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UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice to visit Gambia
November 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Bakary Ceesay

United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence Mr Fabián Salvioli, will conduct an official country visit to the Gambia from 20 to 27 November 2019 at the invitation of the   government.

The purpose of the visit is to assess measures taken by the authorities in The Gambia in the areas of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence – the four pillars of the Special Rapporteur’s mandate – that have been adopted to address the serious human rights violations committed during the previous regime, seeking to have a broad view of the various initiatives taken, identify good practices, gaps and shortcomings and formulate recommendations in that regard.

The Special Rapporteur will adopt a constructive and supportive approach and make practical public policy observations and recommendations. 

During his visit, the Special Rapporteur will meet with state authorities, various non-governmental organizations dealing with issues related to his mandate and with representatives of international or regional organizations, the diplomatic community, victims, and civil society. He will also conduct a field visit to places relevant to his mandate.

At the end of his visit, the Special Rapporteur will also hold a high-level briefing with the Government of The Gambia to share his preliminary findings and present his end of mission statement and a press conference at which he will share his initial observations with the media.

The outcome of this mission is the submission of a report on his country visit to The Gambia to the 45th session of the Human Rights Council, in September 2020.

The report will set out, analyse the Special Rapporteur’s impressions during the visit, and make recommendations to the Government and other actors on measures needed to adequately address past violations.

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African Energy Chamber Takes Part in High-Level Debate on the Future of the Global Oil & Gas Industry at Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference (ADIPEC)
November 13, 2019 | 0 Comments
Executives agreed that global energy markets are more than ever open for business and competing for foreign investments
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, November 13, 2019/ — The African Energy Chamber (https://EnergyChamber.org) participated in the Oil & Gas 4.0 Strategic Roundtables at ADIPEC in Abu Dhabi this week. During the “Energy trends, policy formation and geopolitical factors affecting the global oil and gas industry” roundtable, the Chamber provided a critical African perspective to the global debate on energy transition.

Key issues addressed by global CEOs from across the world included the impact of population growth and decarbonization on the global energy demand and future sector policies. Highlighting global dynamics in supply and demand, participants insisted on the need to meet growing demand for heavier petroleum products and crude, which shale oil cannot deliver. Similarly, executives agreed that global energy markets are more than ever open for business and competing for foreign investments.

A major concern shared by leaders at ADIPEC includes growing criticism made to the industry by the civil society at large in light of climate change. Coupled with a depressed oil prices environment, this sentiment is negatively impacting financial capital markets performances for the sector and overall growth projections. Capital markets are going through a tough time for instance, growing at only 3 to 4% as opposed to 15% a few years ago.

As climate concerns add pressure on the sector, participants urged all stakeholders to find ways to engage the broader society and challenge the insular nature of the oil & gas industry. All parties agreed that the sector is doomed if it fails to engage women, younger generations and the society at large around inclusive and sustainable growth.

Bringing its own perspective to the debate, the Chamber insisted that Africans should not apologize for wanting to develop their fossil fuels despite rising global concerns about climate change. Chamber representatives reminded everyone that Africa remains one of the world’s lowest emitter of carbon emissions, has over 650 million people who live without access to electricity, and cannot develop as a continent without oil & gas. As a result, the imperative of reducing poverty and creating opportunities through energy in the developing world was one of the key take away from the debate.

The Chamber notably voiced Africa’s determination to build an inclusive industry it can be proud of and which does not rely on aid but on sound business practices, deals and investments. It joined stakeholders in voicing concerns about the lack of inclusion of younger generations in the industry and the need to make oil & gas more attractive for young talent.

Concluding the debate, executives and experts agreed that real tensions are arising from climate change problems. They are forcing the industry to innovate and find more efficient and low-emitting solutions to develop hydrocarbons and invest in new technologies like hydrogen and energy storage. All parties agreed on the challenge of adequately addressing two issues at once. First, the need for near-term opportunities like cost-reduction and industry partnership to deliver opportunities for all, and second the long-term need to address energy transition and help solve climate change problems.
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2019 Africa Investment Forum: historic signing of high-speed railway construction concession agreement for Ghana, with the support of the African Development Bank
November 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

The African Development Bank has thrown its weight behind a concession agreement for the construction of a high-speed railway in Accra, Ghana’s capital.

