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Business News

Airbnb and two other companies that could follow Twitter’s Ghanaian playbook

After Twitter, these companies might be moving to Africa next.

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Twitter to update privacy policies globally , Twitter to remove tweets wishing Trump dies of COVID-19.

On the back of Twitter’s monumental announcement to situate its regional headquarters in Ghana, Germany announced that it was choosing the Gold-Coast as the location for its German-West African Centre for Global Health and Pandemic Prevention – another critical blow for Africa’s most populous country and self-acclaimed ‘giant of Africa.’

Despite Nigeria’s burgeoning reputation in technology, its propensity for government and regulatory interference, rising insecurity, inflation, poor capital repatriation policies, and infringement on free speech have been identified as reasons why foreign organizations are increasingly overlooking the country. So, we examine 3 organizations ripe for African expansion that could follow in Twitter’s footsteps.

READ: TikTok to relocate headquarters to London following approval by UK ministers

Airbnb

The $75bn online vacation rental marketplace has quietly made inroads into Africa over the last couple of years allowing listings from Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, and other African countries as part of the 220+ countries and regions it operates.

Over the past few years, destinations across Africa have emerged to become some of the fastest-growing Airbnb markets in the world.

However, the rental giant continues to operate a remote presence in Africa as none of its 23 offices is situated on the continent. But that may soon change as Africans increasingly adopt the service.

READ: Why investing in Airbnb might be worth it

Apple

Despite iPhone sales largely growing year on year, Apple doesn’t have a physical office in Africa. In 2015, it was rumoured that Apple was looking to establish a South African office in an effort to grow its presence in the continent’s local market but not much has been heard about this.

In countries where the tech giant doesn’t have a physical office, Apple works with the local resellers to service its numerous customers.

The African market is driven more by the demand for Apple products like mobile phones, tablets, and laptops. With this high demand, it is highly probable that the company will consider a physical location in Africa in the near future.

READ: Apple to start producing cars by 2024

Shopify

Another company that is likely to have a physical presence in Africa in the near future is Shopify. The multinational e-commerce platform that allows you to host your store online already has an online presence in Africa and has partnered with leading payment providers on the continent to allow users pay for services in their local currency. Shopify powers over 1.7 million businesses in more than 175 countries.

What this means

Africa currently has the youngest and second-largest population in the world. Massive population growth and a rising middle class have created millions of new consumers hungry for products and services. This is a large market for tech companies that are already operational in other countries to tap into. Currently, Twitter, Google, Microsoft, and several others are already exploring this opportunity.

Janet John is a graduate of Chemical Engineering from the University of Uyo. She specializes in technical writing where she creates easy to read documentation, articles to clearly and efficiently explain highly complex processes. When she is not writing, she works as a freelance front-end developer

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Economy & Politics

FG places high profile Nigerians under security watch for terrorism financing

The FG has said that it is currently profiling a large number of high profile Nigerians who have been alleged to have reasonable links to terrorism financing.

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FG to establish a new anti-corruption agency, P&ID, FG, malami, $9bn fine is a scam - Federal Government , UPDATED: P&ID operations shut down, assets forfeited by court order

The Federal Government has said that it is currently profiling a large number of high profile Nigerians who have been alleged to have reasonable links to terrorism financing.

This follows the arrest of an undisclosed number of suspects recently after the convictions of some Nigerians on terrorism financing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

This disclosure was made by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, during a chat with the press at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Friday.

What the Attorney General of the Federation is saying

The Minister said that the convictions of Nigerians in the UAE has given rise to wider and far-reaching investigations in Nigeria.

Malami in his statement said, “As you will actually know, sometimes back, there were certain convictions of Nigerians allegedly involved in terrorism financing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

That gave rise to a wider and far-reaching investigation in Nigeria and I’m happy to report that arising from the wider coverage investigation that has been conducted in Nigeria, a number of people, both institutional and otherwise, were found to be culpable, I mean reasonable grounds for suspicion of terrorism financing have been established, or perhaps has been proven to be in existence in respect of the transactions of certain high-profile individuals and businessmen across the country.

