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Damilola Ogunbiyi Announced As New CEO of Sustainable Energy For All

Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) has today announced that Damilola Ogunbiyi, current Managing Director of the Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency (REA), has been selected as the organization’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

The news followed United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres announcing the appointment of Ogunbiyi as his Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy. By serving in these roles, Ogunbiyi will continue the close ties SEforALL has with the UN, helping to support even greater collaboration towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7)—affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030.

Ogunbiyi’s appointment—following a highly competitive global search led by the SEforALL Administrative Board—coincides with the final decade to achieve and meet the promise of SDG7. Ogunbiyi will succeed Rachel Kyte, former SEforALL CEO and Special Representative to the Secretary-General, after she announced her resignation earlier in the year.

António Mexia, Chairman of the SEforALL Administrative Board and CEO of Energias de Portugal (EDP), said: “Thanks to the leadership of Rachel, SEforALL is in a stronger position than ever to continue its work with the UN and to help the Sustainable Development Goal 7 movement go even further and faster in closing access gaps. Yet the challenge of meeting global energy goals at the speed and scale needed is ever pressing. Damilola is the right leader at the right time. She has the experience, track record, and passion for sustainable development to catalyze progress, scale energy access, and lead SEforALL with ambition and impact.”

Ogunbiyi’s work in Nigeria focused on mobilizing the stakeholders and finance needed for delivering energy access to people and communities that need it most. She was the first woman to be appointed as Managing Director of the Nigerian Rural Electrification Agency.  She is also responsible for implementing the Nigerian Off Grid Electrification Programme and successfully negotiating the Nigerian Electrification Project, to rapidly construct solar mini-grids and deploy solar home systems across Nigeria.

Speaking on her announcement, Ogunbiyi said: “As the world faces ongoing development challenges, access to energy is the key that will help unlock the Sustainable Development Goals. With 2030 growing ever closer, smart use of data, new partnerships, and scaled involvement of the private sector will be paramount for SEforALL’s work. I’m proud to join SEforALL and continue to focus our efforts on closing energy access gaps, showing that a clean energy transition is possible, and working to give everyone the opportunity of a prosperous, dignified, and healthy life.”

Whilst at the REA, Ogunbiyi was responsible for the Energizing Education Programme, which aims to provide uninterrupted electricity to universities and teaching hospitals through off-grid captive power. She also led gender inclusion activities in the REA and the Nigerian energy sector. Before joining the Federal Government of Nigeria, Ogunbiyi was the General Manager of the Lagos State Electricity Board, which is responsible for public lighting, independent power projects, and energy development in Lagos State.

Ogunbiyi is a globally respected leader with a broad and diverse international network in the area of energy development, which includes key relationships with leading multilateral and bilateral partners and the private sector. She is also one of the Commissioners for the Global Commission to End Energy Poverty.

The announcement follows the recent launch of SEforALL’s Energizing Finance research, which shows a continued lack—and in some cases, decline—of investment in sustainable energy access in Sub-Saharan Africa. Ogunbiyi’s insights from working in the region will feed directly into SEforALL’s ongoing work to help make more meaningful, targeted progress across Africa and globally.

She will take up the post in early 2020, and from 26-28 May 2020 she will welcome stakeholders from across the SDG7 movement at the SEforALL Forum in Kigali, Rwanda.

Source: seforall

China Now Has An Answer To Its Housing Crisis – It’s Called Rent

In 2005, when I first began living in China, rent was incredibly low—as in, $100 per month for a two bedroom apartment near Zhejiang University in Hangzhou. This wasn’t just due to the fact that everything was cheaper back then or a lack of adjusting for inflation, but relative to the general price points of other goods and services, rent in China was startlingly cheap.

There was simply a lack of demand for rental properties and it would have been a stretch to even call the rental market nascent–it hardly even existed. While manual migrant workers were renting out bunks in dormitories and rooms in suburban villages, the movement of educated, white collar workers to China’s big cities had yet to shift into high gear, there was an absolute glut of new housing being brought onto the market, and the cost of purchasing a home was relatively affordable–not to mention the fact that there was an acute amount of social pressure to own a home and having to rent was almost pitiable.

Today, the housing scene in China is very different. With a sizable portion of the population priced out of the market in key areas as well as a population that has grown accustom to being geographically agile and moving from city to city for the best opportunities, renting has started to lose its taboo status—and there are even signs of it starting to be seen as modern, fiscally strategic, and perhaps even a little chic.

