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Africa Business in Brief


issue 421 | 10 Oct 2021


Africa retains top spot in air cargo with 33.9% growth

Africa maintained its position at the top of world air cargo performance rankings, growing nearly 40% in August as the global airline industry continues on its recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic effects. Global air cargo market data for August 2021 released by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), shows strong overall growth with demand up 7.7%, well above the long-term average growth trend of 4.7%. At 33.9%, the growth in Africa’s international cargo volumes was the largest increase of all regions during the month, supported by strong investment flows along the Africa-Asia route. Volumes on that particular route were up 26.4% relative to 2019 amid a 2.2% shrinkage in the capacity deployed on international routes.

Source: The EastAfrican


Germany commits EUR100-million to SEFA to unlock private investment in renewable energy

The German government will contribute EUR100-million to the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), affirming its commitment to efforts to tap Africa’s renewable energy potential and drive its transition to clean energy sources. The announcement came during the United Nations (UN) High-Level Dialogue on Energy, held in New York on 24 September as part of the UN General Assembly. The funding will go to unlock private sector investment in green-baseload projects, a SEFA priority focus. Specifically, it will support technical assistance and investment in power generation, transmission and distribution to increase penetration of renewable power in African grids. The funding follows Germany’s initial contribution to SEFA of EUR50-million, made in 2020. Norbert Barthle, Parliamentary State Secretary of the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, said during the High-Level Dialogue: “We need to accelerate the global energy transition. This requires the rapid phasing out of all fossil fuels and a massive expansion of renewable energy. The time to act is now.”

Source: AfDB

West Africa

Phase II of ECOWAS Regional Electricity Market starts in 2022/2023

The chairman of the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERERA), Professor Honoré Bogler, says the second phase of the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Market will be launched at the end of 2022 or at the beginning of 2023. The second phase, which is the real operationalisation of the Regional Electricity Market, was originally slated for implementation in 2021. However, implementation of the second phase could not begin as planned due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whereas the first phase tried to harmonise the activities of the electricity regulatory bodies in the member states, the second phase is to be characterised by a competitive market which will help to promote efficiency, where the market will be governed by market rules and not state rules. The first phase of the regional power market was launched in June 2018 in Cotonou, Benin, as a transitional phase meant to last for a maximum of two years before the introduction of the second phase.

Source: Africa Energy Portal


‘Ghana to assemble and manufacture vehicles locally’ – Alan Kyerematen reaffirms as he inaugurates GSA Board

The Minister for Trade and Industry, Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen has affirmed that the government, through the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), would continue to pursue measures which would make it possible for Ghana to assemble and later manufacture vehicles locally. The sector minister directly recalled the significant role that the authority played in the development of national automobile standards under the Ghana Automobile Development Programme which is being implemented by his ministry. Additionally, Mr Kyerematen disclosed that the GSA has developed over 30 standards for vehicles. “This has permitted the homologation of vehicles making it possible for Ghana to assemble and later manufacture vehicles locally,” he added. Mr Kyerematen disclosed this when he inaugurated the governing board of the Ghana Standards Authority in Accra.

Source: Myjoyonline


CBK sees economy expanding by 6.1%

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has projected the economy to grow by 6.1% this year and 5.6% in 2022, backed by recovery in manufacturing, trade and hospitality sectors, and despite expected decline in agriculture production. CBK governor Patrick Njoroge said that economic indicators around the manufacturing, trade, accommodation and power consumption are pointing to improved economic performance, while there is also high optimism among banks and private sector players over the prospects for growth. He however said the impact of drought will dampen growth in the key agriculture sector, which grew at 5.4% last year and is the biggest contributor to Kenya’s GDP at 23%. “The one sector to flag is agriculture, which remains most uncertain because of rains. There has been a drought warning that has gone out and this will be a large driver… and therefore we are projecting its growth at 2.6%,” said Dr Njoroge. The CBK growth projection for this year is slightly higher than the National Treasury’s 6% and the World Bank’s 4.5%. This will be a major rebound from the contraction of 0.3% recorded in 2020, when restrictions meant to control the COVID-19 pandemic caused negative growth in the second and third quarters of the year.

Source: Business Daily


Competition agency warns professionals against fixing prices

The competition watchdog has warned professional bodies against colluding to set prices following attempts by engineers and accountants to prescribe client fees. The Treasury is reviewing regulations that will set the minimum fees charged by accountants to curb price under-cutting and boost professionalism. Engineers have also published a notice proposing new rules to set minimum charges and prevent undercutting in the professional body. The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) said the moves are akin to fixing prices and will kill competition and make services expensive. “It is important to note that the envisaged arrangements of setting minimum rates/fees, highlighted in the media recently, are only meant to extinguish competition among members of the professional associations to the detriment of clients/consumers,” said Wang’ombe Kariuki, CAK director-general. “Further, article 227 of the Constitution of Kenya, 2010 provides that the government should procure goods and services through a system which is, among others, cost-effective. Floor pricing defeats this constitutional requirement,” he said.

