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Living the FATCA life in Africa: New U.S. tax regulations add to burden of compliance on financial institutions across Africa

Posted on 21 May 2013 by Eugene Skrynnyk

Eugene Skrynnyk

Eugene Skrynnyk (CIPM, MILE, BComm) is a senior manager and specialist for the asset management industry in the Africa Sub-Area at Ernst & Young in Cape Town, South Africa.

Eugene Skrynnyk is the Ernst & Young Senior Manager and specialist for the asset management industry in the Africa Sub-Area.

Eugene holds a Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement (CIPM), Master of International Law and Economics (MILE) and Bachelor of Commerce and Finance (B.Comm.).

 

When the U.S. Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) and Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) issued final Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”) regulations in January of this year, there was a sigh of relief that the financial services industry in Africa could begin to digest FATCA’s obligations. However, achieving FATCA compliance remains a challenge for banks operating across Africa.

FATCA is already law in the U.S. but negotiations are under way to enshrine it in national law of countries around the world via intergovernmental agreements (“IGAs”) with the U.S. While a variety of African jurisdictions will each face unique obstacles with FATCA compliance, many in the industry share a general unease with FATCA’s scope, as well as scepticism that FATCA’s rewards (an estimated US$1 billion in additional tax revenue annually) justify its expenses. Generally, FATCA attempts to combat U.S. tax evasion by requiring that non-U.S. financial institutions report the identities of U.S. shareholders or customers, or otherwise face a 30% withholding tax on their U.S. source income. Overwhelmingly, FATCA compliance obligations apply even where there is very little risk of U.S. tax evasion and it impacts all payers, including foreign payers of “withholdable payments” made to any foreign entities affecting deposit accounts, custody and investments.

General issues in Africa

Concerns about privacy abound. FATCA requires financial institutions to report to the IRS certain information about U.S. persons. For this reason, IGAs are being put in place so that institutions could instead report information to their local tax authority rather than the IRS. In some jurisdictions, investment funds and insurance companies are permitted to disclose information with client consent. In other jurisdictions, such disclosure is prohibited without further changes to domestic law. The process to make necessary changes locally involves time and effort.

Cultural differences in Africa need to be considered. In certain situations FATCA requires that financial institutions ask a customer who was born in the United States to submit documents explaining why the customer abandoned U.S. citizenship or did not obtain it at birth. African financial institutions never pose such a delicate and private question to their customers. Even apparently straight-forward requirements may pose challenges; for example, FATCA requires that customers make representations about their identities “under penalty of perjury” in certain situations. Few countries have a custom of making legal oaths, so it would not be surprising if African customers will be reluctant to give them.

FATCA contains partial exemptions (i.e., “deemed compliance”) and also exceptions for certain financial institutions and products that are less likely to be used by U.S. tax evaders. It still has to be seen to what extent these exemptions have utility for financial institutions in Africa. For example, the regulations include an exemption for retirement funds and also partially exempt “restricted funds” — funds that prohibit investment by U.S. persons. Although many non-U.S. funds have long restricted investment by U.S. persons because of the U.S. federal securities laws, this exemption could be less useful than it first appears. It should be pointed out that the exemption also requires that funds be sold exclusively to limited categories of FATCA-compliant or exempt institutions and distributors. These categories are themselves difficult for African institutions to qualify for. For example, a restricted fund may sell to certain distributors who agree not to sell to U.S. persons (“restricted distributors”). But restricted distributors must operate solely in the country of their incorporation, a true obstacle in smaller markets where many distributors must operate regionally to attain scale.

Other permitted distribution channels for restricted funds are “local banks,” which are not allowed to have any operations outside of their jurisdiction of incorporation and may not advertise the availability of U.S. dollar denominated investments.

Challenges and lessons learned – the African perspective

Financial institutions will have to consider what steps to take to prepare for FATCA compliance and take into account other FATCA obligations, such as account due diligence and withholding against non-compliant U.S. accountholders and/or financial institutions.

The core of FATCA is the process of reviewing customer records to search for “U.S. indicia” — that is, evidence that a customer might be a U.S. taxpayer. Under certain circumstances, FATCA requires financial institutions to look through their customers and counterparties’ ownership to find “substantial U.S. owners” (generally, certain U.S. persons holding more than 10% of an entity). In many countries the existing anti-money laundering legislation generally requires that financial institutions look through entities only when there is a 20% or 25% owner, leaving a gap between information that may be needed for FATCA compliance and existing procedures. Even how to deal with non-FATCA compliant financial institutions and whether to completely disengage business ties with them, remains open.

The following is an outline of some of the lessons learned in approaching FATCA compliance and the considerations financial institutions should make:

Focus on reducing the problem

Reducing the problem through the analysis and filtering of legal entities, products, customer types, distribution channels and account values, which may be prudently de-scoped, can enable financial institutions to address their distinct challenges and to identify areas of significant impact across their businesses. This quickly scopes the problem areas and focuses the resource and budget effort to where it is most necessary.

Select the most optimal design solution

FATCA legislation is complex and comprehensive as it attempts to counter various potential approaches to evade taxes. Therefore, understanding the complexities of FATCA and distilling its key implications is crucial in formulating a well rounded, easily executable FATCA compliance programme in the limited time left.