In many parts of China, the housing market has topped out and stabilized, the construction boom has been curbed, and there is a growing suspicion among the young generation that going into long-term debt to pay an overinflated price for a house that statistically will be ready to demolition around the same time they have it paid off may not be the best of life decisions. Renting is now a viable option for China’s younger generation and has become an industry that’s now set to boom.

When we discuss China’s real estate boom period (circa 2005-2016) we have to keep in mind that home ownership was still a relatively new phenomenon. In a rather under-appreciated economic revolution, China’s real estate market was reborn in 1998, when the central government began breaking up workers units and privatizing housing.

During this period, people were suddenly given the right to sell or rent out their homes, and China obtained one of the highest rates of home ownership in the world. But, as with most things in China, there was a deeper story behind the numbers, as in this era people were basically given their homes for extremely low prices.

“For my parent’s generation, they don’t even think about renting,” Cody Chao, a 20-something medical student from Suzhou, explained. “Besides, housing wasn’t that much of a financial issue. I know my dad got the place that I’m at right now at a very reasonable price—like, a crazy cheap price.”

However, these new economic privileges–not to mention a building boom unlike anything the world has seen before–set the stage for China’s well documented real estate feeding frenzy of the early 2010s. New social expectations were put in motion: in order to be considered viable for marriage a young couple would need to be able to lay claim to their own home. This pressure meant that upwards of 30% of new home purchases in China were being carried out due to an impending marriage—or, as was so often the case, parents buying a home for their child’s future marriage. According to Mark Tanner, the director of the Shanghai-based consumer research firm China Skinny, around 90% of Chinese first-time home buyers are supported by their families.

“It’s like part of the wedding deal,” Chao explained. “You get a house and then you start your own family. Once you have a house, a decent car, an okay job, then we can sit down, get a latte at Starbucks, and see what you are as a person. It’s more of a trade rather than a romance.”

However, this “wedding trade” is now feeling the ripples of financial reality, as the cost of housing in China’s economic epicenters is making some people accept long-term renting as a viable option.

“Housing affordability versus salary in China is the most out of whack in the world,” Tanner pointed out, “and almost all salary earners would struggle to buy a house with their wages, which is making more young Chinese who want to stay in the big cities realize that they are unlikely to ever buy a house there. Some will buy a home in their home town, and rent in the big city.”

How People In China Afford Their Outrageously Expensive Homes

Property prices in China have become some of the most expensive in the world, having more than quadrupled since 2000. By early 2018, the average price-to-income ratio for a house in one of China’s top cities was a startling 34.9 years—meaning that it would take nearly 35 years of an average salary to pay for an average home. Even while China’s middle class continues to grow, the rising cost of housing has doubled that of disposable income.

Compounding this issues is that not only are housing prices rising to unaffordable heights, but larger down payments are being required and mortgage interest rates are going up, making buying a home seem more and more like a far off dream for the average Chinese millennial.

Meanwhile, rent is still very affordable. For example, as of June 2018, the average monthly cost of a mortgage in China’s top cities was 16,000 yuan per month, while the average rent was less than half that at 7,000 yuan, according to a JLL report.

The rationale is now sinking in that for many of China’s younger generation buying a house prior to marriage may actually be fiscally irresponsible, and “nude weddings”—where neither party owns a home—are not only becoming more common but are starting to seem like a good idea.

“For any new family to buy property is impossible for someone who has just started their career. It’s just impossible,” Chao lamented. “Like, a house in Pudong will cost whatever I’m going to make for the rest of my life.”

To make matters even more difficult for China’s prospective young home buyers is that in most of China’s first- and second-tier cities there are strict home purchasing restrictions. These were originally designed to curb the ongoing mass migration to the country’s economic epicenters as well as to provide local governments with a more robust set of levers to control the housing market and stave off the very real possibility of bubbles and crashes. The impact on the ground is that if you’re from, say, Chengdu, and you move to Shanghai for work, you can’t just jump right in and buy a house like you can in the U.S. or Europe. You must first be able to show a lengthy (currently 5 years) work and tax paying record in the city before you are permitted to enter the housing market–regardless if you can afford it or not. Therefore, migrants to China’s top-tier cities must endure what amounts to an extended period of rental purgatory before they can even think about becoming a homeowner.

