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NJ Ayuk: Stop giving us aid, it’s killing us!
November 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

Africa needs long-established support

NJ Ayuk
NJ Ayuk

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, November 21, 2019/ — Looking at Africa and only pushing for aid is not in the interest of the everyday Africans. It is about the egos of the elites and latte intellectuals who believe they have the solutions to why the continent is still poor.

As Africa’s population and economies surge, greater opportunities for development are presented, societies change, and the aspirations of everyday Africans are increasingly requiring urgent attention.

On the other hand, Germany’s energy transition anticipates a vastly more efficient and interconnected energy system in the future, one that I believe, young African technology entrepreneurs can certainly learn from and accelerate the growth of the energy sector.

With technology start-ups with the intention to build sustainable power solutions emerging across the continent particularly in the power sector, Germany can look to this market on how it can invest in Africa while providing energy and  technology solutions and African entrepreneurs can embrace German products in reshaping and restructuring African energy economies.

While the economies of some countries on our continent have grown considerably in recent years, particularly as a result of energy sector developments, economic diversification and sustained foreign investments, there is still no denying that Africa still has a long way to go.

With this comes the question of how will Africa achieve prosperity? The answer – not with monetary aid.

In my book, Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals, I examine the topic of foreign aid as a solution to Africa’s problems in great detail because for too long, well-meaning foreign entities have stepped in to provide us aid, and in doing so have inadvertently stepped on our toes. This, considering that donor nations and foreign institutions do not sufficiently understand what we need and how we operate.

Aid is not a solution for Africa.

Africa needs long-established support. We need skills development, key infrastructure, sustainable and enabling environments that drive results and, we need to build vibrant energy economies that will bring long-lasting change that is beneficial to the everyday African woman and man.

Determined to promote cooperation with Africa, increase investment on the continent and help improve standards of living, the 2019 G20 Compact with Africa Summit kicked off in Berlin this week. I believe this initiative led by Chancellor Angela Merkel can work and can be beneficial to both Africa and Germany. However, Germany (and other foreign countries looking at the continent) need to understand that Africa is a true partner for development and in addition to relationship-building with governments, African businesses also need to be engaged. They are also key in driving development.

We have to move beyond aid.

As Africa emerges and takes its place on the global stage, it not only stands to benefit from its relationship with Germany but can contribute to Western Europe’s objectives, as presented by the Compact with Africa Summit.

With the continent having nearly 600 million people without access to electricity, Africa’s challenges seem insurmountable – especially given the amount of opportunities and fast-tracked development access to electricity can unlock. But there is hope. With a number of African nations developing and launching large scale renewable energy projects, countries such as Equatorial Guinea, Senegal and Mozambique championing gas developments and launching world-class projects, the continent is resolute on transforming and diversifying its energy mix, proving that it is a worthy partner, particularly for Germany.

Earlier this year, the Germany Africa Business Forum (GABF) announced its multi-million Euro funding commitment to invest in Germany energy start-ups that focus on Africa. This commitment pledged funds to German start-ups with exposure to African energy projects. The role that such German companies from the private sector can play for Africa is increasingly coming to light. German companies ESC Engineers and Noordtec for instance collaborated with Equatorial Guinea’s Elite Construcciones on the Akonikien project – the region’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage and regasification plant.

Forming part of the government-led LNG2Africa initiative, the project advanced the nation’s efforts to monetize gas resources through the creation of domestic gas-to-power infrastructure, a sector which presents major opportunities for the private sector all across Africa. This is a true example of German’s expertise serving Africa’s best interests.

On Tuesday, Chancellor Angela Merkel said she saw the investment in Africa’s growth and development as a “win-win” and encouraged that instead of talking about Africa, “we should do everything we can to cooperate with Africa.”

I agree with this view, the continent has a lot to offer and collaboration is critical for Africa’s future.  We do not need quick fixes, we need capital and technology that are supported by hard work, due diligence and solid execution in order to have an impact. We can only achieve this through recognition and collaboration, not with the same old strategies of proving aid that has not been very useful.

*NJ Ayuk is the CEO of Centurion Law Group and the Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber. His experience negotiating oil and gas deals has given him an expert’s grasp of Africa’s energy landscape. He is the author of “Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and doing deals.”

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DFC CEO Adam Boehler to Travel to Egypt
November 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

Visit will promote private sector investment and strengthen regional relationships

International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) CEO Adam Boehler.Photo credit :OPIC
International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) CEO Adam Boehler.Photo credit :OPIC

