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African Development Bank and partners’ innovative Room2Run securitization will be a model for global lenders

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Room2Run will create space for more lending in pursuit of development agenda

Sharing the lessons learned will shorten the path for other MDB’s

Room2Run, the African Development Bank and partners’ innovative US $1 billion synthetic securitization of a portfolio of seasoned African Development Bank private sector loans, will serve as a model for other lenders, help reduce costs, and shorten execution time, finance experts told participants at a workshop on Saturday.

The landmark securitization instrument, a first for any multilateral development bank, has been described by investors as a “strong market fit.” The instrument offers other multilateral development banks and investors a roadmap for innovative financing and new ways to explore the release of much-needed capital to impact financing and catalyze private capital in developing markets.

“This is particulat, asrly importan it opens the door for significant scale in the future, both in Africa and in other continents where your institutions are present and financing development projects,” said Swazi Tshabalala, the Bank’s Vice President of Finance.

About 70 participants from the international finance community – investors, bankers and other financial institutions, attended the workshop entitled “A Look at Optimizing MDB Balance Sheets Through Securitization, “organized by the African Development Bank and the Mariner Investment Group, LLC (Mariner), a key investor in the deal. The participants heard presentations on the structure of the securitization, challenges and lessons learned, followed by a question and answer session.

The workshop took place on the sidelines of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank annual meetings and the 2018 Global Infrastructure Forum in the Indonesian island of Bali. The AfDB’s Chief Risk Officer Tim Turner said the meeting was convened in response to massive interest from sister development institutions following the announcement of Room2Run in September, 2018.

The Bank, the European Commission, Mariner Investment Group, LLC (Mariner), Africa50, and Mizuho International plc announced the pricing of Room2Run on 18 September in Ottawa, Canada – the first-ever portfolio synthetic securitization between a Multilateral Development Bank (MDB) and private sector investors, pioneering the use of securitization and credit risk transfer technology to a new and previously unexplored segment of the financial markets.

Tshabalala said Room2Run was timely in the light of new regulations in banking that would see more traditional commercial bank lenders scaling back some of their activities in the project finance and trade finance markets. “These regulations will make investments in regions such as Africa more expensive and capital intensive, and this is why we have to find new avenues to crowd-in non-traditional sources of funding, ” Tshabalala said.

Describing Room2Run as the “crown jewel of our impact activity, Andrew Hohns, Lead Portfolio Manager of the IIFC Strategy, Mariner Investment Group, said that there is a common misconception about the performance of MDB’s loans as unattractive; but the risk perceptions were often unbalanced”, he said.

“These assets have performer pretty well,” Hohns, said, giving reasons for Mariner’s global involvement with impact financing – nearly US$14 billion of infrastructure assets covering 1,250 projects world-wide. Hohns said the investor’s decision to partner with the Bank rested on its strong track record. The Bank is by far the most positioned of institutions on the continent to offer this kind of securitization, he said and synthetic securitization deals such as Room2Run were a “strong market fit.”

“The level of interest in taking exposure to the assets within the MDB’s is high,” Hohns said.

Kay Parplies, Head of Unit Investment & Innovative Financing, European Commission, said Room2Run was “catalytic” and hoped its involvement would attract other private investors and rating agencies to refine their approaches to African assets. Parplies said our experience over two decades had shown many in the investor community that actual risks (in African investments) were often lower than the perceived risks.

Other presenters at the workshop included Juan-Carlos Martorell Co-Head of Structured Products Solutions, Mizuho International and Nicole Giles Director General, International Finance and Development, Finance Canada.

Room2Run Roadmap to be shared with MDB’s

Turner said the Bank would soon publish a detailed journey of the Room2Run initiative, including all the documentation involved in its set up, to encourage other MDB’s to consider adopting synthetic securitization models to free up capital and create new pathways for institutional investors to support development. The document would be a “technical manual” to help others lower the cost and shorten the time to develop similar transactions.

“There is no need for our development partners to redo what we did. This is a knowledge sharing session of learnings from the school of hard knocks,” Turner said.

By creating new pathways between those with savings and those needing capital for development projects, Room 2Run would generate excitement within investment spaces normally far removed from development financing.

“Imagine a pensioner in Toronto knowing that his retirement investments are financing a power plant that was giving electricity to a family in Yopougon (Cote d’Ivoire). It’s a win-win.”, Turner said.

Structured as an impact investment, Room2Run is designed to enable the African Development Bank to increase lending in support of its mission to spur sustainable economic development and social progress.

Synthetic securitization and other similar models are intended to bring together public and private capital to finance development.

