Stakeholders Turn Out En Masse At REDAN House Fund Raising And Advocacy Lecture Series

Stakeholders in the building and construction industry, from both the public and private sectors in Nigeria, turned out en masse at the fund raising of REDAN House Building and advocacy lecture series, held at Sandralia Hotel, Jabi-Abuja on the 11th of December 2018.

The REDAN advocacy lecture series is a project of the Exco, which also served as an opportunity to interact with CEOs in the building and construction sector.

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While delivering his welcome address, the President of the Real Estate Development Association of Nigeria (REDAN),Ugochukwu Chime, said ‘’The REDAN Advocacy Lecture Series is fashioned by REDAN to inform our members and the general public in general on developments and current issues relating to housing development in our clime.’’

‘’It will deepen our collective knowledge, appreciation, anticipation, synergy and viability.

Speaking further he said ‘’There is a housing gap in the country and income level is low, the social intervention initiative of the federal government via the instrumentality of the Family Homes Funds, needs to be clearly understood, and requirements for participation clearly accepted’’

He acknowledged the commitment of Femi Adewole, the Managing Director of Family Homes Funds, who was also the Guest Lecturer, for being in the vanguard and quest for affordable housing delivery. He said ‘’

Your focus, determination and sense of commitment to chart a new course for housing delivery is clearly manifest in your words and action over the years’’.

The launching and fund raising was chaired by highly respected Mallam Ibrahim Aliyu, the Chairman of Urban Shelter Limited. The event was also be attended by eminent personalities, which included

The Hon Minister of State for Power,Works and Housing,Suleiman Zarma,Managing Director, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria(FMBN)Mr Ahmed Dangiwa, Managing Director National Mortgage Refinance Company plc.(NMRC), Mr Kehinde Ogundimu, who was represented at the occasion,Managing Director, Family Homes Funds, Mr Femi Adewole and Managing Directors of all the major real estate development companies.

Affa Dickson Acho



The Real Estate Market, today and the future

You may have noticed the real estate market tightening and slowing in recent months. Homebuyers are becoming increasingly more cautious due to the feeling that they may be purchasing at the top of the market and will have to obtain a higher market interest rate compared to the past. This also translates to buyers being more difficult to secure in the marketplace for home sellers. This, in addition to an ever-rising interest rate market, is leading to more compression and more competition from lenders. And as the fight for consumers becomes ever more challenging, homebuyers who are in the market become ever more competitive to land for lenders. The fight for purchase business continues.

The Current Market

As many consumers have noticed, the current real estate market remains at a plateau. While we continue to see homes being bought and sold at a standard rate in the conventional markets, the move-up buyer — someone who buys a house that is larger and more expensive than the house they already own — is almost like a ghost.

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As interest rates climb and housing prices stay flat, the move-up buyer market will not gain traction. The reason for this is very simple: Most people who currently find themselves in a good equity position in their home and purchased their home between 2012 and 2015 are scratching their heads. Those who do want to potentially move into a home in a better location, or want more square feet or updated finishings, are pondering if it’s really worth the move.

And here’s the conundrum: If they purchased their home in 2011-2013, and that home was $500,000 and is now worth $800,000, and their current budget is $1.1-$1.3 million, they may be asking themselves, “What do I really get?” The answer is not much more. This is because a home bought four or five years ago has seen significant appreciation. Therefore, even with a higher budget today, what they can buy doesn’t yield much more than they already have.

Even though the budget is on the higher end, consumers may find themselves saying, “If this is all I get for this amount of money, I think I’d rather stay in my home.”

More importantly, the current interest rate they are paying may be in the mid to upper 3% range, yet current rates are looking closer to 5%. Facing the possibility of getting out of an incredible interest rate to jump up to 100-150 mortgage points, thereby increasing their monthly expenses significantly even if their loan amount stays the same, smart consumers are saying, “No. I’ll stay in my home. Maybe we’ll remodel it.” And that’s what I’ve observed across the board.

Looking To The Future

Consumers are hesitant in the current market — not with only with what is available compared to what they have to spend, but even more importantly, getting out of an all-time rock-bottom low interest rate in exchange for a higher interest rate.

For consumers in the FHA and conventional markets, we see demand continuing to be rather strong — maybe not as strong as in years past, but still a solid market. In the high-end luxury market, we are predicting a little slow down, but that market as well should remain decent over the next 12 months. This opinion and prediction is based off of the historical ebb and flow of the luxury market, in addition to high interest rates.

However, what’s hurting the market right now is the move-up buyer. Particularly in the Arizona market, for example, the move-up buyer from $500,000 to $1 million seems really hard to find. These homes are sitting on average over 130 days longer than I saw them listing for last year. This is happening because encouraging the move-up buyer to take on a higher interest rate for a larger home is not sustainable. The move-up buyer wants to stay where they are in this scenario. They are more interested in investing money into a home for a remodel, or even an addition, rather than taking on the cost of moving and a higher interest rate.

The only solution that would help this situation would be for interest rates to lower. This move-up buyer hold-out could damage the market because it initiates a sort of freeze where homes aren’t going on the market and buyers aren’t interested in looking for newer or larger homes. This causes a slow market without a lot of turnover.