What Bubble? How China Stays In Control Of Its Wild Housing Market

“If you look at a city like Shanghai, for example, of the 25 million population, just 11 million living there are Shanghainese, who own the vast majority of the residential real estate,” Tanner explained. “You’ve now got domestic migrants who have been living there 10+ years who have made their life there and are wanting to stay for both job opportunities and the general excitement of the cities.”

China currently has around 400 million millennials who are entering the country’s labor and housing markets with a different set of life experiences and outlooks than their parents and grandparents. China’s young generation, the first to grow up into a relatively prosperous country, also face a different set of fiscal realities than their predecessors.

“I grew up free of worry of being starved, of being cold, of being without a home,” Chao explained.

China’s young and educated generation is typically geographically mobile, many have studied or worked abroad, and have become comfortable living and working in a city far from where they grew up. Millennials make up 43% of China’s urban migrants, according to a Chinese government survey. These new migrants often grew up in urban areas, were educated in urban areas, and now want to seize the opportunities of some of China’s most prosperous cities, and are growing more and more comfortable with renting as they do so.

Another social factor that’s impacting China’s rental market is that the millennial generation is getting married and having children later in life. According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, the average age for a couple to get married and have a child in 1991 was 23.7 and 24.2 years, respectively. Last year, the average age to marry was 27.8 years old and the average age to have a child was nearly 30. JLL found that this delay in family planning has delayed home purchases, with more young Chinese willing to rent for a far longer duration of time than their predecessors.

The rise of renting

Over 200 million people in China are now renting their homes, and this may just be the beginning of a sector that’s going to explode in the coming years. While China’s rental market is currently valued by Jones Lang LaSalle at more than one trillion yuan ($140 billion), renting still only makes up a mere 2% of the housing market.

The Chinese government is very aware of the economic potential and the social necessity of the rental market, and in 2017 launched a new initiative pragmatically dubbed “Focus on Both the Rental and Sales Housing Markets,” which set out to develop the country’s fledgling rental sector.

Housing Deficit

A wave of policies were unleashed to build more rental properties and to provide incentives, such as tax breaks, for property owners who rent out their unused homes as well as renters themselves. Beijing, for example, announced in 2017 that a third of the new housing units that would come online over the next five years would solely be for renters. Meanwhile, in the eastern city of Wuxi, the local government decided to permit renters to apply for residency, which would give them access to the city’s education, health, and other social services—previously, they had to own a home of at least 60 square meters.

The stage is now set for China to create a dynamic rental market, and the country’s big companies have likewise responded. Tech giants like Alibaba, Tencent, and JD.com are making big investments in the rental sector, as are major real estate developers like Country Garden, Vanke, and Dalian Wanda. Apartment booking apps are also popping up and attracting large amounts of investment. Ziroom, for example, is China’s equivalent of Airbnb with a twist, as they predominately deal in long-term rentals. Last January, they brought in $621 million in financing, with backing from Tencent, Warburg Pincus, Sequoia Capital, and Sunac, and is now valued in the ballpark of $3 billion. By 2030, China’s rental market is expected to quadruple in value to 4.2 trillion yuan ($588 billion), as the country braces for a new economic sector to boom.

Source: forbes

Flood: At least 28,000 Homeless in Central African Republic

The worst flooding in two decades in the Central African Republic has left at least 28,000 people homeless, the country’s Red Cross said Tuesday, with the government calling the disaster a “huge natural catastrophe”.

Torrential rains have pounded the country for several days, causing the Oubangui River and its tributaries to overflow.

“The latest toll is 28,000 people made homeless” across the former French colony, Central African Red Cross president Antoine Mbao-Bogo told AFP, adding that entire neighbourhoods are “underwater”.

In the capital Bangui, with a population of about one million, mud homes have literally dissolved in the floods.

“Today our country, and not just the city of Bangui, faces a huge natural catastrophe,” government spokesman Ange-Maxime Kazagui said in a television address late Monday.

“The Oubangui River has burst its banks, and its tributaries can no longer flow into it, creating a phenomenon of massive overflow.”

The country’s main river overflows about once a decade, with a 1999 disaster causing major destruction — but Mbao-Bogo said the current flooding is even worse.

“Add to that the deep poverty of our compatriots,” he said.

The country of some 4.7 million people, which faces brutal violence from armed groups despite a peace pact signed this year, is one of the world’s poorest countries.

