Accra, Africa, Barack Obama, Business, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, European Union, Ghana, Government, Invesments, Kenya, Nigeria, Road Fund, South Africa, Standard Bank, Symbion Power, Uncategorized, United States, US, USA, Volta River Authority

Africa Focused News


By Dario Galluccio

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Ghana: Nkrankwanta Area Rural Bank posts growth for 2012

The Nkrankwanta Area Rural Bank in the Dormaa-West District of the BrongAhafo Region last year posted a strong performance despite macro-economic challenges coupled with sluggish growth in the cocoa industry, which is the main economic activity in the operational territories of the Bank. Total assets of the Bank went up from approximately GH¢1.6million in 2011 to about GH¢2.7million in 2012, representing an increase of 68%. The bank’s 2012 investments saw a 67% increase to GH¢1,420,000 from the GH¢850,000 of the previous year. Short-term lending to government investments, especially in Treasury bills, remains the major income source for the bank.

Edmond Joseph Akomian, Chairman of the Board of Directors who announced this during the 4th Annual General Meeting of shareholders, attributed the small growth of the Bank’s profit to the low rate of Treasury bills, increased computerisation of its agencies, and poor performance of the special Akuafo Cheque system.

Kenya: CFC Stanbic Bank partners Aeolus to build wind power plant

Kenya’s CFC Stanbic Bank has partnered Aeolus Kenya (AKL) – a member of the Power Africa initiative led by the United States President Barack Obama- to build a Sh12.9 billion ($150 million) wind power plant in Kinangop, Kenya. The proposed power plant will be the largest wind power generation project to be built in sub-Saharan Africa to date, outside of South Africa. It is expected to come on line in mid-2015.

The wind project has already been registered under the United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism.

The Kinangop Wind Plant which will provide electricity to approximately 150,000 Kenyan households, will add a further 60MW to Kenya’s 1,672MW national power grid.

According to CfC Stanbic Bank’s East Africa Head of Debt Solutions and Infrastructure Finance, Kwame Parker, “The project is designed to provide a clean source of electricity to Kenya. It will not only contribute to the social and economic development of Kenya, but will also significantly help ease the energy supply deficit that the country is grappling with.”

Ghana: Number 1 priority remains Cocoa

Vice President Paa Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur says the cocoa sector is still a top priority in government’s medium- to long-term growth plans despite the fortunes of the crop facing difficult times.

Mr. Amissah-Arthur said government remains committed to implementing a broad number of policy measures to support the cocoa sub-sector. These measures, he added, will in the long-term ensure efficiency through streamlining of activities, interventions and programmes and contribute to growth of the sector.

The Vice-President, speaking at this year’s Ghana Cocoa Festival in Accra, said the measures will help consolidate gains the country has made in the sector. He said an increase in local cocoa consumption will serve as a further boost to the sector.

COCOBOD recently announced an agreement with the Netherlands Embassy and three other institutions to stem the huge revenue losses arising out of the black-pod menace. The initiative, which has the Ghana Cocoa Growing Research Association Limited, Mars Incorporated and Mondelez International as partners, will make available over US$400million toward the production of new varieties of cocoa that can withstand the disease.

The crop has been a top foreign exchange earner for the country, grossing some US$2.8billion in export earnings in 2012, making it the third-highest foreign exchange earner after oil and gold.

Ghana: Improved energy will push forward growth

Mr. Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, Minister of Energy has said that the vigorous expansion of various energy programmes is to increase power production as well as support the growth and expansion of all the weak sectors of the national economy. He said government is rolling-out the various programmes and projects, particularly in the Western Region, as part of the energy expansion drive — which is geared toward positioning the sector to play the critical role expected for directing Ghana’s effort toward industrialisation.

Speaking at the World Tourism Day at Nkroful in the Ellembelle District of the Western Region, he noted that the country’s oil and gas sector is currently underdeveloped. According to him, the discovery of oil and gas in commercial quantities on the Western Region culminated in an influx of people — the stage is set for integrated tourism development in the region, so that instead of a potential threat from oil and gas activity to our environment, oil and gas activities will be made conducive to our situation and be a blessing to our environment.

Ghana: EU to support agriculture production

The European Union (EU) is to support Ghana to revolutionalise its agricultural production.

