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Africa Business in Brief


issue 474 | 13 Nov 2022


African Investment Forum: Africa remains attractive to investors, despite occasionally complex local and geopolitical situations

The African continent has enormous potential and remains an attractive destination for investors, despite complex national contexts and geopolitical changes, said experts attending the Africa Investment Forum 2022 Market Days. Africa is facing external shocks that negatively impact its growth and socioeconomic development. The COVID-19 pandemic has compromised the sustained growth that the continent has enjoyed for the last 25 years, and the Russian-Ukraine war is threatening populations with a severe food crisis. Panelists raised these points on Thursday, 3 November 2022, during the forum held from 2 - 4 November in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Africa’s potential in the world economy is growing. Most of its population is young people; a quarter of the world’s population is likely to live in Africa between now and 2050, and the African Free Trade Zone is making progress. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of unused arable land is found in Africa, which is also rich in minerals (including cobalt and lithium that are essential for producing batteries), and Africa is the world leader in agricultural products such as cacao, coffee, cotton, essential oils and mahogany.

Source: African Development Bank


Africa Investment Forum 2022 draws USD31-billion in investor interest

This year’s recently-concluded Africa Investment Forum Market Days – the continent’s premier investment platform – has drawn USD31-billion in investment interest from African and global investors. Combined with USD32.8-billion from the rescheduled 2021 Africa Investment Forum Market Days – which took place as virtual boardrooms in March this year – the forum has mobilised a total of USD63.8-billion of investment interest this year. The three-day event, held in the Ivorian commercial capital, Abidjan, attracted the participation of several African heads of state and government. The leaders chaired boardrooms and led transactions with potential investors. This year’s Market Days event – the third since 2018 – took place under the theme Building Economic Resilience through Sustainable Investments. It was held amid global economic challenges that have been compounded by the impacts of climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the Russia-Ukraine war. The event showcased the Africa Investment Forum’s founding partners’ joint resolve to help unleash Africa’s investment potential in such critical sectors as infrastructure, agriculture, energy, education, the creative industries, sports, and transactions that champion women entrepreneurs.

Source: African Development Bank


OPEC Fund and AfDB Group increase cooperation to promote sustainable development in Africa

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund for International Development and the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to expand their partnership to support sustainable economic and social development in Africa. The agreement, signed at the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt on 8 November, sets the scope for further strategic and operational cooperation through co-financing of public and private sector projects, joint diagnostic and analytical work, and sharing of knowledge and best practices. The OPEC Fund and the AfDB Group have been partners since 1976. They have so far co-financed nearly 90 projects in the energy, transport and water sectors, with more than USD1-billion of OPEC Fund contribution for over USD15-billion of the total project value. AfDB president Dr Akinwumi Adesina said, "We are pleased to re-dynamise the partnership between the [AfDB] and the OPEC Fund for International Development. Our two institutions are focussed on how to improve the lives of people and there is a very strong alignment between our approaches. The signing of this [MoU] will strengthen and deepen our cooperation even further."

Source: AfDB


The first Extraordinary Session to fast-track the operationalisation of the African Medicines Agency

The Conference of the States Parties (CoSP) to the African Medicines Agency (AMA) Treaty, held its first Extraordinary Session in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from 3 to 4 November 2022. The meeting deliberated and decided on the next steps in the operationalisation phase of the AMA, following the pronouncement of the agency’s headquarters host country in the Rwanda by the 41st Ordinary Session of the Executive Council. The CoSP convened ministers of Health and/or their duly designated representatives from 17 African Union (AU) member states. The AU Commission convened the meeting in collaboration with the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) and the AU Development Agency - The New Partnership for Africa's Development (AUDA-NEPAD). The CoSP adopted modalities and timelines for the appointment of the members of the AMA Governing Board, and further considered the draft terms of reference of the AMA director general. In accelerating the operationalisation of the AMA, the meeting considered the staffing structure/organogram of the AMA and the special contribution by state parties to the budget of the AMA.

