AfCFTA Secretariat and TMA partner to boost trade in Africa
The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat and Trademark Africa (TMA), recently signed a partnership agreement to facilitate the development of trading infrastructure across Africa to boost trade. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two parties was signed during the Africa Prosperity Dialogue in Accra, the capital of Ghana. Wamkele Mene, secretary general of the AfCFTA Secretariat, said he expected the partnership to help improve the collective competitiveness of all countries under the continental free trade agreement. "It is possible to see the ambition of TMA to support our vision of integrating the USD3.4-trillion African market becoming a reality," said Mene. Alluding to the success stories of TMA in East Africa and the Horn of Africa region, the secretary general said the introduction of digitisation and other modern trade infrastructure would reduce the time and cost of transit trade in Africa. "We shall adopt a corridor-to-corridor approach in reforming the transit processes and improve the collective competitiveness of all the trade corridors on the continent," he said.
Private sector urged to “own and drive” Africa’s continental trade agreement
The private sector is recognised as an indispensable stakeholder in the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement, especially given its ability to catalyse sustainable economic development and job creation. “Africa’s private sector accounts for 80% of total production, two-thirds of investment, and three-quarters of credit, and employs 90% of the working-age population,” said Stephen Karingi, director of Regional Integration and Trade at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). Speaking during the opening of a three-day Africa Prosperity Dialogues on 26 January in Ghana, Mr Karingi called on captains of trade and industry to “own and drive the implementation of the AfCFTA by supporting their governments but also by holding them to account.” UNECA estimates that by 2045 intra-African trade in agri-food, industry, and services sectors will increase by nearly 35% compared to a situation without the AfCFTA. But governments must implement the agreement “fully and effectively” for such impressive projections to come true, and the private sector must also seize the opportunities of a large single market created by the AfCFTA. The role of the private sector was also echoed by the chairperson of the African Prosperity Network, Gabby Otchere-Darko, who stated “we (the private sector) should make the fulfillment of the promises of the AfCFTA our agenda.”
The path towards Africa’s USD1.5-trillion green hydrogen economy
A new study, titled, Africa’s Extraordinary Green Hydrogen Potential, conducted by the European Investment Bank (EIB), International Solar Alliance and the African Union (AU) has revealed that Africa’s green hydrogen potential is approximately USD1.5-trillion, and, if maximised through to 2035, has the potential to position the continent as a global clean energy hub. Supported by the government of Mauritania, Europe’s HyDeal and Morocco’s UCLG Africa, the study has identified three green hydrogen hotspots namely Mauritania and Morocco, Southern Africa and Egypt. The study stipulates that exploiting the continent’s solar energy potential through the development of up to 1.2 gigawatts (GW) of new generation capacity in the three-specific hubs could enable the production of up to 50 million tonnes (mt) of green hydrogen per annum by 2035 at a globally-competitive cost. This would help improve global energy resilience, the decarbonisation of heavy industries, the continent’s economic competitiveness and heightened GDP growth. Ambroise Fayolle, vice president of the EIB, stated that, “Unlocking Africa’s green hydrogen potential will require close cooperation between public, private and financial partners.”
Source: Energy Capital & Power
LCTTFA Agreement to accelerate cross-border trade through implementation of harmonised transport and trade facilitation instruments
The Ministers responsible for Transport and Corridor Development from Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Zambia, with support and coordination of the Secretariat of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), signed the Lobito Corridor Transit Transport Facilitation Agency (LCTTFA) Agreement at Lobito, the Province of Benguela, in Angola, on 27 January 2023. The LCTTFA Agreement aims to provide an effective and efficient route that facilitates the transportation of goods within territories between the three corridor member states, through harmonisation of policies, laws and regulations; coordinated joint corridor infrastructure development strategies and activities; dissemination of traffic data and business information; and implementation of trade facilitation instruments to support greater participation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in business value chains mainly in agriculture and mining with the view of increasing trade and economic growth along the Lobito Corridor and across the SADC region.
