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What happened to Turkana oil exploration, Kenyans ask amid hike in Fuel prices
January 16, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

The news about oil discovery in Kenya’s northwestern Turkana region in 2012 was met with celebrations.

The discovery was made following exploratory drilling by Anglo-Irish firm Tullow Oil, and the then Kenyan president Mwai Kibaki termed it a breakthrough.

In August 2019, the East African nation made one step ahead by exporting the first oil shipment to a British-based Chinese firm.

President Uhuru Kenyatta flagged off the country’s first shipment of oil, above 200,000 crude oil barrels raising citizens’ expectations.

Since then, there has been no much information about oil.

The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA), on January 14, 2021, announced the increment in the prices of petroleum products, and Kenyans did not hesitate to inquire about the Turkana Oil exploration.

“What happened to our Turkana oil exploration? “Asked John Nthiga.

In its latest review, the diesel, kerosene, and super petrol prices have gone up by Ksh4.57, Ksh3.56, and Ksh0.17, respectively.

This means a litre of diesel will be sold at ksh96.40, Kerosene ksh87.72, and super petrol ksh106.99 in Nairobi.

In Mombasa, a litre of diesel, kerosene, and super petrol will cost ksh94.01, ksh84.75 and ksh104.60, respectively.

The changes will take effect on January 15 run until February 14.

“The changes in January’s prices are as a consequence of the average landed cost of imported Super Petrol increasing by 1.51 % from the US $ 318.71 per cubic metre in November 2020 to the US $ 323.52 per cubic metre in December 2020,” EPRA said.

EPRA noted that the prices were inclusive of the eight percent Value Added Tax (VAT) in line with the Finance Act provisions.

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DHL Global Forwarding invests 126.5 million rand in new facility in South Africa
January 14, 2021 | 0 Comments
Clement Blanc, Managing Director, DHL Global Forwarding, South Africa
Clement Blanc, Managing Director, DHL Global Forwarding, South Africa

The new facility will boast 10,000 square meters of warehousing space, doubling the existing capacity to meet future demand.

Signs exclusive ten-year lease for approximately 13,000 square meters of office and warehousing space at the newly-developed Skyparks Business Estate near Oliver Reginald (O.R.) Tambo International Airport; the new facility will boast 10,000 square meters of warehousing space, doubling the existing capacity to meet future demand.

In a strategic move that reinforces its commitment to the country, DHL Global Forwarding  is investing ZAR 126.5 million into a new facility in Johannesburg. Aimed at cementing its market-leading position in South Africa, the new 13,000 sqm facility will be located within the bonded  zone at Skyparks Business Estate – a hair’s breadth from the O.R. Tambo International Airport.

Clement Blanc, Managing Director, DHL Global Forwarding, South Africa said, “While it’s too early to fully grasp the economic impact of the current pandemic, our confidence in investing ahead of the curve is abetted by our diverse service portfolio and long-established foothold in Africa. As the world’s largest free trade  area moves toward economic integration, our five-year strategy  to sharpen our core business offerings and accelerate digitalization will further our growth in the region and specifically, in South Africa.”

Twice the size of its current set-up, this new facility will consist of a 10,000 sqm warehouse that enables the leading forwarder to consolidate all its customers’ warehousing requirements. There will be an exclusive and specialized cold chain  facility that consists of three adjustable temperature controlled refrigerators geared to handle the life science and healthcare products in and out of South Africa. The warehouse will also support other value added services including cross-docking, storage for air, ocean and road freight services, and a platform for breakbulk cargo.

“Custom-built to our world-class specifications and located in proximity to the airport, arterial thoroughfares and upcoming industrial parks, this new facility will be the game-changer for DHL in the country. We are well-poised to focus on delivering excellence to our customers as we surround ourselves with the critical infrastructure that is needed to enhance our productivity and efficiency,” added Blanc.

Even as the South African economy is expected to inch forward by about 1-2%  in the next two years, industry observers are optimistic that the government’s commitment to improve investment and efforts to revitalize townships and industrial parks will reap much-needed benefits. Equally, a flourishing e-commerce sector will drive greater demand  for retail warehousing and distribution space, especially for perishables and fast-moving consumer goods.

DHL (www.DPDHL.com) is the leading global brand in the logistics industry. Our DHL divisions offer an unrivalled portfolio of logistics services ranging from national and international parcel delivery, e-commerce shipping and fulfilment solutions, international express, road, air and ocean transport to industrial supply chain management. With about 380,000 employees in more than 220 countries and territories worldwide, DHL connects people and businesses securely and reliably, enabling global sustainable trade flows. With specialized solutions for growth markets and industries including technology, life sciences and healthcare, engineering, manufacturing & energy, auto-mobility and retail, DHL is decisively positioned as “The logistics company for the world”.

DHL is part of Deutsche Post DHL Group. The Group generated revenues of more than 63 billion euros in 2019. With sustainable business practices and a commitment to society and the environment, the Group makes a positive contribution to the world. Deutsche Post DHL Group aims to achieve zero-emissions logistics by 2050.

*SOURCE Deutsche Post DHL

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Newly acquired airbus to boost Uganda Airlines’ post-covid-19 recovery plan
January 8, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Uganda Airlines, the country’s  flag-carrier, has taken delivery of its first A330neo, the latest version of the most popular widebody airliner. It is the first Airbus aircraft delivered to Uganda Airlines, which was established in 2019, it has been reported. 

 It is added that in line with the company’s strategy to keep offering its customers unbeatable economics, increased operational efficiency and superior passenger comfort, the A330-800 is the latest addition to Airbus’ commercial aircraft product line.

   Thanks to its tailored, mid-sized capacity and its excellent range versatility, the A330neo is considered the ideal aircraft to operate as part of the post-COVID-19 recovery.

 It is added that the A330neo will enable the new airline to launch its long-range operations with non-stop intercontinental flights to the Middle East, Europe and Asia. 

Featuring Airbus’ Airspace cabin, passengers can enjoy a unique experience and explore its full comfort with 20 full-flat, business-class beds, 28 premium-economy seats and 210 economy-class seats, totaling 258 seats.

The A330neo is a true new-generation aircraft, building on the features of the popular A330 and using technology developed for the A350. Powered by the latest Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engines and featuring a new wing with increased span and A350-inspired Sharklets, the A330neo provides an unprecedented level of efficiency. The aircraft burns 25% less fuel per seat than previous generation competitors. The A330neo cabin offers a unique passenger experience with more personal space and the latest generation in-flight entertainment system and connectivity.

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AfCFTA/African E-Commerce trading platform activated
January 8, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

The African Continental Free Trade Area and African E-Commerce trading has been activated starting with  Ethiopian Airlines-DHL and the African Electronic Trade Group partnering  to transport historical parcels in the African Continental Free Trade Area.

  It is reported that the partnership is meant to invoke the start of trading of the African Continental Free Trade Area market and the operations of the African E-Commerce Platform in the continent.

 It has also been reported that the first batch of the goods has arrived at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport on 1 January 2021 at a ceremony graced by high-level officials from the public and private sectors including the  African Union (AU), DHL and Ethiopian Airlines Group.

 Working in collaboration with African Union Commission and the African business community with a vision to enhance intra-and inter-African trade, the African Electronic Trade Group transports fragile trophies to various African countries as African Continental Free Trade Area commences.

  It is added that the smooth and reliable connection between the source and the final destination is possible because of the partnership between Ethiopian Airlines and the African Electronic Trade Group.

 The partnership joins the pre-existing continental partnership between Ethiopian Airlines and DHL that has strengthened the multimodal logistics systems established by Ethiopian at its hub in Addis Ababa.

  Commissioner General of the Eswatini Revenue Authority remarked, “Tremendous opportunities exist digitally enabled cross border trade through the implementation of ASYCUDA World, Customs to Customs Data Exchange, Coordinated Border Management, Single Windows and other similar mechanisms pursued under the Regional Economic Communities, which need to be the norm rather than the exception in Africa. The African Continental Free Trade Area brings momentum behind our commitment for enhanced ease of doing business that we are addressing in partnership with the business community, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade and all members of the National Trade Facilitation Committee”.

  It is reported that so far, the fragile goods have passed through Eswatini, South Africa and Ethiopia, countries that have signed and ratified the AfCFTA Agreement.

  Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam, Group CEO Ethiopian airlines said, “The link between an integrated African marketplace, free movement of persons and the single air market in Africa cannot be underestimated as it serves as a catalyst for unlocking immense opportunities in Africa for the benefit of Africans and all stakeholders. I would like to commend the African Union leaders for their strategic focus on the legal instruments that will make it easier for Africans to travel across the continent peacefully and do business with each other. I believe that the partnership with The African Electronic Trade Group and DHL is crucial, as Ethiopian is a key player in African cargo and passenger transportation. While fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, we need to work to boost intra African trade to pave the way for a brighter future.”

  The African Electronic Trade Group Southern Africa office is the origin of the cargo comprising of small fragile trophies destined to several African countries.

  The items are handmade by artisans in the Kingdom of Eswatini from recycled glass and converted into items of beauty.

  It is added that this is to mark the start of trading of the African Continental Free Trade Area and the operation of the African E-Commerce Platform named “Sokokuu (www.sokokuu.africa)’’ which means big market, central market and unity in Kiswahili.

  It is reported that the items produced in Eswatini and transported to various destinations across the continent symbolize that Africa is ready to exchange goods originating in the marketplace from the first day of trading.

  “A robust ecosystem to serve SMEs, especially women and youth, better is under construction with fresh impetus from digital technologies and enabling policies being put in place by the African Union Member States,” Chairperson of the African Business Council, Dr. Amany Asfour remarked.

  A joint statement issued by the partners stated, “This is the beginning of an exciting journey between a consortium of proud and trusted African and global brands namely  AeTrade Group, Ethiopian Airlines and DHL.”

  They said that standing together they welcomed  the start of trading of the African Continental Free Trade Area with its 1.3 bililon people and an estimated GDP of 3.4 trillion.

It is also added that All African countries are encouraged to sign and ratify the agreement, because universal signature and ratification of the relevant instruments is essential for seamless and hassle free trade and industrial development in Africa.

 “We wish to thank the African leaders for bringing this fruitful decision. The AfCFTA serves as an inspiration to the business community which propels us to make a start now, providing payment and logistics services and trade information via Sokokuu.Africa” said the CEO and Chairman of the AeTrade Group, Mr. Mulualem Syoum.

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Siemens Gamesa seals its first wind farm project in Ethiopia, expanding its leadership in Africa
January 6, 2021 | 0 Comments
The 100 MW wind farm will help power over 400,000 Ethiopian households.

ADAMA, Ethiopia, January 4, 2021/ — The company will deliver 29 SG 3.4-132 wind turbines to state-owned utility Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) for the Assela project; the 100 MW wind farm will help power over 400,000 Ethiopian households; the wind farm is set to be commissioned by Spring 2023, and will save more than 260,000 tons of CO2 emissions per year.
Siemens Gamesa (www.SiemensGamesa.com) has signed its first wind power project in Ethiopia with state-owned electricity company Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP), strengthening its leadership in Africa as the country begins to expand its green energy capacity to meet ambitious renewable targets.

The 100 MW Assela wind farm will be located between the towns of Adama and Assela, approximately 150 km south of the capital, Addis Ababa, and will contribute to clean and affordable power for the country’s electricity grid.

The country has set an ambitious target to supply 100% of its domestic energy demand through renewable energy by 2030. According to the African Development Bank, Ethiopia has abundant resources, particularly wind with a potential 10 GW of installation capacity and having installed 324 MW at present.  

“Siemens Gamesa is intent on expanding its leadership across Africa, and in turn help a growing transition to green energy across the continent. So, we are extremely pleased to begin work in Ethiopia and look forward to collaborating with both EEP and the country to continue to promote their drive to install more renewables and meet transformational energy targets,” said Roberto Sabalza, CEO for Onshore Southern Europe and Africa at Siemens Gamesa.  

According to a Wood Mackenzie forecast, around 2 GW of wind power would be installed in Ethiopia by 2029.

The wind farm will be made up of 29 SG 3.4-132 wind turbines and is expected to be commissioned by the start of 2023. The project will generate about 300,000 MWh per year. Siemens Gamesa will provide full engineering, procurement, and turnkey construction.

The Assela wind project will be financed by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs via Danida Business Finance (DBF) adding to a loan agreement signed between the Ethiopian Ministry of Finance and Economic Cooperation (MoFEC) and Danske Bank A/S.

Ethiopia has many renewable resources covering wind, solar, geothermal, and biomass, and the country aspires to be a power hub and the battery for the Horn of Africa. The country’s National Electrification Program, launched in 2017, outlines a plan to reach universal access by 2025 with the help of off-grid solutions for 35% of the population.

