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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, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Enko Opportunity Growth Fund Ltd Invested N3.8 Billion in Ecobank

Enko Opportunity Growth Fund Ltd, linked to Mr. Alain Nkontchou, a Director of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), has invested a total sum of N3.8 billion in Ecobank Transnational Incorporated.

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Enko Opportunity Growth Fund Ltd, linked to Mr. Alain Nkontchou, a Director of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), has invested a total sum of N3.8 billion in Ecobank Transnational Incorporated.

Enko Opportunity Growth Fund, a hedge fund company, acquired a total of 322,010,114 shares at N11.83 a unit in Ecobank Transnational Incorporated between March 30, 2022 to May 5, 2022, the bank disclosed this in a statement signed by Madibinet Cisse, Company Secretary.

The transaction was carried out at the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) trading floor in Lagos, Nigeria.

The investment, classified as insider trading, was reported on Friday in line with the Nigerian Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) despite commencing purchase in March. Meaning, the announcement was done to further strengthen the bank’s perception among investors, especially after announcing strong positive financial results for the first half of 2022.

For the first half of 2022, Ecobank announced a 24% increase in profit after tax from N62.553 billion to N77.313 billion.

Commenting on the sound performance, Ade Ayeyemi, CEO of Ecobank Group, said our results for the first six months of 2022 reflect not only the benefits of the firm’s diversification but also our resilience and capabilities to continue serving our clients and customers in a challenging environment and still generate adequate returns responsibly for our shareholders. As a result, we delivered a return on tangible equity of 19.5%, a record, and increased earnings per share for shareholders by 24% year-on-year.

In addition, profit before tax increased by 24% to $261 million and by 53% if you adjust the increase for the significant depreciation of some of our critical African currencies to the US dollar, says Ade Ayeyemi, CEO, Ecobank Group.

 

 

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The US$6bn Water Investment Programme Set to Transform Zambia’s Social-economic Outlook by 2030

This week the Zambian Government launches its game-changing US$6billion Zambia Water Investment Programme during the African Union mid-year Summit in Lusaka.

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By Alex Simalabwi, Executive Secretary  of the Global Water Partnership Africa-Coordination

This week the Zambian Government launches its game-changing US$6billion Zambia Water Investment Programme during the African Union mid-year Summit in Lusaka.

The Programme is part of the Continental Africa Water Investment Programme (AIP) that was adopted by African Union Heads of State and Government as part of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa – Priority Action Plan 2, during the AU Summit on 7th February 2021.

The Country is faced with challenges of poor access to clean water and decent sanitation. Joint UNICEF and WHO statistics indicate that over 6.4 million people in a population of about 18 million, do not have access to clean running water and nearly 8 million lack access to adequate sanitation. This affects the social economic development of the country with women and girls, mostly tasked with collecting water and doing home chores, bearing the brunt of it.

Estimating the relationship of water with economic growth and jobs is challenging due to lack of data, particularly in regard to determining the degree of water dependency of jobs. However, the UN reports that for every dollar invested in water and sanitation, there is a US$4.3 Ureturn in the form of reduced health care costs for individuals and societies around the world.

The UN estimates that three out of four jobs that make up the global workforce are either heavily or moderately dependent on water. Investment in small-scale projects including rainwater harvesting providing access to safe water and basic sanitation in Africa could offer an estimated economic return of US$ 28.4 billion a year, or nearly five per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) of the continent. Such investments have a beneficial effect on employment.

Led by the Ministry of Water Development and Sanitation, the Zambia Water Investment Programme hopes to leverage up to US$6 billion in water security investments and the creation of about 200,000 direct formal jobs by 2030. In addition, the Programme envisages that at least 800,000 indirect jobs will be created for vulnerable and poor youths, women, and other marginalized groups.

What makes this Investment Programme different from other such frameworks is that, firstly there is high-level political commitment at the Head of State level within the country and internationally, through the African Union and the High-Level Panel of former and current Heads of State. The Panel was launched by the AU Chairperson and President of Senegal H.E. Macky Sall, at the 9th World Water Forum in Dakar, Senegal on 25th March, 2022. Its objective is to develop actionable pathways for mobilising $30 billion annually by 2030, for implementing the AIP, under which Zambia’s Water Investment Programme falls, and to close the existing water investment gap in Africa.

