Africa, Ghana, Invesments, Nigeria, South Africa, Uncategorized

Africa Focused News

by Dario Galluccio

Ghana: Eurobond oversubscribed by US$1.2 billion

Ghana’s second bid to raise US$1 billion from the international capital market to finance key development projects has been oversubscribed by US$1.2 billion. The first bond of US$750 million was raised in 2007 with a coupon rate of 8.5 per cent and a maturity period of 10 years.

This current bond of US$1 billion has a maturity period of 10 years, with a coupon rate of 7.875 per cent which will be paid semi-annually. The bond will be listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) and the Irish Stock Exchange (ISE). This will be the first listing of a sovereign bond on a local stock market in sub-Saharan Africa.

The over-subscription shows the level of confidence the international financial community has in the Ghanaian economy. The economy, over the past year, has received positive ratings from international rating agencies. Moody Ratings rated Ghana B1; Standard and Poor’s B, while Fitch rated the economy B+.

The foreign lead managers for the transaction were Barclays Bank and the Citi Bank Group, while SAS and EDC were the co-managers.

Proceeds from the bond are expected to be used to finance infrastructure projects and restructure maturing debts and interest payments. They are also to be used as counterpart funding for capital projects such as the Atuabo Gas Processing project, as well as to finance capital expenditure approved in the 2013 budget, with priority given to self-financing projects such as ports and power projects.

Kenya: To launch broadband plan to step up Internet access

Kenya now becomes the second country in Africa, after South Africa, to launch an elaborate National Broadband Strategy (NBS) aimed at transforming the country into a knowledge-based economy.

Launched on Tuesday, 23th of July, the overall objective of the strategy is to provide quality broadband services to all citizens in the country.

The strategy proposes a Sh250 billion, about $3 million, budget to fund the development of the broadband infrastructure, supporting national capacity building, awareness, content and innovations.

Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) director general, Francis Wangusi, termed ICTs as a critical pillar of development and called for the establishment of an infrastructure that would enhance communication networks in the country.

Ghana: France earmarks $1.5m to support the Ghanaian economy

The French Ambassador to Ghana Frederick Clavier says France has earmarked 1.5 million dollars to support the Ghanaian economy under the bilateral arrangement between the two countries. He said this is to show France’s confidence in the future of the country.

Speaking on GBC Uniiq Breakfast drive, Ambassador Clavier added that the open market that Ghana has offered to France has good economic benefits to the two countries.

“To date, China represents Africa’s leading trading partner, making up more than a third of Africa’s trade. Chinese pragmatism has certainly enabled infrastructure and broader investment in a range of African countries,” he said. The minister told that funding should also be sourced from other emerging markets and Europe.

Ghana: Epack bounces back to profit

Ghana’s biggest mutual investment fund, Epack, has bounced back from a poor 2011 showing to close at GH¢1.0291 per share, up from the GH¢0.8773 recorded in 2011.

The fund gained 17.31 per cent in cedi terms but actually lost some negative 1.4 per cent in dollar terms, which its Executive Chairman, Keli Gadzekpo, attributes to the depreciation of the cedi in 2012.

This reflects the impressive performance of most African stock markets, including Ghana, particularly in the last quarter of 2012.

While Epack’s exposure to Malawi and Mauritius reduced on the back of currency weakness, its holdings in Nigeria surged up by 165 per cent due to a combination of stock purchases of 39 per cent increase and share price rallies.

The fund closed the year with a total of 6,233 shareholders. Moreover it ended the year with assets under management worth GH¢2.6 million. The total number of shareholders of the Ark Fund also increased by 493 shareholders.

The fixed income market is expected to return considerable gains as interest continued to remain high in the first quarter of 2013.The fund

West Africa: Central Banks must maintain independence

The Vice-President, Mr Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, has challenged central banks in the West African sub-region to maintain their independence from political interference.

He said since the central banks were the bulwarks of rational decision, they must wean themselves from unnecessary political influence.

The Vice-President made the call when a delegation of the Committee of the Governors of the Central Banks in West Africa called on him at the Flagstaff House in Accra yesterday.

The delegation is in the country to attend the West Africa Monetary Zone (WAMZ) review meeting in Accra today.

Rwanda: Eight Saccos will benefit From U.S. Ambassador’s $50,000 grant

Eight Rwandan associations and cooperatives are set to benefit from a $50,000 (Rwf33 million) grant this year under the US Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Fund.

The funding agreement was signed by Donald W. Koran, the US Ambassador to Rwanda, and the representatives of the select cooperative beneficiaries.

The fund will help associations operating small business projects such as juice manufacturing, fabric printing, animal husbandry, among others.

Kenya: PCK invests Sh80 Million in electronic payment system

The Postal Corporation of Kenya (PCK) has invested Sh80 million in rolling out a national electronic payment system that will see financial institutions share payment infrastructure. The e-payment system will enable the corporation transact several operations electronically on behalf of various stakeholders that include electronic agency banking, mobile money transfers, card-based transactions, e-commerce, online disbursements in agency services, as well as e-payment for utility bills.

Postmaster General, Enock Kinara, says the technology offers an array of infinite transaction possibilities, from mobile wallets, credit and debit cards to Unstructured Supplementary Service Data.

He said the corporation has already signed agreements with seven major banks to use its electronic payment where it serves as an agent of the financial institutions.

Liberia: big gold find thousands face relocation

A mining company announced it has discovered around a million ounces (30 tonnes) of gold beneath two towns in western Liberia and said that as a result thousands of residents would be relocated.

“The re-location exercise is about moving people of the towns of Kinjor and Lajor to a new site because they are sitting on the pit; the mine,” said Shirk Sonii, spokesman for the Aureus Mining Company which has the mining concessions in the area.

Aureus Mining Inc., a Canadian registered company, is engaged in the exploration and development of gold deposits in under-explored areas of Liberia and Cameroon.

This is the first commercial gold mining operation in Liberia, and Aureus’ Liberty Gold Mine is expected to produce 120,000 ounces per year over an eight year span with production on track for the first deposits to be recovered in the last quarter of 2013.

In monetary value, it is expected that the company will receive $120 million from its annual sales. According to Sonii, thousands of residents must be relocated to land about five hundred miles away from the blasting zone.

Sudan: Government postpones deadline for closure of oil pipeline

The Government of Sudan has agreed to postpone for at least two weeks the deadline by which it will shut down the pipelines carrying oil from landlocked South Sudan for export through Port Sudan.

The agreement follows calls by the Chairman of the AU High Level Implementation Panel, former South African President Mbeki, and by the Chair of IGAD’s Council of Ministers, Ethiopian Foreign Minister, Dr. Tedros Adhanom, who arrived in Khartoum Thursday. They asked for more time so that the AU verification committee, the Ad Hoc Investigative Mechanism (AIM) could complete its investigations of the claims made by Sudan and South Sudan that both had been supporting the rebels of the other side.

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