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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Key moments of the Forum included:

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

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

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

*AFDB

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African Development Bank, Credit Suisse, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Ghana Cocoa Board ink $600 million loan agreement to boost cocoa production
November 12, 2019 | 0 Comments
  • Agreement is a turning point for scaling up the cocoa value chain – President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana
  • Ghana is bankable, cocoa is bankable and of course Africa is bankable – Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, President, African Development Bank

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Syndication of the facility is underway.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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2019 Africa Investment Forum kicks off delivering on the promise to redefine and unpack the continent’s investment opportunities
November 11, 2019 | 0 Comments
  • $500 million equity closed for the Africa Infrastructure Investment Fund to speed up investments in agriculture
  • Financial close for the Africa Guarantee Fund $175 Equity transaction to support Small and Medium Size Enterprises, and $350 million for South Africa’s beef agro-processing project

The 2019 Africa Investment Forum opened on Monday living up to its promise to move from commitment to action.

A $500 million equity deal presented by the Africa Infrastructure Investment Fund last year, to speed up investments in agriculture, and a $175 million equity transaction from the Africa Guarantee Fund for investors to support Small and Medium Size Enterprises, are among the transactions that found financial close over the past year.

The opening ceremony was attended by President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa; President Nana Akufo Addo of Ghana; President Paul Kagame of Rwanda; and Prime Minister Agostinho do Rosario of Mozambique. 

 “The time is now to move with speed to ensure that we unlock our potential…Indeed our continent is ripe for investments, but more importantly, it is also brimming with enormous profitable opportunities,” President Ramaphosa said in his address, as he urged investors to move beyond pledges.

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

 “As the investor community, your presence here shows your unwavering will to help us and support us to succeed. I invite you, therefore, to join us as we pass the flickering torch of progress across every border of this great continent until the light of development and economic prosperity illuminates every African village, every African town, every African city, in every African household.” he said.

The inaugural Africa Investment Forum secured investment interests for deals valued at $38.7 billion in less than 72 hours. “A lot of progress has been made on these investment interests,” with a highly dedicated team of partners working around the clock to accelerate financial closure for transactions,” African Development Bank President Akinwuni Adesina said.

Another transaction tabled last year – a $600 million transaction for COCOBOD to help improve processing and value addition for cocoa – has also reached financial close, and will be signed during this edition of the Forum. Similarly, South Africa’s $350 million beef agro-processing project has reached financial close.

“Promise made, promise kept,” said Adesina. He noted that Mara Phones Ashish Takkhar made a commitment during the 2018 Forum. “In 2019, he delivered.”

“It is a new, more confident Africa. A continent now aware of its place in the world and determined to be a global investment haven. And Africa is harnessing investors’ interests and investments. Welcome to the Africa Investment Forum, the place to be for investors,” he said.

Several leading figures were in attendance including, the Premier of Gauteng province, David Makhura; Tito Mboweni, Minister of Finance and African Development Bank’s Governor for South Africa; Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Minister of Cooperative Governance & Traditional Affairs and Ibrahim Mayaki representing the chairperson of the African Union Commission. Minister Philip Mpango from Tanzania; Minister Jean Jacques Bouya from the Republic of Congo; Mr. Vital Kamerhe from the Democratic Republic of Congo were among the high-level delegates who took part in the opening ceremony. Executive Governors from Nigeria, including Kayade Fayemi of Ekiti State; Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, and Adulrahman Abdurazaq of Kwara State.

Shortly after the opening ceremony, Masai Ujuri, President of the Toronto Raptors; Ashish J. Thakkar, CEO of Mara Group and Tokunboh Ismael Managing Partner of Alitheaia IDF Fund shared their views on progress made since 2018.

The Africa Investment Forum inaugural edition was launched in 2018 in partnership with Africa50, Afrexim Bank, the Trade Development Bank, the Development Bank of South Africa, the Islamic Development Bank, the Africa Finance Corporation, the European Investment Bank.

