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Kenya:Is Ruto the right man to succeed Kenyatta?
December 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma

President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto
President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto

Heated debate on who should succeed Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta when his term expires has caused political jitters in the East African country.

Uhuru Kenyatta, the fourth president of Kenya and the son of the first president of the country, Jomo Kenyatta is expected to  hand over power to the next leader Kenyans will elect through ballot in 2022.  Kenyatta who is serving his second and last term came to power in 2013 and was declared a winner in the 2017 bungled presidential polls.

Though there have been proposals by a section of leaders to extend Kenyatta’s tenure given that he is still young, we are not sure if he will be in power after 2022. There are also rumours in the streets, media, and homes that he might be the third Kenyan Prime Minister in case the constitution amendment spearheaded by Building Bridges Initiatives (BBI), a task force formed as a result of handshake between him and his former political nemesis the opposition leader Raila Odinga sails through.

BBI report was officially released in November one year after a 14-team member moved across the country to collect Kenyan views on how to mitigate animosity and ethnic hatred that emerges especially during the period of elections.

Some of the radical proposed changes by the report are creation of the post of the Prime Minister whose occupant will be picked by the President from the Members of Parliament in the party with majority of elected leaders. The President will remain the head of state, head of government and Commander-in-chief of Defence Forces whereas the Premier will be the leader.

“The nominee of prime minister shall not assume office until his or her appointment is first confirmed by a resolution of the National Assembly supported by an absolute majority vote of MPs,” the report states.

The team also suggested the reintroduction of the office of the official opposition leader among many others. Should the 58-year-old Head of State vacate the office who is suit to replace him? Several leaders have expressed their interest in becoming Kenyan fifth president including Kenyatta’s deputy William Ruto. Others are Governor Alfred Mutua, Senator Moses Wetangula, former legislator and Minister Musalia Mudavadi among others.

However, it is purported the race will be between William Ruto and Raila Odinga should the latter vie. Ruto enjoys enough support in his backyard, Kenya’s Rift Valley while Odinga controls his home turf in Nyanza and major part of western Kenya. The duo are trying to outdo each other in controlling the rich vote Mount Kenya region. Since the political truce in 2018, the region is experiencing a sharp political division with a section throwing their weight behind the former premier and others have vehemently vowed to support Ruto’s candidature.

There is also a split among Kenyans on whether to support Ruto or not. A faction of Kenyans is pretty sure that Ruto’s presidency will be the good thing will ever happen to Kenya. They argue that the deputy president has good development record to revitalize Kenyan dying economy and now working as Kenyatta’s number two, his die-hards claim that he is best suited to fix challenges facing Kenyans.

On the other hand, his critics describe him as a tribal bigot who will further divide Kenyans along tribal lines. Alleged scandals facing Ruto have not remained unturned, they claim cases of corruption will sour should he become the president.

Currently, the deputy president has been touring the various parts of the country to woo support ahead of 2022.

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Manufacturers Urge Africans to Prioritize Consumption of Local Products Over Sub-Standard Foreign Ones
December 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

Rwanda's Minister of Trade , Ms Soraya Hakuziyaremye looking at the products that are being exhibited in East African Community Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Trade Fair
Rwanda’s Minister of Trade , Ms Soraya Hakuziyaremye looking at the products that are being exhibited in East African Community Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Trade Fair

African manufacturers urged their fellow Africans  to stop despising African products while praising western ones even when they  are not good in quality.

They raised this in Kigali during the  ongoing  annual East African Community Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Trade Fair, officially known as JuaKali Nguvu Kazi. This exhibition kicked off Monday 16th December and is set to close on 22nd December.

The problem that most exhibitors have raised is a low number of people turning up  to buy,  comparing to previous exhibitions. However they blame it on the mentality that still hangs in the heads of some Africans, who tend to despise Africans products over western on Asian ones.

Nsobora Margaret, a medical technologist from Uganda who came in exhibition to sell herbal medicine and nutritional supplements, told Pan African Visions that Africans industries and manufactories lack high technologies but if supported, they have chances of manufacturing high quality products than those from outside.

