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

REPORT OF MONDAY 07/10/13

By Dario Galluccio

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

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

REPORT OF TUESDAY 01/10/13

by Dario Galluccio

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

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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The Tale Of Two Republics

Reflex Eco Group – Ghana News

By Akwasi Agyeman-Dua (Local journalist)

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

Ghana and the United States of America in recent times have a few interesting characteristics on their governance calendar. Both countries have Republican system of government and go to the polls every four years, close to the end of the same year, to elect a President. They both inaugurate their Presidents in January.

The US gained independence from Britain in 1776 and thus celebrated its 237th anniversary on July 4th. this year. Ghana got independence from Britain on March 6, 1957.

It however became a Republic on July 1, 1960 and marked its 53th. Republican milestone this year. Both have had very interesting and checkered histories. We wish them Happy Anniversaries!

The US has Barack Obama as its 44th. President while Ghana has John Mahama as its 7th. President. The US went through a civil war during the first term of the 16th. President, Abraham Lincoln over the issue of slavery. It has never experienced a revolutionary change of government, unlike Ghana which has had four major coups, a fourth Republic and four Republican Constitutions! Lincoln reminded Americans in his first inauguration address that they have the opportunity to choose a new President every four years.

Kwame Nkrumah was both the first Prime Minister and first President of Ghana while US had George Washington as its first President. Nkrumah was removed from office on February 24, 1966. The second and third coups were on January 13, 1972 and December 31, 1981 respectively.

The oath of office for US Presidents is as follows: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that l will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”.

All the forty-four Presidents of the US have over the years repeated these exact thirty-five words during their inaugurations. Some Presidents add, “So help me God”. It has been observed that “A great deal about presidential inaugurations has changed over the course of two centuries”, however, the oath of office, as written into the US Constitution, has not changed at all.

The chief historian of the US Capitol Historical Society, Dr. Donald R. Kennon has stated that, the American Revolution was, “An experiment to see if the people could govern themselves. And the regular and routine nature of a presidential inauguration reassures the people that the experiment is continuing and succeeding”.

Writer, Joseph Cummins points out, “Think of the often-violent changes of power that go on routinely in other countries. In many cases, power-hungry factions ignore the will of the people and seize the reins of government by force. Now think of the forty-four US presidents over the course of 220 years, standing in front of the American people, raising their hands and taking this oath”.

The theme for Obama’s inauguration in 2009 was, “A new birth of freedom”. It was a phrase chosen from President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address and February 2009 marked the two hundredth anniversary of his birth. Lincoln made this memorable and momentous address during the country’s Civil War. He pointed out that because of the sacrifices of the soldiers who had died in the war helping to free slaves and preserve the Union, America would experience “a new birth of freedom”.

It was in this same address that Lincoln reminded Americans that their country was founded on the principle of, “government of the people, by the people, for the people”, and that they should ensure that it “shall not perish from the earth”. These words of Lincoln are often quoted as a definition for democracy.

The inaugural theme was chosen before it was known that Obama would win the 2008 election and move to the White House, where his children will live and play freely in a place built partly by slave labour. It is remarkable that Obama, the first African American president of the US had the theme “A new birth of freedom” for his inauguration. Obama considers Abraham Lincoln as one of his mentors and heroes. He performed his swearing-in with the same Bible Lincoln used for his own. The two of them have 146 years between their presidencies.

US and Ghana’s relation has generally been cordial. Diplomatic and business ties are strong. US Presidents who have visited Ghana include Clinton, Bush Jnr. and Obama. President Nixon led the US delegation to Ghana’s independence, when he was Vice-President.

Ghana was the first country to receive US Peace Corps personnel when it was formed during the John F. Kennedy presidency. President Jimmy Carter after his presidency, has spearheaded a successful guinea-worm eradication programme in Ghana for many years. Many African Americans have often visited Ghana to reconnect with their homeland or ancestral home.

