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When Covid-19 and OPEC Price War strikes Africa’s Oil & Gas Sector
March 26, 2020 | 0 Comments
The immediate effect of Covid-19 for the sector has been on the demand for crude oil, and on its prices

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, March 26, 2020/ — African governments set to see decline in revenues; Exploration projects put on hold; Thousands of local jobs at risk if nothing is done.

While the short-term effects of Covid-19 on world economies are already being felt and put millions in a situation of economic distress, their long-term ones are yet to be fully grasped. In sub-Saharan Africa, the impact will be felt even stronger because the pandemic is being combined with a historic crash in oil prices, putting pressure on state budgets and testing the resilience of the continent’s strongest energy companies.

The immediate effect of Covid-19 for the sector has been on the demand for crude oil, and on its prices. Most analysts and operators now agree that 2020 could see a negative demand growth for oil globally as industries shut down and countries around the world go on lock down. The effect on prices has been nothing short of devastating: they have reached their lowest levels since 1991 and currently stand at below $25 a barrel.

For Africa, this means an immediate pressure on state budgets and macro-economic stability. Apart from South Africa, the continent’s biggest economies rely heavily on oil revenue to fuel state budget and public spending and ensure macro-economic stability. All sub-Saharan Africa’s producers had budgeted 2020 with an oil benchmark well above $50, from $51 in Equatorial Guinea all the way up to $57 in Nigeria. With predictions that oil prices won’t go anywhere above $30 for the rest of the year, most budgets need to be re-adjusted and public spending needs to be drastically cut.

According to the Atlantic Council, major African producers could expect multi-billion dollar losses in state revenues this year. Congo-Brazzaville could take the hardest hit, with a loss representing 34% of its GPD, in a country where debt-to-GDP ratio is already around 90%. The same applies to Angola, where oil prices at $30 would generate a revenue loss of almost $13bn, or 13% of GDP. Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Chad could see losses of almost 10% of GDP due to the ongoing crisis. Nigeria finally would suffer the biggest lost with $15.4bn, still according to the Atlantic Council. While it would represent only 4% of its GDP, the impact on marginal producers and local jobs would potentially be devastating. Newer producers would also suffer revenue losses: in Ghana, the the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) estimates a potential revenue loss of 53% down to $743 million instead of the $1.567bn the country expected to receive this year.

“Thousands of Africans and expats are going to be laid off in oil-producing countries as companies shut down their drilling rigs and planned projects. We need to face the reality as these times are unprecedented. The uncertainty is even more frustrating for oil companies and the workers. Forgive me but there is blood on the streets, in the water and the air has the coronavirus,” said NJ Ayuk is Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber and Petroleum industry lobbyist. “Petroleum-producing countries need to come together and work with the private sector in order to get us through the COVID 19 crisis and mitigate the economic fallout as much as possible. When the US and Europe are talking about a recession, most African countries and the common man on the streets have likely already entered a depression,” added Ayuk.

The long-term effects that Covid-19 will have on the sector in Africa depends on what happens this year and in the following month. Cuts in exploration spending and cancellation of drilling plans today could potentially mean years of delay in new discoveries, reserves replacement and new fields being brought on stream. The biggest international oil companies operating in the continent are all cutting spending by an average of 20% globally, which is set to impact exploration and projects in Africa. While ExxonMobil considers several reductions in spending, Shell has already announced a reduction of underlying operating costs by $3 to $4bn and a reduction of cash capital expenditure of $5bn. Total’s organic capex is being cut by more than $3 billion, representing 20% of its planned 2020 capex. Chevron is also reducing capital and exploratory spending by 20%, including a $700 million cut in upstream projects and exploration.

These IOCs were expected to take major final investment decisions this year or in the near future on multi-billion dollar projects in Africa. These include Shell’s Bonga South-West project, ExxonMobil’s Bosi, Owowo West and Uge-Orso projects, or Chevron’s Nsiko project. regardless of how close each of these were to FID, they are very unlikely to get sanctioned this year. Recent statements from independents are going in the same direction. Woodside Energy for instance is currently reviewing all options to preserve and enhance the value of its Sangomar Offshore Oil Project in Senegal, whose first oil was expected in 2023.

Beyond oil, natural gas and LNG projects are also already being delayed. ExxonMobil’s announcement that it would postpone the green-light on Mozambique’s multi-billion dollar Rovuma LNG project is sending worrying signals for instance. Similarly, BP and Kosmos are already working to defer the 2020 Tortue Phase 1 capital spending for their multi-billion dollar FLNG project in Mauritania and Senegal. Together, Rovuma LNG and Greater Tortue Ahmeyim represent the biggest hopes Africa had to strengthen its position as a new global LNG export hub. Delaying such projects will have significant consequences on forecasted economic growth in each country.