With more than two-thirds of the country controlled by militias fighting the government or each other, about a quarter of the population have fled their homes.Kazagui said Bangui residents living on the banks of the Oubangui had been hit especially hard.

“Drinking water is lacking. There are problems with latrines, mosquitos, cold and the risk of epidemics such as cholera,” he said.

“We don’t have the infrastructure to shelter people, but we expect that NGOs will provide tents and shelters,” Kazagui said.
(AFP)

Low Cost Affordable Housing Innovations Needed in Africa As Solutions For Housing Shortages

Africa need to move with technology.  According to UN HABIT AGENDA defines housing as a basic human right which must be accorded to all regardless of gender, color, race, religion etc. Access for the poor to urban and housing is one of the main challenges facing many policy makers in Africa. The escalating housing prices, when one visits the dust streets of Mbare Harare Zimbabwe, Alexandra South Africa, dust streets of Accra Ghana, outer skirts of Lagos Nigeria etc. one sure to find people with no hope of ever owning a house.

The way forward is to eradicate the housing problem Africa is facing is to introduce, innovative, homes, building system, affordable homes, low-cost construction, concrete shuttering, low cost housing, alternative building system, affordable, low-income homes, new innovation, low-income home building, affordable housing, low-cost construction.

Prefabricated buildings will serve as an inexpensive and quick way to alleviate the massive housing shortages associated with the wartime destruction and large-scale urbanization and rural flight. Mass produced housing suffers from bad stigma but building homes from premade parts can save time and costs.

INTRODUCTION TO PREFAB HOUSES

A prefabricated building, informally a prefab building, is a type of building that consists of several factory-built components or units that are assembled on-site to complete the unit. The main advantages of prefabricated houses are custom manufacturing, modern structures and designs, long life, high quality materials, energy-efficiency, and cost-effectively.

PRE FABRICATED STRUCTURE INTRODUCTION: Prefabrication is the production of housing It enhances the affordability through a fusion of amount, purchasing of material, skilled labours. Prefabrication STRUCTURE may take three forms- pre-assembled parts, particular housing, and manufactured housing

-The development of efficient and innovative construction solutions aimed at total customary satisfaction, respecting the environment for better living standards of society.

History of Prefabricated Houses

1.    1. History of Prefabricated Houses

2.    2. Buildings have been built in one place and reassembled in another throughout history.

3.    3. Possibly the first advertised prefab house was the Manning Portable Cottage. A London carpenter, Henry Manning, constructed a house that was built in components, then shipped and assembled by British emigrants.

4.    4. The peak year for the importation of portable buildings to Australia was 1853, when several hundred arrived. These have been identified as coming from Liverpool, Boston and Singapore (with Chinese instructions for re-assembly).

5.    5. In Barbados the Chattel house was a form of prefabricated building which was developed by emancipated slaves who had limited rights to build upon land they did not own. As the buildings were moveable they were legally regarded as chattels.

6.    6. In 1855 during the Crimean War, after Florence Nightingale wrote a letter to The Times, Isambard Kingdom Brunel was commissioned to design a prefabricated modular hospital. In five months he designed a 1,000 patient hospital, with innovations in sanitation, ventilation and a flushing toilet.

7.    7. The world’s first prefabricated, pre-cast paneled apartment blocks were pioneered in Liverpool. A process was invented by city engineer John Alexander Brodie, whose inventive genius also had him inventing the football goal net. The tram stables at Walton in Liverpool followed in 1906. The idea was not extensively adopted in Britain, however was widely adopted elsewhere, particularly in Eastern Europe.

8.    8. During the Gold Rush when quick construction was required due to time restraints prefabricated homes were in high demand. Prefab kits were produced in order for Californian prospectors to cater to the high demand of quick construction.

9.    9. Prefabricated housing was popular during World War II due to the need for mass accommodation for military personnel. The United States used Quonset huts as military buildings, and in the United Kingdom prefabricated buildings used included Nissen huts and Bellman Hangars.

10.    10. McDonalds uses prefabricated structures for their buildings, and set a record of constructing a building and opening for business within 13 hours on pre-prepared ground. In the UK, the major supermarkets have each developed a modular unit system to shop building, based on the systems developed by German cost retailers Aldi and Netto.

Mass produced housing can offer a range of benefits:

– Faster construction and a faster return on investment. Modular construction can reduce the overall completion schedule by as much as 50%.

