, , ,

Bank loans to manufacturers, farmers, others hit N241tn – Investigation

Bank loans to manufacturers, farmers, others hit N241tn – Investigation

BY 

The total credit of Deposit Money Banks to the manufacturing, agriculture, oil and gas firms and companies operating in15 other sectors of the economy hit about N241.87tn during a four-year period, covering 2015 to 2018, an analysis of the banking sector credit has revealed.

The amount was arrived at based on the analysis of the credit given by Deposit Money Banks to these sectors of the economy during the four-year period as contained in a report obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics.

Findings revealed that the 18 sectors got the sum of N52.8tn, N61.04tn, N66.27tn and N61.6tn between 2015 and 2018.

A breakdown of the loans to the economy showed that the oil and gas sector with a total loan portfolio of N49.8tn accounted for the highest chunk of bank credit.

Further findings revealed that since 2015, loans to the sector had been on an upward trajectory as it got N8.72tn in 2015, N12.83tn in 2016, N14.22tn in 2017 and N14.01tn in 2018.

The total amount given out as loans to the oil and gas sector is about 20.6 per cent of the entire credit advanced by banks to the 18 sectors of the economy.

Our correspondent observed that the manufacturing sector with a total loan portfolio of N33.01tn during the four-year period accounted for the second largest beneficiary of banks’ credit.

But unlike the oil and gas sector that recorded quantum leap in year-on-year credit, such could not be said of the manufacturing sector.

For instance, loan to the manufacturing sector rose from N7.48tn in 2015 to N8.26tn in 2016. Between 2016 and 2017, the rate of increase recorded marginal growth from N8.26tn to N8.79tn before dropping to N8.47tn in 2018.

The N33.01tn loan which the manufacturing sector got during the four-year period was about 13.6 per cent of the total credit given by banks during the period.

Further analysis of the loan portfolio to the economy showed that credit to the government at N19.48tn followed the oil and gas and the manufacturing sector.

The loans from banks to the government was put at N3tn in 2015, N5.34tn in 2016, N5.49tn in 2017 and N5.64tn in 2018.

For companies that are engaged in trade and general commerce, the total loans from banks to them during the period under review was put at N16.38tn.

A breakdown of the N16.38tn credit showed that the sum of N4.32tn was provided in 2015 while 2016, 2017 and 2018 had N3.93tn, N3.89tn, and N4.25tn respectively.

Further findings showed that companies operating in the finance and insurance sector got the sum of N14.69tn.

The analysis revealed that the sector got N3.15tn in the first quarter, N3.49tn in the second quarter while the third and fourth quarter had N3.89tn and N4.15tn respectively.

Our correspondent also observed that the sum of N12.9tn was provided as loans to companies in the Information and Communications Technology sector. The amount was given thus: N3.26tn in 2015, N3.57tn in 2016, N3.3tn in 2017 and N2.96tn in 2018.

For farmers and other companies operating in the agriculture sector, a total of N11.41tn was provided as loans from banks during the four-year period.

Findings revealed that credit to the sector rose from N1.42tn in 2015 to N5.68tn in 2016 before dropping to N2.07tn and N2.23tn in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

In the same vein, companies operating in the construction sector received the sum of N9.71tn during the four-year period. This is broken down into N2.31tn, N2.39tn, N2.56tn and N2.45tn in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively.

For companies in the transport sector, the sum of N6.17tn was provided as loans by banks during the four-year period.

A breakdown of the amount showed that the sum of N1.68tn was given out as loans in 2015 while 2016, 2017 and 2018 had N1.75tn, N1.53tn and N1.1tn respectively.

Further analysis showed that companies operating in the power and energy sector received the sum of N6.51tn during the four-year period.

Out of this amount, the sector was funded with N1.33tn in the first quarter. For the second, third and fourth quarter, companies operating in that sector of the economy got loans of N1.6tn, N1.85tn and N1.67tn respectively.

Some finance and economic experts said that the Central Bank of Nigeria should reduce the lending rate to make it easier for businesses to borrow and expand their operations.

The experts said a reduction in the lending rate was long overdue as many businesses were currently finding it difficult to service their debt obligations.

