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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What next for Kenyan Policy on Somalia?

Reflex Eco Group – Africa News

by  Kennedy Opalo (Kenyan journalist)

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

For two years it almost seemed too good to be true. Kenya had invaded Somalia and occupied Kismayo, a key Al-Shaabab-held city in southern Somalia without carnage visiting the capital Nairobi. The group instead opted for sporadic attacks against churches and police installations in the border regions of North Eastern and Coast. A few explosions rocked the capital, but these were never spectacular. Indeed, some of them appeared to have been motivated by local business rivalries and not some revenge mission by the Somali Islamist group Al-Shaabab. Within Somalia, the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) mission made quick gains that left Al-Shaabab backpedaling. With a few exceptions, the Al-Shaabab was reported to have been severely weakened and on the run. Before the recent uptick in bombings, Mogadishu was slowly becoming a reasonably peaceful boomtown.

And then Westgate happened. At around noon on September 21st three groups of armed men (and allegedly at least one woman) stormed the upscale mall in Nairobi and started shooting indiscriminately. Several hours after the attack started Al-Shaabab claimed responsibility via twitter. A day later, the Islamist group gave an alleged list of the gunmen, all men between the ages of 20-27. Six were from the US, two from Somalia, and one each from Kenya, the UK, Finland and Syria. More than 36 hours after the attack began at least 69 people had been confirmed dead, including one gunman and two Kenyan officers. A visibly incensed President Uhuru Kenyatta condemned the attacks, and reassured Kenyans of a swift response to punish the perpetrators. Just a few minutes earlier Al-Shaabab had claimed responsibility for the attacks, terming them a retribution for Kenya’s invasion of Somalia in 2011. The Kenyan Defence Forces, under Operation Linda Nchi, invaded Somalia following sporadic kidnappings and attacks along the Kenya Somalia border. The forces still remain in Somalia under the command of AMISOM.

So how will Kenya respond? There will be both short-term and long-term responses to the daring terrorist attack. The likely short-term response holds more risk, and may even jeopardize the strategic objectives of the long-term response.

Understandably, in the short-term there is going to be considerable public pressure for a swift military response from the government. In the coming weeks the government’s response will likely involve both domestic crackdowns in suspected Al-Shaabab havens in Kenya (most likely in Nairobi, the Coast and North Eastern regions) and military operations against Al-Shabab targets within Somalia.

Crackdowns within Kenya will come with a lot of risk. Depending on how they are carried out, the government could end up walking right into Al-Shaabab’s trap by alienating Kenyan Muslims and ethnic Somalis who make up the majority of residents in Coast and North Eastern regions of the country that border Somalia.

Ethnic Somalis (both Kenyan and Somali nationals) also make up the majority of residents in Eastleigh, a district of Nairobi that has in the past witnessed government crackdowns targeting cells linked to the Al-Shaabab militant group.

Kenyan security forces must therefore proceed with extreme caution to ensure that as few innocent civilians as possible are arrested or roughed up by security forces in any operations within the country. A repeat of reported cases of police brutality in North Eastern following the murder of army officers by gunmen would be a terrible mistake. It is also vital that the government stresses the unity of all Kenyans of all ethnic extractions against terror attacks. Any victimization of ethnic Somalis must be met with swift punishment.

Military operations within Somalia will likely involve significant cooperation with Mogadishu, pro-AMISOM militia in Jubaland, AMISOM and the US and may not be completely under the control of Nairobi. I suspect that Nairobi might push for a more aggressive hunt for the leaders of Al-Shaabab, including Samantha Lewthwaite a.k.a. the “white widow,” a British national that is rumored to have been the mastermind of the Westgate Mall attack. Lewthwaite, the widow of London 7/7/2005 suicide bomber Jermaine Lindsay, is suspected to be on the run in Mombasa, Kenya with her four children. Crucially, any military operations in Somalia must be informed by analysts’ observation that it might be the case that Al-Shabaab is a group on the decline that is just lashing out to maintain relevance.

In the long-run, Nairobi will most likely push for a more robust Somali solution to the security crisis posed by the lack of a functional state in its backyard. Top on the agenda will be the strengthening of the security apparatus in the administration of Jubaland, the Somali state that is on the border with Kenya (For a detailed analysis of the situation in Jubaland see here). The creation of Jubaland has long been a goal of the Kenyan government as a buffer against the chaos that has been Somalia for the last two decades. Despite obvious objections from Mogadishu, Nairobi has never publicly denounced this policy goal. The brazen attack in the capital creates even more need for a strong buffer region that can help the Kenyan security forces to deal effectively with a terrorist group that appears desperate and willing to do just about anything to remain relevant. The success of this policy will depend on Mogadishu’s ability to veto it, and support from Ethiopia and AMISOM.

Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somaliland, Puntland and Kenya all have reasons to support the creation of Jubaland, or in general, a more decentralized state in Somalia. Kenya, Djibouti and Ethiopia remain wary of a potential rise in Somali nationalism and any irredentist attempts that might follow to unite all lands that make up the so called Greater Somalia – which would include the Ogaden in Ethiopia, North Eastern region of Kenya, and Djibouti. This is not a crazy fear. Mogadishu once attempted this in the late 1960s in a botched operation (in the Shifta and Ogaden wars) that ultimately led to a military coup and the rise of Siad Barre to power (See Laitin, 1976 [gated]). Ethiopia has the most to worry about regarding this potential risk. The Ogaden remains at the periphery of the Ethiopian state, giving the Somali population lots of reasons to rebel against Addis Ababa.

