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Ride the wave of the African Continental Free Trade Area, African Development Bank president Adesina Urges UK investors
January 22, 2020 | 0 Comments
African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina

Africa is on the cusp of unmatched economic transformation, and the UK must engage in a “partnership of change,” African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina said Tuesday in a keynote address at a UK Parliamentary Symposium. “The Africa of the 21st century is very different. The Africa of the 21st century is new and more confident,” he said.

The Symposium was co-organized by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Africa with the Royal African Society, Oxford Brookes University, and the Trade Justice Network under the theme UK-Africa Trade and Brexit. 

The Bank’s chief argued that Africa and the UK should be significant trading partners. “The reality, however, is that UK’s trade with Africa is trending downwards. From a $49 billion peak in 2012, trade decreased to $30.6 billion in 2018,” he noted. 

The decline in UK trade and investment in Africa is against a backdrop of projected business-to-business and consumer-to-consumer expenditures of $5.6 trillion by 2020, and a food and agriculture market worth $1 trillion by 2030.

“The fact that we are having this conversation in the UK Parliament is a great start. The convening of this Summit by Prime Minister Boris Johnson is an even greater start,” he acknowledged.

President Adesina used his engagement at the House of Commons to share Africa’s investment opportunities, “which speak for themselves.” Trading under the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, which represents a market of more than 1.3 billion people and a gross domestic product of $2.5 trillion, and is the world’s largest free trade area since establishment of the World Trade Organization, starts in July. 

Speaking earlier in the morning at the UK-Africa Investment Summit Sustainable Infrastructure Forum, the Bank’s chief said: “Investing in quality and sustainable infrastructure can spur Africa’s economic transformation.”

The Forum, organized by the Department of International Development (DFID) and Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Africa, seeks to facilitate new investment and commercial opportunities for the UK and promote quality infrastructure to deliver better services to African citizens. 

The Bank has been a forerunner in the race to rapidly close the continent’s infrastructure gap, which Adesina suggested be renamed “Africa’s infrastructure demand opportunity.” Investors who tapped early into information and communications technology infrastructure in Africa have seen those investments become game changers for Africa, he noted. 

“Just under two decades ago, Africa had fewer telephones than Manhattan in New York. Today, Africa has over 440 million cell phone subscribers. Returns on digital infrastructure are very high as the continent expands broadband infrastructure to boost connectivity and improve services,” Adesina said.

The African Development Bank has been a major investor in infrastructure development in the electricity, transport, and water sectors across Africa. Cumulative Bank funding for infrastructure on the continent rose by 22% from $66.9 billion in 2016 to $81.6 billion in 2017. During the same period, the value of infrastructure projects with private sector participation has increased from $3.6 billion to $5.2 billion. 

To meet Africa’s unmet infrastructure needs, project preparation is critical, the Forum heard.

The Bank has established several project preparation facilities to address the lack of bankable projects and ensure a robust pipeline of projects. These facilities collectively provide $30-50 million annually in support for project preparation. 

The African Development Bank and DFID are collaborating to explore how to better support fragile states, which are facing huge financing needs. DFID has been the Bank’s key strategic partner since it joined the Bank group in 1983. And its “strong and consistent” support for the African Development Fund has helped the development of low-income states, especially the fragile states. 

Instruments, such as the Private Sector Credit Enhancement Facility, a credit-risk participation vehicle from the African Development Fund, (ADF)’s concessional window to support Non-Sovereign Operations in low-income countries, are showing tremendous results. 

With $500 million in credit guarantees, provided through ADF, the Bank has leveraged $2.5 billion of financing into fragile states, with a zero default rate. 

“We are committed to quality infrastructure and ensuring that no one is left behind!” Adesina concluded. 

The Bank’s chief is on a three-day visit to the UK. On Monday, he joined African Heads of States at a reception at Buckingham Palace after taking part in a presidential panel at the UK-Africa Investment Summit convened by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

*AFDB

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Turkey-Gambia Relations ‘Excellent’ as President Erdogan Visits Banjul Next Week
January 22, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay 

New Turkey Ambassador with President Barrow
New Turkey Ambassador with President Barrow

The Turkish Ambassador to The Gambia, Mr. Tolga Bermek has described as “excellent” the relations between Ankara and Banjul, which makes it possible for the Turkish President to select The Gambia among countries to visit next week. 

The President will be accompanied by a big business delegation to The Gambia, which the envoy said, will be “short but efficient”. 
After inspecting the quarter guard mounted by the State Gurads Battalion at the State House, he was led to the offices of His Excellency, President Adama Barrow who accepted his credentials. 

President Barrow formally welcomed him to The Gambia and described Turkey as a great partner and friend of the Gambia since he assumed office three years ago. The expected visit will help facilitate greater exchanges at the highest level and will result in other high level Turkish visits to Banjul in the future.

However, President Barrow calls for more Turkish investment in The Gambia as many existing opportunities are yet unexploited. 
Ambassador Bermek agreed to this and added that the trade volume between the two countries are not at desired levels. 
He described President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit as “a good start” for him as Ambassador, pledging that he will do his best to develop the relations in the future. 

For trade, he said both countries should do their best to increase its volume, while he will work to bring more Turkish investors to The Gambia. 
 

“We have a good opportunity on the occasion of the visit of our President. It will be the first time of such a visit to The Gambia at presidential level. I think it will open up new horizons to the relations of both countries,” he said. 

Turkish Airlines launched direct flights from Istanbul to Banjul in 2019 and the Turkish Ambassador said they will like to increase that flight frequency in the future if business relations develop.


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Gambia:First Lady, Partners Sign Memorandum on Medical Support
January 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

First Lady, Her Excellency, Madam Fatou Bah-Barrow on Monday presided over the signing ceremony between her Foundation, FABB, and a Switzerland registered, Saudi Arabian medical NGO (Albalsam Cure and Care).

The ceremony followed an audience with the visiting delegation of the NGO at the State House, and a conducted tour of the facilities at selected hospitals in Banjul,Kanifing Municipality and West Coast Region.

The group’s delegation is currently in the country on the invitation of the First Lady, who held talks with them during her visit to Saudi Arabia in November 2019.

“We are here to discuss ways to cooperate with the First Lady’s foundation for better improvement, support and care of babies and mothers,” Dr. Emad A. Bukhari, the CEO of the NGO, said.

Due to the First Lady’s special interest in the health of these category of the population, especially pregnant mothers, FABB is proposing special health caravans to deliver voluntary services to remotest parts of the country.

“For now, special attention is given to deworming in new born babies and pregnant mothers. That is one area where the partners have good experience in,” he added.

At the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital, the group handed over five boxes of highly specialised surgeon equipment to the hospital through the First Lady. These are used in operating on pregnant mothers, young babies and children.

In receiving the donated materials, Dr. Kebba Marenah, Orthopaedic Surgeon and Head of Surgery at the Hospital described the equipment as “very high quality, well-known brand surgical instruments” which will be a good addition to the department.

“Whenever we see the First Lady around, we know there is something good is store for us. These materials will be put into good use and we thank her for the endless support,” Dr Manneh said.

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Centurion Law Group leads market entry of Turkish Airlines in Equatorial Guinea
January 20, 2020 | 0 Comments
As part of its mission to open new routes and expand its fleet in 2020, Turkish Airlines has added Malabo, Equatorial Guinea to its route network

MALABO, Equatorial Guinea, January 20, 2020/ — Pan-African law firm Centurion Law Group (www.CenturionLG.com), leads the entry of Turkish Airlines into Malabo, Equatorial Guinea; Operations on the new route will commence 7 February 2020; The entry of Turkish Airlines into Equatorial Guinea supports the objectives of the Year of Investment Initiative led by the Ministry of Mines and Hyrocarbons.

As part of its mission to open new routes and expand its fleet in 2020, Turkish Airlines has added Malabo, Equatorial Guinea to its route network.

Represented by pan-African law firm Centurion Law Group in its entry into Central Africa, the airline continues to offer more destinations than any other in the world. Operations are set to commence on 7 February 2020, offering the Malabo route three times a week.

“Centurion Law Group is proud to have lead the market entry of Turkish Airlines in Equatorial Guinea. It is yet another show of our commitment to the development of Africa through facilitating strategic deals with positive externalities both in-country and on a regional scale,” said Zion Adeoye, Managing Director at Centurion Law Group. “This particular deal is also of great significance to us as it supports the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons’ objectives as represented in the Year of Investment initiative, which is aimed at directing foreign investment into key industries in Equatorial Guinea,” he added.

“This partnership withTurkish Airlines will open the country up to new opportunities not only in the aviation sector but to other industries as well. It is also another way for Equatorial Guinea to attract new business and investment while offering the people of Equatorial Guinea a direct route to the beautiful country of Turkey,” Santiago Olo Lima, Director at Centurion Law Group, Equatorial Guinea. “Our partnership truly speaks to the direction Africa is headed.”

The new service will link to the existing Nigeria, Port Harcourt route and will operate in the rotation: Istanbul – Port Harcourt  – Malabo  – Istanbul, building on the airlines’ already attractive logistical positioning.

“We are thrilled to have been part of this, it is a noteworthy achievement for Equatorial Guinea and us at Centurion as it allows us to once again utilize our expertise in the aviation industry,” said Manuel Oliveira, Senior Associate Attorney at Centurion Law Group.

Beyond its oil and gas offerings, Centurion Law Group has been active in Equatorial Guinea’s aviation industry, having previously represented Lufthansa Airlines.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Centurion Law Group.
About Centurion Law Group:
Centurion (www.CenturionLG.com) is a pan-African corporate law conglomerate. Operating at the cutting edge of business practices today, Centurion stands ready to provide outsourced legal representation and a full suite of legal services to new, expanding and established corporations.

Across Africa, Centurion provides a service tailored to your operating environment, the nature and structure of your business, your level of risk tolerance, and your overall objectives. Our alternative billing arrangements provide our clients with a greater degree of certainty about their legal costs.

Centurion is committed to the highest ethical standards and we recognize that our firm must take a leadership role in the legal profession in Africa.
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France commits to work with Samuel Eto’o Foundation to promote Sports, culture and Education in Cameroon
January 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

France ambassador to Cameroon, Christophe Guihou with Samuel Eto’o after this week’s meeting (photo: Christophe Guihou/twitter)

French ambassador to Cameroon, Christophe Guihou has reaffirmed the commitment of his country France to work with humanitarian organization of Africa’s football legend, Samuel Eto’o Fils, to promote disciplines such as sports culture and education in Cameroon. 

