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AfDB to Support Quality Healthcare Infrastructure Across Africa

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Akinwumi Adesina - Investors King

The African Development Bank (AfDB) is to support African countries to have quality healthcare infrastructure and ensure the continent develops its pharmaceutical capacity as well as produce required vaccines within the continent

The bank also wants developed countries to extend the period of debt repayment and forgiveness in such a way that the period of deferment continues to be helpful to African countries.

President of the bank, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, speaking on Africa’s Debt and Growth in an exclusive interview with CNN ahead of the launch of the bank’s African Economic Outlook 2021 today (Monday), said the bank projects a growth of 3.4 per cent in the year ahead, even as the continent faces a critical future unless there is a debt relief.

He pointed out that COVID-19-related spending has swollen many countries borrowing; and without more aid, 39 million Africans stand the risk of falling into extreme poverty this year. More than 30 million Africans are already in the extreme poverty bracket.

Adesina said Africa had never seen anything like this before. Growth last year was projected at -2.1 per cent. “That’s the lowest growth rate for 50 years in Africa. You don’t see the virus but the effect of it are just so mindboggling. The GDP of Africa went down by 175 billion dollars. Last year we had 30 million people fall into extreme poverty. This year, that trend continues with 39 million people going into extreme poverty, hunger and all that. It’s been just quite a lot.”

However, he said it was not all negative. “We projected that Africa will grow back. We projected 3.4 per cent back this year; but all that is conditional on two things: Access to vaccines and the issue of debts.

The AfDB President noted that the issue of vaccine was a big problem. You know so far 40.6 million vaccines have been delivered in Africa and people can’t even get a shot in the arm. That 40.6 million is only one per cent of what we need; talk less of having 60 per cent of herd immunity. So we are way off the mark on that.”

He emphasised the importance of Africa to have access to the vaccines and the need to have vaccine solidarity, pointing out that although those concerned are doing a great job, “the amounts are still in miniscule as far as we are concerned.

We need to actually have global solidarity on this; but beyond that, there must also have vaccine justice, making sure that everybody has the vaccine.”

Adesina cautioned that “If we deal with this pandemic in one part of the world and don’t deal with other parts, we are going back to square one. So, absolutely we must make sure that we ramp up access to vaccine. Africa needs it in quantity, it needs it on time and it needs it on an affordable price.”

On how long it would take to get herd immunity across Africa, Adesina said “the faster we get the vaccine, the better. You know, I just told you we got only one percent right now in terms of people getting the jabs in their arms; and so to get a heard immunity, it would be at 60 per cent, so you are looking at, at least 840 million doses.

“I don’t see that happening in another year of two because at the slow pace of producing the vaccine and getting them out, it’s going to be very difficult. I’m quite concerned about that because the longer it takes for Africans to get vaccinated; you know Europe says you can’t travel if you do not have vaccine passports, so people are going to think that Africa is going to be the last to get access to vaccine. I don’t want that to happen.

“For us as AfDB, we are looking beyond the current situation. We are looking at medium and also long term. I can’t accept that 1.4 billion people have to be running from pillar to post looking for vaccines. We at AfDB have therefore decided that we are going to support Africa to have quality healthcare infrastructure and also make sure that it develops its own pharmaceutical capacity and also producing vaccines in Africa; not running from pillar to post.”

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Economy

Nigeria’s Inflation Rate Declines to 17.01 Percent in August 2021

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Lagos Nigeria - Investors King

Prices moderated further in Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, in the month of August despite rising costs and growing economic uncertainties.

Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures inflation rate, grew by 17.01 percent year-on-year in August 2021, representing a 0.37 percent decrease when compared to the 17.38 percent recorded in the month of July 2021.

On a monthly basis, inflation rate increased by 1.02 percent in August 2021, slightly higher by 0.09 percent than the 0.93 percent filed in July, the National Buruea of Statistics (NBS) stated in its latest report.

Prices of goods and services continued to drop on paper in recent months even as costs are hitting record highs across most sectors in Nigeria.