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

*AFDB

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Zimbabwe: fresh Misfortunes as ED Mnangagwa Is Sandwiched from All Corners of the World
November 9, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu Munhumutapa

Emmerson Mnangagwa

Following last week’s message sent to President ED Mnangagwa by Boris Johnson British Prime Minister more is coming shadowing Zimbabwe with fresh, new misfortunes. The message came in the hands of two plenipotentiaries Harriet Mathews Director for Africa, Foreign Affairs and Common-Wealth Office and Debbie Palmer, Director for West and Southern Africa, UK Department for International Development. Some other countries like among them China are dragging cold feet over Zimbabwe following several reports.

The two envoys told Journalists in Harare that Britain is concerned with the observance of Zimbabwe Government to Human Rights, rule of law and the need for reforms to be put in place. They added that there are new signs of lack of human rights at a time the World is watching.

‘’There are several abuses reported since this Government got power. Britain is totally against this. There is need of observing the flow of human rights in the country. . There is rotting wave of challenges socially, politically and economically’’.

Harriet Matthews and Debbie Palmer assured ED and his Government that Britain has more in store only if human rights were observed. They also talked of the need to go for reforms in the country. This, they note is the route to full Democracy. Britain seems to go deep into some form of sanctions looking at lack of human rights in the country.

‘’There are issues these people need to follow, take into action and implement. There is need for human right to be followed without failure. There are a lot of abuses Zimbabwe has to account for. This is what UK is against.’’

‘’Looks like Zimbabwe is sanctioned by Britain , it’s like they claim , but it’s all about failure to be accountable , failure to respect rule of Law and end human rights violations .

‘’Reform or no support’’, UK Tells ED.

Nicholas Soames, British Member of Parliament talked openly about the need for the country to go for reforms and observe human rights. He added that Mnanggwa is a disappointment failure of him to observe human rights and rule of law. He said this while in the House of Commons on 4 September.

‘’Mnangagwa is a disappointment. He must hold accountable those who abuse human rights. He has failed to handle the situation at the same time everything is going bad in the country. What we want to see are reforms put in place then an end to human rights abuses.

‘’All in All its about Accountability in terms of human rights , political and economic reforms , stopping human rights violations , abductions  and several /other form of abuses . Besides, there is corruption. Thus why we channel our funds through Non-Governmental Organisations not the Government of Zimbabwe.  We have given 94 million pounds aid between 2018 and 2019. We also gave 100 million pounds before that,’’ he was quoted.

European Union and USA told Zimbabwe the same words in terms of the country’s need to be accountable to human rights, observance of peace and no human rights abuses. Tim Olkonnen EU Head of Delegation to Zimbabwe gave a brief comment late end of week. He cited repetition of mistakes

‘’There must be an end to repetition of what I bad like fresh abuses .What Zimbabwe must observe is Human Rights. Ending human rights violation, abuses and past few days’ abduction is questionable. Who argues that, let alone an abuser of human rights? Humanity is an International area of recognition for any country to attain economic and human development. Even churches, civil society, NGO’s, AU, and EU. We are looking at what we want to see as change’’

China

Even China may be  developing a cold feet over Zimbabwe .This, an insider of anonymity talking to Pan-African-Visions Journalist pointed out that the country might have gone pretty well in terms of its economy .He further points out that China as well looks at what the West looks at.

 ‘’It is all about human rights respect , respect of rule of law and ending corruption .We want to see everything in place like what the west is looking at . How can we just ignore issues of Human-Rights? We- are one World of Peace, Unity and Human-Rights respect for Economic development.

‘’We are as well not interested by what is taking place, especially corruption. It makes China stoop low over Zimbabwe because you al know, we hate corruption .To show this, we kill those involved’’, he concluded.

Zimbabwe has been plunged into pool of more miserable misfortunes this new week with countries like China taking low interest to push Zimbabwe going. The secret source says China can- not make noise over this but get into it slowly and nicely. Mnangagwa , source note is always in fresh new headaches .

