The convergence of AI, tech, and data on Nigeria’s multi-billion dollar plus retail market – will be a strategic focus to local & international developers, investors and retailers at the 4th annual West Africa Property Investment Summit taking place on 15 and 16 November 2018 in Lagos.
Considered one of the world’s most significant and accessible investment opportunities, the opportunity in the country has long whet the appetites of the world’s capital movers; however, for many, the opportunity has been missed or misjudged to a lack of relevant, actionable and useful data.
A ROBUST RETAIL SECTOR
One of the emerging thought leaders in the field is Ali Djire, the country head of Fraym, who believes that embracing a data-driven approach to retail will prevent further Nakumatt styled retail implosions. In a market under pressure with retailers struggling with underperforming new locations due to steep competition and a lack of critical consumer mix, access to data is increasingly transforming the fortunes of companies in the sector.
Says Djire, “The need for a data-driven approach is becoming an imperative for retailers to not only inform what products to carry on the shelf, but also to get unprecedented insights into where to locate their stores, how to price based on ability to pay, and how to respond to competition.”
RETAIL’S GROWING VALUE TO THE NIGERIAN GDP
According to Djire, retail currently accounts for 16% of the Nigerian GDP and is viewed by many as a new frontier of growth for local and international investors.
A view which is shared by Jan Van Zyl, head of property development for leading pan-Africa real estate development fund, Novare Equity Partners.
“Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa. Therefore, you cannot brand yourself as a Sub-Saharan Fund and not have a presence in Nigeria.” Adding that the fund is also looking at options in Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire.
While the scale of the opportunity in Nigeria has attracted many entrants over the past decade, experienced investors and developers understand that the formal retail market is limited and dynamic that can grow exponentially.
$300 MILLION INVESTED
As Van Zyl explains, “We believe that we are at the right place, at the right time, and we have invested in four shopping centres in Nigeria since 2010 with a book value in excess of $300 million.”
As one of Africa’s bullish international funds in real estate on the continent, the pan-Africa fund is in the country for the long-term. However, while the recovery over the last 12 months has been slow, Van Zyl argues that this is not a Nigerian, but an emerging market phenomenon.
RECOVERY AND ELECTIONS
“Combined with elections in February 2019, we find that many potential new entrants are waiting on the sidelines until the uncertainty surrounding an election period has settled. It is important to note that, such a cycle is not Nigeria specific, but is experienced in most emerging markets throughout Africa and other continents.” However, he does note that there has been a trend of decreasing the size of future shopping centre developments in the current market, which is one way in which the market has recalibrated to cope with market relating to the recession.
For Kfir Rusin, the Managing Director of the WAPI Summit, the advent of data and new technologies are critical to quickening the somewhat slow pace of recovery in the retail sector post-recession.
“As a pioneer in their field, Fraym’s use of Geospatial data, AI and Machine Learning technologies can provide actionable intelligence on communities down to 1 square kilometre across the country. This unique and relevant data has the potential to be transformative catalyst of growth for the retail sector.”
With such useful smart data increasingly, many large market layers are actively recalibrating their approach. As Djire reveals, “We are actively working with global investment players, development organisations, as well as local companies, to get actionable market insights. Through our data, we are seeing early signs of companies leveraging Fraym’s geospatial data platform to streamline their operations and retail strategy. We see a growing need for actionable data for companies to be able to make effective decisions.”
As Rusin says, “This year’s West Africa Property Investments (WAPI) Summit will provide a platform for the traditional retail sector to network and realise the real-world benefits of how relevant data and tech is essential to growing the formal retail sector.”
For Djire, WAPI is a platform for engagement. As he says, “WAPI is the platform where the message of a data approach in retail could gain grounds. There is a unique opportunity to engage directly with decision-makers, demystify the concept of [geospatial] data, walk them through the idea of a data approach and how it could affect their business and bottom line. More importantly, it’s an opportunity to hear from them about the ways they think about the market, their business, and their consumers, to ensure that we’re all on the same wavelength.”
Facebook celebrates key milestones for sub Saharan Africa in 2019
Facebook on Thursday released its ‘2019 Year in Review’ infographic, showcasing just some of its investments across Sub-Saharan in 2019. Committed to giving people the power to build community and bring the world closer together, throughout the year this translated into significant support and investments into growing the ecosystem of developers, entrepreneurs, creatives, and many other communities.
During 2019, Facebook Africa:
- Trained over 7,000 woman-owned businesses in digital skills across sub Saharan Africa;
- Celebrated 79 Community Leadership Circle meetups with over 2 ,650 people attending;
- Reached its 45th Developer Circle, with circles now in 17 African countries and representing more than 70,000 members;
- Hosted the first-ever iD8 Nairobi Conference with over 400 African developers and startups in attendance;
- Expanded Third-Party Fact-Checking across 10 African countries;
- Announced the creation of the world’s most detailed population density maps of Africa, created by Facebook AI researchers to help humanitarian aid and relief agencies; and much more.
