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Africa Business in Brief


issue 408 | 11 Jul 2021


Global gas demand expected to rise by 3.6% in 2021

Natural gas demand is set to rebound strongly in 2021 and will keep rising further if governments do not implement strong policies to move the world onto a path towards net zero emissions by mid-century, according to a new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA). Global gas demand is expected to rise by 3.6% in 2021 before easing to an average growth rate of 1.7% over the following three years, according to the IEA’s latest quarterly Gas Market Report. The report also provides a new medium-term forecast. By 2024, demand is forecast to be up 7% from 2019’s pre-Coronavirus (COVID-19) levels. Natural gas demand growth in 2021 mostly reflects economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, but it is set to be driven in the following years in equal proportions by economic activity and by gas replacing other more polluting fuels such as coal and oil in sectors such as electricity generation, industry and transport. Almost half of the increase in gas demand between 2020 and 2024 comes from the Asia-Pacific region.

Source: ESI Africa


AfDB scoping study identifies opportunities for private sector participation in Africa’s climate agenda

A recently-published African Development Bank (AfDB) scoping study on implementing Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in Africa recommends that development financial institutions and other investors focus on high-impact, high-growth potential start-ups that can drive climate-related innovation. The study, ‘NDC implementation in Africa through green investments by private sector - A Scoping Study’, was produced in partnership with the Fund for African Private Sector Assistance and launched during a virtual AfDB webinar held on 1 July 2021. Government and development institutions must engage the private sector in efforts to develop the green economy and meet Africa’s commitments under the NDCs of the Paris Agreement on climate change. According to the study, climate action offers profitable opportunities for the private sector but will also help protect those investments from climate impacts. Governments should be encouraged to see the private sector as a critical partner for climate action and create the enabling policy and regulatory environments that enable private sector innovation.

Source: AfDB


GCF contributes USD170-million to AfDB’s African energy access programme

The board of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) has approved USD170.9-million in financing for the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Leveraging Energy Access Finance Framework (LEAF) programme. The programme aims to unlock commercial and local-currency financing for decentralised renewable energy (DRE) projects in Ghana, Guinea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Tunisia. The GCF’s financing is part of an overall USD900-million programme budget that targets scaling up the rollout of mini-grids, solar home systems and commercial and industrial solar solutions. GCF private sector facility acting director Tony Clamp says the fund is “delighted” to partner with the AfDB to support this timely and critical programme for DRE across the six African countries. “The GCF’s commitment will help unlock much-needed commercial capital and local currency financing to help overcome financing barriers exacerbated by COVID-19.”

Source: Engineering News


IsDB and AIM partner to promote sustainable investment in Africa

The Annual Investment Meeting Africa Edition (AIM AFRICA), in multilateral partnership with the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and the IsDB Group Business Forum (THIQAH), organised the first digital edition of AIM AFRICA. The event witnessed a prestigious gathering of top government officials and reputable speakers from different countries and international organisations, as well as major investment stakeholders for the African region to explore rewarding investment opportunities that will benefit a multitude of sectors and enhance economic cooperation and support among nations. As multilateral partners of AIM AFRICA, the ICD whose key motives are private sector investments, mobilising funds in international financial markets, and offering corporate and government consultancy services, aims to promote and sustain long-term economic growth in Africa through AIM AFRICA. The THIQAH was established as a unique and innovative platform for effective dialogue, cooperation and partnerships for the IsDB Group and business leaders committed to joining in promising investment and trade opportunities.

Source: Africa Business Communities

Central Africa

CEMAC: BEAC downgrades 2021 growth forecasts to 1.3%

This year, the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) region will record a 1.3% growth after the 1.7% recession in 2020. The forecast was issued by the Bank of Central African States’ (BEAC) Monetary Policy Committee, which held a video conference on 28 June 2021. This growth is down by 0.5% compared with the 1.9% growth forecasted by the BEAC in April 2021. The April 2021 projection was down by about 1% compared with the 2.8% growth forecast issued by the committee in December 2020. This rising prudence in the growth forecasts is motivated by the uncertainties caused by the persisting COVID-19 crisis and delayed COVID-19 vaccination rollout, the central bank explained.