A Developmental Economist, Odilim Enwegbara, said while the monetary authority had argued that lending rate could not be higher than the  inflation rate, in countries like Japan and Turkey, their interest rates are lower than the inflation rate and bank still lend.

He said, “The government must mandate banks to reduce it  (lending rate) and lend to key sectors of the  economy because one thing is for the rate to be lower and another is the banks’ willingness  to lend.

“If the lending rate is reduced, the cost in servicing debt by  the Federal Government would reduce.

“The government should make these banks to invest in the real sector instead of giving money to importers of finished goods. The manufacturing sector should get single digit lending rate , importers of finished  goods should borrow at 15 per cent while lending to the government should be done at a single digit. This will reduce the level of inflation in the country.”

The Lead Director, Centre for Social Justice, Eze Onyekpere, said that the high lending cost was a major reason why many debtors were finding it difficult to service their loans.

This, he added, had led to a continuous increase in the huge  non-performing loan portfolio of banks.

He said, “We have been saying it repeatedly that the high lending rate is not good for the economy. How do you expect a business to borrow money at 30 per cent and remain competitive? There is no way that kind of interest rate can support the growth of the economy.

“So the lending rate should be reviewed downward so that businesses can have access to cheaper funds, because that is what the country needs at this time.”

Source: PUNCH.  

, , , , , , , , ,

CBN wants to give you Loan

Creative Industry Funding Initiative.

 

 

It’s a new dawn for the creative industry as the Central Bank of Nigeria makes funds available for creative persons, who genuinely seek financing to grow their businesses under its Creative Industry Funding Initiative.

Just like it did to farmers under its Anchor Borrowers’ Program (ABP), where rice farmers got cheap capital to boost their production capacities, leading to Nigeria becoming one of the world’s largest producers of rice, the Central Bank of Nigeria, has launched a financing program for the creative industry in Africa’s largest economy to enhance productivity and wealth creation.

The Creative Industry

“Nigeria has the largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa and its fast-growing tech, film and fashion sectors have become a strong exporter of culture,” the British Council has said on its website.

Also, Nigeria’s culture and information minister Lai Mohammed said, “Our greatest strength lies in our creative industry, our music, and our films. That is one area we need to build on because that is one area we have a comparative advantage over many other countries.”

Nigeria’s creative industry is growing at an exponential rate with emerging talents in the fashion and film sector. But the chances of emerging from talents to creative entrepreneurs are quite slim due to the country’s harsh economic realities.

The country’s unemployment rate was at 23.1 per cent, from the previous rate of 18.8 per cent released in the third quarter of 2017, Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics said in December 2018.

Despite these challenges and even more, Nigeria’s creative industry is tipped to hold the key to reducing the growing unemployment rate and contribute to the nation’s economy. While the challenges are real, the opportunities in the creative industry remain limitless.

Operators in the industry might as well heave a sigh of relief as the CBN has taken it upon itself to make funds available to creative entrepreneurs to finance their dreams and grow their businesses and this loan is up to the sum of N500m.

Intervention

The central bank, in collaboration with the Bankers’ Committee, as part of efforts to boost job creation in Nigeria, particularly among the youth, has developed a Creative Industry Finance Initiative (CIFI).

A circular recently published by the CBN disclosed that four key areas in the creative industry are targeted for financing under the scheme. They are fashion, information technology, movie production and music distribution. Software Engineering students can also access loan from the scheme for use in their creative ventures.

According to CBN, prospective beneficiaries are only required to prepare their business plan or statement on how much they want for their business and approach their bank for the facility.

“You can get a loan of up to N3 million as a Software Engineering Student, N30 million for Movie Production business, N500 million for Movie Distribution business,” the CBN announced.

The facility covers rental/service fees for Fashion and Information Technology business and training fees, equipment fees, and rental/service fees for Music business.

The CBN added: “Go to any bank of your choice to access the fund. Tell your bank how much you need. Your bank will discuss your request and provide you with the money.”

The maximum interest rate of nine percent per annum  (all charges inclusive) is applicable to all loans with a period for the repayment of the loan ranging from three to 10 years, depending on the segment of the business.