Nunu Ntshingila, Regional Director Facebook Africa, commented: “Africa is important to Facebook, and we’re committed to investing in its youth, entrepreneurs, the creative industries, tech ecosystem as well as its many other communities. Our 2019 Year in Review highlights just some of these investments, and the impact we’ve been able to have here in the region. I’m excited about the future of Facebook and our family of apps here in Africa, as well as the potential of this young, mobile and dynamic continent, and look forward to creating partnerships in 2020 and beyond.”
Check out the Facebook in Africa infographic to learn more about Facebook milestones and achievements in sub Saharan Africa in 2019.
Renewable Energy Is Now The Cheapest Option – Even Without Subsidies | By James Ellsmoor
IN recent years, the world has marched towards renewable energy. According to a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), unsubsidized renewable energy is now most frequently the cheapest source of energy generation . The report finds that the cost of installation and maintenance of renewables, which was an important stumbling block to mass adoption, continues on a downward trajectory.
Adding to existing efforts made by governments and businesses, these lower costs are expected to propel the mass adoption of renewables even further. The report further touches on the importance of renewables in sustainable development and the need for governments to help achieve the climate goals of the Paris Agreement, coming just months before the United Nations’ Climate Action Summit being held in Abu Dhabi in September this year.
Among other findings the IRENA report highlights that:
- Onshore wind and solar PV power are now, frequently, less expensive than any fossil-fuel option, without financial assistance.
- New solar and wind installations will increasingly undercut even the operating-only costs of existing coal-fired plants.
- Low and falling technology costs make renewables the competitive backbone of energy decarbonization – a crucial climate goal.
- Cost forecasts for solar PV and onshore wind continue to be revised as new data emerges, with renewables consistently beating earlier expectations.
Further data from REN21′s Renewable Global Status Report show that over one fifth of global electrical power production is now generated from renewables.
Growing Environmental Concerns
The detrimental impact of climate change, including more intense heat waves, rising sea levels, and loss of sea ice, is rapidly becoming more apparent across the world. These alarming trends are projected to worsen at a temperature rise of 2°C above pre-industrial levels according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
As the data depicts, ridding the world of fossil fuels and eliminating the impact of climate change relies on championing the adoption of renewables, a roadmap that requires a concerted effort from businesses, governments, and individuals. Sustainable energy continues to be a key priority for the United Nations, which includes energy in its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDG 7 champions renewable energy adoption for the entire world, requiring governments to “ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all”.
The Reducing Cost Of Renewables
For many years, financing entities perceived renewables as risky because of high cost, leading to high lending rates for individuals and businesses that need funding for renewable power generation. As the IRENA report depicts, this trend has been on the decline since the early 2000s. The worldwide weighted average cost of electricity from solar power concentration fell by 26%, that of bioenergy reduced by 14%, solar photovoltaics, geothermal, onshore, as well as offshore wind, fell by 14%, and hydropower by 12%.
Connecting The Dots
These new statistics demonstrate that using renewable energy is increasingly cost-effective compared to other sources, even when renewables must compete with the heavily-subsidized fossil fuel industry . Promising signs in the IRENA report show that more an increasing number of corporates are entering the renewable energy industry as the number of Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) rise, meanwhile more than 10 million people are now employed in the global renewable energy industry.
Culled from Forbes
Facebook Celebrates One Year of NG_Hub
Celebrating exactly a year to the day since the doors of NG_Hub opened in Lagos, and Facebook further cemented its ambitions to train users across Nigeria in digital skills, Facebook released an infographic highlighting key milestones over the past year
Created as part of Facebook’s ongoing commitment and investment in growing the start-up ecosystem, and in partnership with CcHub, NG_Hub is a multi-faceted space which connects and bring together developers, start-up’s and the wider community to collaborate, learn and exchange ideas. With a number of expert training and events with partners across Nigeria, undertaking in the hub and externally, the aim is to equip individuals and businesses to grow.
Some highlights over the past year includes:
- Trained over 50,800 SMBs in digital skills across 20 states in Nigeria
- Delivered 526 events with over 11,490 attendees at NG_Hub, including programmes such as AR/VR meetups, FbStart Accelerator Programme, Facebook Community Leaders Community meetings (CLCs), Developer Circle gatherings etc.
- Directly supported businesses in 11 different industries from agriculture, through to catering, education and fashion
Speaking of its one year anniversary, Adaora Ikenze, Head of Public Policy, West and Central Africa, said: “I’m proud of the incredible impact that NG_Hub has had in its first year, and continues to have on the lives of young Nigerians. We remain committed in deepening our engagement, increasing skills development and supporting the next set of innovators, tech entrepreneurs, start-ups, in our collective bid to change the face of technology and grow the economy.”
Commenting on the partnership Bosun Tijani, Founder/CEO of CcHub, added: “We’re glad about the tremendous impact Facebook’s investment in NG_HUB has had in such a short period and the ecosystem is already seeing the fruits of this commitment. We’re committed to working with Facebook to position NG_HUB as a major platform that drives smart application of technology innovation for economic prosperity across the region and beyond.”
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