Siemens Gamesa is among the global leaders in the wind power industry, with a strong presence in all facets of the renewable energy business: offshore, onshore, and services. With more than 107 GW installed worldwide; Siemens Gamesa is an ideal partner for Ethiopia at this critical juncture in the East African nation’s accelerating energy journey.

About Siemens Gamesa in Africa:
Siemens Gamesa has been pioneering wind energy projects in Africa for 21 years.

Installations total 4 GW in countries such as Egypt, South Africa, Morocco, Kenya, Mauritania, Mauritius Islands, Tunisia and Algeria representing 60% of all wind power on the continent.

Siemens Gamesa is driving Africa’s energy transition to deliver cleaner, more reliable, more affordable energy for millions of African people and support long term sustainability and economic growth. It has the broadest product portfolio in the industry with leading technology and innovation, the scale and global reach to provide proximity to customers, and high standards of health, safety and environmental protection.
*SOURCE Siemens Gamesa
 
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December 30, 2020 | 0 Comments
Mondia Brings Ground-Breaking Entertainment Platform Monsooq to Nigeria
Monsooq’s unique time-based model allows consumers to buy entertainment time just as they would mobile airtime and use that time to consume any content

 Mondia , a leading mobile technology company specialising in the marketing and distribution of digital content, today announced its second African launch of the ground-breaking time-based entertainment platform Monsooq, in Nigeria. This follows on the heels of the initial launch in South Africa.

Monsooq is the first-of-its kind model which utilises time as the currency. Users pay only for the time they spend consuming content and are not required to take out any contracts or subscriptions.

Entertainment anytime anywhere

Monsooq’s unique time-based model allows consumers to buy entertainment time just as they would mobile airtime and use that time to consume any content they choose, including movies, sports, educational content, books, series, games and music – all on a single, convenient, end-to-end entertainment platform. New users to https://Monsooq.com/ng will receive 60 minutes complimentary access and a 50% discount on content during the launch, after which pricing is NGN20 per hour.

Whether a consumer wishes to play a game for 30 minutes while commuting, or binge a new series for six hours, they are able to load that amount of time to their profile securely using a debit or credit card. And when their time ends, they simply top up with more.

Nigeria houses incredible content

Dr Amadeo Rahmann, Mondia Group CEO, said: “Africa is the next frontier in regard to digitalisation. Our extensive footprint, increasing customer base and significant experience in the region make Africa a natural choice of focus for us. African markets, especially Nigeria with its large population and growth of digital streaming services, are primed for the democratisation of content. Mondia is firmly focused on changing the way people consume entertainment. We have incredible reach and deep understanding of the geographies in which we operate, with over 1.4 billion potential users in these countries.”

Mondia believes that Nigeria is a great local content hub for Africa with its media and entertainment industry, Nollywood, providing world-class content. Nigeria is also currently the second-largest film producer in the world in terms of number of movies[3]. The local industry employs about one million people and generates over US$7 billion for the economy3, and Mondia is excited to help provide another platform for this content.

The “new normal” brings new opportunities

“COVID-19 has had such a dramatic impact on economies globally, deeply affecting consumers’ disposable income. We believe that the Monsooq model is reflective of the changed financial situation of consumers while bringing much needed entertainment during these difficult times,” concludes Dr Rahmann.

Mondia sees exceptional potential in the continent. According to research conducted by PwC South Africa in 2019[1], entertainment and media (E&M) spend in Nigeria saw a 25.5% rise in E&M revenue in 2017 to US$3.8bn.

In December 2019 more Africans (526 million) accessed the internet than North Americans[2]. And there is still massive potential for growth: Africa has a total internet penetration level of just under 40%, as compared to penetration in the rest of the world of 63.2%. While streaming services have proliferated across Africa, there is an increasing need to deliver enhanced value, choice, and innovation in terms of pricing and content.

Monsooq also represents a new frontier of content monetisation for entertainment providers, giving them direct access to customers who are not interested in a traditional subscription model.

Content is king

Monsooq features a world-class recommendation engine to ensure consumers find the content they love. Content will be localised and customised, with a mix of local, regional and international content. Mondia aims to build the content economy and bring value across Africa as Monsooq expands.

The platform has partnered with leading regional content providers such as Viva Nation and Wi-flix, as well as well-known international TV channels, sports and games providers, and offers over 20 000 hours of entertainment including, Esport and EPIC ON. In addition, Mondia will also feature their own entertainment services which boast leading games and music titles.

Monsooq launched in South Africa  in November, which incorporates a deal with LaLiga as a premium content partner, and now launches in Nigeria, with other markets to follow.

To access Monsooq simply click here .


*SOURCE Mondia

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Kenya Airways launches JKIA Express Service for KQ Passengers
December 18, 2020 | 0 Comments

Nairobi, 17 December 2020…  Kenya’s national carrier, Kenya Airways (KQ) has partnered with Kenya Railways to launch the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) Express service tailored to align with Kenya Airways flights. The service will grant passengers access to convenient, safe, and cost-effective transport to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) from the Nairobi Central Business District.

‘’We are pleased to launch the new express service which is aligned to our KQ flight schedule to ensure passengers and staff enjoy a seamless journey to and from JKIA. We are honoured to play our role in creating an integrated transport service and marking this milestone for the transport industry in Kenya” said Allan Kilavuka, Group Managing Director and CEO of Kenya Airways.

The integrated service of Rail and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) will operate between 0545hrs – 2100hrs and will cost passengers Sh250 for a 20-minute ride. The service will see passengers dropped off at the Embakasi Railway Station from where a shuttle will pick them up and ferry them to JKIA. The first official train service departed the city centre at 11:05hrs this morning with the passengers connecting to the KQ Nairobi-Mombasa flight departing JKIA at 13:00hrs.

The Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) Express Service, which operates on a separate schedule from the recently launched regular commuter service targets both the airport workers and customers travelling to and from the airport.

“This service goes a long way in addressing the challenge of gridlocks on the roads around the city. The service will ensure a safe and cost-effective means of transport for all passengers,” said Kenya Railways Managing Director, Phillip Mainga.

In the same breath, Kenya Railways Chairman Maj. Gen. (Rtd) Pastor Awitta stated that he was glad to welcome the public to enjoy a better way to move into and out of the city through use of the Diesel Multiple Unit trains and the Nairobi Commuter Rail- Bus Rapid Transport.

“Besides decongesting the roads around the city, both developments will enhance the ease of doing business within the city. The result of the movement as you well know is growth, our economy will grow, and our people will also grow” he concluded.

The express service will depart Nairobi City Centre three times a day and depart from JKIA twice a day.

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Kenya Airways launches expanded Southern Africa operations to fly cargo directly from Johannesburg
December 17, 2020 | 0 Comments

Nairobi – 16 December 2020: Kenya Airways has launched its expanded Southern Africa operations that will see the airline fly cargo directly from Johannesburg to other countries in the region. Currently all connections are done through its hub in Nairobi and going forward all cargo from Southern Africa will be delivered directly, resulting in shorter connecting times and speed to market, one of the unique selling propositions to its customers.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had tremendous impact on the global aviation sector with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecasting a net loss of $118 million in 2020, in what has been declared the worst year in aviation history. The pandemic has not only challenged the Air Cargo sector, that accounts for approximately 35% of global trade by value, but also shown the resilience of the cargo community that has quickly adapted to the rapidly evolving situation.

“Even as the movement of people across the globe became increasingly restricted, one thing remained unchanged, the need to keep the much-needed supplies and other goods moving in order to sustain economies and to help fight the pandemic. This has reaffirmed the importance of our cargo operations and the significance of air travel in spurring trade and supporting economic growth even during tough times. South Africa is the largest intra-Africa exporting nation which was part of the fundamental opportunity principles driving the project” said Allan Kilavuka – Group Managing Director & CEO, Kenya Airways.

Amb Kamau, Amb Milanzi TZ and Mozambique and Uganda Reps

Amb Kamau, Amb Milanzi TZ and Mozambique and Uganda Reps

The expanded cargo operations will be one of the key instruments KQ Cargo will deploy to promote swift connectivity in the southern region countries that include Zambia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi.  The airline will continue to provide one weekly schedule to Lusaka, Maputo, Lilongwe, Harare, and will step up frequencies as demand picks up.

“It is key to reconsider how Africa’s airfreight market is positioned in order to maximise its full potential. Governments should leave behind protectionist approaches to regulating aviation and embrace liberalisation, because when such policies are adopted, countries benefit from improved connectivity with a positive impact on trade. We strongly believe in Africa’s aviation potential, and we are ready to offer a solid and long-term partnership” said Dick Murianki – General Manager, KQ Cargo.

Intra-Africa Connectivity remains at the centre of the KQ Cargo agenda with intra-Africa airfreight volumes averaging about 5% of total exports from Africa, which is way below other continents that average well over 30%. A well interconnected Africa will catalyze trade and Kenya Airways will play its part diligently in connecting the world to Africa and Africa to the world.

“The expansion of KQ cargo freight to more Southern Africa countries will boost intra-African trade as well as enhance connectivity in the southern region. Similarly, I wish to challenge KQ to venture into cargo business with countries in the regions that KQ has no footprints such as Eswatini and this will go a long way in increasing volume of cargo as well facilitate the generation of more income.” added H.E. Ambassador Jean Kamau High Commissioner of the Republic of Kenya to South Africa.

About Kenya Airways

Kenya Airways, a member of the Sky Team Alliance, is a leading African airline flying to 54 destinations worldwide, 41 of which are in Africa and transports over four million passengers annually. It continues to modernize its fleet with its 34 aircrafts being amongst the youngest in Africa. This includes its flagship B787 Dreamliner aircraft. The on-board service is renowned and the lie-flat business class seat on the wide-body aircraft is consistently voted among the world’s top 10. Kenya Airways takes pride for being in the forefront of connecting Africa to the World and the World to Africa through its hub at the new ultra-modern Terminal 1A at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. Kenya Airways celebrated 43 years of operation in January 2020 and was named Africa Leading Airline 2019 by the World Travel Awards.

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59 percent of Nigerians ready for a global digital currency – new survey
December 1, 2020 | 0 Comments

30 November 2020 – Luno, the global cryptocurrency platform, has today announced the findings of a new global survey which revealed that nearly 3 out of 5 Nigerians are ready to adopt a global digital currency, reflecting the country’s growing interest in cryptocurrencies since the start of the global pandemic. Nigerians also rank higher than the global average of 37 percent for openness to digital currency adoption.

The survey, which included 15,000 respondents from South Africa, UK, France, Italy, Indonesia, Malaysia and Nigeria, was first conducted in 2019 and then repeated in 2020. It also forms the basis of Luno’s “Trust and Uncertainty in 2020” report which explores how the attitude towards

governments, money and the decision making by central banks have changed since last year.

According to the survey, 54% of Africans think a single global currency would make their financial system better, compared to 41% for Asia and 35% for Europe. Looking at the responses in total, across all the countries in the survey, respondents expressed a more negative sentiment on the development of their local currency than last year. 40% believe their local currency will decrease in value over the next year, while 31% think it will stay the same and only 29% see an increase going forward. Hence, the majority are anticipating a decrease in their local currency which is leading many to explore alternatives. 

Speaking on the rising interest for cryptocurrencies in Nigeria, Owen Odia, Luno’s Country Manager for Nigeria, says “This year, we’re seeing a level of uncertainty that hasn’t been seen since the 2007-8 global recession and with this, there’s been a wave of Nigerians making their first steps to learn about cryptocurrencies. The growing interest in cryptocurrencies represents a new openness to look beyond the traditional ways of managing and getting the most out of your money, and exploring other useful opportunities.”

“People have had more time to research the benefits of cryptocurrencies and how they present a viable solution to many of Nigeria’s challenges around high inflation, currency volatility and a limited banking infrastructure. With ongoing inflation and other fiscal challenges, we anticipate that more Nigerians will continue to explore different ways of getting the most value from their money.”  

“The report also revealed that 52% of Nigerians feel their local economy is performing poorly compared to the global average of 36%. Confidence in the naira is also quickly diminishing with 44% of Nigerians believing their currency will decrease over the next 12 months –  almost doubling from the report’s 2019 figures of 23%. 

However, in the midst of all the financial chaos, bitcoin has emerged as an attractive alternative to fiat money – for its deflationary properties and it’s startling performance over the last year (up 145%). Increasingly institutional investors, traditional finance players and companies are adding Bitcoin to their balance sheets. 

Discussing the emergence of bitcoin in recent months, Marius Reitz, General Manager for Africa at Luno, says “There’s a fresh impetus to educate ourselves as our current financial system is looking increasingly ill-equipped to overcome the challenges.“With lowering interest rates, you don’t want to be in a situation where you don’t earn any interest on your money and lose purchasing power for every year that goes by.”