For software engineering student loan, it is a maximum of three years to repay a loan while it takes up to 10 years for people in movie production and distribution and also fashion, information technology and music.

CBN Requirements

Prepare your business plan or statement on how much you want
for your business.

Impact

The creative industry in Nigeria is believed to have the potential to turnaround the economy, if given the right attention as the CBN and the banks are about to do under the CIFI scheme.

Although there are no precise data on the size of the Nigerian fashion market, the apparel and footwear market in sub-Saharan Africa is estimated to be worth $31 billion with the global apparel market valued at $3 trillion.

As of 2014, the film industry was worth N853.9 billion (about $5.1 billion) making it the third most valuable film industry in the world, behind the United States and India. It contributed about 1.4 per cent to Nigeria’s economy- this was attributed to the increase in the number of quality films produced and more formal distribution methods.

How we can help you?

COINBOX LIMITED is a Management consultancy firm which commenced business in 2012 and has successfully managed many projects, alongside establishing business systems that has revived dying businesses and optimised existing ones, we have also written business plans and proposals for new or existing businesses enabling them access grants and loans locally and internationally. 

We at COINBOX are experts in writing bespoke business plans and we want to help you. Our rates are pocket friendly.

Benefits of Writing a Business Plan

A well-written business plan helps business owners get their businesses off the ground and then grow.  A business plan serves as a road map to profitability and a guide for structuring and operating the business.

Prospective investors and lenders want to know what they are getting themselves into. Just as you would want to know the specifics of a mutual fund or stock portfolio before you put down money, your investors and creditors want to know if funding your business is a sound idea.

Your bankers want to know what you will do with the money you are requesting for and see clearly how you will pay back and still remain in business and the usual instrument is a well written business plan.

It is not so easy for early investors or lenders to measure a company’s performance. There isn’t adequate financial history available about new businesses, which means that you have to provide much more information about your vision and projected revenue to help them get a full view of what you’re doing or what the business is about. This is clearly defined in your business plan.

Business plans are valuable when trying to secure startup or expansion funding. Investors want to be confident that they will see a return on their investment. A business plan is a tool that can help you prove that your company is viable and poised for future growth.

 

 

Where we come in:

-We will help in writing  bankable business plans for you with financial projections of up to 3 years and more.

-We  will support you with the necessary advice required for accessing and managing the loan

ACTION

Reach out to us today: or fill your contact details below.

37A, Ramat Crescent, Ogudu GRA, Lagos.

+2349093929847

+2349083345156

 

coinboxlimited@gmail.com and bukola.oyedokun@coinboxlimited.com.ng

 

www.coinboxlimited.com

, ,

Voice for sme interview with the Mukasse bar owner Cynthia Owusu

Cynthia Owusu owner of Mukaase BarMeet Cynthia Owusu, the Ghanaian owner and the brain behind the success of #Mukaasebar. Creating a whole new level to jolliment and fun using African/Ghanaian drinks to refresh its lovers and those who wants to taste African original drinks, she had seen the need for a shift from the regular frizzy and unhealthy kind of drinks you get to taste in the bar and at events, and decided to make people enjoy the taste of African origins with health benefits.

She has definitely quenched the thirst of many who love African taste and her company has grown in the industry at local and international levels; she had decided to do what others would not do and go where others would not go in the African/Ghanaian drinks industry.

Mukaasebar provides fresh drinks that are natural, healthy, refreshing and ignites our taste buds.
Cynthia Owusu can be regarded as a lover of African/Ghanaian drinks, whose love and passion for this can be seen in how she makes others enjoy this African goodness as she calls it.

