Africa, China, Ghana, Invesments, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Uncategorized

Africa Focused News

by Dario Galluccio

Nigeria: Airtel and FirstBank launch mobile payment platform

Telecommunication service provider, Airtel Nigeria has partnered FirstBank Plc to launch Firstmonie Talkmore, a mobile payment service platform, for the country’s citizens. The platform, which was made official after the signing of an MoU on Tuesday, in Lagos, will allow subscribers on the Airtel network to send and receive money, buy airtime, pay bills and carry out other forms of transactions without owning a bank account. And the mobile operator has stated its confidence that the innovation will revolutionize the mobile payment industry.

The partnership, according to both firms, is the first major collaboration between leading operators in the nation’s telecom and banking industries and follows a recent partnership between Airtel and the bank’s insurance company, FBNLife Insurance, on the unveiling of PAD14Life.

Tanzania: Investors exhibit high appetite for treasury bills

Despite the end of month obligations, the twelve-month Treasury Bills auction that the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) conducted on Wednesday was oversubscribed by 63.6 per cent. According to the auction results, the total amount tendered jumped to 237.34bn/- against 145bn/- sought by the central bank at an average interest rate of 14.18 per cent

However, despite the oversubscription, the government ended up taking only 210.32bn/-. It is common that most investors fulfil end of month obligations including the disbursement of tax, salary and other statutory payments, cutting down the share of investments in the government papers. But the situation was contrary and the auction was oversubscribed, a sign of excessive liquidity in the market. The bank report states further that there was a higher appetite for 364-day bills but there was no appetite for 35 day.

Rate of return has been one of the major determinants in drawing attention of investors’ appetite on the treasury bills auction although in some past tenders, little changes were noticed despite hiked interest rates leading to under subscription.

Commercial banks have remained to be the giant investors in government securities, contributing over 60 per cent of the total market share. Pension Funds, insurance and few micro-finance institutions firms are among the key investment players in the instruments.

Kenya: Hits mark for commercial oil production

Kenya is finally set to join the league of oil producing nations after British explorer Tullow Oil Plc said it had surpassed the threshold needed for commercial exploitation of reserves in Turkana.

‘Resources discovered to date are of a scale that the partnership will initiate discussions with the Government of Kenya and other relevant stakeholders to consider development options,’ Tullow said. Africa Oil is Tullow’s partner in the Turkana exploration and appraissal phase. The developments to be considered include facilities such as pipelines and refineries but Tullow said the oil could initially be moved by rail or road. Tullow now estimates that the Turkana exploration basin has in excess of 300 million barrels of oil (mmbo) after it discovered up to 50 metres of fresh reserves in Etuko-1, making the country’s total found reserves commercially viable.

Ghana: All-Time Capital launches bond fund for investors

All-Time Capital, a mutual fund established three years ago, has launched a bond fund that targets corporate and individual investors who are conscious of the various risks associated with investments in the country. The fund, the All-Time Bond Fund (ABF), is a medium to long-term investment instrument that will invest mainly in government and corporate bonds as well as in stable but high yielding money market instruments.

It has Stanbic Bank as its custodians and will be regulated by the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The Manager of the ABF, Mr Aseye Akotia, explained that about 60 per cent of the fund’s net assets was to be invested in bonds and the remaining 40 per cent in money market instruments.

The initial public offer (IPO) for the fund is expected to run from July 31 to August 28 within which period individuals, fund managers and the investing public would have the opportunity to buy into it. The IPO has five million shares on offer and interested individuals and institutions can buy a minimum of GH¢100 shares after which they qualify to buy in multiples of GH¢50.

Tanzania: TIC eyes more investments from Thailand

The Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) has reiterated its resolve to strengthen investment relations with Thailand for the mutual benefit of the two countries.

TIC Executive Director, Ms. Juliet Kairuki, told journalists in Dar es Salaam that her agency was ready to help and facilitate Thai people who want to come and invest in Tanzania. “We are ready and do welcome them,” she said. She noted that, coupled with diverse opportunities, Tanzania stands out in the region as a best investment destination to multinational companies and countries, including Thailand. She said that Thailand is good at cutting and polishing minerals and it will be good if they come and construct industries for the purpose in Tanzania and work with Tanzanians. “This will help add value to our minerals before exporting them, hence more profits to businesspeople and the country,” she said.

She mentioned other areas of cooperation as tourism, infrastructure development, agriculture and energy. For his part, the Executive Director of Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF), Mr. Godfrey Simbeye, said the private sector was ready to work with Thai people in developing business projects in order to move their countries forward.

While in the country, the Prime Minister of Thailand, Ms Yingluck Shinawatra, launched the Thai-African Initiative which aims at enhancing partnership between Thailand and Africa, as well as providing the building block for a wider Asia-Africa link. She said the initiative will help generate greater momentum for closer cooperation between Asia and Africa, which are currently two important driving forces of the world economy.