Selecting an option for compliance is dependent on the nature of the business and the impact of FATCA on the financial institution. However, due to compliance time constraints and the number of changes required by financial institutions, the solution design may well require tactical solutions with minimal business impact and investment. This will allow financial institutions to achieve compliance by applying low cost ‘work arounds’ and process changes. Strategic and long-term solutions can be better planned and phased-in with less disruption to the financial institution thereafter.

Concentrate on critical activities for 2014

FATCA has phased timelines, which run from 2014 to 2017 and beyond. By focusing on the “must-do” activities, which require compliance as of 1 January 2014 – such as appointing a Responsible Officer, registering with the IRS, and addressing new client on-boarding processes and systems – financial institutions can dedicate the necessary resources more efficiently and effectively to meet immediate deadlines.

Clear ownership – both centrally and within local subsidiaries

FATCA is a strategic issue for the business, requiring significant and widespread change. Typically it starts as a ‘tax issue’ but execution has impacts across IT, AML/KYC, operations, sales, distribution and client relationship management. It is imperative to get the right stakeholders and support onboard to ensure that the operational changes are being coordinated, managed and implemented by the necessary multidisciplinary teams across the organization. These include business operations, IT, marketing, and legal and compliance, to name but a few. Early involvement and clear ownership is key from the start.

Understand your footprint in Africa

Many African financial institutions have operations in various African countries and even overseas, and have strategically chosen to make further investments throughout Africa. The degree to which these African countries have exposure to the FATCA regulations needs to be understood. It is best to quickly engage with appropriate stakeholders, understand how FATCA impacts these African countries and the financial institutions’ foreign subsidiaries, and find solutions that enable pragmatic compliance.

What next for financial institutions in Africa?

Negotiations with the U.S. are under way with over 60 countries to enshrine FATCA in national law of countries around the world via IGAs. Implementation of FATCA is approaching on 1 January 2014 and many local financial institutions have either not started or are just at the early stages of addressing the potential impact of FATCA. In South Africa, only few of the leading banks are completing impact assessments and already optimizing solutions. Other financial services groups and asset management institutions are in the process of tackling the impact assessment. Industry representative in Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria and Zimbabwe have started engaging relevant government and industry stakeholders, but the awareness is seemingly oblivious to date. In the rest of Africa, FATCA is mainly unheard of.

Financial institutions choosing to comply with FATCA will first need to appoint a responsible officer for FATCA and register with the IRS, ensure proper new client on-boarding procedures are in place, then identify and categorize all customers, and eventually report U.S. persons to the IRS (or local tax authorities in IGA jurisdictions). Institutions will also need to consider implementing a host of other time-consuming operational tasks, including revamping certain electronic systems to capture applicable accountholder information and/or to accommodate the new reporting and withholding requirements, enhancing customer on-boarding processes, and educating both customers and staff on the new regulations. Where possible, institutions should seek to achieve these tasks through enhancing existing initiations so as to minimise the cost and disruption to the business.

Conclusion

Financial institutions in Africa face tight FATCA compliance timelines with limited budgets, resources, time, and expertise available. This is coupled with having to fulfil multiple other regulatory requirements. To add to the burden, FATCA has given stimulus to several countries in the European Union to start discussing a multilateral effort against tax evasion. The support of other countries in the IGA process indicates that some of these countries will follow with their own FATCA-equivalent legislation in an attempt to increase local tax revenues at a time when economies around the world are under unprecedented pressure. The best approach for African financial services industry groups is to engage their local governments in dialogue with the IRS and Treasury, while for African financial institutions to pro-actively assess their FATCA strategic and operational burdens as they inevitably prepare for compliance.

 

About Ernst & Young

Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Worldwide, our 167,000 people are united by our shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality. We make a difference by helping our people, our clients and our wider communities achieve their potential.

The Ernst & Young Africa Sub-Area consists of practices in 28 countries across the African continent. We pride ourselves in our integrated operating model which enables us to serve our clients on a seamless basis across the continent, as well as across the world.

Ernst & Young South Africa has a Level two, AAA B-BBEE rating. As a recognised value adding enterprise, our clients are able to claim B-BBEE recognition of 156.25%.

Ernst & Young refers to the global organisation of member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. All Ernst & Young practices in the Africa Sub Area are members of Ernst & Young Africa Limited (NPC). Ernst & Young Africa Limited (NPC) in turn is a member firm of Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee. Neither Ernst & Young Global Limited nor Ernst & Young Limited (NPC) provides services to clients.

For more information about our organisation, please visit www.ey.com/za

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DC Finance’s CEO will be visiting NYC from June 17thto promote the East Coast Family Office & Wealth Management Conference and the firm’s institutional investment, corporate finance, going public and family office events in Israel. Available for meetings

Posted on 21 May 2013 by Africa Business

 

DC Finance, the manager of one of the world’s largest Family Office events, ( www.israelwealth.com), is proud to present the East Coast’s top HNWI & SFOs wealth management event – The Annual East Coast Family Office & Wealth Management Conference, OCT 2nd, at the Union League Club, New York City ( www.nyc-wealth.com).

