Last week was eventful for Nigeria and Africa. Here are three notable events you probably missed but should keep in mind this new week.

Oppenheimer bought Nigeria’s biggest beverage can-maker

No, this post is not about the movie. The Oppenheimers are a South African dynasty of diamond magnates and mining moguls. They have amassed a fortune by extracting precious stones and metals from the earth and selling them to the world’s elite. Now, one of their scions, Jonathan Oppenheimer, has set his sights on a different kind of commodity: aluminium cans.

Oppenheimer Partners Ltd., a family-owned investment firm, has fully acquired GZ Industries Ltd., the largest producer of beverage cans in Nigeria. The deal, announced on Thursday, gives Oppenheimer control over a company that supplies cans to Coca-Cola Co. and other soft drink makers in Africa’s most populous nation. The transaction terms were not disclosed, but Affirma Capital, a private equity firm that sold its 37.5% stake in GZI, said it had generated a “strong return” for its investors.

Why would a billionaire heir want to buy a can factory in Nigeria? The answer lies in the changing tastes and habits of African consumers. According to a recent study, urban, educated adults in sub-Saharan Africa drink more sugary beverages per week than any other group globally. That means more demand for cans, which are cheaper, lighter, and more recyclable than glass bottles.

Ethiopia got temporary debt relief

On Wednesday, November 29th, the governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia, Mamo Mihretu, told the Ethiopian parliament that the country has secured over $1.5bn in temporary debt relief.

Ethiopia first requested debt relief under the G20’s Common Framework over two years ago, with the East African country struggling to service its liabilities amid an increasingly challenging economic predicament. Addis Ababa owes an estimated $13.7bn to China, its largest single creditor, with smaller amounts owed to Paris Club members and international financial institutions.

But now that the Ethiopian birr is depreciating sharply and the US has higher interest rates, it’s more difficult to pay back. So it’s good news that China and France, the two countries which chair the creditor committee overseeing Ethiopia’s debt obligations, have agreed to suspend repayments temporarily.

The crypto euphoria is back!

Bitcoin crossed $41,000, extending a 2023 rebound on expectations of interest-rate cuts and the prospect of greater demand from the exchange-traded funds (ETF) sector.

The token rose as much as 4.6% to reach $41,549 and was just shy of that mark as of 6:03 a.m. on Monday in Lagos, Nigeria, taking its 2023 jump to 151%. Bitcoin was last at such levels in April 2022, before the TerraUSD stablecoin collapse that contributed to a $2 trillion rout in digital assets.

Smaller tokens such as Ether and meme-crowd favourite Dogecoin also pushed higher. Most of the largest 100 crypto coins added more than 3%. Gold also reached an all-time high of $2075 before making a slight pullback. Investors are increasingly convinced that the US Federal Reserve is done with rate hikes since inflation has dropped. This changed backdrop has fueled a rally across global markets.

ICYMI: Market roundup

  • Equities trading on the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) ended November on a high note. A notable highlight was the listing of 4 billion ordinary shares of Mecure Industries Limited, a pharmaceutical and nutraceutical manufacturing company, at N2.96 per share on the NGX growth board. The stock has jumped to more than double since its listing.
  • The naira ended the week at ₦1,155.731 against the dollar at the unofficial markets.
  • Brent oil prices fell to $78 per barrel, while WTI crude fell to $73 per barrel.
  • Gold reached an all-time high of $2075.
  • The crypto markets gained 10% last week as market capitalisation reached $1.5 trillion. Bitcoin gained 11.1% to close the week at $41,300, Ether gained 9.79% to close the week at $2,244 and BNB gained 1.3% to close at $231.
  • EchoVC, a seed and early-stage technology VC firm, a USD 2.5 M pilot fund
  • Aquarech, a Kenyan fish farming startup, has raised $1.7 million in equity funding to improve outcomes for small-scale fish farmers in Kenya through its mobile app platform.
  • GoMetro, a South African fleet management startup, has announced the successful completion of a £9 million ($11 million) Series A funding round.

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