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GCA Set to Fund SMEs in Nigeria, Others

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  • GCA Set to Fund SMEs in Nigeria, Others

Gradient Consulting Africa, an investment and business management consultancy firm operating from Europe, has concluded plans to provide financial access for Small and Medium-scale Enterprises in Nigeria and the entire sub-Saharan Africa.

The Founder, GCA, Mr. Ajibade Yusuf, said in a statement on Friday that lack of funding was the bane of SME growth in Nigeria, adding that this was frustrating entrepreneurs’ efforts to build profitable ventures and provide jobs for the country’s unemployed youths.

He noted that while the big corporations could easily work out favourable loan deals with banks, the SMEs lacked the capacity, adding that dearth of fund was killing small businesses in Nigeria.

Yusuf said, “A significant percentage of the players in the Nigerian economy do not have access to capital. The first layer of the economy consists the established corporations and well-known private investors with huge resources. These organisations have access to capital through the banks and have the capacity to arrange favourable loan deals.

“The second and third layers are made up of small entrepreneurs, start-up businesses and local sole traders. However, the percentage of the first layer is quite small and not enough to stimulate and sustain economic growth. My goal is to use the GCA’s access to data and our vast network to ensure that SMEs in the second and third layers of our economy are not totally left behind in terms of funding.”

To this end, Yusuf said the GCA had built strong partnerships in the private equity, venture capital and investment funds sector that would be harnessed for the growth of SME in the country.

He stated, “Our association with key partners provides us with access to unrivalled data and analytics. This means that we are able to provide our clients with information that will assist them in making prompt investment decisions.

“In addition, we have consultants with many years’ experience in finance and data analytics. We are a diverse group of professionals with flexibility and maturity to listen and understand your needs, and provide a bespoke service with personal touch than our competitors would.”

According to Yusuf, helping SMEs is also a personal goal for him, because of the urge to give to the Nigerian society, being his root.

“I believe I have reached a point in my career where I think I need to give something back to the society, particularly going back to my root, the environment where I grew up. I certainly believe I have the technical expertise to empower people in my country (Nigeria) and across other sub-Saharan African countries,” he added.

On the motivation for the GCA’s fresh focus on SMEs, Yusuf said, “I really enjoy my profession as it provides me with the opportunity to work with like-minded people. Over the years, I have met and developed a great network of highly skilled professionals across Europe, North America, Asia and Africa.

“I feel empowered having known my colleagues who are in various positions, and this is part of what we are bringing to the table to help drive SME growth in Nigeria.”

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.

Investment

SEC Warns Against Proliferation of Unregistered Investment Platforms

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned the investing public to be wary of the proliferation of unregistered online investment and trading platforms facilitating access to trading in securities listed in foreign markets.

SEC’s warning was conveyed via a circular issued in Abuja, Thursday to capital market operators.

It advised the investing public to seek clarification as may be required via its established channels of communication on investment products.

The circular read: “The attention of the SEC has been drawn to the existence of several providers of online investment and trading platforms which purportedly facilitate direct access of the investing public in the Federal Republic of Nigeria to securities of foreign companies listed on securities exchanges registered in other jurisdictions.

“These platforms also claim to be operating in partnership with capital market operators (CMOs) registered with the Commission.”

The Commission categorically stated that by the provisions of Sections 67-70 of the Investments and Securities Act (ISA), 2007 and Rules 414 & 415 of the SEC Rules and Regulations, only foreign securities listed on any exchange registered in Nigeria may be issued, sold or offered for sale or subscription to the Nigerian public.

Accordingly, the SEC notified CMOs who work in concert with the referenced online platforms of the Commission’s position and advised them to desist henceforth.

Public to seek clarification as may be required via its established channels of communication on investment products advertised through conventional or online mediums.

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Investment

SoftBank Reaps $33 Billion Coupang Windfall

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SoftBank Group Corp on Thursday racked up a roughly $33 billion gain on paper through the public market debut of South Korea’s largest e-commerce company, Coupang Inc, the latest sign of a dramatic turnaround for its $100 billion Vision Fund.

Shares of Coupang opened 81% above their offer price on Thursday, after the company raised $4.6 billion in the U.S. stock market’s biggest initial public offering this year.

SoftBank paid around $3 billion for a 37% stake in the company, according to sources familiar with earlier fund-raising, giving it a roughly $33 billion headline profit if prices hold.

Coupang’s hugely successful stock market launch is welcome news for SoftBank, which is grappling with the collapse of billions of dollars worth of funds linked to Britain’s Greensill Capital, a supply chain finance start-up.

Vision Fund is Greensill’s biggest backer.

The Japanese conglomerate last month reported third-quarter net profit ballooned more than 20 times thanks to a recovery at the Vision Fund, a huge venture capital operation famous for investing early in Uber and other tech industry startup successes.

Only a year ago, SoftBank had been smarting from the flopped IPO and collapse in value of office sharing firm WeWork, raising questions over whether Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son had lost his midas touch and threatening plans to establish a successor to Vision.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also forced Son to sell assets but a second deal reported by Reuters on Thursday bodes well for VF II, a second, smaller fund.

The $225 million late-stage funding round for healthcare startup Forward Health was its first major investment this year, following a pickup in activity and the group’s fortunes in the second half of 2020.

The Vision Fund also made $11 billion on a blockbuster market launch of DoorDash Inc in December, which valued the food delivery company at more than $70 billion.

It also made gains on home seller Opendoor Technologies Inc’s initial offering in December.

The fund still holds large stakes in China’s biggest ride-hailing firm Didi, as well as Uber’s Southeast Asian rival Grab.

SoftBank is also trying to ride the mania for special purpose acquisition companies, launching a handful of blank-check firms this year, although none of them have found investment targets yet.

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Agence Francaise De Developpement (AFD) To €2 billion in Nigeria

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The French Development Agency (AFD) is a development finance institution 100 percent held by the French government.

In Nigeria, it is mainly into financing infrastructure projects (water, energy, transport and agriculture).

It also involves financing related to the banking sector, governance and the cultural and creative industries.

Speaking to the media, the AFD Country Director Nigeria, Pascal Grangereau, said €2 billion was set aside to be sent on mainly road financing, water sector, improvement in electricity and agriculture.

He said €300 million was being spent on the Abuja Electricity Backup, a project in collaboration with Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to improve electricity at the nation’s capital.

Grangereau said a total of €200 million is equally expended on the North West Electricity Backup.

On agriculture, he said vocational training is currently held across the nation to improve the skills of Nigerians.

He added: “We intend to finance agricultural projects in five states, Benue, Imo and three other states to the tune of €50 million.”

He lamented that while it was endowed with reserves of crude oil and natural gas, Nigeria is characterised by power generation considered by the Nigerians themselves as not adequate.

He said concentrating more than half of the installed electricity capacity in West Africa, only half of which was harnessed by the country, implying a very low per capita consumption, limited access to electricity and frequent load shedding.

He added: “The sector is of strategic importance for successive governments, with the launching in the 2000s of a vast reform, supported by a massive investment plan; which reform although supported by the donors is yet to achieve the expected results. The project aims to strengthen the electricity transmission network, natural monopoly under the responsibility of the public company TCN, thus laying the foundations for a long-term partnership with TCN.”

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