At Mukaase bar you get the best taste of Sobolo, Asana, Pito, Lamugin, other fresh fruit juices and so much more.
Our seasoned correspondent #AyoEmakhiomhe met with her to tell us her success story and her uniqueness in this business.
Her passion for the industry is so powerful that she is taking it to a whole new dimension into the Mukaase Bar. Her bar is presently located in Ghana and Nigeria.
The social media handle is @the_Mukaasebarcompany and she can be reached by email – themukassebar@gmail.com OR call +233-505-787-794

Please remember to like our video and follow us on our blog and social media handles @voiceforsme

CLICK the link TO WATCH the video: https://youtu.be/gW6t7NIiuE8

,

financial hub

The World’s Leading Financial Cities

A financial center, or a financial hub, refers to a city with a strategic location, leading financial institutions, reputed stock exchanges, dense concentration of public and private banks and trading and insurance companies. In addition, these hubs are equipped with first-class infrastructure, communications and commercial systems, and there is a transparent and sound legal and regulatory regime backed by a stable political system. Such cities are favorable destinations for professionals because of the high living standards they offer along with immense growth opportunities.

Here is a look at the top financial hubs across the globe (in no particular order):

London

Since the middle ages, London has been one of the most prominent trade and business centers. The city is one of the most visited places on earth and is among the most preferred places to do business. London is a well-known center for foreign exchange and bond trading in addition to banking activities and insurance services. The city is a trading hub for bonds, futures, foreign exchange and insurance. The United Kingdom’s central bank, the Bank of England, is the second oldest central bank in the world and is located in London. The bank controls the monetary system and regulates the issue of currency notes in the United Kingdom. London is also the seat of the London Stock Exchange, which is the largest stock exchange in Europe. Another financial paragon is The London bullion market, managed by London Bullion Market Association (LBMA), which is the world’s largest location for gold and silver wholesale trading.

Singapore

From a business perspective, Singapore’s attractiveness lies in its transparent and sound legal framework complementing its economic and political stability. The small island located in the Southeast Asia region has emerged as one of the Four Asian Tigers and established itself as a major financial center. Singapore has transformed its economy despite the disadvantages of limited land and resources. Singapore is both diversified and specialized across industries such as chemicals, biomedical sciences, petroleum refining, mechanical engineering and electronics. Singapore has deep capital markets and is a leading insurance and wealth management marketplace. It has a disciplined and efficient workforce with half of the population made up of people of Chinese, British, Indian and Malay origin.

Zurich

Zurich, the largest city in Switzerland, is recognized as a financial center globally. The city has a disproportionately large presence of financial institutions and banks and has developed into a hub for insurance and asset management companies. The low tax regime makes Zurich a good investment destination, and the city attracts a large number of international companies. Switzerland’s primary stock exchange, the SIX Swiss Exchange, is in Zurich and is the 10th largest in the world (market capitalization of $1.6 trillion as of March 2018). The city has a robust business environment and offers many finance sector jobs. Zurich is one of the cleanest, most beautiful and crime free places to live and work.

New York

New York, commonly regarded as the finance capital of the world, has been ranked first in the World’s Financial Centers by the Global Financial Centers Index (GFCI). New York is famous for Wall Street, the most happening stock market and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the largest stock exchange by market capitalization. The city is a mix of various cultures from across the globe providing a diverse population and workforce. It plays host to some of the largest and finest companies (Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000), biggest banks (Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan) and industries. It is difficult to find a big name in the world of business without a presence in the city.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong is a key financial hub with the highest concentration of banking institutions in the world. The island also has most beneficial legal regulations for both residents and companies and is the home of many fund management companies. Hong Kong has benefited from its strategic geographical location; for more than a century, it has been the access route to mainland China. Hence, it is also the largest trading partner of mainland China. Its proximity to other countries in the region has also worked in its favor. Hong Kong has an efficient and transparent judicial and legal system with excellent infrastructure and telecommunication services. It has a favorable tax system in place with very few and low tax rates, which adds to its attractiveness. The Hong Kong Stock Exchangeis the sixth largest in the world, according to WorldAtlas.

