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FSD Africa Partnership Aims to Safeguard and Leverage Investment for Small and Medium-sized African Businesses

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 The four co-operation agreements signed between FSD Africa and the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (AVCA) and East Africa Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (EAVCA) and Southern Africa Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SAVCA) and the Private Equity and Venture Capital Association Nigeria (PEVCA) will help to ensure local expertise and tailored delivery for regional and country mandates.

FSD Africa today announces the signing of co-operation agreements with AVCA, EAVCA, SAVCA and PEVCA to coincide with the launch of the Africa Private Equity and Private Debt Programme. The programme is a new initiative to support the development of private capital markets in Africa as a complement to public capital markets. It will work to improve the long-term financing options available for businesses across key sectors in Africa’s economy, including healthcare, climate and agriculture.

Access to long-term finance has continued to be a challenge for small and medium-sized businesses across the continent. The economic impact of COVID-19 has only exacerbated the strain on Africa’s formal public markets aiming to provide long-term finance options to businesses desperately in need of capital. This alongside increased risk averseness by lending institutions has left few options for SMEs to access long term financing, in many cases resulting in business closures and job losses.

Through the Africa Private Equity and Private Debt Programme FSD Africa aims to leverage various tools including grants, technical assistance, advocacy and investment capital to support the growth of private capital markets. The partnership aims to support growth in a way that is uniquely African in character, tailored to the local context and delivering long term financing options for SMEs.

FSD Africa, AVCA, EAVCA, SAVCA and PEVCA will work with policymakers, regulators, industry associations, institutional investors and other market operators to encourage and advocate for changes that promote increased flow of institutional capital into private capital markets. Through the programme FSD Africa and its partners will seek to create a knowledge sharing environment by working with regulators to put in place regulatory provisions and/or incentives, build capacity and understanding of relevant market stakeholders.

Mark Napier, CEO at FSD Africa, said:

“Supporting the development of private equity and private debt markets in Africa will provide a boost to small and medium-sized businesses and local economies. We believe this will be greatly welcomed in the short term, ensuring that more jobs are saved, but it will also provide long-term benefits and improve access to capital.  Globally, there has been a secular shift towards private capital markets and it is appropriate that, as part of our response to COVID-19, we pay enough attention to the development of private markets, allowing for more local capital to be channelled into essential sectors including health, agriculture and climate.”

Evans Osano, Director, Capital Markets at FSD Africa, said:

“By encouraging long-term investment capital to Africa’s private sector, real impact can be delivered, including creating and sustaining jobs, and increasing access to services like healthcare. We urge local investors, regulators, and other relevant individuals to come forward to be a part of this programme and look forward to working with them on this exciting next step.

Ify Ossi, Executive Secretary, PEVCA, said:

With the unprecedented economic shocks brought on by the pandemic, the case for mobilizing private capital in our clime has become more evident. In the face of the huge funding gap and growth lag facing sectors across Nigeria, long-term access to local financing coupled with structural adaptations, were necessary, are key to our economic growth and sustainability. Interventions that address industry gaps and challenges must be both private sector and policy driven guided by suitable strategic partnerships and alliances, among other factors. We are excited about PEVCA’s partnership with FSD Africa, particularly its pan African approach towards capital market development, and look forward to jointly facilitating solutions for our industry.

Tanya van Lill, CEO, SAVCA, said:

“SAVCA is looking forward to partner with FSD Africa on this initiative to support the development of private capital markets in Africa. This Programme has the potential to unlock much needed catalytic capital for businesses and industries that have the potential to not only create and preserve jobs, but also contribute to much needed economic growth given the impact of COVID-19.“

Eva Warigia, Executive Director, EAVCA, said:

“For the EAVCA, FSD Africa is a natural partner given their in-depth knowledge of local markets. We see this as a strategic partnership that will advance EAVCA’s commitment to increase local participation in financing private business- both mature and early stage- in East Africa by providing alternative sources of capital”.

Abi Mustapha-Maduakor, CEO, AVCA, said”

“In addition to facilitating greater inflow of private investment to the continent, advocacy is at the centre of our work at AVCA. This collaboration with FSD Africa is timely, and I look forward to working with our colleagues at EAVCA, SAVCA and PEVCA to support investors, businesses and governments in their efforts to strengthen Africa’s economy over the coming years.”

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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36 Million Electricity Meters To Be Installed in Nigeria

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Nigeria’s Federal Government plans to install over 36 million electricity meters across the country by the end of the second quarter of 2021.

These efforts according to government, will restore confidence and trust in the power sector as consumers of electricity would no longer be extorted through an estimated billing system that does not match consumption.

Speaking at the inspection of the meter testing facility of the Nigerian Electricity Management Services Agency (NEMSA) in Enugu, the Minister of State Power, Gody Jeddy Agba, expressed satisfaction at the level of work and installation of state-of-the-art equipment that will process durability and certify fit for use all electricity meters imported into the country.

Agba said the power sector reforms of the present administration have to deal with new methods of boosting generation, transmission and distribution. He said adequate power supply in the country will translate to statistical economic growth and development of the gross domestic product GDP, which is all time high within the last one month.

The Minister said the NEMSA plant and testing facility in Enugu is one of the strategy implementation plans of the federal government to discard mediocrity and lack of competence in handling government business, especially at a time the country has to play a vital and pivotal role in the African economy.

