Jan 22, 2020

As the world’s dominant currency, the US dollar maintained its leading role in forex trading last year. The US dollar was on the side of 88 per cent of all trades last year, according to data gathered by LearnBonds.com.

Forex Exchange Turnover by Currencies

The turnover in the euro, the second most traded currency in the world, slightly increased to 32 per cent, revealed the 2019 Triennial Survey of Forex Exchange.

During 2019, currencies of emerging market economies boosted their share and hitting 25 per cent of total forex trading volume. The figure represents a four per cent increase over the three-year period, continuing a trend seen in previous surveys.

The Japanese yen dropped five percentage points to a 17 per cent share of global turnover, compared to 2016, but remained as the third most traded currency in the world. This fall was primarily caused by a slide in the importance of Japanese yen/US dollar trading amid lower volatility. However, dealing in other leading yen cross trading such as the Australian dollar/yen and the euro/yen increased over the last three years.

Other heavily traded currencies remained unchanged on their 2016 shares. The British pound was the fifth most traded currency in 2019 with a 13 per cent share in global forex turnover, followed by the Australian dollar, Canadian dollar and Swiss franc.

The most traded emerging market economy currency, the Chinese renminbi, didn’t lift its rank in the overall currency list and remained as the ninth most traded currency in the world. However, the total turnover in the Hong Kong dollar nearly doubled in three years. The Indian rupee, Korean won and Indonesian rupiah also positioned higher in the global ranking.

US dollar/euro Trades Account for One Quarter of Total Forex Turnover

The 2019 statistics indicate that trading the US dollar/euro currency pair made 24 per cent, or nearly one-quarter of total forex volume over the last year.

US dollar/Japanese yen trading dropped by 4.6 per cent three years to a 13.2 per cent share of global turnover. US dollar/sterling trades made around 9 per cent of forex turnover, as they had in the previous three-year survey.

The US dollar/emerging market economies currency pairing racked up the most significant increase since 2016, jumping to a 20.2 per cent share of overall forex trading volume.

Looked at by geography, the 2019 data shows that forex trading is still concentrated in the largest financial centres. The domestic currencies of US, the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan were involved in nearly 80 per cent of all foreign exchange trading in 2019.

Still, the share of the forex trading taking place in the US and the leading Asian financial centres has fallen over the last three years. By contrast, the UK market rose by six percentage points hitting a 43 per cent share of global forex activity last year.

While China saw a huge 87 per cent jump in foreign exchange trading over the three-year period, ending 2019 as the eighth largest forex centre in the world.

Jan 22, 2020

President Uhuru Kenyatta has secured major investment deals worth over $168 million in the ongoing UK-Africa Investment Summit in London.

The deals include job and investment opportunities in various sectors, among them housing, finance, renewables and entrepreneurship.

“The United Kingdom (UK) has a huge amount to offer ambitious African firms and we have a strong reputation for quality, integrity and reliability,” British High Commissioner Jane Marriott said in a statement.

“Today’s summit showcased to the world the best of Kenyan government, business and entrepreneurship and the partnerships today will help Kenya continue to flourish.

“We believe that a strong, diverse, accountable private sector is key to unlocking Kenya’s economic potential and creating the jobs and opportunities Kenyans tell us they want.”

AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Some of the announcements made include a $38 million investment in affordable energy-efficient housing that will see the building of 10,000 low-carbon homes for rent and sale.

The deal will also see a $217 million investment by British firm Diageo in building environmentally friendly breweries in Kenya and in the wider East Africa region.

“Diageo already invested $156 million into East Africa Breweries Limited in Kisumu in 2017,” a statement from the UK Embassy in Nairobi reads.

“This investment is supporting over 100,000 direct and indirect jobs (over half for women); including recruiting 15,000 new farmers taking the total number of farmers employed in their Kenyan supply chain to 45,000.”

The inaugural UK-Africa Investment Summit is aimed at rejuvenating the partnership between the UK and Africa using trade and investment to boost growth and improve the lives of the citizens of the two continents.

HISTORIC SUMMIT

The historic summit brings together at least 20 African heads of state, ambassadors, high commissioners and captains of industry.