In the recent past Kenya has experienced an increasing level of integration of the Somali elite into the Kenyan state. Prominent Kenyans of Somali extraction include the leader of Majority in the National Assembly, the Foreign Minister, the Industrialization Minister, the head of the electoral management body (IEBC), among others.

Furthermore, many Somalis both Kenyan and from Somalia have in the recent past made significant investments in Kenya, most notably in the real estate sector. A lot of the investments have been means of laundering money got from illicit activities (some say including piracy). Indeed the governor of the Central Bank of Kenya is on record to have said that he could not account for billions of shillings in the economy. With an estimated total of only 20,000 mortgage accounts, most of the Kenya’s real estate boom has so far been financed by cash.

Yes, a lot more needs to be done for the average Kenyan of Somali extraction in North Eastern region, but the Somali elite in Kenya have every reason to not rock the boat and remain wedded to Nairobi. This same elite has so far tacitly supported Nairobi’s policy regarding the creation of an autonomous region in Jubaland.

The powerful imagery of a picture that went viral showing a Kenyan police officer, who also happens to be an ethnic Somali, carrying a baby while shielding three adults as they ran for safety at Westgate is hard to miss.

A domestic outcome of the Westgate attack will likely be greater scrutiny of the police and intelligence forces. The Kenyan police have been exposed in the past for having looked the other way in exchange for bribes to allow gun-runners to do their thing along the country’s highways. President Kenyatta will likely call for a cleaning of house both at Vigilance House and at the NSIS headquarters. All security agencies will likely see closer scrutiny from the political class and calls to pull up their socks. The minister in charge of internal security, Joseph Ole Lenku, probably has his days numbered on the job.

The quest for greater security will be completed by the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the country on account of civil wars and general insecurity in the border regions with Uganda, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia. According to a 2012 a study by the Small Arms Survey and the Kenya National Focus Point on Small Arms and Light Weapons, there are between 530,000 and 680,000 firearms in civilian arms across the country. The government must tighten its disarmament operations. Westgate has shown that AK-47s are not just the weapons of cattle rustlers, bank robbers and carjackers.

Will the reforms succeed? Very likely. The Kenya Revenue Authority is a testament to the fact that when it matters, the Kenyan government can reform key state institutions. The security sector is need of just such a reform drive. Insecurity is on the rise across the country, both from common criminals and organized gangs and terrorists. The Kenyan leadership appreciates that insecurity is not just bad in terms of risk to human lives. It is also bad for business.

If Mr. Kenyatta’s first term is to achieve even a modicum of success, the security sector must be reformed.

In all likelihood the president’s quest for a successful first term will outrank a few officers’ venal machinations within the administration. Police ineptitude in dealing with common petty and not-so petty crime creates loopholes for spectacular attacks like Westgate. Reform will therefore need to go beyond capacity building within the Special Forces and dedicated anti-terror units.

For regular Kenyans, life in Nairobi will never be the same again. It is almost impossible to imagine that things that most only read in the news could happen right at home; that a Saturday afternoon at the mall could turn into a ghastly massacre. It will take time before the capital, and the nation, finds its new normal, if at all it does.

So far Kenyans’ resiliency has been outstanding. People showed up in their thousands to donate blood. Buses in Nairobi lowered their fares to take people to blood donation points. More than 40 million Shillings has so far been raised through MPesa for affected victims. Never before in my life have I felt or seen this level of patriotism from fellow Kenyans.

I hope it sticks. Especially because the country will need it in the next few weeks and months as the government formulates and effects a response to the Westgate Mall attack.

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Africa Focused News

REPORT OF MONDAY 21/10/13

by Dario Galluccio

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

Ghana: India enhances economic relations with Africa

The Indian High Commission has hosted its Fourth India-Africa Academic Conference dubbed: “India-West Africa: A Dynamic Relationship and Emerging Trends,” in Accra.

The two-day event which is aimed at strengthening economic ties between Africa and India, focused on five important areas: India-West Africa: Towards an Enduring Partnership; Enhanced Economic Engagement; India-West Africa Development Partnership: Past Experience and Future Prospects; Multilateral and Regional Engagements and India- Ghana: What the Future Holds.

A statement signed by Donald Gwira, Head– Corporate Communications and External Affairs of Airtel Ghana said the high level representatives who made presentations during the sub-theme: “Enhanced Economic Engagement,” were drawn from Africa and India.

Mr Gwira said Ghana’s trade with India has crossed a $1 billion mark for the first time since both countries started trading. He also outlined some of India’s exports to Ghana which includes Telecommunications, Agricultural Machinery, Electricity Equipment, Plastic, Steel and Cement.

Nigeria: MTN partner with JMG in $9mln power project

Telecoms giant, MTN Nigeria has contracted FG Wilson Nigerian representative, JMG in a $9 million project to upgrade power capacity for its mobile communications network. The deal will see JMG, which is the largest distributor among FG Wilson’s global network of 370 representatives, supply and install 12 high capacity FG Wilson generators including six 2,000kVA, three 1,500kVA and three 1,250 kVA generator sets.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, provides an average of only 4500 MW of power to its over 167 million peoples. Its power sector began deteriorating in the 1990s which forced government to privatize the Nigerian Power Holding Company (NPHC) this year.

