Technology is the game changer for sports betting, argues ICE Africa speaker, Seun Methowe
August 21, 2019 | 0 Comments
Seun Methowe, Head of Advertising and Partnership Sales, at global live sport OTT platform, DAZN, believes that new technologies and in particular streaming will create more demand from upwardly mobile players and lead to a transformation in the way that betting brands and broadcasters engage with the market.
Speaking ahead of his appearance at October’s ICE Africa where he will be one of 65 thought leaders contributing to the event’s learning streams, Methowe, confirmed: “DAZN’s platform Goal.com is the number one football destination on the continent with more than 20m users drawn from throughout the regulated gaming economies. We are already working with major broadcasters and betting firms across Africa and there’s no doubt that technology will revolutionize the consumption of live and original sports content.”
He added: “New markets in entertainment, including virtual and fantasy football, are trends that experts in the gambling and betting industry will need to explore. Millennials in Africa are upwardly mobile and aspirational with huge numbers digesting information on sports, news and entertainment platforms with social media contributing to the ‘fuelling’ of this information digest.
“Content providers within the gaming industry are looking towards the creation of sustainable models and with a huge population base in excess of 1.3bn the potential in Africa is massive. ICE Africa is a powerful networking platform for stakeholders and therefore invaluable to any operator, decision maker or executive in the industry to garner knowledge and the opportunities that exist to grow their businesses.”
ICE Africa (2-3 October, Sandton Convention Centre, South Africa) provides an invaluable opportunity for operators, regulators and suppliers to meet, network, share best practice and see the very latest gaming products and services from the industry’s leading innovators. Described by industry observers as ‘A showcase event that Africa can be proud of’ attendees will benefit from a programme of engaging content including Thought Leadership, Training, Regulation, Online vs. Retail, Integrated Resorts, Branding, Marketing, Sports and eSports. Seun Methowe will be part of the panel entitled: Sports Content: How will the growth of streaming services impact sports betting and horse racing?
Equatorial Guinea to build West Africa’s first Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) storage and regas plant
August 20, 2019 | 0 Comments
|The project forms part of Equatorial Guinea’s regional LNG2Africa initiative which seeks to drive gas monetization through in-country gas-to-power projects|
MALABO, Equatorial Guinea, August 20, 2019/ — Located at the Port of Akonikien, the landmark regasification plant will enable the storage, transportation and distribution of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to the country’s mainland; 12 bullet tanks will carry 14,000 cubic meters of storage capacity, supported by a truck loading station and 12-kilometers of ten-inch gas and diesel pipelines; The project will be led by local construction and engineering firm Elite Construcciones; The project forms part of Equatorial Guinea’s regional LNG2Africa initiative which seeks to drive gas monetization through in-country gas-to-power projects.
Equatorial Guinea is set to construct the first liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage and regasification plant in West Africa, advancing efforts to monetize gas resources through the creation of a domestic gas-to-power infrastructure.
Located at the Port of Akonikien on the country’s mainland, the plant will enable the transportation and storage of LNG from the EG LNG plant at the Punta Europa Gas Complex on Bioko Island, to Akonikien on the southern border of the mainland. It will then be fed into the regasification plant to be distributed to smaller-scale power plants and LNG power stations throughout the country, as well as exported to neighboring countries.
The Akonikien project is the first gas-to-power development in Equatorial Guinea’s LNG2Africa initiative. Launched by the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons in 2018, the initiative seeks to facilitate the production and trade of LNG through the creation of a domestic gas-to-power infrastructure and intra-African LNG industry.
Spearheaded by local construction and engineering firm Elite Construcciones, the plant will have a storage capacity of 14,000 cubic meters with 12 bullet tanks. The tanks are currently the largest factory-built cryogenic bullet tanks in the world with a capacity of 1,228 cubic meters and dimensions of 31 meters by 9.3 meters by 8.8 meters. Built by American manufacturer Corban Energy Group, each tank is estimated to require 12 hours to complete the 12,000-meter distance from the port to the new plant. Elite Construcciones is also installing a truck loading station and 12 kilometers of 10-inch gas and diesel pipelines.
Other major suppliers include pipe supplier PFF Group, who manufactured 12,400 meters of pipes, shipping agents D&B Shipping Ltd. who facilitated the shipment of 22 40-foot open-top containers, and Meakin Logistics UK. Elite Construcciones also worked closely with German companies Noorwerk and ESC on the design and construction of the plant.
You think West Africa’s (liquefied natural gas) LNG-to-power projects are lingering? Zoom in on Benin
August 20, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Mickael Vogel*
With a population of less than 12 million and a GDP of $10.35bn in 2018, Benin is often overshadowed by its massive neighbour, Nigeria. Yet as African countries try to revitalize their energy sector, bring in private capital and develop gas-to-power, it is in West Africa and Benin that observers should look for positive developments. With recent legislative reforms and a strong political will, the small West African nation is strengthening its place as the capital of the West African Power Pool (WAPP) and positioning itself as a big hub for gas and power in the sub-region.
