Archive | September 2014

Investor-confidence on the rise as KHI eyes Nigerian real estate, hospitality markets

As an emerging market with very strong investment proposition, investor-confidence and interest in the Nigerian economy has continued to rise with more and more investors—individual and institutional, local and foreign—seeing opportunities in the country’s real estate and hospitality sectors.

Africa, especially countries of the Sub-Saharan Africa including Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire and others have, in the past couple of years, seen considerable growth owing to demographics, increased spending power and softening of the economy of the developed countries.

In all of this, the Nigeria market remains a focal point for Africa-bound foreign investments and this is understandable from the standpoint of the country’s demographics, fast-paced urbanization, growing middle class with strong spending power, rich oil resource and its status as a trading economy.

“We have not confirmed any plan to do any additional hotel projects in West Africa yet,  but Nigeria is strategic and key part of our consideration for further investment in West Africa. We are definitely looking to invest in Nigeria. Nigeria is a considerable focus to us. We believe in that country and it is just an accident of timing that we are not yet there. But surely, this is something we are looking closely at”, Ivor  McBurney,  Kingdom Hotel Investments’ (KHI) Vice President of Finance, Development Projects, told Nigerian journalists on facility tour of their projects in Ghana.

KHI is a leading international hotel and resort real estate investment company headquartered in Dubai with focus on emerging markets. It has a balanced portfolio of hotel properties in upscale and luxury market segments and has built a diversified hotel and real estate portfolio with access to 18 operational hotels in 13 countries across four continents. The company’s strategic hotel partners are Four Seasons Hotel and Resort, Fairmont Raffles Hotels and Resort, Movenpick Hotels and Resort, Swissotel and Intercontinental.

With investment in North Africa (Egypt and Morocco) and Sub-Saharan Africa where they have invested in Ghana, Kenya and Zambia, McBurney sees a great future for the hospitality market in Sub-Saharan Africa and, according to him, “the hotel industry in West Africa, given the level of economic development, is reaching a new level of luxury and sophistication; that is how I think the industry is going to develop in the near future”.

He disclosed that their investment model involves developing a hotel project and looking for a particular real estate asset that will go with the hotel, citing Accra in Ghana where they developed 260-room Moevenpick Ambassador Hotel and “looking at the market, we  saw that there was need for a retail space, and in addition to this, we are developing high end residential real estate called the Ambassador Heights”.

Robert Davis, Ambassador Heights’ Sales Manager, explained to the visiting journalists that as a luxury residential development rising adjacent to the Moevenpick Ambassador Hotel, Ambassador Heights   comprises only 18 homes aimed to complete the first 5 Star mixed used development in Ghana.

“Ambassador Heights will deliver a taste and lifestyle never seen before in Accra.  Homeowners within this exclusive community will enjoy the services and amenities of the surrounding hotel enclosed within the comfort of a beautiful, safe, and secure environment”, he assured.     

Continuing, he said, “positioned across the land to the north and west of the Moevenpick Hotel, and surrounding one of West Africa’s largest pools and most impressive sets of amenities, Ambassador Heights offers three and four-bedroom city homes with individual gardens for private ownership”, adding that homeowners will enjoy world class design and build quality in addition to the luxury services of the hotel including swimming pool, spa, fitness, restaurants, retail, meeting and event facilities, housekeeping, in-room dining, laundry, valet, porter services, and much more.

According to him, interest in the residences has been phenomenal with over 50 percent of it coming from Nigerian investors who, he assured, would enjoy fabulous return on investment in terms of high value appreciation and rental yield which he estimated at 10 percent per annum.

Chuka Uroko


Nigeria: Online businesses fueling economy


The Managing Director of online hotel booking platform Jovago, Marek Zmyslowski, at the ongoing 3rd EU-Nigeria Business Forum has stated that online businesses have contributed to the growth of the Nigerian economy.

