Thursday, 30 January 2014

CBN to Move 7% of External Reserves into Yuan

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Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, CBN  Governor
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Tuesday revealed plans to increase the Chinese Yuan’s proportion of the country’s external reserves from two percent to seven percent.
The move was influenced by the growing strength of the Chinese currency in global trade, the Deputy Governor (Operations), CBN; Dr. Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu said in an interview with Bloomberg in London.
However, Moghalu did not specify the timeframe for the change.
Nigeria currently holds about 85 percent of its reserves in dollars, he said.
Moghalu added: “It was clear to us that the future of international economics and trade will shift in large part to business with and by China.
“Ultimately the renminbi is likely to become a global convertible currency.”
The central bank started to diversify its reserves into Yuan in 2011 and is working with the People’s Bank of China to boost the holdings as soon as the relevant structures are in place, he said further.
Nigeria’s external reserves stood at $43.182 billion as at Monday.
The CBN Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi had last September insisted that the central bank’s decision to diversify the country's reserve base from the United States dollar by investing in China's Renminbi had paid-off two years after.
He said Yuan, also known as the Renminbi had been appreciating in value. Sanusi had argued that a lot of countries were beginning to diversify their reserve currencies in other emerging economies that were showing promises.
Sanusi had said: "The issue about risk is changing because of the dynamics of the global economy and you know pretty well that currently there are issues around the strength of the currencies all over the globe and the debate is ongoing on whether or not, the dollar would continue to be the de-facto reserve currency.
"That's why so many countries are changing the basket of currencies where they keep the reserves so that they can mix their risks-and then, they are beginning to diversify."
Source: ThisDayLive

How to secure business finance

<i></i>A common issue raised among local entrepreneurs is the ease of access to business finance, which is often criticised due to the difficulties experienced when attempting to secure funding to either establish, or grow, a business. 

According to Christo Botes, Executive Director of Business Partners Limited, while access to finance is a challenge for many South African entrepreneurs, often entrepreneurs also pose challenges to financiers, which may sometimes hinder the approval process.

"In general, financiers have adequate funding available to finance business owners. When approached for financing, financiers are often either offered security that is not acceptable, or not offered security at all and hence need to carry all the risk. Financiers are then faced with the difficult task of proving an entrepreneur's ability to service the debt, together with the business being viable over the long turn."

He says that this results in financiers having to select the best candidate behind which to place their investments. 

"Not only do financiers have to choose who to invest in, but it is also the financier’s responsibility towards their other stakeholders to make those decisions based on information they are given."

Good news for women entrepreneurs in Africa

Good news for women entrepreneurs in Africa. 52041.jpegPartnership formed between UN Women and the Mara Foundation, to enable and empower women entrepreneurs not only in Africa, but globally. The measure was announced yesterday during the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Mentoring, training and tools will be provided to help women entrepreneurs.
UN Women and Mara Foundation announce partnership to support women entrepreneurs in Africa
(Addis Ababa) UN Women and Mara Foundation today announced a partnership to enable, empower and inspire women entrepreneurs globally.
Announced during the Africa Union Summit in Ethiopia, the partnership will see the two entities working side-by-side to provide mentoring, training and business tools designed to meet the individual needs of women entrepreneurs on the continent.
One such tool, 'Mara Mentor', has been developed by Mara Online to help young entrepreneurs connect with their industry peers, as well as gain access to valuable business advice, online networking opportunities and training materials. 'Mara Mentor' can be accessed via a website (, and a recently launched app which helps users connect, anytime, anywhere.
UN Women's Knowledge Gateway for Women's Economic Empowerment (, is a global community set up to share resources and tools for women's economic empowerment, crowd-source feedback on innovative ideas and to connect women entrepreneurs and workers with experts, peers, networks and potential partners.