The signing took place on the opening day of the second Africa Investment Forum, running from Monday to Wednesday in Johannesburg.

“It’s a great day for Ghana!” said Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo. “I was here last year and I’m back this year to make sure the project moves forward. This proves how important the Africa Investment Forum is. The signing of this agreement is on track to improve the lives of our citizens.”

The Accra Skytrain project, representing an investment of $2.6 billion, is a high-capacity public transport system that is completely automated and cost-efficient, using pneumatic propulsion technology. The system will transport more than 380,000 passengers annually and create some 5,000 jobs during its implementation phase.

“This is what Africa wants: finalized agreements,” said Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group. “What we want is for Africa to invest in Africa! We want to see this kind of thing happening all the time. This project will modernise Ghana, providing green transport for its citizens.”

Solomon Assamoah, fund manager for infrastructure investment, believes that this project will profoundly transform Ghana’s economic capital. “This is a major contribution to infrastructure development in Ghana, and in Africa as a whole. We need mass transport. This project will help overcome traffic gridlock,” he explained.  

Joe Ghartey, Ghana’s minister for railway infrastructure, stressed the work ahead: “We have worked hard together to get to this stage of the project. We have more work to do to be able to tell the whole world, between now and next year, that the project’s financing is complete and that its operational phase has begun.”

Ghana Investment Promotion Centre CEO Yofi Grant expressed confidence that the project would reach financial close by this time next year.

The agreement was signed at a press conference during the 2019 African Investment Forum.

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

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

*AFDB

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Toilets in schools matter – how African Development Bank is making a difference
November 13, 2019 | 0 Comments
handover of vip latrines at St Pauls primary school in Mzimba

At 14, Mercy Kamanga dropped out of school at Standard eight in St Paul’s Primary School in Mzimba, Malawi, due to a lack of suitable sanitation facilities.

“The toilets at our school were very few, small, dilapidated and didn’t have doors; only a piece of cloth covered the entrance. Our male colleagues often rushed to nearby bushes to help themselves. It was not easy for us the girls,” recalled Mercy.

It was a worse situation for girls who were in their menstrual period, and like Mercy, some other adolescent girls also dropped out of school. Others stayed away during their menstrual periods.

“It was a nightmare. After using the toilet, we were supposed to wash our hands and clean ourselves properly, but that was a big challenge. We didn’t have the washing facilities and we ended up being humiliated in class. We just had to go home,” Mercy said.

The headteacher of the school, Mr. Mwandira, confirmed Mercy’s heart-breaking experience. “We didn’t have enough toilets and this affected the learners, especially the girls.”

St Paul’s was not the only school which lacked suitable sanitation facilities. There were many others with similar challenges in Mzimba, resulting in the rampant outbreak of waterborne diseases in the area.

But the situation has now changed for the better, thanks to the intervention of the African Development Bank and its partners. St Paul’s is one of the beneficiaries of 18 newly constructed improved latrines under the $22.85 million Mzimba Integrated Urban Water and Sanitation Project in northern Malawi.

“Our enrolment has increased from around 700 learners to 900 learners with the coming of the improved toilets. It is good to note that around 60% of the learners are girls,” said Mwandira.

Other beneficiaries of the latrines programme were Mzimba LEA, Kaphuta Primary School and the district market. The improved latrines with dual seaters, are equipped with hand washing facilities to improve sanitation in the schools and in the market.

The project was jointly financed by the African Development Bank, Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries Fund for International Development, and the Malawi Government through the Northern Region Water Board.

It had three components: water infrastructure development, water resource management, and sanitation and hygiene. The sanitation and hygiene component cost $450,000 and entailed the rehabilitation of sludge ponds near the Mzimba District Hospital.

The Director of Infrastructure Development at Northern Region Water Board, Catherine Mbewe-Mwafulirwa said the Board is working in partnership with the communities to ensure that no one is left behind in the provision of potable water and sanitation for all.

The intervention has so far helped to reduce water-related diseases from around 35% to 6%, according to statistics from the Mzimba District Health Office.