The Panel is led by three Co-chairs:

  • E. Macky Sall, as Co-Chair in his capacity as Chairperson of the African Union.
  • E Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of The Netherlands
  • E. Hage Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia
  • E Jakaya Kikwete, (Alternate Co-Chair) former president of the United Republic of Tanzania, who is also Chairperson of the Board of Global Water Partnership Southern Africa and Africa Coordination.

Secondly, the Investment Programme also known as AIP Zambia, is home-grown and aligned to the Four Strategic Development Areas of Zambia’s Eighth National Development Plan, 2022-2026. It was widely consultative and inclusive with inputs from development partners and local stakeholders. Global Water Partnership (GWP) Zambia joined the water sector development partners in designing the Programme.

AIP Zambia comes with a first of its kind mutual accountability tracking tool, the AIP-PIDA Scorecard that was adopted by AU Heads of States in February 2022. The scorecard will track progress in investment mobilisation, identify gaps, bottlenecks and define areas for mutual accountability. AUDA-NEPAD will report its progress to the African Union every six months.

The Programme recognizes that financing is a key issue, so it promotes Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) to water resourcing via the Blended Finance approach, as a viable way of making development priorities on water more investable. According to a recent Report by WaterAid, this approach involves the strategic use of public or philanthropic development capital to de-risk investments related to the SDGs, in order to attract commercial capital from private investors who would otherwise not have participated.

Rather than rely on treasury and donor funding, AIP Zambia hopes to leverage a water development fund, resourced via blended financing mechanisms that will leverage Official Development Assistance (ODA) and grant finance to de-risk priority water investments.  The various financing models include sovereign wealth funds, green local municipal water bonds, international investment guarantees, institutional investors and private equity, foundations, value-based impact investment, and climate finance. For local and rural populations, off-grid solar powered water distribution networks combing local water-energy-food security, scaling up rainwater harvesting schemes will be central.

The AIP Zambia delivery model will build on experiences from similar delivery units from other parts of the world including India’s Swachh Bharat Mission led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who slashed through India’s notorious red tape and pushed aside thorny political divisions to see it through. According to UNICEF the number of people without a toilet in India reduced from 500 million to 50 million in four years, between 2014 and 2018.

Positive spin-offs of the Zambia Water Investment Programme are expected to benefit communities in rural areas and densely populated shanty townships. The Programme will also see the creation of gender-centred climate resilient programmes, skills training and the growth of green-economy related small and medium enterprises.

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Real Estate Remains a Hot Investment in Summer 2022

For those worried that the housing market is about to cool off, Swapnil Agarwal, CEO of Nitya Capital & Karya Property Management, has encouraging words for investors.

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For those worried that the housing market is about to cool off, Swapnil Agarwal, CEO of Nitya Capital & Karya Property Management, has encouraging words for investors.

“Currently, there is a 6.8 million house shortage in the USA,” Agarwal says. Add to that supply chain issues for new home building materials, and interest rates, while going up, are still relatively low. So, even in the wake of different economic cycles, conditions, and COVID-19, the demand for multifamily real estate assets has continued to remain a stable area of investing and even growth, Agarwal explains, pointing to several key factors:

– Money supply growth. Higher volumes of capital are held by pension funds, endowments, insurance companies, private equity, venture funds, and family offices, all pursuing a limited set of attractive investment opportunities.

– Desirable foreign investment. The U.S. continues to be viewed as a safe haven for foreign capital; investors increasingly seek tangible assets with current income and downside protection.

– Wage disparity and the cost of living. As the wage gap and income disparity across the U.S. widen, and the population grows, the lower middle class is being forced to find more affordable housing alternatives. The result is an increasing demand for value-add properties.

– Homeownership trends. Homeownership levels remain near 20-year lows at 63%, and rental demand continues to grow. Stringent borrowing requirements imposed by traditional lenders make it increasingly difficult for the lower middle class to purchase homes. In addition, millennials are increasingly forgoing homeownership and moving to larger cities than prior generations fueling further demand for multifamily units.

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