Mr Dacian Ciolos, EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, who made this known in Accra, said the support would be in the form of financial and technical interventions.

“Agriculture is not only an economic issue, but also a social issue and this calls for the support,” he said. Stressing that the EU would take Ghana’s agricultural development objectives into consideration.

Dr Yemi Akinbamijo, Manager of Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) said the partnership between EU and Ghana, which is under negotiation would take place from 2014- 2020. He said, it is a period for the promotion of agriculture and security.

Dr Akinbamijo said : agriculture would provide greater help to reduce poverty if done properly; pointing out that production, trading, finance, as well as infrastructure, education, science and technology and regional integration; are the seven pillars of FARA, which would be used to develop Ghana.

Africa: Standard Bank, Platinum Circle partner to provide business support

Standard Bank DRC, a member of Standard Bank Group, has agreed a strategic partnership with Platinum Circle – a Singapore-based business group – that will place Africa on the agenda of corporations, governments and intergovernmental organizations involved in the Future Global 100 (FG100) Initiative.

Launched in 2011 by Platinum Circle, the Initiative is a global program that shapes the future of the global economy, national markets, business and industries through the collective input of leaders from business, governments and intergovernmental organizations, gathering over 700 all-encompassing leaders to chart the Future Global Agenda.

Standard Bank will be working closely with Platinum Circle to anchor the FG100 Initiative in Africa and spearhead the Inaugural Africa Meeting in 2014, bringing top African leaders together with members of Platinum Circle worldwide including those in Singapore.

The strategic partnership between Standard Bank and Platinum Circle will pave the way for implementing the FG100 Initiative into Africa, by serving as an important forward- looking reference for foreign business and government leaders regarding Africa’s economic outlook and operating environment.

Ghana: GIPC investment drive gets results

Ghana’s energy challenges will soon witness a massive improvement as United States Energy Company Symbion power commits to construct a 450 megawatts of power in Ghana.

A memorandum to that effect has already been signed between Ghana and Symbion power. The realization of this agreement came to light after months of negotiation between Symbion and the Ghana Investment Promotion Center, whose chief executive, Mawuena Trebah, led.

Under the letter of Intent signed by the energy minister, Emmanuel Kofi Buah, and the chief executive officer of Symbion Power, Paul Hinks; Symbion power proposed to finance the establishment of a 450 megawatts combined cycle energy facility to meet the need of an expanded energy facility in Ghana. The Volta River Authority on its part on behalf of Ghana is expected to give prompt and fair consideration to the Symbion proposal within the requirements of the country’s laws and policy.

Ghana: Oil production hits 115,000 barrels daily

Daily oil production hit 115,000 barrels per day in June 2013, significantly higher than the projected average for the year, the African Center for Energy Policy (ACEP) report on Government Compliance with the Oil Revenue Management Act in the 2013 budget has revealed. Total oil revenue of GH¢1.15 billion also far exceeded the projected target by GH¢362.3 million.

The report urged government to initiate discussions with Sabre Oil and Gas to recover the capital gains tax from the sale of its stake in offshore blocks.

It also indicted the 2013 budget for failing to capture capital gains tax as one of the revenue streams. It added “the Petroleum Income Tax Law should be harmonized with the Internal Revenue Act.”

Released by the Executive Director of ACEP Mohammed Amin Adam, the report also said the projected transfers to the Ghana Petroleum Holding Fund will be exceeded when the data on petroleum is released.

Ghana: Government commits GH¢350 million towards road sector

Government has since June released GH¢ 350 million for the road sub-sector out of the GH¢ 706 million allocated in the 2013 budget. Alhaji Amin Amidu Sulemani, Minister of Roads and Highways, said the Ministry has also improved upon revenue generation into the Road Fund for maintenance works. The total fund accrued from January to June was GH¢ 126 million, an increase of GH¢ 9 million over the amount recorded during the same period in 2012.

Alhaji Sulemani, who made this known during the inauguration of the Progressive Road Contractors Association (PROCA), urged members as well as the Association of Road Contractors to unite for the growth of the industry.

Mrs Joana Adjei, National President of PROCA promised to run an open door policy as well as an all inclusive administration to make the association stronger. She said the new administration would help revive the training programmes of the Association.

