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Africa Focused News


by Dario Galluccio

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Ghana: GIPC is working to promote the growth of local businesses

The Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC) has explained that the centre is not only interested in Foreign Direct Investment but is also seriously interested in promoting Ghanaian businesses to attract investment and grow the economy.

Speaking at a general meeting of the Sekondi-Takoradi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (STCCI), he explained GIPC is providing direct promotion support to identified local investment project sponsors to solicit international as well as local investment partnerships.

Our mission is to attract private domestic and foreign investments and to transform Ghana into a broad-based industrial and export-led economy through aggressive investment promotion activities,” said Mr. Isaac Ebo Newton, an Official of GIPC.

Ethiopia: Reykjavik Geothermal to build 1000MW power plant

US-Icelandic geothermal development company, Reykjavik Geothermal (RG), has agreed to build a 1000MW geothermal plant in Ethiopia to help the East African nation harness its energy potential. The power plant which will be built in Ethiopia’s Corbetti Caldera region is part of President Barack Obama’s $7 billion Power Africa initiative which seeks to double electricity supply on the continent. The geothermal plant will be Ethiopia’s first independent power plant project and it is expected to be one of the world’s largest geothermal power plant.

The deal will also make Reykjavik Geothermal Ethiopia’s first independent power producer, while the Corbetti project will be the largest single geothermal plant ever built in Africa, RG Chairman, Michael Phillip said.

Reykjavik Geothermal, a company that has helped build power plants in about 30 countries globally expects to invest $4 billion over an 8-10 years period. It has been working with Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCO) and various government ministries for the past two years to finanlise the purchase agreement. The geothermal development company will build and operate up to 1000Megawatts of geothermal in two 500MW phases. While the first 10MW of power will be online in 2015 with an additional 100MW in 2016; the full 500MW will be operational in 2018.

Ghana: Local content will serve as a guide to economic policies

Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur has announced that the development of local content and participation would underpin all major economic policies of the Government and reforms to ensure a better balance in resource allocation. “This is necessary for long-term sustainability and social cohesion,” he said.

Addressing the Standard Chartered Africa Summit 2013, the Vice President registered the commitment of the Government of Ghana to promote consistent local content agenda as a platform to ensure the emergence of a strong, vibrant and internationally competitive domestic private sector. The summit, which is bringing bankers, economists, representatives from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, will look at economic prospects and challenges in Ghana and Africa within the global context.

Vice President Amissah-Arthur spoke on the topic “Making Ghana a Preferred Investment Destination.” He said the Government would continue to reach out to local investors to encourage the mobilization of domestic resources to ensure that Ghanaian owned businesses were put on a stronger footing to meet the requirements of a growing economy and to be globally competitive. He welcomed foreign direct investment to take advantage of opportunities created by the Government and to facilitate knowledge and technology transfer.

The Vice President, former Governor of the Bank of Ghana, spoke of reforms that had taken place in the last decade and said they had allowed significant growth. Among the reforms are the creation of Collateral Registry widen their scope of products on offer due to increase security, dependability and enforceability of registered collateral; the continuing of the Central Bank to license micro financial institutions across the country to the large unbanked population; and Pension Fund reforms with the aim of increasing the pool of available capital, especially for long term investment.

Vice President Amissah-Arthur noted that energy and infrastructure played major roles to reduce the cost of doing business, and said the Government continued to focus on energy as an important engine of growth. “The reform of the energy tariffs is crucial to attracting the interest of private sector investors to the sector,” the Vice President said.

Angola: Truworths Shelves plans to open Angolan store

Clothing retailer, Truworths, said it had postponed its plan to open a new store in Angola’s capital Luanda. It said the move to set up shop in Luanda would be shelved until next year while the company embraces a careful African expansion plan. The company wants to acquire an enhanced grasp of Africa’s “operating environment” and market prospects.

With 564 shops in South Africa, Truworths also has 40 shops outside Africa’s biggest economy. These are located in Nigeria, Ghana and Zambia. The company has five stores in Kenya, East Africa’s biggest economy.

Truworths has about 35 percent stake in Truworths Limited, which is integrated in Zimbabwe. It has 16 Truworths in Zimbabwe, 18 Number 1 shops and 25 Topics there.

Ghana: Industrialization process depends on energy sector

Government intends to use the energy sector as a springboard to develop other sectors of the economy, Mr Armah Kofi Buah, Minister of Energy and Petroleum, has stated. Mr Buah was speaking at a durbar to celebrate this year’s World and National Tourism Day at Nkroful in the Ellembele District of the Western Region at the weekend. The celebration was under the theme: “Tourism and Water: Protecting our Common Future”.