“In 2020, the UK is the ultimate one-stop shop for the ambitious, growing international economy … Africa is the future and the UK has a huge and active role to play in that future,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in his opening remarks at the conference.

In 2018, Kenya exported 237.5 million pounds (Sh31 billion) worth of goods to the UK, with imports valued at 303.6 million pounds.

The largest taxpaying company in Kenya, Safaricom PLC, also enjoys a large UK investment from Vodacom.

According to State House Spokesperson Kanze Dena, more than 200 British companies operate in Kenya, with over three billion pounds invested in daily operations.

During the visit, President Kenyatta is expected to meet at Buckingham Palace with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate, who will represent the Queen.

 

Credit: Daily Nation

Jan 21, 2020

Oil price rises on blockade of Libya’s major oilfields; here are the implications for the Nigerian economy

Global oil market responded to the escalating crisis in Libya on Monday after a proposed peace talk, intended to bring the shutters down on the country’s near decade civil war fell Met a brick wall.

World leaders had gathered in Berlin on Sunday to hash out a ceasefire in Libya but Khalifa Haftar, the country’s eastern commander launched a shutdown of Libya’s major oilfields instead, throwing the nation to its lowest production level since the build-up to Muammar Gaddafi’s slaughter in 2011.

Beyond the impact of the Libyan conflict on oil prices, reports say that some output in Iraq was shut down also, suggesting that the rise in oil prices might be sustained in the next few days.

Global oil prices’ vulnerability to geopolitical tensions surfaced for the second time this year, the first being the escalation of the US-Iran crisis in the aftermath of the assassination of Iranian top commander, General Qasem Soleimani on 3rd January.

Brent crude, spiked to $66 a barrel on Monday, its highest in almost two weeks, before easing at $65.20.

Peaking at $59.73, also its highest in about the same period, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) later settled at $58.66.

Haftar had ordered a closure of several ports last week notably the $300,000 barels per day (bpd) Sharara reputed to be the largest oilfield in Libya, itself the country with the biggest proven oil reserves on the continent.

There is a balance of interest from the west in the country’s two opposing sides as a strategic positioning for the control of Libya’s energy resources.

Haftar has the backing of Vladimir Putin’s Russia, who has being an active player in the campaign for oil cut in recent times.

Fayez al-Sarraj, Libya’s internationally recognised prime minister, is a sweetheart of Turkey, who are providing military aid in the form of training to forces loyal to al-Sarraj as well as to Syrian rebels who have joined the hostility.

As the United Nations move to broker a ceasefire in few days ahead, the battle for the soul of the oil-rich nation remains uncertain as Haftar has already mustered support from the Arab world following the backing it has received from both Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The reverberations of Haftar’s defiant gesture of rejecting the truce deal arranged by world leaders are most resonant in the likely massive fall in Libya’s oil output which Bloomberg report said could fall to 72,000 bpd from 1.2 million “once its storage tanks are full.”

Haftar’s ambition in placing a blockade on oil production was a ploy to weaken al-Sarraj’s military strength to the barest minimum by denying him access to oil money, the main source of purchasing arms and ammunition and running the business of governance.

The surge in oil price will spur a concomitant increase in Nigeria’s external reserves. Brent crude, against which Nigeria’s Bonny Lite is benchmarked, has been on an upward movement, meaning that Nigeria’s crude oil earnings will swell further if the trend is sustained.

Jan 21, 2020

Libyan state oil firm NOC has declared force majeure on oil exports from the eastern ports of Brega, Ras Lanuf, Hariga, Zueitina and Es Sider, a statement said on Monday.

The NOC said forces loyal to Khalifa Haftar, who controls eastern Libya, had ordered the closure of the oil ports, which will result in loss of 800,000 bpd in oil output.

The United Nations mission in Libya has expressed deep concern over the disruption and urged all sides to exercise restraint.

“This move would have devastating consequences first and foremost for the Libyan people who depend on the free flow of oil for their well-being,” the mission said.

The closure of oil ports has been defended by a spokesman of Libyan forces loyal to eastern-based commander Khalifa Haftar

Spokesman Ahmed al-Mismari said the closure of the ports is “a huge step” by the Libyan people.