On July 24, French super-major Total signed a Gas Supply Agreement and Host Government Agreement with Benin and its state utility, the Société Béninoise d’Energie Electrique (SBEE). The agreement will see the development of a 0.5 mtpa Floating, Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU), the first in West Africa. LNG supplies sourced from Total’s global portfolio are set to start in 2021 and last for 15 years.
This is no small move for a region that has repeatedly tried to develop its gas-to-power infrastructure but has remained faced with financing, infrastructure and regulatory challenges. Between Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal, up to 7,750MW of gas-to-power facilities could be installed by 2030 according to Power Africa. In practice however, erratic supplies from the West Africa Gas Pipeline, lack of gas and transmission & distribution infrastructure, unattractive pricing structures and outdated master plans mean that such potential might remain under-exploited.
In this context, the recent signing of agreements with Total brings hope to a region hungry for power. It is first the result of strong political will. Under the leadership of President Patrice Talon, Benin has been implementing a strong Government Action Plan (PAG) since 2016 which places the revitalisation of the country’s energy sector and private sector capital as a pillar of economic development. The formula is working: Benin grew by almost 7% last year and is expected to grow by 6.5% this year (IMF), placing it in the top 15 of the world’s fastest growing economies. And political vision has led a better ease of doing business. Benin has been revising its Electricity Code, and its Council of Ministers approved last month the new framework of intervention for the Independent Power Producers (IPPs), improving investment and operating conditions for private investors in the country’s power industry.
As a result, the agreement with Total will not only see the development of West Africa’s first FSRU, it is also reviving hopes of seeing clean LNG powering future homes and industries across the region. The new gas import project will indeed supply power plants in Benin, such as the new 127 MW power station at Maria Gléta, with regasification infrastructure developed and operated by Total.
Sub-Saharan Africa has a current installed gas-to-power generation capacity of about 18,000MW, 70% of which is in Nigeria. Based on known reserves there is potential for approximately 400GW of gas-fed power generation capacity in sub-Saharan Africa, with potential developments for 16GW by 2030. According to Power Africa, such additional gas-to-power capacity would require an investment of $113bn in infrastructure, $35bn in demand and $28bn in supply. With a dedicated team of lawyers and experts in gas & power, Centurion (CenturionLG.com) stands ready to assist regulators, developers and financiers in making this ambition a reality.
Phanes Group’s Solar Incubator returns in search of promising sub-Saharan Africa solar projects
August 19, 2019 | 0 Comments
Applications are open now, with the winner(s) announced at the Unlocking Solar Capital: Africa 2019 conference in Dakar, Senegal
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, August 6, 2019/ — The initiative rewards solar PV developers with commercial and technical expertise to help bring their project to fruition; Applications are open now, with the winner(s) announced at the Unlocking Solar Capital: Africa 2019 conference in Dakar, Senegal.
Document Link: http://bit.ly/2KsiW80
Phanes Group (https://PhanesGroup.com/), an international end-to-end solar provider headquartered in Dubai, UAE, is once again on the hunt for promising solar photovoltaic (PV) projects to support in sub-Saharan Africa, as the company relaunches its Solar Incubator program. Now in its third consecutive year, the competition continues towards its goal of electrifying more communities for a sustainable future.
With over 600 million people lacking access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa, the need for sustainable, affordable and commercially viable energy sources – such as solar PV – is undeniable. In the sub-Saharan region, a lack of energy access also remains a key barrier to economic and social progress. Phanes Group’s Solar Incubator was initiated in 2017 to tackle the issue head-on, fostering local innovation and investment by providing local solar PV developers with the funding and commercial and technical knowledge they otherwise couldn’t access. In 2018, that access to expertise was awarded to Senegalese engineer and innovator Mbaye Hadj.
“I had been working on my solar farm idea since July 2018, but these projects require a lot of intricate know-how, financial expertise, and funding – some of which I lacked,” noted Hadj. “The guidance of Phanes Group and its partners will allow us to finally bring our project to life, so we can feed power to Senegal’s national electricity company. By achieving this we’ll help the local economy to grow, which so far has been held back by a lack of electricity,” he added.
Hadj’s triumph came at the 2018 Unlocking Solar Capital: Africa conference, where he presented his proposal for a 30-megawatt solar farm in his hometown of Gossas, Senegal. Evaluation panel members were inspired by his desire to electrify schools, healthcare centers, and other critical services that are today in decline due to a lack of dependable power. Bettering applications from over 20 countries, Hadj also drew interest for his passion, knowledge, and heavy involvement in the region.