However, JMG officials are upbeat about the impact of the $9 million power project on MTN’s capacity.

China committed to fruitful relations with Ghana’

Mr Gong Jianzhong, Ambassador of China, says his country is committed to fruitful bilateral relations with Ghana. “Recent years have witnessed sustained development of bilateral relations and economic cooperation between China and Ghana.”

Mr Jianzhong, said this at the commissioning of a new plant of Sanbao Ghana Pharmaceuticals Limited in Tema. He said the occasion marked one more inspiring event, concerning cooperation between the two countries. “Sanbao has now provided 200 jobs for Ghanaians, and 500 more jobs would be added in coming years.” Mr Jianzhong continued, “The Chinese government would continue to encourage Chinese enterprises to invest in Ghana, to create more job opportunities for Ghanaians’.

Kenya: New law to allow to claim 10% stake in mining operations

The Kenyan government said it plans to obtain 10 percent stake in significant mining concessions under a new law aimed at generating more funds from the sector.

Earlier this year, East Africa’s largest economy announced that it had increased royalties on minerals produced in the country in its quest to increase its share of earnings in the sector, saying it conformed to best practices, Reuters reported.

The country’s Mining Cabinet Secretary, Najib Balala, explained that the planned law was part of revenue strategy to increase funds generated from its relatively modest and undeveloped mining sector. He however did not give details on the concessions, or if it would affect existing mining licences.

Though considered the most industrially developed economy in East Africa, successive Kenyan governments have failed to fully exploit the country’s mining potential. Foreign mining companies have also been discouraged by poor infrastructure and an outdated legal framework. However, the sector seems to be experiencing a level resurgence lately.

Earlier this month, Australian miner, Base Resources, started mining at its long-delayed Kenya titanium project and said it expected to start exporting minerals in December. Also, a subsidiary of Canada-based minerals and metals firm, Pacific Wildcat Resources is scouring the country’s coastal region for niobium, a mineral used to strengthen steel and make alloys for jet engines.

Invest in Ghana’s economy — Amissah-Arthur

The Vice-President, Mr Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, has appealed to Ghana’s friends to invest directly in the local economy. Mr Amissah-Arthur made the appeal when a seven-member delegation from the Czech Republic called on him at the Flagstaff House in Accra on Saturday, 19th of October.

He said the government was pursuing vigorous policies and programmes to improve the economy, and make Ghana a better place to live in. “We are interested in the growth of the economy. We believe this is how we can guarantee economic stability and improve the lives of our people,” he said.

Trade relations between Ghana and the Czech Republic date back to 1960, when a trade agreement was signed between Ghana’s first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah and Antonín Novotný, then the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia.

The Czech Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr Jan Kohout said, “We have traditional and economic relationships, and as partners, we want to seek new ways of developing both countries.” He added that the Czech Republic was interested in investing in the energy, transport and agricultural sectors, adding that it wanted “a real opportunity in Ghana that will be beneficial to all”. Mr Kohout commended Ghana’s burgeoning democracy and said “we see Ghana as a stable and safe democratic country to invest in on the African continent. We appreciate the peace and stability in the country.”

Zimbabwe: U.S $5 Billion needed for platinum expansion

Zimbabwe investment of as much as $5.3 billion and stable mining policies if the country is to boost platinum output to rival Russia as the world’s second-biggest producer of the metal, an industry organisation said.

To increase production to the more than 500,000 ounces per annum needed to justify the construction of base and precious metal smelters and refineries, investment of $2.8 billion is needed in mines. In addition, as much as $2 billion in processing plants and between $200 and $500 million to ensure adequate power supply, the Chamber of Mines said in a report.

“It’s evident from 2017 onward Zimbabwe’s production of platinum will be approaching that of Russia,” the Chamber said. “This growth projection, however, requires significant investment.”

While mines operated by Impala Platinum Holdings, Anglo American Platinum Ltd and Aquarius Platinum will this year produce about 365,000 ounces of the precious metal, investment has been hindered by power shortages and a government demand that control of assets be ceded to the state or black Zimbabweans.

South Africa: Allan Gray becomes No.1 fund manager

Fund manager, Allan Gray, has replaced its main competitor in the South African market, Coronation Fund, as the number one manager of collective investments in the country.

This is according to the latest survey by PlexiCrown Fund Ratings and this latest result means the Cape Town-based Coronation Fund is now the second biggest investment fund in South Africa.

The survey has also revealed that the Stellenbosch-based PSG has substituted Nedgroup as the third biggest manager of collective investments in South Africa. It pushed Nedgroup to the fourth place in the rankings.

Allan Gray attained a total average score of 4.528 points (known as PlexiCrowns) for the high achievement of its funds in the three months to end of last month.

Ryk de Klerk, executive director of PlexCrown Fund Ratings, said the Allan Gray-Orbis Global Fund of Funds, the Bond Fund and the Allan Gray-Orbis Global Equity Feeder Fund were leading in their in their sub-categories. These funds all belong to Africa’s second richest man, Allan Gray. “Five (71 percent) of the investment house’s rated funds achieved above-average ratings of four or more PlexCrowns,” de Klerk told Personal Finance.