Finally, the long-term impact of Covid-19 is taking shape right now, as exploration programs are put on hold. Much-awaited drilling like FAR’s plans in The Gambia this year have been suspended. Other planned seismic acquisition projects have also already been cancelled, such as EMHS’ CSEM Survey offshore Senegal and Mauritania for BP which was set to begin this month, or Polarcus’ 3D seismic acquisition project offshore West Africa. Meanwhile, most licensing rounds that were set to confirm Africa as a global exploration frontier this year will most likely not live up to expectations. South Sudan for instance has already announced the suspension of its oil & gas licensing round this year.

While African nations grapple with the crisis brought by Covid-19 and the OPEC price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, the initiatives they take today will determine the future of their oil & gas industries for years. Local companies, be they producers or services providers, are at the frontline and need all the possible support they can get to avoid cutting jobs and survive the crisis. As Shoreline Energy CEO Kola Karim recently phrased it, “when the elephants fight, it’s the smaller producers that suffer.” Supporting these smaller producers and their local contractors should be a priority to preserve the long-term future and prosperity of Africa’s oil & gas sector.

*Source Africa Energy Chamber
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Prominent UAE investment banker takes on new venture with SKYCAP Investment Management Limited
March 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

Saikat Kumar to steer global financial services industry to new era with a world-class one-stop-shop for investors

Saikat Kumar, SKYCAP
Saikat Kumar, SKYCAP

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

SKYCAP Investment Management Limited, a diversified financial services firm, has officially soft launched in the UAE.  Touted to be a one-stop-shop for global investors (Middle East, Africa, India, South East Asia, US and UK investors), SKYCAP seeks to disrupt the banking and finance industry by providing trusted advice and access to best-in-class investment products and services to support its clients’ goal of wealth preservation and growth.

From its base in Dubai, SKYCAP will offer a wide range of financial products and services, which are mutually reinforcing and can be tailored to a client’s specific needs.  Among the firm’s core offerings include Advisory (including Government, M&A, and Capital Raising/Restructuring), Private Equity (Fintech and Special Opportunities), Asset and Wealth Management Advisory, Credit Opportunities Funds, as well as Digital, Forensic, IT Risk Management and BPO services.

SKYCAP has been founded by Saikat Kumar, one of the most respected names in the Middle East banking and financial industry.  He is now the Founder and CEO of SKYCAP Investment Management Ltd., after completing his stint as Partner and Senior Executive Officer of Al Masah Capital Limited.  With over 23 years of banking and finance expertise under his belt, Kumar has amassed a proven track record in strategy planning, distribution management, client management, risk and compliance, business development, and product management.  He has also worked with a number of internationally-recognized firms, to name a few, Fullerton Fund Management (Temasek Singapore), ABN AMRO, Standard Chartered, ICICI Bank and ANZ Grindlays, as well as leading nationalized banks.

“Although the market is in for tough times, given the extraordinarily challenging situation happening across the globe, I believe in the half year onwards, the market will offer investors excellent opportunities to invest in good quality blue chip stocks across the world at cheap valuation and prices. With interest rates at all time low, stocks would offer best upside,” Kumar said.

Despite growing demand and turbulent growth factors, however, the SKYCAP founder said that the supply of credit to the private sector is considerably lower than developed markets such as the USA and UK.  Underpinned by very strong values and principles to deliver the best possible outcome for clients, Kumar brought to fruition his vision of a trusted and innovative diversified financial services firm that truly understands and services its clients with utmost transparency and integrity.

“My goal is to always be client-centric and be driven to provide financial solutions and services designed to execute effectively our clients’ vision at the highest level, ultimately delivering on their financial ambitions.  Whilst SKYCAP is a new venture, we have all the capabilities that can meet all the investment needs of its shareholders in addition to retail, HNI, UHNI, institutional, family office, SWFs and pension fund investors.  Our company is differentiated by a core value of integrity and transparency through a strong, global regulatory framework. Moreover, with an international strategy complementing a global roll-out plan – plus a robust core investment team that is backed by a competent support services function – I am confident that SKYCAP will go on to be the partner of choice for the most discerning investors,” Kumar concluded.

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Qatar Airways and other airline companies suspend flights from Mozambique due to coronavirus
March 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Jorge dos Santos

Qatar Airways is suspending all its flights from Maputo until 31 May, with the last flight leaving today, indicates a press release from the company seen by Pan African Visions.

South African Airways SAA, Angolan airline TAAG and Portuguese national airline TAP also suspended flights from Mozambique.