Mrs Adjei said majority of contractors are suffering as a result of delayed payment for work done. Mr Michael Aidoo, the outgoing President of PROCA advised the new executives to take criticism in good faith.

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Africa Focused News


by Dario Galluccio

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Ghana: Government seeks PPP for Boankra Port project

The government has renewed the search for private investors to partner it to build and operate the Boankra Inland Port and the Eastern Railway Line projects. The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority (GSA), Dr Kofi Mbiah, said the government had brought the two projects under its private public partnership (PPP) initiative.

The PPP initiative is being coordinated and executed by the Ministry of Finance and Economic (MoFEP) and the newly established ministry at the Presidency in-charge of PPPs.

A successful of the projects is expected to help decongest the Tema and Takoradi Ports, leading to a rise in the country’s maritime trade.This is because more cargo, especially those on transit to the sub-region as well as goods moving from the two seaports to the eastern, central and northern parts of the country, will be transported on the railway line to the Boankra Port prior to distribution.

A search for a transaction advisor to the proposed PPP for the two projects has already commenced and is expected to be concluded in August. Once this is done, Dr Mbiah said the government would now start the process of getting investors interested in partnering it to operate the two projects.

Ghana: GSE yet to record listing on GAX

The Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) is yet to record any listing on its Ghana Alternative Market (GAX) after its launch. The GAX, which is an initiative by the GSE, was introduced earlier this year for SMEs and local companies with potential growth prospects to raise long-term capital to finance their businesses.

According to the Deputy Managing Director of the GSE, Mr Ekow Afedzie the exchange recognises that going to the market was expensive hence the introduction of the alternative market to address that challenge and help small businesses to raise more capital. But despite this platform given to SMEs to list to enable them solve their challenge; the GSE is yet to record any listing although it is optimistic that there are a few SMEs coming onto the GAX soon.

Nigeria: Transcorp boosts Obama Power-Africa initiative with $300m plant acquisition

President Barack Obama’s $7 billion US-backed Power Africa initiative has received a major boost with the announcement of the complete payment for the $300 million Ughelli power plant in Delta State, Nigeria by Transcorp Plc, the publicly quoted conglomerate managed by Tony Elumelu’s Heirs Holdings.

Transcorp Ughelli Power Limited (TUPL) which made an initial deposit of $75 million (25 per cent) for the plant, announced last week a $225 million balance payment to Nigeria’s Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) for the 1000 megawatts capacity plant.

TUPL, which has American company Symbion Power as an equity investor in the project, plans to increase the power generation of the plant from 300MW to over 1070MW over the next five years.

United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) and the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) as co-arrangers, and First City Monument Bank Plc (FCMB) and Fidelity Bank as co-financiers provided the debt financing facility for the acquisition of the plant, which is one of the six power generation companies unbundled as part of the privatization of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).

Last month, Heirs Holdings committed $2.5 billion toward the Power Africa Initiative, a multi-stakeholder partnership between the US government and seven sub-Saharan African countries, including Nigeria; with the purpose of accelerating investment in Africa’s power sector over the next five years.

Africa: Samsung says it has high hopes for Africa’s development

Samsung remains extremely positive about the ongoing developments within Africa, despite challenges such as transport/logistics and inadequate electricity infrastructure, George Ferreira, Vice President and Chief Operations Officer at Samsung Electronics Africa, has said.

A statement from Samsung Ghana said Samsung Electronics Africa was actively involved in providing resources to the ICT sector and had also introduced a number of products that would result in an increasing adoption of higher levels of primary, secondary and tertiary education levels.

The statement said: “Africa is considered the best continent for solar/bio-fuel. However, in order to see the projects brought to fruition, energy investment is immediately needed in the form of FDI and this is exactly what we are doing with our R&D into Solar Powered solutions. Samsung Electronics Africa will continue to identify and support projects that add to the economic and social growth of the continent by analyzing the very specific needs promoted by the often remote and rugged environment. It’s time for Africa to shine.”

The statement said while Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Africa dipped somewhat over the past two years, it has been forecasted that it would increase by more than 10 per cent in 2013.

Investment into Angola, Mozambique and South Africa appears to be the most prominent, according to the African Economic Outlook 2013 report.