Liberia: Johnson-Sirleaf wants more French investments

Ahead of the departure of French Ambassador to Liberia Mr. Gerard Larome, one regret that the Liberian President, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, has been that there has been not much French investment in the country with the exception of the Total service stations across the country.

But President Sirleaf said the fact that Ambassador Larome planned to return to Liberia and to attract French businesses to the country was a good signal, as she looked forward to his return in the coming months.

The outgoing French envoy last Thursday paid a farewell call on President Sirleaf at her Congo Town residence, when he informed her that he will depart on October 23. The Executive Mansion says Ambassador Larome’s successor will arrive shortly thereafter. Mr. Larome presented his Letters of Credence to President Sirleaf on December 2009, as French Ambassador accredited to Liberia.

Because of him, the President said, she had photographs of herself with three French Presidents, including Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy, and the most recent being President François Hollande who, in November 2012, bestowed upon her France’s highest award and public distinction, the Grand Croix of the Légion d’Honneur.

Ghana: Cocoa producer price still GH¢3,392

Government has maintained the producer price of cocoa at GH¢3,392 per tone, representing 79.17 per cent of the net Free on Board Price, despite the falling world prices of the commodity. The price, which translates into 212 per bag of 64 kilogram, takes effect from the beginning of the 2013/14 season on October 18, 2013.

Cassiel Ato Forson, Deputy Minister of Finance, who made this known at a press conference in Accra, said the current price was higher and more competitive than the farm gate price of GH¢43,224 being paid to farmers in La Côte d’Ivoire.

Mr Forson said government’s ability to maintain the price at current levels was a demonstration of its commitment to the non-oil sector, especially agriculture, and for that matter, Cocoa, which has been the backbone of the country’s economy.

The country produced 835,410 tonnes of cocoa during the 2012/13 season and forecast a total production of 830,000 for the 2013/14 season.

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Africa Focused News

REPORT OF THURSDAY 17/10/13

by Dario Galluccio

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Kenya: Standard Bank, ICBC raise $108m debt facility heavy fuel plant

Standard Bank Group and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) have concluded a $108 million debt financing package with Triumph Kenya to construct a 83MW heavy fuel oil plant in the east African nation. As mandated co-lead arrangers, CfC Stanbic Bank, a member of Standard Bank Group, provided $28 million of debt funding while ICBC supplied $80 million. The ICBC finance portion will be for the plant, currently being built 25km from Nairobi.

Kenya Power also signed a 20-year agreement with Triumph to purchase power from the plant, which will be a crucial supplier to the utility during times of drought when the country’s hydroelectric generating capacity becomes constrained.

The World Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) will provide $102.5 million in breach of contract insurance should Kenya Power fail to honour its 20-year power purchase agreement with Triumph. MIGA’s insurance will also cover the Government of Kenya’s obligations under the Government of Kenya Letter of Support.

Kenya has historically relied on hydropower for most of its electricity needs and has a current installed generating capacity of 1,672 MW, compared with peak power demand of 1,330 MW. The nation’s economy has expanded at an average rate of 4-5 percent over the last 3 years.

Africa: Middle-income status is not bye bye poverty

Transitioning to middle-income status does not signal the end of poverty as the majority of the world’s poor still live in middle-income countries, the World Bank and the IMF have said at their latest Development Committee meeting, a forum that advises the two institutions.

In many developing countries, growth has been accompanied by rising inequality,” a communiqué from the meeting said, warning that if countries do not sustain the building of “shared prosperity”, growth will eventually be obstructed — causing instability and reducing upward mobility. “Job-creation, especially for youth and women, and private sector development are key for inclusive growth,” the meeting agreed.

Middle-income countries — defined as nations with a per capita gross national income of US$1,026 to US$12,475 — account for one-third of global GDP and 73 percent of the world’s poor people. (Ghana, with a per capita income of US$1,563, is considered among lower middle-income countries.)

The World Bank Group has in recent times been warning about growth in developing countries not impacting ordinary citizens, particularly in Africa — one of the fastest-growing regions of the world. In its latest edition of Africa’s Pulse, a twice-yearly analysis of the issues that are shaping Africa’s economic prospects, the bank said inequality in Africa remains “unacceptably high and the rate of reduction unacceptably slow”.

To ensure Africa’s growth benefits its people, the bank advises that more attention should be paid to areas like agriculture, where the poor are mostly found. It also endorses social safety nets, like direct cash transfers to the most vulnerable segments of society.

Nigeria: Fitch rates economy stable

Fitch Ratings, an international independent rating agency, rated Nigeria’s economic outlook as stable. The agency also affirmed the country’s long-term foreign and local currency IDRs and senior unsecured bond ratings at ‘BB-‘ and ‘BB’ respectively, while the short-term foreign currency IDR was rated ‘B’ and Country Ceiling at ‘BB-‘. This vote of confidence on the prospects of the Nigerian economy is coming a few days after another respected international rating agency, Standard & Poor’s also affirmed a strong and positive rating for the management of the economy.

According to the agency, the affirmation reflects the following key rating drivers, a gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 6.4 per cent in the first half of 2013, noting that though lower than the level in 2012, the country showed resilience in the face of exogenous shocks.

