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Africa Business in Brief

 

issue 407 | 04 Jul 2021

World

Global economy could lose over USD4-trillion due to COVID-19 impact on tourism

The crash in international tourism due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic could cause a loss of more than USD4-trillion to the global gross domestic product (GDP) for the years 2020 and 2021, according to a United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) report published on 30 June. The estimated loss has been caused by the pandemic’s direct impact on tourism and its ripple effect on other sectors closely linked to it. The report, jointly presented with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), says international tourism and its closely linked sectors suffered an estimated loss of USD2.4-trillion in 2020 due to direct and indirect impacts of a steep drop in international tourist arrivals. A similar loss may occur this year, the report warns, noting that the tourism sector’s recovery will largely depend on the uptake of COVID-19 vaccines globally. “The world needs a global vaccination effort that will protect workers, mitigate adverse social effects and make strategic decisions regarding tourism, taking potential structural changes into account,” UNCTAD acting secretary-general Isabelle Durant said.

Source: UNCTAD

Africa

Boost for digital transformation in Africa as Huawei pens deal with ATU

The African Telecommunications Union (ATU) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with tech giant Huawei that will see African countries and organisations build capacity for information and communications technology (ICT) transformation. Under the agreement, Huawei will provide training on skills development, including reskilling and upskilling for ATU members. The MoU will also see the two organisations collaborate to support local innovation, share information on the latest trends, challenges and solutions in Africa and globally, and expand the digital economy as well as rural connectivity, in the continent, through furthering research. A 2019 report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on digital economies established that Africa and Latin America together account for less than 5% of the world’s data centres. If left unaddressed, the report concluded, divides will worsen existing income inequalities. This, coupled with the fact that in least developed countries (LDCs), only one in five people use the internet as compared with four out of five in developed countries, is part of the motivation for the Huawei-ATU partnership.

Source: ATU-UAT

Côte d’Ivoire

Côte d’Ivoire plans two new utility-sized PV solar plants

The government of Côte d’Ivoire, through the Ministry of Mines, Oil and Energy, and Côte d’Ivoire Energies (CI-Energies) have issued a Request for Prequalification (RFQ) for the design, financing, construction and operation of two grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) plants. The plants will be created on an Independent Power Producer (IPP) basis with a total installed capacity of at least 60 megawatt peak (MWp), to be developed under the World Bank Group’s Scaling Solar programme. The two solar PV plants will be located in Laboa and Touba in the Bafing region, in the western part of the country. The concession for the programme is 25 years. Interested parties should register with CI-Energies. Pre-qualification applications must be submitted on or before 10:00 GMT on 6 September 2021. Côte d’Ivoire has West Africa’s third largest electrical system. It supplies electricity to six neighbouring countries and its domestic energy demand is expected to grow by 8%.

Source: ESI Africa

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Why DRC is keen to join the EAC bloc

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) will benefit enormously by joining the East African Community (EAC). The benefits include free movement of people to the rest of the bloc and goods to the Dar es Salaam and Mombasa ports. “It would ease free movement of goods, especially the country’s eastern region,” said Peter Mathuki, the EAC’s secretary general. He made this argument on Friday, 25 June 2021 during the official launching of the EAC verification mission to the DRC on the latter’s bid to join the bloc. The launching by President Felix Tshisekedi was held at the eastern border city of Goma in the presence of officials from around the region. Once admitted, the DRC, like the rest of the partner states, would nominate nine members to the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA). It would also have to nominate judges to the East African Court of Justice (EACJ), the judicial organ of the Community. But it is from the benefits to the region that the EAC is pushing for the admission of sub-Saharan Africa’s largest country into the bloc. The DRC is seen as strategic for EAC growth due to its current trade relations and because of its vast natural resources with great potential.

Source: The Citizen

Ethiopia

Ethiopia hopes Somaliland port terminal reduces dependence on Djibouti

A new container terminal opened at Berbera port in the semi-autonomous Somaliland region is expected to be a major trade gateway for landlocked Ethiopia. It is also expected to further enhance trade relations among East African and Gulf countries. The government of Somaliland, along with the Dubai-based giant port operator, DP World, which is developing and expanding Berbera port, officially inaugurated the new terminal recently. Attending the inaugural ceremony were Ethiopian Finance minister Ahmed Shide, Ethiopian Transport minister Dagmawit Moges as well as the president of Ethiopia’s Somali region. The terminal was inaugurated after the completion of phase one of the port’s expansion project. Following the inaugural ceremony, Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi reportedly told the media that the newly built terminal will open up an economic opportunity in the East African region. "With the new terminal, along with the second phase of expansion and economic zone along the Berbera corridor, we are now firmly positioned to further develop and grow our economy through increased trade, attracting foreign direct investment and creating jobs," said President Abdi.

