Accra, Africa, African Union, Austria, Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, Business, Commercial production, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, EOH, Ghana, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation, Government, IFC, India, India–Africa Forum Summit, Inflation, International Finance Corporation, Invesments, Italy, Kenya, Momentum Global Investment Management, Nigeria, Oil, South Africa, Uncategorized

Africa Focused News

REPORT OF THURSDAY 12/09/13

by Dario Galluccio

This Blog is sponsored by http://www.reflexecogroup.com

Ghana: Inflation at 11.5% in August

The average change in prices of goods and services in the country, measured by inflation, dropped to 11.5 per cent in August after registering a consistent rise since January, this year. The August figure was 0.02 per cent lower than the 11.8 per cent recorded in July this year.

The drop was generally influenced by both the food and non-food groups. Some of the items in the two groups recorded drops and that impacted the whole rate.

Year-on-year inflation, which compares the change in prices of goods and services in one month against the corresponding one in the previous, has been on the rise since January, after ending last year on a record low of 8.8 per cent.

From 10.1 per cent in January, the rate rose to 10.9 per cent in April, before peaking at 11.8 last month. That consistent rise was mainly influenced by corresponding increases in prices of goods and services which was then triggered by a weakening exchange rate regime and an upward adjustment of prices of petroleum products.

The decline in the rate for August comes at a time the cedi is regaining strength against some of its main foreign counterparts, with prices of goods and services stabilising, albeit slowly.

Ghana: Commercial production, export of oil yields $1.4 billion revenue

According to the Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Mr Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, Ghana earned $1.4 billion from the commercial production and export of oil from 2011 to June 2013.

He said 77 million barrels of oil had been produced as of September 10, out of which about 13 million barrels, representing Ghana’s share, went to the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC). The government invested the revenue in infrastructural development and other agreed purposes.

Mr Buah said the country earned $444.12 million in 2011, $541.07 million in 2012, while $422.76 million had been accrued as of the end of June 2013.

The country’s oil output was set to further increase with the recent signing of a plan of development for the Tweneboah, Enyenra and Ntomme (TEN) project and ongoing negotiations for the finalisation and signing of a plan for the development of the Sankofa oil and gas fields.

South Africa: South African life insurer sets aside $100m for african expansion

MMI Holdings, South Africa’s 3rd largest life insurer, said it has reserved 1 billion rand ($100 million) to fast-track its expansion push across Africa. The JSE-listed firm also earmarked 500 million rand ($50 million) for its short term insurance business as it purchased 70 percent of insurer Mauritian Eagle.

It plans to spend the entire funds on acquisitions in 12 countries outside South Africa where MMI operates with talks for another purchase already in place, though nothing concrete has been established at the moment.

This revelation follows the release of its year-end financial results, which showed some positive figures. Its operating divisions’ profit witnessed a 19 percent rise, while its diluted headline earnings – also a profit measurer – rose 10 percent to 3.2 billion rand ($322.9 million). Also the Value of new business went up 19 percent to R711 million ($71.7 million).

Africa: IFC invests $63m in affordable housing

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the largest global development institution, said it had invested more than $63m in a housing solutions fund for the support and development of affordable housing in sub-Saharan Africa.

The International Housing Solutions (IHS) Fund II aims to address the need for housing across the continent and the lack of affordable housing. The first IHS fund has already committed more than 200$ million to providing affordable housing in emerging markets.

Speaking at a press conference in Johannesburg, Saleem Karimjee, IFC senior manager for Southern Africa, said services such as access to quality housing were a priority in Africa.

The National Housing Finance Corporation is working with the IFC, and CEO Samson Moraba said the corporation was delighted with the investment as it would accelerate the delivery of housing. Its mandate is to broaden access to affordable housing finance for low- to middle-income South African households.

Nigeria: Austria partner to boost trade and investment

Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) and Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (AFEC), the apex chamber of commerce in Nigeria and Austria, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will help boost business and economic activities between the two countries. The MoU which was signed at the first Austrian-Nigerian business forum, in Lagos, will provide opportunity for the commerce industries to explore other ways of mutually beneficial relationship.

NACCIMA President, Alhaji Badaru Abubakar, who was represented by the Second Deputy National President, NACCIMA, Iyalode Alaba Lawson, in his delivery speech titled : “Foreign Direct Investment – A Global Strategy,” said Nigerian economy is too large to be ignored for Foreign Direct Investment as it holds the eighth largest population in the world, 10th largest oil and gas reserves, fourth largest equity market in the MSCI Frontier Market index, and home to a stable of large, well capitalised banks and emerging world’s largest cement companies. He however noted that despite the impressive data presented, Nigeria’s business and investment environment, like that of any other developing economies in the world, has its peculiar challenges.