Generally speaking, the market tends to cool this time of year as the leaves fall and temperatures drop as well. There is nothing to be alarmed about at this time, but awareness of the current climate is key to making the best decisions for all.

Source: Jason Mitchell

National development: Emphasis on infrastructural development

Stakeholders who gathered at the just concluded maiden edition of the Nigerian Infrastructure Development Awards NIDA, held in Lagos have emphasised the need for rapid infrastructural development across the country to ensure national development.

The theme of the event organised by Prospers Strategy Limited was “Solid Infrastructural Backbone as Catalyst for National Development”. In his keynote address, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, who was represented by the Director of Federal Highways, South West, Engr. Funsho Adebiyi, said the Buhari administration has embarked on massive infrastructural projects across the nation to ensure national development.

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Fashola added that the administration is equally playing the pivotal role in ensuring the allocation of resources to enable it deliver on its mandate at a time the country is earning much less revenue from oil, pointing out however that, “I will like to focus on the larger picture of the resolve to renew Nigeria’s ageing infrastructure, most of which were built over four decades ago. “I speak of projects like the Kano-Maiduguri Highway, the Enugu-Port-Harcourt Road, the East-West Road, the Lagos-Ibadan Highway, the Benin-Okene-Lokoja Highway, the 2nd Niger Bridge, the Loko-Oweto Bridge and others. I speak also of difficult projects that appeared to have defied every attempt to start them like the Bobo-Bonny Bridge, which has now commenced, and the Mambilla Hydro Power project which contract has been signed.

“These projects and many others like our rail projects from Lagos to Kano, Port-Harcourt to Maiduguri, and Air and Sea ports at various stages of completion, will from the foundation for building our prosperity and national development. These foundations will be so strong that they will ensure that we are able, in the near and long terms, to deal with adverse economic seasons. “They will help to diversify Nigeria’s economy away from oil dependence, and open new opportunities of prosperity for Nigerians in sectors like tourism, agriculture, transport, logistics and manufacturing”, Fashola noted.

The Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission NCC, Senator Olabiyi Durojaye who was the chairman of the night, pointed out that infrastructural development is very critical to the development of the nation, stressing however, that it is one thing to have infrastructure, but it is another thing to develop it to the benefit of the nation. Durojaye therefore called on private and public sector players in infrastructure segment of the national economy to come together to take infrastructure development to global level, pointing out that Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind in the quest for infrastructure development as obtainable globally.

Chief Executive Officer of Prospers Strategy Limited, organisers of the event, Mr. Lanre Alabi, while welcoming the audience, said  the event, themed “Solid Infrastructural Backbone as Catalyst for National Development”, is part of a broad programme to X-ray topical infrastructure issues facing the nation and boost the growth and development of infrastructure in Nigeria. According to Alabi, “It offers a unique platform for technocrats, innovators and administrators, companies and groups whose mandate and activities impact on the improvement and development of infrastructure in Nigeria”.

Alabi informed that NIDA had identified corporate organisations, government agencies and individuals who had made huge and outstanding impact in the Nigerian infrastructural development sector over the years. “We have identified key personalities, top government officials, government agencies, private sector players and innovators who have played iconic and notable roles through strategic policy formulation, programme implementation, project execution in the development of infrastructure in Nigeria. “Our focus is to honour the best, boldest, creative and outstanding projects that have impacted on the well-being of the people.

Many infrastructural projects have projected the nation to the outside world and have birthed many other businesses. The presence of these high-impacting infrastructure investments cut across transportation, telecommunication, energy and power, oil and gas, aviation, agriculture, health, housing and entertainment. Fashola, Governors Willie Obiano (Anambra) and Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos) were among those honoured at the event for their contributions to infrastructural development.
Source: Kingsley Adegboye

CBN calls for the reform of real estate regulating laws, stakeholders plan to abridge 17 million housing deficit

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and stakeholders in the housing sector of the economy have agreed to develop mass and affording housing with a view to abridge the 17 million housing deficit confronting the nation.

The stakeholders, who reached the agreement during the 2018 Mandatory Continuing Professional Development, MCPD, in Abuja, pledged to work together towards ensuring development and growth of housing sector in order to grow the economy and prevent the nation from relapsing into recession. Recall, a former Deputy Governor of CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, recently warned that the weak economic fundamentals currently being shown by the economy were putting the nation’s exit from recession under fresh threat. Speaking at the MCPD seminar organized by the Abuja chapter of Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, NIESV, with the theme “Post economic recession in Nigeria-harnessing the potentials of real estate sector for a sustainable economic development”,  the stakeholders collectively resolved that housing sector has important role to play to strengthen the country’s economy.

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In his remarks, the Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, Central Bank of Nigeria, Edward Adamu explained that the bank as part of effort to increase access to affordable housing and address the 17 million housing deficit has in the recent past set up a National Housing and Mortgage intervention fund. Adamu noted that “In addition to its core mandate, CBN has taken up a developmental role in the economy.

All the intervention institutions and programmes are aimed at channelling resources to sectors that are vital to the strategic economic development of the country but are either not served at all or are under-served at a prohibitive cost by financial institutions because of perceived high risk or long gestation period. He said, “There is a huge housing deficit of 17 million units. The demography tilts towards the youths – 42% of population is 14 years and below. 75.2% are less than 35 years of age and high rate of urban migration – 50% and growing. He said the reason for the intervention is because of the present low contribution of Mortgage to GDP (less than 1%), against the Ghana’s 10%, and South Africa 40%. Adamu while enumerating potential to unlock the housing production value chain, said the process would guarantee employment, wealth creation and social stability.

