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Aliko Dangote $20m transformative donation to The African Center focused on Policy, Business and Culture

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Hadeel Ibrahim, Co-Chair, The Africa Center; Aliko Dangote, Chairman, Aliko Dangote Foundation; Mo Ibrahim, Chair, Mo Ibrahim Foundation; Bill Gates, co-founder, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Halima Dangote, Board President. Photo taken on Monday, Sept. 23, 2019 in New York. (Loren Matthew /AP Images for The Africa Center)

Sharing in Dangote’s vision, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, also announced a new $5 million grant at the Future Africa Forum

LAGOS, Nigeria, October 2, 2019 – Peeved with the negative perception of Africa by the outside world, Chairman, Aliko Dangote Foundation, Aliko Dangote, on Monday, September 23, 2019 made a philanthropic donation of $20 million to The Africa Center in New York, United States of America towards reversing the trend.

Africa Center is a leading non-profit institution focused on challenging historical stereotype around the African continent and a hub for creating an intersection of African policy, business, and culture and recreating narratives about Africa’s economic and cultural significance today and into the future.

Sharing in Dangote’s vision, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, also announced a new $5 million grant at the Future Africa Forum. The Gates Foundation grant is directed to the Center’s capital campaign and for the development of its policy initiatives.

Other foundations, corporations, and individuals that provided leadership support for the capital campaign, including the Mo Ibrahim Family, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, were also recognised at yesterday’s event, which marked the conclusion of the second phase of construction.

In recognition of his love and unusual passion for the continent, Dangote was honoured as the main hall of The Africa Center, was named after him.

Named “The Africa Center at Aliko Dangote Hall”, speakers at the event which was part of The Future Africa Forum, praised the efforts of Dangote describing his various philanthropic interventions in Africa and beyond as very significant. The Forum was this year’s signature policy and business dialogue event of The Africa Center in partnership with the Aliko Dangote Foundation.

Dangote, Africa’s leading entrepreneur had announced that the donation was towards the completion of the second phase of The Africa Center’s physical space, which he described as transformative, thus enabling the Center to accelerate its capital campaign, to further activate its public spaces and programming, and support ongoing operations.

On why he made the landmark donation, Dangote said the donation through the Aliko Dangote Foundation is focused on supporting The Africa Center’s work in transforming global understanding of the continent and promoting partnership and collaboration between Africa and the rest of the world.

Said he: “the Africa Center is showcasing Africa in a contemporary, multifaceted manner as a center of innovation, growth, and limitless potential, which makes this project extremely important and worthy of support through my foundation.

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“There is an opportunity to establish new narratives about Africa today, with its unrivaled mix of people, ideas, and resources, which are both its greatest strength and the basis for its tremendous, untapped promise. The connections The Africa Center will make between Africa, the United States, and the rest of the world, including members of the Diaspora, are needed more now than ever before.”

In her remark, President of the Center and a Group Executive Director of Dangote Industries, Halima Aliko Dangote, who is also leading the Center’s successful capital campaign, described The Africa Center as an important gateway to understanding contemporary and future Africa and Africans.

Expressing appreciation towards the landmark gesture, the Chief Executive Officer of The Africa Center, Dr. Uzodinma Iweala said the Center was proud of the humongous support of the Aliko Dangote Foundation and the Dangote Family, whose vision for the future of the African continent is perfectly aligned with The Africa Center’s mission to advance African policy, business, and culture of the 21st century

He stated “We are profoundly grateful to the Aliko Dangote Foundation, the Mo Ibrahim family, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and all those whose generosity is enabling us to realise our plans to create a vibrant and essential center of ideas and action focused on the 54 nations and people of Africa and its Diaspora.

According to him, since launching its public programming in January 2019, The Africa Center has attracted and engaged thousands of visitors in a series of inaugural performances, installations, talks, readings, book signings, and film screenings.