WASHINGTON – Adam Boehler, Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), will travel to Egypt November 21 – 23 to promote U.S. investment, attend the Investment for Africa Forum, and strengthen regional relationships in pursuit of shared development goals in the region.
“Africa is home to immense untapped opportunity that will yield a more prosperous, stable, and secure future for communities across the continent,” said Boehler. “I look forward to joining regional government officials, business leaders, and investors in Egypt to identify avenues through which we can collaborate to achieve our shared vision for Africa.”
While in Egypt, Boehler will attend the Investment for Africa Forum in Cairo to underscore DFC’s commitment to the continent and will meet with regional business leaders to explore investment opportunities in priority areas such as infrastructure development and women’s economic empowerment. He will also seek to advance key agency initiatives, including Connect Africa2X Africa, and DFC’s new collaboration with the African Development Bank, all of which advance the goals of the Administration’s Prosper Africa effort to increase two-way investment and trade between the U.S. and Africa.
In addition, Boehler will hold meetings with high-ranking government officials to enhance cooperation in support of regional development, economic growth, and stability. DFC currently has more than $1.5 billion invested in Egypt in sectors ranging from infrastructure to financial services and healthcare.
The visit follows recent travel by Boehler to the Indo-Pacific, Latin America, and Sub-Saharan Africa to strengthen relationships with key partners and highlight DFC’s enhanced flexibility to support private sector investment in critical regions.
DFC is a new U.S. Government agency that combines and modernizes the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and USAID’s Development Credit Authority (DCA). With a more than doubled investment cap of $60 billion and new financial tools, DFC is equipped to more effectively mobilize private sector capital to urgent development challenges and advance U.S. foreign policy. The agency continues to work with Congress to fund DFC through the appropriations process in order to exercise its new investment and development tools.

The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is America’s development bank. DFC partners with the private sector to finance solutions to the most critical challenges facing the developing world today. Working together with businesses, we invest in projects that create jobs and opportunity in emerging markets, including building critical infrastructure, expanding access to telecommunications, and providing small business financing, notably for women entrepreneurs. DFC helps to advance America’s foreign policy by partnering on projects that create economic stability, protect sovereignty, and ensure transparency. DFC investments adhere to high principles and respect the environment, human rights, and worker rights.

*Source DFC

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Gambia:Hakalang Road, Electricity Plant to be commissioned in Niumi Soon
November 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

 President Adama Barrow has unveiled to the people of Niumi in the North Bank Region that the all-important Hakalong road – the only highway that connects most of Upper Niumi to the rest of the region will be launched in a few weeks time, alongside $66 million electricity project for the surrounding communities.

He revealed the news while on the first leg of his nationwide tour in the North Bank Region. The President highlighted the numerous development projects that his government is rolling out to the Gambians to improve lives and livelihoods.

In response to farmers at the various meeting grounds, President Barrow revealed that the government is about to sign a contract that will enable farmers to have access to fertilizer as early as April.

 He stated that the fertilizers will be made available at a government-subsidized price of D700, while the market price is D1700. That means that the state pays D1000 per bag. In three years, he told the gathering, his government has constructed more than 400km of roads, compared to the 700km of roads built by the two past governments since independence.

The recurrent message in all the communities the President visited was the need for Gambians to nurture the peace and security in the country as well as support his development agenda to deliver the Gambia that everyone deserves.

The cabinet ministers took turns to reveal to the people key intervention areas of the government. In the area of education, the minister disclosed that the government has constructed more than one thousand classrooms, in addition to hundreds of staff quarters, and other incentives to improve the quality of education.

To cater to the financial needs of women and increase access to credit facilities, the Minister for Women revealed that the government has secured a EUR3million contribution from the European Union, and a GMD12 million Gambia government-funded Women Empowerment Fund project that will soon open applications for women to apply with little interest.

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Gambia:President Barrow Promises 24hrs Electricity for Rural Gambia
November 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

 Farafenni and other communities in North Bank within a 50 miles radius will soon benefit from uninterrupted 24- hour supply of electricity, President Barrow told tens of thousands of supporters in the border town of Farafenni in the North Bank Region.

President Adama Barrow said the OMVG hydroelectric power plant, which he commissioned in Soma in February this year, will significantly stabilize energy supply in the region. Once completed, the 30KW energy plant is expected to increase access from 40% to 60%; ensuring that beneficiary communities enjoy 24 hours energy supply.

The project is a part of The Gambia’s Energy Roadmap and one of the cheapest and clean sources of energy. The president also reiterated that his government resolves to continue widening the political space, stressing his government will protect and guarantee people’s rights to divergent views and political plurality.

Major road construction to follow current 24 electricity supply in Salikenni village  Following the fulfillment of his pledge to providing 24-hour electricity supply to the community of Salikenni in Central Badibou,

President Barrow said the next plan of his government is to tar the 18KM road that links Salikenni to the main highway. The announcement was greeted with much applause and excitement from community members who thronged the meeting venue in their thousands.

 President Barrow heaped praises on the people Salikenni village  for supporting his development agenda while paying homage to national political doyens who hailed from the community. It was day three of the President’s meet the people tour and the conversations were honest and national development driven.  

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Sierra Leone : Renaissance Movement raises concern over recent wage bill and other issues affecting the country
November 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

Augustine Sorie-Sengbe Marrah
Augustine Sorie-Sengbe Marrah

Renaissance Movement, a movement operating in Sierra Leone which aims at re-inventing and repositioning the country,  has raised concerns over the recent wage bill introduced by the government and other governance matters the country.

The release issued today and signed by its interim leader Augustine Sorie-Sengbe Marrah said it is concerned about the recent happenings in the governance of the country some of which have become a cause for alarm to the people of Sierra Leone.

“Firstly, the Movement notes with concern that the recent wage bill has expanded government’s spending in the midst of growing economic challenges facing Sierra Leoneans. The Movement would like to register our strong dissatisfaction at the enlargement of cabinet and the prominent lack of adequate female representation. This recent expansion of cabinet is in the considered view of the Movement, unnecessary and creates a serious strain on the lean resources of government,’’ the release stated.