“Therefore, at Luno we’ve launched a savings wallet allowing customers to earn up to 4% interest per year on their bitcoin. We encourage our customers to learn as much as possible about investing and consider how they can maximise their savings.”

To learn more about Luno’s new Bitcoin Savings Wallet, click the following link

About Luno 

Luno is a global cryptocurrency platform aiming to empower billions of people by upgrading the world to a better financial system. Luno is doing this by making it safe and easy to buy, store, use and learn about cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. To date, Luno has processed more than USD$14 billion in transactions and has over 5 million customers across 40+ countries. 

Luno is headquartered in London and has a team of 400+ technology and finance experts operating in regions across the world. Luno is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group

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African industrialist launches million-dollar venture capital fund for African entrepreneurs
November 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

African industrialist Adam Molai
African industrialist Adam Molai

African industrialist Adam Molai has launched a $1-million fund to provide entrepreneurs with capital to kickstart or expand their enterprises, in a massive boost for start-up businesses in Africa,it has been revealed.

 The JUA [sunrise in KiSwahili] Kickstarter Fund will provide successful applicants with funds – to launch or grow their businesses – as well as mentoring and guidance.

Entrepreneurs from across Africa are invited to apply.

The entire application process is electronic and funds are expected to be disbursed to successful applicants within 12 weeks of their shortlisting, in a first for Africa.

 It is reported that while SMMEs are indispensable for Africa’s economic recovery from Covid-19 devastation, raising start-up capital is one of the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs on the continent, with banks requiring collateral that most of them do not have, studies show.

Another big challenge is the absence of mentoring.

Molai, who has successfully started several enterprises across Africa and whose TRT Investments had $125-million of assets under management as of end 2019, says a desire to inspire the Continent’s entrepreneurial generation was behind the creation of the fund.

“Without entrepreneurs, economies cannot grow and countries cannot advance. But African entrepreneurs unfortunately do not get the support they need to thrive for a myriad of reasons. Yet Africa is full of enterprising people.

“Wherever there is adversity, there is opportunity. Africa is rife with adversity, wherever you turn business prospects are in abundance. Entrepreneurs provide solutions to societal challenges, whilst creating space for the advancement of their communities. I feel that Africa is so much more open and it is full of so much more opportunity than you would find elsewhere. I want to do everything in my power to ensure that this potential is cultivated and unleashed.”

Molai says the inspiration to create the JUA FUND was to highlight the importance of African businesspeople, tangibly demonstrating their confidence in the talent and entrepreneurial capacity that is within the Continent.

“When people see Africans investing in our own environment, they feel more confident to invest alongside us. Confidence breeds confidence. And I am nothing if not confident in the future of Africa and in what we can collectively achieve,” he says.

“For decades we’ve looked to governments to create a conducive environment for entrepreneurship to thrive in Africa. Governments alone will not achieve this without entrepreneurs also investing into creating more entrepreneurs. For true success, there is need for this symbiotic approach buttressed by supportive policies,” adds Molai.   

Molai says one of the critical differentiators of the fund will be how fast money is disbursed to successful applicants.

“Cash flow is essential to the survival of small and emerging businesses. Studies have shown that cash flow is one of the major reasons why small and emerging businesses fail within the first two to five years. So, we have committed to ensuring disbursement to successful applicants within 12 weeks,” he says.

Molai says he hopes the JUA FUND, as well as his and other successful entrepreneurs’ experiences, will inspire in young Africans the desire to start their own enterprises and not wait to seek out jobs.

“Unfortunately, too many young people today access opportunities to higher education, study for jobs, as youth unemployment continues to rise – producing a schooled, unskilled and unemployed generation. Others don’t pursue education or entrepreneurship because they think that becoming part of political patronage networks is an easier path to wealth.

“This attitude kills the inspiration, the desire to dream, create and build something out of very little resources or nothing. I believe this is one of the greatest threats to our continent’s economic growth ambitions, and I am hoping that the JUA FUND will play its part in transforming Africa’s entrepreneurial landscape,” says Molai.

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Emirates Airlines “still interested in flying to Mozambique”
November 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Jorge Joaquim

Emirates Airlines. one of the largest airlines in the world, remains interested in providing flights to Mozambique, the United Arab Emirates’ ambassador to Mozambique, Khalid Shohail, said in an interview with Notícias. 

Shohail said that Emirates should have been flying to the country since June, but restrictions to contain the spread of covid-19 had delayed the start of flights.

Emirates will fly from Dubai, via Maputo, to Gaborone in Botswana, and teams from the Mozambican government and the company are currently working to get the flights off the ground soon, the paper reported.

The go-ahead for Emirates flights to Maputo had been given after the company had completed a commercial viability study.

In recent years, several international airlines have expressed an interest in operating in Mozambique.

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Lux Afrique Group opens Africa’s first luxury e-commerce boutique, Lux Afrique Boutique
November 25, 2020 | 0 Comments
Alexander Amosu, Founder of Lux Afrique
Delivering to all 54 countries in Africa, within a standard delivery time of 3 to 5 days.

The Lux Afrique Group , in keeping with its pioneering spirit, will open the virtual doors to Africa’s very first online luxury multi-brand e-commerce store, the Lux Afrique Boutique , on 25 November 2020. This exclusive online shopping destination will offer clients from the African continent and around the world, the most luxurious brands in fashion, jewellery, watches, home, technology and food. Says Alexander Amosu, Founder of Lux Afrique “Pretty much every part of the world has a luxury e-commerce platform servicing the high net worth population across Asia, the Middle East and Europe, so why not Africa? I’m pleased to say that the Lux Afrique Boutique intend to change that!” 

The Boutique
Upon entering the online boutique, clients are presented with a selection of women’s fashion from the world’s most desirable luxury brands. The seasonal collections of leathergoods and ready-to-wear are all current and what one would find in the shopping capitals Paris, Milan or London. The men’s universe features an array of the finest names in luxury, with an additional selection of grooming products. Should you not be able to find your special piece, the concierge team are on standby 24 hours a day to source and deliver any luxury product to your home. Engrained in the company ethos, Lux Afrique Boutique (www.LuxAfrique.boutique) believe in supporting Africa and providing a platform to showcase its brands. It’s only natural then that a curated selection of African fashion and lifestyle designer brands will be available in the online boutique, with more will be added. Art lovers will be particularly pleased with the online African Art room, where the continents’ foremost artists will showcase their works.

For those who adore fine jewellery and watches, the High Jewellery universe features an array of exquisite pieces from Fabergé, David Morris and Stephen Webster, together with the worlds’ foremost watch and jewellery brands. Once again, and true to company spirit, Vanleles, an African fine jewellery brand features prominently in the online boutique.

Luxury lifestyle brands that are specially created for the home, ensure that your abode reflects your style. Expect to find designer furniture, homeware and the latest audiovisual equipment like Bang and Olufsen, to decorate your residence. The shopping experience is complimented by the finest champagnes, wines and spirits, including Louis XIII and Dom Perignon, available in the world, while the highlight for any connoisseur would be discovering the Foodhall’s exceptional delicacies. The concierge team, as part of the highly personalised service, are on standby 24 hours a day to source and deliver any luxury product that you may possibly not find in the boutique. For VIP clients, a limited selection of merchandise can infact be delivered within 24 to 48 hours.

Shipping
Lux Afrique Boutique (www.LuxAfrique.boutique) will deliver to 54 countries in Africa within a standard delivery time of 3 to 5 working days. For VIP clients, a limited selection of merchandise can infact be delivered within 24 to 48 hours. In addition, to celebrate your birthday and as a special gift to you, the boutique offers free shipping on your birthday.

Corporate Social Responsibility
The Group strongly believe in giving back and supporting entrepreneurship efforts in Africa. With this in mind, a percentage of each sale will be ploughed back into sustainable projects supporting local businesses on the continent, allowing clients to partner with the Boutique in giving-back through their purchases, a priceless feel-good factor. The Lux Afrique Boutique aims to place the spotlight on discovering and showcasing luxury African brands and artisans.

About Lux Afrique Boutique:
Lux Afrique Boutique is Africa’s first luxury online shopping boutique revolutionising the African luxury market by delivering to all 54 countries across Africa. The Boutique, together with its 24-hour concierge service, caters for high-spending African consumers and is uniquely positioned in the high growth online luxury sector. The team are dedicated to hand-picking the world’s finest, rarest and most exquisite luxury brands globally by offering it online. The curated gift service provides a completely stress-free shopping experience as a retail destination for men and women with a distinctive taste for luxury without the inconvenience of travelling to Europe.

About Lux Afrique Group:
Lux Afrique , a luxurious lifestyle, 24-hour concierge service and events company catering to the needs of over 500 HNWIs (High-Net-Worth Individuals) particularly Africans earning more than one million US Dollars per annum, was founded in 2016 by Alexander Amosu. As part of the Lux Afrique Group, Lux Afrique Agency was launched in 2019 to represent sports personalities, celebrities and influencers from across Africa and worldwide. This is in addition to Lux Afrique POLO events, the Lux Afrique Conference, Lux Afrique online Magazine and the soon to be launched Lux Afrique Boutique, the first luxury online shopping platform delivering to all 54 countries in Africa.
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African Energy Chamber to Gather Industry Stakeholders within the CEMAC Region Ahead of 2021 Recovery
November 23, 2020 | 0 Comments
The event will gather all of the Chamber’s partners and industry stakeholders in Equatorial Guinea as the market embarks on a path to recovery in 2021.

To mark the launch of the latest African Energy Outlook 2021, the African Energy Chamber (www.EnergyChamber.org) will be hosting a Power Breakfast in Malabo on Wednesday November 25th. The event will gather all of the Chamber’s partners and industry stakeholders in Equatorial Guinea as the market embarks on a path to recovery in 2021.

The event will be opened by H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea, and will benefit from the presence of leading participants such as Antonio Oburu Ondó, Director General of national oil company GEPetrol, and Leoncio Amada NZE, CEO of APEX Industries and President for the CEMAC Region at the Chamber. Together, they will be joined by leading industry executives from Marathon Oil Corp, ExxonMobil, the National Bank of Equatorial Guinea (BANGE) and the Bank of Central African States (BEAC) along with local industry players.

Participants will notably seek ways to work together on ensuring a strong recovery in 2021 and addressing key concerns that continue to affect investments into the region, notably when it comes to regulatory frameworks. Equally important, the discussion will aim at highlighting the resilience of Equatorial Guinea’s oil sector during the Covid-19 pandemic and historic crises of 2020, and focus on the key projects and initiatives that will bring back the industry on strong feet, especially natural gas and energy infrastructure.

“Equatorial Guinea has always been an oil & gas leader in Central Africa and across the continent as a whole. While we have not been exempt of the deep shocks and crises our industry has faced in 2020, we believe that the country’s experience will support its recovery”. Stated Leoncio Amada NZE, President for the CEMAC region at the African Energy Chamber.

“The Chamber’s latest Outlook for 2021 calls for a stronger dialogue around key issues such as policy and fiscal reforms, and a stronger adoption of gas across African economies. Equatorial Guinea, its companies and entrepreneurs, are well place to lead and benefit from such developments,” Concluded Leoncio Amada NZE,

The Power Breakfast will be held at Hotel Colinas in Malabo from 8AM onwards. Interested participants may register by sending an rsvp to partners@energychamber.org.

*African Energy Chamber

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Oil and Gas Discoveries and Activity in Southwest Africa Set to Open New Basins for Development and Trigger Big Investments in Namibia, Angola and South Africa
November 23, 2020 | 0 Comments

By NJ Ayuk*

This is a time for the oil and gas companies that are involved in these mega-opportunities to redouble their efforts to support local communities and people.

Last spring, the Maersk Voyager, an ultra-deepwater drillship under contract by French supermajor Total, drilled a wildcat well in the deepest water ever – 3,628 meters (11,903 feet) in Block 48, a massive area with potentially huge oil reserves in the Congo basin offshore Angola.  

The record-setting achievement wasn’t a success just for Maersk and Total. It also represented a victory for Angola and state oil company Sonangol in their search for new oil, part of a campaign to reverse a recent trend of production declines. The high-impact concept well was long anticipated, and it didn’t take long for other global players, including Qatar Petroleum (QP), to buy in. As part of its bid to expand its exploration portfolio, QP acquired a 30% stake in Block 48 in August, its first venture into Angola’s promising deepwater acreage.

If Angola were the only southwestern African nation making oil and gas news, that would still be a pretty good story. But the fact is, Africa’s southwestern coast is home to perhaps the most globally anticipated wildcats of 2020 and 2021 – exploration that continues despite the added challenges of COVID-19, which has constrained operating and capital budgets. As the African Energy Chamber noted in our 2021 outlook, if successful, prospects in Angola, Namibia, and South Africa, could “open new basins for development and trigger big investments towards the latter half of the 2020s.”

