issue: 288 | 21 January 2019

Africa

European Commission approves EUR5-million grant to African Legal Support Facility

The European Commission has approved a grant of EUR5-million to the African Legal Support Facility, to finance the Facility’s Medium Term Strategy for the next five years. African Legal Support Facility (ALSF), hosted by the African Development Bank, to date has supported African countries to negotiate commercial deals worth more than USD60-billion in potential investments, mainly in the infrastructure and extractive sectors. This assistance from the European Union, will boost resources required to consolidate these achievements and reinforce partnership between the two organisations in other common areas of interest, such as support to development work in fragile states, climate resilience and debt sustainability, ALSF Director Stephen Karangizi said.

Source: Africa Business Communities

Burkina Faso

Orange renews its 2G/3G licence and acquires the 4G+ license

The French telecom group Orange has just hit a great milestone in Burkina Faso, it renewed the 2G/ 3G licenses and acquired the 4G + licence for 15 years lifetime. According to Ben Cheick Haidara, managing director of Orange Burkina Faso, the 4G+ licence cost XOF80 billion that will be paid in three tranches. "50% or XOF40-billion as the downpayment, the second tranche of 30% and the last will be 20%. So, to have access to the new licence, Orange paid XOF40-billion to the government”, the managing director explained while rejoicing over the new commercial opportunities offered by the new license. "With the 4G+, the speed will reach 150 megabytes per second or about 10 times higher than the rate of the 3G. This is what will fundamentally change to meet users’ needs," Ben Cheick Haidara said.

Source: Ecofin Agency

East Africa

African Infrastructure Investment Managers acquires stake in BBOXX as it expands to off-grid solar market
African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM), one of Africa’s largest and most experienced infrastructure-focused private equity fund managers and a member of Old Mutual Alternative Investments (OMAI), has acquired through its African Infrastructure Investment Fund 3 (AIIF3) a minority stake in BBOXX’s operations in East Africa, as part of a USD31-million investment plan. BBOXX is a next generation utility platform developing solutions to provide affordable, clean energy to off-grid communities in emerging markets. Growth equity provided by AIIM will accelerate the roll-out of BBOXX’s solar systems, which combine solar panels and batteries with pioneering technology, payable on a pay-as-you-go basis utilising mobile money, across Rwanda, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Source: Africa Business Communities

Ethiopia

Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia agree to boost economic, investment ties

Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia have agreed to boost bilateral economic and investment ties. A business delegation led by Finance Minister, Ahmed Shide and the Governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia which left for Riyadh discussed with the Saudi counterpart Mohammed Al Geden and other higher officials of Saudi Arabia. ENA quoted a press release from the Office of the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as saying that the delegates represented from the two countries have agreed to boost their economic and investment relations. The agreement between the two countries focused on economic partnership in agriculture, infrastructure development, energy, manufacturing industries and trade.

Source: Fana Broadcasting Corporation

Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea entices investors with one-stop shop service

Equatorial Guinea’s one-stop shop has become a reality, allowing investors and corporations alike to set up a business in sub-Saharan Africa’s fourth largest oil producer in only seven days. The step is a very positive move, and a sign that Equatorial Guinea’s government is listening to international investors’ concerns over the country’s bureaucracy and regulations, which have prevented it from exploiting its full investment potential over the past few years. The one-stop shop will provide suitable information support for future entrepreneurs and enable them to start with business operations in the shortest time possible. One-stop shop solutions allow businesses to deal with all permits and processes required to set up a business at a single counter, hence reducing bureaucracy and eliminating red tape.

Source: Africa Business Communities

Ghana

Ghana Tunisia deepens trade relations
Ghana and Tunisia have pledged to deepen trade relations and increase business partnership between the two countries for their mutual benefit. The commitment came at the maiden edition of the Ghana-Tunisia Economic Forum, which also served as a platform for Tunisian companies and their Ghanaian partners to explore opportunities in both countries. Mr Mike Badu-Aboagye, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce (GNCCI), said the forum sought to enhance the bilateral relations between both countries. He said Ghana was open to business as the government was keen to supporting the industrialisation agenda, and that, there was the need to increase trade between Ghana and Tunisia.