According to the release , the  Movement  calls on the President to seriously consider trimming the cabinet and controlling the ballooning wage bill to reflect the economic realities that the nation currently faces thus urging  the President to be more inclusive in his appointments and ensure adequate and equitable female representation in cabinet and all Presidential appointments.

“Secondly, the Movement is concerned about the recent incident of unjustified arrest and detention of a journalist who was seeking to cross-check his story with the Chief Minister. The Movement condemns the unlawful action of the Sierra Leone Police and calls for an investigation and discipline of those members of the Police who were involved in the said arrest and detention of the journalist,’’the release added.

The release further added that the Movement  would like to urge the government to continue in its promise to repeal the criminal libel laws which are used to oppress journalists and to deny citizens an open and free society.

“Thirdly, the movement is concerned about rising inflation, more particularly the uncertainty around the fuel pump price and its attendant consequences on the majority of people. The Movement urges government to immediately address the brewing fuel crisis so that it doesn’t spill over to other essential social commodities and public services.’’

The Movement noted that as movement,  they are dismayed at some provisions of the Finance Act 2020 which make the overseas travel imprest of the President, Vice-President and the Speaker of Parliament unaccountable to the people of Sierra Leone adding that as a movement they considered  this as giving a blank cheque to the President, his Vice and the Speaker, at the expense of the country’s struggling economy.

“It is not only un-progressive but equally inconsistent with responsible economic management as well as democratic principles of accountability and transparency. The Movement is appalled that the representatives of the people of Sierra Leone in Parliament could sanction the passage of those provisions in the said Finance Act 2020. The Movement therefore calls on the President not to assent the said law in the interest of the values of accountability and transparency which are the bedrock of any democracy and which apply to all persons, whether be they leaders or the Governed,’’

The Movement however,  reminded  the government of its “People’s Manifesto” which promised to put the interests of the people central in  their governance and therefore  call on the government to address the above concerns, some of which are in fact major campaign promises by this government which are not being kept.

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Sierra Leone : DCI call on gov’t to invest in programmes that keep children away from the justice system
November 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

One of the  leading International children advocacy group in Sierra Leone , Defence for Children International (DCI) has issued a press statement  calling on the government to invest in programmes that keep children away from the justice system in the country.

According to the release made public today, the United Nations General Assembly, and State parties celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in November 1989. Symbolically, 2019 marks the 40th Anniversary of the Defence for Children International Global Movement and the 20th Anniversary of Defence for Children International Sierra Leone.

“Defence for Children International (DCI) coordinated NGO input into the drafting of the UNCRC and since its adoption in 1989, DCI has fostered ratification, domestication and implementation of the UNCRC through its national sections in over 40 countries across the globe including in Sierra Leone. In the last three decades, there has been remarkable improvement in child rights situation particularly in the areas of access to education, health care, birth registration, child participation and policy reforms,’’the release reads.

The release stated that the report of the recent UN Global Studies on Children Deprived of their Liberty has also revealed significant reduction of the number of children detained in the criminal justice system from One Million to least Four Hundred and Ten Thousand children every year due to the use of alternative practices such as diversion of cases from the criminal justice systems.

“In Sierra Leone in particular, DCI commends the efforts of the Government in their strives towards achieving universal access to education by introducing the Free Quality Education Programme, the Free Health Care programme and recent legal reforms to improve access to justice for children particularly victims of sexual violence in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Sixteen. DCI is however concerned that many children including pregnant girls, children with disability, children begging in the street and other vulnerable groups are still excluded from the achievements outlined above,’’the release added.

According to DCI they believed that the government must implement its commitment towards the SDGs, which as a matter of first principle emphasizes that no one should be left behind adding that yesterday, 19th November 2019, the UN Independent Expert on Global Studies on Children Deprived of their Liberty, Prof Manfred Nowak presented the study report to the UN General Assembly in Geneva.

DCI further noted that  the Government of Sierra Leone to implement the Study’s recommendations, particularly investing and scaling up initiatives that can keep children away from the criminal justice system which  include the implementation of diversion strategy, supporting community-based mediation programmes, such as the interventions and activities of Community mechanisms, the Sierra Leone Police Partnership Board, Child Welfare Committees and paralegal service of the Legal Aid Board and Civil Society Organisations.

“Finally, and most importantly, DCI is calling on the Government of Sierra Leone to make the Free Quality School Education programme benefits every child by adequately providing for all the excluded and invisible children including pregnant girls, street children, and children begging with persons with disabilities in the streets, street traders and any other’’

DCI believed that the government Government must  introduce community-based programmes including educational programmes, games and sport that can positively engage the minds of children and youths throughout Sierra Leone.

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Global Music Stars to storm OpenMic/AfriCourage Festival in Banjul
November 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

 Baaba Maal
Baaba Maal

The OpenMic/AfriCourage festival brings together international and regional music stars to celebrate the power of music and the strength of indigenous culture in Banjul on 27-28 December, 2019 at the independence stadium.

On December 27th, the OpenMic festival reflects the power of hip-hop in the local culture. On December 28th, the AfriCourage project focuses on traditional and contemporary culture, with an international and local line-up and a global streamcast courtesy of the European Broadcast Union. AfriCourage will thus become the first sub-Saharan African festival to be broadcast live to major European media networks.

