Daily Archives: March 9, 2011
Carlyle plans to launch a $750m fund to invest in Africa, a continent long neglected by the large international buy-out firms, people familiar with the US private equity group said.
David Rubenstein, the group’s co-founder, has a reputation for being a pioneer in raising and investing money in frontier economies.
Mr Rubenstein was among the first buy-out executives to raise money in Libya and has oil money going into Carlyle funds from resource-rich African nations such as Angola.
The soon-to-be-launched Carlyle fund would be overseen by a team of three with a presence in Johannesburg, Zimbabwe and Nigeria, these people added.
Carlyle already has a significant presence in north Africa, as well as a dedicated private equity fund for the Middle East and north Africa.
Many parts of Africa are now enjoying better prospects than at any time in recent history due largely to a rush for resources led by the Chinese.
“The majority of Americans don’t pay enough attention to Africa,” one source close to Carlyle said. “It has been China that has been the catalyst for economic activity in Africa.”
Carlyle’s fundraising machine is by far the most powerful of any of the large private equity groups. But speaking at a conference in Berlin on Tuesday, Mr Rubenstein referred to a difficult fundraising environment, a complaint echoed by executives at all of the significant private equity groups. For example, in 2007, at the height of the boom, Carlyle raised $30bn, a figure it is unlikely to come close to today.
“We have seen more investment and more exits, but fundraising lags behind,” Mr Rubenstein said. Yet, he added that he expected fundraising to improve due to low interest rates and the thirst of pension funds in particular for yield. But even when the pension funds and sovereign wealth funds increase the money they give to the buy-out firms, the fees they pay are likely to be dramatically smaller, Mr Rubenstein said.
The sovereign wealth funds in particular are becoming less passive, seeking to invest alongside the private equity groups, hold separate accounts with them or invest directly and avoid paying fees.
read more www.ft.com
While receiving an award for Excellence in Commercial Diplomacy at Howard University’s Africa Business Conference, Florizelle Liser, Assistant US Trade Representative for Africa expressed her desire to see entrepreneurs in the African-American community and in African countries seek out partnerships with each other. The city of Atlanta, Georgia has a mix of key ingredients to make this happen:
1. According to 2010 U.S. Census data, Atlanta has the second largest number of black-owned businesses in the United States. One cannot help but notice the entrepreneurial spirit within the black community, with individuals operating in industries ranging from dry-cleaning to management consulting.
2. Through Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, Delta launches direct flights to Accra, Johannesburg, Monrovia, Abuja, Lagos, and Cairo. One can fly to Accra in a time not much longer than it takes to fly to Los Angeles.
3. Mayor Kasim Reed has a vision for Atlanta to be the Western Hemisphere’s logistics hub – an aspiration that will contribute to the growing impact of the African Growth and Opportunities Act on trade between the US and African countries.
4. Georgia Tech University develops numerous engineers whose skills could contribute to Africa closing its $93 billion gap in infrastructure development.
5. Though not in Atlanta, the University of Georgia develops a talented pool of students in the agricultural industry who could contribute to Africa reaching $880 billion in agricultural output by 2040.
Dr. Adetunji Adegbesan, a strategy professor at Lagos Business School,shared an incredible story that crystalizes the potential of entrepreneurship on the African continent. An MTN executive monitoring data usage on the company’s Nigeria network noticed that a significant amount of data was passing through the network, but someone was not paying for that usage. After alerting the company’s network engineers, MTN blocked the source of that usage. A few weeks later, the same executive noticed more data passing through that was not accounted for financially. He again approached network engineers who blocked the source. Yet again, data was passing through after a few weeks and the executive approached engineers in Europe who established an elaborate block that was sure to keep the data from passing through. Data was passing through the block a few months later.
Who was breaking through MTN’s network? The company tracked the source of the data and located a small college city where a group of graduates helped families set up their computers. As part of the package they offered, these entrepreneurs “installed” the internet on these computers. They figured out a way to log the computers into MTN’s internal network while keeping the computers’ identities masked. The end result – MTN hired these innovators.
