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Mozambique to get over £306m in UK investments
January 22, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Jorge dos Santos

Mozambique  is set to benefit from over 306 million pounds from the UK government for various projects in the country, as part of over 6.5 billion pounds package announced for African markets Monday.

A total of  £306m will be invested by Baker Hughes on export and investment of deep-sea equipment and scholarships, while Lloyds Register will invest £0.76m to set up operations in Mozambique.

The announcement was made at the UK-Africa Investment Summit in London.

The projects will be undertaken by UK companies and their African partners.

A statement published by the Department for International Development and Department for International Trade “the diverse and fast-growing economies of Africa offer huge potential to UK business”.

The 27 deals under the over 6.5 billion-pound investments in Africa have been listed as:

1. Aggreko signed an £80m contact extension for energy provision in Cote D’Ivoire

2. Airbus sold £80m of aircraft in Egypt

3. Anglo-Tunisian Oil and Gas invest £26m in Tunisian gas assets.

4. Aqua Africa win £26m export contract to supply solar powered water filtration systems in Ghana.

5. Baker Hughes £306m export and investment of deep-sea equipment and scholarships in Mozambique

6. BHM £80.3m work on the Tema-Aflao Road Project in Ghana.

7. Bombardier’s £3,180m construction and operation of 2 monorail lines in Cairo.

8. Contracta Construction UK win £120.5m export contract to upgrade Kumasi teaching hospital in Ghana.

9. Contracta Construction UK win £40m export contract to develop Kumasi airport in Ghana.

10. Diageo invest £167m to improved sustainability of breweries in Kenya & East Africa.

11. Globeleq invest £50m to help build of Malindi photovoltaic solar park in Kenya.

12. GSK invest £5m in Egypt to upgrade two production lines.

13. Kefi Minerals invest £224m in a new gold mine and to develop local infrastructure in Kenya.

14. Lagan Group win a £185 export contract for the construction of Kampala Industrial Business Park in Uganda.

15. Lloyds Register invest £0.76m to set up operations in Mozambique.

16. Low Energy Designs win an export contract to install street lighting for Oyo state in Nigeria.

17. Matalan invest £25m to open 13 new outlets in Egypt.

18. Moy Park to export £12m of frozen chicken to Angola.

19. Nexus Green export £80m of solar powered water pumping systems for irrigation in Uganda.

20. NMS Infrastructure invest £222m in the construction of 6 hospitals in Côte D’Ivoire.

21. Rolls Royce purchase £50m of aircraft engines in Egypt.

22. Savannah invest £315m in the acquisition and investment of ingas assets in Nigeria.

23. Tex ATC install 5 Airport control room towers worth £2m in Nigeria.

24. Trilliant install £5m of Smart Metering to Abuja DisCo In Nigeria.

25. Tullow invest £1,200m in continued oil production in Kenya.

26. Tyllium and Ellipse win an export contract worth £60m to provide 250 new beds for a general hospital in Koforidua in Ghana.

27. Unatrac win a £1.5m export contract to supply machinery for Ugandan roads.

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British Prime Minister, African leaders urge investors to accelerate economic role on the continent
January 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

London, United Kingdom, 20 January 2020 – UK companies must leap at the chance to deepen economic ties with Africa, a continent with unmatched investment opportunities, several African leaders said at a high-level panel.

At an oversubscribed opening ceremony for the 2020 UK-Africa Investment Summit, Monday, attended by dignitaries and delegates from 16 African leaders, including President El Sisi of Egypt, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson made the case for bigger investments in Africa and called for increased and renewed partnership  between  the UK and Africa

Referring to Africa as a booming continent with “staggering levels of growth,” Prime Minister Johnson said:  “Look around the world today and you will swiftly see that the UK is not only the obvious partner of choice, we’re also very much the partner of today, of tomorrow and decades to come,” he said in his opening address.

The UK-Africa Investment Summit, the first of its kind hosted by the UK Government, was attended by foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, the international development secretary, Alok Sharma, and Prince Harry.

The President of Ghana, Nana Akufo Addo, of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta, of Mauritania, Mohamed Ould Cheikh el Ghazouani,  African  Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina, and Secretary of State for International Development, MP Alok Sharma, addressed a plenary panel discussion on ‘Sustainable Finance and Infrastructure – Unlocking the City of London and UK financial services for growth in Africa.’

President Kenyatta who rang the opening bell at the London Stock Exchange (LSE) marking the launch of Kenya’s first green bond at the LSE, made the case for innovative and sustainable investments in energy infrastructure. “We all must think out of the box in terms of energy…to ensure we produce more green energy. This first-ever sovereign green bond of $41.45 million will be used to build environmentally-friendly student accommodation in Kenya.”

