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‘The cost is going to be high’-Kagame warns Rwanda’s enemies
November 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

Kagame warns those who want to destabilise Rwanda

President Paul Kagame is warning those who want to wage a war on Rwanda and everyone who is involved, that the cost on their part will be very high.

He made the comments on   Thursday, 14 November after officiating the swearing in ceremony of new cabinet members.

Among new cabinet members includes General Patrick Nyamvumba who was tasked to lead Internal security ministry. This ministry had been scrapped three years ago.

President Kagame said that  people who are planning to destabilize Rwanda, hiding behind politics are going to face consequences.

Though he did not name them, Kagame could have been saying those who are plotting against his government from inside in cooperation with negative forces from outside.

“I want to warn some people among us who hide behind different things, they hide behind politics, democracy , freedom … that we actually want , it is our responsibility to ensure that there is democracy, there is peace, freedom and everything in our country. For people who hide behind this nonsense and they even backed and praised by people outside ..you are going to face us” he said

In his speech that was being aired live on national television, Kagame said that he cannot accept people who consume security that have cost even people’s lives, to cause problems in the country.

“For those who are involved they better come clean very fast. You cannot be here benefiting from security, peace that we have created, we have paid for in blood, over many years and the you  do things behind our backs to cause us problems. We will put you where you belong… and those ones who make noises about it we will see what they will do.”

Recently Rwanda has been experiencing attacks from rebel groups who say they want to liberate country. Some of them operates from Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

In early October, assailants launched an attack in Northern Rwanda where they killed 14 people and wounded dozens.

Those who were captured told local media that they are from RUD Urunana rebel group, a faction group that detached itself from  FDLR, a rebel group in DRC that Rwanda accuses to be made of many who involved in 1994 genocide against the Tutsis.

Kagame warns whoever collaborate with those groups, saying it will cost them highly.

“We are going to raise the costs on the part of anybody who wants to destabilize our security. The cost is going to be very high whether it is the means, we are going to put into that to make sure that we have everything it takes  to ensure security and stability of our country and our people and our development. The source of the cost mainly those people who destabilize our country who want ..it going to be a very high cost on their part absolutely. I mean it and you know that I mean it”, he added.

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Demonizing Oil and Gas companies is not a constructive way forward on energy transition. Africa will push for “the Right to Drill”
November 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

By NJ Ayuk *

African nations must and will take advantage of their hydrocarbon resources for economic development. Environmental sustainability is a part of it, not an impediment.

Johannesburg, 14 November 2019: In an article written for the Guardian newspaper this week, Nobel Peace Prize Winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa argued for an Apartheid-style boycott on coal, oil and gas companies as a solution to fight climate change and help ensure global environmental sustainability goals. “We must stop climate change. And we can, if we use the tactics that worked in South Africa against the worst carbon emitters,” the subtitle of the piece reads.

The sentiment expressed by Mr. Tutu is laudable and speaks to many across the world that have become rightfully concerned by the effects of climate change on our environment.

However, it is also a misguided sentiment. Oil and gas companies are not autocratic regimes focused on oppressing the people and steal their resources. They are businesses, which yes, are focused on profit, but they are also focused on the sustainability of the business itself. In practical terms, it means that these companies adapt to the needs of the economies they are integrated in. Boycotting oil and gas companies will not have an impact on carbon emissions, but it might raise the price of fuel in the long run. That is not the goal intended. 

While there is demand for hydrocarbons, there will be production. The shift in the dynamic of supply and demand in recent years can already be spotted in the way oil and gas companies have restructured. More and more, these companies are diversifying their portfolios to include renewable energy assets and many of them are at the forefront of research and development of new technologies to help exploit renewable resources. I cover this extensively in my recent book, Billions at Play. Oil and gas companies are shifting into becoming “energy companies”, they are even rebranding, with Equinor (former Statoil) being the most evident example, to showcase that change in corporate paradigm. And in all honesty, who else would be better prepared, better funded and better placed to drive the energy transition that we all seek. Demonizing energy companies is not a constructive way forward, and ignoring the structural role that carbon-based fuels have in today’s society distorts the public debate. Bringing energy companies, governments and civil society groups together to find functional solutions will achieve much more.

This is especially the case in Africa. While the concerted effort amongst all of the world’s nations is fundamental to curb the effects of climate change, it is paramount to have a clear understanding of what efforts will be most decisive, and which regions of the world are in a better position and have the biggest responsibility to tackle these issues.

