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Top US investors eye Nigeria’s technology industry

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  • Top US investors eye Nigeria’s technology industry

Top United States investors, under the US-Nigeria Council platform, are looking at exploring market opportunities domiciled in the Nigerian economy.

Their intentions were made known at the just concluded 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York, which convened a high powered business dinner with top US investors with interest in Nigeria, a statement by USNC on Monday indicated.

The USNC is a business-to-business organisation that works to promote partnerships between Nigerian and American companies and to strengthen US-Nigeria commercial relations.

It had its exclusive dinner at the forum co-hosted by the Chairman of Flour Mills Nigeria Plc, John Coumantaros; Chief Executive Officer of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, Uche Orji, and the Vice-Chairman of McLarty Associates, Ambassador John Negroponte.

The council gathered leaders of Nigerian and American businesses to discuss how to build on to deepen Nigeria’s return to economic growth and diversification. In particular, the council members and dinner participants focused on the need to create a competitive Information and Communications Technology cluster that will further develop Nigeria’s growth into a digital economy.

The US businesses present at the dinner included Chevron, Google, Walmart, IBM, Tetra Tech,American Tower Corporation. Some of the leading investors at the event included Citi, Denham Capital, Fairfax Africa, CRE Ventures, Development Partners International, Atlas Mara, Greylock Capital, Greenwish Partners, Smith Graham, Prince Street Investment Management and Zephyr Management.

The dinner was attended by the US Ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington; Deputy Counsel-General of Nigeria to the US, Ambassador Hassan Mohammed; Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council, Mrs. Yewande Sadiku, and Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe, representing the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.

The commitment of Nigerian businesses to the USNC was demonstrated by the active participation of the Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc, Jim Ovia; Group Chief Executive Officer, Oando Plc, Adewale Tinubu; Managing Director, Yinka Folawiyo Group, Tunde Folawiyo; Director at Seplat Plc, Basil Omiyi; Gbenga Oyebode of Aluko & Oyebode Partners; Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Stock Exchange, Oscar Onyema, among others.

The co-chair of the USNC, John Coumantaros, noted that the, “USNC is a premier business organisation catalysing tangible joint ventures and partnerships that develop capacity and accelerate economic diversification in Nigeria,” adding that “the ICT cluster is a major priority of the business community.”

Orji, who oversees Nigeria’s $2bn Sovereign Wealth Fund, described the work of the council as bringing together “a wide spectrum of stakeholders critical to building Nigerian-American business relations.” The Executive Director of the USNC, Eliot Pence, in his remarks, noted that the council’s unique focus was on “facilitating transactions between young entrepreneurs, investors and companies.”

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 experience in the global financial markets.

Investment

World’s Five Largest Asset Management Companies Hold $22.5trn in Assets, More than US GDP

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Global Five Biggest Asset Management Companies Hold $22.5trn in Assets, More than US GDP

Institutions and individuals who invest money usually do so with the asset manager’s help, a company that manages their investments and makes a profit for both sides. These firms make well-timed investment decisions on behalf of their clients to grow their portfolio and finances.

According to data presented by Stock Apps, the world’s five largest asset management companies hold $22.5trn in assets, more than the GDP of the United States. With more than $7.3trn in assets under management or one-third of that value, BlackRock represents the leading asset manager globally.

Total Assets Under Management of BlackRock Surged 57% in Five Years

Asset management companies work with several investors, which enables them to reduce the risk, diversify their clients’ portfolios, and provide access to higher-value options with better capital appreciation prospects. In many cases, they make money by charging fees based on the number of assets they manage, although some companies charge flat fees. These firms usually also provide other services than asset management, which generates only a part of their revenue.

The world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock, has become one of the leading players on the financial market over the last 25 years. It serves individual investors, companies, governments, and foundations through 70 offices all around the world. BlackRock also tops the list of largest Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) providers in the United States and has played a huge role in advising the US government during the financial crisis.