In a statement made on a panel discussing private sector contribution to Nigeria’s growth at the EU – Nigeria Business Forum held yesterday, Marek Zmyslowski stated that with the influx of online businesses in Nigeria, the economy has seen a significant boom. Zmyslowski was on the panel with the Deputy Minister of Economy, Poland, Andrzej Dycha; UK Trade Envoy to Nigeria, David Heath MP; Head of EU Delegation to Nigeria, Ambassador Michael Arrion; Regional Director, Peugeot Nigeria, Eric Maydieu; CEO, National Competitiveness Council of Nigeria (NCCN), Chika Mordi; World Bank Lead Economist, John Litwack; Director, Orleans Invest, Simone Volpi and a representative of the Hon. Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga all of whom held varying opinions on the position of the Nigerian economy and what it stands to gain from executing the proposed free trade agreement.

As Zmyslowski noted, “Agriculture and Oil used to be the leading sources of the Nigerian economy, but with the rebased GDP it was shown that these two industries together only account for 37.9% of the Nigerian economy. A bigger percentage of 51% was allocated to services of which online businesses like play a big part of.” He went on to say that “the rebasing of the GDP merely reinforced the fact that Nigeria is the biggest economy in Africa, a fact which has been long evident from Nigeria’s booming economy”

This EU-Nigeria Business Forum, which is the 3rd one that has been in held in Nigeria so far, is set to showcase European trade in Nigeria and discuss possible business growth for Nigeria. The EU-Nigeria Business Forum is being organised by the EU delegation to Nigeria, a number of EU Member States and the Nigerian government. The forum is expected to bring together, policy makers and business representatives with the aim to boost trade relations between Europe and Nigeria.

Bloomberg: Nigeria Economy Resisting Ebola, Finance Minister Says

The Ebola outbreak in West African countries is not seriously affecting the Nigerian economy, Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said.

Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy, has recorded 21 cases of the virus, and eight people have diedwithin its borders, according to the World Health Organization. There were no current confirmed cases as of Sept. 10, the health ministry says.

“We have a team monitoring the economic impact and we don’t feel we are yet at the point where we can say it’s having a huge impact on the economy,” Okonjo-Iweala said in an interview with Bloomberg TV Africa late yesterday. “There’s been some fall-off in hotel occupancy, in Lagos in particular, some meetings have been postponed, but you still have other businesspeople who are arriving.”

Ebola has killed at least 2,288 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, countries on Africa’s Atlantic coast that don’t border Nigeria. On Sept. 9, the parent of Nigeria’s biggest company, Dangote Cement (DANGCEM), said it was postponing a planned investor day in Lagos, the commercial hub, as a result of Ebola-related travel fears.

Okonjo-Iweala also said that the country’s Excess Crude Account, where a portion of oil revenue is stored to cushion the economy against volatility, stands at $4.11 billion. That’s the same level as reported by ThisDay newspaper in July.

Vulnerable Economy

The minister said in January she was concerned that a decline in the account balance to about $2.5 billion at that time had left the economy “vulnerable” and should be redressed this year.

The country plans to open the Development Bank of Nigeria in the next six to nine months. The lender will initially be capitalized with $2 billion, a figure that may rise to as much as $10 billion, and fill a gap in Nigerian business lending, the minister said.

“It’s very difficult for businesspeople, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, to find any money for five years, seven years,” she said. “Mostly they can borrow for a year to three years. If you want to build a business sustainably and you want your economy to have sustained growth you’ve got to fix access to finance.”

The development bank will be partly financed by the Nigerian government, and is also due to receive $500 million each from the World Bank and the African Development Bank, and a credit line from the German development bank, KfW Group, she said.

“It’s going to be strong and get rated,” she said.

Debt Risks

Referring to recent African Eurobond issues, Okonjo-Iweala said governments should exercise discipline in borrowing. She negotiated debt relief for Nigeria from the Paris Club group of creditors in 2005 during her first stint as finance minister.

“It has to be investment with high returns to justify the borrowing, but even then I would be very cautious and I think on the continent we shouldn’t get too enamored with floating these bonds,” she said.

African nations from Senegal to Kenya have sold sovereign debt this year as borrowing costs dropped to a 15-month low in August, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. indexes. The West African nation ofGhana said yesterday it had sold $1 billion of bonds due January 2026 that were priced to yield 8.25 percent.

