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AfDB approves $20 million investment in Uhuru Growth Fund, building regional champions across West Africa

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The African Development Bank  has approved a US$20 million equity investment in Uhuru Growth Fund 1, a first-generation fund sponsored by Uhuru Partners Limited, a private equity firm, focused on high growth middle market businesses across West Africa.

Uhuru Partners Limited is composed of an experienced indigenous team with strong local networks, extensive knowledge of the West Africa market and a track-record of SME investments in the region.

The Bank’s equity support will enable Uhuru Partners to make investment forays into consumer facing and financial services sectors in West African countries including Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Mali..

Investments of $5 million and above will be made in companies in these sectors, helping them grow into regional champions, and creating new, high quality jobs.

The proposed investment will give the Bank approximately 10% of the Fund’s target capitalization of $200 million.

Equity capital is scarce in Africa but particularly so for smaller companies with revenues below $50 million. Private equity funds such as Uhuru will help address this void

Uhuru’s compelling investment proposition is underpinned by several macroeconomic and institutional factors. These key factors include West Africa’s large aggregate population, rapid urbanization and youthful demographics, sustained economic growth and relative political stability.

The presence of Uhuru’s key executive and operational teams in Abidjan and Lagos is also perceived as a huge asset, enabling the team to effectively source investment opportunities in the Anglophone and Francophone economies of West Africa. The PE firm’s presence in the region’s largest and leading commercial hubs also enables them to get actively involved in the operations of their portfolio companies across the region.

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Abdu Mukhtar, the African Development Bank’s Director of Industrial and Trade Development said the Bank’s investment will be instrumental to Uhuru’s $200 million fundraising exercise. “The Bank’s support of Uhuru Growth Fund will unlock capital from other development finance and commercial investors into a fund that will help strengthen West Africa’s economies, create jobs and drive development,” Mukhtar said.

The Fund’s investment strategy is aligned with the Bank’s Ten-Year Strategy (2013-2022), focusing on inclusive growth and creating broad-based prosperity, as well as the Bank’s Country Strategy Papers for target countries which seek inclusive growth, access to local SME finance and regional integration as the pathway to sustainable development of the African continent

The Fund’s strategy is also aligned with the Bank’s High 5 priorities to Industrialize Africa, Feed Africa, Integrate Africa and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

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Cryptocurrency Is ‘Not Money’ – Trump

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US President, Donald Trump on Thursday expressed his mistrust of cryptocurrency, saying it was “not money” and warning that those wishing to join the trade would have to abide by banking regulations.

“I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air,” Trump tweeted.

Trump, also stressed that cryptocurrency, whose electronic nature makes it nearly untraceable, could facilitate illegal activity.

Cryptocurrency has flourished since Bitcoin launched in 2009. But when Facebook unveiled plans last month for its own virtual currency, Libra, the announcement rattled financial regulators the world over.

With more than two billion Facebook users, the social media giant’s cryptocurrency — which is slated for a 2020 launch and already has multiple partners — could completely disrupt the financial world.

However, Trump said that Libra has “little standing or dependability.”

He also warned Facebook and other companies that, should they launch their own cryptocurrency, they would have to abide by both American and international banking regulations.

“We only have one real currency in the USA, and it is stronger than ever,” he tweeted.

“It is called the United States Dollar!”

A high-level G7 working group is expected to produce a preliminary report on asset-backed cryptocurrencies next week when the group’s finance ministers meet in France.

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“The more we, the international regulators, investigate this project, the more we have serious questions and potentially reservations,” said Francois Villeroy de Galhaut, head of the French central bank.

His American counterpart at the Federal Reserve also broached the topic Wednesday and Thursday when testifying before Congress.

“I think we need to do a very careful, patient, thorough assessment of what the risks really are,” Jerome Powell said Thursday, adding that the size of Facebook’s social media network points to Libra’s “systemic importance.”

Some American politicians have called for a total freeze on Facebook’s Libra project.

Facebook has pledged to deliver a stable virtual currency that lives on smartphones and could bring over a billion “unbanked” people — adults without bank accounts or those who use services outside the banking system such as payday loans to make ends meet — into the financial system.

The ubiquity of smartphones means digital wallets for Libra could expand the use of banking, credit card services and e-commerce in developing nations.

AFP

 

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GTBank Named Best Bank in Africa at Euromoney Awards

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Foremost African financial institution Guaranty Trust Bank plc has been named the Best Bank in Africa 2019 by Euromoney at its annual Awards for Excellence, which held in London on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 at the London Hilton Hotel, Park Lane. GTBank was also named the Best Bank in Nigeria for a record ninth time, reflecting the Bank’s position as one of the best managed financial institutions in the country, with strong and focused leadership that keep the business in a constant state of re-invention and innovation.

Now in its 50th year, Euromoney is the leading publication for covering the growth of international finance. Euromoney’s Awards for Excellence are the awards that matter to the banks and bankers who matter. This year, Euromoney received almost 1,500 submissions from banks in an awards programme that covers 20 global awards, more than 50 regional awards, and best bank awards in close to 100 countries. The Magazine’s Awards for Excellence celebrates the best banks around the world by recognizing institutions that have demonstrated leadership, innovation, and momentum in the markets they operate. In selecting its award recipients, Euromoney combines quantitative and qualitative data to honor institutions that have brought the highest levels of service, innovation and expertise to their customers.

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Key to the emergence of GTBank as the Best Bank in Africa and the Best Bank in Nigeria, is the Bank’s digital drive and its clarity of vision in reimagining the future of banks and banking. The Euromoney awards also recognized GTBank’s commitment to leading the future of banking as well as its consistent long-term strategy led by a senior management team that abhors complacency and keeps the business in a constant state of innovation.

Commenting on the Bank’s Euromoney awards, the Chief Executive Officer of GTBank, Segun Agbaje, said; “We are delighted and proud to win the Euromoney Awards for Africa’s Best Bank and Nigeria’s Best Bank. These awards reflect the progress we are making in delivering the best banking experience that captures what customers want in the world of today and tomorrow. They are also a testament to our leading role in driving world class corporate governance standards, excellent service quality and innovation in Africa’s banking industry.”

He further stated that; “At GTBank, we are passionate about building the bank of the future by leveraging the best of technology to add real value to our customers’ lives, and these awards illustrate the hard work and commitment of our staff, management and board towards achieving this goal.”

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GTBank has consistently played a leading role in Africa’s banking industry. The GTBank brand is regarded by industry watchers as one of the best run financial institutions across its subsidiary countries and serves as a role model within the financial service industry due to its bias for world class corporate governance standards, excellent service quality and innovation.

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AfDB to meet Nigerian businesses leaders next week ahead of African Investment Forum

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The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) and the Africa Finance Corporation, will meet industry and business leaders in Abuja, Nigeria on Monday, 09 July 2019 as part of a roadshow to woo investors ahead of its second Africa Investment Forum (AIF) in November.

AIF − the continent’s biggest investment marketplace for accelerated economic transformation – is slated for 11-13 November 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa. It is dedicated to advancing projects throughout Africa to bankable stages, raising capital, and accelerating the financial closure of deals.

The Abuja roadshow targets chief executive officers, captains of industry, State governments and other key players that will re-affirm Nigeria’s investment-ready status. The event will build on the quantity and quality of deals brokered in 2018, as well as explore investment opportunities across the continent.

By convening Nigeria’s premium project sponsors, borrowers, lenders and investors, the roadshow will showcase bankable projects, attract financing, and provide platforms for investing across multiple countries.

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