“Western drugs they are made out of these hubs.” She said pointing finger at a  box containing a herbal soap.  “ Their technologies is advanced, they make tablets , they make syrups but they are the same trees. We have not had chance of advancing in technologies to make tablets but if governments come up with a common support to herbalists.If we are supported,  we can make drugs the same as those that are imported from outside”, she adds.

Nattabi Ruth from Uganda finds it difficult for Africans to develop while thinking that products made in Europe are better than African.

From her experience, she said people often complain high prices but on the other hand they go to buy the most expensive products from abroad with minimum quality.

“There are products that fellow Africans make, they always complain that prices are high. Sometimes Italians product doesn’t work but they have that mentality that Italians  can work even when they have not used them before” she said adding that “We should really support our own products comparing to western products because for them, they support our products, you will be shocked Italian can come and buy our soap and use it, and even say it is better than his. We should be more proud of ourselves.”

African countries are coming up with idea of integration, removing barriers that hinder countries to trade among themselves.

The Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) that was ratified recently have in  target to expand intra African trade through better harmonization and coordination of trade liberalization and facilitation regimes.

The CFTA will bring together fifty-four African countries with a combined population of more than one billion people and a combined gross domestic product of more than US $3.4 trillion.

A move like this helped Asians countries like China to grow their economies and their products are scattered  everywhere in the  world.

Maimuna Chikuta , nuts manufacturer from Tanzania said Africans have to show support among themselves and remember that some products from the continent are  more natural that those exported.

“Let’s support each other we East Africans so that our products be respected. Let’s follow how Chinese did. We have to use our natural products that are found here in Africa”, she urged.

The current East African Community Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Trade Fair have attracted  more than 1000 exhibitors from EAC Partner States.

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Equatorial Guinea to Convert Punta Europa Methanol Plant to Modular Refinery
December 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

The Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons is dissatisfied by declining gas production and expects new investment to upgrade Punta Europa facilities

MALABO, Equatorial Guinea, December 18, 2019/ — A feasibility study is underway on the potential to convert Equatorial Guinea’s methanol plant at Punta Europa; The Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons is dissatisfied by declining gas production and expects new investment to upgrade Punta Europa facilities

The Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons (MMH) is ordering the dismantling of the methanol plant owned by the Atlantic Methanol Production Company LLC (AMPCO) at the Punta Europa Gas Complex on Bioko Island, calling instead for a modular refinery.

This move notably echoes the Ministry’s discontent over Marathon Oil’s work program and budget when it comes to exploration and production on their current acreage in the country, which do not reflect the expected level of investment and commitment for key assets such as the Alba offshore field and the methanol plant, which the American company operates.

 “The Punta Europa complex is the crown jewel in Equatorial Guinea’s gas processing infrastructure and is central to our long-term plans for gas monetization. However, due to a lack of investment in the Alba field and the methanol plant, a modular refinery would be a more productive project for that space,” said H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons.

The Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea has commissioned a feasibility study to convert the methanol plant at Punta Europa. The methanol plant is a component of the larger Punta Europa gas processing facility owned by Marathon Oil and its partners. Marathon Oil Company holds 45 percent shares in the methanol plant.

 As part of the country’s new Gas Mega Hub project — which aims to provide additional gas supply to processing facilities both onshore and offshore — new investment in the Punta Europa complex is needed. The plant is currently supplied by Marathon Oil’s Alba field, which has seen declining production. The first phase of the gas mega hub project is to implement a new gas supply agreement signed between the MMH and Noble Energy, operator of the Aseng and Alen fields in Block I/O. Gas will be supplied to the Punta Europa gas complex, which includes the Malabo power station, AMPCO methanol plant and the Equatorial Guinea LNG plant. The agreement, combined with new subsea pipelines linking the Aseng, Alen and Alba fields, will replace some of the gas production lost as the Alba field declines.

Even as the Alba field declines, however, Noble Energy, Kosmos Energy and Trident Energy have made major discoveries after an aggressive 2019 work program.

Noble Energy made a discovery in the offshore Block I in August 2019, when the Aseng 6P well was drilled to a total depth of 4,417 meters. Kosmos Energy and Trident Energy struck oil in November, making a discovery when the S-5 well was drilled at a total depth of 4,400 meters and encountered 39 meters of net oil play in the Santonian reservoir, in the offshore Rio Muni Basin. The discovery was the first well drilled in Kosmos’ infrastructure-led exploration (ILX) in offshore Equatorial Guinea. The drilling of the S-5 well was accelerated following exciting 3D seismic acquired in 2018.