Source: Business in Cameroon

West Africa

AfDB Group’s USD6-million grant kicks off Desert-to-Power West Africa Regional Energy Program

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group has approved a USD6-million grant to launch the initial phase of the Desert to Power West Africa Regional Energy Program. Desert to Power, an initiative led by the AfDB, is expected to transform the Sahel by harnessing the region’s abundant solar potential. The grant funding, sourced from the African Development Fund’s 15 (ADF-15) Regional Operations Envelope, will go to the West African Power Pool (WAPP) to conduct pre-feasibility studies for the construction of the Sahel Transmission Backbone that will link regional solar parks in all five countries. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) will also receive financing to expand decentralised energy systems as part of an ECOWAS Regional Mini-Grid Program. The board approval was made on 1 July 2021. The financing will also help de-risk energy investments by preparing transmission infrastructure to link countries in the Sahel region and harness a larger share of electricity from solar power.

Source: AfDB


Angola to start building Luanda light rail in 2022

Africa's megacities are set back by a lack of modern infrastructure. From Lagos to Kinshasa, Luanda to Abidjan, the demand for bigger roads, metros, bus systems, and bridges far outweighs the investment. The United Nations recommends that by 2030 countries implement solutions for sustainable urban growth whose mobility is more environmentally friendly. To achieve this goal, Angola intends to launch a surface metro for its capital, Luanda. German transportation company Siemens Mobility will build the light rail under a Public-Private Partnership. It is estimated to cover a distance of 149 kilometres at a cost of around USD3.5-billion. The German government has pledged to help Siemens secure financing for the project. Luanda is one of Africa's biggest cities and traffic gridlocks are common due to a lack of a modern public transportation system.

Source: Africanews


Botswana issues licence for first large-scale solar power plant

The Botswana energy regulator has granted a generation licence for a 100 megawatt (MW) solar project to local firm Shumba Energy, a company executive said on Monday, 5 July 2021, making it the first Independent Power Producer to set up a large-scale solar plant in the country. Botswana does not currently have large-scale solar power generation and its 600 MW national energy demand is met by state-owned coal-fired plants and imports, primarily from South Africa and Mozambique. Locally-listed Shumba Energy plans to implement the project in two phases with construction of the first phase of 50 MW likely to start in the next six months. "With all the permits now in place we are now working on concluding the funding, with capital expenditure estimated at about USD80-million for the whole project," managing director Mashale Phumaphi told Reuters. Botswana has 212 billion tonnes of coal reserves and the fossil fuel is expected to continue to dominate power generation in the country in the near future, analysts have said. But investors have often raised concerns about the heavy dependence of African countries on coal-based power plants which release millions of tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere.

Source: Reuters


AfDB to provide EUR39-million loan package for Gabon’s first independent hydropower project

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group has approved a EUR39-million loan package for the construction of the Kinguélé Aval hydroelectric project in Gabon. The package comprises EUR20-million from the AfDB, EUR10-million from the Africa Growing Together Fund and EUR9-million in concessional financing from the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa, a special multi-donor fund managed by the AfDB. Additional financing to meet the project’s EUR133.8-million budget will come from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group, the Canada-IFC Program for Renewable Energy in Africa, the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Development Fund. The loan funds will be disbursed to Asonha Énergie S.A., a company created to manage the project. The project entails the design, construction, and operation of a 34.1-megawatt (MW) power plant with a net annual generation of 203 gigawatt hours. The Kinguélé Aval dam will be built on the Mbei River, 90 kilometres east of Gabon’s capital, Libreville, downstream from the Tchimbélé (69 MW) and Kinguélé upstream (58 MW) hydroelectric plants.

Source: AfDB

The Gambia

ARIPO’s newest member: Republic of the Gambia

The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) is one of the cost effective regional systems in Africa that allows a brand holder to file a single trade mark application in different classes, designating various territories. The other trade mark regional system is the Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle (OAPI) which covers the following territories in West Africa: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Togo. With effect from 3 August 2021, The Gambia will become the newest member of the Banjul Protocol on Marks under which The Gambia can now be designated under ARIPO trade mark applications. The other states that are current members of the Banjul Protocol are: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, São Tomé and Príncipe, Tanzania (mainland), Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Source: ENSafrica


Kenya to end six-year freeze on mining permits – Munyes

Speaking at a virtual Mining Forum by the Kenya Chamber of Mines on Tuesday, 6 July 2021, cabinet secretary John Munyes said the aerial mapping of Kenya's mineral deposits is 90% complete. Once complete, he said, the findings will form the decision to end the six-year freeze on the issuance of new mining licences and the renewal of existing ones. "We expect this to be within the next two months," said Munyes. The survey and the end of the moratorium is expected to act as a catalyst for foreign investment. Kenya has not renewed or issued any new mining licences since 2015 when it revoked the licences of 65 companies, forcing mining firms to operate under a gazette notice. The mining sector currently contributes less than 1% to the gross domestic product (GDP) although the country is endowed with minerals capable of contributing up to 10% of GDP. According to the Economic Survey, total earnings from mineral production last year declined by 5.5% to KES29.1-billion from KES30.8-billion in 2018.

