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Saudi Arabia boosts Egypt’s economy with $5bn

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Egypt’s business and religious ally, Saudi Arabia, has boosted the dwindling economy of the North African country by depositing $5 billion in Egypt’s Central Bank as the Egyptian economy faces new pressures as a result of the Russian-Ukraine war.

Saudi Arabian state news agency, SPA, said on Friday that the gesture was meant to help Egypt revive its economy after its currency was devalued on March 21 by about14% as investors pulled out billions of dollars out of the Egyptian treasury markets.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to implement the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and His Highness the Crown Prince, deposited $5bn with the Central Bank of Egypt,” the SPA said.

In October 2021, the Saudi Arabian government had also deposited $3bn with Egypt’s Central Bank and extended the term of another $2.3bn in previous deposits. The new deposit would thus bring the total to $10.3bn.

The Egyptian government had, last week, announced it was in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for potential funds and technical support to hedge against the effects of the Russia-Ukraine crisis on its economy, as funding from additional donors is often a condition for finance from the IMF.

Egypt and Qatar have also agreed to sign investment deals worth $5bn, the Egyptian cabinet said in a statement.

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Nigeria: President Buhari makes U-turn on approval of Exxon unit acquisition by Seplat

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Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has made a U-turn in his earlier position that grant approval of Exxon Mobil’s  sale of local offshore shallow water assets to Seplat.

President Buhari had on Monday approved the $1.28 billion transaction, only for the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission to say it opposed the deal, although it did not give a reason.

Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu, told newsmen that “the president has decided to allow the regulator to do their work. He is withholding his earlier given approval, for now, to allow the process to be completed, that is basically it.”

In February, Seplat Energy Plc, unveiled plans to acquire the entire share capital of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPNU) from Exxon Mobil Corporation Delaware (USA Incorporated). That includes all of Exxon’s entire shallow water assets in the Niger Delta.

Seplat on its side said it is yet to received no official notification of President Buhari’s U-turn and is seeking clarification from authorities.

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Nigeria climbs to fourth position on World Bank’s list of most indebted nations

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Nigeria has moved into the fourth position of World Bank’s list of countries with the highest debts, according to the Bank’s financisl report released on Monday.

Going by the World Bank Fiscal Year 2022 audited financial statements for International Development Association (IDA), Nigeria now owes a debt stock of $13bn as at June 30, 2022.

The country also moved up one spot from the fifth position it was rated as of June 30, 2021, with an IDA debt stock of $11.7bn.

The global bank also revealed in its audited financial statements that Nigeria has accumulated about $1.3bn IDA debt within a fiscal year, adding that the debt is different from the outstanding loan of $486m from the World Bank’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

What this means is that Nigeria now has the highest IDA debt in Africa, and is only bettered by the likes India with $19.7bn debt, Bangladesh, $18bn
and Pakistan, $15.8bn, all from the Asian bloc.

The Washington-based international Financial Institution also disclosed that Nigeria’s debt which may be considered sustainable for now, is fast growing into a state of vulnerability and could become costly.

“Nigeria’s debt remains sustainable, albeit vulnerable and costly, especially due to large and growing financing from the Central Bank of Nigeria,” it said.

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