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Keep Calm And Carry On, Investors Urged as Ukraine-Russia Crisis Escalates



Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

Keep calm and carry on – for now at least – is the message for investors amid the escalating crisis between Ukraine and Russia, which has created waves across financial markets.

The comments from Nigel Green of deVere Group, one of the world’s largest financial advisory, asset management and fintech organizations, come as Russian President Vladimir Putin has recognized two separatist-held regions in Ukraine as ‘independent states’ and seems to be sending in his own troops.

“This is the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine,” U.S. President Joe Biden said on Tuesday.

U.S. markets closed sharply down on Tuesday, European markets were volatile as well and Asia-Pacific experienced a sell-off.

Nigel Green notes: “Markets were hoping for a more stable week this week following the previous two of turbulence.  However, events are moving fast in the Ukraine-Russia crisis and this, naturally, has an impact.

“We can expect markets to remain volatile as they will have knee-jerk reactions over the next few days as the situation develops.

“We’ve seen this in action with the S&P 500 closing in correction territory on Tuesday, but Asian markets are mostly higher on Wednesday, as traders added stocks at lower prices following the recent sell-offs. European markets also edged up at the open and U.S. futures have nudged higher too.”

He continues: “If their portfolio is indeed well-diversified, for the time being at least I would urge investors to remain cautious and consistent.

“In terms of what investors should do against a flurry of worrying headlines on major geopolitical issues, it is not ‘sell in a panic’, or the opposite reaction: ‘buy everything’.  For most long-term investors, it is ‘keep calm and carry on’.”

It’s nearly impossible to predict what the stock market is going to do in the immediate future – especially as the situation that’s shaping them right now is so fluid.

However, stock markets can be fairly predictable over long periods of time. They tend, over time, to go up over multi-year time periods. With this in mind, a sensible strategy is dollar cost averaging.

“Investors need to ask themselves ‘will stock markets be higher than this when I retire? Looking at financial market history, the answer is probably ‘yes’, if they have a decade or more ahead of them. So, logically they should carry on buying as markets fall,” says Nigel Green.

“It is often said that the key to investment success is to buy low and sell high.  The only problem with that theory is that trying to accurately time the weakest point in the cycle is impossible.”

As Europe and the U.S. implement tough new sanctions designed to isolate Russia from the Western banking system, cut off some of its key gas market, and punish Putin-friendly Russian oligarchs, and with Moscow not looking like it will back down any time soon, the issue will continue to dominate market sentiment in the near-term at least.

The deVere CEO concludes: “History teaches us that panic-selling in stock market dips driven by geopolitics can be potentially financially disastrous for investors.

“It’s best to just feed the money in over time in a measured way in order to take advantage of the long-term trend of stock markets to deliver long-term capital growth.”

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Investor Caution Prevails as Naira’s Fall Casts Shadow on Nigerian Assets



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As Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu attempts to woo investors on foreign shores, a growing shadow looms over the nation’s financial landscape.

The Nigerian naira is in freefall, and this currency crisis is sending ripples of caution through the minds of both local and foreign investors.

The naira’s recent plunge to a historic low, teetering on the brink of the 1000-per-dollar mark on the parallel market, has left many questioning the stability of Nigeria’s economy. Confidence in the country’s currency is eroding at an alarming rate, despite President Tinubu’s exhortations for investors to remain confident in Nigeria’s potential.

The root causes of this crisis are multifaceted. Market experts point to the central bank’s reluctance to supply dollars to the official market as a significant factor. With the central bank seemingly on the sidelines, buyers have been forced to turn to street traders for foreign currency.

This disparity has dramatically widened the gap between the parallel and official exchange rates, undoing progress made after President Tinubu’s inauguration.

Investors are also concerned about the government’s ability to implement and sustain key economic reforms. President Tinubu’s promise to unify the complex exchange rate system and abolish costly fuel subsidies initially sent Nigerian markets soaring.

However, recent events, including the suspension of a planned gasoline price increase and the postponement of an interest rate hike, have raised doubts about the government’s commitment to these reforms.

Also, the delay in confirming the new central bank governor and the resignation of key officials have created a policy-making vacuum, further adding to the uncertainty.

Foreign investors, in particular, are exercising caution, fearful of potential losses due to the falling naira and the inability to repatriate their capital. The government’s outstanding debts to foreign companies and investors add to these concerns.

As the Nigerian economy grapples with these challenges, investors are adopting a wait-and-see approach. They are closely monitoring how President Tinubu’s administration navigates this storm to determine whether Nigeria’s assets can once again shine brightly on the global stage.

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EIB Provides €1 Million for Technical Assistance to Ethiopia’s Primary Healthcare System



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The European Investment Bank (EIB) has provided the World Health Organization (WHO) with €1 million (approximately BIRR 61 million) for a technical assistance operation that will strengthen primary healthcare system in Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian government plans to accelerate progress towards universal health coverage and to build resilience of its health system through a strong primary healthcare base by 2024.

The technical assistance will be implemented by the World Health Organisation in partnership with the EIB. This will allow the UN health body to leverage local, regional and international expertise and resources for improving primary health care in the country.  It will also potentially support the implementation of the Growth and Transformation Plan II of the Government of Ethiopia, which identifies” Envisioning Ethiopia’s Path towards Universal Health Coverage through Strengthening Primary Health Care by 2035″ as one of the key priorities.