Oil finds galore in Southern Africa
News of more oil finds in Namibia and Zimbabwe were recently reported by Shell Global and Australian Securities Exchange-listed company Invictus Energy. According to reports by Upstream, Shell reported another find in the world's hottest new hydrocarbon hunting ground in the Orange basin. Invictus Energy's challenging Mukuyu-1 wildcat in Zimbabwe has also reportedly identified more than a dozen potential hydrocarbon-bearing zones, a result the company said is “virtually unprecedented for the first well in a frontier basin”. Upstream reported that early signs from Shell's Jonker-1 exploration probe are promising, after the Northern Ocean's semi-submersible rig Deep Sea Bollsta began drilling the high-profile well in Block 2913A in mid-December. The probe is chasing a different geological play to the Upper Cretaceous light oil discoveries made last year by Shell's Graff-1 and La Rona-1 exploration wells. Upstream also reported that Invictus completed the probe and a sidetrack in the Cabora Bassa basin last year, hitting numerous down hole challenges on the way which meant that hydrocarbons could not be sampled directly. However, Invictus has been evaluating data from these two wells.
Source: The Namibian
Accelerating access to Renewable Energy in West Africa
Activities under the new Regional Emergency Solar Power Intervention Project (RESPITE) have officially kicked off in Freetown to increase electricity access to millions of existing and prospective consumers in Chad, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Togo. RESPITE – a USD311-million regional project supported by the World Bank and approved on 20 December 2022, with legal agreements signed on Tuesday, 31 January – aims to rapidly increase grid-connected renewable energy capacity and strengthen regional integration in the participating countries. West Africa has one of the lowest electrification rates, with 220 million people living without access, coupled with some of the highest electricity costs in sub-Saharan Africa. Rising oil prices – as a consequence of the war in Ukraine – have increased the liabilities of electricity utilities, and countries are facing an acute power supply crisis that threatens their economic growth. Furthermore, countries in the region rely on oil-based power plants to meet growing demand. In addition to the negative impact on the climate, this leads to increasingly higher tariffs for consumers.
Source: World Bank
ECOWAS PRC moves to consolidate democracy, enhance security and economic integration in the region
The Permanent Representative Committee (PRC) of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) opened its 5th retreat on Tuesday, 31 January 2023, in Lagos, Nigeria. The three-day retreat themed: Post Reformed ECOWAS: Prospects for Consolidating Democracy, Enhancing Security, and Strengthening Economic Integration Towards Actualising the ECOWAS of the People, set to discuss regional peace and security, deepening economic integration, institutional reforms, early warning, ECOWAS Vision 2050 and strengthening the role of the PRC, among others. While welcoming members of the PRC, Permanent Representative of Guinea-Bissau and chair of the PRC Mr João Ribeiro Butiam Có, highlighted that strengthening peace and security and improving democracy and good governance is imperative for the growth of the region. He encouraged his colleagues to brainstorm during the retreat to come up with recommendations. The Executive Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, represented by Mr Sam Egube, Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget of Lagos State in his goodwill message reiterated that as a people and as countries we are stronger together through integration. In his opening remarks, the president of the ECOWAS Commission, Dr Omar Alieu Omar Touray, appreciated the efforts of the PRC in strongly advocating for a better and stronger community, and the pursuit of peace and prosperity in the region.
Angolan president pledges to invest more in telecommunications
Angolan President João Lourenço said on Friday, 27 January, that Angola would continue to invest in the country's telecommunications sector with more satellites and infrastructures to ensure that the sector helps develop the country. The Angolan president made the statement after inaugurating the Satellite Control and Mission Center located in Luanda Province. The centre will monitor and operate the country's first on-orbit satellite, Angosat-2. With the launch of the Angosat-2 satellite and its operation, Angola benefits from all points of view, said President Lourenço, adding that agriculture, science, and education will also benefit from the project. In October 2022, Angola successfully launched its second satellite, Angosat-2, manufactured in Russia, after the first, Angosat-1, was deemed a write-off in December 2017. The Satellite Control and Mission Center was built over a total area of 6 617 square metres and has 47 compartments equipped with technical and technological means, with the capacity to ensure satellite tracking, monitoring, and exploration.
