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NJ Ayuk: Stop giving us aid, it’s killing us!
November 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

Africa needs long-established support

NJ Ayuk
NJ Ayuk

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, November 21, 2019/ — Looking at Africa and only pushing for aid is not in the interest of the everyday Africans. It is about the egos of the elites and latte intellectuals who believe they have the solutions to why the continent is still poor.

As Africa’s population and economies surge, greater opportunities for development are presented, societies change, and the aspirations of everyday Africans are increasingly requiring urgent attention.

On the other hand, Germany’s energy transition anticipates a vastly more efficient and interconnected energy system in the future, one that I believe, young African technology entrepreneurs can certainly learn from and accelerate the growth of the energy sector.

With technology start-ups with the intention to build sustainable power solutions emerging across the continent particularly in the power sector, Germany can look to this market on how it can invest in Africa while providing energy and  technology solutions and African entrepreneurs can embrace German products in reshaping and restructuring African energy economies.

While the economies of some countries on our continent have grown considerably in recent years, particularly as a result of energy sector developments, economic diversification and sustained foreign investments, there is still no denying that Africa still has a long way to go.

With this comes the question of how will Africa achieve prosperity? The answer – not with monetary aid.

In my book, Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals, I examine the topic of foreign aid as a solution to Africa’s problems in great detail because for too long, well-meaning foreign entities have stepped in to provide us aid, and in doing so have inadvertently stepped on our toes. This, considering that donor nations and foreign institutions do not sufficiently understand what we need and how we operate.

Aid is not a solution for Africa.

Africa needs long-established support. We need skills development, key infrastructure, sustainable and enabling environments that drive results and, we need to build vibrant energy economies that will bring long-lasting change that is beneficial to the everyday African woman and man.

Determined to promote cooperation with Africa, increase investment on the continent and help improve standards of living, the 2019 G20 Compact with Africa Summit kicked off in Berlin this week. I believe this initiative led by Chancellor Angela Merkel can work and can be beneficial to both Africa and Germany. However, Germany (and other foreign countries looking at the continent) need to understand that Africa is a true partner for development and in addition to relationship-building with governments, African businesses also need to be engaged. They are also key in driving development.

We have to move beyond aid.

As Africa emerges and takes its place on the global stage, it not only stands to benefit from its relationship with Germany but can contribute to Western Europe’s objectives, as presented by the Compact with Africa Summit.

With the continent having nearly 600 million people without access to electricity, Africa’s challenges seem insurmountable – especially given the amount of opportunities and fast-tracked development access to electricity can unlock. But there is hope. With a number of African nations developing and launching large scale renewable energy projects, countries such as Equatorial Guinea, Senegal and Mozambique championing gas developments and launching world-class projects, the continent is resolute on transforming and diversifying its energy mix, proving that it is a worthy partner, particularly for Germany.

Earlier this year, the Germany Africa Business Forum (GABF) announced its multi-million Euro funding commitment to invest in Germany energy start-ups that focus on Africa. This commitment pledged funds to German start-ups with exposure to African energy projects. The role that such German companies from the private sector can play for Africa is increasingly coming to light. German companies ESC Engineers and Noordtec for instance collaborated with Equatorial Guinea’s Elite Construcciones on the Akonikien project – the region’s first liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage and regasification plant.

Forming part of the government-led LNG2Africa initiative, the project advanced the nation’s efforts to monetize gas resources through the creation of domestic gas-to-power infrastructure, a sector which presents major opportunities for the private sector all across Africa. This is a true example of German’s expertise serving Africa’s best interests.

On Tuesday, Chancellor Angela Merkel said she saw the investment in Africa’s growth and development as a “win-win” and encouraged that instead of talking about Africa, “we should do everything we can to cooperate with Africa.”

I agree with this view, the continent has a lot to offer and collaboration is critical for Africa’s future.  We do not need quick fixes, we need capital and technology that are supported by hard work, due diligence and solid execution in order to have an impact. We can only achieve this through recognition and collaboration, not with the same old strategies of proving aid that has not been very useful.

*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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DFC CEO Adam Boehler to Travel to Egypt
November 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

Visit will promote private sector investment and strengthen regional relationships

International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) CEO Adam Boehler.Photo credit :OPIC
International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) CEO Adam Boehler.Photo credit :OPIC

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 Africa2X 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.