The agency noted the non-oil economy had slowed but still grew by 7.9 per cent in 2012 and 7.6 per cent in the first half of 2013. The agency expressed optimism that non-oil growth should pick up in the second half of 2013, as normal weather had resumed and the authorities had responded to the security problems. Reforms to the electricity and agriculture sectors could start to boost potential growth.

Other key drivers of the rating, as highlighted by the agency, included inflation rate, which had remained in single digits all year – the lowest in five years and the longest stretch of single digit inflation since 2008. Also, policy rates were unchanged and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had the twin aims of achieving single-digit inflation and maintaining exchange rate stability. Fitch also adjudged public finances as remaining comfortable and estimated a general government deficit of around 1.8 per cent of GDP this year and next.

Ghana: Fitch downgrades … From B+ to B

Fitch has downgraded Ghana from a B to a B, largely because of the government’s difficulty in managing the rising wage bill and of the increased debt to GDP ratio pose short-term challenges to the economy. Ghana was put on a B (negative) outlook in February this year and has since been under continuous assessment by Fitch, which had expressed concern over several factors affecting the short-term health of Ghana’s economy.

While experts recognise Ghana’s bright prospects in the medium term, it is believed that the government will struggle with controlling the fiscal situation over the next 18 months.

The outlook for post-2015 looks much better,” a sources,close to the rating agency, said, citing Ghana’s removal of subsidies on petroleum products as helping the fiscal situation, but continued subsidies on utilities, especially power, posed challenges for fiscal stability and growth going forward.

South Africa: Eskom wins R1.3 billion French solar loan

France is to lend €100-million (R1.3-billion) to South African state company Eskom to help finance a 100 megawatt (MW) concentrating solar power plant near Upington in the Northern Cape. Eskom and the French Development Agency (AFD) agreed, during French President Francois Hollande’s state visit to South Africa, to facilitate the signing of the loan.

Eskom chief executive Brian Dames said in a statement that the Upington CSP project, one of Eskom’s first commercial-scale renewable energy projects outside of its existing hydro portfolio, “puts us on a path towards reducing our carbon footprint and investing in a sustainable energy future”. The Upington CSP project is expected to deliver an annual energy production of 525 GWh and will be sufficient to power 200 000 homes.

Ghana: Government to review utility tariff hikes

With worries over the tariff increment, President John Mahama has announced that government has set up a technical committee to review the recently announced tariff hikes. The technical team will consider the issue and make recommendations to government in order to avert threats and ultimatums issued by organized labour since the Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURC) announced the increases a fortnight ago. President Mahama who was speaking at the launch of the 4th Ghana Policy Fair appealed to the organized labour groups to withdraw their ultimatum while government attempts to deal with the issue.

Nigeria: Agreements establishment of local transformer assembly plant

As part of its 4Africa Initiative, Microsoft Corporation has announced the expansion of the Microsoft Ventures partnership programme into Africa. Microsoft Ventures was introduced in June this year as a coordinated global effort to offer tools, resources, expertise and routes to market for startups through partnerships with accelerators around the world.

The company has selected 88mph as its first African accelerator partner. 88mph was chosen for its proven model of helping launch and secure funding for innovative African startups. Together, Microsoft and 88mph will work to provide startups with mentorship, technology guidance, seed funding, joint selling opportunities and more.

Microsoft Ventures takes a holistic approach to helping startups get off the ground through a community evangelism programme including Microsoft BizSpark, an accelerator program and a seed fund that works with startups worldwide.

The expansion into Africa was conducted as part of the recently launched Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative and will therefore prioritise startups in key sectors including agriculture, education and healthcare. Startups will be selected based on the globally established criteria of Microsoft Ventures: Applying companies must have a full-time founding team, a bold vision for tackling a real problem, technologically driven solutions and less than $1 million raised, Microsoft International said.

Ghana: Atuabo gas project 72% complete

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Gas Company, Dr. George Sipa Yankey, says 72 percent works on the Western Corridor Gas Infrastructure Development project ongoing at Atuabo in the Western Region is complete. He said although the project would not be completed as scheduled in December due to initial financial constraints and loss of some construction materials in turbulent sea in South Africa early this month, his outfit was hopeful that the project would be completed by March next year.

Dr. Yankey said frequent meetings would be held by partners in the petroleum industry, especially those in the management chain, to share information on the project in order to increase understanding and transparency. He noted that the implementers of the project had assembled the best companies in the petroleum industry from Aecom in the US, Thermo Design Engineering from Canada, Yokogawa from Japan, Technip from France and Worley Parson from the United Kingdom to support Sinopec of China to complete the project.

He maintains that the gas infrastructure project was important to the development aspirations of the country since it would half the $3million dollars the VRA spent in purchasing crude oil daily for power generation.

Kenya: Coca-Cola increases stake in juice franchise

Coca-Cola Export Corporation has increased its stake in Kenyan subsidiary, Coca-Cola Juices Kenya Limited (CCJK), to 66.03 percent through bottling companies that sell its products in the region after local shareholders failed to participate fully in a rights issue. A report by Kenya’s Competition Authority’s Director General, Wang’ombe Kariuki, confirmed this saying: “The Competition Authority authorises the proposed acquisition of 66.03 percent of the issued shares of Coca-Cola Juices Kenya Limited by the Coca-Cola Export Corporation”.

