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Investors to explore USD 82 million worth of business opportunities at the first Nutrition Investor Forum in Africa
October 18, 2018 | 0 Comments
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Think exponentially, not incrementally: How the rules of the game are changing in Africa’s banking sector
October 18, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Sunil Kaushal*

Sunil Kaushal, CEO, Africa & Middle East at Standard Chartered Bank

Sunil Kaushal, CEO, Africa & Middle East at Standard Chartered Bank

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, October 17, 2018/ — Think exponentially, not incrementally: How the rules of the game are changing in Africa’s banking sector

An abundance of opportunities

We are fortunate to witness a period of monumental progress in Africa. The changes are visible across all sectors. African start-ups have raised a record breaking $560 million in 2017, an increase of 53% from the previous year. African governments have welcomed technology into the continent, hoping to inspire a revolution across all industries and sectors. Some of the brightest minds are determined to rewrite the rules of the game by harnessing technology to tackle some of the continents greatest challenges – with one of them being the distinct lack of access to banking services for large parts of the population. Only 4 years ago, an astounding 66% of Sub-Saharan Africans (http://bit.ly/2PDboRb) did not have a bank account. Now, Africa has been described as a “leapfrogger” with the application of a technology driven economic model to reach the unbanked.

FinTech remains to be the most appealing industry for investors as African start-ups look to bridge the financial gap. Several of the largest deals in 2018 involved African FinTech companies: Kenyan-based Cellulant raised close to $50 million from investors this year, while microfinance company Branch received another $20 million investment to continue funding their mission to bring digital financial services to the Sub-Saharan continent.

While some banks may feel threatened, an abundance of opportunities are hidden within this transformation, most of which come down to partnering with the disruptors. There is a clear chance to leverage existing customer relationships and a deep understanding of the sector in the form of a forward-looking collaboration, which can fundamentally improve ways of doing business on both sides.

Think exponentially, not incrementally

It is a reality that the financial industry is experiencing disruptions on all fronts. As banks, we have a choice as to how we approach and address this change. One of the most important principles to master this evolution is to move from managing people and processes to managing purposes and principles with an entrepreneurial mindset.

US-based Singularity University, one of the world’s leading incubators and think-tanks in the field of technology, stresses that the greatest challenge for established institutions is to reinvent themselves using a digital mindset by thinking exponentially and not incrementally. This doesn’t mean the core of what companies do today has to be discarded, rather it is about innovating to foster sustainable growth.

Driven by unhindered obsession

An impressively large number of companies as well as individuals are investing in research, innovation and ideas for execution to keep up with the ever-changing demands of African consumers. Just in the first half of 2018, nearly 120 deals between investors and start-ups were signed. The time when start-ups were considered small, insignificant companies is long over: in fact, with their entrepreneurial spirit and unconventional approaches, they have the power and ability to shape the future of the continent. It can even be said that the people leading these small enterprises hold the key to growth by prioritising the greater good over personal goals. This is perfectly aligned with our bank’s  mantra ‘Good enough will never change the world’.

During a recent trip to San Francisco, I had the opportunity to meet Patrick Collision, co-founder of Stripe (think PayPal). Started only seven years ago, Stripe displaces the need to have a merchant capability and enables sellers and buyers in e-commerce to invoice and collect payments. He believes it can be a large company, but it would have to have the mindset where people prioritise the greater good over personal goals. I thought this insight was fascinating, as for this kind of culture to grow, there must be unhindered obsession about doing better every single day.

Africa’s Bright Digital Future

Halfway through 2018, total funding for start-ups in Africa has increased by nearly four-fold compared to the first half of last year. Digital entrepreneurs are changing the Sub-Saharan continent, and we have an opportunity be part of this monumental transformation. However, it requires all of us to embrace both exponential thinking and the latest technology to the fullest. The banking sector has taken promising first steps in the right direction with a rage to think differently to support client needs in Africa. Our ‘Women-In-Technology’ incubator program in Kenya and the launch of our first truly digital Bank in Ivory Coast give me confidence we are on the right path. I am proud to see unhindered obsession and exponential thinking come to life despite the challenging hurdles of a global banking operation.