“New investment is what is needed to continue to drive Equatorial Guinea forward. We are very pleased to be working with companies like Noble Energy, Kosmos Energy and Trident Energy, which remain committed to strong work programs and new opportunities for growth,” the Minister said. 

An expected direct investment of a minimum of $1.4 billion — a firm $1.2 billion and a contingent forecast of $273 million predicted for 2020 — is associated with the drilling of two wells and the continuous development of six existing wells in Equatorial Guinea in 2020.

*Africa Energy Chamber

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Uganda, Ghana and Botswana have highest percentage of women business owners in the world, finds Mastercard Index
December 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

Third edition of Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs profiles the progress and achievement of women entrepreneurs across 58 societies around the world

File Picture .2013 VV GROW fellows work on their action plans in Accra, Ghana. credit Vital Voices
File Picture .2013 VV GROW fellows work on their action plans in Accra, Ghana. credit Vital Voices

KAMPALA, Uganda, December 18th, 2019 -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- The third edition of the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE) has listed three African countries as global leaders in terms of women-owned businesses. Uganda, Ghana and Botswana are ranked as the top three countries with the highest percentages of women-owned businesses across the 58 markets evaluated around the world.
Based on publicly available data from international organizations including the International Labour Organization, UNESCO and the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, the global Index tracks the progress and achievements of women entrepreneurs and business owners at three levels: (i) Women’s Advancement Outcomes, (ii) Knowledge Assets & Financial Access, and (iii) Supporting Entrepreneurial Factors.

The results reaffirmed that women are able to make further business inroads and have higher labour force participation rates in open and vibrant markets where the support for SMEs and ease of doing business are high. They are also able to draw from enabling resources, including access to capital, financial services and academic programs.

Although the available support in open markets is a significant indicator of success, the Index also revealed that it is not the only consideration. Despite traditionally featuring less favourable conditions, five of the eight African countries evaluated in this Index made it into the top 10 markets leading in women business ownerships. These “driven-by-necessity” entrepreneurs are determined to succeed despite a lack of financial capital and access to enabling services.

Beatrice Cornacchia, Mastercard’s Head of Marketing and Communications for the Middle East and Africa, said: “Women entrepreneurs continue to have a direct impact on economic growth and the wellbeing of society. In sub-Saharan Africa in particular, women continue to demonstrate an unwavering commitment to supporting their communities through entrepreneurship. But to unlock the full potential of the African continent, we must continue to foster an entrepreneurship ecosystem for women that helps them to overcome barriers – whether cultural, legal, social or traditional.”

Other key African insights:
Women are achieving gender parity with men in terms of entrepreneurial activity in several markets including Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda. Meanwhile, improvements in Angola and Malawi, also helped narrow gender disparity.

Nigeria had the second highest proportion of women in professional/technician roles among the 58 markets surveyed, and an exceptionally high percentage of females as entrepreneurs. Specifically, nearly four in every 10 working age women are engaged in early-stage entrepreneurial activity (40.7% compared to 39% for men). South Africa was one of the top scoring nations when it came to women having equal access to tertiary education, and it also scores higher than its African counterparts with regards to financial inclusion (86%) compared with men. The findings also highlighted women’s abilities to thrive as business owners and pursue opportunities. According to the World Bank, 45% of economies around the globe have laws constraining women’s decision to join and remain in the labour force. In addition to shining a light on the progress of women entrepreneurs on a global and regional scale, Mastercard is committed to designing a better world for women that creates limitless possibilities for us all. In Africa and South East Asia, Mastercard is fuelling women-led businesses with access to micro-credit and new digital marketplaces through platforms like Jaza Duka and the Mastercard Farmer Network. In South Africa, Mastercard has collaborated with Junior Achievement South Africa to run a 20-week entrepreneurial development programme, empowering women between the ages of 18 and 35 to start and run their own businesses. Furthermore, the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth is providing philanthropic support to enable financial literacy training and access to vital tools and services for women entrepreneurs in underserved markets.
Download the full report of the Mastercard Index for Women Entrepreneurs here.


