DFC CEO Adam Boehler to Travel to Egypt
November 22, 2019 | 0 Comments
Visit will promote private sector investment and strengthen regional relationships
WASHINGTON – Adam Boehler, Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), will travel to Egypt November 21 – 23 to promote U.S. investment, attend the Investment for Africa Forum, and strengthen regional relationships in pursuit of shared development goals in the region.
“Africa is home to immense untapped opportunity that will yield a more prosperous, stable, and secure future for communities across the continent,” said Boehler. “I look forward to joining regional government officials, business leaders, and investors in Egypt to identify avenues through which we can collaborate to achieve our shared vision for Africa.”
While in Egypt, Boehler will attend the Investment for Africa Forum in Cairo to underscore DFC’s commitment to the continent and will meet with regional business leaders to explore investment opportunities in priority areas such as infrastructure development and women’s economic empowerment. He will also seek to advance key agency initiatives, including Connect Africa, 2X Africa, and DFC’s new collaboration with the African Development Bank, all of which advance the goals of the Administration’s Prosper Africa effort to increase two-way investment and trade between the U.S. and Africa.
In addition, Boehler will hold meetings with high-ranking government officials to enhance cooperation in support of regional development, economic growth, and stability. DFC currently has more than $1.5 billion invested in Egypt in sectors ranging from infrastructure to financial services and healthcare.
The visit follows recent travel by Boehler to the Indo-Pacific, Latin America, and Sub-Saharan Africa to strengthen relationships with key partners and highlight DFC’s enhanced flexibility to support private sector investment in critical regions.
DFC is a new U.S. Government agency that combines and modernizes the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and USAID’s Development Credit Authority (DCA). With a more than doubled investment cap of $60 billion and new financial tools, DFC is equipped to more effectively mobilize private sector capital to urgent development challenges and advance U.S. foreign policy. The agency continues to work with Congress to fund DFC through the appropriations process in order to exercise its new investment and development tools.
The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is America’s development bank. DFC partners with the private sector to finance solutions to the most critical challenges facing the developing world today. Working together with businesses, we invest in projects that create jobs and opportunity in emerging markets, including building critical infrastructure, expanding access to telecommunications, and providing small business financing, notably for women entrepreneurs. DFC helps to advance America’s foreign policy by partnering on projects that create economic stability, protect sovereignty, and ensure transparency. DFC investments adhere to high principles and respect the environment, human rights, and worker rights.
Global Music Stars to storm OpenMic/AfriCourage Festival in Banjul
November 21, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Bakary Ceesay
The OpenMic/AfriCourage festival brings together international and regional music stars to celebrate the power of music and the strength of indigenous culture in Banjul on 27-28 December, 2019 at the independence stadium.
On December 27th, the OpenMic festival reflects the power of hip-hop in the local culture. On December 28th, the AfriCourage project focuses on traditional and contemporary culture, with an international and local line-up and a global streamcast courtesy of the European Broadcast Union. AfriCourage will thus become the first sub-Saharan African festival to be broadcast live to major European media networks.
The AfriCourage line-up will feature some of the legendary names of music from the region and beyond, including Baaba Maal (Senegal), the Ensemble Modern (Germany), Jali Madi (The Gambia), Journal Rappé (Senegal), Smockey (Burkina Faso), Sambou Suso (The Gambia), Tata Dindin (The Gambia), Wimme & Rinne (Finland) and more. Additionally, in an appearance devised especially for the festival, the Liberation Orchestra of Inverted Traditions will feature selected artists in a spectacular, never-to-be-repeated collaboration, blending the European traditions of visiting artists with local West African grooves.
The initiative is supported by the United Nations Youth Empowerment Project and aims at nothing less than turbo-charging the Gambian cultural economy. Jointly organised by Gambian promoters Black Lynx Entertainment and the Goethe-Institut, the AfriCourage/OpenMic festival will be recorded, filmed and streamcast around the world.
In earlier times, the people of The Gambia would sit at night beneath the baobab tree and exchange news and views. Traditions have changed, but still the need to share information, address problems and find solutions remains. With this in mind, Germany’s Goethe-Institut has developed the AfriCourage project as a model of local and international cooperation and information exchange.
The initiative aims to encourage and enhance integration, participation, cooperation, engagement, tolerance and democracy. The AfriCourage programme is continuous, taking place yearly in a different country and in 2019 the location is The Gambia’s capital Banjul.
In December 2019, as guests of the OpenMicFest, AfriCourage will provide professional training from the worlds of festival presentation, event management, promotion, sound technology and media. AfriCourage is bringing artistic and business acumen to The Gambia to perform and work with local Gambian talent and entrepreneurs.
AfriCourage invites you to participate in an event celebrating the unique culture of the modern Gambia!
The organizers: Goethe Institut Senegal and Black Lynx Entertainment in The Gambia.
The Goethe-Institut is the Federal Republic of Germany’s cultural institute, active worldwide. It promotes the study of German abroad and encourage international cultural exchange. The Gambian enterprise Black Lynx Entertainment is into the creation and development of platforms for artistes. They have been involved in entertainment entrepreneurship in The Gambia for more than a decade with a core focus on (1) the creation and development of platforms on radio, TV, live events and (2) the marketing and monetization of Gambian entertainment. Since 2008 they have hosted the annual OpenMicFest.
Partners & Sponsors: AfriCourage becomes reality through a unique collaboration between OpenMicFest and the Goethe-Institut. We are grateful for the contribution and expertise of our partners and sponsors who have made the project possible.