Naira has plunged to a record-low against the United States Dollar and other global currencies following the Central Bank of Nigeria’s decision to halt sale of forex to Bureau De Change Operators in an effort to curb illicit financial flows and forex supplies to the black market.

Naira plunged to N560 per United States Dollar at the black on Wednesday to set a new record low against the greenback and subsequently dragged on cost of import goods and profit of import dependent businesses.

Food Index also rose at a slower pace in August 2021 even with Nigerians complaining of over 50 percent increase in the price of food items. Food composite index rose by 20.30 percent in August, at a slower pace when compared to 21.03 percent recorded in the month of July 2021.

The rise in food index were caused by increases in prices of Bread and cereals, Milk, cheese and egg, Oils and fats, Potatoes, yam and other tuber, Food product n.e.c, Meat and Coffee, tea and cocoa, according to the NBS report.

On a monthly basis, the food sub-index grew by 1.06 percent in August 2021, representing an increase of 0.20 percent from 0.86 percent filed in the month of July 2021.

Looking at a more stable food index guage, the twelve-month period ending August 2021 over the previous twelve-month average, food index increased by 0.34 percent from 20.16 percent achieved in July 2021 to 20.50 percent in August 2021.

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Glo to Reconstruct 64km Ota-Idiroko Road Using Tax Credit Scheme – Fashola

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Tax Credit - Investors King

Mobile telecommunications giant, Globacom, has offered to reconstruct the 64 km Ota-Idiroko road in 2022, using Federal Government’s Tax Credit Scheme.

The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, announced this on Wednesday during an inspection tour of the ongoing reconstruction of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

“From Ota to Idiroko, we don’t have a contract there, but Chief Mike Adenuga of Globacom has offered to construct that road using the tax credit system.

“So, that has also started, they are doing the design, and hopefully, by sometime early next year, they should mobilize to site. The real reconstruction is going to happen if we have a deal with Glo,” Fashola said.

He said that FERMA would carry out rehabilitation works on the Ota-Idiroko road between October and December.

“But between now and December, FERMA has gone to take measurements there and they will move there from the end of September if the Ogun State Government does two things.

“Clear all the squatters, traders, and the settlers on the road and help us manage traffic and the governor as at last night has committed to doing that for us,” the minister said.

He said efforts were on to bring in Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc and Unilever to reconstruct the Badagry link to the Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta road under the Tax Credit Scheme of the Federal Government.

The minister said that the Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta road had become a problematic road due to years of neglect by previous administrations, as such the highway required a huge investment.

He commended Gov. Dapo Abiodun for his passion for fixing roads in Ogun State, adding that the reconstruction of the failed portions of the Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta road would be completed by December at the cost of N13. 4 billion.

The minister added that the project would be handled by the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA).

He called on federal lawmakers representing Lagos and Ogun States to ensure increased budgetary allocation for the roads to ensure their speedy completion to ease the hardship on road users.

“When people say Fashola is looking away, I am not looking away, I just can’t find the money,” he said.

He also called for support of citizens for parliamentarians to ensure more borrowing for infrastructure upgrades because the future depends on development strides today.

Also speaking during the inspection tour, Gov. Dapo Abiodun of Ogun said that the project became necessary because Ogun is the industrial hub of the nation that needed good roads for interconnectivity to boost commerce.

He said: “We have given the commitment that we will relocate traders, we will control and manage traffic, whatever that it is we need to do, we will ensure that we begin to bring succor and needed relief to our people.

“The state of that road today is pitiable. I went on that road myself and I felt bad for our citizens.”

Abiodun said the state government was ready to borrow to reconstruct the Lagos-Ota-Abeokuta Road should there be a delay in the Sukuk funding for the highway.

“If this Sukuk bond would not happen immediately, the state government is willing to go and borrow against that promise so that we can mobilize the contractor,” he said.

He thanked Fashola for the efforts to reconstruct roads in the state and pledged the support of the state government in fixing the highways.