Responding to a question about UK-Ghana partnerships, President Nana Akufo-Addo said in a world where Africa’s wealth is undisputed, “the City of London can play a significant role in bridging Africa’s huge infrastructure gap… and LSE can be a pivot in the new relationship with the continent. Indeed, 1 in 4 consumers will live in Africa by 2030,” Akufo-Addo said.

African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina announced a new $80 million Bank-DFID infrastructure financing partnership.

According to Adesina, the continent’s $68-$108 billion infrastructure investment gap per year is massive, but it depends on how you look at it. “Either the cup is half empty or half empty. To us, that is a $68-$108 billion opportunity.”

Adesina added, “The issue of risk in Africa is exaggerated. The risk of loss is lower than Latin America. Yet, funds are not being channeled into Africa. “There are $8 trillion of assets under management in London, but only 1 percent is invested in Africa.”

The Bank president urged investors to look to Africa and recalled the achievements of the Africa Investment Forum – a game-changing initiative led by the African Development Bank and key partners, to accelerate investment in the continent. The unique multi-sector platform is designed to advance bankable deals to financial closure. Deals valued at $40.1 billion secured investment interest in 2019 during the three-day event, which took place in Johannesburg, South Africa. 

President Mohamed Ould Cheikh el Ghazouani of the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, sharedopportunities offered by the blue ocean economy and substantial reforms currently under way to attract foreign investors.

“We have reinforced security along our coasts. Other measures include the establishment of a Council on Investment. These huge efforts are showing tremendous results and it is giving comfort to investors,” he noted.

The African continent is home to eight of the 15 fastest-growing economies in the world. By 2020, 42% of the world youth will be African and by 2030, will constitute an incredible workforce and potential consumers.

In his concluding remarks, UK Secretary of State of for International Development, MP Alok Sharma expressed confidence in the continent. “Africa has a fabulous future.” Sharma announced five partnerships to mobilise private sector investment in quality infrastructure on the continent. “The City of London can play a role in mobilizing resources for Africa,” Sharma said.

Speaking earlier, Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a major announcement on the UK’s policy on climate change.

“From today, the British government will no longer provide any new direct development assistance for thermal coal mining or coal power plants overseas,” Johnson said.

The declaration aligns with the African Development Bank’s green agenda aimed at increasing investment in renewable energy. President Adesina announced last year at the UN General Assembly that the Bank was moving away from investing in coal.

*AFDB

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President Mnangagwa On Leave Commits To Opening First Of Its Kind ICT Assembly Plant..
January 18, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu

President Emmerson Mnangagwa upon request from the Permanent Secretary in his Office Misheck Sibanda absconded one day of his leave to attend opening of the 1st ever Information Communication Technology Assembly Plant a unique Computer Centre in Msasa Industrial Area of Harare on Thursday 16 January .

The centre is a company run by the Zimbabwe Information Technology Company [ZITCO ] It has other consortium of Stakeholders which are TEL-ONE , Zimbabwe Government  and INSPUR a Chinese Company .

Addressing a Press Pack of Journalists, President Mnangagwa pointed out that the first ever kind of Information Communication Technology Company is an eye opener which mirrors development in terms of ICT in the country . He commented that such an event was unique since all the assembling of Computers internally was to give the country new way-forward in terms of Information Communication Technology.

‘’This is simply an eye-opener because we are a way ahead as a country. Such an event is unique because this is 1st of its own kind. ICT is the way to go, so, we have to appreciate this. The spirit of co-operation with China remains vital in our economic growth and development’’.

President Mnangagwa said the growth of ICT promotes Domestic markets which needs to grow so s to foster economic growth and reduce poverty in the country.  He pointed out that this also makes external markets move at par – level with our domestic ones.

‘’Our domestic markets will grow and create new opportunities for our graduates in ICT. Since this means we have to assembly computers as a country, we grow in terms of the Domestic Markets opening up way in job creation.

‘’ I am on leave but I have dedicated my time to be here . Mr Misheck Sibanda is the man who made me be part of this program. Some time back he told me about this. While on leave, he phoned me informing me that I am invited to attend this occasion. I also encouraged the Acting President Mr Constantine Chiwengwa to attend as well.’’  

In his speech TEL-ONE staff, Engineer Munembe said the project is a make-up of several stakeholders in the ICT Industry of Zimbabwe. He said the project was supported by the President’s office. This he said is an idea which stands to show commitments of the Government.

‘’ We thank all stakeholders and the Office of the President which crafted the idea to come up with such a company. We will work with Small to Medium Enterprises to promote Innovation meant for us to procure products to feed in desk tops, laptops and all the other ICT gadgets.’’

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African Development Bank’s Akinwumi Adesina heads to UK-Africa investment summit: Revitalizing economic ties top of agenda
January 17, 2020 | 0 Comments
African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina
African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina

Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, 16 January 2020 – New opportunities for bi-lateral trade and increasing UK investor appetite in Africa will be the main focus of the UK-Africa summit, convened by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, on January 20th.