-Indoor construction. Assembly is independent of weather, which increases work efficiency and avoids damaged building material.

– Low waste. With the same plans being constantly built, the manufacturer has records of exactly what quantity of materials is needed for a given job. While waste from a site-built dwelling may typically fill several large skips, construction of a modular dwelling generates much less waste.

– An environmentally friendly construction process. Modular construction reduces waste and site disturbance compared to site-built structures.

– Flexibility.

– Healthier builds. Because modular homes are built in a factory, the materials are stored indoors in a controlled environment, eliminating the risk of mould, mildew, rust, and sun damage that can often lead to human respiratory problems.

-Better Price

-Quick to complete and finish

-Consistent and accurate

-Reliable

-Certified Quality

-Earthquake tested and fire resistant

All companies will have a variety of plans and designs on different styled prefabricated homes. You may see one that you like although there is something that needs adjustments. This can be factored into your planning before signing any agreement to purchase a prefabricated home. In most cases you will be given a choice of one to four bedrooms and one or two bathrooms in these plans for your home. Again this will depend on the amount of finance you can afford, when planning your dream home. You could also choose on how this home is designed. One or two stories, with underground or above ground garage. Do you want a games room and swimming pool?  This is the time to decide and plan the way you want your home designed.  Remember when making this decision with a prefabricated home you can start smaller and increase the size of your home as your finances improve

There are lot of Advantages of Pre-fabricated homes-Prefabricated homes can be ordered and transported straight to your block.  You can organize the stumping and plumbing and electrical connections or have it pre ordered into the overall package. Prefabricated homes cause less damage to the environment than conventional brick homes.  They can be mass produced or fabricated to your design and are quick to build so it will save you rent as brick homes tend to be dragged out with different contractors’ being involved. They will cost a lot less, than a double brick home by far.  They can be insulated to reduce the cost of heating and cooling. Not only that they are environmentally friendly. The real beauty of one of these is if you want to relocate you can up and take your home and chattels to another town without any problems.\

Housing Development

THE PREFABRICATED HOUSES VARIES WITH CUSTOMER SATISFACTORY

The cost of your prefabricated home will depend on the site your home will be put on. Site costs will vary from block to block. If you are doing the stumping etc, yourself then that is not a problem. If they need to factor that into the price they will need to make varying changes to prices due to level and position of the block where the prefabricated home will be built.

Your choice of prefabricated home varies with your particular budget. Low cost designs may suit those on a tight budget. If you can afford the better styles, then price may not affect your decision.

The better high-quality designs are made for the higher income families

Prefabricated homes are improving like other forms of buildings and the main advantage of a prefabricated home is the potential to reduce the harmful impact on our environment. This is one of the world’s biggest concerns these days.

Prefabricated Modular Structures:

Resistance and durability

-Solid foundations made in reinforced concrete.

-Structure made in steel frames and profiles including reinforcements/ceramic blocks etc.

-Walls and roofing made in polymerized ethylene panels that are stables against weather and atmospheric conditions thanks to the outer skin of polymerized ethylene.

-partition walls made using waterproofed hydrated calcium sulphate panels (Steel frame drywall system)

Comfort

-Damp –proofed

-sound and heat proofed

-always complete prewiring for electricity and plumbing

-flooring will always be defined by the project.

-windows sometimes made in PCV   with double glazing without any exterior hinges.

-usually doors are made in PVC with MDF structures

Homes for an entire lifetime

-Excellent seismic behavior

-Built using guaranteed top quality materials

-possibility of extension to the side of the building

-On site Construction

-Walls and roofing made in a synthetic material that is stable against adverse atmospheric conditions

The Value for Our Citizens in Africa

-Competitive prices

-wide range of finishing options that is adaptable to the customer’s preferences and requirements

-prefab houses we provide constructive solutions that will improve our customer’s quality of life.

-fast and efficient building.

-the houses are technical and legal demands of any project.

Source: bulawayo24

Impact Investment Can Shift Our Affordable Housing Crisis

Rapid urbanisation has created a high demand for affordable housing in cities around the world. According to a recent report by the World Economic Forum, 90% of the 200 cities included in a survey were considered unaffordable. This was when you applied the widely-used standard of average house prices being more than three times the median income. The report also highlighted that the affordability of housing goes beyond the ability to buy or rent a home. It also means meeting expenses related to living there, for example, transport, access to social infrastructure and services.

