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Tanzania: African Development Bank approves $120 million loan to build Malagarasi Hydropower Project
November 27, 2020 | 0 Comments

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank have approved a $120 million loan to fund the construction of a 50 MW hydropower plant in Western Tanzania that will provide reliable renewable energy to households, schools, clinics and small and medium-sized enterprises in the Kigoma Region.

The Malagarasi Hydropower project has several components: a run-of-the-river hydropower plant facility; a 54- km, 132 kV transmission line that will connect to Tanzania’s national grid; a distribution network expansion operation that includes rural electrification and last-mile connections; project management and contract administration support; and compensation and resettlement of affected persons.

Bank President Adesina Akinwumi noted that the approval of the project “is a reflection of the Bank’s commitment to assist the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania to accelerate its transition to more inclusive and sustainable growth through the production of clean, reliable and affordable electricity.”

The project’s overall project cost is estimated at $144.14 million.  The bulk of the funding ($120 million) will be sourced from the Bank Group’s sovereign window, with an additional $20 million contributed by the Africa Growing Together Fund –  a co-financing fund with resources from the government of the People’s Republic of China that is administered by the Bank. The Government of Tanzania will provide the remaining $4.14 million.

The hydropower plant’s expected average annual output of 181 GWh will meet the electricity needs of as many as 133,649 Kigoma households, bringing the region’s electrification rate more closely in line with the rest of the country.

The project is expected to create about 700 jobs during construction, cut the region’s electricity generation costs to approximately $0.04/kWh from the current $0.33/kWh, and also reduce reliance on greenhouse gas-emitting fossil fuels. The cost of doing business will also fall because industry will no longer need to maintain costly back-up generators.

The project aligns with Tanzania’s national Development Vision 2025 and its Second Five-Year Development Plan (2016/17 – 2020/21) and complements other regional initiatives, including the North West Grid 400 kV Nyakanazi-Kigoma transmission line project, which the Bank is financing in parallel with the South Korea Economic Development Co-operation Fund.

The Malagarasi Project will also directly contribute to the Bank’s Light Up & Power Africa High-5 development priority, which is being implemented through the institution’s New Deal on Energy for Africa strategy. 

Commenting on the Board’s approval, Henry Batchi Baldeh, Director of the Bank’s Power Systems Development Department noted that the project is “one of the flagship physical infrastructure investments in the Government of the Tanzania’s Development Vision 2025 and Tanzania’s current Five-Year Development Plan, and that it will increase the share of renewable energy in Tanzania’s energy mix.”

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Put small-scale traders at the heart of efforts to accelerate trade and investment in Africa post COVID-19
November 27, 2020 | 0 Comments

The AfCFTA will not in one dramatic swoop alter existing commercial and economic realities on a vast scale, but its implementation could lead the recovery efforts from the COVID-19 crisis – Solomon Quaynor, VP African Development Bank

Industry experts meeting this week for a virtual discussion focused on resetting, retooling and restarting regional integration in Africa in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, underscored the importance of putting small scale traders at the heart of any initiatives.

The joint webinar, organized on Tuesday by  the African Development Bank and Korea Customs Service(KCS), looked at service sectors, e-commerce, digital platforms and value chain development as critical factors for accelerating trade and investment in Africa against the backdrop of the global pandemic. The webinar was delivered in three sessions, moderated by Stephen Karangizi, Director, African Legal Support Facility; Dr. Stephen Karingi, Director at Regional Integration and Trade Division of UNECA and Acha Leke, Senior Partner at McKinsey

History has demonstrated the success of countries and businesses that seize new opportunities during times of crisis, said Sukhwan Roh, Commissioner of the Korea Customs Service. “The COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed health and livelihoods of individuals across  the world in less than a year,” he said. “Korea wishes to share all the achievements in system enhancement utilizing new technologies with African countries.”

The workshop’s audience heard how regional integration is increasingly central to the continent’s future economic prospects and to attracting foreign direct investment. The African Continental Free Trade Agreement, (AfCFTA),  already ratified by 30 countries, is expected to come into effect on 1 January, 2021. Uniting all 55 member states of the African Union, the pact will create a market of more than 1.2 billion people, including a growing middle class, and a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of over $3.4 trillion

COVID-19 has deepened pre-existing trade frictions within the continent yet offers  important growth  opportunities and great stories of innovation and highlights the importance of protecting Africa’s place in local value chains, said Anabel Gonzalez, Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics, with the need to “put small scale traders at the heart of the effort.”  She urged governments to strengthen national agencies to provide support to small traders.

