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Nigerian stocks hit 10-month low on Dangote drop, election risk

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Nigerian stocks hit a 10-month low on Friday, dragged down by losses in the country’s biggest listed firm Dangote Cement and mounting concerns over political risk in the run-up to next year’s presidential election, traders said.

The stock market shed 2.9 percent this week, its biggest weekly fall since June 2018. It fell 2.17 percent on Friday after declining for a fifth straight day.

Dangote Cement is one of the most liquid stocks on the Lagos bourse and accounts for around a third of market capitalisation. The company fell 6.1 percent on Friday, its single biggest drop in more than a year and its lowest level in ten months. The reason was not immediately clear.

Reuters reported on Friday that an oil refinery being built in Nigeria by Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, is unlikely to start production until 2022, two years later than the target date, citing sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

In July, Dangote Cement posted a 1.53 percent decline in pretax profit to 77.1 billion naira for the second quarter.

Read Also: IMF warns South Africa’s economy still faces major risks

Analysts at FBNQuest Capital said Dangote Cement’s results were weaker than expected in the second quarter, citing that as a reason for the decline.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election bid has become a contentious issue after a faction of his ruling All Progressives Congress last month said it no longer supported him, triggering a wave of defections to the opposition party.

Nigeria’s security forces temporarily stopped lawmakers entering parliament on Tuesday in a blockade seen by the opposition as a bid to intimidate its leaders. Some analysts said it highlighted the potential for a fractious campaign ahead of February’s presidential election.

“Recent events … have raised the level of political uncertainty and hit market activity. Market turnover declined to a 16-month low on Wednesday,” Vetiva Capital analysts wrote in a note. “We do not anticipate much joy for the market until the political terrain settles.”

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Nigerien President, Mohamed Bazoum wants employment quotas for African immigrants

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Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum wants employment quotas for African immigrants tailored to job needs from European countries.

President Bazoum made the position in an interview with an Italian newspaper, La Repubblica. on Friday.

The president’s argument is that the quota will address European countries’ needs for its labour market and could help resolve the problem of illegal migration and human trafficking.

“In France, Spain, and Italy you have many jobs in sectors of employment where Africans can work,” Bazoum said.

“These numbers need to be established, country by country, and then the consulates entrusted with the responsibility of enforcing them.”

Surveys of African migrants in or heading toward Europe reveal that the majority were either employed or in school at the time of their departure. Yet, they felt despair over their economic prospects.

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IMF Chief, Ceyla Pazarbasioglu, to visit China over Africa’s growing debt profile

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As the debt profile of many African countries continues to rise, the International Monetary Fund strategy chief, Ceyla Pazarbasioglu will travel to China next week for another high-level meeting.

Her travel is part of efforts to press the world’s largest sovereign creditor for quicker progress on debt restructurings for countries in need.

The IMF chief had called for debt restructuring arrangements for Zambia and Chad to be completed shortly.

Pazarbasioglu said it was critical to move forward and that “outreach to China next week is very important, at the highest levels.”

“It’s moving – very slowly, but it’s moving,” Pazarbasioglu said, noting that the participation of mining company Glencore Plc in the Chad treatment was also “a very good sign” that “even the most difficult private sector participants” were participating.

She said the Paris Club of official bilateral creditors had taken years to hammer out their debt relief processes, and China was learning, although she noted that the debt issues facing borrowing countries now were acute.

“The problem we have is that we don’t have that time right now because these countries are very fragile and dealing with debt vulnerabilities,” she said. “What we need is speed.”

Pazarbasioglu said the IMF would continue to press for changes to the Common Framework, including a freeze in debt payments when countries apply for a debt treatment, as well as clearer procedures and timelines for action, and ensuring comparable treatment for private creditors.

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