issue: 285 | 10 December 2018

Africa

IFC identifies 100 startups that are key to speeding up innovation in Africa

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, in cooperation with Egypt’s Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation (MIIC) have selected more than 100 high-potential start-ups to participate in a new initiative designed to spur innovation and job creation across the African continent.  The start-ups include Vezeeta, Avidbeam and Next Protein. They and other selected companies will participate in Africa’s Next Start-Ups program, a joint IFC-MIIC effort that helps provide up-and-coming small businesses with funding and advice. The program connects such companies with potential investors, financial institutions, business leaders, and policymakers. It is designed to support the continent’s budding start-up culture and create opportunities for entrepreneurs, who often struggle to secure growth capital and have few places to turn for guidance.

Source: African Business Communities

Angola

New cable provides Angola a window on the world
The South Atlantic Cable System (SACS) was completed in September, making it the first fibre submarine cable between Africa and the Americas. Running from Fortaleza in north-eastern Brazil to Sangano in Angola it should encourage the Angolan government to press ahead with the reform of its own telecoms sector, which remains underdeveloped in comparison with most other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. SACS provides a high capacity, high speed link between two of the Lusophone world’s three most populous countries. It has been developed by NEC Corporation with initial capacity of 40 terabytes per second. All communication between Brazil and Lusophone Africa previously had to go via Europe and North America.

Source: China Lusophone Brief

Angola

IFAD to invest USD7.6-million in agriculture projects across eight municipalities

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) will support the Angolan Government in the implementation of the ARP, with a USD7.6-million financing, to be implemented in eight municipalities in the provinces of Benguela, Cunene and Huíla. This was revealed during a meeting between the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Marcos Alexandre Nhunga, IFAD President Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo, who is in Angola to assess the degree of implementation of the sector-financed programs of the fund. In addition to this project, IFAD is supporting the Family Agriculture Development Project (SAMAP), which is being implemented in the provinces of Cuanza Sul and Huíla, with funding of USD38.8-million, benefiting 60,000 family farmers. Of this amount, USD28.8-million financed by the fund, USD8.2-million from the Angolan Government and USD1.1-million from beneficiaries.

Source: African Business Communities

Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso makes technology-neutral licenses available in anticipation of technology development
Technology-neutral licenses are now available in Burkina Faso. During the ministerial council held in Ouagadougou, the government adopted a decree in that regard. This decree defines the terms and conditions for the attribution of the license for establishment and operation of electronic communication networks and services in the country. A technology-neutral license allows operators the freedom to offer innovative services based on advanced technology, according to the needs in the market, provided they have the frequencies and other telecom resources thanks to which they can offer those services. For telecom operators, this is the end of multiple licenses (2G, 3G and the others) acquired over the years. With this new licence, they can easily adopt new technologies once they are available.

Source: Ecofin Agency

Cameroon

Africa50 acquires 15% of equity in Nachtigal Hydropower Plant

Africa50, the pan-African infrastructure investment platform, has acquired 15% of the equity stake in the Nachtigal Hydro Power Company (NHPC) which runs the Nachtigal hydropower project in Cameroon. Under the terms of the agreement signed in Yaoundé, Africa50 purchased its stake from the Government of Cameroon, an Africa50 shareholder, helping free-up public funds for other pressing development needs. The project entails the construction and operation of a 420MW hydropower plant on the Sanaga river near Nachtigal Falls, 65 kilometers from Yaoundé, as well as a 50 kilometer transmission line to Nyom. It will be operated under a 35-year concession. Following this transaction, the shareholding of NHPC is comprised of EDF (40%), IFC (20%), the Republic of Cameroon (15%), Africa50 (15%) and STOA (10%).

Source: African Business Communities

Cape Verde

Cabo Verde has a new Business Registration Information System

The Commercial Registry Information System (SIRC) will make the lives of citizens and businesses easier and improve the business environment in Cape Verde, Justice and Labour Minister Janine Lélis said in Praia. Lélis stressed that this system will increase legal certainty, restore the coherence of the system, placing registry services at the centre of the country’s economic development, according to the Inforpress news agency. This system, launched in April 2017 as part of the project for the reform of the SIRCA, aims to integrate the different stages of the life cycle of companies, from their founding, operation and extinction, through computerisation of all the processes that require commercial registration.

