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Africa Business in Brief

 

issue 417 | 12 Sep 2021

Africa

DBSA to partner with Invest Africa to generate sustainable finance for Africa

The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) will partner with Invest Africa to generate sustainable finance solutions for the continent during the Africa Debate 2021. The forum, which will take place from 14-16 September, will see African business, policy and other industry leaders meet to discuss how the region can assert its priorities for a sustainable and transformative recovery as regional entities look to drive a return to global growth. Mohan Vivekanandan, group executive: Origination and Coverage, DBSA will lead a discussion with leading banks, regulators, capital markets investors and others to outline how sustainable finance can generate growth in emerging markets. While green finance has made significant strides in Western markets, it has been under-funded and thus under-utilised in developing countries. Redressing this imbalance is essential both to global recovery efforts and to ensuring a just transition.

Source: Africa Business Communities

Africa

Liquid Intelligent Technologies partners with Unitas Global to create a network of interconnected data centres in Africa

Pan African technology group, Liquid Intelligent Technologies has announced a strategic partnership with global managed network provider, Unitas Global, in a bid to meet the demands of rapid digital transformation across the continent. Through strategic interconnections, Liquid and Unitas are now better positioned to serve their customers in Africa and beyond, with this rapid response to the growing demand for secure, cost-effective cloud services. The partnership provides enormous expansion opportunities for both companies - Unitas Global further expands Unitas Reach™ with Liquid’s extensive pan African network (100 000km fibre backbone) that connects to over 40 data centres across 18 African countries, including Africa data centres, Teraco and iColo. Liquid, in turn, will be able to connect to Unitas Global’s integrated SDN, IP and access network. Through its innovative software platform, Unitas Nexus™, Liquid will be able to design, price, provision and manage end-to-end connectivity solutions across a cloud-first transport-independent infrastructure.

Source: Africa Business Communities

Angola

Angola launches diamond development hub

Angola has officially launched its USD77-million Saurimo Diamond Development Hub, a comprehensive project that unites the country’s entire diamond value chain. Inaugurated on 27 August by President João Lourenço, the hub marks an important step in the country’s quest to become a global diamond producer. Located 4km from the city of Saurimo, the Saurimo Diamond Development Hub aims to significantly enhance the country’s diamond production capacity, enabling the processing and polishing of resources in addition to rough diamond exports. Recognised as the world’s sixth largest diamond producer and the third on the African continent, Angola is positioning itself as a world leader in diamond extraction, processing and production. The hub integrates all diamond industry actors – including both public and private sector players – under one development, and will accelerate production and stimulate overall industry growth. In addition to the country’s existing four cutting factories, another four cutting factories are included in the development, significantly increasing domestic capacity. With an industrial area that comprises factories, processing facilities and multi-sector offices, the hub is committed to increasing cutting capacity from 2% to 20%, enhancing the country’s diamond value chain.

Source: Energy Capital & Power

Botswana

Botswana hails historic stock market listings

The Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) has welcomed the listing of two exchange traded funds (ETFs). Cloud Atlas Limited, the South African-based investor, is behind the listings. The two ETFs are Cloud Atlas S&P Africa Sovereign Bond Fixed Income and Cloud Atlas AMI Big50 ex-South Africa. The former offers investors access to listed African hard currency bonds. The portfolio consists of the United States dollar bonds issued by Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria and South Africa, paying approximately 6.8% yield per annum in dollars. The latter offers investors exposure to African equity, except South Africa, and tracks 15 sectors across 14 different countries. The portfolio consists of among others, stocks from Botswana, Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia. “I am overwhelmed by the resounding and positive response to our market by issuers especially now when markets are still battling recovery,” Thapelo Tsheole, BSE chief executive officer, said. He believes the listings indicates BSE’s efforts to grow the number and diversity of its issuer base is bearing fruit.

Source: CAJ News

Ethiopia / Kenya

EU watchdog clears Vodafone, Safaricom venture for Ethiopia entry

The European Commission (EC) has cleared a joint venture between Safaricom and its parent firm Vodafone for Ethiopia entry after initially announcing plans to scrutinise it over competition concerns. In a letter seen by the Business Daily, the commission said the consortium did not pose any threat to fair competition. The clearance now paves the way for Vodafone to join its partners for the Ethiopia entry. The Safaricom-led consortium, which also includes British development finance agency CDC Group and Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation received a telecommunications operator licence in Ethiopia in July this year after incorporating a local company, setting the stage for Kenya's largest telecommunications company to start operations in the market of over 100 million people. The European Union (EU) competition watchdog had earlier noted that on preliminary examination, it found that the Ethiopia entry JV transaction could fall within the scope of its merger regulation meaning it needed its scrutiny. "The Commission invites interested third parties to submit their possible observations on the proposed operation to the Commission," it had said.