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Kagame refutes claims that Rwanda spies on dissidents abroad
November 9, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

President Paul Kagame adressing media in the Capital Kigali on Friday 8th November 2019 (Photo by Urugwiro Village)
President Paul Kagame adressing media in the Capital Kigali on Friday 8th November 2019 (Photo by Urugwiro Village)

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda is denying claims of his government’s involvement in spying on opposition members who live abroad using a new powerful spyware ‘Pegasus’ that was developed by an Israeli company.

Last month Facebook filed a lawsuit against against an Israeli software company, NSO that is alleged to have hacked phones of political dissidents on behalf of governments.

The most hacked as Financial Times reported, were human rights activists, lawyers, journalists and others.

An investigative story from the Financial Times reported, that “on the list of targeted individuals identified by WhatsApp, a considerable number were from Rwanda.”

Briefing media on this Friday at his office in the capital Kigali, President Paul Kagame admitted that  Rwanda does spying, however it never spies what is out of human interests.

“Our country  like any country,  does intelligence. They even monitor people’s communication…For us to know our enemies and what they do wherever they are, is something we have always tried to do , it is in our rights and it is in the rights of all countries you know all over the world” he said

However Kagame refutes claims that they used Pegasus to monitor communication of dissidents who live abroad.

He said from what he has heard, such technology is expensive and Rwanda cannot afford it.

“I wish I could have access to the technology. But I also know that it is very costly and I know how best to spend my money. I would not spend so much money over nobody or nothing. I would not spend that much I saw the technology cost to run after those of no consequences”,  He said

Kagame told journaliste he doesn’t fear those who appeared in the reports,  rather he would concentrate his efforts to fight assailants who attacked people in Northern province last month, where they killed civilians wounding others.

“I worry about these fellows who enter through Kinigi (Northern) and kill people. These are the ones I am concerned with” , he added

Financial Times reported that the hack worked by the user receiving a video- or voice-call request from an unknown number on WhatsApp. However, even when the number was ignored it was enough for the call to be used to hack into the user’s phone even without them answering it.

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Kenya:KNBS downplays 2019 census rigging claims
November 7, 2019 | 0 Comments
Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) Director General Zachary Mwangi during a press conference on the upcoming census, July 8, 2019. PHOTO: MONICAH MWANGI Image: /FILE/Star Kenya
Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) Director General Zachary Mwangi during a press conference on the upcoming census, July 8, 2019. PHOTO: MONICAH MWANGI Image: /FILE/Star Kenya

By Samuel Ouma |@journalist_27

Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, an agency mandated to collect and compile cross-sectorial data for the government has dismissed claims raised by a section of political leaders that the 2019 census figures were skewed.

Addressing the press on Thursday, the agency Director General Zachary Mwangi defended themselves saying people were counted on where they were found and not based on regions they hail from.

“We counted people where we found them not where they live; my assurance is that the census was credible. We followed internationally agreed principles and recommendations of conducting a population and housing census,” said Mwangi. 

He reiterated that he will expound to the leaders how the results came about.

“We are asking our leaders to give us time to explain because it’s a point of explanation of what we have done,” he said.

Kenya’s Devolution Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa had also rebutted the allegations that the results were doctored for political gains.

“Some individuals are complaining that their counties recorded less people, meaning the regions would receive less allocation of the national cake. The exercise was undertaken by qualified personnel and we must congratulate them for doing a good job,” said Wamalwa.

A group of elected leaders from North Riftvalley, Central, North Eastern and Eastern regions of the country had objected the results released on Monday arguing the data is not a true reflection of what is on the ground. They challenged KNBS to come out clean on the matter or they take a legal suit.

“I’m shocked to see those results because that is not we expected. I think there is something fishy that has been done. But we shall have a meeting as Mt. Kenya leaders to look into these figures keenly and take a position on this issue,” reiterated a lawmaker from central Kenya.

The statistics indicated that the population grew by 9 million in the last ten years to 47.5 million with women accounting to 50.5 per cent. It was the first time in Kenyan history that the collection of data was captured electronically and the report was released in a period of two months. Previously, the outcomes were announced after one year.