We are currently seeking firms who wish to support and join this 1st tier event. Mr Denny Chared, DC Finance’s CEO, will be more than happy to meet firms who may be intrested in meeting our target audiance of SFOs and HNWI.

The event will bring together 200 UHNWI, HNWI and SFOs with an average net worth of $400 million, with 50 of the best speakers in the fields of oil and gas investments, real estate, homeland security, high tech investments, philanthropy, private family banks, families in business, direct investing, family office, estate planning, trusts and other various investment alternatives.

Our current confirmed speakers lisr include: Dr. Yossi Vardi, Mr. Martin S. Indyk, vice president and director of the Foreign Policy Program at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C., and former U.S. ambassador to Israel Mr. Howard Cooper , CEO, Cooper Family Office | Mr. David Sable , Global CEO, Y&R | Mr, Tewodros Ashenafi ,  CEO, SouthWest Energy Ltd, Ms. Kay Koplovitz , Founder, USA Networks and Chairman and CEO of Koplovitz & Co. LLC. Kay Koplovitz | Mr. Dror Berman , Founding Managing Partner, Innovation Endeavors (The Eric Schmidt Investment Fund), Ms. Wendy Craft , Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Fulcrum Equities | Mr. Lowell Sands , Rosewood Resources | Mr. Angelo J. Robles, CEO, Family Office Association Mr. Munib R. Masri, Chairman, Engineering and Development Group | Mr. David Gorman , Americas Advisor, The Table Club | Ms. Candice Beaumont , Managing Director, L. Investments | Mr. Harold F. “Rick” Pitcairn , II, CFA, CIO, Pitcairn and Chairman, Wigmore Association | Mr. Steve Oyer , Partner, Grail Partners | Mr. Ira Perlmuter , Head of Family Office Direct Investing, T5 Equity Partners| Mr. Nirmal Saverimuttu , Principal, Virgin Group | Mr. Andy Unanue , Managing Partner, AUA Private Equity Partners | Ms. Karen Wawrzaszek , Managing Director, Pitcairn | Mr. Warner King Babcock , Chairman and CEO, AM Private Enterprises, Inc. | Ms. Raya Strauss Bendror , President and Co-Owner, Strauss Investment, The Strauss Family | Ms. Nava Michael Tsabari , Academic Director, Family Business Program, Lahav-Executive Education, Recanati Business School, Faculty of Management Tel Aviv University, The Strauss Family | Mr. Guy Schory , Head of New Ventures, eBay | Mr. Shimon Eckhouse , Co-founder and Chairman of the Board, Syneron Medical |  Mr. Jamie McLaughlin , Owner, J. H. McLaughlin & Co., LLC |   Mr. Louis Hanna , Corigin Family Office | Ms. Kay Koplovitz , Founder, USA Network | Mr. Kent M. Swig , President, Swig Equities, LLC | Ms. Steffi Claiden , Founder/Editor-in-Chief, Family Office Review | Mr. Daniel Shakhani , CEO, RDS Capital

 

 

Other events:The trip also supports The 2014 institutional investment conference , March 2014, ( www.tlvii.com ), The Israeli Family Office & Wealth Management Conference, June 2013, ( www.israelwealth.com ), the “Family Wealth” magazine and advisors sourcebook, The Annual Kibbutz Industries Financial Conference, Sep 10th 2013, The Annual Going Public and Raising Capital Abroad Conference Oct 9th 2013 and Israel’s Annual Corporate Finance Conference, Nov 22nd 2013 ( www.israel-finance.com( .

Firms with an interest in meeting our target audience are welcome to reply to this email and we will do our best to schedule a meeting. Please be advised that due to a busy schedule not all requests may be fulfilled.

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Developing World’s Share of Global Investment to Triple by 2030, Says New World Bank Report

Posted on 18 May 2013 by Africa Business

Seventeen years from now, half the global stock of capital, totaling $158 trillion (in 2010 dollars), will reside in the developing world, compared to less than one-third today, with countries in East Asia and Latin America accounting for the largest shares of this stock, says the latest edition of the World Bank’s Global Development Horizons (GDH) report, which explores patterns of investment, saving and capital flows as they are likely to evolve over the next two decades.

Developing countries’ share in global investment is projected to triple by 2030 to three-fifths, from one-fifth in 2000, says the report, titled ‘Capital for the Future: Saving and Investment in an Interdependent World’. With world population set to rise from 7 billion in 2010 to 8.5 billion 2030 and rapid aging in the advanced countries, demographic changes will profoundly influence these structural shifts.

“GDH is one of the finest efforts at peering into the distant future. It does this by marshaling an amazing amount of statistical information,” said Kaushik Basu, the World Bank’s Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. “We know from the experience of countries as diverse as South Korea, Indonesia, Brazil, Turkey and South Africa the pivotal role investment plays in driving long-term growth. In less than a generation, global investment will be dominated by the developing countries. And among the developing countries, China and India are expected to be the largest investors, with the two countries together accounting for 38 percent of the global gross investment in 2030. All this will change the landscape of the global economy, and GDH analyzes how.”