“The Capital Campaign has received remarkable leadership support from institutions and individuals that recognise the role it has to play in building bridges between cultures in a globalised world village. That support has enabled us to complete the first two public spaces and activate them with programming that has already proven to be compelling and popular among our local community.

“We are building on this momentum by reaching out to additional business leaders and global philanthropists and asking them to invest in The Africa Center’s mission.”

The Cultural Affairs Commissioner, Tom Finkelpearl said “Congratulations to The Africa Center on the announcement of this extraordinary gift from the Aliko Dangote Foundation and the conclusion of another phase of construction, marking the latest milestones for this important addition to NYC’s cultural landscape.”

“The City is pleased to have contributed over $4 million in public capital support for the Center, which is already offering vibrant programming that solidifies NYC’s connections with contemporary Africa and provides a new anchor for Museum Mile at the northern end of Central Park.”

The Africa Center is transforming the world’s understanding of Africa, its Diaspora and the role of people of African descent in the world; serving as the hub for the exchange of ideas around culture, business, and policy related to the continent, and in the spirit of collaboration and engagement with individuals and institutions who share the Center’s values.

The Africa Center inspires enthusiasm, and advances thought and action around Africa’s global influence and impact on the inhabitants’ collective futures. This mission is guided by a leadership team that includes Board President Halima Aliko Dangote, Board Co-Chairs Hadeel Ibrahim and Chelsea Clinton, and CEO Dr. Uzodinma Iweala.

The Africa Center’s physical presence on Fifth Avenue at the intersection of Harlem and the Museum Mile is a location that embodies the dynamism and diversity of Africa and its Diaspora in the heart of New York City. Caples Jefferson Architects (CJA) was engaged in 2016 to design the facility, responding to The Africa Center’s ethos as an experimental, inclusive institution fostering business, policy, and cultural exchange locally and globally.

To serve the Center’s programming, the New York-based firm designed a receptive, flexible, and expansive structure, its Museum Mile location in East Harlem contextualized architecturally and programmatically.

The Africa Center is a platform for sharing new ideas and strategies that challenge the structures and systems that support one-dimensional narratives of the continent, and that inform policies and ultimately affect the lives of African people, those of African descent, and the future of Africa.

The event included a fireside chat with Mr. Dangote, Mr. Gates, and Mo Ibrahim, founder of Mobile Systems International (MSI), Celtel International, Founding Chairman of Satya Capital Limited, and Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, about the future of African business.

Dangote Group

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Aradei Capital welcomes South African shareholder PIC in its Shareholding

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PIC invests USD 50 million in Aradei Capital

The Public Investment Corporation (PIC), on behalf of its client, the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) of South Africa, has acquired a 13% stake in Aradei Capital for USD 50 million.

Aradei Capital is a real estate platform headquartered in Morocco that specializes in commercial real estate assets. It has a presence in 15 cities across Morocco. Through this investment, the PIC joins other reputable investors in Aradei Capital that include the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Label’Vie (LBV), a leading food retailer and franchisee of the Carrefour brand in Morocco, SANAM Holding and Best Financière which has interests in large and medium retail properties in Morocco.

Aradei Capital aims to be a leading platform in commercial real estate in Morocco since the country recently enacted legislation that enables real estate investment trust (REIT).

Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 crisis, the completion of this transaction is a testament to the strong fundamentals and growth prospect still forecasted in this segment.

“We are proud to welcome the GEPF to the shareholding and look forward to a long-term partnership” said Mr. Nawfal Bendefa, CEO of Aradei Capital. “This capital investment is key to funding our identified pipeline and we anticipate strong growth emerging from this global COVID-19 crisis. We expect such growth will be driven by a migration to commercial real estate with higher standards” he added.

This transaction is a mixed capital increase and a partial block-sale of shares held by the EBRD. Mrs. Marie-Alexandra Veilleux-Laborie, EBRD Director for Morocco, commented: “Our investment in Aradei Capital demonstrates our strategy in promoting innovative financings and capital market development in Morocco. The EBRD supported the company’s governance and growth, which have enabled it to attract a new foreign investment with the entry of PIC as a large international institutional investor. We look forward to remaining an active shareholder and further contributing to the development of commercial real estate in the country.”