I’m happy to report that investigation has been ongoing for long and it has reached an advanced stage. Arriving from the investigation, there exists, certainly, reasonable grounds for suspicion that a lot of Nigerians, high-profile, institutional and otherwise, are involved in terrorism financing and they are being profiled for prosecution.

In essence, it is indeed true that the government is prosecuting and it’s indeed initiating processes of prosecuting those high-profile individuals that are found to be financing terrorism. It is indeed true.

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However, Malami did not give the number of such suspects as he maintained that investigation was still ongoing until a conclusion is arrived at.

“As to the number, the investigation is ongoing and it has to be conclusive before one can arrive at a certain number, but one thing I can tell you is it is a large number and they are being profiled for prosecution.

It is indeed a large number and I’m not in a position to give you the precise number as at now because the profiling and investigation are ongoing.”

Malami warned that government will not hesitate to invoke the full wrath of the law on anyone found culpable in sponsoring terrorism in the country as nobody found culpable in terrorism financing will be spared.

What you should know

It can be recalled that in March 2021, the Association of Bureau De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON) confirmed the arrest of some of its members by security operatives over the investigation of some of their transactions which border on money laundering, terrorism financing and Know Your Customer status.

ABCON in its statement said that it considers these as serious allegations especially given the security challenges facing the country. It appealed to the authorities to expedite action to ensure that innocent people who have been caught up in this investigation can be released and so that they can return to their anxious families and resume their lives.

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Macro-Economic News

Nigeria’s VAT collection surges to N496.4 billion in Q1 2021

Nigeria’s VAT collection surged by 52.93% (year-on-year) to stand at N496.4 billion in Q1 2021.

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VAT

Nigeria generated a sum of N496.39 billion revenue from Value Added Tax (VAT) in the first quarter of 2021, a surge of 52.93% year-on-year compared to N324.58 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2020.

This is contained in the sectoral distribution of value added tax report, recently released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

According to the report, VAT collections in the period represents a 52.93% increase as against N324.58 billion recorded in Q1 2020; and a 9.17% increase compared to N454.7 billion recorded in the previous quarter.

The increase in VAT collections could be attributed to increased economic activity in the country, compared to the previous year, where most economic activities were put on hold as a result of the covid-19 pandemic.

Highlights

  • Highlights of the report showed that the manufacturing sector generated the highest amount of VAT with N49.41 billion generated, closely followed by Professional Services, having generated N42.50 billion, and State Ministries & Parastatals, which generated N26.96 billion.
  • Mining generated the least, closely followed by Pioneering, Textile & Garment Industry with N48.36 million, N77.01 million, and N289.41 million generated respectively.
  • Also, out of the total amount generated in Q1 2021, N224.85 billion was generated as Non-Import VAT locally while N171.66 billion was generated as Non-Import VAT for foreign.
  • The balance of N99.88 billion was generated as NCS-Import VAT.

Manufacturing sector topples professional services

The manufacturing sector toppled the professional services sector to lead the list of sectors with the highest VAT remittances in the first quarter of 2021. A total of N49.41 billion was collected as Value Added Tax from the manufacturing sector.

  • Professional services followed closely, having remitted N42.5 billion in VAT to the government, State ministries and parastatals stood in third position with N26.96 billion VAT.
  • Others on the list include; Commercial and trading sector with N22.8 billion, oil-producing (N15.8 billion), Transportation and haulage services (N14.9 billion), Breweries, bottling, and beverages (N11.9 billion).
  • Federal ministries and parastatals (N8.8 billion), banks and financial institutions (N3.3 billion), and oil-marketing (N3 billion).

Why this matters

  • The increase in VAT collection is a development in the right direction, especially given the recent positive growth recorded in global crude oil prices, indicating an increase in government revenue.
  • However, the government needs to intensify its effort in creating innovative ways of increasing revenue given growing overheads and statutory spending, coupled with increasing debt profile.

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