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Nigeria’s Investment Horizon Improving, Says Exotix Partners



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A major global investment and finance firm, Exotix Partners, has said recent changes in Nigerian fiscal and monetary policies have brightened the prospects of Nigerian investment markets. In a new review of the Nigerian economy titled “It’s time for a re-appraisal”, Exotix noted that some analysts and pundits might have allowed the previous sentiments to blur their analytical edge to fail to see the improving dynamics of the Nigerian economy and investment space.

Exotix is a major global finance and investment company with considerable imprints in world and Africa’s commercial centres. It coordinates its global operations through five major offices in London, New York, Lagos, Dubai and Nairobi.

“Negativity on Nigeria appears to have no end. Six months ago, it was all about the failures of a misguided foreign exchange policy; now the narrative has moved on to the Niger Delta Avengers, the onset of recession, the poor state of Federal Government of Nigeria finances and any number of other concerns. Is it possible that investors have adopted a permanently negative bias on Nigeria?” Exotix rhetorically asked in the review.

According to the sovereign research report, Nigeria’s adjustment is progressing better than previously thought with the exchange rate now trading below its fair value on an REER basis even when N315/$ was used instead of N340-350/$; inflation has peaked in underlying terms and oil production is likely to have bottomed.

“While we are not under any illusions about the problems facing the market, we think expectations about the path of the foreign exchange rate –and the economy as whole –have become unrealistically negative. If anything, with the potential for a rebound in both the oil price, thanks to OPEC action, and production, thanks to a deal with the Avengers, we would argue that the balance of risk has actually been shifting in favour of the upside. However, the standard investor bias has become so negative, in our view, that they are unwilling to recognise the potential for an improvement,” Exotix stated.

The report noted that the changes in Nigeria’s forex regime, although very late, moved it closer to a market-determined free-float than Nigeria has ever been, and will continue to move in that direction.

“One of the least well-covered aspects of Nigeria’s adjustment is the turnaround in the external accounts. To most experienced Nigeria observers, the biggest surprise is the reversal in the net errors and omissions component of the BoP, responsible for inflows of $26 billion over the past four quarters. We think this reflects a combination of factors including: the rise of informal, non-oil exports which received a boost from the devaluation; the repatriation of savings from abroad, via the black market; an increase in unrecorded remittances; and the rise of informal or stolen oil exports. Not only do these inflows reduce Nigeria’s external funding needs, but they support the impression of an adjustment that has been underway for much longer than the market assumes,” Exotix stated.

The report pointed out that the extraordinary measures taken in order to attract capital have important implications for the investment landscape noting that in contrast to the recovery in 2009, when the policy response was centred around a large handout to the household sector through higher public sector wages, the approach in 2016 involves a similarly large transfer to banks in form of high yields on government paper, negative real interest rates on deposits, lucrative trading businesses in forex and attractive spreads on special on-lending facilities provided by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Exotix also noted that for all the attention lavished on the problems facing government, its role in any economic recovery should be de-emphasised as the footprint of the Nigerian state relative to the overall economy has been in decline since at least 2009.

“On GDP/capita of $2,743 in 2015, it collected $117 per head in taxes and invested just $17. Even if public sector capital expenditures were doubled from current levels, we doubt the impact on overall growth would be significant. Any recovery would, by necessity, be investment-driven and private sector dependent,” Exotix pointed out.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.


Check Your Financial Plans Are You ‘Negative Interest Rate Ready’: deVere CEO



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Negative Interest Rate is Coming, Review Your Financial Plans, Warns Green

Personal financial strategies should be reviewed to ensure they are ‘negative interest rate ready’, warns the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organisations.

The comments from Nigel Green, the founder and chief executive of deVere Group, come as the Bank of England voted unanimously on Thursday to leave UK interest rates at their current record lows, at 0.1% – but keep negative interest rates in its “toolbox” of possible measures.

The U.S. Federal Reserve said on Wednesday that it will likely keep its key interest rate near zero until the economy reaches full employment and inflation runs “moderately” above its 2% goal for “some time,” a pledge that is likely to keep rates ultra-low for at least five years.

Mr Green says: “Struggling to ease the economic pain of the pandemic, central banks have ushered us into an era of almost zero interest rates – with some experts saying that the U.S. Federal Reserve and the UK’s Bank of England, amongst others, could be on the brink of implementing negative interest rates as other central banks have already done across the eurozone and in Japan.

“This would have been unimaginable even a few months ago. But the shifts have been seismic this year.”

This is why he believes that more than ever “serious, joined-up financial planning strategies” are essential for those who are committed to growing and protecting their wealth.

He continues: “In an almost zero interest rate era – or perhaps a wide negative interest rate era looming – it’s not enough to think that you can rely on the strategies of before.

“For instance, so-called low-risk bonds, such as U.S. Treasuries, once the bedrock of investment portfolios are not providing the returns they once did. Indeed, yields have been at historic lows, prompting many experts to openly question their value.”

