Africa, Business, Counterfeit medications, Government, Gucci, Invesments, Middle East, Nokia, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Southern Africa, Uganda, Uncategorized

Fake Chinese goods harming Africa’s economy

Reflex Eco Group – Uganda News

by Othman Semakula (Ugandan journalist of Daily Monitor)

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

A scan through Daniel Kalanja’s house tells of how the Chinese influence has over the years grown in Uganda; taking over living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens among others.

His office is a mirror image that further cements the Chinese conquest of Africa in terms of trade and influence.

However, notwithstanding the increasing trade volumes, consumers have increasingly become incensed with Chinese products claiming forgery and a lack of durability.

A survey conducted by global audit firm PwC recently revealed that consumers buy counterfeits deliberately because they tend to be cheaper compared to genuine ones.

Their cheap quotations in a way entice consumers’ purchasing decisions.

According to data, about 50 per cent of goods that enter Uganda are either fake or substandard; however, there are indications that importers demand for such goods because they are cheap.

Experience shows that though these goods are purchased cheaply, they tend to become expensive in the long run because they breakdown easily and soon require repair or replacement.

A counterfeit electric power extension bought at $6 [Shs15,000] has the potential to cause a loss worth millions. It can cause a burnout of all appliances connected to it.

It is estimated that counterfeits kill at least 100,000 people annually, mostly in low developing economies.

Records of buildings collapsing have been registered due to fake or substandard cement on the market.

Chinese manufactured phones continue to hit the market with names closer to those of genuine brands like Nokla instead of Nokia. These phones look fancier, have double line provisions and come cheaply compared to the genuine Nokia.

Mr Kenneth Oyolla, the general manager for Nokia’s business operations in the East and Southern Africa region, recently said about 6 per cent of the value of large phone brands worldwide are counterfeited.

He said Nokia loses about 10 per cent of the value in counterfeits.

“The situation in Uganda is a bit worrying, and the rate seems to be high. Counterfeiting is threatening our integrity and good name. The Nokia brand is associated with quality and reliability, but we usually get complaints from consumers who are cheated by phone users,” he said.

A duplicated designer Gucci bag, which is spelt Guci in the counterfeit world for example, goes for $18 [Shs45,000] in Uganda, while a genuine one goes for between $100 and $900 depending on the location of the shop one is buying from.

The beauty with spending this kind of money on a genuine bag is that one if handled well can carry it for more than 10 years unlike the fake one that you might have to replace every year.

Mr Lawrence Kinyanjui, the Microsoft East and Southern Africa anti-piracy conversion manager recently said that the software industry loses about $2.8 billion (about Shs6.3 trillion) in unauthorised use, reproduction and installation of software programmes in Africa and the Middle East annually.

He noted: “For every dollar a rightful owner makes, a person selling an illegal version makes $6 or more.”

Counterfeit medicine accounts for $200 billion (Shs468 trillion) and $50 billion (Shs117 trillion) in counterfeit cigarettes while pirated music and movies account for $60 billion (Shs140 trillion) world-wide.

According to the CIA fact book, counterfeiting and piracy has the ability to frustrate creative efforts, lower countries’ incentives to innovate, threaten existence of some companies and deprive national economies of vital tax revenue that would have translated into economic growth.
The fact book adds illegal reproduction and sale of goods and services also exposes legitimate businesses to unfavourable competition, encourages criminal organisations, erodes respect for intellectual property rights and threatens the health and safety of consumers.
Recently, Mr Zou Xiaoming, a trade expert at the Chinese Embassy was quoted in the Ugandan press as saying that most importers especially from Uganda ask Chinese manufacturers for low quality goods, which they go on to label as super brands known in world business circles.

He said: “When such goods get onto the market, they are sold expensively by unscrupulous importers only for consumers to realise that they were sold fake goods after a few days of usage.”