Productivity catch-up, increasing integration into global markets, sound macroeconomic policies, and improved education and health are helping speed growth and create massive investment opportunities, which, in turn, are spurring a shift in global economic weight to developing countries. A further boost is being provided by the youth bulge. With developing countries on course to add more than 1.4 billion people to their combined population between now and 2030, the full benefit of the demographic dividend has yet to be reaped, particularly in the relatively younger regions of Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

The good news is that, unlike in the past, developing countries will likely have the resources needed to finance these massive future investments for infrastructure and services, including in education and health care. Strong saving rates in developing countries are expected to peak at 34 percent of national income in 2014 and will average 32 percent annually until 2030. In aggregate terms, the developing world will account for 62-64 percent of global saving of $25-27 trillion by 2030, up from 45 percent in 2010.

“Despite strong saving levels to finance their massive investment needs in the future, developing countries will need to significantly improve their currently limited participation in international financial markets if they are to reap the benefits of the tectonic shifts taking place,” said Hans Timmer, Director of the Bank’s Development Prospects Group.

GDH paints two scenarios, based on the speed of convergence between the developed and developing worlds in per capita income levels, and the pace of structural transformations (such as financial development and improvements in institutional quality) in the two groups. Scenario one entails a gradual convergence between the developed and developing world while a much more rapid scenario is envisioned in the second.

The gradual and rapid scenarios predict average world economic growth of 2.6 percent and 3 percent per year, respectively, during the next two decades; the developing world’s growth will average an annual rate of 4.8 percent in the gradual convergence scenario and 5.5 percent in the rapid one.

In both scenarios, developing countries’ employment in services will account for more than 60 percent of their total employment by 2030 and they will account for more than 50 percent of global trade. This shift will occur alongside demographic changes that will increase demand for infrastructural services. Indeed, the report estimates the developing world’s infrastructure financing needs at $14.6 trillion between now and 2030.

The report also points to aging populations in East Asia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, which will see the largest reductions in saving rates. Demographic change will test the sustainability of public finances and complex policy challenges will arise from efforts to reduce the burden of health care and pensions without imposing severe hardships on the old. In contrast, Sub-Saharan Africa, with its relatively young and rapidly growing population as well as robust economic growth, will be the only region not experiencing a decline in its saving rate.

In absolute terms, however, saving will continue to be dominated by Asia and the Middle East. In the gradual convergence scenario, in 2030, China will save far more than any other developing country — $9 trillion in 2010 dollars — with India a distant second with $1.7 trillion, surpassing the levels of Japan and the United States in the 2020s.

As a result, under the gradual convergence scenario, China will account for 30 percent of global investment in 2030, with Brazil, India and Russia together accounting for another 13 percent. In terms of volumes, investment in the developing world will reach $15 trillion (in 2010 dollars), versus $10 trillion in high-income economies. China and India will account for almost half of all global manufacturing investment.

“GDH clearly highlights the increasing role developing countries will play in the global economy. This is undoubtedly a significant achievement. However, even if wealth will be more evenly distributed across countries, this does not mean that, within countries, everyone will equally benefit,” said Maurizio Bussolo, Lead Economist and lead author of the report.

The report finds that the least educated groups in a country have low or no saving, suggesting an inability to improve their earning capacity and, for the poorest, to escape a poverty trap.

“Policy makers in developing countries have a central role to play in boosting private saving through policies that raise human capital, especially for the poor,” concluded Bussolo.

Regional Highlights:

East Asia and the Pacific will see its saving rate fall and its investment rate will drop by even more, though they will still be high by international standards. Despite these lower rates, the region’s shares of global investment and saving will rise through 2030 due to robust economic growth. The region is experiencing a big demographic dividend, with fewer than 4 non-working age people for every 10 working age people, the lowest dependency ratio in the world. This dividend will end after reaching its peak in 2015. Labor force growth will slow, and by 2040 the region may have one of the highest dependency ratios of all developing regions (with more than 5.5 non-working age people for every 10 working age people). China, a big regional driver, is expected to continue to run substantial current account surpluses, due to large declines in its investment rate as it transitions to a lower level of public involvement in investment.

Eastern Europe and Central Asia is the furthest along in its demographic transition, and will be the only developing region to reach zero population growth by 2030. Aging is expected to moderate economic growth in the region, and also has the potential to bring down the saving rate more than any developing region, apart from East Asia. The region’s saving rate may decline more than its investment rate, in which case countries in the region will have to finance investment by attracting more capital flows. The region will also face significant fiscal pressure from aging. Turkey, for example, would see its public pension spending increase by more than 50 percent by 2030 under the current pension scheme. Several other countries in the region will also face large increases in pension and health care expenditures.

Latin America and the Caribbean, a historically low-saving region, may become the lowest-saving region by 2030. Although demographics will play a positive role, as dependency ratios are projected to fall through 2025, financial market development (which reduces precautionary saving) and a moderation in economic growth will play a counterbalancing role. Similarly, the rising and then falling impact of demography on labor force growth means that the investment rate is expected to rise in the short run, and then gradually fall. However, the relationship between inequality and saving in the region suggests an alternative scenario. As in other regions, poorer households tend to save much less; thus, improvements in earning capacity, rising incomes, and reduced inequality have the potential not only to boost national saving but, more importantly, to break poverty traps perpetuated by low saving by poor households.

