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Invest Africa to Partner with Google, KPMG, DHL, 4G Capital and Aon to Support African Entrepreneurs

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Invest Africa - Investors King

Invest Africa, the leading trade and investment platform for African markets has launched a new programme of support for over 500 African MSMEs.

The Next Generation Africa Forum will take place virtually on 16th September using a digital platform to connect MSMEs across the Continent with practical support from leading banks, VCs, multi-national tech companies and incubators, including Google, KPMG, DHL, Aon and 4G Capital.

MSMEs form the backbone of Africa’s economies and are the engine of the region’s job creation drive, accounting for 70 percent of employment. With a high proportion of informal enterprises, many of Africa’s MSMEs, which already faced significant challenges, have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. Addressing the structural difficulties that small businesses in Africa face will be essential to both the Continent’s short-term economic recovery and long-term development.

African MSMEs have historically faced numerous barriers to growth. Sitting at the riskier end of the spectrum, access to private financing for early-stage businesses is challenging. Small market sizes and low levels of regional integration preclude many private investment options. Meanwhile, commercial banks struggle to offer adapted loans where the collateral is limited and credit assessments are often unreliable, leaving smaller businesses faced with higher interest rates than their larger peers. In sub-Saharan Africa, lending to MSMEs accounts for only between 5 and 20 percent of traditional banks’ portfolios compared to a range of 20 to 60 percent for OECD countries. Even where financing can be secured, to be successful it needs to be accompanied by technical support to combat the skills deficit faced by many MSMEs.

Through a series of free access interactive workshops, pitches and discussions, the Next Generation Africa Forum will aim to overcome such barriers, offering MSMEs the support they need to thrive in a challenging economic context. Applications are now open for MSMEs (https://bit.ly/3gdMkiI) to secure their place at the Forum where sessions will focus on building pathways to formality, preparing businesses for investment, accelerating growth and managing digital risks.

Taking place during Invest Africa’s flagship event, The Africa Debate, the Next Generation Africa aims to provide a strong platform to foster collaboration between financial services, investors, entrepreneurs and policymakers. The Africa Debate regularly assembles Heads of State and Ministers from across the region as well as business leaders and international investors to discuss future avenues for sustainable growth across the Continent and encourage public-private cooperation towards development goals.

Karen Taylor, CEO of Invest Africa said, “We are excited to introduce a new programme exclusively aimed at leveraging financial and business support for MSMEs at The Africa Debate this year. Through our network of over 400 businesses and investors across the Continent, we have seen first-hand the challenges the pandemic has created but we have also been witness to the resilience and energy within Africa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. The engagement we have received from our partners in the private sector and government is a testament to the importance of MSMEs to Africa’s future growth and Invest Africa remains committed to leveraging our market position to support a healthy business environment for MSMEs and investors alike.”

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Peter Obi Advocates for Full Government Backing of Dangote’s $21bn Refinery Project

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Peter G. Obi

Peter Obi, a prominent Nigerian politician and public figure, has called for unwavering support for the Dangote Refinery amid recent conflicts between Dangote Industries and government agencies.

In a passionate appeal, Obi said the current disputes extend beyond political and personal differences, touching upon the broader interests of Nigeria’s economy and its future prosperity.

In his statement on X.com, Obi highlighted the refinery’s immense potential to drive economic growth and create employment opportunities.

With an estimated annual revenue potential of approximately $21 billion and the capacity to generate over 100,000 jobs, the Dangote Refinery represents a cornerstone of Nigeria’s industrial advancement and economic stabilization.

“The recent challenges faced by Dangote Industries should not overshadow the vital role this enterprise plays in our national economy,” Obi asserted.

“Alhaji Dangote’s contributions are monumental, and it is essential that we rally behind his ventures, particularly the refinery, which is set to make a significant impact on our fuel crisis and foreign exchange earnings.”

The refinery, with its strategic importance, stands as a beacon of hope for Nigeria’s fuel supply and overall economic development.

It is poised to address long-standing issues in the energy sector, provide substantial revenue streams, and enhance the country’s economic resilience. Given these benefits, Obi stressed that any actions hindering the refinery’s operation would be counterproductive.

Obi also commended Alhaji Dangote for his remarkable achievements across various sectors, including cement, sugar, salt, fertilizer, infrastructure, and more.

“Alhaji Dangote embodies patriotism and commitment to Nigeria’s growth. His extensive industrial activities are not only a testament to his entrepreneurial spirit but also a vital contribution to Nigeria’s economic landscape,” he added.

