Tuesday, 09 July 2019

The losing streak in the local bourse was halted in the first trading session of the week as buying interest in FLOURMILL (+10.0%), FBNH (+2.4%) and WEMABANK (+8.2%) drove the All Share Index 0.07% northward to 29,292.66 points.

Consequently, YTD loss moderated to -6.8% while market capitalisation increased by N7.46bn to N12.9tn.

Activity level was mixed as volume traded declined 27.5% to 216.3m units while value traded advanced 24.1% to N2.3bn.WAPIC (84.9m units), FBNH (16.2m units) and ZENITH (14.7m units) were the most traded stocks by volume while MTNN (N1.1bn),ZENITH (N282.3m) and GUARANTY (N275.9m) led by value.

Across sectors, performance was bullish as 4 of 6 indices closed in the green. Price appreciation in NEM (+5.6%) and WAPIC (+7.5%) drove a 1.0% gain in the Insurance index.

Similarly, the Consumer Goods and Industrial Goods indices advanced, up 0.2% and 2bps respectively due to gains in FLOURMILL (+10.0%), NASCON (+3.3%),CADBURY (+4.1%) and CUTIX (+7.1%).


In the same vein, the AFRI-ICT index appreciated 0.6% following gains in MTNN (+0.5%) and CHAMS (+0.1%). On the flip side, the Banking index lost 0.1% due to sell pressures in ZENITH(-0.8%), GUARANTY (-0.5%) and FCMB (-1.9%) while the Oil & Gas index declined 1.4% on the back of losses in FORTE (-10.0%) and TOTAL(-5.4%).

The top performing stocks were FLOURMILL (+10.0%),UNITY (+9.7%) and REDSTAREX (+9.1%) while FORTE (-10.0%), GLAXOSMITH (-9.8%) and TOTAL (-5.4%) led the laggards.

Published in Business
U.S. President Donald Trump said his government will no longer deal with Kim Darroch, the ambassador of the United Kingdom in Washington, who attacked his administration in a leaked memo as “dysfunctional” and “inept.”
Trump also attacked Prime Minister Theresa May, despite Britain expressing regret for the leak of the confidential memos.
“I do not know the Ambassador, but he is not liked or well thought of within the U.S. We will no longer deal with him,” Trump wrote on Twitter on Monday, virtually declaring the blunt ambassador a persona-non-grata in the United States.
Trump in his tweet not only criticised British Prime Minister Theresa May for her handling of Brexit, she slammed her and the ambassador for creating a mess.
He said May disregarded his advice, but was upbeat that Britain will soon have a new prime minister.
“The good news for the wonderful United Kingdom is that they will soon have a new Prime Minister. While I thoroughly enjoyed the magnificent State Visit last month, it was the Queen who I was most impressed with!” Trump wrote.
Hours after Trump’s tweet, May’s spokesman reiterated Britain’s position that the leak was unfortunate and said Darroch “continues to have the prime minister’s full support.”
Trade minister Liam Fox, who is visiting Washington, told BBC radio he would apologize to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, whom he was due to meet.
“I will be apologising for the fact that either our civil service or elements of our political class have not lived up to the expectations that either we have or the United States has about their behaviour, which in this particular case has lapsed in a most extraordinary and unacceptable way,” he said.
“Malicious leaks of this nature … can actually lead to a damage to that relationship, which can therefore affect our wider security interest.”
The memos from Kim Darroch, ambassador to Washington, were divulged to a Sunday newspaper, annoying Trump and embarrassing London.
“Contact has been made with the Trump administration, setting out our view that we believe the leak is unacceptable,” May’s spokesman told reporters. “It is, of course, a matter of regret that this has happened.”
It was unclear whether his message had been relayed before Trump posted his tweet. It was the U.S. president’s second broadside against the British ambassador, whom he criticized on Sunday as not having “served the UK well.”
Britain is hoping to strike a major trade deal with its closest ally after it leaves the European Union, an exit scheduled for Oct. 31.
Published in World
Tuesday, 09 July 2019 10:38