Source: Ghana Web

Ivory Coast

Endeavour Mining increases its Ity mine ownership
Endeavour Mining has increased its ownership stake in the Ity mine from 80% to 85%.  In exchange for the additional 5% interest in the Ity mine, Endeavour granted DYD International, a company owned by Didier Drogba, 1,072,305 common shares amounting to a total consideration of approximately USD15-million based on the signing reference share price of CAD18.50. Following this transaction, Endeavour owns 85% of the Ity mine, with the Government of Cote d'Ivoire owning 10% and SODEMI, a government-owned mining company owning the remaining 5%. Endeavour Mining’s Ity Carbon-In-Leach project in Côte d’Ivoire is slated to pour first gold in early Q2, 2019 rather than mid-2019 as previously planned.

Source: Mining Review Africa

Ivory Coast

AFC closes USD577-million syndicated debt facility to Société Ivoirienne de Raffinage
African infrastructure development finance institution, Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), has announced that in its role as Sole Mandated Lead Arranger it has successfully closed a EUR577-million debt financing for Société Ivoirienne de Raffinage (SIR) of Côte d'Ivoire. AFC's participation was for EUR192-million. SIR has an installed capacity of 3.8 million tonnes per annum of refining capacity and is currently the largest and most sophisticated operational refinery in West Africa. The purpose of the Facility is to repay historical obligations on crude supply, provide a long tenured facility and reduce the interest rate of SIR's stock of debt. The Facility comprises a Euro tranche with a 9-year maturity and a West African CFA franc tranche with a 7-year maturity.

Source: Africa Business Communities

Kenya

AfricInvest increases its shares in Kenyan insurer Britam’s capital to 16.26%

The Pan-African capital investment firm AfricInvest has obtained 49.3 million additional shares in the Kenyan insurance firm Britam Holdings for Ksh450-million. This acquisition increases the shares of AfricInvest in Britam’s capital to 16.26%. By May 2018, AfricInvest had already acquired 360.8 million shares in Britam, representing 14.3% of Britam, for Ksh5.7-billion. “We believe in Britam and its strategy,” explained George Odo, senior partner and managing director of AfricInvest in East Africa, according to Business Daily. “We had approval to make a larger investment in the company but only managed to invest Sh5.7-billion initially. We were happy to pick up more shares in the market,” he added.

Source: Ecofin Agency

Kenya

Telkom to invest USD10-million in expanding network coverage and capacity

Kenya’s telecommunication company Telkom will dedicate USD10-million, into the expansion and optimisation of its 4G and 3G network. The network roll-out will see to the improvement of mobile connectivity, boosting the quality of service to customers. Telkom CEO, Mr. Mugo Kibati, says: “It remains our objective to entrench our position as Kenya’s preferred Data network, which can only be achieved through the evolution of our network to become a stronger and future fit Telco. The strategic support from our shareholders and other partners is giving impetus to our data network expansion strategy.” In addition to improving mobile connectivity, Telkom will also invest in its Fibre-to-the-Building (FTTB) Network, which is set to improve the quality of service offered to enterprise and corporate customers.

Source: Africa Business Communities

Liberia

Liberia gets USD25-million World Bank credit for smallholder agriculture transformation

The World Bank Board of Executive Directors has approved an International Development Association (IDA) credit of USD25-million for the Smallholder Agriculture Transformation and Agribusiness Revitalisation Project (STAR-P) of Liberia. This project will increase agricultural productivity and commercialisation of smallholder farmers for selected value chains in Bomi, Grand Cape Mount, Lofa, Nimba and Margibi counties. The STAR-P is aligned with the World Bank Group’s (WBG) twin goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity, and the emerging priorities of Liberia’s new administration as reflected in the Government’s five-year Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD). The project focuses on the economic empowerment of rural poor farmers and will directly contribute towards increasing shared prosperity and helping Liberia tackle its worsening challenge of poverty.