“The Libyan people are the ones who closed the oil ports and fields, and prevented oil exports.” He added “ we have to protect our people … and not allow anyone to threaten the Libyan people.”

Jan 21, 2020

The Secretary to Government of the Federation, SGF), Mr Boss Mustapha, has revealed that Nigeria targets to secure a position among the first 70 by 2023 in World Bank Ease of Doing Business ranking.

According to the News reports, Mustapha stated this at the ‘Night with Maritime Stars’ of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Corporate Dinner and Merit Awards in Lagos on Friday.

The SGF, who was chairman of the occasion, said that currently, the country had moved up from 170 to 131, after President Muhammad Buhari signed the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) in July 2016.

He expressed optimism that with the PEBEC initiative, the 2023 target would be achieved.

Mustapha said that the government, in its bid to improve efficiency and productivity in the industry and country, had created the council to ensure an enabling environment for port efficiency.

“Government will continue to support the maritime sector because on it rests opportunities for wealth creation and economic growth,” the SGF said.

He said that there was still a long way to go, but there was a need to recognise the progress that had been made so far.

The SGF pointed out that the progress made so far by NIMASA was due to the commitment and drive of its staff and stakeholders in the industry, hence the need to appreciate them.

He urged the members of staff that were not recognized at the event to strive hard, for tomorrow could be their time.

In his welcome remarks, the Director-General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, observed that since the introduction of the NIMASA annual staff commendation awards three years ago, the image and perception of the agency had been transformed.

Dakuku highlighted some of the achievements of the agency to include the introduction of the final billing system, annual maritime forecast, improved ship registry, increased ship tonnage, among others.

He attributed the achievements to the commitment of the members of staff at the agency.

According to him, this is the reason for celebrating outstanding as well as long-serving officers.

The NIMASA boss said that there was, however, still work to be done in order to build on the modest achievements.

He said that industry players had been a source of strength for the agency with the robust support they had given.

Long Service Award, 68 staff members were recognised for 25 years in service, 34 for 20 years and 69 for 15 years.

For Industry Stakeholders Merit Award, the Most Compliant International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Onshore Facility 2019 went to APM Terminal, while Best Terminal/Jetty Operator 2019 went to Tincan Island Container Terminal.

The Best Maritime Training Institution 2019 went to Maritime Academy of Nigeria, Oron.

Jan 20, 2020

The world’s richest 2,153 people controlled more money than the poorest 4.6 billion combined in 2019, while unpaid or underpaid work by women and girls adds three times more to the global economy each year than the technology industry, Oxfam said on Monday.

The Nairobi-headquartered charity said in a report released ahead of the annual World Economic Forum of political and business leaders in Davos, Switzerland, that women around the world work 12.5 billion hours combined each day without pay or recognition.

In its “Time to Care” report, Oxfam said it estimated that unpaid care work by women added at least $10.8 trillion a year in value to the world economy – three times more than the tech industry.

“It is important for us to underscore that the hidden engine of the economy that we see is really the unpaid care work of women. And that needs to change,” Amitabh Behar, CEO of Oxfam India, told Reuters in an interview.

To highlight the level of inequality in the global economy, Behar cited the case of a woman called Buchu Devi in India who spends 16 to 17 hours a day doing work like fetching water after trekking 3km, cooking, preparing her children for school and working in a poorly paid job.

“And on the one hand you see the billionaires who are all assembling at Davos with their personal planes, personal jets, super rich lifestyles,” he said.

“This Buchu Devi is not one person. I in India encounter these women on a daily basis, and this is the story across the world. We need to change this, and certainly end this billionaire boom.”

Behar said that to remedy this, governments should make sure above all that the rich pay their taxes, which should then be used to pay for amenities such as clean water, healthcare and better quality schools.

“If you just look around the world, more than 30 countries are seeing protests. People are on the street and what are they saying? – That they are not to accept this inequality, they are not going to live with these kind of conditions,” he said

Jan 20, 2020

World leaders committed Sunday at a Berlin summit to ending all foreign meddling in Libya’s war and to uphold a weapons embargo, as part of a broader plan to end the spiralling conflict.

The presidents of Russia, Turkey and France were among global chiefs signing up to the plan to stop interfering in the war — be it through weapons, troops or financing.