Bank Backs AfCFTA With $1b

The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) says it is providing one billion dollars grant to African countries to support the implementation of the Agreement for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
In a statement by Afreximbank’s spokesman, Mr Obi Emekekwue, the bank’s president revealed this to the African Heads of States at the 12th Extraordinary Summit of African Union (AU).
The President of the bank, Prof. Benedict Oramah, told the Heads of States, that the facility was to enable countries adjust to sudden significant tariff revenue losses as a result of the implementation of the agreement.
Oramah said the bank will also provide aid for the work being done by the African Regional Standards Organisation and the AU in implementing the agreement.
Oramah also informed the summit of the launch of the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS).
He described the PAPSS as the first continent-wide payment digital system focused on facilitating payments for goods and services in intra-African trade in African currencies.
“We launched the Africa-wide digital payment infrastructure, PAPSS, which was developed in collaboration with the African Union.
“It is a platform that will domesticate intra-regional payments, save the continent more than 5 billion dollars in payment transaction costs per annum.
“It will also help to formalise a significant proportion of the estimated 50 billion dollars of informal intra-African trade, and above all, contribute to boosting intra-African trade,” he said.
Oramah said that making it possible for Africans to pay for intra-regional trade in their local currencies will aid in the development of African economies.
“Our goal is to reduce, significantly, the foreign currency content of intra-African trade payments.
“No people have achieved meaningful development when their economic progress depends on others.
“In trying to boost trade and investment, it is imperative that we address the economic costs of effecting so many payments in scarce foreign exchange.
“Making cross-border payments easier, cheaper and safer is an obvious critical step in creating an Africa we want,” he said.
Published in Bank & Finance

Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire have agreed to legislate the minimum producer price to be paid to cocoa farmers as a means to safeguard their income. 

The two countries agreed to pay farmers a guaranteed minimum price of 70 per cent of the floor price of $2,600 per tonne.

Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Chief Executive of Cocobod told a press conference on Monday, that farmers would be entitled to bonus payment when the achieved average gross Free On Board (FOB) price at the end of the Cocoa season is between the minimum of $2,600 ($2,700 Cost Insurance Freight (CIF) - $2,900 ($3,000 CIF).

He said the countries agreed that a stabilization account be created under the Cocoa initiative of both countries and provided for in the Charter.

In this respect, two accounts would be set up for each country within the secretariat in Accra where any extra value above $3,000 CIF or $2,900 Gross FOB of the Achieved Weight Average will be deposited.

Mr Aidoo said the only mandate for which monies could be disbursed from the account was for the sole purpose of supporting the Achieved Weight Average if it falls below $2,300 CIF or $2,200 Gross FOB.

“It is instructive to note that, this new arrangement fixes a constant $400 for each tonne of cocoa from the two countries. So for example, with the 900,000 metric tonnes of cocoa produced last year, it would have fetched about $360 million dollars from the upper level of the supply chain to us here in Ghana at the lower level of the cocoa value chain,” he explained.