Mr. Buah said the tourism sector must take advantage of the numerous oil and gas projects in order to strengthen its position as a critical sector of the economy. He said the hospitality industry could take advantage of the oil and gas projects to expand and create jobs for the country’s teeming youth.

Nigeria: China to build $1.3 Billion Zungeru power plant

Nigeria has signed a $1.3billion deal with two Chinese state companies, China National Electrical Equipment Corporation (CNEEC) and Sinohydro Consortium, to build the Zungeru power plant. The deal will help to put an end to the chronic electrical power supply shortages that continues to slow growth in Africa’s second-biggest economy. The plant, which is scheduled for completion by 2018, will help add 700 MegaWatts (MW) electricity to Nigeria’s current 4600MW.

The Zungeru power plant in Niger state (about 150km to federal capital, Abuja) was first conceived in 1982, but was abandoned due to lack of funds. Now, 75 percent of the fund needed for the project will be supplied by China’s Exim bank while Nigerian government will foot the rest of the bill.

This project will create thousands of jobs for Nigerian engineers, technicians and artisans during the construction phase…. it will also boost the economy,” Nigeria Finance minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said at the signing of the deal.

According to Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the loan being finalised was part of the $3bn approved by China at interest rate of less than 3 percent.

President Jonathan and Chinese president, Xi Jinping had met in July 2013 over the signing of the accords between the governments to facilitate $1.1 billion in low interest loans for infrastructure projects in Nigeria.

Ghana: Housing deficit to be reduced by amendment of law

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) says it is reviewing unit and mutual trust fund regulations to allow fund managers invest more than 10 percent of their funds in the real-estate sector. The current housing deficit in the country is estimated at 1.7 million units, with an annual growth of 70,000 units. About 50% of Ghanaians are also said to live in sub-standard housing and other unsuitable structures.

Mr. Alexander Williams, the Deputy Director General of SEC who was speaking at the official inauguration of Greenfields Estates developed by ASN Holdings, said the initiative points to the commitment of SEC in partnering real-estate developers to meet their objective of providing housing units with long-term funds — while at the same time developing the capital market.

Growth in construction Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has averaged 17 percent per annum since the country’s discovery of oil in 2007. The share of construction, including real-estate, in GDP also rose from 7.2 percent in 2007 to 10.5 percent in 2012. It is believed that an amendment of the law would allow capital market investors to benefit from the booming construction sector.

Uganda: China wins $2 billion oil deal

China’s state-owned CNOOC has secured a $2-billion deal to develop a petroleum field in Uganda and help propel the east African nation into the club of oil-producing countries, an official said Friday. “This is a major breakthrough as a country,’ Uganda’s junior energy minister Peter Lokeris told AFP, confirming that a deal had been reached earlier this month with the China National Offshore Oil Corporation.

Uganda has oil reserves estimated at 3.5 billion barrels but the path to production has been a bumpy one since deposits were discovered in 2006 near its border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. Such reserves have the potential to radically alter Uganda’s economy and could eventually as much as double the national income.

Ghana: Petroleum prices to go down

Motorists will experience a little over 4 percent decrease in the price of fuel at the pumps. Diesel users will save a little over 2 percent at the pumps. The latest move follows a revision of the prices of petroleum products by the National Petroleum Authority (NPA). Petrol is now GHC 2.22 a lite while Diesel is going for GHC 2.18 a lite.

However prices of premix fuel and kerosene have been revised upwards. A litre of premix fuel is now going for about 98 pesewas which is up by almost 23 percent. While kerosene is now GHC 1.59 up from the GHC 1.28 leading to almost an 8 percent increase.

Nigeria: NNPC to intensify domestic Gas use

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC has said that the massive ongoing gas pipeline projects across the country will provide a veritable platform for individual homes and estates to be linked with gas pipelines to enhance domestic use. The Group Managing Director, NNPC, Mr. Andrew Yakubu, disclosed this during a panel discussion on power at the Nigeria Investment Summit in New York.

He observed that the ongoing Calabar-Ajaokuta-Kano gas pipeline project will soon avail the Corporation the opportunity to provide gas through pipelines to homes and estates in the Federal Capital Territory Abuja, which is a ready market for the project. Giving an update on the gas to power project, Yakubu noted that steady and sustainable progress is being made in this regard, as gas supply has grown from 620 million standard cubic feet per day to 920 mmscfd between 2010 and 2013, adding that supply is seeing rapid growth, and demand even faster.

Ghana: GDP Pegged At 7.4%

Ghana’s economy is expected to grow provisionally at 7.4 percent for the year, the Ghana Statistical Servic (GSS) said. Speaking at a media conference, Dr Philomena Nyarko, Government Statistician, said it is likely government could achieve its target growth in 2013 due to expected increases in oil production.