Source: Journal du Cameroun

Mozambique

South Africa, Mozambique cement bilateral relations
South Africa and Mozambique have committed to maximising areas of cooperation that are beneficial for the neighbouring countries’ bilateral relations. At the invitation of Mozambican President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, President Cyril Ramaphosa paid a working visit to the Republic of Mozambique. The visit was aimed at consolidating bilateral, political, economic and social cooperation between the two countries. President Ramaphosa was accompanied by a ministerial delegation and government officials. The two Heads of State expressed satisfaction at the excellent and ever growing bilateral cooperation between the two countries, which is managed under the framework of the Bi-National Commission.

Source: Africa Business Communities

Mozambique

Syrah Resources reaches commercial graphite production

ASX-listed Syrah Resources has declared commercial graphite production at the Balama graphite operation in Mozambique. Following a review of monthly operating metrics, the board of Syrah Resources has determined that the criteria to achieve commercial production, as set out in the company’s 2017 annual report, have been met with effect from 1 January 2019. “This milestone has been reached through coordinated effort across the entire Syrah team, particularly through the dedication of the Balama operations team. We continue to implement further operational improvements in ongoing ramp up, to bring recoveries in line with our medium and longer term targets,” adds Syrah Resources MD and CEO Shaun Verner.

Source: Mining Review Africa

Nigeria

Lagos, IFC sign MOU on infrastructure, revenue generation

The Lagos State Government and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) have sealed a major partnership to enhance provision of infrastructure in key sectors and strengthen the State’s long-term financial sustainability through improved revenue generation strategies. Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akinyemi Ashade, in a statement said a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the partnership had already been signed, and expressed optimism that the development would go a long way in helping to scale up municipal infrastructure, increase revenues and generally make life more comfortable to residents of the State. In furtherance of the agreement, Ashade said IFC, which is a member of the World Bank Group, would seek to provide advisory services to enhance infrastructure development in key areas including power, education, health, environment and transport, with special focus on provision of electric buses, among others.

Source: Vanguard Nigeria

Nigeria

Advanced Finance and Investment Group buys 29.9% stake in NEM Insurance

Nigeria’s NEM Insurance Plc has announced that Advanced Finance and Investment Group (AFIG), an African private equity fund manager has, through AFIG Fund II, has completed an investment in the Company, by acquiring 29.9% of the Company’s shares from some existing shareholders of the Company (the “Transaction”). This Transaction now makes AFIG Funds the largest shareholder in NEM, and marks the commencement of a strategic partnership between AFIG Funds and NEM, as the Company embarks on its next growth phase as a top-tier player within the Nigerian Insurance Industry. NEM Insurance is a top-tier non-life insurance company which has been in operations in Nigeria for over 60 years, and more recently in Ghana.

Source: Africa Business Communities

Rwanda

Rwanda acquires EUR115-million to advance water projects

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has signed financing agreements worth EUR115-million with the government of Rwanda to support the Rwanda Sustainable Water Supply and Sanitation Programme as additional financing. The funding, which comprises EUR114.27-million from the AfDB window and EUR0.8-million from the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative Trust Fund, augments the original financing of EUR104-million AfDB loan and EUR43-million Africa Growing Together Fundloan approved by the Bank’s Board in 2017. The additional financing will mainly support water supply infrastructure, and provide 1.5 million more people with access to reliable and sustainable water supply services.

Source: ESI Africa

Sudan

New electricity interconnection line between Egypt, Sudan
According to Egypt’s minister of electricity and renewable energy, Mohamed Shaker, a new electricity interconnection line with Sudan will be activated this coming February. An Indian multi-national construction firm, Larsen & Toubro Limited (L&T), recently completed the construction of all the electricity pylons used, Gamal Abdel-Rahim, chairman of the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company, told Al-Ahram Weekly. Also speaking on this development, the director-general of the Sudanese Electricity Transmission Company, Hassan al-Sheikh, said the capacity of the transferable power at 220kV will reach up to 300MW, which can be increased in the future to up to 3,000MW when connecting through the 500kV, which is subject to studies through the joint committees between the two countries.