Despite not having confirmed cases in Mozambique, countries in the Southern Africa Development Community are ramping up their protective measures, particularly after the confirmation of over a dozen cases in neighbouring South Africa, Zimbabwe, Eswatini and Zambia.

Calls for SA-Mozambique border closure

Mozambique’s main opposition party Renamo called for the South Africa-Mozambique border to be closed. Whatever, health Minister Armindo Tiago said there were international criteria on “when a border is closed” and warned of the economic and social impact of that decision.

On the other, the transparency NGO CIP has called on thursday for urgent measures to slow the spread of Covid-19 in Mozambique, including:

  • A state of emergency, to allow measures to be enforced
  • Prohibit the entry of non-resident foreigners from the worst-affected countries
  • End home quarantine for arrivals from countries with confirmed cases of Covid-19, forcing them to undergo quarantine in specially prepared ‘sanitary units’
  • Close all schools, for at least two weeks
  • Prohibit gatherings of more than 100 people
  • Adopt special checking measures for urban public transport, to avoid overloading with passengers
  • Adopt special checking measures for places of regular concentration of crowds, such as places of worship and places of recreation
  • Guarantee availability of water in popular public places to minimise the risk of transmission
  • Carry out free and obligatory testing in health centres for everyone with flu symptoms

However, according to government spokesman Filimão Suaze, developments in neighbouring countries could justify the announcement of new measures in the coming days.

*jorgedossantosmz@gmail.com

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Registration Opens for 2020 Afreximbank Annual Meetings
March 19, 2020 | 0 Comments

Cairo, 18 March 2020: – Registration for the 2020 Annual Meetings of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), which will be held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, has opened, according to information released today by the Bank.

Afreximbank announced that intending participants for the meetings, dubbed AAM2020, could register by visiting the Annual Meetings website at: https://aam2020.afreximbankevents.com where regularly updated information about the venue, programme, hotel accommodation and visas would also be available.

Afreximbank Annual Meetings are open to banking industry professionals, trade and trade finance practitioners and other parties involved in economic development from across Africa and beyond. They are also attended by business and political leaders and have been ranked among the most important gatherings of economic decision-makers in Africa.

The 2020 Annual Meetings, with the theme “Youth, Trade and Development”, will feature a host of high-level speakers in plenaries and side events from 10 to 13 June at the Sharm El Sheikh International Congress Center.

The programme will include a seminar on 10 June, with the official opening of the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders taking place on 11 June. The event will conclude on 13 June with the closed session of the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders.

“In recognition of the critical role that Africa’s evolving demographics will play in the coming decades, AAM2020 will focus on the theme ‘Youth, Trade and Development’. Through a stimulating programme of discussions and activities, we will assess the challenges and opportunities presented by Africa as the world’s youngest continent and home to 90 per cent of the global youth market, with 19 of the world’s 20 youngest countries,” said Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank. “We will explore how Africa can create dividends from this potentially huge advantage, how we should educate our young and develop the most relevant training programmes for them, and what Africa should be doing right now.”

AAM2020 is being hosted by the Government of Egypt represented by the Central Bank of Egypt.

Afreximbank’s last Annual Meetings took place in Moscow in June 2019.

About Afreximbank: The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is the foremost pan-African multilateral financial institution devoted to financing and promoting intra- and extra-African trade. The Bank was established in October 1993 by African governments, African private and institutional investors, and non-African investors. Its two basic constitutive documents are the Establishment Agreement, which gives it the status of an international organization, and the Charter, which governs its corporate structure and operations. Since 1994, it has approved more than $67 billion in credit facilities for African businesses, including $7.2 billion in 2018. Afreximbank had total assets of $13.4 billion as at 31 December 2018. It is rated A- (GCR), Baa1 (Moody’s), and BBB- (Fitch). The Bank is headquartered in Cairo. For more information, visit: www.afreximbank.com

*Source Afreximbank

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NIGERIA: FORTHCOMING REPORT TO HIGHLIGHT IMPROVING INVESTOR SENTIMENT AS PROJECT PIPELINE MOVES FORWARD
March 19, 2020 | 0 Comments

Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission signs new MoU with Oxford Business Group

Wen Qian Chang, OBG Country Director and Yewande Sadiku, Executive Secretary, NIPC

Nigeria’s efforts to attract foreign investment for sectors of its economy earmarked for growth, despite the challenging external environment prompted by the coronavirus, will be mapped out in a new report by the global research and advisory firm Oxford Business Group (OBG).

The Report: Nigeria 2020 will shine a spotlight on the country’s plans to roll out new transport and other infrastructure projects in the coming years as part of a broader bid to accommodate its growing population and rising levels of urbanisation.

