Africa’s aviation sector recovery prospects looking up
The aviation industry outlook is giving better prospects of recovery for African airlines compared with those in the Middle East and Europe. An analysis by the African Airlines Association (AFRAA) shows African carriers are on a recovery trajectory, having reopened 81.3% of their international routes. Sub-regional growth, however, is varied. The analysis further reveals that African airlines have been growing regional fleet since 2020, allowing a deeper market penetration. Cargo capacity has also grown by 33% since 2019, while cargo load factors improved by 9% from pre-pandemic levels. AFRAA’s secretary general Abdérahmane Berthé, while speaking at the 53rd Annual General Assembly and Summit held virtually on 16 and 17 November, said the recovery is critical to redefining the industry’s strategic plans for the next five years. He called on African governments and airlines to re-invent and redefine their business models for a quick industry recovery. This will involve financial support, implementing safe travel measures, using technology to define the “new normal” and removing travel restrictions.
Source: The EastAfrican
East / Southern Africa
COMESA leaders focus on up-scaling investments in health
On Tuesday, 23 November, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) heads of state urged member states to scale up investment in research and innovation in the health sector and to prioritise all programmes that would enhance socio-economic recovery and generate more resilient societies that are ready to respond to disasters that may come. In their Communique issued at the end of their 21st COMESA Summit, the leaders noted the devastating socio-economic and cultural effects of the COVID-19 pandemic across various sectors of the economy and the low vaccine production and access in the region. The leaders urged member states to invest in digital infrastructure to enhance universal access to internet to address the challenges arising from the digital divide and support the digitalisation of the economies. The focus on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and way forward is in line with the theme of the COMESA Summit: Building Resilience Through Strategic Digital Economic Integration, which advocates for the application of information and communications technology solutions in driving regional integration.
EAC ministers endorse DRC admission to bloc
The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been endorsed by the Council of Ministers to join the East African Community (EAC) as the seventh member state. The EAC Council of Ministers, chaired by Kenya’s EAC Affairs and Regional Development Cabinet Secretary Adan Mohamed, gave the nod during an extraordinary meeting on Monday, 22 November, in Arusha, Tanzania. “The Summit of EAC Heads of State at their 21st Ordinary Meeting held on 27 February 2021, directed the EAC Council of Ministers to expeditiously undertake a verification exercise in accordance with the EAC Criteria for Admission of Foreign States,” the council said. An EAC team visited DRC from 26 June to 5 July to verify the country’s level of conformity to the Treaty for the Establishment of the EAC. The report observed, among other things, the institutional and legal frameworks, policies, projects and programmes, areas of cooperation with the other EAC partner states and the DRC’s expectations from her membership to the community.
Source: Business Daily
East Africa / United Kingdom
EAC registers trade surplus with UK despite COVID-19
Despite the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the East African Community (EAC) bloc recorded a rare trade surplus with the United Kingdom (UK). While the EAC imported goods worth USD503.5-million in 2020, it exported goods valued at USD523.9-million to the UK, one of Europe’s largest economies. Exports from the six-nation EAC bloc increased by 14% last year from USD458-million in 2019, according to the East African Business Council (EABC). This was revealed during a recent visit to the apex body of private sector associations’ offices by the UK Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Tanzania Mr John Lord Walney. He said at the EABC offices that the UK was committed to revitalise aid for trade relationships with the EAC bloc “as the region has vast endowments and opportunities”. He commended the business captains in their relentless efforts to break the notorious trade barriers that could minimise the cost of doing business. Lord Walney pledged to steer dialogue between the UK businesses and the EABC “for mutual trade and investment businesses”.
