the social intervention programme of government, one of the things we tell people is that we just want to know who you are, whether you are a trader, a market woman, or an artisan. When people talk about formal economy they think in term of the cost, the entire roadblock, the red tape and all the taxes they ask you to pay with no benefits. One of the things we have to do, is to make sure that it is really about the people. In order to diversify the economy away from oil, we also need to make the other sectors like agriculture, agro-processing, agric-business to become vibrant.

Finally, we are also working on the Nigerian industrial revolution plan as a key Programme of government that would help to diversify the economy and move it away from oil to agriculture.

There was a recent investment roadshow overseas by your ministry. What has been the impact?

It was a successful. I think what you find is that Nigeria is a country that people are genuinely interested in and I view that as an asset. There is no country we go to, no matter how big or small, the president goes along, where they don’t give us the highest treatment reserved for the most important country in the world. When we went to Germany, the president met with the Chancellor, and I had a business forum with the elite in the business sector. The president came and addressed them. And Germany is interested in working with Nigeria for several reasons. They are interested in automobiles. And the way they built their economy is that they train people beyond academic degrees, vocational training and they expressed interest to work with us.

There are a lot of benefits that will come from the Germany trip. They are also interested in investing in other areas that we are looking at, including renewable power. And we have a very strong Nigeria business association network, trade association that is working with us very actively. We have met with them even after we came back here, some of their ministers and parliamentarians have also come to meet with us.

Singapore is interested also because as you know, it is a small country that defiled the odds and became very successful, sophisticated country that became great under the very good leadership of the former Prime Minister, Lee Kuan Yu. Nigerians will get there too.

How far has the government gone with the concession loan coming from China?

China has a deliberate policy of partnering with Africa and has identified Nigeria as particularly important base because of our strategic role in Africa. Furthermore, before this government, China had offered to work with us on our key infrastructure projects. China is one country that’s not afraid to spend serious money in another country. That’s the state they’ve got to. They have the money and they want to put it to work and probably recoup over a long period of time. That’s why you’ll hear about China in rail, airport concession, including remodeling, hydropower projects and many more. A lot of our Nigerian businessmen are partnering with the Chinese. Those agreements are now being implemented at government-to-government level.

I think we’ve made a lot of progress. We’ve been to China on a number of times. On the business-to-business level again, it’s working. You know how it is; they’ll start from MOUs, substantive legal agreement, and then follow by investment agreement, shareholders agreements, etc. What we’ve done is that whatever we can do to help the process we’ll do. Under our ministry, we’re working on special economic zones. We as a government have been increasing our budgets, infrastructure and other things needed for the special economic zones, because they’re for industrialisation, and that’s one of our top priorities. The China Exim bank, working with African Exim bank have come to us to say they can invest a billion dollars in those economic zones. We met with them last week again on it. So, there’s a lot action and work going on. You’ll start to see the results as we go on.

Talking about exports what are the bottlenecks and what are you doing about it?

We have said we want to diversify the economy in terms of foreign exchange earnings, and also in terms of revenue generation. What this simply means is non-oil exports. To do it, it means we have to do certain things well. My view is that it goes with creating the enabling environment and ease of doing business. The process of exporting from Nigeria is very tough and not competitive and the Federal Executive Council has actually asked myself and the Minister of Finance, to come and address the council on practical steps to make it easier to export from Nigeria, ensuring that we trade across our borders and we are working on it, as we speak. The bottlenecks in terms of administrative, bureaucracy, red tapes’ and all the approvals you have to get, and all the inspections, and all the waiting at the ports, those need to be addressed. People that are serious about export make that a competitive advantage by doing it.

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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IEA Pushes for $1T Investment In Clean Energy By 2030, To Achieve Net-Zero Emission By 2050

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International Energy Agency (IEA)- Investors King

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has said that investment in clean energy in emerging and developing economies need to rise more than seven times, topping $1 trillion per year by 2030, to put the world on track for net-zero emissions by 2050.

A report conducted with the World Bank and the World Economic Forum (WEF) by the IEA stated that without stronger action, energy-related carbon dioxide emissions from those economies – mostly in Asia, Africa, and Latin America – would grow by five billion tonnes over the next two decades.

It said while developing and emerging economies account for two-thirds of the world’s population, they receive only one-fifth of investment in clean energy.

Annual investments across all parts of the energy sector in developing and emerging markets have fallen by about 20 percent since 2016, it added, partly because of challenges including weak regulation and a lack of profitable clean energy projects.

According to the report, last year, $150 billion was put into renewables, adding that unless much stronger action was taken, the 2050 target may not be met.

