Africa investor New York Summit confirms ESG will drive African Institutional Investments

The Africa investor (Ai) and CFA Summit in New York, which took place during Climate Week on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, convened over 200 global pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, endowments, foundations, insurance companies and family offices, representing over $10 trillion+ of owned fiduciary assets. The Summit focused on infrastructure, ESG and Climate related investment trends, best practices and co-investment opportunities.

The Ai Institutional Investment Summit was opened and Chaired by Hubert Danso, CEO & Chair, Africa investor (Ai), Chairman, CFANY Asset Owner Advisory Board Council & Chairman and The Continental Business Network (CBN).

Delegates highlighted how developing countries can win big if they get ESG right, noting that ESG compliant infrastructure projects are very attractive and will get funding but marginal schemes particularly in democracies with heightened environmental and social concerns will increasingly struggle.

The Summit showcased co-investment opportunities amongst African institutional investors and with international peers and highlighted global asset owners leadership and commitment to ESG and Climate related investing within and outside Africa.

Speaking at the Summit, Hubert Danso commented The UN estimates that, based on current fund flows from the global north to the south there is an estimated $2.5-trillion annual funding gap to achieve the SDGs in developing countries, not withstanding Africa’s $100bn plus per annum infrastructure funding deficit. ESG compliant projects will no doubt be the difference maker and create opportunities for African and international pension and sovereign funds to co-invest and participate in the African Unions’ 5% Agenda to mobilize pension and sovereign fund capital for infrastructure projects, whilst at the same time offering competitive risk-adjusted returns”.

The Ai Institutional Investment Summit partners included; CFA Society New York, African Sovereign Wealth and Pension Fund Leaders Forum, Trade and Development Bank (TDB), World Pensions Council, Africa investor (Ai) Capital.

#AiSWPFSummit2019


Source: Infrastructure

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Africa investor (Ai) New York Summit confirms ESG will drive African Institutional Investments

New York, London, Paris, Johannesburg, Nairobi, Lagos, Cairo: 25 September 2019. The Africa investor (Ai) and CFA Summit in New York, which took place during Climate Week on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, convened over 200 global pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, endowments, foundations, insurance companies and family offices, representing over $10 trillion+ of owned fiduciary assets.

The Summit focused on infrastructure, ESG and Climate related investment trends, best practices and co-investment opportunities.

The Ai Institutional Investment Summit was opened and Chaired by Hubert Danso, CEO & Chair, Africa investor (Ai), Chairman, CFANY Asset Owner Advisory Board Council & Chairman and The Continental Business Network (CBN).

Delegates highlighted how developing countries can win big if they get ESG right, noting that ESG compliant infrastructure projects are very attractive and will get funding but marginal schemes particularly in democracies with heightened environmental and social concerns will increasingly struggle.

The Summit showcased co-investment opportunities amongst African institutional investors and with international peers and highlighted asset owners leadership and commitment to ESG and Climate related investing within and outside Africa.

Speaking at the Summit, Hubert Danso commented The UN estimates that, based on current fund flows from the global north to the south there is an estimated $2.5-trillion annual funding gap to achieve the SDGs in developing countries, not withstanding Africa’s $100bn plus per annum infrastructure funding deficit. ESG compliant projects will no doubt be the difference maker and create opportunities for African and international pension and sovereign funds to co-invest and participate in the African Unions’ 5% Agenda to mobilize pension and sovereign fund capital for infrastructure projects, whilst at the same time offering competitive risk-adjusted returns”.

The Ai Institutional Investment Summit partners included; CFA Society New York, African Sovereign Wealth and Pension Fund Leaders Forum, Trade and Development Bank (TDB), World Pensions Council, Africa investor (Ai) Capital.

#AiSWPFSummit2019


Source: Infrastructure

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Press Release: AUDA announces Hubert Danso as interim Chair of AUDA-NEPAD Continental Business Network Council (CBN)

AUDA announces Hubert Danso as interim Chair of AUDA-NEPAD Continental Business Network Council (CBN)

Johannesburg, South Africa, September 9, 2019 – Institutional Investment Leader, Hubert Danso, internationally-renowned infrastructure Investment Advocate, has been appointed as the interim Chairman of the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) Continental Business Network Council (CBN).