Smockey
Smockey

The AfriCourage line-up will feature some of the legendary names of music from the region and beyond, including Baaba Maal (Senegal), the Ensemble Modern (Germany), Jali Madi (The Gambia), Journal Rappé (Senegal), Smockey (Burkina Faso), Sambou Suso (The Gambia), Tata Dindin (The Gambia), Wimme & Rinne (Finland) and more. Additionally, in an appearance devised especially for the festival, the Liberation Orchestra of Inverted Traditions will feature selected artists in a spectacular, never-to-be-repeated collaboration, blending the European traditions of visiting artists with local West African grooves.

The initiative is supported by the United Nations Youth Empowerment Project and aims at nothing less than turbo-charging the Gambian cultural economy. Jointly organised by Gambian promoters Black Lynx Entertainment and the Goethe-Institut, the AfriCourage/OpenMic festival will be recorded, filmed and streamcast around the world.

In earlier times, the people of The Gambia would sit at night beneath the baobab tree and exchange news and views. Traditions have changed, but still the need to share information, address problems and find solutions remains. With this in mind, Germany’s Goethe-Institut has developed the AfriCourage project as a model of local and international cooperation and information exchange.

The initiative aims to encourage and enhance integration, participation, cooperation, engagement, tolerance and democracy. The AfriCourage programme is continuous, taking place yearly in a different country and in 2019 the location is The Gambia’s capital Banjul.

In December 2019, as guests of the OpenMicFest, AfriCourage will provide professional training from the worlds of festival presentation, event management, promotion, sound technology and media. AfriCourage is bringing artistic and business acumen to The Gambia to perform and work with local Gambian talent and entrepreneurs.

AfriCourage invites you to participate in an event celebrating the unique culture of the modern Gambia!

The organizers: Goethe Institut Senegal  and Black Lynx Entertainment in The Gambia.

The Goethe-Institut is the Federal Republic of Germany’s cultural institute, active worldwide. It promotes the study of German abroad and encourage international cultural exchange. The Gambian enterprise Black Lynx Entertainment is into the creation and development of platforms for artistes. They have been involved in entertainment entrepreneurship in The Gambia for more than a decade with a core focus on (1) the creation and development of platforms on radio, TV, live events and (2) the marketing and monetization of Gambian entertainment. Since 2008 they have hosted the annual OpenMicFest.

Partners & Sponsors: AfriCourage becomes reality through a unique collaboration between OpenMicFest and the Goethe-Institut. We are grateful for the contribution and expertise of our partners and sponsors who have made the project possible.

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Coca-Cola CEO, James Quincey in Africa, Defines Region as Company’s Future Growth Driver
November 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

James Quincey, Chairman & CEO The Coca-Cola Company, a Nigeria Bottling Company Sales Representative and Zoran Bogdanovic, Coca-Cola Hellenic CEO during a market visit at Maryland in Lagos
James Quincey, Chairman & CEO The Coca-Cola Company, a Nigeria Bottling Company Sales Representative and Zoran Bogdanovic, Coca-Cola Hellenic CEO during a market visit at Maryland in Lagos

Visiting Nigeria and South Africa, Quincey met with business and political leaders as the company scales up investments and looks forward to continued growth on the continent
LAGOS, Nigeria, November 20, 2019/ — The Global CEO and Chairman of The Coca-Cola Company (https://www.Coca-ColaCompany.com/), James Quincey culminated a tour of Africa last week. Accompanied by his extended leadership team, the visit was a testament of Coca-Cola’s commitment to Africa and its interest in the vast opportunity that the continent presents in driving the beverage company’s overarching growth strategy over the next decade.

Visiting Nigeria and South Africa, Quincey met with business and political leaders as the company scales up investments and looks forward to continued growth on the continent. Key among his engagements was discussions with Africa’s foremost entrepreneur and industrialist Dr Aliko Dangote who stands out as an example of indigenous African investors who are driving growth across the continent.

Other engagements included meetings with top executives from Discovery Group, MTN, Unilever and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, and thought leaders such as Tony Elumelu (Chairman of Heirs Holding), Doyin Salami (Chairman of Nigeria’s Economic Advisory Council) and Fred Swaniker from the Africa Leadership Academy. These engagements provided Quincey and his team with critical insights about Africa’s opportunities.

“Having operated in Africa for over 90 years as a local business in every country, we believe Africa is a region that will increasingly influence the growth trajectory of our global businesses in just a few years,” he said. “Together with our bottling partners, we continue to reinforce our stake on the continent by accelerating investments that strengthen and scale our capabilities and expand into new businesses to drive our Total Beverage Company aspiration.”

Quincey highlighted a number of positive and encouraging developments across Africa which he described as important foundations for strong economic growth and, if sustained, will fast track the continent’s role as a global growth engine. These include the growing scale of domestic investments by African investors across sectors and the potential of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

Added to these were Africa’s positive consumer demographics, the infrastructure expansion in many countries, and the growing emphasis on building African talent.

“It is clear that Africa is indeed a region that will increasingly influence the growth trajectory of global businesses and we have taken some bold measures to strengthen the Coca-Cola System in Africa for long term growth, enhancing our capacity to continue to win in the continent’s increasingly competitive landscape.”