But the talks failed to deliver “serious dialogue” between the warring parties — strongman Khalifa Haftar and the head of Tripoli’s UN-recognised government Fayez al-Sarraj — or to get both sides to sign up to a permanent truce.

“We have a very disparate situation in Libya, where ensuring that a ceasefire is immediately respected is simply not easy to guarantee,” said summit host Chancellor Angela Merkel.

“But I hope that through today’s conference, we have a chance the truce will hold further.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acknowledged that there are “still some questions on how well and effectively” the commitments can be monitored.

But he said he is “optimistic that there will be less violence and … an opportunity to begin the conversation that (UN special envoy) Ghassan Salame has been trying to get going between the Libyan parties”.

Libya has been torn by fighting between rival armed factions since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising killed dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

Most recently, Sarraj’s troops in Tripoli have been under attack since April from Haftar’s forces.

Clashes have killed more than 280 civilians and 2,000 fighters and displaced tens of thousands, until a fragile ceasefire backed by both Ankara and Moscow was put in place on January 12.

Although Sarraj’s government is recognised by the UN, powerful players have broken away to stand behind Haftar — turning a domestic conflict into what some have described as a proxy war in which international powers jostle to secure their own interests.

International alarm grew in recent weeks after Turkey ordered in troops to shore up Sarraj’s government.

Jan 20, 2020

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will call for deeper investment ties between Britain and Africa at a summit for leaders of 21 African countries on Monday that comes 11 days before his country will leave the European Union.

After securing Britain’s departure from the EU, the world’s largest trading bloc, on Jan. 31, Johnson is keen to develop business ties with countries outside Europe.

At the summit in London, Johnson will call for Britain to be the “investment partner of choice” for Africa.

He will highlight deals worth billions of pounds with countries on the continent, underlining the roles British companies are playing in providing anything from smart street lighting in Nigeria to environmentally friendly breweries in Kenya.

The prime minister will also announce an end to British support for thermal coal mining or coal power plants overseas, according to a statement issued before the summit’s start.

Jan 20, 2020

A Petroleum distribution company Asharami Synergy Plc has filed a winding up petition before Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court in Lagos Nigeria against Med-View Airline Plc, over its inability of to pay a debt of N43.5 million.

In particulars of indebtedness accompanying the petition, Asharami Synergy Plc company alleged that, it supplied Med-View Airline Aviation fuel between January 2018 till August 2018, totalling N43.5 million.

It said the debt became due for payment by 31 August 2018 following which the petitioner made various demands for payment, but the airline defaulted.

The parties held a meeting where it was agreed that by 28 February 2019 the Airline will pay the entire sum.

After the meeting Jenifer Ugorji the team lead- Retail Sales and marketing of the petitioner, sent an e-mail to the Airline’s Chief Executive Officer/Managing Director Alhaji Muneer Bankole on the resolution of the meeting, but he did not respond to the e-mail.

Jenifer Ugorji then sent another e-mail to Serifat Olajide, an accountant in the employment of the airline. She responded that the managing Director was out of the country and that the airline would pay on his return.

Thereafter Med View paid a paltry sum of N500,000.

Following the inability of the Airline to pay the debt, the petitioner briefed the law firm of Le Pestro Solicitors to demand for the payment of the debt due.

Despite the various express demands by e-mail and letters made by the petitioner the Airline still failed, refused and neglected to liquidate its outstanding indebtedness to the petitioner till date.

The petitioner said because the airline has demonstrated insolvency by being unable to pay its debt, it thus requested the court to wind it up.

However, in a counter affidavit by Serifat Olajide, the accountant of Med View, she denied all the depositions of the petitioner.

She averred that the Airline knew a company called SO Aviation Limited as supplier of Aviation fuel and the company subsequently changed to the petitioner.

The transaction between the petitioner and the respondent started as far back as December, 2015.and prior to August 2018.

It was a smooth and mutually beneficial relationship between the parties as payment were made regularly and supplies were based on mutual understanding.

Jan 20, 2020

The launch of the Africa Scotland Business Network in November 2019 highlighted one thing – there’s a great deal of positivity about South Africa’s business prospects. The Scots certainly think so.