For Mercy, who is now 16 and has returned to St Paul’s, there is renewed joy in learning, following the erection of the latrines at the school.

“It’s safer and better now with the improved toilets. You don’t have to worry about issues of hygiene. It’s like you are home,” she says with a smile.

Toilets in schools matter.

*AFDB

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Mozambique features strongly at 2019 Africa Investment Forum with $24.6 billion project, the largest deal
November 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

Mozambique’s state oil and fuel company Empresa Nacional de Hidrocarbonetos (ENH), tabled a $24.6 billion transformative project for Mozambique’s economy, the largest deal to feature at the 2019 Africa Investment Forum.

The project includes the development of the Golfinho and Atum fields and the nation’s first onshore liquefied natural gas plant.

Mozambique’s Prime Minister Agostinho do Rosário made the announcement at a media briefing session during the Forum, the continent’s premier investment marketplace, organized by the African Development Bank and its partners.

The project is an opportunity to create jobs and will revive the Mozambican economy, Agostinho do Rosário told journalists.

State oil company ENH Chief Executive Officer Omar Mitha says the country is already courting global investors to raise US$1.3 billion to fund the company’s share in the Area 1 natural gas project, in which it holds a 15% stake.

For African Development Bank President Adesina, African governments must not carry the burden of infrastructure alone; they must allow private sectors to lessen the load.

Last year’s inaugural Africa Investment Forum secured investment interest worth $38.7 billion of dollars in just three days. For this year’s edition, the Bank and its partners are aiming to cap that figure.

In closing and addressing a question debt, Adesina said, “First and foremost, Africa is not in debt crisis, we have several countries that have challenges in terms of equity ratios tipping at the levels that raise concern. Africa is not one country, Africa is not two countries, Africa is 54 countries…There’s nothing to cause any alarm.”

The three-day Africa Investment Forum is taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa.

*AFDB

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Key moments of the Forum included:

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

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

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

*AFDB

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Cameroon:At Nkafu event Entrepreneurs urged to understand their environment, know the needs of their clients
November 12, 2019 | 0 Comments

By Boris Esono Nwenfor

Participants were trained on three key moduls- Business Management, Tax registration and declaration procedures and Access to finance
Participants were trained on three key moduls- Business Management, Tax registration and declaration procedures and Access to finance

(Yaounde, Cameroon) Entrepreneurs have been encouraged to understand the environment they operate in and to equally know the needs of their clients in order to foster the growth of their business. Shouame Cyrille Researcher, Vice President of SOS Espoir et Émergence was speaking at the Mansel Hotel in Yaounde November 12, 2019 at the Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship Skills training organized by the Nkafu Policy Institute.

To him, every entrepreneur is a client because they need the services of others in their work and they should not provide the kind of services that they will not accept from others.

Speaking on the Business Management, He said that, as small business owner, entrepreneurs need to understand the economic situation of their country.

To economic analysts, knowing the economic situation will make it easy for an entrepreneur to survive in a particular business as the purchasing power of customers is very important. Equally, the political instability of a country makes it very difficult for a particular business to operate.

Shouame Cyrille added that entrepreneurs need to understand their finances well, and understand where most of their income goes so as to better plan while educating the various participants on the different opportunities offered by the Ministry of Small and Medium Size Enterprises to small business owners in Cameroon.

In her introductory words, the Program Manager Agathe Djomeghu indicated that the mission of the SBEC is to provide entrepreneurs with organizational skills, and today’s session is part of a long series of six training sessions.

Ngueteu Nganga, Founder of MARON & Associates SARL and Accountant edified participants on tax requirements, registration and declaration procedures, while equally advancing some importance of moving from the informal to a formal sector.

Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship Skills training is part of a long series of six training sessions
Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship Skills training is part of a long series of six training sessions

Ngueteu Nganga added that “Cameroon is under the OHADA accounting system and practices accrual accounting. Small Businesses should be able to calculate and declare their turnovers themselves”, while adding that “this should not be done by the tax collectors, as explained by Foretia foundation”

According to an accountant, Taxes should not be the reason why entrepreneurs fail. Tax is an end product, it is on entrepreneur’s profit and not capital. Cameroon has one of the best tax systems as it is a declarative system – it is the entrepreneur who declares what he has earned for the month, calculates and pays. But the issue is that people do not even know how to calculate as some cheat the system.  