“AfCFTA creates a new trade and integration reality…integrating unequal partners across the continent,” said Trudi Hartzenberg Executive Director of the Trade Law Center (TRALAC). Trade facilitation  enjoys specific focus within the AfCFTA, with digital, e-payments, and e-commerce particularly important, she added, citing a 2020 WTO report that emphasized education and healthcare as fundamental to industrialization.

From the outset, the African Development Bank has lent strong support to the AfCFTA, financing the set-up of its secretariat as well as supporting  member countries with technical assistance to  comply with  a range of AfCFTA regulations, said Bank Vice President, Infrastructure, Private Sector & Industrialization, Solomon Quaynor in his introductory remarks read by Abdu Mukhtar, Bank Director, Industrial and Trade Development Department.

Still, Quaynor warned, post-crisis recovery efforts are likely to be slow.  “The AfCFTA will not in one dramatic swoop alter existing commercial and economic realities on a vast scale. However, through strategic measures and the right investments, policy frameworks and political backing, intra-African trade will be enhanced.“

African countries innovate to enhance local value chains

Presentations provided examples from Ghana and Zambia of strategies the private sector can adopt to leverage the AfCFTA within the context of the pandemic.

Ghana previously imported most of its Personal Protective Equipment or PPE, but, since the pandemic, the government galvanized 14 local garment firms to manufacture PPE. These firms now produce 1,000 items daily,  according to Ghana’s deputy trade minister, Robert Ahomka Lindsay. The development has created 10,000 jobs.

“ Traditional value chains have been challenged… it made us realise that we cannot rely on those value chains,” Lindsay said.

Some of the worst-affected sectors in Africa such as tourism, aviation and education, had shown resilience, for example, in the food industry, which harnessed e-commerce for marketing during the pandemic, noted Kenneth Baghamunda, Dir. General, Customs and Trade, East African Community Secretariat. Zambia’s success with cashless payment solutions at its border and other innovations since COVID-19 was another example of favourable results.

“We need to see which value chains need to be developed and we need to interconnect our policies with the right institutional framework,” he said.

*AfDB

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Youssou N’Dour, Graca Machel, Akinwumi Adesina discuss building back better after COVID-19 at Civil Society Forum
November 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

  • Harness civil society’s “incredible potential to accelerate social change at scale” – Graça Machel
  • “Africa’s time is now. This should not only be words or prayers. It is within reach. I’m sure (the African Development Bank) will be able to meet this challenge” – Youssou N’Dour
  • “We will work much harder, collectively and in unison, to accelerate the impact of our work” – Akinwumi Adesina

Artists should be on the frontline of Africa’s development, given their pivotal role as communicators, Youssou N’Dour, musician, businessman and former Culture and Tourism Minister of Senegal, said at the opening of the 2020 African Development Bank Civil Society Forum.

The two-day CSO Forum kicked off on Thursday under the theme “Engaging Civil Society in building back better after COVID-19”.

The virtual event opened with remarks from senior Bank officials, including Wambui Gichuri, Acting Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Vanessa Moungar, Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society, and President Akinwumi Adesina, with Graça Machel, Chair of the Graça Machel Trust, representing the civil society.

Adesina later engaged in a conversation with Machel and N’Dour.

“The role of civil society in monitoring interventions is crucial and important to ensure they are effectively deployed to reach the poor and vulnerable, who are most affected,” Adesina said, adding that the Bank would step up its efforts in the area.

Adesina said the critical issue was not the amount of funds that are provided by the Bank and others, but who they reach, adding that transparency and accountability are also critical.

Machel noted the Bank’s strong track record of working with governments and the private sector. She appealed for increased Bank funding to directly support civil society efforts to address the impact of the pandemic on the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach families in our societies.

“These organisations stepped up, often with limited resources and in very dangerous conditions, to save lives and restore dignity to communities in the midst of this pandemic,” she said. “Resources for organisations working with women, children and those living with disabilities and in the rural areas are desperately needed.”

Machel noted that channeling resources to strengthen the civil society sector as it responds to the challenges that COVID-19 has unearthed, would harness their “incredible potential to accelerate social change at scale”. Supporting women in particular would help to reap long-term dividends, she said.

For N’Dour, artists should be on the frontline of Africa’s development, given their pivotal role as communicators.

“Even in a place where there is oil, if there is no culture to explain this to the people, there is war…We should be able to say after (President Adesina’s) term that culture has been involved in the development of Africa,” he said, speaking in French via an interpreter.

