SENIOR Nigerian government officials and key investors have endorsed the African Development Bank’s Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZ) initiative, describing it as a pathway to Africa’s agricultural revolution.
SAPZs are designed to concentrate agro-processing activities within areas of high agricultural potential in order to increase productivity and competitiveness. The initiative will provide millions of youth and rural men and women with employment and entrepreneurship opportunities.
Speaking at an investment forum held Tuesday at the Bank’s office in Abuja, Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, said the country was eager to work with the Bank to develop SAPZs.
“I can’t thank the African Development Bank and all the investors gathered here today enough.
“We need to make agriculture work again. It is with initiatives like this that we can truly create wealth and employment for our teeming youth population,” Ogbeh said.
The investment forum was an opportunity to secure the commitment of key agribusiness companies and banks in the planning, investment and implementation of priority SAPZs in Nigeria.
Key participants included top government officials and big industry players, including the Dangote Group, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Flour Mills of Nigeria, Olam International, the Nigeria Private Sector Alliance (NiPSA), the International Labour Organization (ILO), commercial and development banks, the United Nations Industrial Organization (UNIDO), and the Cocoa Association of Nigeria.
Professor Banji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka, Special Adviser on Industrialization to the African Development Bank President, said the initiative could boost the gross domestic product (GDP) of rural regions and bridge the rural-urban divide.
“Nigeria currently trails in the supply of quality agro-processing products. Nigeria must take advantage of the opportunities in this sector to create non-oil sector jobs and raise its GDP,” he said.
Africa could become a net exporter of agricultural commodities, potentially replacing imports worth $110 billion. The continent could also double its market share for select processed commodities. The value of Africa’s agribusiness sector is expected to reach $1 trillion by 2030 and has been described the next “oil sector”.
“This investors’ forum is extremely critical. Those of us working in the sector will work closely with the African Development Bank and the government of Nigeria on this huge opportunity,” said businessman Mansur Mohammed Ahmed, Executive Director of the Dangote Group and Chairman of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN).
“We support the SAPZs intervention of the African Development Bank. Our Group is interested in investing in agri-inputs production and supply across the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones to be set up,” said Sadiz Kassim, Director at Tropical General Investments Group (TGI Group) − a major industry player.
Together with its development partners, the Bank is investing heavily to rapidly scale up agricultural production. The SAPZ’s depend on strong public and private sector partnerships
Cryptocurrency Is ‘Not Money’ – Trump
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.
“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.
GTBank Named Best Bank in Africa at Euromoney Awards
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.
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.”
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.
AfDB to meet Nigerian businesses leaders next week ahead of African Investment Forum
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.