Source: The Citizen
Angola set aside USD445-million to construct 21 logistics hubs
By 2038, the Angolan government wants to invest more than USD445.5-million (EUR392.3-million) in the construction of 21 logistics hubs in Angola to reduce the problems of goods transportation, which is still primarily reliant on-road transit. The details were revealed at the initiation of an international public tender in Zaire Province for the concession, building, operation, and commercial management of the Soyo and Luvo Logistics Platforms. The Minister of Transport, Ricardo de Abreu, stated that each of the platforms created by 2038 would have unique qualities that would complement one another. According to him, the logistics platform network will be an important part of the plan to diversify the national economy, and depending on the province where they are installed, they will make storage, conservation and flow of production from productive, rural and fishing areas, as well as from agri-industrial hubs, easier. Six logistics hubs are expected in Angola by 2022, which will help the country’s regions realise their full economic potential and meet residents’ and businesses’ rising demand for products and services.
Source: Construction Review
AfDB, Burundi sign agreement for USD29-million grant to finance national energy access project
The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) and the Government of Burundi have signed a USD29-million grant agreement to finance Phase 1 of the Access to Energy Project, which is part of the country's infrastructure development programme. The agreement was signed during an official meeting in Bujumbura between the AfDB’s director general for East Africa, Nnenna Nwabufo, and Burundi's Minister of Finance, Budget and Economic Planning, Domitien Ndihokubwayo. Nwabufo was in Burundi to reaffirm the bank's commitment to the Burundian government's 2018-2027 National Development Plan. She was accompanied by Daniel Ndoye, the bank's country manager in Burundi, and Marcellin Ndong-Ntah, chief economist for East Africa. Phase I of the Energy Access Project will benefit not only the population, but also private sector development, said Ndihokubwayo, welcoming the bank's donation. The minister stressed that cooperation between the AfDB and the Government of Burundi was well under way. "The [AfDB] is once again pleased to expand the list of agreements signed with Burundi," said Nwabufo. "Our support will not be limited to the energy sector. It will also take into account agriculture and job creation for young people in the coming years."
Cabo Verde / Nigeria
Cabo Verde opens embassy in Nigeria, calls for increased trade relations
Cabo Verde has pledged better cooperation and increased trade relations with Nigeria. The Minister of Cabo Verde, Jose Silva, who made the pledge in Abuja at the official opening of the first ever Embassy of Cabo Verde in Nigeria, stressed that tourism and transportation would top the areas of cooperation. Speaking to newsmen after the official opening of the embassy, Silva said the inauguration of the embassy was a great step toward better cooperation and regional integration. “The opening of this embassy means to strengthen the relationship between Cabo Verde and Nigeria both politically and culturally. Also, we will strengthen our relationship with Cabo Verde as well as its integration within the [Economic Community of West African States] region… We are going to lure more private investments to Cabo Verde, we want to bring more tourists from Nigeria. We already have many travellers from Nigeria to Cabo Verde…We already have some investments there from other African countries like the Floating Hub which is an investment by a Malian… We believe that politically and culturally we have a lot to offer, even as a tourist destination”, he said.
Source: The Will
Attorney-General shuts 2 000 firms for failure to disclose owners
More than 2 000 companies were closed down by the Attorney-General in the year ended June 2021 for failing to disclose their owners. Latest data from the Registrar of Companies show 2 540 entities were closed in the year, more than 1 255 in the previous year. In October last year, the Attorney-General ordered public and private companies to provide personal information of shareholders who own more than 10% or exercise control in a firm, failure to which they would be charged KES500 000 fine for the company and each defaulting official. Companies are struck off from the registry on directors’ order after shutting operations, bankruptcy, or if they do not declare their beneficial directors after enforcement of the policy. “2 540 entities were struck off the register in 2020. This was an influx. This was occasioned by enforcement of the beneficial ownership information disclosure requirements since the [Beneficial Ownership Information] e-Register was operationalised on 13 October 2020,” Business Registration Service stated. Over 6 000 firms have been closed since July 2017. The firms were to state their secret owners including their names, phone numbers, residential address, national identity or passport copies, occupation, the date they became, and cease to become owners.