“Culture is profitable and I’m available to provide my assistance, to work with my staff to create other champions in Africa, to take the African Development Bank’s work to another level,” N’Dour said.

The forum will explore cost-effective strategies and reflect on best practices to enhance collaboration between the Bank and civil society, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The second day of the forum will be dedicated to sessions led by civil society organizations, which will provide a space to develop innovative grassroots ideas.

*AfDB

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AFRAA’s 52nd AGA Maps Way for a New Era for the Air Transport Industry in Africa
November 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

Nairobi, Kenya – 10th November, 2020: The African Airlines Association (AFRAA) concluded its 52nd Annual General Assembly today with a rallying call for airlines to take specific measures to build resilience and emerge stronger after the crisis. The Assembly further called for a multi-sectorial and pragmatic approach by governments and stakeholders to support the recovery of air transport industry and interrelated sectors such as tourism.

The AGA, which was hosted by TAAG Angola Airlines, was held in virtual format under the theme: “Redefining Air Transport for a New Era”. The Assembly brought together top African airline CEO’s, industry partners, leaders of international and regional air transport associations including the African union, IATA, ICAO, AFCAC, TIACA and more than 400 delegates from 76 nationalities across the globe.

Speaking as Chief Guest; His Excellency, the Transport Minister of the Republic of Angola Mr. Ricardo de Abreu said:” We are conscious of the enabling role that aviation plays in facilitating trade and growing our economies. As we collectively navigate these times, we will seek to emerge from this pandemic more resilient, organized and determined to succeed”

In a comprehensive analysis of the industry’s outlook for 2021 and beyond that was presented in AFRAA’s annual report it was noted that recovery of traffic in Africa is expected to start with domestic markets. Intra-African routes are projected to follow suit, while international traffic is expected to take more time to reach pre-crisis levels due to a challenging operating environment.

Mr. Abdérahmane Berthé, AFRAA’s Secretary General, remarked “This is a pivotal moment in our history as we aim to reposition the African air transport market towards recovery and sustainability. Now more than ever, operational challenges faced by African Airlines have to be prioritized and addressed, especially the high taxes and charges that hinder the growth and recovery of carriers on the continent. On our part as AFRAA, we tackled the crisis by resolutely pivoting our strategic and tactical resources to support recovery efforts. We have launched an interactive capacity sharing portal to provide access to market-leading services to African airlines, and developed a recovery plan revolving around 9 pillars of interest to the sector and a comprehensive strategic plan that is geared towards helping the industry meet its aspirations.”

During the Assembly, key stakeholders emphasized the importance of coordinated efforts and a collaborative approach as a way to secure business continuity. An appeal was made to governments and development financial institutions to continue supporting the industry as a means to secure the continent’s social and economic recovery given the sector’s strategic contribution to national GDP.

TAAG Angola Chief Executive Officer Mr. Rui Carreira said: “Our strategic deliberations at this 52nd AGA have set the foundation for the recovery and successful restart of our industry. Although we foresee a slow recovery, we are currently implementing key measures that will restore passenger confidence and optimize our operations for a more affordable and successful industry.”

This year’s summit saw the expansion of AFRAA’s fraternity with two new members including: Overland Airways Limited and Syphax Airways; bringing  the association’s membership to 47 African airlines. Similarly, De Havilland Canada, PRODIGY Avia Solutions Limited and South African Tourism joined the Associations’ partnership programme which serves as a forum for industry-related organizations to support the development of air transport in Africa.

The 52nd AFRAA AGA re-elected Mr. Rui CarreiraPresident of the Association for the year 2021. Mr. Desire Bantu Balazire, Chief Executive of Congo Airways was elected Chairman of the Executive Committee. Ms.Yvonne Makolo Chief Executive of RwandAir was elected 1st Vice Chairperson of the Executive Committee while Ms Amal Mint Maouloud, CEO of Mauritania Airlines was elected 2nd Vice Chairperson for the year 2021.

About AFRAA

The African Airlines Association, also known by its acronym AFRAA, is a trade association of airlines from the member states of the African Union (AU). Founded in Accra, Ghana, in April 1968, and headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, AFRAA’s mission is to promote, serve African Airlines and champion Africa’s aviation industry. The Association envisions a sustainable, interconnected and affordable Air Transport industry in Africa where African Airlines become key players and drivers to African economic development.