To be sure, Europe, North America and China, by and large responsible for much of the CO2 emissions that are behind the changes in our climate, have to live up to that responsibility and move towards more sustainable practices.

We can not expect African nations, which put together have polluted 7 times less than China, 13 times less than the United States, and 18 times less than Europe since the beginning of the industrial revolution, according to Carbon brief, to undermine their best opportunities for economic development by simply aligning with the Western view of how to tackle CO2 emissions.

Gabriel Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea, summed it up quite decisively to the press last week during the Africa Oil Week in Cape Town. “Under no circumstances are we going to be apologising,” he said, “anybody out of the continent saying we should not develop those

[oil and gas]

fields, that is criminal. It is very unfair.”

Minister Lima’s blunt words are an answer to a number of misconstrued views about the African continent, and about the oil and gas industry it is striving to develop. While a few nations across the continent have been producing hydrocarbons for decades, these resources have mostly been exported to fuel industrial development in Europe, the US and Asia. The reasons for this are varied and have as much to do with the European colonial legacy as with the lack of existing financial resources and expertise to develop local economies over the last century.

That, however, is coming to a change. As I have argued and championed for years, African nations are finally starting to make use of these resources to develop their own national economies. We must remember that nearly half of all Africans still don’t have access to electricity and that nearly every company in the continent struggles with the lack of power reliability, which raises operational costs, reduces productivity and hurts their ability to compete in international markets. African leaders are now painfully aware of the damage an unreliable energy network causes on national economies and are moving to change that.

Today, natural gas is by far the most economically sustainable way of producing power in enough quantities to fuel economic development. Petrochemical plants represent a massive economic opportunity to produce byproducts from oil and gas with a higher value within the supply chain, an opportunity to create jobs, develop infrastructure and produce wealth. Refineries too have a dramatically positive impact in curbing the need for fuel imports. All of these are fundamental pieces of the puzzle that will foster Africa’s economic growth and promote the betterment of the lives of its people. I have been saying this for a long time and have helped with that development through the African Energy Chamber, supporting cooperation amongst African nations to promote intra-African trade on energy resources and build synergies, which is the way forward.

The African Development Bank has estimated that between USD$130 and USD$170 billion a year in the run up to 2025 would be needed to close the infrastructure gap across the continent. How are African nations to fund these fundamental developments if they give up on exploring their natural resources? How can the Western world, or anyone for that matter, suggest, or demand, that African nations leave these resources underground when it was these same resources that powered economic development everywhere else?

After decades of colonial occupation and subsequent political and military in-fighting, many African regions have now reached the level of stability that will allow them to build working functioning economies. The fuel for that will be these countries’ natural resources, be it oil, gas, coal or diamonds. Boycotting the companies that can help these countries develop these resources would be paramount to economic suicide.

This is not to say that environmental sustainability and climate change should not be at the top of the list of concerns when debating the African energy sector, but it should inform environmental impact assessment policies and foster best practices in the industry, not put a stop to it.

Yes, renewable energy sources can have a role in contributing to expand electrification in Africa, and solar and wind power have become competitive when compared to carbon-based generation, but that will always depend on the resources available in each region and will always have to be supported by other forms of generation capacity that can overcome the issue of intermittency that follows renewable power generation.

This is already happening. Kenya, for instance, is one of the world’s leading nations in terms of the share of its energy matrix coming from renewables, on its way to reach 100% in the coming years, but it also holds some of the world’s largest geothermal energy reserves, and it will continue to develop its oil reserves because it needs the money to fund economic development.

Africa’s time to grow and develop is finally here, and it will be funded by its natural resources. Misguided moral lessons from the West will do little to change that because the financial resources coming from these activities are crucial and irreplaceable. In a somewhat ironic way, even if Africa wanted to stop using fossil fuels and shifted every power station to renewable sources, it would still be forced to develop its oil and gas fields in order to fund that transition.

There is no point in promoting radical approaches to the energy transition, particularly for Africa. A balanced manageable and well-lead approach of progressive transitioning combining hydrocarbons and renewable energy development alongside strong environmental protection policies in the sector is the option that is not only realistic, but that will allow to combine economic growth and environmental sustainability.