Source: ESI Africa

Tanzania

Bharti Airtel agrees to increase Tanzania’s share in the local subsidiary

Tanzania’s presidency announced that it reached an agreement with Indian telecom group Bharti Airtel for the increase of its share in Airtel Tanzania. The announcement was made after discussions in Dar es Salaam between president John Magufuli and Bharti Airtel’s president Sunil Mittal, to resolve the dispute that sparked in 2017 between the two shareholders on the ownership of Tanzania’s mobile telephony operator. The agreement was signed by Tanzania’s minister of constitution and legal affairs Palamagamba Kabudi and Bharti Airtel’s president Sunil Mittal, in the presence of Tanzania’s president John Magufuli. Apart from the agreement on the shareholding, Bharti Airtel also agreed to pay USD4,3-million as dividends that were not paid for 10 years.

Source: Ecofin Agency

Uganda

Isimba hydropower dam to be commissioned by late January

The Uganda Electricity Generation Company Limited (UEGCL) is set to commission the 183MW Isimba hydropower dam by the end of this month. It is reported that the dam's four Kaplan turbine generator units were up and running by 11 January 2019 when the utility’s board of directors concluded their routine appraisal of the project. “We have written to the President, inviting him for the commissioning of this project. We are still waiting for response from him,” said Kasyate. He said commercial production and trade of power from Isimba dam will begin in March this year. “That is when our commercial rates and charges will be applicable,” Kasyate indicated.

Source: ESI Africa

Uganda

Solarnow and Sunfunder announce USD9-milion debt financing with Oikocredit and Responsibility

Kampala-based off-grid solar company SolarNow has closed largest-yet receivables financing facility with SunFunder, Oikocredit and responsibility. The USD9-million facility is SolarNow’s third structured asset finance instrument, known as SAFI, arranged by SunFunder. It will enable the company to deploy 17,500 new off-grid solar systems to customers in Uganda, along with a range of appliances.  SolarNow CEO Willem Nolens commented: “This syndication and the SAFI structure allow us to minimise the fundraising burden and to focus on our business instead. By selecting the right clients and treating them well, our credit portfolio remains healthy and we create a strong foundation for sustainable growth.” The new investment marks the 5th anniversary of SolarNow’s partnership with Nairobi-based SunFunder, and their debt facility together.

Source: Africa Business Community

West Africa

WAEMU countries to raise USD4.82-billion on the debt market in 2019
This year, the eight countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) plan to issue USD4.82-billion (XOF2,723-billion) in the debt market against XOF2,433-billion in 2018, the regional debt planning agency, UMOA-Titres, announced. "When we look at the consolidated calendar of the issuances in 2019, we are reaching an aggregate amount of XOF2,723-billion", said Oulimata Ndiaye, operation manager at UMOA-Titres. According to the manager, in 2018, the debts issued by those countries was below the XOF3,007-billion planned to be issued due notably to the issuances made by Côte d’Ivoire and Mali which were below the initial forecasts.

Source: Ecofin Agency

Zambia

Green Crop Field to pump USD72-million in paprika production

A Lusaka based company has expressed interest in investing USD72-million in Chibombo district of Central Province. Central Province Permanent Secretary (PS), Chanda Kabwe, has confirmed the development in a press statement made available to ZANIS in Kabwe. Mr. Kabwe said Green Crop Field Investment Limited has announced plans to invest USD72-million in a Paprika Production and Processing Plant. The plantation will sit on a 6, 000 hectares piece of land in Liteta chiefdom of Chibombo district. He said the USD72-million is part of the USD432-million that the firm is planning to invest in more than 80, 000 hectares of land depending on availability across the country. The PS added that the project resonates well with the country’s Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) which is promoting private investment for economic development.

Source: Lusaka Times



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