“The benefits that accrue from the planned inauguration of the meter testing plant and facility stem from the fact that substandard meters that are inflammable will be eliminated from circulation, economic dumping of inferior goods by other countries as practiced in the past will no longer be tolerated by the authorities concerned, and above all, the estimated billing system will come with a penalty to whoever served the bill to consumers,” he said.

At the event in Enugu, the Minister said he came to see the level of preparedness of NEMSA to commence operations urgently, in compliance with the federal government directives that 36 million electricity consumers in Nigeria must be metered before the end of quarter two in 2021.

Agba stressed that the federal government’s commitment and concern for the power sector is unwavering, amidst financial constraints, but determined to ensure that the power sector is revamped and resuscitated to give a corresponding growth to the manufacturing and industrial sub-sectors of the economy, comparing the global growth of some sectors in countries with adequate power supply.

NEMSA chief electrical officer of the federation and managing director, Peter Ewosa, declared that all electricity meters imported into the country must be tested at the point of entry to certify their technical fitness before installation.

Ewosa said the meter testing station was established as a quality control mechanism for the power sector to thrive, in line with the mandate of the agency which states clearly that no meter can be deployed or installed and put into use until it has been tested and seen to have met the requirements and technical capability set by the Nigerian government.

“Every country has its technical requirements and standard specifications for any equipment that is publicly or privately put into use, therefore, any meter that does not pass through the agency cannot be installed either at homes, offices and factories,” said Ewosa.

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Education

Polytechnics Remain Shut as FG, ASUP’s Hits Wall

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ASUP had declared an indefinite strike last Tuesday over alleged poor funding and neglect of the institutions.

However, the union has kicked against the appointment of principal officers for the six new federal polytechnics.

When THISDAY sought for an update on the ongoing strike, the President of ASUP, Mr. Anderson Ezeibe, said the union had not been invited for negotiations by the federal government.

He said since the last meeting they held on Tuesday with the Federal Ministry of Education, which yielded no positive outcome, the union had not been invited for talks again.

“You know we held a meeting with the Federal Ministry of Education last Tuesday but since that time, all we have been hearing was that there will be meeting but we are yet to get an invitation,” he added.

Also, it was gathered from a source at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment that the ministry can only wade into the matter if the Ministry of Education refers the issue to it for conciliation.

However, the dispute has deepened as ASUP has kicked against the appointments of rectors and other principal officers for the six new federal polytechnics, saying it did not meet the required standards.

In a statement by Ezeibe, the union said: “Our union’s attention has been drawn to a recent press statement from the Federal Ministry of Education announcing the appointment of rectors and other principal officers for the six new federal polytechnics situated in Enugu, Oyo, Cross River, Plateau, Borno and Benue states.”

The union stated that the appointments violated provisions of the Federal Polytechnics (Amendment) Act, 2019, adding that five out of the six new rectors were not qualified for the position having fallen short of the requirements captured in Section 8, 2 (a) (i )of the Act.

Ezeibe said the profiles of the appointees showed that five out of the six persons did not fit into the requirements of the law for the appointment of rectors in federal polytechnics.

According to him, these beneficiaries include the appointees for federal polytechnics Ohodo (Enugu), Ugep (Cross River), Shendam (Plateau), Monguno (Borno), and Wannune (Benue) .

“It is regrettable that the government, through officials of the Federal Ministry of Education has become principal violators of the laws governing the operations of Nigerian polytechnics.

“This latest assault is despite the contents of a recent ruling of the National Industrial Court in Abuja where the provisions of the Federal Polytechnics (Amendment) Act, 2019 was affirmed by the court and the Federal Ministry of Education and her officials undertaking to observe the provisions in totality.

“Despite the contents of the judgment of the court in NICN/ABJ/12/2020 involving our union and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Minister for Education and five others in a similar issue, our union had drawn the attention of the Federal Ministry of Education on the need to adhere to the provisions of the law in this appointment process more than a month before this recent naked display of impunity,” he added.

Ezeibe said part of the union’s current engagement with the government was to reverse the trend of administering polytechnics outside extant laws and regulations.

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Education

2021 WASSCE To Hold August/ September

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The West African Examinations Council, Nigeria, says the 2021 West African Senior School Certificate Examination will commence in August and not May.

WAEC also debunked reports by some news platforms that it postponed the examination.

In a statement on Friday, Acting Head, Public Affairs, WAEC, Nigeria, Demianus Ojijeogu, said WAEC Nigeria Head, Patrick Areghan, was quoted out of context at a briefing on Tuesday when he announced the release of results of WASSCE for private candidate

According to Ojijeogu, Areghan said the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic has distorted the academic calendars of schools, hence, it will be impossible for candidates to sit for the examination in May because most of the schools are still in their first term

The statement was titled, ‘Conduct Of WASSCE For School Candidates, 2021 In Nigeria’.

The statement said Areghan had at the Tuesday briefing said, “Let me also use this opportunity to dispel rumours being peddled about by some people regarding the conduct of WASSCE for School Candidates, 2021. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still very much felt in the education sector

“The academic calendar has been distorted. It will, therefore, not be possible to have the examination in May/June this year. A convenient International Timetable for the conduct of the examination will soon be released.”

The statement added, “The arrangement is in line with the current academic calendar and was done in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education

“Consequently, the Council wishes to inform schools, candidates and the general public that the examination will hold from August 16, 2021 to September 30, 2021. The International timetable for the conduct of the examination will be released in due course.”

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