African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina is expected in London for the milestone investment summit aimed at forging new partnerships under the theme: ‘Partners for prosperity.’ 

A busy agenda awaits President Adesina. Highlights of his UK trip includes a plenary panel discussion on ‘Sustainable Finance and Infrastructure – Unlocking the City of London and UK financial services for growth in Africa,’ alongside Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana. Discussions will focus on increasing access to investments in Africa and pursuing existing and untapped opportunities.

On January 21st, President Adesina will deliver a keynote at the Sustainable Infrastructure Forum, an associated event of the UK Africa Investment Summit, followed by another keynote address at the UK’s All-Party Parliament Group (APPG) Symposium.

The one-day event, co-organized by the Royal African Society and Oxford Brooks University, will see the participation of UK parliamentarians, academics, and policymakers. 

The future trade relationship between the UK and Africa and the African Continental Free Trade Area in the context of Brexit are expected to top discussions.

Speakers at the symposium include Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa; Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General of UNCTAD and Ms. Paulina Elago, Executive Secretary of the Southern African Customs Union, SACU.

The Bank’s president will wrap up his engagements with a UK-African Development Bank strategic dialogue. The dialogue with the Department for International Development (DFID) will focus on the President’s vision for Africa and how the Bank can spur the continent’s economic transformation, especially in the areas of infrastructure and regional integration, private sector development and jobs, and women’s economic empowerment. Climate change, energy access, addressing fragility, promoting resilience, and good governance principles will also be discussed.

Africa and the UK are long-standing partners. Trade stood at over £33bn in 2018.  Close to 2,000 British businesses currently operate in Africa.

In 2016, Africa’s exports to the UK accounted for £17 billion, having grown marginally from $16.7 billion in 2015. Africa’s major exporters to the UK, in 2016, included South Africa, which takes the lion’s share with 58%, followed by Nigeria with 7%, Algeria, Morocco and Egypt 5% each.

Over the next decade, Africa is expected to play an increasingly significant global role. The continent’s population is projected to double to 2 billion people by 2050, representing a quarter of the world population.

The UK-Africa Summit is a unique opportunity to expand investment and trade opportunities.


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Mozambique’s Nyusi Begins 2nd Term promising to fight against corruption
January 16, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Jorge dos Santos

Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi on Wednesday promised “to continue to fight against corruption in all its forms”, in the coming five years. He was speaking in Maputo’s Independence Square, immediately after his investiture for a second five year term of office.

“In fighting corruption, we will distance ourselves from those who seek to replace institutional justice with a witch hunt”, he said.

Nyusi told the crowd he would “demand integrity, ethics and professionalism from public officials to consolidate the culture of transparency and accountability”. There would be “no rest” in the fight against corruption, he promised, and there would be no “untouchables”.

He promised “a fast, efficient and impartial system of administration of justice that inspires confidence in the equal enforcement of the law”. This would include “innovative systems for conflict resolution, such as mediation and community courts”.

He also announced that “more than 60 per cent” of the government he is about to announce will consist of “new faces” and promised that most of the Ministers will be young. “The gender balance in the government will improve, promising that governance will be “agile, flexible and sustainable”, with ministers capable of solving the problems in their various sectors.

He would demand “ethics, competence, loyalty, good sense and humility” from all government members, as well as teamwork.

Nyusi promised to work with other political forces, but warned that the concept of “inclusion” did not merely mean giving opportunities to opposition parties. Mozambique needed, not simply opposition, but “a free and healthy confrontation of ideas”.

“Inclusion is much more than accommodating a small group of fellow countrymen, regardless of their origin”, he added. “Inclusion means listening to those who think differently, giving equal opportunities to all, exercising social justice”.

Attended the event the Heads of State of Cape Verde; Rwanda; Zambia; Namibia; Portugal; Angola; Zimbabwe; South Africa; Botswana and Mauritius.

Renamo boycott the event

Whatever, the leader of Mozambique’s main opposition party. Renamo, Ossufo Momade, boycotted the event. He said it would have been “scandalous”, if he had attended the investiture, and “the people would have been confused”.

He declined to describe this attitude as a boycott, and said he had taken the decision “so that the people know I am not allied with him (i.e. with Nyusi). I have already received many messages saying that Ossufo has been bought”.

“If I had participated in those ceremonies, it would have been a scandal, because I cannot separate myself from my people”, he stressed.

Nonetheless, he would continue talking to Nyusi’s government, because “I must respect the principles of my President, the late President Afonso Dhlakama (Momade’s predecessor, who died in May 2018)”.

He remained interested in the search for peace. “We have to put an end to the anxiety of the people, so that we may have peace in Mozambique”.

Momade said that he would not accept any ministerial post or other job offered by Nyusi. “That is not my ambition”, he said.

