REPORT OF FRIDAY 13/09/13
by Dario Galluccio
This Blog is sponsored by http://www.reflexecogroup.com
Ghana: Dangote cement to expand to other regions
The largest cement manufacturer in Africa, Dangote cement has initiated moves to expand to other regions in the country. The cement manufacturer currently has a plant in Tema which produces about 800 tonnes of cement yearly. The company says it intends to build another plant in Tema and a couple of others in other regions in the country. The expansion will see a cement plant in the Western region.
Vice Chairman of Dangote Cement, Alhaji Tajudeen A Sijuade told Citi Business News the company is also contemplating building another in the Northern region.
LeapFrog raises over $200m for emerging markets
Private equity investor, LeapFrog Investments, has raised $204 million to invest in companies in Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia, in its quest to provide financial services to emerging low-income individuals in the regions. In a fund-raising event, the emerging markets fund manager raised the initial capital from several of the world’s largest insurers, reinsurers, banks and asset managers including JPMorgan Chase & Co., MetLife, Prudential, Achmea, PartnerRe, Swiss Re, and XL Group in just eight months.
The entry of these leading financial institutions indicates the increasing attractiveness of the emerging consumer segment—the millions of people eager to join the middle class but who are not there yet,” said Andrew Kuper, LeapFrog president and founder, in a statement.
According to Peter Scher, Executive Vice-President, JPMorgan Chase & Co, the partnership is an example of the company’s strategy. Scher added that the investment represents a “compelling investment opportunity to financially empower millions of people in historically underserved communities in Africa and Asia.”
LeapFrog also received backing from five of the world’s leading development finance institutions: CDC, DEG, the European Investment Bank, FMO and Oikocredit.
Ghana: New winimum wage for public sector workers raised by 17%
The National Daily Minimum Wage, based on twenty-seven working days has been increased by seventeen per cent (17%) from GH¢4.48 to GH¢5.24, with effect from 1st May, 2013. The Base Pay for Public Sector workers has also been increased by ten per cent (10%) from GH¢4.84 to GH¢5.32 with effect from 1st January 2013. The month for commencement of payment is September 2013.
These were announced by Nii Armah Ashietey, Minister for Employment and Labour Relations during the National Tripartite (NTC) Committee meeting. The Minister who is also Member of Parliament for Klottey-Korle Constituency, said in determining the wage, the Social Partners took into consideration the previous minimum wage, the projected rate of inflation for 2013, and the growth in the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The Minister said the NTC meeting would discuss pertinent and crucial issues which would affect workers, such as the aftermath of the National forum on the Sustainability of the Single Spine Pay Policy (SSPP), workers’ pensions, the national economy, the industrial relations climate and labour agitations, international labour standards, and the informal economy.
Uganda: Regus expands operations
Two years on from the launch of its first business workspace in Kampala, Regus, the world’s largest provider of flexible workplaces, has expanded its presence in Uganda by over 40 percent due to strong demand.
Joanne Bushell, Vice President Africa for Regus, explains: “One major attraction of the Regus workspace in Kampala is the speed with which it allows businesses to set up in Uganda. Working to short timescales, firms in sectors such as oil & gas often expect to be on the ground in a matter of days – this is rarely possible with traditional office space.”
East Africa’s energy boom and steady economic growth forecasts for the next 5 years are driving demand for Regus services.
In an official statement, the global workspace provider also sighted infrastructural development, increased agricultural investment, information technology and industrialisation; telecoms development and the growth of the middle class and local entrepreneurship as factors driving demand for workspaces in Uganda.
Nigeria: To plan 200% increase for $1.5 Billion fish market
Nigeria is poised to increase its fish production by 200 percent in the next 4 years, as it aims to meet its domestic consumption capacity of 2.66 million metric tonnes, says the country’s Agric Minister. According to Nigeria’s Agric Minister, Akinwumi Adesina, The country’s fish market – its 4th largest agricultural import – is presently worth $1.75 billion, but plans to raise that figure to $5 billion within the next few years.
The plan, which is in line with Nigeria’s Agricultural Transformational Agenda (ATA), will provide over 20 million families with a sustainable source of income, while the reduction of importation – also a benefit to the government in terms of lower cost – should allow for the growth of local fish farming, thereby increasing domestic output and promoting teething farmers.
