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On Opportunities for Investors as Togo Streamlines Business Procedures and Develops New Infrastructure

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Togo business - Investors King

Togo’s economy has been resilient and strong during the Covid-19 pandemic. The economy has continued its robust growth trajectory despite the health care and logistics challenges. While some countries in West Africa registered negative economic growth in 2020, Togo’s GDP expanded by 1.8%.

Although this was a stark drop compared to the more than 5% annual growth recorded in the past five years, the IMF and other international groups commended Togo’s performance. Furthermore, Togo has continued to attract foreign direct investment during the pandemic due to the continuous improvement of the business climate, which is a result of five years of aggressive reform and strong government commitment.

For example, it is now possible to set up a business in four hours online with all the required documents in place. Land regulations have been simplified and transfer of ownership is faster. In addition, several financial reforms have stimulated the business environment. As a result, Togo was one of the 10 most improved countries on the World Bank’s 2020 ease of doing business index, jumping 40 places after making it easier to start a business, obtain construction permits, pay taxes, access credit and register property. This progress began in 2019, when Togo moved up 19 places on the index. The performance achieved in 2020 made Togo the top reformer in Africa and the third globally.

GDP growth of 4.8% is expected for 2021, and the average target for the following five years is 7%, reflecting the effects of planned infrastructure projects and related directives. This growth relies on the active participation of the private sector, foreign investors and the restoration of confidence in the broader regional economy.

To what extent did the health crisis undermine the stability of the financial system?

MIVEDOR: During the crisis the Central Bank of West African States took steps to support the regional economy; provide liquidity to areas in need; and ensure that refinancing, restructuring and business support was made readily available. Despite the slowdown in demand caused by lockdowns, movement restrictions and business challenges – particularly prevalent in the airline industry and the tourism sector – financial services proved resilient and responsive to the drop in consumption. The government has taken appropriate measures to support the financial system and weaker businesses in order to maintain a steady level of production and provide financial facilities to firms in need.

Several anchor projects have been implemented despite the economic disruption caused by the pandemic. These projects should build up the ecosystem for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and propel the economy forwards. The Industrial Platform of Adetikopé (Plateforme Industrielle d’Adetikopé, PIA), which was launched in June 2021, will invigorate SMEs in the surrounding area and provide an array of opportunities to foreign investors seeking exposure to the Togolese economy and the wider ECOWAS market.

Certain projects were conceived and completed during the crisis despite logistics and supply chain challenges. For example, the region’s first data centre opened in Togo in June 2021. The data centre will stimulate the national economy by improving connection speeds, creating jobs, providing new services and generating alternative revenue streams.

What role will special economic zones (SEZs) play in Togo’s future?

MIVEDOR: SEZs are catalysts for industrialisation in Togo and a pivotal part of the country’s economic recovery. Togo has already experimented with free zones and SEZs in terms of job creation, and the government understands the importance of creating spaces where SMEs can expand their operations, gain access to capital and grow. The manufacturing sector – and textiles in particular – is poised to take advantage of SEZs.

The PIA hosts a multidisciplinary zone that services the industrial and logistics sectors, providing entry points to hinterland countries like Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, and offers a one-stop shop for companies to establish operations in an environment conducive to business. Operationally, the PIA acts as a single point of access to facilitate business transactions and address queries. Together, these features mean lower costs of production for businesses operating out of Togo, as well as a competitive edge against international players.

In terms of job creation, the leading economic segment is the textile industry. We are expecting 15,200 new jobs from the first companies located in the PIA, which will increase to 30,000 in the years to 2026. While cotton is the most important product in terms of value addition and job creation, soybeans and organic soy are up-and-coming niche markets.

In terms of energy availability and cost, the energy mix is maturing to include more green sources and reach a 50:50 mix of renewable and non-renewable power. We are ramping up energy capacity to 100 MW in the surrounding area through the Blitta solar power plant, which currently has 50 MW of clean energy capacity. Togo’s energy quality is high, and the cost relevant to neighbouring countries is competitive. One of the founding principles of SEZs is to create jobs, and efforts are under way to improve energy infrastructure to maintain Togo’s attractiveness in the region and help meet this objective.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Treasury Bills

CBN Set to Auction N166.1 Billion in Treasury Bills Amid Economic Data Releases

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FG Borrows

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced plans to auction N166.1 billion in Treasury bills.