Published in Agriculture
The Russian’s RT and Sputnik news organizations have been barred from a global conference on media freedom in London.
British Authorities on Monday said the media organisations were barred because of their “active role in spreading disinformation”.
Sputlink quoted a British Foreign Office spokeswoman as saying, “We have not accredited RT or Sputnik because of their active role in spreading disinformation,” .
“While it’s not possible to accommodate all requests for accreditation, journalists from across the world’s media are attending the conference, including from Russia.”
The Russian Embassy previously condemned the decision relating to RT as “direct politically motivated discrimination” and said it had complained to the Foreign Office.
In a statement Friday, it said RT had been told there was no space for its journalists at the conference.
After the Foreign Office comments on Monday, RT said in a statement: “It takes a particular brand of hypocrisy to advocate for freedom of press while banning inconvenient voices and slandering alternative media.”
The medium also reported that in December, British media regulator Ofcom found RT had broken impartiality rules with several programs broadcast after the nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy, in the English city of Salisbury.
Moscow has denied claims by London that it approved the attack on Skripal in March last year.
Organizers of the London conference say it is intended to increase international discussion and cooperation on the issue of media freedom, including fake news.
International human rights lawyer Amal Clooney will attend in her capacity as Britain’s special envoy on media freedom.
She will convene the first meeting of an independent panel of experts to look at how to strengthen national legislation to protect journalists.
The final guest list has yet to be published but officials said the only countries not invited to the conference are North Korea, Syria and Venezuela.
About 60 ministers and 1,000 journalists and members of civil society are expected to attend the meeting, co-hosted with Canada, on Wednesday and Thursday.
Ahead of the conference, Britain announced £18 million to counter disinformation across Eastern Europe and to strengthen independent media in the western Balkans.
Published in World

The population of Africa is booming, but as long as productivity and employment remain unsteady, “global experts” and economists contend, African cities could descend into conflict and disorder.

From their perspective, activities like street hustling are seen to embody chaos and delinquency. Hustlers are assumed to be young, sometimes criminal, unemployed, and enmeshed in the informal economy of the streets, living in informal settlements or “slums” and illegally occupying urban land that could be used more productively.

These portrayals have a long history, rooted in colonial attitudes toward informal workers and economic policies that have long overlooked the value street hustlers have created in modern African cities.

A successful hustler is embedded in the city’s social relations. To get by, hustlers connect people, provide services and enable economic exchange, in both licit ways (such as retail, brokering transactions and providing electricity, water, transport and sanitation) and illicit ways (retrieving and fencing stolen goods).

Of course, the street economy is not all roses. Hustling can be predatory and criminal. But this not the whole story, as my own research on street lives in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa taught me.

Smartness in the city

Hustling has a special place in Addis Ababa, especially in Arada – a historic part of the city centre. Since the mid-20th century, Arada has conveyed a sense of smartness and urban sophistication, which generations of residents have nurtured and cultivated.

In the 1950s and 60s, intellectuals, artists, government officials and members of the city’s emerging middle class described themselves as “Arada” to make sense of how the city, with its bars, restaurants, cinemas and theatre, shaped their lifestyles, sensibilities, and social lives. To this day, being Arada signifies a proud local history of cultural and intellectual production among the city’s middle classes.

At the same time, hustlers and sex workers – poor men and women who lived side by side with the middle classes – also claim to be Arada. For them, the hustler’s ability to navigate the city and get by against the odds was a sign of smartness. Being Arada has been a way for these people to assert their presence in the city and achieve a sense of self-worth and respect.

Hit with evictions

Both the intellectualism of the elites and the street smarts of hustlers and sex workers transformed the neighbourhood of Arada into a social and cultural hotspot. But today, the very people who gave the neighbourhood its meaning and value are under attack. In the past decade, the Addis Ababa city government has initiated waves of evictions targeting inner city areas, including Arada and neighbouring Arat Kilo.

Government officials I interviewed over the years are adamant that the cleared areas were unfit to live in, with dilapidated housing, poor sanitation and health conditions. The evictions are for development, they say – they make room for private investment and regeneration.

But in all likelihood, evicted residents won’t be able to return to the city centre. Those who can afford a down payment of between 25,000 and 180,000 birr (roughly US$850 to US$6,200), and monthly instalments of 2,000 to 3,000 birr (US$70 to US$100) over 15 to 25 years, will relocate to the outskirts of Addis Ababa, where the government has been building large tracts of “affordable housing”. Those who cannot afford it – 20% of the city’s residents – will need to look for a cheap place to rent elsewhere.

Commercial spaces, high-end apartments, leisure facilities and office blocks will replace inner city residences, alongside a few blocks of “affordable housing” for a lucky few. The old trope of the African city as a site which needs to be ordered and contained has struck again. And this time, it has hit longstanding residents hardest.