South Africa is facing a massive urban housing crisis. The United Nations estimated that 68% of the world’s population will be living in urban areas by 2050, but South Africa is ahead of that curve. Government’s development plan acknowledges that 70% of our population is expected to live in urban areas by 2030. To eradicate the urban housing backlog and provide homes to cater for the increasing demand, an estimated 460 000 housing units would need to be built every year for the next decade.

A lack of housing is one of the most pertinent legacies of apartheid. Housing is also a fundamental need and is recognised as one of the United Nation’s 17 sustainability goals. So how do we solve the problem? Is corporate and private investment one of the solutions?

It might be. There is a powerful global trend of companies and investors realising the importance and need for impact investing (i.e., investments made with the intention to generate a measurable, beneficial social or environmental impact alongside a financial return). There is no doubt that investment in quality, affordable housing fits this bill.

In South Africa, government agencies like the PIC and Development Bank of Southern Africa have invested significantly in housing, mainly because it is a great vehicle to facilitate environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) investing. Other current impact investors in the property market in South Africa include life insurance and asset management companies.

But meeting the demand for housing goes beyond just building shelters. If we want to make a real impact, we have to go about it the right way. Part of that is to purposefully design and build quality housing that will serve the life stages of the people who will live in them.

There are a number of factors that impact both the affordability of homes and the ultimate success of housing developments, including location, design, developmental and operational costs.

The location is a major determining factor. We have to be critical when it comes to the location of any new development and we advise our clients not to develop or invest in marginal sites. Great locations are where the people are; close to schools, work, public transport, social and other public amenities. If people can see themselves living there, we know it will not be a struggle to sell or rent out homes built there.

It’s also imperative to take a long term view when it comes to design and development – is the home to be sold or rented? How are operational costs impacted? It is especially important to be cognisant of operational costs when developing Build-to-rent (BTR) opportunities. Each element in the design has the opportunity to influence the ongoing operational cost, but it does provide opportunities to innovate on an ongoing basis. Costs also have to be strictly controlled to ensure that affordability is not only in terms of purchase or rentals, but also bears in mind living costs. This is where heat pumps, smart meters, solar energy and utility management software comes in.

It will take major investment and a concerted effort from a number of role players to transform our cityscapes with visionary placemaking, providing affordable homes to buy or rent that are fit for the needs of its residents. Cooperation and understanding is required as delays in, for example, getting approvals and then stalling contractors negatively affect both the cost and delivery of homes.

Housing Deficit

There is no easy one-size-fits-all answer to the challenge of providing affordable housing. It takes a layered approach, but we have seen that it can be done. It has to be done and we have to invest wisely to create communities where the people who keep this country going can afford to live, feeling safe and at home. 

Source: fin24

JPMorgan Says Saudi Business Is Fastest Growing Globally

JPMorgan Chase & Co said on Tuesday its business in Saudi Arabia is growing faster than any other region in the world, helped by the stock exchange’s inclusion in MSCI’s main emerging markets index.

“We at JPMorgan believe that Saudi will become the main hub in the region, as well as one of the main hubs globally,” Carlos Hernandez, head of global banking at the New York-based firm, said on the opening day of the Future Investment Initiative summit in Riyadh.

Global investment firms are clamoring to do business with the kingdom, where low oil prices have forced officials to tap international debt markets and seek foreign capital.

Advisers hired for the imminent IPO of Saudi Aramco are set to split a fee pool of as much as $450 million, Bloomberg News has reported. JPMorgan is one of nine joint global coordinators on the deal.

The bank “made the decision to go onshore in Saudi about eight years ago, open our custody, and our business is growing at the fastest pace than any other region in the world,” Hernandez said.

Source: arabianbusiness

44 Of 54 Insurance Companies Get Approval For Recapitalisation

The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) says it has approved the recapitalisation plans of 44 out of the 54 insurance companies in Nigeria.

Agboola Pius, NAICOM’s director for policy and regulation, gave this update on Tuesday at an interactive session with shareholders.

He said the commission rejected the recapitalisation plans of six insurance companies and directed them to make amendments while those of two are under review and the remaining two have not submitted any plans.

Pius said that the commission saw the need for the recapitalisation to increase the retention capacity and conservation of foreign exchange earning of insurance companies.

The director said that the commission had also given a guideline on the capital restructuring of the insurance firms, which refers to the option the firms choose to finance their assets and investment, except borrowing.