AFRAA membership of 47 airlines cuts across the entire continent and includes all the major intercontinental African operators. The Association members represent over 85% of total international traffic carried by African airlines.

About TAAG Angola

TAAG Angola Airlines S.A (Portuguese: TAAG Linhas Aéreas de Angola S.A.) is the state-owned airline and flag carrier of Angola. Based in Luanda, the airline operates a mixed fleet of Boeing and Havilland Dash 8 Q400 on domestic services within Angola, medium-haul services in Africa and long-haul services to Brazil, Cuba, and Portugal. The airline was originally set up by the government as DTA – Divisão dos Transportes Aéreos in 1938, rechristened TAAG Angola Airlines in 1973, and gained flag carrier status in 1975. TAAG is currently a member of both the African Airlines Association and the International Air Transport Association. The airline has commercial partnerships with Kenya Airways, South African Airways, LAM, Royal Air Maroc, Air France, KLM and Lufthansa and Brussels Airlines.

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African industrialist launches million-dollar venture capital fund for African entrepreneurs
November 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

African industrialist Adam Molai
African industrialist Adam Molai

African industrialist Adam Molai has launched a $1-million fund to provide entrepreneurs with capital to kickstart or expand their enterprises, in a massive boost for start-up businesses in Africa,it has been revealed.

 The JUA [sunrise in KiSwahili] Kickstarter Fund will provide successful applicants with funds – to launch or grow their businesses – as well as mentoring and guidance.

Entrepreneurs from across Africa are invited to apply.

The entire application process is electronic and funds are expected to be disbursed to successful applicants within 12 weeks of their shortlisting, in a first for Africa.

 It is reported that while SMMEs are indispensable for Africa’s economic recovery from Covid-19 devastation, raising start-up capital is one of the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs on the continent, with banks requiring collateral that most of them do not have, studies show.

Another big challenge is the absence of mentoring.

Molai, who has successfully started several enterprises across Africa and whose TRT Investments had $125-million of assets under management as of end 2019, says a desire to inspire the Continent’s entrepreneurial generation was behind the creation of the fund.

“Without entrepreneurs, economies cannot grow and countries cannot advance. But African entrepreneurs unfortunately do not get the support they need to thrive for a myriad of reasons. Yet Africa is full of enterprising people.

“Wherever there is adversity, there is opportunity. Africa is rife with adversity, wherever you turn business prospects are in abundance. Entrepreneurs provide solutions to societal challenges, whilst creating space for the advancement of their communities. I feel that Africa is so much more open and it is full of so much more opportunity than you would find elsewhere. I want to do everything in my power to ensure that this potential is cultivated and unleashed.”

Molai says the inspiration to create the JUA FUND was to highlight the importance of African businesspeople, tangibly demonstrating their confidence in the talent and entrepreneurial capacity that is within the Continent.

“When people see Africans investing in our own environment, they feel more confident to invest alongside us. Confidence breeds confidence. And I am nothing if not confident in the future of Africa and in what we can collectively achieve,” he says.

“For decades we’ve looked to governments to create a conducive environment for entrepreneurship to thrive in Africa. Governments alone will not achieve this without entrepreneurs also investing into creating more entrepreneurs. For true success, there is need for this symbiotic approach buttressed by supportive policies,” adds Molai.   

Molai says one of the critical differentiators of the fund will be how fast money is disbursed to successful applicants.

“Cash flow is essential to the survival of small and emerging businesses. Studies have shown that cash flow is one of the major reasons why small and emerging businesses fail within the first two to five years. So, we have committed to ensuring disbursement to successful applicants within 12 weeks,” he says.

Molai says he hopes the JUA FUND, as well as his and other successful entrepreneurs’ experiences, will inspire in young Africans the desire to start their own enterprises and not wait to seek out jobs.

“Unfortunately, too many young people today access opportunities to higher education, study for jobs, as youth unemployment continues to rise – producing a schooled, unskilled and unemployed generation. Others don’t pursue education or entrepreneurship because they think that becoming part of political patronage networks is an easier path to wealth.

“This attitude kills the inspiration, the desire to dream, create and build something out of very little resources or nothing. I believe this is one of the greatest threats to our continent’s economic growth ambitions, and I am hoping that the JUA FUND will play its part in transforming Africa’s entrepreneurial landscape,” says Molai.

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Emirates Airlines “still interested in flying to Mozambique”
November 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Jorge Joaquim

Emirates Airlines. one of the largest airlines in the world, remains interested in providing flights to Mozambique, the United Arab Emirates’ ambassador to Mozambique, Khalid Shohail, said in an interview with Notícias. 

