Connect with us

BUSINESS

Access Bank Commences Accelerator Program, To Empower Startups Through Africa Fintech Foundry

Published

on

The Africa Fintech Foundry (AFF), an initiative of Access Bank Plc has commenced its accelerator programs.

The initiative is set to empower emerging startups, with mentorship programs, advisory and has committed N10 million in cash to the top three finalists.

The accelerator program which opened its entries last month received 306 registrations and after rigorous assessments were later shortlisted to 30 participants.

These finalists were further screened by the Head of the Africa Fintech Foundry, Mr. Daniel Awe; Group Head, Emerging Businesses, Access Bank, Mrs. Ayodele Olojede; and Vice President, Investments MBO Capital, and Fintech Consultant, Mr. Oshone Ikazobor, in a bid to narrow it down to 10 -15 finalist.

Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Awe said the AFF was committed to empowering startups with resources and ensuring start-ups are equipped to scale their businesses.

He said: “If a start-up has an idea and you throw it into a market of 42 million customers, the acceleration is going to be faster. So, it is using the entire ecosystem of our group to build the future of the country.”

“In the next 10 years, these guys coming here we see them becoming a unicorn worth over $100 million and a season is coming where would see these startups becoming the next drivers of our economy.”

On funding available for the start-ups, he added: “Funding is based on ideas and what would be required to move the idea forward. We have a commitment of about N10 million. After they come into the accelerator program, there are a top-three but the other ones are going to be exposed to investors.

“This initiative would have a direct impact on the economy because it is targeted at the medium scale businesses and these are the businesses that can change economies in terms of reducing employment rate and socioeconomic levels.”

Also speaking at the event, the Head, Retail Product Insight and Capabilities, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Rob Giles said: “We are looking for companies with ideas that can solve real-world problems and were we are different from venture capital firms is we offer an environment where startups can be supported, nurtured, advised and get access to people who are further ahead on their journey like mentors.

“We have seen three companies that can go all the way and our job is to make sure they stay the course and structure their foundations from the very beginning that would allow them to scale.”

Furthermore, speaking to one of the participating startups, the Founder, Farm Delight Ms. Love Uduma, a start-up focused on the agriculture value chain from production to distribution and consumption said this platform is an impactful stream for startups to get support from.

On her expectation, she said: “I am expecting tech support and a good relationship with the tech community. We have the agricultural aspect covered but we need the technical assistance and also funding.”

BIG STORY

Nigeria’s External Reserves Hits $34.66 Billion, Highest Record In 13 months

Published

on

Nigeria’s external reserves have surged by $1.88 billion, reaching a 13-month high of $34.66 billion as of July 4, 2024.

According to Nairametrics, research shows that this marks the highest level since the introduction of the foreign exchange unification policy in June 2023.

The significant increase in reserves is attributed to a series of financial commitments from Afrexim Bank and the World Bank, including loans, as well as the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) implementation of various foreign exchange reforms.

  • What The Data Reveals

On June 14, 2023, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) unveiled a strategy to streamline the foreign exchange market by merging all segments into a single unified system.

This pivotal shift, aimed at fostering liquidity and stability within the Nigerian FX Market, ironically seems to have precipitated increased market volatility and a precipitous decline in the naira’s value.

When the CBN announced the FX unification policy, Nigeria’s external reserves were at $34.66 billion. However, from July to December 2023, the reserves fluctuated within the $33 billion range.

According to Nairametrics, the external reserve hit $34.66 billion as of July 4th 2024 the highest in over a year.

This is only second to the $34.69 billion achieved on the 13th of June 2023, just before the exchange rate was unified by the government.

Nigeria has been experiencing a surge in exchange rate in the last few weeks ending the month of June above $34 billion for the first time since April. The reserves have continued to swell in July hitting multiple highs that have now culminated in the highest reserve in the last one year.

  • Earlier Challenges

The central bank Governor had to address the issue of the decline at the last IMF Spring meeting, where he said that the decreasing reserves were primarily due to debt repayments and other standard financial obligations, rather than efforts to defend the naira.

However, since then, a gradual and consistent upward trajectory has been observed, coinciding with a period of exchange rate stability with the reserves eventually culminating into the $34.66 billion recorded on July 4, 2024.

In the past one month, the reserves have surged by 6% from $32.78 billion recorded on the same day of the previous month.

  • Policies Driving Reserve Growth

Earlier reports had it that as global forex reserves reached $12.3 trillion at the end of 2023, Nigeria’s forex reserves declined to $32.3 billion, representing just 0.26% of global reserves, down from 0.36% in 2022, mainly due to decreased forex inflows and increased outflows.

The recent rise in FX reserves since May comes after three months of noticeable fluctuations when it plunged to a low of $32.11 billion on April 19, 2024.

This earlier dip may be attributed to increased import demands, payment obligations, or reduced foreign inflows during that period.

The latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics also reveal Nigeria received a total capital importation of $3.9 billion in the first quarter of the year.

Most of the inflows were directed towards government debt securities such as treasury bills, OMO bills and bonds.

  • What You Should Know

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) recently urged the CBN to focus on boosting the external reserves.

To ensure a steady flow of foreign exchange into the country, the CBN plans to double the diaspora remittance inflow this year.

Also, Afrexim Bank earlier announced the disbursement of $925 million- another tranche of the $3.3 billion crude oil-backed loan agreement it entered into with the NNPC last year. The bank disclosed this in a statement on its website stating that the current disbursement brings the total payment for the facility to $3.175 billion. This loan is expected to help stabilize the forex market in light of the severe volatility.

The World Bank also recently approved $2.25 billion in loans to Nigeria to boost the country’s economic stability and support its vulnerable populations. This financial infusion is intended to provide immediate financial and technical support for Nigeria’s urgent economic stabilization efforts.

Amid the increase in reserves and financial commitments to Nigeria, Fitch noted that the lack of clarity over the precise size and composition of Nigeria’s FX reserves remains a significant constraint on the nation’s sovereign credit profile.

 

Credit: Nairametrics

Continue Reading

BIG STORY

S&P Global Tours Dangote Refinery, Says It Can Solve Nigeria’s Forex Problems; Catalyse Economic Development

Published

on

  • As Dangote reassures on the commencement of petrol production this July

 

International financial analytics corporation, S&P Global, has described the 650,000 barrels per day (bpd) Dangote Oil Refinery and Petrochemicals company as capable of resolving Nigeria’s foreign exchange (forex) issue and its huge pressure on the local Naira currency, while also catalysing the country’s economic development.

S&P Global, headquartered in Manhattan, New York City, disclosed this during an onsite visit to the Dangote Refinery at Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos as part of its sovereign credit ratings assessment of Nigeria. The team from the international rating agency were accompanied by officials from the Federal Ministry of Finance.

S&P noted that the largest single-train refinery complex in the world would bolster Nigeria’s oil sector and, more importantly, also have a positive impact on its growing economy.

Director and Lead Analyst, Sovereign and International Public Finance Ratings, S&P Global Ratings, Ravi Bhatia, who led the delegation to Lagos, said Dangote refinery would transform Nigeria into a net exporter of petroleum products. He added that this transformation is expected to boost revenue generation and alleviate the current pressure on the country’s foreign exchange reserves.

“It is a very impressive facility, able to process 650,000 barrels a day, when in full capacity. It is the largest single-train refinery complex in the world. It came out quite quickly. Nigeria is a big exporter of crude but has issues with importing refined fuels. So, there is a gap in the market where crude can be refined in Nigeria, save money that way, and potentially save some foreign exchange. This will be positive for the economy in the medium term. It looks positive from our assessment,” Bhatia said after an over four-hour tour of the facility.

Also, in a chat with the media, Vice President of Oil and Gas at Dangote Industries Limited (DIL), Devakumar Edwin, who led the team during the tour of the facility, reiterated that by harnessing Africa’s abundant crude oil resources to produce refined products locally, the company aims to catalyse a virtuous cycle of industrial development, job creation, and economic prosperity. He also revealed that, as earlier promised, the company will start the production of premium motor spirit (PMS), this month (July).

Noting that products from the $20 billion facility are of high quality and meet international standards, Edwin said it can meet 100 per cent of Nigeria’s demand for petrol, diesel, kerosene, and aviation Jet, with surpluses available for export.

The S&P team commended the President of Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote, for integrating advanced technologies and quality control measures, including a state-of-the-art Central Control Unit ensuring smooth automation of operations.

Other members of the team of the international rating agency include the Associate Director, Sovereign Ratings, Maxmillian McGraw; Director, Corporate Ratings, Omegu Collocott; Senior Analyst, Bank Ratings, Charlotte Masvongo, and Director, Financial Services, Samira Mensah.

Currently operating at 350,000 barrels per day capacity, Edwin said the refinery is slated to scale up to at least 500,000 barrels per day capacity by July/August, commencing the refining of petrol and ultra-low sulphur diesel.

He noted that the refinery, designed to process a wide range of crudes including various African and Middle Eastern crudes, as well as US Light Oil, conforms to Euro V specifications. In addition, it is designed to comply with US EPA, European Union (EU) emission norms, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) emission/effluent norms, and the African Refiners and Distribution Association (ARDA) standards.

While noting that most refineries were built by foreign companies, he said it is a thing of pride that a Nigerian company designed and built the world’s largest single-train refinery complex while acting directly as its own Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) contractor. The refinery also incorporates a self-sufficient marine facility capable of handling the world’s largest vessels.