We must do everything we can to harness technology and champion the next generation of entrepreneurs in Africa. We must put our faith in people who are on a mission to accelerate the continent’s development. In the words of renowned African entrepreneur and philanthropist Tony Elumelu, we have a responsibility to ‘collectively invest in our young people, and if they succeed, we all succeed’. I am inclined to agree.

*Sunil Kaushal is  CEO, Africa & Middle East at Standard Chartered Bank

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Third edition of the Africa Forum in Egypt to advance trade and investment across Africa
October 17, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

The Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation of Egypt and COMESA Regional Investment Agency has confirmed dates for theAfrica 2018, a high-level forum offering participants an unparalleled platform for promoting trade and investment within the continent. The Forum will be held under the High Patronage of H.E. President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt on 8-9 December 2018, in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
The Forum will be the biggest business-to-business and government-to-business gathering bringing together leading policy makers with captains of industry, financiers, major industrialists and young entrepreneurs from across Africa and beyond. This year’s edition takes place against an important backdrop with Egypt taking over the chairmanship of the African Union in 2019, making it a platform to help shape private sector priorities for the coming year. The theme for this year; ‘Bold Leadership and Collective Commitment: The third edition of the Africa Forum to take place in Sharm El-Sheikh on the 8-9 December, held under the High Patronage of H.E. President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, President of the Arab Republic of Egypt.
Advancing Intra-African Investments’ reflects the need for policy makers and the private sector to collaborate more closely and take tough decisions to advance and fast-track development across the continent. The organisers have confirmed that already five African heads of State had confirmed their participation including the newly elected Zimbabwean President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, and also President Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger, who has been leading the drive to get commitment from other African heads of State to sign the African Continental Free
Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
This year, the Forum will have a day focusing on the role of women in helping them define the continental priorities in a gathering called Women Empowering Africa. The organisers will convene women driving change across the continent and give them a platform to get together and agree on clear action points to ensure they have a stronger voice and more significant presence at the decision making table, as much in government as in the boardroom. A communiqué will be presented to the heads of state present highlighting their priority concerns and
aspirations.
Building on last year’s success, the organisers will be hosting their Young Entrepreneurs Day (YED) offering the continent’s rising stars the opportunity to meet a diverse set of investors as well as to hone their skills in some workshops tailored by specialist consultancies and leaders in their field. Speaking about the Forum, H.E. Dr. Sahar Nasr, Egypt’s Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, reiterated her country’s commitment to working towards a unified vision for promoting economic co-operation among African nations: “The Forum aims to improve intra-African trade and investment for the benefit for all citizens on this continent. Egypt’s comprehensive socio-economic reform programme to transform our country continues to progress alongside efforts to advancing Africa’s sustainable development through greater cross-border business among our nations.”

Echoing this commitment was Heba Salama, COMESA Regional Investment Agency CEO, welcoming this
important community to the third edition of the Forum: “COMESA, now consisting of 21 countries following the admission of Tunisia and Somalia this year, continues to play a lead role in advancing Africa’s economic integration. As one of the most influential regional economic communities in Africa we have a pivotal role to play in engaging with business leaders and investors.”
The 2018 edition builds on the success of the previous editions, which have seen the participation of 11 Heads of State and more than 3,000 delegates from 80+ countries. This year the programme has been enhanced with a Women Empowering Africa day as well as our exclusive Presidential Roundtables with African leaders and CEOs as well as a Young Entrepreneurs Day.

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Majority of Ghanaians against national Cathedral – Poll
October 17, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

Akufo-Addo unveils National Cathedral designed by David Adjaye

Akufo-Addo unveils National Cathedral designed by David Adjaye

Majority of Ghanaians are against the construction of the national Cathedral in Accra, a new poll has revealed. 64.31 percent of respondents are strongly opposed to the construction of the cathedral across all demographics, an apparent departure from the President’s assertion that a Christian majority in the country was an indication of support for the idea. The poll conducted by iPoll Ghana also revealed that opposition was strongest among the young and the highly educated, which suggests a broader demographic shift in how religion is perceived and experienced. 1072 respondents completed the questionnaire with respondents coming from across the entire country. 72.59 percent of the views sampled also support government’s flagship programme, the Free SHS. Only 27.41 percent of Ghanaians are against the policy that was introduced in September 2017. However, majority of respondents (59.80%) were against the government’s double track approach. The double track approach was introduced by the government to cater for the huge numbers of free SHS beneficiaries. Whereas there was majority rejection of double track system, respondents in the Brong Ahafo region of the West African nation were however, in favor of double track system whereas respondents from Western and Eastern regions were split. Majority of Ghanaians are also against the barter trade between Ghana and China. 68.26 percent are against the idea of government using our natural resources in a barter arrangement with China, reflecting increasing concerns about the motivations behind China’s Africa policy and Ghana’s own debt vulnerabilities.