“In many emerging and developing economies, emissions are heading upwards while clean energy investments are faltering, creating a dangerous fault line in global efforts to reach climate and sustainable energy goals.

“Countries are not starting on this journey from the same place – many do not have access to the funds they need to rapidly transition to a healthier and more prosperous energy future – and the damaging effects of the Covid-19 crisis are lasting longer in many parts of the developing world.

“There is no shortage of money worldwide, but it is not finding its way to the countries, sectors and projects where it is most needed. Governments need to give international public finance institutions a strong strategic mandate to finance clean energy transitions in the developing world,” the IEA Director, Fatih Birol, stated.

The report noted that recent trends in clean energy spending point to a widening gap between advanced economies and the developing world even though emissions reductions are far more cost-effective in the latter.

Besides, it stated that emerging and developing economies currently account for two-thirds of the world’s population, but only one-fifth of global investment in clean energy, and one-tenth of global financial wealth.

“Annual investments across all parts of the energy sector in emerging and developing markets have fallen by around 20 percent since 2016, and they face debt and equity costs that are up to seven times higher than in the United States or Europe,” it said.

Avoiding a tonne of CO2 emissions in emerging and developing economies costs about half as much on average as in advanced economies, according to the report, stressing that it is partly because developing economies can often jump straight to cleaner and more efficient technologies without having to phase out or refit polluting energy projects that are already underway.

Describing the report as a global call to action – especially for those who have the wealth, resources and expertise to make a difference – and offers priority actions that can be taken now to move things forward fast, Birol stressed that as the world expands energy access, it also needs a global transition to low-carbon energy.

World Bank Global Director for Energy and Extractives, Demetrios Papathanasiou, said the bank would continue to support countries that seek assistance to transition away from fossil fuels and scale up low-carbon, renewable energy, and energy efficiency investments.

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deVere Launches ‘Green’ Investment Products as ESG Demand Soars

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Nigel Green - Investors King

Growing interest in environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing has prompted one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organisations to unveil a new product to help clients benefit from this decade’s “ultimate megatrend.”

deVere Group will now be able to offer its clients a fixed-yield note of which the proceeds are allocated to the financing of eligible projects with a clear and defined environmental benefit, such as the reduction of carbon emissions.

In June last year, deVere revealed that 26% of clients around the world are eyeing exposure to or already have exposure to ESG investments. This has now increased to 44% over the last 12 months.

Of this new financial solution, Nigel Green, deVere Group CEO and founder says: “An increasing number of clients want to achieve profits with a purpose by investing in companies that prioritise reducing carbon, protect employees’ and consumer rights, and promote board diversity, corporate transparency and stakeholder accountability.

“As such, we feel it is our responsibility to bring to market financial solutions that can help them do this.”

“At the beginning of 2020 we identified that ESG will be this decade’s ultimate investment megatrend. Therefore, we will continue to develop products with legitimate ESG credentials.

He continues: “The ESG trend is set to gain further momentum for several reasons.

“First, governments and regulators are becoming increasingly pro-ESG which boosts investor confidence.

“For example, in the U.S. – the world’s largest economy – the Biden Administration is taking a tougher approach to the use of fossil fuels and is promising swift action to tackle climate change.

“In addition, the new chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the U.S. financial regulator, Gary Gensler, is a proponent and is likely to strengthen investment and disclosure rules to help the U.S. catch up with Europe.”

He goes on to add: “Second, as millennials, who are statistically more likely to seek responsible investment options, become the major beneficiaries of the largest intergenerational transfer of wealth – an estimated $30tn in the next few years – we can expect both retail and institutional investors to continue to pile into ESG.

“And third, the pandemic has focused minds on the fact that the health of our planet directly affects human health which, in turn, affects the way we all live and work.”

As sustainable investments move from a ‘quirk’ or ‘nice to have’ to a legitimate portfolio diversification tool that delivers profits with purpose, deVere earlier this year announced it is to offer free, independent advice to clients on socially responsible investing, with the aim of positioning $1bn in environmental, social and governance investments within five years.

Of the new financial solution, Mr Green concludes: “This note is the next step in our sustainability journey. We look forward to developing more to help our clients with theirs.”

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G7 Development Finance Institutions, Multilateral Partner to Invest Over $80 Billion in African Businesses

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Business Solution - Investors King

The G7 DFIs, the IFC, the private sector arm of the African Development Bank, EBRD and the European Investment Bank today announced that they were committed to investing $80 billion in the private sector over the next five years to support sustainable economic recovery and growth in Africa.

