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Niger Delta Indigenes to Get oil Blocks to Douse Tension

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  • Niger Delta Indigenes to Get oil Blocks to Douse Tension

To douse tension in the oil-rich Niger Delta, the Federal Government plans to award to indigenes of the region marginal fields’ oil blocks abandoned by the oil majors as being not commercially viable.

The plan is in line with the government’s larger objective of reducing major incidents of restiveness to about 90 per cent by next year. Over the years, there have been agitations over oil resource ownership, which have become intense with allegations that about 90 per cent of northerners own the oil blocks awarded in the country.

If the plan is implemented, the ownership structure of the nation’s petroleum assets will not only begin to change, but also empower the host region, which has for decades suffered economic deprivation and environmental degradation on account of these resources.

The Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Ibe Kachikwu, who disclosed this yesterday in Lagos, said the plan was part of the larger “stability incentive scheme” under “a harmonised holistic development plan for the Niger Delta.”

Expatiating on the plan, Kachikwu said: “This will include creating stability incentive schemes – jobs, investments, contracting opportunities for the zone, and the use of marginal fields’ allocations to state governments and indigenes to help reduce tension and get buy-in without excluding the rest of the country.”

The minister disclosed this at the Oil and Gas Trade Group Roundtable organised by the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce (NBCC), to discuss “The Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry: Confronting Realities.”

Represented by the Acting Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Petroleum, John Eboigbe, the minister also promised that government would sustain institutional engagements with stakeholders in the Niger Delta region to nip agitations in the bud, while promising greater transparency in the industry’s operations.

Despite the promises, industry players are concerned over the sustainability of government’s effort, stressing that the future of the sector is uncertain unless inherent challenges are tackled.

Calling for the immediate passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), to fix the challenges, the experts insisted that the sector was still confronted by inadequate private sector engagement and management, poor policy implementation, legacy issues, transparency, trust and security, political will, inadequate infrastructure among other germane issues.

These challenges, many believe, are responsible for the dearth of fresh investments in the sector, and its poor contribution to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).

They said projected growth in the sector, particularly as regards efforts to boost the country’s crude oil production from 2.2 million barrels per day (mbpd) to 2.5 mbpd by 2020 might be threatened.

Speaking on refining capacity, the Executive Secretary, Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN), Obafemi Olawore, insisted that efforts to repair existing oil refineries in the country would end up as a waste of time and national resources.

For such efforts to be successful, Olawore said the refineries must be privatised to give a lead share of 51 per cent to private owners, 15 per cent to the Federal Government, 10 per cent to state and local government respectively and 14 per cent to local community.

The Chairman, Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN), Bank-Anthony Okoroafor, who said the sector must be concerned about job creation, urged government to channel local fund to allow Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to participate in the sector. The NBCC President, Adedapo Adelegan, argued that the petroleum sector must be structured to achieve multiplier impact across sectors.

He said: “With the fall in oil prices, and inflation rate hitting above 17 per cent, and the depreciation of the naira, there is a serious need for businesses to think outside the box and devise sustainable survival strategies.”

The Chairman, Oil & Gas Sector Group, NBCC, Aisha Abdurrahman, stressed the need to patronise local contractors in project execution, adding that policy somersault, harsh operating environment, and government’s continuous delay of the PIB were not helpful to the sector.

Abdurrahman said: “There is a need to ensure a stable and predictable framework for the oil and gas industry, which in turn creates the necessary predictability that is of crucial importance for our competitiveness. When producers plan their future activities, they look at projections of future demand and future supply, and make their decisions based on market signals. However, when future policy is unclear, market signals will also be blurred. If the policy is unpredictable and/or unstable, markets signals will be unclear.”

Notwithstanding stakeholders’ fears, Kachikwu, assured that the oil and gas sector, remained critical to the nation’s economy. But he admitted that inadequate investment, lack of local capacity, limited cash call, poor economic structure, pipeline vandalism and other factors continued to hinder the sector’s contribution, particularly in the area of job creation.

Going forward, the minister promised that the oil and gas industry was adopting a sustainable and well-structured stakeholder management framework that would address its peculiar needs and circumstances.

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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AB InBev Opens Applications For Beer Garage Africa Innovation Challenge

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The world’s largest beer company, AB InBev, has partnered with Hindsight Ventures to launch the Beer Garage Africa Innovation Challenge, which will offer startups access to venture development and grant funding.

AB InBev, which has over 500 brands and over six million B2B customers in over 100 countries, launched Beer Garage a few years ago with the objective of driving innovation by building a strong community of ecosystem stakeholders.

As part of this initiative, AB InBev is now launching the Beer Garage Africa Innovation Challenge, a pan-African challenge to identify hi-tech, high potential startups and founders building innovative solutions across Africa.

To do so, it has partnered with Startup Réseau, an India-headquartered global startup accelerator, which will operate the programme through its Africa-focused vertical Hindsight Ventures.

Ten startups will be selected to take part in a Global Venture Bootcamp, a three-week venture mentorship and leadership development programme that will be delivered by successful founders, industry leaders, domain experts and investors. The Beer Garage Africa Innovation Challenge will culminate with a demo day, which will be attended by AB InBev’s global leadership as well as Hindsight Ventures’ global investor pool. On the demo day, one African startup will stand to win US$5,000 in grant capital. All selected startups get access to US$150,000 in technology credits from partners.