Attached is the full report by iPoll iPOLL ID_19121 _Big_Issues_Report (1)

 

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We didn’t santion New Abirem shooting – Newmont Ghana
October 17, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

GH_3CLR_POS

Mining giant Newmont Ghana has strongly dismissed claims that it masterminded the shooting incident at New Abirem in the Eastern region of the West African nation.

The company is also asking aggrieved farmers at New Abirem seeking land compensation to allow the legal processes work.
Hundreds of residents and farmers on agitated for fair compensation packages for lands being used by the mining company.

The protest, however, turned bloody when police allegedly shot at the demonstrators in an attempt to disperse them.
Seven people sustained gunshot wounds and are receiving treatment at the Abirem government hospital.

In a statement, Newmont stated that “as a responsible company, we have consistently met our legal obligations to our stakeholders since we began operations at Akyem and we will continue to do so,” said Mr. Coenen. “As this case is currently before the courts, we urge any protesters to let the case run its course through the judicial system.”

Newmont stated that they did not order the Police to open as the farmers claim.

Ama Bawuah, Senior Director for Communications and External Relations at Newmont Ghana described the incident as unfortunate adding that they will ensure that the company abides by the decision of the court.

Below is the full statement by Newmont

Newmont Ghana today reaffirmed its commitment to transparently engaging with local communities to improve lives and collaboratively identifying solutions to mitigate impacts from its operations.

The Company has also called on the section of community farmers seeking new and additional land and crop compensation, among other issues, to allow the legal process to run its course following earlier mediation efforts.

Following reports of intimidation and threats, the police deployed personnel to ensure security and public order while protecting lives and property. Unfortunately, some individuals have been confirmed to have sustained injuries and are being treated.

The Company is calling on all sides to exercise restraint and good judgement to avoid confrontations.

“Newmont’s sustainability approach involves building and maintaining respectful relationships with our host communities.
This means a strong commitment to direct, good-faith dialogue, while ensuring compliance with all relevant national laws, regulations, and international best practices,” said Joep Coenen, General Manager – Akyem Mine.

“As a responsible company, we have consistently met our legal obligations to our stakeholders since we began operations at Akyem and we will continue to do so,” said Mr. Coenen. “As this case is currently before the courts, we urge any protesters to let the case run its course through the judicial system.”

In July, the community group embarked on a similar demonstration against Newmont Ghana to express dissatisfaction with the ongoing legal process concerning their demands for land and crop compensation and employment, as well as allegations of building cracks from mine pit blasting. Prior to this, the Company had been in mediation with the farmers led by an independent arbitrator. The parties continued to engage on the matter through the mediation process until the case was referred back to court.

Newmont Ghana will continue to focus on engaging with stakeholders to address their needs and concerns, fairly, respectfully and responsibly. “We will continue transparent and respectful engagement with our stakeholders, including the farmers, Stool Land Owners and District Security Committee (DISEC) as we work towards resolving this issue amicably,” concluded Mr. Coenen.

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In Ethiopian leader’s new cabinet, half the ministers are women
October 16, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Paul Schemm*

Abiye Ahmed

Abiye Ahmed

 Ethiopia’s reformist prime minister announced Tuesday a new cabinet that is half female, in an unprecedented push for gender parity in Africa’s second-most-populous nation.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has marked his nearly seven months in office with staggering reforms for this once-authoritarian country, notably releasing thousands of political prisoners, making peace with its main enemy, Eritrea, and promising to open up the economy.

The new cabinet, which reduces ministerial positions to 20 from 28, has women in the top security posts for the first time in Ethiopia’s history. Aisha Mohammed will be in charge of defense, and Muferiat Kamil, a former parliamentary speaker, will head the newly formed Ministry of Peace.