“We have to watch it so we don’t find ourselves as a continent back in the situation we were in before,” the minister said. “Each time you go to float these Eurobonds you should do it making sure you get reasonable yields. I’m not one to say, let’s rush out and accumulate a lot of debt, maybe because of my experience trying to get debt relief.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Daniel Magnowski in Abuja at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at Ben Holland, Andres R. Martinez, Sarah McGregor, Michael Gunn

Nigerian Economy Attracts N1.5trn Foreign Investments In H1 2014


A total of $5.8 billion (N903.9 billion) foreign investments flowed into the Nigerian economy in the second quarter of 2014 according to latest figures released by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) yesterday, bringing total foreign investments inflow in the first six months of 2014 to $9.70 billion or N1.51 trilion.

According to the statistics office, foreign investments inflow had risen by 48.6 per cent or $1.89 billion in the second quarter of the year compared to $3.9 billion capital imported into the Nigerian economy in the first three months of the year.

According to the NBS, portfolio investments accounted for a huge chunk of the imported capital in the second quarter of the year. Portfolio investments made up 84.72 per cent of the total capital inflow with $4.92 billion, while Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) constituted 8.2 per cent with $472.99 million. Other investments accounted for 7.13 per cent with $413.63 billion.

The statistics office noted in its Nigerian Capital Importation report made available on its website last night that capital importation prior to 2013 was rising steadily, recovering from the lows recorded post the 2008 financial crisis.

Capital importation had reached its peak in the first quarter of 2013, when $6.699 billion was imported into the country. “Capital importation however declined in the following quarter, dropping to $3.904 billion in the opening quarter of 2014, a year on year decline of $2.696 billion or 40.85 per cent.

“The second quarter value brought the total capital imported through the first half of 2014 to $9.708 billion, which was still $2.509 billion or 20.5 per cent lower than the $12.218 billion recorded for the same period in 2013.”

Continuing its increasingly dominant trend, portfolio investments in the second quarter of 2014 was up by $2.04 billion or 71.3 per cent relative to the $2.86 billion recorded in the preceding quarter, and grew by $429.63 million or 9.5 per cent year on year.

“Subsequently, its total share of capital imported increased by 11.24 percentage points from the 73.4 per cent in the preceding quarter to 84.7 per cent. The second quarter 2014 share was also 4.8 percentage points greater than the 79.8 per cent it represented in the corresponding quarter of 2013.”

According to business type, the report said “shares continue to attract the most foreign capital into Nigeria representing $3.39 billion or 58.5 per cent of total capital imported in the second quarter of 2014. This was followed by the financial sector with investment of $723.1 million or 12.4 per cent for the second quarter.

“In terms of destination, the report said that Lagos continues to outstrip other states in its capital receipt, with $5.70 billion or 98.3 per cent of the second quarter. Lagos experienced year on year growth in capital importation of $149 million or 2.6 per cent, while inflows increased by $1.94 billion or 51.8 per cent from the preceding quarter,” it added.

The United Kingdom, the report added, continues to provide the greatest source of capital imported into Nigeria, with $3.97 billion or 68.4 per cent of the total coming from this country alone in the second quarter.

Deconstructed Locomotive Will Power Nigeria’s Economy

GE’s new diesel engines from the PowerHaul will generate electricity for two Nigerian flour mills.

Nigeria has fast become Africa’s largest economy, but its infrastructure is still lagging.

The electrical grid is so unpredictable that many businesses use natural gas to produce their own power. But that’s not enough. Sand and water often clog up pipelines and idle generators for weeks at a time. In many parts of the country diesel is still the best and most reliable fuel.

But it’s also expensive. That’s why GE engineers recently converted a powerful diesel engine from a locomotive into an efficient stationary power plant that can produce enough electricity to supply a factory, or 6,600 Nigerian homes.

The project was also an exercise in FastWorks, a set of tools and principles currently transforming GE culture into a leaner and faster company working close to customers.

In late 2012, engineers at two GE businesses units, Distributed Power and GE Transportation, noticed that there was demand for efficient diesel generators in Africa’s growing markets. “We had to move quickly,” says Cory Nelson, general manager for diesel engines at Distributed Power. “Instead of starting with a blank canvas, we looked around for pieces of technology that we might have on the shelf.”