*Source DFC

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Global Music Stars to storm OpenMic/AfriCourage Festival in Banjul
November 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

 Baaba Maal
Baaba Maal

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.

Smockey
Smockey

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.

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Coca-Cola CEO, James Quincey in Africa, Defines Region as Company’s Future Growth Driver
November 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

James Quincey, Chairman & CEO The Coca-Cola Company, a Nigeria Bottling Company Sales Representative and Zoran Bogdanovic, Coca-Cola Hellenic CEO during a market visit at Maryland in Lagos
James Quincey, Chairman & CEO The Coca-Cola Company, a Nigeria Bottling Company Sales Representative and Zoran Bogdanovic, Coca-Cola Hellenic CEO during a market visit at Maryland in Lagos

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
James Quincey, Chairman & CEO, The Coca-Cola Company (left) and Aliko Dangote, President, Dangote Group, during their recent engagement in Lagos
James Quincey, Chairman & CEO, The Coca-Cola Company (left) and Aliko Dangote, President, Dangote Group, during their recent engagement in Lagos

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No jobs available as 1,300 graduate in South Sudan
November 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

Juba, South Sudan – At least 1,300 students were graduated in different fields in the world youngest nation over the weekend, as the country is pursues a peace deal to end  five-years of conflict.

The 22nd Convocation of the University of Juba was presided by the country’s president Salva Kiir, who described the event as another achievement and milestones in the country’s human capital, which is ruined by the years of conflict.

University of Juba was established in 1975 following the Addis Ababa peace agreement in 1972 in then Sudan.

“This is great additional to our human capital – and that the new face has begun from this important day as they look forward to join the world of works – where they are going to serve our people in the areas of theirs interested and expertise,” said Kiir

South Sudan split away from Sudan in 2011 after decades of war but plunged into its own conflict at the end of 2013 after president Salva Kiir sacked Riek Machar as vice president.

After years of brutal, president Kiir and ex – rebel leader Machar signed a new fragile revitalized peace deal a year ago to end a civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people, displaced a third of the population and wrecked the country’s economy.

South Sudanese warring parties to the peace agreement failed to form a coalition government on November 12, 2019 after disagreements over the training and unification of forces. The leaders also failed to resolve the issue of the boundary and the number of states.

The conflict has also tumble-down a job opportunity in both public and private sectors across the country.

As a result, President Kiir and Machar last week extended the pre-interim period by 100 days to enable them narrow their differences, but president Kiir believe that with the formation of a unity government next year, will create a job opportunity for the graduates in the country.

 “I am optimistic that the unity government will be formed early in the new year to allow our country to move forward as one nation. And then our collective energy to economy and social development – peace will allow us to mobilize more resources to provide better education and health services. Moreover, will enable us to rebuild the infrastructure in form whether roads, provide clean drinking water and electricity to our cities, towns and countryside and connected the nation through high speed fabric optics network,” he said.

President Kiir also says “as the country, we are opened to the investment in agriculture, mineral resources, oil and tourism, among others which will definitely create job opportunities for our able youth, particularly to graduates and enable to deliver needed services to the people of South Sudan.’

Meanwhile, Chairman of the University’s Council, Manase Lomule Waya urged the graduands to put their papers in use as job creators and not job seekers.

Waya further asked the NGOs and private companies to employ South Sudanese graduates, citing a setback to the world youngest nation if the said human resource is not put into action.

“The graduates from the university of Juba have to and must be employed in order to reduce the level of unemployment in the country,” said Waya.

On the same event, representative of the graduands, Jacob Kuot said they faced a lot of challenges as a journey was too long, which some of his colleagues dropped out of the university.

He told president to create job opportunities for the graduates so that they will not join politics in the restive country.

“Mr. president, we have thousands of youth, graduates’ loitering on the streets – some of our wasting much of our time in tea places, playing cards, dominoes and Facebook [social media] – this is where of our youth spend usual time to build themselves – [and] that is why some of us join politics by all means as the last resort. Our situation here invited every youth to be politicians and talks about politics.

[therefore]

my appeal to the government is to creating more jobs for youth, especially graduates in the public and private sectors for you to coming out of learning institution, at least to get a job,” said Kuot

Multiple of graduands said they will usher their knowledges to rebuild the war – torn country in their specialized areas, but this will not be effective if the government don’t employ them in all sectors.