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Africa can be world’s next economic hub if supported with right policies – Singapore’s Senior Minister tells lecture audience
November 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

Africa must spread its economic openness by strongly showcasing specialisation along the production value chain and invest more boldly in social foundations

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, November 6, 2019/ — With the right policies and linkages, Africa can become an indispensable global economic hub, Singapore’s Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam noted Tuesday, commending the continent’s diverse economic potential.

Delivering this year’s Kofi A. Annan Eminent Speakers’ Lecture series at the African Development Bank headquarters in Abidjan, Shanmugaratnam outlined five strategies which must underpin the continent’s transformation drive and efforts to build inclusive growth.

Africa must spread its economic openness by strongly showcasing specialisation along the production value chain and invest more boldly in social foundations. The continent must also maximise policy coherence and effectiveness, think in the long-term and maximise the benefits of global financial system, Shanmugaratnam told diplomats, students, government representatives and senior Bank officials gathered in the Babacar Ndiaye auditorium.

The lecture, the third in a new series organised by the African Development Institute, had the theme: “Inclusive Growth: Learning from Experience, Partnering for the Future – How Africa and Asia can work together for broad-based prosperity.” He was accompanied by senior government officials from Singapore.

“There are challenges, but there are also opportunities. There is much more to be done,” said Shanmugaratnam who is also Singapore’s Coordinating Minister for Social Policies.

In order to build economic resilience and create job opportunities for their bulging youth population, there must be stronger connectivity and economic interaction among developing regions, especially between Africa and Asia which share demographic similarities.

He noted that there is a significant interest by Singapore businesses in Africa which needs to be scaled up. “We need to take practical steps to spur this collaboration with more bilateral investment treaties that provide some assurance to investors.”

Singapore is the eighth largest foreign investor in Africa. It invested around $90 billion in the continent in 2018.

“We are in an unusual time globally – a time of unusual challenge where some of the basic beliefs of how the world prospect together are being challenged. But it’s also a time of immense opportunities… in the international economy, in international finance and in international cooperation,” the minister stated.

It is projected that in the next decade, Africa will have the largest working age population in the world, larger than China and India with about 1.1 billion people of working age population of between 15 and 64 years.

Shanmugaratnam said African leaders must prepare to take advantage of the strong bulging workforce, coupled with the high mobile technology penetration to drive innovation for growth.

In his welcoming remarks, Bank Group President Akinwumi Adesina noted that Africa could learn a lot from Singapore. He described Mr Shanmugaratnam as someone with expansive knowledge who was chosen because of his inspiring works in the Asian nation.

Adesina said the Eminent Lecture series was dedicated to Kofi Annan, a former Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) in recognition of his contributions to humanity. Annan launched the UN millennium development goals.

“As we continue our efforts to do more, we want to learn from the impressive achievements of Singapore, and no one is better placed to discuss this and all of the things around Asia and Africa with us than Tharman Shanmugaratnam,” he said.

The African Development Bank launched the Eminent Speakers Lecture series in 2006 to provide a platform for a robust exchange of ideas to meet the challenges of African development.

Since then, the series has featured world-class speakers, politicians, top academics, businesspeople and civil society representatives, who have spoken on a diverse range of topics and issues, including economics, finance, regional integration, human development, the environment, and philosophy.

*AFDB

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President Kagame appoints new chief defense of staff and new foreign affairs Minister
November 5, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Maniraguha Ferdinand

Dr Vincent Biruta was appointed as new Foreign Affairs Minister
Dr Vincent Biruta was appointed as new Foreign Affairs Minister

President of Rwanda Paul Kagame has made changes in high military command where General Jean Bosco  Kazura is new chief defense of staff replacing General Patrick Nyamvumba who has been in that position since 2013.

Kagame also made a cabinet reshuffle where Dr Vincent Biruta was appointed to the Foreign Affairs Ministry replacing Dr Richard Sezibera who took up the Ministry in 2018.