The Middle East and North Africa has significant scope for financial market development, which has the potential to sustain investment but also, along with aging, to reduce saving. Thus, current account surpluses may also decline moderately up to 2030, depending on the pace of financial market development. The region is in a relatively early phase of its demographic transition: characterized by a still fast growing population and labor force, but also a rising share of elderly. Changes in household structure may also impact saving patterns, with a transition from intergenerational households and family-based old age support to smaller households and greater reliance on asset income in old age. The region has the lowest use of formal financial institutions for saving by low-income households, and scope for financial markets to play a significantly greater role in household saving.

South Asia will remain one of the highest saving and highest investing regions until 2030. However, with the scope for rapid economic growth and financial development, results for saving, investment, and capital flows will vary significantly: in a scenario of more rapid economic growth and financial market development, high investment rates will be sustained while saving falls significantly, implying large current account deficits. South Asia is a young region, and by about 2035 is likely to have the highest ratio of working- to nonworking-age people of any region in the world. The general shift in investment away from agriculture towards manufacturing and service sectors is likely to be especially pronounced in South Asia, with the region’s share of total investment in manufacturing expected to nearly double, and investment in the service sector to increase by more than 8 percentage points, to over two-thirds of total investment.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s investment rate will be steady due to robust labor force growth. It will be the only region to not see a decrease in its saving rate in a scenario of moderate financial market development, since aging will not be a significant factor. In a scenario of faster growth, poorer African countries will experience deeper financial market development, and foreign investors will become increasingly willing to finance investment in the region. Sub-Saharan Africa is currently the youngest of all regions, with the highest dependency ratio. This ratio will steadily decrease throughout the time horizon of this report and beyond, bringing a long lasting demographic dividend. The region will have the greatest infrastructure investment needs over the next two decades (relative to GDP). At the same time, there will likely be a shift in infrastructure investment financing toward greater participation by the private sector, and substantial increases in private capital inflows, particularly from other developing regions.

Source: WorldBank.org

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Unreliable Power Supply Creates Huge Demand for Non-renewable Inverters, Finds Frost & Sullivan

Posted on 18 May 2013 by Africa Business

Cost competitiveness vital to expand in developing markets

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. /PRNewswire/ — The global non-renewable inverter market grew steadily on the back of rising demand for reliable power and the lack of stable power infrastructure in many regions of the world. Higher disposable incomes and greater affordability in developing regions such as Latin America, as well as parts of Africa and South Asia, encourage the adoption of power inverters, especially in residential markets.

New analysis from Frost & Sullivan’s (http://www.powersupplies.frost.com) Analysis of the Global Non-renewable Inverter Market research finds the market earned revenue of approximately $1.94 billion in 2012 and estimates this to reach $2.34 billion in 2018.

For more information on this research, please email Britni Myers , Corporate Communications, at britni.myers@frost.com, with your full name, company name, job title, telephone number, company email address, company website, city, state and country.

“The need for power reliability stimulates demand for power inverter and inverter/chargers, as they are employed as part of a back-up power system involving a battery,” said Frost & Sullivan Energy and Environment Senior Industry Analyst Anu Elizabeth Cherian. “The manufacturing and commercial sectors’ increased awareness and proactive protective measures such as employing adequate back-up resources to manage business more efficiently gives a significant boost to the market’s prospects.”

The market will also gain from the escalating use of electronic equipment in boats, cars, trucks, ambulances and recreational vehicles. Power inverters and inverter chargers can meet business travelers’ or vacationers’ demand for connectivity on the go as well.

While power inverters are establishing a foothold in the power industry, the gradual pace of economic recovery and restrained spending environment are stymieing inverter manufacturers’ efforts to expand. Further, the slowdown in infrastructural build-outs in telecommunications and investments makes customers cautious about investing in inverters.

“Inverter manufacturers could attempt to offset the price issue by offering enhanced features for the premium products or lowering prices,” noted Cherian. “We know that without a solid solution, power quality issues will continue to persist.  This improved awareness of the need to be well prepared for power outages bolsters the power inverter market.”

Analysis of the Global Non-renewable Inverter Market is part of the Energy and Environment Growth Partnership Service program. Frost & Sullivan’s related research services include: Analysis of the Mexican Distributed Power Generation Market, Asia-Pacific Rental Power Market, Bangladesh Uninterruptible Power Supply Market, and Critical Energy Infrastructure Protection in Europe. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.

Connect with Frost & Sullivan on social media, including Twitter, Facebook, SlideShare, and LinkedIn, for the latest news and updates.

About Frost & Sullivan

Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, works in collaboration with clients to leverage visionary innovation that addresses the global challenges and related growth opportunities that will make or break today’s market participants.

Our “Growth Partnership” supports clients by addressing these opportunities and incorporating two key elements driving visionary innovation: The Integrated Value Proposition and The Partnership Infrastructure.