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Accra, Africa, Bern University of Applied Sciences, Business, Civil engineering, Ghana, Ghana Standards Authority, Government, Gross domestic product, International Organization for Standardization, Invesments, Kumasi, Ministry of Trade, Ministry of Trade and Industry (Singapore), Swiss Government, Switzerland, Uncategorized, UNIDO, United Nations Industrial Development Organization

UNIDO Addresses Challenges In Wood sector

Reflex Eco Group – Ghana News

by Samuel Boadi (local journalist)

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

The UNIDO Trade Capacity Building Programme for Ghana hosted stakeholders in the wood industry to a day’s workshop in Kumasi with the aim of helping identify gaps and areas that require intervention in the wood/timber value chain and facilitate competitiveness of the industry.

The workshop was organized in collaboration with CSIR Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG) for participants drawn from the private and public sectors.

The representatives came from the wood industry, academia, science associations and institutions.

“Trade in timber products contributes significantly to the Gross Domestic Product of Ghana and despite the availability of high quality wood species, the quality of wood and furniture products in the country is rather low,” said the National Project Coordinator of the programme for Ghana, Victor Mills in his remarks at the workshop.

“UNIDO intends to identify the main challenges and draw up activities that will add value to the industry for easy access to local and international markets.”

He added that one of the most important factors that affect value addition to wood products is the lack of an accredited testing center in the country to ensure that standards are complied with in the manufacture and processing of wood products.

He said as part of the programme, Berne University of Applied Sciences, Architecture, Wood and Civil Engineering (BFH-AHB), Switzerland is partnering FORIG to upgrade and accredit its existing lab to conform to the requirements of ISO 17025:2005- General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories.

The first phase of the UNIDO/MOTI TCB Project assisted a number of laboratories at the Ghana Standards Authority to gain accreditation to ISO 17025:2005.

The programme also established a Certification Body within GSA (GSA-MSCS).

The Scheme is accredited to certify systems to the ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 22000: 20005.

The Swiss Government (SECO) is funding the trade capacity building programme, which is being implemented by UNIDO in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI).

The programme contributes to the development goal of supporting Ghana’s integration into world markets by developing a sustainable and competitive export economy compliant with trade-related standards.

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Accra, Africa, Business, Ghana, Government, ICT, Information and communication technologies for development, Information Communication Technology, International Telecommunication Union, Invesments, Paul Victor Obeng, Sustainable development, Uncategorized

Put Up Modern ICT Infrastructures

Reflex Eco Group – Ghana News

by Cephas Larbi (Local Journalist)

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

Mr. Paul Victor Obeng, Chairman of National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), has called on African leaders to raise sufficient resources to put up modern Information Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure for citizens to realize their potentials and improve sustainable livelihood.

However, he said, in as much as there is the need to expand broadband services, the consequences of cyber security must not be taken for granted.

Mr. Obeng who made this known at a Regional Development Forum and Regional Preparatory meeting in Accra said given that ICT has become a dynamic tool for stimulating economic growth, African governments must champion development of infrastructure and make its user friendly.

He urged African leaders to place people at the centre of learning ICT to enhance sustainable development and improve quality of lives on the continent, adding that development without people at the centre is an aberration.

Mr. Obeng said governments could translate textbooks into ICT compatible for use at all levels of the educational ladder, and introduce ICT at early stages for children.

Mr Braimah Sanou, Director, Telecommunications Development Bureau, International Telecommunications Union (ITU) said countries must develop local content to suit the aspirations of respective environments.

He said “this would ensure proper applications of ICT in financial institutions, education, healthcare delivery, transportation, agriculture and other sectors of the economy”.

Mr Sanou said ICT must be defined in a way to stimulate social and economic improvement of the people and to make equal opportunity and access a guiding principle.

The conference, which was on the theme “ICT for development and empowerment of Africa,” gave stakeholders an opportunity to share knowledge and experience on ways of enhancing Broadband sustainability, Broadband Applications for Development Empowerment and create a safer cyberspace.

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Accra, Adeiso, Africa, Asamankese, Blue Skies, Burkina Faso, Business, Costa Rica, European Union, Export, Federal government of the United States, Fruit, Ghana, Government, Invesments, Nsawam, Real estate, Residential area, Tema, Uncategorized, United States, United States government

Ghana: Fruit processing companies look offshore for fruits

Reflex Eco Group – Africa News

Antony Sedzro (Ghanaian journalist)

sedtony@yahoo.com

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

Ghana’s pineapple production and exports have slumped to the lowest in nine years, throwing more than 500,000 people, mostly farmers out of job.