In some ways, this could be one of the most important ministries in the government, though its name has garnered a degree of criticism on social media for its Orwellian sound. It oversees the federal police, the intelligence services and the information security agency, and it will take the lead in tackling much of the ethnic unrest that has swept the countryside since Abiy’s reforms.

“Our women ministers will disprove the adage that women can’t lead,” Abiy said in Parliament.

Although women have been in the cabinet before, they often held minor positions. In the new cabinet, in addition to defense and security, women will head the ministries of trade, transport and labor, as well as culture, science and revenue.

Awol Allo, an expert on Ethi­o­pia from Britain’s Keele University, said this was especially important because the lack of gender equality is a persistent problem in the country, which has strong patriarchal traditions.

“It is a very important and progressive move on the part of the prime minister and very consistent with the transformative agendas he’s been pursuing,” he said. “I also think it sends a strong message to young Ethio­pian women that one day they can take up positions in the government.”

Also represented in the new cabinet are often marginalized ethnic groups. A diverse nation of about 80 ethnicities, Ethi­o­pia has long been dominated by just a few groups.

Aisha, the new defense minister, comes from the arid and predominantly Muslim Afar region, while new Finance Minister Ahmed Shide is from the Somali region.

Hallelujah Lulie, an analyst based in Addis Ababa, pointed out the presence in the cabinet of two Muslim women who wear headscarves, an important inclusion in a country that is one-third Muslim.

“Muslims were historically underrepresented,” he said. “It is a good move. It projects a good image. It’s inspiring in many ways.”

While much depends on how the new cabinet will tackle the country’s many challenges, including job creation for an overwhelmingly young population and a difficult transition away from an authoritarian system, Hallelujah predicted that the new cabinet would calm tensions and set an important precedent.

Abiy was elected by the ruling party after years of anti-government protests shook the country. He immediately embarked on reforms and has promised free and competitive elections in 2020. The ruling party currently holds all the seats in Parliament.

The transition has not been easy. In the past year alone, ethnic strife has displaced 1.4 million people as old ethnic scores were being settled amid a security vacuum.

In many parts of the country, the struggle against the previous regime left government structures weak or nonexistent, making it difficult to enforce the rule of law.

The once-repressive police and army also have been struggling to find their roles in a new environment in which they had once operated with impunity.

“The state is still functioning in the hangover of an authoritarian regime,” Hallelujah said. “The army and the federal police are still having a hard time finding that balance and equilibrium between enforcing the law and respecting human rights.”

The country got a scare on Oct. 10 when 240 armed soldiers marched up to the prime minister’s residence demanding pay raises and provoking fears of a coup.

In the end, they were invited inside (without their weapons) and met by top officials, including Abiy, a former military man, who then did push-ups with them.

“Democracy is an existential issue for Ethi­o­pia. There is no option but multi-partyism,” Abiy said in an interview published Tuesday.

“Inclusiveness and coexistence is critical in Ethiopia because of differences in terms of tribalism, and religion and the virtually feudal system of land ownership which prevailed in the past,” he said.

*Washington Post

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‘Dark days’ over: Gambia launches truth, reconciliation body
October 16, 2018 | 0 Comments

By ABDOULIE JOHN*

President Adama Barrow and his predecessor Yaya Jammeh

President Adama Barrow and his predecessor Yaya Jammeh

Gambia has launched a truth, reconciliation and reparations commission to lay bare abuses committed under the 22-year rule of former leader Yahya Jammeh, with President Adama Barrow declaring the country’s “dark days” are over.

The long-awaited commission is meant to help heal the tiny West African nation after years of extrajudicial killings, torture and abuses in phony “HIV treatment” centers.

It also is expected to lay the groundwork for possible prosecution of Jammeh, who flew into exile in Equatorial Guinea in early 2017, and others. The new government under Barrow, who handed Jammeh a surprise election defeat at the head of an opposition coalition, has vowed to deliver justice to victims.

Speaking on Monday to a crowd that came to witness what many have called a historic moment, Barrow called on Gambians to stand together and say never again would a few people subject the country to oppression.

The president stressed the government’s commitment to put victims at the center of the process: “It is for this reason that we included reparations.”

The Gambian-born prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, said the commission will help the country write a new chapter and that in order to move forward “it must reckon with its past.”

It is not an exercise in settling political scores, she said.