The New York Times quoted Mr. Gwede Mantashe, South Africa’s Energy Minister, in an article covering the Africa Oil Week. “Energy is the catalyst for growth,” he said, “they even want to tell us to switch off all the coal-generated power stations,” “until you tell them, “you know we can do that, but you’ll breathe fresh air in the darkness”.

Enough said.

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

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Cameroon: From Biya , A Mea Culpa on the Anglophone Crisis In Paris
November 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

Paul Biya responding to Mo Ibrahim
Paul Biya responding to Mo Ibrahim

Cameroon’s octogenarian president, Paul Biya has admitted trying to assimilate former British Southern Cameroons into the majority Francophone system, formerly East Cameroon.

Speaking Tuesday November 12, at the Second Paris Peace Summit in France, the 86-year-old who has ruled Cameroon for thirty-seven years now confirmed that they did attempt to assimilate the English-speaking regions, thus harmonizing it with the French part of the country.

Their efforts he added failed to yield any fruits.

“We tried assimilating their system into the majority francophone system but because of identity differences, it failed,” he said while responding to questions from Mohammed “Mo” Ibrahim, a Sudanese-British billionaire who moderated a panel discussion he was in.

Biya’s ‘confession’ was received with mixed feelings by denizens in his crisis turn country, which has for years now been plagued with civil protest and calls for secession.

 One of the points advanced for separation been the assimilation and elimination of the Anglo-Saxon culture.

Since then, his remark has been making rounds on social media sites prompting responses from across the political strata.

To separatist advocates and sympathizers, it is clear prove and validation to their cause, more reason why they need to leave the union.

Paul Biya was sitting on the same panel as Louise Mushikiwabo, Secretary-General of La Francophonie, Mohan Kumar, chairman of the Research and Information system for Developing Countries, Hor Nambong, Deputy Prime Minister of Cambodia, and Hossam Zaki, Deputy Secretary-General of the League of Arab States.

Though a president of a bilingual country for 37-years now, Paul Biya elected to have the question addressed to him translated to the dismay of his supporters.

Quizzed by Mo Ibrahim on the situation in the English-speaking regions of Cameroon, President Paul Biya first elected to go memory lane, detailing the genesis of the crisis, back to colonial times, thus giving the audience a broad-base understanding on how things got to the current level.

To him, the division of “his country” to colonial masters brought about all these problems and during postcolonial times, the possibility to reunite came forth and they attempted to integrate the English-speaking part with the majority French-speaking regions.

After falling due to what he describes as differences in identity, he announced that the Yaounde administration was putting in place a special status program for the English-speaking regions within the greater Republic of Cameroon.  

It is the second time within the last couple of months that President Biya is attending an international event in France. He has not visited the North West or South West regions since the crisis started and the statement on the special status is the first time he is making statement on the recommendations of the National dialogue .

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Commonwealth young champion named among TIME Magazine 100 leaders of tomorrow
November 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

Time magazine has named Commonwealth Young Person of the Year Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi among its 100 world rising stars who are shaping the future.

Nigerian women’s rights activist Osowobi is one of 53 women on a list of 100 names Time has dubbed “the world’s most ascendant leaders” who are “rising stars in their fields”.

In March, she won the title of Commonwealth Young Person of the Year 2019 after helping thousands of sexual and domestic abuse victims in Nigeria.

Osowobi, who is a survivor of sexual violence, set up the Stand to End Rape initiative to provide support to women, men and young people who have experienced any form of gender-based abuse.

Speaking with the Commonwealth, she said this recognition reinforces her belief in young people’s potential to create change.

She continued: “As young people, our relationship must surpass government collaboration on financial relations, rather, we must collectively protect the human rights of those within our community, especially vulnerable women and girls, persons with disabilities and LGBTQI people across the Commonwealth.”

Founded in 2014, her initiative works to advance women’s sexual reproductive health rights, advocate against gender-based violence and provide medical, legal and psychological support to survivors of sexual and domestic violence.

Advising the survivors of gender-based violence, Osowobi said: “Don’t stay silent. There is no judgement or condemnation as nobody owns the rights to your story or healing.

“My advice to you is first to stop blaming yourself and seek mental, legal and health support.”

Layne Robinson, the Commonwealth’s Head of Social Policy Development, said: “The Commonwealth Youth Awards, particularly the Commonwealth Young Person of the Year, shines a spotlight on the unsung efforts of our young people who have made a major impact in transforming our communities.

