UK exporters gain foothold in West African region, which accounts for over one-quarter of Africa’s GDP; Demand for UK products and services expands in West Africa, with deals to build hospitals, roads and bridges; UK government export finance support at its highest in decades in the region, including a record deal worth more than £200 million in Cote D’ Ivoire.
UK Export Finance has released new data today showing it provided over £500 million worth of support for projects in West Africa throughout 2021, the most in over two decades.
At last week’s Africa Investment Conference (20 January), the Prime Minister said the UK is already one of Africa’s biggest commercial partners but we are “determined to do much more – our shared task must be to ensure that Africa prospers from the green industrial revolution.”
The Conference is an annual showcase event, designed to partner investment projects in Africa with British investors. Over 3000 delegates took part this year, boosting trade and investment ties between the UK and the continent.
The government is also mobilising support from its export credit agency, UKEF, to boost exports to Africa – it provided support worth £2.3 billion in the past year, more than trebling the amount provided in 2018-19.
In West Africa this has been deployed to a range of vital infrastructure projects, helping to build major roads and bridges as well as providing medical and IT equipment, design services and environmental and social work.
The region provides a unique opportunity for UK exporters as West Africa has experienced a surge in economic growth since the early 1990s. Research shows that since 2000 its collective GDP has risen from $105 billion to more than $659 billion in 2020.
UKEF has capacity to provide further support for UK trade in West Africa, with up to £3 billion available in Senegal, £2 billion in Cote D’Ivoire, and up to £2 billion in Nigeria.
Minister for Investment, Gerry Grimstone, said: “We want more British firms to sell to the world, taking advantage of new opportunities that present themselves in growing markets like this. The potential is huge. This government has the finance available to back British firms going global in West Africa, supporting growth and development in the region and helping communities and local economies to thrive.”
Examples of successful investments include an over £40 million UKEF guarantee for Gloucestershire firm Mabey Bridge to build 87 emergency bridges used to strengthen flood defences in Ghana, supporting countries suffering from the effects of climate change.
In 2021, UKEF also signed its largest-ever deal in the region worth over £200 million to support the construction of six hospitals, with support from UK suppliers, creating jobs in the UK and improving health outcomes in the Côte d’Ivoire.
Private Sector to Invest N169.72bn Tax Credit in Four Roads Construction
The Federal Government of Nigeria, through its Executive Council, on Wednesday, approved N169.7bn private sector investments for at least four road infrastructures under the government’s Tax Credit Scheme.
Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, made this known to the State House correspondents after the council meeting. At the meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari, Fashola disclosed that the scheme was initiated in 2019 through Executive Order 7 signed by the President, and that the arrangement allowed private sector players to finance public infrastructure instead of paying taxes and then offset it over time using tax credits.
In the statement made available to Investors King, the four roads include a 234 kilometre stretch from Bali to Sheti through Gashaka to Gembu in Taraba State at the sum of N95,232,474,010.72 and the second road, which is also a tax credit scheme, is made up of three roads worth N74,486,577,050.
For the 234-kilometre road in Taraba costing N95.23bn, Fashola noted that N20bn under the NNPC Tax Credit Scheme would be disbursed to begin the project soonest.
“The two main memoranda relate to the uptake by the private sector in response to the tax credit programme, which we initiated in 2019, by Mr. President signing of Executive Order 7 to allow private sector finance public infrastructure in lieu of tax and then to offset it over time using tax credits.
“So the first road that was awarded today on that policy initiative is the rule road from Bali to Sheti through Gashaka to Gembu in Taraba State. A total of 234 kilometres reconstruction of that road in the sum of N95,232,474,010.62.
“The existing road, for those who are familiar with it, has no concrete stone base. It is just laterite on the asphalt so it doesn’t last and it’s breaking up and leading to potholes.
“So we’ve rewarded this now for reconstruction under the tax credit scheme, there’s a N20bn provision under the NNPC tax credit scheme that will be used to kickstart this immediately,” he said.
Fashola added that “the second road which is also the tax credit scheme, which was approved by the Council is actually three roads. The applicant, in this case, is Mainstream Energy Solutions, a major energy player in the country and is now seeking to also participate in this policy by investing a total of N74,486,577, 050.”
72% of North American Quant Fund Managers Struggle to Access High Quality Data
New research with fund managers in North America who collectively manage around $600 billion, reveals they are placing a growing emphasis on both the quality of the data used in their investment processes and on having access to the technological capabilities to efficiently process data (please see the attached press release). Six out of ten (60%) believe this is crucial to achieving above-average returns in the future.
The study, which was commissioned by quant technologies provider SigTech, found that 94% of fund managers find the process of evaluating data, ensuring it meets quality standards and negotiating with data vendors challenging. 72% say it is difficult to source data that is cleaned, validated and ready to use from vendors.
When it comes to onboarding new data sets, nearly six out of ten North American fund managers say they encounter problems, with 56% saying it takes between 1 and 6 months to have new data fully operational internally.
As a result of the many challenges North American fund managers encounter when sourcing and managing data, 64% expect to increase their budget in this area over the next few years.
When asked to pick the two asset classes where they encounter the greatest difficulty in accessing high quality data, 62% of North American fund managers cited fixed income, followed by 54% who selected commodities. In terms of the two financial instruments where they have the greatest difficulty in securing high quality data, 66% cited forwards, followed by cash/spot (58%) and then futures (40%)
In terms of outsourcing of data services, the study found that 64% of fund managers have increased their level of outsourcing over the last two years. Going forward, 77% plan to outsource more between now and 2024, with none seeing a decrease. When asked which factors are fuelling the growing trend towards data services outsourcing, a shortage of qualified in-house subject matter experts and resources was cited as the biggest driver.