Mr Danso is the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Africa investor (Ai) Group and serves as the Chairman of the African Sovereign Wealth & Pension Fund Leaders Forum and Chairs the CFA New York Society, Global Asset Owners Advisory Council, comprising the largest institutional investor communities, with over $20trillion dollars of assets under management (AUM) and advisement. Mr Danso is also a Commissioner of the Blockchain Commission for Sustainable Development.

As the interim CBN Chairman, Mr Danso will support the AUDA in its work with African Union Heads of State, infrastructure investment leaders and policy makers, to deepen the African investment community’s participation in PIDA and Continental Free Trade Area  for Africa  (CFTA) projects, and support the implementation of the African Unions’ (AU) 5% Agenda Initiative, which is an African institutional investor compact with African Heads of State, to increase African institutional asset allocation to infrastructure, from approximately 1.5% of assets under management (AUM) today, to 5% of AUM over the next 5 years.

In his message to Mr Danso, Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, AUDA’s CEO, stated, “over the years you have played a critical role in advancing the work of the CBN and also promoting its relevance, in both continental and international forums, with institutional investors and the infrastructure investment community. I look forward to working with you closely to advance the ideals of the CBN and I take this opportunity to congratulate you on your new role”.


Source: Infrastructure

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AUDA announces Hubert Danso as interim Chair of AUDA-NEPAD Continental Business Network Council (CBN)

AUDA announces Hubert Danso as interim Chair of AUDA-NEPAD Continental Business Network Council (CBN)

Johannesburg, South Africa, September 9, 2019 – Institutional Investment Leader, Hubert Danso, internationally-renowned infrastructure Investment Advocate, has been appointed as the interim Chairman of the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) Continental Business Network Council (CBN).

Mr Danso is the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Africa investor (Ai) Group and serves as the Chairman of the African Sovereign Wealth & Pension Fund Leaders Forum and Chairs the CFA New York Society, Global Asset Owners Advisory Council, comprising the largest institutional investor communities, with over $20trillion dollars of assets under management (AUM) and advisement. Mr Danso is also a Commissioner of the Blockchain Commission for Sustainable Development.

As the interim CBN Chairman, Mr Danso will support the AUDA in its work with African Union Heads of State, infrastructure investment leaders and policy makers, to deepen the African investment community’s participation in PIDA and Continental Free Trade Area  for Africa  (CFTA) projects, and support the implementation of the African Unions’ (AU) 5% Agenda Initiative, which is an African institutional investor compact with African Heads of State, to increase African institutional asset allocation to infrastructure, from approximately 1.5% of assets under management (AUM) today, to 5% of AUM over the next 5 years.

In his message to Mr Danso, Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, AUDA’s CEO, stated, “over the years you have played a critical role in advancing the work of the CBN and also promoting its relevance, in both continental and international forums, with institutional investors and the infrastructure investment community. I look forward to working with you closely to advance the ideals of the CBN and I take this opportunity to congratulate you on your new role”.


Source: Infrastructure

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Batseta and Africa investor (Ai) facilitate African Sovereign Wealth and Pension Fund Infrastructure Co-Investment partnerships

