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issue 367 | 30 Aug 2020

Africa Business in Brief

 


Coronavirus (COVID-19)

A non-exhaustive list of recent measures aimed at curbing the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19)

World: The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has issued a new 10-year US dollar global benchmark bond, raising USD1-billion to assist emerging economies recover from the COVID-19 health and economic crisis. The 10-year benchmark pays a semi-annual coupon of 0.75%, priced with a spread of +18 basis points to mid-swaps, equivalent to +17 basis points over the corresponding US Treasury note of 0.625% due August 2030. Joint lead managers for this transaction were Citi, HSBC, J.P. Morgan and Nomura. “As the world continues to reel from the tragedy of the COVID-19 crisis, IFC is dedicated to supporting the private sector in emerging economies as they deal with the health and socio-economic effects of the pandemic,” said IFC Vice President and Treasurer John Gandolfo. “This issuance, which drew interest from over 40 investors around the globe, will support our work with clients and partners during these challenging times.”

Source: IFC

Africa: The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), a specialised healthcare agency of the African Union (AU) Commission, disclosed that some 20 African countries are still under "full border closure," as most African Union (AU) member countries have imposed mandatory quarantine for all travellers arriving from high risk areas.

Source: Xinhua

Africa: The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), jointly with International Economics Consulting Ltd, released the report of the second comprehensive survey on the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact across Africa. The online survey was conducted from 16 June to 20 July to provide insights into the effects of the pandemic on economic activity for businesses across Africa, identifying the challenges they face as well as their responses. The results of the survey show that the top three challenges faced by companies are: reduced opportunities to meet new customers; drop in demand; and lack of cash flow. Companies have faced serious disruptions in both supply and market due to COVID-19, with unfair pricing seen as a major concern. One of the main takeaways from this survey is the very positive fact that two-thirds of the surveyed companies indicated that they have identified new opportunities in response to the crisis. Those opportunities attest to a clear shift towards new technologies, particularly the development of online platforms for e-commerce.

Source: ECA

The Gambia: President Adama Barrow, on Thursday, 27 August declared a State of Public Emergency for 21 days. The Public Health (Dangerous Infectious Diseases) Protection Regulations, 2020 and Emergency Powers Regulations published in the Gazette on 5 August 2020, shall continue to operate throughout the period of this State of Public Emergency. A curfew from 22:00 to 05:00 daily remains in place throughout The Gambia.

Source: Foroyaa

Ghana: As part of preparations towards the opening of the Kotoka International Airport for the resumption of international airline operations, arriving passengers will be required to take a PCR test at any of the over 70 sampling collection booths set-up at the upper level of the arrival hall. A state-of-the-art laboratory, which is being set-up at the upper level of the arrival hall to process the samples, will transmit the results electronically to the port health stations in the main arrival hall before a passenger gets there. All passengers with negative PCR tests will then be cleared by port health authorities to proceed to the immigration counter and admitted into Ghana. Passengers with positive PCR tests will be handed over by port health authorities to health professionals stationed at the facility to be transported to treatment or isolation centres.

Source: GhanaWeb

Kenya: President Uhuru Kenyatta has extended nationwide curfew by another 30 days even as he noted a decrease in COVID-19 infections in the country. Currently, the curfew runs from 21:00 to 04:00 daily.

Source: The Standard

Nigeria: Nigerian Government has postponed the resumption of international flights earlier scheduled to commence between 29 August and 5 September. The director-general of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Musa Shuaibu Nuhu, disclosed this at the ongoing Presidential Task Force COVID-19 briefing in Abuja. Nuhu said airlines and airports were ready to operate, other non-aviation logistics prompted the one-week extension. “In due course, we will be announcing the protocols for the resumptions and we will be giving further details,” he said.