Entrepreneurship is essential to economic growth on the African continent and in the US. One can be sure that the vibrancy found in that small college city in Nigeria is not isolated, and US entrepreneurs would do well to engage this movement. Atlanta-based entrepreneurs should take the lead in engaging fellow entrepreneurs in African countries. read more
On a Wednesday afternoon, after a strenuous day’s job off to the canteen to have lunch, as I sit to wait for my order, I hear chants from the Television and had to follow up what was happening, and then discovered it was the Peoples Democratic Party PDP’s Lagos rally at the Tafawa Balewa’s Square on the Island.
This was obviously the reason for the horrendous traffic round town. Either out of interest or dullness, I had engaged myself in the rally proceedings, as I watched; I noticed a colourful and quite cultural event, with lovely tunes coming from King Sunny Ade himself. Then I asked myself a question is this festival to blow their trumpet or a rally to sensitive the populace of the party’s intension for them?
To my utmost surprise, none of the speakers had a clear cut shot on their deliverables not even as a group all talked here and there, praises for the party, their leadership and self was all I heard from them as none satisfied my curiosity to hear them out, not even the gubernatorial aspirant of Lagos State, Dr. Ade Dusunmu.
I was expecting the maritime marshal to impress but his show was a run of the mill for a man vying for same office as BR Fashola SAN of the Action Congress of Nigeria ACN; knowing Fashola has an edge with his precedence added to his party’s political grasp on the state; I had expected at least a stiff opposition from her closest political rival the PDP which would give the state some sort of political check. None is forthcoming.
What the party lacked on the day was vision; and as such the rally was not guided, it went bizarre. It calls for serious concerns knowing that the platform our political leadership come from lacks base, we cannot embark on a journey and expect to get there when we do not have a clear cut direction, we have political parties that do not have the basic upon which good governance can strive evident by their lack of purpose, integrity and cohesion.
The way with which Bode George was celebrated was disheartening; a man just coming from jail for financial misappropriation, gross abuse of public office et al, all that notwithstanding he was given a hero’s welcome. It was so shameful that PDP would degenerate so low that they will give an open and warm embrace to such a disgrace to social liberty. This calls for questioning of the integrity of the party, as well as the individuals who celebrated him.
What beats my imagination is that a man will be celebrated for criminality, while an honorable man is relegated to the background and mocked for his steadfastness and honour. There is no longer any place for morality and conscientiousness in our political arena.
Our journey from 2011 will not accept such excesses from us, we are supposed to have a party system that will enforce integrity from the grass root to the top echelon of government, and if we can’t enforce integrity and conscientious drive by doing things right from the party level thereby avoiding eminent shame like this, then what is our fate when these political scavengers get to power.
What can be deduced is that this present political parties does not have future with this nation, by the time the much awaited renaissance starts, they will all die natural death, because they lack purpose, character and integrity. Even few that will survive; will all be a shadow of themselves. Other political parties are not left out, as they also have their short comings, parties that are ruled by a man’s opinion rather than a consensus ideology. There is no place for them all.
A general appraisal of the present political parties shows an absolute lack of political structure; this lack of structure shows in the quality of candidate(s) that they bring out. We have political parties that lack internal democracy yet stands for democracy; A shame to our national character.
Even the mentality of an average politician betrays what democracy stands for. Democracy does not stand for violence; democracy does not stand for results alone, it stands for process, character and value. An imp limitation of rascality is what our politicians portray.
A political reform will not make sense without the political parties being involved because they are the platform for this continuous manipulation of our socio-political justice. This can be injurious to our democracy if not reverted as it is gradually becoming a democratic tyranny.
These political parasites will continue to sap us dry until we all call for a revolt. Even when an aspirant has the intension to deliver they will frustrate and choke life out of him.
What a show of shame!!! read more
On Tuesday, March 8th 2011, Bayelsa State will witness a rousing reception for her illustrious son ,President Goodluck Jonathan at the Sampson Siasia Sports Complex. This reception originallpy expected to attract more than one million people has been toned down because of the obvious logistic difficulties it will present in terms of crowd control. Accreditation to this event has been tight even for journalists. This has been the case with every stop of the President in his nationwide campaign. His popularity and widespread acceptance is not in doubt. The question has always been that of space constrains and how to secure the people and their visitors never whether the crowd will come.