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a severe global economic and health crisis. The announcement is a welcome boost to support the long-term development objectives of African economies that have been negatively impacted by the crisis. It is the first time the G7 DFIs have come together to make a collective partnership commitment to the African continent.

The IMF estimates that sub-Saharan Africa needs additional financing of around $425 billion between now and 2025 to help strengthen the pandemic response spending and reduce poverty in the region.

The UK Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, said: “The UK is proud to back this commitment by world leaders at the G7 Summit to invest more than $80 billion in Africa’s private sector over the next 5 years.

“This investment will create jobs, boost economic growth, help tackle climate change and fight poverty. It comes at a crucial time as the continent rebuilds its economies, severely impacted by Covid-19.”

Nick O’Donohoe, the CEO of CDC Group, said: “The patient, high quality capital that DFIs provide is urgently needed if African economies are to start to rebuild quickly from the impact of the pandemic. CDC is committed to building long term investment partnerships in Africa that fuel sustainable private sector growth in support of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank, said: “The EIB welcomes G7 leadership to enhance support for high-impact investment across Africa during and after the pandemic. Last year the EU Bank’s engagement in Africa, as part of Team Europe, represented the largest ever support for climate action and investment in fragile states in 55 years of EIB operations on the continent. We stand ready to cooperate further with African and multilateral partners to tackle both COVID-19 and accelerate the green transition in Africa.”

Makhtar Diop, IFC’s Managing Director, said: “Ensuring an inclusive and sustainable recovery for people, businesses and economies across Africa in coordination with our development partners, is at the core of IFC’s development mandate today. We know that the private sector will play a major role in financing Africa’s future by creating millions of jobs that are essential to ensuring sustained economic growth and poverty reduction. We, therefore, welcome this important partnership and are proud to provide financing and to work with partners to help create the right conditions to bring more private investment to Africa.”

David Marchick, Chief Operating Officer of U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), said: “Under President Biden’s leadership, investing more in Africa is a top priority for DFC in fulfilling our development mandate. DFC is proud to be doubling down on our commitment to Africa alongside our G7 and multilateral partners and will continue to prioritize investments in vaccine manufacturing, COVID-19 response, climate mitigation and adaptation, and gender equity on the African continent.”

Dario Scannapieco, Chief Executive Officer of Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), said: “Closer collaboration among Development Finance Institutions and multilateral partners is an essential factor in fostering sustainable economic recovery and growth in Africa. CDP looks forward to contributing to this strategic partnership, supporting the African continent in developing its entrepreneurial and financial private sector, to unlock its vast, untapped potential.”

Solomon Quaynor, African Development Bank VP, Private Sector, Infrastructure & Industrialization said: “We welcome this global partnership and the opportunity to provide the African voice, as Africa builds back better and boldly.  The opportunity to create jobs particularly for youth and women, from a focus on industrializing Africa underpinned by the African Continental Free Trade Area, will be our priority. Given the gap between the IMF estimates and what this partnership is committing to, we will seek to crowd-in African development partners, as well as African savings from SWFs, pensions, and insurance pools, estimated to have US$1.8 trillion AUM.”

Heike Harmgart, EBRD Managing Director, Southern & Eastern Mediterranean, said: “Harnessing the potential of the private sector is essential to supporting prosperity in Africa and meeting the continent’s development needs. In the North African countries where we work – Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia – we have invested over €11.5 billion in only 9 years, focused on boosting the private sector, developing green sustainable infrastructure and promoting youth and women participation in the economy. We will pursue our efforts to expand private sector investment opportunities at scale in the region in close cooperation with other development actors.”

Monika Beck, member of the DEG-Management Board, said: „Many of our African partner countries have been hit hard by the pandemic. We quickly developed new services to support private sector SME and to help protecting jobs and livelihoods. In Africa, DEG has always been specifically committed to creating prospects for the young, growing population. In addition to the continuing massive impact of Covid-19 we expect a further acceleration of the challenges connected to developments such as digitization and climate change. Therefore DEG welcomes and is proud to be part of the G7 DFI Africa initiative”.

Each DFI has its own investment criteria which are aligned to an assessment of need to achieve development impact across a range of sectors. DFIs play an important role in helping to build markets, mitigate risk and pave the way for other investors to enter new markets.

The G7 DFI group consists of CDCProparco (France), JICA and JBIC (Japan), DFC (US), FinDev Canada (Canada), DEG (Germany) and CDP (Italy). This commitment is also supported by the IFC, the Africa Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank

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