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Nigeria raises $482m from marginal oilfield licenses


Nigeria has raised more than $482 million from the issuance of oil prospecting licenses after it offered 57 fields for bidding, the petroleum regulator said on Tuesday.

The Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC) said over 70 percent of the awardees have fully paid for their licenses, two years after bids were sought for the oil blocks. It did not say how many licenses were issued.

Marginal fields are smaller oil blocks located onshore or in shallow waters and are typically developed by local companies.

The NUPRC, which was established last year after Nigeria passed a new petroleum law, said 30 oil fields were awarded between 1999 to 2010, with 17 producing. The latest round of 57 oilfields began in 2020.

Nigeria’s oil minister said on Friday that after meeting with oil companies he expects to see some improvement in the sector that will enable Africa’s top producer to meet its OPEC production quota by the end of August.


Lagos govt to unveil 30-year development plan


The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said on Tuesday the government would soon unveil a 30-year development plan for the state.

The governor stated this during an interactive session with the Lagos Chambers of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) private sector unit in Lagos.

He said the 30-year plan was in pursuit of physical development, social growth, and economic prosperity in the state.

According to him, the Lagos State Development Plan 2052 will be officially unveiled at the forthcoming ninth Economic Summit of the state, popularly known as Ehingbeti.

He said the plan was developed with clear objectives from four strategic dimensions aimed at positioning the state for effective development.

Sanwo-Olu said each of the strategies would be achieved through policy initiatives that would be implemented throughout the period.

He said: “The Lagos State Development Plan 2052 has been developed with a set of clear objectives across four strategic dimensions, which are to position Lagos on the track to achieving its vision.

“The dimensions to this plan are to keep a thriving economy that will make Lagos a robust, healthy, and growing economy with adequate jobs and strategic investments to sustain growth.

“We are building a human-centric city in which every Lagosian will have access to affordable and world-class education, healthcare, and social services”.


FirstCheck, female-focused venture capital firm, secures $2m from TLcom Capital


FirstCheck Africa, a Nigeria-based female-focused venture capital firm, has secured a $2 million commitment from TLcom Capital, an Africa-focused Venture capital firm, the company has announced.

In addition, FirstCheck also announced that Eloho Omame, one of its founders, has joined TLcom Capital as a Partner, adding to her existing day-to-day role as Co-Managing Partner at FirstCheck Africa.

FirstCheck said the commitment, which adds to its $10 million debut, takes its single pool of capital to $12 million – and it will be invested in backing high-growth, technology-driven startups led by females.

With the available capital, FirstCheck Africa said it will invest up to $250k as high conviction first checks into early-stage rounds for female-led startups.

“We remain sector-agnostic and focused on technology-enabled companies that are solving important problems in large markets. Our strategy is to invest in female-led companies with category-leadership potential while throwing the weight of FirstCheck Africa’s networks and platform behind the founders that will be the next generation of entrepreneurial role models for Africa,” the firm said.

Female-led startups struggle to get financial backing in the African tech ecosystem, a gap that motivated Eloho Omame, founding Managing Director of Endeavor Nigeria and Odunayo Eweniyi, COO and co-founder of PiggyVest, to launch FirstCheck in 2021. In the last 18 months, FirstCheck Africa has invested in 10 female-led startups in four countries, boosting its portfolio that started with personal commitments of $25,000 investment each in six female-led companies.

The venture capital firm said its portfolio companies have been accepted into three global accelerators (including Y Combinator), and a number have raised sizeable follow-on rounds, with FirstCheck Africa as the first or second institutional investor on their cap tables.

It said its Africa’s mission is to advance equity, capital and leadership for a generation of women in Africa through technology and entrepreneurship.

“We will continue to focus on making it easier for ambitious African women to raise early-stage venture capital by writing checks, being female-led companies’ earliest believers and building our platform to attract resources to accelerate their efforts,” the firm said.

Female-focused startups have seen an uptick in investment recently due to the strategy of venture capital firms like FirstCheck. The company said there’s been a significant jump from three years ago, when just 5 female-led companies in Africa raised $1mn or more in early-stage rounds.

“Last year, the number was 33, and so far this year, we count 19, including 6 companies this month, of which FirstCheck Africa is an investor in 3. We’re quickly becoming the preferred early-stage investor for female founders building venture-scale companies, and we are proud to be building an investment firm with their needs in mind,” it said.

Though the gap is gradually being bridged, there is still a lot more to do. The African tech ecosystem is still saturated with early-stage female-led companies in need of capital. This, FirstCheck said it’s working to change with its mission-oriented early-stage, female-focused fund.

