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UK-Africa Investment Summit 2020: Investors urged to speed up economic role on the continent

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London, United Kingdom- January 20, 2020- UK companies must leap at the chance to deepen economic ties with Africa, a continent with unmatched investment opportunities, several African leaders said at a high-level panel.

At an oversubscribed opening ceremony for the 2020 UK-Africa Investment Summit, Monday, attended by dignitaries and delegates from 16 African countries, including President El Sisi of Egypt, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made the case for bigger investments in Africa and called for increased and renewed partnership  between  the UK and Africa.

Referring to Africa as a booming continent with “staggering levels of growth,” Prime Minister Johnson said:  “Look around the world today and you will swiftly see that the UK is not only the obvious partner of choice, we’re also very much the partner of today, of tomorrow and decades to come,” he said in his opening address.

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The UK-Africa Investment Summit, the first of its kind hosted by the UK Government, was attended by the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, the international development secretary, Alok Sharma, and Prince Harry.

The President of Ghana, Nana Akufo Addo, of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, of Mauritania, Mohamed Ould Cheikh el Ghazouani,  African  Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina, and Secretary of State for International Development, MP Alok Sharma, addressed a plenary panel discussion on ‘Sustainable Finance and Infrastructure – Unlocking the City of London and UK financial services for growth in Africa.’

President Kenyatta who rang the opening bell at the London Stock Exchange (LSE) marking the launch of Kenya’s first green bond at the LSE, made the case for innovative and sustainable investments in energy infrastructure. “We all must think out of the box in terms of energy…to ensure we produce more green energy. This first-ever sovereign green bond of $41.45 million will be used to build environmentally-friendly student accommodation in Kenya.”

Responding to a question about UK-Ghana partnerships, President Nana Akufo-Addo said in a world where Africa’s wealth is undisputed, “the City of London can play a significant role in bridging Africa’s huge infrastructure gap… and LSE can be a pivot in the new relationship with the continent. Indeed, 1 in 4 consumers will live in Africa by 2030,” President Akufo-Addo said.

African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina announced a new $80 million Bank-DFID infrastructure financing partnership.

According to Adesina, the continent’s $68-$108 billion infrastructure investment gap per year is massive, but it depends on how you look at it. “Either the cup is half full or half empty. To us, that is a $68-$108 billion opportunity.”

Adesina added, “The issue of risk in Africa is exaggerated. The risk of loss is lower than Latin America. Yet, funds are not being channeled into Africa. There are $8 trillion of assets under management in London, but only 1 percent is invested in Africa.”

The Bank president urged investors to look to Africa and recalled the achievements of the Africa Investment Forum – a game-changing initiative led by the African Development Bank and key partners, to accelerate investment in the continent. The unique multi-sector platform is designed to advance bankable deals to financial closure. At the 2019 Forum, which took place in Johannesburg, South Africa, deals valued at $40.1 billion secured investment interest.

President Mohamed Ould Cheikh el Ghazouani of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, shared opportunities offered by the blue ocean economy and substantial reforms currently under way to attract foreign investors.

“We have reinforced security along our coasts. Other measures include the establishment of a Council on Investment. These huge efforts are showing tremendous results and it is giving comfort to investors,” he noted.

The African continent is home to eight of the 15 fastest-growing economies in the world. By 2030, 42% of the world’s youth will be African and will constitute an incredible workforce and potential consumers.

In his concluding remarks, UK Secretary of State for International Development, MP Alok Sharma expressed confidence in the continent. “Africa has a fabulous future.” Sharma announced five partnerships to mobilise private sector investment in quality infrastructure on the continent. “The City of London can play a role in mobilizing resources for Africa,” Sharma said.

Speaking earlier, Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a major announcement on the UK’s policy on climate change.

“From today, the British government will no longer provide any new direct development assistance for thermal coal mining or coal power plants overseas,” Johnson said.

The declaration aligns with the African Development Bank’s green agenda aimed at increasing investment in renewable energy. President Adesina announced last year at the UN General Assembly that the Bank was moving away from investing in coal.

African Development Bank

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Mohamed Sekkina Digs Dip Into Quick Commerce at Consoleya

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Mohamed Sekkina, General Manager of leading quick commerce platform, talabat mart, hosted the latest “Business Meetup” session organized by Consoleya on “Understanding and Seizing Quick Commerce.” The event took place on Tuesday 26th of July at 6 pm.