“MDB’s need to look at more than the financial return,” Bank Director of Syndication & Co-Financing, African Development Olivier Weck said, adding that the Bank had itself invested time to educate its board about the deal. “We needed to demonstrate additionality and the development outcome,” Eweck said.

Room2Run, positions the Bank as an innovative leader in providing lending in pursuit of the global development agenda, which prioritizes its own High 5’s and the Sustainable Development Goals. Freed-up capital will be directed toward renewable energy projects in Sub-Saharan Africa, including projects in low income and fragile countries.

“The Bank is treating this (Room2Run) as a pilot project,” Hohns said. “Mariner is very much interested in doing more.”

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Nexford University And A.Y.E Agree Pioneering Partnership To Empower African Entrepreneurs

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Nexford University NXU, and Africa’s Young Entrepreneurs A.Y.E, a network with more than 12 million members, have announced a new partnership that will equip Nigerians with the skills needed to grow and sustain successful startups.

The partnership, which has been described as pioneering and the first of its kind in Africa, will offer 11 full scholarships for learners to study MBA and Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degrees as part of the university’s founding cohort of learners, NexFirst.

Summy Smart Francis, President of A.Y.E, announced the beneficiaries of the Africa’s Young Entrepreneurship Scholarship Scheme at A.Y.E’s Annual Convention held in Lagos.

Francis, who will be one of NXU’s first BBA learners, said: “Just as we are dedicated to developing the next generation of outstanding African entrepreneurs, Nexford is creating a next-generation learning experience that will positively impact millions of lives around the world.

“We hope our pioneering partnership will shape the economies and political landscapes of members’ home countries.” he added.

Also speaking was Fadl Al Tarzi, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), NXU who stressed that the partnership was the first of its kind in Africa.

“Nigeria faces a major unemployment challenge, small to medium enterprises can play a major role in addressing this. Organizations such as A.Y.E are a catalyst to advancing the local entrepreneurship ecosystem. We hope through bringing quality, affordable education to Nigeria we will also play a role in improving living standards and creating jobs. With a strong knowledge economy, Africa can leapfrog its way into the future.”

He stated that Nexford enables greater social and economic mobility across the world by providing learners with access to high-quality, dynamic education that prepares them for the global workplace.

A.Y.E members will sharpen their entrepreneurial skills through project-based simulations, interactive, AI learning, and local African business case studies.

According to him, In January 2019, the university will offer the following degrees and certificates: Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Business, BBA, MBA, nine undergraduate and three graduate certificates in the field of business: registrations have commenced. It will also offer a range of specializations to match high-growth employment areas such as Data Science, Sustainable Energy, and Artificial intelligence.

NXU is licensed by the Higher Education Licensure Commission, in Washington, D.C, and is on a mission to be the largest, most affordable American university in the world. The university is now accepting registration from learners in Nigeria as well as markets such as the US the Philippines and Egypt.

The convention was however attended by renowned Nigerian businesswoman Folorunsho Alakija, Sahara Group’s Tonye Cole, and record producer and entrepreneur, Don Jazzy and Nexford’s Country Ambassador for Nigeria Olamidun Majekodunmi.

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Why you should switch off your electronics before takeoff – Air host

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for some persons Air transportation is their only means of moving from one state to another, while some others have a phobia for flying which is Aviophobia. In this interview, Jude a cab crew staff with Arik airlines tells our correspondent Ere-ebi AGEDAH that his job as a airhost has become a hobby and less of a job: excepts

May we meet you?
I am a cabin crew staff or air host with Arikair and for the last 5 years I have been flying around Nigeria. My name is Jude Anikamadu, I am from Anambra state from Onitsha north local government area, a graduate of history and international relations from the University of Portharcourt.

What is your job description
As an Airline cabin crew my primary responsible on board is to ensure the comfort, safety and welfare of passengers travelling on our aircrafts during flights to and from international and internal destinations.

We must also make certain the safety of ourselves and the aircraft also, because if there is a bridge in safety it could have diverse effect.

Our comfort comes secondary, so we ensure that all our passengers are safe then we can attend to our personal comfort. That is why we have pre flight safety demonstrations to properly explain certain procedures before take-off, to our passengers about the safety features of the aircraft they are aboard.

When we have passengers on board the aircraft, you are told to turn off your mobile phones at some point, no smoking on board, passengers are expected to fasten your seat belt. No matter how smooth the flight is we advice that you keep your seat belt lightly loosed because someturbulence may occur unannounced.

Basically I can say we work generally for the safety and comfort of our passengers, administering first aid when needed, providing specialattention to certain passengers such as the people who are sacred of flying.

Why are passengers asked to switch off their phones
Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority NCAA passed the policy because phones that have radio transmitters can jam signals from the pilot . What the pilots do is computer based and any interference could prevent communication with the tower, during the cause of the flight, the pilot might need to call the tower to get certain information and if communication is hampered it could lead to a diverse effect which could be life threatening.