Sezibera has been off public since August this year and it is reported that he is hospitalized.

Dr Biruta, the new Foreign Affairs Minister is a doctor by profession with a previous stint as Minister of environment.

General Jean Bosco Kazura, new chief defense of staff of Rwanda Defense Force
General Jean Bosco Kazura, new chief defense of staff of Rwanda Defense Force

General Patrick Nyamvumba who was chief defense of staff,  was  appointed as Minister of internal security. This ministry had been  scrapped since 2016.

Rwanda gets a new Foreign Affairs Minister at a time when its relations with neighboring countries including Uganda and Burundi are tense.

General Patrick Nyamvumba has been appointed as new Minister of Internal security
General Patrick Nyamvumba has been appointed as new Minister of Internal security

There has been efforts to normalize relations with Uganda with which Rwanda accuses of harboring its enemies but it seems all efforts were fruitless till now.

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Kenya:Maraga says the executive is frustrating Him
November 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Samuel Ouma |@journalist_27

Kenyan Chief Justice David Maraga
Kenyan Chief Justice David Maraga

Kenyan Chief Justice David Maraga has spoken out about tag of wars going on between the Judiciary and Executive citing frustrations emanating from the latter.

He took a swipe at the government for under-funding and failure to treat him with dignity saying he is no longer recognized at the public functions and has been denied access to VIP lounge at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Maraga stated that he would choose the state functions to attend decrying over undermining of the Judiciary.

We have a huge backlog of cases which continue to pile because of lack of funds to even move judges around, judges are not able to get fuel for their cars and we them to get money from their pockets so that we can refund them,” said Maraga.

His statement comes in the wake of financial crisis facing the Judiciary which many believe might interfere with administration of justice to Kenyans. In September, the Treasury Cabinet Secretary issued a directive to all public agencies proposing a slashing of recurring and development budgets by 50 per cent in a move to cut cost and encourage saving for the government four big agenda which include manufacturing, affordable housing, food security and Universal Health care.

As a result communication, transport for both domestic and foreign travels, printing, advertising and information supplies and services, training expenses, hospitality, office and general supplies, routine maintenance of vehicles, machines and other transport equipment, refurbishment of buildings and purchase of vehicles have been affected.

Mobile Court sessions and Services weeks programs have been halted and the Judiciary has suspended provision of tea and newspapers to its staff and payment of tea allowances.

Last week, a Nairobi High Court suspended the implementation of the order until the case before it presented by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK) is heard and determined. LSK sued the Treasury and Attorney General over the budget cut noting that the decision interferes with the Judiciary Independence.

“Pending the hearing and determination of this case, an order is hereby issued restraining the National Treasury, its agents, officers or any persons from implementing a September 24 circular or issuing any unwarranted directive with the same effect on the judiciary’s budget,” said the Court’s Justice Makau Mutua.

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S. Sudan pitches its 14 oil blocks to investors as a unity gov’t due next month
November 2, 2019 | 0 Comments
Awow Daniel Chuang, South Sudan’s oil minister

By Deng Machol

Juba – South Sudan, world youngest country is pitching its oil and gas to the international and region investors in a bid to jump-start economic recovery as the country is hoping to put years of war behind it with the formation of a new unity government on November 12. 

The oil-rich country was made another its second foreign investment pitch since declaring an end to civil war in 2018. The country is eager to make up for $4 billion in lost revenue caused by the country’s five – year conflict after president Salva Kiir’s groups and key armed opposition groups, including ex-rebel Riek Machar signed a power-sharing agreement last year, September 20.

The finale, 3rd Oil & Power conference in Juba has become a focal selling point for opportunities in South Sudan. It was attended by six – hundreds of industry executives and dignitaries from South Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Egypt, Somalia, Norway, the United States and South Africa, the conference was opened by First Vice President H.E. Taban Deng Gai and Minister of Petroleum Awow Daniel Chuang, among others.

Awow Daniel Chuang, South Sudan’s oil minister, said the government is planning to launch the country’s first oil and gas bidding round within the first quarter of 2020, they are inviting all investors to have a look at these blocks.