Source: Business Daily

Ghana

Ghana inflation rate for August 2021 rises to 9.7%

The year-on-year (YoY) inflation rate for August stood at 9.7% compared to 9.0% in July, the government statistician professor Samuel Kobina Annim said on Wednesday, 8 September. The month-on-month (MoM) inflation between July 2021 and August 2021 was 0.3%. Speaking at a press briefing in Accra, professor Annim said food and non-alcoholic beverages were the dominant drivers for the higher rate of inflation in August 2021. He said food contributed more than half to overall inflation, when combined with housing (more than two-thirds), and further including transport (more than four-fifths). The government statistician said the YoY variation between food inflation of 10.9% and non-food inflation of 8.7% was 2.2%. The MoM food inflation for the month was less than non-food inflation by 0.1 percentage point. He said inflation for locally produced items continued to dominate imported items but imported items show a marginal higher increase. Inflation for locally produced items was 10.3% while inflation for imported items was at 8.1%. However, inflation rates for Northern, Upper East and Upper West regions continue to soar.

Source: Ghana Business News

Kenya

New implications regarding IP rights on imported goods in Kenya

With recent changes to legislation, importers are urged to ensure that their intellectual property (IP) rights are correctly registered under the relevant IP regimes and to ensure that they are in possession of registration certificates evidencing their ownership. This will allow them to record their IP rights in respect of imported goods with the relevant anti-counterfeit authority. These IP Rights include: copyright, plant breeders rights, trade marks and all rights under the Industrial Property Act (patents, utility models, industrial designs). In January of 2019, The Anti-Counterfeit Act, 2008, was amended, through the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act, 2018 to include section 34B, introducing IP rights into the ambit of the Act. In addition, the Anti-counterfeit (Recordation) Regulations, 2021 were drafted and tabled in parliament for implementation in conjunction with the new section. The Regulations have since been gazetted and await the go-ahead from parliament to be implement, which is anticipated to be mid-September.

Source: ENSafrica

Kenya

Tax revenue from land, house deals up 14.25%

Tax collected from the transfer of property rose 14.25% in the year to June, latest reports by the Treasury show, lifted by new regulations that allowed private practitioners to conduct valuation on behalf of the government. The Kenya Revenue Authority received nearly KES15.51-billion from the sale of land, buildings and shares in private firms for the year ended June 2021, the latest revenue statistics indicate, compared with KES13.57-billion the year before. The transfer of land, buildings and unquoted securities such as shares in privately-held companies attracts a 5% capital gains tax paid by a seller on net earnings from the sale, with defaulters slapped with a 20% penalty of the tax due. The buyer, on the other hand, is charged a stamp duty at the rate of 4% of the value of real estate in towns and 2% in rural locations, while the rate for unquoted shares is 1%. The taxes collected from property deals were, however, KES1.83-billion, or 10.57%, short of the KES17.34-billion that the Treasury had targeted in the review period.

Source: Business Daily

Kenya

Treasury on the spot over accountants’ fees

The Treasury has come under the spotlight for entertaining proposals by accountants to set minimum fees they can charge for advisory services, setting businesses up for a possible escalation of compliance costs and undermining competition rules. On Monday, 6 September the Treasury began receiving views on the proposed regulations, which include setting the minimum fees charged by accountants in an attempt to curb price under-cutting and boost professionalism. The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) has previously shot down the proposed minimum fees for accountants, saying it would limit competition – raising questions on the Treasury’s renewed dalliance with the accountants over the matter. The Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK) had in 2015 requested to be exempted from competition rules – a move that would allow it to set minimum professional fees for accounting services. The CAK rejected the request in a November 2016 decision, arguing that the benefits of minimum fees were outweighed by the potential harm they would cause in the marketplace.

Source: Business Daily

Kenya

UAE targets new Kenya trade deal

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) plans to sign a comprehensive economic partnership agreement with Kenya to consolidate its position as a gateway for global trade and investment. The UAE said the deal with Kenya, alongside six other countries including India, Indonesia, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Israel, South Korea and Ethiopia will widen its access in the emerging markets. “These comprehensive agreements will help us get wider accessibility to those markets. We are talking about 10% of the global trade and 60% of the global populations of those eight countries," said Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, the UAE minister of State for Foreign Trade in a statement. "These countries were chosen on the basis of a few criteria, including knowledge-based economy, domestic consumption, international businesses in those countries, and their historical relations with the UAE.” Kenyan trade officials could not immediately be reached for comment on details of the pact. But Dubai said the UAE, which has successfully ploughed oil wealth into other sectors from tourism to real estate, wants to double non-oil trade and investments with Kenya.