Ghanaian heads of state including Jerry Rawlings, John Agyekum Kufuor and John Atta Mills have been special guests at the White House. Many Ghanaians have studied in the US and many live there.

Ghana and US Presidents and leaders may have their strategic interests to guard on behalf of their people. It is hoped that succeeding years would find the two countries strengthen bilateral relations as well as affect global issues. Ayekoo Ghana. Well done USA.

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Africa Focused News

REPORT OF WEDNESDAY 28/08/13

by Dario Galluccio

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

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.

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Africa, Angola, Barack Obama, Business, Ethiopia, Ghana, Government, Infrastructure, Invesments, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda, Uncategorized, World Bank

Africa Focused News

by Dario Galluccio

Ghana: Abraaj Group sells stake in Ghana’s HFC

Abraaj Group (Abraaj), the growth markets investor, says it has sold its shareholding in the Ghana-based HFC Bank (HFC) for an undisclosed sum. According to a statement by Abraaj, an independent Caribbean bank, the Republic Bank Limited (RepBank), had acquired the disposed of stake in HFC.

Jacob Kholi, a partner at Abraaj, said his company’s investment in HFC had appealed to many strategic concerns, facilitating a break for its prosperous departure from the Ghana-based bank.

Kholi believes Abraaj’s investment in the lender was done at the right time because they took advantage of the robust growth in Ghana’s financial services sector.

Abraaj bought the first shareholding in the bank about three years ago. It increased this stake last year. All throughout Abraaj’s investment, HFC increased its earnings momentum, becoming one of the front-runners in Ghana’s banking scene.

Ghana: Bank of Ghana stays policy rate at 16%

The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has maintained the policy rate at which it lends to commercial banks at 16 per cent for the third quarter of the year. This was after it assessed economic activities in the country and policies put in place to prevent prices of goods and services from rising constantly.

The Monetary Policy Committee of the bank, chaired by the Governor, Dr Henry Kofi Wampah, told that the bank was satisfied with the policies put in place by the government to check increases in general price levels, hence the decision to maintain the rate at 16 per cent.

Uganda: African economies open for more World Bank support

Uganda is among the other African countries that will continue to receive financial support from the World Bank so as to grow its economy to better levels.

A statement released on July 30 by the World Bank Group says the latter committed a record US$14.7 billion in fiscal year 2013 (July 2012 to June 2013) to support economic growth and better development prospects in Africa despite uncertain economic conditions in the rest of the global economy

The World Bank Group continued its strong commitment to Africa approving $8.25 billion in new lending for nearly 100 projects this fiscal year (FY13). These commitments include a record $8.2 billion in zero-interest credits and grants from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries.

Angola: Be promoted to list of middle-income states

According to a United Nations (UN) official, Angola, Africa’s biggest oil producer behind Nigeria, may be promoted to a list of middle-income countries that get better terms from international lenders such as the World Bank.

“Angola will make it to the middle-income category because it has a growing economy, the government is moving toward the right direction and it has the financial capacity to invest,” the director of the UN Africa Division for Least Developed Countries, Tesfachew Taffere, said.

Angola, a member of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, wants to diversify its $114bn economy away from crude, which makes up almost all of its exports and 80% of tax revenue. Middle-income status will help it rebuild from a 27-year civil war that ended in 2002 by gaining access to risk and credit guarantees that lower the cost of public investments containing private funding.

South Africa: DuPont Pioneer acquires 80% stake in a seed company

DuPont said that it completed its purchase of an 80 percent stake in South Africa-based competitor Pannar Seed Limited, giving the chemical and agricultural giant an opportunity to expand its reach throughout Africa.

DuPont said the acquisition of Pannar by DuPont Pioneer, its agricultural seed unit based in Johnston, Iowa, would allow it to tap into Pannar’s insight into Africa while giving the U.S. firm access to the company’s corn genetics that have been specifically tailored for the region. Pannar would be able to use Pioneer’s genetics library and corn breeding and biotechnology work.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Ghana: Vivo Energy adds Shell Ghana Limited to its group

Vivo Energy, the company formed by Vitol, Helios Investment Partners and Shell to distribute and market Shell-branded fuels and lubricants across Africa, has acquired a majority shareholding in Shell Ghana Limited.

