AfDB launches new tools for SMEs to tap into opportunities for green investment
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has released a series of toolkits to assist small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to tap into green investment opportunities contained in the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement. The toolkits, released under the bank’s Private Sector Investment Initiative for NDCs, were launched on the side-lines of Africa Climate Week, which took place in Libreville, Gabon, from 29 August to 2 September. The package comprises toolkits on climate risk screening and opportunity assessment tool, business carbon footprint tool, and a guidance note on mainstreaming climate and green growth into the bank’s line of credits. They will help strengthen the capacity of financial institutions and small companies to invest in climate action under the NDCs. Dorsouma Al Hamndou, AfDB’s officer in charge of Climate Change and Green Growth, said the toolkits were designed to promote the integration of climate actions into private and financial sector lending operations in African financial institutions.
ECA launches a network for Francophone journalists to enhance visibility of AfCFTA
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) launched a network for Francophone African journalists, dubbed AfCFTA Media Network, to enhance the visibility of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement, following a three-day workshop held in Dakar, Senegal from 12 to 14 September. The network of journalists, supported by the European Union, comprises editors, journalists and bloggers from newspapers, online media, radio and television networks. The overall objective of the network is to foster the development of a responsible and dynamic partnership with African Francophone media for the successful implementation of the AfCFTA. Through this partnership, the ECA seeks to actively involve these journalists in informing the population on the implementation process of the AfCFTA and raise awareness and sensitise citizens in their own countries through their reporting. The establishment of this network is part of the European Union-funded project: Deepening Africa's Trade Integration through Effective Implementation of the AfCFTA to Support Economic Integration with a total budget of EUR8-million.
Samia – Cut AfCFTA barriers
President Samia Suluhu Hassan recently shared her perspective on how African countries could successfully implement the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), stressing on removing non-tariff barriers (NTBs) within the continent, among others. “When our people approach regional or international markets, there are a number of NTBs such as permits, licences and so on. If the whole of Africa is working to remove the NTBs, then business is going to grow,” President Samia said, while addressing the AfCFTA Conference on Women and Youths in Trade in Dar es Salaam. She explained that in the East African Community (EAC), member states have tried to remove such barriers and trade has grown by six or seven times in three years. “I was looking at figures for imports and exports within Africa, the figures are still very low, it’s a shame that we trade more outside the continent than between ourselves,” Ms Samia stated. The three-day conference pulled together top leaders from different African countries, including incumbent and former presidents and vice presidents. President Samia said the AfCFTA provides a big opportunity to the private sector to be a catalyst for development but warned countries must ensure that they remove all trade barriers to ease business.
East Africa exporters brace for impact as Suez Canal tolls rise
The increase in transit tolls for ships passing through the Suez Canal by 15% is likely to impact exports to Europe from the region, the shippers warned. Egypt has raised the fees for all vessel types, except bulk and cruise ships, whose fees will increase by 10%t from next year. Suez Canal Authority chief Osama Rabie said in a statement that the increment will take effect from 1 January 2023. The authority cited rising energy prices, freight rates, and daily charter rates for ships, which are predicted to continue next year. “The (tolls) increase is inevitable and is a necessity in light of the current global inflation, which translates into increased operational costs and the costs of the navigational services provided in the canal,” said Mr Rabie. The key waterway connecting the Red Sea and the Mediterranean accounts for nearly 10% of global maritime trade. The Shippers Council of Eastern Africa (SCEA) chief executive Gilbert Lagat said exports from East Africa destined to Europe would be the most affected. “East Africa depends on most of its imports from Asia, which uses an alternative channel, whereas goods being exported from the region have to pass through the Suez Canal. This will complicate export, and some ships might opt to change their destinations considering the economies of scale,” said Mr Lagat.
Source: The EastAfrican
SADC strengthens connections with Venezuela and the ALBA group of Latin America and the Caribbean
Dr Thembinkosi Mhlongo, deputy executive secretary for Regional Integration for the Southern African Development Community (SADC), met virtually with Mr Omar Berroteran Paredes, Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to Namibia, on 15 September 2022. The meeting was intended to promote diplomatic ties and common interests between the SADC and Venezuela. The Ambassador stated that this was an excellent opportunity for Venezuela and the SADC region to foster mutual relations and collaboration in cultural and social exchanges, education and disaster risk management, social development skills, trade cooperation, and expansion of the tourism sector. He cited the ongoing engagements between the SADC and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Latin America (ALBA), in which the parties are currently working to finalise a memorandum of understanding (MoU), as a positive development and representation of shared interests that will open up a number of opportunities. The goal of the MoU is to improve bilateral ties through a variety of measures of cooperation and engagement.