Coca-Cola CEO, James Quincey in Africa, Defines Region as Company’s Future Growth Driver
November 20, 2019 | 0 Comments
|Visiting Nigeria and South Africa, Quincey met with business and political leaders as the company scales up investments and looks forward to continued growth on the continent|
|LAGOS, Nigeria, November 20, 2019/ — The Global CEO and Chairman of The Coca-Cola Company (https://www.Coca-ColaCompany.com/), James Quincey culminated a tour of Africa last week. Accompanied by his extended leadership team, the visit was a testament of Coca-Cola’s commitment to Africa and its interest in the vast opportunity that the continent presents in driving the beverage company’s overarching growth strategy over the next decade.|
Visiting Nigeria and South Africa, Quincey met with business and political leaders as the company scales up investments and looks forward to continued growth on the continent. Key among his engagements was discussions with Africa’s foremost entrepreneur and industrialist Dr Aliko Dangote who stands out as an example of indigenous African investors who are driving growth across the continent.
Other engagements included meetings with top executives from Discovery Group, MTN, Unilever and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, and thought leaders such as Tony Elumelu (Chairman of Heirs Holding), Doyin Salami (Chairman of Nigeria’s Economic Advisory Council) and Fred Swaniker from the Africa Leadership Academy. These engagements provided Quincey and his team with critical insights about Africa’s opportunities.
“Having operated in Africa for over 90 years as a local business in every country, we believe Africa is a region that will increasingly influence the growth trajectory of our global businesses in just a few years,” he said. “Together with our bottling partners, we continue to reinforce our stake on the continent by accelerating investments that strengthen and scale our capabilities and expand into new businesses to drive our Total Beverage Company aspiration.”
Quincey highlighted a number of positive and encouraging developments across Africa which he described as important foundations for strong economic growth and, if sustained, will fast track the continent’s role as a global growth engine. These include the growing scale of domestic investments by African investors across sectors and the potential of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
Added to these were Africa’s positive consumer demographics, the infrastructure expansion in many countries, and the growing emphasis on building African talent.
“It is clear that Africa is indeed a region that will increasingly influence the growth trajectory of global businesses and we have taken some bold measures to strengthen the Coca-Cola System in Africa for long term growth, enhancing our capacity to continue to win in the continent’s increasingly competitive landscape.”
He outlined the company’s growth plans in Africa, including continuously investing to boost capacity ahead of demand, consolidating the bottling system to build scale and investing in new businesses to accelerate growth and expand its beverage offering. He also cited Coca-Cola’s role in spurring Africa’s economy through the eco-system the company has built and continues to foster investments across multiple sectors on the continent.
Underpinning this, he emphasized that the Company is committed to building a talent engine in Africa, creating shared opportunities to enhance the prosperity of communities across the continent.
“We have an enduring belief that our business is only as sustainable as the communities in which we operate, that means for our business to grow sustainably, our communities must grow also.”
This is the strong motivation for the significant investments the company continues to make across Africa to help build more resilient communities, enabling the economic empowerment of women and youth downstream and upstream of Coca-Cola’s supply chain; providing access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene facilities through its Replenish Africa Initiative (RAIN); supporting governments to strengthen health systems through Project Last Mile and the Safe Birth Initiative; and addressing environmental concerns particularly around plastic packaging with its World Without Waste vision.
Said Quincey: “Over the past 90 years together with our bottling partners, we have built pervasive and very strong local businesses, creating shared opportunity in every country on the continent. This has been one of our greatest strengths and we will continue playing a significant role in Africa’s sustainable and inclusive growth”.
The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) (https://www.Coca-ColaCompany.com/) is a total beverage company, offering over 500 brands in more than 200 countries and territories. In addition to the company’s Coca-Cola brand, our portfolio includes AdeS, Ayataka, Costa, Dasani, Del Valle, Fanta, Georgia, Gold Peak, Honest, innocent, Minute Maid, Powerade, Simply, smartwater, Sprite, vitaminwater and ZICO. We’re constantly transforming our portfolio, from reducing sugar in our drinks to bringing innovative new products to market. We’re also working to reduce our environmental impact by replenishing water and promoting recycling. With our bottling partners, we employ more than 700,000 people, helping bring economic opportunity to local communities worldwide
*Distributed by APO
Centurion Senior Associate Zion Adeoye Wins ESQ 40 Under 40 Award
November 20, 2019 | 0 Comments
|Zion oversees a growing team of African lawyers working on the most complex energy transactions shaping Africa’s modern energy industry|
|LAGOS, Nigeria, November 20, 2019/ — Centurion’s Senior Associate Zion Adeoye has been recognized as an ESQ 40 under 40 Lawyer at the Nigerian Rising Stars Award last week. The ESQ 40 under 40 award recognizes distinguished Nigerian lawyers under the age of 40, who will shape the future of the legal profession in Nigeria and on the continent.|
Since joining Centurion (https://CenturionLG.com/), Zion has earned himself a strong reputation among its peers and the firm’s leading clients from across the continent. In his role as Senior Associate, Zion oversees a growing team of African lawyers working on the most complex energy transactions shaping Africa’s modern energy industry.
“I am truly honored for this recognition and thank Centurion for providing me with the right environment to grow as a lawyer and as a person,” declared Zion Adeoye. “This is a demonstration of what young Nigerian legal talent can achieve when given the opportunity to work and contribute to the growth of Africa.”