Source: Macau Hub

Central African Republic

Central African Republic formalises Afreximbank membership, deposits ratification document
Central African Republic has formalised its membership of the African Export-Import Bank, Afreximbank, with the deposit of the instrument of the country's ratification of the Bank's Establishment Agreement with the continental trade finance institution. Speaking during a ceremony at the Bank's headquarters, Claude Rameaux Bireau, Minister of State and Economic Adviser to the President, who led a five-member delegation, said that Central African Republic had very high expectations from Afreximbank and looked forward to strengthened cooperation with the institution. Mr. Bireau said that Central African Republic would move quickly to take up shareholding in the Bank and announced that the government was already working with the African Development Bank to support it in that regard.

Source: African Business Communities

Democratic Republic of Congo

Cape Lambert finalises discussions with potential financiers
ASX-listed Cape Lambert Resources has provided an update on the progress of the Kipushi Cobalt-Copper Tailings Project in the DRC. The Kipushi Project, located near the town of Kipushi approximately 25km from Lubumbashi involves the reprocessing of cobalt copper tailings contained in the Kipushi Tailings Storage Facility and is operated by Soludo Lambert Mining, under a 50/50 joint venture arrangement between local entity Paragon Mining SARL and Cape Lambert. Paragon has a 70% interest in the Kipushi Project via a contract with La Patience SPRL that gives it the right to exploit and process the tailings from the Kipushi TSF and sell the product. Early October 2018 drilling contractor, Solutions for Africa, completed 47 holes for a total of 432m. Samples were dispatched to the laboratory of ALS in Lubumbashi for assay with the results expected soon. Once received, work will commence on preparing the Mineral Resource estimation for the tailings dam.

Source: Mining Review Africa

Ethiopia

Mercy Corps to launch Islamic microfinance institution in Ethiopia
The humanitarian organisation Mercy Corps announced, in a statement published that it commissioned the council cabinet Islamic Finance Advisory & Assurance Services (IFAAS) to prepare the launch of an Islamic microfinance institution in Ethiopia. The Islamic institution which will be partially financed by the British department for international development will offer interest-free products to local communities, the source added. IFAAS has conducted studies on interest-free financing in Ethiopia, a country where more than 30 million out of 100 million residents are Muslim. "The study carried out by IFAAS into interest-free finance in Ethiopia is instrumental to our financial inclusion work in the country", said Josh Ling, director of financial inclusion at Mercy Corps. Based in the United States, Mercy Corps operates in thirty-eight countries which experienced various forms of economic, environmental, social and political instability.

Source: Ecofin Agency

Gabon

Bolloré Logistics starts operations at new logistics hub

Bolloré Logistics has opened a new logistics hub in Lastourville, Gabon. Connected to the railway operated by SETRAG, Société d’Exploitation du Transgabonais, the new logistics platform will store, manage and carry processed wood in containers from the production sites in the forest to the Owendo container terminal (OCT), 557km away. With an area of 14,000 m², the hub will be able to handle 4,500 TEUs per year during the start-up phase. The effective start-up has seen the reception of the first train of 15 wagons loaded with empty containers for the region's four forestry companies: PW-CEB (Precious Woods and Compagnie Équatoriale des Bois), SBL (Société des Bois de Lastourville), SBK (Société des Bois de Koulamoutou) and BH (Bonus Harvest).

Source: African Business Communities

Kenya

Kopere Solar Power project secures USD18.17-million senior loan
The African Development Bank Group has approved a USD18.17-million senior loan to the 40MWac (50MWp) Kopere Solar Power Project in Kenya. The project is owned by Voltalia, an international player in the renewable energy sector listed on the Paris stock exchange. The Bank is also in the process of securing a USD11.6-million concessional loan from the Climate Investment Fund’s Scaling-up Renewable Energy Program (SREP). The Kopere project, which falls under Kenya’s Renewable Energy Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) policy, encompasses the design, construction and operation of a 40MWac (50MWp) solar PV power project in Nandi County. The project also involves the construction of a 33/132kV substation, and a 1.8km T-line to evacuate the electricity to the national grid. 