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Equatorial Guinea: Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima kicks off Year of Investment with Several Meetings and Agreements in Abu Dhabi
January 13, 2020 | 0 Comments
The delegation of the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons (MMH) held several bilateral meetings and discussions with heads of national oil companies

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, January 13, 2020/ — H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea, officially kicked off the country’s Year of Investment initiative during the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Forum in Abu Dhabi.

The delegation of the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons (MMH) held several bilateral meetings and discussions with heads of national oil companies such as PetroVietnam, ministerial counterparts of the Ministry of Energy of the UAE H.E. Suhail Al Mazrouei and the Ministry of Petroleum, Energy and Mines of Mauritania, and private stakeholders.

The talks focused on investment discussions around key projects Equatorial Guinea is executing under the Year of Investment, including mining and energy infrastructure such as refineries, gas-to-power and storage tanks.

The Minister also addressed US investors concerns over the business environment in the country, and took a stand on climate change, joining concerns over the need to address current climate change realities while continuing to develop Africa’s resources for the benefits of its people.

“We had a very conclusive visit to Abu Dhabi, the Year of Investment is starting very strong with several agreements signed on exploration, refining infrastructure and local content development,” declared H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima. “People look up to Equatorial Guinea as a strong emerging hub in the West and Central Africa, and this year will see the execution of several landmark projects positioning us as a true African energy leader and creating jobs for our citizens.”

Several agreements were signed, including an MoU on the EG Refinery, which will have a capacity of 20,000 to 30,000 bopd and will see Equatorial Guinea become a refiner and producer of petroleum products.

In order to boost domestic capacity building, the MMH also signed an MoU with Duscaff Scaffolding, Apex Industries S.A and the Institute of Technology of Equatorial Guinea to establish an Engineering Academy and training company to promote vocational training and quality education for Equatoguinean citizens.

*African Energy Chamber


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Rwanda denounces DRC balkanization allegations
January 10, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Vincent Biruta refutes allegations that Rwanda wants balkanisation of Congo
Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr Vincent Biruta refutes allegations that Rwanda wants balkanisation of Congo

The Government of Rwanda has refuted allegations that it wants to balkanize eastern parts of Democratic Republic Congo, in what some opposition politicians said is  a plan of expanding its territory.

In December last year, Adolphe Muzito, Spokesperson for  Lamuka, a political coalition in DRC  told journalists  that for his country to be peaceful, Congo has to  invade Rwanda as well as annexing it to its territory in order to end 20 years of insecurity in eastern Congo.

Recently, the archbishop of Kinshasa, cardinal Fridolin Ambongo visited, Beni territory in Northern Kivu,  where he met  “extreme poverty” and “traumatized people” due to insecurity and influx of people  immigrating from Uganda and Rwanda.

Rwanda’s Minister in charge of foreign affairs, Dr Vincent Biruta on Wednesday while  briefing  press,  he denounced allegations that Rwanda has in plan to annex eastern Congo.

Biruta said that such statements are from “politicians and certain clergymen are irresponsible and unfounded.”

Since his election in 2018, President Felix Tshisekedi tried to amend strained relations that had been existing between DRC and Rwanda.

He visited Rwanda twice last year, and President Paul Kagame flew to Kinshasa in June to attend Tshisekedi’s father, Etienne Tshisekedi  funeral.

Rwanda’s national carrier, Rwandair has regular flights to Kinshasa which begun last year.

Minister Biruta told journalists in the capital Kigali that there is an attitude from some Congo’s politicians who think that to be  popular “you have to demonize Rwanda and tell the Congolese that there is a plot against the DRC”.

“But I do not believe that these statements are likely to jeopardize the good relations between the DRC and  Rwanda, because they are state to state relations. We appreciate what the DRC has done through operations against armed groups in eastern DRC.”

Recently, Congo’s army, FARDC  launched military operations against some foreign armed forces  that have destabilized the eastern part for two decades.

Some Congolese people  allege that Rwanda’s army have crossed to help FARDC eliminate rebel groups, the claim that Rwanda denies.

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South Sudan Vice President Taban Deng Gai Hit by US Sanctions
January 8, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Ajong Mbapndah L

First Vice President Taban Deng Gai is the most senior official to be hit with sanctions in South Sudan

The US has upped pressure on South Sudan by slamming sanctions on First Vice President Taban Deng Gai for his role in human rights abuses.

In a statement from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the U.S Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control , President Kiir’s topmost deputy is sanctioned for gross human rights abuses.

According to the statement for Pompeo, Deng was guilty of involvement in the disappearance and reported deaths of two human rights activists in 2017.

“Deng has acted on South Sudanese President Salva Kiir’s behalf to divide and sow distrust, extend the conflict in South Sudan, and impede the reconciliation and peace process.  Disappearances and extrajudicial killings of political opposition and civil society actors whose views differ with the ruling regime are actions designed to silence dissent and enforce the political status quo,” the statement read.