“At Centurion we believe in young African talent and pride ourselves in hiring and training the next generation of African lawyers and energy leaders,” said Nj Ayuk, CEO of Centurion Law Group. “We are delighted that Zion’s work is getting such esteemed recognition, which is only the reflection of how hard he works and the level of dedication he gives to the firm and its clients.”
Making Our Own Luck: What Africa’s Future Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Producers Can Learn from Qatar in the Era of Billions At Play
November 20, 2019 | 0 Comments
By NJ Ayuk*
Qatar learned that it possessed truly huge reserves of natural gas in 1971, when Royal Dutch/Shell discovered the North Dome structure, also known as the North field
As I got into the process of writing my recent book Billions At Play, The future of African Energy and doing deal, the story of Qatar intrigued me. Its success is contagious and African LNG producers can learn from this country.
Qatar learned that it possessed truly huge reserves of natural gas in 1971, when Royal Dutch/Shell discovered the North Dome structure, also known as the North field. At the time, though, neither Shell nor Qatar’s government had a great deal of interest in developing the site. Their focus was on crude oil, which was then making the country very rich.
As a result, nothing much happened at North Dome for more than a decade. Shell did not actively pursue development work there, and neither did Qatar General Petroleum Co. (QGPC, now known as Qatar Petroleum or QP), which was the beneficiary of Doha’s nationalization of the oil and gas industry in 1977.
Conditions began to change in the late 1970s. Qatari crude production started to decline after 1979 as the country’s largest oil fields matured. In turn, international oil companies (IOCs) began to lose interest in signing service contracts with QP, since they did not believe Qatar’s aging reserve base warranted massive long-term investments.
These developments did not have much immediate impact, since crude prices were rising enough to keep revenues high. But in the 1980s, oil prices sank – and brought oil revenues down along with them. As a result, Qatar’s government began looking for new ways to generate income. Gas was an obvious option, since global demand was rising and national reserves were ample. Officials in Doha began to draw up plans for monetizing production from the North field, which is now known to contain at least 450 trillion cubic feet (13 trillion cubic meters) of gas in recoverable reserves.
Eventually, they developed a three-phase plan that called for beginning with domestic sales and then proceeding to pipeline exports before finally launching marine exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG). To implement the plan, they set up a joint venture known as Qatar Liquefied Natural Gas Co. Ltd. (Qatargas) between QP, BP (UK) and Total (France).
The first phase, which provided for domestic gasification, was a relatively simple process due to the small size of Qatar’s population. But events in the late 1980s and early 1990s made the second phase, which called for the construction of an export pipeline capable of delivering up to 20 billion cubic meters per year to other member-states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), more difficult.
There were multiple reasons for this, including but not limited to the following: Saudi Arabia lost interest in Qatari gas after discovering reserves of its own, Qatar and Bahrain became embroiled in a border dispute, and Kuwait found itself preoccupied by the Iraqi invasion that led to the First Gulf War. Doha floated proposals for alternative routes in the hope of drawing interest from markets outside the GCC, but to no avail.
The failure of the pipeline gave Qatargas an opportunity to skip the second phase of the project and proceed directly to the third – namely, using production from the North field as feedstock for a gas liquefaction plant that could turn out LNG for export by tanker. At the same time, rising demand for gas in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan gave Qatar an incentive to focus on LNG. Additionally, BP made the decision to exit Qatargas, the venture formed to develop North. This cleared the way for the U.S. company Mobil (now part of ExxonMobil) to join the project.
Mobil was a good fit, partly because it had ample financial resources and partly because it had extensive experience with LNG through its participation in the Arun scheme in Indonesia. It was able to access and deploy the technologies needed to launch Qatar’s first LNG plant. That facility brought its first 2 million ton per year production train on line in late 1996 and began commercial production and exports the following year.
Since then, Qatar has continued to ramp up gas production and to expand its LNG industry. It has worked with foreign partners to build more gas liquefaction facilities and is now home to three LNG mega-trains with a combined production capacity of 77 million tons per year. These plants helped make Qatar into the world’s largest LNG producer in 2006, and they have kept the country at the top of the list ever since. Meanwhile, Doha decided last year to build another mega-train that will raise the figure to 110 million tons per year by 2024. Qatar operates the largest fleet of LNG tankers in the world, and its LNG goes to customers all over the world.
In short, its LNG program has been a smashing success.
Showing the way
The story of Qatar’s success is interesting in its own right. But does it have any deeper meaning? Could it serve as a template – that is, as a map that other gas-producing countries can use to blaze their own trails toward success?
I believe it can. Specifically, I believe African gas producers pursuing LNG projects have a lot to learn from Qatar. They will have a better chance of maximizing their gains if they follow Qatar’s example.
Obviously, Africa can’t duplicate Qatar’s experience. Its gas-producing states don’t have the same geography or demography, and they don’t have access to the same marine trade routes. But it can benefit from some of the lessons that Qatar learned along the way. I’ll list a few of them here.
A little help from my friends
Qatar began looking into plans for launching LNG production less than a decade after nationalizing its own oil and gas industry. Even so, it had a clear understanding of the fact that it could not pursue this goal without outside help.
More specifically, QP and the Qatari government knew they would need partners with plenty of cash, experience, and access to gas liquefaction technology. They also knew they would need partners that were willing to absorb the risks involved in opening up a new frontier. As it happened, Mobil met all these criteria.