He listed the options to include initial public offering (IPO), rights issue, capitalisation of retained earnings, private placement, merger or acquisition.

According to him, while the intention of the recapitalisation directive by NAICOM is not for companies to merge, if the option would be to the benefit of the shareholders, then so be it.

“In 2005/2007 recapitalisation, about four companies merged to become Custodian Vantas Kapital, two companies merged to become LASACO, two companies merged to become Linkage,” he said.

“Three companies merged to become NEM, and two companies merged to become Consolidated Hallmark, among others.

“These companies are not doing badly, but can still do better, so consolidation is done to make companies better and not to destroy them.”

The NAICOM director assured the shareholders that the commission had developed an appropriate framework to ensure that their investments were secured during the exercise.

He said that the measures put in place include a directive to the insurance companies to deposit the recapitalisation fund in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) escrow account, which cannot be withdrawn without NAICOM directive.

Pius highlighted some of the benefits of the recapitalisation to include high-value creation to limit borrowing, enabling better strategic planning and reduction in the cost of capital with proper oversight.

He said it would also lead to an increase in liquidity and investment funds, hedge against risk arising from macro-economic environment, among others.

NAICOM had, on May 20, reviewed the minimum paid-up share capital requirement for all classes of insurers.

The minimum paid-up capital share for life insurers business was raised from N2 billion to N8 billion.

That of general insurance businesses was raised from N3 billion to N10 billion, composite businesses, raised from N5 billion to N18 billion and reinsurance business was raised from N10billion to 20 billion.

The new paid-up share capital requirement takes immediate effect for new applications made to NAICOM by companies seeking to carry on insurance business in Nigeria.

However, existing insurance and reinsurance companies are required to fully comply with the new minimum capital requirement not later than June 30, 2020.

Source: thecableng

Let’s Invest In Young Recruits To Safeguard The Future Of Our Industry

It seems like a long time since I took my first steps in my career as a young housing officer in West Yorkshire.

But I was reminded of my first day in the job when 22 bright young people started at Wheatley at the start of last month.

The new recruits – a mixture of university graduates and talented youngsters who are already working with us – were getting to work on our new graduate programme.

The programme aims to help nurture talent and make sure the best and brightest are able to progress in their careers.

It gives them on-the-job training and development, opportunities for further study and qualifications, plus mentoring support as they build a successful career with us.Training the board members of the future

The scheme, which is believed to be the biggest of its kind in the sector, will see people work in every corner of Wheatley, from housing teams to corporate support services and the repairs and investment team.

At its heart is an ambition to grow new talent to become the future leaders of Wheatley and the housing sector.

Leadership, vision and ideas are so important for the sector to properly support communities to flourish in the face of ever-increasing challenges, from welfare reform to digital inclusion.

If I learned only one thing from my time at the frontline of housing back in Kirklees, it was that housing is at its heart about people.

It is more than a roof over someone’s head; it is the very bedrock of a secure, stable and happy life. That means housing is a multi-faceted career that can really make a difference. Put simply, it is vital that we get the right people in place to continue our work to build better homes and better lives.

The sector must attract, nurture and develop great leaders to drive innovation and excellence for the people who matter most – our customers.

We know young people face serious challenges as they enter the jobs market, so it is important that organisations such as Wheatley step in and offer high-quality training and development opportunities.

Our graduate programme is yet another way we can help tackle youth unemployment and contribute towards a thriving economy.

Indeed, the graduate programme is intertwined with our modern apprentice programme. And particularly talented apprentices, many of whom come from Wheatley Group homes, have been taken on through the graduate programme to take their career development to the next level.

My first days in Kirklees shaped everything I have gone on to do.

They left me with important lessons on what social deprivation does to a community and taught me the extent to which housing can play a major role in helping people find a way out of poverty.

“The sector must attract, nurture and develop great leaders to drive innovation and excellence for the people who matter most – our customers”

That real experience of being on the frontline in housing is behind my ambition to change people’s lives for the better. And that ambition is shared by the young people who are joining us now.

Now I am excited and proud to see such talented graduates from all different disciplines choosing to join Wheatley to carve out a great career in housing, reach their full potential and make a real difference to people’s lives.

People like 23-year-old Hannah Dodds, who graduated with a first class degree in philosophy from the University of Glasgow and who is one of the 22 young people beginning their career as part of our Ignite programme.

