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issue 340 | 24 Feb 2020

Africa Business in Brief



AVZ and DRC Ministry of Industry to develop SEZ

AVZ Minerals has executed a binding Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Industry for the development of a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Manono, in the Tanganyika Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The purpose of the MoU is to set up the terms for collaboration and negotiation between the Ministry of Industry and AVZ with a view to establishing the “Manono Special Economic Zone” in the Tanganyika Province and the development of basic infrastructure within the same. Development of the Manono Lithium and Tin Project and associated infrastructure for mining operations including the export of product, would be at the core of these developments. In essence, a SEZ provides for an “investor to enjoy exemptions or reductions, either permanently or temporarily, in a degressive or non-degressive manner, with or without the possibility of renewal or extension, on direct or indirect taxes, domestic duties and taxes, national, provincial and municipal royalties, import or export duties payable in Democratic Republic of Congo”. AVZ as the developer of the SEZ, would be eligible to additional benefits from the Congolese Government as opposed to being purely an investor in the SEZ.

Source: Mining Review Africa


Accor set to expand Ethiopia footprint with management agreement for new Ibis Styles hotel

Accor, a world-leading augmented hospitality group, is expanding its presence in Ethiopia after signing a management agreement to open a new property under its design-led economy brand, Ibis Styles. In a move that ramps up its ambitious development plans in sub-Saharan Africa, the Group has partnered with private conglomerate, Yuluch Elyano Trading plc, to operate the 150-key Ibis Styles Addis Ababa, its fifth upcoming property in the capital, with a scheduled opening date of 2023. Conveniently situated in a secluded location just off the city’s main thoroughfare, Bole Road, 1km from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport and close to corporate institutions and embassies, the property will appeal to regional and international business travellers seeking stylish and affordable accommodation. “Our partnership with Yuluch Elyano Trading provides Accor with an exciting opportunity to showcase the Ibis Styles brand in a market where demand for innovative budget hospitality concepts is being driven by the continent’s booming domestic travel sector,” said Mark Willis, CEO Middle East & Africa for Accor. The hotel will join Accor’s growing pipeline of properties in Addis Ababa under brands including MGallery, Mercure, Pullman and Mövenpick.

Source: Africanews


AfCFTA readiness assessment consultation begins in Accra

A nationwide consultation with Ghanaian private sector to access their readiness for the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) implementation has begun in Accra. The consultation is focusing on six sectors of Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) members who are in agri-business, food and beverages, pharmaceuticals and herbal, garment, textile and leather, plastics and hardware as well as hospitality and tourism industry sectors. “The stakeholder consultation with the private sector is very important as it would help in assessing their knowledge and understanding of the AfCFTA, rules of origin, capacity to produce and export to other African countries as well as identifying the challenges that would impede their ability to take full advantage of the AfCFTA,” said Appiah Kusi Adomako, the Country Director for CUTS. Mr Adomako added that the ability of Ghana to take full advantage of the AfCFTA agreement depends largely on the readiness of Ghanaian industry. Whilst a company can be ready at the firm level, there is also the need for our macroeconomic variables to be ready. For example a firm in Ghana which borrows an average of 28% per annum cannot compete with firms in South Africa, Rwanda, and Mauritius that borrow an average of 7% per annum. The study is being undertaken by a research and advocacy policy think called CUTS with support from the BUSAC Fund.

Source: Modern Ghana


Banks tipped to lead market growth

Companies that benefit from removal of interest rate caps, changes in taxes and are undervalued are likely to be the main winners in the equities market this year, Dyer and Blair Investment Bank says. The investment bank has advised investors in a research note that these are the companies that will also attract foreign investors who are looking at similar economies across the globe. The bank said the trend of selective growth among equities is likely to continue this year, where only some firms register significant growth while others continue to lag. “We believe that the case for absolute growth in Kenyan equities will continue to be weak and limited to those that win from changes in regulations – removal of caps, changes in taxes, potential telecom sector regulations, among others – but better relative to peers in similar economies purely on account of foreign investor sentiment,” said Dyer and Blair in their 2020 macroeconomic and market outlook report.

Source: Business Daily


Gold firm to invest KES2.4-billion in Kenya mines

Guernsey-incorporated Shanta Gold is set to invest USD24-million (KES2.4-billion) in staffing and gold exploration costs in Kenya after buying seven mining licences covering the Western part of the country from Toronto-based Barrick Gold Corporation. The spending, to be spread over three years, was disclosed by Shanta in an analyst call. “What we expect (to spend) is likely to be $8 million (Sh800 million) each year for three years,” Shanta’s Chief Executive Eric Zurrin said in response to a question from an analyst. Mr Zurrin added that less than USD2-million (KES200-million) per year will be spent on staff and the minimum investments required to keep the licences. Shanta is buying the West Kenya operation from Barrick Gold at a total cost of USD14.5-million (KES1.4-billion) in cash and shares. The deal is expected to be completed mid this year. Barrick will take USD7-million (KES700-million) in cash and a 6.4% stake or 54.6 million shares of Shanta valued at USD7.5-million (KES753-million). This will see Barrick become the fifth largest shareholder in Shanta. The multinational will acquire licences for rights to mine gold over a 1,161 square kilometre area straddling Kakamega, Kisumu, Siaya and Vihiga counties.