With the 2019 Solar Incubator open for entries, Phanes Group and its partners hope to see similar dynamism and community-focused concepts from this year’s applicants. Shortlisted developers will be invited to present their concept at Solarplaza’s Unlocking Solar Capital: Africa 2019 conference, held in Dakar, Senegal from October 16 to 17.
“Through our work across sub-Saharan Africa, we’ve met many individuals and organizations who possess great solar PV project ideas for their community but lack access to the necessary support and expertise to realize them,” commented Martin Haupts, CEO, Phanes Group. “We launched the Solar Incubator program in 2017 to identify the very best of these projects, and reduce the knowledge and funding gap they face in a collaborative way. We hope to once again enable participants to bring lasting positive change to the community around them,” added Haupts.
“The return of the Solar Incubator program spells great news for passionate solar PV developers who have the vision and on-ground knowledge but not necessarily the broader project-wide expertise,” commented Edwin Koot, Solarplaza. “Financial viability is a fundamental part of any successful solar PV project, and we hope that our continued partnership will provide that all important commercial strength, alongside a breadth of technical knowledge.”
To support the vision and ambition of more innovators like Mbaye Hadj, Phanes Group is encouraging eligible solar PV developers to apply for the third annual Solar Incubator program, held under the theme, “Your Project, Our Expertise, For a Sustainable Future”.
Before the deadline of 04 September, 2019 interested candidates should submit their applications via email to email@example.com. More information can be found at https://PhanesGroup.com/incubator, or at the Unlocking Solar Capital Africa conference website: https://africa.unlockingsolarcapital.com/solar-incubator.
About Phanes Group:
Phanes Group (https://PhanesGroup.com/) is an end-to-end solar provider based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and operating across Africa, the Middle East, the CIS region and Central Asia. We take a holistic approach to solar, uniting the competencies and expertise necessary to oversee and deliver the entire solar project value chain. From project selection and development, to construction and financing, to asset management and monetization, we unlock value through our integrated approach.Phanes Group has a growing portfolio of solar investments and developments spanning multiple geographies, with a distinct focus on new markets – especially “MENA plus” (Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia) and sub-Saharan Africa. The company is currently delivering the Middle East’s largest distributed solar project (the DP World Solar Power Programme) and has delivered Phase I of the largest solar project in the Caribbean (Monte Plata). It is approaching financial close on a 47 MW project in Malawi and has begun development on a pipeline of 400 MW across three countries in Central Asia.To date, Phanes Group’s global clean power contribution is in excess of 100 MW, with a further 2.5 GW under development or at the planning stage globally. Phanes Group has a dedicated asset construction division, Oryx Solar System Solutions LLC, delivering Phanes Group’s projects as well as offering Operations & Maintenance (O&M) services.
Phanes Group also has satellite offices in Nigeria and Kazakhstan.
About Unlocking Solar Capital Africa 2019:
Kenya:Billionaire appears to court, charged with tax evasions
August 19, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Samuel Ouma | @journalist_27
A Nairobi court on Monday charged a businessman with US$410 million tax evasion. Tycoon Humphrey Kariuki appeared to court two weeks after the Director of Public Prosecution Noordin Haji ordered him to be arrested and persecuted for failing to pay taxes.
The investigations revealed Africa Spirits and Wines of the World Beverages, companies in which he holds major shares have dodged paying taxes to the Kenya Revenue Authority between 2014 and 2019. The arrest warrant was also issued against three co-directors at WoW Beverages and four from Africa Spirits Ltd.
Other than tax evasion, they are also accused of fraud and being in possession of fake revenue stamps. The investigative officials early this year invaded the premises and confiscated over a million alcohol bottles and 24,000 counterfeit excise stamps.
“Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) audit has revealed that Africa Spirits/WoW Beverage had evaded payment of tax in the amount of over US$410 million between the period of 2014 and 2019. In addition, the audit revealed that there was evidence of tampering with the production system at the Africa Spirits factory that led to the submission of false declaring to KRA,” Haji said.
Haji was forced to take action after the period he gave the companies and KRA to settle out the issue out of court elapsed and the two parties did not come to an agreement. Appearing before the court’s Judge, Kariuki denied the charges and was freed on US$11,000 cash bail. He also refuted claims that he is a director at Africa Spirits noting that he is an investor through a corporate body.
He was required to surrender his two passports as evidence that he will not leave the country until the case is heard and verdict issued. He was told to appear before the Directorate of Criminal Investigations for formal processing.
His lawyer denied allegations that his client has been hiding since the arrest warrant was issued instead he disclosed that he was away and jetted back into the country on Sunday night.
Unending Power Outage Paralyzes Cameroon’s Capital Yaounde
August 19, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
For the past weeks, businesses in Cameroon’s capital Yaounde has been on a standstill as an unprecedented lack of electricity has engulfed the city.