“Our biggest pride is not only rooted in introducing quick commerce to the region, but that we are still innovating as the market leader. Leveraging the world-class tech of Delivery Hero and localizing it to fit our local market needs is what enables us to achieve such remarkable results and continue offering an ultra-convenient experience,” said Sekkina during the session.

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Having grown talabat mart’s footprint by 200% and increased profitability by 50% during the last six months, Sekkina shared his hands-on experience and deep knowledge of the market with over 70 attendees from the startup and tech ecosystem.

Mohamed Sekkina took the attendees on talabat mart’s inspiring journey and detailed how the leading platform is able to deliver thousands of orders per day through technology and customer-obsession. Stressing on the importance of being efficient, hyperlocal and adaptive as key to the journey of scaling up and reaching profitability.

The session also touched upon the operational reality of running a quick commerce platform, such as setting-up dark stores on an average of three weeks, innovating to earn consumers’ trust and steadily shifting mindsets in favor of online shopping.

He explored the factors that prepared quick commerce to skyrocket and drew parallels between traditional retail and quick commerce – highlighting that the business model brings businesses closer to customers in unprecedented ways. Which in turn, positions dark stores as sustainable on the business and environment front.  

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Shelter Afrique records US$1.04M in net profit for 2021

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Shelter Afrique Ag. Managing Director Kingsley Muwowo(left) and Shelter Afrique Company Secretary Mrs. Juliette Kavuruganda present a gift to the Vice President of the Republic of Zimbabwe General (Rtd.) Dr. Incumbent Chiwenga after he officially opened Shelter Afrique 41st AGM currently underway in Victoria Fall, Zimbabwe (Image supplied).

Pan African housing development financier Shelter Afrique has posted an operating profit of US$ 1.04 million up from operating loss of US$ 0.58 million the Company recorded in 2020, backed by impairment recoveries and effective cost control measures.

The Company contained its operating expenses at US$ 8.04 million in 2021 down from US$ 8.44 million in 2020, representing a 10% decline. It also reined in its operating expenses which dropped from US$ 8.35 million in 2020 to US$ 7.71 million in 2021. The Company’s gross income, however, declined slightly to US$12.09 in 2021, down from US$13.94 recorded in 2020.

Addressing Shareholders at the 41st Annual General Meeting held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, Shelter Afrique Chairman Mr. Ephraim Bichetero said the transformational initiatives undertaken by the Company and its business’ resilience enabled the Company to weather the COVID storm.

“This profit continues to build on Shelter Afrique’s commitment to returning to full Financial Sustainability, one of the Company’s 3 Strategic Goals, along with Enhancing Shareholder Value & Development Impact and Organisational Sustainability. I wish to commend the board, management and staff for their continued efforts towards achieving the desired results ahead of time,” Mr. Bichetero said.

The AGM which kicked off on July 25 under the theme: Climate Change and the Built Environment, in reference to the Glasgow Conference of Parties (COP26), will close on July 30.

Financial Viability

In the 2019-2023 Strategic Plan, the Company projected a return to financial viability by 2020 and overall financial sustainability and profitability by 2023, a feat that it achieved two years ahead of schedule.

“Our 2021 financial performance, despite the macroeconomic and socio-political environment, is an indication that the turnaround plan recommended by the board and approved by shareholders continues to be the north-star on our course to returning to financial stability and viability. As management, we are encouraged by this and look forward to the challenge of the coming years,” said Shelter Afrique Group Ag. Managing Director and Kingsley Muwowo.

During the year under review total assets declined by 5 per cent from US$ 176.68 million in 2020 to US$ 167.31 Million in 2021, attributed to the 100 per cent reduction in settlement of the total debt following the repayment of US$ 34.71 Million.

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Liquidity decreased by 33% per cent from US$ 47.41 million in 2020 to US$ 31.59 million in 2021, attributed to significant debt servicing payments on the CFA Bond and DRA debt amounting to US$ 35.87 million. However, the liquidity ratio still remained strong, closing at 19 per cent, which is 4 percent points above the minimum threshold of 15 per cent. Shareholder Funds increased by 19 percent from US$135.74Million in 2020 to US$ 161.60 Million in 2021 due to the new capital subscriptions of US$24.85 million and the profit of US$ 1.04 Million for the year. This increase brings the total paid-up capital by 15 per cent, from US$ 157.29 million in 2020 to US$ 182.14 million in 2021.