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Analysis of the Global Non-renewable Inverter Market
N839-27

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Britni Myers
Corporate Communications – North America
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A.M. Best Revises Outlook of the Issuer Credit Rating to Positive for Dubai Insurance Company PSC

Posted on 18 May 2013 by Africa Business

A.M. Best Europe – Rating Services Limited is a subsidiary of A.M. Best Company. A.M. Best Company is the world’s oldest and most authoritative insurance rating and information source.

 

LONDON —A.M. Best Europe – Rating Services Limited has revised the outlook to positive from stable and affirmed the issuer credit rating (ICR) of “bbb” and the financial strength rating (FSR) of B++ (Good) of Dubai Insurance Company PSC (DIC) (United Arab Emirates). The outlook for the FSR is stable.

The ICR positive outlook reflects DIC’s strong record of operating results, improved franchise and developing enterprise risk management (ERM). The ratings of DIC also reflect its very strong risk-adjusted capitalisation and a reinsurance programme of good quality. Offsetting these positive ratings factors are DIC’s investment concentrations.

DIC is likely to maintain a very strong risk-adjusted capitalisation over the medium term. The company’s capital base is supported by a low level of premium retention and a strong reinsurance panel. A high concentration of equity securities, particularly within the local banking sector, is of some concern and gives rise to volatility in DIC’s capital position. However, DIC’s capital position is sufficiently strong to absorb this volatility.

Despite competitive pressures in the UAE market, DIC has continued its strong growth levels with 21% achieved in 2012—well ahead of the market. DIC’s growth in recent years has improved its franchise and propelled the company to a top 10 position. However, its portfolio is indicative of the market biased towards medical and motor business on a net basis. Furthermore, underwriting performance remains strong with a good record of underwriting profitability. DIC’s combined ratio improved to 78% in 2012.

DIC’s level of ERM is considered to be improving. DIC has developed a better understanding of its risks and is integrating a capital model into its strategic planning process. There remains a disconnect between underwriting and investment risk as DIC’s investments remain concentrated in UAE banking equities. DIC has taken steps in diversifying its profile through surplus funds being conservatively invested.

Positive rating pressures can arise through embedding and integration of ERM and the maintenance of underwriting and operational performance. Considerable deterioration in its operating performance or a failure to embed improvements in ERM could add negative pressure to the current ratings.

The methodology used in determining these ratings is Best’s Credit Rating Methodology, which provides a comprehensive explanation of A.M. Best’s rating process and contains the different rating criteria employed in the rating process. Best’s Credit Rating Methodology can be found at www.ambest.com/ratings/methodology.

In accordance with Regulation (EC) No. 1060/2009, the following is a link to required disclosures: A.M. Best Europe – Rating Services Limited Supplementary Disclosure.

For more information, visit www.ambest.com.

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IFC to Support Central Bank of Nigeria in Strengthening Sustainable Banking

Posted on 15 May 2013 by Africa Business

About IFC

 

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments. In FY12, our investments reached an all-time high of more than $20 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit http://www.ifc.org.

 

 

ABUJA, Nigeria, May 15, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today signed an agreement with the Central Bank of Nigeria to support the implementation of standards, policies and guidelines for environmental and social best practices in the Nigerian banking sector, with the aim of promoting sustainable and inclusive growth of the Nigerian economy.

 

 

As part of the agreement IFC will train Central Bank staff on how to supervise the financial sector in the implementation of the Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles and Sector Guidelines, passed by the Central Bank of Nigeria in July 2012 and signed by all Nigerian banks.

 

 

The Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles include commitments by the signatories to integrate environmental and social considerations into business activities, respect human rights, promote women’s economic empowerment, and promote financial inclusion by reaching out to communities that traditionally have had limited or no access to the formal financial sector.

 

 

Aisha Mahmood, Sustainability Advisor to the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, said, “Working with IFC will help us further develop existing practices and capacities on environmental and social risk management among financial institutions. As regulators of the Nigerian financial sector, we recognize that financial institutions are key drivers in supporting sustainable economic growth.”

 

 

The partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria is part of IFC’s Environmental Performance and Market Development Program, which aims to encourage sustainable lending standards among financial institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa and to promote environmental and social standards at a market level.

 

 

Solomon Adegbie-Quaynor, IFC Country Manager for Nigeria, said, “Sustainable business practices are important to financial institutions as they effectively add value both to the banking sector and to the general economy. We will support the Central Bank of Nigeria in this key initiative by sharing knowledge and technical resources.”

 

 

IFC is a leading investor in Sub-Saharan Africa and Nigeria, with a fast-growing, well-performing portfolio. IFC’s portfolio in Nigeria stands at $1.1 billion, the largest country portfolio in Africa and the eighth-largest globally.

 

 

SOURCE

International Finance Corporation (IFC) – The World Bank

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MTN UGANDA FOUNDATION ENDORSES ALL SAINTS COMMUNITY INITIATIVES

Posted on 15 May 2013 by Africa Business

All Saints Cathedral Cheque Hand Over

MTN Uganda Foundation has joined All Saints Cathedral in a drive to raise money to support the cathedral’s community initiatives as well as build the new church building.