Africa’s future LNG producers like Senegal, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, Tanzania, Congo, Cameroon, South Africa, Nigeria and Angola will need help too. Like Qatar, they will need to pair up with IOCs that can help cover the costs of establishing a new sector of industry, that have experience in handling all of the physical and logistical complications of such projects, and that can supply the sophisticated technologies needed to compress and cool gas into a liquid state that can be transported by tanker. Also like Qatar, they will need investors that are ready to build this sector of the economy from the ground up (this last point is particularly important in countries such as Mozambique, Tanzania, Senegal and South Africa that are trying to launch LNG projects in short order after the first discoveries of gas.)
Qatargas’ original plan called for starting small, with domestic gasification, and then scaling up – first by building pipelines, a type of infrastructure that had already been in use for the better part of a century, and then by taking on the more complicated task of building a gas liquefaction plant, marine terminal, and other associated facilities. But as noted above, efforts to move the pipeline phase of the project forward foundered due to unexpected obstacles.
Instead of focusing on these obstacles, Qatargas decided instead to take a different approach. It accepted that its efforts to draw up new plans and engage in further negotiations had failed, and it moved on. It dispensed with the second phase of the project altogether and got to work on the third phase. And that marked the first step of Qatar’s journey to becoming the largest LNG producer in the world.
This is an important lesson for Africa’s future LNG producers: sometimes the original plan simply doesn’t work out, even when all parties make good-faith efforts to resolve their differences. So, it’s time to try something different. It’s time to look for a new solution. For example, if an African gas producer reluctantly concludes that there’s no way to build an onshore gas liquefaction plant without incurring unacceptable environmental, financial, or social risks, it shouldn’t give up. Instead, it should look into floating LNG (FLNG) options or consider the possibility of using gas liquefaction facilities in a neighboring country.
Qatar can also teach African gas producers a thing or two about resource management. This is a crucial consideration for QP and its partners in Qatargas, since most of their feedstock comes from a single source – the North field. This field may be huge, but it is hardly inexhaustible. In fact, Doha imposed a moratorium on new development initiatives at North in 2005, saying that it needed to conduct a thorough study of the site in order to assess its long-term potential and keep reservoir pressure at adequate levels.
The moratorium was not permanent. Qatar’s government lifted it in 2017, and QP responded by drawing up plans for the North Field Expansion (NFE) project and for the construction of new gas liquefaction facilities. In September of this year, the company said it had shortlisted several firms and invited to bid for the NFE contract.
These events are significant because they demonstrate that Qatar wants to keep its LNG plants in business for a long, long time. They show that the country is willing to accept some short-term setbacks in order to ensure that its largest source of gas can remain in production over the long term.
Again, Qatar’s example should give African gas producers food for thought. It shows that there are good reasons for taking a measured approach to the development of major reserves – and that the LNG sector can keep growing even when key feedstock suppliers must abide by certain restrictions on production levels. In other words, it serves as a reminder that Africa ought to do more than simply extract and sell its gas. African producers should aim to develop their resources in ways that offer the most benefit to the most people for the most amount of time.
Making our own luck
Of course, Qatar owes some of its success to sheer luck. Its gas sector emerged at a time when the country was highly motivated to find a replacement for dwindling oil revenues, when demand for gas was on the rise, when there were few viable alternative markets in the region, and when Mobil happened to be on the lookout for a new LNG project following the maturation of the Arun field in Indonesia.
Once again, Africa can’t duplicate Qatar’s experience. It can’t count on that sort of luck, on everything coming together at just the right time.
But it can learn from Qatar’s example – and create a little bit of its own luck. Hopefully, Africa can benefit from the fact that global demand for gas is still rising and will continue to do so for some time, even as more and more consumers pin their hopes on renewable energy. Now is certainly a good time to try – not least because LNG projects should also generate interest in gas-to-power projects and other African initiatives. The Gas Exporting Countries Forum’s meeting in Malabo Equatorial Guinea will be a good start.
*Africa Energy Chamber. NJ Ayuk is an experienced oil and gas dealmaker who heads the Pan-African legal conglomerate Centurion Law Group and serves as executive chairman of the African Energy Chamber (https://EnergyChamber.org/). He is a passionate advocate of the idea that oil and gas can help propel economic development in Africa, as detailed in his newly released book, Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals.
G20 Investment Summit: Voith signs comprehensive service and operations consultancy contract for Ethiopian hydropower plant
November 20, 2019 | 0 Comments
- Signing of the contract in attendance of the Federal Minister for Economics and Energy Peter Altmaier and the Minister of Energy of Ethiopia Dr. Seleshi Bekele
- Stable energy supply as a foundation for further social and economical development
- Enormous hydropower pontential in Ethiopia
HEIDENHEIM, Germany. The technology group Voith has signed a comprehensive service and operations consultancy contract for the Ethiopian hydropower plant Gilgel Gibe II during the „G20 Investment Summit” on November 19 in Berlin, Germany. The agreement was signed by the Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity Dr. Seleshi Bekele and Mark Claessen, Managing Director Voith Hydro East Africa in the attendance of Peter Altmaier, the German Federal Minister for Economics and Energy. The investor summit took place within the „G20-Initiative Compact with Africa”. Twelve Heads of State of the African Compact partner countries as well as South Africa, acting as G20 partner of the intitiative, were attending the summit.
Focus on plant availability and resource optimization
Central aspect of the two-year service and operations consultancy contract is the optimization of the energy production of the hydropower plant Gilgel Gibe II with an current output of 420 megawatts. Voith’s scope of supply comprises the modernization of the maintenance systems, the implementation of digital solutions and the knowledge transfer through special training programs. All local activities are exclusivly provided by Ethiopian Voith experts.