“We are happy our Commonwealth Person of the Year, Osowobi, is being recognised for her outstanding work beyond the Commonwealth.”

Time magazine unveiled its first annual collection of the next generation of world’s 100 young leaders today in New York City.

Every year, the Commonwealth Youth Awards for Excellence in Development Work recognise the exceptional contribution of young people from across the Commonwealth’s member countries who are leading initiatives to help deliver sustainable development goals.

*Commonwealth

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African Energy Chamber Takes Part in High-Level Debate on the Future of the Global Oil & Gas Industry at Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference (ADIPEC)
November 13, 2019 | 0 Comments
Executives agreed that global energy markets are more than ever open for business and competing for foreign investments
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, November 13, 2019/ — The African Energy Chamber (https://EnergyChamber.org) participated in the Oil & Gas 4.0 Strategic Roundtables at ADIPEC in Abu Dhabi this week. During the “Energy trends, policy formation and geopolitical factors affecting the global oil and gas industry” roundtable, the Chamber provided a critical African perspective to the global debate on energy transition.

Key issues addressed by global CEOs from across the world included the impact of population growth and decarbonization on the global energy demand and future sector policies. Highlighting global dynamics in supply and demand, participants insisted on the need to meet growing demand for heavier petroleum products and crude, which shale oil cannot deliver. Similarly, executives agreed that global energy markets are more than ever open for business and competing for foreign investments.

A major concern shared by leaders at ADIPEC includes growing criticism made to the industry by the civil society at large in light of climate change. Coupled with a depressed oil prices environment, this sentiment is negatively impacting financial capital markets performances for the sector and overall growth projections. Capital markets are going through a tough time for instance, growing at only 3 to 4% as opposed to 15% a few years ago.

As climate concerns add pressure on the sector, participants urged all stakeholders to find ways to engage the broader society and challenge the insular nature of the oil & gas industry. All parties agreed that the sector is doomed if it fails to engage women, younger generations and the society at large around inclusive and sustainable growth.

Bringing its own perspective to the debate, the Chamber insisted that Africans should not apologize for wanting to develop their fossil fuels despite rising global concerns about climate change. Chamber representatives reminded everyone that Africa remains one of the world’s lowest emitter of carbon emissions, has over 650 million people who live without access to electricity, and cannot develop as a continent without oil & gas. As a result, the imperative of reducing poverty and creating opportunities through energy in the developing world was one of the key take away from the debate.

The Chamber notably voiced Africa’s determination to build an inclusive industry it can be proud of and which does not rely on aid but on sound business practices, deals and investments. It joined stakeholders in voicing concerns about the lack of inclusion of younger generations in the industry and the need to make oil & gas more attractive for young talent.

Concluding the debate, executives and experts agreed that real tensions are arising from climate change problems. They are forcing the industry to innovate and find more efficient and low-emitting solutions to develop hydrocarbons and invest in new technologies like hydrogen and energy storage. All parties agreed on the challenge of adequately addressing two issues at once. First, the need for near-term opportunities like cost-reduction and industry partnership to deliver opportunities for all, and second the long-term need to address energy transition and help solve climate change problems.
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2019 Africa Investment Forum: historic signing of high-speed railway construction concession agreement for Ghana, with the support of the African Development Bank
November 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

The African Development Bank has thrown its weight behind a concession agreement for the construction of a high-speed railway in Accra, Ghana’s capital.

The signing took place on the opening day of the second Africa Investment Forum, running from Monday to Wednesday in Johannesburg.

“It’s a great day for Ghana!” said Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo. “I was here last year and I’m back this year to make sure the project moves forward. This proves how important the Africa Investment Forum is. The signing of this agreement is on track to improve the lives of our citizens.”

The Accra Skytrain project, representing an investment of $2.6 billion, is a high-capacity public transport system that is completely automated and cost-efficient, using pneumatic propulsion technology. The system will transport more than 380,000 passengers annually and create some 5,000 jobs during its implementation phase.

“This is what Africa wants: finalized agreements,” said Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group. “What we want is for Africa to invest in Africa! We want to see this kind of thing happening all the time. This project will modernise Ghana, providing green transport for its citizens.”

Solomon Assamoah, fund manager for infrastructure investment, believes that this project will profoundly transform Ghana’s economic capital. “This is a major contribution to infrastructure development in Ghana, and in Africa as a whole. We need mass transport. This project will help overcome traffic gridlock,” he explained.  