The remaining 37.07 percent stake belongs to local shareholders including bottling firm like Kisii Bottlers, Mount Kenya Bottlers, Rift Valley Bottlers, Coast Bottlers and Nairobi Bottlers.

In the past, Coca-Cola functioned as a marketing support company to CCJK, leaving the production and supply function of its soda brands to the bottling firms. However, with the additional stakes acquired, the beverage company will deepen its role beyond publicity as the deal gives it full control of the local juice company.

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Accra, Advocacy Advisor, Africa, Asia, Business, Business and Economy, Ghana, Ghanaians, Government, Invesments, Kenya, Kwame Nkrumah, Rule of Law, Uncategorized

IS THIS WHAT WE BARGAINED FOR? (Ghana: Independence and after)

Reflex Eco Group – Ghana News

By Akwasi Agyeman-Dua (Local Journalist & Media and Advocacy Advisor)

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

COLONIALISM COULD’NT GO on forever. It definitely had to fall elsewhere and in Africa. The old order always changes giving place to new. Ghana’s independence heralded ‘the wind of change’ that swept through Africa and brought independence in the 1960’s to many more African countries, including Nigeria, Kenya and others. In Ghana, two political statements which gained prominence among others during the struggle were, “Self-government now” and “Seek ye first the political kingdom and all other things shall be added unto it”. The records have not proved us right on the second score, I believe.

The fight against colonialism started long before Kwame Nkrumah joined it and ultimately took over the mantle of leadership and helped the country to attain independence on March 6, 1957. The hopes and aspirations of the people had been great and strong over the years. Earlier freedom fighters had included J.E. Casely Hayford, Mensah Sarbah, J.B. Danquah, some chiefs and intelligentsia.

Fifty-six years after independence, it is very appropriate to review the last fifty years and to try to forecast the next fifty years. As has been noted, “The unexamined life is not worth living”. Added to this could be the Biblical passage which says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish”. Like all nations and groups of people on planet Earth, Ghana and Ghanaians have had their fair share of tribulations and triumphs, high points and low points.

One would have expected that the numerous changes of governments could lead to greater development for Ghana. After all what haven’t politicians with their mouths and soldiers with their guns, promised my dear countrymen and women? Has the struggle for self-government been worth-while?

National anthems, coat of arms, mottos and slogans are all ways and means of conditioning people’s minds to a set of core values which can help galvanize them into responsible action. Ghana at independence in 1957 chose as its motto, “Freedom and Justice”. Two very strong words. Who ever suggested them must be found, congratulated and honoured. It seems the name of the person was not put on record for historical purposes.

Ghana and Ghanaians don’t have the luxury of time like some developed nations have had over the years. Beside it is known that some nations have tried to develop within a relatively shorter time. There are examples in Asia and Southern America. We also currently have the benefit of improved science and technology which can help us catch up on development. Much time and resources have been wasted in Ghana and Africa which have contributed to our current state of affairs. This shameful situation must end.

We need a new Ghanaian with renewed values and attitudes. The new Ghanaian who would think more about the general good rather than parochial, selfish interests. We must not let the sacrifices of our forbears and that of patriotic compatriots, dead or alive, be in vain. Let us see the true meaning of the country’s motto of Freedom and Justice. Freedom we seem to have had in abundance. Let’s now see true Justice in every sphere of our national life. Let’s have Law and Order. Let the Rule of Law and Love prevail. With God, ‘we can truly make our nation great and strong’, as captured in the words of Ghana’s national anthem.

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Africa, Business, Cabinet Secretary, Government, Invesments, Kenya, Kenya Revenue Authority, Law, Tax refund, Uncategorized, Value added tax, VAT

New VAT rule here to stay despite wide opposition, affirms Rotich

Reflex Eco Group – Kenya News

By Joshua Masinde (Local journalist)

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

The government ruled out any further amendments to the new Value Added Tax law that has seen the prices of basic commodities increase by up to 16 per cent.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich Wednesday said the new VAT Act 2013, which imposes a 16 per cent levy on commodities, will be implemented as it is and no more changes will be made to it, defying calls from consumers and industry lobbies to exempt some basic goods from the list.

The law took effect on Monday this week and has pushed up the prices of commodities like processed milk, newspapers and maize flour, dealing a major blow to consumers who are already confronted with high inflation rates.

“This is a one-off adjustment and we are not going to adjust the list any further,” Mr Rotich said.

According to the minister, the whole idea is to simplify administrative procedures that were causing the taxman a lot of challenges in terms of implementing tax collection.

“This new VAT Act will sort out all these administrative challenges and make it easier for KRA to work more efficiently on the issue of refunds,” Mr Rotich said.

The minister, however, warned businesses against pushing the entire cost to consumers.

With the new law, the number of items which had been zero rated will reduce from over 400 to only about 40, further boosting the revenue basket of the tax collector.

Last year, the revenue collector owed different firms nearly Sh25 billion in tax refunds for zero rated items, which had made it difficult for KRA to efficiently administer tax and pay refunds.

Under the previous regime of VAT, there was a lot of accumulation of VAT refunds at the KRA, which partly caused cash flow challenges to businesses.

The minister further said the government will review more tax laws, including excise and income tax laws, to ensure they are also easier to administer.