Mr. Vuyani Hako, the PIC’s acting Chief Executive Officer believes the investment in Aradei Capital is in line with its Africa Property strategy. “We believe that partnerships are essential for us to deliver on the Africa strategy. Aradei Capital has the necessary expertise in Morocco that will enable us to deliver on our partnership approach to investing in African property markets”.

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“We are, particularly excited about future growth prospects informed by Aradei Capital’s clear and solid strategy to diversify into new asset categories and other yield generating real estate asset classes. We believe that our client, the GEPF, stands to benefit from this investment in the long run,” he added.

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Prepare For Resurgent Property Markets In Africa

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Derrick Roper, Managing Director of Novare Real Estate

Despite current circumstances – dominated by the human and economic cost of Covid-19 – the African real estate investment cycle will return to its long-term trajectory of accelerated development, driven by economic fundamentals and demographics.

Derrick Roper, Managing Director of private equity specialist, Novare Real Estate, says that, in time, African property markets will continue to reward resilient investors with superior returns. In the short-term, the impact of Covid-19 will be felt particularly in terms of movement restrictions that result in customers preferring to order takeaways while bulk purchasing essential products.

On the plus side, Roper says African real estate has experienced less of an impact due to the coronavirus because there are fewer cases and the continent relies less on tourism and international visitors compared with the US, Europe and Asia.

“The longer-term prospects for African property, driven by market fundamentals, remain promising. The opportunity for investors is that the uncertainty as a result of Covid-19 is likely to bring to the market quality assets at very competitive prices. Novare’s existing portfolio of properties across three economies is well positioned for the up-turn.”

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Novare Real Estate has been developing commercial property in sub-Saharan Africa for over a decade, financing and building projects that meet the growing demand for a modern shopping and office experience.

Roper says that African markets still offer significant investment and development opportunity given the short supply of A-grade commercial real estate. With supportive demographics and some of the fastest growing economies in the world, these markets are inherently sustainable and capable of producing risk-appropriate long-term investment returns for investors.

Supporting his positive outlook, Roper notes the performance momentum that was building up across the group’s portfolio of properties in Zambia, Mozambique and Nigeria prior to the onset of Covid-19.

“Before government rules designed to contain the coronavirus in various African cities by curtailing the movement of people, Novare’s malls and offices had been enjoying brisk trade and visitor numbers that were well up on the previous year. Our developments are relatively new and are establishing as preferred retail hubs with ever-increasing occupancy rates of between 80% and 95%.”

For example, Novare Lekki mall in Nigeria’s most populous city, Lagos, attracted 7.3 million visitors during 2019, a 40% increase in footfall compared to 2018.

Novare Apo in the capital city of Abuja recorded 1.7 million visitors in 2019, in line with the footfall achieved in the previous year. Novare Gateway, also in Abuja increased its foot count by 33% in 2019 to 3.3 million people.

The new Novare Central development – comprising a single-level retail shopping centre with A-grade offices on the first, second and third floors – in the vibrant Wuse area of Abuja experienced visitor numbers in the fourth quarter of 2019 that were over 20% higher than in the fourth quarter of 2018.

At Novare Great North in Lusaka, Zambia total footfall for 2019 was 3.36 million compared to 2.24 million customers in 2018, a 50% increase year-on-year.Novare Pinnacle mall, also in Lusaka, opened in March 2019 with a very satisfactory 4.4 million foot count over the nine-month period to December.

In Mozambique, more than two million customers visited Novare Matola during 2019, an increase of 82% on the footfall achieved in 2018.The increase in traffic to Novare Matola improved tenant trade which, in turn, resulted in the increased recovery of rental arears and decreasing rental concessions.