The 11-member commission will investigate human rights abuses committed between July 1994 and January 2017. It has the power to subpoena alleged perpetrators.

Already, the new freedoms in Gambia have inspired growing demands for justice.

“We know so much more today about the crimes of Jammeh’s government than we did a year ago, and when the truth commission is finished hearing from all the victims we should have a complete picture,” said Reed Brody of Human Rights Watch, who has been working with victims.

Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou called Jammeh’s departure a turning point for the country but said the former leader left behind a “deeply polarized society based on ethnic and political considerations, ethnic hatred manifested through hateful propaganda targeting ethnic communities.”

Justice will be done but there will be no witch hunt, the minister said.

The head of the Gambia Center for Victims of Human Rights Violations, Sheriff Kijera, said the organization has documented hundreds of cases. He deplored the fact that some alleged perpetrators and enablers of the Jammeh era continue to hold “lucrative positions” in the government and security forces.

“Many victims suffered terrible human rights violations for many years,” he said. “Some have high expectations of what the TRRC will be doing for them.”

*AP

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African Development Bank showcases investment opportunities in Africa to Nordic investors
October 16, 2018 | 0 Comments
The Bank presented its strategy for the transformation of African economies and showcased investment opportunities on the continent
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, October 15, 2018/ — The African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) in a multidisciplinary team roadshows has presented financial products and investment opportunities to Nordic investors to leverage more access to financing. The roadshows brought together more than 50 private sector companies, investors and government and public institutions in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark.

The aim of the event was to bring the Bank closer to customers in order to increase awareness of key private sector stakeholders to understand the Bank’s financial and risk mitigation products for investment projects. The roadshows also generated significant interests of businesses to the Africa Investment Forum, the Bank’s maiden market place, scheduled for November 7-9 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The first roadshow took place in Norway on 24-25 September, followed by Sweden on September 27- 28. In Finland, the Bank met key private sector companies, private funds, and pension funds from 1-2 October and the final event was in Denmark on October 4-5.

The Bank presented its strategy for the transformation of African economies and showcased investment opportunities on the continent. The highly interactive event targeted commercial banks, institutional investors including pension funds, asset managers and insurers as well as individual investors across the Nordic region.

“Nordic countries are very important for the development of Africa and we want to see more investments coming from these countries. Hence, the roadshow organized to showcase African investment opportunities and to present the Bank as a gateway for their investments”, said Olivier Eweck, Director, Syndication, Co-financing and Client Solutions Department, adding that “several private investors and companies have shown keen interest in the Africa Investment Forum”.

The African Development Bank team discussed key roles in accelerating Africa’s investment opportunities across the Nordic region in line with the Bank’s development priorities for Africa as enshrined in the High 5s.

The Bank sees its partnership with long-term investors from the Nordic region as important and welcomes their perspective and visions to support new investments in infrastructure, and to foster sustainable development initiatives in Africa.

The Africa Investment Forum is a novel platform for international business and social impact investors looking to transact and invest funds in Africa. It will connect investors with both public and private sector projects throughout the continent.

The Bank expects that holding the event under one roof would provide an ideal platform for interfacing with its partners, reduce intermediation costs, improve the quality of project information and documentation, and increase action-oriented engagements between African governments and the private sector.

 

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Kanye gives Ugandan leader sneakers, gets African name
October 16, 2018 | 0 Comments
Rapper Kanye West (L) and Kim Kardashian (R) pose for a photograph with Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni when they paid a courtesy call at State House, Entebbe, Uganda October 15, 2018. Presidential Press Unit/Handout via REUTERS

Rapper Kanye West (L) and Kim Kardashian (R) pose for a photograph with Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni when they paid a courtesy call at State House, Entebbe, Uganda October 15, 2018. Presidential Press Unit/Handout via REUTERS

KAMPALA (Reuters) – Kanye West and Kim Kardashian gave Uganda’s leader a pair of the rapper’s sneakers on Monday and he gave them both “Ugandan” names, at a meeting aimed at promoting tourism in East Africa.

Days after a rambunctious meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House, a more subdued West presented Yoweri Museveni with a pair of white sports shoes made by his own company that he and Kardashian then signed with a marker pen.

The couple arrived on Friday and are staying at a luxurious safari lodge in a national park that boasts spectacular waterfalls and wild game including buffaloes, antelopes, lions, giraffes and warthogs.

