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issue 368 | 06 Sep 2020

Africa Business in Brief

 


Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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

Africa: Shell has granted USD1.7-million to six companies providing electricity in India, Kenya, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Uganda to support customers in financial difficulty because of the pandemic. Shell’s grants to d.light, PowerGen, Husk Power Systems, Orb Energy and SolarNow will help their customers pay for electricity for up to six months, and contribute to the installation of solar power systems in hospitals and schools. Shell is a minority investor in these companies. The grants will also support customers of RVE.SOL, a company that Shell partners with to deliver social investment programs providing access to energy in east Africa. “Working jointly with our partners, we want to help families, communities and businesses keep the lights on and mitigate the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on their lives,” said Ben van Beurden, chief executive officer of Royal Dutch Shell.

Source: Petroleum Africa

Africa: The Inter-African Coffee Organization (IACO) said it has jointly launched a USD14.3-million intervention program to alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on the continent's coffee sector. IACO said it has teamed up with the International Coffee Organization (ICO) and the Center for Agriculture and Biosciences International (CABI) to design an emergency intervention program to ease the pain caused by the pandemic on the sector. The initiative aims to alleviate market disruptions, food, nutrition, and income security challenges facing millions of smallholder coffee farmers across 11 countries for an initial three-year period, IACO secretary-general Fred Kawuma said in a statement.

Source: Xinhua

Côte d'Ivoire / Ghana: Emirates has announced it will resume flights to Accra, Ghana and Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire from 6 September. The addition of these two destinations takes the total number of points served by Emirates in Africa to 11. According to a press release issued by the airline, this will take the airline's passenger network to 81 destinations in September, offering customers around the world even more connections to Dubai, and via Dubai, as the airline safely and gradually resumes passenger operations to meet passenger demand. Flights from Dubai to Accra and Abidjan will be linked services, operating three times a week.

Source: Emirates News Agency, WAM

Kenya: Kenya Airways plans to increase cargo flights to China from once to twice a week beginning 1 October, an official said. Peter Musola, cargo commercial manager of Kenya Airways told journalists in Nairobi that it will seek to deploy two freighters between Kenya and China in order to meet growing import demand as the east African nation's economy recovers following the easing of restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19. Musola said that the bulk of Kenya's exports consist of live crabs and flowers to China while it imports personal protective equipment (PPE). Musola added that it will soon convert two passenger 787 dreamliner aircraft into cargo planes to boost revenues as passenger traffic remains subdued to the current global travel advisories. He added that the airline has also developed a strategy to acquire three wide body freighters in early 2021 in order to boost cargo revenues.

Source: Xinhua

Namibia: Namibia on Thursday, 3 September launched an interactive COVID-19 data hub to generate and timely display the accurate population and infrastructure data that can support the government's response and prevention measures. The hub also visualises health risks such as diabetes and heart disease by region, COVID-19 risk, and general demographics. The initiative is headed by the Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) together with the Ministry of Health and Social Services, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Environmental Systems Research Institute, Global Partner for Sustainable Development Data, and the Geo-referenced Infrastructure and Demographic Data for Development.

Source: Xinhua

Rwanda: The City of Kigali has announced tough penalties that include fines and detention for non-compliance of directives meant to curb the spread of COVID-19. According to the document, every resident, service provider, public and private institutions in Kigali will be punished if they violate the guidelines. Traders and service providers who refuse digital payment will be charged a RWF25,000 fine and a possible closure of the business until the required payment model is in place. Failure to wear or incorrectly wearing a face mask will result in a fine of RWF10,000 and 24-hour detention in reserved space. Here, the violator will be educated on the measures to prevent COVID-19 infections. For institutions, if the number of workers exceeds the 50% recommended by the government guidelines, a fine of RWF150,000 will be paid. The institution may also be required to close until the effort is enforced. A fine of RWF50,000 will be paid by any person leaving or entering an area placed under lockdown without a permit. The heaviest penalty involving a fine of up to RWF1-million will be subjected to any owner of a construction site guilty of violating the City of Kigali directives guiding COVID-19 prevention established on 4 May 2020. All penalties will be doubled in cases where the offence is repeated a second time. A person who violates the guidelines more than twice will be prosecuted in courts of law, according to the document.

Source: The New Times

Tanzania: Tanzania's resilience to COVID-19 is now paying off after three major airlines increased their flight frequencies to the country. Ethiopian Airlines becomes the first among the three to increase its frequency to 14 flights a week, from the initial four landing and departures from Tanzania. Other major airlines according to Ms Mwakatobe, include the KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, which added a number of its flights from one to four a week, while Qatar Airways increased its flights from two to 14 a week.