She told us she wanted to join to make difference to the most vulnerable people in Scotland. When she was still a student, she volunteered at a night shelter for destitute asylum seekers, an experience that sparked a real passion for housing. She found out more about Wheatley and what we are doing to help tackle homelessness, as well as our work in tackling poverty and inequality.

I look forward to seeing what people like Hannah will achieve in their careers. I am sure she, along with her new colleagues, will shine, and I am confident that the future of housing is in safe hands.

Source: insidehousing

Our Economic Growth Plan At Risk – FG

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, says Nigeria needs a lot of resources to actualise the Economic Growth and Recovery Plan and other development plans which, according to her, are at a risk of being underfunded.

Speaking yesterday in Abuja at the Nigeria Governors Forum Internally Generated Revenue Peer Learning event, she said revenue shortfalls had been experienced since 2017 when the ERGP was launched resulting in serious deviations from targeted revenue and expenditure projections.

The minister, represented by a director at the ministry, Dr Israel Igwe, said Nigeria required about $3trn over the next 30 years to “sufficiently” address its infrastructure deficit.

She said the country needed fiscal sufficiency and buoyancy which must come through domestic revenues for it to be sustainable. She said the performance showed the country’s inability to “efficiently” collect taxes from its non-oil economic activities.

She said: “Regarding the 2019 budget, as at 30th June, the actual aggregate revenue as per our Fiscal Accounts was N2.04 trillion, indicating a revenue shortfall of 42 percent, to underperformance of both oil and non-oil revenue targets.” Earlier, NGF Chairman and Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, had tasked state commissioners of finance on the need to expand the revenue base.

The World Bank Country Director, Shubham Chaudhuri, underscored the need to boost revenue to lift people out of poverty as the role of government at federal and state level is to invest in people and infrastructure, a task he said required revenue.

Source: dailytrustng

Business’s Growing Role In Confronting The Housing Crisis

The housing crisis is a growing social issue with wide implications in cities around the United States. In addition to the homeless issue (hard to quantify and even harder to solve), the issue of housing affordability has made national headlines with 11 million Americans spending more than half their paycheck on rent, according to advocacy group Home1.

Nowhere is the issue of homelessness and housing affordability more visible than in the Bay Area, where a family of four making over $100,000 annually can be considered low income. Some point the finger at tech company wages in the area pushing housing costs skyward. While these higher tech salaries are a significant contributor, the reality is more complex and includes state and local regulations that limit new housing development.

No matter the cause, tech giants are feeling the pressure and the effects of a pinched housing market. Facebook, for example, has been forced to cut back growth in San Francisco and Menlo Park. “At this point, we’re growing primarily outside of the Bay Area,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg told employees earlier this month.

In an attempt to alleviate the issue (and possibly curtail some of the public criticism), the social networking giant announced last week that it would commit $1 billion to the cause over the next decade, working closely with the State of California. Facebook said their investment “will go toward creating 20,000 new housing units to help essential workers such as teachers, nurses and first responders live closer to the communities that rely on them.” Some of the funds will create housing for the homeless, as well.

Facebook isn’t alone in its massive commitment of resources to this issue. In June, Google also made a $1 billion commitment to boost housing construction in the Bay Area. Google also estimated their investment would result in 20,000 new housing units in the area. While housing advocates generally applaud the move by these corporations, they warn that the issues of housing affordability and homelessness are complex and that more work needs to be done to solve the issues.

Meanwhile, in Seattle, Microsoft pledged $500 million in January toward housing issues. In June, Amazon said that it would donate $8 million to nonprofits working with homeless populations in Seattle and Virginia where their corporate headquarters are located. Additionally, Amazon also made a $100 million commitment over ten years to homeless shelter Mary’s Place and announced that a 63,000 square foot family shelter within an Amazon office building will open early in 2020 and house 275 parents and children each night.

With millennials entering the home buying game, the rising costs of raw materials and labor to construct new housing units, increasing property taxes and Baby Boomers living independently for longer (or downsizing and competing for smaller homes with first-time home buyers), the issue of housing affordability and homelessness aren’t likely to disappear anytime soon. If anything, the housing market will continue to get even more constricted.

Whether this will push tech companies’ future expansion further from their home bases or force them to rethink their ‘investments’ in the affordable housing issue is yet to be seen. What I think is clear: The business sector is destined to play an even larger and multi-faceted role in shaping housing and urban development policy in the years to come.

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Source: forbes

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