That’s headline-making, indeed.

Combined with Block 48, the Venus-1 prospect in Namibia, and South Africa’s Brulpadda and Luiperd, the region holds world-class resource potential. The key is translating that potential into real benefits for all Africans.

Production is Building Momentum in Angola
For nearly 70 years, oil has been a mainstay of the Angolan economy, contributing about 50% of the nation’s gross domestic product and around 89% of exports. The country holds the continent’s second-largest proven oil reserves and is behind only Nigeria in terms of production. (Angola also has Africa’s fourth-largest proven natural gas reserves, although historically it hasn’t produced much commercially.)

In recent years, though, the drop in oil prices scared off foreign investment, putting pressure on Angola’s well-established oil and gas industry as well as its oil-based economy. Despite its vast resources, not only was production on the downturn, there had not been a major new discovery since 2011. Without fresh finds, consultants Rystad Energy, S.A. said, volumes could drop below 1 million barrels per day by 2025, far below capacity and less than half the 2008’s daily output.

That forecast was more than enough to spur Angolan President João Lourenço into action.

Following his election in 2017, he promised Angola an “economic miracle” and immediately began incentivizing participation in the nation’s oil and gas industry as part of his turnaround plan.

Lourenço’s lures, including better contract terms that would make foreign investment more profitable, paid off. With reforms such as tax relief and a standalone oil industry regulator in place, Total – which has been operating in Angola for six decades – moved quickly in 2018 to take over Block 48 and was awarded Block 29 in the Namibe basin earlier this year; Italy’s Eni was awarded neighboring Block 28 about the same time. Angola also awarded several offshore blocks to Norway’s Equinor and BP. (There are approximately 50 blocks in the Namibe basin, but whether they will all be put into play remains to be seen.)  Eni and its partners also began production at Agogo-1, pumping a modest 10,000 barrels per day. While that may sound small, it contributes to a much larger sum: Taken together, Rystad said, production from new Angolan projects – that is, those begun just in the last five years – should yield 549,000 barrels per day by 2025.

Fiscal Regime Sets Stage for Success in Namibia
If early seismic data is to be believed, compared to Angola there is equal, if not even more, promise in new discoveries offshore Namibia. Altogether, more than 11 billion barrels in oil reserves have been found off the Namibian coast, and scientists compare Namibia’s geology favorably to the pre-salt fields offshore Brazil, which hold 16 billion barrels of crude reserves. Yet Namibia’s basins are considered underexplored, meaning there’s ample opportunity for foreign and domestic investment. The possibility of high-impact discoveries has attracted the likes of Total, ExxonMobil, QP, and Kosmos Energy, which has had significant wildcat success in Africa over the past dozen years.

Currently, all eyes are on Total’s possibly play-opening Venus 1- prospect, which may turn out to be the largest discovery in Africa in a decade. An ultra-deepwater well in the Orange Basin, which straddles the border with South Africa, Venus-1 is thought to have at least 2 billion barrels of oil in place. If Venus-1 is successful, it’s like to attract even more attention to the area. Fortunately, the Namibian government’s oil-friendly policies make it easy for foreign companies to do business there. The fiscal regime is positive, and the state-owned oil company, the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia (NAMCOR), is a cooperative partner. It also helps that Namibia is politically stable and has some of the best-developed infrastructure on the continent, including a modern electricity distribution grid.

We’re Seeing Growing Excitement in South Africa
Like its neighbors to the west, South Africa has been the site of considerable excitement over frontier discoveries, including Total’s Brulpadda, which opened up the Outeniqua basin in 2019. Brulpadda is considered a world-class oil and gas play that holds as much as 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent of gas and condensate light oil.

Brulpadda is considered an antidote to the cascade of ailments South Africa – like many countries with petroleum resources – has experienced in recent years: a drop in oil and gas exploration following a decline in commodity prices. It is likely that PetroSA’s gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant will provide a ready domestic market for Brulpadda, as will the nearby petrochemical and industrial facilities. It is also possible the discovery will help South Africa accelerate the use of gas for electricity.

Total continues to explore other parts of the Outeniqua basin and just last month discovered gas condensate on the Luiperd prospect, where it is a joint venture partner with QP, CNR International, and an African consortium called Main Street. In an announcement, Total said that the Luiperd well was drilled to a total depth of about 3,400 meters and encountered 73 meters of net gas condensate pay, making it even larger than the main reservoir at Brulpadda. Total and its partners have decided to commercialize the Luiperd gas rather than drill another exploration well in the program.

Africans Must Realize the Benefits
There’s no question that these discoveries have made southwestern Africa an exploration hot spot.

Neither is there any doubt that the governments of Angola, Namibia, and South Africa have facilitated and even accelerated the discovery and development processes by making it easy to do business there. (In the case of South Africa, its fiscal terms for oil and gas companies are described as “very generous.”)

What remains uncertain is to what degree each country will continue working to ensure its natural resources, whether newfound or long-established, are used to lift people out of poverty. True, African involvement in joint ventures leads us to assume that the best interests of every citizen are being considered.

But this is a time for the oil and gas companies that are involved in these mega-opportunities to redouble their efforts to support local communities and people. These companies are our guests in Africa, but the price of a welcome to our resource riches can’t be merely contractual, a handshake between governments and businessmen. The more they profit, the more Africans should benefit.

This idea is at the heart of the concept of Shared Value, which has been defined as “a framework for creating economic value while simultaneously addressing societal needs and challenges,” and as the “practice of profit in a way that creates value for society.” Shared Value doesn’t suggest that businesses should act as philanthropies or charities, giving handouts to those who exhibit need. It goes beyond the idea of corporate social responsibility, which is often based on volunteerism and one-off donations. Perhaps most important, Shared Value recognizes that companies can only stay in business if they are making money. As consultants FSG described it, the value companies and the community are sharing is “worth,” that is, economic value on a financial sheet and societal value in the form of progress on social issues.

Shared Value recognizes that companies have a responsibility to take on social challenges through the business itself. It is in their economic interest to do this. In Africa, one way they can do that is by supporting capacity-building. As the Shared Value Initiative noted, despite the substantial economic output of the oil and gas industry, it has “not always translated into societal improvements in host countries and communities… companies are losing billions of dollars a year to community strife,” much of it due to underemployment.

As more companies are attracted to southwestern Africa and these exciting new developments, we can only hope that they will recognize that where opportunity exists for them it should exist for everyone. And they have the power to make it so. 

That would be really big news.

*NJ Ayuk is Executive Chairman, African Energy Chamber

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Round Table for the Financing of CEMAC Integration Projects – Paris, 16 & 17 November 2020
November 19, 2020 | 0 Comments
CEMAC takes up the Challenge and Mobilizes 3.8 Billion Euros to Finance Integration Projects in the CEMAC zone.

After two days spent in Paris meeting with representatives of the French Government, heads of community institutions, representatives of international institutions, donors and private investors, CEMAC can boast of significant economic success.

Under the leadership of HE Mr. Clément MOUAMBA, Prime Minister, Head of Government of the Republic of Congo, the institution has succeeded in raising 3.8 billion euros to support the financing of integration projects for the economic development of the region.

Organized by the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) under the very high patronage of HE Mr. Denis SASSOU N’GUESSO, President of the Republic of Congo, President dedicated to the Economic and Financial Reform Program of CEMAC (PREF-CEMAC), represented by HE Mr. Clément MOUAMBA, Prime Minister, Head of Government of the Republic of Congo, the round table on the mobilization of financing for integration projects of CEMAC, was held on November 16 and 17, 2020 in Paris.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the round table took place in a hybrid format with 60 participants present, and more than 400 video conference participants over both days.

The objective of this round table was to mobilize donors and private investors to raise funds for the effective implementation of eleven (11) integration projects in the CEMAC zone, which specifically focus on: facilitation of transport and trade, production and interconnection of electricity and communications networks, the common market and economic diversification, and human capital.

At the opening of the ceremony, the opportunities of the CEMAC zone and the importance of the implementation of integration projects for the strengthening of regional integration and the acceleration of the diversification of economies were reminded by Prof. Daniel ONA ONDO, President of the CEMAC Commission.

BDEAC, ADB, BADEA and other CEMAC partner institutions welcomed the initiative and expressed their commitment to support the implementation of projects, while emphasizing on the potential of the CEMAC zone.

The speeches were completed by the intervention of HE Mr. Clément MOUAMBA, Prime Minister, Head of Government of the Republic of Congo, who declared the workshop open and expressed his gratitude and that of all the populations of CEMAC to the French people and their authorities who, despite the international environment marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, have exceptionally agreed to authorize the organization of this meeting on French territory. The day ended with a session dedicated to PPPs during which six private institutions (Club PPP, Meridiam, STOA, Fidal, Olam and Sogea Satom), champions in their field, shared their experiences and success stories of PPPs in Central Africa. The IDB also made a presentation on Islamic finance (SUKUK) as an important mode of financing structuring and integrating projects.

The second day mainly focused on B to B exchanges between Ministers, donors and economic institutions on the specific characteristics of certain projects, the issue of foreign exchange regulations and the financial environment in CEMAC, and details of the intentions and modes of donor funding. The Governor of BEAC had an enriching exchange with donors and private investors on the regulation of trade and the financial environment in CEMAC. The President of BDEAC also examined with partners their intentions and modes of financing.

During the two days of the event, several panels bringing together directors of bilateral and multilateral agencies, government authorities and representatives of economic institutions in the area, took place one after the other.

The Ministers of the CEMAC countries made detailed presentations on the eleven (11) projects, presenting the content, objectives, financial evaluations, modes of financing and expected results of each of these projects.

Out of a need for 3.4 billion euros expressed, 3.8 billion euros were mobilized with the support of Afreximbank, BDEAC, the African Development Bank, the World Bank group, the Scandinavian Chamber of Commerce and SX Capital Holdings. The financing of 8 out of 11 projects has been fully completed.

“This round table has had the undeniable merit of taking CEMAC a further step forward on the road to providing it with the infrastructure necessary for its development,” said H.E. Gilbert Ondongo, Chairman of the Steering Committee of PREF-CEMAC, Minister of Economy, Industry and Public Portfolio of the Republic of Congo.

To read the full version of the final press release: click here 

*SOURCE CEMAC (Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa)
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Autochek secures $3.4 million pre-seed funding to deliver technology for African automotive industry
November 18, 2020 | 0 Comments
Etop Ikpe - Autochek
Etop Ikpe – Autochek

Round co-led by TLcom and 4DX Ventures will accelerate product development for Ghana and Nigeria.

Lagos, Nigeria. 18 November 2020 Autochek, the automotive technology company that aims to build solutions for the African market, has raised $3.4 million in a pre-seed funding round, co-led by TLcom Capital and 4DX Ventures with inclusion from Golden Palm Investments, Lateral Capital, Kepple Africa Ventures, MSA Capital and a number of local angel/seed investors. The start-up will use the investment to grow its Nigeria and Ghana markets and will see further investment in technology and growing its teams. 

The pre-seed investment announced today follows Autochek’s acquisition of the Cheki Nigeria and Cheki Ghana brands in September 2020. Combining technology and data to power every process of the automotive transactional ecosystem for millions of people, Autochek will transform the automotive buying and selling experience for African consumers, by creating a single marketplace for all automotive needs. This will include everything from sourcing and financing transactions to after sales support and warranties. 

Through the acquisition of Cheki Nigeria and Cheki Ghana, Autochek already has more than 20,000 unique vehicles listed on its platform, and more than 12,000 dealers and private sellers, as well as a range of corporate partners and customers. Leveraging its extensive on-the-ground network of dealers and an experienced leadership team, the new platform and mobile app has been designed to address the pain points of buying, selling and repairing cars in Africa such as access to finance (for both consumers and dealers), maintenance and insurance, and bring greater value to car dealerships by enabling and enhancing automotive commerce across the continent. Autochek will also facilitate cheaper and more effective transactions for dealers and corporate partners, leveraging its industry relationships to buy and sell vehicles on behalf of the customer for the best price and ensuring value for money.

Via the Autochek mobile app (Android app now available. iOS app coming soon), car owners and potential owners will have access to loans, auctions, trade-ins and maintenance. Automotive dealers will have access to real time car auctions, fleet management, marketing support and standardised reports on car conditions and market value, as well as inventory management, CRM for lead management and garage management systems for car workshops. Financial institutions like banks and fintechs will also have access to a credit management dashboard that will make it easier for them to access customers.  By focussing on the demands of both customers and dealers, Autochek is building an ecosystem of solutions specifically designed to deliver an unrivalled customer experience for the African automotive market.