In 2015, the total value of assets under BlackRock’s management amounted to $4.6trn, revealed the company’s annual report. During the last five years, this figure surged by 57% to $7.3trn in 2020. Besides leading in the value of managed assets, the New York-based financial giant also witnessed a steady market cap growth in 2020. In September, the total value of BlackRock stocks hit $83.6bn, a 22% jump year-over-year.

With $5.7trn in total assets under management, the Vanguard Group ranked as the second-largest asset manager globally. The US financial company, with 20 locations worldwide and 17,600 employees, is also the second-largest provider of exchange traded funds and the largest provider of mutual funds in the world.

Eight of the top 10 Asset Management Firms are US Companies

UBS Group represents the third-largest asset manager globally, with more than $3.5trn in assets under management. The Swiss financial corporation and the country’s largest bank announced a net profit of $1.23 billion for the second quarter of 2020, an 11% drop year-over-year mostly caused by the continued credit losses amid the coronavirus crisis.

However, higher trading activity continued to support the bank’s earnings between March and June. The Group’s quarterly earnings also revealed an operating income of $7.4bn, compared to $7.5bn a year ago. Statistics show the Swiss lender lost $1.6bn in market capitalization in 2020, with the total value of stocks falling from $45.6bn in December 2019 to over $44bn this month.

State Street Global Advisors and Fidelity Investments ranked as the fourth and fifth largest asset managers globally, with $3.05trn and $2.92trn in total assets under management.

Analyzed by geography, the US asset managers lead on the global list of the most successful companies, with eight of the top 10 asset management firms from the United States. Statistics also show the world’s largest banks like JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America were not among the top five asset managers in terms of managed assets.

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Germany Advances as Major Player in Pan-African Trade and Investment

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Germany Emerges as Major Player in Pan-African Trade and Investment

“Investment and Trade for Africa’s Economic Development” – a public webinar held on Wednesday – targeted opportunities for cross-border collaboration between Africa and Germany; the African Export-Import Bank announced its plans to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with German car manufacturers to establish an automotive industry in Africa; the Germany-Africa Business Forum (GABF), Africa Oil & Power and the African Energy Chamber co-hosted the webinar, as part of a GABF cooperation-focused series.

The Germany-Africa Business Forum (GABF) hosted its second installment of its German-African cooperation-focused webinar series on Wednesday, aimed at outlining the opportunities for sustainable FDI between Germany and the African continent.

The panel comprised H.E. Günter Nooke, Africa Envoy to German Chancellor Angela Merkel; NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber; and Rene Awambeng, Global Head Client Relationship at the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).

Anchored by the theme of investment and trade for African economic development, the opening keynote was delivered by H.E. Nooke, and outlined four key success factors in driving Africa’s economic development: investment and business climate, transport, energy and technological infrastructure, available workforce, and access to markets.

Digitalization and green energy were advanced as two of the critical sectors for facilitating Africa’s economic and social development. Africa contains a young, tech-savvy population, noted H.E. Nooke, translating to smooth technological adoption and enhanced opportunities for both consumers and businesses.

Highlighting efforts to expand global market reach, H.E. Nooke noted the anticipated benefits of the recently adopted African Continental Free Trade Agreement, signed by 53 African countries and already implemented by 30. The agreement is set to boost intra-African trade, with the ultimate objective of creating a common market that empowers African nations.

Meanwhile, cross-border developments in clean energy have already been progressing. This month, a German delegation visited the Democratic Republic of Congo to study opportunities related to the Inga III hydroelectric dam project. Germany is eyeing major opportunities for hydrogen production, a clean fuel alternative, as well as wind, solar and hydropower resources scattered across the continent.

Germany is currently active in a range of investments across the continent. The European leader played a major role in securing a $300 million facility from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. The funds are aimed at creating jobs, reviving economies in a post-COVID-19 environment, and encouraging investment reforms to boost FDI.

Furthermore, Afreximbank will imminently announce the signature of a Memorandum of Understanding with German automotive manufacturers, such as Volkswagen, intended to create an African-driven automobile manufacturing strategy.