Source: Business Daily


State to demand identity, pay of insurance holders

Insurance brokers and agents will be required to reveal the identity of policyholders and their sources of income in the latest drive to combat money laundering and flow of illicit money. A state-backed Bill is seeking to add the brokers and the agents among entities expected to report all transactions above KES1.1-million to the government and smaller payments that are deemed suspicious. The move, if approved by parliament, will see the two join sectors such as banking, stockbrokers and accountants that report large and suspicious cash transactions to the Financial Reporting Centre (FRC) – the agency established in April 2012 to identify and combat money laundering and financing of terrorism. Insurance brokers and agents will be obligated to disclose the name, addresses, date of birth, ID number and occupation of buyers as well as date of transaction and amount involved, among others. The proposed law comes amid fears that drug dealers, those involved in corruption and fraudsters are targeting the insurance sector through agents and brokers to clean dirty money.

Source: Business Daily

Kenya / Uganda

Kenya, Uganda third border post to boost trade

Kenya and Uganda have endorsed the establishment of the third point of entry and exit at their common land boundary to boost cross-border trade. The neighbouring countries’ major crossings are Busia and Malaba borders along the Northern Corridor that links the Mombasa port in the Kenyan coast to Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Nairobi and Kampala officials recently consented to the setting up of a border post at Muluanda in Samia, Busia County to ease the movement of goods and persons. The Kenyan delegation was led by Kennedy Nyaiyo, the director of the Border Management Secretariat, while Uganda was led by Major Martha Asiimwe, a presidential advisor. Also present was Busia Deputy Governor Moses Mulomi. Mr Nyaiyo said Kenya has in excess of 200 acres of land along its border with Uganda, which allows it to set up more crossing posts. “Muluanda (border post) requires up to 50 acres of land for establishment. This gives space [for more] points to be opened,” said Mr Nyaiyo.

Source: Business Daily


Chariot signs MoU with Mauritanian government to produce and export green hydrogen

London-based energy firm, Chariot, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mauritania’s Ministry of Petroleum, Mines and Energy for the development of a green hydrogen project of up to 10 gigawatts (GW) with the potential to produce the cheapest green hydrogen in Africa. Announced on 27 September, Project Noor is estimated to cost up to USD3.5-billion and will cover an exclusive on- and offshore area totalling approximately 14 400 km2 for Chariot to conduct pre-feasibility and feasibility studies with the intention of generating solar and wind energy for use in the electrolysis process for green hydrogen production. Chariot intends to deploy its in-house team to begin the assessment of wind and solar resources, environmental impact, and macroeconomic and social impact studies at the proposed project site. The Africa-focused energy company aims to take advantage of the west African country’s solar and wind resources, as well as its proximity to large European markets to enable Project Noor to become the largest green hydrogen production and export endeavor in Africa.

Source: Energy Capital & Power


Mauritius deposits the instrument of ratification of the AMA

On 30 September 2021, the Republic of Mauritius became the 13th member state to deposit the instrument of ratification of the African Medicines Agency (AMA). The country signed the treaty on 21 September 2021 in Addis Ababa and ratified it on the same day in Port Louis, Mauritius. The Ambassador of Mauritius to Ethiopia and the African Union Mr Dharmraj Busgeeth deposited the instrument of accession to Amira Elfadil Mohammed, Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development, at the African Union Commission. The commissioner underscored that establishing the AMA was an urgent matter due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. “AMA will play an important regulatory role, encourage local production of medical products and align regulatory policies on the continent, taking advantage of the opportunities brought about by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA),” the commissioner added. Speaking at the occasion, Ambassador Dharmraj Busgeeth noted that Mauritius is keen to see the establishment of AMA as soon as possible, and to contribute to the development of vaccine production facilities on the continent.

Source: African Union


Tourism ministry inks agreement with travel and tourism forum

The Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism recently signed an agreement that will improve the circulation of general sectoral communication, provide training, capacity building and research, with the Namibia Travel and Tourism Forum. Capacity building will also take place in the area of digital marketing to improve the use of available media platforms such as the website and social media, to achieve more visibility, efficiency and effectiveness of the ministry’s engagement efforts in the tourism sector as well as its digital footprint. At the same time, the agreement will see to the provision of necessary training industry-wide, to empower the tourism entities to participate in the tourism revival initiative. “We are also concerned with promoting inclusivity and cohesion in the tourism industry while empowering all tourism institutions, including [small and medium-sized enterprises] and emerging entrepreneurs, which may not have the financial means to attend, source or reach national and international events or markets,” the Namibia Travel and Tourism Forum stated.

Source: Namibia Economist


Nigeria scales up its COVID-19 vaccination with new funding for vaccine purchase and deployment

On 30 September 2021, the government of Nigeria received approval from the World Bank Board of Directors for a USD400-million credit in additional financing from the International Development Association (IDA) to provide upfront financing for safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine acquisition and deployment within the country. This will be implemented as part of the COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Project. Building on the government’s plan to break the chain of local transmission of COVID-19 and limit the spread of the virus, the original COVID-19 response programme will be expanded to enable equitable access to purchase affordable COVID-19 vaccines for 18% (40 million) of Nigeria’s population and support effective vaccine deployment to 50% (110 million) of its citizens. “As the Nigerian government continues to tackle the effect of a third wave of the global pandemic, it is crucial it continues to vaccinate its citizens in addition to the use of non-pharmaceutical interventions to avoid the dreadful consequences of another lockdown that left in its wake an economic toll the country is still grappling with,” said Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank country director for Nigeria.