The top diplomat took to twitter Monday to make the announcement after holding a meeting his Samuel Eto’o at the Yaounde-based foreign mission.

Though he was very brief in his tweet and failed to elaborate on how much support the French government will be handing the foundation to promote the above listed projects, the news of their collaboration has been received with excitement in Cameroon.

With goal to ensure the protection of children and young people, providing emergency aid and encouraging education, basic health and social inclusion for the disadvantaged, the Samuel Eto’o Foundation is involved in a number of projects in Cameroon including community development, sports, health, education, cultural activities, and child survival and development.

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Cameroon University Campaign: Leadership is not determined by Money – Angelle Kwemo tells TEF Prospective Applicants
January 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

It was a rich exchange between the seasoned professional that Angelle Kwemo is and dynamic students eager to benefit from TEF initiatives
It was a rich exchange between the seasoned professional that Angelle Kwemo is and dynamic students eager to benefit from TEF initiatives

Students of some higher institutions in Buea, South West Region of Cameroon have been schooled on how to apply for the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) Entrepreneurship Program with the students urged not to focus on the seed capital but the training they will derive from it.    

The TEF 2020 Application Workshops dubbed Cameroon University Campaigns, at HIBMAT (Higher Institute of Business Management and Technology), and HIMS (Higher Institute of Management Studies), was moderated by TEF Alumni Mentor, and special guest Ms. Angelle Kwemo as the students were educated on the opportunities that are involved in applying for the TEF Programme.

“What makes business people or entrepreneurs is not necessarily the money but the leadership, vision, resilience and so on. The biggest asset of the TEF programme is the knowledge, the library, expertise, training, and it is more important than the seed capital that will be given,” Ms. Angelle Kwemo, President of Believe in Africa said.

The biggest asset of the TEF programme is the knowledge, the library, expertise, training, and it is more important than the seed capital that will be given, said Angelle Kwemo, President of Believe in Africa

This was the same worry re-echoed by the President of HIBMAT Jude Chilaka who said, “…the very first motivating factor should not be the money, but the passion, the drive to do what you are truly called to do — the willingness to serve mankind. Should any of them benefit the seed capital, and squander it, it will not help them or their community in any way”

“They (students) should rather focus on the training because money or no money, they should be able to learn, and be able to take care of their family. As an entrepreneur the money will eventually come and it doesn’t come at the very beginning of a business venture. So this training will give them the idea of how to manage their capital, and finance and if they are not knowledgeable in this aspect, there is practically no way they can succeed in their business activity.”

But for the present crisis in the Anglophone regions, such opportunities will have been made available to the students, according to the President of the Institution. “In 2016, the institution tried to independently implement what is being done and with the coming of TEF, it is going to create an impact on the students, and the community,” Jude Chilaka added.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation’s $100 million entrepreneurship program is the Foundation’s flagship entrepreneurship initiative and will support 10,000 African entrepreneurs over the next decade, leading to the creation of a million new jobs and adding 10 billion dollars in annual turnover to the African economy.

Successful entrepreneurs participate in intensive online training during which they are mentored and obtain, after validation of their Business Plan, launch funding of $5,000. With the support of several partners, the TEF has for the year 2019 trained almost 8,289 entrepreneurs and funded 5,149 Africans.

Angelle Kwemo challenged female participants to show more interest in TEF initiatives and opportunities
Angelle Kwemo challenged female participants to show more interest in TEF initiatives and opportunities

For Ms. Angelle Kwemo, “it’s a great honor to support this initiative. Our organization (Believe in Africa) is committed to supporting young people and women in their ambition to reach financial autonomy. Since its launch in 2015, 460 Cameroonian entrepreneurs have been funded by the Tony Elumelu Foundation, including very few students. This awareness campaign among campuses therefore aims to help students see entrepreneurship as a possible career option, and to expose them to business opportunities.”

“Students are a great asset for the development of our economy. This awareness campaign offers us the opportunity to expose students to the entrepreneurial world, thereby enabling them to avoid the pitfalls of unemployment,” She added.

It has been noticed the students especially females do not apply for such initiative as Ms. Kwemo notes, they have issues that are preoccupying their mind in their personal life, job life or emotional life it is difficult for them to apply. “But it is growing, and very year we have more and more women. 75 per cent of those who attended are females and definitely we will have more applying,” She said.

This awareness campaign offers us the opportunity to expose students to the entrepreneurial world, thereby enabling them to avoid the pitfalls of unemployment,Angelle Kwemo said
This awareness campaign offers us the opportunity to expose students to the entrepreneurial world, thereby enabling them to avoid the pitfalls of unemployment,Angelle Kwemo said

The Tony Elumelu Foundation is a philanthropic organization based and funded in Africa, founded in 2010, by philanthropist and business leader Tony O. Elumelu, CON, which is committed to promoting African economic growth by empowering African entrepreneurship.

Believe in Africa is a non-profit organization launched in Washington DC in 2014. Its mission is to promote African solution to Africa problems, and to promote the role of the African private sector.

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Commonwealth Secretary-General will visit India next week to address Raisina Dialogue
January 10, 2020 | 0 Comments

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland will address the 2020 Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi, India next week.

The Dialogue is India’s flagship conference on geopolitics and geo-economics. In her speech, the Secretary-General will highlight the need for multilateral responses to navigate the most pressing issues facing the global community. She will focus on how women can lead the way in tackling the complex and interconnected challenges of the 21st century.

Secretary-General Scotland said: “India holds a valued place in the modern Commonwealth, with her government, people and institutions contributing in practical and imaginative ways to collaboration among our 53 member countries.

Secretary-General Scotland said: “India holds a valued place in the modern Commonwealth, with her government, people and institutions contributing in practical and imaginative ways to collaboration among our 53 member countries.

“This includes generous financial support and strong commitment to the promotion of the rule of law, development and democracy in our member countries, in accordance with the values and principles of our Commonwealth Charter.

“During my time in India, I shall be working with representatives of government and other agencies to build closer strategic partnership and to discuss how we can support our membership more closely on areas such as gender equality, climate change, trade and ocean governance.

“This visit will reaffirm the continuing vibrancy and immense potential offered through India’s networks of connection with the wider Commonwealth, and also capitalise on the dynamic platform of the Raisina Dialogue to discuss issues of strategic importance and interest to the Commonwealth family as a whole.”

During the visit, the Secretary-General will meet with government officials, high commissioners and representatives of the international community in New Delhi.

The fifth Raisina Dialogue, taking place 14-16 January 2020, is hosted by the Observer Research Foundation in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs of India.

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RENEWABLE DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION ANNOUNCES MAJOR INVESTMENT PLANS IN ASIA
January 10, 2020 | 0 Comments

– US firms form consortium to develop renewable energy & smart city in Kaohsiung

Evening Kaohsiung city view.Photo credit Flikr

Kaohsiung, Taiwan (January 9, 2020) – Renewable Development Corporation (RDC) announces today in Kaohsiung, Taiwan that it has completed preliminary feasibility study and has tentatively agreed with allies and partners to conduct a series of investments in renewable energy and smart city redevelopment in the Kaohsiung area. RDC is a US company specializing in renewable energy and smart grid development worldwide. The company focuses on resilient and smart city design, implementation and development by working with its partners such as EYP Mission Critical and JLL, to develop and implement these projects in Europe, North America and Asia.

“Our communities, urban or rural, have become more and more complex and dependent upon mission critically reliable, intelligently dynamic and sustainably renewable sources of power supply. The combination of renewable and eco-friendly energy controlled by decentralized smart grid systems and the power hungry data centers that run big data cloud computing to support modern day smart city applications will continue to be the direction of our future,” said William Yuan, Chairman of RDC. “We are pleased to announce that we have entered into an agreement with our partners to develop and invest in these projects to make the world we’re living in a better one.” Yuan wrote in a letter of intent (LOI) that was submitted by Leo Chan, President of RDC Asia-Pacific to the Kaohsiung city government on January 9th, 2020.

A study by BP indicates that Asia, including China and India, will represent 43% of global energy demand by 2040, and through that year, the region will account for more than 50% of the growth in demand. In contrast, energy demand among the 36 nations in the OECD, which includes most big economies in the Americas and Europe, will be flat. Worldwide, demand for oil will peak in around 2034, according to Vitol, a Switzerland-based energy and commodity trading company. Wood Mackenzie, a commercial intelligence consultancy, reckons demand in the developed world has probably already topped out, with the OECD expected to move into structural decline by next year. The global demand for liquid fuel is about to see its growth rate take a dramatic dip over the next five years.

“We are excited to be part of the RDC team to deliver data centers that run solely on clean and renewable energy.” said Hans Chia, President of General Eco Energy Co., Limited (GEE). The demand for electricity seems insatiable, especially in Asia. Electrification rates continue to rise across the globe, with Asia expected to be close to 100% coverage by 2030. Much of that growth in demand may be supplied by renewables and nuclear power rather than fossil fuel-generated power, although natural gas is expected to play a role for years to come. It also may be accomplished through a decentralization of generating capacity, such as recent rural electrification projects in places like Malawi and Bangladesh where farmers and villages use solar panels and small generators to provide their own electricity.

“EYP Mission Critical Facilities is very excited to be a part of the RDC team and their global program for smart cities, highly energy efficient buildings and data centers. We look forward to playing an important role helping the group achieve its vision in the US, Europe and Asia in this growing segment. We will be working closely with RDC and collocating their team members as needed in various offices in the US, Europe and Asia.” says EYP MCF Managing Partner Rick Einhorn.

Love River of Kaohsiung

In an effort to redevelop the city, Kaohsiung government has called for international companies to invest in the region. RDC and partners formed a consortium to study the feasibility of putting a double rings over the Love River of Kaohsiung near the Piers area.

A world famous attraction design firm Jack Rouse Associates (JRA) joined the consortium after RDC and Cupkovic Architecture LLC who provided the conceptual design of the double rings project entered into an agreement with a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). “This is definitely a unique and bold design, and very doable too. We are thrilled to be involved in this project.” Keith James, CEO of JRA said in the meeting with the Kaohsiung city government, as he was touring the sites potentially slated for the project development on Thursday, Jan 9, 2020.