Key topics explored will include the growing emphasis on public-private partnerships in Nigeria’s infrastructural drive that is supporting a push to increase the part played by the private sector in the economy.

With the delayed Dangote refinery back in the spotlight in December, when the huge crude distillation column was inaugurated, The Report: Nigeria 2020 will consider the significant contribution that the facility will make to the national economy by processing local crude and, in turn, reducing fuel imports.

There will also be wide-ranging coverage of Nigeria’s ICT development, which is proving to be crucial in helping the country to reduce its reliance on hydrocarbons and encourage entrepreneurial activity.

In addition, OBG will look at both the benefits that the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, signed by Nigeria in July 2019, is expected to bring in terms of strengthening trade and commercial activity across the continent, and the challenges that could hinder its success.

The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) has signed a further memorandum of understanding (MoU) with OBG for its forthcoming publication. Under the agreement, the commission will once again help OBG to carry out the research for The Report: Nigeria 2020 and other content that will be made available across its platforms.

Welcoming the partnership, Wen Qian Chang OBG’s Country Director in Abuja, said she looked forward to teaming up again with the NIPC, which, she added, was one of the Group’s longstanding partners.

“Despite global problems, such as the current coronavirus outbreak and lower oil prices, Nigeria remains an attractive emerging market for the international business community, buoyed by a rapidly growing middle-class population and abundant natural resources,” she said. “Our research for The Report: Nigeria 2020 has already highlighted an uptick in business confidence this year.

The Report: Nigeria 2020 willmark the culmination of more than 12 months of field research by a team of analysts from Oxford Business Group. It will be a vital guide to the many facets of the country, including its macroeconomics, infrastructure, banking and other sectoral developments.

OBG’s publication will contain contributions from leading representatives across the public and private sectors. It will be produced with the NIPC, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry.


Oxford Business Group
 (OBG) is a global research and advisory company with a presence in over 30 countries, from Africa, Asia and the Middle East to The Americas. A distinctive and respected provider of on-the-ground intelligence on the world’s fastest growing markets for sound investment opportunities and business decisions. 

Through its range of products – Economic News and Views; The OBG CEO Survey; OBG Events and Conferences; Global Platform, which hosts exclusive video interviews; The Report publications – and its Advisory division, OBG offers comprehensive and accurate analysis of macroeconomic and sectoral developments. 

OBG provides business intelligence to its subscribers through multiple platforms, including its own verified subscribers and the ones of Dow Jones Factiva, Bloomberg Terminal, Refinitiv’s Eikon (previously Thomson Reuters), Factset and more.

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SAFCOIN launches zero-fee Bitcoin trading exchange
March 19, 2020 | 0 Comments

SAFCOIN, an exclusive African crypto and exchange, has launched a zero-fee Bitcoin trading pair on their exchange. Bitcoin traders in Africa can now trade on SAFCOIN’s USD exchanges without incurring transaction fees.
As one of the first cryptocurrency exchanges to offer this service, SAFCOIN aims to make cryptocurrency trading easy and accessible for more people in Africa. Its clean and simple graphic user interface offers a hassle-fee, easy-to-navigate experience when buying Bitcoin or SAFCOIN.

“The cryptocurrency market has been on a positive trajectory globally,” says Neil Ferreira, CEO of SAFCOIN. “It’s exciting to see the increased adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrencies in Africa. We’re proud to be able to support this growth with current and future projects that we’re developing on the SAFCOIN blockchain.”

SAFCOIN’s mission is to simplify the cross-border payment processes between African countries, by eliminating red tape and bulky transaction processes.
In making SAFCOIN an Africa-wide accepted form of payment that boosts trade between countries, SAFCOIN aims to open up the digital currency market through the widespread use of mobile money accounts.

The whole of African can trade on the BTC/USD exchange with each other at ZERO fees with Fiat deposits done through Credit Card, Bank EFT’s and Mobile Money. The launch of this exchange not only aids to awareness in Africa but increase the crypto network in emerging markets.

Register a free wallet account on https://www.safcoin.africa and start trading Bitcoin on the easy to use graphic exchange

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My Office supplies 1M Licenses to Schools of Cameroon
March 18, 2020 | 0 Comments
This is the first export contract on educational software for My Office of this scale

MOSCOW, Russia, March 18, 2020/ — The Russian developer of office software “My Office” (https://MyOffice.ru/en/) and the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Cameroon have agreed to provide and introduce 1M software licenses of My Office Education in schools and pre-school facilities of Cameroon over the course of 10 years. This is the first export contract on educational software for My Office of this scale.