Source: Business Daily
KEPSA signs large-scale green energy projects MoU in Kenya
The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with green energy company Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) to help facilitate its members’ participation in new large scale green energy projects in Kenya. FFI, a wholly owned subsidiary of Australian iron ore company Fortescue Metals Group Limited (Fortescue), is in the process of assessing a proposed integrated large scale green hydrogen and green ammonia production facility, utilising renewable energy in Kenya. Carole Kariuki, KEPSA’s CEO, noted that the alliance has been at the forefront in championing sustainable and inclusive business practices and efforts towards addressing climate change mitigation and adaptation. These efforts, she said, are coordinated through the Environment, Water and Natural Resources Sector Board at KEPSA which works closely with the government. Through KEPSA, FFI will engage with private sector players in seeking and taking advantage of supply chain and downstream green industrialisation opportunities through green industry advocacy and collaboration with public sector stakeholders to support rapid project mobilisation.
Source: ESI Africa
Mobile lenders to reveal hidden fees in new rules
Digital lenders will be required to disclose their full fees and penalties to the competition watchdog every four months as part of efforts to fix the problem of hidden charges. The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) said the mobile lenders will disclose interest charges, late payment and rollover fees after investigations revealed that 73% of borrowers do not know the cost of their loans. The competition watchdog says the disclosure will be implemented before June next year in the latest attempt to curb the steep digital lending rates that have plunged many borrowers into a debt trap as well as predatory lending. Dozens of unregulated micro-lenders have invested in Kenya’s credit market in response to the growth in demand for quick loans. Their proliferation has saddled borrowers with high interest rates, which rise up to 520% when annualised, leading to mounting defaults. Now, the CAK reckons that full disclosure of the fees, pricing rules and development of structures to guide the costs of digital loans will boost awareness among borrowers. The law empowers the competition watchdog to reverse borrowing terms based on misleading representations on loans issued to their customers.
Source: Business Daily
Kenya / South Africa
Kenya Airways and South African Airways sign strategic partnership framework
Kenya’s national carrier, Kenya Airways, signed a Strategic Partnership Framework with South African Airways, a key milestone towards co-starting a pan African Airline Group by 2023. The partnership framework follows the Memorandum of Cooperation that the two airlines signed two months ago to foster the exchange of knowledge, expertise, innovation, digital technologies, and best practice between the airlines. The signing of the Strategic Partnership Framework will see both airlines work together to increase passenger traffic, cargo opportunities, and general trade by taking advantage of strengths in South Africa, Kenya and Africa. It is expected that the partnership will improve the financial viability of both airlines. Customers will also benefit from more competitive price offering for both passenger and cargo segments. The partnership framework aligns well with the aspirations of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement of providing a single market for goods and services, facilitated by movement of persons and goods to deepen the economic integration and prosperity of the African continent. It also includes demand recovery and other cost containment strategies which will aid the recovery of both carriers in an increasingly competitive African airline environment.
Source: Africa Business Communities
2.5 MWp hybrid solar power plant to be built in Madagascar
A 2.5 megawatt-peak (MWp) hybrid solar power plant is set to be built in Madagascar. This follows a signed contract between Canadian mining company NextSource Materials with CrossBoundary Energy’s (CBE) Madagascar subsidiary. The power plant will be developed by CrossBoundary Energy’s (CBE) at the Molo graphite mine which is operated by Canadian company NextSource Materials. The hybrid system will include a 2.5 megawatt (MW) solar photovoltaic power plant, a 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) battery power storage system and 3.3 MW diesel generators. NextSource estimates that the equipment will ensure 100% availability of electricity to the mine once it is commissioned by April 2022. The 20-year supply agreement will reduce the total cost of electricity at the quarry, while also reducing its carbon dioxide emissions, according to Matthew Fredericks, CrossBoundary Energy’s mining manager.