About RDC RDC is a renewables and digital infrastructure development company committed to tackling the world’s global climate crisis through innovations in technology and finance. RDC is focused on the transformation of energy, data, wind and solar to transition the world to a Net Zero environment.

About EYP MCF

EYPMCF is a pioneering consultancy in the data center and critical facilities industry with over two decades of experience assisting its clients plan, design, test and efficiently operate their facilities. With client across many verticals, from enterprise to institutional, colocation and hyperscale EYPMCF has unmatched experience and the capabilities to deliver projects of any size. With a global presence and projects in over 40 countries, it continues to drive new solutions and thought leading concepts to market that benefit its customer base.

About JLL JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a leading professional services firm that specializes in real estate and investment management. Our vision is to reimagine the world of real estate, creating rewarding opportunities and amazing spaces where people can achieve their ambitions. In doing so, we will build a better tomorrow for our clients, our people and our communities. JLL is a Fortune 500 company with annual revenue of $16.3 billion, operations in over 80 countries and a global workforce of more than 93,000 as of September 30, 2019. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit jll.com.

About JRA As a team of practical dreamers, JRA plans, designs, and realizes immersive experiences that create memories and excite audiences around the world. JRA understands what it takes to bring ideas to life so that your visitors connect with your story, eager to return. Turning ideas into a successful theme park, attraction, museum, or branded experience is JRA’s specialty.

About GEE General Eco Energy Co., Limited is established in 2014 by former leader of distributed energy business of a large US multinational energy group and industry professional team in Hong Kong. Partnering with one of the leading global infrastructure investment funds in the US, General Eco mainly engaged in development, design research, investment, construction, operation, services of industrial and commercial energy off takers by natural gas and renewable energy combined heat and power projects in Asia. General Eco is an important distributed energy field and development platform.

*For more information, contact paul@renewable.global

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Boon for African Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SME) as African Guarantee Fund receives USD 33 Million Capital Increase
January 10, 2020 | 0 Comments

The African Guarantee Fund is focused on its goal to provide financial guarantees for over 10,000 SMEs annually through partner financial institutions

Dr. Thomas Duve, Director for Regional Funds, KFW Development Bank (Left) and Felix Bikpo, CEO, AGF (Right)

NAIROBI, Kenya, January 9, 2020/ — Africa’s leading Guarantee Institution, African Guarantee Fund (AGF) (http://www.AfricanGuaranteeFund.com/) has received an additional USD 33M financing from German lender KfW Development Bank , in a move that will catapult AGF’s efforts to enable African SMEs continue to play their critical role in driving Africa’s economy.

This new financing comes at a time when the continent’s SME sector has been singled out as a key driver of growth. This now places AGF firmly on the driver’s seat as the champion that eases access to financing for SMEs across the continent.

The African Guarantee Fund is focused on its goal to provide financial guarantees for over 10,000 SMEs annually through partner financial institutions and as a trickledown effect, create 30,000 jobs per year.

“We are excited about the confidence our shareholders and partners have in what we are doing in Africa. This capital injection will go a long way in ensuring that we continue to make a positive impact in the continent. So far, we have cumulatively issued more than USD 1 B worth of guarantees making available about USD 1.7 billion for SME financing through our Partner Financial Institutions. This has led to the creation of more than 100,000 additional jobs,” says Felix Bikpo, Group CEO of African Guarantee Fund.

Out of the 20,000 African SMEs from various economic sectors that have so far benefited from AGF guarantees, the institution is very proud that 60% of these SMEs are owned by youth who are the majority in Africa today, and 30% owned by women, both being demographics that heavily impact Africa’s economy. 

“Our experience traversing Africa has shown us that Women in Africa are tenacious entrepreneurs, even though they face a gender financing gap of USD 42 billion. The capital increase from KfW will largely be used to increase financing of women owned or led businesses. This is in addition to our partnership with the African Development Bank through the recently launched Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) which currently has a USD 251 million commitment from G7 countries.” added Mr. Bikpo.

About African Guarantee Fund:
African Guarantee Fund (http://www.AfricanGuaranteeFund.com/) is a non-bank financial institution whose objective is to promote economic development, increase employment and reduce poverty in Africa by providing financial institutions with guarantee products and capacity development assistance specifically intended to support SMEs in Africa.

African Guarantee Fund was founded by the government of Denmark through the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), the government of Spain through the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and Development (AECID) and the African Development Bank (AfDB). Other shareholders include: French Development Agency (AFD), Nordic Development Fund (NDF), Investment Fund for Developing Countries (IFU) and KfW Development Bank (KfW).

AGF has a rating of AA- by Fitch Ratings Agency. 

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Rotary establishes peace center at Makerere University
January 10, 2020 | 0 Comments

Inaugural 2021 class will focus on shaping peace and development in Africa

KAMPALA, Uganda, January 9, 2020/ — From human rights violations to the impacts of climate change, Rotary (https://www.Rotary.org) and Makerere University are offering a postgraduate certificate program to peace and development leaders who are from or who have worked in Africa to address the underlying challenges to peace in the region.

The year-long program in Peacebuilding, Conflict Transformation and Development will emphasize issues and solutions that are of particular relevance throughout the African continent and beyond. Hands-on experience will complement coursework that addresses topics including human rights, governance, and the role of the media in conflict. Other studies will focus on refugees and migration, as well as resource and identity-based conflicts.   

The program will incorporate the Positive Peace framework pioneered by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) (http://bit.ly/39TRc7W) as well as apply concepts grounded in mediation and negotiation, African philosophy, and indigenous mechanisms for conflict resolution.

“For centuries, we have looked at peace as the absence of violence, without fully considering the other drivers in play,” said Olayinka Babalola, vice president, Rotary International Board of Directors. “Instead of merely examining the causes of war, Rotary Peace Fellows at Makerere University will explore the underpinnings of peace to achieve tangible measures of human wellbeing and progress.”

The program is designed to accommodate working professionals with at least five years of proven experience in the areas of peace and development. There will be two cohorts a year each with 20 fellows, and the first class will begin in February 2021. The online application will be available in February 2020.

“Makerere University is situated at the heart of the Great Lakes region, which has experienced the most strife and the most conflicts in Africa,” said Barnabas Nawangwe, University vice chancellor. “We’ve had frequent experience with conflict, so we established our peace program more than 15 years ago to expand our expertise and augment our engagement in the area of conflict and peace. Partnering with an international organization like Rotary allows us to demonstrate on a global scale what we’ve been doing in our local environment. Based on our past rich experience, we can confront strife in populations all over the world.”

Every year, Rotary awards up to 130 fully funded scholarships for dedicated peace and development leaders from around the world to study at any of its seven peace centers programs. In just over 15 years, Rotary Peace Centers have trained over 1,300 individuals for careers in peacebuilding in more than 115 countries, and program alumni serve as leaders in both governmental and nongovernmental agencies, international organizations, and more.

About Rotary:
Rotary (https://www.Rotary.org) brings together a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members of more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Their work improves lives at both the local and international levels, from those in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. To learn more about Rotary Peace Centers programs and fellowships and to start an application, visit http://bit.ly/36CMZne.

About Makerere University:
Established in 1922 as a technical school, Makerere University (http://bit.ly/2scr1Zm) is one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Africa. It is composed of nine colleges offering programs for 35,000 undergraduates and 3,000 postgraduates. Its Department of Religion and Peace Studies, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, will host the Rotary Peace Centers program

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Vice Prime Minister Melida Harris Barrow Of The State Of The African Diaspora Harps On Unity, Trade, And Collaboration In Ghana
January 3, 2020 | 0 Comments
Dr. Barrow spoke on the need for unity, collaboration and trade between the Continent of Africa and those living in the Diaspora
Dr. Barrow spoke on the need for unity, collaboration and trade between the Continent of Africa and those living in the Diaspora

Kumasi Ghana December 29, 2019— At the invitation of Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Dr. Barrow gave an iconic keynote speech address at the African Prime Leadership Awards ceremony held at Manhyla Palace. Dr. Barrow has been touring the world on a mission to link Africa with the Diaspora and the Diaspora with Africa.  

Along with Dr. Barrow, several Heads of State, local Chief’s, community leaders, and thousands of community members came out to support The Asantehene at the community Dubar Festival where the Ashanti Culture was on full display. The following evening December 29, 2019, a State Dinner was held to honor The Asantehene as he received The Pillar of Peace Award. 

During her keynote address Dr. Barrow spoke on the need for unity, collaboration and trade between the Continent of Africa and those living in the Diaspora. She spoke on business opportunities and the need to support each other economically so we can progress into the future.  She stated “if we don’t do it, we are going to go another 400 years.”

She issued a call to action to “be strong, know that you have your brothers and sisters…we are waiting for you, don’t have us waiting to long.”

The State of the African diaspora has been formally established. On October 24, 2019.  The government will present its first actions and ongoing projects and launching of Global Parliaments having summits around the world. Summits will be in North America, Europe, South America, The Caribbean, Asia/Oceania and Africa.

The mission of the State of the African Diaspora and the 6th Region Economic Community is to connect Africa with its Diaspora and the Diaspora to Africa, as well as connecting the Diaspora to the Diaspora internationally. Its mission further extends to being a key participant in the African Continental Free Trade Area.

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Ghana GOV’T to adopt ECOWAS single currency ECO in 2020
December 31, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Akufo Addo of Ghana and Alassane Ouattara of Ivory Coast
File Picture President Akufo Addo of Ghana and Alassane Ouattara of Ivory Coast

Ghana’s government has revealed  that it would  adopt the new single currency ECO in 2020 to be used by ECOWAS member states.

The currency was adopted by the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government in Nigeria’s capital Abuja in June 2019.

The West African leaders endorsed the currency at their 55th Ordinary Session and approved a road map towards the currency’s issuance in January 2020.


There was a roadmap to ensure that all member countries meet three primary criteria for the adoption of the currency.

Strong will
Many have doubted if the ECO will really be adopted by member countries, but there seems to be willingness of many countries in West Africa to adopt the currency.

In December 2019 Ecowas said it was renaming the CFA franc into Eco.

Under the new deal struck between ECOWAS and France, this will also involve cutting off some of the financial links between Francophone West African countries and France.

“This is a historic day for West Africa,” Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara said during a news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron in the country’s main city Abidjan.

Ghana’s government in a statement said it was “determined to do whatsoever we can to enable us join member states of UEMOA, soon, in the use of ECO.”