Such human rights violations and abuses curtail the political space needed for the full implementation of a durable peace in South Sudan, the statement said.

“This decision underscores the U.S. government’s continuing commitment to promote and protect human rights globally and reflects our determination to promote accountability of all those who seek to undermine the South Sudanese peace process,” Secretary Pompeo said in the statement.

The statement which comes midway into the recent extension to form an inclusive unity government, urges the government and opposition leaders  to distance themselves from peace process spoilers and  prioritize the will of the South Sudanese people for peace

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Burundi opposition decries rising political intolerance ahead of elections
January 8, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Jean-Pierre Afadhali

President Nkurunziza has indicated that he will not seek another term
President Nkurunziza has indicated that he will not seek another term

Ahead of May elections there are concerns that increasing political persecution on the major opposition party operating inside Burundi coupled with insecurity in parts of the East African country could hinder the upcoming polls; despite the assurance of President Pierre Nkurunziza not seek re-election.

Burundi plunged into political crisis in 2015 when president Nkurunziza announced he would run for a third term sparking protests across the country followed by police repressions and a failed coup. At the time hundreds thousands of Burundian fled into neighboring countries mainly Tanzania and Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Now as the incumbent’s third term approaches the end the political climate in the country could not allow peaceful elections amid increasing rebel attacks in some parts of the country, violence against opposition and lack of political space.  The latest attack happened in November last year near Rwanda border. Bujumbura was quick to blame neighboring Rwanda. Kigali has rejected accusations saying they are not new and baseless.

Elections are scheduled on 20 May 2020, but the political and security situation that prevails in the East African country could hinder the electoral process that is expected to define the future of Burundi amid uncertainties over the participation of all stakeholders and growing political intolerance often blamed to the ruling party (CNDD-FDD) supporters.

President Nkurunziza has repeated several times he will not run in the upcoming elections.   Responding to a journalist’s question in his latest public conference shortly before the end of 2019, he said:” I cannot quit the presidency and return as prime minister. It does not make sense. Don’t worry; I need time to rest after this term,” stressed Mr. Nkurunziza.

Many of his political opponents now live in exile, however the only major opposition party operating inside Burundi, the National Freedom Council (CNL) has several times cited persecution blamed on the governing party. Some of its offices have been damaged and set ablaze while its members have been arrested.

Inter-Burundian dialogues under  mediation of former Tanzanian president  appears to have failed as they did not reach any deal  from several in talks that took place in Arusha, Tanzania.

Last year in February, CNL led by a prominent opposition politician Agathon Rwanda was officially registered. Since then, there have been reports of violence against its members across the country. The party blames them to the current government. According to the UN Security Council report released last year in October, there been increase of political intolerance “perpetrated” by ‘Imbonerakure’ the youth wing of the ruling party.

In his New Year’s address, the former rebel s leader Mr. Rwasa said some local leaders are breaking laws and creating their rules meant to hinder opposition’s activities. Since its registration the CNL members have been arrested and offices damaged in different parts of the country. Government says it works in consultation with all political players to allow a good environment for the next elections.

The Security Council report also said the situation was not good for the elections. “Uncertainty persists over the participation of all interested stakeholders in the process, amidst shrinking political space and the need to create an environment conducive to peaceful, transparent and credible elections,”

 The CNL party leader in his New Year speech said 2020 should be the end of opposition’s persecution. According to Rwasa there is no political tolerance in the country. “We are calling local leaders across the country to end violence against our supporters. We urge them to respect national laws because the same laws guarantee equal rights,” he was quoted as saying.

Mr. Agathon called for the respect to political party’s legislation, so that parties can function properly. According to the former rebel leader turned politician, this will lead to free and fair elections as “the president wishes”.

On upcoming elections, Mr. Rwasa called upon Burundians to be alerted to prevent any possible electoral fraud.

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PRESIDENT BUHARI RECEIVES EMBALO, GUINEA-BISSAU PRESIDENT-ELECT; STRESSES COMMITMENT TO WEST AFRICAN STABILITY
January 6, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

President Buhari with Guinea Bissau President Elect

President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday reiterated his desire for stability, peace, progress and prosperity in the entire West African sub-region.

Responding to Umaro Muhktar Sissoco Embalo, the President-elect of Guinea Bissau, who came to Nigeria on a “thank you visit” and to express his “good wishes” following his emergence as winner in the keenly contested, just-concluded elections in his country, President Buhari said, “Without stability, there can be no development. We will do whatever it will take to stabilize the sub-region.”

President Buhari commended the out-going President, José Mário Vaz, himself a candidate in the elections for supporting the emergence of Embalo in the second round of balloting “in the interest of peace and stability.”

He said history will remember President Mario Vaz for putting National interest above his own, emphasizing that he cared for peace within the region.

The Nigerian President expressed his desire for both countries to work together for the betterment of their peoples and reiterated his vision for peace, progress and prosperity in West Africa.