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Lagos Eyes $60M Investment, as Sanwo-Olu Signs Green Bond Market Agreement

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sanwo-olu

Lagos State becomes the first sub-national government to activate the framework for the unlocking of the $1 trillion Nigerian Green Bond Market Development Programme to finance key infrastructure projects.

On Tuesday, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with FMDQ Group and Financial Sector Deepening (FSD) Africa, which are the programme’s implementing partners on the proposed N25 billion (over $60 million) financing.

The historic event, held at the State House in Marina, came less than 24 hours after Lagos was upgraded to AAA(nga) rating from AA+(nga) by Fitch International for the State’s good standing on debt sustainability and resilience.

Sanwo-Olu said the green bond programme, which is supported by the UK Agency for International Development (UK Aid), would raise the capacity of the State Government to deliver more key infrastructure and social projects that would keep Lagos on the path of prosperity.

Launched in 2018, the Green Bond Market Development Programme is to facilitate the development of a green bond market to support broader debt capital markets reforms that will impact the sovereign and non-sovereign bond markets in the country.

The programme is to empower State Governments to champion sustainable finance for development.

Sanwo-Olu said the MoU was the crucial first step being taken by Lagos towards creating viable financing options for future green and sustainability projects. The funding opportunity, he said, will advance the adoption of innovation and technologies to provide green jobs, thereby promoting economic and climate resiliency.

He said: “As a Government, we are committed to utilising our limited resources more efficiently to create a circular economy, which is a promising and viable alternative. Public spending and investments may not be enough to deliver our key objectives; therefore, the need to tap into more private investments for the transition to a zero-waste and circular economy, as well as achieving crucial items of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“I strongly believe that the Green Bond programme will open the doors of deeply sustainable funds for infrastructure and social development for Lagos. Being the biggest player in the sub-national capital market, Lagos’ experience can open new doors for a lot of others. As a State, we embrace the transparency and commitment that comes with a Green Finance framework. We believe it sends an important signal to investors in the market about who we are: a State that is fiscally responsible, prudent and disciplined.”

Sanwo-Olu said Lagos’ credentials in investment sustainability made the State take the bold step to activate the framework to benefit from the programme.

He said the initiative would go a long way in ensuring that key deliverables in his administration’s T.H.E.M.E.S agenda are actualised while pledging that the State would continue to blaze the trail of leadership, financial accountability, innovation and sustainability.

Special Adviser to the Governor on SDGs and Investment, Solape Hammond, said the journey to get the framework approved started last year, disclosing that the MoU highlighted key projects to be delivered by the State Government to actualise economic sustainability.

She said the finance would be invested in green projects, adding the implementing partners had created a mechanism to ensure funds earmarked were disbursed judiciously.

Commissioner for Finance, Dr Rabiu Olowo, said Lagos had 20 years of experience in raising bonds, assuring implementing partners and capital market operators of the State’s commitment to the terms highlighted in the framework.

Chief Executive Officer of FMDQ Group, Bola Onadele, said Lagos had built a reputation and “incredible potential” for catalysing broad-based sustainable development, which explained the partners’ readiness to support the State in unlocking the capital to fund key projects.

He said: “ I have no doubt that the implementation of this MoU and the impact thereof will ensure that Lagos continues to set itself apart, support its developmental aspirations and highlight its sustainability efforts at the global green and sustainable financial ecosystem. We are excited about this opportunity to support the developmental aspirations of Lagos.”

Also, FSD Africa CEO, Mark Napier, saluted the Governor’s energy and his commitment towards providing infrastructure which future generations can rely on.

He said: “It’s truly a significant event that the economic powerhouse of Africa’s largest economy is signing the green bond investment and I can say this is leadership being demonstrated by the Lagos State Government. I expect other States to follow this path.”

The high point was the signing of the MoU by all parties under the supervision of the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Moyo Onigbanjo, SAN and witnessed by the British Deputy High Commissioner, Ben Llewelly-Jones.

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