The agreement was reached during a business mission to Cameroon. The Minister of Elementary Education Laurent Etoundi said there was a need for office software in schools and announced the start of a pilot project to introduce solutions from My Office into educational institutions of the country. The first 500 licenses of My Office Standard have already been sent to the Republic’s Ministry of Education for testing.

The introduction process will start with 10 schools in different provinces of the country. Pre-school facilities, elementary and secondary schools of Cameroon will receive My Office software for free. Higher education institutions will be able to buy any components of My Office ecosystem at a 93% discount. The same conditions apply to educational institutions in Russia. Individual users will have a chance to use mobile versions of My Office distributed for free in app stores on smartphones running on Android and iOS.

“Cameroon plays a special role in Africa. This is a country with the most highly developed system of education. The government made a great effort to double the number of elementary school graduates in the last 20 years for it to reach 4.4 million children today. Over the same period the country has experienced an Internet boom — and now almost a quarter of all population has access to the global network. The Russian software “My Office Education” can reach our goals in providing pupils with convenient and secure solutions required for the modern educational process,” announced Laurent Etoundi, the Minister of Elementary Education.

The Agreement with the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Cameroon will mark the start of productive cooperation between the company and government institutions of this African country. The results of the projects will be used in making decisions on introducing My Office in other government agencies of Cameroon.

“Everywhere in the world, but especially in Africa and the Middle East, Russian IT is associated with great quality, security, and reliability. Our contract with the government of Cameroon will turn a new page in the history between our countries. Today, there are about 1,000 private and public elementary and secondary schools in Cameroon, with 500,000 students graduating every year. We are happy to share a modern and advanced solution with the educational system of Cameroon. It will help them resolve the issue of computer literacy in a most systematic way,” said Dmitry Komissarov, CEO of the developer company “My Office”.

“Today the population of Cameroon is over 25.5 million people, 60% of them under 25 years of age while the median age is just 18.5 years. This is the audience that will define social, business and political life of the country in the nearest future. We want to help them learn about the latest technology and software and we believe that My Office products are a great choice for it,” said Jafar Hilali, Director of Carousel Finance SA, master partner of My Office for distribution in the countries of Africa.

The Republic of Cameroon is one of the fastest-growing nations of Africa. In 2018, the country’s GDP was $38.6 billion, and this figure has grown by more than 3.5 times in the last 20 years.

My Office (https://MyOffice.ru/en/) is Russian software for collaborative work with documents and communication on any platform. The My Office suite includes the following applications: Documents, Text, Spreadsheet, Presentation, Email, Calendar, Contacts, the Logos messenger.

One of the features of My Office products is full control of your data and high-level protection from external threats and unauthorized access. My Office software is easy to use, it helps organize collaborative work with documents on any computer, smartphone or tablet, even working on different OS.

There are also special free versions of My Office Education offered to educational institutions (https://myoffice.ru/en/products/education/) My Office products are widely used in the education system of the Russian Federation to improve computer literacy and train highly skilled professionals for the labor market. Educational institutions in each of the 85 constituent units of Russia use over 1 million licenses of My Office Education.

The company offers products in 7 languages, including Russian, French, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Bashkir, and Tatar. As of 2020, My Office has been sold to 1,100 institutions, including federal and regional government agencies. The largest clients are the Federal Tax Service, the Federal National Guard Troop Service, Russian Post, Aeroflot, Russian Railways, and others.

The company was established in 2013. In 2019 Kaspersky Lab, a leading developer and supplier of information security solutions, joined the company’s board of directors.
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Why Banda Homes is still the preferred choice for home owners in Kenya
March 18, 2020 | 0 Comments
Banda Homes have availed possibilities for Kenyans to finally own their own home through the affordable housing model

NAIROBI, Kenya, March 18, 2020/ — Kenyan’s in large number are seeking housing far from the hustle and bustle of a stress filled city life, inflated rents, and endless traffic. Those seeking homes to live in that can give them a sense of dignity, affordability and rest quickly find out that this is more achievable further from the heart of the Capital City, Nairobi.

According to a World Bank statistic, 91 percent of those living in Nairobi pay rent, with analysts mentioning that roughly 75 percent of apartment buyers only buy the property for resale in order to make quick profit. This suggested profit, however, has not been as fruitful as first projected. According to reports, less than 10 percent of houses are bought for the purpose of living in them. The average Kenyan has clearly been left blue from being unable to buy their dream home in the green city in the sun.