Continental strikes funding deal, shuffles management

PERTH ( – South Africa-focused coal miner Continental Coal has secured A$5-million in funding, but has lost its CEO and CFO in the process.
The ASX-listed miner, which has been in a trading halt since January 6, has executed a binding term sheet with UK-based Empire Equity for the A$5-million limited recourse bridge funding to cover general operating costs and payments to creditors.
Subject to the finalising of definitive documentation, Empire would invest in 7.5-million unsecured convertible promissory notes with a face value of A$1, at a discounted issue price of A$0.6667 per note, and with a maturity date of four months post closing.
Empire would also assist Continental in undertaking a rights issue to raise up to A$28-million at an offering price of 1c a share, with the proceeds to be used to settle debts to various existing convertible note holders and other major creditors.
The promissory notes would only become redeemable on the successful completion of the rights offer, with Empire having the option to redeem the notes by either conversion into shares, or the payment of A$7.5-million face value in cash.
Furthermore, Empire would receive a 6% fee on the investment amount and 70-million options, subject to shareholder approval. Each option would be exercisable at the rights offering price, with three years to expire.
In the event that shareholder approval was not obtained for the options, A$500 000 in cash would become payable to Empire in lieu of the options, while 100-million shares would also be issued to a settlement agent and held in escrow as collateral.
Meanwhile, Continental also reported on Wednesday that a condition of the funding was the resignation or termination of the CEO, CFO and nonexecutive directors Mike Kilbrideand Johan Bloemsma on closing.
Former executive director Peter Landau would join the company on close of the transaction, along with Paul D’Sylva, a venture partner of Empire, Mike Gibson, the current CEO of Genet South Africa, and a nominee from the creditors group.
Continental said that its share trade on the ASX and Aim would remain suspended until after the close of the transaction, and pending the provision of further clarification on the company’s financial position.
Source: Mining Weekly

Africa's Youth: The Future to a Transformed Continent

Guest Post By Evelyn Omala,
Program Officer for Segal Family Foundation
Last week, world leaders gathered for the 44th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland from January 22-25 where the challenges faced by youth around the globe topped the agenda. As the world's youngest continent with 70 percent of the population under the age of 30, Africa is making tremendous strides towards developing and transforming its sectors to build a bright future.
Most of what the world hears about Africa are the soaring unemployment rate, disease and poverty; therefore, one would wonder how the youth will cope with the enormous challenges in their communities. Yet out of this dire situation, a new breed of young African entrepreneurs is rising to find bold and innovative solutions to transform their communities.
The role of youth in fostering Africa's development progress cannot be ignored. Africa's youth are burning with a desire to change the status quo and are spearheading efforts that not only reflect their talent and ingenuity, but also show that they deeply understand their own problems and know how to address them with home-grown initiatives. At the Segal Family Foundation (SFF), where I serve as a program officer, we are unlocking the potential that Africa's youth possess and supporting them as agents of change in their communities.
SFF is hosting a three-day workshop, Innovation Through Design Thinking, for SFF grantees in Nairobi, Kenya, starting on January 29. Over 30 youth-focused African grassroots organizations will unite for skills training and entrepreneurial opportunities and to create a platform to harness unique ideas to support and engage the youth of Africa.

In My View: African Innovation is Trending

I am very excited about what lies ahead for African Innovation in 2014. Socio-economic and political trending points to a more stable environment on the African continent, now, more than ever before. Trends that promote growth and incentivize a healthy competitive environment for African entrepreneurs and their ideas. For a continent that has had more than its share of trials and tribulations, this trending upsurge is a welcome sight for sore eyes and crucial to sustainable development. These are exciting times.
Leading the trend in innovation in Africa is the technology sector which is in full bloom on the continent. Sustainable startup companies and technology-focused businesses reinforce my belief that nowadays, every business is a digital business. In 2014, technology on the continent will continue to offer consumers a better and cheaper way to do what few imagined in the past. With this in mind, here are my favorite innovation trends for the year. As an entrepreneur and philanthropist, they have captured my imagination.
A range of technology appeared last year that collects information about people and their bodies, and I predict that innovators will continue to develop "wearables" that will transform lives on the continent and beyond. These sensor-based technologies are poised to revolutionize how we take care of ourselves. Their ability to measure pulse rate, blood pressure and sleep environment can significantly enhance the quality of life for the aging population. Diabetes patients can better manage sugar and insulin levels by "wearing" devices to monitor weight and glucose levels.