Africa investor (Ai) and BATSETA (South Africa’s Council of Retirement Funds), today announced its exclusive, invitation-only Ai CEO African Sovereign Wealth and Pension Fund Leaders’ Summit and Infrastructure Investment Awards, successfully concluded and hosted a series of dialogues that deepened African institutional investors’ commitment to co-investment partnerships, to address Africa’s $150bn per annum infrastructure deficit, at the One and Only Hotel in Cape Town, South Africa.
The Ai African Sovereign Wealth and Pension Fund Leaders’ Summit, held in association with Batseta, was opened by Hubert Danso, CEO and Chairman of Africa investor (Ai) and the Honorable Danny Faure, President of the Republic of Seychelles.
The Summit theme of “Asset Recycling, Re-Financing & Co-Investing”, built on last year’s key recommendation, which called for greater leadership from African and international asset owners to share their knowledge and expertise with public and private sector colleagues, to support African governments implement the African Unions’ 5% Agenda Initiative, which is an African institutional investor led, COMPACT, with African Heads of State, to create a more conducive environment to increase African institutional asset allocation to infrastructure, from approximately 1%-2% today of assets under management (AUM), to 5% of AUM, over the next 5 years (dubbed the 5% Agenda).
The Ai Summit featured 30 authorative institutional investment leaders and infrastructure investor speakers, a Presidential keynote address, from the Honourable Danny Faure, President of the Republic of the Seychelles. A Keynote Working Lunch Dialogue on Investing in the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) from Ambassador, Yonov Fred Agah, Deputy Director-General, World Trade Organization and hosted Africa investor’s prestigious annual infrastructure investment awards.
In his opening remarks, Hubert Danso, CEO and Chairman of Africa investor (Ai) and Chair, CFA New York Asset Owners’ Advisory Council, stated, “We are naturally pleased to co-host this Summit with BATSETA, the continent’s leading Pension and Retirement Funds Council, whose members, represent over 70% of the pension and retirement funds assets on the entire continent, with a dedicated 5% Allocation for the rest of Africa.
Summit partners include: CFA New York Asset Owners Advisory Council, World Pensions Council, Trade & Development Bank, Africa50, PRI, SAVCA, EAVCA, GLIO, Pensions Africa, PAL Pensions.
Anne-Marie D’Alton, CEO Batseta, commenting on the partnership mentioned: We were delighted to continue our long standing partnership with Africa investor (Ai), as Ai represents a unique and action oriented platform, that accelerates African infrastructure co-investment partnerships, which is the critical missing link for South African pension and retirement funds looking to increase their allocations to the rest of Africa, especially into the infrastructure sector(s).
The Summit also hosted the prestigious annual Ai Infrastructure Investment Awards ceremony. The Ai Infrastructure Investment Awards are a unique platform for infrastructure investors, financiers, operators and governments, in Africa’s fast-growing infrastructure sector to gauge and compare their performance, achievements and investment success stories.
The prestigious, highly sought-after Ai Infrastructure Investment Awards formally recognize achievements across the main infrastructure sectors in Africa. The Awards reward the institutions and personalities driving transactions and improving the continent’s infrastructure investment climate.
The Special Africa investor (Ai) Presidential Investment Leadership of the Year Award, was presented President Paul Kagame of Rwanda.
This Ai Award, recognized President Kagame’s, vision and transformative leadership at the African Union and his relentless drive to bring the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), to this Operational Phase. It also takes account of his domestic successes attracting investment to Rwanda, and his leadership and advocacy on technology and innovation for development, which is transforming the continent’s competitiveness, as a global investment destination.
The Special Ai Presidential Award, was conceived and designed to recognize outstanding political leadership that is positively impacting African private sector development and improving the continent’s attractiveness as an investment destination.
The 2019 Ai Infrastructure Investment Award Winners Were:
CATEGORY 1 – Ai Advisor of the Year
– Standard Bank
CATEGORY 2 – Ai Bank Arranger of the Year
– Afrexim Bank
CATEGORY 3 – Ai Social Infrastructure Deal of the Year
– Nedbank
CATEGORY 4 – Ai ICT/Telecoms Deal of the Year
– MTN Nigeria
CATEGORY 5 – Ai Transport Deal of the Year
– African Development Bank (ADB)
CATEGORY 6 – Ai Power Deal of the Year
– Nachtigal Hydroelectric plant, EDF
CATEGORY 7 – Ai Infrastructure Fund of the Year
– Actis
CATEGORY 8 – Ai African Project Development Financier of the Year
– Africa50
CATEGORY 9 – Ai Pension Fund Infrastructure Investment Initiative of the Year
– Kenya Pension Fund Investment Consortium
CATEGORY 10 – Ai Sovereign Wealth Fund Infrastructure Investment Initiative of the Year
– Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority
CATEGORY 11 – African Developer of the Year
– Themis Energy
CATEGORY 12 – Ai Regional Infrastructure Investment Initiative of the Year
– Trade Development Bank – TDB
CATEGORY 13 – Ai Presidential Investment Leadership of the Year Award
– President Paul Kagame, Rwanda
Awards data partners included DEALOGIC & ACURIS.
**ENDS
Note to Editors
About Batseta – www.poa.org.za
Batseta is a non-profit organisation, which is focused on the interests of principal officers, trustees and fund fiduciaries within South Africa’s retirement industry and is managed by its own appointed Board of Directors.
They are a South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) Registered Professional Body for retirement fund principal officers and trustees. They are also an Assessment Quality Partner (AQP) or examining body for the principal officers and trustees occupational qualifications.