Source: ESI Africa

Kenya

Omani group Raysut Cement intends to buy Kenyan ARM Cement
The Omani cement group Raysut Cement announced that it was planning to buy its Kenyan peer ARM Cement, in the framework of an African expansion plan. "Raysut has expressed its interest to the administrators to acquire ARM Cement", Omani group revealed in the communique. "The acquisition will complement Raysut’s revised strategy to manufacture clinker in proximity to the markets it supplies in East Africa", the group added indicating that the amount of the transaction will exceed USD100-million. Raysut Cement is constructing clinker grinding units in Somaliland and Mogadishu, Somalia, in partnership with a Dubai based partner. In August 2018, ARM Cement was placed under provisional administration due notably to its inability to refund its debts estimated at about USD190-million.

Source: Ecofin Agency

Malawi

60MW solar plant to end blackouts
Malawian President Peter Mutharika launched the construction of a 60MW solar plant at Kanzimbe in Salima, a township in the central region of the country. The solar project is going to be spearheaded by JCM Matswana Solar Energy and will sell the generated power to Escom after the power purchase agreement has been concluded, reports Nyasa Times. “The problem with the energy sector is due to ignorance that the previous governments had towards the sector in the last 50 years, but our government has lined up a number of investments some of which will involve the private sector while others will be Public Private Partnership," he said. According to media, the President said among the projects which seek to give short, medium and long term solutions to the energy woes will include wind energy and the Kammwamba coal powered plant.

Source: ESI Africa

Malawi

AfDB USD35-million loan to boost agriculture and natural resource management
The African Development Bank has approved a USD35-million loan for the Shire Valley Transformation Program - Phase 1 (SVTP-1), aimed at reducing poverty through the development of agricultural value chain and climate adaptation mechanisms. The Shire Valley Transformation Project will provide access to gravity fed irrigation and drainage services to the Chikwawa and Nsanje Districts south of Malawi. It will also secure land tenure for smallholder farmers and strengthen management of wetlands and protected areas. The project will provide infrastructure and enabling environment to scale up the deployment of agricultural technologies in line with the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) framework to increase agricultural productivity and value addition.

Source: Ecofin Agency

Mozambique

Government of Mozambique grants state guarantees to public companies
The Mozambican state’s business sector will have state guarantees to take on debt of up to USD2.439-billion, according to the State Budget for 2019. The largest state guarantee, almost 90% of the total, aims to secure a loan that Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos (ENH) will seek to raise in international markets to cover its participation in natural gas projects in the Rovuma basin, in the northern province of Cabo Delgado. ENH also plans to raise USD2.195-billion for its contribution related to the 15% stake it holds in the Area 1 block, whose operator is US group Anadarko Petroleum. Mozambican daily newspaper Notícias reported that this government decision aims to facilitate the final investment decision, which is expected to be taken by the consortium in the first half of 2019.

Source: Macau Hub

Nigeria

Nigeria Electrification Project to receive USD200-million joint financing
The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved a USD150-million sovereign loan to the Federal Government of Nigeria to finance the Nigeria Electrification Project (NEP). The financing will support rural electrification efforts in Nigeria by facilitating private sector development and rollout of off-grid solutions, as well as the installation of dedicated power systems for Federal Universities. The Africa Growing Together Fund (AGTF), a USD2-billion facility sponsored by the People’s Bank of China and administered by the African Development Bank, has also approved a USD50-million loan to the Federal Government of Nigeria to co-finance the project. The joint financing from the Bank and AGTF will support the Federal Government of Nigeria’s efforts to address critical energy access deficit in the country and catalyse achievement of universal energy access by 2030 targets.

Source: ESI Africa

Nigeria

Nigerian government gives USD700-million to help local authorities improve PFM

The Nigerian central government will hand USD700-million to local authorities to improve governance and public financial management, the president has said. Muhammadu Buhari explained the funding, which will be available as grants to states, was a move to improve transparency and accountability in the public sector, speaking at the annual conference of Auditors General in Nigeria. Buhari said: “At the state level, several measures have been introduced to achieve certain minimum improvements in governance and Public Finance Management (“PFM”). “These include the state Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability programme, in which USD700-million will be made available as grants to states,” he was quoted as saying, by Nigerian news outlet The Nation. Buhari added that USD50-million would be made available in technical assistance to “key agencies” within the local governments  “to build capacity”.

