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Africa Business in Brief


issue 490 | 02 Apr 2023


UNECA and RES4Africa Foundation identify key steps to advance Africa’s electricity sector reform agenda, in a dedicated public-private dialogue

In the framework of support from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to advancing the electricity reform agenda by enhancing public-private dialogue, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the RES4Africa Foundation hosted the High-Level Public-Private Dialogue on Private Sector Investment in Electricity and Infrastructure Development in Africa. The event brought together stakeholders from the public and private sectors, including policymakers, international organisations, and decision-makers working in energy and infrastructure. The participants discussed the changes needed in policy and regulatory frameworks to ensure adequate openness, attractiveness, and readiness of African markets to private investments. Acting UNECA executive secretary Antonio Pedro, stressed that the policy and regulatory challenges will require putting in place the kind of infrastructure that can support growth and prosperity.

Source: UNECA


Green hydrogen projects underway in Africa in 2023

Africa is well equipped to develop large-scale green hydrogen projects owing to the continent’s significant renewable energy potential and high quantity of platinum group metals (PGM) – South Africa alone holds approximately 90% of the world’s PGM reserves. According to global market intelligence firm, Rystad Energy, eager to leverage this potential, an electrolyser pipeline of 114 gigawatts (GW) has been announced for the continent, 61% of which (70 GW) is earmarked for the sub-Saharan African region. Mauritania has emerged as a highly attractive green hydrogen market owing to existing infrastructure such as the deepwater port of Nouadhibou as well as its location to European markets. Namibia is well on its way to become a green hydrogen economy, largely due to major developments taking off. Similar to Namibia, South Africa is well positioned to become a green hydrogen economy, with a series of projects already underway. Egypt currently has 21 green energy projects in the pipeline with the country eager to leverage its strategic position at the crossroads of Africa, Europe and Asia to become a global energy hub. Morocco has a series of large-scale green hydrogen developments on the agenda in close collaboration with international companies. Djibouti has also entered the green hydrogen race with plans underway for the construction of a 10 GW green hydrogen hub by CWP Global.

Source: Energy Capital & Power

East / Southern Africa

Tripartite Council of Ministers adopt legal instruments to implement the TFTA

The Council of Ministers of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), East African Community (EAC) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have adopted legal instruments to implement the Tripartite Free Trade Agreement (TFTA) once it enters into force. In its fifth meeting conducted virtually on Wednesday, 29 March, the ministers adopted the instruments relating to trade and customs, namely the tripartite agreement on movement of business persons, annexes on elimination of import duties, trade remedies, rules of origin, dispute settlement mechanism and the TFTA protocol on competition policy. Further the council adopted the guidelines, manuals and working procedures developed on rules of origin and technical barriers to trade, which comprise of sanitary and phytosanitary matters and non-tariff barriers. The other set of instruments adopted by the council relates to road transport. They include the Vehicle Load Management Agreement, Multilateral Cross Border Road Transport Agreement, Vehicle Load Management Model Law, Cross Border Road Transport Model Law, Road Traffic Model Law, Road Traffic and Transport Transgression Model Law, and Transportation of Dangerous Goods by Road Model Law.

Source: COMESA

Southern Africa

Design innovative mechanisms to assist medium and small to medium enterprises to access finance, SADC countries urged

Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states have been urged to design innovative finance mechanisms that will move away from traditional finance models in order to improve access to finance for medium and small to medium enterprises in the region. The member states should also establish dedicated marketing boards to focus on issues of lack of access to markets and finance for the medium and small to medium enterprises, put in place business support mechanisms, a good regulatory environment, and invest in mentorship skills for the businesses. These were recommendations from breakaway sessions held during the annual SADC Regional Financial Inclusion Forum held in Johannesburg, South Africa, which was attended by senior-level representatives who work on financial inclusion within the Ministries of Finance, central banks, non-bank regulators and the private sector. The financial inclusion strategies are assisted by the Support to Improving the Investment and Business Environment (SIBE) Programme in the SADC Region, which is supported by the European Union (EU). 