South Africa: China invests in South African wine

Yangzhou-based Perfect China has made the Asian country’s first investment in South Africa’s wine industry, acquiring the Val de Vie estate in the Western Cape in a deal expected to boost exports of South African wine to the Far East. Perfect China, through its 51% shareholding in Perfect Wines of South Africa, purchased the 25-hectare wine farm between Paarl and Franschhoek that includes 21 hectares of vineyards, a manor house and wine cellar.

Perfect Wines of South Africa was established as a joint venture between Hein Koegelenberg from Leopard’s Leap and La Motte and Perfect China in 2011.

Perfect China distributes L’Huguenot throughout the Far East with a sales team of over a million agents and 5 000 depots to markets including Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam

Uganda: Thailand sign new trade deal

The government today signed a memorandum of understanding with the Prime minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, Yingluck Shinawatra, to supply agricultural products and commodities for five years. Shinawatra, who is on a state visit to Uganda at the invitation of President Museveni, was accompanied by several members of the Thai Royal government and a business delegation. In the memorandum, the two governments also agreed to promote and facilitate trade and investment.

They agreed to set up a joint committee to coordinate, guide and oversee cooperation in the areas mentioned in the memorandum.

The deputy Prime minister of Thailand Plodrasop Suraswadi and state minister for Foreign Affairs Okello Oryem, signed two memorandums, one on cooperation and food security, trade and investment in agriculture products and commodities, and the second in the area of technical cooperation. Another memorandum was signed between the private sector of Uganda, by Uganda Investment Authority on behalf of Uganda, and the Board of Trade of Thailand. Shinawatra said the Thai government would renovate Itojo primary school.

Currently, trade between Uganda and Thailand stands at $20m per annum, but Museveni said this can be increased if Thai entrepreneurs tap into tourism and real estate investment opportunities in Uganda.

Africa: Barclays Africa makes JSE debut

Barclays Africa Group on Friday morning made its first showing on the JSE and experienced the ravages of financial markets as the stock got a battering. Its shares lost 1.60 percent during intraday trading on the JSE as the market supposedly took its time to get to know the company or the share itself.

Barclays Africa, which is among Africa’s major financial services firms, was launched by the combination of Absa Group and Barclays’ African operations on 31 July this year in an R18 billion deal.

To mirror the broadened group’s pan-African attention, it was decided that the name of the company should be altered from Absa Group to Barclays Africa Group. It is 62.3 percent owned by the London-based Barclays Bank, the parent company of Absa, South Africa’s biggest retail bank.

Antony Jenkins, the Barclays CEO, recently highlighted the fact that Africa is Barclays’ biggest region of operation after the UK and US. It has added more than 10 percent of Barclays’ interim profit before tax in the six month to June this year.

South African Airways extends Codeshare agreement with JetBlue

South Africa’s flag carrier, South African Airways (SAA) has announced a bilateral Codeshare agreement with US-based JetBlue to seamlessly connect the carriers’ networks via New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) and Washington’s Dulles International Airport (IAD). The partnership, an extension of an interline deal first inked in 2010, is pending at the United States (U.S.) Department of Transportation and South African Department of Transport regulatory approval. It will allow customers to purchase a single ticket combining SAA and JetBlue-operated flights and enjoy day-of-travel conveniences such as one-stop check-in and baggage transfer.

JetBlue intends to place its “B6” code on SAA’s-operated flights between the U.S. and both Johannesburg, South Africa, and Dakar, Senegal, as well as on connecting flights to select destinations beyond Johannesburg, including Cape Town, Durban, East London and Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

SAA is one Africa’s leading airline. It was recently named Best Airline in Africa for the 11th consecutive year at the World Airline Awards presented by Skytrax.

Africa: ICBC to buy Standard Bank London commodities unit

Africa’s largest bank by assets, Standard Bank Group Limited, is in advanced talks to sell its UK-based commodities and foreign exchange trading divisions to Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), its biggest shareholder.

A source close to the situation told Britain’s Sky News that talks concerning the acquisition are at a detailed stage and it is expected to be concluded by the end of the year. A spokesman for Standard Bank said in a statement the two lenders were “jointly exploring areas of greater co-operation, including global markets and commodities.” Sky News said the Chinese biggest lender is keen to get its hands on the businesses to cement its presence in the city and to give it greater access to vital markets for trading physical commodities.

Sudan: Government postpones deadline for closure of oil pipeline

The WB said in a statement it announced in May a 1 billion U.S. dollars development pledge to help countries in the region provide better health and education services, generate more cross-border trade, and fund hydroelectricity projects in support of the Great Lakes peace agreement.

The bank said its commitment to increase its work in states emerging from conflict and its determination to help lift fragile states out of fragility and back on a positive development track sends a strong message that peace and development are inseparable and must be addressed together.

World Bank Vice President for the Africa Region Makhtar Diop said Africa is at the center of the Bank’s 2030 goals of ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity, in an environmentally, socially, and fiscally sustainable manner. He said also that the region has shown remarkable resilience in the face of a global recession and continues to grow strongly.

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