Exodus of University lecturers

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Juba has warned concerned government institutions of industrial action over delay in implementation of the new salary structure for lecturers.

In July, the Council of Ministers approved a new salary structure for all the public university lecturers.

The increment came after years of public outcry over little pay for lecturers since the Pound lost its value and the economy worsened.

“The delay of the implementation of the new salary structure threatens the academic stability of our public universities with mass exodus of the staff of worse of an upset of industrial action,” Prof. John Akech said during the 22nd Graduation Ceremony of the University of Juba at the weekend.

However, President Kiir says his government is committed to implementing the new salary structure for all the public universities.

“I will invest in our universities so that they produce the best civil servants and work for what our country needs and that is why my government is committed to implement a new salary structure for the staff at our public universities,” said president Kiir. “We will review and improve the pay structure of the top and mid-level civil servants so that our civil servants are free to devote their whole time to serving the country and creating public value without worrying much about their basic daily needs and that of their families.”

According to the approved salary structure, a professor would be paid over 500,000 SSP ($1,500) and a technician would earn over 100,000 SSP ($500) per month. This is a significant increase from the current structure where a professor earns an equivalent of $153 per month.

However, more lecturers have allegedly quit the profession due to the little – with some seen driving public service vehicles in the capital, Juba, as a new means of catering for their families.

Recently, President Kiir blamed salary payment delays on the ministry finance and economic planning.

Civil servants have not been paid for months despite daily oil production. According to the ministry of petroleum, the government roughly gets $165 million per month from oil sales.

Establish of institute

President Kiir his government will establish the petroleum institute of technology and applied sciences in order to build human resource to utilize the petroleum resources.

“I want to assure the university of Juba administration that my government is still committed to supporting the establishment of Petroleum institute of technology and Applied Science at the University of Juba. Whose mission is to utilized petroleum resources, to develop and embrace the national technological and managerial capacity for exploitation of our vast natural resources,” said president Kiir

The landlock country gets almost all its revenue from oil and has boosted output, as it struggles to rebuild its devastated economy after a five-year civil war.

South Sudan has the third-largest oil reserves in sub – Saharan Africa, estimated at 3.5 billion barrels and much more still remains unexplored.

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I have no desire to travel to US, ex-Kenyan Attorney General says
November 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma |@journalist_27

former Kenyan Attorney General and the current Senator Amos Wako
former Kenyan Attorney General and the current Senator Amos Wako

Former Kenyan Attorney General (AG) Amos Wako laughed off a travel ban issued by the United States of America government against him and his family over an alleged involvement in corruption and failure to prosecute graft cases during his tenure.

Addressing the journalists on Wednesday, Mr. Wako refuted the graft allegations asking the US to provide evidence which prompted her to take such an action.

“I was baffled and perplexed when out of the blue, without any notification whatsoever or being given the fundamental right of being heard on any allegations against me, “reiterated Mr. Wako.

On Monday, November 18 US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo announced that the current Senator, his wife Flora Ngaira and Son Julius Wako are barred from entering and doing business with US over involvement in “significant’ corruption.

He lashed out at Pompeo for dragging his family into the issue they know nothing about.

“My family was not involved at all when I was discharging my functions as the Attorney-General. Even if I committed the sin of corruption, which I emphatically deny, it would be my personal responsibility. My wife and son, and indeed all members of my family, should not be punished for my sins. The mention of my wife and son was in bad taste,” he noted.

Wako first got banned from traveling to US in 2009 after the country claimed that he had involved in corrupt deals that interfered with her interests. He through his lawyer asked for proof from US government but it took her more than 6 months to respond.

The former chief legal adviser has claimed the issue has been revived by members with ‘interest’.

“This is an old story being resuscitated for reasons best known to them. Instead of dealing with developments since the travel ban 10 years ago, one wonders why a travel ban should be issued when there is already one in place, based on the same reasons,” he said.

Wako served as Attorney General for 20 years.

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Centurion Senior Associate Zion Adeoye Wins ESQ 40 Under 40 Award
November 20, 2019 | 0 Comments
Zion Adeoye
Zion Adeoye
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.”
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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.)

Staying flexible

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.

Resource management

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.