Source: The Guardian

Rwanda: The cabinet meeting convened on Wednesday, 26 August has prohibited public transport between the capital Kigali and other districts of the country. Chaired by President Paul Kagame, the cabinet strengthened measures to prevent COVID-19 in several areas, where, among others, it was decided that the curfew hours should start earlier, from 19:00 to 05:00 compared to 21:00 to 05:00 previously. Businesses will also remain operational in line with health guidelines. It has been indicated that in public service, only 30% can work from the office, while in the private sector, 50% can work from the office. Land borders are still closed with exception to cargo and returning citizen and legal residents who will have to be put into quarantine at their own cost. Passengers arriving at Kigali International airport must also present a COVID-19 PCR test taken within 120 hours prior to departure and should comply with health guidelines.

Source: KT Press

Zambia: Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ) has launched a ZMW112-million relief package to cushion the impact of COVID-19 on its clients with minister of Finance, Dr Bwalya Ng’andu urging financial institutions to devise strategies to reduce strain on businesses. Under the COVID-19 relief package, DBZ’s clients, mainly enterprises in various sectors of the economy, which will benefit from the initiative, will only need to service their principal repayment obligations during the relief period. The package will also give existing clients an opportunity to continue settling their debts without the burden of servicing the interest component.

Source: Zambia Daily Mail

Angola

ANPG opens tender for environmental inspections of oil facilities

Angola’s National Agency of Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels (ANPG) has announced that it has opened Public Tender No. 02 for the acquisition of consulting services for conducting safety and environmental inspections of oil installations. The tender is open to both domestic and foreign entities. The contract performance period is 12 months. The most economically advantageous proposal according to the criteria indicated in the procedure documents will be considered. Companies may obtain the procedures and terms for the tender process by e-mail at the request of the competitor. The deadline for the submission of proposal is 11 September 2020.

Source: Petroleum Africa

Angola

Work begins resuming offshore Angola

Angola’s National Agency of Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels (ANPG) has issued a public call for tender on the expansion of the national exploration and production data repository on 27 August 2020. Work on this will run for 12 months. The deadline for submissions is 18 September 2020. ANPG has also set out a tender for consultancy services to identify and optimise mature fields. This will run for six months with bids due by 21 September 2020. The first tender is not open to foreign companies, but the second is.

Source: Energy Voice

Ethiopia

Ethiopia accedes to Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards

With its accession to the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (also commonly known as the New York Convention), effected on 24 August 2020, Ethiopia becomes the 165th state party to the Convention. The Convention will enter into force for Ethiopia on 22 November 2020. The New York Convention is widely recognised as a foundation instrument of international arbitration and requires courts of contracting states to give effect to an agreement to arbitrate when seized of an action in a matter covered by an arbitration agreement and to recognise and enforce awards made in other states, subject to specific limited exceptions.

Source: United Nations Commission on International Trade Law and NewYorkConvention.org

Ethiopia

Nation to begin its first ever PPP program by constructing solar projects soon

Ethiopia has finalised preparations to commence the first phase of a public-private partnership (PPP) program by launching the construction of two solar projects in the coming two months, the Ministry of Finance disclosed. In an exclusive interview with ENA, director-general Tilahun Tadesse said the country kicked off its first ever public-private partnership (PPP) program by approving 17 projects based on the detailed identification of the first phase of the program. Out of the approved projects, eight are solar, five hydropower, and the rest road projects. “In this first phase of the project, two of the solar projects will be built in Afar and Somali regional states as soon as they have passed all the required processes,” he added. For the second phase of PPP program, eight projects are identified. Of these, five are wind powered energy projects and the others logistics, housing development and health.

Source: ENA

Ghana

Government unveils Business Regulatory Reforms Portal to improve dialogue

Mr Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, the minister of Trade and Industry, unveiled the Ghana Business Regulatory Reforms Portal to provide information on business related laws and regulations for prompt decision-making. The Portal is an electronic registry with about 5,000 business laws and regulations uploaded onto it, which can be accessed through www.brr.gov.gh. It also contains regulatory and administrative notices, directives and procedures as well as administrative fees, forms and charges. At the official launch of the Portal in Accra, Mr Kyerematen said businesses anywhere in the world could easily view and obtain business-related laws and regulations being implemented in Ghana. The online portal was developed by the Ministry of Trade and Industry with funding from the Department of International Development (DFID), a United Kingdom Government agency for administering foreign aid.

