Consumerism is the engine of our contemporary society. It drives the ambitions of 21st Century businesses and large corporates, resulting in a massive all-out assault on the senses of the consumer. By feeding into the frenzy associated with the acquisition of goods and services in ever-increasing amounts, businesses continually re-invent the cycle, creating a culture of consumption that keeps the global economy ticking.
Indeed, as Bernard Mandeville argued in his influential work Fable of the Bees in 1714, a country’s prosperity ultimately lies in the self-interest of the consumer. This school of thought, controversial as it may have sounded back then, paints a realistic picture of the current state of affairs in the 21st Century.
Today, advertising is perhaps the biggest promoter of consumerism.
In the current age of information overload, one in which a variety of eye-catching goods and services are marketed through a multiplicity of intrusive channels and media, the average consumer’s life is perpetually in need of some product, an upgrade or a switch to a better existence. Worse still, there is an increasingly growing tendency to not only push the consumer to the point of distraction with the deluge of promotional contents, but to get him to accept alien shopping traditions, messages and cultures as a result of the global influence of consumerism.
This trend finds deeper relevance in the concept of emulation, widely regarded as a major plank of latter-day consumerism. The poor attempt to emulate the rich; the rich look up to the stupendously wealthy; modern consumers react positively to celebrity endorsement as a measure of emulating or aspiring to the perceived lifestyle or status of public figures and, more to the point, native consumers are force-fed largely alien or foreign shopping ideas that find no relevance in their cultural realities.
What does Black Friday mean to a native African or Nigerian?
To begin with, the term has no local significance but has its origins in a foreign tradition. Put differently, Black Friday represents another form of neo-colonialism; a repudiation of what makes us African and a wholesale acceptance of the sub-texts of another man’s culture without any form of questioning.
An informal name for the day following Thanksgiving Day in the United States, the fourth Thursday of November, which has been regarded as the beginning of the country’s Christmas shopping season since 1952, Black Friday – as a term – only began to assume widespread recognition around the early 2000s. The earliest evidence of the application of the phrase Black
Friday to the day after Thanksgiving in a shopping context suggests that the term originated in Philadelphia, where it was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic that would occur on the day after Thanksgiving.
Indeed, alternative history indicates that the first recorded use of the term – Black Friday – was applied not to holiday shopping but to financial crisis and the crash of the U.S. gold market on September 24, 1869. As the phrase became more widespread, a popular explanation became that this day represented the point in the year when retailers begin to turn a profit, thus going from being “in the red” to being “in the black.
Today, many Nigerians who have little or no idea of the associated meanings or etymology of the term – Black Friday – glory in the consumerism-driven fever which advertising has helped entrench in the minds without paying heed to how the term came about.
When an entire people lose their way and emulate culturally-alien concepts, there should be a conscious effort to query the norm, to ask questions and to customize these imports to suit native circumstances or existential realities. Little wonder the famous Greek philosopher Socrates quipped: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
Presently, Black Friday is widely regarded as the busiest shopping event of the year, with research indicating that spending on Black Friday 2017 raked in $7.9 billion in online sales (up 17.9% from 2016) while a whopping $700 billion was recorded throughout the November – December period, a 5.5% rise from 2016.
Perhaps, we would be better off looking inwards for a more fitting term, an original word to situate our acceptance of the annual celebration of global consumerism.
None comes to mind better than what Konga, a Nigerian e-commerce giant, has done with the term – Yakata.
Yakata, in the local Nigerian parlance, means crashing. In other words, the term is used to signify what the annual shopping fiesta has come to represent to the brand and its numerous patrons: a time to crash prices and offer consumers best deals on a wide range of goods and services.
Rather than slavishly ape an alien concept – which Black Friday remains despite the global phenomenon it has become – Konga has given us a refreshing variation on the theme by re-christening it Konga Yakata. Interestingly, Konga has also gone beyond just jumping on the Black Friday band-wagon to actually making it a sales event worth participating in.
Konga Yakata, as an original term finds more relevance with Nigerians and Africans, is indigenous and most importantly, lends a proudly local flavour to what is a very important shopping activity in the annual calendar. Through it, Konga has managed to do what other e-commerce companies have been unable to do: take a foreign concept, adapt it our local circumstances and weave/build a solid original structure around it which every patriotic Nigerian shopper should be proud of.
Robert Flynn, an e-commerce researcher from New Jersey, resides in Abuja
Dangote Cement to extend clinker export to other African countries
Dangote is on course to sell more clinker across West Africa and commence shipment to Central Africa in H2 2020.
The Management of Africa’s largest cement producer, Dangote Cement Plc (DCP), disclosed during a virtual event yesterday, that the cement producer is set to commence clinker export to other African countries within the next few weeks.
The Acting Group CFO, Guillaume Moyen, made this known in his presentation at the joint virtual event with NSE, tagged “Facts Behind the Figures and Sustainability report’’ on Wednesday, 24th September, 2020.
Backstory: In its half-year report, the Management of Dangote disclosed that on 12 June 2020, the maiden shipment of 27.8Kt of clinker from Nigeria to Senegal left the Apapa Export Terminal.
The Management reiterated that the company is on course to sell more clinker across West Africa, and commence shipment to Central Africa in H2 2020. As it is in line with the Group’s vision of making West and Central Africa, cement and clinker independent, with Nigeria the main export hub.
The absence of limestone in much of West Africa, especially those in the coastal states, forces those countries to import bulk cement and clinker from Asia and Europe, and this is quite expensive.
However, Dangote Cement plans an ‘export–to–import’ strategy, positioning Nigeria as the main export hub of the continent, in a bid to serve West and Central Africa countries from Nigerian factories, making the region cement and clinker independent.