Source: The Star


Launching of virtual inaugural session of first Indo-Pacific Business Summit

The first Indo-Pacific Business Summit held its virtual inaugural session, on 6 July, under the theme 'Developing a Road Map for Shared Prosperity'. The three-day summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in partnership with the Ministry of External Affairs of India seeks to identify current and future trade and investment opportunities within the Indo-Pacific region. The minister of Land Transport and Light Rail, minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Mr Alan Ganoo, who participated as the guest of honour from the seat of his ministry in Newton Tower, Port-Louis, delivered a special address during the event. Representatives from other governments, enterprises, business chambers, think tanks and academia from countries in the region also participated. The key objective of the summit is to provide a forum to discuss how India and the countries in the Indo-Pacific region can enhance economic partnership and collaborate for future economic development. The summit addressed the following: physical and digital connectivity, development of robust supply chains, start-ups, healthcare, climate change, the blue economy, current and future trade, and investment opportunities in the region.

Source: Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office


AfCFTA: FG assures on elimination of 90% tariffs on tradable goods

The minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr Niyi Adebayo, said the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) would eliminate tariffs on 90% of tradable goods over five years for developing countries and 10 years for least developed countries. Adebayo who spoke in Asaba during a meeting with the Delta State Government, said the AfCFTA agreement sought to create a single market for “Made-in-Africa” goods with a population of 1.2 billion people and a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of USD3.4-trillion. The minister, who was represented by the director of Trade in the ministry, Mr Aliyu Abubakar, said the agreement would also expand market access for Nigeria’s exporters of goods and services which would in turn, catalyse production growth and boost job creation in Nigeria’s economy. He held that the AfCFTA would stimulate Nigeria’s export diversification by providing preferential access to Nigerian products and services to the huge African market which currently sourced 85% of imports from outside the continent.

Source: Vanguard


Bill seeks 5% profit of power GenCos for host communities

The House of Representatives has passed for second reading a Bill to allocate 5% of profit by power generation companies (GenCos) to host communities. The Bill sponsored by Babajimi Benson (APC, Lagos) seeks an amendment to the Electric Power Sector Reform Act (EPSRA) 2005 in which the 5% will be reserved for the host communities. He argued that communities hosting power generating facilities like dams and gas facilities suffer devastating consequences which are being ignored, adding that power generation, transmission and distribution is causing harmful environmental and health challenges for host communities. “In fact, it is almost impossible to produce, transmit and consume power without significant environmental impact. The electricity sector is unique among industrial sectors in its very large contribution to emissions associated with nearly all climatic and health issues,” said Benson. He also noted that setting aside 5% of revenue generated by GenCos for developmental projects in host communities like the 5% in the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) will further promote peaceful and harmonious coexistence in these communities.

Source: Daily Trust


Rwanda selected to host continental e-trade platform

The African Union (AU), through its department of Economic Development, Trade and Mining, on Wednesday, 7 July 2021 chose Rwanda as the continental headquarters for the African e-Trade Group. The development, announced during the annual Africa Integration Day, will, among others, facilitate the group’s ambition of supporting 600,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Africa over the next five years. The African e-Trade Group is a social entrepreneurship initiative with the primary aim of providing a comprehensive e-commerce platform to enhance the role of Africa’s SMEs in inter- and intra-African trade. In an interview with The New Times, the minister of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and Innovation, Paula Ingabire, said that the move is aligned with Rwanda’s vision of becoming an ICT and logistics hub in Africa.