They found the 130-ton PowerHaul diesel-electric locomotive, which GE Transportation developed in the U.S. in 2007 and sold to railroads in the U.K., Turkey and South Korea. The locomotive was powered by a modified reciprocating diesel engine built by Distributed Power’s Jenbacher unit in Austria.

GE engineers switched the Jenbacher J616 gas-fired reciprocating engine (above) to diesel in 2007.

The joint team pulled out the locomotive’s engine, re-engineered it, and turned it into a stand-alone power station. They took the best from both businesses – the diesel technology, train engine-grade pumps and piping from GE Transportation. The reciprocating engine and air system came from Jenbacher. Then they together tuned the finished product, called 616 Diesel Engine, to enhance performance.

The process allowed the team to cut the development cycle by half. “We know how to do this,” says James Gamble, an engineer at GE Transportation who had converted locomotive engines for marine power plants and other stationary applications.

Engineers recently converted the PowerHaul’s engine into a stationary power plant that will supply distributed power to two Nigerian flour mills.

GE just announced that Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc., whose popular Golden Penny brand of flour is sold all over the country, will be the first customer for five of the new engines

Flour Mills is already using 11 Jenbacher gas engines to generate 30 megawatts of power for its Apapa Mills outside of Lagos. The first three new diesel engines will produce backup power for Apapa. The other two will generate 5 megawatts of baseload electricity for a mill in Kano in the north of the country.

Says Distributed Power’s Andreas Eberharter, “There is no gas infrastructure in Kano. These engines will be their primary source of power.”

Business Day: Potentials of five major sectors of the Nigerian Economy



Agriculture contributed 41.84 percent to Nigeria’s GDP in 2009, and employs about 70percent of its workforce. Investing in profitable, high growth and sustainable agribusiness in Nigeria is seen as a way to drive youth employment.

Nigeria is blessed with an agriculture friendly climate, coastal and marine resources of over 960 kilometres of shoreline, expansive rivers and lakes covering 120,000 square kilometres and a large consumer market.

“The potential for growth is quite remarkable and agriculture, in itself, is a major contributor to the national Gross Domestic Product. Research shows that Nigeria has over 80 million hectares of arable land. This accounts for about 23 percent of arable land across all of West Africa. Thus, in terms of production, the potential for West Africa to leap forward is immense as the region possesses not only land, but the lowest levels of irrigation in the world,” said Kola Masha, Managing director, Doreo Partners.

He also noted that having some of the fastest growing yields in the world is also a plus for the region. Nigeria’s soya bean yield grows five times more rapidly than the world average.

This also makes for a significant boost in production.

The key to unlocking the growth potential of Agriculture in Africa is to empower small holders of farmers who have access to millions of hectares which would ensure that they have access to appropriate inputs, sufficient financing amongst others that will significantly boost productivity, he adds.

“Capturing this potential would require a four-pronged approach: boosting yields, shifting more production into high value crops, reducing post-harvest and distribution losses, and increasing scale production. The biggest opportunity in agriculture is improving crop yields, which accounts for 39 per cent of the upside potential. Rice yield in Nigeria today are only 71 per cent of South African levels and 36 per cent of Brazil’s. Cassava yields are half Indian levels. We believe yields could reach approximately half their ecological potentials (based on soil and climate types, as determined by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation), rising by around 40 per cent on average and creating overall value of $45 billion per year by 2030,”  according to the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) report. 


Trade accounts for 17 percent of Nigeria’s GDP and 25 percent of employment and has been the largest driver of growth in Nigeria over the past decade, according to the National Bureau of Statistic (NBS). This sector includes both retail trade and wholesale trade.

According to the MGI global report on Nigeria renewal: delivering inclusive growth, consumption was projected to triple more than before, rising to almost $1.4 trillion in 2030, which shows an annual increase of 8 percent. This would make trade the largest sector of the economy.

The Trade sector will also provide opportunities for makers of packaged foods and fast moving consumer goods (FMGC), which could grow by more than 10 percent yearly. 


Infrastructure is a major enabler of growth in developed and emerging economies. The value of a nation’s core infrastructure such as roads, railways, ports, airports, telecommunications and the electrical system represents about 68 percent of their GDP, but in Nigeria it is only about 39 percent, according to the MGI report.