Methodology  The Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs 2019 is the third report profiling the progress and achievement of women entrepreneurs/business owners across 58 societies around the world. With Angola as the newest market added to the Middle East & Africa region, the Index expands its attempt to track the factors that underpin the gender gap among business owners. Representing nearly 80% of the world’s female labour force, it highlights how the 58 markets differ at three levels: (i) Women’s Advancement Outcomes, (ii) Knowledge Assets & Financial Access, and (iii) Supporting Entrepreneurial Factors. The results also shed light on which factors and conditions are the most conducive in helping to narrow the gender gap among female entrepreneurs/business owners, the most inhibitive and disabling, thereby weighing on women’s ability to thrive in business.

  About Mastercard
Mastercard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a technology company in the global payments industry. Our global payments processing network connects consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. Mastercard products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone.
*courtesy of AMA
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Rwanda:President Kagame says he is most likely to step down in 2024
December 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

President Kagame said that he is most likely to step down in 2024
President Kagame said that he is most likely to step down in 2024

President of Rwanda Paul Kagame said more chances are that he will not be running for another  term after completing his third seven-year mandate in 2024.

He revealed this  during the weekend while in Qatar for Doha Forum.

Bloomberg reported that during the forum, Kagame was asked if he will be seeking another term after expiration of current one.

Kagame replied that it is most likely that he will step down because of the ways things are and the fact that he wants to rest.

“Most likely no. I want to have some breathing space but given how things are and how they have been in the past, I have made up my mind where I am personally concerned, that it is not going to happen next time”  he answered.

Kagame led RPF military wing that stopped genocide against the Tutsi in 1994, and that party ruled the country ever since. He became vice president, the position he held until 2000 when he was elected as an interim president replacing Pasteur  Bizimungu who had resigned early that year.

Kagame got elected in general elections thrice, in 2003, in 2010 and in 2017 after revising constitution where  the article which was barred him from running was amended.

In Doha, Kagame criticized democracy teachers from abroad, who want to determine the future of Africa and what is best for the continent.

“Term limits don’t mean one thing everywhere or every time. However, this doesn’t justify what some African leaders have done. Some people can spend longer time in office and it is justified and others it is not. Some leaders make it look like it’s the choice of the people and it is not and where it happens it should be respected” he added.

President Kagame is praised for having transformed the country after genocide of 1994, building a booming economy and social welfare of the people.

He is however, criticized for ruling the country with iron fist, by pressing hard his opponents and little freedom of speech.

Rwanda’s constitution that was amended in 2015 allows Kagame to run for presidency until  2034.

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Rwandan named UN Secretary General’s Special Envoy for 2021 Food Systems Summit
December 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

Agnes Kalibata

United Nations Secretary General António Guterres has appointed Agnes Kalibata of Rwanda as his Special Envoy for the 2021 Food Systems Summit.

In 2021, the Secretary-General will host a Food Systems Summit with the aim of maximizing the co-benefits of a food systems approach across the entire 2030 Agenda and meet the challenges of climate change.

As a key contribution to the Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals, the objectives of the Food Systems Summit are to generate momentum, expand the knowledge and share experience and approaches worldwide to help countries and stakeholders unleash the benefits of food systems for all people.

The Summit will also offer a catalytic moment for global public mobilization and actionable commitments to invest in diverse ways to make food systems inclusive, climate adapted and resilient, and support sustainable peace.

The Special Envoy, working with the United Nations system and key partners, will provide leadership, guidance and strategic direction towards the Summit.

According to the UN announcement,  Ms. Kalibata will be responsible for outreach and cooperation with key leaders, including governments, and other strategic stakeholder groups, to galvanize action and leadership for the Summit. She will also support the various global and regional consultative events focused on food system transformation, planned during 2020 and 2021.

Currently  Kalibata is the President of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) since 2014. She leads the organization’s efforts with public and private partners to ensure a food secure and prosperous Africa through rapid, inclusive, sustainable agricultural growth, improving the productivity and livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers in Africa.

Prior to joining AGRA, Ms. Kalibata was Rwanda’s Minister of Agriculture and Animal Resources from 2008 to 2014, where she drove programs that moved her country to food security, helping to lift more than a million Rwandans out of poverty.