In his presentation, the Chairman Premium Pension Limited, Arc. Yunusa Yakubu, said the Nigeria’s real estate sector is evolving at a remarkable pace and there is a growing awareness at all levels of the role of real estate development in the growth of the economy.

According to him, “As at the second quarter 2018, the Nigerian real estate sector accounted for 6.83 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. “Available statistics reveal that Nigerian housing deficit is estimated at between 17 to 20 million units, increasing annually by 900 000 units, with a potential cost of N6 trillion (US$16 billion). With a population of almost 190 million, annual population growth rate of 2.8 per cent, annual urban population growth rate of 4.7 per cent according to data from the United Nations, we need to stop talking and start building. “Nigeria’s abysmal ranking on the mortgage finance scale shows that the several mortgage financing initiatives by successive governments in the country have not really produced the desired results. “Clearly, the government needs to buckle up in order to meet it stated annual production of one million standardized affordable housing units. Nigeria has a low home ownership rate of 25 percent, lower than that of Indonesia (84 percent), Kenya (73 percent), and South Africa (56 percent).

“The real estate sector is full of opportunities and access to finance remains a significant challenge. Page 3 of 5 Prospect of Pension Funds as a New Vista in Real Estate Finance Experts in the real estate sector have argued that to bridge the gap in the housing sector, investors need to move beyond focusing on short term drivers to long term funding.” In his presentation,  Abubakar Abdulkadir, an estate surveyor and valuer, noted that there is need for reform of laws regulating real estate or property cannot be over emphasised. He explained that, “This must be done if we want the real estate sector of Nigeria’s economy to develop and contribute positively to the nation’s GDP which will ultimately improve the quality of lives of the citizens of this country.”

Source: Chris Ochayi

How A Gabonese Journalist Built A Multi-Million Dollar Media Relations Company

Franco-Gabonese entrepreneur Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard is the founder of the APO Group, a  leading media consulting firm and press release distribution service in Africa and the Middle East. The company, which Pompigne-Mognard founded in 2007, employs close to 80 employees across its offices in Switzerland, Dubai, Senegal and Hong Kong, and has an annual turnover of  several million dollars. APO’s bluechip clients include GE Africa, Dangote Group and DHL among others.

Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard recently stepped down as CEO of APO Group, and will now assume the position of  Chairman, focusing on delivering high-level counsel for APO Group clients and developing his own investment fund dedicated to Africa.

He recently recounted the story of APO’s early beginnings and mused on the evolution of the media relations business in Africa.

You founded APO Group 11 years ago while you were working as a journalist for Gabonews, an online publication. Relive that period for us and walk us through the series of events that led you to establishing the company.

I was a European correspondent for Gabonews, and I soon realised how difficult it was to get hold of Africa-related press releases, press briefings and official statements issued by European-based institutions, NGOs, diplomacies and governments.

As a journalist, I needed to receive all this information in order to stay on top of everything that was happening between Europe and Africa at a diplomatic, economic – even a cultural level. To access press releases, I had to subscribe to all the mailing lists and RSS feeds. Most organizations were only publishing their press releases on their websites, naively hoping that journalists would be constantly monitoring them all to see if anything new had been published. I was spending hours and days trying to reach the relevant people so they could send me their press releases.

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And as the European correspondent at an African media organization, I was also supposed to monitor all content issued by African governments and institutions about any European matter. Receiving press releases issued by these organizations was even more difficult. As I struggled, I realized that it was extremely problematic for any journalist to get all this Africa-related press release content – and that had some very bad consequences:

First, the inability of African journalists to access this information was reinforcing their dependence on Western media and press agencies. Second, most of the press releases issued by African governments and African institutions never reached the international media community at all. Many even failed to reach the African media community.

We have to remember that, back then, international institutions like the African Development Bank, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund were having serious discussions about the role of African media in the promotion of good governance, and we were starting to hear about the concept of “communication for development” – that is the part media has to play in the transparency and accountability of organizations involved in public investment in the region.

But what really triggered my decision to act was a series of discussions I had with the President of the African Development Bank at the time, Donald Kaberuka, who explained to me how crucial the dissemination of news about Africa’s economy was to the development of the continent. We needed to reverse the tide and make sure the international media community and all African media had access to news releases announcing new investments in Africa, new CEO appointments, new startups, new international events, new awards and so on.

Of course, all this positive news is typically spread via press releases.

A few months later, APO started signing strategic agreements with Bloomberg, Reuters, LexisNexis, Dow Jones Factiva and other major international players to guarantee the worldwide distribution of thousands of Africa-related press releases in a standardised, internationally-recognized NewsML format for the first time.

That’s how it all started.

APO Group is currently the leading media relations consulting firm and press release distribution service in Africa and the Middle East. What else does the company do apart from these flagship services?

APO Group manages an extensive variety of services, ranging from TV and photo production, distribution and monitoring, to Online Press Conferences, government relations and more. But what really makes us unique is our ability to not only advise clients, but also to implement their plans using our own proprietary tools across all 54 markets of the continent.

