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Stakeholders Worry as steel Import Rises

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  • Stakeholders Worry as steel Import Rises

The Federal Government and stakeholders in the manufacturing sector have expressed worries over the low production level of steel and the huge amount spent on steel imports annually.

Annual steel production in Nigeria is put at under two million metric tonnes per annum, (about 0.11 per cent of global steel) while import is five million tonnes.

According to a Former Minister of State for Mines and Steel Development, Abubakar Bwari, Nigeria spends up to $4.5bn on steel imports yearly.

Also, local Annual Per Capita consumption is less than 10 kilogrammes compared to the world average Annual Per Capita consumption which stood at 208kg as at 2016.

Worried about this development, the Federal Government is making moves to boost local consumption of steel.

The Assistant Director (Steel) in the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Mr Ime Ekrikpo, gave this indication in Lagos during the Annual General Meeting of the Basic Metal Sectoral Group of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria.

While presenting a paper on the theme of the AGM which was, Revival of Ajaokuta Steel Complex and Aluminum Smelter Company of Nigeria-Priority for Developing the Metals Industry in Nigeria, Ekrikpo said the government was concerned about the low per capita steel consumption in Nigeria and had the intention of increasing the consumption to 100kg by 2020.

He said, “The steel and aluminium sector substantially needs to be grown in the area of internal production and consumption to support and stimulate growth in virtually all sectors of the economy due to its importance in the industrialisation drive of the government.”

Ekrikpo added that the government had intention of exploring and exploiting the potential of the solid minerals sector and adding value to them.

“At the moment, the private sector is running the steel sector in Nigeria 99.9 per cent with the major metals recycling companies numbering about 95. Only about 35 or less of them are still active but operating at very low capacities (less than 20 per cent) producing less than 200,000 tonnes per annum,” he stated.

He attributed the low production capacity of the steel sector in Nigeria to the high cost of production which made the sector uncompetitive among other global players.

According to him, major steel rolling mills at Ajaokuta and Katsina have been privatised with only Katsina (Dana Steel Mills) being operational with upgraded facilities.

Jos was also privatised but is currently not operational, while Delta Steel Rolling Mill is partially operational, he said, adding that Ajaokuta steel mill was in arbitration.

The outgoing Chairman, Basic Metal, Iron and Steel and Fabricated Metal sectoral group of MAN, Chief Oluyinka Kufile, in his welcome address, observed that several product lines from the steel industry such as; iron rods, wire rod, steel coils, metal doors and others, as well as the products to produce them efficiently were inadequate due to insufficient raw materials and absence of policy environment to support the industry.

He acknowledged the efforts of government in creating enabling environment for industrial growth and also banning exports of scrap metals, a major raw material for the steel industry.

The new Chairman of the group, who was elected during the AGM, Kamarudeen Yusuf, urged the government to check importation of finished product manufactured from steel, saying that this was the only way local manufacturers could be competitive.

He said the government should also encourage underwriting insurance companies to come into the country and assist investors in getting their projects underwritten.

He disclosed that his firm, KAM industries, was set to inaugurate a 300-tonne capacity steel rolling mill (an equivalent of Ajaokuta steel rolling mill) before year end.

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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PwC to Add 100,000 Jobs in $12 Billion Strategic Revamp

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Price Waterhouse Coopers - Investors King

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP is investing $12 billion across its global business in an overhaul targeting better audits, digitization of services and greener operations.

The professional-services provider will hire 100,000 employees and develop the skills of existing staff over the next five years as it seeks to respond to the post-pandemic operating environment, it said in an emailed statement on Tuesday.

“We will continue to evolve our ways of working, and expand our capabilities in the areas that matter most for the future, while remaining steadfast in our commitment to quality,” PwC Chairman Bob Moritz said. “We want our people to be the most sought after in the market.”

Auditors are grappling with managing quality amid a shift in ways of working introduced by the Covid-19 pandemic. The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board has revised standards for auditors, coming into effect in 2022, to boost technology use, help manage new risks, and improve quality management.

PwC is also seeking ways to address growing calls for transparency in the profession from stakeholders after several accounting scandals among the Big Four auditing firms knocked public trust. In South Africa, for example, KPMG has put in place a variety of reforms after it came under fire in 2017 for work done for a politically connected family accused of plundering the government’s coffers.

The South African unit of PwC will add at least 2,500 new employees over the next five years, Chief Executive Officer in the region Dion Shango told reporters in a conference call. Across Africa, where it has a presence in 34 countries, the firm plans to bulk up its operations with a $400 million investment. The company is also interviewing for non-executive directors to strengthen audit oversight.

PwC has also set aside $3 billion of its total global investment to help double the scale of its Asia-Pacific operations, it said. The firm’s spending will also focus on responding to environmental, social and governance trends across its operations.

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African Development Bank Group Appoints Dr. Beth Dunford as Vice President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development

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African Development Bank - Investors King

The African Development Bank Group is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Beth Dunford as Vice President, Agriculture, Human and Social Development, effective 1st July 2021.