Source: Public Finance International

Republic of Congo

United States, Republic of Congo sign open skies air transport agreement

The United States and Republic of Congo have signed a new open skies air transport agreement which seeks to strengthen the civil aviation partnership between the two countries while deepening commercial and economic ties. The Agreement provides for unrestricted reciprocal market access for passenger and cargo airlines to fly between the two countries and to destinations beyond.  The Agreement also commits both governments to high standards of safety and security. In doing so, the Agreement will facilitate travel and commerce between the United States and the Republic of the Congo.  This includes greater opportunities for airlines, travelers, businesses, shippers, airports, workers, and localities. 

Source: African Business Communities

Rwanda

Rwanda signs nuclear deal with Russia
During an official visit of Rwanda's minister of infrastructure, Claver Gatete, to Moscow an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the field of peaceful uses of atomic energy was signed between the two countries. ROSATOM's director general, Aleksey Likhachev, signed the agreement on behalf of Russia and Gatete signed on behalf of Rwanda. The cooperation agreement will lay the foundation for active dialogue between the two countries in the field of peaceful use of atomic energy and will allow for practical implementation of particular projects. The document establishes legal basis for interaction between the two countries in a wide range of areas, including elaboration of the project for the construction of a Centre for Nuclear Science and Technology and of a Nuclear Power Plant in the Republic of Rwanda.

Source: ESI Africa

Senegal

Banque Centrale Populaire announces acquisition of majority stake in a Senegal-based fintech
Banque centrale populaire (BCP), a Morrocan bank listed on Casablanca stock exchange, is about to acquire the majority stake in a Senegalese fintech. The latter provided no additional detail on the identity of the fintech company nor did he disclose the amount BCP would invest for this acquisition. "It is a Senegal-based tech company which has Total group as one of its shareholders", Kamal Mokdad said to the press. In Morrocco, some media indicate that it could be Fintech Intouch. This platform that facilitates access to digital services and digital money transfer has already partnered with the oil company Total. BCP, present in 14 African countries recently announced its programme "Fintech challenge" aimed at supporting African tech companies in their development.

Source: Ecofin Agency

Sierra Leone

IMF approves USD172.1-million extended credit facility for Sierra Leone
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a USD172.1-million extended credit facility for Sierra Leone, a release published by the Bretton Woods institution informed. According to the release, this credit facility is aimed at helping the country address the new economic challenges that appeared in June 2017 and, at the same time implement a favourable environment for long-term growth. The country will namely correct fiscal slippages, improve revenue mobilisation and control spendings to meet fiscal sustainability and middle-term growth goals. "The goals of the new program remain focused on reducing inflation, mobilising revenue to allow for necessary spending consistent with debt sustainability, safeguarding financial stability, and maintaining external resilience to shocks", said Tao Zhang, deputy managing director of the IMF.

Source: Ecofin Agency

Southern Africa

Power pool plan to maximise energy trade within SADC
Representatives from financial institutions, governments, regulatory bodies, developers and power utilities participated in a workshop to discuss the recently adopted Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) Plan. The Pool Plan is set to benefit the wider regional economy by scaling-up cross-border energy trade and substantially reducing the cost of power supply in the region. The plan also leverages the complementarity of diverse regional energy resources to increase access, reduce load shedding, and provide an improved quality of service in the region. Finalised in 2017 for the current period until 2040, the Pool Plan is intended to identify a core set of generation and transmission investments of regional significance that can provide adequate electricity supply to the region efficiently, economically and in a socially and environmentally sustainable manner.

Source: ESI Africa

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe plans to privatise TelOne, NetOne, Telecel and Zimpost
Zimbabwe plans to partially privatise incumbent operator TelOne, its mobile branch NetOne, the 40% owned Telecel and Zimpost, Mthuli Ncube, the minister of finance revealed during the presentation of the country’s budget for 2019. TelOne is actually facing financial problems due to many unpaid invoices owed by the government and parapublic institutions. According to Chalton Hwende, president of the parliamentary committee in charge of ICT, the government owes 53% of the unpaid invoices amounting to USD73-million and para-public institutions owe USD25-million. In addition, many international partners threaten to stop their collaboration with the company. Even though the other public institutions do not experience an alarming financial condition, they are not as profitable as the government would want to.

Source: Ecofin Agency


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