“This year we have a lot of plans for us to launch the licensing round by the first quarter of 2020, and for us to invest in those areas as the government is key for us to get the information,” said Awow during third oil and power conference in Juba.

Minister Awow said Juba hopes to establish a data room for the blocks in two months, before licensing them on a competitive basis from early 2020, that will add more value to the country’s national resources.

However, the current data collection which is done by the ministry of petroleum provides a platform for investors to invest in the oil sector.

“In November, we are going to launch an environmental audit and there are a lot of companies that are interested to invest in this area, this will be an opened tender,” Awow said.

Guillaume Doane, Chief Executive of Africa’s Oil and Power, says Africa’s oil reinstates its commitment to supporting the country and its people.

“We believe that investment is the pillar to peace and here the country has demonstrated that stability goes together with economic prosperity,” said Doane.

Meanwhile, Doane said everyday there is a new change, new development and new investment in South Sudan, as a clear indication for investors to invest in, further urges investors to invest in education, health, roads and oil industry, among other sectors.

“Vote with your wallets and invest in the exploration of oil in bridges, invest in the people because South Sudan has talented persons in the oil and gas sector,” Doane added.

NJ Ayuk

Also, African Energy Chamber Chairman, CEO of the Centurion Law Group Nj Ayuk, urged the oil industry to support South Sudan’s recovery with investment, calling for greater inflow of capital and technology into the country to boost recovery and stability

In line with the event’s focus on finance, Ayuk called on the government to continue working towards creating an enabling environment for businesses in order to attract more investments into the country.

“South Sudan’s oil industry will do even better when there is a good governance, free-market capitalism, limited-government and individual freedoms because it helps the people at every level of society to prosper. The government and the oil industry must embrace it and respect the sanctity of contracts,” said Ayuk, during his keynote speech at the opening of the oil and power conference.

As South Sudan launched a new licensing round, Ayuk reminded the country’s authorities of the challenge of having a transparent bidding round and of attracting highly capable companies to explore oil and gas.

“The chamber will support South Sudan without reservation in this effort, because oil and gas is the backbone of the economy,” Ayuk avowed.

Focus on region

South Sudan First Vice President, Taban Deng Gai said having petroleum infrastructure such as oil refineries in the region would help alleviate the fuel crises in many countries.

To reduce imported costs from abroad, Taban explained that building of refineries would help the region save billions of dollars that countries spend on importing refined petroleum products annually.

“I am aware the volume of Ethiopian imports of refine products is from $5 to $7 billion annually. South Sudan can take part in this by building an oil refinery in Poloch,” said Taban. I believe also in DRC, CAR, part of Kenya and Uganda. Let’s think critically about this.”

However, some of South Sudan’s oil wells are located close to Ethiopia’s South Western border.

On the other hand, Ethiopian State minister of Mines and Petroleum, Dr. Koang Tutlan further asked governments to address insecurity, something he says it is affecting stability and growth in the entire region.

 “With Ethiopia’s population of 100 million and huge demand of hydro-carbon, we can provide one of the best markets for South Sudan oil because of proximity,” said Koang.

In the same event, Kenya’s Special Envoy to South Sudan, Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka, said progress in intra- African trade through the African Continental Free Trade Area (|AfCFTA) would spread the benefits of natural resources to the most deserving areas.

“We must invest in regional institutions that support mutual political and economic objectives and hasten regional integration,” said Musyoka.

New oil discovery

In August, South Sudan made a new oil discovery in the Adar oil field in Block 3, containing more than 37 million barrels of recoverable oil. The discovery was announced by the Dar Petroleum Operating Company, a consortium led by China National Petroleum Cooperation.

Awow revealed that the new discovery in Block 5A and in the Adar oil field will become a game changer as it is the first discovery made since independence, giving hope to investors interested in South Sudan’s energy sector.

Minister Awow stressed that the new discovery will increase the desire of regional and international oil investors to enter the country’s oil and gas sector.