Nigeria’s Tony Elumelu invests in US tech Startup

Tony Elumelu, Chairman of Heirs Holdings. (Image source: Heirs Holdings)
Tony Elumelu, Chairman of Heirs Holdings. (Image source: Heirs Holdings)
Heirs Holdings, the pan-African proprietary investment company founded by Tony O. Elumelu, CON, has announced its investment in US start-up Planet Labs’ innovative satellite manufacturing technology. Heirs Holdings is the only African investor in the project, which is based in San Francisco.
Planet Labs aims to transform the way imaging of the Earth is carried out, through the introduction of ultra-small satellites called “doves.” These “doves” circle the planet in low orbit and are significantly cheaper to produce and deploy than existing technology. Moreover, as they orbit closer to the Earth, they are able to take higher-resolution images than traditional satellites.
Elumelu, who is Chairman of Heirs Holdings, commented, “As the only African investor in Planet Labs’ project, we are incredibly proud to have supported such an innovative and dynamic company, which has already achieved significant success. As part of our business philosophy of Africapitalism, we are committed to supporting entrepreneurs and start-ups to enable them to bring scale to their projects and we look forward to following Planet Labs’ achievements over the coming years.”
Planet Labs has already achieved some significant milestones. In 2013 alone, the company launched four satellites on three rockets, and delivered their first fleet of 28 satellites, which are expected to head into space shortly.
Planet Labs’ co-founder, Robbie Schingler, said, “We are very excited to welcome Heirs Holdings to our team of investors and thank them for their support. The funding that they and other partners provide is vital for our development as a company and we are particularly pleased to be working with an African company, as our technology has the potential to support Africa’s development by monitoring and mapping the continent’s natural resources and agriculture.”
Source: IT News Africa

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Nigerian Stock Exchange to introduce corporate governance rating system

Programme would encourage companies to do business in sustainable manner.
The Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, on Monday announced plans to establish a Corporate Governance Rating System, CGRS, for listed companies.
In a statement made available in Lagos, the NSE said that the objective was to raise corporate governance standards nationwide.
It said that the NSE and Convention on Business Integrity, CBi, would host quoted companies on corporate governance to breakfast meeting on Jan. 29.
The NSE said that the session for senior executives of listed companies across sectors would focus on the importance of corporate governance in ensuring healthy investment environment.
The statement quoted NSE Executive Director of Business Development, Haruna Jalo-Waziri, as saying that the programme would encourage companies to do business in sustainable manner. It said that the partnership with the CBi was to create a corporate governance rating system and index for companies that met certain criteria.
“The objectives are to raise overall corporate governance standards in the country by providing companies with an incentive to develop global best practices. It will provide opportunities for companies to differentiate themselves in the market place,” Mr. Jalo-Waziri said.
The statement also quoted the Executive Director of CBi, Soji Apampa, as saying that the CGRS would be inaugurated in 2014.
The inauguration, it said, would provide information on the methodology, implementation, overall strategy and benefits of the system.

Women Entrepreneurs Are Pretty Happy -- Here's Why

Now here's good news: Women entrepreneurs are among the happiest people in the world.
Women At Work

That's according to the 2013 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, which compared the personal well-being and job satisfaction of individuals who start or manage businesses in 70 economies with that of people who don't engage in entrepreneurial activities. The report, published this month, found that the world's entrepreneurs -- both male and female -- have more life and work satisfaction, as measured by their agreement with statements like "my life is close to ideal" or "If I could live my life again, I would not change anything." Happiness varied by region; entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan African countries had the lowest rate, while those in Latin and North American had the highest.
But when it came to gender, the GEM report found that female entrepreneurs exhibit "a higher degree of subjective well-being" than men in innovation-driven economies like the U.S. or Europe -- a finding that appeared to surprise the report co-author José Ernesto Amorós, who said it "opens up possibilities" for further exploration.
The report didn't explain why women entrepreneurs are so happy. But it's not hard to come up with a few reasons, based on other studies and our own observations of female entrepreneurs through TSE's ongoing 1,000 Stories project. Here are three:

Tanzania set for major rail investment

Tanzania set for major rail investmentInvestment in Tanzania's railways is set to increase dramatically as the UK government has pledged to consider a request from the African nation to provide rolling stock for the central Dar es Salaam line.
Discussions between Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete took place at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

During the discussions, President Kikwete clarified his nation's ongoing efforts to restore railway transport in the Dar es Salaam region and surrounding areas.

