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Nigeria floors JPMorgan Chase over $875m Malabu oil money

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A High Court in London headed by Justice Andrew Burrows has granted Nigeria’s plea to allow it proceed with the trial of JPMorgan Chase.

The bank is alleged to have enabled the misappropriation of state funds totalling $875 million over the Oil Prospecting License, OPL 245.

Mr Salihu Isah, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, (SAN) revealed this in Abuja on Friday in a press statement.

Isah disclosed that JPMorgan Chase, a US bank had failed to halt the prosecution brought against it by the Federal Government.

He said Justice Burrows in a 26-page verdict on Thursday stated that Nigeria had “reasonable grounds” for bringing a claim to the commercial division of the High Court, meaning it could now proceed to trial.

“The judge averred that, the bank, which is the defendant, failed to establish that the claimant(FG) had no real prospect of success.

” He said the bank ought to suspect the payments were fraudulent and therefore had a duty to protect the Federal Republic of Nigeria until its concerns were cleared up.

“That duty of care entails that the bank could not simply follow the mandate of abiding by the instructions given by the claimant because the bank’s duty of care, as its core, was to protect the claimant against being defrauded by not paying out unless and until it was ‘off inquiry”, the Judge insisted.

Isah also said that at a hearing this month, JPMorgan Chase had argued that the case should be dismissed as it had received sufficient approvals from Nigerian authorities.

This, he said was before allowing the transfer of funds from a government account to those controlled by former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mr Dan Etete.

“The payments, after a 2011 settlement, aimed to end several years of battle over the ownership of a lucrative but controversial oil licence that has ensnared Royal Dutch Shell and Eni in corruption investigations in Milan, Italy.

“The licence for the c block was shuffled back and forth between Shell and Malabu Oil & Gas, a Nigerian oil company controlled by Etete and which was first awarded development rights in 1998 when he was also in charge of petroleum resources.”

Isah further revealed that Nigeria had filed a separate $1.1 billion legal claim against Shell and Eni to recover sums lost to corruption and the unlawful activity of the two energy majors.

On its part, Shell and Eni have said their deal with the Federal Government was legal and that the payment was made to the government and they had no part to play in what happened to the money afterwards.

-NAN (The Jakarta Post)
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Press Release

Eksab Raises $500,000 Investment for its Daily Fantasy Sports Platform

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Eksab co-founder and CEO, Aly
Mahmoud (Source: Eksab)

Cairo, Egypt: Eksab, the leading Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) platform in the Middle East and
Africa, announced an investment of USD $500,000 from 4DX Ventures as well as other
strategic investors within the international sports and entertainment ecosystem.

“Daily Fantasy Sports and monetized competitions are a multi-billion dollar a year industry in the US,” said Co-Founder and CEO Aly Mahmoud. “Our goal is to become the premier sports entertainment company in the MEA region by offering exciting Fantasy Sports competitions as well as highly engaging local sports content.”

With over 1 billion football fans across the Middle East and Africa, Eksab’s goal is to make every match more exciting. Users sign up to the platform at www.yallaeksab.com, join both
free and paid competitions, make predictions on live international football games, collect
points based on the accuracy of their predictions and then get rewarded with prizes or cash. “We’re bringing the FanDuel and DraftKings model to the world’s largest football market,” continued Aly Mahmoud.

With the investment from 4DX Ventures, Eksab plans to scale its product to the millions of football fans in the region with the goal of launching its first paid competitions over the next year. Peter Orth, Partner at 4DX shared – “We see the region as one of the most exciting and underserved markets for a sports entertainment platform. We’ve been really impressed with Aly’s vision for a next generation and technology driven platform that is also highly tailored to local fans and their preferences. We’re excited to be on this journey with Aly and the rest of the Eksab team.”

“Our ultimate goal is to provide an unmatched daily source of entertainment, engagement
and content for the region’s football fans” highlighted Aly Mahmoud.

“There has never been a more exciting time to be a football fan in the Middle East and Africa. Over the next year, we plan to work with a select group of partners to make the experience even more immersive. We’re excited to have 4DX with us on this journey.”, added Aly
Mahmoud.

Issued by Eksab

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Investment

30 Reasons To Invest In Egypt

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Egypt, one of the oldest civilizations, is today becoming one of the hottest investment destinations. Seven years ago, the Egyptian government adopted a long-term strategy to boost the performance and economic attractiveness of the country. Starting with monetary reforms with the assistance of the IMF, Egypt has implemented one of the most successful programs of economic turnaround. The Egyptian experience was praised by all international institutions and is presented as the example for developing countries to follow.