He outlined the company’s growth plans in Africa, including continuously investing to boost capacity ahead of demand, consolidating the bottling system to build scale and investing in new businesses to accelerate growth and expand its beverage offering. He also cited Coca-Cola’s role in spurring Africa’s economy through the eco-system the company has built and continues to foster investments across multiple sectors on the continent.

Underpinning this, he emphasized that the Company is committed to building a talent engine in Africa, creating shared opportunities to enhance the prosperity of communities across the continent.


“We have an enduring belief that our business is only as sustainable as the communities in which we operate, that means for our business to grow sustainably, our communities must grow also.”

This is the strong motivation for the significant investments the company continues to make across Africa to help build more resilient communities, enabling the economic empowerment of women and youth downstream and upstream of Coca-Cola’s supply chain; providing access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene facilities through its Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN); supporting governments to strengthen health systems through Project Last Mile and the Safe Birth Initiative; and addressing environmental concerns particularly around plastic packaging with its World Without Waste vision.

Said Quincey: “Over the past 90 years together with our bottling partners, we have built pervasive and very strong local businesses, creating shared opportunity in every country on the continent. This has been one of our greatest strengths and we will continue playing a significant role in Africa’s sustainable and inclusive growth”.

The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) (https://www.Coca-ColaCompany.com/) is a total beverage company, offering over 500 brands in more than 200 countries and territories. In addition to the company’s Coca-Cola brand, our portfolio includes AdeS, Ayataka, Costa, Dasani, Del Valle, Fanta, Georgia, Gold Peak, Honest, innocent, Minute Maid, Powerade, Simply, smartwater, Sprite, vitaminwater and ZICO. We’re constantly transforming our portfolio, from reducing sugar in our drinks to bringing innovative new products to market. We’re also working to reduce our environmental impact by replenishing water and promoting recycling. With our bottling partners, we employ more than 700,000 people, helping bring economic opportunity to local communities worldwide
*Distributed by APO
James Quincey, Chairman & CEO, The Coca-Cola Company (left) and Aliko Dangote, President, Dangote Group, during their recent engagement in Lagos
James Quincey, Chairman & CEO, The Coca-Cola Company (left) and Aliko Dangote, President, Dangote Group, during their recent engagement in Lagos

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Centurion Senior Associate Zion Adeoye Wins ESQ 40 Under 40 Award
November 20, 2019 | 0 Comments
Zion Adeoye
Zion Adeoye
Zion oversees a growing team of African lawyers working on the most complex energy transactions shaping Africa’s modern energy industry
LAGOS, Nigeria, November 20, 2019/ — Centurion’s Senior Associate Zion Adeoye has been recognized as an ESQ 40 under 40 Lawyer at the Nigerian Rising Stars Award last week. The ESQ 40 under 40 award recognizes distinguished Nigerian lawyers under the age of 40, who will shape the future of the legal profession in Nigeria and on the continent.

Since joining Centurion (https://CenturionLG.com/), Zion has earned himself a strong reputation among its peers and the firm’s leading clients from across the continent. In his role as Senior Associate, Zion oversees a growing team of African lawyers working on the most complex energy transactions shaping Africa’s modern energy industry.

“I am truly honored for this recognition and thank Centurion for providing me with the right environment to grow as a lawyer and as a person,” declared Zion Adeoye. “This is a demonstration of what young Nigerian legal talent can achieve when given the opportunity to work and contribute to the growth of Africa.”

“At Centurion we believe in young African talent and pride ourselves in hiring and training the next generation of African lawyers and energy leaders,” said Nj Ayuk, CEO of Centurion Law Group. “We are delighted that Zion’s work is getting such esteemed recognition, which is only the reflection of how hard he works and the level of dedication he gives to the firm and its clients.”
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Making Our Own Luck: What Africa’s Future Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Producers Can Learn from Qatar in the Era of Billions At Play
November 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By NJ Ayuk*

Qatar learned that it possessed truly huge reserves of natural gas in 1971, when Royal Dutch/Shell discovered the North Dome structure, also known as the North field

As I got into the process of writing my recent book Billions At Play, The future of African Energy and doing deal, the story of Qatar intrigued me. Its success is contagious and African LNG producers can learn from this country.

Qatar learned that it possessed truly huge reserves of natural gas in 1971, when Royal Dutch/Shell discovered the North Dome structure, also known as the North field. At the time, though, neither Shell nor Qatar’s government had a great deal of interest in developing the site. Their focus was on crude oil, which was then making the country very rich.

As a result, nothing much happened at North Dome for more than a decade. Shell did not actively pursue development work there, and neither did Qatar General Petroleum Co. (QGPC, now known as Qatar Petroleum or QP), which was the beneficiary of Doha’s nationalization of the oil and gas industry in 1977.

Conditions began to change in the late 1970s. Qatari crude production started to decline after 1979 as the country’s largest oil fields matured. In turn, international oil companies (IOCs) began to lose interest in signing service contracts with QP, since they did not believe Qatar’s aging reserve base warranted massive long-term investments.

These developments did not have much immediate impact, since crude prices were rising enough to keep revenues high. But in the 1980s, oil prices sank – and brought oil revenues down along with them. As a result, Qatar’s government began looking for new ways to generate income. Gas was an obvious option, since global demand was rising and national reserves were ample. Officials in Doha began to draw up plans for monetizing production from the North field, which is now known to contain at least 450 trillion cubic feet (13 trillion cubic meters) of gas in recoverable reserves.