Financial concessions have also played a role in Novare assisting tenants through lockdowns and other restrictive measures in response to the pandemic.

Says Roper: “We’ve had to adjust to rapidly changing circumstances, renegotiating and reducing gearing levels across the portfolio. Also working closely with successful retail tenants to support them in all aspects to ensure they trade and offer essential products and services to customers.”

In oil-producing countries like Nigeria, the collapse in the oil price has compounded economic problems caused by Covid-19.

“With the exception of gold, we expect commodity prices to remain subdued this year, contributing to poor economic growth prospects. Looking further ahead, Novare anticipates that the recovering global economy will support commodity prices and expansion in Africa. This, combined with supportive demographics, will help return Sub-Saharan African property to its growth trajectory,” says Roper.

Novare Real Estate’s developments are through its Mauritius-listed property funds – Novare Africa Property Fund I and II. Fund I was closed in June 2010 after raising $81 million, while Fund II raised $351 million and had its final close on 30 June 2016.

The group’s aim is to deliver superior long-term investment returns for clients who are mainly institutional investors, including African pension funds. To optimise the success of its projects, Novare adopts a hands-on approach, with an on-the-ground presence in the countries in which it undertakes developments.

“Our team boasts unrivalled expertise in investment management, property development and facilities management. Novare takes pride in the contribution our projects make towards infrastructure development, economic growth and sustainable employment in the communities where we operate. The intention is to expand our geographical reach to include opportunities in Uganda, Ghana and Kenya,” says Roper.

Novare Real Estate

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Launching a business without funding

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Ezinne Nwokafor- Head, Startup banking at Sterling Bank Nigeria.

Often times, while working with small businesses, it seems almost impossible to start a business without looking to investors or banks for support. In this post, I will attempt to show you ways of starting a business with your own savings.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with getting the RIGHT kind of funding while starting off, but you need to pay really good attention to avoid entering into a deep debt cycle.

To start off, bear in mind that I am making an assumption that you have a little savings to start-off. It is most advisable to start with your own funds. This shows your commitment to your business and how serious you take it.

So let’s get right straight into it. How do you start and launch your business without looking for funding:

  • Open a website and sell people’s goods and services.
  • Start off online business with your skill set – Some DIY, home tutoring, consulting, etc.
  • Become a freelancer. Check out my post on this – http://wix.to/UUCiBmk
  • Look for Co-working or shared spaces instead of purchasing a property or renting. This will go a long way in reducing your startup operating costs and give you the right leverage to start lean
  • Share or rent equipment. Depending on the product or service you are offering, you can consider sharing or renting equipment on a case by case until you build the capital you require.
  • Outsource certain job roles. Now if a role is not significant to the production, creation or distributing of your product or service, then outsource. There are so many freelancing professionals that you pay as they render a service. This will significantly reduce overhead cost.
  • Consider partnering with a Co-Founder when launching. This is especially true when you do not have the skill sets required to take the business to a certain level. Do not be scared of entering a partnership, just ensure all the legal checks are in place and then just dig in.

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  • Apply to the numerous Grant opportunities. This is another great area to fund your startup business. There are lots of Grants available to businesses. Some are gender, sector, experience, location specific whilst others are generic. I will make a post soon on how to successfully apply for a grant.
  • Trade by barter – Yes, I know you will be sceptical about this, but this is a really good strategy. For instance, if you want to sell your product or service online, you can consider looking for an Influencer or just people with say 5,000 followers to hype your product or service in exchange for you offering it to them for free. Look out for other of such opportunities. It really pays.
  • Consider partnering with contractors to build your solution with a sign-off on percentage compensation for a period years. This is especially relevant to Tech solutions.
  • Family and Friends – Now these are our “ride or die” crew. Although I need to add that it is sometimes tough to get this set of people to believe in your idea but they provide a reliable source for financial support. Consider ways for them to assist, from sharing contents, hyping on social media pages, financial support, access to market, connections, etc.

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