I say this because of the hype following the crowd pulled by the Gen.Buhari, the CPC presidential flag bearer’s campaign in Kaduna and attempts by the press to judge his popularity with this criterion. There was also the talk about the PDP’s Lagos campaign which “attracted a smaller crowd”. Some analysts have even been fixated lately on the relatively small voter’s numbers in Bayelsa State vis avis the so called opposition States as signal that the President was already disadvantaged in going into the polls. These things happen in politics but the reality is different from visuals being created by opposition parties. Let me crave your indulgence to explain the reality here.
The issue of crowd in Nigeria is not what you see. It is easy to present a big show like the Kaduna spectacle even by churches. It smacks of deep seated Religious and fanatical ideology. You can make it mandatory that all your church members and all worshippers present themselves in a large place for a stipend. But for the ruling party campaigning in Lagos under the heavy dose of sabotage, security was more paramount. Most people who wanted to attend the rally were advised to watch on television. Lagos is presently not a PDP State. Even then, there are huddles for anyone invited to a Presidential function in Nigeria and this should settle the question of crowd.
On the issue of registered voters in States, people should understand that voting in the new system of DDC machine is a different ball game altogether from what we used to know. Here the nitty-gritty will be as different as black and white. It is true that there were allowed double registration and you wonder how they could still do it but nothing is perfect. It is true that under aged registration may have occurred in those Northern States with figures that defy logic but not to worry, for instance those in Puddah during registration, those whose registration could not be effected but through their computer literate husbands or relatives will come out to vote and we shall see their faces and determine whether they are toddlers even if we cannot know whether they are Nigerians or from across the border. At that time it will be the Party on ground that has the right to make a complaint or query a result. To be on ground requires a lot of finance and logistics input and not many parties today can match the national spread of the ruling Party.
So what may happen is that those states with inflated numbers will have actually reduced voting population to the extent that eyebrows will be raised again. The taste of the pudding is in the eating they say. So do not be carried away yet. Sectional parties have always found it difficult to survive the Nigerian political terrain all through history and this time will not be an exception. The fact that a party takes control of the states of South West with the second highest voter strength does not translate to a loss for the President in the Presidential election here. The revise is more likely to be the case however because it is more likely that the people will vote a more likely to win President of southern extraction than anyone else and this may create a bandwagon effect to affect even the result of the gubernatorial elections here. The safeguard here is that the South Western electorate is relatively better informed and therefore also more flexible in their choice patterns.
One of the reasons for caution in predicting from the registration is of course the requirement for spread in electoral votes across two thirds of the country. It is better that you are everywhere accepted in smaller numbers than you score ninety percent in few. We have seen it in Chief Awolowo and his Action Group AG; we saw it in Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe and his Nigerian peoples Party NPP in the past. The issue of drawing crowd by raising local sentiments has always been counterproductive in this political system. It may win you some states but the Nigerian Presidency is not for extreme ideologues.
The Jonathan Presidency is sponsored not by Bayelsans but all Nigerians who yearned for change. We decided that he should be the bridge in our effort to cross this putrefying river of national stagnation. Our basic judgment was to answer the question “Who is capable of going for us? We saw that under the circumstances that Dr. Goodluck Jonathan was the best choice so we decided to support him. Each mission is limited by the requirements of it. Nigeria is in a transition because we are yet to attain Nationhood to enable us act as one people more easily. What we need most is a uniting element not a tiger. A tiger acts for the body that is already united and strong otherwise by his sudden strength he will only pull it apart. The South South Presidency is the uniting factor for Nigeria because it will give the so called minorities a sense of belonging and will restore hope for a permanent move towards nationhood through citizenship. Therefore competence is qualified in this instance to suit the goal. We cannot be looking for someone to unite Nigeria towards nationhood and we are seeking the one that can tear her apart.