Eventually, they developed a three-phase plan that called for beginning with domestic sales and then proceeding to pipeline exports before finally launching marine exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG). To implement the plan, they set up a joint venture known as Qatar Liquefied Natural Gas Co. Ltd. (Qatargas) between QP, BP (UK) and Total (France).

The first phase, which provided for domestic gasification, was a relatively simple process due to the small size of Qatar’s population. But events in the late 1980s and early 1990s made the second phase, which called for the construction of an export pipeline capable of delivering up to 20 billion cubic meters per year to other member-states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), more difficult.

There were multiple reasons for this, including but not limited to the following: Saudi Arabia lost interest in Qatari gas after discovering reserves of its own, Qatar and Bahrain became embroiled in a border dispute, and Kuwait found itself preoccupied by the Iraqi invasion that led to the First Gulf War. Doha floated proposals for alternative routes in the hope of drawing interest from markets outside the GCC, but to no avail.

The failure of the pipeline gave Qatargas an opportunity to skip the second phase of the project and proceed directly to the third – namely, using production from the North field as feedstock for a gas liquefaction plant that could turn out LNG for export by tanker. At the same time, rising demand for gas in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan gave Qatar an incentive to focus on LNG. Additionally, BP made the decision to exit Qatargas, the venture formed to develop North. This cleared the way for the U.S. company Mobil (now part of ExxonMobil) to join the project.

Mobil was a good fit, partly because it had ample financial resources and partly because it had extensive experience with LNG through its participation in the Arun scheme in Indonesia. It was able to access and deploy the technologies needed to launch Qatar’s first LNG plant. That facility brought its first 2 million ton per year production train on line in late 1996 and began commercial production and exports the following year.

Since then, Qatar has continued to ramp up gas production and to expand its LNG industry. It has worked with foreign partners to build more gas liquefaction facilities and is now home to three LNG mega-trains with a combined production capacity of 77 million tons per year. These plants helped make Qatar into the world’s largest LNG producer in 2006, and they have kept the country at the top of the list ever since. Meanwhile, Doha decided last year to build another mega-train that will raise the figure to 110 million tons per year by 2024. Qatar operates the largest fleet of LNG tankers in the world, and its LNG goes to customers all over the world.

In short, its LNG program has been a smashing success.

Showing the way

The story of Qatar’s success is interesting in its own right. But does it have any deeper meaning? Could it serve as a template – that is, as a map that other gas-producing countries can use to blaze their own trails toward success?

I believe it can. Specifically, I believe African gas producers pursuing LNG projects have a lot to learn from Qatar. They will have a better chance of maximizing their gains if they follow Qatar’s example.

Obviously, Africa can’t duplicate Qatar’s experience. Its gas-producing states don’t have the same geography or demography, and they don’t have access to the same marine trade routes. But it can benefit from some of the lessons that Qatar learned along the way. I’ll list a few of them here.

A little help from my friends

Qatar began looking into plans for launching LNG production less than a decade after nationalizing its own oil and gas industry. Even so, it had a clear understanding of the fact that it could not pursue this goal without outside help.

More specifically, QP and the Qatari government knew they would need partners with plenty of cash, experience, and access to gas liquefaction technology. They also knew they would need partners that were willing to absorb the risks involved in opening up a new frontier. As it happened, Mobil met all these criteria.

Africa’s future LNG producers like Senegal, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, Tanzania, Congo, Cameroon, South Africa, Nigeria and Angola will need help too. Like Qatar, they will need to pair up with IOCs that can help cover the costs of establishing a new sector of industry, that have experience in handling all of the physical and logistical complications of such projects, and that can supply the sophisticated technologies needed to compress and cool gas into a liquid state that can be transported by tanker. Also like Qatar, they will need investors that are ready to build this sector of the economy from the ground up (this last point is particularly important in countries such as Mozambique, Tanzania, Senegal and South Africa that are trying to launch LNG projects in short order after the first discoveries of gas.)

Staying flexible

Qatargas’ original plan called for starting small, with domestic gasification, and then scaling up – first by building pipelines, a type of infrastructure that had already been in use for the better part of a century, and then by taking on the more complicated task of building a gas liquefaction plant, marine terminal, and other associated facilities. But as noted above, efforts to move the pipeline phase of the project forward foundered due to unexpected obstacles.

Instead of focusing on these obstacles, Qatargas decided instead to take a different approach. It accepted that its efforts to draw up new plans and engage in further negotiations had failed, and it moved on. It dispensed with the second phase of the project altogether and got to work on the third phase. And that marked the first step of Qatar’s journey to becoming the largest LNG producer in the world.

This is an important lesson for Africa’s future LNG producers: sometimes the original plan simply doesn’t work out, even when all parties make good-faith efforts to resolve their differences. So, it’s time to try something different. It’s time to look for a new solution. For example, if an African gas producer reluctantly concludes that there’s no way to build an onshore gas liquefaction plant without incurring unacceptable environmental, financial, or social risks, it shouldn’t give up. Instead, it should look into floating LNG (FLNG) options or consider the possibility of using gas liquefaction facilities in a neighboring country.