Despite the challenging business environment, Dangote’s diversified industrial investments demonstrate a commitment to Nigeria’s industrialization and job creation.

Obi urged the Federal Government and its agencies to offer full support to Dangote Industries, recognizing the broader economic benefits and the positive impact on national welfare.

“The success of Dangote Industries is intrinsically linked to the success of Nigeria and Africa as a whole. We cannot afford to let such a crucial enterprise falter,” Obi warned. “Every sensible and patriotic government should view enterprises like Dangote Industries as national treasures that deserve robust support and protection.”

Obi’s appeal underscores the critical need for collaboration between the government and private sector leaders to ensure the successful operation of key projects like the Dangote Refinery.

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Dangote Accuses NNPC and Oil Traders of Secret Operations in Malta

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Aliko Dangote, chairman of Dangote Industries Limited, has leveled serious allegations against personnel from the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited and certain oil traders.

Speaking at a session with the House of Representatives, Dangote claimed that these parties have established a blending plant in Malta, raising concerns about the integrity of Nigeria’s fuel supply.

Dangote described the blending plant as lacking refining capability, instead focusing on mixing re-refined oil with additives to produce lubricants.

“Some of the terminals, some of the NNPC people, and some traders have opened a blending plant somewhere off Malta,” he stated.

He emphasized that these activities are well-known within industry circles.

Addressing the drop in diesel prices, Dangote argued that locally produced diesel, with sulfur content levels of 650 to 700 parts per million (ppm), is superior to imported variants.

He linked numerous vehicle issues to what he described as “substandard” imported fuel.

He called for the House of Representatives to set up an independent committee to investigate fuel quality at filling stations.

“I urge you to take samples from filling stations and compare them with our production line to inform Nigerians accurately,” Dangote insisted.

The accusations come amid an ongoing dispute between the Dangote Refinery and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA).

Farouk Ahmed, NMDPRA’s chief executive, had previously claimed that local refineries, including Dangote’s, were producing inferior products compared to imports.

Also, the House of Representatives has initiated a probe into allegations that international oil companies are undermining the Dangote Refinery’s operations.

In response to the escalating tensions, Heineken Lokpobiri, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, intervened by meeting with key stakeholders including Dangote, Ahmed, and other top officials from the Nigerian petroleum regulatory bodies.

The discussions aimed to address claims of monopoly against Dangote, which he has strongly denied, and to ensure that all parties operate transparently and fairly.

This development highlights the complex dynamics within Nigeria’s oil industry. The allegations and subsequent investigations could impact market stability and investor confidence.

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Africa’s Richest Man, Aliko Dangote Ready to Sell Refinery to Nigerian Government

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Dangote refinery

Aliko Dangote, Africa’s wealthiest entrepreneur, has announced his willingness to sell his multibillion-dollar oil refinery to Nigeria’s state-owned energy company, NNPC Limited.

This decision comes amid a growing dispute with key partners and regulatory authorities.

The $19 billion refinery, which began operations last year, is a significant development for Nigeria, aiming to reduce the country’s reliance on imported fuel.

However, challenges in sourcing crude and ongoing disputes have hindered its full potential.

Dangote expressed frustration over allegations of monopolistic practices, stating that these accusations are unfounded.

“If they want to label me a monopolist, I am ready to let NNPC take over. It’s in the best interest of the country,” he said in a recent interview.

The refinery has faced difficulties with supply agreements, particularly with international crude producers demanding high premiums.

NNPC, initially a supportive partner, has delivered only a fraction of the crude needed since last year. This has forced Dangote to seek alternative suppliers from countries like Brazil and the US.

Despite the challenges, Dangote remains committed to contributing to Nigeria’s economy. “I’ve always believed in investing at home.

This refinery can resolve our fuel crisis,” he stated, urging other wealthy Nigerians to invest domestically rather than abroad.

Recently, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority accused Dangote’s refinery of producing substandard diesel.

In response, Dangote invited regulators and lawmakers to verify the quality of his products, which he claims surpass imported alternatives in purity.

Amidst these challenges, Dangote has halted plans to enter Nigeria’s steel industry, citing concerns over monopoly accusations.

“We need to focus on what’s best for the economy,” he explained, emphasizing the importance of fair competition and innovation.

As Nigeria navigates these complex issues, the potential sale of Dangote’s refinery to NNPC could reshape the nation’s energy landscape and secure its energy independence.

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