Access to finance is a key factor to the growth of SMEs but notwithstanding, because of the difficulties faced by financial institutions in obtaining information on the borrowers-solvency, lack of reliable financial statement of SMEs, absence of guarantee or inadequate collateral and lack of detailed business plan, they (financial institutions) become reluctant to award loans to these SMEs.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Small and Medium Size Enterprises, Social Economy and Handicrafts, there are more than 400,000 companies in the informal sector and out of these, 99 per cent are SMEs. In an economy, firms can obtain funds from the stock exchange or indirectly from financial intermediaries like banks, microfinance institutions and other non-financial institutions. A 2009 IMF study indicated that heavy taxes and 15 per cent interest ceiling on loans to SMEs also discourage these institutions from financing the sector.

The Small Business Training under the theme, “Small Business Management and Entrepreneurship Skills” falls within the framework of the prime purpose of the Small Business and Entrepreneur Centre (SBEC) – to spur economic growth in Cameroon through the provision of tools to establish, expand and sustain private sector business in partnership with Global Affairs Canada.

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Traveller Spend in Africa Could Increase by 27%, Sabre Research Reveals
November 12, 2019 | 0 Comments
Dino Gelmetti
Dino Gelmetti
Consumers would be more willing to travel if they were able to move freely within the continent, and if travel pain-points were addressed
PORT LOUIS, Mauritius, November 12, 2019/ — Spend among African travellers could increase by 27 percent over the next year if they were able to move more freely within the continent, new research from Sabre Corporation (NASDAQ: SABR) (https://www.Sabre.com/) reveals at today’s 51st African Airlines Association (AFRAA) Annual General Assembly in Mauritius.

More than 5,000 people across Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa were asked whether they had travelled by plane in the past 24 months, to which 26% said they had – a 2% increase on Sabre’s similar 2016 study. However, those that did travel cited that various barriers were preventing them from travelling more often. The majority said that air travel was too expensive, but many also cited difficulties in obtaining visas and booking flights, delays, queues at the airport, and an overall stressful travel experience as some of the reasons they don’t travel more.

Of those that had travelled, there was a willingness to spend up to 27 percent more on air travel if they could travel visa-free throughout the continent – with most respondents saying they would take 2-3 trips per year compared with the 1-2 they currently take. More than 90% were also willing to spend more on ancillary services like in-flight Wi-Fi and entertainment, and special on-board food and beverages. Forty-three percent said they would spend over $100 on these ancillaries to improve their travel experience – 26% up on 2016 and still significantly more than global averages.

“It is encouraging to see that a greater number of people have been able to access air travel over the past three years,” said Dino Gelmetti, vice president sales, Middle East and Africa. “However, our research shows that there is still a long way to go to make travel affordable and accessible. The majority of our respondents’ barriers to travel are within an airline’s control, and investing in the latest technology can significantly improve the whole flight experience – from booking to the day of travel.”

Those polled said that if pain points were eliminated and they could travel more freely, the countries top of their lists to visit are South Africa, Ghana, Ethiopia, Seychelles, Madagascar, Mauritius, Kenya and Botswana. And, in an environment in which airlines across Africa are grappling with slow growth, this study sheds light on significant opportunities for the travel industry to improve the travel experience and capitalise on new revenue opportunities.


“Overcoming the cost constraint is a major challenge, but all indications are that if airlines were able to reduce flight costs by optimising operations, routes and pricing, far more African people would take advantage of the opportunity to travel by air,” continued Gelmetti. “Digital technologies offer the key to slashing operational costs, improving efficiencies and understanding customer pain points. By using data harnessing technologies to make sense of customer data and using these insights to offer passengers the right product in the right context at the right time, travel operators immediately improve their chances of increasing sales.”

Airlines also need to break down barriers such as confusing booking and check-in processes, by adopting multi-channel sales and check-in processes that allow travellers to engage in the channels they are most comfortable with – be those traditional channels such as travel agents and check-in staff, or digital channels such as websites and mobile apps. These same digital channels lend themselves to streamlined ancillary services sales, allowing travellers to quickly and easily order and pay for personalised add-ons to enhance their travel experience.