“Ghana urges the other Member States of ECOWAS to work rapidly towards implementing the decisions of the Authorities of ECOWAS, including adopting a flexible exchange rate regime, instituting a federal system for the ECOWAS Central Bank, and other related agreed convergence criteria, to ensure that we achieve the single currency objectives of ECOWAS, as soon as possible, for all Member States,” the statement added.

Criteria for Eco adoption
That includes member countries having a budget deficit of not more than 3 percent; average annual inflation of less than 10 percent with a long-term goal of not more than 5 percent by 2019.

Countries were expected to also have gross reserves that can finance at least three months of imports.

The other convergence criteria that has been adopted by ECOWAS are public debt or Gross Domestic Product of not more than 70 percent.

There is also the issue of central banks financing budget deficit not more than 10 percent of previous year’s tax revenue, and nominal exchange rate variation of plus or minus 10 percent.

ECOWAS has a combined population of 385 million and was set up in 1975.

It comprises Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

Eight of these countries use one currency called the CFA franc. Those are Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.

The current decision to adopt one currency is similar to the move made by the European Union to adopt the single currency called Euro.


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Vice Prime Minister of the State of the African Diaspora, Dr. Melida Harris Barrow in Ghana
December 28, 2019 | 0 Comments
The Vice Prime Minister of the State of the African Diaspora, Dr. Melida Harris Barrow
The Vice Prime Minister of the State of the African Diaspora, Dr. Melida Harris Barrow

The Vice Prime Minister of the State of the African Diaspora, Dr. Melida Harris Barrow just arrived in Ghana.

Dr. Harris Barrow was chosen to be the Keynote Speaker to celebrate with his Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene, as he receives the “Pillar of Peace” Award on the last Akwasidae Festival of the year, which also closes the chapter on the 20th Anniversary Celebrations of the enstoolment of His Majesty on the Golden Stool, to be held on December 29, 2019, at the Manhyia Palace.

The event will be under the Theme “Acknowledging and Celebrating Legendary and Transformational Leadership On The African Continent and Beyond.”

Osei Tutu II is the 16th Asantehene and has been in power since 26 April 1999. By name, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II is in direct succession to the 17th-century co-founder of the Ashanti Empire, Otumfuo Osei Tutu I. He is also the Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.

Information from the State of Africa indicates that with almost 350 million people, the African Diaspora is the THIRD COUNTRY in the world after China and India, but greater than The United States of America (323 million), Indonesia (258 million) and Brazil (205 million). Previously, it was unstructured, and only had potential as an entity.

“This is why the decision has been made to mobilize the energies of the Diaspora to officially launch the State of the African Diaspora: our Goal is to strengthen Africa through the Diaspora, and the Diaspora through Africa,” says the State of Africa in information shared with PAV.

*PAV will be coming up soon with more reporting and interviews on the activities of the State of the African Diaspora

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‘Let West Africa’s success echo throughout the world.’ ECOWAS hails the success of African Development Bank investments in the region
December 24, 2019 | 0 Comments

The African Development Bank’s investments in West Africa are yielding remarkable results, the President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, said in Abuja on Saturday.

He was speaking at the bloc’s fifty-sixth ordinary session, attended by regional heads of state and government.

Brou said the Bank had provided “invaluable technical and financial interventions…in the implementation of numerous projects and programmes”.

The region’s economy is showing positive achievements, reaching 3.3 percent growth in 2019, he said, “despite facing significant challenges, particularly with regards to security. ECOWAS member states have demonstrated remarkable resilience.”

In a speech, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari assured ECOWAS that his country was committed to regional integration, requesting members to channel collective energies towards accelerating sustainable peace, security, stability and inclusive economic growth.

“It is always gratifying when our regional bloc comes together to advance our agenda for regional integration and promote the socioeconomic development of our subregion,” he told the high-level meeting.

For his part, the President of the African Development Bank Akinwunmi Adesina put the Bank’s current portfolio of investments in West Africa at $20 billion, with a strong focus on critical sectors.

“The African Development Bank has always been there at the right time, with the right product, for the right needs of countries,” Adesina told delegates.

“Such was the case in Nigeria, where the Bank helped to provide $600 million of budget support that helped it get out of recession, a tough time for Nigeria. The Bank also provided $500 million to establish the Development Bank of Nigeria. Last week, we provided $280 million to support social investments in Côte d’Ivoire,” he added.

“You can always count on the African Development Bank – your Bank,” Adesina assured delegates.

The Bank’s support in the region includes  525 million for the construction of the Blaise Diagne international airport in Senegal and $120 million for the new Terminal 3 for Kotoka international airport in Ghana

The African Development Bank also provided $30 million for the construction of the Mandela Praia airport in Cabo Verde, and $130 million for Air Côte d’Ivoire to acquire a new aircraft fleet.

Other investments include € 60 million for the Lomé Container Terminal port and another $96 million for the new landmark Senegambia Bridge that now links the Gambia and Senegal. A € 183 million facility was critical for Senegal’s Regional Express Train.

During the Bank’s second Africa Investment Forum held in November 2019, the institution and its partners mobilized investments of $2.6 billion for the development of the Accra Sky Train and $251 million towards the Lagos Cable Car Transit System projects.

Adesina also highlighted the Bank’s $1.5 billion financing for the development of major transport corridors to improve connectivity in the ECOWAS region. This includes the construction and rehabilitation of 4,000 kilometers of main corridor roads.

The Lagos-Abidjan Highway will become a reality., the Bank’s President told the regional leaders.

The African Development Bank is providing $11.1 million to the ECOWAS Commission to develop the Master Plan for the Lagos-Abidjan highway corridor and will be providing an additional $13.5 million for feasibility studies to be completed next year. It expects construction to start in 2022.

Current initiatives include a $25 billion investment to turn Africa into a global powerhouse in food and agriculture. This includes financing special agro-industrial processing zones in northern Togo, Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal.

During the one-day meeting, ECOWAS leaders deliberated on critical issues affecting the region, including the  proposed ECO single currency regime for the sub-region and the Action Plan for Regional Security.

Adesina summed up the Bank’s vision for ECOWAS: “An integrated monetary zone and financial markets; a free zone for trade, with free movement of people, capital, goods and services; an ECOWAS region whose new currency would be ECO; and the echoes of that will reverberate across the world.”

*AFDB

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Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP) supports development of Algeria’s energy sector through two loan facilities to Sonatrach Petroleum Investment Corporation worth USD 250 million
December 23, 2019 | 0 Comments
Dr. Ahmed Ali Attiga, CEO, APICORP
Dr. Ahmed Ali Attiga, CEO, APICORP

Loans to support Sonatrach’s efforts to diversify energy assets, ensure steady crude oil supplies and increase geographic footprint

DAMMAM, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, December 23, 2019/ — Loans to be used to carry out maintenance works on Sonatrach’s refinery in Italy, its first overseas investment in Europe, and purchase of Aramco crude; Loans to support Sonatrach’s efforts to diversify energy assets, ensure steady crude oil supplies and increase geographic footprint.

The Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP) (http://www.APICORP.org/), a multilateral development financial institution, agreed to two loan facilities worth a combined USD 250 million with Sonatrach Petroleum Investment Corporation (SPIC), a subsidiary of Sonatrach International Holding Corporation owned by Sonatrach, the Algerian state-owned national oil company.

The first loan, a USD 100 million bilateral pre-financing facility, will be used to fund the maintenance of the Sonatrach Raffineria Italiana complex in Sicily, Italy, which Sonatrach acquired from ExxonMobil in December 2018. The second loan, a USD 150 million unfunded and syndicated letter of credit, is for the purchase Saudi Aramco crude oil by Sonatrach Raffineria Italiana.

Dr. Ahmed Ali Attiga, CEO of APICORP, said: “APICORP is committed to supporting and financing Sonatrach in its first overseas acquisition. This is part of our mission to continue playing an active role in the development of our member countries’ broader energy sector and contribute to diversification and geographic expansion. As a trusted financial partner to the region’s energy sector, we remain steadfast in our mission to continue exploring opportunities in Algeria and other member states and provide solutions that drive innovation and bolster the sustainability of this vital industry.”

Nordine Bouteldja, Managing Director of SPIC commented, “Our strategic investment in international refining through Sonatrach Raffinera Italiana will contribute to meeting local energy demand and address imbalances in petroleum supplies. This is of key importance to our efforts to diversify our energy assets and secure reliable supplies of crude oil, as part of our drive to meet local energy demand and address imbalances in petroleum supplies to the domestic market.”

Located in Augusta, Sicily, Sonatrach Raffineria Italiana is Sonatrach’s first overseas acquisition. The integrated refinery complex, which has access to the major global shipping routes through the Mediterranean Sea, boasts a conversion rate of 200,000 bpd and can produce a wide range of downstream products, including gasoline, distillates, fuel oils, lubricants, asphalts and chemicals.

Earlier this year, Sonatrach designated APICORP as one of a select group of financial institutions to provide advisory on project management and financing-related matters.

International legal firm Allen & Ovary’s Paris office was the legal advisor to APICORP on the transactions. 

The Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP) (http://www.APICORP.org/) is a multilateral development financial institution established in 1974 by an international treaty between the ten Arab oil exporting countries. It aims to support and foster the development of the Arab world’s energy sector and petroleum industries. APICORP makes equity investments and provides project finance, trade finance, advisory and research. APICORP is rated ‘Aa2 with a stable outlook’ by Moody’s, and is headquartered in Dammam, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*AFDB

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Commonwealth and United Nations sign new agreement
December 13, 2019 | 0 Comments
Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland and United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed
Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland and United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland and United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammedhave formally committed their organisations to work more closely together.

The two leaders signed a Memorandum of Understanding today at the Commonwealth’s headquarters in Marlborough House, London. The document outlines how the two organisations will work together on pressing global issues such as governance and peace, sustainable development, inclusive growth, climate change, ending violence against women and girls and sports for development and peace.

In a joint statement, the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth and the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations said:

“The United Nations and Commonwealth have long shared a genuine relationship based on shared goals and values.

“We are today proud to enhance this friendship and take it to a new level which the delivery of the 2030 Agenda demands. 

“As we turn to a new decade of action, the challenges we face in order to deliver on the world that we want by 2030 demand we address sustainable development, climate change, improving governance and promoting peace.”