Source: GhanaWeb

Kenya

KenGen needs consultant for waste-to-energy conversion

The project for the construction of a power plant at the Dandora landfill site is taking shape. The future waste-to-energy facility will be built by Kenya Electricity Generating Company PLC (KenGen), Kenya’s largest electricity producer. On 25 August 2020, KenGen signed an agreement with the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) to launch the project. Under the terms of the agreement, the NMS will make land in and around the Dandora landfill site available to KenGen in addition to solid waste. KenGen is seeking a consultant to determine the viability of the project site. Interested companies must apply by 15 September 2020. In addition to power generation, the establishment of a waste-to-energy plant in Dandora will enable KenGen to further diversify its services in the East African sub-region. The company currently supplies electricity generated from hydroelectric, thermal and geothermal sources.

Source: AFRIK 21

Kenya

KenGen – experts required for Olkaria I rehabilitation project

Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) invites proposals for the provision of consultancy services for implementation of the Olkaria I Units 1, 2 and 3 Rehabilitation Geothermal Power Project. The Request for Proposals (RFP) is open to all competent bidders. Firms may submit their proposal in association with other competent firms. A maximum of three firms shall be allowed to associate. However, a firm shall not appear in association with two or more different bids. A bidder will be selected under quality and cost based selection and the procedures described in the RFP. Tender proposals must be submitted on or before 30 September 2020 at 10:00 East African Standard Time.

Source: ESI Africa

Kenya

Kenya becomes first country to be awarded 'Safer Tourism Seal'

Kenya is the first country globally to be awarded the recommended status of the “Safer Tourism Seal” by Rebuilding Travel. The cabinet secretary for Tourism and Wildlife, Najib Balala was presented with the award in a virtual event that was attended by global tourism leaders under the Rebuilding Travel umbrella, a global pro-tourism industry group composed of members of tourism boards, ministers of tourism, professional associations, industry stakeholders, researchers and academics, as well as travellers. Speaking after receiving the recognition, CS Balala said that the award is testimony to Kenya’s continued efforts to ensure travellers’ safety following the global COVID-19 Pandemic. The Safer Tourism Seal recognition will be up for renewal in 2022 if the destination will have then met the “tourism surety” requirements.

Source: Africa Business Communities

Kenya

State now seeks handover of Galana Kulalu to private investors

Agriculture cabinet secretary, Peter Munya has said the Galana Kulalu Irrigation scheme is now ready for opening up to private investors for large scale production, becoming the latest high ranking government official to endorse the project. Mr Munya said that he was so far impressed with the progress of the work done at the scheme in the first phase of the model farm, which was to cover 10,000 acres. “The project is now ready for the next phase of opening it up to private investors after having successfully realised the objectives of the pilot phase as the government strives to achieve the Big4 agenda targets,” said Mr Munya. Mr Munya said the government will not engage in the business of farming and that the project will be left in the hands of private entities. The latest endorsement of a project that has widely been labelled as a failure, comes three months after the parliamentary committee on water said it would approve more funds for the project. Galana project was supposed to have been opened up for large scale production by now as the model farm, which is a demonstration block that covers 10,000 acres was to be completed by 2018. About 7,000 acres have been cultivated to date with 3,000 acres put under crop last year.

Source: Business Daily

Mozambique

Total confirms security investment for Mozambique LNG

Following recent reports that Total and the Government of Mozambique had entered into a deal regarding the security of the multi-billion dollar LNG project in the country, Total E&P Mozambique Area 1, operator of the Mozambique LNG project, announced that it has signed a new Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Mozambique regarding the security of Mozambique LNG project activities. This new Memorandum of Understanding provides that a Joint Task Force shall ensure the security of Mozambique LNG project activities in Afungi site and across the broader area of operations of the project. Mozambique LNG shall provide logistical support to the Joint Task Force. The Government of Mozambique is committed to ensuring that the Joint Task Force personnel shall act according to the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights (VPSHR).