She has records of accomplishments as an agricultural scientist, policy maker and thought leader, awarded the Yara Prize, now the Africa Food Prize, in 2012. She was the 2019 recipient of the National Academy of Sciences prestigious Public Welfare Medal for her work to drive Africa’s agricultural transformation through modern sciences and effective policy, thereby improving livelihoods of stallholder farmers.

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End of discussion: Deathly ban on free expression and the rise of fascism
December 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Chido Onumah *

Omoyele Sowore, a New-York based Nigerian journalist and prominent activist remains in detention under controversial circumstances.Photo credit :Quartz
Omoyele Sowore, a New-York based Nigerian journalist and prominent activist remains in detention under controversial circumstances.Photo credit :Quartz

At a time Nigeria requires a robust conversation about its politics, economy, ethnic relations, unity, and indeed, future, the country’s over-indulged lawmakers, egged on by a president who is anything but a democrat, are placing a deathly ban on free speech. This proposed ban must be opposed and defeated by any means necessary!

Two dangerous bills are currently in the National Assembly seeking not only to establish an “Independent National Commission for the prohibition of hate speeches” but to curtail free expression and take state repression of alternative voices to a whole new level by making the right to hold contrary views a capital offence. Social media and the civic space are the new arenas in Gen. Buhari’s renewed war against Nigerians; a war that goes back to 1984. And he isn’t alone. That other interloper, our First Lady, has already warned that, “If China can control 1.8billion people on social media, I see no reason why Nigeria should not attempt controlling only 180million people.”

There are enough reasons to oppose these bills. One, they are a throwback to the dark years of repression that saw the humiliation, harassment disappearance and assassination of journalists and social activists; two, the bills are being proposed in the regime of a military dictator-turned politician—a self-professed born again democrat—whose antecedent does not speak of one in tune with the tenets of an open society; three, the proposed laws  do not take into account the country’s current realities; realities that include a bulging youth population weaned on a regular diet of technology and free flow of information; four, and importantly, these bills bear the telltale signs of the precursor of a political agenda that typified the second term of the regime of Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo.

For these reasons and more, those who cherish freedom and are concerned about the prospect of Nigeria sliding into one-man rule or the rule of a triumvirate, must band together and say unequivocally that we shall never travel this road again. Our country has a long history of murderous attacks on the media, civic space and freedom of expression. And unless we halt the current slide, this history will repeat itself with very tragic consequences.

Last week, the Punch newspaper, in a well-crafted editorial highlighting the creeping fascism in the country noted, “As a symbolic demonstration of our protest against autocracy and military-style repression, Punch will henceforth prefix Buhari’s name with his rank as a military dictator in the 80s, Major General, and refer to his administration as a regime, until they purge themselves of their insufferable contempt for the rule of law.”

Mr. Buhari and his handlers did not disappoint. They responded the way a regime and its courtiers who are out of touch with reality would respond. For them, Buhari “earned” the rank and, therefore, should not be concerned that he is being referred to as a general. By that logic, it seems they are tacitly agreeing that Gen. Buhari has not earned the title of president, much less a democrat, if they are not concerned that he is being addressed as a general in a democratic dispensation. For a man who ran for president on four occasions, shed tears when he lost and publicly confessed that he is a born-again democrat, that must sting even if he and his adulators pretend they are unperturbed.

Of course, Gen. Buhari has not hidden his disdain for the rule of law. Several actions of his regime foreshadowed the decision of the Punch newspaper, but none was more egregious than the events of Friday, December 6, where agents of the State Security Service (SSS) invaded the Federal High Court in Abuja to abduct Omoyele Sowore and Olawale Bakare, two activists who had been granted bail—after more than 120 days in illegal detention on allegation of announcing a revolution on TV—and had subjected themselves to trial.

In August 2018, Gen. Buhari gave a foretaste of what Nigerians should expect when he appeared at the Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) and averred that, “Rule of Law must be subject to the supremacy of the nation’s security and national interest.” Under the regime of Gen. Buhari, the rule of law and due process—the legal requirement that the state must respect all legal rights that are owed to a person—the pillars of democracy, have come under severe attack.