The deVere CEO goes on to add: “Cash is certainly ‘not king’ at the moment either. Cash sitting in accounts is most likely earning you almost nothing. It will definitely not be generating decent income.

“Meanwhile, investing in stocks offers its own complexities.

“Global stock markets have, in general terms, been on an impressive rally in recent months. But delve into the picture and all is not what it seems. A handful of firms in a handful of sectors are bringing up entire indexes.”

He concludes: “Personal financial strategies should be assessed to make sure they are suited to a new era of likely permanently ultra-low or even negative interest rates.”

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Despite COVID-19 Pandemic, Africa Still a Prime Investment Destination




Africa Still a Prime Investment Destination, Says Participants at African Development Bank (AfDB) webinar for Asian Audiences

Participants at a webinar to present the African Development Bank’s African Economic Outlook Supplement to Asian audiences on Monday have endorsed the report as critical for post-COVID-19 Africa.

The supplement revises the growth projections and outlook for Africa for 2020 and 2021 and highlights the impact of COVID–19 on Africa’s socio-economic landscape. It recommends policy responses to safely reopen economies and accelerate growth recovery.

“Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, investment opportunities still abound in Africa,” said Tetsushi Sonobe, the Dean of the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI). “Global markets are shifting to South Asia and Africa. In a sense, Africa is not very far for Asian investors who might be interested in the investment opportunities on the continent.”

Around 350 participants attended the virtual event, which was co-hosted by the Asia External Representation Office of the African Development Bank. The audience included government officials, representatives from the African diplomatic corps in Asia, development professionals, representatives of civil society, academics and think tanks, students, journalists, and the general public

Sonobe observed that Africa’s GDP growth is projected to quickly rebound in 2021 following steady growth before COVID-19.

Sonobe identified some of the potential opportunities highlighted in the African Economic Outlook Supplement: “A large market with a very talented youthful population; a three-trillion-dollar market opportunity through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreements; greater manufacturing potential as low-cost manufacturing opportunities continue to move to Africa; improved business environment; and improving macroeconomic governance.”

Khaled Sherif, the African Development Bank’s Vice President for Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery said despite the pandemic affecting all African economies, its magnitude will vary considerably from country to country, depending on the economic characteristics and initial conditions of the countries.

“This urges us to avoid the one-size-fits-all solution to address the effects of COVID-19 in Africa. For that, the AEO Supplement notes that the continent will need the support and expertise of all. This is an opportunity to enrich the debate on what appropriate measures are needed to support African countries to recover from the pandemic, drawing particularly from Asian experience,” Sherif said.

The webinar noted that the policy recommendations of the African Economic Outlook Supplement could be regarded as important opportunities for investments. Participants also observed that although Africa is human-resource-rich, Africa will need to work on closing its infrastructure gap – an issue the African Development Bank has made one of its top priorities.

The African Economic Outlook Supplement underlines the urgency to build the resilience of Africa’s healthcare systems and economies to improve countries’ preparedness for future shocks. This means that African countries will need to rethink their current development strategies and priorities, which have clearly shown their limitations.

“Policymakers must seize the new and real opportunities for participation in global value chains, particularly with Asia and within Africa and build the infrastructure needed to encourage large-scale teleworking, e-health, and distance learning architectures for a rapid, resilient, and sustainable recovery in a post-COVID-19 digital world,” said Chuku Chuku, Officer in Charge of the Bank’s Macroeconomic Policy, Debt Sustainability and Forecasting Division.

“The pandemic notwithstanding, Africa is open to business and we look forward to working with our Asian partners.”

Released annually since 2003, the African Economic Outlook provides compelling up-to-date evidence and analytics to inform and support African decision-makers.


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Consortium of Western Investors Plan to Invest Over $5bn in Power Sector




Western Investors to Invest Over $5 Billion in Renewable Energy

The Federal Government has said a consortium of Western investors have presented their plan to invest over $5 billion in the power sector.

According to the Office of the Minister of Power, the investors plan to focus mainly on the renewable energy subsector of the power sector.

Also, it was revealed that the consortium plans to deliver 1,000 megawatts capacity of hybrid solar power within 24 months.

Aaron Artimas, the Special Assistant to the Minister of Power on Media and Communications, who confirmed this to our correspondent in Abuja on Sunday, said the investors presented their plans Mr. Sale Mamman, the Minister of Power.

He said, “A consortium of Western investors interested in investing upwards of $5bn in the Nigerian power sector, with a major focus on the renewable energy sector, pitched their proposal to the Minister of Power @EngrSMamman at the Power House.”

“They made the presentation to the minister of power and it is something that is still fresh. The process is still ongoing and you’ll get updates as we proceed.”

The minister’s aide said Ron Verraneault, the main partner of the consortium led the presentation while other partners joined via zoom.

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