The power supply disappeared on August 4th, the day a fire destroyed the city’s main power station and much of the equipment, leaving more than one million people without electricity. Authorities have not identified the cause of the fire although they refuted newspaper reports of sabotage.
The government has ordered the electric company, ENEO, to restore power within seven days but the company says it needs at least three months to repair equipment destroyed in the fire.
The sound of generator usually heard in less developed parts of the country usually hit by frequent power outages is today being heard constantly in the capital city-a situation which many have become familiar within recent days.
Henry Ndaa, manager of Divine Finance, a bank in Yaounde, now relies on the generator to keep the lights on and computers running. But this source of power is unreliable, because at times fuel stations cannot supply enough gasoline to keep it going. “We cannot adequately operate. We use the generator, and it goes off and it is weighing negatively on us and our customers. Our members keep complaining,” he told VOA.
The power outage has paralyzed businesses, crippled hospitals, affected the water supply and forced people to dispose of huge quantities of perishable goods. Radio and TV stations cannot have regular broadcasts.
According to Godlove Ndifontah, a researcher, even the internet supply is no longer regular. “It is horrible. I am on my machine almost 24 on 24 [every day], preparing my projects and responding to mails from my partners. [Now] we have to go to where there are generators to pay 500 francs ($510) to charge your machine or to charge your phone per hour.”
Cameroon’s Minister of water and energy resources, Gaston Eloundou Essomba, says the government is taking steps to replace all the damaged equipment and will import parts from abroad as needed.
The Minister of Communication, and Government spokesperson Rene Emmanuel Sadi in an outing said power is being rationed and urged people in neighborhoods without electricity to be patient. “The government wishes to laud the patience, understanding, and civic sense showcased by the inhabitants of the capital city. Instructions have been given to ENEO to provide a general calendar of the rationing of supply to the public of the city of Yaounde,” he said.
Progress at Last for Kingdom of Eswatini’s Energy Mix Dream
August 19, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Koketso Lediga*
|The request for qualification comes delayed given that Eswatini has publicized its intent to have a 46MW solar PV power plant online since 2017|
|JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, August 19, 2019/ — By: Koketso Lediga, Managing Director & Lead Consultant, Infra-Afrika Advisory, Sandton
After a long wait, the Kingdom of Eswatini issued a request for the qualification and development of a 40MW solar PV plant to be developed via the First Tranche Procurement Programme and a 40MW biomass-to-energy plant to be developed via the Second Tranche Procurement Programme. Surprisingly, the announcement was made public through the Eswatini Energy Regulatory Authority (ESERA) and not the Eswatini Electricity Company on the 7thof June 2019. The later is a state-owned utility previously known as Swaziland Electricity Company (SEC) and currently operates a number of hydropower plants with an estimated installed capacity of 60MW to date. Needless to say, the generated power levels are inadequate since it provides a mere 10% to the Kingdom’s electricity demand.
The request for qualification comes delayed given that Eswatini has publicised its intent to have a 46MW solar PV power plant online since 2017. However, the decision is an important one for this developing country and it being it closer towards reducing the country’s reliance on imported power from utilities such as EDM (Electricidade de Moçambique) and Eskom. This request could not have been issued at a better time taking into consideration the recent events in Mozambique and South Africa. The two utilities have an undisputed record that indicates their inability to provide steady or uninterrupted electricity for those within their borders.
Eswatini’s decision to act on its past commitment to invest in renewable energy and expand the ratio of renewables in the country’s electricity to 50% by no later than 2030 can only yield positive results for its population that amounts to roughly 1.42 million. It is beyond doubt that energy is the lifeblood of any economy as it is an input to practically every product or service produced across all sectors. Research has proven that there is a direct correlation between energy/electricity and economic growth. I would unashamedly argue that it is both the bloodline and backbone of a country and a thriving economy.
Given the long standing energy crisis in Eswatini, an unlimited natural resource such as solar is the most feasible backup to recover the lost economic opportunities for the country. Solar energy is available in abundance on a continent like Africa. It is still puzzling that most African countries have not exploited this resources. Even more so puzzling for a country like Eswatini that has more than one successful hydro power plan. ESERA has taken a wise move to embrace solar power as a strategy to hedge against unreliable and instable electricity supply and prices.
A further benefit of a diversified power generation approach means that Eswatini can rely less on imported power while creating more jobs for locals for the construction and operation of the plant. Basically, Eswatini’s decision will curb unemployment levels, improve productivity and improve the citizen’s standard of living and increase the economy’s GDP. The project is set to be consigned by 2020 and one would hope that the procurement process is not granted further deferment. Additionally, and imperatively, an appropriate procurement strategy and contracting method is used, which encourages collaboration and cooperation between ESERA, the successful bidder, subcontractors, funders, operator and all consultants to ensure that the project is not riddled with cost and time overruns.