Location, location, location

For elite economists, developers, investors and policy makers, hustlers have no place in the new, beautified vision of Addis Ababa, and places such as Arada – with their dilapidated housing and informal economies – have no economic value. In fact, these very actors stand to profit from the cultural meaning and value generated by the residents that they evict from these historic areas.

One of these investors is Jonny (not his real name), an Ethiopian businessman in his fifties who I interviewed as part of my research. While holding a drink at the lounge bar at the Hilton, he showed me pictures of furnishings he had ordered from China. He was building a hotel in a newly cleared inner city area. It is an exciting business opportunity, he told me:

It was an old house, in an old area. Very beautiful, very beautiful.

The real estate motto “location, location, location” has as much to do with the historical and cultural significance of a place, as its proximity to local amenities or spectacular city views. But while developers like Jonny can now pursue their dreams, the people who made the area desirable in the first place are being pushed out.

Urban exiles

“They want to get rid of the poor,” said Ibrahim, a former hustler and current car attendant in his late thirties, as we walked around what remained of nearby neighbourhood Arat Kilo after a wave of evictions in 2012. Others clearly agreed. Just a few days after the evictions, graffiti appeared on the remaining buildings: “Since they were jealous of us, they tore down ours,” one message read. Some parts of Arada are still standing, but residents worry that sooner or later, it will be their turn.

In research interviews, government officials emphasised to me that evictees are compensated, and that being offered place in the government’s affordable housing programme is a change for the better.

But Eden, a mother of two who lives in a new built housing complex on the eastern outskirts of Addis Ababa, did not agree:

We live in these new houses, but there is not much change! Now we have to pay thousands for the mortgage. Then your salary is cut, first by taxes and then by transport costs – it is not fair!

Evictions in Addis Ababa will continue regardless, this time also with the involvement of international investment. In November 2018, Abu Dhabi-based real estate developer Eagle Hills and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched La Gare, a new development with shopping malls, luxury hotels and over 4,000 high-end residences. La Gare will replace Kirkos, one of the oldest neighbourhoods in the inner city.

This April, Abiy Ahmed announced another milestone in his plans for the regeneration of Addis Ababa. His riverside project - “Beautifying Shegher” - will be supported by the Chinese government: a 12-kilometre redevelopment of densely populated parts of the Ethiopian capital.

Read more: China's 'Silk Road urbanism' is changing cities from London to Kampala – can locals keep control?

As Ethiopia’s economy continues to grow, development is in demand and inner city residents, including hustlers, expect it. But it should not be pursued at the expense of the very people who helped create value and meaning in the city. This value must be recognised: historically and politically but – above all – morally and monetarily.

The names of individuals interviewed as part of the research project have been changed.The Conversation

Marco Di Nunzio, Lecturer in the Anthropology of Africa, University of Birmingham

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Published in Business

Fans are choosing not to watch live football events, and instead are opting in increasing numbers for the 'intimacy' of their crystal clear digital flat TV screens, or not all

At the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, the visual imagery of  almost empty stadiums is a powerful narrative. But not the kind that African sports, African football, or corporate sponsors deserve.

The empty seat syndrome in suggests that football fans are voting with their feet, or better still with their backsides. Fans are choosing not to watch live football events, and instead are opting in increasing numbers  for the 'intimacy' of their crystal clear digital flat TV screens, or not all.

Before Egypt's stunning 0-1 loss to South Africa in the round of 16, the host country was the only team able to attract 70,000 fans. Other than when Mo Salah and the Pharaohs have been on the field, most stadia across Egypt have at best attracted an average of 5,000 to 7,000 fans.

Official broadcast camera crews have done a creative job minimizing the visual gaps of empty seats. But wide camera angles reveal the obvious ... a lack of attendance and public enthusiasm, in spite of the presence of some of the biggest names in world football on the field.