So as the President comes to campaign in his home state Bayelsa state, it is important that all well wishers know that the place of his presidency amongst the array of Presidential candidates seeking your votes com April. Since the time of Nnamdi Azikiwe, Nigeria has never seen another bridge builder like Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. Maybe this assertion will become clearer with time. Permit me once again to introduce him here.
Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger, GCON, and President, Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, was born to a humble Niger Delta family of canoe makers on November 20, 1957. He attended St. Stephens and St. Michaels Primary Schools, Oloibiri, finishing in 1969. He proceeded to Mater Dei High School, Imiringi, where he passed his West African School Certificate with flying colours in 1975.
On completion of his secondary education, he worked as a Preventive Officer with the Nigerian Customs Service for two years before proceeding to the University of Port Harcourt as one of the pioneer students of the new University nestling on the shores of the Choba River. He graduated with Second Class Upper honours in 1981. In 1985 and 1995 he studied for his Master’s and Ph.D degrees in Hydrobiology and Fisheries Biology, and Zoology respectively, from the same University. But this was not until he had completed his mandatory one year of National Youth Service in Iresi, old Oyo State, and now Osun State of Nigeria.
Returning to the warm embrace of family and friends in 1982, he was appointed as Science Inspector of Education, Rivers State Ministry of Education, while studying in between for his post-graduate and graduate degrees. Between 1983 and 1993 he took up employment as a lecturer in the Department of Biological Science, Rivers State College of Education. In 1993, he was appointed Assistant Director (Ecology of the defunct Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC) in charge of Environmental Protection. He resigned his job in 1998 and went into politics.
His honesty, simplicity, charisma, quiet strength and determination made him an ideal running mate to Chief D.S.P. Alamieyeseigha on the Bayelsa People’s Democratic Party, PDP, and gubernatorial ticket. They won the elections, and he served as a Deputy Governor from 1999 to 11 December 2005. On 12 December that year, he became the substantive Governor of Bayelsa State.
It wasn’t long after that fate once again beckoned. He was busy preparing for re election to his first full term as substantive governor, when the PDP, which is the largest political party in Africa, nominated him as running mate to the Presidential candidate, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’adua. After a keenly contested election, the Yar’adua/Jonathan ticket won, and on May 29, 2007, he was inaugurated as Nigeria’s Vice President.
Precisely on February 9, 2010, Dr. Jonathan assumed office as Nigeria’s Acting President by virtue of a National Assembly resolution empowering him as Acting President, following President Yar’Adua’s long absence for medical attention in Saudi Arabia. This popularized the doctrine of necessity. Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was sworn-in on May, 6, 2010 as President, Commander-in-chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria following the passing away of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua on May 5, 2010.
Dr. Jonathan has received several local and international awards. He was voted the ‘Best performing Deputy Governor’ in 2002 by IPAN, given the ‘Democracy and Good Governance Award’ by Nigeria Union of Journalists in 2004. The Africa International News magazine league conferred on him the ‘Niger Delta Development Award’; the Nigerian Bar Association, the ‘Distinguished Personality’ award in 2006, and the All African Students Union in South Africa, the ‘Africa Leadership Award 2006’.
Additionally, the Nigerian Union of Teachers voted him the ‘Best Performing Governor in Education in the South-South’ in 2006. He was also recognized by the International Federation for World Peace (IIFWP) in 22 July 2006, with ‘Ambassador for Peace Merit Award’ as well as the ‘Leadership and Good Governance Merit Award’. There is no complete introduction of the President without mentioning the indefatigable First Lady Dame Goodluck Jonathan who is actually the engine room behind the President’s success.
As Bayelsa’s turn out in large numbers led by Governor Timipre Sylva to welcome a man whose personality has literally shut down all quarrels between brothers in the State, it is expected that all political parties and their supporters will be represented a this unique rally of solidarity. The only problem to grapple with is space and consideration for the safety of the crowd. Organizers are toying with the idea of setting up huge screens TV screens for those who cannot make it into the Stadium. The last time he visited Otueke the logistic problem forced some visitors to watch the event on television from their hotel suites. .This time around the focus is on accrediting only leaders and representatives of the people to such rallies but in Yenagoa, the President is likely to interact directly with the crowd of his home State.