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Accra to Have First Sky Train Station in August

The concession agreement for the construction of the Accra Sky Train Project has been signed on the sidelines of the ongoing African Investment Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The signing of the agreement means feasibility studies, spanning a period of nine months to determine the bankability of the project will commence, with the investors assuring that the first station for the Accra Sky Train project will be opened in 9 months.

At the signing ceremony on Monday, November 11, President Akufo-Addo described it as “a happy day for Ghana and her good people”, adding that it is a “critical step towards the consummation of this project”, and a vivid testimony of the value of the African Investment Forum.

The President thanked the SkyTrain Consortium for putting together the wherewithal that is allowing this project to go forward.

The Accra Sky Train, according to him, “is meeting an important infrastructural need, and hopefully the step that is being taken today, that is signing the concession agreement, is bring the project to much nearer conclusion. That is what we are hoping for, so that the people of Ghana benefit from the progress and the relief that a modern system of transport in our capital city is going to bring.”

SkyTrain systems are pre-fabricated using precision moulded, pre-stressed reinforced concrete components that are capable of being installed at a very rapid rate, meaning that there is minimal disruption and congestion in the urban area that is undergoing installation and commissioning.

The proposed SkyTrain initiative in Accra provides for the development of five routes, four of which are comprised of radial routes that originate at the proposed SkyTrain Terminal, at the heart of Accra, at a newly developed Kwame Nkrumah circle, and one (1) route that provides and intra-city commuter loop distribution service, also emanating from Circle.

The Project envisages a total track length across all routes of 194 kilometres.

Source: 3News

95pc of Kenya’s Financial Analysts Fail CFA Examination

Only 5 percent of Kenyan financial analysts seeking accreditation from the global body were awarded charters after most who took its gruelling examinations, considered one of the sector’s hardest, failed.

This is according to the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA) Society of East Africa that last week awarded 38 Kenyans charters for 2019 out of more than 700 analysts who had enrolled in the programme.

The performance is an improvement from 2016 when only 20 Kenyans received charters out of more than 500 individuals who sat the multi-level exams. That same year, only six analysts in Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda got the charters out of 160 who were in the programme.

A chartered financial analyst is a globally-recognised professional designation given by the CFA Institute. It certifies the competence and integrity of financial analysts.

The dismal performance, however, comes as demand for CFA charters in Kenya has grown over the years. This is because the charter is considered an asset for anyone seeking a career and senior roles in investment management.

“Of late, we have seen a rise in demand for the programme by investment managers and financial analysts from investment companies, mutual funds, brokers’ investment banks, research analysts, financial advisers and risk managers,” said Patricia Kiwanuka, CFA East Africa president.

East African’s pass rate is currently at 30 percent, up from 10 percent in 2016. This is slightly lower than the worldwide pass rate of about 40 percent.

Ms Kiwanuka attributes the high failure rate to the programme’s high cost and rigour.

“For one to receive a charter, one needs to commit a minimum investment of about 1,000 hours and more than Sh300,000,” she said.

The CFA exam has three levels. The tough exam asks questions from an array of topics including ethics, financial reporting, portfolio management and economics.

Source: businessdailyafrica

Senate Committee Chairman on Housing to Open REDAN Training Program on Thursday

As part of continuous professional development program, the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), is organizing a training on emerging trends in real estate development in Nigeria.

The training which is a basic and relative training for all stakeholders in housing and real estate will include capacity building, unveiling emerging laws, policies and practice issues in the real estate sector, advocacy programs, and will be declared open by the Senate Committee Chairman on Housing, Senator Sam Egwu in Abuja on Thursday.

According to an official statement from the association, the trainings are scheduled to hold in Abuja at Top Rank hotel Utako on the 14th of November, in Lagos at The Haven AVMC Compound Ikeja on November 20, and Owerri at Graceland Event Arena, Owerri on November 22, 2019 from 9am-5pm.

The program is inspired by the need to have basic and relative training for all stakeholders and practitioners in the housing and real estate value chain; develop capacity to reduce waste, ensure time utilisation and lead to enhanced mass delivery of houses.