„Together with the plant operator Ethiopian Electric Power we want to utilize the whole potential of the hydropower plant Gilgel Gibel II. We succeed in this by reduzing unplanned downtimes and failures to a minimum”, says Mark Claessen, Managing Director Voith Hydro East Africa. „A stable and sustainable energy supply is the foundation for social and economical development in Ethiopia and many other African countries.”
Another component for a reliable energy supply in Africa
The hydropower plant Gilgel Gibel II is located about 300 km south-east of the Ethiopian capital Addis Abeba. Voith supplied four Pelton turbines and generators as well as the entire mechanical and electrical equipment and also trained the plant operator’s staff. Before Gilgel Gibe II went into operation, only 15 per cent of Ethiopia’s villages were connected to the power grid. Now, half of the rural settlements are supplied with power. In total, Ethiopian hydropower plants with Voith technology supply up to 900,000 households in the country with clean and sustainable electricity.
With a hydropower potential of 45,000 megawatts, Ethiopia has one of the largest hydropower resources on the African continent. Since 2011, the country supports the development of renewable energy and wants to become an energy hub for East Africa in the medium term.
About the Voith Group
The Voith Group is a global technology company. With its broad portfolio of systems, products, services and digital applications, Voith sets standards in the markets of energy, oil & gas, paper, raw materials and transport & automotive. Founded in 1867, the company today has more than 19,000 employees, sales of € 4.2 billion and locations in over 60 countries worldwide and is thus one of the larger family-owned companies in Europe.
The Group Division Voith Hydro is part of the Voith Group and a leading full-line supplier as well as trusted partner for equipping hydropower plants. Voith develops customized, long-term solutions and services for large and small hydro plants all over the world. Its portfolio of products and services covers the entire life cycle and all major components for large and small hydro plants, from generators, turbines, pumps and automation systems, right through to spare parts, maintenance and training services, and digital solutions for intelligent hydropower.
Verve Global Card expands international acceptance to the United Arab Emirates- Activates first official transaction in Dubai
November 19, 2019 | 0 Comments
- The launch of Verve Global Card in Dubai, marks Verve’s entrance into the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
- Verve Global customers can already transact in 185 countries globally
Dubai, November 16, 2019 – Verve, a leading payments technology and card business in Africa, held a first transaction event today in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Verve Global cardholders can now use their cards on Discover Global Network to transact in more than 185 countries and territories, including Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The first transaction event took place at Emperor Retail outlet, City Walk by Meraas Al Safa Str. Dubai. Senior executive members of Verve International were joined at the event by key partners including Jerry Fosker, a senior Executive from Discover Global Network, Shamsudeen Fashola; Group Head Retail Banking FCMB, Margaret Okhoya; Product Manager Card Services FCMB, Lanre Oladimeji; Group Head Retail Banking Zenith Bank, Nneka Onwuegbuche; Product Manager, Card Services Zenith Bank, among others.
Speaking at the launch in Dubai, Mitchell Elegbe, Interswitch Group Managing Director expressed his excitement, stating that the decision to bring Verve Global to Dubai was a strategic one: “Dubai is an important destination of choice for business and leisure as well as being a popular destination for Nigerians.”
The transaction in Dubai comes following the successful launch of Verve Global in New York in August this year, and marks Verve International’s first entrance into the UAE region.
Elegbe continued: “As we approach the Dubai Expo 2020, we believe this is the right time to expand into a region with a rapidly evolving payments market. The launch in Dubai will provide an efficient way for new and existing Verve Global cardholders to transact whenever they visit the region”.
Expressing his gratitude to stakeholders and partners present, Mike Ogbalu III, Chief Executive Officer, Verve International, reiterated the mission and vision of Verve, stating its core objective of making seamless payment solutions available to Nigerians and Africans in every part of the world. “We are very delighted that a domestic card scheme of African origin can be used to make payments across the world. We express our gratitude to all our partners, particularly Zenith Bank and First City Monument Bank, who have joined us today. One of the biggest assets of Verve International is our partners (both those who are here in Dubai and all others). Thank you for joining us on this epic journey to plant our footprints all over the world. We are very confident that you will remain with us as we continue to take bold steps”, he said.
To get a Verve Global Card is quite easy; please visit your bank and request one.
Group Chief Marketing & Corporate Communications Officer
Verve is Interswitch Group’s innovative payment scheme, offering products and solutions that enable consumers to transact all over Nigeria and across international markets. As the largest domestic card scheme in Africa, we have built a high-class value chain ecosystem that benefits from the services that Interswitch provides.
About Interswitch Group
Interswitch is a leading technology-driven company focused on the digitisation of payments in Nigeria and other countries in Africa. Interswitch is a leading player with critical mass in Nigeria’s developing financial ecosystem and is active across the payments value chain, providing a full suite of omni-channel payment solutions.
Interswitch was founded in 2002 as a transaction switching and electronic payments processing business, building and managing payment infrastructure, delivering innovative payment solutions and driving transactions across Nigeria and other African markets. We provide secure payments solutions and services that facilitate convenience and real value for consumers, businesses, governments and other organizations, helping to reduce costs, improve operational efficiency and drive sustainable revenue growth.
Discover Financial Services (NYSE: DFS) is a direct banking and payment services company with one of the most recognized brands in U.S. financial services. Since its inception in 1986, the company has become one of the largest card issuers in the United States. The company issues the Discover card, America’s cash rewards pioneer, and offers private student loans, personal loans, home equity loans, checking and savings accounts and certificates of deposit through its direct banking business. It operates the Discover Global Network comprised of Discover Network, with millions of merchant and cash access locations; PULSE, one of the nation’s leading ATM/debit networks; and Diners Club International, a global payments network with acceptance around the world. For more information, visit www.discover.com/company.