The Nigerian Government is, however keenly aware that rebuilding and maintaining infrastructure is necessary for the country to attract foreign investment and have implemented various improvement measures in order to reach its goal of being one of the world’s 20 largest economies by 2020.

The MGI report also stated that total infrastructure investment in Nigeria could reach $1.5 trillion from 2014 to 2030 which will make building infrastructure not only a major contributor to GDP but also an enabler of growth across the economy. 

Oil and gas

Oil and gas exports account for more than 95 percent of Nigeria’s export earnings. The country’s proven oil reserves are estimated at between 16 and 22 billion barrels while some sources claim there could be as much as 35.3 billion barrels. Most of Nigeria’s oil is found in the Niger Delta region.

Nigeria is the world’s tenth most petroleum rich nation.  Nigeria is also rich in natural gas reserves. The industry is dominated by the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG), a joint venture between several companies and the state.

The area has lately witnessed many kidnappings and acts of violence, but the federal government has taken steps to resolve the security situation.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said that in addition to Nigeria’s proven natural gas reserves of 182 trillion cubic feet (TCF), about 600 thousand cubic feet of undiscovered gas potential is still available for her to tap from.

NNPC said that with such gas potential available in Nigeria, the country’s hydrocarbon industry would remain competitive despite new hydrocarbon discoveries in Sub-Saharan African countries like Mozambique.


The Manufacturing sector enables large scale industrialisation and moves agricultural workers into more productive activities. It helps economies diversify and allows resource rich economies to become less resource dependent and create more relatively high paying jobs.

Poor infrastructure and epileptic power supply are the key impediments to the manufacturing industry in Nigeria.

Though growing rapidly, Manufacturing in Nigeria contributed just $35 billion to the economy in 2013, or about 7 percent of GDP. If Nigeria could match the performance of nations such as Malaysia and Thailand when their manufacturing sectors were expanding rapidly, output could reach $144 billion a year in 2030.

Reuters: Nigeria economy picks up on non-oil sector growth


(Reuters) – Nigeria’s economy grew at a faster rate in the second quarter this year than the previous three months because of a stronger performance in the non-oil sector, particularly pharmaceuticals, data showed on Sunday.

Gross domestic product (GDP) in Africa’s second-largest economy rose to 6.54 percent in the second quarter 2014, compared with 6.21 percent in the first quarter and 5.40 percent in the same period of last year, the national bureau of statistics (NBS) said in a report.

Africa’s largest oil exporter pumped an average of 2.21 million barrels per day in the three months to June, up from 2.11 million barrels per day a year earlier, due to an increase in production.

“The fastest growth continues to be recorded in the manufacturing sector,” such as chemicals and pharmaceuticals, the NBS said, and added that the services sector contributed 53.15 percent to GDP in the second quarter.

The non-oil sector grew 6.71 percent in the second quarter, which was lower than the 8.88 percent recorded in the same period in 2013.

Nigeria rebased its GDP calculation in April, almost doubling its economy to $510 billion, making it the continent’s biggest economy. (Reporting by Chijioke Ohuocha; Editing bySonya Hepinstall)

Nigeria Is Containing The Ebola Outbreak

Timi Austen-Peters
Mr. Austen-Peters is Chairman of Dorman Long Engineering, based in Lagos, Nigeria.

Fortunately, Nigeria does not have an Ebola problem. Contrary to the hysterical reporting of the disease, and unlike its neighbors, the Nigerian government has successfully identified and contained the infection in its early stages. The Ebola outbreak is concentrated in three West African countries – Guinea (510 cases and 377 deaths); Sierra Leone (670 cases and 355 deaths); and Liberia (670 cases and 355 deaths); and it is important to note that Nigeria does not share a border with any of the most affected West African countries. In fact, there are four other countries between Nigeria and the Ebola hotspots.

Unlike these hotspots, Nigeria has had only 13 cases, out of which 5 deaths, and 4 full recoveries have been reported. It is pertinent to stress that all the cases occurred in only one of Nigeria’s 36 States, and are linked to the same index case – a Liberian, who arrived at Lagos airport on July 20. He did not enter the Lagos city center, but was taken straight to the hospital and quarantined. Everyone with whom he came into contact, most of which were brave Nigerian health care workers, were immediately screened. Those infected were identified and quarantined.