Source: Petroleum Africa

Mozambique

Mozambique in no hurry to launch sixth licensing round, says minister

The government is in no hurry to launch the country’s sixth oil and gas exploration licensing round, the minister of Mineral Resources and Energy (MIREME), Max Tonela told the public broadcaster, TVM. “There is no activity in this regard,” he said. “We must first look at our regulations and see what can be improved in order to allow a better optimization or maximization of these resources for Mozambique.” The government should launch the new auction before 2024 – which is when its latest five-year plan ends – once it has updated upstream legislation, particularly around how oil and gas profiles are shared between the operators and the state, a ration known as the ‘R-factor’, he said. Petroleum regulator, INP, is currently defining how the new licensing blocks should be delineated and which blocks should be put up for auction, based on these discussions and the regulator’s data. The areas will be submitted to MIREME for approval, after which INP will start laying out the terms of reference for the auction.
 
Source: Zitamar News

Mozambique

Bank of Mozambique introduces NUIB, all bank customers to have a Single Bank Identification Number

The Bank of Mozambique has decided to create a Single Bank Identification Number (NUIB), as part of efforts to make the National Payment System more modern, robust and secure. According to the administrator of the Financial Stability Department, Gertrudes Tovela, any customer who wants to hold a bank account or establish a business relationship with a specific credit institution or financial society (ICSF) will have to have one of these numbers. The NUIB will be made available by the Bank of Mozambique, and can only be consulted by the ICSF with the client’s permission. The introduction of the NUIB is expected to improve processes related to the Central Credit Registries, the Register of Issuers of Checks without Provision and other public administration systems, with all the advantages of the “Know Your Customer” (KYC) paradigm.

Source: Club of Mozambique

Nigeria

NSE upgrades X-Whistle to strengthen investor protection

The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has upgraded its X-Whistle, a web-based whistleblowing portal that empowers a whistleblower - an employee, investor, compliance officer, Issuer, stockbroker or any member of the public – to report possible violations of the rules and regulations of the NSE and the securities law. The upgraded X-Whistle boasts an improved user interface and easier navigation to enhance user experience. Some of the new features include a single repository for complaints, tips, and referrals, and the ability to generate detailed and varied reports with analytics for proper tracking. NSE Chief Executive Officer, Mr Oscar Onyema said: “This upgrade affirms our commitment to upholding market integrity, protecting investors and building a world-class capital market that is fully digitized. The X-Whistle has, therefore, been enhanced to ensure that all stakeholders are better able to sound the alarm on market violations in a quick, easy, and seamless manner. We believe that the updates we have made to the X-Whistle will enhance market integrity and encourage accountability while improving the experience of stakeholders in our market.”

Source: Africa Business Communities

Nigeria

Government calls for tenders on several solar mini grids projects

The federal government of Nigeria has recently issued a call for proposals for the selection of several companies to build off-grid solar power plants in the country. The Nigerian authorities intend to rely on solar off-grid as part of their electrification policy, as indicated by the call for expressions of interest that has recently been issued by the Federal Ministry of Energy. It targets off-grid suppliers who will submit bids for the construction of several facilities in different states of Nigeria. Also as part of the off-grid electrification project, the Nigerian Ministry of Energy is planning to build several green power mini grids of 40 kW in Benue State, 50 kW in Pakau, Kaduna State and 60 kW in Torankawa, Sokoto State. The tender also includes the selection of companies for the supply and installation of solar street lamps in various localities. Companies will also be selected to install electrical transformers in the Bauchi, Edo and Kogi States. The Nigerian Ministry of Energy also wants to select consultants for the development of the various projects.

