Business

Thu,30Mar2017

Business

Nigeria's sovereign fund in credit tie-up to unlock infrastructure funding

Pedestrians shop at a street-side market in the commercial centre of Lagos. Photo: Sunday Alamba/AP/SipaNigeria's sovereign wealth fund is setting up a company in partnership with London-based local currency guarantee firm GuarantCo to enable pension funds to invest in Nigerian infrastructure bonds, its chief executive said on Thursday.

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Nigeria's NNPC awards 2017 crude oil term contracts to 39 companies

A boy walks across an oil pipeline running through the Okrika neighborhood of Port Harcourt in Nigeria's oil-rich delta region. Photo: Sunday Alamba/AP/SIPAState-run Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has awarded its 2017 crude oil term contracts to 39 companies, the company said on Tuesday.

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Morocco's central bank approves five Islamic banks

Traders watch the trading board at the Bahrain Stock Exchange in Manama, Bahrain, an Islamic banking hub. Photo: Hasan Jamali/AP/SIPAMorocco's central bank has approved five requests to open Islamic banks in the country and allowed three French banks to sell Islamic products, it said on Monday.

Islamic banks and insurers are setting up in Morocco after new legislation allowed them into the market, and the central bank has set up a central sharia board with a body of Islamic scholars to oversee the new sector.

The North African country had long rejected Islamic banking due to concerns about Islamist movements, but its financial market lacks liquidity and foreign investors, both of which Islamic finance could attract.

The central bank had said it received seven requests to open Islamic banks.

The regulatory approvals concern the three major Moroccan banks Attijariwafa Bank, BMCE of Africa and Banque Centrale Populaire (BCP), and two smaller lenders Credit Agricole (CAM) and Credit Immobilier et Hotelier (CIH).

Morocco's biggest private bank Attijariwafa won the approval while it is still in talks with a partner, the central bank said. The bank's managing director, Ismail Douiri, told Reuters in October that Attijariwafa was in advanced talks with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB).

Douiri said IDB would be a technical partner with a minority stake of between 10 and 20 percent.

Morocco's BCP has chosen Guidance Financial Group, BMCE has picked Bahrain-based Al Baraka Banking Group, while CIH is partnering with Qatar International Islamic Bank.

Moroccan state-owned bank Credit Agricole (CAM) has also won regulatory approval to create a unit with the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), a subsidiary of the Saudi-based IDB.

The two partners have said they would inject 200m dirhams ($19.7m) of capital into the offshoot and raise that to 400m dirhams later.

Subsidiaries of French banks Societe Generale, Credit du Maroc and BMCI won permission to sell Islamic products.

Islamic finance, based on principles that ban interest and pure monetary speculation, has grown rapidly over the past decade.

Morocco will issue its first ever Islamic bond (sukuk) in the domestic market in the first half of 2017, the finance minister said last month.

However, parliament has yet to to approve a bill regulating Islamic insurance, or takaful.

World Bank adds $500m to Ghana oil and gas project financing

Photo via WikicommonsThe World Bank Group said on Thursday that two of its units would provide another $517m to Ghana in debt and guarantees to support the $7.7bn Sankofa oil and gas project developed by Italy's ENI SpA and upstream trader Vitol Ghana.

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Mali's informal gold miners could soon rival industrial producers

A man walks down the main commercial street in the gold mining village of Hamdalaye, Mali. Photo: Rebecca Blackwell/AP/SipaThe amount of gold dug up by people working informally in Mali could soon rival official production thanks to demand from domestic refineries, officials in the country say.

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South Africa's Steinhoff and Shoprite in merger talks

Photo via Wikicommons

Africa's biggest grocery retailer Shoprite is in talks with Steinhoff about buying its African assets in an all-share deal that would create a group with $15bn in annual sales, the pair said on Wednesday.

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South Africa's power utility Eskom to invite bids to expand nuclear capacity

The cooling towers at Eskom's coal-powered Lethabo power station are seen near Sasolburg. Photo: Denis Farrell/AP/SIPASouth African power utility Eskom will this week invite bids to build six nuclear reactors in the government's push to increase nuclear capacity, its acting CEO said on Tuesday, despite the concerns of campaign groups and economists.

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