In a significant step towards promoting gender equality and economic empowerment in Africa, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has announced a groundbreaking initiative to support women entrepreneurs in the Sahel region.
The bank’s Gender Equality Trust Fund will provide a grant of $950,000 to the Africa Small and Medium Enterprise Business Linkages Program. This funding, in addition to an earlier $3.9 million financing grant, aims to uplift 1,400 women-led enterprises and contribute to the region’s economic resilience and social cohesion.
“We are excited to extend the impact of the program that will reach more than a thousand women entrepreneurs across the Sahel region,” said Malado Kaba, the Bank’s Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society. “We believe one key to building resilient African societies is the inclusion of women in economic development. The program’s wide range of business-related training and coaching – in addition to increasing access to finance – will go a long way toward reaching that goal,” she added.
The Gender Equality Trust Fund’s support aligns with the bank’s overarching initiative, the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) program. AFAWA aims to address the staggering $42 billion gender financing gap faced by women-led African enterprises and focuses on promoting gender-transformative lending and non-lending operations.
Investors King understands that Sahel region’s women entrepreneurs face significant barriers in accessing finance, markets, and business development services. To overcome these challenges and unlock their potential, the Africa Small and Medium Enterprise Business Linkages Program will equip women entrepreneurs with the necessary tools and resources.
This will help increase productivity, employment opportunities, and capacity building in entrepreneurship, core business functions, and management training.
However, to ensure the program’s success, the bank’s Gender, Women, and Civil Society Department conducted three studies and consulted with the Sahel region Chambers of Commerce, these studies help identified women-led businesses that will participate in the program.
Also, the bank supports national statistics offices in collecting gender-responsive data, enabling accurate measurement of the program’s impact.
The G5 Sahel Union of Chambers of Commerce will administer the Africa Small and Medium Enterprise Business Linkages Program in collaboration with financial institutions and intermediaries. This strategic partnership aims to directly support access to finance for local small and medium enterprises, creating a supportive ecosystem for women entrepreneurs in the Sahel region.
The Africa Small and Medium Enterprise Business Linkages Program aligns with the African Development Bank’s 2021-2024 Private Sector Development Strategy, its 2021-2025 Gender Strategy, and the 2022-2026 strategy for addressing fragility and building resilience in Africa.
Manufacturers Cut Spending on Alternative Energy Sources as Electricity Supply Improves
Nigerian manufacturers reduced their spending on alternative energy sources by 21.25% to N60.4 billion in the first half of 2023, according to the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN).
This decline is attributed to the increased availability of electricity from the national grid, which improved to 11.3 hours per day, up from 10.2 hours in the same period of 2022.
The report also indicated a slight increase in daily power outages to 4.7 times from 4.4 times in H1 2022.
These improvements in grid electricity availability have positively impacted the manufacturing sector’s energy expenditure, leading to a significant drop from N76.7 billion spent in the second half of 2022.
However, the initial high expenditure on alternative energy sources was driven by skyrocketing diesel prices.
The cost of diesel had surged due to foreign exchange challenges and the implementation of a 7.5% Value Added Tax on Automotive Gas Oil (diesel).
Diesel prices in many states had risen to between N900 and N950 per liter, which threatened the production capacity of numerous manufacturing entities.
The Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association expressed concerns about the potential closure of textile factories and job losses due to rising energy costs. Textile manufacturers, in particular, found it challenging to afford diesel at such prices.
The Chief Executive Officer of Coleman Technical Industries Limited also highlighted the increased production costs associated with higher diesel prices.
While the improvement in electricity supply is a positive development for manufacturers, the industry remains vigilant about energy costs and their impact on production.
Dangote Group Subsidiaries Contribute N474 Billion in Taxes to Federal Government Over Three Years
In a significant testament to its commitment to corporate citizenship and financial responsibility, three subsidiaries of the Dangote Group have revealed that they paid a substantial total of N474 billion in taxes to the Federal Government over the past three years.
The disclosure was made by Hashem Ahmed, an official representing the multibillion-dollar conglomerate, during the opening ceremony of the 18th Abuja International Trade Fair, which focused on the theme ‘Sustainable financing and taxation as drivers of the new economy.’