Joe Ghartey, Ghana’s minister for railway infrastructure, stressed the work ahead: “We have worked hard together to get to this stage of the project. We have more work to do to be able to tell the whole world, between now and next year, that the project’s financing is complete and that its operational phase has begun.”

Ghana Investment Promotion Centre CEO Yofi Grant expressed confidence that the project would reach financial close by this time next year.

The agreement was signed at a press conference during the 2019 African Investment Forum.

The Africa Investment Forum is an innovative, multi-stakeholder transactional marketplace conceived by the African Development Bank, aimed at raising capital, advancing projects to the bankable stage, and accelerating financial closure of deals. 

The Forum runs from 11-13 November in Johannesburg, South Africa.

*AFDB

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Toilets in schools matter – how African Development Bank is making a difference
November 13, 2019 | 0 Comments
handover of vip latrines at St Pauls primary school in Mzimba

At 14, Mercy Kamanga dropped out of school at Standard eight in St Paul’s Primary School in Mzimba, Malawi, due to a lack of suitable sanitation facilities.

“The toilets at our school were very few, small, dilapidated and didn’t have doors; only a piece of cloth covered the entrance. Our male colleagues often rushed to nearby bushes to help themselves. It was not easy for us the girls,” recalled Mercy.

It was a worse situation for girls who were in their menstrual period, and like Mercy, some other adolescent girls also dropped out of school. Others stayed away during their menstrual periods.

“It was a nightmare. After using the toilet, we were supposed to wash our hands and clean ourselves properly, but that was a big challenge. We didn’t have the washing facilities and we ended up being humiliated in class. We just had to go home,” Mercy said.

The headteacher of the school, Mr. Mwandira, confirmed Mercy’s heart-breaking experience. “We didn’t have enough toilets and this affected the learners, especially the girls.”

St Paul’s was not the only school which lacked suitable sanitation facilities. There were many others with similar challenges in Mzimba, resulting in the rampant outbreak of waterborne diseases in the area.

But the situation has now changed for the better, thanks to the intervention of the African Development Bank and its partners. St Paul’s is one of the beneficiaries of 18 newly constructed improved latrines under the $22.85 million Mzimba Integrated Urban Water and Sanitation Project in northern Malawi.

“Our enrolment has increased from around 700 learners to 900 learners with the coming of the improved toilets. It is good to note that around 60% of the learners are girls,” said Mwandira.

Other beneficiaries of the latrines programme were Mzimba LEA, Kaphuta Primary School and the district market. The improved latrines with dual seaters, are equipped with hand washing facilities to improve sanitation in the schools and in the market.

The project was jointly financed by the African Development Bank, Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries Fund for International Development, and the Malawi Government through the Northern Region Water Board.

It had three components: water infrastructure development, water resource management, and sanitation and hygiene. The sanitation and hygiene component cost $450,000 and entailed the rehabilitation of sludge ponds near the Mzimba District Hospital.

The Director of Infrastructure Development at Northern Region Water Board, Catherine Mbewe-Mwafulirwa said the Board is working in partnership with the communities to ensure that no one is left behind in the provision of potable water and sanitation for all.

The intervention has so far helped to reduce water-related diseases from around 35% to 6%, according to statistics from the Mzimba District Health Office.

For Mercy, who is now 16 and has returned to St Paul’s, there is renewed joy in learning, following the erection of the latrines at the school.

“It’s safer and better now with the improved toilets. You don’t have to worry about issues of hygiene. It’s like you are home,” she says with a smile.

Toilets in schools matter.

*AFDB

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Mozambique features strongly at 2019 Africa Investment Forum with $24.6 billion project, the largest deal
November 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

Mozambique’s state oil and fuel company Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos (ENH), tabled a $24.6 billion transformative project for Mozambique’s economy, the largest deal to feature at the 2019 Africa Investment Forum.

The project includes the development of the Golfinho and Atum fields and the nation’s first onshore liquefied natural gas plant.

Mozambique’s Prime Minister Agostinho do Rosário made the announcement at a media briefing session during the Forum, the continent’s premier investment marketplace, organized by the African Development Bank and its partners.

The project is an opportunity to create jobs and will revive the Mozambican economy, Agostinho do Rosário told journalists.

State oil company ENH Chief Executive Officer Omar Mitha says the country is already courting global investors to raise US$1.3 billion to fund the company’s share in the Area 1 natural gas project, in which it holds a 15% stake.

