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Chapter | Financial Services from The Report: Nigeria 2022

Both Nigeria’s banking system and capital markets have seen significant changes over the course of recent years. Indeed, measures implemented in 2020 to restructure loans, enhance oversight and boost accountability are expected to create stronger sector players in the longer term. Meanwhile, an ongoing focus on financial inclusion has led to the emergence of new segments, including non-interest finance, microbanks, bancassurance and payment service banks. However, the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic are still expected to affect the banking system in the short term, including loan quality, profitability and currency stability. Even so, the Central Bank of Nigeria has identified banks as key players in a sustainable recovery due to their ability to strategically allocate credit to fuel widespread growth. Meanwhile, continued steps towards demutualisation and the launch of the Growth Board in 2020 will make the Nigerian Stock Exchange more competitive. The wider investment landscape is also set to benefit from ongoing efforts to bolster financial inclusion and promote awareness of the advantages of capital markets as an alternative to conventional banking when it comes to funding business expansion and growing and preserving individual wealth. This chapter contains an interview with Samaila Zubairu, CEO of Africa Finance Corporation.

Chapter | Economy from The Report: Nigeria 2022

Nigeria faced new economic headwinds in 2020. While the country’s growth has traditionally been stymied by issues such as electricity shortages, bureaucracy and a lack of transparency, the pandemic added a new set of challenges. GDP contracted by 1.9% in 2020, reversing a three-year period of consistent – albeit moderate – expansion. Youth unemployment, a long-standing challenge for Nigeria, was also exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis. Nonetheless, the Nigerian economy remains diversified, with the non-oil sector accounting for 90.8% of real GDP in the first quarter of 2021. Moreover, concerted efforts have laid the groundwork for a post-pandemic economic rebound, and the IMF projects that GDP growth will recover and expand through to 2025. This chapter contains interviews with Yewande Sadiku, Executive Secretary and Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission; and Jumoke Oduwole, Special Business Adviser to the President.

Report | The Report: Nigeria 2022

With a population of over 200m, Nigeria is a large and diversified economy, despite the government’s reliance on oil and gas revenue. While the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent oil price crash caused a contraction in economic growth in 2020, it also led to rapid digitalisation across commerce, education and communication. This shift is expected to put Nigeria in a favourable position for recovery in the medium term.

Chapter | Construction & Real Estate from The Report: Sharjah 2021

Sharjah has worked to brand itself as a unique location within the UAE and the wider GCC, which has resulted in an uptick in work for contractors as they try to close the gap in supply and demand for real estate, especially in the residential segment and for other family-friendly infrastructure. Although the Covid-19 pandemic temporarily disrupted the market, mixed-use developments that incorporate residential units, schools and retail outlets – along with leisure activities and green spaces – have been emerging to meet high demand. Unlike in years past, when demand largely came from those seeking more affordable alternatives to neighbouring emirates, much of the interest is coming from individuals and families who are drawn to Sharjah’s laid-back and authentic Arab culture. This chapter contains interviews with Ahmed Alkhoshaibi, CEO, Arada; and George Khouzami, COO, Al Thuriah Group.

Chapter | Transport & Logistics from The Report: Sharjah 2021

Sharjah’s strategic location between Europe and southern Asia has enabled the emirate to become a central player in international transport and logistics networks. Its burgeoning manufacturing sector has the potential to increase import and export cargo volumes, leading to the creation of jobs. The importance of this was highlighted in the 2021 launch of the Sharjah Exports Development Centre, aimed at investing in and growing the emirate’s exports operations. Underpinned by several major highways and an expanding international airport, Sharjah has seen rising foreign investment and government spending on infrastructure in recent years, which is central to efforts to strengthen transport networks. This chapter contains interviews with Yousef Al Mutawa, CEO, Sharjah Sustainable City; Charles Menkhorst, CEO, Gulftainer; and Adel Abdullah Ali, Group CEO, Air Arabia.

Chapter | Financial Services from The Report: Sharjah 2021

Sharjah’s financial services sector has grown steadily over the years, due in part to its quick response to changes, including the rapid adoption of international best banking practices. The banking industry has expanded its digital services, particularly in response to the economic disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, putting it in a good position for future growth as the world transitions to a more digital economy. Meanwhile, the government of Sharjah’s acquisition of a majority stake in a local bank in 2019 could set the stage for additional strategic investments to strengthen the financial services sector further. While Sharjah does not have its own capital market, the emirate-level government and many local institutions have become regular issuers of debt and sukuk (Islamic bonds), with a number of sukuk sold in 2020 to raise financial support for the pandemic response. This chapter contains an interview with Ahmad Abu Eideh, CEO, United Arab Bank.

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