Meanwhile, Austrian Ambassador to Nigeria, Joachim Oppinger, noted that Nigeria-Austria bilateral business is actually improving, adding that bilateral trade between Nigeria and Austria is in the range of 100 million euros in export.

Austria is one of the richest countries in the world with thriving manufacturing sector and a renowned know-how in the fields of renewable energy and environmental technology. It was recently ranked the 10th happiest nation in the 2013 World Happiness report.

Africa now part of EOH strategy

IT solutions provider, EOH, said it is poised to make Africa part of its strategy and get down to business on the continent. Asher Bohbot, the head of EOH, told this followed a decision taken a couple of months back at the company’s executive committee meeting.

Bohbot said the company had formed a structure that will look at Africa and it has identified a number of people that will be dedicated to Africa. This structure and the people’s main objective would be to pay more attention to the African continent.

He did not name the countries that the company was preparing to enter in the short term. But this was a surprising announcement in that not long ago the company had told its shareholders that it would be very cautious about Africa and take their time when it came to investing in Africa.

Africa: African Union invites Indian investment

Africa is seeking India’s technical support and experience as it moves towards building a contemporary continent, a top African Union (AU) official has said, saying more Indians should visit Africa and invest in Africa.

“For us to look at our future with confidence we need to address our needs. India is supporting us in this. We are seeking technical support and share of experience and nothing else,” AU Commission Chief of Staff Jean Baptiste Natama told IANS during a visit here.

Capacity building and value development of skills to help Africans better organise themselves is one of the major areas in which India is collaborating with the 54-nation continent, said Natama, who was here for a meeting on adopting the Plan of Action of the Enhanced Framework for Cooperation for the India-Africa Forum Summit-II (IAFS). Natama described the Indian Technical & Economic Cooperation Programme (ITEC), under which African nations get scholarships in India to study across various sectors including agriculture, as an example of South-South cooperation.

He said India and Africa are bound by historical ties. He said both sides need to regularly consult each other and make sure “we are promoting the interests of the two sides”. “We are calling for Indians to visit Africa, to learn more about Africa and to invest in Arica. We want to assure them they will always be welcome in Africa,” said Natama.

Africa: New Multi-Manager Fund to invest for income

Momentum Global Investment Management has launched a multi-manager fund investing in Africa’s fixed income markets. Aimed at institutional investors, the Africa Fixed Income Fund is managed by David Lashbrook, head of Africa investment strategies at Momentum Global Investment Management.

Running the fund on a multi-manager basis enables us to benefit from local market specialists and actively manage risk,” Lashbrook says. He will manage the fund using a range of complimentary underlying investment specialists based in the UK and across Africa.

Lashbrook says until recently, African fixed income markets north of the Limpopo, South Africa’s northernmost region, have typically been extremely small and generally of short duration.

Issues were usually “swallowed up” by local pension funds and insurance companies, which bought and “locked them away until maturity”, he says. “This is changing,” he adds.

Momentum Global Investment Management is a wholly owned subsidiary of South Africa-based financial services group MMI Holdings.

Africa should develop its own democracy

Mr Frederik Willem de Klerk, former President of the Republic of South Africa, said African countries might need to evolve their own special forms of democracy to suit the special needs of their people. He said: “I have the greatest admiration for both the American and British democracies but the point I am making is that they should not be so quick to pontificate to Africa”.

Mr de Klerk said this in Accra during the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) post Supreme Court verdict lecture on the theme: “Fostering peace, national cohesion and reconciliation after the ruling of the Supreme Court of Ghana”.

Former President de Klerk commended Ghana for being one of the first African countries to adopt a robust multiparty democracy since 1992.

Ghana: To revive bilateral agreement with Italy

Government would revive the Bilateral Agreement on Migration to enable Ghanaian workers in the Agricultural Sector work in Italy. Nii Armah Ashietey, Minister of Employment and Labour Relations (MELR) disclosed this to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Accra, after the Italian Ambassador Laura Carpini paid a courtesy call on him. He said plans were advanced to finalize the said Bilateral Agreement, which would enable Ghanaians to work legally in Italy.

He said the two countries have also discussed the expansion of circular migration programme, which would enable more Ghanaians to work in the Agriculture sector in Italy.

The Minister said the government of Italy has continually supported Ghana in its strides to manage and organize Labour Migration, saying “major efforts have been made which could not be swept under the carpet.”

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