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Old Mutual Seals $700m Investment Deals In Nigeria

old mutual

The dwindling Nigerian economy is expected to receive a huge boost with the pumping of about $700 million into it.

It is no longer a secret that the economy is struggling and businesses in Nigeria finding it very hard to survive, including citizens.

An Anglo-South African financial services firm called Old Mutual has declared its intention to invest in the real estate and agriculture sectors in Nigeria.

On Friday, the company signed agreements with Nigeria’s sovereign wealth fund to inject a huge amount of money into the two sectors, one of which the government is paying attention to as another major source of revenue for Nigeria.

It was learnt that Old Mutual and Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) would jointly raise a $500 million fund to invest in real estate and another $200 million to spend on agriculture projects in the country.

Business Post gathered that each of the two parties is expected to put down $100 million as initial commitment for the real estate fund and $50 million for the agriculture fund.

The other amounts would later be made available as the initial funds yield the expected results.

Both parties hope these interventions would boost the sectors and improve the economy of Nigeria, which is undergoing crisis at the moment.

“We are looking at office towers, commercial real estate; we are investing equity in agriculture. We are looking at farming with emphasis on export,” the Chief Executive Officer of NSIA, Uche Orji, said on Friday after sealing the deals.

Also speaking at the occasion, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, said the Federal Government was doing everything possible within its power to revamp the economy.

She noted that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government was committed to the growth of different sectors of the Nigerian economy.

Mrs Adeosun also pointed out that the government was aware of the problems facing the country, especially in the areas of poor infrastructure and access to capital.

She said because of these problems, the Federal Government was making efforts to diversify its revenue base and focus on other neglected sectors.

“The most important thing is infrastructure. The problem is that it is cheaper to move goods from China to Lagos, than move it from Kano to Lagos and that’s because we don’t have the infrastructure,” Mrs Adeosun observed.

The Chief Investment Officer of Old Mutual, Hywel George, while also speaking at the event, disclosed that the new funds, which will stay invested for up to 12-years, will target returns of around 20 percent.

George explained that a successful real estate investment in Nigeria can earn a return as high as 30-35 percent, while rental income yields in cities such as Lagos and Abuja can easily reach 10 percent.

In 2011, the Nigerian government established the NSIA with $1 billion of seed capital in an effort to manage oil export revenues.

The real estate sector in Nigeria has remained untapped. The country has for a long time relied heavily on the oil sector.

Since 2015, the price of crude oil in the international market has dropped, which has badly affected the Nigerian economy because it is her only source of revenue.

The Buhari administration, since coming into power in May 2015, has intensified efforts to look into other sectors, including agriculture, which used to be the country’s major source of income before oil was discovered.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan.

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