Resource management

Qatar can also teach African gas producers a thing or two about resource management. This is a crucial consideration for QP and its partners in Qatargas, since most of their feedstock comes from a single source – the North field. This field may be huge, but it is hardly inexhaustible. In fact, Doha imposed a moratorium on new development initiatives at North in 2005, saying that it needed to conduct a thorough study of the site in order to assess its long-term potential and keep reservoir pressure at adequate levels.

The moratorium was not permanent. Qatar’s government lifted it in 2017, and QP responded by drawing up plans for the North Field Expansion (NFE) project and for the construction of new gas liquefaction facilities. In September of this year, the company said it had shortlisted several firms and invited to bid for the NFE contract.

These events are significant because they demonstrate that Qatar wants to keep its LNG plants in business for a long, long time. They show that the country is willing to accept some short-term setbacks in order to ensure that its largest source of gas can remain in production over the long term.

Again, Qatar’s example should give African gas producers food for thought. It shows that there are good reasons for taking a measured approach to the development of major reserves – and that the LNG sector can keep growing even when key feedstock suppliers must abide by certain restrictions on production levels. In other words, it serves as a reminder that Africa ought to do more than simply extract and sell its gas. African producers should aim to develop their resources in ways that offer the most benefit to the most people for the most amount of time.

Making our own luck

Of course, Qatar owes some of its success to sheer luck. Its gas sector emerged at a time when the country was highly motivated to find a replacement for dwindling oil revenues, when demand for gas was on the rise, when there were few viable alternative markets in the region, and when Mobil happened to be on the lookout for a new LNG project following the maturation of the Arun field in Indonesia.

Once again, Africa can’t duplicate Qatar’s experience. It can’t count on that sort of luck, on everything coming together at just the right time.

But it can learn from Qatar’s example – and create a little bit of its own luck. Hopefully, Africa can benefit from the fact that global demand for gas is still rising and will continue to do so for some time, even as more and more consumers pin their hopes on renewable energy. Now is certainly a good time to try – not least because LNG projects should also generate interest in gas-to-power projects and other African initiatives. The Gas Exporting Countries Forum’s meeting in Malabo Equatorial Guinea will be a good start.

*Africa Energy Chamber. NJ Ayuk is an experienced oil and gas dealmaker who heads the Pan-African legal conglomerate Centurion Law Group and serves as executive chairman of the African Energy Chamber (https://EnergyChamber.org/). He is a passionate advocate of the idea that oil and gas can help propel economic development in Africa, as detailed in his newly released book, Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals.

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G20 Investment Summit: Voith signs comprehensive service and operations consultancy contract for Ethiopian hydropower plant
November 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

  • Signing of the contract in attendance of the Federal Minister for Economics and Energy Peter Altmaier and the Minister of Energy of Ethiopia Dr. Seleshi Bekele
  • Stable energy supply as a foundation for further social and economical development
  • Enormous hydropower pontential in Ethiopia
(from left to right) Dr. Seleshi Bekele, Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, and Mark Claessen, Managing Director Voith Hydro East Africa in the attendance of Peter Altmaier, German Federal Minister for Economics and Energy.
(from left to right) Dr. Seleshi Bekele, Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, and Mark Claessen, Managing Director Voith Hydro East Africa in the attendance of Peter Altmaier, German Federal Minister for Economics and Energy.

HEIDENHEIM, Germany. The technology group Voith has signed a comprehensive service and operations consultancy contract for the Ethiopian hydropower plant Gilgel Gibe II during the „G20 Investment Summit” on November 19 in Berlin, Germany. The agreement was signed by the Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity Dr. Seleshi Bekele and Mark Claessen, Managing Director Voith Hydro East Africa in the attendance of Peter Altmaier, the German Federal Minister for Economics and Energy. The investor summit took place within the „G20-Initiative Compact with Africa”. Twelve Heads of State of the African Compact partner countries as well as South Africa, acting as G20 partner of the intitiative, were attending the summit.

Focus on plant availability and resource optimization
Central aspect of the two-year service and operations consultancy contract is the optimization of the energy production of the hydropower plant Gilgel Gibe II with an current output of 420 megawatts. Voith’s scope of supply comprises the modernization of the maintenance systems, the implementation of digital solutions and the knowledge transfer through special training programs. All local activities are exclusivly provided by Ethiopian Voith experts.

„Together with the plant operator Ethiopian Electric Power we want to utilize the whole potential of the hydropower plant Gilgel Gibel II. We succeed in this by reduzing unplanned downtimes and failures to a minimum”, says Mark Claessen, Managing Director Voith Hydro East Africa. „A stable and sustainable energy supply is the foundation for social and economical development in Ethiopia and many other African countries.”

Another component for a reliable energy supply in Africa
The hydropower plant Gilgel Gibel II is located about 300 km south-east of the Ethiopian capital Addis Abeba. Voith supplied four Pelton turbines and generators as well as the entire mechanical and electrical equipment and also trained the plant operator’s staff. Before Gilgel Gibe II went into operation, only 15 per cent of Ethiopia’s villages were connected to the power grid. Now, half of the rural settlements are supplied with power. In total, Ethiopian hydropower plants with Voith technology supply up to 900,000 households in the country with clean and sustainable electricity.