Source: The New Times


AfDB grants EUR65-million loan to support reforms on domestic resource mobilisation and investment attractiveness

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has granted a EUR65-million loan to Senegal to strengthen domestic resource mobilisation, broaden the tax base and promote strategic reforms to attract more investment. The board's approval relates to the second phase of the Resource Mobilisation and Reform Effectiveness Support Programme (PAMRER II). The first phase, which began in 2019 for three years, was interrupted last year to allow Senegal to respond to the health crisis. In the post-COVID-19 socio-economic context, the two axes of the programme, namely, the mobilisation of internal resources and the broadening of the tax base, and support for recovery through reforms and strategic projects for the attractiveness of investments, are essential elements of the recovery plan for the Senegalese economy, called the Adjusted and Accelerated Priority Action Plan (PAP2A). Phase I of the programme focused on the launching of reforms and the establishment of related analytical and coordination frameworks. Phase II will consolidate the gains made and bring the programme's commitments to maturity.

Source: AfDB


IMF and Seychelles reach staff-level agreement on a USD107-million arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility

In response to a request from the authorities, an International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff team led by Boriana Yontcheva, Mission Chief for Seychelles, carried out a mission from 23 June to 6 July 2021. Discussions were mainly virtual, but Ms Yontcheva travelled to Victoria from 29 June to 6 July 2021. At the end of the mission, Ms Yontcheva, in a statement, stated that “The Seychellois authorities and the IMF have reached a staff-level agreement on economic and structural policies that could be supported by IMF resources of SDR74-million (about USD107-million) under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) for the duration of 28 months, over 2021-2023. The staff level agreement is subject to IMF management approval and Executive Board consideration.

Source: IMF


Treasury bill investors invited to convert to bonds as Seychelles shifts debt liabilities

The government of Seychelles has launched a liability management operations programme which will be part of the economic reforms to ensure the sustainability of its debts, a top official said on Tuesday, 6 July 2021. The liability management operations will include a securities exchange, in a bid to restructure the country's local debts, the secretary of State for Finance, Patrick Payet told reporters. "The objective of this strategy is to ensure the sustainability of the government's debt, with the aim of reducing the refinancing risks and improving the debt liquidity," said Payet. The liability management operations will be conducted through a debt restructuring operation on 14 July 2021, by reducing interest rates and refinancing risks. In the exchange, investors with treasury bills that have maturities of 182 days and 365 days will be invited to exchange them for treasury bonds with a longer maturity date. The government has allocated a total of over USD104-million (SCR1.5-billion), as part of the exchange, which will be done through an auction, of which participation is voluntary.

Source: Seychelles News Agency


Tanzania to manufacture COVID-19 vaccine

Tanzania is pondering local manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccines in an attempt to reduce importation costs. Health permanent secretary Prof Abel Makubi said in Dodoma on Sunday, 4 July 2021 that the factory would manufacture vaccines for COVID-19 and other diseases. “We have a lot of experts. We will make it. We will not only produce COVID-19 vaccines but also those [vaccines] for other diseases so that even when the pandemic ends, Tanzania will still have the capacity of producing such medicines locally,” said Prof Makubi. He said the government had no intention of selling vaccines to the public. It would neither allow anyone to import them against procedures. On 17 May 2021, President Samia Suluhu Hassan received a report by a special committee of experts that she formed in April to professionally evaluate the COVID-19 pandemic situation in the country. Among other things, the team, chaired by Prof Said Aboud, recommended that the government should allow voluntary vaccination and resume releasing statistics related to the pandemic.

Source: The Citizen


Seven solar power plants to be commissioned by the end of the year

In Zimbabwe, seven solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants will enter into commercial operation by the end of 2021. The information comes from the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA), which has approved projects by Independent Power Producers (IPPs) for 66.6 megawatt peak (MWp). With an expected capacity of 25 MWp, the largest solar plant is being built at Chidobe-Mizpah in the Hwange district of Matebeleland North Province. The clean energy project is being developed by Power Ventures, which will operate the concession for 25 years. In Seke, Mashonaland East Province, Harava Solar Park is installing a 20 MWp solar power plant. Three solar PV plants of 5 MWp each are also under construction in Bulilimamangwe and Gwanda in Matabeleland South, Hwange in Matabeleland North and Guruve in Mashonaland Central. These projects are being developed by Plum Solar, SolGas, Richaw Solar Tech, and Guruve Solar Park, respectively. With the exception of Plum Solar, which will operate its concession for 20 years, all other IPPs will sell their output to the state-owned Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) for 25 years.

Source: AFRIK 21