Southern Africa / East Africa
Southern and eastern Africa CSOs urged to promote the AU’s Free Movement Protocol
African Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) in eastern and southern Africa have been prompted to support and promote the implementation of the African Union’s (AU) Free Movement Protocol (FMP) and the Migration Policy Framework for Africa (MPFA). The call to action to CSOs was made during the opening of the second Regional CSO Sensitization Forum on the Continental Free Movement Protocol organised by the AU Economic, Social, and Cultural Council (AU-ECOSOCC) with support from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). The forum was held to popularise the FMP and MPFA, and particularly to improve the understanding of African CSOs on the FMP and to provide them with tools to perform advocacy for implementation of the protocol by AU member states. The first forum was held in May 2022 for western and central African CSOs. The FMP and the MPFA have been established by the AU as the primary policy frameworks to address, manage, and promote migration and mobility on the continent. The FMP aims to curb and eventually eliminate barriers to regional border migration (to work, visit, trade, live, etc.) within the continent.
West Africa / Morocco
Nigeria, Morocco and ECOWAS unite for gas pipeline mega-project
On 15 September 2022, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Nigeria and Morocco signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Rabat, Morocco. According to a published joint communique, the MoU attests to the commitment of all the countries crossed by the gas pipeline, to contribute to the feasibility and technical studies, the mobilisation of resources and execution of this key project. This project, once completed, will supply gas to all the countries of West Africa and will open a new channel of export to Europe. It is a strategic project that will contribute towards, but not limited to improving the living standards of the population; integrating the economies in the region; and decreasing the level of desertification due to a sustainable and reliable gas supply and a reduction in or outright end to gas flaring. With the launch of the project, efforts will be made to attract public and private investors including multilateral or commercial banks, pension funds and insurance companies, among others. The project will span 6 000 km and cost USD25-billion. The financing of the project is expected to involve several stakeholders.
Source: ESI Africa
131-carat diamond unearthed in Angola
A 131-carat white Type IIa diamond was uncovered from the Lulo mine, a 3 000 square km concession in Angola's Lunda Norte diamond heartland, the country's state-owned diamond company Endiama has announced. The diamond was found by Australia-based Lucapa Diamond company, and its partners in Lulo's Block 19, 11 days after a 160-carat diamond was extracted from the same mine, making it the fourth diamond of over 100 carats to be discovered from the mine this year and the 29th overall, the company said. Located approximately 630 km east of the capital city Luanda, Lulo is the world's fourth largest diamond mine. In a joint venture, Lucapa Diamond Company owns 40%, Endiama has 32% and the private Angolan company Rosas & Petalas owns 28%. The past decade's exploration has proved that Lulo is one of the world's most prolific alluvial diamond fields. In 2016, a 404.2-carat diamond extracted from Lulo, the biggest diamond so far found in Angola, was sold for USD16-million, or USD39 580 per carat, a record price for a white diamond. The diamond's profit reached USD34-million after being cut and transformed into jewellery, according to Endiama.
ADBF lists on Botswana Stock Exchange
The African Domestic Bond Fund (ADBF), an exchange-traded fund, has been listed in the local pula currency on the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE). The listing, on 15 September 2022, follows the fund’s primary United States dollar listing on the Mauritius Stock Exchange in 2018. The pula-denominated listing will offer investors an innovative tool to gain exposure to African local currency fixed income. ADBF is the first multinational fixed income exchange-traded fund in Africa. It was launched by the African Development Bank (AfDB) as part of initiatives to strengthen African economies by reducing their dependency on foreign-currency-denominated debt, increasing the range of available financing options, and acting as a catalyst for regional market integration. The fund replicates the AfDB Bloomberg African Bond Indices (ABABI), a family of bond indices that tracks 10 countries and represents roughly 90% of the total stock of outstanding African local-currency bonds. ABABI, administered by the AfDB and calculated by Bloomberg, was developed to improve liquidity in local capital markets and serve as a benchmark for investors in African local currency.