This is consistent with the Group’s vision of cementing Africa’s economic independence, as this would lead to lower clinker cost for pan-African operations, due to the proximity of Nigeria to these countries, as clinker landing cost will be cheaper.
The Management emphasized that this is possible, as Nigeria can serve a potential market of 15 countries, with over 350 million people, given the county’s relative abundance of quality limestone, especially in key Southern regions.
It is important to note that DCP’s clinker volume, according to figures contained in its H1 2020 results, has increased to 60Kt from 12kt in H1 2019, which translates to 400% increase.
The benefits of DCP’s export strategy
It is noteworthy that the innovative strategy of Dangote Cement Plc is expected to;
- Cement Africa’s economic independence, and contribute to the improvement of continental, regional, and intra-regional trade, as the company seeks to make regional and continental free trade agreement a reality.
- Ensure that the increase in production due to exports, leads to increase in capacity utilization in the Nigerian operation, and in turn, reduces fixed cost per tonnes.
- Increase foreign revenue exchange for the Nigerian operation, and offset foreign exchange risks.
- Reduce clinker landing cost, by leveraging on the proximity of Nigeria to other African countries.
Some of the benefits of our export strategy are Higher capacity utilization of our facilities; Ecowas benefits; Foreign exchange; and Lower clinker cost for Pan-Africa operations – @guillaumemoyen
#NSEhostsDangote https://t.co/TGd2N6JGZw pic.twitter.com/TvPGHunsb0
— The Nigerian Stock Exchange (@nsenigeria) September 23, 2020
Fidelity Bank to raise N50 billion in bonds in Q4 to refinance existing debts
The new issue will be made to redeem the existing N30 billion bond which was issued at 16.48%.
One of Nigeria’s second-tier commercial banks, Fidelity Bank Plc, has concluded plans to issue up to N50 billion ($131.3 million) in local bonds by the fourth quarter of 2020, in order to refinance existing debts as the yields drop.
The disclosure was made by the Chief Operations and Information Officer, Gbolahan Joshua, during an analyst call on Tuesday, September 8, 2020.
The crash of crude oil price globally, which was triggered by the novel coronavirus pandemic, has led to a decline in bond yields on the local debt market. This has made foreign investors to dump their local assets, leaving excess liquidity in the money market. This has also put a lot of pressure on the foreign exchange market as they look for dollars to repatriate their funds.
The Fidelity Bank top executive disclosed that the new issue will be made to redeem the existing N30 billion bond which was issued at 16.48%.
The global economic situation has seen yields in the debt market drop from as high as 18% about 3 years ago to less than 5% for the one-year treasury bill.
Fidelity Bank had revealed that it expected to see a 15% drop in profit this year when compared to 2019 result due to the coronavirus pandemic. Its profit after tax increased by 21.9% to N12 billion for the half-year 2020.
The second-tier bank also disclosed that its income declined in the second quarter due to a downward review of lending rates on loans as a result of the economic downturn.
Heineken buys more units of Nigerian Breweries Plc
The Dutch firm has invested N276 million in NB since August, to increase its stake in the Brewer by 0.10%.
The major shareholder of the largest brewer in Nigeria, Heineken Brouwerijen B.V, has increased its stake in Nigerian Breweries, with the purchase of 233,110 additional units of Nigerian Breweries shares. This was disclosed by the company in a notification sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, which was seen by Nairametrics.
According to the notification, which was signed by the Company’s Secretary, Uaboi G. Agbebaku, the purchase was made on the bourse over two transactions on the 2nd and 3rd of September.
This disclosure is a regulatory requirement that must be reported to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, especially when a major shareholder or director of a publicly quoted company purchases shares in the company they own.
The analysis of these transactions indicates that the purchase consideration for the 233,110 additional units of Nigeria Breweries shares at an average price of N39.94 is put at N9.3 million.
This purchase and previous purchases further cement Heineken Brouwerijen B.V’s status as a major shareholder; the company has accumulated a total of 7,720,236 since 30th June.
As of June 30th, when Nigerian Breweries released its Half-year financial results and reviewed its shareholding pattern, the company had exactly 7,996,902,051 outstanding shares, with Heineken Brouwerijen B.V being the majority shareholder with 3,019,363,804 units, which amount to 37.76% of the total shares of the company outstanding.
Hence, with the current purchase of 233,110 additional units, and previous purchases in August and September 1, which amount to 7,487,126 units, Heineken’s ownership percentage of Nigeria Breweries is now put at 37.85%.
Insider transactions, both sales and purchases, are often an indication of how shareholders perceive a company’s valuation. It could also mean a possible capital raise or that the majority shareholders are strengthening their existing holdings.
In like manners, the purchase of the shares of Nigerian Breweries by Heineken and other majority shareholder has mopped up stray volumes on the bourse, and pushed the stock price higher by 29% or N9, from N31 it closed at on the 3rd of August to its current value of N40 with 38.2x earnings.
About the company
Nigerian breweries is the largest brewing company in Nigeria. It engages in the brewing and marketing of lager beer, stout and non-alcoholic malt drinks, and the bottling of the Schweppes range of soft drinks and Crush Orange. Its brands include Star, Gulder, Legend, Heineken, Maltina, Amstel Malta, Fayrouz, Climax, Goldberg, Malta Gold, and Life. These products are mainly sold in Nigeria and other neighbouring countries.
Key takes on NB’s financials
Nigerian Breweries was affected by the disruption in the global and domestic demand and supply chain, as profit after tax of the largest brewer dropped by as much as 58%, at the back of the adverse impact of the sharp contraction in economic activities.
The knock-on effect of the COVID-19 lockdown, which affected the trade segment of the business, affected the company sales and this triggered the 11% drop in revenue in the first half of the year.