“The number of blocks that we used to say was eight, but we have added more due to more discoveries in the areas we have never demarcated before. All those blocks will be opened for tending, and that is why we are planning to launch the licensing round in a bid by next year,” he said. “As of now we have a lot of investors that are ready to apply, including the companies from the West, America, Russia, India, and China that have shown interest, but of course we can’t negotiate with them until the right time come,” said Awow.

 Now, the Block 5A, which is located in the Muglad-Sudd Rift Basin on the same geological trend as the Greater Nile Oil Project in Sudan will resumption early November.

According to Minister Awow, the Block 5A has a production capacity of 80,000 barrels per day (bpd) of the higher quality Nile blend, the potential resumption of Block 5A comes at a time when the country is about to achieve a durable peace as parties are expected to form a new unity government on Nov. 12.

In order to increase production, Ayuk also urged the oil industry to speed up exploration programs and keep working on putting back damaged oil fields into production.

“We applaud CNPC for its recent 300-million-barrel discovery in South Sudan and hope to see the government speeding up approvals for field development plans,” said Ayuk.

Awow said the issue of finance still remains the biggest challenge in developing the rich resources, include oil in the country.

“Finance is the only thing lacking to develop those resources available in the country so that we can have economy that is viable,” said Awow.

Youth, gender empower

The platform has also shown calls for youth and women to be empowered through training to take part in the oil and gas industry.

The Africa Energy Chamber is supporting several domestic capacity building initiatives in South Sudan.

“it is important to encourage young men and women who find opportunities, have ideas for innovative services in oil and gas, those who have the courage to deploy capital, accept risk, and make it happen. They deserve to be supported,” said Ayuk, while reminding the audience.

Ayuk is strongly believes that local content and women empowerment is key today more than ever, urged the government and the oil industry to enact special programs to promote women.

“You can’t be a true oil man if you don’t support women to grow in the industry. When we support women in oil and gas, we support the African family because women invest more in the family unit today in Africa,” Ayuk explained.

Mr. Ayuk also used this platform to advocate for better stakeholder cooperation, and urged all political factions to make concessions and respect the peace agreement. “The presence of oil should incentivize dialogue between all parties to the current conflict and push for resolution of minor differences to be resolved,” he declared.

Both investors have shown an interest in 14 blocks newly discovered blocks, the blocks would be licensed competitively from next year.

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

South Sudan have recently resumed production at key oilfields following a permanent ceasefire and improving business conditions as attractions to investors.

South Sudan currently produces 175,000 barrels per day, about a third of the potential 500, 000 bpd, despite the sector being largely unexplored.

Last year oil and power conference enabled South Sudan and South Africa to sign three projects deal that would see the former’s Strategic Fuel Fund invest in the latter through the Nile Petroleum company.

South Africa invested $1 billion U to cover oil exploration and production, building of an oil refinery and the construction of a pipeline.

This third oil conference focuses on finance and new investment, and cross-sector involvement from government and private enterprises, also an avenue for the government to have a direct dialogue, negotiations and to make deals with investors interested in oil and gas acreages and future investments in South Sudan.  

With, a holding ceasefire, there is improving investment conditions for the oil and gas sector in South Sudan.

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

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Trump Drops Hammer On Cameroon For Rights Violations
October 31, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy receives a gift from Biya while US Ambassador to Cameroon Peter Henry Barlerin looks on

US president, Donald John Trump has handed down his first major sanction on Cameroon since his administration took office in 2016 for what he terms “persistent human rights violations” which include extrajudicial killings, arbitrary and unlawful detentions, and torture

The sanction to go into effect come January 2020 withdraws Cameroon from the list of beneficiary countries in Africa who gain economic support under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

As per the AGOA, the United State assists economies of sub-Saharan Africa and to improve trade and investments, economic relations while promoting fair trade between the United States and the region.