Not only has the situation denied the country the millions of dollars it used to receive in foreign exchange, the economy has lost some fruit processing companies, with the surviving ones struggling to get raw materials to process.

Processing companies such as Blue Skies, HPW, Peelco and Pinora have had to import more than half of their raw materials such as mangoes, pineapples and papaya (pawpaw) as they struggle to source them locally.

Other processing companies in Adeiso in the Eastern Region, Nsawam, Asamankese and Tema have all folded up for lack of raw materials that can make them competitive.

Industry value chain actors told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS newspaper that the worsening condition was due to the lack of financing for cultivation, low quality inputs, especially pineapple suckers and the age-old challenge of the country not adapting quickly to a new variety now preferred in Europe, the MD2, developed by Costa Rica.

An acre of pineapple farm requires between GH¢8,000 and GH¢9,000 to cultivate. This has put the thousands of farmers out of the farm, even though there is huge market for fresh pineapples and other horticultural produce locally and internationally.

Currently, the country only exports about 35,000 tonnes of pineapple a year, with exporters reducing from 50 in 2004 to about 15. Employment in the industry has significantly slumped from about 600,000 to about 60,000.

Chief Agronomist at Blue Skies, Mr Ernest Abloh and the Head of Administration and Control at HPW Fresh and, Mr James Obeng, told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS in separate interviews that their sources of fruits to supplement what they get locally were Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Togo and Benin

Mr Abloh said Blue Skies had just sealed a deal to air-lift 120 tonnes of mangoes a week from Brazil for 10 weeks, mainly due to inadequate local supplies and from the sub-region, especially during the crop’s off seasons.

GRAPHIC BUSINESS newspaper investigations revealed that the lack of credit is the principal challenge facing the industry, since pineapple cultivation is capital intensive.

Blue Skies, which has the capacity to process 30 tonnes of fresh pineapple a day for export, is only doing 20 tonnes a day. Last month, the company laid of over 400 workers due to lack of raw materials for off peak production.

HPW, a Swiss company which used to export fresh fruits from Ghana, had to make a hard U-turn to dry fruits – pineapple, mango and coconut.

“Ghana’s fruit industry consists of a huge amount of small farmers often with a weak set-up and very few large and professional fruit growers/exporters. Our demand of more than 6,000 tonnes of fresh fruit is substantial for the industry,” top company officials told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS at the factory at Adeiso.

Exports of fresh pineapples reached the highest in 2004 with 71,000 tonnes a year, making Ghana the second largest exporter of the produce, after Cote d’Ivoire. These exports raked in approximately US$50 million to private sector exporters.

The Director of Export Marketing and Quality Awareness Project, (EMQAP) Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Mr Mawuli Agboka, told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS that although finance was a challenge for the farmers, the project was making very holistic intervention in the horticultural sub-sector.

According to Mr Abloh, the company cited its operations at the current location because of proximity to raw materials, but with time, productivity had dipped, particularly after the world demand shifted to MD2 from the smooth cayenne that Ghana used to export.

He said the company got its extra fruits from other countries, but had started “a vertically integration” to produce its own raw materials.

“We didn’t want to go into production ourselves, but now we have to do it. We already cultivate all our raw material needs for passion fruit,” Mr Abloh said.

Infrastructure abandoned

Huge edifices of pack houses and cold chains constructed in some pineapple and mango growing areas with grant from the United States government are lying idle, with the low productivity.

Some farmers have also converted their farms to grow other crops or sold them for estate development.

This is prevalent in Samsam, a village near Nsawam, where the GRAPHIC BUSINESS found some farmlands turned into sand winning pits or for the construction of residential property.

Centre of excellence

The GRAPHIC BUSINESS gathered the industry has no centre of excellence to bring best practice to the industry including tissue culture, multiplication of planting materials and other specialised studies.

Blue Skies has built one ultra-modern centre of excellence for mango, but until now the Ministry of Agriculture has not posted scientists and other personnel to make the centre functional.