Shohail said that Emirates should have been flying to the country since June, but restrictions to contain the spread of covid-19 had delayed the start of flights.

Emirates will fly from Dubai, via Maputo, to Gaborone in Botswana, and teams from the Mozambican government and the company are currently working to get the flights off the ground soon, the paper reported.

The go-ahead for Emirates flights to Maputo had been given after the company had completed a commercial viability study.

In recent years, several international airlines have expressed an interest in operating in Mozambique.

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AfDB to set up pan-African Private Equity Fund for Agriculture
November 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Jorge Joaquim

AFDB President Dr Akinwumi Adesina places great importance on agriculture

The African Development Bank is currently working with other partners to design a pan-African Private Equity Fund for Agriculture, FAFINA, the AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina revealed on Tuesday.

FAFINA – Fund for Agricultural Finance in Africa, should help African agricultural systems to become modern, integrated, and well-supported to achieve production and processing of food and agricultural products, and farm inputs, at scale.

Talking on Tuesday when he presented the keynote address during a virtual ceremony to mark the 10th Anniversary of the Sahel Capital, Adesina  said Africa should end being a supplier of raw materials by developing competitive national and regional agricultural value chains.

“Experiences from Sahel Capital on the FAFIN Fund will help as we now scale up interventions to support small and medium sized food and agribusiness companies across Africa,” he adding that agriculture is Africa’s number one comparative advantage and that transforming agriculture is the fastest way to create wealth and jobs in the continent.

“We must have chocolate factories, we must have garment and textile factories, dairy factories, and meat processing factories.

“The youth must be encouraged and supported to move into agriculture as a business to create greater value and wealth for the sector, driven by their innovations and business acumen” he said, “I am impressed with the large numbers of youth now moving into agriculture”.

The Bank has provided $406 million to support 23,000 young agripreneurs in 14 countries.

Just last week, the Bank supported $ 120,000 cash prize awards for dynamic youth-owned agribusinesses powering innovations across the agricultural value chains.

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Zimbabwe Shines as It Officially Launches 1st Nissan Electric Car .
November 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu Munhumutapa.

Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority inspired by the need to keep the World Green for sustainable business all around officially launches for the 1st time a Nissan Leaf Electric car.  The event occurred on 26 November at a glamorous ground breaking event in Harare.

The occasion attended by Chief Engineers, Government officials, Captains of Motor Industry marked the launch of an electric car, a modern move to consummate global green World standards. The emerging technology lies on efficiency and reliability. This is towards a low carbon economy.

Energy and Power Development Minister Honorable Soda believes Zimbabwe is towards achievements of its targets in terms of sustainable development. The targets take look at reducing green- house gas emissions, use of clean energy for sustainable development.

‘’This is to promote and encourage the expansion and advancement of technology related to petroleum and electricity ‘’

‘’Our mandate is derived from three [3] legal statutes which are Energy Regulatory Authority Act of 2011, Petroleum Act 2006 and Electricity Act of 2002. It is there-fore time to celebrate dispensation of a pollution free Green World ‘’.

‘’Companies are encouraged to invest in electric vehicles in order to go green all the time. We move the e-vehicle, making it easy to manage on petroleum. It tells more about sustainability for future generations.

He notes that the future of e-vehicle technology is in the hands of everyone.’’ It talks to us about Zimbabwe becoming an upper-middle Income Economy by 2030.’’  He points out clearly that this is in line with President Mnangagwa’s 2030 vision.

‘’e-vehicle will change this World by addressing issues of climate-change and scarcity of fuel’’ , points it out Engineer  Eddington Mazmbani, Chief Executive Officer of ZERA [Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority .

 ‘’Zero emissions from an efficient engine. This is marvelous to all of us as we save energy issues that remain a challenge in our everyday life. We are now in a new smart World of real sustainable development’’,

Consumers are set to receive the best of clean energy all around to save the earth on the effects of emissions of green-house gases. In order to take this for reality by the end of the day in future we propose these cars to be charged electricity at fuel service stations fed with solar energy and hydro-electricity.

‘’We are pushing for service stations to do the charging of electric energy at service stations. These must serve these electric cars using solar and hydro-power. It is not advisable to use Thermal energy. Off-course, using thermal power from Hwange Power Station is as good as defeating the purpose of using this kind of car because we will be using more and more of thermal power derived from coal. It burns more there at the main power station there-by causing more emissions.

