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Red Cross Floats Bond to Aid Nigeria, Others

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  • Red Cross Floats Bond to Aid Nigeria, Others

The Red Cross has unveiled a funding model aimed at attracting private capital to conflict zones like Nigeria to help some of the world’s neediest people, while giving investors a return on their money.

The “Humanitarian Impact Bond” set up by the International Committee of the Red Cross, with a value of 26 million Swiss francs ($27.5m), has attracted capital from New Re, part of global reinsurer Munich Re Group, among other investors, Reuters reported on Friday.

The money will be used to build and run three rehabilitation centres for disabled people in Nigeria, Mali and Democratic Republic of Congo, the ICRC said, complete with staff who will be trained in physiotherapy and in producing prosthetic limbs.

It is the first time the ICRC has used such a funding model – channelling private capital investments rather than relying only on government or philanthropic donations for humanitarian projects.

“If it works well, we will implement, scale up and use our expertise in other centres around the world,” Yves Daccord, ICRC’s director general, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

The initial investment will be repaid with an additional return by the Belgian, British, Italian and Swiss governments and Spanish foundation “la Caixa”, after five years if the centres outperform expectations.

If the scheme does badly, however, both the investors and the ICRC face the risk of losing money.

“We thought that for us and for everyone, it’s good that we also have skin in the game,” said Daccord.

In an era of more and more protracted humanitarian crises and where traditional funding sources are over-stretched, there is a need for new funding tools, Daccord said.

“We need to have new corporate investors willing to join us and take risks to invest in us,” he said.

The construction of the disability centres was chosen for the scheme because of the ICRC’s wide experience in the field.

In 2016, the ICRC operated 139 projects in 34 countries, helping almost 330,000 people with physiotherapy and providing wheelchairs, artificial limbs and braces, the Red Cross said.

“This funding instrument is a radical, innovative but at the same time, logical step for the ICRC,” Peter Maurer, the ICRC’s president, said in a statement.

“It is an opportunity not only to modernise the existing model for humanitarian action, but to test a new economic model, designed to better support people in need.”

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

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West African Consumer Sentiment Reflects Global Uncertainty

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Ghanaian Consumer Confidence Declines by 15 Points

Lagos, 7 July 2020 – Against the backdrop of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, West African consumer sentiment has experienced a sharp drop in the Nielsen Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for Quarter 2, 2020. Ghana’s figures show a substantial decrease of 15 points to 104, while Nigeria’s CCI has decreased by 14 points to 108.

Looking at Ghana’s performance, Yannick Nkembe, Market Lead for Nielsen West Africa Expanded Market, comments; “The latest consumer sentiments reflect the market reality. With the global pandemic affecting the economy and causing general uncertainty all around, consumers have readjusted their confidence levels and are also more cautious with their spend.”

Ghanaians have significantly dropped their outlook around  their job prospects, with less than half (45%) saying they will be good or excellent in the next 12 months – a 16 point decrease from the previous quarter. In terms of the state of their personal finances over the next 12 months, 60% say they are excellent or good, again a substantial 16 point drop from the previous quarter.

Ghanaians propensity to purchase has also seen a considerable decrease quarter on quarter, with the number of those who think now is a good or excellent time to purchase what they want or need drop from 52% to 33% in the second quarter.

Only 43% of Ghanaians say they have spare cash, down 13 points from the previous quarter. Once they meet their essential living expenses, the highest number of consumers (74%) put their spare cash into savings, followed by 73% on home improvements/decorating and 56% who would invest in stocks and mutual funds. One of the most significant drops in discretionary spending is on holidays down from 58% to 27% – a clear indicator of consumers’ mindset shift away from non-essential services and their desire to avoid unnecessary travel.

Reality bites

When asked whether they had changed their spending to save on household expenses compared to this time last year, 75% said yes, up seven points from the previous quarter. To reduce expenses, 53% said they spent less on new clothes, 52% on out of home entertainment, with the same figure deferring on the replacement of major household items.

When looking at the real-life factors that are affecting their outlook, the top consumer concerns over the next twelve months were increasing food prices (29%), followed by work/life balance (23%) and their children’s education (22%). Nkembe comments; “Ghana has previously experienced strong business prospects and with the relatively earlier easing of restrictions to stimulate its economy, recovery in Ghana is likely to rebound sooner. We expect consumers to revert to previous consumption behaviours, although some of their attitudes will have fundamentally or permanently changed post the pandemic.”

Subdued sentiment in Nigeria

In tandem with the rest of the world, Nigeria’s CCI figure dropped by 14 points. Commenting on the reasons for this, Nielsen Nigeria MD Ged Nooy says; “As Africa’s largest economy and the largest exporter of oil, Nigeria’s economy was already under immense pressure before the COVID-19 lockdown due to the collapse in international oil prices. Based on the additional economic pressure as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria, therefore, instituted a fairly early easing of its 5-week lockdown in early May due to the adverse financial effects on its economy and population.”