For African Development Bank President Adesina, African governments must not carry the burden of infrastructure alone; they must allow private sectors to lessen the load.

Last year’s inaugural Africa Investment Forum secured investment interest worth $38.7 billion of dollars in just three days. For this year’s edition, the Bank and its partners are aiming to cap that figure.

In closing and addressing a question debt, Adesina said, “First and foremost, Africa is not in debt crisis, we have several countries that have challenges in terms of equity ratios tipping at the levels that raise concern. Africa is not one country, Africa is not two countries, Africa is 54 countries…There’s nothing to cause any alarm.”

The three-day Africa Investment Forum is taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa.

*AFDB

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Africa Investment Forum 2019: Unveiling the Boardroom: $67.6 billion dollars of deals tabled, $40.1 billion investor interest secured
November 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

Africa is winning…Africa is bankable- African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina

It was deals that brought participants to the 2019 Africa Investment Forum and they were not disappointed. The second Forum ended on a high note Wednesday, with 56 boardroom deals valued at $67.6 billion tabled – a 44% increase from last year.

Fifty-two deals worth $40.1 billion secured investor interest compared with $37.8 billion dollars last year.

During the 2018 edition of the Forum, 61 transactions valued at $46.9 billion were tabled for discussions in boardroom sessions and 49 deals worth $38.7 billion, secured investment interest.

Presiding over the session: “Unveiling the Boardroom Deals”, African Development President Akinwumi Adesina said that was the spirit of the Africa Investment Forum: “transactions, transactions, transactions. Deals, deals, deals!”

Over 2,221 participants attended this year’s Forum from 109 countries, 48 from Africa and 61 from outside of Africa. They came from government, the private sector, development finance institutions, commercial banks, and institutional investors.

‘The Forum is a platform that will change Africa’s investment landscape,” Chinelo Anohu, the Forum Senior Director said. “Africa is ready to engage on its own terms.”

Key moments of the Forum included:

  • a $600 million COCOBOD deal for Ghana, for cocoa processing, warehousing and processing
  • $58 million for the Alithea Identity Fund for women
  • A concession agreement for the Accra Sky Train, worth $2.6 billion

The Forum focused on projects and advancing deals spanning several sectors, including Energy, Infrastructure, Transport and Utilities, Industry, agriculture, ICT and Telecoms.

“Now the hard work begins to fast-track these deals to financial closure… Africa is bankable,” Adesina said.

*AFDB

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Cameroon:At Nkafu event Entrepreneurs urged to understand their environment, know the needs of their clients
November 12, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Participants were trained on three key moduls- Business Management, Tax registration and declaration procedures and Access to finance
Participants were trained on three key moduls- Business Management, Tax registration and declaration procedures and Access to finance

(Yaounde, Cameroon) Entrepreneurs have been encouraged to understand the environment they operate in and to equally know the needs of their clients in order to foster the growth of their business. Shouame Cyrille Researcher, Vice President of SOS Espoir et Émergence was speaking at the Mansel Hotel in Yaounde November 12, 2019 at the Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship Skills training organized by the Nkafu Policy Institute.

To him, every entrepreneur is a client because they need the services of others in their work and they should not provide the kind of services that they will not accept from others.

Speaking on the Business Management, He said that, as small business owner, entrepreneurs need to understand the economic situation of their country.

To economic analysts, knowing the economic situation will make it easy for an entrepreneur to survive in a particular business as the purchasing power of customers is very important. Equally, the political instability of a country makes it very difficult for a particular business to operate.

Shouame Cyrille added that entrepreneurs need to understand their finances well, and understand where most of their income goes so as to better plan while educating the various participants on the different opportunities offered by the Ministry of Small and Medium Size Enterprises to small business owners in Cameroon.

In her introductory words, the Program Manager Agathe Djomeghu indicated that the mission of the SBEC is to provide entrepreneurs with organizational skills, and today’s session is part of a long series of six training sessions.

Ngueteu Nganga, Founder of MARON & Associates SARL and Accountant edified participants on tax requirements, registration and declaration procedures, while equally advancing some importance of moving from the informal to a formal sector.

Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship Skills training is part of a long series of six training sessions
Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship Skills training is part of a long series of six training sessions

Ngueteu Nganga added that “Cameroon is under the OHADA accounting system and practices accrual accounting. Small Businesses should be able to calculate and declare their turnovers themselves”, while adding that “this should not be done by the tax collectors, as explained by Foretia foundation”

According to an accountant, Taxes should not be the reason why entrepreneurs fail. Tax is an end product, it is on entrepreneur’s profit and not capital. Cameroon has one of the best tax systems as it is a declarative system – it is the entrepreneur who declares what he has earned for the month, calculates and pays. But the issue is that people do not even know how to calculate as some cheat the system.  

Access to finance is a key factor to the growth of SMEs but notwithstanding, because of the difficulties faced by financial institutions in obtaining information on the borrowers-solvency, lack of reliable financial statement of SMEs, absence of guarantee or inadequate collateral and lack of detailed business plan, they (financial institutions) become reluctant to award loans to these SMEs.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Small and Medium Size Enterprises, Social Economy and Handicrafts, there are more than 400,000 companies in the informal sector and out of these, 99 per cent are SMEs. In an economy, firms can obtain funds from the stock exchange or indirectly from financial intermediaries like banks, microfinance institutions and other non-financial institutions. A 2009 IMF study indicated that heavy taxes and 15 per cent interest ceiling on loans to SMEs also discourage these institutions from financing the sector.

The Small Business Training under the theme, “Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship Skills” falls within the framework of the prime purpose of the Small Business and Entrepreneur Centre (SBEC) – to spur economic growth in Cameroon through the provision of tools to establish, expand and sustain private sector business in partnership with Global Affairs Canada.

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Traveller Spend in Africa Could Increase by 27%, Sabre Research Reveals
November 12, 2019 | 0 Comments
Dino Gelmetti
Dino Gelmetti
Consumers would be more willing to travel if they were able to move freely within the continent, and if travel pain-points were addressed
PORT LOUIS, Mauritius, November 12, 2019/ — Spend among African travellers could increase by 27 percent over the next year if they were able to move more freely within the continent, new research from Sabre Corporation (NASDAQ: SABR) (https://www.Sabre.com/) reveals at today’s 51st African Airlines Association (AFRAA) Annual General Assembly in Mauritius.

More than 5,000 people across Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa were asked whether they had travelled by plane in the past 24 months, to which 26% said they had – a 2% increase on Sabre’s similar 2016 study. However, those that did travel cited that various barriers were preventing them from travelling more often. The majority said that air travel was too expensive, but many also cited difficulties in obtaining visas and booking flights, delays, queues at the airport, and an overall stressful travel experience as some of the reasons they don’t travel more.

Of those that had travelled, there was a willingness to spend up to 27 percent more on air travel if they could travel visa-free throughout the continent – with most respondents saying they would take 2-3 trips per year compared with the 1-2 they currently take. More than 90% were also willing to spend more on ancillary services like in-flight Wi-Fi and entertainment, and special on-board food and beverages. Forty-three percent said they would spend over $100 on these ancillaries to improve their travel experience – 26% up on 2016 and still significantly more than global averages.

“It is encouraging to see that a greater number of people have been able to access air travel over the past three years,” said Dino Gelmetti, vice president sales, Middle East and Africa. “However, our research shows that there is still a long way to go to make travel affordable and accessible. The majority of our respondents’ barriers to travel are within an airline’s control, and investing in the latest technology can significantly improve the whole flight experience – from booking to the day of travel.”

Those polled said that if pain points were eliminated and they could travel more freely, the countries top of their lists to visit are South Africa, Ghana, Ethiopia, Seychelles, Madagascar, Mauritius, Kenya and Botswana. And, in an environment in which airlines across Africa are grappling with slow growth, this study sheds light on significant opportunities for the travel industry to improve the travel experience and capitalise on new revenue opportunities.


“Overcoming the cost constraint is a major challenge, but all indications are that if airlines were able to reduce flight costs by optimising operations, routes and pricing, far more African people would take advantage of the opportunity to travel by air,” continued Gelmetti. “Digital technologies offer the key to slashing operational costs, improving efficiencies and understanding customer pain points. By using data harnessing technologies to make sense of customer data and using these insights to offer passengers the right product in the right context at the right time, travel operators immediately improve their chances of increasing sales.”