African Energy Chamber set to release the much awaited 2020 Africa Energy Outlook
November 19, 2019 | 0 Comments
|The outlook is the result of a strong regional and international cooperation between actors of the government, public and private sector across sub-Saharan Africa|
|JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, November 19, 2019/ — The African Energy Chamber (https://EnergyChamber.org) will be issuing this month its first Energy Outlook for 2020, in times when the global energy industry is going through an important period of transition.|
The outlook is the result of a strong regional and international cooperation between actors of the government, public and private sector across sub-Saharan Africa. It gathers the latest data available on sub-Saharan Africa’s hydrocarbons markets, and benefits from insights of key local, regional and international companies, experts and economists.
The Africa Energy Outlook 2020 will notably shed light on improving African business and legal environments, give strategic insights into sub-Saharan Africa’s production outlook, highlight the growing role of gas in Africa’s ongoing energy transition, map out the continent’s energy infrastructure outlook, and share key investment outlook for crude oil and natural gas across the continent.
“At such a pivotal moment of transition, leadership and initiative are required to position African businesses and their communities at the heart of the extraordinary development which the energy industry promises to deliver over the next decade,” said Mickael Vogel, Director of Strategy, African Energy Chamber. “This outlook is part of that effort. We are providing a comprehensive look at the oil and gas sector across sub-Saharan Africa, with a focus on key strategic and operational developments in the industry for 2020 as well as identifying opportunities for investment,” he added.
“This Outlook is a strategic yearly initiative of the African Energy Chamber to provide all interested stakeholders and investors with a tool to navigate sub-Saharan Africa’s rapidly developing energy markets,” said Verner Ayukegba, Senior Vice President at the Chamber. “Being the fastest-growing energy network on the continent, it is our responsibility to mobilize our partners around such research and analysis which benefits everyone involved in shaping the future of Africa.”
The Africa Energy Outlook 2020 will be released later this month and be available online for free to all AEC partners and stakeholders.
*Africa Energy Chamber
A Recipe For African Success In NJ Ayuk’s Billions At Play
November 19, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Ajong Mbapndah L
Launched recently in South Africa at a heavily attended event, NJ Ayuk’s new book Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals has received rave reviews.
“Africans are more than capable of making our continent a success,” says NJ Ayuk in an interview with Pan African Visions to discuss the book. Past deals have not worked for a majority of African countries and Billions At Play is a road map to the future we Africans want to build for ourselves, says NJ Ayuk.
“Oil only becomes a curse when it is mismanaged, and when extraction is done without proper supervision and regulations, without pragmatic solutions that promise sustainability,” says Ayuk.
Described by OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo as a dreamer who has taken the time to develop a detailed roadmap for realizing that dream, Ayuk says he cherishes the battles he fights to get opportunities for fellow African to have a seat at the table.
“We are showing that we are not a helpless continent and we don’t want handouts – our future will not be based on aid,” says Ayuk in the interview which also discusses the role of the diaspora, women, alternative sources of energy ,and more.
Billions At Play is a roadmap to the future that we, Africans, can build for ourselves by getting a few things right. The biggest message that I seek to convey is that of our shared responsibility towards improving Africa and creating the Africa our future generations will thank us for. It goes beyond the African energy sector. I hope everyone can see how they can be part of the solution in a more practical, sustainable way. Africans are more than capable of making our continent a success.
In terms of doing deals, what is it that African countries have failed to understand, and what are some of the suggestions that you are offering?
It’s no secret that in the past deals have proven not to work for a majority of African countries – only benefiting a selected few. We see the repercussions of that daily, where African countries are rich in oil and gas, but their communities at large suffer from poverty and unemployment. My biggest recommendation? Better deal-making abilities and implementation of local content regulations. We need to learn how to negotiate better deals that benefit everyday Africans. We are getting smarter at building new models for managing petroleum revenue. Africans need to know the worth and value we bring into any oil and gas deals and be confident in that. Our laws must create an enabling environment for international investors who want to transfer technology and empower Africans, to be able to do business with us. As I write in Billions At Play, good deal-making is crucial. We need to negotiate deals that result in long-term benefits for the people, African companies need to negotiate deals that keep them on an equal playing field with their competition and empower them to grow, to create and sustain jobs, and to support the communities they are based in.
Looking at the continent we see some countries that have produced oil for decades unable to maintain a single functional refinery, in other countries the resources seem to benefit a few and not the broader interest of the people, how does Africa turn the resource curse to a blessing ?
Oil only becomes a curse when it is mismanaged, and when extraction is done without proper supervision and regulations, without pragmatic solutions that promise sustainability. Otherwise, it can be a true blessing. We need infrastructure – we need to build and own our own refineries, pipelines, urea, ammonia, and fertilizer plants, power plants etc. The same applies to setting up technology hubs! We have seen how some African countries have started taking steps in this direction, and that makes me really proud.
When we talk of energy, the immediate focus is on oil, could you talk on the potential of other forms of energy like wind and solar and how this could shape the future as well?
Africa will never fulfill its true potential until access to reliable power is widespread, and that can only be attained once we have functional, well-funded, transparent power utilities that make use of new technologies and solutions and that partner with the private sector to promote the continent’s ability to power itself in a sustainable manner.