Source: AU

East / Southern Africa

Need for speed in ratifying COMESA legal instruments

The need for speed in ratifying and implementing various legal instruments agreed upon in the past was a rallying call during the 25th Meeting of Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) ministers of justice and attorneys generals (AGs), conducted in Lusaka, Zambia on Thursday, 3 November 2022. Keynote speakers at the meeting including the secretary general of COMESA, Chileshe Kapwepwe, appealed to the ministers and the AGs to work closely with the COMESA Secretariat to assist their countries in domesticating the laws that the Council of Ministers has been passing over the years. “There is a slowness within the member states machinery that stultifies the process of domestication of COMESA legislation which unfortunately has caused a backlog,” said the secretary general. “The slowed national processes of not domesticating COMESA legislation have had an adverse effect on integrating the COMESA region.” Among the key roles of the justice minister and the AGs is to pass laws that ensure the regional bloc operates as a rules-based organisation, as this underpins the implementation of programmes to promote regional trade and investments. 

Source: COMESA

Southern Africa

Intra-SADC trade rises to 23% as region diversifies economy through implementation of Industrialisation Strategy and Roadmap 2015-2063

There is an improvement in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) intra-trade which has risen to 23%, up from 19% in 2021, according to the latest African Union (AU) Regional Integration Report (2021). This improvement reflects the impact of ongoing efforts to roll out various provisions of the SADC Protocol on Trade, including the implementation of simplified trading arrangements that have enabled an increase in informal cross-border trade covering both agricultural and non-agricultural commodities. The secretariat continues to monitor the progress on SADC levels of industrialisation and intra-trade to ensure regional economic diversification. Several activities and intermediate outputs have been achieved, but little change has been noted in impact indicators. The share of manufacturing value added (MVA) in GDP is still below 12% compared to a target of 30% by 2030 and 40% by 2050. Most SADC member states still depend on agro-based and mining commodities in terms of contribution to GDP.

Source: SADC


Afreximbank announces USD1.5-billion financing programme to Botswana

African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has announced a historic lending arrangement to Botswana, in the form of a three-year Country Programme of up to USD1.5-billion (on a net basis), with funding for up to seven years for eligible transactions. The financing package has been designed to support key strategic projects underpinning Botswana’s Economic Transformation and Diversification Plan – with funding allocated to road, rail, digital broadcast/creative industry, manufacturing, local content promotion, mining, export agriculture and industrial infrastructure. Afreximbank’s historic commitment to Botswana brings to conclusion a comprehensive process of consultation and analysis which saw close collaboration between Afreximbank and the President of the Republic of Botswana, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, ministers of Finance, Trade and Industry, the governor of the Bank of Botswana, the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC), and the Special Economic Zones Authority, among others. 

Source: Afreximbank


Botswana wins bid to host anti-conflict diamond watchdog

Botswana has won its bid to host the permanent secretariat of the Kimberley Process (KP), the grouping that certifies that diamonds are not used to fund rebel groups, but its members remain divided over Russia's invasion of Ukraine. The KP, a coalition of governments, the diamond industry and civil society representatives, said in a statement recently it had unanimously elected Botswana to host the secretariat, which is expected to become operational by 2024. The body defines conflict diamonds as gems used to fund rebel movements seeking to undermine legitimate governments. Five KP members initially expressed interest to host it before the list was whittled down to three, with Botswana, China and Austria in contention. Botswana Diamond Hub coordinator Jacob Thamage, who handed over the rotational chairmanship of the KP to Zimbabwe over the weekend, told Reuters before the recent plenary that Austria had pulled out of the bidding process, leaving Botswana and China in the race. The 85-nation body was established in 2003 to eliminate trade in conflict diamonds. 