And this is what our clients really need: a single interlocutor with deep knowledge of Africa, the tools to deliver the right results and an ability to stand alongside them in whatever challenges they face in their communications strategies.

The company’s turnover grew by 50% last year and is forecasted to grow by 60% in 2018. Much of this growth is because of the amazing success of our Advisory division.

Most of our clients understand that the most effective way to use APO Group is not as an ad hoc press release distribution function, but as a holistic consultative partner.

57 of the biggest PR agencies in the world worked with us in 2017 because they truly understood the value of what we provide. We have over a decade of experience so we can benchmark their strategies at a local level and throughout the continent as a whole. Not only do we immerse ourselves in their clients’ communications plans, we implement them and provide monitoring data to evaluate their success and return on investment.

What were some of the challenges you encountered in the beginning, and what were some milestone moments for APO Group?

It’s actually quite difficult for me to mention milestone moments for APO Group. When a company is growing fast, you are living milestone moments quarter-by-quarter.

But I certainly encountered plenty of challenges in the beginning!

I was a journalist. I studied law. I really was not prepared to create, much less develop a multinational company.

I built APO Group from my living room – literally – and during the first years I had to be the IT manager, the sales consultant, the PA, HR, Finance, Marketing – everything. I had to learn it all from scratch.

Not to mention, my English was very poor.

I remember one day, I was calling the head of communications at Boeing. I had noticed they just made an announcement related to Africa and I was hoping I could convince them to try my press release distribution service. The problem was my English was terrible.

During the discussion, and most probably to get rid of me, my contact says, “you know what, why don’t you just send me a quotation.”

“Quotation?” I had never heard that word before. I didn’t know what it meant. But with my tiny amount of English I said “Yes, of course, I will send you a ‘quotation’. Thank you, bye!”

And the first thing I did was to search Google for ‘quotation’. I wasn’t even sure about the spelling. When I realised that the guy just asked me for an estimated cost, I started doing somersaults. I called my wife in to tell her the good news: “Boeing just asked me for a ‘quotation’!” And of course, I’d never done a quotation before so we had to find a template on the internet to create the very first one.

Since then I’ve never stopped learning. The past 11 years have been a constant education. And many mistakes have been made along the way. My most rookie errors in the beginning were hiring misjudgments. I made poor choices with the first three people I brought on board.

This is not a criticism of those three individuals. They were my mistakes. I had wrongly assessed the profiles and skills the company needed at the time. I realize that now. When turnover is starting to take off, and the company is still very small and fragile, you really have to make the right choices or the dream can be over within just a few months.

In my experience, creating and developing a company is one of the most difficult things a human being can do. It requires a huge amount of time and energy, a lot of sacrifice, a healthy lifestyle and a lot of others ingredients too, which – even if they are all put together with love and care – do not always guarantee success.

It goes without saying, you will also need a little bit of luck. The right encounters, the right timing, not to mention (and in my view, most important of all) the unconditional support of a loved one or family.

How has the media relations business in Africa evolved over the last decade, and how has APO Group evolved along with it?

What I think what has changed the most is perception.

Ten years ago, I was in the European headquarters of PR Newswire, in London. At the time, they were considered the leading global press release distribution service and there I was explaining to several of their senior executives how Africa will soon represent a huge market for press releases – and why it was time for them to invest in the continent. It was 2008, remember, and they basically laughed at me.

Ten years later, APO Group is receiving purchase offers, strategic partnership offers and M&A transaction offers from some of the leading players in the industry.

They are seeing unprecedented demand from their clients for press release distribution in Africa – and they simply don’t know how to serve them. And this is just the beginning. According to the World Bank, the African population will double by 2050, reaching 2.4 billion. The latest United Nations population report, published in 2017, says that by 2100 Africa will be home to 40% of all humanity!

A recent McKinsey study said “Africa is poised for economic acceleration akin to the Asian boom”. There are around 440 US companies and 480 German companies who have been operating in South Africa for several years now. Today, most of them are planning their expansion across the continent to get their chunk of this huge untapped market.

This will obviously translate into more media relations spending, especially if you consider a growing trend where communicators are re-evaluating their mix of advertising versus PR.

African consumers are becoming savvier. They are starting to value news and information above blatant advertising – and that creates opportunities for the media relations business.

In your experience, what are the biggest problems that news agencies are facing today?

It’s partly to do with this idea of African evolution: More savvy Africans means a better educated, more demanding audience. Their expectations are higher, so they require more diverse, better quality content.

And as the audience develops, so too the media must follow – and that means better technology, better innovation, better content and – crucially – better journalists.

I’ve been in touch with a lot of African journalists, and when you ask them what they need most desperately above everything else, they all say: training.

That tells you everything you need to know about the evolution of African audiences: They are moving too fast for the talent to keep up. So, finance plays a big part. If you want to attract the best talent to produce the highest quality content, you have to invest in their development.

Talent will always mean the difference between success and failure – so the greatest challenge facing African media houses is making sure their journalists are meeting the expectations of their audience.

How do you see the future of news agencies, particularly regarding technology and its changing role in the news industry?

Clearly, continuous digital transformation is key. Media houses must keep evolving if they are to survive.