Following the development and publication MNRE’s Energy Master Plan, the country should be more intentional in the future to encourage, support and implement public & private sector driven projects and increase local generation of renewable energy. While the project is an answer as well as solution for the country’s transient energy needs and the risk attached to the reliance on imported electricity, its long term strategy seeks to raise awareness for the evolution of home-grown renewable energy projects. Renewable energy will meet the country’s environmental clean energy goals which will reinforce economic growth. Since the current master plan expands over a period of 20 years, my hope is that the Eswatini government not only invites the private sector to contribute to the energy generation and distribution efforts but that it creates a conducive environment for participation.
*Managing Director & Lead Consultant, Infra-Afrika Advisory, Sandton
Oyo Discovery is a Game Changer for Congo and the African Content
August 16, 2019 | 0 Comments
Congo has 2 billion barrels of proven oil reserves from about 20 fields being exploited and about 10 permits granted and waiting to be developed
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, August 15, 2019/ — The recent onshore discovery made in the Delta de la Cuvette deposit in the Republic of Congo is a game changer for Congo and Africa. The discovery was announced on August 10th by SARPD Oil and PEPA, a Congolese consortium working as operators on the Block.
Early projections indicate that the discovered deposits could produce up to 359 million barrels of oil, or 983,000 bopd, from Congo’s central province. This could in effect quadruple Congo’s production, which currently stands at over 330,000 bopd according to OPEC’s latest figures. Production has been steadily increasing in recent years, with a target set by the government of reaching 400,000 bopd by 2020.
“This is our first onshore discovery and it gives us a lot of hope that we shall make more discoveries especially now that we are to award more blocks for oil exploration in the ongoing oil licensing round,” said the H.E. Jean-Marc Thystère-Tchicaya, Minister of Hydrocarbons of the Republic of Congo
The Delta de la Cuvette deposit covers 9,392 m2 and comprises four wells, the first has been drilled in March of this year. When fully exploited, the license could propel Congo as Africa’s third largest oil producer, ahead of Algeria and Libya.
“This is in effect one of the largest African oil discovery in decades,” declared Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber and CEO at the Centurion Law Group. “Africa has been an exploration hotspot where major oil & gas discoveries have been made in recent years by international explorers. The Oyo discovery in Congo, however, is the result of indigenous efforts made by Congolese companies. It speaks volumes to the value that local content development can create when local companies and entrepreneurs are given an opportunity to contribute to their industry. I want to urge the government to work with the industry to expedite the approvals for the necessary field development efforts. This is a win for Congo and for Africa.”
The discovery is also a game changer for Congo’s energy scenario, with most oil & gas production currently coming from offshore fields. The Republic of Congo has been pushing for years to open up energy access to its central and northern provinces, notably through the planned 1,200km pipeline between Pointe Noire and Ouesso. The exploitation of such large oil deposits in the centre of the country could open up a whole new energy frontier for Congo and the rest of the region.
The African Energy Chamber looks forward to seeing the full development of the license creating jobs for Congolese, and opportunities for Congolese companies and entrepreneurs to service one of Central Africa’s largest upcoming onshore development. Such a discovery has the potential to spur considerable economic growth for Congo and its central and northern provinces, especially as the country keeps recovering from a recent economic crisis due to plummeting oil prices. The IMF predicts a GDP growth of 5.4% in 2019, the highest in Central Africa.
Congo has 2 billion barrels of proven oil reserves from about 20 fields being exploited and about 10 permits granted and waiting to be developed. Its proven gas reserves stand at 200bn standard cubic metres over 20 years, according to the government, including 70bn of associated gas. While gas production stands at about 400bcf, various gas valorization and monetization projects are being supported by the government to generate diversification and economic growth. Congo estimates that it can monetize about 100bn standard cubic metres of gas by integrating various gas valorization projects in the country via a gathering and transportation system which is to be operational by 2020.
Accor accelerates Nigeria expansion plan as first Novotel in Lagos signed
August 14, 2019 | 0 Comments
Group inks management agreement for Novotel Victoria Island, one of seven new properties pipelined for the country
Accor, a world-leading augmented hospitality group, is cementing its stronghold in Nigeria having signed its first Novotel property in the country’s largest city, Lagos.
The Group has inked a management agreement with Nigerian conglomerate, the Ekulo Group of Companies, to manage the 170-key Novotel Victoria Island Lagos, a modern hotel with a prime location in the city’s commercial and financial hub.
The debut of Novotel Victoria Island Lagos , scheduled for 2023, will expand Accor’s presence in Nigeria to 1,642 keys across 14 properties by that date, with seven properties currently in operation and seven additional hotels in the development pipeline across the MGallery, Mantis, Grand Mercure and Pullman brands.