Source: World Bank


Nigerian stocks gain NGN247-billion on renewed interest in bank shares

Nigerian stocks were up by 1.18% or NGN246.8-billion on Tuesday, 5 October as an increasing interest in equities, particularly in bank shares helped to extend the bull run to the fourth straight day. That also marked the first time the Nigerian bourse would swing to a positive year-to-date return in the more than a six-month period since 17 February. The milestone rested on the strong performances of individual stocks such as FBN Holdings, Airtel Africa, Access, GTCO UBA and Zenith. Trade volume improved by 114% when compared with the quantity of shares that exchanged hands at the previous session. Market breadth, an indicator of the level of investors’ sentiment towards trade, was positive, with 32 gainers reported relative to 18 laggards. The benchmark index rose 473.61 points to 40 716.66, while market capitalisation advanced to NGN21.2-trillion.

Source: Premium Times


Senegal welcomes Technip Energies to play central role in energy transition

The President of Senegal, Macky Sall, met with Technip Energies director and vice president of Business Development in West and Central Africa, Frank Pliya, to discuss Senegal’s oil and gas sector and energy transition. As a regional leader in liquefied natural gas, hydrogen and ethylene, in conjunction with growing market positions in blue and green hydrogen and carbon dioxide (CO2) management, Technip Energies is an advocate for an energy transition that stimulates socio-economic development and environmental preservation in Senegal. Facing pressure to transition to green energy sources, such as wind, solar and hydrogen to address the climate crisis, Senegal has placed the energy transition at the precipice of its economic growth, with the Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Aissatou Sophie Gladima, pushing for a balanced approach to protecting the environment while also considering the needs of the Senegalese people and business. Under President Macky Sall’s administration, the west African country has experienced unprecedented growth from its oil and gas resources, with revenues from its hydrocarbon sectors attaining a 37% increase from 2018 to 2019, reaching USD42.5-million.

Source: Energy Capital & Power


Tanzania's President Samia orders tax reduction on fuel

Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan on Tuesday, 5 October, ordered reduction of taxes imposed on fuel totalling TZS102-billion (USD44.2-million) annually. This will effectively reduce costs passed on to consumers. The head of state gave the directive after receiving an implementation report from the Energy Minister January Makamba, and holding a meeting in Dodoma with the attorney general and ministers of Energy, Works and Transport, Industry and Trade, Local Government and Regional Administration. President Samia had earlier asked Minister Makamba to compile a report on fuel business and their related prices in the country. A Press Statement issued by the Directorate of Presidential Communication Unit and signed by its Director Haffar Haniu said that the president made the bold decision to prevent the hiking of fuel prices, which would hurt Tanzanians.

Source: The EastAfrican


WAEMU: Togo is the 3rd country to earn the most from privatisation in the union

Togo is the third country in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) to have earned the most from privatising its companies, making USD104-million (for 78 firms). According to Kapi Consult, which disclosed the information, Togo comes behind Côte d'Ivoire and Senegal. The first two raised USD423-million and USD217-million by privatising 82 and 75 companies, respectively. Right behind Togo is Mali, with USD100-million generated through 88 privatisation operations. Recently, the Togolese state announced that it has sold its stake in Banque Togolaise du Commerce et de l'Industrie (BTCI) to IB Holding. This means it is now the sole shareholder in only 16 companies, including the autonomous port of Lomé, the Société Nouvelle des Phosphates du Togo (SNPT), and hotels such as Kara, Sarakawa, and Roch Hôtel. The state also holds shares in 26 other firms, including SOTRAL (Société de Transports de Lomé), of which it holds 96% shares, T-oil gas stations, Société Togolaise de Stockage de Lomé (STSL) and Société Aéroportuaire de Lomé (SALT) which manages the airport of Lomé.

Source: Togo First


Uganda signs business deals worth USD650-million at Expo 2020 Dubai

On Monday, 4 October, Uganda said it had signed a number of new business deals worth USD650-million at Expo 2020 Dubai. The commitments included investments in fields such as renewable energy, transport, agriculture, mineral processing and manufacturing medical kits. The East African country hopes to attract USD4-billion of new investment to fuel its post-COVID-19 pandemic recovery, Robert Mukiza, director general of the Uganda Investment Authority, said. Uganda is promoting nearly 79 bankable projects at different stages of development, all of which are ready for investment. “These projects can be actualised through public private partnerships, joint ventures, private or public arrangements … some are greenfield, brownfield or expansion projects. Our partners therefore have a wide variety of investment options to pick from,” Mr Mukiza said. The Uganda Investment Authority signed a letter of intent with the United Arab Emirates-based company Connect, which will invest USD500-million in the country. Connect will pursue a variety of projects in Uganda, including a renewable energy initiative that will generate electricity and provide smart energy storage.

Source: The National