Museveni’s office said the president gave the U.S. entertainment stars Ugandan names.

He dubbed West – who himself declared last month that he wanted to be known as just “Ye” – “Kanyesigye”, a common name among the Banyankore, the ethnic group that Museveni hails from. Kardashian was granted the name “Kemigisha”, meaning “the one with blessings from God,” Museveni’s office said in a statement.

West “expressed happiness at being in Uganda, describing it as his second home,” the statement said, adding that West pledged to put up a “world class tourism school in the country saying it will be a foundation of tourism not only in Uganda but the East Africa region in general.”

Museveni, 74, has been in office since 1986 and in January signed a law that scrapped a 75-year age cap for presidential candidates, a move critics said was aimed at him remaining in power indefinitely.

One of his most vocal critics is 36-year-old pop star-turned-politician Robert Kyagulanyi, known by his stage-name Bobi Wine, who has gained strong support among young Ugandans

*Culled from Reuters.(Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Editing by Aaron Maasho and Robin Pomeroy)

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Bidding for oil blocks must be transparent – Akufo-Addo
October 16, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

Minister for Energy John Peter Amewu

Minister for Energy John Peter Amewu

President Nana Addo Akufo-Addo has charged the Ministry of Energy, the Petroleum Commission, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and the Licensing Rounds Committee to co-operate and ensure that activities under the maiden oil and gas licensing round are carried out in a transparent and efficient manner.

Speaking at the launch of the “Ghana Oil and Gas Licensing Round 2018”, which is going to permit the allocation of new petroleum rights, President Akufo-Addo noted that the 2016 manifesto of the New Patriotic Party pledged to “improve transparency in the management of our oil and gas resources”.

“It is, thus, an honor for me to be able, today, to implement this important commitment by launching this maiden bidding round”, the President said

President Akufo-Addo indicated, with that the last oil discovery, and the last exploration well drilled in 2014, it has meant that the pace of oil exploration has slowed considerably in the country.

“Given that production is taking place at a faster rate than reserves are being added, we need to reverse this state of affairs immediately, especially in today’s oil market environment, where crude oil prices are in the US$70 – US$80 per barrel range,” he said.

The President continued, “With the resolution of the maritime boundary dispute with Cote d’Ivoire, and the prevailing, transparent regime for allocating petroleum rights, many opportunities now exist for us to reverse the slow pace of oil exploration.”

Voltaian Basin Oil discovery

In furtherance of petroleum exploration activities, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) is also making great progress in its efforts to discovering oil and gas deposits onshore in the Voltaian basin.

“Should these efforts prove successful, we are going to offer opportunities for partnership with the private sector to develop any reserves accumulated in the basin. This will not only have a positive impact on our oil production profile and on the revenues to the state, but also provide an opportunity to develop a new economic growth pole in northern Ghana when production of oil commences,” he indicated.

The President has also directed the Ministries of Energy, Finance and Environment, Science Technology and Innovation to draft and present to Parliament regulations on dealing with the adverse effects of the efforts at discovering oil in the Voltaian basis.

Additionally, the regulations, he said, should also address onshore oil and gas development and revenue distribution, respectively, to address proactively any potential contestations that may arise in these communities in the course of time, as these will also help minimize the risks of future investments in the area, and further help improve Ghana’s investment climate.

To accelerate further exploration activity, President Akufo-Addo has charged the Ministry of Energy to review critically existing operations in the industry, with the view to determining oil fields that are sub-optimal. The review also covers Petroleum Agreements that are dormant.

“The Ministry of Energy will engage with the operators, after the review, on the adoption of best methods for increasing oil recovery rate. For Petroleum Agreements that are dormant, the Ministry will encourage the operators to consider inviting stronger partners to join them or risk the termination of these Petroleum Agreements, should they persist in failing to meet their minimum work obligations,” President Akufo-Addo stressed.

Increased oil revenues

In seeking to increase Ghana’s oil reserves and improve on oil and gas production, Cabinet is expected to soon approve a ‘Blueprint and Roadmap for Accelerated Oil and Gas Exploration and Development’, which is based on a new strategy of aggressive exploration.