Currently, the fresh fruit company has its own centre of excellence with which it supports its out-growers.

But the Director of EMQAP said the project had a number of interventions to increase productivity and make best practice part of the horticultural sub-sector.

He said the seven-year EMQAP project was tackling infrastructure, technology, provision of inputs and technology to support the industry.

For example, to make pineapple planting materials available, EMQAP was helping four farmer groups in the Ga West and Akwapim South districts to multiplicate planting materials.

The project has given each group 44,000 plantlets which could be multiplied six times as well as inputs. This intervention is expected to affect over 200 farmers.

Mr Agboka said EMQAP was also supporting the Crop Research Institute in the Ashanti Region to do maintenance breeding of selected crops under the project.

The project has also spearheaded the enactment of the Plant and Fertiliser Act, Act 803, 2010, which among other things, allows for certification of nursaries and vegetative planting materials for the country.

“We certified eight planting material producers in 2011. This is to ensure that we have quality planting materials on the market,” Mr Agboka stated.

The project director, however, agrees that beyond the direct intervention by the project, there was also the need for creating a pipeline of financial support, through public-private partnerships, to enable the farmers access finance to cultivate their produce.

He believes that Ghana had much more favourable conditions to do far better in pineapple and other horticultural produce than Costa Rica which currently leads in the sector.

History and Potential of Pineapples

Horticultural produce from Ghana has shown a lot of promise over the years. The country has been involved in the export of horticultural exports since the 1980s. Exports rose quickly from US$28 million in 2000 to US$75 million by 2006, with a lot of potential at hand, with mangoes, pineapples and chilies showing firmer promise.

Statistics indicate that there are about €1 billion worth of pineapple market; €3.5 billion for bananas and US$250 million, all in the European Union alone.

Ghana’s pineapple exports blossomed in the 1990s when pineapple exports formed an association and reached an agreement with a vessel to lift fresh produce from Ghana, after visiting Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire.

The twice a week lifting accelerated exports of fresh pineapples and other horticultural produce. Pineapple exports, thus rose from a few tonnes a week to 71,000 tonnes in 2004. The exports started slumping very fast when Costa Rica introduced the much sweeter MD2 pineapple which caught on well in the EU market.

This caused the market for Ghana’s variety, the smooth cayenne, to plummet to the current low levels of 35,000 tonnes in 2012.

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Accra, Africa, Bank of Ghana, BoG, Business, China, Dangote Group, Eastern Cape, FDI, Foreign Direct Investment, Ghana, Government, IMF, Invesments, Kenya, Nigeria, Nigerian Stock Exchange, Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, Pravin Gordhan, Real estate, Real estate investment trust, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Uncategorized, Volta River Authority

Africa Focused News

REPORT OF THURSDAY 24/10/13

by Dario Galluccio

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

Ghana: Nigeria’s gas supply insufficient for energy push

Ghana has reaffirmed plans to develop its gas resources, which will aid a steam-driven thermal power generation push, as gas supply from Nigeria proves insufficient.

The West African Transnational Gas Pipeline (WAGP), established in 1982 to supply gas from Nigeria to neighbouring countries, was billed to provide 70 million cubic feet daily to Ghana, but currently delivers 50 million cubic feet — well below the agreement. In addition, the country’s demand for gas, which will drive an increase in energy output, has risen well above the maximum supply the regional pipeline can potentially offer, hence the need to develop its own resources.

The West African Gas Pipeline as designed today can only give us 170 million cubic feet. We need extra investment to be able to move from 170 to 240 in order to realise the full potential of that pipeline,” said Kirk Koffi, a deputy chief executive of the Volta River Authority (VRA), Ghana.

According to Koffi, the future of Ghana’s energy was dependent on its ability to meet the local gas consumption, noting that the country could no longer rely on irregular supply from its West African neighbour.

Nigeria: Stock Exchange records $213.5m increase in market cap

The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has recorded a N34 billion ($213.5 million) rise in its market capitalization, following positive returns on several blue chip stocks.