Looking at the consumer picture during this time (Quarter 2, 2020) Nigerian job prospects declined with less than half viewing them as excellent or good, a 14 point drop from the previous quarter. Nigerians’ sentiment around the state of their personal finances also showed a decline with 59% who think they will be excellent or good over the next year, having decreased 19 points from the previous quarter. Immediate-spending intentions also declined, with only a third of the respondents saying “now is a good or excellent time to purchase” what they want or need, a 14 point drop from the previous quarter.

In terms of whether Nigerians have spare cash to spend, 32% said yes, versus 50% in the previous quarter. When we look at Nigerians spending priorities, once they have met their essential living expenses, 81% said they would put their spare cash into savings, 73% said home improvements and decorating and 66% would invest in shares/mutual funds.

Seventy-six per cent of Nigerians said they had changed their spending to save on household expenses compared to this time last year. To reduce expenses, 67% said they had delayed the replacement of major household items (a 10 point increase on the previous quarter). Sixty-four per cent said they would spend less on new clothes and 56% said less out of home entertainment – both of which are understandable given ongoing restricted living patterns.

In the next 12 months, Nigerians said their top concern would be attaining a work/life balance (31%), which has seen the biggest increase of eight points compared to the previous quarter. This is followed by increasing food prices (23%) and concerns over the economy (19%).

Elaborating on these results, Nooy says; “Economic recovery has been sluggish and will remain severely constricted due to the oil price crash amidst and beyond the pandemic. For Nigeria’s manufacturing and retail sectors to rebound will require a sharp focus, as trade opportunities and execution remains severely constrained, having further deteriorated during the partially restricted living period.”

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Domestic Airlines Increase Fares Ahead of Flight Resumption

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Domestic Airlines Raise Ticket Fares Ahead of Flight Resumption

The nation’s airline companies raised ticket fares to compensate for lack of bailout from the Federal Government and about 100 percent increase in service charges.

Last month, the Federal Government directed all domestic airlines to begin flight operations on July 8th following the March 30th suspension of all operations.

However, checks by our correspondent showed that domestic airlines have increased fares on all classes of tickets from Lagos to Abuja.

For a Dana Air flight from Lagos to Abuja, Economy Discount tickets are sold for N30,000 for a one-way ticket while the Economy Flexible ticket goes for N70,500.

Similarly, Air Peace Economy-Flexi Domestic Plan ticket goes for N33,001 for a one-way flight from Lagos to Abuja. The company sold its business class ticket for N80,000.

While potential passengers of Azman Air would need to part with N33,000 for an economy ticket from Lagos-Abuja. For a business class ticket, the company charges N60,000.

Arik Air, however, charges the lowest for economy plan. Passengers are required to pay just N29,189 for economy tickets and N71,532 for business tickets for a one-way trip from Lagos to Abuja.

Allen Onyema, the Chief Executive Officer, Air Peace, who was present at the simulation exercise conducted two weeks ago, had called for a bailout to help the sector protect jobs.

He said “Palliatives, bailout, rollout, intervention funds or whatever we call it is necessary. All over the world, the government is giving palliatives, bailout funds to their airlines.

“Even the strongest of airlines all over the world asked for this. What bothers us more in Air Peace is the retention of the workforce.

“COVID-19 has brought about immense loss of jobs worldwide. We must begin to think of ways of curbing the losses in Nigeria.”

However, it doesn’t seem like the Federal Government that is presently battling possible recession is willing to bail out airlines whose services are mainly required by high net worth individuals.  This further highlighted why the service charges on flight tickets were raised by 100 percent.

The average cost of one way air flight from Lagos to Abuja was between N15,000 to N40,000 before the lockdown.

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IATA Says Nigerian Airlines Loses $2.09bn in April and June

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Airlines in Nigeria Loses $2.09 Billion in April and June

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has estimated that Nigerian airlines lost about $2.09 billion in the month of April and June due to COVID-19 lockdown.

In its report titled ‘Quarantine measures threaten aviation restart in Africa and the Middle East,’ IATA stated that the aviation sector in Africa and the Middle East was the worst-hit.

According to the report, the aviation sector in the two regions provides over 8.6 million direct and indirect jobs.

While the report did not provide data for the month of May, it stated that the number of Nigerian passengers declined by 4.7 million in April and 5.32 million in June when compared with the same period of 2019.

Similarly, the report said 125,400 jobs were at risk in April and 139,500 jobs were at risk in the month of June.

Muhammad Albakri, the Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East, IATA, said governments in Africa and the Middle East must devise alternative methods to the current quarantine measures in place, saying the two regions have the highest number of government-imposed quarantine measures on arriving passengers.

He said, “It is critical that AME governments implement alternatives to quarantine measures. AME has the highest number of countries in the world with government-imposed quarantine measures on arriving passengers.

“The region is effectively in complete lockdown with the travel and tourism sector shuttered. This is detrimental in a region where 8.6 million people depend on aviation for their livelihoods.”

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