Source: AFRIK 21

Nigeria

CBN resumes forex sales to BDCs on Monday

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced that the gradual sale of foreign exchange (forex) to licensed Bureau De Change (BDC) operators would resume from Monday, 31 August 2020. CBN, in a circular dated 27 August 2020, and addressed to all authorised dealers, BDC operators and members of the public, which was signed by its director, Trade and Exchange Department, Dr Ozoemena Nnaji, said the resumption of forex sales was part of efforts to enhance accessibility of the greenback, particularly to travellers following the announcement of the limited resumption of international flights. Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) said the resumption of international flights had been shifted to 5 September. In another circular, obtained from its website, CBN reviewed its guidelines for the licensing and regulation of Payment Service Banks (PSBs). In the circular signed by director, Financial Policy and Regulation, Kevin Amugo, which was dated 27 August 2020, the apex bank pegged the minimum capital requirement for PSBs at NGN5-billion. They are also expected to deposit a non-refundable application fee of NGN500,000. According to CBN, International Money Transfer Service Operators (IMTSOs) are expected to sell their dollar proceeds to banks at NGN382/USD1; while the banks are to sell to CBN at NGN383/USD1. Also, the rate CBN would sell to BDCs was fixed at NGN384/USD1 and BDCs are to sell to end-users at not more than NGN386/USD1.

Source: This Day

Rwanda

Five highlights in Rwanda’s new investment code

A recent extraordinary cabinet meeting approved a draft law relating to investment promotion and facilitation which highlights a number of incentives for investors joining different productive sectors in the country, including Kigali International Finance Centre. The Rwanda Finance Limited led in the development of the incentives for the Finance Centre. The adjustment in the investment code which was preceded by two previous ones, 2005 and 2015, is also aimed at attuning the ecosystem to the latest global trends and aligning it with national objectives. Five key highlights of the draw law include: support to key priority sectors; reducing operational costs for firms; talent attraction incentives; incentives to support innovation and diversification of firms; and flexibility to adapt to the evolving priorities and new information. The investment code development process involved assessment of sector needs as well as consultation with stakeholders such as the Rwanda Bankers Association, the Capital Market Authority, the Central Bank, the Private Sector Federation, and the Rwanda Development Board.

Source: The New Times

Rwanda

Fitch Ratings affirms Rwanda’s credit standing as stable

International credit rating agency, Fitch Rating has rated Rwanda’s creditworthiness at B+ with a stable outlook. In its latest release, the agency noted a stable macroeconomic performance, marked by high potential growth and relatively low inflation prior to the COVID-19 shock and underpinned by strong governance and a conducive business environment. The COVID-19 pandemic was found to have dented the economic landscape in ways such as current account deficits, growing debt and reduced income. The agency further observed that a return to strong GDP growth consistent with stabilising debt will enable Rwanda to absorb the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on its creditworthiness at the ‘B+’ level. Current debt remains stable as most is concessional giving the country room to borrow more in the coming months to cover the fiscal deficit. “We expect the government to be able to comfortably cover the fiscal deficit primarily through foreign borrowing mostly on concessional terms, as has been the case in the past. More than 80% of Rwanda's debt was owed to multilateral and bilateral creditors at end-2019, chiefly to the World Bank, and as a result government interest/revenue and maturities/GDP are much lower,” the report noted.

Source: The New Times

Zambia

Procurement Bill 2020 to enhance legal framework in respect of public debt and expenditure

The Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD) commends the decision by cabinet to approve the publication and introduction of the Public Procurement Bill, 2020 in the next Parliamentary sitting. In a Press Statement issued by the chief government spokesperson, Honourable Dora Siliya on the decisions made by cabinet at the 17th Cabinet Meeting held at State House on 23 July 2020, it was announced that the Procurement Bill has been approved for publication and introduction in Parliament during the next sitting. If passed into legislation, the Procurement Bill will repeal and replace the existing Public Procurement Act No. 12 of 2008. This, according to the Press Statement has been necessitated by the need to enhance legislation on public procurement by including provisions that will strengthen enforcement mechanisms in the regulation of procurements, while also enhancing the participation of citizens in public procurement, through the use of electronic systems in the process.

Source: Lusakatimes