Source: SADC

Southern Africa

Efforts to curb money laundering and terrorism financing stepped up in the SADC region

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat has stepped up the region’s resolve to fight money laundering, terrorism financing, and proliferation financing. There is a common dislike for money laundering, terrorism financing and proliferation financing in SADC and member states have committed themselves, through the Eastern and Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group of countries (ESAAMLG), to take effective measures against the vices. It is against this background that SADC convened a validation workshop in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 21-24 March, to discuss ways to facilitate the convergence of the anti-money laundering and countering the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) policies, laws and regulatory practices in member states, with the requirements of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). 

Source: SADC

Southern Africa

President Andry Rajoelina of Madagascar calls for increased investment in agriculture and industrial development to drive SADC regional economic growth

Andry Nirina Rajoelina, President of Madagascar has called for increased investment in agriculture and industrial development to drive regional economic growth. President Rajoelina made the call when he received a courtesy call from the Executive Secretary of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Mr Elias M Magosi in Madagascar’s capital of Antananarivo on the 23 March 2023. President Rajoelina said the impact of the on-going Russia-Ukraine conflict on food availability, access and affordability in Africa, serves as a wake up call for the SADC region to increase investment in food production and productivity for the region to become self-sufficient, create more jobs and accelerate economic growth. On this note, the president said Madagascar intends to increase rice production by 25% to ensure national food security and surplus for the export market. On industrial development, the president said SADC member states must industrialise to support value addition of products and reduce exportation of raw materials. As part of the implementation of the industrialisation agenda, the president highlighted that Madagascar is investing in the local production of cement and sugar. 

Source: SADC

The Gambia

IMF staff completes discussions for the sixth review under the ECF arrangement for The Gambia

A team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), led by Mr Ivohasina Fizara Razafimahefa, Mission Chief for The Gambia, held discussions with The Gambian authorities from 14-24 March 2023, on the sixth review of The Gambia’s economic programme supported by the IMF’s Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement. At the conclusion of the mission, Mr Razafimahefa issued the following statement, in part: “The mission team reached staff-level agreement with the authorities on the economic and financial policies that could support the IMF Executive Board’s completion of the sixth review under the ECF arrangement. Despite multiple shocks that affected the economy, including the spillovers from the war in Ukraine, five out of six quantitative performance criteria and three out of four indicative targets at end-December 2022 were met. Two structural benchmarks were met, and one structural benchmark was completed after the deadline. The IMF Executive Board’s consideration of the staff report on the review is tentatively scheduled for June 2023. Upon the board’s approval, SDR5-million (equivalent to about USD6.7-million) will be made available to The Gambia.”

Source: IMF


AfDB approves USD28.49-million grant to enhance Ghana’s universal electrification goal

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a grant of USD28.49-million for Ghana to construct renewable energy infrastructure that will increase its renewable energy use by 10% through 2030. The financing, which will come from the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) – Scaling Up Renewable Energy Program in Low Income Countries (SREP), will support construction of mini-grids, stand-alone solar photovoltaic (PV) systems and solar-based battery facilities for storing excess power, a practice known as net metering. With the latest board approval of USD28.49-million, the project’s total cost of USD85.18-million is in the coffers. The African Development Fund, the bank’s concessionary window, has provided USD27.39-million while Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs and the Government of Ghana have contributed USD13.30-million and USD16-million, respectively. The project consists of the design, engineering, supply, construction, installation, testing and commissioning of renewable energy systems on the island communities in the Volta Lake region. 

Source: AfDB


Guinea-Bissau, EIB ink EUR3.5-million deal for regional road network

Guinea-Bissau and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have inked a EUR3.5-million deal which will see the EIB providing the country with technical assistance for the implementation of the Guinea-Bissau Resilient Road Corridor project. The signing of the deal kickstarts the first stage of the project’s implementation which includes the rehabilitation of a 115 km section of the N2 road – the only paved road connecting the West African country with external markets. Signed by Ilídio Vieira Té, Finance Minister, Guinea-Bissau; Thomas Östros, vice president, EIB; and Jutta Urpilainen, the European Union’s commissioner for International Partnerships, the deal will see the EIB supporting Guinea-Bissau with procurement, environmental and social safeguards as well as management, road safety, climate resilience and reporting aspects of the project. The project, co-funded by the World Bank, represents part of the Praia-Dakar-Abidjan Strategic Corridor which is designed to connect Cabo Verde, Guinea-Bissau and Senegal.