Source: Business Daily

Namibia

Agribank grows total assets to NAD3.4-billion

During its 2020/21 financial year, which ended in March 2021, the Agricultural Bank of Namibia (Agribank) disbursed loans to the value of NAD217-million, benefiting a total number of 1 301 customers. Of this amount, a total of NAD44-million exclusively benefitted female clients, compared to NAD21-million in the previous financial year. An amount of NAD39-million was lent exclusively to the youth, while NAD13-million was lent to communal farmers without collateral. The Agribank board together with management presented these results from their annual report at the annual general meeting on Tuesday, 31 August 2021. The results were presented to government, as sole shareholder, which was represented by the ministers of Finance and Public Enterprises. The Agricultural Bank of Namibia Act requires the board to as soon as possible, but not later than six months after the end of the financial year, submit its annual report to the line minister. During the period under review, Agribank’s total loan book increased by 2%, while interest income increased by 1.2%, attributed to prudent financial management, coupled with an increase in the bank’s money market investments.

Source: New Era

Nigeria

Nigeria’s merchandise trade rises by 23.28% to NGN12.02-trillion, records trade deficit of NGN1.87-trillion

Nigeria’s total merchandise trade rose by 23.28% to NGN12.02-trillion in the second quarter (Q2) of 2021. This was disclosed by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) after its “Foreign Trade in Goods Statistics – Q2, 2021” was recently released, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). According to NAN, the NBS added that the figure rose to NGN12.02-trillion from NGN9.75-trillion recorded in the first quarter (Q1), due to a sharp increase in export value during the quarter under review. They added that the export component of the trade was valued at NGN5.07-trillion or 42.2% while import was valued at NGN6.95-trillion or 57.78% with a trade balance deficit of NGN1.87-trillion. Crude oil represented 80.29% of total export for the period, valued at NGN4.07-trillion. “This further shows a sharp increase of 111.32% in crude oil value in Q2 compared to NGN1.92-trillion recorded in Q1, while the non-crude oil export recorded NGN1-trillion or 19.71% of total export trade in Q2,” the NBS said.

Source: Nairametrics

Rwanda

Establishment agreement of Afreximbank’s FEDA: Rwanda ratifies, Togo and South Sudan join three other signatories

The Republic of Rwanda has become the first African country to ratify the Agreement for the Establishment of the Fund for Export Development in Africa (FEDA), while the Republic of Togo and the Republic of South Sudan have recently acceded to the agreement establishing this development impact-oriented subsidiary of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank). President Paul Kagame of the Republic of Rwanda, signed the FEDA establishment agreement into law giving FEDA international recognition and the ability to fully operate and deliver its trade mandate in the country. This ratification by Rwanda is a major milestone in the process of fulfilling the legal requirements for the establishment of FEDA as an international organisation. In addition, South Sudan and Togo joined Rwanda, Mauritania and Guinea to become signatories of the FEDA establishment agreement. These signings constituted another milestone in Afreximbank’s efforts to mobilise its member states to sign and ratify the FEDA establishment agreement and demonstrated the growing support for FEDA to complete its legal establishment.

Source: Afreximbank

Rwanda

Rwanda turns to local currency financing for renewable projects

European investment programme GET.invest and the GIZ Financial Systems Development Cluster will collaborate with Rwandan financiers to increase investment into decentralised renewable energy projects through local currency financing. Both programmes are implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). The collaboration is part of GET.invest’s mission to strengthen renewable energy markets. While investment in renewable energy projects in Rwanda has increased over the past few years, this has been mostly done through international capital and foreign currency. Local currency financing is proving to be a missing link to scale up investment flow into renewables. The newly-launched collaboration between the two programmes and banks will support financial institutions in Rwanda to develop and offer finance products to increase the share of financing for renewables. The first round of financing will see the Bank of Africa Rwanda and Cogebanque provided with tailor-made training and coaching to expand their scope of action in this area.