The hydropower plant Gilgel Gibe II in Ethiopia
The hydropower plant Gilgel Gibe II in Ethiopia

With a hydropower potential of 45,000 megawatts, Ethiopia has one of the largest hydropower resources on the African continent. Since 2011, the country supports the development of renewable energy and wants to become an energy hub for East Africa in the medium term.

About the Voith Group
The Voith Group is a global technology company. With its broad portfolio of systems, products, services and digital applications, Voith sets standards in the markets of energy, oil & gas, paper, raw materials and transport & automotive. Founded in 1867, the company today has more than 19,000 employees, sales of € 4.2 billion and locations in over 60 countries worldwide and is thus one of the larger family-owned companies in Europe.

The Group Division Voith Hydro is part of the Voith Group and a leading full-line supplier as well as trusted partner for equipping hydropower plants. Voith develops customized, long-term solutions and services for large and small hydro plants all over the world. Its portfolio of products and services covers the entire life cycle and all major components for large and small hydro plants, from generators, turbines, pumps and automation systems, right through to spare parts, maintenance and training services, and digital solutions for intelligent hydropower.

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Verve Global Card expands international acceptance to the United Arab Emirates- Activates first official transaction in Dubai
November 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

  • The launch of Verve Global Card in Dubai, marks Verve’s entrance into the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • Verve Global customers can already transact in 185 countries globally
L-R: Mitchell Elegbe, GMD / Founder, Interswitch Group; Nneka Onwuegbuche, Product Manager, Card Services, Zenith Bank Plc; Shamsudeen Fashola, Group Head Retail Banking, FCMB; Lanre Oladimeji, Group Head Retail Banking, Zenith Bank Plc; Margaret Okhoya, Product Manager Card Services, FCMB and Mike Ogbalu III, CEO, Verve International during the Verve Global Card launch and First Transaction at Emperor Retail Outlet in Dubai, UAE recently
L-R: Mitchell Elegbe, GMD / Founder, Interswitch Group; Nneka Onwuegbuche, Product Manager, Card Services, Zenith Bank Plc; Shamsudeen Fashola, Group Head Retail Banking, FCMB; Lanre Oladimeji, Group Head Retail Banking, Zenith Bank Plc; Margaret Okhoya, Product Manager Card Services, FCMB and Mike Ogbalu III, CEO, Verve International during the Verve Global Card launch and First Transaction at Emperor Retail Outlet in Dubai, UAE recently

Dubai, November 16, 2019 – Verve, a leading payments technology and card business in Africa, held a first transaction event today in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Verve Global cardholders can now use their cards on Discover Global Network to transact in more than 185 countries and territories, including Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The first transaction event took place at Emperor Retail outlet, City Walk by Meraas Al Safa Str. Dubai. Senior executive members of Verve International were joined at the event by key partners including Jerry Fosker, a senior Executive from Discover Global Network, Shamsudeen Fashola; Group Head Retail Banking FCMB, Margaret Okhoya; Product Manager Card Services FCMB, Lanre Oladimeji; Group Head Retail Banking Zenith Bank, Nneka Onwuegbuche; Product Manager, Card Services Zenith Bank, among others.

Speaking at the launch in Dubai, Mitchell Elegbe, Interswitch Group Managing Director expressed his excitement, stating that the decision to bring Verve Global to Dubai was a strategic one: “Dubai is an important destination of choice for business and leisure as well as being a popular destination for Nigerians.”

The transaction in Dubai comes following the successful launch of Verve Global in New York in August this year, and marks Verve International’s first entrance into the UAE region.

Elegbe continued: “As we approach the Dubai Expo 2020, we believe this is the right time to expand into a region with a rapidly evolving payments market. The launch in Dubai will provide an efficient way for new and existing Verve Global cardholders to transact whenever they visit the region”.  

Expressing his gratitude to stakeholders and partners present, Mike Ogbalu III, Chief Executive Officer, Verve International, reiterated the mission and vision of Verve, stating its core objective of making seamless payment solutions available to Nigerians and Africans in every part of the world. “We are very delighted that a domestic card scheme of African origin can be used to make payments across the world. We express our gratitude to all our partners, particularly Zenith Bank and First City Monument Bank, who have joined us today. One of the biggest assets of Verve International is our partners (both those who are here in Dubai and all others). Thank you for joining us on this epic journey to plant our footprints all over the world. We are very confident that you will remain with us as we continue to take bold steps”, he said. 

To get a Verve Global Card is quite easy; please visit your bank and request one.

Media Contacts:

Cherry Eromosele

Group Chief Marketing & Corporate Communications Officer

Email: cherry.eromosele@interswitchgroup.com

About Verve

Verve is Interswitch Group’s innovative payment scheme, offering products and solutions that enable consumers to transact all over Nigeria and across international markets. As the largest domestic card scheme in Africa, we have built a high-class value chain ecosystem that benefits from the services that Interswitch provides.

About Interswitch Group

Interswitch is a leading technology-driven company focused on the digitisation of payments in Nigeria and other countries in Africa. Interswitch is a leading player with critical mass in Nigeria’s developing financial ecosystem and is active across the payments value chain, providing a full suite of omni-channel payment solutions.

Interswitch was founded in 2002 as a transaction switching and electronic payments processing business, building and managing payment infrastructure, delivering innovative payment solutions and driving transactions across Nigeria and other African markets. We provide secure payments 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.

About Discover

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.

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