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Nigerian Bourse Starts 2021 with 459Bn Growth

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The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) resumed trading in 2021 on a bullish trend with the All-Share Index surpassing the 41,000 mark, as investors continued to position ahead of full year results and dividiend declaration.

Specifically, the All-Share Index inched higher by 876.67 points or 2.18 per cent to close at 41,147.39 from 40,270.72 achieved on Thursday.

Also, the market capitalisation, which opened the year at N21.056 trillion rose by N459 billion or 2.18 per cent to close at N21.515 trillion.

The upturn was impacted by gains recorded in medium and large capitalised stocks, amongst which are: BUA Cement, Lafarge Africa, Guaranty Trust Bank, Flour Mills and Dangote Sugar Refinery.

GTI Securities Ltd expressed optimism that the domestic stock market would resume the new year upbeat with less attractive nature of the fixed income market.

Market breadth closed positive with 32 gainers as against two losers.

Honeywell Flour Mill, Sovereign Trust Insurance and Transcorp led the gainers’ chart in percentage terms, gaining 10 per cent each, to close at N1.32, 22k and 99k per share, respectively.

International Breweries and Fidelity Bank followed with 9.92 per cent each, to close at N6.54 and N2.77 per share, respectively.

BUA Cement increased by 9.89 per cent to close at N85 per share.

Conversely, the FCMB Group led the losers’ chart in percentage terms with a loss of 6.01 per cent to close at N3.13 per share.

Caverton shed 3.41 per cent to close at N1.98 per share.

Meanwhile, the total volume of shares traded declined by 70.18 per cent with an exchange of 211.93 million shares worth N1.41 billion in 3,438 deals.

This was in contrast with 710.71 million shares valued at N10.08 billiion exchanged in 4,396 deals on Thursday.

AIICO Insurance topped the activity chart with 87.52 million shares worth N98.96 million; FCMB Group sold 19.67 million shares valued at N60.08 million, while Transcorp accounted for 12.78 million shares worth N12.61 million.

Lafarge Africa sold 9.95 million shares valued at N222.98 million, while Access Bank transacted 9.60 million shares worth N85.39 million.

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Business News

MTN Donates $25M to the African Union

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Telecommunication giant, MTN, has announced a donation of $25million to support the African Union COVID-19 vaccination programme.

Ralph Mupita, President and Chief Executive Officer of MTN Group, on Wednesday in Johannesburg, said that the donation will help secure up to seven million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for health workers across the continent.

This he said will contribute to the vaccination initiative of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

“The devastating impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and profound, therefore, Public and private partnerships are needed if we are to succeed in the fight against the pandemic.

“The sole objective is to restore social and economic norms for our continent and our communities and most importantly the determination to bring lasting solutions to the disease,

“On Jan. 14, President Cyril Ramaphosa, Chairperson of the African Union, announced that the African Union had secured a provisional 270 million COVID-19 vaccine doses on behalf of its Member States.

“Through advance procurement commitment guarantees of up to US$2 billion to the manufacturers by the African Export-Import Bank.

“This was an important milestone in efforts to ensure equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine for Africa’s people,’’ Mupita said.

He added that with a population of about 1.3 billion, Africa requires many more doses to achieve at least 60 per cent herd immunity.

Contributions by private organisations, like MTN, are therefore essential to help the continent reach its target.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, MTN has made significant contributions to help limit the spread of the disease and save lives and livelihoods within its African market.

This donation is another example of MTN’s efforts to help find lasting solutions to solve the challenges facing the continent and to guarantee a healthy Africa, for all Africans.

“We believe ongoing collaborations with key stakeholders across sectors are essential as vaccines are deployed in all our markets, with communication tools, technology and digital services being vital support infrastructure.

“Therefore, for a successful mass vaccination programme. in the coming months, MTN Group will look at similar support commitments for the markets in which we operate in the Middle East.”Mupita said.

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Conservation News

Kenya, Tanzania Plan to Conduct Wildlife Census

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Kenya and Tanzania are set to conduct a joint cross-border count of rhinoceros and other large mammals in the shared Mara-Serengeti ecosystem.

The census is one of the resolutions reached by a joint meeting dubbed ‘the Greater Serengeti Society Platform’

Chaired by chairperson of Tourism and Natural Resources Management Committee of the Council of Governors Samuel Tunai, it had in attendance key tourism industry players from the two countries.

The forum also deliberated on successes in conservation of the Greater Serengeti Ecosystem, as well as challenges and the interventions needed.

Attendees at the workshop facilitated by the European union included senior managers and directors from Kenya Wildlife Services, Tanzania National Parks, and Tanzania Wildlife Management Authority.

Others are Narok County, Maasai Mara game reserve warden, Frankfurt Zoological Society, Tanzania Association of Tour Operators, Grumeti & Friedkin and the Maasai Mara Wildlife Associations.

The meeting saw to the constitution of the committee tasked with the cross-border census. It involved Kenya Wildlife Service, Narok county government rangers, Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute, Wildlife Division of Tanzania and Tanzania National Parks and Environmental activists.

The aerial census seeks to establish the wildlife population, trends and distribution as well as foster cross-border collaboration on wildlife monitoring and management between the two East African countries.

Tunai said data from the census will be used for planning and preparing the management for possible wildlife security and human-wildlife conflict eventualities in the ecosystem.

Researcher Grant Hopcraft said the Tanzanian government has moved about 8,000 persons out of the Speke Game Controlled Area in a bid to conserve Serengeti’s ecosystem as it faces shortfalls in rainfall.

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West Africa Business News

Nigeria’s Central Bank Retains Lending Rate at 11.5 Per Cent

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Nigeria's Central Bank governor named for second term

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Tuesday, held the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) at 11.5 per cent and retained the Cash Reserves Ratio at 27.5 per cent as it battles to combat rising inflation and a recession.

Speaking at the apex bank’s first Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in 2021, CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said all 10 members of the committee voted to stick with the current rate.

Also retained are the Liquidity Ratio which was left at 30 per cent; and the Asymmetric corridor which was left at +100 and -700 basis points around the MPR.

Emefiele also disclosed that the CBN has secured approval from President Muhammadu Buhari to restructure the Nigeria Commodity Exchange.

The CBN governor said the Bank can no longer sit back and watch unscrupulous commodity merchants hoard commodities and force the prices of commodities to be high.

The bank cut rates twice last year to try to stimulate an economy that has been hobbled by the COVID-19 pandemic and an oil price crash.

The bank is facing the challenge of stimulating growth at the same time as trying to curb double-digit inflation while also propping up the ailing naira currency, hit by lower oil receipts, Emefiele said.

Africa’s biggest economy fell into its second recession in four years in the third quarter.

Nigeria, the continent’s top oil exporter which relies on crude sales for 90% of foreign-exchange earnings, was last in recession in 2016. It emerged the following year, but growth has remained fragile since.

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