Source: ESI Africa

Senegal

Senegal’s Taiba N’Diaye wind farm blows in a new wave of green investment for the MSGBC region

In addition to world class energy developments taking place within the oil and gas industry, Senegal is making moves to exploit its significant renewable energy resources, positioning the Mauritania, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau and Guinea Conakry (MSGBC) region as a globally competitive renewable energy market. Through the country’s Taiba N’Diaye wind power project, located 70km north-east of the capital city Dakar, Senegal is stimulating green investment, accelerating regional electrification, and creating a domino effect of renewable energy developments across the wider MSGBC region. Led by renewable power company Lekela, the Taiba N’Diaye project comprises Senegal’s first utility-scale wind power project. The 158MW onshore wind facility covers 41 hectares and is equipped with 46 wind turbines each with a nominal capacity of 3.45MW. The national power utility company, Senelec, signed a power purchase agreement with the wind farm whereby Senelec will purchase power generated by the project for 20 years, distributing critical electricity across the country.

Source: Energy Capital & Power

Seychelles

Cashless economy: Seychelles' financial system to be entirely digital by 2023

Seychelles' financial system will be almost entirely digitalised by 2023 in line with the central bank's technological integration strategy, said a top official on Thursday, 2 September. With the government pushing for digital governance, the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS) had its financial technology strategy approved by the cabinet of ministers last month. Through the strategy, the financial system services are expected to be fully digitalised in two years, eliminating the use of physical cash. "This strategy highlights the CBS' contribution towards a digital economy and something we have been working on for a while. It will go a long way to improving the efficiency of the financial sector in Seychelles," said the CBS governor, Caroline Abel. Financial technology, or fintech, is the use of innovative technology in the design and delivery of financial services and products. It has immense potential to contribute towards economic and social development whereby it can transform the way governments, businesses, civil society and citizens interact and contribute towards enhancing the ease of doing business.

Source: Seychelles News Agency

Uganda

I&M cost of buying Uganda bank rises to USD37.2-million

I&M Group has spent KES4.1-billion (USD37.2-million) to acquire a 90% t stake in Uganda’s Orient Bank Limited, with the cost rising from the initial estimate of KES3.6-billion (USD32.7-million). The Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed lender says this is after the base price was adjusted to take into account multiple factors. These include appreciation of the Ugandan shilling against the United States dollar, integration support, the short-term financial performance of the subsidiary and the sale of its property. “The cost as of the half year is KES4.1-billion (USD37.2-million). The transaction is still ongoing and the final figure will be known by the end of the year,” said Gauri Gupta who leads I&M’s corporate advisory business. The Kenyan banking multinational signed an agreement with the sellers to make price adjustments on account of exchange rates between the date of signing the deal and its completion. I&M also agreed to meet the cost of post-completion integration support and to factor in Orient Bank’s net loss or net profit for the period from 1 January until completion. Sale of the subsidiary’s property in Kampala, Orient Plaza, also weighs in on the transaction price.

Source: The EastAfrican

Zambia

AMDA and Zambia REA to collaborate on energy access efforts

The Africa Minigrid Developers Association (AMDA) and the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) of Zambia have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) around promoting minigrids and decentralised utilities for rural electrification. The MoU establishes a framework to govern how AMDA and REA will cooperate to support private sector minigrid financing, policy and deployment across Zambia. It will also establish the way parties will collaborate to effectively champion electricity uptake in rural communities. The signing of the MoU signifies the importance of both the public and private sectors’ efforts to increase access to electricity services in Zambia’s rural areas. There will be an immediate focus on improving regulation for the minigrid sector, inclusion of the private sector in the national planning and economic recovery post-Coronavirus (COVID-19). AMDA CEO Jessica Stephens said the MoU would help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 to achieve universal electrification: “AMDA is committed to working with REA and other governments… to address the challenges of rural electrification through the growth of the minigrid market. We look forward to supporting a future that ensures all Zambians have access to clean, reliable access to energy.”

Source: ESI Africa

Zimbabwe

RZM Murowa to commission a processing plant

As part of a broader expansion programme, RZM Murowa, a subsidiary of RioZim, has announced that it intends to commission a processing plant next quarter at its Murowa diamond mine, located in Mazvihwa, south central Zimbabwe, that is expected to double its production capacity. The firm has stated that the project is expected to increase its output from 190 000 tonnes of ore per month, to 500 000 tonnes and will see operations transition from open cut to underground mining. Wilson Gwatiringa, spokesperson for RioZim, said, “it is a massive investment that bodes well with the government’s vision to grow the sector.” The globally ranked RZM Murowa mine is one of Zimbabwe’s largest exporters and generators of foreign income. The firm produced 568 222 carats in 2020 and intends to increase production to more than 1 million carats per year by 2025.

Source: Energy Capital & Power