Source: Energy Capital & Power

Kenya / Germany

Kenya, Germany vote for NTBs

Kenya and Germany have pledged to prioritise elimination of non-tariff barriers (NTBs) to boost trade between the two countries. This, they said, will reduce the costs of doing business and ease movement of goods and services. Speaking in Germany recently, President William Ruto said the removal of NTBs will also enhance investments by German businesses in Kenya. “This will improve the balance of trade that is currently in favour of Germany,” said Dr Ruto at Schloss Bellevue, Berlin, where he was hosted by his German counterpart, Dr Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Earlier in Potsdamer Platz, Dr Ruto invited German businessmen to invest in Kenya’s micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), saying that Kenya stands to benefit from the world’s most experienced, organised and resourced German establishments. He made the remarks when he met Dr Markus Jerger, the chairman of Der Mittelstand-German Association of Small and Medium-Sized Businesses (BVMW). President Ruto noted that the government is committed under its bottom-up economic transformation agenda to support small enterprises to grow.

Source: The Nation


Communications regulator lays out strategic plan for the next three years

The Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) recently launched its Integrated Business Strategic Plan for the next three years, at an event in Windhoek. The development of the Strategic Plan for the period 2023 to 2026 was necessitated by the need to build on the third Strategic Plan for the period 2020 to 2023. The current strategy also puts more emphasis on the execution of the core mandate of CRAN through the added strategic themes of Digital Transformation, and Market Development and Consumer Protection. Speaking at the launch, Heinrich Mihe Gaomab II, chairperson of the CRAN Board of Directors said “the authority’s mandate entails the development and expansion of the information and communications technology (ICT) sector in Namibia so that all Namibians have access to a variety of services, products at high quality and affordable rates. It is CRAN’s responsibility as a regulator of the ICT sector to ensure that service providers expand their products and services to underserved and un-served areas, to expand on universal access which in turn offers many benefits such as building a knowledge-based society as communities have access to information, employment, and participation in national and international offerings which is crucial for the socio-economic development of our country.”

Source: Namibia Economist


New carrier Nigeria Air to begin flights by May despite backlash

Nigeria’s new carrier, Nigeria Air, will commence operations after years of attempts to float a national brand after the collapse of Nigeria Airways 20 years ago. “The new carrier which [will] commence local and international flights before May 2023, is a product of partnership with the Ethiopia Airways,” Nigeria’s Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika said at the ongoing National Aviation Stakeholders Forum 2023 in Abuja. Sirika has been working to revive the country’s carrier for almost eight years. “Local and international flights will commence soon by 29 May. Negotiations between Ethiopian Airlines Group Consortium and the Nigerian government are ongoing. The next step is for the country’s Federal Executive Council to approve the full business case,” Sirika said. He said the airline would ensure the reduction in capital flight from Nigeria, maximise benefits of [the] Bilateral Aviation Safety Agreement (BASA) and Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), as well as develop the aviation hub. “The national carrier will contribute to Nigeria’s [GDP], grow [the] hospitality and tourism industry, promote [the] agricultural sector, as well as create more jobs,” he explained.

Source: The EastAfrican


IMF staff reaches staff-level agreement with Seychelles on a Resilience Sustainability Fund programme and a new EFF arrangement

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission led by Calixte Ahokpossi, mission chief for Seychelles, visited Victoria from 16-29 March 2023, to discuss the authorities’ request for support under an Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangement and a Resilience Sustainability Facility (RSF) programme. At the end of the mission, Mr Ahokpossi issued the following statement, in part: “The Seychellois authorities and an IMF staff team reached a staff-level agreement on policies and reforms under a new 36-month [EFF] arrangement and a [RSF] programme, with a requested access of 185% of quota under the EFF (SDR42.36-million) and 150% of quota under the RSF (SDR34.35-million). The new EFF would support the authorities in their efforts to build on the progress in macroeconomic, fiscal, and financial reforms started under the EFF that was approved in July 2021. The RSF financing will help the authorities advance their efforts in building resilience against climate change. The agreement is subject to approval by the IMF Management and Executive Board. Consideration by the board is tentatively scheduled for May 2023.”