On Tuesday, Consumer Federation of Kenya said it would be seeking a court order to delay implementation of the new VAT Act 2013.

Some of the goods which have been affected by the new tax include mobile phones, books, charcoal and animal feeds.

Services like travel and tour operations, hotel and hospitality and railway transport have also been affected.

The consumer’s lobby group also warned that this would lead to a spike in inflation to double digit levels from 6.9 per cent currently, further pushing more Kenyans below the poverty line.

Tax experts have also faulted the government’s move to implement the new tax, saying it has pushed up the cost of living.

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Accra, Africa, Barclays, Business, Cape Verde, Dubai, European Central Bank, Ghana, Gold, Government, Invesments, Kenya, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria, Petroleum, Rwanda, South Africa, Turkey, Uganda, Uncategorized, United States, US, USA

Africa Focused News

REPORT OF FRIDAY 11/10/13

by Dario Galluccio

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

Ghana: Road fund jumps up by GH¢9m within six months

Ghana’s total Road Fund accrual from January to June this year, stood at GH¢126 million, representing an increase of about GH¢9 million over the amount recorded during the same period in 2012, the Minister of Roads and Highways, Alhaji Amin Amidu Sulemani, has announced.

He attributed the increase in the revenue inflow to regular field visits by the ministry to ensure that funds were being collected in conformity to laid down procedures and paid into the designated bank account.

The improved revenue generation into the Road Fund for the maintenance of the road networks came at a time when a total of GH¢706 million, under the 2013 Budget, was approved for the Road sub-sector, out of which about GH¢350 million had been released as at June 2013, according to him.

Alhaji Sulemani told members of the Progressive Road Contractors Association (PROCA) in Accra: “As a result of the many interventions that have been made in the sector since the last couple of years, the condition mix of the road network has improved from 29% good, 27% fair and 44% poor in 2000, to 43% good, 25% fair and 32% poor as at end of 2012.”

Nigeria: Barclays to expand operations ‘cautiously’

Barclays Bank CEO, Anthony Jenkins said the British banking group is planning to expand its footprint in Africa’s second largest economy, Nigeria without making a large or expensive acquisition in the country.

We have a rep office there. We do some business in Nigeria and we are going to grow that business and I think quite cautiously over time, and then we will see what opportunities present themselves,” Jenkins said.

Although Barclay does not have much representation in Nigeria, it is likely to launch corporate banking in Nigeria like it did with First Rand’s Rand Merchant Banking (RMB) in order to tap into the opportunities being presented by multinational companies looking to invest in Africa. RMB previously had a representative company but was awarded a merchant banking license in Nigeria last year.

Jenkins said all options are still open as the bank has not decided whether to apply for a license or acquire some business in the country. He also noted that there are opportunities for corporate banking.

We have quite a footprint from the African continent and so bringing our corporate customers to Africa is going to be a very important strategic focus for us and that’s the unique advantage of Barclays because we have got a global footprint and we have got the presence. If you put those two things together it’s a very powerful combination. So a lot of this is about execution and accelerating the pace of execution within the context of the aspiration to be the Go To Bank,” Jenkins said.

Ghana: To participate in Dubai Corporate Leaders Summit

Ghana will participate in an International Conference dubbed: Dubai’s Corporate Leaders Summit in Dubai to learn tried-and-tested strategies and techniques that nurture and inspire high branded global organizations and teams whilst participants enjoy their leisure in the extravagant and luxurious city of Dubai.

This “Dubai Corporate Leaders Summit” is scheduled to take place, from December 7 – 14, 2013 on the theme “Becoming The Next Global Leader”. Other countries confirmed to attend the summit include Nigeria, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Nepal, Pakistan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, China, Liberia, London, South Africa and Ethiopia.

Senior representatives from several international companies have also confirmed participation in this summit. QualityRole FZ LLC is the headline coordinator of the “Dubai’s Corporate Leaders Summit” in collaboration with QualityRole Ghana.

The summit will bring together business professionals from around the world and diplomatic representatives from Africa, Asia, South America and Europe to learn and share the proven techniques that nurture and inspire those who have led and continue to do so in organizations that continue to succeed.

Africa: Developed markets rate hikes to reduce African portfolio

A surge in interest rates in the developed markets – the Eurozone and US – could damper portfolio inflows that African states are enjoying right now, it has emerged.

However, David Lashbrook, the head of Africa Investment Strategies at Momentum Global Investment Management, said the reduction in portfolio inflows would not certainly lead to major strain in those African markets. Portfolio inflows refer to investments in a range of securities, bonds and other types of investment strategies in a particular country. The African continent has many rapidly growing economies in the globe. This means they can fight their way out of debt.

Nigeria is by far the most liquid fixed income market in Africa outside of South Africa and its local and hard currency bonds feature in JPMorgan’s GBI Emerging and EMBI indices respectively. Because of this, Nigeria’s bonds sold off more than many other African bonds during the EM sell off in Q2 of this year,” Lashbrook said in a statement.

Late last week, the European Central Bank (ECB) left interest rates unchanged at 0.5 percent, preferring not to react, at least for now, to indications of a swelling financial strain in the Eurozone. Mario Draghi, the president of the ECB, said his bank will maintain rates at “current or lower levels” for a longer spell.