IMF staff and the Cameroonian authorities have reached staff-level agreement on the third review of the ECF and EFF for Cameroon
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team, led by Cemile Sancak, IMF Mission Chief for Cameroon, visited Yaoundé from 5 - 18 January, and held virtual meetings from 19 - 27 January to discuss the progress made on reforms and the authorities’ policy priorities in the context of the third review of the programme supported by the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) and the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangements. At the conclusion of this visit, Ms Sancak issued the following statement, in part: “The mission has reached staff-level agreement with the Cameroonian authorities on the economic and financial policies that could support the approval of the third review of the programme under the ECF and EFF arrangements. Conclusion of the third review by the IMF Executive Board scheduled in early March 2023 would enable the disbursement of SDR55.2-million (about USD74.6-million). The economic outlook for 2023 is favourable though subject to considerable downside risks, especially from the external economic environment. Economic growth is expected to accelerate to 4.3% in 2023 while inflation is projected to remain at about 6% at end-2023.”
Ethiopian Capital Market Authority to issue licences to capital market service providers
The Ethiopian Capital Market Authority has announced that it is undertaking the necessary preparations to issue licences to capital market service providers over the coming six months. It is to be recalled that Ethiopia had approved the Capital Markets Establishment Proclamation in 2021 to provide the legal foundation for the development of capital markets in the country. Following the approval of the Proclamation, several activities have been carried out with a view to create a conducive environment for its implementation. As per the Proclamation the government had established an institution and appointed leaders for its implementation. The Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Associations has held a stakeholders’ consultation that was organised in collaboration with the Ethiopian Capital Market Authority and Ethiopian Securities Exchange under the theme Ethiopia’s Capital Market. Director general of the Ethiopian Capital Market Authority, Dr Brook Taye said during the consultation that several activities were carried out to reorganise the authority in order to implement the Proclamation. Accordingly, regulatory guidelines and directives have been prepared as per the Proclamation, he said.
IMF Executive Board approves USD38.4-million ECF arrangement for Guinea-Bissau
The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved a 36-month Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement for Guinea-Bissau in the amount of SDR28.4-million (about USD38.4-million, or 100% of quota). The IMF Executive Board decision enables an immediate disbursement of SDR2.37-million (about USD3.2-million). Disbursements of the remaining amount will be phased over the duration of the programme, subject to two initial quarterly reviews - to ensure close monitoring of reforms, followed by five biannual reviews. The ECF-supported programme aims to anchor macroeconomic stability, putting the budget back on track and ensuring medium-term debt sustainability, while continuing progress on structural reforms initiated under the 2021-22 Staff Monitored Program (SMP). It will provide a framework to assist the authorities in designing and implementing effective policies to better address development challenges such as enhanced education and health systems, promote inclusive growth, and reduce poverty. Fiscal policy will aim to reduce the deficit and debt in line with the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) convergence criteria over the medium term through revenue mobilisation, expenditure rationalisation, mitigation of fiscal risks and prudent borrowing.
How VAT export ruling will hit Kenyan firms, multinationals
Multinationals and persons who export services from Kenya including cross-border consultancies have been dealt a blow after the High Court threw out a petition challenging the imposition of value-added tax (VAT) on their services, bringing to an end protracted court battles with the taxman. This means Kenyans exporting services to other jurisdictions will become less competitive due to the additional taxes now imposed on their services in a ruling that will embolden the taxman to go after big technology companies and other multinationals operating in Kenya. The Finance Act 2022 expunged exported services from the first schedule of the VAT Act 2013 effectively reclassifying them from VAT-exempt status to the standard rate status, which made them taxable by the consumption tax at 16% from 1 July last year. The VAT Act defines an exported service as one that is used and consumed outside Kenya.
1.8 MWp solar PV power plant goes into operation in Antalaha
A new solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant is coming on stream in Madagascar. The plant is located in Antalaha, a commune in the Sava region in the north-east of the island. The plant has a capacity of 1.8 MWp, which represents an estimated annual output of 3 gigawatt hours (GWh). The electricity produced is fed into the local grid. This solar project, which is entering its operational phase, is being developed by Green Energy Solutions (GES Madagascar), a joint venture between the Malagasy group Axian and GreenYellow, an independent power producer (IPP) based in Puteaux, France. “This is the last plant to be commissioned of the batch of three plants located in the Sava region. It joins the NEA Morondava plant for a total installed capacity of 6 MWp. This quartet provides green, local and economic energy to the populations and companies located in the immediate vicinity of the installations”, says GreenYellow on social networks.