“The strategy seeks to build synergies with the domestic downstream petroleum sector; to increase Ghanaian participation in the oil industry; and to accelerate the pace of institutional capacity development to manage our oil and gas resources efficiently,” President Akufo-Addo said.

Re-emphasizing that the oil and gas industry, which is international in nature, requires the enforcement of stringent international standards in all aspects of the value chain, the President demanded that any person or company aspiring to participate in the industry must be cognisant of these requirements.

“Government will, on its part, continue to prioritize the development of skills of our youth and the Ghanaian entrepreneur through the AOGC programme, so they can meet international standards, and, thereby, become more competitive in the industry. My hope is that more Ghanaian companies will participate in the bidding process,” he said.

The President commended the Minister for Energy, John Peter Amewu, and his predecessor, Boakye Agyarko, and their teams for working assiduously to make this important process operational, as provided in Ghana’s Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act 2016 (Act 919).

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Ghana ready for business – Akufo-Addo
October 16, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

President Akufo Addo with the UK Minister of State for Africa Harriet-Baldwin

President Akufo Addo with the UK Minister of State for Africa Harriet-Baldwin

President Akufo-Addo has said Ghana is “ready for business”, urging the UK business community to partner with the West African country and be part of the new, exciting and profitable phase of its quest to transform the economy into an industrialized one.

Speaking at the turn of the 2018 UK- Ghana Investment Summit in Accra with a focus on building an investment case for Ghana, President Akufo-Addo said, “The prospects for Ghana’s and indeed, Africa’s development in the 21st century are immense. British participation in that development would be very welcome.”

Ghana, the President said, is the first sub-Saharan African nation to break free from colonial rule. The country, he said, is therefore poised to play a vanguard role in the new struggle for economic development for Africa’s 1.2 billion people.

“Ghana is ready for business. Join us. Be part of this new, exciting and profitable phase,” the President said.

“This Government believes that growing the economy the right way, with a level playing field, is the best option for our country’s future, and that is what we are trying to do,” he said.

He noted that within 21 months, his administration has worked hard to put the Ghanaian economy back on track.

A growth rate of 8.5% in 2017, the attainment of single digit inflation, a relatively stable currency despite the challenges of a strong dollar, reduction of lending rates, and the implementation of policies such as the paperless port system, e-business registration system, and the mobile interoperability system, which are helping to formalize the Ghanaian economy, lowering the cost of doing business and cutting down excessive bureaucracy, are examples of some of the steps being taken to revive the Ghanaian economy.

In addition to these, he noted that a number of taxes, which were strangling businesses and business owners, have either been abolished or reduced.

“Utility tariffs, i.e. of electricity and water, have also seen significant reductions, with businesses and industry enjoying electricity tariff reductions of as high as 30%, and 10% reduction in water tariffs,” he stressed.

All these are being done, President Akufo-Addo said, is because “there is a government in place that believes in the primacy of the private sector, and is working to enhance the prospects of a win-win environment for both private sector and country; an environment where companies cannot just survive, but actually thrive.”

With global car manufacturing giants, Volkswagen of Germany and Sinotruk of China; energy giants, ExxonMobil of the United States of America and Noway’s Aker Energy, as well as tech giant, Google, signaling their intentions of establishing bases in Ghana, President Akufo-Addo noted that “it is an exciting time to be in Ghana and to do business in the country.”

To the business delegation from the UK, the President commended government’s flagship policies of “One District, One Factory”, “One Village, One Dam”, and the programme for “Planting for Food and Jobs”, to them.

He indicated also a number of projects in water, health, housing, road and rail infrastructure, transport, industry, manufacturing, agriculture, petroleum and gas, the exploitation of our mineral wealth of bauxite, iron ore and gold, renewable energy and ICT growth, for which government is seeking private sector investments.

“Irrespective of where you decide to investment, Government has instituted a number of incentives for the investor, depending on the nature of the activity, or the location of the investment. This is to ensure that your investment succeeds,” he said.

Some of these incentives include exemption from payment of import duty for plant and machinery; 25 per cent tax rebate for companies located in regional capitals; and 50 per cent tax rebate for companies investing outside regional capitals in the regions.

Additionally, the President stated that zero percent corporate tax for ten (10) years, and, thereafter, 8 per cent for companies in the Free Zones enclave; full repatriation of dividends and profits; transfer of funds to service foreign loans; and laws against arbitrary confiscation of companies or investments, are examples of some of the incentives available.