President-elect Embalo, a businessman-turned politician, was Prime Minister of Guinea Bissau under incumbent President Jose Mario Vaz between 2016 and 2018.

He was a member of the ruling African Party of Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde (PAIGC) when he founded the Movement for Democratic Alternative (MADEM-G15) on which platform he won the elections.

He praised President Buhari for his support leading to his emergence as winner in the elections and expressed his appreciation for the warm and friendly disposition of Nigeria towards him and the people of his country.

He informed the Nigerian leader of his selection as the Guest of Honour at the Presidential inauguration coming up next month and for which he received assurances from President Buhari that he will make the best efforts to be present.

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Namibia’s ‘Fishrot’ Scandal Rains On SWAPO’s Victory Parade
January 3, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati

Several figures close to Namibian President Hage Geingob were filmed discussing the laundering of political contributions
Several figures close to Namibian President Hage Geingob were filmed discussing the laundering of political contributions

Namibians went to the polls on 27 November to select the country’s next president and members of Parliament. As has become the tradition in this Southern African nation, the incumbent from the ruling party, SWAPO which has been in power since independence won the presidential race. The ruling party also won the highest number of votes in the House of Assembly.

Despite the recent electoral victory, SWAPO was not entirely impressed with the triumph. The election saw the party lose a significant amount of support. In the 2014 election, the president managed to win the vote with 87 percent but that figure plummeted to just 56.3 percent in the 2019 election. In the parliamentary vote, SWAPO in 2014 won the election with a commanding 80 percent of the vote but that too plummeted in the recent election as the party only managed to garner 65.5 percent of the vote.

SWAPO’s poor performance in the recent election did demonstrate one thing, that is, the party just like its revolutionary compatriots in South Africa (ANC), Mozambique (FRELIMO) and Zimbabwe (ZANU PF) faces a stern test of transformation if it is to stay relevant. If the party fails to transform itself, then the future is bleak and the 2019 election effectively spells the beginning of the end for SWAPO.

SWAPO does it a wholesome transformation and the first port of call will be for the party to change the rather dark image that has befallen it. SWAPO’s dark image has been brought about by different circumstances and events which include the Fishrot scandal, a scandal which to a larger extent contributed to SWAPO’s dismal performance (comparatively) in the recent election.

The Fishrot scandal relates to the corruption case unveiled by the Al Jazeera Investigative Unit in which several figures close to Namibian President Hage Geingob were filmed discussing the laundering of political contributions. Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit in a film titled Anatomy of a Bribe exposed the corruption in the fishing industry in Namibia. Part of the Al Jazeera investigation team posed as Chinese investors looking to acquire highly lucrative fishing quotas for a proposed joint venture with Omualu, a Namibian fishing company.

During the deliberations, Bernhard Esau, Namibia’s now former minister of fisheries and marine resources solicited for a ‘donation’ of $200 000 from the ‘Chinese investors’. The solicitation was premised on the ground that the ‘donation’ would go towards the SWAPO campaign as the country was gearing towards a general election.

To ensure that the ‘donation’ reached its destination without raising eyebrows, Esau instructed Sacky Kadhila-Amoomo, Omualu’s managing director to receive the donation on behalf of the party under the guise of foreign investment in a real estate. Afterwards, the donation was to find its way to the trust account of Sisa Namandje, Hage Geingob’s personal lawyer. Thereafter, the funds would be channelled to SWAPO’s election campaign coffers.

The deliberations between the ‘Chinese investors’ and the government officials including Omualu top brass also resulted in a $500 000 bribe being solicited. During the deliberations, the ‘Chinese investors’ were asked to make a $500 000 payment and give a 20 percent share of the joint-venture to Mike Nghipunya, the CEO of the state-run fishing company Fishcor. For quenching the thirst of Fishcor, the state-run fishing company would in return provide preferential access to its fishing quotas. The fishing quotas are allocated by the minister of fisheries.

The Al Jazeera Investigative Unit decided to undertake the undercover operations following the release of Johannes Stefansson’s documents. Johannes Stefansson is a former employee of Samherji, an Icelandic fishing conglomerate believed to have colluded with senior business and political figures in Namibia to gain preferential access to the country’s lucrative fishing grounds. Stefansson released his documents to the whistleblowing group Wiki Leaks. In the leaked documents, Al Jazeera reports that from 2012 to the present day, Samherji made payments totalling more than $10m to Esau, as well as to companies owned by Shanghala, Esau’s son in law Tamson Hatuikulipi, and to his cousin James Hatuikulipi, Chairman of Fishcor; the payments were invoiced as consultancy fees.

In the wake of the Fishrot scandal, Namibia’s minister of fisheries and marine resources Bernhard Esau, the Chairman of Fiscor James Hatuikulipi, as well as the minister of justice Sacky Shanghala, resigned. The CEO of Samherji, Thorsteinn Mar Baldvinsson also stepped down pending an internal investigation by the company.

