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Brits Across Europe “Financially Fearful” of no-deal Brexit

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Brexit

Britons Living in the European Union are Financially Fearful

The majority of the estimated 1.8 million Britons living in the European Union are “increasingly financially fearful – and rightly so” over the rising risk of no-deal Brexit, warns the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organisation.

The warning from James Green, deVere Group’s divisional manager of Europe, comes after last week’s latest round of critical talks – the seventh – between the UK and EU ended, again, in deadlock.

On Friday, the UK’s chief negotiator David Frost told reporters a deal “will not be easy to achieve. Substantive work continues to be necessary across a range of different areas of potential UK-EU future cooperation if we are to deliver it.”

For his part, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier said he was “disappointed” by the lack of progress.

Mr Green observes: “With just months to go until the end of the transition period, the risk of a no-deal Brexit is real and it’s rising.

“Currently, there seems little hope of a deal getting done as both sides are showing no indications of altering their positions.

“This saga is making Britons living across Europe increasingly financially fearful – and rightly so – as they could be disproportionately affected by the UK crashing out of the EU.”

He continues: “There are major concerns that existing payments from UK organisations to those living within the European Economic Area (EEA) could be disrupted or even made impossible.

“As such, in the event of a no-deal Brexit, many UK expats could find that their pensions, insurance and healthcare provision could be adversely affected.”

In addition, says James Green, the “already Brexit-pummelled pound” is likely to shed more value.

“This would, again, mean that those who live in the eurozone and receive UK pensions or income will be financially hit.

“Their purchasing power has already been significantly reduced ever since the 2016 EU referendum – the last thing they need is for the pound to fall further still.”

According to research from deVere Group published in mid-July, 36% of UK clients who live overseas (globally) have actively sought to mitigate the financial impact of Brexit, or are currently doing so.

“In the circumstances, it’s perhaps no surprise that those most likely to be adversely affected are taking measures to create, build and protect their financial assets in a likely no-deal era,” says Mr Green.

Against this backdrop, deVere Europe reports a 15% increase in business.

He concludes: “It’s sensible for these people to ensure financial strategies are best-positioned for any outcome of the Brexit talks.

“This exploration of options is likely to include considering all their international opportunities – especially as they can often capitalise on their expat status for their financial benefit.”

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.

Economy

France, Nigeria to Build New Partnership

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France is currently aiming at building a new partnership with Nigeria, with the dispatching of its Minister in charge of Foreign Trade and Attractiveness, Franck Riester, to Nigeria.

Riester, who was expected at the time of filing this report on Monday, is scheduled to visit Nigeria from 12-14 April, 2021.

A statement from the French Embassy in Nigeria said: “Franck Riester is visiting Nigeria from 12 to 14 April, a visit that follows up on the priorities set by French President Emmanuel Macron during his official visit to Nigeria in July 2018 and his desire to build a new partnership between Africa and France.

“As the largest economy in Africa and the economic engine of West Africa, Nigeria is indeed a major partner for France, the first in sub-Saharan Africa with bilateral trade amounting to a total of 4.5 billion USD in 2019 (2.3 billion USD in 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic).”

It disclosed that the minister will have several official meetings in Abuja and Lagos, in order to underline the importance of the bilateral economic relationship and to prepare the summit on the financing of African economies in Paris on 18 May.

It revealed that the objective of the mission is also to further strengthen the links between the French and Nigerian private sectors, and “in this regard, the minister will have in-depth discussions with the main Nigerian economic actors to strengthen bilateral cooperation and investments, both in Nigeria and in France, particularly in the logistics sector”.

It said while in the country, the minister would meet with young Nigerian entrepreneurs in the cultural and creative industries sector, to discuss the major role of their country in African creativity and the development of the African entrepreneurial ecosystem, with the support of France.

It further said: “The minister will also open the ‘Choose Africa’ conference, a €3.5 billion initiative by President Emmanuel Macron dedicated to supporting the development of start-ups and SMEs in Africa to enable the continent to benefit fully from the opportunities of the digital revolution.”

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Economy

COVID-19: USAID to Provide $3m Grant, Technical Assistance to Combat Food Insecurity in Nigeria

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The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is providing financial grant and technical assistance worth $3 million to combat food insecurity in Nigeria compounded by COVID-19 pandemic.

A statement by the agency on Monday said: “On April 12, 2021, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Nigeria launched a COVID-19 Food Security Challenge that will provide $3 million in grant funding and technical assistance to youth-led and mid-stage companies working in food value chains in Nigeria.”

The statement lamented that Nigeria is experiencing food insecurity compounded by the COVID-19 global pandemic and its effects on the food value chain in the country.

It stated that the pandemic has disrupted the already fragile agricultural value chains, especially smallholder farmers’ ability to produce, process and distribute food, which has disrupted agricultural productivity and markets, and negatively impacted livelihoods, especially among vulnerable households, women and youth.

The USAID Mission Director, Anne Patterson, said: “We are launching the COVID-19 Food Security Challenge to help innovative Nigerians alleviate food insecurity.

“This assistance encourages private sector-led solutions to boost food production, processing and create market linkage along the agriculture value chain in a sustainable way across Nigeria.”

The statement revealed that in launching the challenge, USAID seeks commercially viable youth-led and mid-stage companies already working in food production, processing, and distribution, noting that successful applicants will present ideas that demonstrably help farmers and other stakeholders in the agricultural value chain increase, agricultural productivity and food security within the next six months.

According to the statement, the challenge will award 15 to 25 youth-led companies up to $75,000 each and award 10 to 15 mid-stage companies up to $150,000 each.

Winners will receive funding and technical assistance to rapidly expand their activities to mitigate the effect of COVID-19 on Nigeria’s food value chain and improve the resilience of vulnerable households to the negative impacts of the pandemic.

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Economy

FG Plans to Deliver Solar Energy to 25M Nigerians

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The Nigerian federal government has commenced its plan to deliver electricity through solar energy to Nigerians whose communities are off the national power grid.

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who spoke during an event to mark the programme in Jangefe, Roni Local Government Area of Jigawa State, restated the determination of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to give more Nigerians access to cheap and environmentally friendly renewable power.

Osinbajo said the Solar Power Naija programme would continue across the six geopolitical zones in six states, namely, Edo, Lagos, Adamawa, Anambra, Kebbi and Plateau, in the first phase, and then move to the entire 36 states and the nation’s capital, thus, covering 25 million Nigerians at completion.

Jangefe community got 1,000 solar home system connections for its about 5,000 population, as part of a 100,000 scheme, with a local solar power company implementing aspects of the scheme.

According to Osinbajo, the president had emphasised that Nigeria could no longer rely solely on the grid if government is to electrify the whole country, which meant that an effective strategy had to be developed for decentralising power supply.

The Solar Power Naija programme, which is designed by the Rural Electrification Agency (REA), is an ambitious initiative that aims to create five million connections through a N140 billion financing programme that will support private developers to provide power for five million households, which means providing electricity for up to 25 million Nigerians.

The vice president disclosed that the programme was a Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement supported by concessionary lending via the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and commercial banks. He emphasised that structures had been put in place to make the cost of the connections affordable for the target communities.

In addition to the concessionary lending rates, Osinbajo explained that the government had provided subsidies and rebates for private developers to the tune of over $200 million under the REA and World Bank Nigeria electrification programme.

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