The days where they could rely on advertising as a sole revenue stream are long gone. Consumers are not browsing for advertisements – they are browsing for content – so that’s where the focus of these outlets needs to be. The challenge is to find new ways to monetize content and invent new models.

One area we’ve been focusing on at APO Group is media monitoring.

Right now, in Africa, it’s very poor.

That is partly because a lot of African media are offline, and print, TV and radio monitoring across 54 countries is impossible to do cheaply and painlessly. As the digitalisation of media continues and technology improves, monitoring becomes a critical part of the content value proposition. It produces metrics, data and insights that, in turn, encourage spending.

In the last few years, big international media players have started to come to Africa. CNBC, Euronews, Forbes, CNN and BBC have all increased their presence on the continent. The Washington Post announced this week they will be opening a new office in West Africa, explaining that they want to extend their reach in Africa – “because the continent is projected to account for more than half the world’s population growth over the next three decades”.

If the international media can see the potential, the African media needs to make sure it keeps up.

What are your greatest accomplishments at APO Group? Could you share a ballpark figure of APO Group’s annual revenues?

A lot of the work we are doing – around 70% in fact – is providing strategic advisory services for leading multinational companies, therefore many of our biggest accomplishments are covered by non-disclosure agreements. Let me just say that in 2017, we organized 250+ interviews, including off-the-record interviews, placed dozens of opinion pieces, organized tens of journalists round tables, press conferences and press trips, and actively participated in helping to shape some of the most important business stories in Africa.

Our project managers are in constant contact with some of the most influential media in the world, from CNN to CNBC, BBC to Al Jazeera, The Financial Times to The Wall Street Journal. We are organising interviews and media events in the US, in London, in Oman – but also in very complex African markets such as Eritrea and Somaliland. That’s something we are extremely proud of.

While I’m not allowed to disclose our exact turnover, I can give you some figures. Our turnover grew by 50% in 2017 and is projected to grow by 60% in 2018. Our press release distribution activity grew by 44% in volume in 2017 and is projected to maintain that growth in 2018, while our advisory division is projected to grow by 50% in 2018. Our five-year-plan consists of multiplying our profit margin 4.5 times.

But I would say my greatest accomplishment is to have turned my 10,000 euros of savings – which I invested to create APO in 2007 – into a multi million-euro business without the aid of any loans or investors. That means that, 11 years later, I’m still the 100% owner of my company.

Why did you decide to step down from APO, and what’s next for you and the company?

Being able to create a company does not necessarily mean that you are the right person to develop it and allow it to reach its full potential.

I built a race car. I did it on my own and I’m very proud that the car can reach 300 km per hour. But just because I built it doesn’t mean I’m the best driver to take it to 300 km per hour. That requires another set of skills.

Often, by sticking to the helm, the founder of a company can become the main obstacle to its development.

I’m not that person.

APO Group has huge potential. As we’ve seen, the situation in Africa is such that, in many ways, we are the right company at the right time with the right services on the right market. Our performance in the last three years is proof of that – and if you factor in the projected growth of the continent as a whole, the figures will back you up.

I always knew that someday I would have to hand the reins to a “professional CEO” so he or she could make sure the company realises its potential.

The new CEO I have appointed, Lionel Reina, has a fantastic track record in helping companies scale up quickly and break new ground. Lionel is the former Vice President and General Manager for Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa at Orange Business Services, the B2B division of French telecoms giant Orange. He has also served as Middle East Director in the Gulf region for Accenture.

Lionel and I met in Africa and we have known each other for years. I couldn’t have dreamed of a better CEO.

I am now officially the chairman of the company and I remain its 100% owner. My focus will be on delivering high-level counsel for APO Group clients and continuing to contribute to the growth of the continent by developing my own investment fund dedicated to Africa. I will also continue to oversee our relationship with the World Rugby’s African association, Rugby Africa, of whom we are the main Official Sponsor. Today, Rugby is the fast-growing sport in Africa. In 2002, only six African countries were playing the game, and now the Rugby Africa boasts 38 countries! APO Group is also helping its clients to enjoy the unique sponsorship opportunities offered by World Rugby’s African association, Rugby Africa.

Any advice for budding, young African entrepreneurs?

It would be a very long list! And it would really depend on which stage of the company’s development you are in. But if there are two things common to most self-made entrepreneurs, it’s hard work and resilience. If it was easy, everybody would have already done it. If it was easy, it wouldn’t have any value. You need be ready to work 12 hours a day – and don’t make any plans for the weekend, because you’ll be working then too.

As for everything else I’ve learned? That would take an entire book to cover.


UK partner IFC to fund $2b worth of green construction

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the government of the United Kingdom announced on Monday, December 10, 2018 a new partnership to help transform construction markets by crowding in as much as $2 billion in public and private sector financing for certified green buildings in emerging markets.

The UK-IFC Market Accelerator for Green Construction Programme will be the first UK-IFC partnership in blended concessional finance for climate change mitigation. The U.K. government’s contribution of £105 million will include £80 million for investments and £25 million for advisory services. The funds will be used to incentivise the development of green buildings through certification with IFC’s EDGE and other leading certification systems.