The Dangote Group, led by its President Aliko Dangote, stands as not only the largest private-sector employer but also the country’s leading taxpayer. The remarkable N474 billion contribution was primarily made by Dangote Sugar, Dangote Cement, and Dangote Salt.
Also, the group has a longstanding history of extensive financial support, empowerment initiatives, corporate social responsibility programs, sponsorships, and philanthropic endeavors, amounting to several billions of naira.
Hashem Ahmed also expressed the group’s satisfaction with the Federal Government’s commitment to tax reform policies aimed at broadening the tax base and providing essential funding for infrastructure development in the country.
The Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Doris Uzoka-Anite, who spoke at the event, announced the government’s comprehensive plan to support small businesses and startups amid Nigeria’s economic challenges.
The plan includes a N75 billion investment by March 2024 to bolster the manufacturing sector, grants for microbusinesses in every local government, and a N75 billion fund to support up to 100,000 startups and MSMEs at favorable interest rates repayable over 36 months.
The government has also initiated partnerships with tech giants like Microsoft and the African Development Bank, signaling a bright future for Nigeria’s economic growth and innovation.
The Royal Finance Empire: Liechtenstein’s LGT Group Thrives in the World of Wealth Management
In a world dominated by multinational corporations and global conglomerates, the tiny Alpine nation of Liechtenstein has been making waves with its royal finance empire, LGT Group.
This dynasty, led by Prince Hans-Adam II, boasts a legacy dating back nearly a thousand years, surviving wars, floods, and scandals.
LGT Group, the royal family’s private banking and asset management firm, recently reported record-breaking assets under management (AUM) of almost 306 billion Swiss francs ($334 billion) as of June 30, marking a remarkable 6% increase since the end of the previous year.
The Vaduz-based firm’s success is not limited to its home nation; it has been expanding its footprint globally. This month, LGT Group acquired Abrdn Plc’s discretionary fund-management business in the UK and Jersey, adding to its list of external investments since 2021.
Olivier de Perregaux, the CEO of LGT Private Banking, revealed, “We continue to look for opportunities, but we are primarily focusing on organic growth.”
LGT’s impressive growth mirrors the resurgence of Liechtenstein, which has shifted from being notorious as a tax haven to a thriving financial hub. The firm more than doubled its AUM and operating income over the past decade, bouncing back from challenges following the 2008 financial crisis.
The acquisition of talent has also played a crucial role in LGT’s ascent. The firm has been actively recruiting former Credit Suisse staff, especially after the collapse and acquisition of Credit Suisse by UBS Group AG.
This has contributed to a significant increase in LGT’s headcount, which now stands at approximately 5,000 employees.
Prince Hans-Adam’s wealth has also been on the rise, propelling him to the position of Europe’s richest royal. As the sole beneficiary of LGT, he is now ranked as the 215th richest person globally, with a fortune estimated at around $9.2 billion, a remarkable 71-spot jump since the beginning of the year.
Unlike other European monarchs, Prince Hans-Adam personally owns the family’s most valuable assets, making it the oldest fortune on Bloomberg’s wealth ranking.
The origins of this wealth date back to the 12th century when the family acquired land across what is now Germany, Austria, Hungary, and the Czech Republic.
LGT itself was established in 1921 and acquired by the royal family during the Great Depression.
Under Prince Hans-Adam’s leadership, LGT expanded internationally, opening its first international branch in Hong Kong in 1986. Besides LGT, the royal dynasty also owns land, real estate, and an extensive art collection, with the finance empire serving as the driving force behind their fortune.
Liechtenstein’s transformation from a secretive tax haven to a transparent financial center has further bolstered LGT’s success. While the bank faced challenges during the 2008 tax evasion scandal, it rebounded in 2010 and has been on a steady growth trajectory since.
With Prince Hans-Adam’s son, Max, now serving as the chairman of LGT Group, and the family actively involved in major financial decisions, the future appears promising for this enduring royal finance empire.
LGT’s commitment to growth, both organically and through strategic acquisitions, suggests that Liechtenstein’s royal legacy in the world of finance is far from fading.
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