Airlines also need to break down barriers such as confusing booking and check-in processes, by adopting multi-channel sales and check-in processes that allow travellers to engage in the channels they are most comfortable with – be those traditional channels such as travel agents and check-in staff, or digital channels such as websites and mobile apps. These same digital channels lend themselves to streamlined ancillary services sales, allowing travellers to quickly and easily order and pay for personalised add-ons to enhance their travel experience.

Sabre Corporation (https://www.Sabre.com/) is the leading technology provider to the global travel industry. Sabre’s software, data, mobile and distribution solutions are used by hundreds of airlines and thousands of hotel properties to manage critical operations, including passenger and guest reservations, revenue management, flight, network and crew management. Sabre also operates a leading global travel marketplace, which processes more than US$120 billion of global travel spend annually by connecting travel buyers and suppliers. Headquartered in Southlake, Texas, USA, Sabre serves customers in more than 160 countries around the world.
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African Development Bank, Credit Suisse, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Ghana Cocoa Board ink $600 million loan agreement to boost cocoa production
November 12, 2019 | 0 Comments
  • Agreement is a turning point for scaling up the cocoa value chain – President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana
  • Ghana is bankable, cocoa is bankable and of course Africa is bankable – Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, President, African Development Bank

The African Development Bank, Credit Suisse AG, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited and Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) signed a $600 million syndicated receivables-backed term loan on Tuesday, to boost cocoa productivity in Ghana – the world’s second-largest cocoa producer.

Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the President of the African Development Bank Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, senior officials from Credit Suisse and ICBC, oversaw the signing of the facility, at a ceremony held on the second day of the 2019 Africa Investment Forum.

The multi-million dollar agreement is a milestone for the Bank-convened Africa Investment Forum, a transactional platform dedicated to transforming the continent’s investment and development agenda, which kicked off in Sandton City Johannesburg on Monday.

The COCOBOD transaction was launched at the Africa Investment Forum in 2018, and a year later, the signing is a demonstration of the Forum’s ability to raise much needed financing, including from international commercial financiers, for projects in Africa. Prior to the agreement, COCOBOD did not have access to long-term debt capital.

At a press conference following the signing, President Akufo-Addo said the agreement would help to ensure higher incomes for Ghana’s cocoa farmers.

“It was critical that we find a mechanism for scaling up the value chain for our farmers and that is where the Bank came in,” Akufo Addo said. “We see this agreement as a turning point and…to what is possible on this continent.”

The Bank, as Original DFI Lender and Initial Mandated Lead Arranger, is partnering with Credit Suisse as Original Commercial Lender, Global Commercial Coordinator, Co-Mandated Lead Arranger. Credit Suisse is also acting as Joint Commercial Underwriter and Bookrunner to structure and fund a dual-tranche facility comprising a $250 million, 7-year DFI tranche with the Bank, as well as a $350 million, 5-year commercial tranche.

The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited London Branch joined as an Original Commercial Lender, Co-Mandated Lead Arranger and Joint Commercial Underwriter and Bookrunner ahead of syndication.

Syndication of the facility is underway.

Making sure that Africa gets to the top of the value chain is one of the African Development’s Bank’s top priorities, President Adesina said, adding that Africa could become a global hub for cocoa and cocoa-based products.

“All cocoa producing countries will get similar support (from the Bank). Ghana is bankable, cocoa is bankable and of course Africa is bankable,” Adesina said.

COCOBOD will use the facility to raise cocoa yields per hectare and increase Ghana’s overall production. These include financial interventions to sustainably increase cocoa plant fertility, improving irrigation systems, rehabilitating aged and disease-infected farms. The funds will also help increase warehouse capacity and provide support to local cocoa-processing companies.

Signing for Credit Suisse, Madthav Patki said the “landmark” transaction would facilitate future long-term investment in the Ghanaian cocoa sector.

“This is a positive contribution to a key sector of Ghana’s economy. “It is a moment of tremendous pride…This is what the Africa Investment Forum is all about,” Patki said. He also commended the Bank’s signature expertise in financial instruments, that enabled them to leverage financing for the deal.

The Africa Investment Forum, an initiative of the African Development Bank is an innovative, multi-stakeholder transactional marketplace, dedicated to raising capital, advancing projects to bankable stage, and accelerating financial closure of deals. 

Ghana’s cocoa sector employs some 800,000 rural families and produces crops worth about $2 billion in foreign exchange annually. COCOBOD is a fully state-owned company solely responsible for Ghana’s cocoa industry, controlling the purchase, marketing and export of all cocoa beans produced in the country.

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