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Globally, buildings generate 19 percent of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions and consume 40 percent of electricity. Every year, an additional 5.5 billion square meters of floor space is constructed, mainly in emerging markets where green construction makes up only a small fraction of new buildings. The global built environment is expected to double by 2050, and green construction can secure lower emissions for decades. By accelerating the construction of certified green buildings, the program aims to mobilise $2 billion in investments to help tackle climate change.

“Green buildings represent a powerful opportunity to address climate change in emerging markets,” said Hans Peter Lankes, IFC’s Vice President for Economics and Private Sector Development. “Investments in green buildings certified with EDGE and other standards could represent a $3.4 trillion opportunity over the next decade. Blended finance is a valuable tool to help create new markets for green construction by mobilizing private capital through financial intermediaries.”

“To date the UK has supported 47 million people across the globe cope with the effects of climate change and provided 17 million people with improved access to clean energy, helping to raise $100 billion a year by 2020 and sharing expertise to keep us secure too,” said Claire Perry, Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth. “One year on from the launch of our modern Industrial Strategy, we are making the most of the economic opportunities that go hand-in-hand with tackling climate change. This exciting new programme will encourage greener construction practices in developing countries to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions, creating opportunities for UK businesses to invest in new markets,” she concluded.

IFC plays a key role in advancing climate solutions led by the private sector. It has an ambitious commitment to ensure 35 percent of its investments are climate-related by 2030. Since 2005, IFC has invested $22.2 billion in long-term financing from its own account and mobilised another $15.7 billion from investors for climate-related projects. IFC green building commitments were $1.4 billion in fiscal year 2018. EDGE certification is available in 144 countries with more than four million square meters of floor space certified.

IFC’s Blended Finance practice helps unlock private sector capital by using concessional finance to mitigate risks, enabling private investors to undertake high-impact development projects that are on the cusp of commercial viability. In fiscal year 2018, IFC committed more than $218 million of concessional donor funds, catalysing $1.5 billion in private investment.


Adeshina commends Egypt’s economic rebound

African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina has saluted Egypt’s strong macroeconomic performance, its improved ranking in the ‘Doing Business Index,’ and the success of major projects in which the Bank is supporting Egypt, lessons that can be learned for the development and the integration of the continent. Adesina was speaking during a session at the just-ended Africa 2018 Business Forum held in the Egyptian city of Sharm-el-Sheikh.

According to the Bank’s latest Country Results Brief, Egypt has regained its position as first destination for foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa. Over the past five years of prudent fiscal policy, it has seen a diversified economy, with services accounting for about half its gross domestic product (GDP), industry, 34% of GDP, and agriculture 12%.

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“(We need) bold and innovative initiatives that realize the enormous possibilities of the continent.”, Adesina said, adding that “we need to prepare, structure and de-risk opportunities to turn them onto investments.’

Adesina spoke as part of a Presidential Panel on “Bold Leadership and Collective Commitments” in which he joined the Heads of Afreximbank, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, the Asian Investment Infrastructure Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the European Investment Bank, and the International Finance Corporation, to deliberate on advancing intra-African investments together. The Bank leaders were in the presence of Egyptian President HE Abdel Fattah El Sisi.

Egypt is the Bank’s second largest regional shareholder and third client in terms of cumulative historical approvals, making it the Bank’s strong partner. Today, the Bank has a portfolio of 30 operations in Egypt, valued at US$2.9 billion.

Adesina highlighted key Bank interventions in Egypt that have provided essential support to the country’s development. For example, energy sector interventions, including the Ain Soukhna and Suez power plants have contributed to overcoming Egypt’s power shortage by adding 3,250 MW of new and efficient generation capacity that can meet the electricity demand of about 7.5 million households, and will facilitate power interconnection with neighboring countries.

The Bank’s operations in 12 governorates, including Assiut and Domyat, have helped over 20 000 farmers to purchase essential inputs at the right time for crop and livestock production.

The Bank has also made a strong contribution to women through its pioneering Women’s Economic Empowerment Project, through which $9 million has enabled women to benefit from 4,306 loans. Under the same programme more than 24,000 women have received training.

Participating at the roundtable ‘Egypt – the Investment Gateway to Africa’ hosted by Egyptian Prime Minister HE Moustafa Madbouly and with participation from about 80 CEOs, Adesina stressed the importance of partnerships to meet Africa’s huge investment needs.

He cited the Bank’s recently concluded Africa Investment Forum held in Johannesburg, South Africa, as an example of greater intra-African private sector collaboration. The Forum successfully convened key private and public stakeholders, and provided an unprecedented platform for effective dialogue to drive investments into the continent.

The value of boardroom projects tabled for discussion during the Forum stood at US$47 billion, while investment interest was secured for 49 projects worth US$38.7 billion.

The Bank President said the Sharm el Sheikh conference will advance greater regional integration and investment.

“Regional integration is essential to face international competition and to facilitate the creation of jobs for youth,” Adesina said.

The Africa Forum in Sharm el Sheikh has emerged as a key platform for high level dialogue between Heads of State, senior Government officials and business leaders focusing on key strategic sectors. The 2018 Forum, which is the third in the series, focused on enhancing private sector cooperation in Africa to increase cross-border investments and trade.

The 2018 Forum, titled “Bold Leadership and Collective Commitment- Fast Tracking Intra-African Investments”, also dedicated a day to Empowering Women, whose voices are critical for framing the African business agenda going forward.