Dr. Dunford, a national of the United States of America, brings extensive experience to this role. She has held senior level leadership positions in the US government, where she managed large and complex programs, working with the private sector, civil society, and multilateral and bilateral institutions, as well as with African governments, to deliver agricultural, social and human development impact at scale.

Prior to her appointment, Dunford worked as the Assistant to the Administrator in the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) Bureau for Resilience and Food Security, as well as the Deputy Coordinator for Development for Feed the Future, the U.S. government’s global hunger and food security initiative. In this dual role, she coordinated Feed the Future across multiple U.S. government agencies, oversaw a $1 billion annual budget and leveraged millions of direct private sector investment annually. In this capacity, she also coordinated a $2.3 billion Feed the Future presidential initiative across 11 U.S. government agencies and forged partnerships within the private sector and civil society targeted at reducing hunger and poverty. She also led USAID’s technical and regional expertise focused on improving agriculture-led growth, resilience, nutrition and water security, sanitation and hygiene.

A career member of the senior foreign service at USAID, Dunford previously served as Director of USAID’s Mission in Nepal, leading the U.S. government’s health, education, agriculture and environment programs as well as its contribution to Nepal’s massive earthquake recovery and reconstruction effort. She also worked in Afghanistan as Agriculture and Alternative Livelihoods Program Director, USAID/Afghanistan, where she directed agriculture, resilience and emergency food assistance programs.

Dunford has also served in Ethiopia as Director, Office of Assets and Livelihoods, USAID/Ethiopia, where she led government officials, scholars, donors and NGOs, to craft the program, now a model used worldwide to map how emergency and development operations can collaborate to build communities’ resilience to recurrent crises.Dunford also held a number of roles in Washington, including Deputy Assistant to the Administrator in the Bureau for Food Security and Senior Development Advisor to the Secretary of State’s Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Dr. Dunford also worked as Senior Policy Advisor, Office of the Chief Operating Officer and as Regional Development Advisor, East Africa, USAID/Washington.

Commenting on her appointment, Dunford said: “I am excited to join the African Development Bank Group and be part of the senior management team. I am passionate about the Bank’s development agenda that has attracted global attention as bold and innovative for accelerating Africa’s development. I am honored to be part of the team to further achieve social and economic transformation on the continent”.

President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina said, “I am delighted to appoint Dr. Beth Dunford as Vice President to lead the Bank’s work on Agriculture, Human and Social Development. Beth is a strategic and effective leader with deep knowledge and impressive track record in designing and delivering highly impactful large-scale programs that have helped in lifting 27 million people out of poverty in 36 countries. With over 20 years experience working and delivering programs globally with a focus in Africa, she brings hands-on leadership and drive that will further accelerate our work to deliver greater development impacts”.

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Europe Raises 20 Unicorns This Year Including Crypto Companies

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Unicorn- Investors Kings

This year alone, 23 companies in Europe and Israel have become unicorns (startup companies valued at over $1 billion), beating last year’s total of eight, according to a report by financial data and software firm Pitchbook.

European startups have managed to attract a staggering €32.5 billion (around $39.3 billion) since the beginning of 2021. This year’s capital inflow could easily surpass the €37.6 billion raised in the whole of 2020.

Of the total, 20 companies are based in Europe, including several crypto startups. The U.K. accounts for most of these unicorns, with London-headquartered Blockchain.com currently valued at $5.2 billion after securing $420 million in two funding rounds earlier this year.

Germany is next with digital wealth manager Scalable Capital, valued last week at $1.4 billion after raising over $180 million in a round led by Chinese tech giant Tencent. French crypto security startup Ledger became the latest to join the bunch with $380 million in new funding last week.

The Old Continent is now home to almost 12% of the world’s unicorns with over 50 active companies, the published data revealed. The capital attracted by these entities has continuously grown over the past five years and the 2021 total is expected to reach a record high.

The term unicorn, used to describe startups valued at over $1 billion, was coined by venture capitalist and angel investor Aileen Lee in 2013. It alludes to the rarity of such successful ventures.

European decacorns, or companies worth over $10 billion, have also performed quite well this year. Swedish fintech startup Klarna, for example, was valued at $31 billion in March, becoming the continent’s most valuable VC-backed firm. Klarna was leading the board already in September 2020, at $15 billion, but was replaced by Checkout.com in January of this year, when the online payments company gained a $15 billion valuation, Pitchbook detailed.

According to the authors of the report, the growing participation of U.S. investors has been a major factor in the investment increase in Europe. Almost half of the unicorns’ top 10 backers, such as Accel and Insight Partners, are based across the pond. Pitchbook also emphasized:

U.S. firms have been actively targeting Europe’s tech startups, which tend to have lower valuations than their U.S. counterparts, offering more opportunities for higher growth rates.

The financial data firm believes that the effects of robust investment into unicorns based in Europe could create even larger valuations in the future. “We expect transatlantic capital flows to continue to increase and strengthen valuations in Europe, as cash-rich U.S. investors seek new companies showing the strong potential that could be introduced to the U.S. market,” said Nalin Patel, a private capital analyst at Pitchbook.

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