The company, which will be renamed Vivo Energy Ghana, will be headed up by Fred Osoro as Managing Director. He will take over from Vincent Richter, the former acting Managing Director.

Christian Chammas, CEO of Vivo Energy, said: ‘Ghana is an important market and a growing economy which is set to benefit from significant developments in the energy sector. We are acquiring a business with great potential; a long history in Ghana, a high calibre workforce and a large and diversified customer base. Vivo Energy is looking forward to serving our Ghanaian customers and investing in the business, to ensure it realises its full potential under Fred Osoro’s leadership.’

The Shell brand has been in Ghana for 85 years and Shell has been the leading marketer of fuels and lubricants. Vivo Energy Ghana has a storage capacity of 8,300m³ and 124 retail stations with the majority offering Shell Cards and convenience retail stores. Over the years, the company expanded its portfolio by acquiring Texaco in 1988. Vivo Energy Ghana employs 134 people but the business provides indirect employment to over 1,000 people. The company is recognised as the leader in the oil industry especially championing and setting standards for safety in sales and distribution.

Africa: Obama works to extend AGOA

The Obama administration has indicated that it is working with the United States Congress to extend the Africa Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA) programme, which is set to expire by 2015.

Florizelle Liser, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa in the Office of the United States Trade Representatives, stated: ‘We recognize that AGOA can do so much more. We have to look at how we can fulfill its promise and potential, and as AGOA is extended, we want to make sure that Africans are in a position to compete in the global economy.’

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was enacted in 2000 and permits 39 eligible African countries to export most products duty-free to the United States.

AGOA aims to promote economic development and better integrate African economies into the world trading market. Additionally, it intends to create a platform for governments, the private sector and civil society to expand business links and build trade capacity between the United States and Africa.

Total exports under AGOA have risen more than 300 percent since the programme began.

Though 84% of the United States’ AGOA imports were petroleum products, its non-oil imports from sub-Saharan Africa amounted to $4.7 billion in 2012 more than a 250% rise since AGOA’s start.

Ethiopia: Hailemariam confers with Kenyan investors

Prime Minster Hailemariam Desalegn meets Kenyan business delegation at his office to look into interest of Kenyan investors wanting to invest in Ethiopia. They are here to see the opportunities for themselves to decide their involvement in investment. Mr. Hailemariam explains how Kenya and Ethiopia are working to integrate their economies after a special economic agreement signed recently to ease business transaction between the two neighborly countries.

The electric transmission line, the road and rail lines under development are evidences of the ambitions between these two countries, and businesses in both countries can benefit from such developments, Hailemariam remarks.

Mozambique: Coal of Africa’s exports halve due to Ressano Garcia line closure

The South African based company Coal of Africa has announced that its exports in the second quarter of this year were down by 49 per cent. This was due to the closure of the Ressano Garcia railway line in southern Mozambique.

On 18 February, a freight train derailed, damaging a bridge and halting the movement of trains between the South African border and Maputo. The line reopened in April, but the company did not restart the movement of coal to the Matola coal terminal until May.

As a result, its exports through Matola fell to 136,172 tonnes, down from 271,069 tonnes in the first quarter. In the last quarter of 2012, the company exported 411,292 tonnes of coal through Matola.

Ghana: BoG confirms sharp decline in earnings from traditional exports

Figures from the Bank of Ghana have confirmed that government’s earnings from traditional exports have declined. According to the central bank, income from Gold for the half year declined to 2.7 billion from 3.2 billion cedis, while cocoa also declined marginally.

This would not be good news for government especially at a time when there is a decline in donor inflows as well as revenue. Addressing journalists, Governor Kofi Henry Wampah however says he is optimistic recent measures introduced by government could help stabilize the situation.

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