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China Cancels Debts of 17 African Nations, Redirects $10 Billion IMF Reserves to Africa

China, the world’s second-largest economy and the largest government lender to growing economies announced plans to cancel 23 interest-free loans for 17 African countries.

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China, the world’s second-largest economy and the largest government lender to growing economies announced plans to cancel 23 interest-free loans for 17 African countries.

Wang Yi, the Chinese Foreign Minister announced the cancellation in a meeting held with leaders from various African countries last week.

According to the minister, China will also redirect its $10 billion reserves with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to Africa to better support nations in the region and strengthen its collaborative effort on the continent.

However, he did not provide details of the loan amount, said to have matured at the end of 2021, nor did he mention the indebted African countries.

While Beijing has a consistent pattern of dissolving loans like this, western governments have made unfounded, politically inspired allegations that China utilizes “Debt – trap diplomacy” worldwide.

In the meeting, the Foreign Minister criticized the West’s “all or nothing Cold War mentality.” He alternatively suggested a model focused on “multi-party collaboration” with Africa that produces “win-win results” for everyone.

Wang Yi said, “What Africa would welcome is mutually beneficial cooperation for the greater well-being of the people, not major-country rivalry for geopolitical gains.”

Beijing, which immediately promised to deepen trade with Africa, made a consensus with twelve African countries to cut tariffs on products they export to China by 98%.

Beijing will continue to provide food, economic and military aid to Africa while offering assistance in the battle against Covid-19. 

“With an emphasis on the importance of cooperative de development, China has offered billions of dollars of investment in infrastructural projects as a major push to Africa’s Industrialization operations.

“Africa plays an important role in Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, a global infrastructure project aimed at interconnecting the Global South and moving the center of the world economy back east.

“In the face of the various forms of hegemonic and bullying practices, China and Africa have stood with each other shoulder to shoulder,” Wang emphasized, calling to “safeguard international fairness and justice.”

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Finance

Intervention Funds: CBN Disburses N9.3 Trillion to SMEs, Agriculture, Others

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it has so far disbursed a total sum of N9.3 trillion to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Agriculture, manufacturing and health sectors under its intervention funds program.

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Agriculture - Investors King

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it has so far disbursed a total sum of N9.3 trillion to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Agriculture, manufacturing and health sectors under its intervention funds program.

Dr Yusuf Yila, Director of Development Finance, CBN, made the announcement during a media engagement in Abuja on Wednesday.

According to the director, the apex bank has recovered N3.7 trillion from the total amount disbursed, saying the remaining N5 trillion was not yet due.

He, however, stated that 31% of the total amount was disbursed to the manufacturing sector, the largest for any sector.

“Some of the loans are under moratorium. We have moved from agriculture to manufacturing. So far, manufacturing, agriculture, health, exports and SMEs, have benefitted from the intervention,” he said.

Yila further stated that the central bank has now slowed down fund disbursement under its various intervention programs to curb rising inflation after data showed inflation rose to 20.52% in the month of August despite efforts to contain it.

The CBN-led monetary policy committee on Tuesday raised the interest rate by 150 basis points from 14% to 15.5% to rein in inflation and also remain competitive against global economies in luring investors into the Nigerian economy.

Developed economies started raising interest rates after the Russia-Ukraine war impacted global economies and compelled most nations to start tightening monetary policy to curb consumer prices. The persistent increase in interest rates (borrowing costs) in developed economies is expected to hurt capital inflow into the Nigerian economy, except the CBN raised borrowing costs to compensate for emerging market risks.

On Anchor Borrowers Programme, the CBN said it has disbursed N1 trillion to date, but announced that only N400 billion has been recovered.

He, however, warned debtors to ensure to repay their loans to various banks that granted them as the bank has collaborated with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to set up a unit that will help recover the loans.

“Any person who borrowed from us will pay back. We have recovered from states and we debit their FAAC. Every single loan taken from our development finance will be returned.”

 

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Banking Sector

Fidelity Bank Collaborates With SMEDAN, Seeks to Enhance SMEs Access to Fund

Fidelity Bank has partnered with the Small And Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN) to bridge the funding gap in small businesses in Nigeria

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fidelity bank - Investors King

Nigerian commercial bank, Fidelity Bank has partnered with the Small And Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN) to bridge the funding gap in small businesses in Nigeria.

At a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing ceremony recently held in Lagos, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity bank Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe who was represented by Executive Director, Lagos and South-West Dr. Ken Opara, disclosed that the partnership with SMEDAN reinforces the fact that the bank is a leading supporter of SMEs in Nigeria.

Her words, “For us at Fidelity Bank, supporting SMEs is in our DNA and for more than two decades, we have been creating multiple platforms to help them thrive.

“These include the numerous products we have pioneered, our collaboration with the Lagos Business School to host the Export Management Programme, the Fidelity SME Academy, and our weekly SME Forum radio program successful business owners and SMEDAN share tips on running thriving ventures with listeners.

“This partnership is therefore another step in our journey of helping entrepreneurs grow and compete favorably in any market they operate and we are very happy to have SMEDAN join us.”

Also, the Director-General/Chief Executive Officer of SMEDAN, Olawale Fasanya expressed gratitude to Fidelity Bank for facilitating the partnership, emphasizing that the MOU was particularly significant not just to the Agency but to the MSMEs ecosystem.

He said, “Fidelity Bank is one of the few commercial banks in Nigeria that have shown immense interest in providing support to the large MSME community. I am very aware of some of your products purposely designed to serve the MSMEs.

“This explains why the Agency is very excited entering into this relationship that we believe will help change the narratives of the sub-sector”.

Knowing that SMEs are the backbone of any economy, the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN) has on several occasions launched different initiatives for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country to help boost sales and enhance capacity building.

On the other hand, Fidelity Bank has continued to play a pivotal role in the development of SMEs in the country by offering numerous support through partnerships with different firms and agencies.

It should be recalled that in June 2022, Investors King reported that Fidelity bank partnered with impactHER a non-profit organization, to empower 1,052 female entrepreneurs with sales skills in Nigeria.

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Finance

CBN Raises Interest Rate to 15.5 Percent Amid Inflation Concerns

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has raised interest rates to 15.5 percent, the highest in the last 20 years. 

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Godwin Emefiele - Investors King

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has raised interest rates to 15.5 percent, the highest in the last 20 years. 

Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of CBN, announced the increase shortly after the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting that was held at the CBN headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday.

The CBN Governor disclosed that all 10 members of the monetary policy committee voted for the hike to contain escalating inflation rate.

Investors King had earlier reported that central banks of the three biggest economies (Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt) are expected to raise interest rates in an effort to curb rising inflation. 

Addressing journalists after the meeting, the CBN Governor stated that the committee will continue to increase interest rates to reduce the high effect of inflation. 

The CBN governor was quoted to have said ” The tested monetary policy theory is that the easiest way to tame inflationary pressure is to raise rates”. 

In August 2022, Nigeria’s inflation rose to 20.52 percent which is 17 years high. This has caused the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to increase interest rates to 14 percent.

The committee also raised the Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) to 32.5 percent from 27.5 percent. Cash Reserve Ratio is the specified minimum percentage of a bank’s total deposits that must be in the custody of the Central bank in form of liquid cash.

Meanwhile, the recent hike in interest has generated mixed feelings among financial analysts and economic observers. While some analysts believed the hike is the way to go considering the inflation rate which currently stands at 20. 52 percent, others argued that the hike will affect borrowers who are due for repayment. 

Analysts fear that borrowers might default in servicing their loans. Those who have taken credit facilities will have to pay more to reflect the new interest rates.

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