Sabre Corporation (https://www.Sabre.com/) is the leading technology provider to the global travel industry. Sabre’s software, data, mobile and distribution solutions are used by hundreds of airlines and thousands of hotel properties to manage critical operations, including passenger and guest reservations, revenue management, flight, network and crew management. Sabre also operates a leading global travel marketplace, which processes more than US$120 billion of global travel spend annually by connecting travel buyers and suppliers. Headquartered in Southlake, Texas, USA, Sabre serves customers in more than 160 countries around the world.
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African Development Bank, Credit Suisse, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China and Ghana Cocoa Board ink $600 million loan agreement to boost cocoa production
November 12, 2019 | 0 Comments
  • Agreement is a turning point for scaling up the cocoa value chain – President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana
  • Ghana is bankable, cocoa is bankable and of course Africa is bankable – Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, President, African Development Bank

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Syndication of the facility is underway.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Africa Investment Forum 2019: Billion dollar boost for African female entrepreneurs
November 12, 2019 | 0 Comments

EIB Vice President, Ambroise Fayolle.Photo CNBC

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has announced a $1.1 billion lending programme to help women entrepreneurs on the continent.

EIB Vice President, Ambroise Fayolle, also revealed that the bank has signed three further agreements to boost sustainable development on the continent.

But the major deal is what the EIB has dubbed SheInvest. The EIB expects the gender-lending initiative to allow women to play a more active role in economies.

“This initiative aims to promote female entrepreneurship,” said Fayolle, noting that female entrepreneurs will also gain business skills from the initiative. He explained that the financing will promote gender investment related to climate change and is part of broader European engagement to provide targeted support for new investment that supports increased female economic participation in Africa.

The announcement was made at the Africa Investment Forum in Johannesburg, where hundreds of investors, development partners and wealth funds have gathered from 11 to 13 November for the continent’s premier marketplace.

The EIB is the lending arm of the European Union. The EIB has supported investment in Africa for more than 50 years. Last year, it provided a record €3.3 billion to African countries, with more than half the funds being pumped into the private sector.

As one of the largest providers of climate finance, the investment bank has also struck a deal with Guinea-based telecommunications provider, IPT PowerTech Group, which will see the company abandon fossil fuels for cleaner sources of power such as solar and wind.

Mohamed Al Habbal, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at IPT PowerTech Group, says the move to renewable sources of energy such as solar power will help the company reduce its carbon footprint. Habbal estimates that thousands jobs will be created as a result of this deal.

A further deal that was signed on the first day of the second Africa Investment Forum, will see African Trade Insurance increase its membership in Western and Southern Africa. This increased insurance coverage is expected to attract more investment to the continent.

In Southern Africa the EIB confirmed a new lending programme to support access to finance by entrepreneurs across Malawi and confirmed a new scheme to finance smallholders in the country to be launched early next year.

Patricia Hamisi, a Senior Manager at Malawi’s FDH Bank, says the money will help the bank enhance its long-term credit to small businesses owned by women. “The agreement comes with technical assistance which will help the bank enhance its trade financing,” said Hamisi.

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

The 2019 Forum runs from 11 to 13 November in Johannesburg, South Africa.

*AFDB

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2019 Africa Investment Forum: Achieving an African economy four times bigger with only a 50% increase in energy demand
November 12, 2019 | 0 Comments

Africa has the potential to expand the continental economy fourfold, with energy demands expanding by only 50 percent, according to a new report. The International Energy Agency (IEA) unveiled its report on the first day of the second African Investment Forum in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Africa Energy Outlook 2019 found that the continent’s future energy prospects look bright, but only if Governments can make the shift to more renewable energy sources. The report says there are three factors that will determine the continent’s future energy consumption – its growing population, the rapid increase in urbanisation and industrialisation.

Kieran McNamara, an analyst at IEA, noted that these will have “profound effects on Africa’s energy mix and how the economy develops.”
The IEA has for the first time conducted detailed modelling of the energy mix for 11 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, namely Angola, South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Côte d’Ivoire, Mozambique, Nigeria and Senegal.

The projected energy mix needed for Africa will be very different from the current one, with countries moving away from biomass and fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy.