Ensuring that developers are aware and capable of handling the multidimensional and multi-disciplinary challenges involved in real estate industry; unveiling to real estate developers emerging laws, policies and practice issues in the real estate sector, in the realm of finance, land administration, technology, money laundering.

To ensure coherent and coordinated advocacy programs with potential for high positive impact on affordable housing delivery with all levels of stakeholders institutions; need for optimal utilisation of resources to ensure cost effective construction; effective and seamless communication of opportunities between stakeholders.

The registration fee is 50, 000 naira covering for 2 participants per organisation, and payable to REDAN AGM ACCOUNT, Zenith Bank – 1012691172.

Participant will be provided with all training materials.

For enquiries please call, 08034562550 or 08037300893 or visit www.redanonline.org.ng.

Jaiz Bank: How Islamic banking differs from the conventional type

Hassan Usman, the chief executive officer of Jaiz Bank, says the basis of the services offered by the bank is based on moral principles derived from all the religions.

Explaining the bank’s services to journalists at a media parley, Usman said the emphasis of their services is the avoidance of interest.

“When you come to the Islamic bank, we take current account just like any conventional bank would take, we also take deposits that are for tenures which do not just demand deposit. To that extent we are similar,” he said.

“We take these deposits, we don’t just keep them, we take these deposits to finance. We try to avoid the word loan, instead, we say we finance business. We use loans technically; it’s not supposed to be a business in Islamic finance. So, we avoid the word loan and rather use the word finance.



“We don’t give loans in the traditional sense, but we finance projects, we finance needs and services of our customers based on either a sales contract with a customer with a deferred payment, or a lease contract with a customer to be paid or we sometimes do sharing contract which means we give capital to the customer and then we share his profit.

“When you look at the conventional bank, all of the money they generate, they don’t sit on it. The central bank will take the reserve ratio, they’ll keep a little, but most of it will be spent on treasury bills.

“An Islamic bank cannot do this; it has to generate different types of debt instruments, which the central bank ought to have provided through the Debt Management Office when we were starting. We had to keep enough money with us to ensure that we had smooth operations.

“The conventional banks, they are about 20+ so they have counterparts, so you don’t have to always see that you are self-sufficient in liquidity; you can take money from your counterparts, you’ll buy money from them and you pay.

“So that’s what your treasury department would be doing on a daily basis, looking at your needs and making sure that you’re square (foreign exchange needs, withdrawal needs). Imagine that within that period, JAIZ had to be self-sufficient in all of this, that means it is always liquid and always ready to meet it’s customer requirements.”

Speaking further, Usman said Jaiz Bank is now a national bank and has its sights set on deepening its activities in other regions of the country.

He also said that the bank has a charity arm through which N2.3 billion has been spent on various activities.

DBN To Build MSMEs’ Capacity To Access Cheap Loans

The Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) has announced plans to build capacity of the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises  (MSMEs) to enable them acess its cheap loans through the Participating Financial Institutions  (PFIs).
This is part of the bank’s new strategy to boost the growing network of MSMEs which the wholesale bank is financing across the country and also extend its reach to underserved areas.
Already, DBN has in the current year disbursed over 100 Billion Naira to over 95,000 MSMEs cutting across various sectors of the economy. 70% of the loans went to women-owned/managed businesses while 51% so far were disbursed to youth owned businesses.
 Tony Okpanachi, DBN’s Chief Executive Officer says the bank”s new strategy has become important because “a major challenge faced by the MSMEs is their inability to structure and put together a bankable business plan which makes banks view them as high risk and therefore unwilling to finance them.”
To fix the problem and make MSMEs attractive to DBN’s participating financial institutions (PFIs), Okpanachi said that the bank’s “Chief Operating Officer will work with relevant departments within DBN to put together an immediate capacity building plan that will involve assembling a number of MSMEs in Borno State and making them go through an extensive capacity building programme.”

As part of this renewed focus, DBN is taking several measures including the expansion of its capacity building programmes in the North East, South East and North West which have witnessed comparatively lower rates of disbursement.