‘’Secondly, we have to push for Government to make it a point that those who import such kind of cars into the country have duty free service at the boarders. This encourages more and more buyers. The car is just 30% more in terms of its price as compared to an ordinary vehicle of the same type which are not electrified.

‘’Technology is here to stay but it started long back in 1930. Thus, when solar powered vehicles were talked of but only that it was a time when cars were few, we had less challenges in line with transport at the same time the era of climate-change was not yet there.’’  Says ZERA Consumer Services Manager Engineer Nobert Mataruse .

Rwanda 1n 2019 launched a Volkswagen vehicle which was the 1st one in Africa. It is however noted clearly that some other countries have similar type of cars. The Nissan Car was bought from Development Power Africa subsidiary of ECONET a mobile Service provider.

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African Energy Chamber Offers Guide for Reforms for Equatorial Guinea’s Oil & Gas Sector
November 26, 2020 | 0 Comments
To support recovery and boost investment, the African Energy Chamber’s 2021 Outlook offers several pragmatic solutions.

 The African Energy Chamber organized a Power Breakfast yesterday in Malabo to mark the launch of its Africa Energy Outlook 2021. The event gathered all of the Chamber’s partners and industry stakeholders in Equatorial Guinea as the market embarks on a path to recovery in 2021.

Despite its remarkable resilience, Equatorial Guinea’s oil sector is facing the same dire situation as the rest of global energy markets: plunging oil prices, uncertain demand and dry of capital on the back of the energy transition. In such a context, the country has embarked early on an ambitious investment outreach programme with the Year of Energy 2020 and the Year of Investment 2021. Key priorities include boosting local content, expanding midstream and downstream gas infrastructure, opening up the Rio Muni to onshore oil & gas activities, and leveraging on the country’s tremendous minerals and mining potential to further diversify the economy.

In its latest 2021 Outlook however, the African Energy Chamber has called on African governments and industry stakeholders to come together and do more to support the sector’s competitiveness and attractiveness. A key concern for Equatorial Guinea’s oil & gas industry remains the lack of competitiveness of its fiscal terms and the lack of an attractive enabling environment that supports local private sector growth and jobs creation. “The time for fiscal reforms in Equatorial Guinea and the CEMAC region is now. If we do not act now, our companies risk going bankrupt, our economic parameters will worsen and our jobs will be in jeopardy,” declared Leoncio Amada NZE, CEO of APEX Industries and Head of the CEMAC Region at the African Energy Chamber.

To support recovery and boost investment, the African Energy Chamber’s 2021 Outlook offers several pragmatic solutions. The Chamber has issued a call to action to policy makers and stakeholders around the adoption of bold fiscal reforms and the modernization of regulatory frameworks to bring back investors’ confidence. Similarly, the Chamber is increasingly engaging with financial institutions and banks on making capital more easily available to local entrepreneurs.

Finally, the 2021 Outlook also calls for a much wider adoption of natural gas across the economy, and a stronger industry dialogue to boost capacity building. “It would help if governments across the region caucus with international oil companies and the petroleum industry as a whole when drafting policies that are going to affect the industry. The voices of local and international investors need to be heard in order to adopt market-driven policies,” declared Simon Smith, Vice President and Country Manager at Marathon Oil Corporation.

Equatorial Guinea is ideally positioned to lead such a recovery, because of its political will and leadership and its established gas industry. “There is tremendous pressure from NGOs and green energy lobbyists, but there is still a future for the oil and gas industry in Africa. We have the right to exploit our natural resources to build our economies, and our natural gas potential offers such an opportunity,” added Oscar García Bernico, General Director of State Entities at the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons. The Chamber has indeed highlighted how Africa’s gas potential, much more important than oil, is a key advantage for the continent as it seeks to embraced the energy transition and retain foreign capital.

The high-level reunion highlighted that, once again, the future is in the industry’s hands but the ability of policy makers and industry stakeholders to work together on a more ambitious set of reforms will be a deciding factor of the upcoming recovery. In doing so, the country will be ably to rely once again on leadership of H.E. Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons. Both at home and abroad in key institutions such as OPEC, GECF or APPO, he has always been central to advocating for the interests of the local industry and the rest of Africa at large. In this context, Equatorial Guinea has strong cards to play, and is thankfully already embarked on landmark projects that can set it apart from years to come, from the development of an offshore gas megahub in the Gulf of Guinea to the expansion of its refining and gas monetization infrastructure at Punta Europa.