Source: Reuters


MAS, Bank of Ghana and Development Bank Ghana to develop integrated financial ecosystem to support growth of Asia-Africa SME trade corridor

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Bank of Ghana (BOG) and Development Bank Ghana (DBG) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to develop the Ghana Integrated Financial Ecosystem (GIFE). The GIFE aims to enhance financial capabilities and access for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Ghana and generate greater opportunities for trade and financial services cooperation between Singapore and Ghana. Over time, it is envisaged that the integrated financial ecosystem model can serve the Asia-Africa Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) trade corridor more broadly. The GIFE will offer an open digital infrastructure for MSMEs in Ghana and Singapore in four key areas. The GIFE is a collaborative effort across public entities, financial institutions, Fintechs and technology solution providers in Ghana and Singapore. These include Proxtera, Consolidated Bank of Ghana, ANEXT Bank, Enterprise Singapore, and the Global FinTech Institute.

Source: MAS


IMF reaches Staff Level Agreement on the fourth reviews of the EFF and ECF for Kenya

A staff team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) led by Mary Goodman and Tobias Rasmussen, visited Nairobi, Kenya from 25 October – 8 November to discuss progress on reforms and the authorities’ policy priorities in the context of the fourth reviews of Kenya’s economic programme supported by the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility (EFF) and Extended Credit Facility (ECF). The arrangements were approved by the IMF Executive Board on 2 April 2021, for an initial total amount of SDR1.655-billion (USD2.34-billion at that time). At the conclusion of the mission, Ms Goodman and Mr Rasmussen issued the following statement, in part: “The IMF staff team and the Kenyan authorities have reached staff-level agreement on the fourth reviews of Kenya’s economic programme under the EFF and ECF arrangements. The agreement is subject to approval of IMF management and the executive board in the coming weeks. Upon completion of the executive board review, Kenya would have access to SDR336.54-million (equivalent to about USD433-million), bringing the total IMF financial support under these arrangements to SDR1 202.31-million (equivalent to about USD1 548-million).” 

Source: IMF


Kenya to manufacture affordable fossil fuel-free fertiliser by 2025

Kenya’s development of an affordable, green fertiliser supply chain and other green hydrogen-based industries have been fast-tracked. The government of Kenya and Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) have signed a binding framework agreement on the sidelines of the 27th United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference (COP27). This agreement is to replace the imported polluting fertiliser. This agreement includes the creation of fossil fuel-free fertiliser, a strong local industry and skilled job creation, and it will lessen Kenya’s exposure to imports from foreign nations. A 300-megawatt (MW) capacity generation green ammonia and green fertiliser facility will be built by 2025. This will provide affordable green fertiliser to the domestic market and address food security, while also negating the need for importing fertiliser. The agreement was first discussed by the Kenyan president and Fortescue executive chairman at the UN General Assembly that took place in New York. Both parties intend that this will be followed by the development of two further projects that would scale up renewable electricity generation for green industries by up to 25 gigawatts (GW), to produce up to 1.7 million tonnes of green hydrogen per year for export.

Source: ESI Africa

Kenya / United Kingdom

UK to expedite USD4.1-billion climate funding to Kenya to fast-track clean energy

Climate finance will flow to Kenya thanks to recent discussions at the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) between the United Kingdom (UK) Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the President of Kenya William Ruto. The UK prime minister and the Kenyan president agreed to fast-track six green investment projects worth USD4.1-billion spanning green energy, agriculture and transport. Sunak praised Kenya’s pioneering climate leadership and urged President Ruto to continue championing clean growth. These new, clean and green investments will become flagship projects of the UK-Kenya Strategic Partnership. This ambitious five-year agreement is unlocking mutual benefits for the UK and Kenya. 