In a letter to US Congress on October 31, President Trump writes “in accordance with section 506A(a)(3)(B) of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended (19 U.S.C. 2466a(a)(3)(B)), I am providing notice of my intent to terminate the designation of the Republic of Cameroon (Cameroon) as a beneficiary sub-Saharan African country under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).”

“I am taking this step because I have determined that the Government of Cameroon currently engages in gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, contravening the eligibility requirements of section 104 of the AGOA,” Trump said in the statement.

He regrets the fact that all efforts taken by the US to have the government of Paul Biya respond to the rights abuses have been futile.

“Despite intensive engagement between the United States and the Government of Cameroon, Cameroon has failed to address concerns regarding persistent human rights violations being committed by Cameroonian security forces. These violations include extrajudicial killings, arbitrary and unlawful detention, and torture.”

“Accordingly, I intend to terminate the designation of Cameroon as a beneficiary sub-Saharan African country under the AGOA as of January 1, 2020. I will continue to assess whether the Government of Cameroon engages in gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, in accordance with the AGOA eligibility requirements,” his letter to Congress reads.

Commitment To Cameroon Remains Strong says US Embassy

In response to the president’s letter notifying Cameroon on his intention to terminate their eligibility for AGOA, the US embassy in Yaounde in a press release said, the President can reinstate Cameroon as a beneficiary of AGOA when it again meets the criteria,”

Beneficiary countries receiving AGOA benefits are subject to review and President Trump found Cameroon not to be in compliance, the Embassy said in the statement.

“In 2018, Cameroon exported roughly $220 million in goods and services to the United States; $63 million was exported under AGOA, over 90 percent of which was crude petroleum” the embassy said adding “The United States is a committed partner and friend of Cameroon, and we will continue to pursue robust and diverse commercial ties, working with other tools at our disposal toward realizing the enormous potential of this relationship for our mutual prosperity and economic growth”.

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Merck Foundation poised to help Africa build a resilient Health systems to end infertility
October 30, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Ahedor Jessica

The Chief Executive Officer of Merck Foundation and the co-chair of Merck Africa-Asia Luminary Dr Rasha Kelej at the 2nd Anniversary and the 6th edition of Merck Foundation Annual Conference hosted in Ghana has called for a united front to end infertility stigma on the African continent. Addressing First Ladies from the Globe, oncologists, researchers and other health professionals in the field of health and medicine Dr Kelej noted Merck is poised to help African leaders expand its professional capabilities in scientific research, technology and healthcare.

She added improved access, innovation and equitable healthcare solutions under the Merck Foundation will enable the continent to build advocacy to address health, social and economic challenges and empower women and youth in scientific technologies, engineering and mathematics to rid the continent of endemic diseases.

The first lady of the Republic of Ghana, Rebecca Akufo Addo representing the host country, says Merck Africa-Asia Luminary, is gradually becoming an important event on the global scientific calendar. The initiative she observed, has for the past five years provided the platform for brilliant, engaging scientific discussions that have raised awareness and collaboration around Diabetes, Fertility, Oncology and other health issues. 

 She is confident the 6th edition would raise the bar higher as they deliberate on infertility issues confronting women and how to end the blame game, mocking and shunning of perceived infertile couples. Mrs Akufo Addo has stressed that it is everyone’s responsibility to empower infertile couples, fight against stigmatization, change mindsets, influence national policies on fertility and build fertility care capacity in Africa and developing countries.

 The chairman of the Executive Board and the board of Trustees, Merck Foundation Professor Dr Frank Stangreberg Haverkamp enumerated that in Merck Foundation’s quest to break the stigma of Infertility in Africa, about 196 doctors from 34 countries in Africa have been trained within the past two years. These trainings he said will continue until the disease burden in Africa is reduced to its barest minimum.

 However, the president of the Republic of Ghana who doubles as the co-chair of sustainable development goals SDGs, Nana Akufo Addo who opened the ceremony pledged his support for the First Ladies from the continent in addressing infertility as they strive to a make a difference, by building health care capacity, improving access to equitable health solutions and breaking the stigma of infertility in Africa and Asia. 

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