“We are delighted to sign this agreement with Ekulo, which marks another milestone in Accor’s Africa growth story and builds on the success of the Novotel brand in Nigeria and other key destinations across the region,” said Mark Willis, CEO, Accor Middle East & Africa.
“We have identified Nigeria as one of the continent’s most important development markets, with Lagos and other strategic locations, including Abuja, presenting huge growth potential for Accor’s unrivalled portfolio of hospitality brands.”
With a prime location on Ahmadu Bello Road, close to the headquarters of major banks and multinational corporations, Novotel Victoria Island Lagos will feature 170 rooms and suites, 400 sqm of meeting space, a swimming pool and gym and three dining venues, including an all-day dining restaurant, lobby bar and a pool bar.
Novotel Victoria Island Lagos will make its mark as a stylish, sociable and comfortable location in the Victoria Island district, providing guests and local residents with a place to dine, meet and relax or stage a corporate meeting or event.
This latest Novotel signing builds on the momentum of Accor’s development progress in Nigeria in 2018, when agreements to manage the MGallery Ikoyi and Pullman Ikoyi were signed.
In addition to the Novotel Victoria Island Lagos, six additional properties are in the development pipeline, including the 125-key Art Hotel, which will be operated under the Mantis brand, in which Accor has a 50% stake, plus Grand Mercure Abuja and Mantis ARM Lakowe Lakes.
Accor, which was the first international hotel company to enter the African market in 1975 with the opening of Mercure Ismalia Forsan Island, Egypt, commands the largest market share of any hospitality group on the continent in terms of keys, with more than 24,566 rooms across 157 properties in 22 countries and a pipeline of 10,882 rooms in 52 hotels.
As the leading and longest-serving hotel operator in Africa, the Group’s blueprint for long-term growth focuses on balancing its footprint by establishing a presence in key gateway cities and identifying gaps in the market for its portfolio of 30-plus brands.
In line with Accor’s Planet 21 ethos, Accor is also committed to conservation-led projects that promote the sustainable development of African communities and in partnership with Mantis, the South African hospitality company in which it purchased a 50% stake in April 2018, more than 28 eco-resorts and hotels are planned for the continent.
Accor is a world-leading augmented hospitality group offering unique experiences in 4,900 hotels and residences across 110 countries. The Group has been acquiring hospitality expertise for more than 50 years, resulting in an unrivaled portfolio of brands, from luxury to economy, supported by one of the most attractive loyalty programs in the world.
Beyond accommodation, Accor enables new ways to live, work, and play, by blending food and beverage with nightlife, wellbeing, and co-working. It also offers digital solutions that maximize distribution, optimize hotel operations and enhance the customer experience.
Accor is deeply committed to sustainable value creation and plays an active role in giving back to planet and community via its Planet 21 – Acting Here program and the Accor Solidarity endowment fund, which gives disadvantaged groups access to employment through professional training.
Accor SA is publicly listed on the Euronext Paris Stock Exchange (ISIN code: FR0000120404) and on the OTC Market (Ticker: ACRFY) in the United States. For more information visit accor.com. Or become a fan and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.
With Novotel, Accor offers every guest the freedom to fully enjoy their stay. Novotel Hotels, Suites & Resorts provide a multi-service offer for both business and leisure guests, with spacious, modular rooms, 24/7 catering offers with balanced meals, meeting rooms, attentive and proactive staff, kid areas, a multi-purpose lobby and fitness centers. Through PLANET 21, Accor’s sustainable development program, Novotel commits to Man and the Planet. Novotel has over 520 hotels and resorts in 60 countries, ideally located in the heart of major international cities, business districts and tourist destinations. Accor is a world-leading augmented hospitality group offering unique experiences in 4,900 hotels and residences across 110 countries. novotel.com | group.accor.com
African e-Logistics Start-up Kobo360 Secures $30M Funding
August 14, 2019 | 0 Comments
August 14 2019. Kobo360, the digital technology platform disrupting African third-party logistics, today announced the completion of a $20M Series A equity round led by Goldman Sachs, with participation from Asia Africa Investment and Consulting Pte. and existing investors including TLcom Capital, Y Combinator, the International Finance Corporation. An additional $10M in local currency working capital financing has been secured from Nigerian commercial banks.
Launched in 2017 by Nigerian entrepreneurs Obi Ozor and Ife Oyedele II, Kobo360’s tech-enabled full truckload offering enables the development of an efficient supply chain for end-to-end long-haul freight operations, connecting and supporting cargo owners, truck owners & drivers, and cargo recipients. The company has moved over 500Mkg of goods, aggregated a fleet of over 10,000 drivers and trucks, and services SMEs and over 80 large enterprises such as Dangote Group, DHL, Unilever, Olam, African Industries, Flour Mills of Nigeria, and Lafarge. Located in key strategic trade hubs in Western and Eastern Africa, the e-logistics company will continue its expansion with the ambition to build a Global Logistics Operating System [G-LOS] powering trade and commerce across Africa and emerging markets.