Africa’s 2nd largest economy has restated its commitment to create an enabling environment to attract private sector investment, through the provision of necessary infrastructure and policies to ensure the profitability of the industry.
Ghana: To need robust regulations for its Financial Market
Dr Henry Kofi Wampah, Governor of the Central Bank of Ghana called for the formulation of robust financial policies and regulatory frameworks as a practical step towards a stable and efficient financial sector for sustained growth and structural transformation in Africa. According to him, the absence of these policies could have disastrous outcomes, as seen during the recent global financial and economic crisis, saying, a well-functioning financial sector would significantly impact positively on economic development.
He, therefore, suggested that efforts to develop the financial sector should focus on enhancing depth, access, efficiency and stability, which were factors that had underscored efforts in most countries in the African sub-region to build sound, safe and stable financial sectors.
He underscored the fact that an efficient financial sector provided the rudiments for income-growth and job creation, and therefore plays a significant role in economic development. He also said the numerous policy reforms and transformations within the financial sector have yielded positive results with improved banking systems and stronger balance sheets and capital base, while risk management have been enhanced with some relative growth in capital markets across the continent.
West Africa: Ecowas Bank to understudy BOI on project financing
The leaders of Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development, EBID, Togo, are to understudy Nigeria’s Bank of Industry’s success on project financing. The group said it intends to replicate the success of BoI on project financing in member countries after the study.
Speaking during a visit to BoI’s headquarters in Lagos, the Operations Director, EBID, Mr. Isaac Olagunju, said EBID also plans to go into alliance with BoI to finance projects for ECOWAS member states on completion of the study.
Olagunju, who led a delegation comprising of members of African Development Finance Institutions, ADFI, said the need to understudy the workings of BoI, which has become a success among ADFI, remained imperative for members of his team.
He noted that BoI was at the forefront of the establishment of ADFI, and as such remained a strong member that has been playing leading advocacy role towards the growth of Africa as a whole. Olagunju further explained that Nigeria and BoI remained a major market for other Development and Finance Institutions, especially as it relates to poor country products and cross border integration, maintaining that these are critical areas where development banks in Africa can key into.
Ghana: Government plans to expand industry, prevent industrial unrest
Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur announced Government’s intention to expand industry to absorb released agricultural labour and also learn from the Austrian experience in avoiding labour unrest’s.
The announcement follows a statement by Dr Christoph Leitl, President of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, that there had not been labour strikes or differences between the trade unions and the employers or the Government in Austria. Dr Leitl led a business delegation to call on the Vice President at the Flagstaff House in Accra.
Vice President Amissah-Arthur dwelt on the commonalities between Accra and Vienna, and invited investors to take advantage of the growth of the Ghanaian economy in recent years and make Ghana a preferred investment destination.
The Vice President said Ghana had experienced the highest growth among the countries in Sub Saharan Africa in the last four years. He endorsed the need for training for professionalism and continuing education to improve skills which are relevant to the economy.
Dr Leitl commended the economic relations between the two nations and said the Chamber is looking to invest in health, energy, water development, agribusiness and environmental protection, and that, the Chamber is also ready to give soft loans.
Africa: SacOil will raise $80.2m capital injection
Oil and gas firm, SacOil, said it is poised to get capital injection amounting to more than R800 million ($80.2m) via a rights offer.
According to the firm, the capital outlay will go into servicing its debt amounting to R238 million ($23.8m) while the remaining amount of R570 million ($57.2m) will go into bolstering the firm’s balance sheet.
Tito Mboweni, the new chair of SacOil, said some of this capital will be used to advance the company’s underlying assets.
SacOil pays more attention on prospects in the hydrocarbon basins. Its interests include assets in Malawi, the DRC and Nigeria.
Nigeria: French investors plan low-cost Airline
The pioneer managing director of Arik Air, Alex Van Elk, has announced plans by French investors to float a low-cost airline in Nigeria.
The Dutch-born international aviator said he was already mobilising French investors for that purpose. Although he would not disclose the name of the new airline for now, he promised that it would become operational in the next ten months. “We have made contacts with Nigerian authorities and they are quite pleased with our plans and assured us of government support” he said.
Elk further added that the promoters, which comprised of both Nigerian and French investors, had already made contacts with aircraft manufacturing company, Airbus, for new A319 aircraft for the take-off of the new airline.
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