With smaller FX (foreign exchange) reserves and twin current account and budget deficits, Kenya could be seen as more vulnerable. Yet, the country withstood the flight of foreign capital before March’s election and Kenya’s local currency bonds…rallied during the second quarter because the base rate was cut by 1% to 8.5% in the face of declining inflation,” Lashbrook concluded.

Ghana: Petroleum sector to see a $20 Billion investment over the next 5 years

Ghana’s Oil and Gas Industry is projected to attract a $20 billion investment in the next five years on the many discoveries that have been made. This was disclosed by the deputy Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Dr. Ben Dagadu, in Accra at the launching of a book titled ‘Oil and Gas Ghana’.

He stated that the government, since the discovery of oil, had taken measures to see to it that the petroleum sector was run efficiently to ensure that the resource benefits all Ghanaians.

In this wise, the deputy Minister said several legislations such as the Petroleum Revenue Management Act and the Petroleum Commission Act had been worked out to provide direction and clarity for the management of oil revenues and for regulating the sector. The Minister noted that in order to build the capacity of Ghanaian entrepreneurs, small and medium scale enterprises – which form major stakeholders in the industry – for the realization of this goal, the Ministry together with the Jubilee Partners had established the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC).

Rwanda, Uganda: Ties Stronger

Uganda has made economic progress over the years both as a country and as a core believer in the region’s integration process, especially as its ties with Rwanda gets ever stronger, Amb. Richard Kabonero has said.

The Ugandan High Commissioner to Rwanda was hosting his compatriots working and living in the country as well as well-wishers at his residence in Nyarutarama, Kigali, to celebrate Uganda’s 51st Independence anniversary.

“We have been growing despite some shocks and challenges. We have made tremendous investments in infrastructure and energy. At regional level, Uganda has played a big role in promoting peace in the region, including hosting nine summits that seek peace in the DR Congo,” Amb. Kabonero said.

He said bilateral ties between Uganda and Rwanda will always remain strong through collaboration on several development projects.

Ghana: Fall in gold, cocoa prices to devalue cedi

The Ghana cedi is set to come under serious pressure again over the projected fall in prices of gold and cocoa on the international market. The World Bank in a recent report noted that Ghana’s earnings from the exports of gold and cocoa will drop substantially in the days ahead. The bank based its predictions on the huge fall in prices of the two commodities in the coming months.

The country over the years has depended on hard currencies earned from exports from gold and cocoa to finance imports and shore up the local currency’s value.

Dr. Joe Abbey, an Economist, states that with less earnings from exports and an less controlled imports, “the Bank of Ghana would have to draw down on its holding of foreign exchange to meet the gaps”.

Despite its stability, the Ghana cedi is currently the second most depreciated currency in Africa, according to the latest Ecobank report on the performance of currencies in Africa. The report puts the cedi’s rate of depreciation at 14.5 percent, second to the Lesotho’s Loti of 19.3.

Nigeria: To plan regular Bond sales in bid to build yield curve

Nigeria is planning to raise debt abroad regularly as Africa’s largest oil producer seeks to develop a benchmark for borrowers, Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said.

The government returned to international debt markets for the first time in two years in July, issuing $1 billion in five-year and 10-year Eurobonds. The country now plans to raise $100 million by selling so-called diaspora bonds targeted at citizens living overseas.

If it succeeds, we’ll do more,” Okonjo-Iweala said, adding that the sale will take place in the first quarter of next year. “We intend to enter the market on a regular basis because we’re trying to build a yield curve.”

Nigerians abroad would have sent $21 billion home by the end of 2013, according to World Bank figures, and the government wants “to tap some of that,” Okonjo-Iweala said. The nation is stepping up debt sales to finance infrastructure as it faces inadequate budget allocations for capital spending.

The yield on Nigeria’s $500 million in Eurobonds due July 2023 dropped 18 basis points this month to 5.94 percent yesterday, the lowest level since July 23, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The Nigerian economy may expand 6.75 percent next year, compared with an estimate of 6.5 percent in 2013, Okonjo-Iweala said. The budget deficit will stay little changed at 1.9 percent of gross domestic product, she added.

Ghana: Turkey to build industrial parks

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, 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.

Ms Erinoglo said 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.

Cape Verde: AfDB approves $24m budget support loan

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group, approved a €15-million general budget support loan for Cape Verde, to help the country finance its Public Corporate Governance and Investment Promotion Support Programme (PAGEPPI). The Programme aims to help Cape Verde consolidate its macroeconomic framework and foster growth by improving public corporate governance in State-owned enterprises and promoting private investment.

The PAGEPPI’s operational objectives are to improve public corporate governance so as to streamline public expenditure and promote private investment to spur economic growth and foster job creation.

On completion, the Programme is expected to strengthen public corporate governance and improve the operational and financial performance of State-owned enterprises. This will help to reduce the burden on the State budget and corresponding risks on public finances. The Programme is also expected to clarify the State’s role as both a shareholder and a regulator as well as to implement international and local investment promotion measures that will create a more attractive environment for economic activities and private sector development. The Programme will enhance Cape Verde’s overall development strategy which rests on economic diversification based on competitive clusters. In particular, it will support governance and private sector development reforms that constitute two main pillars of the government’s Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (GPRSP) 2012-2016.

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