Chicago

Chicago owes its fame to the derivative market, which started at the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) back in 1848 with commodity futures trading. The Chicago Mercantile Exchange is the oldest futures exchange in the world and accounts for more global derivatives trading than all exchanges in Europe and even New York. The Chicago-based Options Clearing Corporation (OCC) clears all U.S. option contracts. Chicago is the headquarters of over 400 major corporations, and the state of Illinois has more than 36 Fortune 500 companies, most of which are located in Chicago. These companies include ConAgra, Boeing, Kraft Heinz and Archer Daniels Midland. Chicago also one of the most diverse economies excelling from innovation in risk management to information technology to manufacturing to health. Another financial notable is the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

Tokyo

Tokyo is the capital of the third-largest economy in the world and a major financial center. The city is the headquarters of many of the world’s largest investment banks and insurance companies. It is also the hub for the country’s telecommunications, electronic, broadcasting and publishing industries. Tokyo has time and again been rated among the most expensive cities in the world. The Japan Exchange Group (JPX) was established on January 1, 2013 by combining the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) Group and the Osaka Securities Exchange. In terms of market capitalization, it is the third largest city in the world with a market capitalization of $6.18 trillion as of March 2018. The Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE), which is the largest in Japan, has more has 3,500 listed companiesNikkei 225 and the TOPIX are the main indices tracking the buzz at the TSE.

Frankfurt

Frankfurt is home to the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Deutsche Bundesbank, the central bank of Germany. It has one of the busiest airports in the world and is the address of many top companies, national and international banks. In 2014, Frankfurt became Europe’s first renminbi payment hub. Frankfurter Wertpapierbörse, the Frankfurt Stock Exchange, is among the world’s largest stock exchanges. The exchange’s total turnover is 5.2 trillion euros per year, making it the world’s third largest market and sixth largest in terms of market capitalization. Deutsche Börse AG operates the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

Shanghai

Shanghai is China’s largest city and the world’s largest city by population. The Chinese government in early 2009 announced its ambition of turning Shanghai into an international financial center by 2020. The Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) is mainland China’s most preeminent market for stocks in terms of turnover, tradable market value, total market value and has close to 1,500 listed companies. The SSE is ranked fourth with a market capitalization of $4.39 trillion. The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) directly governs the SSE. The exchange is considered restrictive in terms of trading and listing criteria. (Further Reading; Who Owns The Stock Exchanges)

Bottom Line

Some financial hubs that have been uncontested leaders in the past are now facing stiff competition from existing players and emerging and vibrant entrants. The list above is indicative of where the major financial centers are located and there are many other names including Toronto, Seoul, Boston, Geneva, San Francisco, Sydney, Luxembourg and Dubai also among the top financial hubs.

SOURCE: INVESTOPEDIA

,

Chinese firm, Nigeria sign $6b Lagos-Kano rail project agreement

Nigeria has signed an agreement of $6.68billion with China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) for a major segment of rail line linking the economic capital Lagos with Kano, northern Nigeria’s commercial hub.

“The signing of the Ibadan-Kaduna segment contract agreement today (Tuesday) concludes all outstanding segments of the Lagos-Kano rail line,” said a statement by Nigeria’s transport ministry.

CCECC confirmed to Xinhua the signing of the agreement Tuesday.

The Lagos-Kano rail modernization project started in 2006 and was broken into segments for implementation.

The segmentation phase commenced from Abuja-Kaduna rail line in 2011, which was completed and commissioned into commercial operation by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2016.

In March 2017, the second leg of the rail project, which is currently ongoing, commenced.

Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi, while signing the contract agreement with CCECC, said the completion time of the contract should be between two to three years, “depending on availability of funds.”

Amaechi promised that the government would be able to provide its counterpart funding between 2018 and 2019 budget provision.

The Ibadan-Kaduna standard gauge line is designed to pass through the southwest region to the north, linking Osogbo-Ilorin-Minna to Kaduna, with a single track branch line from Osogbo to Ado-Ekiti, another southwestern city.

www.xinhuanet.com

Source: Africa Business Communities

, ,

Lazy Nigerian Youths

Are Nigerian Youths Lazy

According to Pshycology today,

A person is being lazy if he is able to carry out some activity that he ought to carry out, but is disinclined to do so because of the effort involved. Instead, he carries out the activity perfunctorily; or engages in some other, less strenuous or less boring activity; or remains idle. In short, he is being lazy if his motivation to spare himself effort trumps his motivation to do the right or expected thing.