FMBN disburses N114.5m home renovation loan to 139 beneficiaries in Yobe

The Coordinator, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, in Yobe, Abdu Goni, has said the bank has disbursed N114,500,000.00 as home renovation loan to 139 staff of Federal Medical Centre, Nguru.

The coordinator disclosed this yesterday while presenting cheques to the beneficiaries in Damaturu.

He said the loan, which is under the bank’s Home Renovation Loan scheme, followed a Memorandum of Understanding MoU)  signed with their employers.

Goni explained that the loan has six percent interest rate and is repayable in five years.

“Already federal government employees in 35 states of the federation and the FCT have benefited with exception of Yobe state.

“Contributors can borrow from one naira up to N1 million to renovate their homes. We solicit Yobe state government’s cooperation and understanding toward assisting and encouraging the employees who are contributing to the NHF scheme to also benefit from this window,” he appealed.

He commended the administration of governor Gaidam for according priority to welfare of its workers in terms of prompt payment of salary and gratuity and allocation of houses on owner-occupier basis.

Earlier, the special guest of honour, Governor Ibrahim Gaidam, who was represented by Permanent Secretary, Establishment, Bukar Dapchi said the government would look into the issues raised with a view to assisting its workers benefit from the loan.

Should homeless people be expected to live in a box?

Single people in need of a home are the least likely to be prioritised by local authorities. But could one-person micro-homes be an answer – or is expecting people to live in a box, and be grateful about it, a step too far?

Nearly a quarter of a million single people have experienced homelessness in the past 12 months.

These include the most visible sector of homeless people, the rough sleepers; as well as those living in temporary accommodation, like shelters or hostels, provided by the voluntary homelessness sector. Then we have the “hidden homeless” who stay on the floor of friends and family, the “sofa surfers” and the squatters.

Perhaps communities of micro-homes such as one recently granted planning permission in Worcester – where each unit has a floor space of just 17.25 sq metres – could offer a solution.

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According to the British Property Federation, micro-homes can be defined as “not conforming to current minimum space standards”.

But the charity Homeless Link says “the main aspiration of people who are homeless is to have a home of their own”.

So should we start to think inside the box?

Accommodating single people in small spaces is not new – shipping containers have been used to house homeless people for decades. But shipping containers are not purpose-built, are often cold, poorly ventilated and – crucially – are storage crates, not homes.

Benjamin Clayton, head of strategy at Homes England, the government’s “housing accelerator” and formerly a fellow at Harvard University, says micro-homes are “clearly not the solution to the housing crisis, but they might be a handy resource in the meantime.

“Tiny houses could be particularly helpful in getting homeless people into safety. Housing charity Crisis estimates that the cost of a single homeless person sleeping rough in the UK is £20,128 per year, which is depressing money down the drain.”

It makes financial sense to help homeless people, or, ideally, prevent their plight in the first place.

In an illustrative report At what cost? commissioned by Crisis, that annual price tag of £20,128 includes interaction with the criminal justice system (about £7,000), visits to A&E and stays in hospital (about £8,000), and support from homelessness agencies.

And that’s before the human cost. Lacking a settled home can cause or increase social isolation, create barriers to education, training and paid work and undermine mental and physical health.

Mr Clayton suggests Britain should experiment along the lines of some communities in the US, where charitable groups have supplied micro-homes to help homeless people.

“Around 8,000 people slept rough on the streets of London in 2016-17, a number which has doubled since 2010,” Mr Clayton says.

“Surely units in homelessness hotspots in London, Manchester, Birmingham and elsewhere could provide a real, albeit temporary, alternative.

“Of course Britain needs more and better real houses. In the meantime, though, we should take tiny houses seriously, especially for those who have no house at all.”

Not everybody is happy with the idea though.

One of the newest developments to receive planning permission is a set of 16 iKozie units, which will be erected in Worcester some time next year. The original plans for the site were more ambitious, but vigorous opposition from residents worried about infrastructure, parking and antisocial behaviour led to the proposal for 30 units being trimmed down to 16.

Objections lodged with the council ranged from allegations that the iKozie residents would not be in paid employment and therefore a drain on the public purse, to concerns about space for charging points for hypothetical electric cars in the future.

Of the 16 units, five will be in the control of the city council’s housing department, and it would be up to the council to decide who on the housing list should be allocated a unit.

Single adults with no children or specific vulnerabilities tend to fall between the cracks when it comes to finding them somewhere to live. There will always be someone considered a higher priority.

But these homes for one, loosely based on the cabin of a luxury yacht, could fill a gap.

Each £40,000 home will be 17.25 sq metres and have a fully-equipped bedroom, shower room, living area and kitchen. The floor space of the units is half that set out in government guidance, but the company behind iKozie argues that the design, and the fact the units are not meant to be long-term homes, means their size is not a problem.

“A lot of affordable homes don’t come with a cooker or flooring, and lots of people aren’t brilliant at interior design,” says the director of iKozie, Kieran O’Donnell, who is also a trustee of the housing charity The Homeless Foundation.

“With the iKozie, everything is fitted in. There are distinct ‘zones’ for living, eating and sleeping, and there is no wasted space.”

Mr O’Donnell says the units would not be used to house the “street homeless”, but would be for those moving on from supported living or “trapped in an HMO [home of multiple occupation]”. The iKozie would provide transition accommodation for someone before they moved into the open market.