The technical assistance provided by the EIB also paves the way for further action by the bank and other institutions to support the health system of Ethiopia. Earlier this year, President of the European Investment Bank Werner Hoyer, joined Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of WHO alongside the European Commission and fellow heads of multilateral development banks to launch a new health impact platform to improve health system resilience with a focus on primary healthcare in Sub-Saharan African countries.

It comes after a pledge from the EIB where President Hoyer said: “The European Investment Bank will make available at least €500 million to support health systems strengthening and more specifically primary health care in Sub-Saharan African countries. This aims to mobilize a total of at least €1 billion of investments, structured through a tri-alliance with the European Commission and WHO, to support the continent’s healthcare.”

This latest support from the EIB is in line with the European Union’s Global Gateway strategy that seeks to strengthen healthcare capacities globally with focus on facilitating investment in health infrastructure and improving the regulatory framework for more effective, local production of medicines as well as application of better technologies.

Leyla Traoré, the Head of the EIB Representative Office in Ethiopia said that access to quality healthcare is very important to a fast-growing economy like Ethiopia’s because it reduces the disease burden and improves health outcomes. This in turn leads to increased productivity and economic growth of the nation.

“As the EIB, we are committed to supporting Ethiopia build and strengthen its resilience in its healthcare industry. Working with WHO and the Federal Government of Ethiopia, we shall use effective financing tools to invest in the areas which they shall identify to benefit from a profound and positive impact,” she added.

Speaking on the EIB-WHO partnership, the Acting Representative of WHO Ethiopia Country Office, Dr. Nonhlanhla Dlamini, emphasized the urgent need to strengthen the primary health care units as first responders for emergency and critical care services and establish referral linkages with other parts of the country’s tiered health system.

“WHO is proud to partner with EIB and Team Europe on this important initiative which will help ensure that all Ethiopians have access to quality health care, regardless of their location or income,” she added.

“The partnership with EIB aims at boosting priority investments in education and employment of health personnel – human capital, infrastructure, water, hygiene, and sanitation and thus effectively leverage WHO’s presence in the country, its technical capabilities, and its advisory role in guiding investments of the EIB in the health sector,” Dr. Faraz Khalid, a research officer with the Strengthening of Primary Health Care programme at WHO and the leader of the mission said.

Anchored on the Health Extension Program – a flagship community-based primary health care delivery platform introduced in 2003, Ethiopia’s primary health care units comprise 17,550 health posts and 3,735 health centres nationwide. By efficiently using these, the second Health Sector Transformation Plan of Ethiopia 2020/2021-2024/25 aims to advance towards universal health coverage.

The primary health care unit is the smallest division in the Ethiopian health tier system and is the unit most accessible to the general population and communities within the health system. It provides essential healthcare services, including preventive, curative, and rehabilitative services. “By serving as the cornerstone of primary healthcare provision, these units have helped millions of people in Ethiopia, especially those in rural communities, achieve equitable access to healthcare,” said Dr. Lia Tadesse, the country’s minister for health.

The EIB Technical Assistance operation will contribute towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 of healthy lives and well-being; SDG 10 of reducing inequality; SDG 17 of sustainable development, and to the pillar of the agenda 2030: “Leave No One Behind” ensuring that the population in the country benefits from a resilient health system, including vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics.

The European Investment Bank has been active in Ethiopia since 1984 covering both public and private sectors. Over the years, the Bank has signed 31 operations for an aggregate amount of 490M (approximately BIRR 30 billion) focusing in particular on the financial sector, energy, agriculture and water infrastructure as well as private sector investment. The Bank is represented in Ethiopia through its office in Addis Ababa.

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Edo State Thrives: $2.5 Billion in Investments Attracted Since 2017



Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State

The Edo State government announced on Friday that it has managed to secure over $2.5 billion in investments for the state’s economy since the year 2017.

Kelvin Uwaibi, who serves as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Edo State Investment Promotion Office (ESIPO), shared this information during a visit to the leadership of the Edo State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Benin City.

Uwaibi explained that these substantial funds have been attracted from various sectors such as agriculture, technology, power, and retail.

These investments were the result of collaborative efforts by teams from different Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) led by the State Governor, Godwin Obaseki.

Uwaibi also highlighted ESIPO’s success in drawing a diverse range of investments, which have positively impacted Edo State’s economic landscape.

He explained that ESIPO plays a crucial role in driving Edo State’s economic transformation.

The organization’s mandate extends to creating a business-friendly environment, promoting the growth of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), and ensuring that there is a conducive regulatory framework for businesses to prosper.

“The Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) reforms, spearheaded by ESIPO, have streamlined bureaucratic processes and enhanced the investment climate.

“The growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) has been significantly catalyzed, contributing to local job creation and economic empowerment. ESIPO’s efforts have also cultivated a favourable regulatory environment that nurtures business growth and innovation.

“ESIPO aspires to position Edo State as a preferred investment destination, ripe with opportunities across various sectors. By capitalizing on our strategic locatiEdo State Thrives: $2.5 Billion in Investments Attracted Since 2017on, skilled workforce, and vibrant culture, we aim to attract both domestic and international investors.

“The ultimate goal is to foster sustainable development, create employment opportunities, and enhance the overall qualify of life for Edo’s residents”, he said.

In his comment, Festus Alenkhe, the State Chairman of NUJ, who commended ESIPO for its economic development in the state, however, urged the management to grow the state’s economy by attracting Foreign Direct Investment.

Alenkhe also urged the state government to partner the Federal Government in its policies geared towards reducing poverty and unemployment

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