Etop Ikpe, Founder and CEO of Autochek, said, “This early stage investment allows us to get started with the work of developing technology products and services that will transform automotive trade on the continent, whereby we significantly improve transactions and after care support for car owners, dealers and other stakeholders across the African automotive industry.

“Building on the solid work that the Cheki Nigeria and Ghana teams have done over the last ten years, we  are already dispersed across multiple locations and applying the technology built and developed by our Autochek auto-tech experts, we are well positioned to scale quickly, as demand for reliable and well priced cars on the continent grow. With this pre-seed round and our seasoned strategic investors on board, we are working to transform the automotive sector on the continent”

Andreata Muforo, partner at TLcom said, “Autochek is radically improving customer experience and dealer economics in an industry that creates value and jobs across the continent and we are excited to be part of that journey. The founding team has a clear plan for what they want to achieve and we look forward to working with them as they execute on their vision.”

Walter Baddoo, Managing Partner at 4DX Ventures said, “We are proud to enter this partnership with Autochek as the company embarks on its mission to transform Africa’s automotive industry. By providing access to a new range of products and services, the company will dramatically enhance the automotive transacting experience for dealers and the ownership experience for consumers across the continent. Autochek is helping to unlock massive opportunities in Africa’s auto sector and we are pleased to be supporting that mission”.

Africa is widely regarded as the final frontier for the global automotive industry, with high growth prospects over the next decade. Despite the impact of COVID-19, car sales are expected to grow across the continent, with a corresponding rise in demand for support services. However, a range of existing challenges, including limited access to finance and an opaque and fragmented marketplace means car owners and dealers do not always enjoy the best experience.

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Off-grid power projects could modernise South Africa’s energy sector
November 18, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Stephen Barnes & Rentia van Tonder

Stephen Barnes
Stephen Barnes

Decentralised power projects, or those that are not tied to the national grid, could play a major role in closing South Africa’s electricity supply gap and modernising its energy sector.

The country’s electricity crisis – as reflected by ongoing instances of load-shedding, or planned power cuts – continues to weigh on the economy. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) estimates that the supply gap is currently between 5GW and 8GW.

Further, businesses are contending with sharp and unpredictable increases in their energy costs, and this is impacting business confidence.

But thanks in part to rapid declines in the cost of renewable energy, and advancements in battery storage technologies, decentralised energy solutions are now a viable alternative, and they could go a long way towards alleviating South Africa’s electricity challenges.

The shift in this direction has already started, although it could accelerate dramatically if various enablers can be provided to stimulate the sector. Regulatory issues, environmental permitting, and grid-tie arrangements that allow independent units to feed surplus energy into the grid, remain complex issues that need to be addressed to truly unleash the potential of decentralised energy.

The sector’s growth has also been restricted by funding challenges, and misalignment between developers, clients and funders. Despite these and other challenges, as much as 1.1GW of small-scale solar power has been installed by commercial and industrial firms to date, according to the South African Photovoltaic Industry Association’s estimates.

When combined with battery storage technologies, these solutions ensure certainty of supply, and equally as important, they ensure certainty of cost. They also help to take the pressure off the national grid.

Hydro, wind and solar are currently the most attractive technologies in Africa, which has an abundance of these natural resources. And while renewable energy units have historically only been able to provide an intermittent supply of electricity, they will become increasingly reliable thanks to rapid advancements in storage technologies, which are becoming more affordable. Combined with the costs associated with electricity distribution, this strengthens the case for a shift towards decentralised energy across Africa.

Further, funding arrangements are now being structured more appropriately. Standard Bank is increasingly partnering with developers and other key stakeholders to approach funding and project design differently so as to enable the roll-out of these projects.

It has become clear that early alignment between the developer, the client and the funding partner gives rise to better technical solutions and funding models. As a result, early phase alignment is obtained, and innovation enabled. Given South Africa’s massive electricity supply gap, there is an opportunity for thousands of small-scale renewable energy installations in the months and years ahead.

Poised for a continent-wide shift to decentralised power

We believe that decentralised green-energy solutions, which promote innovation as they are purpose-built, will continue to gain momentum as municipalities, mining houses and industrial firms seek to ensure cost certainty and reliability of supply. Alongside hydro, wing and solar, some mining groups in Africa are even turning to hydrogen power to diversify their electricity mixes – an indication that the fledgling hydrogen economy is garnering more interest.

In countries such as Nigeria – where the electricity self-generation market is 55% larger than the main grid – we expect the country will start to seriously consider pivoting to decentralised renewable solutions as oil subsidies near an end, so as to decrease the supply shortfall and better service the large and geographically fragmented population.

The shift to decentralised power – and renewables specifically – will also be boosted by the increased investor awareness of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) issues.

Rentia van Tonder
Rentia van Tonder

We believe that the addition of more modular, decentralised energy solutions could remove a major drag on the economy and help Africa to reach its potential.

Standard Bank Group is the largest African bank by assets, operating in 20 African countries and 5 global financial centres. Headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa, we are listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, with share code SBK, and the Namibian Stock Exchange, share code SNB.

Standard Bank has a 157-year history in South Africa and started building a franchise outside southern Africa in the early 1990s.

Our strategic position, which enables us to connect Africa to other select emerging markets as well as pools of capital in developed markets, and our balanced portfolio of businesses, provide significant opportunities for growth.

The group has over 50 000 employees, more than 1 100 branches and 9 000 ATMs on the African continent which enable it to deliver a complete range of services across personal and business banking, corporate and investment banking and wealth management. 

Headline earnings for 2019 were R28.2 billion (about USD2 billion) and total assets were R2.3 trillion (about USD163 billion). Standard Bank’s market capitalisation at 31 December 2019 was R277 billion (USD20 billion).

The group’s largest shareholder is the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), the world’s largest bank, with a 20.1% shareholding. In addition, Standard Bank Group and ICBC share a strategic partnership that facilitates trade and deal flow between Africa, China and select emerging markets.

*Stephen Barnes, Head of Power and Infrastructure, and Rentia van Tonder, Head of Power at Standard Bank Group

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Webb Fontaine Proudly Announced as Sponsor for Inaugural Bloomberg Invest Africa Virtual Summit
November 16, 2020 | 0 Comments
Produced by Bloomberg Live, the Bloomberg Invest Africa event will address some of the most pressing issues facing the continent today and in the future.

Webb Fontaine is proud to announce its role in sponsoring the first-ever Bloomberg Invest Africa event, which will be held virtually on November 24, 2020.

This virtual global event will bring together a high-profile panel of experts, government ministers and regional and global trade professionals to discuss at length the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for nations and businesses across the continent. Webb Fontaine, as one of the leading providers of customs and trade solutions to governments around the globe, and in particular in Africa, is proud to support this important inaugural event.

Through its diverse network of digitally focussed and technology-led operations across Africa, Webb Fontaine is at the forefront of a new, substantial, sustained and immersive adoption of the latest Trade and Customs practices and technologies.

The company is actively enabling the development and growth of new ideas and new ways of working that are rapidly and effectively transforming the Trade and Customs landscape across Africa and giving nations such as Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire and Ethiopia, which are actively using Webb Fontaine-created solutions, a foundation for sustained success.

Bloomberg is one of the world’s most trusted sources of up-to-the-minute business and financial news, expert discussion and examination of global and regional politics and market trends and developments. Produced by Bloomberg Live, the Bloomberg Invest Africa event will address some of the most pressing issues facing the continent today and in the future.

The forum will examine the impact of COVID-19 on the trade and business eco-system and the various roadmaps to recovery that have been adopted by countries, government entities and companies, as well as the factors that make Africa an attractive investment destination.

Speaking at the Bloomberg Invest Africa will be; Kevin Daly, Investment Director Emerging Market Debt, Aberdeen Standard Investments; H.E. Vera Daves de Sousa, Minister of Finance Republic of Angola; Nitin Gajria Director – Sub-Saharan Africa, Google; H.E. Amadou Hott, Minister of Economy Planning and Cooperation, Republic of Senegal; Dr John Nkengasong, Director, Africa CDC.

To register, visit https://bit.ly/2IHuGGt.

About Webb Fontaine:
Trusted by governments globally, Webb Fontaine provides industry wide solutions to accelerate trade development and modernization. The company uses unique technology including Artificial Intelligence to enable countries to emerge as leaders in the future of trade.

Knowledge transfer is at the core of Webb Fontaine; comprising a team of experts who work across the world, empowering local communities and governments.

As an industry leader with the largest R&D centres in the industry, Webb Fontaine is constantly developing international trade practices connecting countries, borders and people.

*SOURCE Webb Fontaine
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Cameroon’s Second Largest Employer, CDC Wobbles Towards Extinction
November 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Andrew Nsoseka

CDC oil palm plantations, now, part of the land is privately owned by local administrators or sold out, at the expense of CDC and natives

Administrative indifference from the Cameroon government, as well as personal egoism, and other ills have placed one time prestigious employer, and second largest employer after the Cameroon Government, the Cameroon Development Corporation, CDC, in its dying throes.

The CDC whose woes predate the Anglophone crisis, has been placed in a very tight spot, with the Anglophone Crisis that has raged on for over four years, making things worse for the giant agricultural corporation, as most of its activities have been halted from time to time, or entirely stopped in unstable areas.  

Government officials on their part, have seemingly failed in their duty to protect, maintain and ensure the survival of the agricultural giant, in an era rife with unemployment, which has on its part, lured thousands of youths to join the separatist movement in Anglophone regions of Cameroon. Rather than salvage what is left of the corporation, government Ministers and officials, have rather brazenly joined other unscrupulous individuals, to plunder the corporation and make away with what they can.

A scheme said to be aimed at giving land of the corporation back to the indigenes, who are predominantly Fako natives, has seen thousands of hectares taken from the agricultural giant, and most chunk of it has ended up in the hands of administrators. The crisis which started in 2016, also saw alleged separatist fighters attacking workers of the corporation for not respecting separatists imposed lockdowns. This discouraged many from working, and also forced the corporation to shutdown most of its farms, and factories. Due to the crisis, the workers have gone for years without pay, and with the farms not very functional, the land surrendering racket moved on, with administrators and traditional leaders chipping away the CDC’s lands and making billions from it sales, to the detriment of the CDC and indigenes to whom the land is guised to have been surrendered to.

Consequently, following recent workers’ protests, founded on an imminent demise of the corporation, a flurry of orders were recently issued, restricting what had become a spate of expropriation of huge hectares of CDC lands by speculators and other Shylock interests. The big question however, is whether someone really cares whether the CDC carries on as a going concern or dies off like many other enterprises upon which the economy of the former West Cameroon was hinged.

 From the look of it, the action from Yaounde may be tantamount to buying time for the sting to wear off before the “CDC auction bazaar” is resumed like before. For one thing, many such orders have been issued in the past, only to be surreptitiously dumped in the dustbin or casually cancelled with indifference by the same pen that issued them. Law courts have gone back on their own learned decisions, consequently throwing back CDC interests to the wolves without appeals or petition from vested litigants or defendants.

It is feared that the recent cancellation by way of Ministerial orders of “CDC land surrender” may also be just a facade. This is because, as at Friday, September 11, effective felling of CDC palms was still ongoing at Bimbia. Those carrying out the act were protected by heavily armed gendarmes who chased away CDC guards and dared anyone else that to question the dastardly act. As it stands, a rather helpless CDC may have to wait, pray and hope for yet another Ministerial order to arrive from Yaounde, most probably only after many hectares of palms in their most productive stage must have been destroyed.

It is becoming more and more evident, going by official approach to its dilemma that the Cameroon Development Corporation, CDC, the much touted second-largest employer after the State, has been abandoned to wear out. After all, in its time of great difficulty, it has, unlike many other State Corporations, been shamelessly, if not callously ignored, with administrators rather trying to pluck what they can, as the corporation rapidly dwindles in its fortunes, leaving its over 20,000 workers and teeming numbers of dependents in the lurch.

With its troubles that were sparked by a global economic meltdown and exacerbated by the armed conflict in the English speaking Regions of Cameroon, where the CDC is situated, political gladiators and economic predators could be rightly said to be just waiting in the wings to see the giant corporation fall and shatter for them to pick up the pieces like was the case with the Marketing Board and Cameroon Bank, to name but these. Unlike other corporations like the national oil refinery, SONARA where Ministers and other ranking officials trooped in, and its workers are still paid even though it is no longer functional; the national airlines company, CAMAIRCO, that has, to put it bluntly been a company of flying coffins, but government pumps in funds to sustain it, the case of the CDC is different; state authorities are rather helping themselves with what is still left of the ravished and looted corporation, even as it still could be brought out of its comatose state to revert to its traditional role of providing succour to  the thousands of families that have depended on it over many decades.