Source: ESI Africa

Liberia / Guinea / Sierra Leone

Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone sign pact to improve cross-border trade, revenue and security in the region

The Customs Department of the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with its Guinean and Sierra Leonean counterparts for mutual administrative assistance to combat customs crimes and boost customs revenues in the three countries. The customs authorities agreed to foster meaningful and more robust collaborations in facilitating cross-border trade and improved security to attract domestic resource mobilisation in the three Mano River Union (MRU) countries. The customs administrations signed the resolution recently, in the Guinean capital, Conakry, at the close of their first tripartite meeting. Customs Commissioner Saa Saamoi signed the resolution for Liberia, while Sierra Leonean Customs Chief Abu Martin Kanneh and Guinea’s Director General of Customs Brigadier General Moussa Camara signed for their respective countries. The MoU contains a chain of immediate actions that seek to strengthen cohesion, solidarity, and cooperation in countering customs fraud that is detrimental to the economic, commercial, fiscal, social, cultural, or security interests of the three countries. 

Source: FrontPageAfrica


Mauritius’ readiness for intra-African trade

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) National Strategy Response aiming to enhance Mauritius’ preparedness and readiness for intra-African trade and new market and investment opportunities for African small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), was launched during a workshop, at the Westin Turtle Bay Resort and Spa in Balaclava. The two-day workshop is an initiative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) (African Trade Policy Centre and Sub Regional Office for Southern Africa) with the support of the European Union (EU). The objective is to inform and sensitise the representatives of the public and private sector of the opportunities and challenges available for trade, especially under the AfCFTA Guided Trade Initiative. The National AfCFTA Response Strategy, Minister of Land Transport and Light Rail, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Mr Alan Ganoo stressed, elaborates a series of measures to ensure that Mauritius becomes ready to exploit the potential gains associated with the AfCFTA including the setting up of a National Implementation Committee to oversee the implementation of the Agreement.

Source: Government of Mauritius


Namibia launches Economic Partnership Agreement implementation plan

The Namibian Minister of industrialisation and Trade, Lucia Iipumbu, launched an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) implementation plan at the Southern African Development Community (SADC)-European Union (EU) EPA Trade Forum at the Windhoek Country Club Resort. The event was co-hosted by the EU delegation in Namibia under the theme Towards Increased and Diversified Trade under the EPA by Ensuring Inclusivity, Sustainability and Economic Growth. “The EPA Implementation Plan for Namibia which we are also launching is geared towards attaining the objectives of the SADC-EU EPA and ensuring that the potential benefits that can accrue from it are fully utilised by the intended beneficiaries, which include exporters, importers, consumers, and the entire business fraternity,” she added. “We are further happy to note that the plan is being implemented with the support of the EU through a financing agreement between the National Planning Commission and the EU Delegation. The launch of the implementation plan and its implementation was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic interruptions,” she said. 

Source: The Exchange

Tanzania / China

Tanzania and China to reinforce cooperation

Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan was received by Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing recently during a state visit to China. President Hassan is the first African head of state China has received after the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC). During the meeting both countries agreed to expand the scale of bilateral trade as well as boost the level of trade and economic cooperation. The talks concluded with the signing of bilateral cooperation documents covering trade, investment, development cooperation, digital economy and green development. The Chinese president also reaffirmed the commitment of his country to the long-term development and strengthening of African countries.

Source: Africanews


Bill to protect consumers from predatory pricing in the offing

The Committee on Trade, Tourism and Industry has said that it will move the protection law aimed at protecting consumers from false advertisement, predatory pricing and substandard products. According to the chairperson of the committee, Mwine Mpaka, although there are several laws in the country that protect consumers, they are scattered, making it difficult to rely on. He pointed out section 3 of the Uganda National Bureau of Standards Act, section 10 of the Contracts Act, section 13 of the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act, section 5 of the National Drug Policy and Authority Act and section 1, 2 and 3 of Food and Drugs Act among others. Mpaka now says the committee will through a private member introduce the bill which will help protect consumers from exploitation in the business sector. Additionally, the proposal will protect consumers from bad lenders who disguise to be giving easy credit but have exorbitant repayment rates and hidden fees. 

Source: The Independent