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Money sent home by Nigeria’s emigrant workers traditionally covers basic expenses like housing, education and medicine. Today however, the burgeoning middle class of Africa’s most populous country is spending an increasing proportion of the $21bn remittances it receives each year on consumer goods like televisions, personal computers and fashionable clothing.

For ecommerce startup Jumia, the African diaspora represents a potentially lucrative market and this month it launched a website through which UK-dwelling Nigerians can send consumer goods from watches to dishwashers directly to their family and friends back home. Continue reading »

After a deal-making spree in Africa in 2013 that included investments in Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Kenya, private equity group Abraaj is on track for an equally active 2014.

Abraaj, which has $7.5bn in assets under management and is based in Dubai, expects to complete four transactions in the region by the end of the year, including in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya, partner Sev Vettivetpillai told beyondbrics. Continue reading »

Nigeria is receiving a large influx in foreign portfolio flows in spite of investors’ unease following the terror campaign of Boko Haram, after a closely-tracked index provider increased significantly the weighing of Africa’s largest economy.

MSCI, whose indices are followed by billions of US dollars from institutional investors, has lifted the weight of Nigeria’s equity market on its popular MSCI Frontier markets to about 19 per cent, up from 12 per cent previously. Continue reading »

The Nigerian economy has enough resilience to ride out the wave of Boko Haram terror attacks, the country’s finance minister said in an attempt to persuade foreign investors to keep their holdings in local bonds and stocks.

Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and a magnet for international investors, which have poured billions of dollars into factories, oil fields and its local securities market.

“We are sticking to our growth forecast of 6.75 per cent [for 2014]. It is realistic. Any losses in the northeast [where Boko Haram is more active] will be made up by activity elsewhere,” Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told the Financial Times in an interview. Continue reading »

By Melissa Cook, Africa Sunrise Partners

The headlines about Boko Haram’s deadly and vicious attacks in Nigeria threaten to overshadow what we see as considerable progress on one of the country’s top priorities: power reform and privatization. Despite ongoing challenges ranging from inadequate gas supply to funding shortfalls and antiquated wiring and transformers, the Nigerian power sector is moving full-steam ahead.

Access to electricity could be a game-changer for Africa’s largest economy. We realize that it may take years to get Nigeria’s power capacity up to the 40GW target from today’s 4-5GW (see chart). But step by step, we see barriers to business, household activity, and entrepreneurial activity dropping as power generation and distribution companies—and the government-owned transmission company—refurbish or repair assets. Continue reading »

The past five years have been a time of change for Nigeria’s banks but not all of it for the good. In a recent report on the sector, analysts at Ecobank Research, part of the pan-African banking group, say strategies being pursued by Nigerian banks are no longer sustainable and they must find a new growth story to boost thin lending margins and match the return on equity of their regional peers. Continue reading »

Nigeria is Africa’s biggest economy and the continent’s most populous state, but a recent spate of violence raises questions about the government’s ability to provide security within its borders. The FT’s Vanessa Kortekaas reports on the battle for power in Nigeria.

Nigeria’s insurance sector is growing rapidly and has low levels of penetration in a young society inhabiting Africa’s largest economy. Add to this what a recent Fitch Rating report calls an environment “ripe for consolidation” and it becomes easy to see why foreign insurance groups are eyeing the market keenly.

The March 2014 Fitch report says “foreign investors in the Nigerian insurance market have shown a preference for acquisition or partnership above setting up new insurance operations”. This preference is down to a need for local knowledge, a good distribution footprint and the ability to achieve scale quickly. Continue reading »

Nigeria has overtaken South Africa to become Africa’s largest economy after the government released updated figures that raised the country’s gross domestic product by 89 per cent to $509bn.

The re-calculation rightly put most Nigerian officials in celebratory mood. But Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the country’s finance minister (pictured), offered also a cautious note: the new figures do highlight some acute problems. Continue reading »

By Stephen Adams of Global Counsel

Events at west African lender Ecobank over the past six months have been widely and rightly interpreted as an important test for the credibility of African bank governance and regulation. A combination of internal whistleblowing, regulatory pressure and shareholder activism did for former CEO Thierry Tanoh and have prompted a fairly substantial overhaul of bank governance. All good news for African good governance.

But the bigger question for African banks like Ecobank is still unanswered. This is simply that as a cross-border African financial institution, Ecobank is evolving much faster than the institutions that supervise and regulate it. With operations in more than 30 sub-Saharan markets, Ecobank is a complex prospect for African bank supervisors and one that they are only just starting to get to grips with. Continue reading »

South Africa, the African continent’s largest economy, had better take note. West Africa, an area that includes Nigeria, has for the third time in three years notched up more private equity (PE) deals than Southern Africa.

West Africa had the highest reported value of deals ($545m) during 2013, surpassing Southern Africa ($491m) and Eastern Africa ($163m), according to the 2014 Deloitte’s East Africa Private Equity Confidence Survey, published this month. Continue reading »

South Africa and Nigeria are global mineral and oil suppliers, respectively, that have built up their specialist industries over decades. So they should also be well advanced in creating investor-friendly policies and attractive operating environments. Similarly, Kenya, as east Africa’s leading economy, could be expected to create an appealing framework as it looks to tap into its own natural resources. Continue reading »

If you’re looking for clues over whether Goodluck Jonathan is going to break party policy by running again for the Nigerian presidency, then his decision to suspend the highly-respected governor of the country’s central bank is a good place to start.

Booting out Lamido Sanusi is the latest in a string of attempts by Jonathan to assert power ahead of a vote in early 2015, which together suggest that the much-criticised leader will run again for the presidency. In doing so he would break an unwritten rule. Continue reading »

If Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria’s president, showed his ruthless side by removing central bank governor Lamido Sanusi on Thursday, ostensibly for “financial recklessness” (most observers think it was for blowing the whistle on misplaced oil funds), he showed a cannier side by subsequently nominating Godwin Emefiele (left) of Zenith Bank as the new governor.

Emefiele may be unable to do much in the interim about the fall in the naira, but his reputation for prudent financial management may well prove to be an asset. Continue reading »

Nigeria’s president Goodluck Jonathan showed his teeth on Thursday, suspended central bank governor Lamido Sanusi with immediate effect, with his spokesman citing “various acts of financial recklessness and misconduct”.

Sanusi, a well-respected central banker internationally, had clashed with the government in recent days over oil subsidies, exposing huge shortfalls in oil revenues. And while the governor was due to leave office later this year, that’s clearly too long for Jonathan to have a government critic running the central bank. Continue reading »