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Africa Business in Brief


issue 313 | 15 Jul 2019


Aker Energy announces USD4.5-million capacity-building support in Ghana

Aker Energy, the operator of the Deepwater Tano Cape Three Points (DWT/CTP) block, has pledged USD4.5-million in support for the Accelerated Oil and Gas Capacity-Building (AOGC) programme in Ghana. The programme is designed to enhance the competencies and expertise of Ghanaians in the oil and gas sector. Established in November 2017, the AOGC programme is the latest phase of several capacity-building initiatives in Ghana. The Petroleum Commission-led programme, set to run for five years, seeks to train individuals in various vocational and technical areas, as well as to build the capacity of educational institutions to be able to train students and award internationally recognised training certificates.

Source: Africa Business Communities


Singapore’s ride-hailing firm Gozem launches in Benin

Motorcycle taxi-hailing firm Gozem has launched its operations in Cotonou, Benin. The firm which is currently on pan-African expansion move also plans to expand to additional African markets. The firm has partnered with Atlantic Assurance firm to provide insurance to its drivers and passengers in Benin. “We are pleased to offer our partner drivers and passengers insurance to guarantee their safe travel. This formalised partnership with Atlantique is an excellent illustration of the method used by Gozem to support its drivers in the professionalisation of their profession while protecting our customers,” said Pierrick Houée, Country Manager of Gozem Benin.

Source: Africa Business Communities

Cape Verde

AfDB, Portugal and Cape Verde sign pact to accelerate diversification, renewables use and private sector

The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the governments of Cape Verde and Portugal have signed a country-specific memorandum of understanding for the implementation of the Lusophone Compact, which aims to accelerate private sector development in Portuguese-speaking countries of Africa. The signing took place on Sal Island on 1 July, between Olavo Correia, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of Cabo Verde, Helena de Paiva, Portugal’s Ambassador to Cabo Verde; and Moono Mupotola, the Bank’s Director for Regional Integration. It was witnessed by over 200 Cabo Verdean and international investors and lenders.

Source: Energy Mix Report

Democratic Republic of Congo/Uganda

Revenue authorities in Uganda and DR Congo bet on digital infrastructure to enhance trade

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) Directorate of Customs and Excise (DGDA) and the Ugandan Revenues Authority (URA) have signed the Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System (RECTS) standards operating procedures, marking the launch of the RECTs control centre extension to DRC cargo. This project is facilitated by TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) through a USD642,000 fund from the Department of International Development (DFID). RECTs is now operational in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and now DRC. The project will be implemented in three phases with the first phase being the launch of the Uganda Office, the second phase will be opening of the Goma office in eastern DRC while the final phase will be the launch of the Kinsasha command center.

Source: Africa Business Communities


Firestone Diamonds recovers largest fancy yellow diamond to date

AIM-listed diamond producer Firestone Diamonds has recovered a 54 carat intense fancy yellow, sawable diamond from its Liqhobong mine in Lesotho. “The Liqhobong mine has become known for its fancy yellow stones but this one is the largest we’ve recovered so far and is therefore quite special,” says Firestone Diamonds CEO Paul Bosma. The 54 carat diamond will go on sale at the next tender scheduled to take place during September 2019. The recovery of its latest fancy yellow diamond follows the recovery of a 72 carat diamond which was recovered together with a 22 carat makeable white stone, followed by an 11 carat fancy light-pink stone in April.

Source: Mining Review Africa


IFC invests GBP2.5-million in Mali-Shi to boost Mali’s Shea production and exports

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has announced an investment of up to GBP2.5-million in Mali Shi to help build the only active modern shea butter processing plant in the country. The plant will increase incomes and market access for about 120,000 shea kernel producers in Mali, over 95% of whom are women. Mali, the world’s second-largest shea supplier, accounts for nearly 20% of the global shea supply. More than 1 million of rural harvesters in Mali, majority of whom are women, are involved in shea nuts collection. However, its shea processing industry is not yet modern. IFC’s investment in Mali-Shi was also supported by the Conflict Affected States in Africa Initiative (CASA), backed by Ireland, the Netherlands, and Norway.

Source: Africa Business Communities


Mkango explores minerals in Mchinji

Canadian mining firm, Mkango Resources Limited, has said it has been granted a new Exclusive Prospecting License to search for minerals in Mchinji District. Currently, the firm is exploring rare earth minerals at Songwe Hill in Phalombe. The Mchinji licence covers an area of 868.69 km2 and is adjacent to licences with known mineral potential including the company’s Chimimbe Hill nickel-cobalt license to the south. The license would see Mkango exploring the existence of nickel-cobalt, gold, base metals and graphite. The miner said in a statement, the licence initially awarded for a three-year term, after which it could be renewed twice for further two-year periods with a 50% reduction in the license size required with each renewal.

Source: Times Malawi


Sterling Capital buys 20% stake in local PE fund Afvest

Sterling Capital has reached a deal to acquire a 20% stake in emerging markets private equity (PE) firm, Afvest, for an undisclosed value. The investment bank said in a statement that the deal with Afvest was in line with a strategy to position itself “alongside a growing number of private equity funds”, which invest in scalable early-stage businesses with the potential to generate high returns. Sterling, itself backed by New York-based equity fund Kuramo Capital, said there was an opportunity for funding business with capital requirements of less than Sh50-million. Afvest, backed by Kenyan professionals, largely focuses on technology-driven start-ups and early-stage enterprises with “significant scope to scale to new markets”.