Kenyans without biometric passports to be barred from travelling in December
Kenyans with old passports have until November to acquire the new biometric digital ones, Immigration Director General (DG) Alexander Muteshi has said. Travellers who will not have changed their passports by end of November will be barred from travelling. “Pursuant to the decision by the [East African Community (EAC)] Council of Ministers held in Arusha from 22 to 29 November 2021, the deadline for phasing out of the old generation passport for EAC member states is November 2022,” DG Alexander Muteshi said. The Kenyan government has shifted the deadline for the migration to the new travel document several times, causing confusion. "In line with this decision, the Directorate of Immigration Services wishes to inform the general public that Kenya is bound to migrate to the new [EAC] biometric e-passport by 30 November," Mr Muteshi said. Already, some countries like Spain and others in the European Union are not accepting the old passport from Kenyan travellers, adding to the confusion that has been occasioned by several postponements.
Source: Business Daily Africa
Kenya / Egypt
Kenya, Egypt target increased bilateral trade during October forum
Kenya and Egypt are targeting to increase bilateral trade between the two nations during the upcoming Egypt Kenya Business Bridge Forum slated for next month. The forum which is being organised in collaboration with the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KNCCI) and the Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) comes on the heels of the Egypt-Kenya Business Matching Forum held in January this year as the two Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) member states seek collaboration in areas related to trade liberalisation and investment promotion. “The forum seeks to develop links between more than 34 leading Egyptian manufacturers with trade opportunities and to build valuable contacts with their Kenyan counterparts, as well as connect Kenyan business communities eyeing the Egyptian market with the right trade partners,” said Khalid El Abyad, Egypt Ambassador to Kenya. According to Abyad, the Egyptian trade mission will be led through Egyptian Commercial Services (ECS) at the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) which is designed to help interested Kenyan companies and traders to get in touch with the right counterparts in Egypt.
Source: Kenya Broadcasting Corporation
Kenya / South Sudan / Ethiopia
ECA inaugurates LAPPSET Business Council
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has spearheaded the establishment of the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Business Council to facilitate the participation of the private sector in the implementation of the corridor programme. Under the name LAPSSET Business Council, the council brings together representatives from the private sectors of Ethiopia, Kenya and South Sudan. The council, established in fulfillment of the decisions of the ministerial council meetings held in Mombasa and Addis Ababa, was inaugurated during a private sector retreat organised by the ECA and hosted by the New Partnership for Africa’s Development / Africa Peer Review Mechanism (NEPAD/APRM) Kenya Secretariat and the LAPPSET Secretariat from 20 to 22 September 2022. In his remarks, Adeyinka Adeyemi, senior advisor in the Regional Integration and Trade Division (RITD) of ECA said as key partner to governments, the LAPSSET Business Council will be the premier advocacy arm and platform for private sector cooperation and engagement in order to accelerate the implementation of the project’s expected outcomes including seamless connectivity, new jobs and a transformative infrastructure.
IMF staff completes mission for the First Review of the ECF arrangement for Mozambique
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff team led by Alvaro Piris, concluded discussions with the Mozambican authorities from 5 to 16 September on the First Review under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement. At the conclusion of the discussions, Mr Piris issued the following statement, in part: “The IMF team has reached a staff-level agreement with the Mozambican authorities on the economic and financial policies that could support the approval of the First Review of the programme under the ECF arrangement. The agreement is subject to approval of the IMF Executive Board in December 2022, which would enable the disbursement of SDR45.4-million (about USD63.8-million). Economic recovery continued in the second quarter. Real GDP grew 4.6% year-on-year (y/y) in the second quarter of 2022, the highest since the third quarter of 2018, with recovery broadening to services, industry and agriculture. Global commodity price increases have also supported a noticeable rebound in exports, but also pushed up food, fuel and transportation costs. Mostly driven by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the related increase in global fuel and food prices, inflation rose to 12.1% (y/y) in August, its highest level since September 2017.”