Dr Nyarko stated that the real quarterly Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth for the second quarter of the year was 6.1 percent year-on-year. Non-oil GDP was 5.8 per cent while the total value and services amounted to $44.2 billion with a per capita income of $1,667, she said.

Dr Nyarko added that the services remain the largest sector, contributing about half of the GDP. The services sector growth rate however fell to 9.2 per cent from 10.2 per cent in 2012 on the account of positive increases in information and communication activities, real estate, professional, administrative and support service activities. This was followed by the industry sector 2.5 per cent while the agriculture sector showed a negative growth of 3.9 per cent.

Meanwhile, the annual producer price inflation fell for the fifth consecutive month to 4.7 per cent year-on-year in August from 5.0 per cent in July.

Tanzania: Northern Zone invites investors

Tanzania Investment Centre (TIC) has reaffirmed its continued commitment to support local and foreign investors who want to invest in Northern Zone regions and other places in Tanzania. The TIC Executive Director, Ms Juliet Kairuki told journalists during a recent Northern zone Investment Forum that her centre is ready to receive and help all those with interest to invest in the Northern regions of Manyara, Tanga, Kilimanjaro and Arusha.

She noted that the forum has enabled investors, business community and entrepreneurs to learn about the investment opportunities available in the Northern Zone and the government’s role in initiating investment projects. She said that during the past 12 years, Tanzania has performed well in attracting huge investment projects in agriculture, tourism, industries, communication, infrastructure and transport. Within that period, a number of those projects have risen from 178 to 869 in 2012; 53 per cent of these projects are wholly owned by Tanzanians. The projects have contributed on the increase of capital from 874 million US dollars up to 12 billion dollars within that period.

The two-day forum that was opened by Premier Mizengo Pinda attracted over 1,500 international and local investors plus officials from the government, private sector, religious leaders, ambassadors and high commissioners and other development stakeholders.

Ghana: Cocoa price remains unchanged

The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has dismissed reports that the producer price of cocoa has been reduced. In a statement issued by its Public Affairs Department in Accra, COCOBOD said the price of cocoa remained GH¢ 3,392.00 per tonne. This means that cocoa farmers will be paid GH¢ 212.00 per 64kg bag of cocoa. The statement said the producer price of cocoa for the 2013/2014 crop season would be announced in October 2013 at the Producer Price Review Committee (PPRC) annual meeting.

Ethiopia: Premier called Western companies to invest

PM Hailemariam Desalegn has called upon western companies to take part in the positive investment regime in Ethiopia. Noting that investors from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East have already established themselves, the PM urged representatives of American businesses he met in New York to consider investing in Ethiopia’s untapped investment potential.

Prime Minister Hailemariam has also explained Ethiopia’s investment policies, regulations and incentive; and responded to questions raised by the attendees of the event regarding ICT, banking services and privatization of state owned public enterprises. In a study presented in Prime Minister Hailemariam’s meeting with representatives of American businesses, manufacturing, mining, construction, hotel and tourism, and healthcare were identified as areas of engagement promising to the American businesses.

Routinely praised for its pro-poor development policies, Ethiopia has been one of the fastest growing economies in the world for the past ten years. And although the share of Foreign Direct Investment to as a share of the GDP growth has not been satisfactory, recent trends have shown a significant hike in the amount of annual foreign direct investments. The government’s focus on attracting FDI as a means of stocking up capital and technology transfer has paid off dramatically. FDI stood at 300 million USD in 2010, and three years on it has now reached at an incredible 1 billion USD, making Ethiopia the second biggest destination for FDI in Africa, next to South Africa.

Among the countries of origin in Ethiopia’s inflow of foreign investment, emerging economies and other countries from Africa, Asia and the Middle East hold the lion’s share. And western companies are expected to enter Ethiopia and invest in the numerous possibilities shortly.

Mozambique: Government open to French investment

Mozambican President Armando Guebuza declared in Paris on that Mozambique is open to new French initiatives in various spheres of cooperation, particularly in economic matters, and in security in the Mozambique Channel.

Briefing the Mozambican journalists accompanying the visit, Deputy Foreign Minister Henrique Banze, said it had been agreed at the meetings to deepen cooperation between Mozambique and France in various spheres. ‘This is a very fruitful and promising visit’, said Banze. ‘Our President has shown openness and the two sides have agreed that cooperation should be deepened. The assessment is that relations are good, but there is space to expand them’.

During his meeting with the business representatives, Guebuza praised the work of some of the French companies already operating in Mozambique, said Banze. He also noted that others want to enter the Mozambican market, including Air France. Should Air France decide to re-open the Maputo-Paris route, this will give travellers to Europe a convenient alternative to the current routes (via Lisbon, Johannesburg, Nairobi or Addis Ababa).


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