“We are looking to create a holistic approach to automotive manufacturing,” said Rene Awambeng. “Our goal is to build an entire value chain, with the support of Germany and Europe, in order to be able to design, build and market cars across Africa.”

In a bid to drive investor engagement in a variety of sectors, NJ Ayuk called for a change in the perception of risk associated with investing in Africa.

“We need to create an enabling environment for banks, financial institutions and investors to perceive Africa as a safe and profitable destination,” said Ayuk. “Rwanda paved the way and we have seen outstanding results. We have an obligation to make the change.”

Ayuk also appealed to Europeans nations, such as Germany, to focus on investment rather than aid. Investment enables the creation of synergies and partnerships and places project leaders in a position of accountability. While aid is welcome in periods of crisis, noted Ayuk, it must not be the standard for sustainable, long-term business.

Awambeng underscored that long-term, affordable financing is available for Africa’s investment opportunities, combined with technical capacities and business support.

“Huge amounts of capital are available across the continent in all forms: equity, bank debt, development financial institutions, sovereign funds, among others. All we are missing are the people to make the transition happen.”

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Africa Offers Asian Business an Abundance of Investment Opportunities, Webinar Participants Learn

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The African Development Bank today held a workshop to convey the continent’s immense investment and partnership opportunities to Asian business leaders, particularly as the continent seems poised to return to economic growth in 2021 following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The two-hour virtual event, held in English, Korean, and Chinese, offered participants an opportunity to learn more about the Bank and its operations. The webinar comes on the heels of the recently launched African Economic Outlook 2020 -Asia Supplement, which revised growth projections and outlook for Africa for 2020 and 2021.

“I take this opportunity to strongly encourage Asian private sector entities gathered here today, to partner with the Bank to take advantage of the multiple investment opportunities that exist on the continent,” said Samuel Higenyi Mugoya, the Bank’s Director for Syndication, Co-financing and Client Solutions Department, which co-organized the event, together with the Bank’s Asia External Representation Office.

In introducing the Bank, Takashi Hanajiri, Head of the Asia External Representation Office, provided an overview of the Bank and its history and components before providing a summary of its flagship Africa Investment Forum initiative and the opportunities it offers. Referring to the AIF event held in Johannesburg in 2019, he said “So far the largest deal was a LNG project in Mozambique with a total cost of $24.6 billion,” adding, “many Asian institutions, both public and private, are sponsoring the project.”

Following a discussion of the Bank’s responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hanajiri concluded on a positive note, noting “Africa’s growth will rebound to 3% in 2021 from -3.4% in 2020.”

Bank staff presented on the Bank’s non-sovereign operations and financial product offerings. Other sessions covered Africa’s immense potential in energy, particularly renewable energy, as well as agriculture, which remains the continent’s most important economic sector.

Director Mugoya praised Asian countries’ ongoing support for the Bank and Africa’s development. “There are four Asian member countries in the Bank, namely China, India, Japan, and Korea, that have been long-standing and strategic partners for almost 40 years. The Asian member countries have consistently contributed to the Bank’s capital requirements and supported the African Development Fund’s successive replenishments.” The African Development Fund is the Bank’s concessional window.

The webinar, which drew around 300 participants, closed with a question and answer session. Queries addressed such issues as the Bank’s representation in India, trade financing offerings and access to financing for women. Participating corporations and institutions included Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation, Export-Import Bank of India, JICA, Korea Eximbank, Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), and Korea Overseas Infrastructure & Urban Development Corporation (KIND).

Africa’s huge and highly diverse continent has the second-largest population in the world and the second-largest land mass after Asia, offering tremendous investment opportunities for the Asian private sector. The Bank views Africa’s private sector as a critical engine of economic growth and development but Asian companies often lack information about the business climate.

Until the COVID-19 pandemic, Africa was the second-fastest growing continent outside Asia. Over the past decade, the continent has experienced the longest period of unbroken growth in per capita incomes since the 1960s.

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