Dubious Land Surrender, Scheming Mafias

The Fako Land Surrender scheme, which was sugar-coated as an initiative to surrender part of the CDC’s land to natives who originally owned the land, for them to expand their villages and settle, turned out to be a well-mapped out bogey by corrupt, overbearing administrators, as well as gullible traditional rulers, and chiefs of doubtful origins and credibility posing as representatives of the locals. It has been established that inexistent villages were created by certain local administrators, and in complicity with some local chiefs and in some cases, purpose-made chiefs enthroned by local administrators and top government functionaries were brought to front as representatives of the locals. Once the land was allocated by government officials, who often do so without consulting the CDC, the administrators collect a huge chunk of it, and the leftovers given to the Chief for his troubles. The Chiefs then proceed to sell what is left, after the administrators would have taken the big bite.

More often than not, the locals emerge the highest losers, even though the land is surrendered on the pretext that it is for them. Talking over a TV programme on a local TV channel, My Media Prime, one of the front line lawyers and Fako native, Barrister Ikomi Ngongi, who is fighting to reclaim surrendered land from administrators and traditional rulers who have turned the scheme into a thriving racket, revealed that for the over 4,000 hectares of surrendered land, Fako natives have not received up to 500 of them.

 “In fact, Fako people have not received up to 20 hectares put together,” he said, alleging that most of the land is in the hands of non Fako indigenes, whom he insisted are administrators who pulled the strings behind the scenes, and at the end, owned lands bigger than that owned by entire villages. To him, rather than surrender land to the wrong hands, the land could be retrieved and kept under the CDC’s custody, for better use and management, and not plundered by administrators for personal gain.

Speaking at several instances since the Fako land saga started, Barrister Ikomi Ngongi has faulted officials, right from the Southwest Governor, Mr Okalia Bilai, his subordinates, to the Senior Divisional Officers, Divisional Officers and dubious or fake chiefs and even court officials, whom he states are all part of the scheme to fraudulently take and own the thousands of hectares of surrendered CDC land, to the detriment of the locals, who are supposed to be the bona fide beneficiaries.

In some cases, traditional rulers have ended up in legal battles with their subjects over land. Often, some have been accused of selling all the surrendered land, and then encroaching into that originally owned by natives, of course, with the backing of all powerful local administrators.

Anglophone Crisis Putting Final Nail of the CDC’s Coffin?

Though effectively grappling with already compromising corporate challenges, the CDC has been hard hit by the ongoing Anglophone crisis. With workers often coming under attack orchestrated by suspected separatists, several production units and farms have been completely abandoned. Even with its well known attribute as the largest employer after the State, the CDC and its workers don’t benefit like other individuals and smaller companies, from any form of security protection.

Unlike most State Corporations where security is ever available, the case of the CDC is different, as workers are always left at the mercy of attackers, who hit and escape at will, thus discouraging most from risking to work. What now appears to be calculated administrative negligence, has cost the CDC lots, including human life as many activities have been grounded, except for the ever-ready land surrender schemes, machinated of course by Shylocks who should rather have been working to ensure the CDC’s survival, especially as communities, thousands of families and the economy of the Region and country at large still depends on the tottering giant for survival.

Helicopter sprays CDC banana plantations in its haydays, now partly ruined or abandoned due to negligence and Anglophone crisis

CDC, Its People, Impact on Generations

The CDC, unlike many other state corporations, has a history and part played in the lives of many. For those who lived out the heydays of the corporation, they narrate stories of communities, with social amenities, hospitals, schools, clubs and others that were enjoyed by CDC workers and the communities hosting them. Even books and literary art pieces have been produced by children who lived and were educated thanks to the CDC. In some prose, like “The Good Foot”, written about life in the CDC, one can through the narrations, picture a corporation which was at the centre of survival for many. A CDC which is not only regarded as a corporation, but a life wire and even community where many can trace their origin and growth.

Will the CDC Be Abandoned Like other West Cameroon Corporations?

With the openly displayed culpable negligence of certain officials in particular and the government in general, having elected not to make the survival of the CDC concern, let alone a priority, many fear that it most likely to go the way of the Cameroon Bank, the crumbled Government Technical College Ombe, POWERCAM, Tiko Airport, West Cameroon Lottery, West Cameroon Development Agency, the Department of Marketing and Inspection, West Cameroon Marketing Board and many more, that were vibrant, but have now been selectively consigned to the compost heap of history.

In the context of the Anglophone Crisis and rife unemployment, many working-age men and women continue to be lured to the waiting arms of separatists and criminal gangs, to be able to make a living or feed their starving families.

Also, the much-heralded initiative of Cameroon’s President Biya, to encourage farming as a means of economic empowerment, has been turned into a big joke because the state has failed to bail out and ensure not just the survival, but the renaissance and upgrading of the CDC, as the country’s lone agro-industrial giant.

*Culled from November Issue of Pan African Visions Magazine

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Dilemma Over How Rwanda Will Grow Cannabis Without Consuming It
November 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

Cannabis has been illegal in Rwanda
Cannabis has been illegal in Rwanda

In early October 2020, Rwanda made a surprise announcement that it has already approved regulatory guidelines on cultivation, processing and export of high value therapeutic crops which includes cannabis.

The surprise is against Rwanda’s long stand on the use of cannabis, where existing laws punish bitterly anyone who gets caught producing, selling, trafficking or  consuming cannabis. Anyone convicted can get over 20 year jail sentence.

Rwanda explained that the approval of cannabis cultivation is mainly for export and it will be used in medicinal research and medicinal industries, however economic profits are also the target.

Clare Akamanzi, Chief Executive Officer for Rwanda Development Board recently told the national broadcaster that, there is a huge economic profit from growing cannabis for export.

“If you look at the revenues we expect to get from some of these crops that might be licensed, you can get up USD 10 million from one hectare, if you compare that to flowers for example, if you grow flowers on hectare, you expect to get USD 300 000, it is a huge difference” she said.

She said that many countries around the world are gradually allowing medicinal cultivation of these crops to support medical research and economy, chances that Rwanda does not want to miss.

The global market for medical cannabis is currently estimated at $150 billion and could reach $272 billion in 2028, according to Barclays Bank.

Rwanda is one of developing countries whose economy mainly relies on agriculture and tourism.

Akamanzi said that Rwanda wants to raise its economic revenues by amassing these new opportunities.

“It is also one that can bring income and revenue to the country, can create jobs, it is very timely. Rwanda doesn’t want to miss this important growing, useful industry”, she said.

Though cultivation has been approved, she added that there will be tight control and security around the growing of cannabis in Rwanda to avoid any leakage to local market.

Any investor who will be permitted to grow such crops, must present security guidelines which will be approved by local security organs.

“Not only are we regulating how you import the materials for planting whether it is seed or others, we are regulating how you cultivate these crops, how you handle post-harvesting, how you ensure quality of products, temperature , storage, waste disposal, all that is part of the regulatory framework” Akamanzi assured

“You will be required to have a very strong security program that has to be approved by our security organs. That security program is going to be highly implemented. There will be no way that it can leak out of the farm to go to the domestic market or for wrong users”, she added

To ensure cannabis farm security, investors will be asked to have CCTV Cameras, watch towers, street lights, human security among others.

Akamanzi said that they are discussing with potential investors who showed interests into the business, but they first have to pass through tight screening to be licensed.

Rwanda National Police announced that as long as the law prohibits the illegal growing, consumption or selling drugs including cannabis, the culprits will be arrested.

Clare Akamanzi, Chief Executive Officer for Rwanda Development Board says, there is a huge economic profit from growing cannabis for export
Clare Akamanzi, Chief Executive Officer for Rwanda Development Board says, there is a huge economic profit from growing cannabis for export

 “The existing laws must be respected, if there come changes people will follow new ones”, Commissioner of Police, John Bosco Kabera told local media.

It is not clear where cannabis will be grown so that it will never go on local market as Rwanda is one of densely populated countries around the world.

Rwanda joins other African countries that have already legalized cannabis including South Africa, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Uganda  among others.

*Culled from November issue of Pan African Visions Magazine

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Rosgeo Successfully Completes Geological Mapping in Equatorial Guinea and Moves Forward to Phase 2
November 10, 2020 | 0 Comments

The landmark exploration program is executed under two services contract signed by the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons in 2020.

A month after it started a historic geological mapping project in Equatorial Guinea’s Rio Muni region, Russia’s state-owned joint stock company Rosgeo has made significant progress and is stepping up exploration efforts on the country’s mainland. The company has now successfully completed phase 1 of the project’s scouting works, and is moving to phase 2.

The landmark exploration program is executed under two services contract signed by the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons in 2020 with JSC Zarubezhgeologia and JSC Yuzhmorgeologia, internationally operating subsidiaries of Rosgeo. It notably covers an initial phase of seismic acquisition in transit zone and state geological mapping in the Rio Muni area, in mainland Equatorial Guinea.

As a result, JSC Zarubezhgeologia has been performing scouting works for state geological mapping, while JSC Yuzhmorgeologia has been performing the same for complex seismic acquisition in the transit zone of Rio Muni. The area, which includes large onshore zones but also shallow water areas, is believed to be one of the most promising exploration frontiers in Equatorial Guinea. It could notably turn the country once again into a hotspot for natural resources exploration.

Increased exploration by Rosgeo is expected not only to help in sustaining and increasing domestic output of oil and gas, but also in proving additional reserves in key minerals to help Equatorial Guinea further diversify its economy.

“The geological mapping project undertaken by Rosgeo in the Rio Muni is not only a new pillar of energy cooperation between the Republic of Equatorial Guinea and the Russian Federation, but could also shape the future of our natural resources industry. Our mainland is one of the richest regions of the country for mining and minerals which we have identified as strong sectors to diversify our economy and create jobs. We have also always believed in the onshore hydrocarbons potential of the region, and understanding its geology will prove extremely beneficial to support future oil & gas activities there which could be carried out by local operators,” declared H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons. 
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Kenya:Safaricom half-year profit drops for the first time in 8 years
November 10, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

Michael Joseph, Chairman of Safaricom Plc Board of Directors

Safaricom PLC has recorded a 6 per cent slide in its half-year net earnings from Ksh 35.2 billion last year to Ksh33 billion.

Releasing financial results for the half-year ended 30th September 2020, on Monday, the telco attributed the decline to the roll-out of free cash transfers below Ksh.1000 to encourage cashless transactions and a decline in voice calls.

M-Pesa revenues decreased to Ksh35.9 billion from Ksh42 billion during the same period last year.

The firm’s total revenue also fell 4.1% to KSh 124.5 Billion from KSh 129.9 Billion during the period under review.

Service revenue also declined 4.8% to KSh 118.4 Billion from KSh 124.3 Billion recorded the previous period of 2019 and the firm’s capital expenditure increased by 25.5% to Shs 22.75 Billion.

“The adverse service revenue performance is mainly attributed to the decline in M-PESA and voice revenues. Zero-rating of M-PESA transactions impacted M-PESA revenue which declined 14.5% year-on-year,” said Michael Joseph, Chairman of Safaricom Plc Board of Directors.

Over the same period, mobile data grew 14.1 per cent as more customers resorted to work from home due to Covid-19 while messaging declined by 6.9 per cent.

Safaricom Chief Executive Officer Peter Ndegwa said described the performance as “good” given the negative impact of the pandemic on the economy.

“There is no doubt that COVID-19 has dealt a huge blow to many people not just in Kenya, but across the globe. This has been a tough period for businesses—small and large alike—and our customers. We are committed to walk through this journey together,” noted Mr Ndegwa.

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Cars45 restates commitment to enabling trade within Nigeria’s automotive industry
November 6, 2020 | 0 Comments
Chief Executive Officer, Cars45, Soumobroto “Sunny” Ganguly 

Lagos, Nigeria – 5 November 2020 –Nigeria’s leading tech-enabled automotive trading platform, Cars45, has reiterated its commitment to enabling trade within Nigeria’s automotive industry as well as defining the future of automotive trade across the country by providing consumers with a brand experience that helps them with smarter buying and selling choices.

Cars45 founded in 2016 provides an end-to-end digitized customer journey for buying and selling cars for individuals and corporate organizations with a desire to help them get the most value from any automotive transaction.

At an interactive session in Lagos, Chief Executive Officer, Cars45, Soumobroto “Sunny” Ganguly stated that meeting the needs and expectations of its customers and stakeholders will remain a major imperative even as the company intensifies efforts at solving the challenges across the automotive value chain from new, to used, logistics, aftermarket and repair services and scrap vehicles while the business continues to grow on the back of innovation and technology.