Individual, media and civic freedom has been subordinated to the power and authority of Gen. Buhari and his security agencies. There is a name for this: fascism! Under the current regime, we have seen the invasion of the National Assembly by the SSS. We have witnessed flagrant abuse of due process, the desecration of our courts and the strangulation of the judiciary by the same SSS. Now, they have descended on the last bastion of our democracy: the media and civil society.

As pro-democracy and civil society organizations, journalists, civic activists, etc., gather in Lagos on Tuesday, December 17, for this year’s pro-democracy conference, they need to pay close attention to the theme of the conference, “reviving popular action for democracy and freedom in Nigeria.” Nigeria returned to “democracy” in 1999. Twenty years after, the country is still fighting for its rulers to keep faith with the fundamental tenets of democratic governance. Every day, reactionary forces continue to undermine our hard-won victories; they constantly chip away at the prospect of an egalitarian society; they scorn the need for a robust media and civic space and social progress.

What this tells us is that as citizens, we must, as the late great pan-Africanist, Tajudeen Abdul-Raheem, admonished, “organize rather than agonize.” We have travelled this road before and no matter how hard they try, this is one battle Gen. Buhari and those who seek to steal our freedoms can’t win.

We stand in solidarity with all prisoners of conscience in Nigeria: Omoyele Sowore, Olawale Bakare, Agba Jalingo and other journalists and civic activists in prisons across the country and call for their immediate and unconditional release. That is the only way to restore the democratic credentials of the Buhari regime.  

*Onumah is author of We Are All Biafrans: A Participant-Observer’s Interventions in a Country Sleepwalking to Disaster.

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Equatorial Guinea Expects Major Oil & Gas Investments in 2020
December 17, 2019 | 0 Comments


The country estimates $1.2 billion in investments and a contingent forecast of $273 million into its hydrocarbon sector in 2020


MALABO, Equatorial Guinea, December 16, 2019/ — The Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons has concluded its work program and budget meeting evaluations after technical negotiations with oil and gas companies; The country estimates $1.2 billion in investments and a contingent forecast of $273 million into its hydrocarbon sector in 2020; The country is actively pursuing international investors in an effort to increase exploration activity and boost its oil and gas sector.

Equatorial Guinea’s Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons (MMH) has concluded its evaluation of work programs and budget meetings of multiple oil blocks in the country, corresponding to the 2020 fiscal year, which has yielded many successful results.

A major outcome of these meetings is the expected direct investment of a minimum of $1.4 billion; a firm $1.2 billion and a contingent forecast of $273 million predicted for 2020, associated with the drilling of two wells and the continuous development of six existing wells.

The expected investment will support several oil field projects, aid in the generation of reservoir models and assist in the preparation of drilling equipment in identified prospects up until the first quarter of 2021. The investment will also generate a robust amount of direct and indirect jobs in the country’s hydrocarbon sector specifically for citizens of Equatorial Guinea.

“We expect 2020 to be the biggest year of investment in Equatorial Guinea’s hydrocarbons industry in years. This is a strong sign of our industry’s enduring attractiveness and will enable us to continue increasing oil and gas production, support local companies and create jobs.” Stated H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons.

In 2019, Noble Energy, Trident Energy and Kosmos Energy, all made offshore discoveries and will enter 2020 doing further appraisals. Those offshore campaigns are expected to yield positive results in Equatorial Guinea’s efforts to reverse oil production declines.

Noble Energy made a new discovery in Block 1 offshore Equatorial Guinea in August and Trident and Kosmos Energy made a joint oil discovery at the S-5 well in November. 

*Africa Energy Chamber

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Equatorial Guinea Pledges Continued Support to Foreign Operators in its Hydrocarbon Sector
December 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

Equatorial Guinea continues to be proactive in encouraging foreign direct investment into the country

MALABO, Equatorial Guinea, December 16, 2019/ — New rules introduced by the Bank of Central African States has created a challenging environment for foreign investment into CFA union states; The Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons will continue to support foreign operators in its hydrocarbon sector; Equatorial Guinea continues to be proactive in encouraging foreign direct investment into the country.