  1. About Africa investor – www.africainvestor.com
    Africa Investor (Ai) is an investment holding platform that aligns its client base of sovereign wealth funds and long-term investors with vetted infrastructure investment opportunities.
    Africa investor’s Media arm (Ai Media), is a specialist investment and communications firm advising governments, international organisations and businesses on communication strategies for capital market and foreign direct investments in Africa. Africa investor Media, publishes Africa investor, the leading international newsstand magazine for Africa’s investment decision makers; maintains the Africa investor 40 Investors’ Index and hosts exclusive CEO Investment Summits and Roundtables.


Source: Infrastructure

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African Sovereign Wealth and Pension Fund Leaders committed to Infrastructure Co-Investment partnerships

Africa investor (Ai), a leading international investment and communications group, today announced its exclusive, invitation-only Ai CEO African Sovereign Wealth and Pension Fund Leaders’ Summit and Infrastructure Investment Awards held in association with Batseta, successfully concluded and hosted a series of dialogues that deepened African institutional investors’ commitment to co-investment partnerships, to address Africa’s $150bn per annum infrastructure deficit, at the One and Only Hotel in Cape Town, South Africa.

The Summit comes hot on the heels of the G7 meetings, where Africa investor (Ai) co-hosted the Global G7 Pensions Dialogue in Biarritz, France, during the G7 meetings, with the World Pension Council.

The Ai African Sovereign Wealth and Pension Fund Leaders’ Summit, was opened by Hubert Danso, CEO and Chairman of Africa investor (Ai) and the Honorable Danny Faure, President of the Republic of Seychelles.

The Summit theme of “Asset Recycling, Re-Financing & Co-Investing”, built on last year’s key recommendation, which called for greater leadership from African and international asset owners to share their knowledge and expertise with public and private sector colleagues, to support African governments implement the African Unions’ 5% Agenda Initiative, which is an African institutional investor led, COMPACT, with African Heads of State, to create a more conducive environment to increase African institutional asset allocation to infrastructure, from approximately 1%-2% today of assets under management (AUM), to 5% of AUM, over the next 5 years (dubbed the 5% Agenda).

The Ai Summit featured 30 authorative institutional investment leaders and infrastructure investor speakers, a Presidential keynote address, from the Honourable Danny Faure, President of the Republic of the Seychelles. A Keynote Working Lunch Dialogue on Investing in the Continental Free
Trade Area (CFTA) from Ambassador, Yonov Fred Agah, Deputy Director-General, World Trade Organization and hosted Africa investor’s prestigious annual infrastructure investment awards.

Commenting on the Summit, Hubert Danso, CEO and Chairman of Africa investor stated, “We were delighted to host such an inspiring and committed group of African pension fund, sovereign wealth fund and infrastructure investment leaders, committed to establishing African infrastructure as an investable asset class, in partnership with heads of state, governments and development finance institutions,
through the 5% Agenda. “Africa investor is delighted to note that Ai is successfully attracting and seeing many new entrants participating in Africa’s infrastructure investment opportunities. We also congratulate all the award shortlisted nominees and the winners for the important role their entries play is profiling viable African infrastructure investment opportunities.”

BATSETA, CFA New York Asset Owners Advisory Council, World Pensions Council, Trade & Development Bank, Africa50, PRI, SAVCA, EAVCA, GLIO, Pensions Africa, PAL Pensions.