“Cars45 has moved into over twelve cities across Nigeria and two others in Africa, we have a growing franchise dealer network coupled with our Autopreneur support system that has empowered so many young people financially, and our marketplace has exceeded expectations in facilitating consumer-to-consumer vehicle trades and making the car ownership dreams of lots of people come true. We are confident in our ability to deliver and the strength of our mission to enable automotive trade across the continent.”

On the recent management changes, the CEO noted that Frontier Car Group (FCG) which had invested in Cars45 Series A fund raise in May 2017 was acquired by OLX Group in November 2019 to demonstrate their ambition to lead the online market for used cars.  Cars45 has now been fully integrated as a proud member of the OLX Autos family.

Cars45 announced some products offerings that include: GoMechanic45, an aftermarket service aimed at providing quality and affordable car repair services for consumers and corporates, deepening the culture of preventive maintenance and scheduled servicing in a manner that helps them to maximize the lifetime value of their vehicles.

Institutional and Corporate Sales will cater to corporate and government institutions by solving issues around fleet liquidation and valuation as well as supply while adding value to their automotive needs and unlocking new levers of growth and productivity.

International Trade services christened as EasyShipDirect is an end-to-end importation service that will facilitate the acquisition of clean titled cars into the country, help the government realize revenue via the payment of import duties and

Lastly, Cars45 has partnered financial institutions – fintechs and banks to provide vehicle financing services to both consumers and car dealers with a view to removing  long-standing barriers to car ownership and help grow the pool of car owners across the country.

The company also noted that its expansion into Kenya and Ghana is growing while strengthening its partnerships with car manufacturers and OEMs that include KIA, Kewalram Nigeria and CFAO with a view to facilitating new car sales and ownership.

Also speaking during the briefing, Head, Marketing and Communications, Shola Adekoya reiterated the company’s commitment to driving the growth of the automotive sector in Nigeria and ensuring that car-buying and ownership becomes a seamless, safe and secure experience for consumers. “We take our responsibility of providing quality service offerings underpinned by transparency and integrity very seriously. It is incumbent upon us to develop value-based products that will enhance value creation for the Nigerian used cars marketplace.”

Head, Lead Management & Marketplace; Patricia Duru noted that Cars45 has prioritized the delivery of a transformative customer experience for all stakeholders even as its marketplace provides value and variety for consumers.

The event had in attendance senior management executives from Cars45 that include: Head, Finance, Elizabeth Iyi-Eweka; Head, Technical Operations, Pankaj Bohra and Head, People Operations and Central Support Services, Olajumoke Obembe amongst others.

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Italy presents itself to Africa! -Next November 9th will open the “doors” of the fourth edition of Italia Africa Business Week IABW
November 5, 2020 | 0 Comments

Next November 9th will open the “doors” of the fourth edition of Italia Africa Business Week IABW (www.IABW.eu). Starting at 10:00 a.m., online, hundreds of entrepreneurs, professionals, opinion leaders but also ministers and diplomats will gather for IABW 2020, the first and most important Italian-African business forum now at its fourth edition.

Milan was the venue for the third edition of the Italia Africa Business Week Forum – IABW, promoted by the Association Le Réseau. The Forum, which took place in November 26th, 27th 2019, confirmed the common interest of companies and institutions in improving, stimulating and strengthening exchanges between Italy and the African continent.

This renewed interest is testified by the figures, of absolute importance, of the first Milan edition of the IABW Forum: over 650 participants from 40 countries around the world, 3 African and Italian ministers, 5 African delegations, over 50 “formal” meetings (planned by the organisation with the various project partners) B2B and B3B, 31 exhibition stands, 5 of which managed by African diplomatic representations.

Figures that demonstrate not only how IABW is the most important and principal economic and commercial Forum between Italy and Africa, but also how it has acquired an international dimension, embracing the cosmopolitan spirit of Milan, Italy’s economic capital.

On the virtual stage of the opening conference that will take place in November 9th 2020 from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and that will be opened by Cleophas Adrien Dioma, President of the Association Le Réseau that organizes the Italia Africa Business Week, the institutional greetings will be alternated with the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Emanuela del Re, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Madagascar Tehindrazanarivelo Djacoba A. S. Oliva and the Ambassador of Mali in Italy His Excellency Ali Coulibaly, godfather of the 4th edition of Italia Africa Business Week.

Speakers at the opening conference and participants at the three-day IABW Forum will be Walid Loukil, Deputy Director of the Loukil Group, Giorgio Marrapodi, Director General for Development Cooperation, Giuseppe Mistretta, Central Director for Sub-Saharan Africa at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Gianpiero Succi, Partner BonelliErede, Luca Maestripieri, General Manager Agenzia Italia per la Cooperazione allo Sviluppo (AICS), Antonella Baldino, Chief International Development Finance Officer Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), Michele Ziosi, Vice-President Institutional Relations at CNH Industrial and Yamume Tshomba, Surgeon and Professor, Associate of Cattolica University of Rome. They will discuss in the institutional panel “Rebranding Italy in Africa: Relaunching the Business and International Cooperation model of Italy in Africa“.

Hundreds of companies, professionals and experts from various Italian and African business sectors will be present online, as well as a large representation of the African diplomatic corps (over 25 African embassies in Italy represented at IABW by ambassadors, consuls and diplomatic advisors) to participate in the 4th edition of IABW: green economy, circular economy, infrastructure, renewable energy, agriculture, agribusiness, start-ups and new technologies, biomedical, waste management, these are the sectors on which the 2020 edition of IABW will focus.

Several leading personalities have already confirmed their presence: Manlio Di Stefano, Undersecretary with responsibility for Internationalisation of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Angelino Alfano, of Counsel BonelliErede, Roberto Vigotti, Secretary General of Res4Africa, Roberto Ridolfi, Senior Strategic Investment Advisor, Roberta Datteri, Vice-President of the National Confederation of Craftsmen, Jean Gustave Sanon, former Minister of Finance of Burkina Faso, Valeria Emmi, CESVI Advocacy Coordinator, Alessandra Piermattei, Director of the AICS Dakar headquarter, Giulio Dal Magro, Head of Development Financing (CDP), Olivier Kaba, Head of Migration Project (AFD), Caterina Avanza, Head of International Cooperation (PD) and then Daffe Saidou Oumar, Head of the Anti-Racism Office of Lega Serie A, who will present the project Africa together with Michele Ciccarese and Niccolò Tomio, both from Lega Serie A marketing office.

The high-level conferences will be organised with the aim of analysing strategic investment sectors through the professional eyes of the leading players and the most experienced analysts.

IABW will not only be an opportunity for in-depth analysis and networking to explore new business opportunities for Italian companies in Africa, but it will also be an opportunity for high-level bilateral institutional meetings, B2B and B3B meetings between Italian and African companies, professionals and institutions, country presentations and high-level conferences such as the Country Presentation “Doing Business in Ethiopia – New Opportunities for Italian Entrepreneurs” and the workshop “Bonellierede: a preferred partner of African governments for capacity building and development” organised with our strategic partner and sponsor BonelliErede.

Finally, since access to finance is one of the essential factors of African growth, but also one of the current obstacles to the continent’s economic development, especially in this period of global crisis due to the Coronavirus pandemic, we have decided to propose a conference with the theme: “Financial instruments for the relaunch of African economies in the post-covid era19″.

In Africa there is a great desire for Italy, quality and the know-how typical of SMEs: IABW is therefore a platform for comparison and networking as well as a real economic and knowledge bridge between two realities that are increasingly close and curious about each other.

The aim is to overcome barriers and scepticism through win-win business partnerships, sharing know-how and good business practices, building personal relationships even before business relations.

The main objective of the Forum is to photograph the state of the art of relations between Africa and Italy but above all to analyse possible developments in the key sectors of the project, to encourage the development of synergies and partnerships between all the actors of the ecosystem, to generate new ideas through the crosspollination of the sectors.

We hereby attach a complete programme of the Italia Africa Business Week IABW 2020.

For reporters wishing to attend the opening conference and the business forum please register by sending an email to registrazione@iabw.eu

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Gateway Real Estate Africa and Verdant Ventures joint venture secures US Embassy as major tenant in Nairobi
November 3, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

 The Nairobi urban fabric will soon feature a new landmark with the development of a world-class medium density housing complex for the U.S. Department of State.

 The complex marks the first development in Kenya in a joint venture by Gateway Real Estate Africa (“Gateway Africa”) and Verdant Ventures, following a successful collaboration on a similar project in Ethiopia.

 Gateway Africa is a Mauritius-based private real estate development company specializing in the turnkey construction of accommodation for multinational corporations and retailers wishing to expand their operations on the African continent. Verdant Ventures is a US-based real estate development company focused on diplomatic housing in Africa. The landowner, Nebange Limited, will be a profit participant in the partnership.
 
 Greg Pearson, founding member and CEO of Gateway Africa, and Russ Murphy, CEO of Verdant Ventures released a joint statement, commenting: 
“We are particularly proud to have the US Government as a major tenant. This project further cements the relationship between Gateway Africa and Verdant Ventures following our successful collaboration in the past. Kenya represents an important base for us from which we can build into the rest of East Africa, and we are excited about the real estate prospects in Nairobi.”
 
Aevitas Group, in collaboration with a local Kenyan architecture firm, Design Partnership Ltd, has been tasked to design this quality development. Construction is set to commence October 2020 and will create an estimated 1,100 direct and 500 indirect job opportunities. The completion date is earmarked for April 2022.
 
“We will be making use of both local and international architects, mechanical and electrical consultants as well as civil and structural engineers. Services such as quantity surveying, project management, construction and other sub-contracting services will be sourced locally, as we have had success previously with local companies such as MaceYMR. Materials will be sourced locally as far as possible, with only specialist items being imported,” Pearson concluded.
 

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Africa Energy Forum: IPP Office Head Tshifhiwa Bernard Magoro and Eskom CEO André de Ruyter to co-chair energy roundtable with investors
November 2, 2020 | 0 Comments

For the first time, Eskom CEO André de Ruyter and Tshifhiwa Bernard Magoro, Head of South Africa’s IPP Office will Co-Chair an intimate boardroom on 2nd November during the Africa Energy Forum. 

Programme Director of the Forum Shiddika Mohamed commented, “The pair have been in discussion for a number of weeks about the meeting, and have stressed how important it is to sit down together with investors to discuss how this relationship will work in the coming years.

The past months have seen a significant shift in relations between the two sector stakeholders, with Eskom coming out in full support of the regulators’ approval of the IPP Office’s 11.5GW Round Five procurement programme.  This move came directly from the Eskom CEO who continues to address the challenges faced by the national utility with clear messaging.”

The boardroom on 2nd November is an opportunity for both leaders to sit down with investors and discuss how the relationship will move forward.

This boardroom will be moderated by John Smelcer, Business Development Director at Globeleq, and is chaired by both the IPP Office Head and Eskom CEO, who welcome alongside them the leadership teams of both organisations.

Event: ESKOM & IPP Office Boardroom at the Africa Energy Forum

Time and Date: Monday 2nd November | 12:00 GMT

Please note: Due to the nature of this boardroom and to enable an inclusive dialogue, this session is limited in numbers

Attendee registration: https://bit.ly/3iblExl

Media Registration: https://bit.ly/3mzdYru

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Rakuten Group and AAIC Launch the AAIC-Rakuten Africa Innovation Project
October 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

Rakuten logo

New project promotes addressing social challenges in Africa by mentoring local startups for further business growth.

Tokyo, October 29, 2020 – Rakuten Europe S.à r.l., Rakuten’s European headquarters, and Asia Africa Investment & Consulting Pte. Ltd. (AAIC), a Japanese growth equity fund and consulting firm based in Singapore, today announced the launch of the AAIC-Rakuten Africa Innovation Project. The project will drive solutions to social challenges in Africa through technical and management mentoring designed to promote business growth for African startups.

As countries and regions across Africa are achieving remarkable economic growth, many local startup companies are actively aiming to “leapfrog,” a process that seeks to use innovation to solve social challenges such as infrastructure, agriculture, nutritional improvement and the provision of clean drinking water.

With this project, startups from Africa participating in the AAIC-managed Africa Healthcare Fund and Rakuten will share information and expertise with an aim to realize practical countermeasures that efficiently solve social challenges. As startups share information about the challenges they face locally in their industries as well as those in wider society with Rakuten, based on this intelligence, Rakuten will make use of its expertise in technology implementation across a wide range of fields from e-commerce to fintech, digital content and communications to support and help grow these local businesses through active mentoring.

Rakuten has expanded to offer more than 70 services around the world based on its mission to empower individuals, communities, businesses and society. From April 2019 to June 2020, Rakuten participated in the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)’s SDGs Business Supporting Surveys program for partnering with private enterprises, working in Rwanda to overcome social challenges through Rakuten’s technological expertise by building an insurance system using blockchain technology and harnessing drones for agriculture. In May 2020, Rakuten announced an agreement with the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) to work together to train the African tech community by providing students with cooperative research opportunities and further develop an ecosystem of innovation.