Source: AFRIK 21
Aura Energy inks 30-year mining agreement with Mauritania
Australian-based mineral company Aura Energy has finalised a mining convention with the government of Mauritania for the Tiris Uranium Project – a major greenfield mine located approximately 680 km from the town of Zouerat. With the agreement, Aura Energy is set to develop the prospect over a 30-year period, with the requisite economic and fiscal security put in place to allow operations to commence. The terms of the agreement include a 25% tax rate, a 3.5% royalty rate with free-on-board value, and an exemption for value-added tax (VAT) covering the importation of necessary goods for mining operations, including movable goods, materials, equipment, vehicles and more. Additionally, the agreement stipulates 20% state participation, as well as an accelerated depreciation for the first three years after production. With the potential to produce up to 12.4 million pounds of uranium oxide over a 15-year mine life period at the Tiris prospect, opportunities to produce high-grade uranium resources are abounding.
Source: Energy Capital & Power
Green hydrogen: fuelling Namibia’s economic future
Like many other countries on the continent, Namibia is plagued by energy poverty which poses an obstacle to the economic growth and development of Namibia and her people. Green hydrogen offers a possible solution by providing reliable energy in the country, creating jobs in the production and distribution of hydrogen and driving economic growth, all while enabling Namibia to export green electrons to the global north and the southern African region. On Thursday, 26 January 2023, ENSafrica | Namibia (incorporated as Lorentz Angula Inc.) and Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) held a panel discussion titled Leveraging Green Hydrogen to Drive Economic Prosperity in Namibia. The discussion was opened by RMB Namibia chairman, Philip Chapman, and moderated by Sector Lead for Mining and Resources at RMB, Fabian Shaanika and ENSafrica’s Project Development and Energy senior associate, Stefanie Busch. According to the HDF-Energy Business Developer responsible for Namibia, South Africa and Zambia, Tashiya Walenga, green hydrogen remains an enigmatic concept to many players in the private sector despite its benefits. One way to tap into the opportunities in the green hydrogen industry, Walenga shared with the audience, is to explore the value chain, which consists of upstream, midstream, and downstream components.
Overall new business registrations drop by 7.3% in 2022 – BIPA
Registered business entities for the year 2022 dropped by 7.3% compared to the 2021 calendar year, the Business and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA) said in a statement recently. According to the Registrar of Business and Intellectual Property, Vivienne Katjiuongua, BIPA recorded a total of 12 666 registrations on its business register for the period January - December 2022. From the total number of registrations, 11 130 comprised of close corporations (CCs), 1 153 for companies, 318 registrations were for section 21 companies (associations not for gain), 49 were defensive names and 16 were foreign companies. This number shows a decline of 7.3% from the same period in 2021 when the authority recorded a total of 13 594 registrations. “Although BIPA observed a decline of 9% in the registrations of CCs during 2022, compared to 2021, the authority saw an increase in the number of companies registered by 12% compared to the previous year,” said Katjiuongua. Katjiuongua further pointed out that from the 12 000 business entities that were registered, the authority also recorded a total of 869 de-registrations for 2022, 613 of which were CCs and 256 were companies.
Source: Namibia Economist
The country’s largest solar power plant (10 MWp) goes into operation in Kano
The Kumbotso solar power plant was recently inaugurated in Kano State by President Muhammadu Buhari. The plant, which required an investment of USD15-million, has a capacity of 10 megawatts peak (MWp). Despite his convoy being pelted by youths in Kano, the Nigerian president travelled to Kumbotso Local Government Area to inaugurate a 10 MWp solar photovoltaic (PV) plant. This is the first-ever grid-connected solar power plant in Nigeria. The project, which was tendered in 2020, is being implemented by Haske Solar Company, a special purpose vehicle set up at the request of the Federal Government by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA). Haske Solar is therefore 80% owned by the Federal Government of Nigeria, 15% by Kano State and 5% by Kumbotso Local Government. The park covers a 24-hectare site just 16 km from Kumbotso. “It is currently the largest grid-connected solar plant and is proof of a successful medium-sized solar deployment in Nigeria. The park will catalyse the growth of the power sector, as it shows that renewable projects of this scale can be achieved,” said Aminu Sagir, the managing director of NSIA at the inauguration ceremony.
Source: AFRIK 21