“It’s not meant to be a long-term fix. I see the timeframe for people living there to be about two years-ish – perhaps giving people time to save for a deposit or even a mortgage,” he says.

“At the same time, they’re building up a track record of paying rent and for utilities, which can be shown to housing associations or whoever when they move on to the next stage.”

The businessman is open about the fact that this project is likely to prove a financial success for his company – and he’s currently looking for more sites on which to put more iKozies.

“We also think these will be in high demand for students or maybe older people who are downsizing.”

The five affordable units would be rented at the local housing allowance rate – about £99 a week – while the remaining ones would be available for rent at the market rate of about £125 a week.

People living there would be subject to a strict set of conditions, Mr O’Donnell says. The units would be for single occupancy only and iKozie would monitor the site.

This in turn could free up space in a hostel or supported living accommodation.

So in concrete terms of helping the homeless, the effect will be modest – but could pave the way for further projects.

Stephen Robertson, CEO of the Big Issue Foundation, says spiralling private rent has led to “a rough sleeping crisis, a humanitarian crisis” and even small initiatives like the iKozie development are valuable because of the lessons of the experience.

“There has been a massive increase in tented accommodation – people simply have nowhere to go,” he says.

The iKozies are small but they look fairly well designed and nobody is forced to live in one. They’re not in themselves the answer – social housing is.

“If you look at the scale of the problem, this is just a drop in the ocean. But it is self-sufficient living, not being abandoned in a shed. Taking action where the environment is hostile is important – especially the learning that comes from it.

“We can find out from the development whether the project is scalable and replicable. I see it as an innovation; not more than that, but it is an innovation.

“It will be an improvement on many people’s current situation.

“It is an alternative for people who don’t have an alternative.”

Source: Bethan Bell

Increased oil production grows Nigeria’s GDP by 1.81% in Q3

Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has grown by 1.81% in the third quarter of 2018.

According to data released by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, the growth is an increase of  0.64 % Compared to the third quarter of 2017 and an a growth of 1.50% compared to  the second quarter of 2018.Quarter on quarter, real GDP growth was 9.05%.

In the quarter under review, the NBS says aggregate GDP stood at N33.14 million in nominal terms. This performance is higher when compared to the third quarter of 2017 which recorded a GDP aggregate of N29.03 million thus, presenting a positive year on year nominal growth rate of 13.58%.

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This growth rate is higher relative to growth recorded in the third quarter of 2017 by 2.88% points and higher than the proceeding quarter by 0.01% points with growth rates of 10.70% and 13.57% respectively.

The growth was boosted by increased oil production. Nigeria recorded an average daily oil production of 1.94million barrels per day (mbpd), higher than that of the second quarter of 2018 production volume of 1.84mbpd by 0.10mbpd.

Real growth of the oil sector was –2.91%  in Q3 2018 but growth increased by 1.04% points when compared to Q2 2018 which was –3.95%. Quarter-on-Quarter, the oil sector recorded a growth rate of 19.64% in Q3 2018.

The Oil sector contributed 9.38% to total real GDP in Q3 2018, down from figures recorded in the corresponding period of 2017 and up compared to the preceding quarter, where it contributed 9.84% and 8.55% respectively.

In nominal terms, Real Estate Services in the third quarter of 2018 grew by 3.67%, higher by 2.08% points than the growth rate reported for the same period in 2017 and higher by 2.64% points compared to the preceding Quarter. Quarter-on-Quarter, the sector growth rate was 5.44%. The contribution to nominal GDP in Q3 2018 was 6.88%, lower than the 7.54% reported in corresponding quarter of 2017 and 7.09%recorded in the preceding quarter.Real GDP growth recorded in the sector in Q3 2018 stood at -2.68%, higher from growth recorded in Q3 2017 by 1.44% points still higher by 1.21% points relative to Q2 2018.

Quarter-on-quarter, the sector grew by 3.88% in the third quarter 2018. It contributed 6.50% to real GDP in Q3 2018, lower than the 6.80% it recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2017 and 6.83 % in the preceding quarter.

The Construction sector grew by 52.67% in nominal terms (year on year) in 2018 third quarter, a hike by 35.98% points compared to the rate of 16.69% recorded in the same quarter of 2017. There was also an increase by 8.59% points when compared to the rate recorded in the preceding quarter. Nominal growth quarter on quarter was recorded as –16.54%. Construction contributed 4.20% to nominal GDP in the third quarter of 2018, higher than the 3.13% it contributed a year earlier but lower than the 5.47% contributed in the second quarter of 2018.

In the  the Agricultural sector: Crop Production, Livestock, Forestry and Fishing. sector grew by 18.32% year-on-year in nominal terms, showing an incline of 5.82% points from the same quarter of 2017. Looking at the preceding quarter’s growth rate of 10.64% there is an incline of 7.67%. Crop Production remains the major driver of the sector.

This is evident as it accounts for 91.1% of the sector’s nominal GDP. In the third quarter of 2018, Agriculture contributed 25.52% to nominal GDP. This figure is higher than the rates recorded for the third quarter of 2017 and higher than the second quarter of 2018 which recorded 24.50% and 18.78% respectively.

Affa Dickson Acho

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