“We’re a small fund with big ambitions, and we’ve designed our portfolio strategy with our founders’ needs in mind. Access to capital is a primary and complex challenge for female-led companies. As a mission-oriented early-stage, female-focused fund, it’s critical for like FirstCheck Africa to invest meaningful capital to give the young companies in our portfolio sufficient runway to focus on traction and pursue disciplined fundraises when the time comes.

“We’ve constructed our debut fund’s portfolio to make targeted investments at pre-seed, keep the capacity to make follow-on investments when the most promising of those companies are ready for seed capital, and retain the flexibility to invest in some companies at the seed stage, where a female-led company might have already raised an institutional round,” the firm said.


BII announces $20m investment in mobility fintech Moove


British International Investment (BII), the UK government’s development finance institution, has made a $20 million, four-year structured credit investment in Moove – a mobility fintech democratising access to vehicle ownership in Africa.

The investment is said to reflect BII’s focus on mobilising capital to build self-sufficiency and market resilience in Nigeria and improve access to inclusive economic opportunities while helping to catalyse the country’s boundless entrepreneurial ambition.

Last night, the British high commissioner in Nigeria, Catriona Laing, and BII chief executive Nick O’Donohoe co-hosted a business reception in Lagos to reiterate the institution’s continued ambition to scale up investment that will boost key economic sectors in Nigeria.

The event was held at the British deputy high commissioner’s residence in Ikoyi, bringing together key leaders in business and BII’s investment partners from across the country.

BII’s leadership outlined the organisation’s strategy to deliver productive, sustainable, and inclusive investment and pledged to deepen its capital commitments to support the emergence of more breakthrough Nigerian businesses providing progressive solutions to urgent and complex development challenges.

Laing said, “BII forms an important part of the UK’s package of tools and expertise to help Nigeria build their pipeline for investment and scale up infrastructure investment, in particular to achieve clean, green growth.

“The launch of BII marks a continuation of this partnership, and we look forward to seeing BII’s support expand and diversify in Nigeria.”

In his keynote address, Nick O’Donohoe highlighted BII’s 74-year history in Nigeria, from its first investments in 1949, in West African Fisheries and Cold Store, to the organisation’s pioneering role in supporting Nigeria’s first private equity fund – African Capital Alliance’s Capital Alliance Private Equity Fund I (CAPE I).

On how BII’s new five-year strategy is driving its investment in the world’s first mobility fintech, Moove, O’Donohoe commented: “Investing in the prosperity of Nigeria’s growing population requires innovative new partnerships that can leverage the country’s abundant capabilities and expertise.

“In Moove, BII has a partner that aligns with our commitment to back dynamic tech-enabled businesses that can help accelerate impact in Nigeria by strengthening the country’s informal transport industry.

“I am delighted that not only will BII’s investment help to create jobs and provide entrepreneurial self-starters with the means to own their vehicles, but Moove’s clear focus on gender diversity will foster inclusive economic opportunities for women, both within the company’s workforce and among its drivers.”

CBN issues new cyber security guidelines for OFIs


The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Wednesday issued a guideline for improved cyber security in the Nigerian financial sector.

The directive touched mainly on the Other Financial Institutions (OFIs) than banks.

The Director of OFIs Supervision Department, Mrs. Nkiru Asiegbu, made this circular known which sets January 1, 2023, for compliance by all affected institutions.

“As a result of the recent increase in the number and sophistication of cybersecurity threats against financial institutions, especially Other Financial Institutions (OFIs), it has become mandatory for institutions to strengthen their cyber defences if they are to remain safe and sound,” the circular clarified.

“Consequently, the CBN hereby issues the attached Risk-Based Cybersecurity Framework and Guidelines for OFIs, which represent the minimum requirements to be put in place by all OFIs.

“The effective date for full compliance with the provisions of the guidelines is January 1, 2023.”

It added, ‘In recent times, threats such as ransomware, targeted phishing attacks, and Advanced Persistent Threats (APT) have become prevalent, demanding that financial institutions, including OFIs strengthen their cyber resilience and take proactive steps to secure their critical information assets to ensure their safety and soundness.”

The guidelines outline the requirements the OFIs were requested to observe in the development and implementation of strategies, policies, procedures, and related activities aimed at mitigating cyber risks.

The OFIs were directed to ensure a more sound cyber environment that “supports information system security and promotes stability of the OFIs sub-sector.”