This auction comes amidst a flurry of economic data releases and amidst concerns over the nation’s fiscal health.

Scheduled for the upcoming week, the auction will include N27.11 billion for the 91-day tenor, N1.49 billion for the 182-day tenor, and N137.50 billion for the 364-day tenor.

This strategic allocation shows the CBN’s efforts to manage liquidity and control inflationary pressures during global economic uncertainties.

The decision aligns with broader fiscal strategies as the United States and India prepare to release crucial consumer price index reports, expected to influence global market sentiment.

Concurrently, the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is set to unveil its monthly oil market report, detailing shifts in global oil supply and demand dynamics.

Nigeria’s economic landscape has recently faced challenges, with May witnessing a dip in oil production to 1.25 million barrels per day, down from 1.28 million in April.

This decline has been attributed to various factors, including oil theft in the Niger Delta and aging infrastructure—a setback impacting national revenue streams.

The Treasury bill auction is a cornerstone of the CBN’s monetary policy toolkit, aiming not only to fund government operations but also to influence short-term interest rates and manage inflation expectations.

Analysts anticipate keen interest from both domestic and international investors, gauging Nigeria’s commitment to fiscal discipline amid fluctuating oil prices and global economic shifts.

Moreover, the stability of Nigeria’s foreign exchange market, marked by the recent convergence of the naira/dollar rate at N1,520 across official and parallel markets, is expected to complement the CBN’s monetary actions.

This convergence signifies progress in the CBN’s efforts to stabilize the currency amidst external economic pressures.

Looking ahead, the outcome of the Treasury bill auction will likely set the tone for Nigeria’s financial markets, providing insights into investor confidence and the government’s ability to manage fiscal challenges.

As stakeholders await the results, the economic landscape remains poised for further developments, influenced by both local policy measures and global economic indicators.

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Investment

Nigeria Sees Record $3.38 Billion in Q1 Foreign Investments

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Nigeria attracted a record $3.38 billion in foreign investments during the first quarter of 2024, the highest quarterly inflow in four years.

This surge in investments is largely attributed to reforms implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as revealed in the latest capital importation report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The report highlighted a 210.2 percent increase in foreign investments from the $1.09 billion recorded in the previous quarter.

Year-on-year, foreign capital inflows rose by an impressive 198.1 percent from $1.13 billion in Q1 of 2023.

Analysts point to several key reforms by the CBN that have boosted investor confidence. These include the harmonization of the foreign exchange rate market, the clearance of forex backlogs, naira devaluation, and high interest rates aimed at curbing inflation.

These measures have collectively sent positive signals to investors, prompting a significant increase in capital inflows.

Portfolio investment was the largest contributor to the foreign investment surge, accounting for $2.08 billion, or 61.5 percent of the total.

Other investments followed, with $1.18 billion (34.9 percent), while foreign direct investment (FDI) lagged behind, contributing only $119.2 million (3.53 percent).

Money market instruments under portfolio investment saw a dramatic increase, surging by 592.7 percent to $1.61 billion in Q1 from $231.8 million in Q4. Compared to Q1 of the previous year, this represents an astonishing rise of 1,175.2 percent.

“On the money market front, open market operations (OMO) were the major contributors. Foreign investors were attracted to the over 25 percent yield for a carry trade in naira while managing the attendant FX risks,” explained Temitope Omosuyi, investment strategy manager at Afrinvest Limited.

The CBN is also expected to receive a $1 billion loan from Afrexim as part of a $3.3 billion inflow from a commodity swap deal.

This anticipated inflow further shows the growing confidence in Nigeria’s economic prospects.

Foreign inflows into stocks jumped fivefold in the first three months of the year to N93.37 billion from N18.12 billion in the same period last year, the highest in any three-month period since 2019.

“The CBN’s reforms have transformed Nigeria from being uninvestable a year ago to an attractive investment destination today,” commented a foreign portfolio manager who preferred to remain anonymous. “The settlement of the FX backlog, shift to a more market-determined exchange rate, and a more credible monetary policy are proving too hard to resist for investors.”

The NBS report also showed that the banking sector recorded the highest capital inflows with $2.07 billion, representing 61.2 percent of the total.