Source: The EastAfrican

Ghana

Industrialisation driven by clean, reliable energy in Ghana

The minister of Energy for Ghana, Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, said that the government is working to boost industrialisation through the use of clean, reliable energy systems such as nuclear and renewable energy. Speaking at a stakeholder meeting for Ghana’s Nuclear Power Programme, Prempeh said there was a consensus that nuclear formed an important part of the country’s decarbonisation journey. “While renewable energy sources are expected to continue to grow significantly, nuclear power, an important part of today’s clear energy, is also the largest source of lower-carbon electricity generation in advanced economies, providing approximately 40% of all low carbon generations,” he said. Since 2007, the various administrations in Ghana have supported the effort to improve the country’s energy security to provide leadership and resources to facilitate the nuclear power programme. As a result, Nuclear Power Ghana was formed to become the operator of Ghana’s first nuclear power plant.

Source: ESI Africa

Ghana

Standard Chartered signs ECA-backed social loan for Ghana roads

Standard Chartered has signed its first ever financing pact that has been specifically structured to comply with the recently published Social Loan Principles (SLP). The transaction, a EUR280-million export credit agency (ECA)-backed finance agreement with the Ghanaian government to support the development of a highway corridor project by a German-based firm, marks the first time a social loan has been structured not only in Ghana, but on the wider African continent, the bank says. The financing is backed by Euler Hermes, and Inzag Germany, a client of the bank, is the chosen engineering, procurement and construction contractor. Standard Chartered is acting as book-runner, mandated lead arranger, structuring bank, social loan co-ordinator, original lender and agent. Also in the syndicate are Raiffeisen Bank International, which came in as lead arranger and original lender. DZ Bank, Kommunalkredit and Nedbank joined as mandated lead arrangers and original lenders. The funding will cover a 64 kilometres intersection of the new Ghana Eastern Corridor which, when completed, will connect the country’s largest port, Tema, with the town of Kalungugu on the country’s north-eastern border with Burkina Faso.

Source: Global Trade Review

Kenya

Taxman seeks bank, financial deals of secret shareholders

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has set sights on accessing financial transactions of secret shareholders who invest in domestic firms through nominee accounts and directors for tax compliance. The taxman says the requirement for firms to reveal all shareholders by the end of the month and proposed implementation of a global convention on automatic sharing of tax information with other countries will help mitigate tax evasion amongst secret shareholders in local firms. KRA commissioner for Intelligence and Strategic Operations Terra Saidimu said the taxman will target nominee accounts held by local and international investors in a bid to expand the tax base this fiscal year where it has a revenue target of KES1.61-trillion. Treasury secretary Ukur Yatani has proposed an amendment to the Tax Procedures Act to facilitate the implementation of the Multilateral Convention for Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters (MAC) which Kenya ratified in July 2020. The convention, under the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD’s) Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information on Tax Matters, will enable the KRA to exchange data with other jurisdictions.

Source: Business Daily

Malawi

Malawi passes AfCFTA tariffs

With the passing of the 2021/22 national budget, Malawi has passed tariffs, marking the beginning of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) from 1 July 2021 in the country. Different countries started trading under the pact in January this year but Malawi waited for the passing of the national budget to actualise AfCFTA tariffs in line with the laws. The country has placed three categories: non-sensitive which will see a 50% drop in industry rates; sensitive which will see reduced duty after some time; and the third category which unless otherwise will not see reduced or removed duty. Speaking in an interview, Ministry of Trade assistant director of Trade, Diamond Chikhasu, said non-sensitive products are products which the country does not manufacture while sensitive products comprise those which the country manufactures but not in huge capacity. The third category consists of products that the country manufactures and imports are not needed. “Our tariff book has 7,800 products and out of those products, 90% are non-sensitive therefore their tariffs have dropped by 50% and these products are those that we need but we cannot produce so there is no need to maintain high duty on products that are needed but we cannot manufacture,” he said.