The Commonwealth is committed to the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals and has made particular progress on the goals of gender equality and tackling climate change.

Across the Commonwealth, gender parity is close to being achieved in primary schools. According to research undertaken by the Commonwealth Secretariat in 2018/2019, a girl is as likely to attend primary school as a boy, and in some Commonwealth countries, more likely to.

Working on tackling climate change and ocean conservation is also an area where the Commonwealth has had a significant influence. Last year, all 53 nations in the Commonwealth, covering one third of the world’s oceans, signed the Blue Charter a landmark agreement to actively co-operate on ocean governance. So far 12 nations have stepped up to lead action groups on areas such as marine pollution, ocean acidification and coral reef protection.

The agreement stresses that ‘prevention’ will underpin each of the collaborative areas and leaves the door open for additional areas of co-operation at a later date.

*Commonwealth

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COP 25: ‘Africa’s future depends on solidarity’ Leaders and development partners rally around climate change goals
December 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

There was standing room only as ministers, diplomats, activists and journalists gathered at the IFEMA conference centre in Madrid to mark Africa Day at the COP 25 climate meeting.

Speakers called for a united front to tackle the challenges of climate change in Africa.

In the opening statement for Africa Day on Tuesday, Yasmin Fouad, Egypt’s Minister of Environmental Affairs, on behalf of the African Union, said: “We have, and will continue to engage and to seek landing grounds on the outstanding issues. But we must flag our concern at the apparent reluctance by our interlocutors to engage on issues of priority to developing countries, as evidenced by the large number of such issues which have simply been pushed from session to session without any progress.”

Africa contributes the least to global warming emissions yet is the continent most vulnerable to climate change, as witnessed by devastating natural disasters recently. Africa Day has been held at the conference every year since COP 17 in 2011 to rally support for the continent’s cause.

“The climate disaster issues confronting the continent demand a predictable and unified response,” said UN ASG Mohamed Beavogui, Director General of African Risk Capacity, an agency of the African Union that helps governments respond to natural disasters.

“Africa needs to move towards market-based innovative financing models to achieve a strong, united, resilient and globally influential continent. The future of Africa depends on solidarity.”

Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), said the ECA would support African countries to revise their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to attract private sector investments in clean energy.

“The lack of concerted and meaningful global ambition and action to tackle climate change poses an existential threat to African populations,” Songwe said.

The Paris Agreement is the guiding force of current climate negotiations. It calls on nations to curb temperature increases at 2°C by the end of this century, while attempting to contain rises within 1.5°C. The next step is to implement NDCs, which set out national targets under the Paris Agreement.

While African countries outlined bold aspirations to build climate resilient and low-carbon economies in their NDCs, the continent’s position is that it should not be treated the same as developed nations as its carbon emissions constitute a fraction of the world’s big economies.

“The African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) remains committed to partnering with other institutions in providing the requisite support to AU member states in reviewing and updating their NDCs,” said Estherine Fotabong, Director of Programmes at AUDA-NEPAD.

Barbara Creecy, South Africa’s Environment Minister and current chair of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment, said the Africa Day event should come up with new ideas to enhance the implementation of NDCs in Africa.

Africa is already responding positively to the challenge of climate change, said Anthony Nyong, Director for Climate Change and Green Growth at the African Development Bank, citing huge investment interest in renewables at the Bank’s Africa Investment Forum in Johannesburg.

“Clearly, we are a continent that has what it takes to create the Africa that we want to see happen. I believe what has been the missing link is the ability to brand right and to act on the market signals,” Nyong said. “We continue to present Africa as a vulnerable case and not as a business case with opportunities. In fact, where we have attempted the latter, the results have been spot-on.”

Chief Fortune Charumbira, Vice President of the Pan-African Parliament, said robust climate legislation was key.

“The world’s response to the challenge has shown that legislation is imperative to cement efforts employed by various stakeholders; from the Paris Agreement to Nationally Determined Contributions,” he said.

Amb. Josefa Sacko, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture at the African Union Commission, said climate change affected sectors key to Africa’s socio-economic development, such as agriculture, livestock and fisheries, energy, biodiversity and tourism. She called on African countries to take stock of the Paris Agreement, and its implementation around finance capacity building and technology.

*AFDB

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Turkish President to visit Gambia in 2020
December 12, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

Outgoing Turks Ambassador and Barrow
Outgoing Turks Ambassador and Barrow

The Gambia will be among selected African countries that Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will visit in 2020, revealed the outgoing Turkish Ambassador to The Gambia, Ismail Sifa Yuceer.

The diplomat was at the State House today to bid farewell to President Adama Barrow after completing his tour of duty in the country.  After serving his government in The Gambia for the past three years, Ambassador Yuceer’s tour of duty has come to an end.
President Barrow described Ambassador Yuceer as a “good friend” of The Gambia.

The president said he was satisfied that the ambassador was bequeathing a strong state of ties between the two countries.


“Turkey has been a true brother to The Gambia and I am delighted that our fraternal relations will be further strengthened with the planned visit of the Turkish President to The Gambia in 2020,” President Barrow said, highlighting the various high-level visits he and his government officials undertook to the Republic of Turkey in the past three years.

For Ambassador Yuceer, The Gambia in many respects will have a special place in his career. He witnessed the political change and the transition process that ensued just within weeks of arrival in The Gambia.

“It was very teaching for any person, especially a diplomat to witness this development. The Gambia set a precedent for a peaceful and smooth change of government not only for Africa but also for the rest of the world. This is something that other countries can benefit from as a good example,” he said after an audience with the President.

To the diplomat, Turkish-Gambia relations have always been very productive and have further been solidified, diversified, and more fruitful under the Barrow administration. Currently, the relations cover areas like education, health, logistical support, security, defense, among others.

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The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund signs US$20m loan with Burkina Faso, attends inauguration of health and education facilities
December 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

Agricultural Value Chain Support Project (PAPFA) aims to contribute to poverty alleviation and to enhance food security in Burkina Faso

VIENNA, Austria, December 9, 2019/ — The Director-General of the OPEC Fund for International Development (the OPEC Fund) Dr Abdulhamid Alkhalifa has signed a US$20 million development loan to help finance Burkina Faso’s Agricultural Value Chain Support Project (PAPFA).

Dr Alkhalifa signed the loan in Ouagadougou with Burkina Faso’s Minister of Economy, Finance and Development, Lassané Kabore. PAPFA aims to contribute to poverty alleviation and to enhance food security in Burkina Faso. Specifically, the project will help crop and vegetable farmers adopt efficient technologies related to the production, processing and storage of produce, ultimately enabling them to increase sales in local and regional markets.

Dr Alkhalifa said: “This latest OPEC Fund loan demonstrates our continued commitment to a striving country that retains hope, despite the challenges it still faces. It is our way of saying: ‘we are your partners’.”

While on the high-level mission to the West African country, Dr Alkhalifa attended the inauguration ceremonies of two major development projects co-financed by the OPEC Fund – the Hospital of Ziniaré and the University of Ouagadougou. The inaugurations were held under the aegis of the President of Burkina Faso, Roch Marc Kaboré.

The University of Ouagadougou project was co-financed by the OPEC Fund in partnership with the Arab Bank for Economic Development (BADEA) and the government of Burkina Faso. The new and expanded facilities include dormitories and provide a better academic environment. Approximately 18,500 on-campus students are expected to benefit.

Dr Alkhalifa said: “Ensuring inclusive and quality education for all – and promoting lifelong learning – is a fundamental ingredient to sustainable development. To see such a project come to life is inspiring and I believe this university will enable many people – young and old – to play a role in advancing the development of Burkina Faso, and more generally, in contributing toward a more equal global society.”

At the ceremony, Dr Alkassoum Maïga, Burkina Faso’s Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, conferred Dr Alkhalifa with L’ordre National de l’Etalon – a national honor in recognition of the OPEC Fund’s continued support of development in the country. The Minister conferred the honor on behalf of President Kaboré. Dr Alkhalifa said he was proud of the OPEC Fund’s work with Burkina Faso and honored to receive the decoration on behalf of the organization.

The Hospital of Ziniaré – a modern and fully equipped health center in the town of Ziniaré, 35 km from the capital Ouagadougou – is also co-financed by the OPEC Fund, BADEA and the government of Burkina Faso. The hospital provides access to specialized, high-quality healthcare services and is expected to improve maternal / infant health and fight diseases endemic to the area.

Dr Alkhalifa said: “The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being. The OPEC Fund is committed to supporting access to healthcare as a goal in itself, as well as to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Our commitment is clear: as of December 31, 2018, our cumulative commitment to development projects in the health sector was well over US$1 billion.”

The OPEC Fund has worked with Burkina Faso for more than four decades. During that time, the organization has approved more than 40 public sector loans amounting to nearly US$300 million to the country. The OPEC Fund has also approved 11 trade finance loans for a total of US$270 million, as well as a number of national grants.

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NDI and the Kofi Annan Foundation Deploy Joint International Delegation to Assess the Pre-Election Environment Ahead of Legislative Elections in Guinea
December 9, 2019 | 0 Comments
Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh, Senior Associate for Africa at the NDI, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, former President of Nigeria, and Nicephore Soglo, former President of Benin are part of the delegation.Photo credit twitter GEJ
Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh, Senior Associate for Africa at the NDI, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, former President of Nigeria, and Nicephore Soglo, former President of Benin are part of the delegation.Photo credit twitter GEJ

Conakry, Guinea – The National Democratic Institute (NDI) and Kofi Annan Foundation (KAF) will send a joint international delegation to Guinea to assess preparations for legislative elections currently scheduled for February 2020. The assessment will take place from December 9-13, 2019. 

The high-level delegation consists of the following members: 

  1. H.E.  Nicéphore Soglo, Former President of Benin;
  2. H.E. Goodluck Jonathan, Former President of Nigeria;
  3. Ambassador Medina Wesseh, Secretary General of the Mano River Union;
  4. Dr. Christopher Fomunyoh, Senior Associate and Regional Director for Central and West Africa (NDI);
  5. Mr. Sébastien F. W. Brack, Head of Elections and Democracy Programme (KAF);
  6. Dr. Sophia Moestrup, Deputy Director for Central and West Africa (NDI);
  7. Mr. Paul Komivi Sémeko Amegakpo, Resident Director in Guinea (NDI).