Is above definition true for the average Nigerian youth? We went to twitter to investigate;

@Kulodesigns makes one of the best casuals and agbada on this side of the world, princess (@onebabelikethat) is a teacher who works in three different places ,sells cars and does not do anything illegal.

The lady painter(@ladypainter) paints homes and offices for a living, Kate ogechukwu is a second class upper graduate of History, she decided to go into charcoal selling to make ends meet.

Ayoyimika works 8-5 as a PR consultant and still has a side hustle called Yinxx cuisine (an online restaurant), Damilola holds a master degree in geography but sells Amala for a living.

These and more are some of the stories of the Nigerian Youth.

Ever been to Obalende at 4a.m? Or Ikeja along at 12am? You will see the entrepreneurial drive of the average Nigerian youth. Do you agree that we have #lazyNigerianYouths in general?

Drop your comments here

#lazyNigerianYouth

#businessinNigeria

#youthempowerment

#VFSME

#Voiceforsme

#entrepreneurship

#governance

#coinboxlimited

 

Zinox, Brinks get telecom infraco licences

The Nigerian Communications Commission has licensed two new infrastructure companies to fill critical infrastructure gaps and enable broadband services in two geopolitical zones in the country.

The Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management, NCC, Mr. Sunday Dare, said that Zinox Technologies was licensed in December last year to deploy metropolitan fibre-optic infrastructure in the south eastern part of the country, while Brinks Integrated Solutions Limited won the bid for another region.

Speaking on the sidelines of a stakeholders’ forum on cost-based study for the determination of the mobile termination rates, Dare said the licensing of the remaining infracos would be completed by the end of this month.

“Brinks Integrated Solutions Limited was approved in December and Zinox for the South East. Out of seven, we have four ready. Before the end of February, the remaining three will also be fully licensed. And of course, we also know that MainOne has been working and the other three will join before the end of February,” he stated.

Altogether, four telecom companies that will provide broadband infrastructure in three zones and Lagos State have been issued permits as part of the National Broadband Plan of the Federal Government.

IHS and MainOne, in 2015, emerged winners of the bid and were authorised to lay metropolitan optic fibre for the North East and Lagos region, respectively under the Open Access Model.

According to the NCC, the Open Access Model for fibre-optic network deployment is best suited to bridge the digital divide, facilitate the development of local content, and deliver fast and reliable broadband services to households and businesses.

The infrastructure companies are expected to help address the challenges of fibre deployment in towns and cities, and promote infrastructure sharing.

Dare, who represented the Executive Vice Chairman of the commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, had earlier said a new cost-based interconnect rate would be ready for implementation by March 1, this year.

According to him, PricewaterhouseCoopers United Kingdom was commissioned after the expiration of the 2013 interconnect rates regime in 2016 to review the existing model to reflect the cost of deploying the service.

Before, then, he said an interim rate of N24.40 per minute for inbound international traffic was set until a cost-based rate would be determined.

“The commission re-engaged the services of the consultant, PwC UK, to review and update the existing model, taking into account the changes that have occurred over time and produced an interconnection cost model that is more in line with the current realities in Nigeria,” Dare stated.

Source: Ife Ogunfunwa

Zinox Group acquires Konga

The Zinox Group, an integrated ICT solutions and Original Equipment Manufacturer, has acquiired Konga after several months of negotiations with major investors, Naspers and AB Kinnevik.

As part of the acquisition, Zinox Group would assume ownership of the e-commerce group which includes Konga.com, Nigeria’s largest online mall; KongaPay, a CBN-licensed mobile money platform with over 100,000 subscribers as well as KOS-Express, a digitally-driven and world class logistics company.

Naspers, based in South Africa, is a broad-based multinational Internet and media group, offering services in more than 130 countries while AB Kinnevik, founded in 1936, is a Swedish investment company investing primarily in digital consumer brands.

A statement by the company said through the acquisition, the Zinox Group would expand its operations into e-commerce, an industry it pioneered in Nigeria with the launch of BuyRight Africa.com, which was challenged by the absence of credit card and e-payment infrastructure when it was launched over 12 years ago.

According to the group, the acquisition has passed all regulatory approvals by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company said the acquisition was expected to create employment for over 5,000 Nigerians, both at home and in the Diaspora within a short period.