Half of those surveyed (50%) found negotiating with data vendors the most frustrating part of the data onboarding process, and 60% say that evaluating the different vendors is challenging.
EUR 27 million European Investment Bank Backing for Cameroon Business Investment
The European Investment Bank today formally agreed to provide EUR 27 million of new long-term financing to support investment by entrepreneurs and businesses across Cameroon and strengthen economic resilience to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The streamlined business financing represents the largest ever EIB support for private sector investment in Cameroon and is part of the EIB’s increased engagement with financial partners across Africa to strengthen economic resilience to the pandemic.
The two new credit lines will be managed by leading local financial partners, EUR 15 million by CCA Bank and EUR 12 million by Commercial Bank of Cameroon.
Cameroonian businesses accessing the new financing will benefit from lower cost of financing thanks to European Union support as part of broader support to improve the competitiveness of Cameroon’s private sector.
The new partnership between the European Investment Bank, the world’s largest international public bank, CCA Bank and Commercial Bank-Cameroun, will increase access to long-term finance by businesses across Cameroon. The new financing builds on close cooperation in recent years to support private sector investment across Africa and best practice cooperation with leading financial partners in Cameroon.
The new business financing will support investment by manufacturing, agriculture, services and trading companies across the country.
The EIB’s latest cooperation to support business investment in Cameroon was formally announced in Yaoundé by Thomas Östros, European Investment Bank Vice President, Alexis Megudjou, CEO of CCA Bank and Léandre Djummo, CEO of Commercial Bank-Cameroun, in the presence of Louis Paul Motazé, Minister of Finance, Achille Bassilekin III, Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises, Alamine Ousmane Mey, Minister of Economy, Planning and Regional Development, and Philippe Van Damme, EU Ambassador.
“Increasing support for Cameroon’s productive private sector is a major focus of our national development strategy (SND30). From this point of view, the State has a duty to put in place an optimal, conducive and incentive framework for the development of entrepreneurship, particularly among the priority targets of young people and women. Agreement of new business financing credit lines totalling more than 17.7 billion FCFA, thanks to Cameroon’s Competitiveness Support Scheme, demonstrates a model for strengthening resilience for a sector severly impacted by COVID-19” said Alamine Ousmane Mey, Minister of Economy, Planning and Regional Integration.
“The new financing agreements confirmed today will help to strengthening the productive capacities of our SMEs, in particular in manufacturing and accelerate post-Covid recovery. This is essential to ensure that SME’s can access finance and lead our country’s structural economic transformation agenda”. said Achille Bassilekin III, Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises, Social Economy and Crafts. Enterprises.
“Companies across Cameroun have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Commercial Bank Cameroun is supporting private sector investment across our country and enabling our corporate, business, especially those in the processing sector to invest for the future and create economic opportunities. The European Investment Bank has previously agreed to support EUR 14 million of new long-term financing for entrepreneurs and businesses across Cameroun. Recently a new EUR 12 million business financing has been granted to Commercial bank Cameroon, for a total of EUR 26 million financing. The new EUR 12 million support provided by European Investment Bank and EU backing for Commercial Bank will unlock new private sector financing to be provided by our branches across the country for private businesses.” said Léandre Djummo, Director General of Commercial Bank.
“Increasing access to finance by entrepreneurs and businesses is essential to overcome economic challenges enhanced by COVID-19 and unlock business expansion. The EIB’s latest cooperation with leading financial partners here in Cameroon demonstrates how together EU and African partners are helping to beat COVID and ensure that private sector business can invest, create jobs and grow. As part of Team Europe, the European Investment Bank is pleased to provide EUR 15 million of new targeted financing to CCA Bank and EUR 12 million to Commercial Bank of Cameroon to unlock new private sector financing essential to strengthen private sector investment, create jobs and accelerate the post-pandemic recovery of Cameroon.” said Thomas Ostros, Vice President of the European Investment Bank.
“The European Union is committed to supporting the private sector in Africa. The Team Europe cooperation with the European Investment Bank will increase access to targeted business finance by companies across Cameroon. The new EUR 27 million financing scheme with CCA Bank and Commercial Bank of Cameroon will create jobs, unlock business growth and enable Cameroonian companies to seize new business opportunities in the years ahead.” said Ambassador Philippe Van Damme, Head of the European Union Delegation to Cameroun.
Supporting investment by businesses across Cameroon during challenging times
The two new 7 year EIB credit lines with CCA Bank and Commercial Bank of Cameroon will allow new financing to be provided to private businesses, notably SMEs, across Cameroon.
The new financing will allow longer average loan tenors for business loans and enable companies to better reflect the economic life of new investment.
Ensuring that Cameroon benefits from EIB response to strengthen economic resilience to COVID
The new cooperation represents the EIB’s first support for business investment with CCA Bank and the second with Commercial Bank of -Cameroun and the first private sector financing in Cameroon in two years.
The scheme is part of the EIB’s increased engagement across Africa to ensure that companies can continue to access finance when faced with unprecedented health, business and trade challenges linked to COVID-19, approved by European Union finance ministers in April 2020, within weeks of the impact of the pandemic being recognised.
The European Investment Bank is the world’s largest international public bank, owned directly by the 27 European Union member states.
Since the pandemic EIB has provided more than EUR 8 billion for private and public investment across Africa.
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