Tanzania's Minister for Transport, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, explained that a lack of engines and carriages means that very few passengers and a limited amount of cargo are transported every year.

The UK government said it would consider providing the African nation with engines and carriages that are no longer in use in the UK to resolve the issue.

Last year, Justine Greening, the UK's International Development Secretary, said that £10.5 million of funding will be provided to support or fund innovative ideas that help to limit the cost of transport in Africa, with Tanzania being a particular focus of the project.

Source: TRL

Nigeria: U.S.$10.8 Billion - Leadership Faults Auditor-General's Reply

In its determined effort to uncover the truth over the non-repatriation of crude oil revenue by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to the federation account as claimed by the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, LEADERSHIP has again written to the auditor-general of the federation (AuGF), Mr Samuel Ukura, for copies of the external auditor's report in his possession on audited accounts of the NNPC in the last five years (2009 to 2013).
LEADERSHIP had written to the AuGF over audited accounts of the NNPC in his possession, but he replied that his office does not audit NNPC's accounts in line with Section 85 (3) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). He, however, claimed that he could provide a list of qualified external auditors from which NNPC and other statutory corporations, commissions and bodies created by an Act of the National Assembly shall appoint their external auditors.
Ukura disclosed that his office faces "professional and ethical threats" in discharging its constitutional role of "carrying out the vetting and periodic checks of the accounts of government statutory corporations, commissions etc including the NNPC operations".
But, apart from the reports of NNPC's external auditors in AuGF's possession, LEADERSHIP is requesting the reports of the last five periodic checks of the NNPC accounts conducted by the AuGF in accordance with Section 85 (4) of the 1999 Constitution and the last five external auditors that submitted to him reports of the audited accounts of NNPC. The request made by LEADERSHIP is anchored on the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, 2011.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Nigeria Now Leading Investment Destination, Says Okonjo-Iweala

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Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
The Coordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, at the weekend, said Nigeria had been widely adjudged the largest investment destination in Africa due to its high return on investment.
The minister also pointed out that many Nigerian businesses, especially the 32 million small and medium scale enterprises (SMEs) in the country, were investing in the economy.
Okonjo-Iweala spoke at the Creative Entrepreneurs Association of Nigeria (CEAN) and British Council awards night in Lagos, where the federal government’s Youth Enterprise with Innovation in Nigeria (YouWiN!) programme was recognised as “the best overall contributor to the development of the Nigerian creative industry in 2013.”
According to her, many  businesses, particularly those owned by young entrepreneurs, face major challenges, prominent of which she identified as access to finance.

Nigeria is a good place for entrepreneurs - Jason Njoku, founder, online film distribution medium, iROKOtv boss

SEYI GESINDE features the achievements of a Nigerian Internet entrepreneur and founder of the online home video marketing channel, iROKOtv, Jason Njoku, especially on how he made a success of the Internet business.

Jason Njoku is a promising Nigerian, who has been able to use the power of the Internet to capture millions of Nigerians, especially youths both home and abroad, with the introduction of his online media, iROKOtv and Spark. And as a result of this his well defined and developed aptitude, Njoku is today celebrated as one of Nigerian young entrepreneurs making good money online.
As a Nigerian Internet entrepreneur, he has received awards, especially as someone whose special interest is in marketing of Nigerian home videos, he recently featured on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), where he was interviewed by the BBC’s Evan Davis and Nkem Ifejika, as part of the BBC’s focus on Nigeria as one of the world’s leading emerging economies.
He has really been one of great talents doing Nigeria proud abroad, as the show was broadcast to millions of people around the world on the Today Programme and on the BBC’s NewsDay on the World Service.