Source: The Times Group

Mauritius

PM: Determining step for Mauritius towards exiting the FATF list

The outcomes of the plenary of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) mark a determining step for Mauritius towards exiting the FATF list of jurisdictions under increased monitoring, highlighted Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth during a televised address on the Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation. Prime Minister Jugnauth pointed out that various measures were put in place to implement the action plan so as to strengthen the country’s anti-money laundering and combating terrorism financing (AML/CFT) system. Regarding initiatives undertaken, Prime Minister Jugnauth indicated that several virtual meetings were held with consultants and spoke of his personal engagement in chairing an inter-ministerial committee on AML/CFT to monitor the progress of the action plan as well as commended the collaboration of private stakeholders. Prime Minister Jugnauth emphasised that the FATF will conduct an onsite visit at the earliest to take stock of progress made by institutions in the country. He looks forward to the delisting of Mauritius from the grey list at FATF’s plenary scheduled for October 2021.

Source: Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office

Mozambique

Mphanda Nkuwa hydroelectric project open to private investors

The Mozambican government will sell a majority stake in its 1,500 megawatt (MW) Mphanda Nkuwa hydropower project. Maputo plans to launch the selection process for the new partner before the end of 2021. This mega-hydro project will require an investment of USD2.4-billion. In order to quickly raise the necessary funding for the implementation of the Mphanda Nkuwa hydropower project, the Mozambican government plans to sell the majority of its shares to potential investors. Maputo will go through a call for expressions of interest to be launched before the end of 2021. The bidding process is expected to take more than six months, according to Carlos Yum, the director in charge of the project. The successful investor(s) will implement the project in partnership with the state-owned companies, Electricidade de Moçambique (EDM) and Hidroelectrica de Cahora Bassa, which already operate a 2,075 MW hydroelectric plant on the Zambezi River.

Source: AFRIK 21

Mozambique

Sasol sells 30% of gas pipeline to state shareholders

Mozambican state company Companhia Moçambicana de Gasoduto (CMG) and South African state company iGas are preparing to buy 30% of the gas pipeline transporting gas from Mozambique to South Africa, a statement said. The statement, issued by Mozambican state oil company Empresa Moçambicana de Hidrocarbonetos (ENH), which owns CMG, said that the acquisition of the share was estimated to cost just over ZAR4-billion (EUR235-million). The deal results from the sale of the 30% stake by South African multinational Sasol, the majority shareholder in the gas pipeline and concessionaire of the Pande and Temane gas fields in Inhambane province in southern Mozambique. The offer made CMG and iGas exercise their right of preference as they are already shareholders in the venture. The gas pipeline is operated by the Republic of Mozambique Pipeline Company (ROMPCO), a joint venture held 50% by Sasol, 25% by CMG and an equal part by iGas. The pipeline is 865 kilometres long between Mozambique and South Africa.

Source: Club of Mozambique

Nigeria

FG expects equitable outcomes on WTO’s fisheries negotiations, says trade minister

The federal government (FG) says it will continue to engage in fisheries subsidies negotiations in order to achieve balanced and equitable outcomes from the forthcoming World Trade Organization’s (WTO) 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12), which will take place from 30 November to 3 December 2021 in Geneva, Switzerland. Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, the minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, said this at a virtual meeting of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Ministers of Trade on Fisheries Subsidies Negotiations. The WTO’s ministerial conference, which is held every two years, is the highest decision-making body of the WTO and is attended by trade ministers and other senior officials from the organisation’s 164 members. Adebayo noted that the sustainable development of the fisheries sector was central to Nigeria’s quest for economic diversification and sustained growth.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

Nigeria

TotalEnergies to invest USD60-billion into renewable project in Nigeria

TotalEnergies (formerly known as Total) announced a new investment of USD60-billion that will benefit Nigeria. As the company moves towards becoming one of the world’s top five organisations in renewables by 2030, a portion of the funds will be specifically for Nigeria’s renewable sources of energy. The French oil and gas giant has concluded plans for the financing that will be allocated over a period of 10 years to accelerate the energy transition in Nigeria. According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), this disclosure was made by the executive general manager of Total Country Services, Bunmi Popoola-Mordi, recently at a virtual news briefing. Popoola-Mordi said the company had transformed into TotalEnergies on 28 May 2021 as an active player in the global energy transition and is committed to combatting climate change, adding that the oil firm has a target of reducing its carbon emission by 40% in 2030 with the goal of getting to zero carbon emission by 2050. Popoola-Mordi said TotalEnergies would continue to invest in oil, natural gas, electricity, hydrogen, biomass, wind and solar.