Equatorial Guinea’s Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons (MMH) recognizes that new financial measures passed by the Bank of Central African States (BEAC) will create restrictions for international oil companies. The MMH is prepared to provide continued support to its foreign operators as they put more capital into Equatorial Guinea’s resources.

In June, the BEAC introduced new rules to bring order to a monetary bloc flooded with petrodollars – which often end up in offshore bank accounts after bypassing local economies completely – and curb money laundering and diminishing foreign exchange reserves that are causing cash flow shortages across the CFA union.

The new rules state that all foreign exchange transfers over $1,680 be vetted for approval by the bank, and that all export proceeds above $8,400 be repatriated in 150 days to a local bank account. These stringent rules have resulted in transaction delays of up to three months.

“Equatorial Guinea understands the need to be proactive in promoting investment and reaching out to global energy stakeholders. We will continue to support investment into our hydrocarbon sector, despite challenging circumstances. We welcome all investors to help us further develop our oil and industry,” says H.E Gabriel Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons, Equatorial Guinea.

The central African CFA union comprises Chad, Congo Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Cameroon and Central African Republic – all but the last of them among sub-Saharan Africa’s top oil producers, whose financial dealings are among the world’s most opaque.

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African Development Bank approves $5 million grant to scale up Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme
December 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

Tony Elumelu

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank has approved a grant of $5 million to enable the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme to scale up its outreach and impact to 1,000 select youth entrepreneurs.

The grant follows the signing of a letter of intent between the Bank and the Tony Elumelu Foundation, which took place during the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme launch in March this year. The partnership will bring about future collaboration focused on strengthening small to medium-sized enterprises as well as talent and skills development for Africa’s youth.

The partnership will support 3,050 young entrepreneurs across 54 African countries. The Bank’s participation will enable an additional 1,000 entrepreneurs to benefit from the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Program, which provides much needed opportunities to help stem the rising tide of unemployment and inequality facing the continent’s youngest citizens.

The programme aligns with the Bank’s ten-year Jobs for Youth in Africa strategy launched in 2016, to support the creation of 25 million decent jobs across the continent. The strategy is also expected to equip 50 million young African people with employable skills that enable them to access economic opportunities and realize their full economic potential across the continent.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme will deliver business training, mentoring, access to networks, markets and capital for business development to selected youth-led start-ups in order for them to grow and create jobs.

The Entrepreneurship Programme demonstrates a strong alignment with the Bank’s Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Multi-Donor Trust Fund objectives to build the African youth entrepreneurship ecosystem by scaling innovative youth led start-ups, expanding youth market opportunities and improving youth access to finance.

Other development partners involved in supporting the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme are Agence Française de Développement, the German Agency for International Cooperation, the United Nations Development Programme and the International Committee of the Red Cross. They will also work to provide more business opportunities to youth entrepreneurs across the continent.

In 2017, the Bank established the Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Multi-Donor Trust Fund, in partnership with the governments of Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Italy and the Netherlands. The fund is a grant vehicle managed by the Bank to support the African entrepreneurship ecosystem directly and indirectly by leveraging on the Bank’s instruments. Its interventions will equip Africa’s youth with the right tools to establish start-ups and micro, small and medium enterprises.

*AFDB

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African Development Bank commits €20 million to boost private sector competitiveness in Cabo Verde
December 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

The African Development Bank’s Board of Directors today approved a €20 million loan to strengthen the private sector’s role in Cabo Verde’s economic growth. 

Bank funding will support the second phase of the Private Sector Competitiveness and Local Economic Development Programme (PSC-LED-II).  The programme will extend fiscal 2019 budget support to the government of Cabo Verde as it undertakes reforms to boost domestic productivity and the country’s overall economy.

Specific initiatives of PSC-LED-II include promoting the competitiveness environment through the adoption of a revised commercial companies code, key legislation for judicial insolvency as well as a strategy of transition from the informal to the formal sector. The African Development Bank project partners include the World Bank and the European Union, as well as the governments of Luxembourg and Portugal.

The project advances the Bank’s aim to industrialize Africa and to improve the lives of its people, two of its High 5 development priorities.

Approval of the loan by the Bank’s Board of Directors signaled the successful completion of the first phase of the project, which set out a project framework and proposed reform measures. 