According to Wesgro, the official tourism, trade and investment promotion agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape, 13 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects were recorded from South Africa to Scotland (in the period January 2003 and June 2019). These represented a total capex value of £40.40 million, and 529 Jobs.

Over the same period, there were 16 FDI projects recorded from Scotland to South Africa worth £164.96 million creating 1,024 jobs. The same period also saw 3 FDI projects being recorded into the Western Cape from Scotland, representing a total capex value of £66.62 million, creating 196 Jobs. One project worth £10.60 million was recorded from the Western Cape to Scotland creating 20 Jobs.

To support this burgeoning trade relationship, business partner duo Claire Alexander, a Scottish entrepreneur living in South Africa, and Nicola Probyn, a local South African, collaborated with the Scottish Government to launch the Africa Scotland Business Network (ASBN), to support, educate and provide opportunities for businesses from both nations.

Alexander and Probyn put together a board with a mix of dynamic Scottish and African business people and then pitched their idea to start an Africa Scottish business network to the Scottish government.

In July 2019, they were given the thumbs-up and all-important funding from Scotland, which they augmented with their own investment and a sponsorship secured from Craig International - a Scottish oil and gas service who recently set up their Africa Head Office head of Africa in Cape Town.

Steven Craig, director of Africa at Craig International, says that he is hoping to support Scottish companies looking to do more business in Africa, as well as South African companies wanting to invest in Scotland. “We’ve got expertise in a lot of different industries, so we’re confident that we can hopefully increase trade and employment.”

Stephanie McDonald, a Scottish global infrastructure lawyer, has come on board as a non-executive director. “There is so much opportunity here. The Scottish government is very focused on trade relations with Europe, China, India and the United States, but has little coverage in Africa.”

McDonald adds that, other than a focus on oil and gas in West Africa, there is a huge opportunity gap. “From a risk profile point of view, Africa can be a difficult place to do business. So, understandably, there has been limited attention and focus from Scotland.”

Having identified the gap, she says, the founders of ASBN came together in the hopes of fostering closer collaboration between business, networks and government organisations.

“As a network, we’ve started the wheel turning to attract investment into South Africa from Scotland, and vice versa.”

Since the network’s launch in Cape Town during Africa Oil and Gas Week in November, it has grown organically to a membership of 86 and counting.

In collaboration with the Scottish government, ASBN is assisting a Scottish-owned training business expand operations in Cape Town, to train and upskill a local labour force for the oil and gas industry. Currently, Africa is spending huge amounts on foreign expertise to service such industries.

Through direct engagement, ASBN is already facilitating a possible deal for a start-up food tech company; a Johannesburg based Veagent and the Pineapple Growers Association to export fruit to Scotland. In addition to business ventures, ASBN is liaising with a global Scottish charity, looking to increase its footprint in South Africa.

“This is all within two weeks of launching, which is extremely exciting and promising. Our aim is to have 200 businesses on board in our marketplace by the end of 2020,” says Alexander.

Wesgro is an enthusiastic supporter of the network. The organisation had already sought to bed down positive trade relations with Scotland, with a 2017 visit to Edinburgh with now Premier Alan Winde to discuss ongoing collaboration and opportunities between the two nations. Wesgro and ASBN are currently working on a possible trade delegation to Scotland in the first half of 2020.

Alexander believes that there is a great deal of synergy between the economies of Scotland and Africa, They are both strong in technology, renewable energy, agriculture and agri-tech, food and beverages, manufacturing and education.

As Scotland is a global leader in renewable energy, with targets to be carbon neutral by 2050, and is already a net producer of clean energy, many nations are turning to Scotland for expertise. This is one of the industries that Alexander believes is ripe for collaboration.

“The network also has a mission to ensure skills transfer and is investigating opportunities for Scottish universities to provide bursaries for disadvantaged students from South Africa. At the same time, it is collaborating with the Scotland Africa Business Association in Edinburgh to help us match African businesses to commercial opportunities in Scotland,” she adds.

The union of Scotland and South Africa appears to have great potential, as early interest and deals are already indicating. It is likely that the organisation will go from strength to strength, creating international trade, as well as knowledge and skills sharing opportunities for both nations.

  1. Opinions and Analysis

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