Why did you go into aviation
As a air host in the aviation industry, it affords you the opportunity to travel a lot, you get to meet with a lot of people from diverse backgrounds, social standing. It affords you the opportunity to meet with some persons that on a normal day you might not have the opportunity of havingaccess to them.

For me I carrier out my international relations in the course of the flight, because as a crew, you might be mandated to engage in conflict resolutions, you might be caught up in a case of interacting with someone from a different nationality. Having an international relations background, aviation gives me an edge especially during international flights.

In a nut shell as long as you meet people on a daily basics which is part of the job description you will always practice your international relations, so diving into aviation was a closer alternative which I have come to appreciate and it has become a hobby to me and less of a job.

Basic requirements
It takes 3 months to train one crew, you do not just hop on a plane and start flying, you must undergo some form of training which could be internal examinations, for Arikair you have to go through the training process, it is not just teaching you how to fly but it is to put you into the culture of the organization.

You have to take the professional examination which qualifies you to have a license to fly in the Nigerian airspace, even pilots have to go through the process not considering the amount of airlines you might have previously worked with.

As it concerns crew, we take a lot of life saving skills, if there a pregnant woman on board and she runs into labour during the flight you have to be trained to handle such situation. If a passenger falls sick on board you have to handle such situation. During the Ebola scare we had passengers on board that we had to quarantine till we had professional help attend to them when we landed. It is an all round job centered on passenger safety.

Cabin crew is a woman’s job

That is a miss conception which is quite laughable, yes the very first cabin crew was a woman and we cannot dispute that but when it comes to life saving gender is thrown out of the window.

We need to disabuse our minds from the angle that it is a woman’s job if we want to appreciate what a cabin crew can do for you. There are some typical things that you must do on every flight and as a woman you might be constrained, am not saying men are any better but in the end it’s symbiotic, it is give and take. Once it has to do with safety, gender does not apply, but if you are thinking of comfort then you might be thinking of gender.

As a matter of fact the ration of female crew to male crew in Arikair is not much, it’s like 60- 40 sharing formula and it works well for us.

If you are nor flying, what are you doing

I am spending time with my family and playing computer games.

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Grand Pela Hotel and Suites promises exciting times to local, foreign guests

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Grand Pela Hotels and Suites Abuja has stated that the star facility has embraced fresh perspective in its quest to be the leading hotel of choice in Nigeria and beyond.

The Hotels said it will continue to provide proactive approach to hotel management with the specific needs of all stakeholders, particularly guests and visitors in mind, even as it completes and launch its new multi million naira international events and conference center as part of its plans to take Nigeria’s hotel and hospitality industry to greater heights.

Chairman and Chief Executive Chief Peter Chukwudi Nwakeze, made these disclosures in Abuja, while showing journalists the world class facilities the hotel has provided.

He said because of the high standards that Grand Pela Hotels and Suites has set for the industry in Nigeria, that the Durumi, based hotel will provide expertise management training of international standard to hotels across Nigeria in order to expand the industry in Nigeria and bring it up to speed in line with global best standards.

Nwakeze said the multi million naira events and conference was designed and built with the utmost comfort of guests and visitors in mind, pointing out the group has gone to great length to ensure that the events and conference center changes the landscape and experience of major events hosting.

According to him, the facilities and luxury available at Grand Pela Hotels and Suites is comparable to anywhere in the world, saying that the hotel’s newly built events and conference center is capable of sitting more than two thousand people at once will change of face of the hospitality industry in Abuja and in the country.

“We want to carve a niche in the hospitality business that will leave a lasting and unmatched experience in our customers,” the Grand Pela Hotel Chairman said.

The Grand Pela Chairman explained that the Hotel is strategically located in the Federal Capital City, and can compete and surpass any in the world. The world class facilities are available for the comfort of guests and for the development of the industry in Nigeria, he said.

“ We have made massive investments in the comfort and luxury of guests at the hotel which we consider as paramount, because the hotel decided to make a paradigm shift by adding new features which represents the chairman’s core values of excellence and professionalism in order to change the old perception of Abuja hotels by tourists and visitors.

“These new features will be observed as you inspect our facilities and rooms. The hotel is prepared and offering unique and exceptional services that are consistent and inspiring. It remains the most sort after hotel in Abuja. Grand Pela Hotels and Suites brand is synonymous with creativity and excellence”, he said.

Nwakeze also noted that the mission statement which is to offer a unique and exceptional services that will promote Grand Pela Hotel and Suites into an inspiring and most sort after brand synonymous with creativity and excellence is apt, because it represents his personal values and that of the hotel.

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