Again, two financial technology companies in Africa, MFS Africa, and Frontclear, have secured $3.2 million worth of investments from FSD Africa Investments. This latest round of funds means FSD Africa Investments has invested $12.9 million in the duo fintechs.
In 2018, FSD Africa Investments financed USD$2.2 million in MFS Africa Series B capital raise to support the expansion of its services and network. In 2015, FSD Africa made an investment into Frontclear valued at USD$7.5 million to improving interbank liquidity and strengthening financial markets on the continent.
Speaking on the new capital infusion, the Chief Investment Officer for FSD Africa Investments, Anne-Marie Chidzero, said, “MFS Africa and Frontclear are two firms that with the right support could have a transformative impact on Africa’s financial markets. MFS Africa has the potential to allow anyone on the continent with a mobile money account to send money aboard or buy something on Amazon.
“While Frontclear is helping banks across the continent access liquidity and knowledge and support to address barriers within the continent’s money market. By investing in these companies, we are giving them much-needed capital to drive change.”
The Founder and Chief Executive Officer of MFS Africa, Dare Okoudjou, said, “MFS Africa’s vision, is to enable every African mobile user to transact freely with anyone, anywhere in the world focusing on creating new digital pathways. This can only happen through investments and partnerships.
“Therefore, this investment will help MFS Africa’s capabilities to build a stronger payments service that will help strengthen Africa’s financial markets, whilst providing support for emerging SMEs across the continent.”
Meanwhile, Hugh Friel, Vice President, Frontclear, said, “This investment will enable the Frontclear fund to have a more profitable and efficient capital structure allowing it to increase the number and volumes of inter-bank transactions that will contribute to the economic growth and financial stability of financial markets in Africa.”
About MFS Africa: It is a fintech company that connects over 180 million through a payment system in Africa. MFS Africa operates in partnership with banks, mobile operators and money transfer companies to transact across several platforms. Last year, MFS Africa became the first non-bank to receive a pan-African issuing license from Visa. The partnerships will simplify remittances and expand access to global e-commerce across more than countries in sub-Saharan Africa; a significant development to improve payment services on the continent.
About Frontclear: This is a financial market development company. Frontclear fosters more inclusive markets by supporting interbank lending between domestic banks. As of January 2020, Frontclear had mobilised $1 billion in interbank credit through the issuance of $590 million in guarantees. While active in emerging markets and developing countries around the world, 61% of Frontclear’s portfolio is in Africa, in countries including Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Zambia, and Egypt.
COVID-19 forces tenants to request moratoriums from property owners
Tenants demanding moratorium from landlords because of the effects of COVID-19.
The effect of the Coronavirus pandemic is telling on the Real Estate sector, as many occupants have requested moratoriums from property owners or managers.
In separate interviews by Nairametrics, some tenants said that they could no longer afford their rents, hence the need for moratoriums. If denied, a lot of them are ready to move to border towns of Lagos.
A moratorium is a legal authorization to debtors to postpone payment. The document can be obtained by tenants, to prevent the managers or owners of properties from taking legal actions against them.
A banker and resident of Oduduwa Crescent, Ikeja GRA, who simply identified as Kola, said that his landlord had informed him of a planned 25% increment in his rent from April 2020, a month before his rent was due, which he had agreed to.
Unfortunately, in May 2020, his employer (one of the Tier-1 banks) gave him the option of either accepting a 25% pay cut in May or resigning. Considering the fact that he had no side hustle, Kola chose the ‘lesser evil.’
“I took the decision because it pays me to allow a pay cut, than being out of job. At that point, I considered requesting a moratorium, as I have never owed rents before. I could afford to pay the rent, but I didn’t know how long i will be without a job, and paying the rent from my savings was not a wise decision for me.
“Expectedly, the property owner was not comfortable with my request, as he suggested that I relocate to a cheaper facility.”
In his own case, Richard, who was a manager in one of the hotels close to the Lekki toll gate, was not as lucky as Kola. His rent was due by May, same month his employer asked him to stay at home till further notice.
Efforts to plead with his landlord to buy more time fell on deaf ears, as the owner of the Surulere apartment was bent on collecting the rent.
He said, “I had no choice but to plead for three months to secure another apartment when it became obvious that my employer would not recall us anytime soon.
“Eventually, I decided to move from Surulere to Magboro where rents are cheaper, and property owners may be reasonable unlike their counterparts in Lagos.”
Kola and Richard are only two among hundreds of breadwinners that lost their sources of income or had pay cuts, especially during the lockdown. A lot of them, whose rents were due between April and July, are currently looking for cheaper residences amidst pressure from their landlords.
No doubt, apartments are cheaper in some border towns as Lagos Akute, OPIC (Wawa), Arepo, and Magboro, all in Ogun State.