Speaking during a courtesy call on the New Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, the MTN Uganda CEO Mazen Mroué said that MTN is heartened by the noble community activities the church is involved in, saying they resonate with the telecommunication giant’s philosophies on Corporate Social Responsibility

All Saints Cathedral is one of the oldest churches in Uganda, and is involved in community activities such as Compassion and Hospitality for street kids, orphans and the destitute, counseling and health/healing (HIV/AIDS initiatives), education, Stewardship, Leadership development and a host of other youth programs.

“We are motivated by what All Saints Cathedral stands for because it’s in line with what our MTN foundation believes in. There are many people out there that need a compassionate hand. At MTN, we are not involved in such activities directly, but we are very glad to lend a helping hand to such institutions that drive such noble causes,” said Mazen Mroué’ CEO MTN Uganda.

During the same visit, MTN Uganda contributed shs10 million towards the construction of the new cathedral building, which is intended to create more room for the barging Christian community that throng the church all week. The new building will also create more capacity for it to do more community activities.

The current church was build many years ago with a plan to accommodate 600 people, but this has become very small. The new building is planned to take up to 4500 people.

Mazen called upon every individual and institution to make a contribution towards such causes, whether financially or physically.

“AT MTN, we know the importance of giving back to the communities in which we operate. By this contribution, we hope that we have re-ignited the drive for more people to come and be a part of this support great initiative,” Mroué said.

The Archbishop of the church of Uganda, Stanley Ntagali said that MTN’s support is very timely as the activities of the church are financially demanding and yet there is always need for more.

“The church depends on contributions of its members as well as well-intentioned companies like MTN Uganda. We would like to encourage more people to borrow a leaf from MTN and come in to support the church,” he said.

The MTN Uganda Foundation is a not-for-profit legal entity that was inaugurated in July 2007 as a vehicle through which MTN Uganda implements its’ Corporate Social Investments (CSI). The Foundation strives to improve the quality of life in communities where MTN Uganda operates in a sustainable way. Over the past five years since its launch, the MTN Foundation has supported a number of initiatives in the areas of Education, Health, Arts and Culture, Environment, Community Development and Low cost housing.

The MTN Uganda Foundation partners with both public and non-profit credible organizations to execute sustainable projects in each of the chosen focus areas. The Foundation is committed to ensuring that the selection and approval of its projects are conducted in a manner that is transparent, systematic, efficient, and effective while promoting its mission.

In 2013 and onwards, the MTN Foundation will focus on three key areas so as to leverage scale to achieve significant development impact. The three sectors will be Education, Health and National Priority Areas.

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Airtel reiterates commitment to customers in Uganda

Posted on 15 May 2013 by Chancy Namadzunda

Bharti Airtel (“Airtel”), a leading global telecommunications services provider with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa, today reiterated its commitment to Uganda and said it will “continue to make investments and offer world-class and affordable services to customers in the country”.

Airtel’s proposed acquisition of Warid Telecom has received approvals from the Uganda Communications Commission. With this, Airtel will further consolidate its position as the second largest mobile operator in Uganda with a combined customer base of over 7.2 million and market share of over 39%.

Warid customers will be able to retain their existing mobile numbers and continue to enjoy benefits such as remaining balances in their SIM and existing services. In addition, Warid customers will benefit from Airtel’s ‘One Network’ across 20 countries and get access to innovative products and roaming benefits on successful completion of integration.

Airtel Uganda Managing Director Mr. V.G. Somasekhar said, “We welcome Warid customers to the Airtel global network and assure them of a world-class experience. This acquisition will create a superior and wider network and we will invest more in key areas such as technological innovation and customer service.

“Further, the existing Warid customer will also be enjoying all Airtel services such as the widest 3G coverage, Blackberry services and superior roaming serviceson successful completion of integration. During this transition, I want to reassure Warid customers of our commitment to providing world-class, affordable services to customers in Uganda. They should also be assured of the security and continuity of Warid Pesa services during this period”.

He added: “After the successful completion of integration, Warid customers will begin to enjoy benefits of the 0ne network with lower roaming rates across Africa and South Asia that other Airtel Customers have been enjoying. It’s a great beginning to a journey with our loyal Uganda customers and for the economy as a whole.”

With presence across 17 African countries, Airtel is the largest telecom service provider across the Continent in terms of geographical reach and had over 62 million customers at the end of quarter ended December 31, 2012. Globally, Airtel is ranked as the 4th largest mobile services provider in terms of customer base.

Bharti Airtel Limited is a leading global telecommunications company with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa. Headquartered in New Delhi, India, the company ranks amongst the top 4 mobile service providers globally in terms of subscribers.

In India, the company’s product offerings include 2G, 3G and 4G wireless services, mobile commerce, fixed line services, high speed DSL broadband, IPTV, DTH, enterprise services including national & international long distance services to carriers. In the rest of the geographies, it offers 2G, 3G wireless services and mobile commerce. Bharti Airtel had over 271 million customers across its operations at the end of March 2013.

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IFC Promotes Mobile Financial Services in Cote d’Ivoire to Encourage Inclusive Development

Posted on 14 May 2013 by Africa Business

ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, May 14, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and The MasterCard Foundation today convened key financial industry players to build further momentum for mobile financial services in Cote d’Ivoire. The event recognized the market’s enormous potential, especially for increasing access to finance for low income households, small scale businesses and in hard-to-reach areas.