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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
(from left to right) Dr. Seleshi Bekele, Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, and Mark Claessen, Managing Director Voith Hydro East Africa in the attendance of Peter Altmaier, German Federal Minister for Economics and Energy.
(from left to right) Dr. Seleshi Bekele, Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, and Mark Claessen, Managing Director Voith Hydro East Africa in the attendance of Peter Altmaier, German Federal Minister for Economics and Energy.

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.

The hydropower plant Gilgel Gibe II in Ethiopia
The hydropower plant Gilgel Gibe II in Ethiopia

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.

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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
L-R: Mitchell Elegbe, GMD / Founder, Interswitch Group; Nneka Onwuegbuche, Product Manager, Card Services, Zenith Bank Plc; Shamsudeen Fashola, Group Head Retail Banking, FCMB; Lanre Oladimeji, Group Head Retail Banking, Zenith Bank Plc; Margaret Okhoya, Product Manager Card Services, FCMB and Mike Ogbalu III, CEO, Verve International during the Verve Global Card launch and First Transaction at Emperor Retail Outlet in Dubai, UAE recently
L-R: Mitchell Elegbe, GMD / Founder, Interswitch Group; Nneka Onwuegbuche, Product Manager, Card Services, Zenith Bank Plc; Shamsudeen Fashola, Group Head Retail Banking, FCMB; Lanre Oladimeji, Group Head Retail Banking, Zenith Bank Plc; Margaret Okhoya, Product Manager Card Services, FCMB and Mike Ogbalu III, CEO, Verve International during the Verve Global Card launch and First Transaction at Emperor Retail Outlet in Dubai, UAE recently

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.

Media Contacts:

Cherry Eromosele

Group Chief Marketing & Corporate Communications Officer

Email: cherry.eromosele@interswitchgroup.com

About Verve

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.

About Discover

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.

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Ethiopia and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to help families adapt to climate shocks in new multi-million dollar project
November 19, 2019 | 0 Comments
The project also aims to improve nutrition by providing education on food handling and food preservation
ROME, Italy, November 19, 2019/ — Half a million of Ethiopia’s most vulnerable families are set to benefit from a new US$451 million project to increase their resilience to climate shocks in the country’s poorest regions.

For more than two decades, climate change has placed a major stress on the Ethiopian economy and on people’s livelihoods. Most of the population of lowland areas are dependent on rain-fed agriculture and pastoralism, and are therefore highly vulnerable to droughts, desertification and floods.

A financing agreement for the Lowlands Livelihood Resilience Project was signed today by Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) (www.IFAD.org), and Zenebu Tadesse Woldetsadik, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Agencies in Rome.

The funding includes a $90 million loan from IFAD and $350 million in co-financing from the International Development Association (80 per cent loan and 20 per cent grant) and $11million from the beneficiaries themselves.

The project, primarily designed to help achieve Sustainable Development Goals 1 and 2 (eradicating poverty and hunger) will install small-scale irrigation technology to reduce dependence on erratic rains. It will also help smallholder farmers to invest in research systems for faster adaptation to climate change.

Project activities will also strengthen rangeland and natural resources management, and improve the delivery of basic social services so that rural communities can withstand droughts and other climate shocks, and reduce asset losses. It will also help mitigate conflicts over scarce resources in fragile pastoral and agro-pastoral ecosystems.

“This new project will develop an innovative value chain approach to leverage private investment, productivity and win-win commercial linkages between local businesses,” said Ulaç Demirag, Country Director for Ethiopia. “The approach will enable project clients to sustain and improve their livelihoods after completion of the project.”

The project also aims to improve nutrition by providing education on food handling and food preservation, and the production of more nutritious and diverse crops with access to bio-fortified seeds and technical assistance, including on post-harvest handling.

Women (50 per cent of participants) and young people will especially benefit from project activities that will cover the pastoral and agro-pastoral areas in the Afar, Benishangul-Gumuz, Gambela, Oromia, Somali and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ regions.

Since 1980, IFAD has invested $755.5 million in 19 rural development programmes and projects worth $ 1.8 billion in Ethiopia. These have directly benefited around 11.5 million rural households.
IFAD (www.IFAD.org) invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided US$21.5 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached about 491 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a United Nations specialized agency based in Rome – the United Nations’ food and agriculture hub.  

More about IFAD: www.IFAD.org.
SOURCE
International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
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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
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