In parallel with monetary reforms, the authorities have been conducting many infrastructure megaprojects (transportation, energy, digital transformation, legislative) to prepare Egypt for a long period of sustainable growth.

The fruits of these reforms and huge investments are already having an impact on the Egyptian economy. Based on IMF predictions, Egypt will be one of only 18 countries to enjoy economic growth in 2020 (revised upwards to + 3.5% in September after a June forecast of 2%). Long-term growth should be close to 8%.

Growth is accelerating, and business opportunities are emerging like nowhere else in the world. Egypt is clearly open for business. Having worked during 20 years in 15 countries located in 3 continents, I can confirm that the magnitude of change achieved by Egypt, greatly surpasses anything I have seen before.

Below, you will find 30 strong reasons why you should consider Egypt as your next investment destination.

Investors will find many market opportunities in Egypt, as well as untapped growth potential

1) Vast market, thanks to a large (100 million) and young (average age 25) population, which is expected to reach 160 million by 2050.

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2) One of the most diversified emerging economies, making Egypt resilient to crisis and economic cycles.

3) No. 1 investment destination in Africa and the Middle East.

4) The eighth-highest contributor to global growth in 2019 (PPP-based), according to Bloomberg, thanks to multiple growth engines.

Infrastructure is ready to support business growth

5) Ranked 28th worldwide for road quality, thanks to the huge investments undertaken by the government (Egypt was ranked 115th as recently as five years ago).

6) Cheap, abundant, and diversified energy sources (gas, solar, hydro, wind, and nuclear).

• Excess capacity of 15 gigawatts -after a deficit in 2013- exported t oneighbouring countries.

• Regional center for gas transformation and export to Europe, thanks to large reserves and established processing facilities.

• One of the largest solar parks in the world, Benban, covering 37.2 km2 and visible from space, producing 4 TWh of electricity per year.

7) Determination to boost green energy production and use.

• Renewable energy target at 60% by 2035

First country in the MENA region to issue green bonds5X oversubscribed

• National program to replace gasoline by LNG and to rely in the near future on locally produced electric vehicles.

8) Tripling of Internet speed in just 12 months and still accelerating.

9) 887 new laws passed, and 294 international treaties ratified in the last five years to attract foreign investors and increase the efficiency of government services.

• new investment law.

• digitization of customs.

• digitization of tax collection.

• many more initiatives expected particularly in the new administrative capital.

10) Already signed trade treaties giving free access to 2.6 billion people including 47 European countries, and 19 Eastern and southern African countries (Comesa).

The geographical location of Egypt has always been an unmatched advantage throughout human history.

11) Proximity to many European markets, gateway to Africa, regional hub for the Middle East (confirmed by Amazon’s recent decision to set-up in Egypt its regional manufacturing hub ).

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12) What can we say about the Suez Canal, through which 10% of the world’s traffic moves?

13) Spared from most natural catastrophes such as hurricanes, volcanos, cyclones, and tsunamis.

The 100 million population offers an immense pool of talent

 Photo by ThisIsEngineering from Pexels

14) 569,000 fresh graduates in 2018, including 30,000 engineers and 8,000 doctors (compared with 6,000 annual medical graduates in Germany).

15) 125 general universities by 2030 teaching disciplines most in demand, such as robotics, artificial intelligence, health-tech, IoT, an increase from the current 72 universities.

16) Ranked 56th out of 172 countries in Government AI Readiness Index, jumping 63 places in a single year.

17) Wide use of European languages, particularly English, making Egypt a hub for international call centers (e.g. Vodafone).

18) Cheap labor, thanks to the low cost of living: average monthly salaries are $150 for workers and $400 for engineers.

19) Strong healthcare system, thanks to 1848 hospitals in 2018 (1400 in France) powered by a brand-new healthcare law based on best practices from the UK, US, and French systems.

Egypt offers a rich and mature business environment

20) 38 commercial banks, 39 insurance companies, many investment banks, numerous law firms, specialized local and international management consulting companies, multiple chambers of commerce for specific sectors or bilateral cooperation with foreign countries, several governmental bodies providing reliable data about the Egyptian market (CAPMAS, ECES), rich choice of office space, free zones benefitting from exemptions from customs taxes, sales tax, and many other fees.

The new administrative capital of Egypt

21) A sound banking system considered the most efficient worldwide (cost-to-income ratio less than 30%).

22) Egypt hosts 138 foreign embassies, higher than the 121 embassies in the UAE and the 112 embassies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

23) Price purchasing parity (PPP) of 4.33 according to the world bank , making Egypt four times cheaper than the US (and even cheaper compared to many European countries).

24) Ranked the eighth-safest country in the world, according to a Gallup Global Law and Order report, ahead of all European countries except Norway and Switzerland.