Source: ESI Africa

Rwanda

Rwanda legalises medical use of cannabis

Rwanda has passed a new order that legalises medical use of cannabis, also known as marijuana, as the country moves closer to mass production and export of the multi-billion-dollar cash crop. The consumption of cannabis products for recreational purposes remains illegal in Rwanda. The country maintains harsh penalties for illegal production, distribution and consumption of cannabis. A new Ministerial Order governing cannabis and its products in Rwanda gazetted on Monday, 28 June 2021 lists guidelines for the growing, processing, exporting and medical use of marijuana. Under the signature of the minister of Health, Daniel Ngamije, and the minister of Justice, Johnston Busingye, the new law clarifies that recreational use of marijuana remains illegal and punishable by law. The new Ministerial Order No. 003/MoH/2021 of 25/06/2021, relating to cannabis and cannabis products stipulates that “any investor or person who is committed to perform any activity of cultivation, processing, importation, export and use of cannabis and cannabis products, for medical or research purposes” is eligible to do so. The law lists eight available licences and activities allowed under each licence, which will be valid for five years.

Source: The EastAfrican

Seychelles

National Assembly approves ratification of AfCFTA, opening door between Seychelles and 1.2 billion customers

Businesses in Seychelles will be able to access a market of 1.2 billion people after the National Assembly approved the ratification of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), a top government official said. The principal secretary for Trade, Cillia Mangroo, told reporters that it would be in the Seychelles' best interest to ratify and join this trade block as Africa has a very large middle-class population with an expendable budget at its disposal. "It will benefit Seychelles in terms of getting products at a cheaper price and our products being sold in the region at a preferential rate," she said. After Seychelles signed the agreement in March 2018, consultation meetings took place with key business players through the establishment of a national committee consisting of various agencies and organisations concerned with trade in the country. As negotiations are still ongoing on how services will be traded in the African region, the Trade Department is to call on businesses in the private sector to get in touch with its offices, either in person or by e-mail, to provide information of their business areas and markets of interest.

Source: Seychelles News Agency

Tanzania

Government to amend Cooperative Act

The government has initiated the process of amending the Cooperative Act of 2013 to eliminate shortcomings that impede the growth of cooperative entities in the country. Minister of Agriculture, Prof Adolf Mkenda made the remarks on Monday, 28 June 2021, when opening the 36th Annual General Meeting of the Kilimanjaro Native Cooperative Union (KNCU 1984 Limited), held in Moshi, Kilimanjaro region. “The government through its relevant authorities is in the process of amending the Cooperative Act of 2013; may I take this opportunity to ask the Registrar of Cooperatives to ensure that the draft concerning the process reaches all cooperative organisations so that they can comment on how best to improve the cooperative law,” said Prof Mkenda. He also urged the cooperative stakeholders to review the law and provide feedback that would enable improvement to the cooperative law and make it more productive as far as the cooperative movements in the country were concerned. In addition, the minister expressed dissatisfaction with the performance of some cooperative entities, a move which he said was a hindrance to improving the national economy through the sector.

Source: Daily News

Uganda

IMF Executive Board approves USD1-billion ECF arrangement for Uganda

On 28 June 2021, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a 36-month arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) for Uganda in an amount equivalent to SDR722-million (200% of quota or about USD1-billion) to support the post-COVID-19 recovery and the authorities’ plan to increase households’ incomes and inclusive growth by fostering private sector development. Approval of the ECF arrangement enables immediate disbursement of about USD258-million, usable for budget support. This follows IMF emergency support to Uganda under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) in May 2020 of SDR361-million (100% of quota or USD491.5-million). Uganda’s economy was hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis. Decade-long gains in poverty reduction were reversed, fiscal balances have deteriorated, and pressures on external buffers have intensified. A mild recovery is underway in some sectors, with economic growth in financial year 2021/22 expected to reach 4.3% before returning to pre-pandemic rates of 6-7% in the medium term. The outlook remains highly uncertain, with risks tilted to the downside, including from a resurgence of tighter containment measures linked to higher COVID-19 positivity rates.

Source: IMF