The Summit also hosted the prestigious annual Ai Infrastructure Investment Awards ceremony. The Ai Infrastructure Investment Awards are a unique platform for infrastructure investors, financiers, operators and governments, in Africa’s fast-growing infrastructure sector to gauge and compare their performance, achievements and investment success stories.

The prestigious, highly sought-after Ai Infrastructure Investment Awards formally recognize achievements across the main infrastructure sectors in Africa. The Awards reward the institutions and personalities driving transactions and improving the continent’s infrastructure investment climate.

The Special Africa investor (Ai) Presidential Investment Leadership of the Year Award, was presented President Paul Kagame of Rwanda.

This Ai Award, recognized President Kagame’s, vision and transformative leadership at the African Union and his relentless drive to bring the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), to this Operational Phase. It also takes account of his domestic successes attracting investment to Rwanda, and his leadership and advocacy on technology and innovation for development, which is transforming the continent’s competitiveness, as a global investment destination.

The Special Ai Presidential Award, was conceived and designed to recognize outstanding political leadership that is positively impacting African private sector development and improving the continent’s attractiveness as an investment destination.

The 2019 Ai Infrastructure Investment Award Winners Were:
CATEGORY 1 – Ai Advisor of the Year
– Standard Bank
CATEGORY 2 – Ai Bank Arranger of the Year
– Afrexim Bank
CATEGORY 3 – Ai Social Infrastructure Deal of the Year
– Nedbank
CATEGORY 4 – Ai ICT/Telecoms Deal of the Year
– MTN Nigeria
CATEGORY 5 – Ai Transport Deal of the Year
– African Development Bank (ADB)
CATEGORY 6 – Ai Power Deal of the Year
– Nachtigal Hydroelectric plant, EDF
CATEGORY 7 – Ai Infrastructure Fund of the Year
– Actis
CATEGORY 8 – Ai African Project Development Financier of the Year
– Africa50
CATEGORY 9 – Ai Pension Fund Infrastructure Investment Initiative of the Year
– Kenya Pension Fund Investment Consortium
CATEGORY 10 – Ai Sovereign Wealth Fund Infrastructure Investment Initiative of the Year
– Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority
CATEGORY 11 – African Developer of the Year
– Themis Energy
CATEGORY 12 – Ai Regional Infrastructure Investment Initiative of the Year
– Trade Development Bank – TDB
CATEGORY 13 – Ai Presidential Investment Leadership of the Year Award
– President Paul Kagame, Rwanda

Awards data partners included DEALOGIC & ACURIS.

**ENDS

Note to Editors
About Africa investor – www.africainvestor.com
Africa Investor (Ai) is an investment holding platform that aligns its client base of sovereign wealth funds and long-term investors with vetted infrastructure investment opportunities.

Africa investor’s Media arm (Ai Media), is a specialist investment and communications firm advising governments, international organisations and businesses on communication strategies for capital market and foreign direct investments in Africa. Africa investor Media, publishes Africa investor, the leading international newsstand magazine for Africa’s investment decision makers; maintains the Africa investor 40 Investors’ Index and hosts exclusive CEO Investment Summits and Roundtables.


Source: Infrastructure

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Botswana launches RfQ as part of 100-MW solar tender

August 15 (Renewables Now) – Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) has launched a request for qualifications (RfQ) ahead of a possible tender to award 100 MW of solar capacity to independent power producers (IPPs).

The state-owned utility of Botswana has set September 11 as the closing date for the RfQ. The tender notice says the aim is to identify suitable developers for two solar photovoltaic (PV) projects of 50 MW each. The IPPs will develop, build and operate the assets and sell power to BPC under a power purchase agreement (PPA).

In May it was announced that BPC has dropped its search, initially started in 2017, for a joint venture (JV) partner for a 100-MW solar scheme. The utility has decided to seek to engage IPPs to install the capacity as a 100% private undertaking.

Source: Infrastructure

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New impact investment fund for high-potential small businesses in rural Africa

New fund is the first to bridge the financing gap for small businesses in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) with a gender lens, while generating a financial return for investors
It will help improve the lives of 500,000 rural households and create more than 3,500 jobs – at least 60% for women
Two key impact investment areas: agriculture (40% of GDP in SSA) and off-grid solar energy (600 million people lack access to electricity)
London: 22 August, 2019: Global consultancy Palladium has announced its first impact investment fund to bridge the financing gap for small businesses in sub-Saharan Africa.