The objective is to boost the capacity of local entrepreneurs to meet its requirements and qualify for inclusion for DBN support.

At the bank’s first DBN MSME Summit held in Maiduguri, Borno State, Okpanachi said this in line with the bank’s mandate to support the stimulation of diversified and inclusive growth and alleviate specific financing constraints that hamper the growth of domestic production and commerce by providing targeted wholesale funding to fill identified enterprise financing gaps in the MSME segment.

DBN commenced lending operations in November of 2017 with two microfinance banks namely, LAPO and NPF with a pilot loan amount of N200 million to about 300 MSMEs.

In its first full year of operation in 2018, the bank increased disbursements to about N30 Billion and reached 35,000 MSME’s in the country. 

Source: Businessdayng

Ndegwas Create Largest Fund Manager in Stanlib Buyout

The Philip Ndegwa family is on course to run the biggest fund, managing more than Sh278 billion once it completes the buyout of asset manager Stanlib Kenya.

The family’s ICEA Lion Asset Management has signed an agreement to acquire Stanlib Kenya in a deal whose value is estimated at more than Sh1.5 billion.

Rankings of fund managers as of December 2018 indicate that ICEA and Stanlib, combined, will be in contention to replace Sanlam Investments East Africa Limited (SIEAL) as the largest asset manager.

A survey by pension administrator Zamara shows that SIEAL was managing a total of Sh277 billion as of December 2018 when Stanlib was overseeing Sh135.2 billion.

ICEA, according to a separate source, was running a total of Sh143 billion at the same time.

This means that ICEA and Stanlib were managing Sh278.2 billion combined, slightly higher than SIEAL’s Sh277 billion.

For the Ndegwas, the deal serves to build scale in asset management besides offering an opportunity to enter the listed property fund business.

The transaction, expected to be completed early next year, will also see ICEA inherit from Stanlib the role of managing property fund Stanlib Fahari I-Reit, which is listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange.

“The transaction is meant to enhance capacity in asset management and offer clients new property investment opportunities,” one of the sources involved in the deal said.

ICEA will earn fees of more than Sh80 million per year to manage the property fund. The transaction has sparked speculation that the Ndegwas could sell some of their buildings to the Reit in exchange for shares.

Others are assuming that the family could also buy out the property fund manager, which is trading at less than half of its net asset value per share of Sh20.2.

The Reit’s shares hit highs of Sh9 on Friday after the deal was announced.

Sources privy to the deal told the Business Daily that ICEA currently has no plans to acquire shares in the Reit.

“Buying or selling shares in the Reit is not part of this transaction,” a source said, adding that current owners including Stanlib (with a 10.2 percent stake) could still sell their holdings to any party in the future.

Source: businessdailyafrica

IMF Says Benin’s Economy is Stronger Despite Nigeria’s Border Closure

The Republic of Benin has continued to post a strong economic performance despite the closure of the border the country shares with Nigeria. This is according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Luc Eyraud, who led the IMF team during their visit to Benin was quoted by the Fund in a press release saying, “Real GDP is expected to grow by 6.4% in 2019, mostly driven by the agriculture and transport sectors. Growth should accelerate in 2020 and remain sustained over the medium term, buttressed by vigorous cotton production, construction, and port activities.

“Consumer price inflation, affected by the high agriculture production, has been on a declining trend, falling by 1.4% in the first nine months of 2019, relative to the same period one year earlier.

“It is expected to remain well below the 3.0% regional ceiling in 2019 and 2020. The fiscal deficit for 2019 is estimated at 2.3% of the recently rebased GDP.

“Performance under the IMF-supported program has been very satisfactory so far this year. All end-June 2019 quantitative performance criteria and the end-September structural benchmark program were met.”

This is contrary to the words of the Director, African Department of IMF, Abebe Selassie, who said that the continuous closure of the Nigerian borders was hurting economies of Benin and Niger Republics.

Selassie spoke about the adverse effects the border closure had on the neighbouring countries like Benin republic but did not offer any solution. He urged the countries to come together and discuss in order to resolve the challenges caused by illegal trade and smuggling.