Yes, most of Africa has solar exposure that is very adequate for power generation, not to mention wind, hydro, and other forms of clean power generation. The likes of Kenya, targeting a 100% clean energy mix is a good example.
“Africans are more than capable of making our continent successful,” you say in the book, looking at what is going on in the continent, what makes you so optimistic?
Take a look around you and across the globe and you will easily spot African brothers and sisters actively doing amazing things in their spheres of influence, each playing a role in transforming the lives of hundreds of thousands of Africans. Similarly, the biggest discoveries made in the world recently are in Africa. We are showing that we are not a helpless continent and we don’t want handouts – our future will not be based on aid. Good things really are happening across the continent, and the petroleum industry is a common denominator. You can find plenty of examples of natural resources contributing to meaningful changes for the better. I’ll forever be optimistic, and I know my hard work and optimism is contagious.
What role do you see for the African diaspora, especially those with the skills set that could make a difference on the energy future of the continent?
The diaspora can actively engage with foreign partners, which is essential to Africa’s growth, and contribute to spreading a more objective narrative on the promising future the continent has. Similarly, and as we seek to build better organizations and run better businesses, skills learned and acquired abroad can be highly beneficial to the continent.
“Africa needs companies that are willing to share knowledge, technology and best practices, and businesses that are willing to form positive relationships in areas where they work,” you say, what leverage do African countries have to compel companies from China, Europe, the US and other parts of the world to implement this?
We need foreign oil and gas companies to continue operating in African communities and to continue hiring African people, purchasing from African suppliers, and partnering with African companies. Like I said, foreign partners are essential to Africa’s growth, we need to push ahead, and we cannot live and prosper in isolation. We can also benefit from the companies working on the continent for investment collaborations and to build the infrastructure necessary for industrialization.
You also talk about the paucity of women in the energy sector, what accounts for this and how important is it for the trend to be reversed?
I sit in a lot of boardrooms, I speak at a lot of conferences, and I am always faced with how few and far in between women executives are in these spaces. It’s a fact that amongst African oil firms, women in leadership only account for only about 2-3%. So who is going to push the agenda for women, if not me? Not us? I know and work with a lot of amazingly hardworking, innovative, strong women that I believe need to take their spaces in executive roles. Women have a great deal to offer, and good jobs for women contribute to a more stable, more economically vital Africa. We have to do more to ensure that women and men receive equal compensation, whether it’s wages, community programs, or property royalties, etc. If I can do my part to put pressure, I’ll be happy.
Billions at Play is also hitting the stands at a time of great excitement and growing optimism with the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, AfCFTA, how does this factor in into the vision you share?
The AfCFTA like in every other industry or sector, can yield great results for the oil industry. I love unity! I love making money together! I have Centurion Law Group offices in South, West, and East Africa already – I’m glad the entire continent is catching up. I continue to embrace strong regional economy give the continent a competitive edge in the global economy and it will make a lot of pan-African work easier. Lets’ win together.
In his foreword, OPEC Secretary General Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo describes you as a dreamer who has “taken the time to develop a detailed roadmap for realizing that dream,” how far is NJ Ayuk willing to go in rallying Africa and friends of Africa towards the fulfilment of this dream?
That’s what I live for every day. Opening opportunities for fellow African to come and have a seat at the table. It is an honor for me to be able to do that and call it my work. to open doors for other people, the same way as doors were open for me and knowledge imparted. That is what it is all about.
Cameroon:“We are tired, Want to be simple people and Move on with our lives” – Bishop Andrew Nkea narrates
November 19, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Boris Esono Nwenfor
His Lordship Andrew Nkea, Bishop of the Mamfe Diocese has reiterated the need for peace to return to the two English speaking regions while indicating that the people are tied and just want to live their normal lives as before.
He was speaking recently during the launching of the Regional Post Dialogue Sensitization Caravan at the Buea Council chamber.
He said, “Whatever politics is involved, we want our children to go back to school without us trembling. Our economy is in bad state, many IDPs everywhere. For how long can we continue? We are tired. Violence breeds violence and we need to sit and discuss problems we are facing and look for solutions to them.”
Narrating his personal story, the Bishop said , “Mamfe is going through trouble times as many have been dehumanized, killed, maimed while others have ran into the bushes. Businesses have melted due to the crisis and Cocoa, Palm plantations are now turning into bushes.” “Every time I leave my house I have to say my last prayer as I do not even know if I will come back or not. Even today, I had to pray my last prayer as I don’t know if I will go back. That is the situation we are currently facing”, He added.
The Bishop equally called on the delegates to strive for collective and not personal success. “The caravan should not be politicized. We should forget about our political linings, churches or social groups. We should use inclusive and not exclusive language.”
“In one way or the other, all of us have contributed to the crisis. We should not judge or apportion blame to people when we go to the field. It is a collective effort and everybody must join in seeking solution to the crisis. We need peace.”
Speaking to the media, Bishop Andrew Nkea said, “We cannot solve the crisis that has been going on for three years in one day. We are reaching out to the solution of the problem and I think that it is most important for the people to understand what we discussed in Yaounde towards a solution to the crisis.”
“We went to the dialogue from different Divisions yet the discussions from the dialogue have not reached the grass root population. We are sending out the divisional caravans to go out to the various divisions and subdivisions to explain to the people what was discussed and the expectations.”