The “Palladium Impact Fund I” is expected to raise USD 40 million to provide much-needed capital for SMEs in emerging markets. The fund, which will focus on agribusiness value chains and off-grid clean energy in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya, aims to alleviate poverty and economically empower over 500,000 rural households. It intends to create at least 3,500 full-time jobs, of which 60 per cent will be for women.

Investors will include foundations, family offices, pension funds, and institutional investors. Palladium will manage the fund, anchored by a $5 million investment of its own capital. The new fund will make debt and mezzanine investments of between $250,000 and $2 million into small companies.

Andrew Tillery, Head of Impact Investments at Palladium, said:“Fifty-four years of experience has taught Palladium that for an investment to have impact, it has to be sustainable, which means it needs to generate a financial return. For this first fund, we’ve chosen to invest in empowering African women, as women perform the majority of agricultural activities, own a third of all firms and are key to the welfare of their families. Gender equality and empowerment in the region can raise productive potential and boost the continent’s development.”

Palladium has already made two direct impact investments, including in Naasakle, a mother and daughter-owned shea nut harvesting and processing business in Ghana, and PEG Africa, an off-grid solar energy project. Palladium has a further 10 investments under due diligence.

Mr Tillery added: “Solar and clean energy technology is hugely important particularly in rural Africa as it provides vital electricity to households. The social benefits are significant: for instance, 24-hour lighting enables more effective infant care and in turn can lower the infant mortality rate. It’s also the catalyst for the development of small, growing businesses as the working day is longer and more productive. Clean energy can power enabling technology, such as irrigation for farmers, to mitigate many of the risks associated with primary production like adverse weather conditions.”

Christopher Hirst, CEO of Palladium, said: “After three years investing our own capital, we feel now is the right moment to raise our first Impact Investment fund and begin to channel others’ capital to deliver impact. We’re ideally placed to use our extensive international development work and global reach to source ideas for potential, credible investment opportunities. Our relationships with USAID, DFID, DFAT, governments and private sector clients are directly relevant as we seek to ultimately bridge the gap between aid and impact investing, with Palladium as the intermediary.”


Source: Infrastructure

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The Dollar, the Euro, the Yen — and Now the West African Eco

By Tope Alake and Alonso Soto August 6, 2019, 6:00 AM GMT+2 Updated on August 6, 2019, 7:50 AM GMT+2

Nigerian trade consultant Bamidele Ayemibo says it’s easier to sell his bean cake snacks to China than to neighboring Benin.

Trading with any of the other members of the Economic Community of West African States requires him to find expensive money changers to convert local currencies, adding to costs that are already high due to dilapidated roads. He prefers selling to customers who hold hard currencies in London or New York. Even business with China is more straightforward after the Nigerian government signed a currency-swap deal with Beijing last year.

His transactions would get a lot easier if the 15 countries of Ecowas, as it’s called, follow through on their plan to create a single currency. The area, which stretches from Cape Verde in the Atlantic Ocean to Nigeria in the east, is as populous as the U.S. but only 13% of its trade is with other countries in the region. The nascent currency will be called the “Eco.”

“Through Eco, people can have more formal trade, because they can export and know they will get their payment,” said Ayemibo, whose Lagos-based firm also exports corn meal and liquid soap.

After nearly two decades of failed attempts, Ecowas leaders agreed in June to gradually adopt the Eco starting in 2020. The sheer differences in the size of their economies and exchange regimes make that deadline highly problematic. The euro, now the single currency of 19 countries, took six years of planning followed by three years of full currency integration before euro cash arrived. Moreover, member countries of the future Eco don’t all agree about how the new money should work.

On the plus side, eight Ecowas members already have a single currency: the CFA franc. Established after World War II to help France import goods from its colonies, the tender is pegged to the euro and its convertibility is guaranteed by the French Treasury. Former British colonies Nigeria and Ghana, the two biggest economies in the region, have their own currencies.