“We are grateful to our shareholders for their unwavering support through the continued capitalisation of the Company, with US$ 24 million received in 2021 against a target of US$ 17 million. The receipt of these funds was achieved amidst severe fiscal constraints, and we are conscious of this,” Mr. Muwowo said.

Mr. Muwowo added that the Company would continue to review various capital raising options, including new equity capital and debt options through the issuance of local currency bonds to develop and deepen Africa’s capital markets.

“We recently completed a debut ₦46 billion (US$110.7 million) Series 1 Fixed Rate Senior Unsecured Bond Issuance in Nigeria’s capital market under its ₦200 billion (US$481.3 million) bond issuance programme for housing and urban development in Nigeria.  We plan similar bond issuance in East African markets including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda,” Mr. Muwowo said.

New Managing Director

Meanwhile, Shelter Afrique shareholders have approved the appointment of Thierno-Habib Hann as the company’s new Managing Director. Mr. Hann will replace Mr. Andrew Chimphondah who left the company in February. Mr. Hann has extensive international experience in housing finance, capital markets and structured finance, set-up and management of investment funds with banking and multilateral institutions.  Currently, he is the Asia-Pacific Lead for housing finance & capital markets at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), based in Bangkok and previously in charge of Africa and the Middle East, based in Nairobi.

“The process was very competitive, and Mr. Hann was selected based on merit and competence. He is expected to strengthen governance, be an embodiment of our values and drive the investment strategy of the Company focused on delivering large-scale affordable housing,” Mr. Bichetero said.

Mr. Hann will join the organization once he completes his current contract with the International Finance Corporation. In the interim Mr. Muwowo will continue to serve as Acting Managing Director.

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Fitch revises ARC Limited’s Outlook to Positive; affirms IFS Rating at ‘BBB+’

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Fitch Ratings has revised African Risk Capacity (ARC) Limited’s Outlook to Positive from Stable and has also affirmed its Insurer Financial Strength (IFS) rating at ‘BBB+’ and Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at ‘BBB’.

Announcing the news, the credit rating agency commented that this Outlook revision reflects ARC Limited’s “strong progress in meeting its development objectives, which if sustained, could support a stronger company profile assessment within the next two years”.

It added: “In Fitch’s view, the improvement in ARC’s premium base, risk pool and claim pay-outs enhances the company’s geographic diversification, franchise and operating scale. In addition, the improved reach of the company’s development activities is likely to further increase its importance to sponsors.”

Says Lesley Ndlovu, ARC Limited CEO: “We are delighted with this revision of our Outlook to Positive which reflects the work we have done to raise our company profile and improve portfolio diversification.

“We are confident that the support from our sponsors will only grow as we expand ARC Limited’s impact on the African continent in terms of our development activities and the number of parametric insurance pay-outs we have been making in 2022 to respond to cyclones and droughts.”

In addition to its strong growth in gross written premiums (GWP) in 2021, ARC Limited’s support from and oversight by the German development bank KfW through the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) were cited as reasons for the revision.  

ARC Limited’s key strength, adds Fitch, is its capital position. “We regard the returnable capital provided by KfW/BMZ and the FCDO of USD70 million at end-2021 as fully loss-absorbing, and consequently treat it as equity capital when assessing capitalisation and leverage. On this basis, ARC scored ‘Extremely Strong’ on Fitch’s Prism Factor-Based Capital Model based on end-2021 figures, unchanged from 2020. Fitch expects that further capital support could be made available as ARC continues to achieve its development goals.

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ARC’s regulatory capitalisation is strong, with a Bermuda enhanced capital requirement ratio of 796% at end-2021 (2020: 1,628%),” it said.

“While our product portfolio is concentrated, dominated mainly by drought insurance, we are actively diversifying this. To that end, we introduced tropical cyclone cover in 2020 and are also expanding our offering to cover outbreak and epidemic, and flooding risks. In addition, we are expanding our insurance offering to non-sovereign entities and working to increase the number of African countries covered in our risk pool. Which we believe will help to elevate our standing in future Fitch ratings,” Ndlovu concludes.

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