“The overall performance of the programme is good and we continue to work closely with authorities and with development partners,” said Abdoulaye Coulibaly, Director of the Bank’s Governance and Public Financial Management Coordination Office.

The planned reforms aim to strengthen Cabo Verde’s private sector by tackling the Atlantic island nation’s score on a number of competitiveness and economic development indicators. These include increasing credit to the private sector from 63% in 2016 to 70% of GDP in 2020; improving Cabo Verde’s score on the World Bank’s 2020 Doing Business index; and boosting labor contribution to value added growth from 1.1% in 2014-2017 to 2% in 2017-2020.

A few hours after the approval of the project by the Board of Directors, an agreement was signed at the Bank’s headquarters between Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade, the Bank’s Director General for West Africa and the Ambassador of Cabo Verde in Senegal, Felino de Carvalho.

“The signing of this loan agreement affirms the Bank’s commitment to supporting Cabo Verde’s economic advancement.  We have every confidence the government will continue the vital reforms needed to strengthen the private sector and decentralization.” Akin-Olugbade noted.

*AFDB

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2019 UN climate change conference (COP25): African Development Bank urges African nations to persist with climate change ambitions as marathon talks end in Madrid
December 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

The Bank will also continue to drive initiatives to strengthen the ability of regional member countries to advocate robustly at global forums such as COP 25
MADRID, Spain, December 16, 2019/ — The African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) has urged the continent’s nations to stay the course on climate action, after a marathon session of talks at the twenty-fifth Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 25) in Madrid.

The conference was scheduled to run from 2 to 13 December, but only concluded business on Sunday, two days after the official programme ended.

Meanwhile, back home, Africans were reminded of the all-too-real consequences if these talks fail to deliver results. Thousands of East Africans have been displaced in the wake of heavy rains that have battered the region since October, and more wet weather is expected due to an Indian Ocean Dipole attributed to the warming of the ocean.

Such extreme weather events should galvanise Africans; their governments are spending 2% of GDP on climate related disasters, said Anthony Nyong, Director for Climate Change and Green Growth at the African Development Bank. He encouraged the global community to remain steadfast in finding effective solutions to climate change. The annual negotiations are now in their 25th year.

“The global community, and in particular Africa has a lot to offer in terms of solutions; what is evidently lacking is the global political will to turn potential into wealth to serve humanity and the planet,” said Nyong, who led the Bank’s delegation to the UN conference.

At the conference, African delegates pushed for support for climate finance to build resilience against the impact of climate change and for special consideration for Africa around targets contained in the treaties under discussion.

The discussions at COP 25 centred around the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement, which calls on countries to cut carbon emissions to ensure that global temperatures do not rise by more than 2°C by the end of this century, while attempting to contain it within 1.5°C. The conference ended with a declaration on the “urgent need” to close the gap between existing emissions pledges and the temperature goals of the Paris agreement.

The African Development Bank attended the conference to lend strategic support to its regional member countries in the negotiations.

Nyong pointed out that Africa is committed; 51 of the 54 African countries have already ratified their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement signed at the landmark COP21 in Paris. The NDCs are specific climate change targets that each country must set.

Support for the Bank-funded Desert to Power project highlighted Africa’s determination to strive for a climate-friendly world, especially for its local populations, said Nyong. Desert to Power is a $20 billion initiative to deploy solar energy solutions across the entire Sahel region, generating 10,000 MW to provide 250 million people with clean electricity.

“The African Development Bank stands ready as ever to assist its regional member countries to build resilience against climate change, as indicated by the Bank’s decision to join the Alliance for Hydromet Development, announced at COP 25 (https://bit.ly/35sye5S). The Alliance will assist developing countries to build resilience against the impact of natural disasters caused by extreme weather,” Nyong said.

The Bank will also continue to drive initiatives to strengthen the ability of regional member countries to advocate robustly at global forums such as COP 25, Nyong added. One example was the Bank’s participation at the annual African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) and support for the Africa Group of Negotiations (AGN).

“We look forward to engaging further with regional member countries and other parties to ensure that the continent’s development agenda remains on track,” Nyong added.

Leaders and institutions from 196 nations plus the European Union, who have signed up to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, attended the conference in Madrid.

*AFDB
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