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African Smallholders in $1t Deal to Push Economic Growth

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South Africa Commercial Buildings
  • African Smallholders in $1t Deal to Push Economic Growth

African agricultural entrepreneurs are set to take advantage of the free market to encourage the continent economic growth from food production and agribusinesses. A Africa Agriculture Status Report (AASR), said there were opportunities of a rapidly growing food market in Africa that may be worth more than $1 trillion each year by 2030 to substitute imports with high value food made on the continent.

According to the report, agriculture will be Africa’s quiet revolution, with a focus on Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and smallholder farmers creating the high productivity jobs and sustainable economic growth that failed to materialise from mineral deposits and increased urbanisation.

It stated that despite 37 percent of the population now living in urban centres, most jobs have been created in lower paying and less productive sectors even when the agriculture sector accounted for more than half of the continent’s GDP. It added that smart investments in the food system can change this picture dramatically if planned correctly.

Commenting on this year’s report findings, president of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa which commissioned the study, Dr. Agnes Kalibata, said: “Africa has the latent natural resources, skills, human and land capacity to tip the balance of payments and move from importer to exporter by eating food made in Africa. This report shows us that agriculture involving an inclusive transformation that goes beyond the farm to agri-businesses will be Africa’s surest and fastest path to that new level of prosperity.”

According to her, Africa can only succeed if her agricultural revolution is made to be different from those seen in the rest of world. This is besides requiring an inclusive approach that links millions of small farms to agribusinesses, creating extended food supply chains and employment opportunities for millions including those that will transit from farming. The report stated that this is in contrast to the model often seen elsewhere in the world of moving to large scale commercial farming and food processing, which employs relatively few people and requires high levels of capital.

The report highlights the opportunity for Africa to feed the continent with food made in Africa that meets the growing demand of affluent, fast growing urban populations on the continent looking for high value processed and pre-cooked foods.

Furthermore, it advocates that this opportunity should be met by many of the continent’s existing smallholder farmers. The report lamented that currently part of this growing demand for Africa’s food is met by imports which amount to $35billion per annum and are expected to cost $110billion by 2025 unless Africa improves the productivity and global competiveness of its agribusiness and agriculture sectors.

The report acknowledges that the private sector holds the key to the transformation of the food system so far. “Impressive value addition and employment is being created by SMEs along value chains in the form of increased agricultural trade, farm servicing, agro processing, urban retailing and food services. Large agribusinesses like seed companies, agro processors and supermarkets are also playing an increasing role in the food value chain in many regions,” said the technical director of the report, Peter Hazell.

The report also stated that left to the private sector alone, growth in the agrifood system will not be as fast as it could, nor will it benefit as many smallholder farmers and SMEs as it could. It asked for government support to stimulate and guide the transition. It added that as a matter of priority government need to create an enabling business environment and in particular, meet targets to invest ten percent of GDP in agriculture, agreed at the 2003 African Union (AU) Summit as part of The Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).

The report also urged government to nurture a globally competitive food production sector through measures such as increasing infrastructure investment in secondary cities and towns, improving the reliability of energy and water supplies and building more wholesale market spaces. Others are the promotion of promoting open regional trade, identifying and investing in first mover crops and introducing stricter standards for food safety and quality.

The authors also called on governments to stimulate new private public partnerships for more innovative financing and insurance provision which can lead to increased resilience for farmers and their households. It lamented that while global agricultural insurance is a $2 billion business, Africa accounts for less than two percent of the market.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Nigerian Brewers Post Combined Loss of N169.7 Billion

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Nigerian Breweries - Investors King

Nigerian brewers collectively faced a significant setback in the first quarter of 2024.

According to a comprehensive analysis of financial statements from leading brewing companies, including Champion Breweries Plc, Nigerian Breweries Plc, International Breweries Plc, and Guinness Nigeria Plc, the industry reported a combined loss of N169.7 billion.

This downturn is in contrast to the same period last year when three of the four major brewers recorded a total loss of N54.3 billion, while Guinness Nigeria managed to eke out a modest profit of N1.84 billion.

Experts attribute this dramatic reversal to a multitude of factors, with the foremost being the steep devaluation of the Nigerian naira coupled with soaring interest rates.

The fluctuating exchange rates have exacerbated the financial woes of brewing companies, particularly those with significant dollar exposures.

International Breweries, for instance, saw its foreign exchange loss balloon to N162.2 billion in the first quarter of 2024 from an FX gain of N1.22 billion in the same period last year.

Similarly, Nigerian Breweries and Guinness Nigeria reported substantial FX losses of N72.85 billion and N37.06 billion, respectively, compared to much lower losses or gains in the previous year.

Even Champion Breweries, which did not record any FX loss in the comparative period, reported a loss of N0.74 billion in Q1 2024.