With the funding, the team will continue to scale the organization, develop the technology offering and accelerate supply growth – planning to add 25,000 drivers to the platform in the coming months to power the recent Africa Free Trade Continental Agreement, expected to catalyze intra-African trade. Kobo360 is also planning to significantly broaden its reach in Africa, entering 10 new countries by the end of 2020 beyond its footprint in Nigeria, Togo, Ghana and Kenya.
Obi Ozor, Co-founder and CEO of Kobo360 said, “Our Series A allows us to invest in growing our talented team that is working hard on the ground to systematically address the inefficiencies within the African logistics sector, and strengthen our already extensive network of clients and truck owners across the continent. We are also focusing on developing the partnership with drivers, ensuring that they are trained to use mobile-enabled technology, so they can convey goods seamlessly and earn more money. We are already seeing drivers running trips on the Kobo360 platform increase their monthly earnings by 40%, as we work together to mobilize logistics across Africa.”
Jules Frebault of Goldman Sachs said, “Kobo360’s on-demand logistics offering has generated impressive traction and we are excited to support Obi, Ife and the team as they harness technology to tackle one of Africa’s most pressing development challenges – increasing market transparency, improving reliability and unlocking efficiencies for all participants in the logistics ecosystem”.
Senior Partner of TLcom Capital, Omobola Johnson said, “We see this Series A round as a means to support an ambitious, laser-focused company who are using technology to actively solve problems for enterprises across the continent, and we look forward to working with them as they continue to scale and transform the African logistics sector.”
Kobo360 is also developing a suite of driver-focused products to support the over 10,000 drivers on the Kobo360 platform. It has launched KoPAY, offering access to up to $5,000 monthly working capital; KoboSAFE, access to an insurance product; and KoboCARE, access to discounted petrol, comprehensive HMO packages and an incentive-based education program for drivers’ families.
Wale Ayeni, who heads venture investing in Africa for the International Finance Corporation, added, “IFC’s continuous investment into Kobo360 stems from the company’s successful track record. Kobo360 is empowering and enhancing the capacity of the vast underserved network of “micro” fleets in Africa to serve the huge unmet long-haul freight needs of large enterprises and SMEs, delivering value to both sides.”
Kobo360 is a digital logistics platform that aggregates end-to-end haulage operations to help cargo owners, truck owners and drivers, and cargo recipients to achieve an efficient supply chain framework. Developing an all-in-one logistics ecosystem, Kobo360 leverages data and technology to reduce logistics frictions, empowering rural farmers to earn more by reducing farm wastages and helping manufacturers of all sizes to find new markets. Kobo360 enables unprecedented efficiency and cost reduction in the supply chain, providing 360-visibility while delivering products of all sizes safely, on time and in full. The Kobo360 mission is to build the Global Logistics Operating System that will power trade and commerce across Africa and emerging markets. With operations in Nigeria, Togo, Ghana and Kenya, Kobo360 is one of the fastest growing tech start-ups out of Africa.
IFC – a sister organization of the World Bank and a member of the World Bank Group – is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In fiscal year 2018, we delivered more than $23 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
TLcom Capital is a Sub-Saharan Africa focused tech VC, with offices in Lagos, Nairobi and London. The company invests in a number of areas including financial services, eCommerce, B2C applications (including but not limited to: health, education, energy, media and entertainment), software solutions to corporates and SMEs; and access to data service. TLcom manages total commitments of approximately $300 million.
About Goldman Sachs
The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. is a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm that provides a wide range of financial services to a substantial and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and individuals. Founded in 1869, the firm is headquartered in New York and maintains offices in all major financial centers around the world.
Verve Card goes global after penning landmark agreement with Discover in New York
August 14, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Amos Fofung
Verve, a leading payment technology and card business in Africa, and Discover Global Network, a U.S.-based direct banking and payment services company have sealed an agreement launching the Verve Global Card.
According to the penned agreement that took place in New York, Verge cardholders will now have the ability to use their Verve Global Cards on the Discover Global Network which provide acceptance in more than 190 countries and territories worldwide.
The deal which will greatly expand Verve’s existing suite of tailored payment products and solutions for its customers will facilitate new international and cross border transactions for the card holders who can now make payments outside Africa on the Discover Global Network.
An Interswitch digital payment company that prides itself as a pacesetter in facilitating seamless electronic circulation of money as well as value exchange in Africa, Verve now opens its customers to the world.