Tuesday’s trading, 22th October, at the bourse revealed a 0.29 percent appreciation from N11.905 trillion ($74.76 billion) at the start of business, to close at N11.939 trillion ($74.97 billion). An outcome that strengthens the Exchange’s target for a $1 trillion market cap by 2016. According to analysts, the stock appreciation is a result of its positive year-end earnings.

Companies that topped the gainers list include Forte Oil, which led the chart with a N6.58 ($0.04) gain to close at N70.88 ($0.45). Other gainers were Guinness Nigeria, with N6.06 ($0.038) to close at N246.02 ($1.54), and Nigerian Breweries, up to N176 ($1.1) after a N4 ($0.025) appreciation. Indigenous oil firm, Conoil, also managed a N1.92 ($0.012) gain to end the day N40.48 ($0.25).

Ghana: BoG disseminates 2012 Foreign Capital flow survey

Ghana continues to attract a significant share of total Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows to Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), a survey conducted by the Bank of Ghana (BOG) has shown.

The BOG’s 2012 Foreign Private Capital flows survey which was launched in Accra on Wednesday by the first Deputy Governor, Mr Millison Narh, indicated that in 2012, Ghana was ranked as the third highest recipient of FDI flows in SSA during 2011 by the World Investment Report on account of the newly developed Jubilee Oil field. However, FDI inflows to Africa in general, declined for the third successive year, though at a much slower pace to 42.7 billion US dollars in 2011 from 43.1 billion US dollars; but excluding North Africa FDI inflows to Sub-Sahara African increased to 37 billion dollars in 2011 from 29 billion dollars in 2010.

The survey sample was selected among entities in all the regions except the two upper regions with the objective of capturing Ghanaian enterprises with foreign direct investment and borrowing. At the launching of the survey, the findings, together with data obtained from monetary and financial sources for private cross border liabilities, showed that the economy recorded total external liabilities of 27.9 billion dollars in 2011, from 24 billion dollars in 2010. “This reflected an accumulated inflow liability position of cross border capital of 3.9 billion dollars in a year”.

Nigeria: Tiger Brands pushes for 70% stake in Dangote Flour Mills

Tiger Brands Limited, a leading South African foods company, seeks to increase its stake in Dangote Flour Mills (DFM) to 70 percent.

At a recent Nigerian Stock Exchange filing, Tiger Brands, which currently holds 63.35 percent in the company, indicated interest in buying an additional 332.5 million ordinary shares of 50 kobo each at N9.50 per share from minority shareholders to bring its stake to 70 percent. According to a report, Dangote Group will retain a 10 percent, Tiger Brands 70 percent, while other investors will have 20 percent.

Following the earlier acquisition of the 63.3 percent, the CEO of Tiger Brands, Mr. Peter Matlare, said he was “pleased with the successful conclusion” of the transaction, saying it would present growth opportunities for both organisations. He said the company would “go up to a maximum of 70 percent in total, leaving the balance in Nigerian hands.”

Rwanda: Chinese investors interested by Rwandan opportunities

A delegation of 20 Chinese investors from Zhenjiang Province has arrive in the country to assess the investment opportunities. While meeting officials from Rwanda Development Board (RDB), the group expressed interest in establishing light manufacturing plants for instance for the production of textiles. RDB CEO Valentine Rugwabiza noted that Rwanda is ready to assist them in their quest to invest in the country.

“Rwanda-Chinese relations are built on 46 years of continually improving commercial and diplomatic relations, and Rwanda offers one of the best business environments in the world which means that our government will provide you with all the required assistance as you plan to invest in Rwanda,” Rugwabiza said.

The head of the Chinese delegation, Justin Yifu Lin, a former chief economist and Senior Vice president at the World Bank and now a professor of Economics at University of Peking, China, said that investors want to tap into Rwanda’s labor force by creating factories that provide employment to thousands.

Helen Hai, an expert on China-Africa Investments, said that they were impressed by Rwanda’s efforts to facilitate investment in terms of business-friendly procedures and steady infrastructural development.

Rwanda has witnessed increased Chinese investment over the last five years, with over $219 million invested in sectors like construction, tourism and agriculture.