 

Mobile phone penetration in Cote d’Ivoire is more than 90 percent, while only 14 percent of Ivoirians have access to financial services. Mobile network operators have registered more than two million mobile financial services customers in the past three years. The Ivorian market for mobile financial services is the largest and the most dynamic in the West African Economic and Monetary Union region.

 

Cassandra Colbert, IFC Resident Representative in Cote d’Ivoire,

said,”Improving access to finance is important for supporting shared prosperity in Cote d’Ivoire. IFC and The MasterCard Foundation want to help local financial institutions realize the opportunity in Cote d’Ivoire for the development of agent banking and mobile financial services that will accelerate the reach of financial services to those currently without banking services.”

 

At the seminar in Abidjan, IFC highlighted the business case for engaging in mobile financial services in Cote d’Ivoire. The workshop marked the beginning of the implementation of a four year program by IFC and The MasterCard Foundation to contribute to the development and expansion of mobile financial services in the country.

 

IFC and The MasterCard Foundation consider access to financial services a key tool in poverty alleviation that can dramatically change the lives of the economically marginalized.

 

About The Partnership for Financial Inclusion In January 2012 IFC and The MasterCard Foundation launched the $37.4 million Partnership for Financial Inclusion to bring financial services to an estimated 5.3 million previously unbanked people in Sub-Saharan Africa in five years. The program aims to develop sustainable microfinance business models that can deliver large-scale low-cost banking services, and provides technical assistance to mobile network operators, banks and payments systems providers in order to accelerate the development of low-cost mobile financial services.

 

About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments. In FY12, our investments reached an all-time high of more than $20 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit http://www.ifc.org

 

SOURCE

International Finance Corporation (IFC) – The World Bank

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Successful infrastructure project bonds require improved regulatory frameworks, says AfDB study

Posted on 14 May 2013 by Africa Business

TUNIS, Tunisia /African Press Organization (APO)/ African countries need to improve their regulatory frameworks in order to ensure the successful launch of African infrastructure project bonds, says a new report launched by the African Development Bank (http://www.afdb.org).

Read the report: http://j.mp/10RPwzm

Africa is ready for the launch of such infrastructure bonds provided some conditions are met, says the report, titled “Structured Finance – Conditions for infrastructure project bonds in African markets”.

With Africa having now no other option than to tap into its own internal resources, the book “points in the right direction,” said Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank, in the foreword. “I hope it will be useful for all Africans who are involved in infrastructure development.”

The report is of the view that domestic capital markets can contribute to funding some of the most important local and regional infrastructure projects. Given the limited ability of local banks to provide long-term funding and the shrinking international assistance, the report encourages project sponsors to turn to domestic institutional investors by issuing infrastructure project bonds.

The legal and regulatory framework for bond issuance exists in many countries which are active issuers of bonds for their own funding needs. However, competition between the sovereign and other issuers is a potential issue in all markets.

Many of the ingredients for infrastructure project bond issuance are present, but more needs to be done to make it attractive for sponsors to tap local markets. From a sponsor’s perspective, issuing an infrastructure project bond must offer the optimal tenor and pricing compared to other options. It is therefore essential that governments do more to reduce local market rates and lengthen the yield curve.

According to the report, a crucial barrier in African markets is the enabling environment for infrastructure. The regulatory and tariff framework in many sectors is incomplete. Many countries have established public-private partnership (PPP) laws and institutions, but often they lack the resources and capacity to prepare bankable projects for the market. As important, there is often a lack of advocacy and political support for driving concessions and PPP projects through government, and too few are coming to market, although it remains early days in many countries.

There is a crucial role for governments in promoting infrastructure project bonds. Governments can play a greater role in supporting stable economic conditions, developing local capital markets and strengthening institutions. Those actions will encourage all issuers to come to market, particularly corporations for whom bond issuance has been limited to date. Promoting reform and corporatization of utilities and parastatals, including professional management and a clear regulatory environment, are preconditions for such entities to issue in the local bond markets – an important landmark in the development of local capital markets and the emergence of infrastructure project bonds.

“The African Development Bank can play various roles in that regard,” said Cedric Mbeng Mezui, the report’s lead author. “It can provide technical assistance in infrastructure, capital markets and domestic issuance, and work with intermediaries. For specific projects, it can use instruments such as the partial credit guarantee as well as any new tailored instruments, to enhance bond issuance and catalyze the market. Direct funding for projects in early-stage preparation and through debt and equity investments at financial close will help promote the overall market. Finally, the AfDB can play a role in unblocking the political bottlenecks that obstruct projects from being developed and implemented,” he added.

For Moono Mupotola, Regional Integration Manager, AfDB, “the book was prepared with a number of objectives in mind: firstly, to highlight the opportunity for project bonds; secondly, to elaborate on the conditions for efficient capital markets; thirdly, to explain the crucial role of constructive government policies; and finally to highlight lessons learned in other markets that might be useful for Africa.”

The report was launched during the IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings in April 2013 by Charles Boamah, AfDB Finance Vice-President.

 

SOURCE

African Development Bank (AfDB)

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