Source: Pumps Africa
Malawi’s first solar power plant goes into operation
Malawi’s first solar power plant is now operational. The President of Malawi Lazarus Chakwera announced that the project was successfully completed under a public-private partnership. Dubbed ‘Salima solar power plant’ the facility, which has a capacity of 60 megawatts-peak (MWp), is the first solar power plant to be connected to Malawi’s national electricity grid. The project was originally developed by JCM Power Corporation, Matswani, and InfraCo Africa, a Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) company. Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden (FMO), the Dutch Development Finance Company, later joined the project in its construction phase, along with JCM Power and InfraCo Africa. “This is a model for future projects in several ways, in particular, it demonstrates that Malawi is an attractive destination for private sector investment in energy,” said President Chakwera. The Salima solar plant will be capable of producing 154 gigawatt-hours (GWh) per year. The consortium will sell the clean electricity generated at Salima to the state-owned Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) under a 20-year power purchase agreement.
Source: Pumps Africa
EIB and BRD to provide EUR30-million for businesses impacted by COVID-19
New investments by Rwandan companies will benefit from a business financing initiative backed by the Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) launched in Kigali. Rwandan firms will benefit from the EUR30-million new long-term facility funded by both the EIB through their East Africa COVID-19 Rapid Response facility and BRD’s own capital. The long-term financing made available under the EIB’s East Africa COVID-19 Rapid Response will complement BRD efforts in curbing the COVID-19 impact. “The COVID-19 pandemic has hit Rwandan companies hard and new investment is essential to overcome health, business and trade challenges. The EIB’s partnership with the BRD will unlock essential new investment. The new targeted financing scheme will include support to companies in sectors most impacted by the trade, economic and health challenges triggered by COVID-19 and unlock investment to accelerate private sector recovery from the pandemic. Rwandan companies will be able to access long-term loans in currencies, including the Rwandan franc, the United States dollar, and the euro, with tenors of up to 10 years, far longer than usually available.
Source: Africa Business Communities
IMF issues conditions to fund South Sudan
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says support to South Sudan’s ailing economy is pegged on the government’s willingness to open to an accountability probe. The IMF wants President Salva Kiir’s government to account for past loans, prosecute the corrupt and improve financial discipline and transparency in use of public resources, especially earnings from oil. While insisting on the conditions in a meeting with President Kiir and his Finance minister recently in Juba, the IMF director of the African Department, Abebe Selassie, also acknowledged the financial constraints imposed on South Sudan by COVID-19, floods and the declining economy. “In the coming weeks and months, we hope to support the government in its endeavours to make sure that important areas of accountability and reforms are addressed,” said Mr Selassie. The hope for South Sudan is now pegged on a positive report by the country’s auditor general, who has been tasked with investigating how funds have been spent in the recent past.
Source: The EastAfrican
Tanzania has utilised only 1% of discovered natural gas
Tanzania has utilised only 1% of its discovered natural gas due to the absence of large-scale industries requiring the use of natural gas and demand for other uses. This is according to the acting director general of Petroleum Upstream Regulatory Authority (PURA), Mr Charles Sangweni, who said only 0.6 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) have been harnessed. Tanzania is home to 57.54Tcf of natural gas discovered in both mainland and deep sea. The government signed 11 production sharing agreements (PSA) for exploration, development and production of oil and gas. According to Mr Sangweni, three of the contracts are in the production stage while eight contracts are in various exploration stages. Furthermore, the discovery of offshore and deep sea gas is 57.54Tcf (10.06 trillion inland and 47.48 trillion marine tracts). These include areas like Songo Songo (discovered in 1974), Mnazi Bay (1982), Mkuranga (2007), Kiliwani North (2008), Ntorya (2012) and Deep Sea (2010). He said, “approximately 534 000 square kilometres have been surveyed.” He said there is also an increased local participation in the upstream petroleum activities and in improvement of cost audit activities in PSA contracts where currently nine of 10 audits have been completed. Mr Sangweni said these audits have so far saved about TZS90-billion.
Source: The Citizen