For instance, while a self-contain apartment is obtainable between N120,000 to N150,000, a 2-bedroom flat goes between N250,000 to N300,000 per annum, and a 3-bedroom flat is rented between N350,000 to N400,000. In the city centre, such as Ikeja, Gbagada and Surulere or on the Island, the rents are astronomical.
The heat will be more
A Real Estate practitioner and also the Vice President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Gbenga Ismail, explained that the impact of COVID-19 in real estate would be felt later, because of the tenancy/rent structure of the sector.
Unlike what is obtainable in other climes like United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of America, where rents are renewed on a monthly or quarterly basis, Nigeria may not feel the pressure now, as rents are paid in one or two years’ advance.
Ismail, in an interview with Channels TV said, “Most people that either lost their jobs, or had their salaries slashed, are likely to have paid their rents in advance before the virus, and that could still ease the tension for now, at least till the end of the year.
“Right now, what happened is that, by the lockdown period, you won’t feel anything; but by the third or fourth quarter of the year, you start feeling it; only then, would we see how it has affected Nigeria.
“By then, people won’t be able to pay rents or buy houses as planned. We are not sure of where the monetary issues are going now, and if lending will continue into the real estate sector. We are yet to see some of these things going on.
“Even in inventories, where developers have put houses out for rent, the concern is who is going to rent them? Before COVID-19, we wait 6 months before houses get rented or leased, but now it may not be less than 12 months. The immediate impact would soon start to reveal itself.”
More plead for moratorium
Ismail added that more tenants would likely plead for moratoriums, because their businesses may have been affected, and some might have lost their jobs.
“Those who have mortgages and are possibly in the risk areas of losing their jobs, will definitely have discussions with their lenders if that happens. I think the mortgage firms have to listen and think of how to help them, since the COVID situation is a force majeure – unexpected circumstance. People are being forced to make decisions they did not plan to make,” he added.
In all, the expert urged all stakeholders not to panic, as the phase will definitely pass, and the economy will gradually recover.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 20th of September 2020, 97 new confirmed cases and 3 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 57,242 confirmed cases.
On the 20th of September 2020, 97 new confirmed cases and 3 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 2,609 samples across the country.
To date, 57,242 cases have been confirmed, 48,569 cases have been discharged and 1,098 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 482,321 tests have been carried out as of September 20th, 2020 compared to 479,712 tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 20th September 2020,
- Total Number of Cases – 57,242
- Total Number Discharged – 48,569
- Total Deaths – 1,098
- Total Tests Carried out – 482,321
According to the NCDC, the 97 new cases were reported from 12 states- Lagos (46), Kwara (12), Rivers (11), Adamawa (4), Niger (4), Ogun (4), Osun (4), Ekiti (3), Imo (3), Kaduna (3), Plateau (2), FCT (1).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 18,943, followed by Abuja (5,551), Oyo (3,231), Plateau (3,231), Edo (2,611), Kaduna (2,348), Rivers (2,243), Delta (1,799), Ogun (1,766), Kano (1,734), Ondo (1,597), Enugu (1,234), Ebonyi (1,038), Kwara (1,025), Abia (881), Katsina (848), Osun (817), Gombe (799), Borno (741), and Bauchi (689).
Imo State has recorded 562 cases, Benue (473), Nasarawa (448), Bayelsa (394), Jigawa (322), Ekiti (317), Akwa Ibom (288), Niger (254), Adamawa (234), Anambra (232), Sokoto (161), Taraba (95), Kebbi (93), Cross River (85), Zamfara (78), Yobe (75), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.
Lock Down and Curfew
In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.
The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.
On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.
On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.
Godwin Obaseki wins Edo State governorship election
Incumbent governor, Godwin Obaseki emerged winner in the Edo State gubernatorial election.
Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) has declared Godwin Obaseki the winner of the Edo State gubernatorial election today.
Mr. Obaseki will return as the Governor of the state for a second term.
The results were declared by INEC on Sunday afternoon after the results were counted from all LGA’s on Saturday.
Obaseki had 307,955 votes, which was enough to be declared a clear winner over Ize-Iyamu’s 223,619 votes.
Obaseki took to his Twitter handle to thank the people of Edo State for their votes. He stated,
“Words fail me in saluting our teeming supporters who displayed immense courage in the face of threats, intimidation and brutalization. The collective will of Edo people made it possible for us to triumph over godfatherism. Congratulations to all Edo people. This is our victory!”
Words fail me in saluting our teeming supporters who displayed immense courage in the face of threats, intimidation and brutalization. The collective will of Edo people made it possible for us to triumph over godfatherism. Congratulations to all Edo people. This is our victory! pic.twitter.com/4X4Lfk3wMb
— Godwin Obaseki (GGO) (@GovernorObaseki) September 20, 2020