Source: Tanzania Daily News

Uganda: The COVID-19 National Taskforce headed by Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda has proposed the reopening of Entebbe International Airport, borders, places of worship and universities for final year medical students. The taskforce recommended that Entebbe airport and borders should reopen on 1 October. The Taskforce said COVID-19 regulations should be strictly enforced in Kampala with penalties, which include community work and fines to those who defy the guidelines.

Source: Daily Monitor

Uganda: Traders in the region face higher transport costs as the Ugandan government starts charging truck drivers for COVID-19 tests. Effective 1 September, truck drivers have to part with USD65 (UGX7,039) to get tested for COVID-19, a move that will push up the already high cost of transport and doing business in the region. The Ugandan government has reversed its earlier decision for free testing of truck drivers and facilitation of the movement of goods.

Source: The Star

Zimbabwe: Work on the Hwange Power Station expansion to add two units with combined output of 600 MW, has reached 48% completion, but has fallen behind the second quarter target of 57% due to global travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 has had serious implications on the project’s progress as personnel cannot travel to or from China for manufacturing and procurement of equipment. Chinese electrical power systems specialists, Sinohydro, are undertaking the installation of the two 300 MW power generators.

Source: The Herald

Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe has begun preparing for a gradual resumption of domestic flights, as daily COVID-19 cases have been on a decline over the past few weeks. "The plan is to start with the resumption of domestic flights and then move to international flights," Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said at a post-cabinet media briefing. "Government is finalising modalities for the reopening of airports to support the resumption of the tourism sector," Mutsvangwa added.

Source: Xinhua

Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe has fully reopened its tourism sector after five months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Environment, climate, tourism and hospitality industry minister, Mangaliso Ndlovu announced the development at a press conference on Thursday, 3 September. He said the decision to fully reopen the sector, one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, was meant to forestall further job cuts and revenue losses in one of the country's important sectors of the economy. The minister, however, emphasised the need for the sector to continue to fully observe COVID-19 health and safety regulations, in order to minimise the spread of the disease. "I am therefore, pleased to announce that following cabinet approval, all tourism activities can now resume operations," he said.

Source: Xinhua

Angola

Angola approves new exploration strategy

The Council of Ministers has approved a revised hydrocarbon exploration strategy in Angola that will take effect until 2025. Approved at the 8th Ordinary Session chaired by President João Lourenço, the strategy seeks to stabilise oil production and expand recoverable reserves by intensifying hydrocarbon exploration activities through the evaluation of Angola’s sedimentary basins and unconventional reserves. The strategy aims to guarantee a baseline production of over one million barrels per day by 2040 and the discovery of 17.5 billion to 27 billion cubic feet of gas. The strategy is also aligned with local content development within the sector, with the objective of regulating the transfer of technology and knowledge; the recruitment and training of Angolan human capital, and the acquisition of locally produced goods and services as a means to support Angolan businesses and promote economic development.

Source: Africa Oil & Power

Angola

Angola launches marginal fields tender

Angola’s National Agency of Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels (ANPG) launched a limited public tender by previous qualification for the development of marginal fields. Open to foreign entities, the deadline for submission is 30 September, and successful companies will have six months as the term of execution of the contract. Without the requirement of a provisional bound, the terms of the tender are considered fiscally attractive. Under the terms of Angola’s Law of Public Contracts (Law No. 9/16), the tender dossiers will be provided by email and by payment of AOA250,000 in a single treasury account. The launch of the tender follows the ANPG’s recent approval of a new hydrocarbon exploration strategy, which targets heightened exploration of frontier basins and unconventional reserves to boost production through 2025.

Source: Africa Oil & Power

Angola

Angola to join oil and extractives transparency group

Angola plans to join the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), an international effort to fight corruption in revenues from oil, gas and mineral extraction. Tete Antonio, Angola’s minister of Foreign Affairs, said Angola “has clearly demonstrated its commitment to promote the open and accountable management of its natural resources for the benefit of its people.” EITI, formed in 2003, has more than 50 implementing countries. Africa’s second-largest oil exporter is also working to stem a steady decline in oil output due to a lack of investment.

Source: Reuters

Angola

ANPG announces new tenders

Angola’s National Agency of Petroleum, Gas and Biofuels (ANPG) has announced a new tenders for a range of services to its petroleum sector. One such tender, Public Tender No. 14, calls for the acquisition of consultancy services for the identification and optimisation of candidates for mature fields via benchmarking. This tender was followed by Public Tender Announcement No. 09/anpg-daf/2020 for the acquisition of goods and services to expand the national exploration and production data repository (RNDEP).