The Fishrot scandal denotes the huge scale of corruption in the Namibian public sector with top officials from the government (SWAPO) involved. In transforming the party, SWAPO does need to shed off this corrupt image otherwise, the beginning of the end that’s already in motion can exacerbate. Commendable transformation actions have been taken by the party in power with the Election Day arrests but more needs to be done. On the day of the election, Tamson Hatuikulipi, Sacky Shanghala and Bernhard Esau were arrested on corruption and fraud charges. All parties implicated in the fraud in Al Jazeera’s film deny any wrongdoing.  

The one main area in which the Fishrot scandal affects SWAPO pertains to the urban vote mostly the youth (fishing workers) and the working class. The heavy losses suffered by SWAPO in urban areas such as Windhoek and Walvis Bay bear testimony to this. The first direct consequence of the Fishrot scandal was the loss of employment in the fishing industry. Those who lost their jobs were mostly the youth, a large number of whom hail from urban centres. In the context of economic depression and mass unemployment, the Fishrot scandal came at the worst possible time for SWAPO. This is further compounded by the radical working-class group in Walvis Bay which since the 1971 general strike has demonstrated its ability to voice its anger whenever it senses injustice. The now unemployed fishing workers could be the spark that gets the working class into action and once this occurs, the future for SWAPO will definitely be bleak.

In as much as the recent electoral figures are ample proof of the damage done by the Fishrot scandal, the decision by SWAPO member Panduleni Itula to capitalize on a loophole in the Constitution that allows a card-carrying party member to contest as an independent in the presidential race does show the fissures that now exist in SWAPO. Such fissures resulting in the emergence of splinter parties as has been the case with other revolutionary parties in Southern Africa have the potential to split the revolutionary parties’ votes thereby rendering it weaker come election time.

Against this background, the ball is definitely in SWAPO’s hands. How SWAPO handles itself in the next five years will determine if the party will continue to be relevant in years to come or if the 2019 election indeed marked the beginning of the end. Many revolutionary parties in Southern Africa have failed to transform themselves; it’s now to be seen if SWAPO is going to be the first party to do so.    

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What will it take for 2020 to truly be the year of Gas in Nigeria?
January 3, 2020 | 0 Comments

Naming 2020 the year of gas for Nigeria has a really nice ring to it, but marketing alone will not cut it

By NJ Ayuk *

Chief Timipre Sylva has declared 2020 as the year of Gas for the Nation

“The Honorable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, H.E. Chief Timipre Sylva has declared 2020 as the year of Gas for the Nation”, the news piece started. What amazing news! And certainly long overdue. As it seems, Nigerian officials have finally taken the cue. As I have said ever so often, more than an oil nation, Nigeria is a gas nation. It just doesn’t act like it.

Undoubtedly, natural gas has the enormous potential to diversify and grow the Nigerian economy, power its industries and homes, produce ever-so-lacking wealth, create jobs, develop associated industries in the petrochemical sector, raise people out of poverty, the list goes on.

Mr. Sylva’s demonstrated intent could perhaps become the most relevant political action anyone has taken in Nigeria in years and could change the country forever; and yet, the work ahead is so vast, we can only hope he has the strength to pull it off.

To be sure, naming 2020 the year of gas for Nigeria has a really nice ring to it, but marketing alone will not cut it. Concerted governmental action is essential if we are to see true growth in the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) sector, and first of all, we need to see a conclusion to the long delayed Nigerian Gas Flare Commercialisation Programme. Sylva stated that this was his main priority, so let’s hope it happens soon.

Once the programme is cleared, oil producers will have a more conclusive alternative to flaring. They will be able to monetize a resource that has so far been wasted, but still that will not suffice.

The flaring issue in Nigeria is tremendous. Every year, 2 million tonnes of LPG are flared, instead of being used as a source of power or feedstock. That means millions of dollars literally going up in smoke. Nigeria’s zero-flaring programme has been on-going for years, and yet, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has just released results that indicate that gas flaring has been consistently increasing over time. More specifically, “a total of 276.04 billion cubic feet (bcf) of natural gas was flared from Nigeria’s oil fields between September 2018 and September 2019”. Further, NNPC stated that “the volume of gas flared within this period was more than what was supplied to power generation companies for electricity production which was 275.31bcf”. This is taking place in a country where 45% of the population does not have access to electricity, besides the extremely detrimental effect that has on businesses ability to compete and the extraordinary environmental damage that represents.

Already, the federal government announced in August that it would not be able to fulfill its Zero Routine Flaring target by 2020 and is yet to provide a new deadline for this goal to be achieved.

The problem remains the same as ever. It is much, much cheaper for producers to flare up and pay the fines than do anything about it. This can not continue to be. Stronger action is needed and it falls on Mr. Sylva’s leadership to see it done.