The delegation will meet with the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI), ruling and opposition political parties, civil society organizations, and other stakeholders in Conakry to assess preparations for the legislative elections and explore ways of fostering peaceful and credible polls. 

“Guinea’s February 2020 elections will be an important step in strengthening the country’s democracy and giving voice to citizens through their elected representatives. As Guinean citizens prepare to go to the polls, a peaceful and inclusive electoral process is critically important,” said H.E. Nicéphore Soglo, former President of Benin Republic. 

“Successful elections and democratic progress in Guinea would bode well for West Africa and other parts of the continent as Africans gain more confidence in choosing their political leaders through regularly held and meaningful elections,” said H.E. Goodluck Jonathan, former President of Nigeria. “Our delegation looks forward to meeting with various Guinean electoral stakeholders.”  

Prior to departing Guinea, the mission will present its findings publicly at a press conference in Conakry on December 13, 2019. 

NDI has organized more than 150 international election observation missions around the globe, earning a reputation for impartiality and professionalism. The NDI/KAF mission to Guinea will conduct its activities in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and Code of Conduct adopted by the United Nations in 2005 and will base its findings and recommendations on Guinean laws and international standards for elections. All activities will be conducted on a strictly nonpartisan basis and without interfering in the election process.

*Source NDI

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First G20 Sherpa Meeting held in Riyadh
December 6, 2019 | 0 Comments

Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – 5 December 2019

G20 Sherpas, the official representatives of G20 Member country Leaders, met for the first time under the Saudi G20 Presidency in Riyadh this week. They were joined by invited guest countries, as well as, international and regional organizations to begin discussions towards “Realizing Opportunities of the 21st Century for All”.

The pivotal role of the G20 Sherpas is to help pave the way to the G20 Leader’s Summit by progressing policy discussions in meetings throughout the year. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will host a series of Sherpa Meetings during its Presidency culminating in the Leader’s Summit in Riyadh on 21-22 November 2020.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will facilitate the dialogue process to guide the overarching policy discussions. Building on previous G20 achievements and reflecting the spirit of collaboration among our Leaders, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is determined to build consensus around solutions to address our common challenges.

The first Sherpa meeting focused on the aims of the 2020 G20 Presidency year: 

• Empowering People, by creating the conditions in which people– especially women and youth– can live, work and thrive, with discussions on policies related to access to opportunities for all, sustainable development goals, trade and investment, financial inclusion, employment, women empowerment, health, education, and tourism.

• Safeguarding the Planet, by fostering collective efforts to protect our environment, with discussions on environment, climate, water, food, and energy.

• Shaping New Frontiers, by adopting long-term and bold strategies to share the benefits of innovation and technological advancement with a strong focus on digital economy.

The meeting was chaired by Fahad Almubarak, the Saudi Sherpa, who elaborated: “The G20 has a responsibility to the world to overcome current and emerging issues, to tackle global challenges together, and to make the world a better place for all.”

Further information about the G20, including the Presidency Agenda and full program of events, can be found at www.g20.org

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Gabon pens MoU with Cameroon for fiber-optics interconnection
December 5, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Amos Fofung

Cameroon’s Minister of Telecommunication Minette Libom Li Likeng and Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Rigobert Ikambouayat Ndeka.Photo Cedit Gabon Matin

Two strong allies in the CEMAC sub-region, Gabon and Cameroon have penned a Memorandum of Understanding that puts in place a legal framework guiding the implementation fiber-optic interconnection between the two states.

The MoU was signed November 28, in Libreville, Gabon by Cameroon’s Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Minette Libom Li Likeng and the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Rigobert Ikambouayat Ndeka of Gabon.

Partners and promoters to the project among them, the World Bank Group, the African Development Bank and the International Telecommunications Union answered present during the penning ceremony.

The purpose of this memorandum of understanding is to establish the general and legal framework for the interconnection of the two countries’ electronic communications networks and to set up a committee to implement and monitor the memorandum and subsequent agreements.

It also constitutes the materialization of the strengthening of sub-regional cooperation and the mutualization of the two signees’ digital infrastructures.

Once fully operational, the “interconnection system will reduce connectivity costs since there will be direct telecommunications exchanges between the two countries with no international submarine cables required”, experts hold.

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ARIPO hosts sub-regional IP conference on geographical indicators in Zimbabwe
December 4, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

A two-day subregional IP conference on geographical indicators has opened today at the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) headquarters in Harare, Zimbabwe.

 The Sub-Regional IP Conference on Geographical Indication is jointly organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) to coincide with the Master’s in Intellectual Property (MIP), which takes place at the ARIPO Headquarters in December each year.  Since 2014, the objective of these IP conferences has been to provide a platform for MIP students and participants from ARIPO Member States to be exposed to emerging issues in Intellectual Property and existing opportunities in the strategic use of the IP system.  The 2019 IP Conference will take place under the theme “Geographical Indications in Africa: Territorial Development, Economic Integration and International Trade”

Geographical Indications (GIs) are used to identify products as originating in the territory of a country, region or locality where a given quality, reputation or other characteristic of the products is essentially attributable to that geographical origin.  Similar to trade names and trademarks, GIs are designed to enable consumers to distinguish between products, but more importantly, they enable producers to protect the reputation of those products developed around specific characteristics and often over many years and thanks to great effort.  In addition, GIs are considered as a mean to strengthen the potential of products’ places of origin to attract investors, consumers and tourists as well as to guarantee them local quality products and services specifically linked to local resources.

  It is reported that the Member States of the African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO) are replete with traditional agricultural and craft products whose quality and origin can be usefully promoted through GIs and other collective quality schemes, thereby contributing to the development of local and rural communities.  In a bid to support such efforts, in 2017, the African Union adopted the Continental Strategy for the Development of Geographical Indications in Africa.  ARIPO is a key actor of its implementation.

The sub-Regional IP Conference is meant to be part of that continental and regional process.  It is intended to be an important step to raise the awareness of policymakers responsible for GIs and students of the need to be empowered with national, regional and international instruments to protect and promote origin products, but also to consider the development and effective implementation of national and regional projects and policies on GIs.

The overall aim of the 2019 IP Conference is to provide a platform for the participants to understand the importance of the strategic use of GIs for socio-economic development and wealth creation in Africa, while deepening their understanding of the IP rights available to protect brands for origin products (geographical indications and trademarks) as well as the exceptions and limitations to that protection (in particular generic terms and prior trademarks).

The specific objectives of the sub-Regional IP Conference are to obtain updated information on current systems of protection of GIs in Africa at national, regional and continental levels, to learn about recent developments in the field of GIs at WIPO and at the international level, to discuss with international experts specific experience and issues related to the development and implementation of GIs with a focus on key factors for a successful GIs and their effects on local development; the role of producers’ associations and the establishment of control and certification schemes bring together institutional representatives from ARIPO and its member States who are responsible for GI protection in their countries or are interested in instituting such procedures, as well as students from ARIPO member States interesting in studying more about the development and implementation of GI schemes in Africa,to serve as a place to share and build knowledge on the issues, benefits and challenges related to the recognition, protection and promotion of GIs.

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Once the breadbasket of Africa, Zimbabwe now on brink of man-made starvation, UN rights expert warns
November 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire 

Despite the constitutional protection of the right to food and a sophisticated set of human-rights based national laws and policies, man-made starvation is slowly making its way in Zimbabwe, said the UN expert of the right to food after visiting the country from 18 to 28 November 2019.  

“More than 60% of the population of a country once seen as the breadbasket of Africa is now considered food-insecure, with most households unable to obtain enough food to meet basic needs due to hyperinflation,” said Hilal Elver, Special Rapporteur on the right to food, presenting a preliminary statement at the end of an 11-day visit.  

“In rural areas, a staggering 5.5 million people are currently facing food insecurity, as poor rains and erratic weather patterns are impacting harvests and livelihoods. In urban areas, an estimated 2.2 million people are food-insecure and lack access to minimum public services, including health and safe water.  

“These are shocking figures and the crisis continues to worsen due to poverty and high unemployment, widespread corruption, severe price instabilities, lack of purchasing power, poor agricultural productivity, natural disasters, recurrent droughts and unilateral economic sanctions.”  

Elver said women and children were bearing the brunt of the crisis.  

“The majority of the children I met were stunted and underweight,” she said. “Child deaths from severe malnutrition have been rising in the past few months. 90 % of Zimbabwean children aged six months to two years are not consuming the minimum acceptable diet.  

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U.S. Commits $430 Million in Insurance to Natural Gas Project in Egypt
November 23, 2019 | 0 Comments

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

CAIRO – Adam Boehler, Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), today announced a commitment to provide $430 million in insurance to advance energy security in Egypt by rehabilitating a natural gas pipeline and transporting natural gas from fields offshore in Israel. The announcement was made at the Investment for Africa Forum during a signing ceremony that included Boehler and U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Jonathan Cohen as well as Egyptian Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly and Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr.

The insurance will enable Noble Energy Inc. of Houston, Texas to restore the 90-kilometer EMG Pipeline running from the coastal city of Ashkelon, Israel and under the Mediterranean Sea to its destination in Al-Arish, Egypt. It will also support the transport of 3 trillion cubic feet of natural gas over 15 years. The insurance contracts were signed this week after Noble Energy and its partners achieved financial close for the project.

“Strengthening energy security—which bolsters trade, supports investment, and improves quality of life—is critical to ensuring lasting prosperity and stability in Egypt,” said Boehler. “This project will help the country meet growing demand for reliable, low-cost energy in order to fuel sustained economic growth and create opportunities that have a stabilizing impact in Egypt and across the region.”

“Egypt is a strategic partner to the United States. We are excited to support this critical investment in the country by an American company which will not only spur job creation and economic growth but also help provide reliable and affordable energy for the people of Egypt and others throughout the region,” said Cohen.

“Egypt welcomes this massive private sector investment and looks forward to the economic impact it will have for the Egyptian people,” said Nasr.

“The Dolphinus gas sales contracts and the EMG acquisition underpin delivery of natural gas from the Tamar and Leviathan fields in Israel into Egypt and represent a major milestone toward Egypt’s goal of becoming a regional energy hub. Both these transactions and the support from the U.S. Government provide further confidence in the long-term export market and growing cash flow from these premier assets,” said J. Keith Elliott, Noble Energy’s Senior Vice President, Offshore.

Under the terms of the project, the gas will be purchased by Dolphinus Holdings, a gas trading company.