According to the Head of Corporate Communications, Zinox Group, Gideon Ayogu, the decision to invest in Konga was an easy one for the organisation.

“We have always had an interest in Konga and another big one you know very well but our priority was Konga first because of the integrated nature of the four quality companies in one,” he said.

“Konga is a world-class, professionally-run company whose landmark strides in the sector have gone a long way in ushering millions of Nigerians into the ease and convenience of online shopping while boosting the conduct of e-commerce in the country. Konga’s integrity is their pride.”

“Today, many Nigerians can attribute their first experience of e-commerce to Konga.com and we are excited to be a part of this remarkable story. Many shoppers can also attest to the speed and efficiency in delivery that characterizes KOS-Express, the company’s logistics arm, which is arguably the best in the sector at the moment.

“Our ambition is to up the tempo by revolutionising e-commerce on the African continent, with Konga at the fore-front of this initiative. In addition to positioning the business on a path of profitability in the short term, our long term plans are focused around seeing Konga well established in other African capitals.

Furthermore, we will be unveiling a lot of new initiatives soon and we advise shoppers and merchants alike to look out for these innovations which will radically reshape the average customer experience of e-commerce in Nigeria and on the continent and put more money in their pockets,” he noted.

Konga was found in 2012 by by Sim Shagaya and raised a $3.5m seed round from AB Kinnevik in the same year which allowed to expand its merchandise category. In early 2013, Konga raised another $10m series A funding from AB Kinnevik and Naspers and in the late 2013, it finalised a $25m series B funding from the two investors.

Source: Ife Ogunfunwa

 

The last American slave ship found

A wreck found in Alabama may be the last American slave ship

In a remote river delta on Alabama’s Gulf coast, partially hidden under water and mud, may be the answer to a mystery that has baffled scholars for more than 150 years.

If experts’ suspicions are correct, it’s the long-lost wreck of the Clotilda — the last known ship to bring enslaved Africans into the United States.

Its precise location has eluded archaeologists and historians since the vessel was burned in 1860 by slavers seeking to hide evidence of their illegal trafficking. But after the wreck was recently exposed by unusually low tides, AL.com reporter Ben Raines discovered its remainsnear Mobile and has taken the first step towards verifying its authenticity.

“We did not see anything on the site that would say it’s not the Clotilda,” said Gregory D. Cook, assistant professor of maritime archaeology at the University of West Florida. Raines brought Cook and several other experts to examine the wreck and all agreed that its remains match historical records of the ship.

“We think it’s a very compelling possibility that the wreck could be the Clotilda, but we cannot positively identify it at this point,” Cook told CNN.

Still, historians are excited at the prospect.

“It’s frankly of world historical importance,” said John Sledge, an architectural historian with the city of Mobile. “It’s something that’s been of great interest, both locally and nationally … going back more than a century.”

A dark journey

The Clotilda had a brief and wretched history.

By the mid-1800s importing slaves into the US had long been illegal, although some smugglers defied the law, especially in the South.

According to historical accounts, the Clotilda made its illicit journey after Timothy Meaher, a local plantation owner, made a bet that he could sneak slaves past federal officials and into the country.

He bought the two-masted schooner and paid a captain, William Foster, to sail it to West Africa and collect 110 slaves from what is now Benin. Foster ferried them back across the Atlantic to Mobile, where he smuggled the ship past authorities in 1860 under cover of darkness.

The captain then navigated the Clotilda up the Spanish River, transferred the slaves to a riverboat and burned the ship, sinking it.

This schooner, seen in Havana, Cuba, in 2010, is a replica of mid-1800s slave ships like the Amistad and the Clotilda.

Many of the ship’s slaves, freed five years later at the end of the Civil War, settled a community north of downtown Mobile that became known as Africatown. Some descendants of the original slaves still live in the area.

“Any tangible evidence related to the period of slavery in the United States carries a powerful meaning for many people, so if this was the last ship to transport enslaved Africans to this country, that would be a pretty huge discovery symbolically,” said Cook, the archaeology professor.