“I assure you that your investments will be safe and protected, not because I have said so, but, more importantly, because Ghana is a country governed in accordance with the rule of law, where the separation of powers, with an independent judiciary to engender accountable governance, is real,” he added.

With some expressing anxieties about Ghana looking eastward to China for investments to the neglect of the West, President Akufo-Addo reiterated that “we believe it is the constant duty of government to get the most competitive deal for Ghana. I just want to emphasize that my government is giving equal access to all investors to compete freely and fairly in the Ghanaian economy, irrespective of where they come from.”

British High Commissioner to Ghana

British High Commissioner to Ghana, Iain Walker, on his part said, “Ghana is currently the United Kingdom’s fourth biggest export market in sub Saharan Africa, but is potential for both Ghana and the UK to do much more together”.

He expressed confidence in the fact that the best of the UK private sector is ready and waiting to accelerate President Akufo-Addo’s agenda of moving ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’

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Ghana:Free SHS ensuring equitable distribution of oil revenues – Akufo-Addo
October 16, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Papisdaff Abdullah

Akufo Addo

Akufo Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has stated his administration is using the country’s oil revenues to create assets, and not waste it on consumption and the accumulation of debt.

The Ghanaian leader said “we are investing revenues from oil in one of the most ambitious social programmes of our country’s history, i.e. the Free Senior High School policy. In the 2018 budget, GH¢455.9 million of petroleum revenues was allocated to the Free SHS programme.”

President Akufo Addo stressed that “Free SHS is ensuring that our oil revenues are being equitably distributed to our people, and not ending up in the pockets of a few.  The most important resource of any nation is its people.”

He continued, “Investing in our children and in the future of our country is the most appropriate investment any Government can make, and we are fully committed to continuing on this path.”

Mr Akufo Addo made this known when he launched the oil and gas licensing round 2018, in Accra.

Addressing the gathering, the President noted that the countries that have benefited immensely from their oil and gas resources, are those that implemented policies to accelerate value addition activities in their economies, through the development of forward and backward linkages, and by investing oil revenues in strategic social and economic programmes.

President Akufo-Addo stressed that his government is following suit, adding that “if we are to sustain and broaden the scope of our social interventions that rely on petroleum revenues, we must consciously work to increase crude oil production.”

That is why, in furtherance of petroleum exploration activities, the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) is also making great progress in its efforts to discovering oil and gas deposits onshore in the Voltaian basin.

Again, in seeking to increase Ghana’s oil reserves and improve on oil and gas production, Cabinet is expected to soon approve a ‘Blueprint and Roadmap for Accelerated Oil and Gas Exploration and Development’, which is based on a new strategy of aggressive exploration.

“The strategy seeks to build synergies with the domestic downstream petroleum sector; to increase Ghanaian content and Ghanaian participation in the oil industry; and to accelerate the pace of institutional capacity development to manage our oil and gas resources efficiently,” President Akufo-Addo said.

Achievements in oil sector

With Ghana having discovered oil and gas deposits some eleven years ago, as a result of the bold and farsighted policies of the Kufuor-led NPP government, President Akufo-Addo noted that the current NPP Government, under his leadership, has chalked a number of successes in Ghana’s upstream petroleum sector, since January 2017.

They include the establishment of a petroleum register, launched earlier this year to allow the public access petroleum agreements, licences, permits and authorisations, with the view of enhancing transparency in the management of the petroleum upstream sector.

Government, he added, has launched the Accelerated Oil and Gas Capacity (AOGC) Programme, which is empowering local firms to play progressively active roles in the oil and gas value chain through capacity development, and financing and partnership support.

Laws such as the Petroleum Exploration and Production (Data Management) Regulations 2017, LI 2257, the Petroleum Exploration and Production (Health, Safety and Environment) Regulations 2017, LI 2258, and the General Petroleum Regulations, he said, have also been passed.

President Akufo-Addo added that his government finalised “the interconnection between the National Gas Transmission System and the West African Gas Pipeline system”, and has also ensured “a 17% reduction of the delivered price of domestic gas from $8.8 to $7.29 per mmbtu, in line with Government’s strategy to position the gas industry as a leading contributor to value added industrialization in Ghana.”

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