While Selassie understood the impact of the illegal trade, he hoped that there would be an amicable resolution in which both Benin republic and Nigeria (which he referred to as Benin’s big brother) would benefit from.

Source: nairametrics

Soludo Tasks Nigerians in Diaspora on Investment

A former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and member, of the National Economic Advisory Team (NEAT), Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, has told Nigerians in the Diaspora that it is in their interest to contribute to the prosperity of their country.

He argued that it is wrong to regard investment in the homeland by Nigerians abroad as an act of charity.

In his keynote address yesterday at the second Nigeria Diaspora Investment Summit at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Soludo said racism and xenophobic attacks abroad had made it imperative for Nigerians in the Diaspora to have a prosperous country they could return to when the need arose.

He recalled that the Jews learnt their lesson in a hard way during their persecution which culminated in the Holocaust.

Soludo however urged the government to ensure the security of such investments, noting that the ease of doing business policy should be vigorously pursued.

“Diaspora synergy would be a decisive strategy for sustainable prosperity. In today’s world, a prosperous homeland is not just a choice, it is a duty.

“The diaspora is not just some group of people somewhere we are begging to come to Nigeria and do us a favour. My view is that the diaspora constitutes a strategic part of Nigeria and therefore, the development of Nigeria is not a choice, but a duty. But for this to happen, organisation is key.”

He disclosed that that the diaspora remittance estimated at over $2.6 billion would overtake crude oil earnings in the

Soludo lauded the Chairman of the Nigerians in the Diaspora Commission, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, saying her efforts were worthy of commendation.

In his speech, the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, said the agency would mobilise Nigerians in the Diaspora to champion the recovery and repatriation of stolen assets back to the country.

He advised Nigerians abroad to invest in the country, noting that the anti-graft agency was working to rid the nation of corrupt elements.

Source: thisdaylive

Kenya Offers Citizenship in Investor Push

Kenya is mulling giving citizenship to wealthy investors in a new push to enhance direct foreign investment (FDI) flows, the country’s investment promotion agency said on Wednesday.

High net worth investors, whose enterprises are appraised to have high impact on new jobs and exports earnings, will be allowed to automatically apply for citizenship, under the new proposals.

Immigration laws presently require a foreigner to continuously live in the country for at least seven years to qualify for citizenship by registration.

Kenya Investment Authority (KenInvest) said the plan is to gift such investors with a permanent residence status after vetting, an equivalent of the Green Card in the US.

Moses Ikiara, KenInvest managing director, said the agency held “positive discussions” with Interior Secretary Fred Matiang’i with a view to developing a framework to ensure the vetting is watertight and free from abuse.

“If somebody has created impact and you can see the jobs created why don’t we extend an incentive to them and say we invite to be our citizen in three, two years,” Dr Ikiara said. “Giving incentives to those people with a lot of money could be among the non-monetary incentives.”

The proposal is part of targeted interventions the country intends to implement under its first ever investment policy, unveiled Wednesday, nearly five years since its formulation started.

Officials said the Kenya Investment Policy seeks to guide attraction, facilitation, retention, monitoring and evaluation of the impact of private investments at national and county levels.

Under the new framework, investors will be offered conditional incentives tailored at unique needs of their respective sectors, including land banks in partnership with the county governments.

This will be guided by the proposed National Investment Council to be chaired by the with representation from the private sector.

“This is the key document that contains the policy that brings certainty and stability in terms of investment environment,” Industry and Trade Secretary Peter Munya said.

Source: businessdailyafrica

How Microfinance Banks Are Shoring Up Capital To Meet CBN’s Deadline

Efforts are on-going among Microfinance Banks (MFBs) in the country to shore up their capital following the directive from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The CBN on March 18, 2018, reviewed the minimum capital requirements for microfinance banks, allowing for instalment payment and categorisation of Unit Microfinance into two of Tier 1 and Tier 2 capitals.