Source: Petroleum Africa

Botswana

Energy ministry strives for self-reliance

One of the key energy sector deliverables for National Development Plan (NDP) 11 is increasing self-reliance on the country’s energy resources and sources, minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Mr Lefhoko Moagi has said. When presenting the Ministry’s NDP11 Mid-Term Review in Parliament, Mr Moagi said Botswana was looking into increasing diversification and supporting the development of the economy by securing competitive, cost-effective and sustainable electricity. In this regard, Mr Moagi indicated that the country had developed a 20-year Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for the power sector. Minister Moagi said the IRP determined the most efficient, least-cost and environmentally friendly energy generation and supply. Meanwhile the minister said through the Botswana Power Corporation (BPC), the ministry had been implementing initiatives to address concerns raised by the Global Competitiveness report, in particular getting electricity. He indicated that BPC had put in place initiatives to improve the turnaround times for issuing quotations. For commercial customers, BPC was working on reducing the burden to small businesses by reviewing the security requirements and making it optional for large businesses to procure construction materials in line with the BPC standards.

Source: Botswana Daily News

Gabon

Dibwangui achieves global good practice in ESG assessment

The Dibwangui hydropower project in Gabon has been rated as an example of international good practice in sustainability design and planning, following an independent assessment. Plans for the 15 MW plant in the central African country achieved recognised good practice across 11 environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance criteria examined in the study. When completed, the hydroelectric plant in Ngounié province will power the country’s south-west region and support local rural communities currently without electricity. The Dibwangui project is being developed by Louetsi Hydro, a special purpose vehicle of Eranove Group and the Gabonese Strategic Investment Fund (FGIS). The assessment was undertaken using the Hydropower Sustainability ESG Gap Analysis Tool, an innovative new tool which identifies and addresses any gaps against good practice. Assessment criteria include environmental and social management, community impacts, biodiversity, climate change, labour conditions, and communications and consultation. This is the first time a project in Africa has published an assessment using the tool, which was developed by the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Council, a group of civil society, governments, industry and financial institutions, together with the International Hydropower Association (IHA).

Source: International Hydropower Association

Gabon

IFC to provide partial funding for Gabon’s Kinguélé hydroelectric dam

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) will grant a USD51.5-million loan to Asonha Energie for the development of the Kinguélé hydroelectric dam in Gabon, representing one third of the total USD154.4-million required for its construction. Asonha Energie is a joint venture between the Gabonese Fund for Strategic Investments (60%) and Meridiam (40%), a French private equity fund specialising in infrastructure. The Kinguélé hydroelectric project involves the construction of a hydroelectric power station with an installed capacity of 57.9 MW and a production capacity of 400 GWh. Its installation is planned on the M’Bei (Kango) river, 90 km from the capital Libreville, downstream of the two existing hydroelectric power stations of Tchimbélé and Kinguélé, with a total capacity of 120 MW. The project seeks to strengthen the interconnected network of Libreville.

Source: Africa Oil & Power

Ghana

Ghana needs USD3-billion worth of investments to boost aviation sector - Kofi Adda

Government is seeking an amount between USD2-billion to USD3-billion worth of investments that will go towards infrastructure expansion works of the nation’s airports. The investment, according to the aviation minister, is geared towards government’s resolve in setting Ghana as an aviation hub in West Africa. Joseph Kofi Adda, speaking in an interview with GhanaWeb on Monday, 31 August 2020, said the investment, when available, will also create major employment avenues in the aviation sector. “It is billions of dollars. It all depends on the areas that they pick. But if you look at it cumulatively, we are talking about between two to three billion dollars if we are really going to make Ghana an aviation hub…but it will take time and we don’t have the money,” the minister explained. The minister also reaffirmed that there will be no privatisation or sale of infrastructure of the Kotoka International Airport (KIA). He stated suggestions of a privatisation must be refuted as the airport company currently has no management contract in place to allow a private company to control the activities of the KIA. Additionally, the minister disclosed an amount of USD40-million is needed to revamp the runway of Ghana’s maiden airport, the Kotoka International Airport.

Source: GhanaWeb

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 will be allowed to associate. However, a firm may 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. There will be an online pre-bid Zoom meeting on 9 September 2020 at 10:00 East African Standard Time.