*African Energy Chamber

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A common roadmap to spread the benefits of West Africa’s blue treasure
November 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

ECOWAS has adopted a common and detailed plan to unlock the potential of fisheries and aquaculture for nutrition, welfare and sustainable growth

AMADOU TALL & SIDIBÉ ABOUBACAR*

Freshly harvested fish from aquaculture.
photo credit©FAO/ Mamadou Sene

Fish is key to the economy of Sierra Leone, where it contributes up to 10 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). However, the enormous potential of West Africa’s ‘blue treasure’ – its fisheries and aquaculture resources – is yet to be fully unlocked.

Treasures, however, must be managed wisely. Otherwise, there is a risk that a few reap all the benefits, or that a short-term approach results in the wealth being squandered away. This is why the ECOWAS member states have recently validated a common new roadmap (the Comprehensive Strategic Framework for Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, or CSFS FAD) to sustainably develop the sector and make it work for nutrition, welfare and sustainable growth.

Building on a series of diagnostics of the situation and policies of fisheries and aquaculture in each of the member countries, and taking a participatory, inclusive and fair approach (both arising from the European Union-funded FIRST and PESCAO programmes), the new framework aims at coordinating the efforts of all stakeholders (governments, small-scale fisherfolk, private actors, women, youth…) from all countries.

There is no shortage of challenges in sustainably spreading this blue wealth. Missing strategic orientation and weak governance, legislative and regulatory basis, together with a lack of transparency and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing practices have contributed to fisheries resources depletion in the region. A coordinated and sustainable management of shared resources (e.g. through harmonized rules and policies) applied by skilled government authorities, in collaboration with non-state actors will be key.

In this regard, adopting an inclusive and top-down approach to regulate the sector can contribute to an effective solution, but will not suffice. Small-scale fisheries are a recognized driver of sustainable development, and policies and regulations affecting the sector will need to bring fisherfolk fully onboard to protect and strengthen their livelihoods. Protecting tenure and user rights is essential for a sustainable management of small‑scale fisheries and a sound development of aquaculture.

The fisheries resources are being exploited at their maximum levels and  protecting the resources and the fisherfolk may not be enough for fisheries and aquaculture to boost rural livelihoods and nutrition. Fish-based agrifood value chains need to be further developed and modernized. Post-harvest losses in the region are unsustainably high, due to the lack of infrastructure (e.g. transport or cold chains), and access to regional and international markets.

Achieving such modernization – and promoting fish consumption throughout the
region – will require more investments from public and private actors alike, while key partners such as the European Union and regional and international development banks continue to support the sector. In order to inform investment priorities, track progress and guarantee accountability, more data and information systems are needed: technical partners like the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) can make a major contribution in this field.

The recently-validated CSFS FAD provides a sound vision and a pertinent and coherent roadmap for ECOWAS member countries and all stakeholders to participate in protecting this invaluable natural resource and impartially sharing its benefits across sectors, countries and communities. With this framework, the boat is ready for all stakeholders to jump onboard and work together for a good (and sustainable) catch in the years to come. 

*Dr Amadou Tall is the leader of the Component 1 of PESCAO Programme (ECOWAS)

*Dr Sidibé Aboubacar is the policy officer of the Eu-FAO FIRST Programme in the ECOWAS.

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S. Sudan President Kiir; “we are not going back to war” amid lugging peace deal
November 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Deng Machol

President Salva Kiir

Juba – South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has said his country will not return to war despite the slow implementation of the fragile revitalized peace agreement.

It has already been a two year since the peace deal was signed in September 2018 by the warring parties but the implementation isn’t going well as it was expected.

“There are others who think that we may go back tomorrow to war, something that I always so no. I want to assure you that we are not going back to war.” President Kiir told a delegation of eminent personalities of church leaders from All African Conference of Churches and World Council of Churches on Friday in Juba.

Since the national cabinets were appointed in late February and then followed by the appointment of nine state governors in July, the governor for Upper Nile is yet to be named.

The national legislature and other state government structures have also not been established.

The unified forces is also yet to be graduated.

Week ago, the main opposition party — SPLM-IO said it will not submit the names of its nominees for local government and other positions if the governor for Upper Nile is not appointed.

But the SPLM-IO nominee, Gen. Johnson Olony is being rejected by the president Kiir, describes him (Olony) as an “active soldier who has not fully subjected himself to the peace and political development in Juba, and is not “within territories that are controlled by SPLM-IO or by the government.