Common currencies aren’t unusual in Africa. In addition to the West African CFA franc, six countries in central Africa also use a CFA franc. In southern Africa, Namibia, Lesotho and eSwatini are part of a monetary union with South Africa; all their currencies are pegged to the rand.

To join the Eco, union members have to meet economic convergence criteria that include keeping public debt below 70% of GDP and single-digit inflation. Last year, no single member met all the criteria, according to Ecowas’ latest macroeconomic convergence report. Inflation in Sierra Leone averaged 16.9% in 2018 and general government debt in Cape Verde surged to 121% of GDP, according to estimates by the International Monetary Fund.

Still, even if the Eco takes much longer than expected, the renewed commitment to integration and improved economic indicators could give a boost to African leaders’ efforts to create the world’s largest free-trade zone, said Ronak Gopaldas, director of Cape Town-based consultancy Signal Risk.

“The value of this is that it provides the right behavioral nudges for countries to aspire to a certain goal, but realistically 2020 is never going to happen,” Gopaldas said. “This could be a precursor to the African Continental Free Trade Agreement and create sufficient momentum that they complement each other nicely.”

Read more about the African Continental Free-Trade Area

A stable Eco could help development industries and bolster investment to more than double intra-regional trade in Ecowas, said Kofi Apraku, Ecowas commissioner for macroeconomic policy who is leading preparations to launch the common tender.

The plan is for the Eco to be backed by the international reserves of union members under the management of a new regional, independent central bank that will target inflation.

Read more...

Absa to expand its agriculture loan book in Africa

JOHANNESBURG – Absa Corporate and Investment Bank (CIB) yesterday said that it planned to expand its agriculture loan book to countries such as Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia, due to good long-term growth prospects in the rest of the continent.

Absa CIB agriculture head Roux Wildenboer said the lender wanted to grow its footprint in both its domestic market and the rest of the continent due to strong demand.

“Agricultural debt is relatively higher than it was in recent history and the ability of agricultural businesses to borrow to reinvest has been curtailed, which has a snowball-effect on investment in the sector,” Wildenboer said.

“This is seen as a cyclical phenomenon, and even though on aggregate borrowing is not as strong as it used to be, there are still businesses which are growing aggressively.

“This is the reason why Absa is optimistic about prospects in the agricultural sector.”

However, Absa CIB warned that the big concern in South Africa was the economic performance of the economy, which had stymied demand for agricultural machinery and implements, particularly the sale of tractors and combine harvesters in the past two years.

Data from the South African Agricultural Machinery Association (Saama) showed that July tractor sales plunged 30 percent year-on-year in the month from 525 units to 368 units, while year-to-date combine harvester sales were almost 13 percent down on last year.

Saama chairperson Greg Cadman said two main factors were holding sales back.

“Firstly, uncertainty in the market caused by the current political environment, exchange rates and final crop harvests. Secondly, farmers are very wary about their cash-flow situation,” Cadman added.

“The current industry perspective is that sales should pick up towards the end of the year. Nevertheless, it is likely that tractor sales in the 2019 calendar year will be at a level between 15 and 20 percent below the 6 700 units sold last year.”

South Africa’s agricultural sector is facing uncertain times over the mooted land expropriation without compensation policy.

Last year, the National Assembly adopted a motion to amend Section 25 of the Constitution to allow expropriation without compensation.

The Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform’s report released last month also endorsed expropriation without compensation, especially abandoned land; land held purely for speculative purposes and land held by state entities that wasn’t being utilised, among other qualifications.

Wildenboer said the lender saw potential for further growth and commercial success in the agricultural sector in South Africa, but that the government would need to reassure investors that the proposed land reform programme  implementation would not affect investor confidence.

“Notwithstanding some headwinds in certain areas, Absa CIB sees agriculture as a vibrant and strategic market.

“It is the bank’s intention to increase its involvement across the continent in the agricultural sector, and appetite to embark on this strategy has been reaffirmed,” Wildenboer added.

BUSINESS REPORT


Source: Infrastructure

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