With the first transaction operated successfully, the Global Card, according to Mitchell Elegbe, Interswitch Group Managing Director, Group Managing Director, commented on the “agreement with Discover Global Network will enable Verve to compete with other global card offerings, providing cardholders with an enhanced customer experience when transacting globally outside Nigeria.”
“Creating a solution which facilitates international payments for our consumers will help to eliminate existing barriers and simplify the process when transacting abroad.”
Holders of the Verve Classic card can still continue to freely transact as was before within Africa and can acquire the global card which according to Verve officials works worldwide and can be used for payment across Point of Sale (PoS), ATMs and online platforms in Nigeria, Africa and beyond, wherever the Discover, Diner Club, Pulse Network and Verve logos are available.
To Ricardo Leite, senior vice president of international markets at Discover, customers should be provided with the choices they want.
“It is important to us that we are working with groups around the world to extend acceptance for their cardholders…at Discover, we recognize the importance of being able to use your card of choice no matter where you are traveling,” he said.
Verve is Interswitch Group’s innovative card scheme, offering products and solutions that enable
consumers to transact all over Nigeria and across international markets. As the first African card scheme to be recognized as a valid, globally accepted e-payment gateway, we have built a world-class value chain ecosystem that benefit from the services that we provide.
Verve Global Card launches 1st International Transaction In New York, USA
August 13, 2019 | 0 Comments
- Rides On Global Partnership With Discover Network
New York, August. 12, 2019 – Verve, a leading payments technology and card business in Africa, and Discover Global Network, the payments brand of Discover, today held an event to launch the Verve Global Card. Cardholders will now have the ability to use their Verve Global Cards on the Discover Global Network which provides acceptance in more than 190 countries and territories. This will expand Verve’s existing suite of tailored payment products and solutions for its customers.
The first transaction occurred today at Swarovski in New York City. Senior executives from First Bank, Access Bank and Fidelity Bank purchased various items from Swarovski using their Verve Global Card on the Discover Global Network.
The agreement with Discover Global Network will facilitate new international and cross border transaction capabilities for Verve Global Card customers, meeting the needs of its increasingly global customer base. Holders of the new card can make payments outside Africa on the Discover Global Network which includes anywhere Discover, Diners Club International and Pulse and affiliate network cards are accepted. Verve Global Card also delivers additional benefits to cardholders including broad reward and loyalty schemes; benefits that are available both locally and internationally.
Mitchell Elegbe, Interswitch Group Managing Director, commented on the announcement: “The agreement with Discover Global Network will enable Verve to compete with other global card offerings, providing cardholders with an enhanced customer experience when transacting globally outside Nigeria. Creating a solution which facilitates international payments for our consumers will help to eliminate existing barriers and simplify the process when transacting abroad.”
“It is important to us that we are working with groups around the world to extend acceptance for their cardholders,” said Ricardo Leite, senior vice president of international markets at Discover. “At Discover, we recognize the importance of being able to use your card of choice no matter where you are traveling.”
Mike Ogbalu III, Verve International Divisional Chief Executive Officer, also commented on the announcement saying, “The launch of the Verve Global Card, provides consumers with the ability to transact globally across the US and other countries, addressing challenges that many Nigerians have experienced while travelling abroad. Our partnership with Discover Global Network will help us to optimize the overall experience of every Verve Global card holder by guaranteeing consistent and efficient payment solutions regardless of where they are in the world”.
Verve is Interswitch Group’s innovative card scheme, offering products and solutions that enable consumers to transact all over Nigeria and across international markets. As the first African card scheme to be recognized as a valid, globally accepted e-payment gateway, we have built a world-class value chain ecosystem that benefit from the services that we provide.
About Interswitch Group.
Interswitch is a digital payment company of African Origin focused on providing convenience and real value for consumers. We facilitate the seamless electronic circulation of money as well as value exchange on an ongoing, real-time basis.
We began in 2002 as a transaction switching and electronic payments processing business, building and managing payment infrastructure, delivering innovative payments solutions and driving transactions across the African continent and other international markets. We provide secure, solutions and services that facilitate convenience and real value for consumers, businesses, governments and other organizations, helping to reduce costs, improve operational efficiency and drive sustainable revenue growth.
Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) is a direct banking and payment services company with one of the most recognized brands in U.S. financial services. Since its inception in 1986, the company has become one of the largest card issuers in the United States. The company issues the Discover card, America’s cash rewards pioneer, and offers private student loans, personal loans, home equity loans, checking and savings accounts and certificates of deposit through its direct banking business. It operates the Discover Global Network comprised of Discover Network, with millions of merchant and cash access locations; PULSE, one of the nation’s leading ATM/debit networks; and Diners Club International, a global payments network with acceptance around the world. For more information, visit www.discover.com/company.
*Source Verve. PAV will be coming up with more reporting and interviews on the launch.