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Federated Investors, Inc. and International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation to Develop a Trade-Finance Portfolio Focused on Sovereign Energy Sector

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By Abdullahi Mohammed

The portfolio will be Shari’ah compliant with investments realized through transaction structures that rigorously adhere to Islamic principles

Federated Investors, one of the largest investment managers in the United States, and the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) (www.ITFC-IDB.org/en), member of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group, announced an agreement to launch a sovereign energy trade-finance portfolio.

The ITFC Sovereign Energy Fund (ISEF) will be sponsored and managed by ITFC with strategic input from Federated Investors (UK) LLP. The portfolio will be a private offering available to ITFC’s qualified investors across the Member Countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and ITFC’s global partners. It will invest primarily in energy-related trade finance, structured trade, export/import finance, supply chain financing and project finance assets of sovereign entities across the energy value chain in OIC member countries. ISEF aims to raise U.S. $300 million for its first close.

Importantly, the portfolio will be Shari’ah compliant with investments realized through transaction structures that rigorously adhere to Islamic principles. The portfolio is expected to launch later in 2018.

“We are pleased with our cooperation with Federated Investors. The ITFC Sovereign Energy Fund (ISEF) marks our first joint initiative and we are looking forward to its success in the market as it paves the way to develop other business opportunities together,” said Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, ITFC Chief Executive Officer.

Federated and ITFC have worked together on a broad array of Islamic trade-finance transactions since 2014. This joint initiative to create a new sovereign energy portfolio is tied to the belief that as the worldwide demand for energy continues to grow, a pool of trade-finance transactions can consistently deliver the alpha that investors seek.

“After working with ITFC over the past several years, we look forward to expanding our relationship by bringing Federated’s specialized trade-finance expertise, deep understanding of risk management and all the experience of Federated’s global fixed-income team to investors pursuing attractive opportunities built on the highest ethical standards,” said Gordon J. Ceresino, president and chief executive officer of Federated Investors (UK) LLP.

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Oradian and ANMFIN launch new cloud-based microfinance solution in Nigeria

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By Abdullahi Mohammed

The partnership will enable ANMFIN to promote access to financial services for Nigerian clients on a larger scale by using ANMFIN Cloud Express

As part of their shared mission to boost financial inclusion throughout Nigeria, Oradian and the Association of Non Bank Microfinance Institution of Nigeria (ANMFIN) have launched a strategic partnership.

Princess Adesola Ogunleye, the President of ANMFIN, commented on the partnership saying, “We are extremely pleased to partner with Oradian. Together we align our shared vision and leverage the success delivered to date. The partnership will enable all of our MFIs to move to Oradian’s cloud-based solution, helping our members to save time and money through more efficient, digitised processes – no more manual input of data. We and our members are very excited to improve administrative process, reduce high operational costs and offer digital financial services across the country.”

Launching ANMFIN Cloud Express expands the range of solutions that Oradian offers in Nigeria. As stated by Antonio Separovic, CEO of Oradian, “Nigeria was Oradian’s first market when we started Oradian six years ago and we remain committed to solving the financial inclusion challenge here. This partnership is a long-term partnership that is an important step towards this goal”.

The partnership will enable ANMFIN to promote access to financial services for Nigerian clients on a larger scale by using ANMFIN Cloud Express, a core banking system specially built for ANMFIN and its microfinance institution (MFI) members. ANMFIN Cloud Express, powered by Instafin, is a cloud-based toolset tailored to enable smaller Nigerian microfinance institutions (MFIs) to benefit from a cloud-based solution.

According to Oradian’s Programme Director for Africa Onyeka Adibeli, “ANMFIN Cloud Express enhances MFIs’ ability to manage all operations including client relationships, transactions, portfolio management and reporting in the same way that large banks do – but at a fraction of the cost. We are removing the barriers that prevent MFIs from using the right technology to serve their clients and to strengthen their operations.”

With a cost and a system tailored for the needs of smaller MFIs, Oradian’s partnership with ANMFIN enables more financial institutions to take advantage of technology to become more efficient, grow and reach more unbanked individuals in rural communities.

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Vantage GreenX Note II provides R2bn of funding to six renewable energy projects in South Africa

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By Abdullahi Mohammed

GreenX Note II is Vantage GreenX’s second generation renewable energy debt fund

Vantage GreenX Fund Managers announced today that through its second renewable energy fund, Vantage GreenX Note II, it has provided R2.05bn of funding to a combination of six solar and wind energy projects with a combined capacity of 433MW. All the projects form part of Round 4 of the South African Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer (“REIPP”) procurement programme.

