Jollof Bond’ for Nigeria’s Infrastructure Financing Coming Soon, Says Lord Mayor of London


.Dangote targets London Stock Exchange listing after 2019 elections

Obinna Chima
The Lord Mayor of London, Alderman Charles Bowman, Thursday disclosed plans to launch what he termed the ‘Jollof Bond’ to support the financing of Nigeria’s wide infrastructure deficit.
He noted the need to finance Nigeria’s infrastructure using naira-denominated financial instruments.

The Lord Mayor of London said this in a keynote address he delivered at a forum organised by the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) in Lagos.

“Similar instrument has already been used successfully in India and China. And will eliminate foreign exchange risk for Nigerian issuers – from the government down to SMEs and provide even greater access to capital for this,” he explained.

According to him, part of his mission to Nigeria,was to among other things, provide assurance that the City of London will remain the pre-eminent global financial centre well into the future; advance the strong ties that exist between the UK and Nigeria; harness the relationship to improve bilateral trade, investment and business-to-business opportunities; and engage, discuss and promote his Mayoral programme – The Business of Trust – which aims to create a lasting legacy of better business, trusted by society.

Bowman said: “The relationship between Nigeria and the UK is strong. Our bilateral trade is strong, currently standing at around £3.4 billion per annum. And it is set to become even stronger – forecast to reach £7 billion by 2030.

“This is a great foundation on which to build future success, but in my view, we can do much more. As I have travelled in Abuja and Lagos these past few days, it has become abundantly clear that Nigeria – already Africa’s largest and most populous country – is at an important point.

“With the rapidly rising population and the current economic growth rates, the IMF has forecast declining GDP per capital for the foreseeable future. To convert the democratic reality from challenge to opportunity, the country needs to sustain some three to four million jobs each year and, to achieve that, economic growth must rise from the current two per cent to at least six to seven per cent.

“This is possible. But to ensure the opportunity is harnessed, the economic engine needs to shift up a gear or two. I have heard during my three days in Nigeria that in order to achieve this, four things need to happen.

“Creating investable infrastructure assets, improving access to capital, promoting financial inclusion, and developing an enabling and compliance-based business environment,” he added.

Earlier, the President of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, disclosed that the planned listing of some of his companies on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) would take place after Nigeria’s 2019 elections.

“I have just explained to the Mayor that we have decided now to list our business on the LSE and that would definitely come early next year.

“Obviously, you know, we have an election early next year, so people would want to wait to see the outcome of the election,” he explained.

According to the Africa’s richest man, the Dangote Group has quite a lot of businesses around the Commonwealth nations and most especially within the African continent.

He, however, told his audience at the meeting, who were mostly CWEIC strategic partners, that although business has been challenging at the same time, Nigeria has enormous business opportunities.

“If you are really looking for business opportunities, the best place to look at is actually here in Nigeria. We have an office in London now for about 28 years and we hope we would be there for many more years.

“But what we are doing more, especially in the UK, is future investments with the family office.
“Our family office means that our main investments would be controlled by that office, which we would open within our London office, as a stepping stone for our investments.

“We have invested heavily in Africa, but going forward, we need to invest outside Africa, so that we can de-risk the wealth of the family. This would really help to strengthen the relationship between the UK and Nigeria,” he said.