The project will advance energy security in Egypt and support the country’s efforts to grow its economy by exporting gas to parts of Europe and other global markets. The pipeline being restored had initially been used to transport natural gas from Egypt to Israel but ceased operations in 2012.

Boehler is attending the Investment for Africa Forum during a trip to Egypt to highlight U.S. commitment to the region, explore private sector investment opportunities, and strengthen relationships with key regional partners in support of mutual development goals.

The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is America’s development bank. DFC partners with the private sector to finance solutions to the most critical challenges facing the developing world today. Working together with businesses, we invest in projects that create jobs and opportunity in emerging markets, including building critical infrastructure, expanding access to telecommunications, and providing small business financing, notably for women entrepreneurs. DFC helps to advance America’s foreign policy by partnering on projects that create economic stability, protect sovereignty, and ensure transparency. DFC investments adhere to high principles and respect the environment, human rights, and worker rights.

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

Visit will promote private sector investment and strengthen regional relationships

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

WASHINGTON – Adam Boehler, Chief Executive Officer of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), will travel to Egypt November 21 – 23 to promote U.S. investment, attend the Investment for Africa Forum, and strengthen regional relationships in pursuit of shared development goals in the region.
“Africa is home to immense untapped opportunity that will yield a more prosperous, stable, and secure future for communities across the continent,” said Boehler. “I look forward to joining regional government officials, business leaders, and investors in Egypt to identify avenues through which we can collaborate to achieve our shared vision for Africa.”
While in Egypt, Boehler will attend the Investment for Africa Forum in Cairo to underscore DFC’s commitment to the continent and will meet with regional business leaders to explore investment opportunities in priority areas such as infrastructure development and women’s economic empowerment. He will also seek to advance key agency initiatives, including Connect Africa2X Africa, and DFC’s new collaboration with the African Development Bank, all of which advance the goals of the Administration’s Prosper Africa effort to increase two-way investment and trade between the U.S. and Africa.
In addition, Boehler will hold meetings with high-ranking government officials to enhance cooperation in support of regional development, economic growth, and stability. DFC currently has more than $1.5 billion invested in Egypt in sectors ranging from infrastructure to financial services and healthcare.
The visit follows recent travel by Boehler to the Indo-Pacific, Latin America, and Sub-Saharan Africa to strengthen relationships with key partners and highlight DFC’s enhanced flexibility to support private sector investment in critical regions.
DFC is a new U.S. Government agency that combines and modernizes the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and USAID’s Development Credit Authority (DCA). With a more than doubled investment cap of $60 billion and new financial tools, DFC is equipped to more effectively mobilize private sector capital to urgent development challenges and advance U.S. foreign policy. The agency continues to work with Congress to fund DFC through the appropriations process in order to exercise its new investment and development tools.

The U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is America’s development bank. DFC partners with the private sector to finance solutions to the most critical challenges facing the developing world today. Working together with businesses, we invest in projects that create jobs and opportunity in emerging markets, including building critical infrastructure, expanding access to telecommunications, and providing small business financing, notably for women entrepreneurs. DFC helps to advance America’s foreign policy by partnering on projects that create economic stability, protect sovereignty, and ensure transparency. DFC investments adhere to high principles and respect the environment, human rights, and worker rights.

*Source DFC

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Making Our Own Luck: What Africa’s Future Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Producers Can Learn from Qatar in the Era of Billions At Play
November 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

By NJ Ayuk*

Qatar learned that it possessed truly huge reserves of natural gas in 1971, when Royal Dutch/Shell discovered the North Dome structure, also known as the North field

As I got into the process of writing my recent book Billions At Play, The future of African Energy and doing deal, the story of Qatar intrigued me. Its success is contagious and African LNG producers can learn from this country.

Qatar learned that it possessed truly huge reserves of natural gas in 1971, when Royal Dutch/Shell discovered the North Dome structure, also known as the North field. At the time, though, neither Shell nor Qatar’s government had a great deal of interest in developing the site. Their focus was on crude oil, which was then making the country very rich.

As a result, nothing much happened at North Dome for more than a decade. Shell did not actively pursue development work there, and neither did Qatar General Petroleum Co. (QGPC, now known as Qatar Petroleum or QP), which was the beneficiary of Doha’s nationalization of the oil and gas industry in 1977.

Conditions began to change in the late 1970s. Qatari crude production started to decline after 1979 as the country’s largest oil fields matured. In turn, international oil companies (IOCs) began to lose interest in signing service contracts with QP, since they did not believe Qatar’s aging reserve base warranted massive long-term investments.

These developments did not have much immediate impact, since crude prices were rising enough to keep revenues high. But in the 1980s, oil prices sank – and brought oil revenues down along with them. As a result, Qatar’s government began looking for new ways to generate income. Gas was an obvious option, since global demand was rising and national reserves were ample. Officials in Doha began to draw up plans for monetizing production from the North field, which is now known to contain at least 450 trillion cubic feet (13 trillion cubic meters) of gas in recoverable reserves.

Eventually, they developed a three-phase plan that called for beginning with domestic sales and then proceeding to pipeline exports before finally launching marine exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG). To implement the plan, they set up a joint venture known as Qatar Liquefied Natural Gas Co. Ltd. (Qatargas) between QP, BP (UK) and Total (France).

The first phase, which provided for domestic gasification, was a relatively simple process due to the small size of Qatar’s population. But events in the late 1980s and early 1990s made the second phase, which called for the construction of an export pipeline capable of delivering up to 20 billion cubic meters per year to other member-states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), more difficult.

There were multiple reasons for this, including but not limited to the following: Saudi Arabia lost interest in Qatari gas after discovering reserves of its own, Qatar and Bahrain became embroiled in a border dispute, and Kuwait found itself preoccupied by the Iraqi invasion that led to the First Gulf War. Doha floated proposals for alternative routes in the hope of drawing interest from markets outside the GCC, but to no avail.

The failure of the pipeline gave Qatargas an opportunity to skip the second phase of the project and proceed directly to the third – namely, using production from the North field as feedstock for a gas liquefaction plant that could turn out LNG for export by tanker. At the same time, rising demand for gas in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan gave Qatar an incentive to focus on LNG. Additionally, BP made the decision to exit Qatargas, the venture formed to develop North. This cleared the way for the U.S. company Mobil (now part of ExxonMobil) to join the project.

Mobil was a good fit, partly because it had ample financial resources and partly because it had extensive experience with LNG through its participation in the Arun scheme in Indonesia. It was able to access and deploy the technologies needed to launch Qatar’s first LNG plant. That facility brought its first 2 million ton per year production train on line in late 1996 and began commercial production and exports the following year.

Since then, Qatar has continued to ramp up gas production and to expand its LNG industry. It has worked with foreign partners to build more gas liquefaction facilities and is now home to three LNG mega-trains with a combined production capacity of 77 million tons per year. These plants helped make Qatar into the world’s largest LNG producer in 2006, and they have kept the country at the top of the list ever since. Meanwhile, Doha decided last year to build another mega-train that will raise the figure to 110 million tons per year by 2024. Qatar operates the largest fleet of LNG tankers in the world, and its LNG goes to customers all over the world.

In short, its LNG program has been a smashing success.

Showing the way

The story of Qatar’s success is interesting in its own right. But does it have any deeper meaning? Could it serve as a template – that is, as a map that other gas-producing countries can use to blaze their own trails toward success?

I believe it can. Specifically, I believe African gas producers pursuing LNG projects have a lot to learn from Qatar. They will have a better chance of maximizing their gains if they follow Qatar’s example.

Obviously, Africa can’t duplicate Qatar’s experience. Its gas-producing states don’t have the same geography or demography, and they don’t have access to the same marine trade routes. But it can benefit from some of the lessons that Qatar learned along the way. I’ll list a few of them here.

A little help from my friends

Qatar began looking into plans for launching LNG production less than a decade after nationalizing its own oil and gas industry. Even so, it had a clear understanding of the fact that it could not pursue this goal without outside help.

More specifically, QP and the Qatari government knew they would need partners with plenty of cash, experience, and access to gas liquefaction technology. They also knew they would need partners that were willing to absorb the risks involved in opening up a new frontier. As it happened, Mobil met all these criteria.

Africa’s future LNG producers like Senegal, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, Tanzania, Congo, Cameroon, South Africa, Nigeria and Angola will need help too. Like Qatar, they will need to pair up with IOCs that can help cover the costs of establishing a new sector of industry, that have experience in handling all of the physical and logistical complications of such projects, and that can supply the sophisticated technologies needed to compress and cool gas into a liquid state that can be transported by tanker. Also like Qatar, they will need investors that are ready to build this sector of the economy from the ground up (this last point is particularly important in countries such as Mozambique, Tanzania, Senegal and South Africa that are trying to launch LNG projects in short order after the first discoveries of gas.)

Staying flexible

Qatargas’ original plan called for starting small, with domestic gasification, and then scaling up – first by building pipelines, a type of infrastructure that had already been in use for the better part of a century, and then by taking on the more complicated task of building a gas liquefaction plant, marine terminal, and other associated facilities. But as noted above, efforts to move the pipeline phase of the project forward foundered due to unexpected obstacles.

Instead of focusing on these obstacles, Qatargas decided instead to take a different approach. It accepted that its efforts to draw up new plans and engage in further negotiations had failed, and it moved on. It dispensed with the second phase of the project altogether and got to work on the third phase. And that marked the first step of Qatar’s journey to becoming the largest LNG producer in the world.

This is an important lesson for Africa’s future LNG producers: sometimes the original plan simply doesn’t work out, even when all parties make good-faith efforts to resolve their differences. So, it’s time to try something different. It’s time to look for a new solution. For example, if an African gas producer reluctantly concludes that there’s no way to build an onshore gas liquefaction plant without incurring unacceptable environmental, financial, or social risks, it shouldn’t give up. Instead, it should look into floating LNG (FLNG) options or consider the possibility of using gas liquefaction facilities in a neighboring country.

Resource management

Qatar can also teach African gas producers a thing or two about resource management. This is a crucial consideration for QP and its partners in Qatargas, since most of their feedstock comes from a single source – the North field. This field may be huge, but it is hardly inexhaustible. In fact, Doha imposed a moratorium on new development initiatives at North in 2005, saying that it needed to conduct a thorough study of the site in order to assess its long-term potential and keep reservoir pressure at adequate levels.