I don’t mean by this to point the finger at oil producers. Most would probably want to monetize that resource, and would if they could. But we lack legislation, infrastructure, pricing regulations, and actors ready to receive the feedstock. They can’t just pipe the gas somewhere and hope for the best. We need to focus on deepening domestic gas penetration and promote adoption amongst the population, foster the development of gas associated industries like ammonia and urea plants, use this resource for power generation, etc. Demand doesn’t grow out of nowhere.

Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, H.E. Chief Timipre Sylva
Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, H.E. Chief Timipre Sylva

For this to workout, everybody needs to work together. That means the ministry and the NNPC need to partner with the international oil companies, the indigenous oil companies as well as with the country’s financial institutions to create the solutions that can make this industry flourish. That is a tall job, but an essential one.

Of course, the news that the output of liquefied natural gas (LNG) coming from the Bonny LNG-plant is going to expand by 35% once the 7th LNG train is operational is fantastic. Nigeria will strengthen its position as one of the world’s biggest LNG exporters and that will bring considerable wealth for the country, but its people continue to be in the dark.

And LNG expansion projects are something IOCs are well prepared to do, but there are other important roles in boosting the gas industry that have to be taken by others.

I speak of course of marginal field development, a topic that is of fundamental importance to me and that I have extensively covered in my most recent book Billions at Play: The Future of African Oil and Doing Deals. Both for oil and gas, Nigeria’s marginal field development programme showed incredible promise when it was first launched in 2013. It gave opportunities to local companies to explore smaller discoveries that were uninteresting for the majors, which in turn allowed them to gain experience in leading exploration and production projects on their own. Further, it opened opportunities for domestic use of natural gas for power generation. That programme is now being copied by Angola, and yet, it has stalled in Nigeria.

Further, as I have extensively debated over the years, and most extensively in Billions at Play, we need to dramatically invest in Nigeria’s ability to negotiate and manage contracts. This applies both to the need to respect the sanctity of contracts, a fundamental part of giving international investors the confidence to trust that what they sign for will be respected, but also learning to choose who to sign contracts with. The current debacle with P&ID, an unknown little company that has managed to sue the Nigerian government for breach of contract in the English courts and is seeking USD$9.6 billion in compensation, is an incomprehensible situation that should never have taken place. We need to know who our partners are and who we should be signing contracts with, and then stick by them.

Only by combining the role of the majors, the indigenous companies, the necessary infrastructure development for gas transportation, bridging with the nation’s banks to help finance projects and by giving a clear legal framework to the sector, can we hope to succeed. I do not doubt that this is possible to accomplish in 2020 and the years to come, but coming from the experience of recent years, it does not seem probable, and no one pays the price for that more than everyday Nigerians, that continue to fail to benefit from its country’s resources.

Action is necessary as a matter of urgency.

This week it was disclosed that international oil and gas companies were holding back an estimated USD$58.4 billion in investments in oil and gas projects in Nigeria because of regulatory uncertainty. Foreign Direct Investment in Nigeria was USD$1.9 billion in 2018. It’s not like we don’t need the money.

But how can we expect international oil companies to feel comfortable signing off on billions in investment if after 20-plus years of negotiations we still haven’t managed to settle on the Petroleum Industry Bill that will oversee the sector? Who can blame them for waiting to see what happens? They are waiting for us to figure out how we want to regulate the industry, and after 20 years, we still don’t seem to know. That has to change, and soon.

Nigeria has an estimated 200 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves. It is high-time to put them to use. With the right policies we could change the face of the country completely. We could give light to our people, we could power our industries, releasing them from the handicapping dependency on diesel generators that make it all but impossible for them to be competitive, we could relinquish ourselves from our dependency on imported fuel for power and heat, we could create new opportunities for job creation and industrial development, we could take millions of people out of poverty… Further, strong domestic gas and gas-based industries could help boost intra-African trade, create new synergies with our neighbours, boost integration of power generation networks, establish new partnerships, even contribute to peace.

What I am saying, I say as an African, and it applies to many countries across the continent. However, Nigeria is in a prime position to truly enact change and be a beacon to others by showing leadership and resolve. It is the continent’s biggest economy and has the continent’s biggest reserves of hydrocarbons, both oil and gas. NNPC already works with some of the best major IOCs and the country has Africa’s best and most developed indigenous exploration and production capabilities. Let’s give ourselves the opportunity to be better and to live better, by taking advantage of the resources we already possess.

Mr. Sylva is showing leadership and drive. So far, he has proven himself to be the leader that Nigeria needs to develop new LPG and LNG industries that will take the country to the next level of development, not only economically speaking, but socially, environmentally, humanly. So let’s hope he can pull through the great transformations that need to occur for 2020 to truly be Nigeria’s year of gas.

*NJ Ayuk is the Executive Chairman of the African Energy Chamber and author of Amazon best-selling book, Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals.

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