Cook said that if the wreck is proven to be the Clotilda, the descendants of its slaves would be consulted on decisions about its future.

“This would have obvious impacts on them, and we would work with them to get a sense of their feelings, what they would like to see occur with the site, and have them involved in the research as much as they would like to be,” he said.

Digging for proof

The wreck is partially buried and not much to look at — a long wooden spine with some planks and iron spikes lying nearby. It’s accessible only by boat and lies alongside a marshy island in the lower Mobile-Tensaw Delta, some 12 miles north of Mobile.

It sat underwater before being exposed by extreme low tides caused by the wintry “bomb cyclone” storm system that hammered the Eastern US this winter.

Preliminary evidence suggests it could be the Clotilda. Cook said its type of hull construction matches ships built in the mid-19th century, and the remains of the hull show signs of being burned. And according to Raines its location in the delta is consistent with the one described in Foster’s journals. (He’s not revealing the wreck’s precise location to preserve its integrity and discourage looters.)

For proof, however, archaeologists would likely need to excavate the wreck and examine the contents of its hold for such items as ceramics, which could help pinpoint the time period, or shackles, which could help confirm its use as a slave ship.

Any digging would require state and possibly federal permits.

“We just won’t know until we investigate,” Cook said.

Sledge, the Mobile historian, hopes confirming the ship’s identity will help bring some closure to descendants of its Africatown neighborhood.

“The Clotilda has been the missing piece of that story,” he said.

This piece has been updated to clearly describe what the Clotilda was carrying: enslaved Africans.

SOURCE: www.cnn.com

 

,

Alternatives to Nigeria’s Power problems by Richard Branson

This is an article by Richard Branson of the Virgin Group. https://africabusinesscommunities.com/features/column-richard-branson-the-alternatives-to-nigerias-power-situation/

Energy access in Africa is close to my heart. Bringing clean, renewable power to people instead of building coal-fired power stations is absolutely essential if we are going to tackle climate change.

Despite great progress in recent years, still every night too much of Africa remains in darkness. But this is about so much more than simply having a source of light. Lack of power inhibits millions of small businesses and budding entrepreneurs in Africa, starving them of the ability to manufacture, even power a laptop.

There’s certainly no lack of solutions. For instance, my good friend Strive Masiyiwa launched Econet Solar in Zimbabwe to bring solar lamps to villagers who could pay via their smartphones.

One bigger entrepreneurial energy solution that has so far under delivered on the promise of bringing energy to all has been mini-grid systems. Mini-grids are sets of electricity generators and possibly energy storage systems interconnected to a distribution network that supplies electricity to a group of customers. They can be charged using solar.

However, investors have viewed the market for mini-grids as being too risky, making gaining access to project financing rare, and market rate debt expensive. So, I was really thrilled to hear that the Rocky Mountain Institute may have cracked the problem with their partners, the Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency and the World Bank.

At a recent summit in Nigeria, the organisations released an independent investment brief that touts Nigeria as the nation which can now unlock the nascent mini-grid market in Africa in 2018. Nigeria is the biggest and most attractive off-grid opportunity in Africa. It has the largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa (GDP of $405 billion), a population of 180 million people, and flourishing growth (15 per cent a year since 2000).

A significant amount of the economy is already powered largely by small-scale generators (10–15 GW) and almost 50 per cent of the population have limited or no access to the grid. As a result, Nigerians and their businesses spend almost $14 billion annually on inefficient, polluting and noisy generation that is expensive, and suffers from poor quality.

Developing off-grid alternatives to complement the grid could create a $9.2B/year market opportunity for mini-grids and solar home systems that will save $4.4B/year for Nigerian homes and businesses. And there is large potential for scaling – installing 10,000 mini-grids of 100 kW each can occur for 10 years and only meet 30 per cent of anticipated demand.

The combination of large revenue opportunity (USD $9.2 billion per year), a supportive government, and a dynamic entrepreneurial environment unite to make Nigeria the ideal location. If you are an impact investor that wants to make a difference in energy access this year, I’d suggest a trip to Nigeria.

Richard Branson an is investor and founder of the Virgin Group.

www.virgin.com