In European football leagues, where many of the stars in Egypt ply their trade, fans pay mega bucks to see the likes of John Mikel Obi, Ahmed Musa, Sadio Mane, Ryahd Mahrez, Nicolas Pépé, Wilfred, Zaha, and Kalidou Koulibaly.

Which is why the empty seats in Egypt are both stunning.

Admittedly, Egypt bailed CAF out and should receive well-deserved credit for coming to the rescue and hosting the African Cup of Nations, with barely 6 months notice, when the original hosts were sanctioned due to shoddy preparations.

Nevertheless, the lack of attendance in Egypt speaks volumes high ticket costs; the timing of matches bang in the middle of work days; the difficulties faced by national team supporters in obtaining entry visas to Egypt; and challenges with the Confederation of African Football's complicated online ticket purchasing system. 

Image result for Afcon empty seats

It should not be so. This after all, is the most important event in Africa's sports calendar. At least, it used to be before England's Premier League, Spain's La Liga, Italy's Serie A, and Germany's Bundesliga captured our collective imaginations.

The end result is that where once 30,000 to 70,000 fans a week watched highly competitive domestic football leagues across Africa, the empty seat syndrome has been  the norm for almost two decades. It is not unusual to have less than a thousand fans in a stadium that seats 30,000.

The lack of fan attendance has obvious economic and financial implications across the sports value chain for team owners, sports federations and confederations, players, sponsors, advertising and marketing agencies, merchandisers, vendors, and local communities who once counted on fan attendance to boost fledgling economies.

What's responsible for the increasing slide in fan attendance?

1. Poor facilities

2. High ticket costs

3. A lack of reliable transportation to and from venues. As well as sufficient and secure parking.

4. Increasingly crude behavior and violence at event locations.

5. Technology. Mobile phones and Apps that carry events live as well as a plethora of entertainment alternatives. In other words, once big events are no longer the main gigs in town.

So, what can be done to reverse the trend? Here are 5 quick suggestions.

1. It can no longer be business as usual. Africa must run sports as a professional business. This includes the right infrastructure, training facilities, attractive pay scales for professional athletes who now consider anything less than a European league appearance, a professional failure.

Regrettably, as with Africa's overall propensity to simply export raw materials instead of adding value to what we produce, we are doing the same with football and many other sports. Africa has a tremendous abundance of potential talent that for the most part (with the exception of South Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia) we add little or no value to. Instead, millions of genetically blessed athletes are simply waiting or begging to be 'found' on the cheap by European and American sports teams. Why? Simply because we fail to see diamonds in the rough and because we are unable to add value to the potential of what for now seems to be rough stones.

2. Modern and professionally maintained facilities: In sizzling hot Africa, we must invest in covered stadia. When I can sit in front of my big screen TV in my air conditioned living room, why would I want to subject myself to temperatures that I swear have gone up a number of notches in recent years?

3. Sport is a spectacle. This includes everything including pre-event and half time entertainment to keep fans with short attention spans upbeat and engaged.

4. Give back to the fans: Essentially, engagement in the 21st century must change. Its time to give something back to fans rather than fleecing them at every opportunity with sub-standard services and products. It would seem to me that sports teams could offer something as simple as raffle draws that reward fans with extra game tickets, signed player jerseys, visits with select players, or products from local sponsors. Professional marketing firms can come up with an endless list.

5. Make sports big and make it a win-win proposition.

Real Madrid F.C. and Barcelona F.C. for example, are not owned by a few rich individuals. Instead, they are owned and supported by thousands of shareholders known as 'socios.' Across Africa, it's time to change the numbers game - in ownership, money, and attendance - by giving fans a seat at the table.

These are just a few quick ideas. However, the running of sports in general and football in particular as a business and a brand proposition, will require honest analysis, political and financial will, and a collective approach.

It must be if Africa is to unlock potential and turn millions into billions.


– by Victor Oladokun

Published in Opinion & Analysis
  1. Opinions and Analysis


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