Toby Otsuka, CEO of Rakuten Europe, commented, “Since the day Rakuten was founded, we have always believed in the power of innovation, and throughout its history, our company has always been dedicated to contributing to society. In recent years, many startups in Africa have achieved tremendous growth and are using technology to change people’s lives in significant ways. By collaborating with AAIC and engaging in dialogue with startups that are confronting local challenges head-on, we hope to solve social challenges with our partners as a team leveraging Rakuten technology and business assets.”

As a growth equity fund with operations in Africa, AAIC aims to achieve sustainable growth for developing countries by harnessing Japan’s strength across three pillars: strategic consulting, funds and human resources. In 2017 it established the Africa Healthcare Fund to invest in fast-growing companies in the African healthcare sector. As of September 2020, it has investments in 21 companies that bring innovation for healthcare services that include healthcare e-commerce, fintech for international money transfers, an ambulance dispatch platform, online mental health counseling, teleradiology platform and advanced imaging centers, dialysis centers and maternity hospitals.

Shigeru Handa, Director of AAIC, commented, “Scaling up for further growth is a big challenge as we invest in and support companies that are driving innovation in the healthcare sector, which is one of Africa’s social challenges. We expect this collaboration with Rakuten to provide opportunities to promote synergies and business growth for startups, particularly in the area of technology.”

Rakuten and AAIC aim to contribute to solving social challenges in Africa through the acceleration of innovation.

Overview of the AAIC-Rakuten Africa Innovation Project

  • Overview and purpose: This project aims to realize practical countermeasures that efficiently solve social challenges in Africa through mentoring local startups participating in AAIC’s Africa Healthcare Fund and sharing knowledge and expertise.
  • Period: October 29, 2020 – December 2021 (dates subject to change)
  • Examples of initiatives: Initiatives include improvements to apps and other products and services provided by startups in Africa, and mentoring to support business operations and new service launches. Some initiatives are subject to change going forward as details are currently under consideration.

About AAIC

AAIC Group aims to create new business growth models by offering support mainly in emerging markets, as well as new businesses in Japan. As a fund management firm, AAIC in Singapore manages the African Healthcare Fund to support innovative startups and companies in growth in the healthcare industry in Africa, which provide innovative and sustainable solutions to social challenges in Africa.


About the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS)

Established in 2003, this higher education and research institute aims to foster high-level human resources for the science and technology sector. Attracting excellent scholars and instructors from 43 African countries to its centers in several African countries (South Africa, Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon, Tanzania and Rwanda), AIMS is raising the level of Africa’s science and technology through postgraduate education, teacher training, blue sky scientific research and research in partnership with business. With the cooperation of companies like Facebook and Google, it is running a number of advanced projects in areas such as the provision of AI and machine learning courses.  

About Rakuten

Rakuten, Inc. (TSE: 4755) is a global leader in internet services that empower individuals, communities, businesses and society. Founded in Tokyo in 1997 as an online marketplace, Rakuten has expanded to offer services in e-commerce, fintech, digital content and communications to approximately 1.4 billion members around the world. The Rakuten Group has over 20,000 employees, and operations in 30 countries and regions

*Rakuten

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African payments for African development
October 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Murray Gardiner

Murray Gardiner
Murray Gardiner

African payment solutions are critical to minimising fraud while improving the free flow of funds to boost business and economic activity.

The statistics that hover uncertainty around Africa are not ones that should make the continent proud. The World Bank has estimated that Africa could potentially hold 90% of the global poor population by 2030  and has recently cut its economic growth  predictions to between -2.1% and -5.1% in 2020 from the 2.4% of 2019.

The situation has been significantly worsened by the global pandemic, as the continent hits its first recession in 25 years. But this is not the picture that defines a continent that has long defied expectation and prediction. In fact, a young population, a growing consumption market, and the rapid movement towards mobile inclusion and connectivity are shifting the conversation. Africa is poised on the cusp of change introduced by mobile and internet technology.

Africa has undergone a remarkable journey over the past 30 years. It has not only leapfrogged legacy technology and systems into a more relevant future, but it has done so in spite of challenging circumstances. This is particularly relevant when it comes to mobile – the technology, the connectivity, and the financial inclusion. To date, according to the GSMA 2019 Mobile Money Report , there are more than one billion mobile money accounts in Africa that account for 57% of mobile money transaction values. Over the next five years, also according to the GSMA , it’s expected that 84% of Africans will have access to a SIM connection and that mobile payments will play a critical role in empowering individuals, businesses and the economy as a whole. 

This is the principle that’s dominating the current approach taken by the World Bank  in an effort to provide Africa with much needed support in the wake of COVID-19. The organisation is focusing on putting women at the centre of digital payment programmes and leveraging digital technologies to improve trade, government and resource management. This underpins the organisation’s focus on national payment systems  that are secure, affordable and accessible as these are the tenets that underpin an economy that’s focused on financial inclusion and stability.

African payment solutions are critical to minimising fraud while improving the free flow of funds to boost business and economic activity. Payment technology that allows for individuals from all walks of life to manage their money securely is the equivalent of putting a bank into every person’s pocket. Digital payments equalise engagements while improving transparency and control over finances and business. They also empower the small to medium enterprises (SMEs), giving them greater scope for inclusion and access to customers and markets.

This has become particularly true in the current environment. Digital payments are now, more than ever, the key to unlocking business growth on the continent. The rigorous regulations put in place by African countries to minimise the impact of the virus have led to inventive approaches to shopping and living. Digital payment platforms are significantly safer than cash and are increasingly being leveraged by governments and organisations to improve customer access to resources and services.

According to a study released by McKinsey & Company  in June 2020, ‘innovation in payments should be one component of the industry’s response to the crisis’, and this should include promoting awareness of digital payments, partnering with other industries, and introducing new and relevant products.

In Africa, digital payments are more than just keys to open the doorways of financial inclusion, they are increasingly the steps that will take the continent out of recession and into a more dynamic and inventive future. This view is echoed by the investments made by the World Bank and organisations such as SWIFT and Bluecode Africa; programmes such as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and the International Monetary Fund .

Investments that include cross-border payment platforms increased commerce capacity, cost management, digital innovation, and the empowerment of individual, micro-enterprise and SME. It’s time to educate businesses and individuals as to the costs and risks of cash as opposed to digital. To showcase the value of digital payments in not just opening up new markets and opportunities, but in providing tighter cash flow control at a better price point than cash.

The continent may not be showered in stunning statistics, few continents are at this point in time, but it is hovering on the edge of a future that has the potential to transform poverty, business and economy.

Bluecode is a mobile payment solution that combines cashless payments via smartphones with value-added services and enables payments with merchant and banking apps. Founded in Europe, Bluecode has now expanded into Africa. Bluecode Africa is taking mobile payments into markets where its value as a technology payment service and scheme can make a significant difference for retailers, SMMEs and in the everyday lives of consumers. Bluecode Africa is focused on driving economic growth in the productive economy by unlocking opportunity and business potential with digital transparency.

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Total’s Second Discovery in South Africa promises Gas-led Recovery for Southern Africa
October 28, 2020 | 0 Comments
The discovery further positions Africa as a global and competitive gas frontier that continues to offer very attractive exploration and gas commercialisation opportunities.


While anticipated, Total’s second significant gas condensate discovery announced today in South Africa is nonetheless reason to rejoice after a year of deep uncertainty and struggles for the African energy sector. With partners Qatar Petroleum, CNR International and Africa Energy Corp, Total was able to start its multi-well exploration programme on Block 11B/12B only two months behind schedule, delivering what remains until now the year’s only discovery across sub-Saharan Africa.

The Luiperd-1X well was drilled to a total depth of 3,400 meters and encountered 73 meters of net gas condensate pay within the Paddavissie Fairway, which already includes the 2019 Brulpadda discovery. This second find confirms the tremendous gas potential in South Africa and is expected to be followed by the drilling of a third, a potential fourth, exploration wells on the same block.

More importantly, the discovery further positions Africa as a global and competitive gas frontier that continues to offer very attractive exploration and gas commercialisation opportunities. The upcoming Africa Energy Outlook 2021 of the African Energy Chamber identifies several such high-impact wells for 2021 and 2022 that could yield similar discoveries in South Africa and Namibia. The outlook notably identifies the southwestern coast of Africa as being home to perhaps the most anticipated wildcats globally. The prospects, if successful, could open new basins for development and trigger big new investments towards the latter half of the 2020s.

Under its 2021 projections to be released in November, the Chamber notably sees gas production and consumption increasing on the continent. More specifically, new frontiers such as South Africa are expected to increasingly consume natural gas for industrial purposes and power generation.  Such developments could be a pillar for economic recovery post Covid-19, but would require the promotion of an enabling environment providing investors with sound and attractive policy and contractual frameworks.

“The African Energy Chamber has always seen Africa as a true frontier for exploration and promoted a much bigger use of gas across our economies to create jobs and support industrialisation. The gradual opening of a new domestic gas hub in South Africa is a very welcoming development that needs to be supported with efficient and transparent policies, and quick approvals of all necessary permits and licenses for gas to be commercialised and create value for South Africans,” declared Nj Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber.

*Africa Energy Chamber
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Jack Dorsey to Keynote at Africa Fintech Summit 2020
October 26, 2020 | 0 Comments
As the Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of Square, Inc., Dorsey is considered to be one of the biggest influencers in tech ecosystems worldwide and is often revered as a futurist.


WASHINGTON D.C., United States of America, October 26, 2020/ — Dedalus Global and Ibex Frontier are pleased to announce Jack Dorsey as the closing keynote for this year’s Africa Fintech Summit . The Summit is being held virtually on November 9, 10, and 12.

As the Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of Square, Inc., Dorsey is considered to be one of the biggest influencers in tech ecosystems worldwide and is often revered as a futurist. Founded in 2009, Square has introduced a suite of innovative tools and services that supports financial inclusion and the growth of businesses. In recent weeks, Square announced it would become one of the first publicly traded U.S. companies to hold Bitcoin on its balance sheet. 

Dorsey’s keynote marks a year since the visionary visited Africa to meet with several of the continent’s tech leaders and incubation houses. His listening tour in Africa confirmed the consensus that Africa will define the future (especially the bitcoin one!). He has since held an active and insightful voice on the future of African fintech, in particular, the future of cryptocurrency.  With an unbanked population of 66%, and a credit card penetration rate that averages 1.5%, the applications for crypto in sub-Saharan Africa only help solidify Dorsey’s interest in the continent. 

Dorsey’s closing keynote on November 12 will revolve around the concepts of decentralized finance and opportunities it creates for financial inclusion. 

Throughout the three day event, registrants will have the opportunity to: 
Engage and learn from 60 of sector’s most active thought leaders over the course of 12 panel sessions, 3 fireside chats, and related discussion forums
Participate in discussions that dissect some of the sector’s regulatory hurdles
Connect with early-stage startups and the latest innovations through a startup expo
Meet with the industry’s stakeholders – investors, startups, regulators, banking execs, and more! – in curated networking sessions or 1×1
Learn best practices for approaching different types of investors, banking partners, and regulators
The Summit will conclude on November 12 with the regional final of Pegasus Tech Ventures’ Startup World Cup global pitch competition, the winner of which will be invited to compete for US$1M at the global semi-finals in Silicon Valley in May 2021.

Startups apply to exhibit and pitch by visiting and submitting the form at www.AfricaFintechSummit.com/alphaexpo/apply/

Register and view the agenda and speakers for the event at www.AfricaFintechSummit.com

About Dedalus Global and Africa Fintech Summit:
Dedalus Global is a go-to-market strategic advisory focused on emerging tech in emerging markets and is the founding organizer of Africa Fintech Summit (AFTS). As the first fintech event to be held annually in the USA and Africa, AFTS boasts the largest network of African fintech stakeholders from across the globe. In addition to its advisory business, since 2018, Dedalus has organized four fintech summits and a series of policy roundtables, virtual workshops, and startup bootcamps under the AFTS brand. AFTS events have hosted more than 1500 attendees, representing each of the top stakeholder segments, from 51 countries and 6 continents.
 
About Ibex Frontier:
Ibex is an investment advisory & route-to-Ethiopia-market advisory firm headquartered in Washington D.C. and with a presence in London and Addis Ababa. Through insights and access that spans three continents and 20+ years of experience by its Founding team, Ibex provides premier investment, market entry, and business development advisory services for Eastern Africa with a focus on Ethiopia. Since June 2019, Ibex has been a co-organizer of AFTS events.
*SOURCE Africa Fintech Summit
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