Namibia issues generation and export licences for 125 MW solar plant
The Namibian Electricity Control Board (ECB) has issued generation and export licences to Schonau Solar Energy for a 125 megawatts (MW) solar photovoltaic (PV) plant being developed by renewable energy company Emesco. The plant, located in Karasburg, Namibia, will generate electricity for 25 years and will export its power through South Africa into the Southern African Power Pool’s (SAPP) competitive electricity markets. These are the first of their size and kind to be issued by the ECB under the Modified Single Buyer (MSB) Framework. The SAPP operates four competitive electricity markets between 12 member countries and has facilitated trade between utilities in southern Africa since 1995. The operating member countries include Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. All countries are primarily represented by each of their national utility. The SAPP is allowing and encouraging private companies to join the power pool to trade electricity via its organised markets. This is supported by the Namibian regulators’ MSB market structure which enables private companies to export power to the power pool.
Source: ESI Africa
Namibian businesses urged to get ready for AfCFTA trading
Namibian businesses should ready themselves to start trading within the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). This comes as heads of state are expected to resolve the few constraints that would enable trade to commence. This was confirmed by Asser Nashikaku, the deputy director for trade agreements in the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade during an AfCFTA awareness raising meeting at Swakopmund. “The heads of state are going to meet on 26 October to adopt the offers by member states. That would create the perfect opportunity for traders to start trading. As far as Namibia is concerned, we are ready,” he said. Nashikaku said Namibia's offer in terms of goods trading has not been finalised, because negotiations are done within the framework of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU). Nashikaku said the intention is to finalise this before the meeting of the heads of state. He said Namibia's service offer, such as in the transport, financial and tourism industries, have been concluded and is expected to be adopted by the heads of state.
Source: The Namibian
Nigerian public and private sector players commit to the CEDI
Nigeria has committed to the Clean Energy Demand Initiative’s (CEDI) goals together with its private sector partners. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry joined the government of Nigeria for the signing of the letter of intent. The Nigerian government was represented by Minister for Environment Mohammed Abdullahi, and seven companies – AB InBev, Akamai, HP, Iron Mountain, Lady Lawyer Foundation, Rife International, and Unilever – to support the clean energy transition by working to procure clean energy in Nigeria. Kerry said the agreement allows the United States government to assist Nigeria in developing technologies for cleaner fuel sources, including gas, wind and solar energy. “Nigeria is a very important, if not one of the most important, countries in terms of the direction of dealing with climate for all of Africa, because Nigeria is a major producer of gas and oil and how Nigeria approaches the climate crisis will send a message to the rest of the continent, [and] will help set the direction of our dealing with the climate crisis,” Kerry said.
Source: ESI Africa
NBC Bank signs pact with equipment firm to finance farmers
The National Bank of Commerce (NBC Bank) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Kanu Equipment Tanzania, a firm selling agricultural equipment aimed at boosting farmers’ production. The signed pact also means that farmers will now be provided with loans to enable them to purchase agricultural inputs to increase efficiency and productivity. The loans which will be offered at an interest rate of 10% and below, are expected to greatly boost the agriculture sector in the country. The bank’s business division director Elvis Nduguru said at the signing ceremony in Dar es Salaam that under the pact, buyers of agricultural inputs across the country will be able to get cheap and quick loans to buy equipment like tractors from Kanu company within 14 days. “We have seen it good to support the efforts of government by collaborating with Kanu and other partners to provide cheap loans to increase efficiency in the agriculture sector,” said Mr Nduguru. He added, “We, at the NBC Bank, being the biggest stakeholder in the sector in the country, appreciate and recognise the contribution of agriculture to the national economy.” The agriculture sector contributes more than 65% of the total country’s production, while employing at least 75% of the population.
Source: The Citizen
Tanzania launches 15-year fisheries master plan to boost economic growth
Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa recently launched a 15-year fisheries master plan aimed at boosting the sector's contribution to GDP from the current 1.8% to 10% by 2037. Launching the master plan in the commercial capital of Dar es Salaam, Majaliwa said the plan scheduled to be implemented from 2021/2022 through 2036/2037 will contribute to the growth of the fisheries sector and the blue economy. "The fisheries master plan ensures that every citizen benefits from the sector," said the premier, stressing that the government will continue accommodating views from members of the public aimed at improving the fisheries sector. He added the newly launched fisheries master plan entailed conservation and management of marine resources and sustainable use of the resources.