Consequently, Banda Homes jumped ahead of the queue in the property market to offer affordable housing. The developments offered are in satellite towns such as Waiyaki way (Kikuyu), Kiambu road (Thindigua), and Kenyatta Road (exit 14 from Thika superhighway). Banda Homes have availed possibilities for Kenyans to finally own their own home through the affordable housing model. Their properties ensure access to amenities such as malls, schools and hospitals, allowing home owners to enjoy more scenic, conducive, and less congested areas.

Since 2018, Banda Homes mid plan model, an improvement on the traditional off plan model, has seen them work closely with buyers to tailor make their interiors and add specifications suitable for family. “We build spacious houses for people to live in comfort. We want to set benchmarks for what good living is,’ CEO Fabian Nzivo declares. Banda Homes also offers a flexible payment plan, and a tantalizing prospect of a resale value of up-to 40% in the mortgage market. Their houses, built on a 50 by 100 (sq ft) plot, the largest space in the stand-alone affordable housing market, gives their 13 different estates a sizable lead in comfort, affordability and function.

These tremendous strides have not been void of doubts and challenges, Nzivo admits, boldly tackling past accusations of fraud via social media due to handover delays. These doubts were however dispelled with more and more people finally receiving their homes. Like many other developers, the challenges to deliver housing have been diverse and numerous, threatening to erode confidence in the market. However, with the delivery of 77 homes in Oak Ridge off Thika Road, 28 homes in Ridges 2 Estate last November and close to 2000 homes delivered so far, Banda Homes has quickly quelled any sign of customer anxiety.

As a way of transparency and accountability, Banda carries out site visits and open days every Saturday for any prospective buyer, promising a time of partying and great family fun.

“Based on the history of delivery and friends who shared about Banda, I did not hesitate to buy a house here.” one excited new home owner shared.

Banda CEO, Fabian Nzivo, wrapped up one of the recent successful handovers saying “to everyone who placed their trust in us, were it not for you, none of what you see here would exist.”

After 13 different estates and almost 2000 families catered to, 2020 opens up another exciting chapter for Banda Homes in the affordable housing market. The real estate developer is currently finalizing on handing over 800 new homes to its growing list of customers.

Banda homes (www.BandaHomes.co.ke) is a real estate developer founded with the aim of delivering high quality, family homes to individuals and corporate as a sure fine way of investing in an affordable, functional and modern home. Our reputation for uncompromising professionalism in everything we do is earned by meeting our customers’ needs through providing housing solutions that meet their needs and expectations.

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Kenya : Traders Warned Against Hike in Commodity prices
March 17, 2020 | 0 Comments
Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) Chief Executive Phyllis Wakiaga

By Samuel Ouma

Kenyan traders have been warned against hiking prices of products over coronavirus pandemic.

The statement was issued by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) chief executive Phyllis Wakiaga urging their members to stick to contractual obligation and avoid increasing prices.

“KAM advocates that the rule of law prevails during this time and that all producers and distributors continue to uphold existing contractual obligations, especially with regard to price controls for the sake of consumers,” said Wakiaga.

On its side, the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) notified manufacturers and retailers that they will attract a penalty of up to the 10 per cent of their turnover if they attempt to raise the their prices or hoard with an intention of increasing prices.

Few hours after Kenyan government confirmed the first case of covid-19 on Friday last week; Kenyans thronged shopping centres like supermarkets to purchase sanitizers and household commodities in panic buy mode.

Upon visiting a handful of supermarkets based in Nairobi, we discovered that there were shortages of sanitizers and basic commodities like maize flour, rice and sugar. Most shelves were empty and there were long queues of customers waiting to be served.

Dan Githua, Chief Executive Officer of Tuskys Supermarket, one of the famous supermarkets in the country had assured the customers of adequate stock.

“As a responsible corporate citizen, we wish to assure the public that the panic is unnecessary. We have engaged with our suppliers and received firm commitments that we shall continue receiving necessary supplies at the standard prices,” he said.

Githua also disclosed the adoption of a limited purchase policy which will see every customer buying three packets of a hand sanitizer, antiseptic and bleach liquid. The move was aimed at locking out opportunists who were buying the products in bulk and sell them at a very high price to desperate Kenyans.

“A few bold and entrepreneurial customers have been taking advantage of the prevailing Covid-19 panic to buy particular items in bulk and resell at inflated prices,” Githua said.

On Sunday, March 15, Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe confirmed the other two cases of the deadly virus forcing the government to shut down all learning institutions until further notice to avert further spread. The two who tested positive had travelled in the same plane with the first patient.

The first woman to test positive had arrived in Kenya from USA via London on March 5 and the virus detected 8 days later.

President Uhuru Kenyatta also announced that all foreigners have been banned from entering the country and those who entered the country in the last two weeks have been directed to self-quarantine.