The moratorium was not permanent. Qatar’s government lifted it in 2017, and QP responded by drawing up plans for the North Field Expansion (NFE) project and for the construction of new gas liquefaction facilities. In September of this year, the company said it had shortlisted several firms and invited to bid for the NFE contract.

These events are significant because they demonstrate that Qatar wants to keep its LNG plants in business for a long, long time. They show that the country is willing to accept some short-term setbacks in order to ensure that its largest source of gas can remain in production over the long term.

Again, Qatar’s example should give African gas producers food for thought. It shows that there are good reasons for taking a measured approach to the development of major reserves – and that the LNG sector can keep growing even when key feedstock suppliers must abide by certain restrictions on production levels. In other words, it serves as a reminder that Africa ought to do more than simply extract and sell its gas. African producers should aim to develop their resources in ways that offer the most benefit to the most people for the most amount of time.

Making our own luck

Of course, Qatar owes some of its success to sheer luck. Its gas sector emerged at a time when the country was highly motivated to find a replacement for dwindling oil revenues, when demand for gas was on the rise, when there were few viable alternative markets in the region, and when Mobil happened to be on the lookout for a new LNG project following the maturation of the Arun field in Indonesia.

Once again, Africa can’t duplicate Qatar’s experience. It can’t count on that sort of luck, on everything coming together at just the right time.

But it can learn from Qatar’s example – and create a little bit of its own luck. Hopefully, Africa can benefit from the fact that global demand for gas is still rising and will continue to do so for some time, even as more and more consumers pin their hopes on renewable energy. Now is certainly a good time to try – not least because LNG projects should also generate interest in gas-to-power projects and other African initiatives. The Gas Exporting Countries Forum’s meeting in Malabo Equatorial Guinea will be a good start.

*Africa Energy Chamber. NJ Ayuk is an experienced oil and gas dealmaker who heads the Pan-African legal conglomerate Centurion Law Group and serves as executive chairman of the African Energy Chamber (https://EnergyChamber.org/). He is a passionate advocate of the idea that oil and gas can help propel economic development in Africa, as detailed in his newly released book, Billions at Play: The Future of African Energy and Doing Deals.

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G20 Investment Summit: Voith signs comprehensive service and operations consultancy contract for Ethiopian hydropower plant
November 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

  • Signing of the contract in attendance of the Federal Minister for Economics and Energy Peter Altmaier and the Minister of Energy of Ethiopia Dr. Seleshi Bekele
  • Stable energy supply as a foundation for further social and economical development
  • Enormous hydropower pontential in Ethiopia
(from left to right) Dr. Seleshi Bekele, Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, and Mark Claessen, Managing Director Voith Hydro East Africa in the attendance of Peter Altmaier, German Federal Minister for Economics and Energy.
(from left to right) Dr. Seleshi Bekele, Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, and Mark Claessen, Managing Director Voith Hydro East Africa in the attendance of Peter Altmaier, German Federal Minister for Economics and Energy.

HEIDENHEIM, Germany. The technology group Voith has signed a comprehensive service and operations consultancy contract for the Ethiopian hydropower plant Gilgel Gibe II during the „G20 Investment Summit” on November 19 in Berlin, Germany. The agreement was signed by the Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity Dr. Seleshi Bekele and Mark Claessen, Managing Director Voith Hydro East Africa in the attendance of Peter Altmaier, the German Federal Minister for Economics and Energy. The investor summit took place within the „G20-Initiative Compact with Africa”. Twelve Heads of State of the African Compact partner countries as well as South Africa, acting as G20 partner of the intitiative, were attending the summit.

Focus on plant availability and resource optimization
Central aspect of the two-year service and operations consultancy contract is the optimization of the energy production of the hydropower plant Gilgel Gibe II with an current output of 420 megawatts. Voith’s scope of supply comprises the modernization of the maintenance systems, the implementation of digital solutions and the knowledge transfer through special training programs. All local activities are exclusivly provided by Ethiopian Voith experts.

„Together with the plant operator Ethiopian Electric Power we want to utilize the whole potential of the hydropower plant Gilgel Gibel II. We succeed in this by reduzing unplanned downtimes and failures to a minimum”, says Mark Claessen, Managing Director Voith Hydro East Africa. „A stable and sustainable energy supply is the foundation for social and economical development in Ethiopia and many other African countries.”

Another component for a reliable energy supply in Africa
The hydropower plant Gilgel Gibel II is located about 300 km south-east of the Ethiopian capital Addis Abeba. Voith supplied four Pelton turbines and generators as well as the entire mechanical and electrical equipment and also trained the plant operator’s staff. Before Gilgel Gibe II went into operation, only 15 per cent of Ethiopia’s villages were connected to the power grid. Now, half of the rural settlements are supplied with power. In total, Ethiopian hydropower plants with Voith technology supply up to 900,000 households in the country with clean and sustainable electricity.

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

With a hydropower potential of 45,000 megawatts, Ethiopia has one of the largest hydropower resources on the African continent. Since 2011, the country supports the development of renewable energy and wants to become an energy hub for East Africa in the medium term.

About the Voith Group
The Voith Group is a global technology company. With its broad portfolio of systems, products, services and digital applications, Voith sets standards in the markets of energy, oil & gas, paper, raw materials and transport & automotive. Founded in 1867, the company today has more than 19,000 employees, sales of € 4.2 billion and locations in over 60 countries worldwide and is thus one of the larger family-owned companies in Europe.

The Group Division Voith Hydro is part of the Voith Group and a leading full-line supplier as well as trusted partner for equipping hydropower plants. Voith develops customized, long-term solutions and services for large and small hydro plants all over the world. Its portfolio of products and services covers the entire life cycle and all major components for large and small hydro plants, from generators, turbines, pumps and automation systems, right through to spare parts, maintenance and training services, and digital solutions for intelligent hydropower.

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$1 Million Awarded to African Entrepreneurs in Grand Finale of the Jack Ma Foundation Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative
November 17, 2019 | 0 Comments

The aim of the prize is to support and inspire the next generation of African entrepreneurs who are building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future
ACCRA, Ghana, November 17, 2019/ — Last night the Jack Ma Foundation hosted its first annual Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI) (https://www.Netpreneur.Africa/) grand finale awarding $1 million in prize money to 10 entrepreneurs from across Africa.

The ANPI is a flagship initiative of the Jack Ma Foundation, created by Jack Ma after his first trip to Africa in 2017. The aim of the prize is to support and inspire the next generation of African entrepreneurs who are building a more sustainable and inclusive economy for the future. In its inaugural year, nearly 10,000 entrepreneurs from 50 countries across the continent applied. The Jack Ma Foundation has committed to running the competition for 10 years.

The finale event, called “Africa’s Business Heroes,” was held in Accra, Ghana, where the top 10 finalists pitched their businesses directly to four prestigious judges including Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba Group and the Jack Ma Foundation; Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet Group; Ibukun Awosika, Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and Founder/CEO of The Chair Centre Group; and Joe Tsai, Executive Vice Chairman of Alibaba.

The specifics of the prize pool division is listed below. Each finalist is receiving a share of $1 million.

The top three finalists were:Temie Giwa-Tubosun, founder and CEO, LifeBank  (https://LifeBank.ng/) ( Nigeria) – First Place, winning $250,000Dr. Omar Sakr, founder and CEO, Nawah-Scientific (https://Nawah-Scientific.com/) (Egypt) – Second Place, winning $150,000Christelle Kwizera, founder, Water Access Rwanda (https://www.WARwanda.com/) (Rwanda) – Third Place, winning $100,000
“It was an incredible honor to be named Africa’s Business Hero. I was truly inspired by my fellow winners at today’s Netpreneur Summit. The Africa Netpreneur Prize will give me the resources to grow LifeBank and expand our presence in Nigeria and throughout the rest of Africa. I look forward to continuing my journey to solve problems and make a significant impact on the future of Africa,” said Temie Giwa-Tubosun, Founder and CEO of LifeBank.

The remaining finalists, who each received $65,000, are listed below:Waleed Abd El Rahman, CEO, Mumm (https://www.getMumm.com/) (Egypt)Ayodeji Arikawe, co-founder, Thrive Agric (https://ThriveAgric.com/)(Nigeria)Mahmud Johnson, founder and CEO, J-Palm  (https://www.JPalmshop.com/) (Liberia)Kevine Kagirimpundu, co-founder and CEO, UZURI K&Y  (https://shop.UZURIKY.com/) (Rwanda)Dr. Tosan J. Mogbeyiteren, founder, Black Swan (https://bit.ly/2OjgHFY) (Nigeria)Chibuzo Opara, co-founder, DrugStoc (https://www.DrugStoc.com/) (Nigeria)Moulaye Taboure, co-founder and CEO, Afrikrea (https://www.Afrikrea.com/)  (Cote D’Ivoire)
“The finalists who competed in ‘Africa’s Business Heroes’ should be an inspiration for Africa and for the world. Each of these entrepreneurs looked at big challenges facing their communities, and saw them as opportunities,” said Jack Ma, Founder of the Alibaba Group and Jack Ma Foundation. “It is my strong belief that entrepreneur heroes, like these finalists, will change the world – creating companies that drive inclusive growth and opportunity for the continent. Everyone is a winner tonight.”

“This competition demonstrates the overwhelming entrepreneurial talent that exists across Africa. I’m very excited about the future of industry and entrepreneurship for this continent,” said Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet Group. “The top 10 truly show the limitless potential of African business.”

“What really struck me about the finalists was that they each addressed specific African problems with a specific African solution in a fresh way, leveraging technology that wasn’t available previously,” said Ibukun Awosika, Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and Founder/CEO of The Chair Centre Group. “If this is an indication of the future of entrepreneurship on the continent, then Africa’s future looks bright.”

“Africa’s Business Heroes” will be televised in a two-hour special throughout Africa. The journeys of the finalists as well as their pitches and business insights from the judges will all be included in this exciting television event.

You can watch “Africa’s Business Heroes” on the following dates and channels:December 13, 2019 – ROK 3 on DSTVDecember 14, 2019 – NOVELA and Sports Focus on StarTimes
Check your local listings for specific channel and airing times.

The initiative will host a pitch competition where 10 finalists from across the continent will compete for $1 million in total prize money every year through 2028. All entrepreneurs across Africa, are encouraged to apply. Entries for next year’s prize will open in the first half of 2020.

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