About 600-million Africans have no access to electricity, although this has improved since 2013, according to IEA’s analysis. “In order to start to address the problem, we have to realize the scale of the emergency. And that data is extremely important. You have to be able to define the problem before you can actually address it,” said Wale Shonibare, Acting Vice President of Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth.

Africa also needs to radically increase its investment in power generation from the current $30-billion to $120-billion by 2040, if it is to achieve universal access to electricity, according to Tae-Yoon Kim, another analyst at IEA.

If countries on the continent do not change current policies on energy use, Africa will not achieve the African Development Bank’s target of universal electricity by 2030.

But with improved policies, Africa can see the continental economy expand four times with matching energy demand that is only 50 percent greater than the current demand.

Kenya is one country where universal access to electricity could become a reality by 2022, if it continues with its current policy that has brought a large amount of renewables into the energy mix. Ethiopia could follow suit towards the end of the decade.   

The African Development Bank and the IEA, an autonomous agency aiming to improve the world’s energy markets, participated in a high-level side event during the African Investment Forum 2019. Other participants included the European Commission, the African Union Commission and the African Energy Commission.

Discussions were based on the African Development Bank’s “Light Up and Power Africa” strategy, through which the bank hopes to build knowledge of the African energy sector, and assist in achieving universal access to electricity on the continent. Governments, utilities, regulators and investors will hopefully use this knowledge to help them grow energy sectors, while reducing costs. The availability of quality data will improve African countries’ abilities to make informed energy policy decisions and to provide private investors with valuable market analysis.

Through the New Deal on Energy for Africa (NDEA), the Bank has positioned itself to lead Africa’s energy transformation. The NDEA is a partnership-driven effort launched in 2016, which aims to achieve universal access to electricity in Africa by 2025.

The Africa Investment Forum (AIF) brings together project sponsors and investors, borrowers, lenders, policy makers and public and private sector investors, to promote Africa’s investment opportunities.

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

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New Survey Finds Frequent Power Outages a Major Constraint for Nigerian Tech Entrepreneurs
November 12, 2019 | 0 Comments

The average Nigerian tech firm faces 30+ power outages per month, according to a new survey

WASHINGTON – Nigeria’s young tech sector faces a major hurdle in an unreliable power supply, with the average tech firm reporting 30+ power outages per month, according to a major new survey of the country’s tech sector by the Center for Global Development and the ONE Campaign.

The survey covered 93 tech firms, which encompasses the majority of Nigeria’s tech industry. Firms were asked about a range of potential business obstacles, including access to credit and electricity, corruption, taxation, the legal system, and more. Political instability, access to finance, and reliable power were the most severe constraints, according to respondents.

Nigeria is becoming a major African destination for tech investment, driven in part by a large, well-connected population, but the survey raises concerns about the fundamentals of the business environment tech entrepreneurs have to operate in.

“Everyone is talking about 5G access or startup accelerators, but we found Nigeria’s tech industry is struggling with much more basic problems, like unreliable electricity. The firms we talked to are dealing with dozens of power outages per month. That’s hard for any business, and especially for a technology company,” said Vijaya Ramachandran, one of the authors of the report and a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development.

“Basically, Nigeria’s 21st century economy is being held back by a very 20th century problem: lack of power,” she said.

Some of the survey findings:

  • 57% of tech firms surveyed said reliable access to power was a “major” or “severe” obstacle to their business.
  • 53 of the tech firms surveyed reported 30+ outages, and another 22 reported more than 20 outages per month.
  • A typical power outage was 2-3 hours for most firms, although for a significant group (about 15%), the lights usually stay off for 5 or more hours at a time.
  • A third of firms surveyed report losing more than 20% of their sales due to power outages.

“We know that unreliable power is a huge issue across Nigeria, and now we have data on just how badly outages are affecting technology companies. Big Silicon Valley investments and government-sponsored tech hubs can be helpful, but Nigeria needs to get the basic business environment right first. That means providing the energy infrastructure all businesses need to flourish,” Ramachandran said.

The full report of survey findings is available at https://www.cgdev.org/reader/new-economy-africa-opportunities-nigerias-emerging-technology-sector

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