“As a result of this we are going to implement the following measures: Only Kenyan citizens and foreigners with valid resident permits will be allowed to come into the country provided they proceed on self-quarantine or in a government quarantine facility,” President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Kenya had also cancelled flights to and from the affected countries. Non-essential travels have also been halted.

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SITA IS ACCELERATING AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL INNOVATION WITH BOEING ECODEMONSTRATOR
March 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

SITA has the potential to dramatically improve ATC communications through the implementation of IP suites

GENEVA – Wednesday, 11 March 2020 – SITA is accelerating innovation in air traffic control (ATC) communications as part of Boeing’s 2019 ecoDemonstrator program, alongside key industry partners including NASA and long-standing airline customer, Etihad. 


The program tests pioneering and promising technologies that aim to solve air transport industry challenges for airlines and passengers, as well as enhancing sustainability. The most recent program saw the implementation of such technologies onboard a Boeing 777 and tests a total of 50 different projects.


SITA’s involvement in the program highlights the strength of its SITA FOR AIRCRAFT portfolio, which delivers the promise of the connected aircraft by providing services that enable communication between aircraft, ground systems, ATC and other operators. 


SITA is working in collaboration with Honeywell to optimize the transmission of digital information between pilots, ATC and airline operations centers (AOCs) using Internet Protocol Suites (IPS). The technology supports Boeing’s ambition of testing technologies that focus on the enhancement of flight operations and safety, with the potential to dramatically improve ATC communications and end-to-end data exchanges.


Following the completion of successful trials, the migration from ACARS protocols to IPS could benefit airlines by offering commonality across mainstream communications channels, as well as next-generation network compatibility and enhanced security. 


SITA’s testing of these capabilities, through Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator initiative, has an important role to play in today’s ground-to-air connectivity landscape and the increasing pressure on traditional communications protocols. 


The implementation comes as part of SITA’s work to evolve a multilink aircraft communications ecosystem, as a world leader in IPS. Central to this approach is SITA’s ability to integrate multiple networks, both proprietary and third-party, enabling seamless fallback and a vital system that inspires industry-wide confidence. 

Mike Sinnett, Vice President of Product Strategy and Future Airplane Development at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said: “It’s exciting to welcome SITA onboard our debut 777 ecoDemonstrator to address some of the challenges facing airline operations and air traffic control. This is a key area in assessing the technologies that will make our skies safer and more efficient, for Boeing, and the wider industry.”


Dominique El Bez, Vice President Product and Strategy, SITA FOR AIRCRAFT, said: “Reinforcing flight safety and optimization remain priorities for airlines and air traffic managers. That’s why SITA is working to build and optimize a multilink communications ecosystem. By working with the Boeing ecoDemonstrator to test these solutions faster and with greater fidelity, we hope to continue to develop our end-to-end, fault-resistant solutions for enhanced aircraft communications, whatever the satellite network or connectivity platform.”


SITA FOR AIRCRAFT is one of SITA’s three domains of expertise, alongside SITA AT AIRPORTS and SITA AT BORDERS. These domains of expertise bring together SITA’s technology solutions and services with in-depth knowledge of industry processes and systems. 

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Orange launches Orange Money in Morocco and confirms its position as a major player in mobile money in Africa and the Middle East
March 11, 2020 | 0 Comments
Non-Orange customers can take advantage of the service by downloading the mobile application

CASABLANCA, France, March 10, 2020/ — After securing approval last summer from the “Bank Al Maghrib”, Orange Morocco announces today the launch of Orange Money in the kingdom. This service will allow Moroccans to make mobile payments and transfer money using their phones. Morocco also becomes the 18th country in the Africa and Middle East region of Orange (www.Orange.com) to offer the Orange Money solution.

Orange Money, a secure and instant service

Orange Money offers every mobile user, regardless of their telecom operator, the option of having a mobile wallet backed by their phone number. The solution allows mobile phone users to carry out financial transactions, pay for phone recharges remotely or withdraw money from their Orange Money wallets at points of sale approved by Orange Money Maroc.

Non-Orange customers can take advantage of the service by downloading the mobile application.

Mobile money for financial and societal inclusion

Mobile money is revolutionising Africa’s economy. A key driver in the continent’s economic growth, Orange Money is a real vehicle for increasing the financial inclusion of populations and the digitalisation of the continent.

For the Group, the ambition is to go further and to offer more services with a seamless customer experience.

Orange Money Group growth engine

As one of the Group’s main growth drivers on the continent, the service is constantly evolving for the benefit of populations, companies, institutions and Governments.