This was followed by the trading sector, valued at $494.9 million (14.7 percent), and the production/manufacturing sector, which attracted $191.9 million (5.68 percent).

Geographically, the capital importation report revealed that most of the investments originated from the United Kingdom, contributing $1.81 billion (53.5 percent).

The Republic of South Africa followed with $582.3 million (17.3 percent) and the Cayman Islands with $186.2 million (5.52 percent).

Lagos State emerged as the top destination for foreign capital, receiving $2.78 billion, or 82.4 percent of the total capital imported. It was followed by Abuja (FCT) with $593.6 million (17.6 percent) and Ekiti with $0.01 million.

Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc received the highest capital importation into Nigeria with $1.26 billion (37.2 percent), followed by Citibank Nigeria Limited with $547.7 million (16.2 percent), and Rand Merchant Bank Plc with $528.7 million (15.7 percent).

Despite the positive outlook, experts caution against celebrating too early. Adeola Adenikinju, president of the Nigerian Economic Society, said, “While foreign portfolio investment (FPI) is on the rise, it is crucial to ensure these inflows translate into foreign direct investments (FDI) that generate employment and reduce poverty. FPI may not necessarily create the same long-term economic benefits.”

President Bola Tinubu, who assumed office in May 2023, has taken significant steps to attract foreign investment, including the removal of petrol subsidies and partial foreign exchange reforms.

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Treasury Bills

CBN Treasury Bills Auction Oversubscribed by 338%, Raises N284.26bn

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FG Borrows

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has successfully raised a total of N284.26 billion through its latest Nigerian Treasury Bills (T-Bills) auction.

The auction, which was initially set to offer N228.72 billion, saw an overwhelming subscription of N773.98 billion, indicating an oversubscription rate of 338%.

This substantial interest highlights the ongoing demand for government securities amid Nigeria’s economic conditions, providing a crucial source of funding for the government’s short-term expenditure.

According to the auction results released by the Debt Management Office (DMO) and confirmed by data on the CBN website, the strong investor turnout underscores the perceived safety and attractiveness of T-Bills as an investment option.

Surge in Treasury Bill Debt

The successful auction comes at a time when Nigeria’s T-Bills debts have soared to unprecedented levels.

Between December 2023 and March 2024, the debt rose sharply from N6.5 trillion to N10.4 trillion, marking a 60% increase in just three months.

This rise reflects the government’s heavy reliance on T-Bills to finance short-term fiscal needs amid ongoing economic challenges.

Breakdown of the Auction

The auction featured three tenors: 91-day, 182-day, and 364-day bills. Each tenor saw significant investor interest, with the 364-day bills attracting the highest subscriptions:

  • 91-day bills: Offered at N29.83 billion, received subscriptions worth N36.29 billion, with an allotment of N28.15 billion. The stop rate was 16.30%.
  • 182-day bills: Offered at N30.67 billion, received subscriptions of N40.58 billion, with an allotment of N36.44 billion. The stop rate was 17.44%.
  • 364-day bills: Offered at N168.21 billion, received overwhelming subscriptions of N697.11 billion, with an allotment of N219.67 billion. The stop rate was 20.68%.

Investor Confidence and Government Strategy

The significant oversubscription across all tenors highlights strong investor confidence in Nigerian T-Bills as a secure investment avenue, even amidst prevailing economic uncertainties.

The high subscription rate, particularly for the 364-day bills, indicates a preference for longer-term securities, likely driven by expectations of future economic stability and favorable returns.

Government’s Debt Management

This auction underscores the critical role of T-Bills in the government’s debt management strategy.

Treasury bills and Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) bonds are considered risk-free investments, providing a safe haven for investors while helping the government manage its debt profile and finance short-term expenditures.

Rising Domestic Debt

The surge in T-Bills debt has contributed to an increase in Nigeria’s total domestic debt profile, which rose to N65.6 trillion in Q1 2024, up from N59.1 trillion in December 2023.

While the external debt profile saw a slight dip from $42.9 billion to $42.1 billion, the overall public debt in naira terms stood at N114.7 trillion as of March 2024.

Economic Outlook

Despite the rising debt levels, experts highlight the importance of these instruments in managing liquidity and supporting government financing needs.

Treasury bills not only help in raising funds but also play a role in controlling the money supply, which is crucial for implementing effective monetary policy.

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