Source: Business Daily


Mauritania and EllaLink sign agreement to deliver connectivity on the EllaLink Submarine Cable

The Government of Mauritania and EllaLink have announced the signing of an agreement to strengthen connectivity to Mauritania via the EllaLink submarine cable system. A dedicated branching unit will be added to the EllaLink system, due to be operational in 2020, enabling Mauritania to enhance local and international broadband access, as well as offering diversity and resilience to the existing telecommunications infrastructure. The Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research, Information and Communication Technologies, Dr Sidi Ould Salem, declared “This agreement confirms our commitment to address the connectivity challenges that Mauritania faces.

Source: Africa Business Communities


Funding guaranteed for Temane-Maputo power line

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) approved a soft loan of USD99.7-million to finance the high voltage 400 kv electricity transmission line from Temane, in the southern Mozambican province of Inhambane, to Maputo. According to a source in the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy, contacted by AIM, the total cost of the transmission line in USD550-million. The World Bank has already promised a loan of USD420-million, and Norway a grant of USD30-million. Thus, with the new loan from the IDB, the total amount required is now available. The new transmission line is an initiative of the Mozambican government and the publicly owned electricity company, EDM.

Source: Club of Mozambique


De Beers Marine awards contract for offshore power system upgrade

UK-based Babcock International has been awarded a contract by De Beers Marine (a business unit of the De Beers Group) to undertake design development activity in support of the planned upgrade to the power and propulsion system on the offshore diamond vessel mv !Gariep. The vessel is owned and operated by Debmarine Namibia – a joint venture offshore marine diamond prospecting and exploration company owned in equal shares by De Beers and the Government of the Republic of Namibia. Babcock will utilise its engineering, naval architecture and project management expertise to provide the design documentation required to complete the upgrade of the mv !Gariep.

Source: ESI Africa


Namibia to boost rural electrification through mini-grid project

IBC SOLAR is supporting Bavarian universities to create a pilot project for expanding the energy supply into rural areas of Namibia. In a press statement, the energy firm explained that the aim of the project 'PROCEED' is to achieve a sustainable improvement in the energy supply based on renewable energy. The research will also be funded by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) with approximately EUR1.24-million in the next three years. IBC SOLAR is supporting the University of Bayreuth, the Technical University of Ingolstadt and the Neu-Ulm University of Applied Sciences as an industry partner for the project in order to secure and increase the energy supply in remote areas of Namibia.

Source: ESI Africa


OPay raises USD50-million to expand to other African markets

OPay, a provider of a rapidly growing mobile payment service and consumer platform in Nigeria has raised USD50-million in total funding. The lead investors included IDG Capital, Sequoia China, Source Code Capital, Meituan-Dianping, GSR Ventures and Opera Limited (Nasdaq: OPRA). OPay plans to use the new capital to strengthen the company’s position in Nigeria, expand to additional African markets and leverage its brand and app into adjacent verticals, including motorbike ridesharing and food delivery services. OPay launched its mobile payment service in August 2018, creating an infrastructure on which the company is now also adding new services.

Source: Africa Business Communities


Somalia strikes deal with Shell, ExxonMobil

Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil are looking to return to Somalia ahead of an oil block bid round later this year, the East African country’s oil ministry said. Shell and Exxon Mobil had a joint venture on five offshore blocks in Somalia prior to the toppling of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in the early 1990s. The exploration and development of the five offshore blocks was suspended in 1990 under what is known as a “force majeure”, but Shell and Exxon have accrued rentals to the government since then, Shell said in a statement. The parties have also agreed to hold talks to convert their old contracts in line with a new petroleum bill that was passed earlier this year.

Source: Energy Mix Report


Tanzanian tycoon Rostam Aziz builds USD65-million LPG plant In Kigamboni

Business mogul Rostam Aziz, one of Tanzania’s most successful businessmen, has built a USD65-million liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) storage and filling facility in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. According to a report by Tanzania’s Citizen newspaper, the facility, which was constructed by Taifa Gas, one of Rostam Aziz’s companies, is located in the Kigamboni area of Dar es Salaam. The plant was officially launched late June at a ceremony chaired by President John Magufuli and attended by several high profile members of Tanzania’s political class. Taifa Gas, which was formerly called Mihan Gas, is the largest LPG supply company in Tanzania.

Source: Forbes


RioZim, ZESA set to sign power deal

RioZim says its USD1,5-billion investment into building a 2 800 megawatts thermal power station in Sengwa, Gokwe North, remains firmly on course with the company now moving to the next phase of preliminary works, which entail, chiefly, signing a power purchase agreement. Notably, RioZim said the Sengwa project was part of two power initiatives, including a 178 megawatts solar power project, the company is pursuing to cushion itself from the effects of crippling power shortages buffeting the entire country, which it said posed a significant risk to operations. RioZim’s operations chiefly cut across gold and diamond mining and processing at Renco (Masvingo), Cam and Motor (Kadoma) and Dalny (Chegutu) mines as well as base metal processing at Empress Nickel Refinery.

Source: Energy Mix Report


South Africa to discuss new power supply deal with Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwean Energy and Power Development Minister, Fortune Chasi, will soon lead a delegation to South Africa to finalise a new power supply deal to ease electricity woes in the country. Since May, Zimbabwe has been facing challenges with power generation from the Kariba dam due to falling water levels. As such, the country has had to boost imports from South Africa, which have been curtailed due to unreliable payment. To this end, Zimbabwe’s President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, engaged in talks with his South African counterpart, President Cyril Ramaphosa, to find solutions to the country’s power problems.

Source: ESI Africa