Launched in 2008, the Orange Money mobile money solution allows millions of people excluded from the banking system to be able to deposit, withdraw, transfer and make payments easily and simply from their mobile phone, with complete security. 12 years on since its launch, Orange Money continues to record exponential growth. The service is now available in 18 countries. 45 million customers trust this solution and the amount of transactions carried out through Orange Money reached 2.6 billion euros in 2019.

Orange’s ambition is to make mobile money an essential means of payment and to become a leading player in mobile financial services in Africa and the Middle East including savings, credit and insurance in strict accordance with the banking regulations of the countries where it operates.

Orange (www.Orange.com) is one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators with sales of 42 billion euros in 2019 and 147,000 employees worldwide at 31 December 2019, including 87,000 employees in France. The Group has a total customer base of 266 million customers worldwide at 31 December 2019, including 207 million mobile customers and 21million fixed broadband customers. The Group is present in 26 countries. Orange is also a leading provider of global IT and telecommunication services to multinational companies, under the brand Orange Business Services. In December 2019, the Group presented its new “Engage 2025” strategic plan, which, guided by social and environmental accountability, aims to reinvent its operator model. While accelerating in growth areas and placing data and AI at the heart of its innovation model, the Group will be an attractive and responsible employer, adapted to emerging professions.

* SOURCE Orange
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MyOffice has started a Partner Network in Africa
March 11, 2020 | 0 Comments

The first level of the distribution channel will be granted to companies with the special status of master partner for the country or a group of countries in Africa

MOSCOW, Russia, March 10, 2020/ — MyOffice (https://MyOffice.ru/en/), the Russian developer of software for collaborative work with documents, has developed a partner network for operation in the countries of Africa. They are planning to create a two-level distribution channel for sales of software to government and major commercial agencies of the region.

MyOffice is conducting negotiations on the government level regarding contracts in several African countries, including Algiers, Burundi, Gabon, Ghana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, and Uganda. The company is interested in finding partners with sufficient expertise on the IT market who are able to provide a full cycle of works in supply of software products to the above-listed countries. Priority will be granted to companies that have experience of working with government agencies and large-scale businesses with annual turnover over $10M. MyOffice sets rigorous requirements both for business expertise of their future partners and their ability to take up complex IT projects. Applications for participation in the partner network can be sent to the specially assigned email — global.sales@myoffice.team.

The first level of the distribution channel will be granted to companies with the special status of master partner for the country or a group of countries in Africa. MyOffice will be actively helping these partners promote their product on the local market, including by conducting educational courses for employees of the partner company on working with the product and establishing business strategies.

To complete their tasks, appointed master partners will develop the second level of the channel out of local market players, integrators, resellers, and suppliers of IT products. They are planning to cooperate using the classic scheme of license supply to the software market — MyOffice, as the platform developer, develops and perfects their product; master partner sells licenses in the region strictly following KPIs, while local companies are concerned with direct introduction, technical support, and personnel training.

“At the moment, several in Africa are already using MyOffice products. For instance, in 2019 we sold MyOffice Professional licenses to the agencies of Burundi Presidential Executive Office and signed a cooperation contract with the Democratic Republic of Congo. Positive examples of introducing MyOffice in key countries of the region will influence their neighbor’s decisions, since they are also worried about issues of confidentiality and data control. I am certain they will be interested in using the most advanced technology for collaborative work with documents and reducing the costs of creating and maintaining IT infrastructure,” says Dmitry Komissarov, CEO of MyOffice.

MyOffice (https://MyOffice.ru/en/) is Russian software for collaborative work with documents and communication on any platform. The My Office suite includes the following applications: Documents, Text, Spreadsheet, Presentation, Email, Calendar, Contacts, the Logos messenger.

One of the features of MyOffice products is full control of your data and high-level protection from external threats and unauthorized access. MyOffice software is easy to use, it helps organize collaborative work with documents on any computer, smartphone or tablet, even working on different OS.

There are also special free versions of MyOffice Education offered to educational institutions (http://bit.ly/38C5Cbc) MyOffice products are widely used in the education system of the Russian Federation to improve computer literacy and train highly skilled professionals for the labor market. Educational institutions in each of the 85 constituent units of Russia use over 1 million licenses of MyOffice Education.

The company offers products in 7 languages, including Russian, French, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Bashkir, and Tatar. As of 2020, MyOffice has been sold to 1,100 institutions, including federal and regional government agencies. The largest clients are the Federal Tax Service, the Federal National Guard Troop Service, Russian Post, Aeroflot, Russian Railways, and others.

The company was established in 2013. In 2019 Kaspersky Lab, a leading developer and supplier of information security solutions, joined the company’s board of directors.

*SOURCE MyOffice

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