Source: ESI Africa

Kenya

Kenya launches platform to boost agribusiness

Kenya on Wednesday, 2 September, launched the first Agribusiness Partnership Platform Framework (CAP-F) to streamline engagement with the private sector. Peter Munya, cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives said the framework will facilitate private sector investments in the agricultural value chains. "We want to ensure that all relevant stakeholders ranging from national and county governments, large and small scale private sector players, development partners and civil society are involved in the framework," Munya said during a virtual forum in Nairobi. He said that CAP-F is being integrated within the country's Agricultural Transformation and Growth Strategy (ASTGS) plan. Munya said the government recognises the need for collaborative partnerships in the CAP-F and has identified the Agriculture Transformation Office (ATO) as the coordinating mechanism for the initiative. He said that Kenya has developed ASTGS, a ten-year plan to guide the agricultural sector towards achieving its objectives for the CAADP-Malabo Commitments, Sustainable Development Goals, Vision 2030 and the Big Four Agenda.

Source: Xinhua

Kenya

Kenya ranks at 115 out of 152 in the Competitive Index Report

Kenya has ranked position 115 out of 152 in the Competitive Industrial Performance (CIP) Index Report, 2020. This rank puts the country lower than other competitor African countries but high compared to its East African counterparts. Egypt and South Africa rank at position 64 and 52 respectively whereas Tanzania ranks at position 123 and Uganda at 128. The Report benchmarks the ability of countries to produce and export manufactured goods competitively. It provides a yardstick against which Kenya can compare its manufacturing competitiveness on a global level. Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) chairman, Mucai Kunyiha highlighted that Kenya’s competitive performance needs to be improved to spur productivity, growth and development. He further noted that though Kenya continues to progress in the Ease of doing Business Index, there is need to look into our ability to sustainably produce goods and services.

Source: Capital FM

Kenya

KES12-billion allocated to turn around Blue Economy

The government has set aside KES12-billion to boost the Blue Economy industry in the country. From the total amount, Agriculture and Fisheries secretary, Peter Munya said at least KES5-billion will be spent on upgrading fisheries facilities and reclaim landing sites. Mr Munya said landing sites that were grabbed by private developers will be among those which will be reclaimed. Those that are in a bad state will be upgraded by improving their infrastructure. “The government is in the process of reclaiming all landing sites that had been grabbed from the public and made private,” said Mr Munya in Kilifi County after inspecting Malindi fisheries where the county is setting up a boat making yard while the national government is building a mega cold storage facility.

Source: Business Daily

Mozambique

Mozambique's first wind project enters construction – report

A wind farm with a capacity of 120 MW is currently being built in Mozambique’s southern province of Maputo, state broadcaster Radio Mocambique (RM) reported. Project manager Pedro Coutinho told the radio that the Namaacha wind project, which is the country’s first, will feed electricity to the grid operated by Electricidade de Mocambique (EDM). The total cost of the project is estimated to be USD280-million. The wind farm is expected to be up and running in three years. During its construction, more than 700 people will be employed. In March 2018, the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) announced it was supporting developer eleQtra (Mocambique) Ltd in conducting a feasibility study for a project of the same size in Namaacha district.

Source: Renewables Now

Niger

Construction of the Gorou Banda PV solar plant will finally begin

In Niger, construction work on a photovoltaic solar power plant south of Niamey on the site of the Gorou Banda thermal power plant will begin, around two years after the official launch of the project. The Council of Ministers of Niger has just adopted a bill, which declares the clean energy project "public utility". The solar park will have a capacity of between 30 MWp and 60 MWp. On 26 August 2020, Niger’s Council of Ministers adopted a draft law that allows the re-launch of the project to build a photovoltaic solar power plant south of Niamey, the country’s capital. The document states that “the construction operations of a photovoltaic solar power plant on the site of the thermal power plant (100 MW) of Gorou Banda will serve the interests of all Nigeriens”, thus resolving the problem of choosing a suitable site. The future solar park, initially planned to supply 20 MWp to the electricity network of this west African country, “will eventually have a capacity of between 30 MWp and 60 MWp”, the Nigerien authorities pointed out.

Source: AFRIK 21

Nigeria

NITDA plans Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics

In an effort to achieve a robust digital economy, the National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA) is set to establish a Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics in Nigeria (CFAIR). The DG NITDA, Kashifu Abdullahi, said the proposed state-of-the-art facility is for emerging technologies in the areas of networking, research development, information, and communication security. He said, “We need to look at the educational sector and focus more on skills and research that can be used to develop the economy. People should not see education as the end but means to the end. We need to look for ways to disabuse people’s minds on paper qualification and inculcate in them those skills required for the imminent industrial revolution and also focus more on science and technology.”

Source: The Premium Times, Nigeria