Speaking during the event, Minister Paul Tasong indicated that various efforts are being put in place to see to it that the affected regions’ economy is brought back to normal. “CDC and PAMOL have been greatly affected by the socio-political crisis in the South West Region,” He said
He however cautioned the delegates not to make promises when they cannot keep. “Do not make false promises and invent things which are difficult to achieve – like deep sea port in Lebialem when there is no sea, while indicating that the Limbe deep sea port is to be given attention within 10 years.
On his part, Governor Bernard Okalia Bilai reiterated the need for everyone to join the train, and join hands together in educating those in the bushes to come out and share in the message of peace. “After the Grand National Dialogue, the population still waits on its leaders to know what was said as many important issues were agreed upon,” Governor Okalia said.
What is the substance of the “Special Status?
One of the fallouts of the Major National Dialogue was the granting of the special status to the North West and South West Regions – Section 62, paragraph 2 of the constitution gives provisions of a special status.
To Minister Philip Ngwese, the question of the substance of the present special status granted the Anglophone regions are still undetermined. “It is a question that does not have a definitive answer at the moment. We should not come up with things that we are not sure. What the special status means is what we are still expecting”, He said.
He added that the President during the Paris peace forum did indicate that the special status has been granted the Regions and it will be implemented. “The President and the House of Assembly are in charge of proposing and debating bills and I am sure they will know the substance or what entails in the special status.”
The Regional caravan which has been launched is expected to hit the ground running in educating the population about the substance of the National Dialogue and to look for solutions to the present crisis. The report from the various delegations to the six divisions is expected to be harmonized, with the final report to be presented to Prime Minister Head of Government Chief Dr. Dion Ngute by November 27, 2019.
The present caravan is in its informative phase and the next step that is expected within the coming weeks is the implementation phase.
StartUpAfrica rallies top entrepreneurs in Washington DC for 8th entrepreneurial conference
November 18, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Amos Fofung
Not fewer than two dozen trailblazing entrepreneurs who are making a mark in their respective domains answered yes last Saturday at the Howard University’s Center for African Studies in Washington DC to share their story and stirrup entrepreneurial spirit among young entrepreneurs.
The top executives in IT fields, diplomacy, and governance, finance, energy, defense, healthcare, consultancy, and law among others, constituted part of the panelist who shared institutes into what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur and mitigating risk.
In its 8th edition, the StartUpAfrica entrepreneurship conference had as theme; “partnership for entrepreneurial success.”
Shelvin D. Longmire, chair of the Advisory Board of StartUpAfrica pointed out that the gathering sought to advance entrepreneurship among Africans thus mapping a fresh path for the continent.
“Such gatherings seek to invest in building an entrepreneurship community of tomorrow’s business leaders through training, mentoring and access to capital,” he said in a chat with this reporter on the networking session.
With panel discussions focused on; innovation and entrepreneurship, artificial intelligence-inevitable change business need to embrace, fostering global entrepreneurship through exchange programs and the role of government in building effective entrepreneurship ecosystem, the panelist where all unanimous that it is time good enough to spur entrepreneurial spirit and rally innovation for the next generation of African leaders.
The cross-section of panelists ranged from; Sibyl Edwards – CEO of Black Female Founders, Franklin J. Miles – Founder and Director AWE African Development, Rahama Wright – Founder and CEO at Shea Yeleen Health and Beauty, Adebisi Adebowale – Founder UPLIFTOLOGY, Rowan Fernelon – owner of Fine Royale, and Naomi A. Burrell – CEO and Founder of Be Inspired among many others.
Together, they each took turns to share their experiences, answering questions from attendees who were eager to grasp and tap from their wealth of experiences.
President and Chief Executive Officer of StartUpAfrica, Erastus Mong’are recounts that “for years now, such conferences have been geared towards bringing entrepreneur’s and aspiring entrepreneurs in one setting – one platform where they can share their stories, best practices, what has worked for them, and what they need to do if they are looking at getting into business.”
“Looking at the attendees, we have young university students who are here; why are we doing this, because we want to inspire the next generation of job seekers not just for the US but for Africa as well,” he said during an interview session with Pan African Visions reporter.
On the path covered so far, he remarks that they have indeed seen some great successes, citing one of the programs former attendees who benefited from the foreign exchange program and had come back to talk about the successful business venture he now manages between Kenya, US and the Caribbean.
South African women demand Death penalty for rape
November 18, 2019 | 0 Comments
By Amos Fofung
A petition spearheaded by women in South African which demands the introduction of death penalty for rape perpetuators and other offenses against women is gaining momentum and has garnered more than 600,000 signatures.
This follows the conviction in August this year of Luyanda Botha, who raped and murdered 19-year-old student Uyinene Mrwetyana when she went to pick up a parcel at the Cape Town post office where he worked.
He was handed three life sentences but women in South Africa say its not enough. They are requesting that for taking one’s life, Luyanda Botha and others like him should pay with their lives.
The petition tabled to the office of the president seeks to punish perpetuators so as to deter violence and Crimes against women in South Africa which they say is “an uncontrollable, vicious cycle where women and children are sexually assaulted and murdered with little to no justice for the ones that are left behind to pick up the pieces.”
The petition which seeks to hit one million signatories so as to advance their demand insist its time to joined forces “to bring back the death sentence for crimes against women and children in the Hopes of saving this great country”
South Africa rates of femicide –intentional killing of women and girls — is one of the highest globally when compared with other countries where data is available, according to Professor Rachel Jewkes, director of the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls global program.
“We have three women killed every day by a husband or a boyfriend in South Africa, and this is much higher than in many countries. It’s much higher than it is in Europe or Australia,” she said.