South Sudan: Approved bill for oil sector regulation

After years of deliberations and consultative meetings, South Sudan has passed the long-awaited petroleum bill which will transform its mode of operation and attract investors. According to Reuters, the bill, pending President Salva Kiir’s approval, will afford the war-torn nation improved transparency by regulating how the government spends its revenues, making it more investor friendly.

Since it gained its independence from Sudan in 2011, the country has struggled to establish concrete laws to help stimulate growth. However the persistent push from western nations to ensure greater security for investment in the oil sector seems to be yielding positive dividends.

Western nations formerly ignored the country’s oil sector for development, citing not only the gripping violence but the lack of data on how oil proceeds were managed by the government. The landlocked Central African country is hopeful that this bill will encourage investors to embark on operational projects which will propel infrastructural development needed for the Sector’s growth.

Nigeria: To export technology to African countries

According to the Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Ita Ewa, Nigeria would soon start exporting technologies to other African countries. During a courtesy visit from a team of UNESCO expert, the minister said the Sheda Science and Technology Complex (SHESTCO), Nigeria’s version of the United States’ “Silicon Valley”, in Kwali, FCT, would be a zone where technology would be exported to other African countries.

The minister stated that the ministry was working in collaboration with UNESCO and other experts in developing a roadmap for the valley. He further said that the would be where solar technology value chain could be used in promoting the technology in Nigeria.

The leader of the UNESO team, Dr Voslan Nur, reiterated that the organisation had agreed to collaborate with the Federal Government to establish the valley. Nur described the initiative of the ministry on the project as the right step in the right decision to make the nation’s technology park a productive centre.

Prof. Deog-song Oh, the Secretary-General, World Technopolis Association, Korea, said the establishment of the valley would make Nigeria one of the world technology giants in the nearest future.

East Africa: Kenya removes trade barriers

Kenya has moved to tear down some of the barriers that were responsible for slowing down the movement of persons and cargo along the Mombasa – Kampala trade corridor. As such, traders in the East Africa Community (EAC) are to witness smooth flow of goods and services after the introduction of the single border territory (SBT).

Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Commissioner for Customs Richard Kamajugo said they had ordered the removal of all weighbridges on the Uganda side too.

Speaking at URA consultative forum in Kampala last week, Kamajugo said Kenya had been with the highest number of weighbridges between Mombasa and Malaba border, but all have been removed except one at Mombasa port. He also said that the 10 roadblocks that Kenya had between Mombasa and Nairobi have all been removed. SBT means goods will only be checked at the main port of entry, and once cleared, they will move with less interruption.

Ghana: BoG will strengthen regulatory and supervisory regime

The first Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Mr. Milison Narh has disclosed that, the Central Bank has developed guidelines and regulations which are being fine-tuned for the consideration of the Sector Minister for Finance and Parliamentary approval where necessary in order to further strengthen the regulatory and supervisory regime. The Deputy Governor mentioned Corporate Governance Regulations, Licensing Regulations, Outsourcing Guidelines, and Risk Management Guidelines, External Auditors Regulations, Mergers and Acquisition Guidelines as some of the guidelines formulated.

Mr. Miison Narh said ”the Outsourcing Guidelines and the Corporate Governance Regulations have already been exposed to industry and we have received contributions and some interesting comments from the banks as it is evident without a strong Corporate Governance regime, shareholder’s investments will be put at risks and the industry as a whole would be less attractive to investors.

To further strengthen its supervisory function, the Bank has also initiated action towards the revision and consolidation of the existing laws that govern the Banking and Non-Bank Financial Institutions. It is envisaged that these initiatives would remove any potential vulnerabilities in the banking landscape to ensure a safe and sound banking practices across the industry. Another recent industry development is the Bank’s quest to introduce a Deposit Insurance Scheme in the country and pursuant to this objective, he indicated that a feasibility study has been done by Global Business Solutions of Germany and financed by KFW of Germany. The study has since been approved by the Bank of Ghana, KFW and the Government of Ghana (GOG) through the Ministry of Finance.Mr. Milison Narh went on to explain that Currently the Central Bank and the Ministry of Finance have reviewed and approved the Terms of Reference for the Legal consultants to draft a Deposit Insurance law for the industry. He however pointed out that the key challenge going forward to the banking industry is how to maintain the continued high levels of profitability over the medium to longer-term and more particularly, when the interest rate environment begins to shift its course.