Meanwhile, the church leaders had called on the president to complete the formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity.

However, the president revealed that he is ready to complete the formation of the unity government.

“I’m always begging my brother [Riek Machar] so that we conclude the agreement and we move forward for any projects that we want to initiate for our country,” said Kiir.

“Peace has now come to South Sudan and we are now at peace. You have witnessed it by yourself. In your sleep, you might have not been woken up by bullets being fired in the air or against the people, this is what we have stopped,” he added.

President Kiir further explained that “It takes time for the people to understand the agreement. It takes time for everybody to be convinced that there is peace. It is the implementation that is slow. It is slow because of the thinking of others.”

But experts said president Kiir and his vice president Dr. Riek Machar don’t have a political will to implement the peace deal.

South Sudan which emerged from the country’s five year of conflict that has killed nearly 400,000 people and uprooted four million people from their homes, is now facing huge challenges from COVID 19 and floodings.

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Zimbabwe: Parliament Beams Spotlight on Covid induced Gender Based Violence
November 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu Munhumutapa

Zimbabwe Parliamentary -Portfolio Committee on Gender has launched 16 days of gender- based violence, opening up can of worms in line with covid-19 and gender -based violence. Prevalence rate of GBV [Gender Based Violence] is high owing attention to other factors besides covid-19, Experts in Gender-Based-Violence speak out.

There are other line-affecting factors lying side-by side close to women and children especially those disabled, exposed to gender-based violence and stricken in poverty leading to vulnerability. The 2020 16 days is run under the theme   , ‘’Orange the World —- Fund ,Respond , Prevent and Collect’’ ….

Giving a thrilling presentation in Harare at a virtual platform UNFPA [United Nations Fund for Population Agency] Country Representative Esther Muia points out that women and children remain exposed to effects of gender-based violence in families and communities.

‘’Women and children remain burdened especially during this time of covid-19. Women are close to children; children are close to mothers because they get basic support from matriarchal parent. During covid-19, gender-based violence increased, exposing women and children further deep into poverty and vulnerability’’ .

‘’Women remain un-economically empowered during this time resources are scarce and out of reach. Women do domestic work of which they stand responsibility of food security especially in rural communities where they are 60% in Agriculture’’.

African countries must stand firm and resilient against a number of challenges artificially and naturally. Many of them become extremely impacted by several factors’ likely disasters, floods, hunger and drought caused by climate shocks above all.

‘’There are standing, blocking issues and core hindering factors which have reversed gains of women in communities. This is because of covid-19. Therefore, we need to see to it that they have support of men staying out of gender- based violence.’’

‘’In Africa the other side of the challenge story is a result of climate disasters, floods, drought and hunger that has affected many families exposing women and children mainly to hunger vulnerability. Those in large number are from rural marginalized communities ‘’.             

Speaking in perfect tones in line with peace, Lorraine Makawa a Parliamentarian notes that peace brings women in collective action, working together and social justice to address peace. She elaborates that peace in the African region is a weapon addressed by solving gender in-equality. This realizes the outcome of human development in the light of women empowerment.

 Interviewed at a Regional view point she notes that peace is the only weapon that has given freedom, liberal rights and emancipation of women in countries like Rwanda, Burundi, DRC, Angola which faced civil wars. She continued to state that war-torn African countries looked first at peace and conflict resolution, addressed equality then looked at women empowerment with children sorely at the center.

‘’Peace has freed women in war torn countries in the African continent like in Rwanda. Where there is no peace, gender- based violence increases. Like in the time we are we are affected. We have come up with one stop centers to accommodate survivors.

‘’We are implementing this in spot-light districts where gender-based- violence has been rife. We bring all services under one roof, police services, legal services and resources, tools, food and basic amenities to address this challenge.

‘’Women must engage in economic activities so that they must take care of children in terms of food provision. Empowerment there-fore is vital , crucial and important especially in covid-19 era . Action is the way out of such challenges. We note there are gaps. Our interventions are from funding partners. There has been Humanitarian crisis, thus the challenge among bigger challenges.’’ She says.

In the years back gender-based-violence in Africa has been fueled by patriarchy, male domination, culture, tradition and African customs among other causes. The mentioned factors are no-longer standing negatively impactive in the post-modern society of educated young people who no-longer have the aura of gender-based -violence perpetration. This escalating scenario bearing remorse on the shoulders of women and the Zimbabwean Government, makes it lose on Sustainable Development Goal number 5 [Five] on Gender-Equality.

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