Egypt is beating all macroeconomic targets

25) Strong long-term growth prospects averaging between 6% and 8%; one of only 18 countries (and the only country in the MENA region) expected to have positive economic growth in 2020 (+ 3.5%), according to the IMF; same positive outlook for the European bank for reconstruction and development, making Egypt the only economy across all of the EBRD regions likely to escape recession in 2020.

26) Seventh-largest economy by PPP in 2030, according to Standard chartered predictions.

 Photo by Lukas from Pexels

27) Stable currency: one of the few emerging currencies to appreciate against the dollar in 2020 (+ 2.1% YTD on October 31st).

28) Political stability proven by the smooth democratic process to elect the representatives of both parliament chambers in 2020.

29) Shrinking trade deficit, increasing remittances (+ 7.8% year on year after seven months of 2020), rebound of Egypt’s reserve of foreign currencies to reach USD 38 billion, covering eight months of imports.

30) Second-highest real interest rate in the world, despite recent rate cuts, making Egypt the new darling of emerging markets, foreign investors’ holdings of government T-bills reached $21 billion in mid-October, up from $10.4 billion by the end of May 2020, only country in the Middle East and Africa to maintain its credit rating with a stable outlook at the big three rating agencies, despite Covid-19 challenges.

On top of all these rational reasons, Egypt offers a magnificent climate, splendid sandy beaches, rich coral seas, mind-blowing historical monuments, and a most vibrant social life. All these additional aspects offer a superb quality of life for foreign expats.

Last but not least, Egyptians are genuinely one of the warmest and most friendly people on earth, bonding easily and appreciating long-lasting relationships.

So, what are you waiting for? Come to Egypt and we will help you explore investment opportunities!

Author: Nadim Samna, Managing Partner at Stratexis

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CEO Corner

Christa Sanders Bobtoya: The Woman Advancing International Education in Africa

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Christa Sanders Bobtoya has been involved in the field of international education for the last two decades. She has lived in Accra, Ghana since 2004 and is currently the Director/Head of Webster University’s Ghana Campus, the only American university in the sub-region offering US-accredited graduate and undergraduate degrees. Sanders Bobtoya spent her first decade in Ghana as the Associate Director of New York University’s (NYU) 6th global site and the university’s first study abroad program on the African continent.  As the head of Webster Ghana, she works daily to fulfill the University’s mission of providing high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence. 

“I have always been passionate about education, international travel and intercultural experiences.  In my role of Director of Webster University Ghana Campus, I am able to fuse together all of my passions where I work daily to fulfill the University’s mission of providing high quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence,” says Sanders Bobtoya who is committed to promoting international educational opportunities to students worldwide and has worked and studied in Spain, Germany, Ethiopia, Ghana, Brazil and the United States. 

Sanders Bobtoya has traveled extensively across 5 continents, spanning 85 countries dedicating much of her career to the field of higher education and managing study abroad programs as well as international branch campuses of US institutions both in Europe and Africa. 

Previous experiences have included a role as a Program Officer for the Institute of International Education (IIE) in New York where she managed a range of scholarship programs for both Latin American and African students through the Institute’s Scholarship and Training Programs (STP) division and as the Chief Counselor of Students for Syracuse University in Madrid, Spain where she also co-founded a support organization, Voices of Change, to help students of color cope with discrimination outside of the United States.  Additionally,  Sanders Bobtoya has provided cross-cultural counseling services in Berlin, Germany and developed short-term, faculty-led study abroad programs to both Eastern and Western Africa for Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia, and has consulted a number of educational institutions focused on international educational initiatives such as Stanford University, Dartmouth College and the Council of International Education (CIEE), the world’s largest international educational exchange organizations.
 

Currently, in the role of Director/Head of Webster University’s Ghana Campus; the only American university in the sub-region offering US-accredited graduate and undergraduate degrees, Sanders Bobtoya works daily to fulfill the University’s mission of providing high quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence.

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“Under my leadership at Webster University Ghana, students are exposed to new ways of thinking and benefit from the cultural diversity and enriching academic environment that strengthens their critical-thinking skills. Since opening our doors in 2014, we have enrolled both undergraduate and graduate students from over 25 different countries, spanning four continents including many from Africa and its Diaspora who later join Webster’s elite network of over 157,000 alumni worldwide,” adds Christa Sanders-Bobtoya who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Spanish from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia where she graduated summa cum laude before completing her Ed.M and M.A. degrees in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in cross-cultural studies/multiculturalism from Columbia University in New York.

Learn More about Webster University Ghana at the Online Open House 

http://www.webster.edu.gh/

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