The GreenX funding was provided to four projects developed by BioTherm Energy and two projects developed by OMLACSA and ACED. All six projects reached financial close in the last two weeks of July 2018. The four BioTherm projects are the 86MW Konkoonsies II solar PV project (Northern Cape), the 45MW Aggenys solar PV project (Northern Cape), the 120MW Golden Valley wind project (Eastern Cape) and the 32MW Excelsior wind project (Western Cape). The two OMLACSA projects are the 75MW Droogfontein II solar PV project (Northern Cape) and the 75MW Zeerust solar PV project (North West).

GreenX Note II is Vantage GreenX’s second generation renewable energy debt fund. The R3bn fund has a mandate to provide Consumer Price Indexed (“CPI”) linked senior debt to sustainable projects that form part of the REIPP, Small Projects Independent Power Producers (“SPIPP”), Co-Gen and Gas procurement programmes run by the South African Department of Energy. CPI-linked debt, although not new to the local market, has for the first time provided a significant portion of the total senior funding to projects in this round. Due to the way it is structured, CPI-linked debt provides a hedge against inflation and it allows projects to bid lower tariffs for similar equity returns. In doing so it has ensured that affordable electricity tariffs are passed on to consumers.

Alastair Campbell, Managing Director of Vantage GreenX, said “It is with great pleasure that we announce that we have supported these six projects. Each of these projects has strong, experienced sponsors and solid project fundamentals. Together they represent a geographically diverse portfolio of assets. Despite the difficulties experienced by stakeholders in the industry over the last two years, we hope that the conclusion of this round of projects represents a watershed moment for the South African renewable energy industry and provides forward momentum to the sustainability of the domestic energy sector as a whole.”

The R2.1bn GreenX Note I is fully invested across eight solar and wind projects located in the South African provinces of the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and Limpopo. The completion of the six GreenX Note II transactions takes the total number of investments made by GreenX to fourteen across the two funds. Vantage anticipates lending the remaining R1bn in GreenX Note II before the end of this year.

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African Daily Voice (ADV), a new panafrican news agency is born

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By Abdullahi Mohammed

African Daily Voice (ADV) will provide comprehensive coverage in text, photo, video and computer graphics of African news

The African Daily Voice Group announced on Monday the launch of a new continental news agency: ADV

Based in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, the multinational company specialized in content, and the media, has a newsroom in Casablanca (Morocco) and offers multilingual services (French, English, Arabic).

“Information networks remain dominated in our countries by Western media. Their stories of African events do not always reflect the true identity of our people, our cultures, and our languages,” says Toussaint Alain, African Daily Voice CEO’s. “They impose their own vision of the world, anxious above all to preserve their interests.”

Alain believes that “this situation is not without risks. We can no longer leave these agencies alone to inform the African public of what is happening in Africa or elsewhere. Events, their genesis and evolution are rarely presented to the outside world objectively and accurately. Images of a miserable Africa continues to persist in the Western press.

That said, “the independence of information, and the plurality of sources are of the same importance today as the struggle against imperialism and neo-colonialism. They play a vital role in the process of political, social, economic and cultural liberation of our continent,” Toussaint Alain says

Driven by a long-term vision for Africa, the founders and investors of the new media group rely exclusively on African skills to develop two-way content, based on pure information, but also on interaction between people and institutions.

To take up the challenge in a very competitive market, ADV has structured around ten regional desks: Algiers (Algeria), Abidjan (Ivory Coast), Douala (Cameroon), Kinshasa (DRC), Bangui (RCA), Johannesburg (South Africa), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Lagos (Nigeria), Dakar (Senegal) and Antananarivo (Madagascar). These pools are responsible for collecting, processing and disseminating information in the regions concerned.

ADV teams will be covering African events around the clock with professionalism. “Our reporters will strive to ensure that reliability, objectivity and neutrality are respected. Our vocation is to become a strong brand, which will highlight its pan-African and civic role, “says Toussaint Alain.

Through its network of correspondents, ADV will provide comprehensive coverage in text, photo, video and computer graphics of African news. All themes will be covered: politics, economy, environment, culture, media, high-tech and technology, social events, major continental or world sports events, etc.

Available in French, English and Arabic, ADV products and services will be available via a website, a newsletter and an application on tablets and smartphones. ADV will also be present on social media: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Google+. The agency will also use instant messaging applications to communicate with users via these platforms.

Last but not least, ADV aims to consolidate its continental and international presence. “Thanks to cooperation agreements, we are considering the full deployment of our agency worldwide, particularly in Asia, Europe and America. We will therefore rely on a network of media partners in Africa and outside the continent,” concludes Toussaint Alain.

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