Source: Business Daily


New online cargo clearance fees ‘hurting Kenyan goods’

Local industrialists have flagged the new Kenya TradeNet System fees among top hurdles that stand in the way of the government’s effort to boost employment and exports via the manufacturing sector. The system, which serves as a national electronic single window for lodging international trade documents, has been free from 2012 when it was launched up to when the Kenya Trade Agency (Kentrade) introduced user charges. Importers are now required to pay a KES5,000 annual fee besides value added tax (VAT). The user must also pay KES750 for a unique consignment reference number plus VAT and an arrival notification fee per vessel of KES7,500, plus VAT. “Introducing charges on importers using the platform only serves to increase input costs that will be passed on to consumers via price increments,” said Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) Chief Executive Phyllis Wakiaga. “These charges only serve to make goods uncompetitive in a regional market shared with competitors in Uganda and Tanzania whose governments do not charge for use of single window systems.” “Most manufacturers importing raw materials absorb numerous charges that make them start production with an unnecessary 13 percent cost disadvantage compared to our neighbouring countries within the EAC,” said Ms Wakiaga.

Source: Business Daily


Country to see 26.5% annual growth in gas production until 2029 – Fitch

Fitch Solutions predicted that natural gas production in Mozambique will grow 26.5% annually until 2029, pushing the economy to average growth of 12.4% this decade. “The prospects for natural gas production in sub-Saharan Africa are more positive than for oil, with production almost doubling from the current 75.6 billion cubic metres to 135 billion cubic metres in 2029; Mozambique represents the country with the highest growth margins throughout the analysis period, with an average annual growth of 26.5% between 2020 and 2029,” the analysts said. In the report on the evolution of oil gas this decade in sub-Saharan Africa, sent to clients and to which Lusa had access, the analysts of this consultancy held by the same owners of the financial rating agency Fitch Ratings wrote that Mozambique will compete in the market with Nigeria, the largest producer of gas in the region, and the market share of the largest African economy is expected to fall between 46% and 65% by the end of this decade. “Although Nigeria will continue to register sustained growth, most of the gas produced will come from new players like Mozambique,” analysts said, pointing to the investments that are underway in this country. “Mozambique, a key supplier to the South African market, will begin to develop its vast offshore reserves, which will increase its production from a modest 5.6 billion cubic metres to 45 billion cubic metres by 2029,” the analysts estimated. Among the effects of production on the Mozambican economy, which analysts estimate will grow by an average of 12.4% during this decade, the automobile sector will be one of the major beneficiaries: “our forecasting team for the automobile sector predicts that the fleet of vehicles in Mozambique will grow by 164% by 2029,” the analysts said.

Source: AIM


CBN, firms move to establish milk processing plants

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has started the process of assisting dairy companies to set up milk processing plants in the Federal Capital Territory. The move is coming barely one week after the Apex Bank gave approval to six dairy companies to import milk into the country. Speaking when he led a delegation of stakeholders to a meeting with the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Muhammad Bello, the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, requested the minister to provide land to dairy companies that would want to set up processing plants in Abuja. Based on government official statistics, Nigeria’s current milk production stands at about 500,000 metric tonnes per year. Emefiele explained that the objective of the CBN in that sector was to increase milk production in the country from the current figure of 500,000 metric tonnes to about 550,000 metric tonnes within the next 12 months. He said with steps currently being taken by stakeholders in that sector, the target of 550,000 metric tonnes would be achieved within the set timeline. In addition to facilitating easy access to funding for dairy investors, he said it was the desire of the management of the CBN to ensure that the country conserves foreign exchange, trigger economic growth and boost employment opportunities in the sector. Currently, the country spends between USD1.2-billion and USD1.5-billion annually on milk importation based on figures from the CBN. The Apex Bank boss said the various collaborative efforts by the CBN and the private sector had started yielding significant results.

Source: Economic Confidential


Government identifies 45 gas flaring sites across Nigeria

The Director of the Department of Petroleum Resources, Sarki Auwalu, has revealed that government has identified 45 gas flaring sites in the country, which will be awarded to successful bidders for the commencement of the first phase of the National Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme (NGFCP). The programme is intended to offer gas for sale by the Federal Government through a transparent and competitive bidding process, with a structure devised to provide project bankability for the flare gas buyers. According to local media This Day, Auwalu said it would take 60 days for the government to evaluate proposals of the bidders based on certain criteria for the various gas flaring sites. Auwalu continued: "There are 200 bidders that have been shortlisted. Over 800 bid and we looked at the capacity, the quantity, and the quality of what they have. So, these 200 bidders are competing for about 45 flare sites for now and there are other flare sites, which are coming on board. And this is to show that investors are interested in Nigeria because of the potential." The director added that it is going to be beneficial to Nigerians and profitable to the investors in the project and at the various gas flaring sites.