Source: IMF

Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone seeks upstream partners to fast-track exploration, says petroleum directorate

The African Energy Chamber (AEC) spoke with Mr Foday B. L. Mansaray, Director General of the Petroleum Directorate of Sierra Leone, in an exclusive interview on the country’s latest oil and gas developments. These include a fifth licensing round launched last May, ongoing evaluation of its gas prospects, streamlined concession terms, and an upcoming wildcat and appraisal well to be drilled later this year. When asked what the current state of Sierra Leone’s oil and gas industry is, Mr Mansaray said, “We are still a nation in its infancy and we want to get to a stage where we can commercialise our oil and gas reserves. Over the past years, we have managed to streamline the process for application to conduct exploration works. So far, we have a Nigerian independent in our basin which – in its first evaluation conducted last year – has highlighted gas prospects. With the energy transition taking center stage, having gas in our energy mix will be crucial in driving energy security and sustainability.” 

Source: AEC


Tanzania's aviation industry performance surpasses pre-COVID-19 levels

The year 2022 ended on a high note for the aviation sector as passenger traffic and cargo surpassed the pre-COVID-19 levels. Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority (TCAA) data show that cargo handled last year surpassed the pre-pandemic levels by 32% to reach 35 130.83 tonnes while passengers carried by airlines increased by almost 2% to hit 5.723 million. When it comes to aircraft movement, they still remained below pre-pandemic level by 15.4%. When comparing the 2022 figures with those of the preceding year, the number of passengers who used the country’s airports jumped by 49.23% compared to 3.835 million registered in 2021, according to the TCAA. On the other hand, the tonnage of cargo that was carried in 2022 increased by 13.42% from the previous year’s 30 973.75. Under the period of review, the number of aircraft movements climbed by 28.5% to 198 115 from 154 168. Air Tanzania Company Limited (ATCL) managing director Ladislaus Matindi connected the promising performance with a campaign to market Tanzania through the Royal Tour film. 

Source: The Citizen

Tanzania / United States

US plans Tanzania trade boost as VP Kamala Harris tours Africa

The United States (US) government has announced plans to boost exports to Tanzania, where Vice President (VP) Kamala Harris was on a visit as part of a diplomatic drive by Washington to strengthen ties with a continent where China and Russia increasingly hold sway. VP Harris began her African tour in Ghana before flying to Tanzania's commercial capital Dar es Salaam, to meet with President Samia Suluhu Hassan. Her office announced plans to improve trade and other aspects of bilateral relations, including a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM) and the Government of Tanzania. This will facilitate up to USD500-million in US export financing to Tanzania to support exports of goods and services in sectors including infrastructure, transportation, digital technology, climate and energy security and power generation. VP Harris' office also highlighted US support for a plan by LifeZone Metals to open a new processing plant in Tanzania. The facility will use low-emission technology to process nickel and other minerals mined in the East African country, with a view to start delivering battery grade nickel to the US from 2026, VP Harris' office said.

Source: Reuters


1 000 MW floating solar plant on the cards for Zimbabwe

Renewables firm China Energy Engineering Corp (China Energy) has submitted a proposal to Zimbabwe’s state utility, Zimbabwe Power Company as well as a private consortium to construct a 1 000 megawatt (MW) floating solar facility on the Kariba Dam – the biggest man-made dam in the world by volume. According to a document recently released by the company, “The work scope of the project includes the design, procurement, construction and commissioning of a 1 000 MW AC floating solar farm and 330 (kilovolt) kV/ 33 kV booster station.” At a cost of approximately USD1-billion, the proposed facility would cover an area of over 2 500 hectares, making it the largest of its kind on the continent and one of the biggest worldwide. About 1.8 million solar panels will be installed at a cost of USD987-million, with construction set to take place over several phases, creating thousands of direct and indirect jobs. In total, the project will take three years to complete, upon which it is expected to generate clean electricity for over two million households in the country, significantly improving access to clean and affordable energy. The project forms part of the government’s plans to bring 1 100 MW of solar projects online by 2025.

Source: Energy Capital & Power