Despite having only 13 confirmed cases, Nigeria was among the first countries to declare a National Emergency, which has contained the infection and completely prevented its further spread. The response was immediate and comprehensive, and Nigeria continues to screen travelers at all points of entry into the country.

Even with these few cases reported, the response has been decisive. Nigeria established quarantine centers, banned interstate burial transportations, set up a hotline for rapid response and continues to identify and screen immediately any case of Ebola-like symptoms in every health care facility in the nation. There is effective management of Ebola which can lead to full recovery, which Nigeria has successfully adopted in treating those infected, out of which 4 people are now fully recovered from this illness.

Every state government in the country has instituted an emergency screening and response mechanism, despite having no cases reported within their jurisdiction.

The effort to contain Ebola, has truly been a national movement. The levels of communication and awareness among the Nigerian people are at unprecedented levels. The concerted national effort to raise awareness across the country in urban and rural areas alike has been successful in changing social habits and containing any potential spread of the infection. Disease prevention awareness among Nigerians is almost at 100% and protocols to improve sanitation and prevent infection have been implemented in hotels, schools, transportation systems and offices throughout the country. It has been over 30 days since the index case arrived in Nigeria from Liberia and there have been no further cases of the disease. This time period exceeds the Ebola incubation period of 8 to 21 days, which means that the country has successfully contained this disease and prevented further outbreak.

On the economic impact, Olusegun Aganga, the Nigerian Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, states “We are confident the impact on our economy will be minimal. The Nigerian economy was just ranked the number one national economy on the African continent, and although our economy is integrated with our West African neighbors, we are sufficiently diversified and large enough to withstand the economic challenges of Ebola in the sub region”. The resilience and size of the Nigerian economy is indeed key during this period. Essentially, the Nigerian economy drives West Africa, representing over 75% of the West African economy. Thus any restricted or controlled border movements in the region will have minimal impact on its economy.

Mr Aganga adds, that recent events also contain tales of ordinary people doing big things, “For us in Nigeria, this experience has given us heroes, and icons that have brought out the best in all of us. Like the case of the female medical doctor, who tried to save the Liberian individual -the index case- when he got into our country. When it became clear to her what she was dealing with, and sadly that she herself may now be exposed – she did not try to disappear from the scene, or run to hide. But rather, reached out to local authorities, and asked for full quarantine of the patient, and herself, to stop the spread.

Because of her actions, and similar selfless actions by many others in the early days, Nigeria was able to act fast and decisively to contain the spread. It is sad to know the doctor passed on a few days ago. But her sacrifice, and the sacrifice of others like her in Nigeria have helped to completely prevent what could have been large outbreak. “

This indeed is a human story, at the end of the day – and in situations like these, heroes emerge.

Without minimizing the gravity of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, there is no Ebola problem in Nigeria. The economy is resilient, the citizens are mobilized, and it is therefore critical that people, investors and the world do not panic over the situation. The public awareness is high and the government has invested in preventing this dreaded epidemic from spreading.

Nigeria is rising, due in no small part to a government that stands ready, willing and able to act swiftly and decisively in the face of international crises. Nigeria is rising because the people show courage and stand together, especially when you need them to. This is such a time, when the very best in this nation has indeed been revealed.

Russia’s RusHydro starts hydropower modernization in Nigeria

At the first stage, the company plans to sign contracts on equipment supplies and construction and installation works at the facilities
© AP Photo

MOSCOW, September 04. /ITAR-TASS/. RusHydro International, a unit of top Russian hydropower company RusHydro, has started implementing a program to modernize and reconstruct two hydropower plants in Nigeria, RusHydro said on Thursday.

At the first stage, the company plans to sign contracts on equipment supplies and construction and installation works at the facilities.

In 2013, RusHydro International signed an agreement with Mainstream Energy to fulfill engineering services during modernization of the Kainji and Jebba hydropower plants with a combined capacity of 1,300 megawatts during five years.

The company will prepare design documentation, organize tenders for modernization works at the facilities, train personnel, and provide consulting services over the plants’ exploitation.