Industry analysts emphasize that the weakened naira has intensified the costs associated with servicing foreign debt obligations, further straining profit margins.

The shift to a floating exchange rate regime has led to rapid depreciation of the naira, resulting in significant FX losses across the brewing sector.

Moreover, the decline in consumer spending has added to the sector’s woes. Inflationary pressures have eroded the purchasing power and disposable income of consumers, forcing them to prioritize spending and seek cheaper alternatives.

Femi Egbesola, the national president of the Association of Small Business Owners of Nigeria, notes that inflation has significantly reduced consumers’ purchasing power, impacting their willingness to spend on alcoholic beverages.

Furthermore, increased competition from alternative beverages and a more diverse range of beer options have intensified market competition, squeezing profit margins for brewing companies.

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Appointments

United Bank for Africa Welcomes Emmanuel Nnorom to Board

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Emmanuel Nnorom

The United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), Africa’s leading global bank, has announced the appointment of Emmanuel Nnorom as its new non-executive director, effective April 30, 2024.

This strategic appointment has received the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as of May 13, 2024.

In an official statement, UBA highlighted the significance of Nnorom’s addition to the board. “Africa’s Global Bank, United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), hereby announces the appointment of Emmanuel Nnorom as a non-executive director effective April 30, 2024.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) granted approval for this appointment on May 13, 2024.”

Tony Elumelu, Group Chairman at UBA, expressed his enthusiasm about the appointment.

“The appointment of Emmanuel Nnorom, a professional with considerable experience in the sector, emphasizes our Group’s commitment to strong governance and excellence. Nnorom brings a track record of working in critical sectors of the Nigerian economy, including power, and a pan-African perspective that complements our existing Board.”

With over 40 years of experience in financial services and audit, Nnorom’s extensive background includes significant board roles with listed companies.

He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and an honorary member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).

Also, he is an alumnus of Templeton College, Oxford, further underscoring his vast expertise and qualifications.

UBA, which provides retail, commercial, and institutional banking services across several countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States of America, France, and the United Arab Emirates, continues to lead in financial inclusion and the implementation of cutting-edge technology.

This appointment comes at a time when UBA is celebrating record-breaking financial achievements. The bank recently reported over N2 trillion in revenue and a profit of N607.69 billion, the highest in its banking history.

Nnorom’s appointment is expected to bolster UBA’s board, bringing a wealth of knowledge and a fresh perspective to the bank’s operations. His experience in both financial services and critical sectors of the economy will be invaluable as UBA continues to expand its footprint and reinforce its commitment to excellence and strong governance.

As UBA continues to navigate the complexities of the global financial landscape, the addition of a seasoned professional like Emmanuel Nnorom signals the bank’s dedication to sustaining its growth trajectory and maintaining its position as a leading financial institution in Africa and beyond.

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Company News

Dangote Refinery Raises Diesel Price to N1,100/Litre Due to Naira-Dollar Crash

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Aliko Dangote - Investors King

Dangote Refinery has announced an increase in the price of Automotive Gas Oil (diesel) from N940 per litre to N1,100 per litre.

This significant adjustment in pricing reflects the refinery’s efforts to mitigate the impact of currency depreciation on its operations.

The decision to raise the price of diesel comes amidst ongoing challenges in the foreign exchange market, with the naira experiencing a downward spiral against the dollar in recent weeks.

The refinery cited the unfavorable exchange rate as the primary driver behind the price hike, signaling the intricacies of operating in a volatile economic environment.

It is worth noting that just a few weeks ago, on April 24, 2024, Dangote Refinery had announced a reduction in the prices of diesel and aviation fuel to N940 per litre and N980 per litre, respectively.

This move was aimed at responding to calls from oil marketers for a reduction in diesel prices, demonstrating the refinery’s willingness to adapt to market dynamics.

However, the recent depreciation of the naira has necessitated a reversal of this downward trend, prompting Dangote Refinery to adjust its pricing strategy accordingly.

Some dealers reported purchasing diesel from the plant at even higher rates, reaching up to N1,200 per litre for those procuring lesser volumes.

Abubakar Maigandi, the National President of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, attributed the price increase to the rising exchange rate, as communicated by the refinery.

He emphasized the direct correlation between currency fluctuations and the cost of imported commodities, such as crude oil, which forms the basis for diesel production.

While officials of the refinery have remained tight-lipped on the matter, industry sources and major marketers have corroborated reports of the price adjustment.

Chief Ukadike Chinedu, the National Public Relations Officer of IPMAN, echoed similar sentiments, highlighting the adverse impact of the naira’s depreciation on refined product prices.

The recent fluctuations in the naira-dollar exchange rate underscore the challenges facing Nigeria’s economy, with implications for various sectors, including energy and transportation.

Despite initial signs of stability earlier in the year, the naira’s recent depreciation has reignited concerns about inflationary pressures and economic uncertainty.

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