•CBN to establish Int’l Financial Centre
President Muhammadu Buhari, Tuesday, urged banking and finance operatives to collaborate towards making Nigeria one of the leading economies of the world.
He stated this in Abuja at the 14th Banking and Finance Conference organised by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), themed: Economic Recovery, Inclusion and Transformation: The Role of Banking and Finance.
President Buhari commended the Nigerian financial services industry for working assiduously to achieve financial inclusion targets and fostering economic growth of the country.
He urged speakers at the event to share insight that would help reposition Nigeria economically and otherwise.
He described the rampaging COVID-19 pandemic as a game changer that altered the way of life across the globe, urging financial experts and other key stakeholders in the country to latch on to the opportunities provided by ICT to drive growth.
He hailed current economic rejuvenation efforts by various umpires and called for the tempo to be sustained.
In his remarks, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and chief host, Mr Godwin Emefiele, stated that CIBN has been a strong supporter of CBN’s policies and programmes.
He described the theme of the conference as apt, given the unprecedented events of 2020, especially when considered along the measures put in place by policy makers to reverse a significant downturn in economic activities last year. He revealed that the CBN would, in the next 12 months, establish the Nigerian International Financial Centre (NIFC) to consolidate the growth and resilience of Nigerian banks in the last decade. He said the NIFC would act as an international gateway for capital and investments, driven by technology and payment system infrastructure.
“This new financial hub, will curate local and international banks to make them global champions. The NIFC will be a 24/7 Financial centre that will complement London, New York and Singapore financial centers and enable an acceleration of our home grown initiatives such as the Infracorp Plc, the N15 trillion infrastructure fund which we will be launching in October 2021.
“The NIFC will also complement our initiatives on the Nigerian Commodity exchange and the National Theatre creative hubs for our youths as well as the E-naira project which will also debut in October 2021.
Ethiopia defaults on $33 Million bond payment
Ethiopia officially entered default territory on Tuesday, becoming Africa’s third nation to do so within a span of three years. The failure to make a $33 million « coupon » payment on its sole international government bond underscores the country’s severe financial challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and a recently concluded two-year civil war in November 2022.
Ethiopia had previously announced its intention to formally default earlier this month. The payment, originally due on December 11, had a technical grace period extending until Tuesday, thanks to a 14-day clause in the $1 billion bond agreement.
Sources familiar with the situation reported that, as of the close of business on Friday, December 22, the last international banking working day before the grace period ended, bondholders had not received the expected coupon payment. Despite requests for comments, Ethiopian government officials remained silent on Friday and throughout the weekend.
This anticipated default aligns Ethiopia with two other African nations, Zambia and Ghana, which are currently undergoing a comprehensive restructuring process under the « Common Framework. »
Ethiopia initially sought debt relief under the G20-led initiative in early 2021. The civil war delayed progress, but in November, facing depleted foreign exchange reserves and surging inflation, Ethiopia’s official sector government creditors, including China, agreed to a debt service suspension deal.
Parallel negotiations with pension funds and other private sector creditors, who hold Ethiopia’s bond, collapsed on December 8. Subsequently, credit ratings agency S&P Global downgraded the bond to « Default » on December 15, based on the assumption that the coupon payment would not be fulfilled. The default places Ethiopia in a challenging economic position, requiring strategic measures to address its financial instability and navigate the complexities of debt restructuring.
TotalEnergies ready to invest $6 billion in Nigeria
French energy giant TotalEnergies is ready to invest $6 billion (around €5.5 billion) over several years in Nigeria’s energy industry, particularly in gas and offshore projects, the Nigerian presidency has said.
« We are ready to invest $6 billion over the next few years. We are looking in depth at more opportunities for deepwater and gas production, » said TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouyanné, according to a presidential statement.
On Monday, Head of State Bola Ahmed Tinubu held talks with Mr Pouyanné in Abuja, the capital.
« Everything is in place. We just need to finalise the adjustments and changes needed to unlock the exceptional potential in oil and gas », continued Mr Pouyanné, according to the Presidency.
Nigeria is « very important » for TotalEnergies, which accounts for between 8% and 10% of the group’s total oil production, according to the CEO quoted in the press release.
For his part, the Nigerian president pledged to « remove all obstacles in the oil and gas industry ». « We are ready to work with you », he said.
The oil and gas major indicated that it « has a substantial portfolio of projects that could represent 6 billion dollars of investment over the next few years ».
Ten days ago, the Nigerian president’s office announced similar commitments from British oil and gas giant Shell, for USD 6 billion in offshore, natural gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects.
Since his inauguration at the end of May, Bola Ahmed Tinubu has taken a series of economic measures aimed at attracting more foreign investment to this oil-producing country and member of OPEC.
A law, the Petroleum Industry Bill, adopted in 2021 after years of debate and delays, was already aimed at attracting more foreign investment in the oil sector through changes to regulations, royalties and taxes.
Nigeria has seen its oil production decline in recent years due to widespread pipeline theft, attacks, high operating costs and red tape, which have deterred investors.
Nigeria, Cameroon missing in top 10 best international airports in Africa
Africa is emerging as a preferred global destination for travellers, driven by a thriving tourism and business sector. The continent’s aviation landscape is now a formidable force, fostering crucial connections between Africa and the global community.
Recently, Skytrax, a renowned international airline assessment organization, revealed its 2023 report on the Best Airports in Africa. South Africa dominated the regional ranking, with additional entries from Kenya, Morocco, Rwanda, and Mauritius.
1. Cape Town International Airport, South Africa
This is a premier international hub with modern infrastructure and a commitment to eco-friendly practices. The airport hosts 4.13 passengers per 10 square meters daily, catering to a discerning crowd.
2. King Shaka International Airport, South Africa
Located in Durban, it stands as a beacon of excellence among Africa’s best international airports. The terminal, covering 102,000 m2, can handle 7.5 million passengers annually.
3. Johannesburg International Airport, South Africa
Serving as the primary hub for domestic and international travel in South Africa. Since 2020, Africa’s fifth busiest airport with a capacity for 28 million passengers per year.
4. Casablanca International Airport, Morocco
Handled about 7.6 million passengers in 2022, ranking among the top 10 busiest airports in Africa. A hub for Royal Air Maroc, Royal Air Maroc Express, and Air Arabia Maroc.
5. Mauritius International Airport
A strategic gateway with direct flights to Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe. Renowned for its commitment to passenger satisfaction and prime location.
6. Marrakech International Airport, Morocco
An international facility connecting Europe, the Arab world, and soon North America. Terminals designed to handle 2,500,000 passengers annually.
7. Addis Ababa International Airport, Ethiopia
Formerly Haile Selassie I International Airport, it’s the main hub for Ethiopian Airlines. Links Ethiopia and Africa to Asia, Europe, North America, and South America.
8. Kigali International Airport, Rwanda
Serving Kigali and playing a vital role in connecting Congolese, Burundian, and Ugandan cities. The terminal accommodates 1.5 million passengers annually.
9. Nairobi International Airport, Kenya
A key connection point to East African destinations, quadrupling its capacity to host 26.5 million passengers yearly.
10. Bloemfontein International Airport, South Africa
Formerly Bloemfontein International Airport, now Bram Fischer International Airport. An economic hub hosting over 300,000 passengers and 17,000 air traffic movements annually.