Ghana: 98% of working population economically active

According to the latest Ghana Living Standards Survey Labour Force report, only about 1.9 percent of the economically active population is unemployed.

The report says 75.7 percent of persons who are 15 years and above are economically active. The unemployment rate among 15 years and above is however higher in urban areas- about 3.6 percent than rural areas. The jobless rate is also higher among females-3.8 percent than males. It is higher among the age group 15-24 compared with 1.7 percent for the aged group 25-44 years.

A total of 21,554 persons were captured of which 10,486 were men and 11,068 were women.

With regard to the sector employment, 52.0 percent of persons who are 15 years and older are engaged in agriculture, forestry and fishing. It is followed by wholesale and retail trade with 15.9 percent. 46.8 percent of the employed persons are self employed without employees.

Kenya: Real Estate investment trusts rules fail to pique market interest

Four months after the Real Estate Investment Trusts regulations were gazetted, the Capital Markets Authority is yet to register any Reit scheme or Reit managers. The regulations were created to introduce a new tool in the capital markets to spur investments, while allowing more people to own a share of the real estate market through the Nairobi Securities Exchange.

CMA is however yet to receive a single application from promoters seeking establishment of Reit schemes, a sign that the hype in the build up to the regulations may have been artificial as they are yet to pique investors’ interest. It has also not registered any Reit manager, signalling it will take longer before the first Reit is listed at the NSE. The CMA has however issued checklists and application forms for registration of Reit schemes, managers and trustees to guide the process.

Reits are meant to enable the public to buy unit trusts of listed schemes at the NSE and earn dividends from their investments. They have been structured into D-Reits (for developers) and I-Reits (for income).

The regulator said it is working closely with market participants to ensure clarity on regulatory requirements and address preliminary queries in order to encourage uptake of the new product.

South Africa: More funding for infrastructure projects

South Africa is to channel additional public funding into a number of priority infrastructure projects in the transport, communications and energy sectors, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan told Parliament. Presenting his medium term budget policy statement in Cape Town, Gordhan said that billions of rands would be spent on the country’s digital broadcast migration project, rolling out new train coaches, and refurbishing research facilities for nuclear research.

As expected, Gordhan allocated additional funding to support the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s procurement of new rolling stock. The agency plans to purchase more than 300 six-car trains over the next decade, with initial deliveries expected in 2015/16. More investment was expected in other areas of transport, Gordhan said.

“Projects that will get under way soon include a new dam in the Eastern Cape, rehabilitation of the main roadway between the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, and a new coal-fired power station” he said.

Sierra Leone: IMF approves $96m credit facility

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved a $96 million 3-year enhanced credit facility for Sierra Leone, as it plans to support economic development and poverty reduction in the country. When disbursed, the fund will assist in facilitating the country’s growth and investment plans.

Sierra Leone, which was torn apart by a civil war that lasted 11 years, is slowly recovering. Investor and consumer confidence have continued to rise, adding impetus to its economic recovery. Commending the West African nation’s progress, the IMF noted that the country, which has a population of over six million people, still faced several social and economic challenges, urging its government to step up efforts in strengthening public financial management.

Mr Min Zhu, IMF’s Deputy Managing Director, said the commission would seek to improve these conditions by enhancing revenue mobilisation. According to him, the country has achieved strong macro-economic gains in recent years, and the “facility would be critical to propel its fiscal strategy.” He listed remarkable components in Sierra Leone’s economic strategy, including tax administration improvements and the adoption of a comprehensive fiscal regime for the natural resources sector.

Zhu concluded by revealing that with the approval, the country could get around $13.7 million as first instalment.

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Africa, Arab Bank, Business, Centenary Bank, DFCU Bank, East Africa, European Investment Bank, Finance, Government, Invesments, Investment, Islamic Development Bank, Order of the Bath, Private sector, Uganda, Uganda Development Bank, Uncategorized

Agriculture begins attracting funding

Reflex Eco Group – Uganda News

by Stephen Otage (Local Journalist)

sotage@ug.nationmedia.com

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

The European Investment Bank has given three local banks a 11m-euro grant to lend to farmers at low interest rates so as to ensure availability of long-term and affordable financing.