Consequently, tier 1 MFBs are to pay N200 million as minimum capital requirement, while tier 2 are expected to pay N50 million.

In compliance with the directive, some of the microfinance banks are partnering with foreign investors in this regard as seen with Lagos based Fina Trust Microfinance Bank Limited, a State licenced MFB, which last week announced completion of equity investment worth of N2 billion in the Bank by the LOLC GROUP from Sri Lanka.

By this investment, Fina Trust Microfinance Bank is adequately capitalised to meet the new capital requirement regulation of the Central Bank ahead of the April 2020 deadline.

In a circular signed by Kevin Amugo, director, financial policy and regulation department, the CBN explained that Unit Microfinance Banks shall operate in the urban and high-density banked areas of the society; and tier 2 Unit Microfinance Banks shall operate only in the rural, unbanked or underbanked areas.

To aid the process of recapitalization, the CBN had directed that all Tier 1 unit microfinance banks shall meet a N100 million capital threshold by April 2020 and N 200 million by April 2021; Tier 2 unit microfinance banks shall meet a N 35 million capital threshold by April 2020 and N 50 million by April 2021;  A state microfinance bank shall increase its capital to N500 million by April 2020 and N1 billion by April 2021; and A national microfinance bank shall hold a capital of 3.5 billion by April 2020 and N5 billion by April 2021.

Ashan Nissanka, country director of LOLC Group; a foremost Asian micro finance and leasing trailblazer, said that the Group is excited to invest in Nigeria as the investment is an access into sub Saharan Africa through the largest market in the region. LOLC Group has presence in more than 15 countries across Asia, MENA region. As part of the investment, LOLC Group is supporting the bank with strong micro finance skills and expertise that have been tested in the Asian market.

According to Deji Popoola, managing director/CEO of Fina Trust Microfinance Bank, this investment comes with a competitive edge for the bank through a funding costs efficiency, competitive process, system and technology, as well as innovative microfinance product offering. Deji is particularly appreciative of the LOLC family and the advisers who birthed the transaction.

The advisers to the transaction include Nolton Bravos/Sthenic Finance, Suits & Advisors, Banwo & Ighodalo and G. Elias & Co.

Ituah Ighodalo, Chairman of Fina Trust Microfinance Bank said, “Fina Trust Microfinance bank has been in business for the past 10 years. The Nigerian market is very big, very wide and we have reached a little bit of the capital that we have invested in the company and we needed to look for partners to do three things for us”.

One of such things he said is to bring in a bit more money to grow the business and expand it into a national business, which was the bank’s vision from the beginning.

Other things are to bring in technology and a bit of expertise into the business and to share with us the experiences they have had with other countries. “In looking for a partner, those were critical points for us,”Ighodalo said.

The chairman told BusinessDay that “LOLC thick these boxes. They brought in a considerable amount of investment into the company, a little bit of which we will use to buy off shareholders but most of it will be used to grow the business into a national business and a business that will also have footprint across Africa especially West Africa and that is what we are doing”.

Speaking further, he said, “I see us traversing the length and breadth of Nigeria, working together to infiltrate other parts of Africa and I see a big conglomerate being born. I am very excited. I am very optimistic. I have always been a believer that what Nigeria needs is technology and money. The market is there but what we lack is enough investible money in Nigeria because the economy has been stifled by inadequate government policies in the past. But now if money, technology comes in then the economy is ready to explode especially in the areas of agric, and small businesses”.

In July 2019, NPF Microfinance Bank Plc announced plans to do a public offer with a view to raising more funds from the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to shore up its working capital.

The regulator carried out examination of 490 microfinance banks in the last six months of 2018, which included the routine examination of 258 MFBs, special examination of 224 MFBs and income audit of eight MFBs designated as Systemically Important Financial Institutions (SIFIs).

The examination according to the Financial Stability Report (FSR) for December 2018, revealed some shortcomings such as high incidence of non-performing credits (above PAR of 5%); inadequate capitalization; absence of Capital Management Plans and weak strategic objectives; high operating costs; weak risk management practices; and poor corporate governance.

Source: businessday

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