Source: ESI Africa


Rwanda’s Personal Data Protection Bill due March

The long awaited bill on Personal Data Protection in Rwanda will this March be submitted to the Rwandan parliament for approval, KTPress can reliably report. According to the line ministry of ICT and innovation, the bill is currently under review at the Law Reform Commission and awaiting approval from the Prime Minister. “We will submit the bill to parliament this March and ask the lawmakers to approve it as soon as possible because of the need to protect personal data,” Paula Ingabire, the Minister of ICT and Innovation exclusively told KTPress. Currently Rwanda guarantees one’s data security with the cyber-security and personal data protection policy and established cybercrime units from Rwanda National Police and Rwanda Defense Force respectively. Ingabire explained that though other provisions for personal data protection exist, the law will come with detailed and extensive guidelines of how government and private sector is supposed to use and protect one’s data.

Source: KTPress


Rwanda to construct USD38-million powdered milk factory

Rwanda is set to construct its first powdered milk factory in a bid to boost profit for the country’s livestock sub-sector. This is after a joint venture firm owned by South African and Rwandan investors in collaboration with dairy farmers in Gicumbi District agreed to invest USD38-million towards the development. The dairy powder plant will be situated in Byumba Sector of Gicumbi District in Northern Province. Construction of the plant is expected to start by the end of 2020, and it will take a year for the factory to be completed. The planned factory being the first of its kind in Rwanda, is set to be the largest milk-processing factory in the country and will offer a major relief to the dairy farmers. According to the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the installed capacity of that factory will allow it to process 252,000 litres per day. The dairy farmers will get return of their investment through profits from milk sales which would take 5 years to settle. The factory will be owned and operated by a company called East African Dairies, a shareholding between TRIOMF East Africa and dairy farmers in Gicumbi District. TRIOMF East Africa will have 80%, while farmers will own 20% of the shares.

Source: Construction Review Online


Standard Chartered Bank, Tanzania sign facility agreement for SGR project

Tanzania's Ministry of Finance and Planning has signed a facility agreement with Standard Chartered Bank for an USD1.46-billion loan to finance the construction of the standard gauge railway (SGR) project from the commercial capital Dar es Salaam to Makutupora in the capital Dodoma. Running approximately 550km long, the SGR project is one of the country's biggest projects connecting Dodoma to Dar es Salaam via Morogoro and Makutupora, said a statement issued by the Ministry of Finance and Planning. Speaking at the event to sign off the deal, the Minister for Finance and Planning, Philip Mpango, said with the help of Standard Chartered and other partners, the project financing will further increase direct employment in Tanzania. Sanjay Rughani, Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Tanzania, said that deal signified investor confidence in the market and demonstrated Standard Chartered's international network capabilities and commitment to Tanzania. According to the Tanzania Railways Corporation, it is expected that the railway will address current congestion challenges and decrease freight service charges by 40%, as the railway will be able to haul up to 10,000 tonnes of freight, equivalent to 500 lorries per trip, said the statement.

Source: Xinhua


Tanzania’s revival carries on as it raises USD272-million to build an international airport in Dodoma

Tanzania has secured USD272-million to build an international airport in its capital city, Dodoma. The loan, which came from the African Development Bank (AfDB), will see the East African country expand its infrastructure. The funding consists of a USD198-million loan from the AfDB, and USD23.52-million from the African Development Fund. The balance of USD50-million is being co-financed by China’s Africa Growing Together Fund, which is under the management of the AfDB. Tanzania is one of the poorest-performing economies in the continent. Nevertheless, the country has sustained a relatively high economic growth over the last decade, averaging 6% to 7% a year. The new airport will be built in Msalato, which lies roughly 12km from Dodoma. The facility is expected to handle 1 million passengers yearly. It will take approximately four years to complete, during which a passenger terminal, runway and related infrastructure. “An expanded air transport network in Dodoma, together with the ongoing high-speed railway construction on the central corridor, are necessary infrastructure investments to help unlock and disperse spatial development in the countryside. This will strengthen the city’s potential as a strategic growth pole in keeping with Tanzania’ national development aspirations of fostering shared growth for all the regions,” said Amadou Oumarou, AfDB’s infrastructure and urban development department director.

Source: WeeTracker


Tanzanian oil, gas firms set strategies to boost investment

Oil and gas companies in upstream midstream downstream and oil marketers have agreed on strategies to enhance the oil and gas sector’s contribution and investments in the country. The stakeholders reached the consensus during the meeting that was lead by ATOGS Chairman, Mr Abdulsamad Abdulrahim. ATOGS requested TPSF to consolidate all issues from members of the cluster to ensure a common voice is in place when championing sectoral reforms. The chairman established a steering committee under the oil and gas cluster that will come up with a summary of all challenges, recommendations and issues affecting the oil and gas sector and business communities, which is to be presented in this engagement. According to the chairman, the objective of the meeting was to bring together all oil and gas stakeholders to discuss specific issues and strategies; address challenges that they are facing in doing business; and discuss areas where reforms should be prioritised.

Source: Daily News