Among the banks benefiting from the grant are Centenary Bank, DFCU Bank and KCB Bank.

While announcing the grant last week, Pim Van Ballekom  the Vice President European Investment Bank (EIB) said the three banks will be able to lend the money to farmers to invest in new opportunities and small businesses to act as a motor for new jobs and economic growth.

“The European investment Bank has a strong track record supporting private sector investment in East Africa and today’s lending demonstrates our continues and firm belief of supporting private sector investment by entrepreneurs and smaller companies in Uganda,” he said.

He added that improving access to finance and reducing constraints farmers face in accessing it are the key goals the European Investment bank hopes to achieve so as to support small business growth adding that the priority focus of Europe’s long-term lending institution is to support the private sector investment by smaller companies by reinforcing support for small businesses for to directly address the financing gap hindering their expansion.

While signing the agreements a total of EUR 11 million was handed over to DFCU bank in Uganda and KCB Rwanda and this is the first time that the EIB has lent to the two banks marking a new beginning in lending in the region.

Last week, the Uganda development bank also announced similar scheme where farmers are now able to access agricultural loans. In an interview Patricia Adongo Ojangole announced that the bank is lowering its interest rates by 26% where long term financing was reduced to 12.5% from 17%, the medium term financing from 18% to 13% while the short term financing is falling to 14% from 19%.

She said the bank was lowering the interest rates to address the shortage of cheaper development finance in the country which has been identified as a hindrance to the growth of private-sector led development especially to support development of industries for the private sector to play part in key development sectors like agriculture, value addition, industry and health.

She said the bank has identified crops like sorghum, Irish potatoes, tea and sugar cane where organized farmer groups which are adding value to the crops can be bank rolled by managing their risks through crop insurance by ensuring where the farmers will sign contracts with off takers.

“We must collect the money back because we are not only banking the farmer groups but also the off-taker by creating the market for the farmer through the off taker who in this case is the person involved in value addition,” she said.

Currently the bank is supporting Dairy farmers in Jesa dairy farm and the Balitweigomba farmers’ cooperative farm in Luuka district where the farmers who are involved in cotton sector are being supported by securing them market for their cotton.

Currently the source of funding is mainly from Arab Bank for African Economic Development, Islamic Development Bank, Afri-Exim Bank through which the bank hopes to cover its mandate which stretches across all Uganda.

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Turkey Builds Industrial Parks In Ghana

Reflex Eco Group – Ghana News

by Samuel Boadi (local journalist)

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

Turkey is to construct two industrial parks at Accra and Kumasi respectively beginning next year at a cost of over $300 million.

Outgoing Charge d’Affairs of Turkey Embassy in Accra, Simay Erinoglo, speaking to journalists in Accra on Tuesday, said the two projects, which are designed to attract many Turkish investors into Ghana would be funded by the Turkish Exim Bank.

The Ankara Chamber of Industry and the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce & Industry signed an agreement to that effect recently.

Ms Erinoglo said Turkish exports to Ghana last year recorded $223.5 million while it imported $303.5 million worth of goods from Ghana.

For the first six months of 2013, Turkey exported $103.6 million worth of goods to Ghana while it imported $128.9 million worth of goods from Ghana.

The outgoing diplomat also indicated that Turkey was currently supporting a yam growing project in the country since the crop is a rich source of starch. “We are planning to start an advertisement on yam imports to Turkey soon.”

She added that other crops, including cassava and cocoa would also be grown with the support of her Government in selected locations in the country.

Ms Erinoglo added that Turkish investors were eyeing a number of projects in the various sectors of Ghana’s economy, including construction.

Also, it intends to help with the construction of an international airport.

In the health sector, Turkey wants to assist with the construction of eight pre-fabricated hospitals at a cost of $118 million.

The Turkish Development Agency (TIKA) is working on a lot of projects in Ghana, she indicated.

Turkish investors are hesitant to come over to Ghana to invest because of the monstrous land acquisition challenges, she stated.

Turkey, a friend of Ghana since the 1960s, broke up the relationship in 1980 and returned in 2010.

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