“We are really excited by this partnership, which allows us to drive a pan-African program. With a billion people in the continent, over 300 million new internet users expected to come online over the next three years, a fast-growing mobile internet penetration – and now, with global venture capital money making its way to African entrepreneurs, this is a great opportunity for startups to engage with AB InBev as a partner of choice,” said Ajay Ramasubramaniam, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Startup Réseau.

Pritam Dutta, global director for fintech ventures and innovation at AB InBev, said the Beer Garage Africa Challenge was an opportunity to leverage the emerging tech startup ecosystem and funnel novel ideas into AB InBev.

“We set out to build out a stronger connect into the Africa ecosystem, find disruptive startups which could be a great pipeline for our future disruptive innovations and further accelerate our innovation agenda, delivering strong business impact,” he said.

Applications for the challenge are now open here.

Beer Garage is one of the global innovation hubs at AB InBev with the objective of driving innovation by building a strong community of ecosystem stakeholders.

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Merger and Acquisition

Sub Saharan Africa Mergers and Acquisition Transactions Totalled US$ 78.3 Billion During First Nine Months of 2021

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Refinitiv today released the Sub-Saharan African investment banking analysis for the first nine months of 2021. According to the report, an estimated US$387.5 million worth of investment banking fees were generated in Sub-Saharan Africa during the first nine months of 2021, a 15% increase from the same period in 2020. 

While debt capital markets underwriting fees increased 148% to US$117.8 million, the highest year-to-date period since our records began in 2000, fees from equity capital markets underwriting, M&A advisory and syndicated lending all declined from the first nine months of 2020.  Equity fees declined 17% to US$50.7 million, while syndicated lending fees declined 4% to US$148.2 million. Advisory fees earned in the region from completed M&A transactions reached US$70.8 million, down 3% from last year to the lowest first nine-month total since 2013.  Fifty-eight percent of all Sub-Saharan African fees were generated in South Africa during the first nine months of 2021, and 23% were earned from deals in the financial sector. Standard Chartered earned the most investment banking fees in the region during the first nine months of 2021, a total of US$33.1 million or an 8.5% share of the total fee pool.

MERGERS & ACQUISITIONS

Boosted by the US$44.1 billion Naspers/Prosus share swap in May, the value of announced M&A transactions with any Sub-Saharan African involvement reached US$78.3 billion during the first nine months of 2021, more than four-times the value recorded during the same period last year and the highest first nine-month total since our records began in 1980.  The number of deals increased 4% from last year to a three-year high of 584.

M&A involving a Sub-Saharan African target reached US$61.8 billion, again lifted by the share swap to an all-time record first nine-month total, while the number of deals increased 8% over last year.  Inbound deals, involving an acquiror outside of Sub-Saharan Africa, increased 86% to US$9.6 billion, while Sub-Saharan African outbound M&A more than doubled to US$11.5 billion. With advisory work on deals worth a combined U$52.1 billion, Morgan Stanley held the top spot in the financial advisor ranking for deals with any Sub-Saharan African involvement during the first nine months of 2021.

EQUITY CAPITAL MARKETS

Sub-Saharan African equity and equity-related issuance reached US$971.2 million during the third quarter of 2021, the highest quarterly total in more than two years.  Despite the strong third quarter, total proceeds raised during the first nine months of 2021 was down 42% from last year at US$1.2 billion, the lowest first nine-month total since 2005.   Pepkor Holdings, Lighthouse Capital and retail pharmacy chain Dis-Chem Pharmacies were among those in the region raising new equity funds from follow-on offerings during the third quarter.  There have been no initial public offerings in the region so far during 2021. Investec and Goldman Sachs share first place in the Sub-Saharan African ECM underwriting league table during the first nine months of 2021. 

DEBT CAPITAL MARKETS

Sub-Saharan African debt issuance totalled US$37.2 billion during the first nine months of 2021, up 149% from the value recorded during the same period in 2020 and the highest first nine-month total since our records began in 1980.  The number of issues increased 33% over the same period.  US$15.2 billion worth of the bond proceeds were raised during the third quarter alone, with both Prosus and the Federal Government of Nigeria raising US$4.0 billion.  Government & Agency issuance accounted for 55% of proceeds raised during the first nine months of 2021, while the financial sector accounted for 24%. Citi took the top spot in the Sub-Saharan African bond book runner ranking during the first nine months of 2021, with US$6.0 billion of related proceeds, or a 16% market share.

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Merger and Acquisition

Access Bank Completes Acquisition of African Banking Corporation of Botswana Limited

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Africa’s leading bank, Access Bank Plc has now completed the acquisition of a 78.15 percent shareholding in African Banking Corporation of Botswana Limited (BancABC Botswana).

Access Bank announced in a statement signed by Sunday Ekwochi, Company Secretary, Access Bank Plc.

According to the lender, the new acquisition will form part of the Bank’s nexus for trade and payments in Southern Africa and the broader COMESA trade region.

BancABC Bostwana is the fifth-largest bank in Botswana and is a well-capitalized franchise poised for growth in its local market. The lender’s achievements in the retail banking space will provide an opportunity for the Bank to deploy its best-in-class digital platforms and product suites to the benefit of BancABC Botswana’s customers and enable it to complete strongly across its core business segments.

Commenting on the transaction, Dr. Herbert Wigwe, GMD/CEO of the Bank, “We are pleased with the successful conclusion of this transaction which will provide significant synergies by combining BancABC Botswana’s strong retail banking operation with Access Bank’s wholesale banking capabilities. It will also strengthen the quality of earnings through revenue diversification and growth in the corporate and SME banking segments for BanABC Botswana. The combination is another step towards our broader vision of becoming the world’s Most Respected African Bank.”

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