“The refinery can produce the best quality products in the world, Euro V grade. It is one of the energy-efficient refineries and it is highly environmentally friendly. It is sophisticated with a high level of automation. The largest single train refinery in the world is 100 per cent designed, engineered, and constructed by a Nigerian company as EPC contractor,” he said.

Nigeria, one of the world’s leading oil-producing countries, exports all its crude oil for refining and subsequently imports refined products due to a lack of operational refineries. It is estimated that Nigeria imports at least 50 million litres of petrol per day to meet domestic demand.

According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its Foreign Trade Statistics for the Fourth Quarter of 2023, Nigeria spent approximately N12 trillion on the importation of petroleum products in 2023, including premium motor spirit (PMS), commonly known as petrol. This figure marks an 18.68% increase compared to the N10 trillion spent on fuel imports in 2022.

Continue Reading

BIG STORY

BUSINESS: Dangote Reassures On Commencement Of Petrol Production July

Published

on

Devakumar Edwin, Vice President of Oil and Gas at Dangote Industries Limited (DIL), has confirmed that the Dangote Oil Refinery and Petrochemicals company will begin producing petrol this month, as previously pledged.

During a site visit by S&P Global, Edwin reiterated that the refinery, located in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, will start production in July, leveraging Africa’s rich crude oil resources to produce refined products locally.

This initiative aims to stimulate industrial growth, create jobs, and foster economic prosperity, marking a significant milestone in the company’s mission to drive economic development.

Edwin also noted that products from the $20 billion facility are of high quality and meet international standards, saying that it can meet 100 per cent of Nigeria’s demand for petrol, diesel, kerosene, and aviation Jet, with surpluses available for export.

On its part, International financial analytics corporation, S&P Global, described the 650,000 barrels per day refinery as capable of resolving Nigeria’s foreign exchange (forex) issue, and its huge pressure on the local Naira currency, while also catalysing the country’s economic development.

The team from the international rating agency were accompanied by officials from the Federal Ministry of Finance.

S&P noted that the largest single-train refinery complex in the world, would bolster Nigeria’s oil sector and, more importantly, also have a positive impact on its growing economy.

Director and Lead Analyst, Sovereign and International Public Finance Ratings, S&P Global Ratings, Ravi Bhatia, who led the delegation to Lagos, said Dangote refinery would transform Nigeria into a net exporter of petroleum products.

He added that this transformation is expected to boost revenue generation and alleviate the current pressure on the country’s foreign exchange reserves.

“It is a very impressive facility, able to process 650,000 barrels a day, when in full capacity. It is the largest single-train refinery complex in the world. It came out quite quickly. Nigeria is a big exporter of crude but has issues with importing refined fuels. So, there is a gap in the market where crude can be refined in Nigeria, save money that way, and potentially save some foreign exchange. This will be positive for the economy in the medium term. It looks positive from our assessment,” Bhatia said after an over four-hour tour of the facility.

The S&P team commended the President of Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote, for integrating advanced technologies and quality control measures, including a state-of-the-art Central Control Unit ensuring smooth automation of operations.

Other members of the team of the international rating agency include the Associate Director, Sovereign Ratings, Maxmillian McGraw; Director, Corporate Ratings, Omegu Collocott; Senior Analyst, Bank Ratings, Charlotte Masvongo, and Director, Financial Services, Samira Mensah.

Currently operating at 350,000 barrels per day capacity, Edwin said the refinery is slated to scale up to at least 500,000 barrels per day capacity by July/August, commencing the refining of petrol and ultra-low sulphur diesel.

He noted that the refinery, designed to process a wide range of crudes including various African and Middle Eastern crudes, as well as US Light Oil, conforms to Euro V specifications. In addition, it is designed to comply with US EPA, European Union (EU) emission norms, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) emission/effluent norms, and the African Refiners and Distribution Association (ARDA) standards.

While noting that most refineries were built by foreign companies, he said it is a thing of pride that a Nigerian company designed and built the world’s largest single-train refinery complex, while acting directly as its own Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) contractor. The refinery also incorporates a self-sufficient marine facility capable of handling the world’s largest vessels.

“The refinery can produce the best quality products in the world, Euro V grade. It is one of the energy-efficient refineries and it is highly environmentally friendly. It is sophisticated with a high level of automation. The largest single train refinery in the world is 100 per cent designed, engineered, and constructed by a Nigerian company as EPC contractor,” he said.

Nigeria, one of the world’s leading oil-producing countries, exports all its crude oil for refining and subsequently imports refined products due to a lack of operational refineries. It is estimated that Nigeria imports at least 50 million litres of petrol per day to meet domestic demand.

According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its Foreign Trade Statistics for the Fourth Quarter of 2023, Nigeria spent approximately ₦12tn on the importation of petroleum products in 2023, including petrol. This figure marks an 18.68 per cent increase compared to the ₦10tn spent on fuel imports in 2022.

Continue Reading

Most Popular