International Monetary Fund: World Economic Outlook, October 2019

In sub-Saharan Africa, growth is expected at 3.2% in 2019 and 3.6% in 2020, slightly lower for both years than in the April 2019 World Economic Outlook (WEO). Higher, albeit volatile, oil prices earlier in the year have supported the subdued outlook for Nigeria and some other oil-exporting countries in the region, but Angola’s economy – because of a decline in oil production – is expected to contract this year and recover only mildly next year. In South Africa, despite a moderate rebound in the second quarter, growth is expected to be weaker in 2019 than projected in the April 2019 WEO following a very weak first quarter, reflecting a larger-than-anticipated impact of labor strikes and energy supply issues in mining, together with weak agricultural production. While the three largest economies of the region are projected to continue their lackluster performance, many other economies – typically more diversified ones – are experiencing solid growth. About 20 economies in the region, accounting for about 45% of the sub-Saharan African population and 34% of the region’s GDP (1% of global GDP), are estimated to be growing faster than 5% this year while growth in a somewhat larger set of countries, in per capita terms, is faster than in advanced economies.

Source: International Monetary Fund


African Development Bank, Climate Investment Funds and the Coalition for Green Capital to develop Green financing instruments for Africa

The African Development Bank, in partnership with the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), has commissioned the Coalition for Green Capital (CGC) to prepare a study on the creation of national climate change funds and green banks in Africa. CGC will identify and work with six African countries to conduct feasibility studies for the project, which was initiated at the Green Bank Design Summit held in Paris in March 2019. When paired with effective grant programs through National Climate Change Funds and strong enabling environments and policies, locally-based Green Banks are powerful tools to address market needs, understand local risk and drive private investment. Green Banks and National Climate Change Funds can play an important role in mobilising finance to support low-carbon, climate-resilient development, using methods such as blended finance to drive increased private investment.

Source: African Development Bank Group


5G beckons but 4G remains key for Africa

The fourth generation of mobile networks (4G) remains key for Africa’s digital future as the 5G era approaches. This is according to experts at the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Ministerial Information and Communications Technology (ICT) forum held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Experts said service innovation was key to reaping the upcoming 5G dividend, with a strong focus on accelerating the proliferation of 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks. 5G is now a reality in Africa as South Africa’s mobile data network operator, Rain, and Huawei jointly announced the commissioning of Africa’s first commercial 5G network. By 2025, only 17.5% of mobile connections in the world will be on 5G. However, LTE usage will be about 65% by the same year, up from 44.3% in 2018, according to a 2019 report by Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA) Intelligence.

Source: CAJ News


Wind energy supply chain to transform Africa’s economy

The wind energy industry and its supply chain can be a massive game-changer, as reported by sector experts at the 2019 Windaba. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) alone has the potential to build 18GW of wind by 2030, the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) estimates. This is a third of the region’s current power pool. Besides generating much-needed clean and affordable electricity, wind energy has the power to unlock economic growth in Africa, give a new impulse to the continent’s under-performing manufacturing sector. This and developing an energy storage industry can develop and transform economies and create millions of direct and indirect jobs. Despite progress, energy security remains a challenge in the continent. According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), over 640 million people in the region still don’t have access to clean, affordable, and reliable energy. This corresponds to an average electrification rate of 43%. All of this is a key deterrent to sustained economic growth, a healthy investment climate, job creation and the provision of public services.

Source: ESI Africa


Angola launches National Database Protection Agency to protect citizens' digital information

The Angolan citizens’ personal data become protected from now onwards, with the official launch of the National Database Protection Agency (APD). The agency, which generated about 150 jobs, is located in the Angola Post Office building and will advise the government on the regulation, supervision and enforcement of data protection legal provisions. It will also be responsible for penalising non-compliance.

Source: Africa Tech


Angola’s economy creates more than 161,000 jobs in 21 months

Angola’s economy created nearly 162,000 jobs between the beginning of 2018 and the third quarter of 2019, almost a third of the government’s forecast for the 2018/2022 five-year period, President João Lourenço said in Luanda on Tuesday in his State of the Nation address at the opening of the new parliamentary year. The President, who gave assurances that Angola will resume the path of economic growth from 2020, said that 80.3% of jobs created in that period were in the public and private business sector and the remaining 19.7% in the public sector. Lourenço, quoted by Angolan state news agency Angop, said that the retail sector created the most jobs, followed by construction and public works, transport, agriculture and industry.

Source: Macauhub


Brexit should not affect Botswana’s trade with UK

Botswana, the world’s second-biggest diamond producer, expects its trade with the United Kingdom (UK) to continue unhindered after Brexit. The Southern African Customs Union (SACU), which comprises Botswana, South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia and Eswatini, along with Mozambique, agreed on a deal with the UK in September to govern trade should it leave the European Union (EU) at the end of October. The deal mirrors the terms SACU now has with the EU. British and EU officials are trying to thrash out a Brexit deal as the UK prepares to withdraw from the economic bloc on October 31, more than three years after Britons voted on the pull-out in a referendum. Besides the trade accord, a memorandum of understanding guarantees the SACU members and Mozambique access to the UK market, while the protracted process of certifying their goods is under way, according to Botswana’s Investment, Trade And Industry Minister Bogolo Joy Kenewendo.

Source: Business Day


Ghana to export experience in oil and gas industry

The petroleum industry in Ghana is ready to export its knowledge attained to other developing countries, including The Gambia and Sierra Leone. This follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) and its counterparts in those countries. Speaking at the 3rd Africa Oil and Gas Local Content Sustainability Summit, Chief Executive of the GNPC, Dr Kofi Kodua Sarpong stated that it is meant to purposely share experiences in the management of the petroleum upstream sector. He noted that the move will offer Ghana the prospect to also tap into the expertise of these countries. The Corporation is also to soon sign another MoU with Guyana and Liberia.

Source: GhanaWeb


Increased production sees Ghana raise its hydrocarbon profile

In the past, Ghana has been one of the smaller oil and gas producers on the continent but that production is expected to grow rapidly over the next five years. The organisation charged with developing the West African nations’ hydrocarbon assets is the national oil company, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC). The rise in Ghana’s production is expected to come from the growth of existing offshore fields such as Twenboa-Enyenra-Ntomme (TEN) and Offshore Cape Three Points (OCTP). Ghana’s oil and gas industry continues to attract key global industry players on the back of sustained investor interest, due largely to the favourable investment climate and stable democracy.

Source: Africa Business Community


Ghana, Nigeria to meet over border, trade dispute

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, has said efforts are being made to meet the President of Nigeria to explore ways of dealing with the extreme difficulties faced by Ghanaian traders and companies following the closure of the Nigeria borders since 21 August 2019. She noted that the closure of the borders has significantly disrupted trade in the sub-region and the meeting with the Nigerian President would explore the possibility of restoring normal trade under the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) liberalisation trade scheme. Ms Botchwey and the Nigerian High Commissioner to Ghana deliberated over the issue and discussed ways of resolving the problem. The two also discussed how to curb smuggling, illicit export of weapons and drugs and security challenges in the sub-region.

Source: Ghanaian Times


Kenya opens second phase of massive Chinese-funded rail project

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta officially opened the second phase of his flagship infrastructure project: a Chinese-funded and built railway that will eventually link the port of Mombasa to Uganda. The latest stretch of track cost USD1.5 billion and runs from Nairobi to the Rift Valley town of Naivasha. But critics say the cost of the railway is plunging Kenya into debt. The new track is 120 kilometers (75 miles) long and has 12 stations. Passengers can ride the trains, but the railway is mainly for cargo. The track will eventually lead to an inland container depot, from where containers will be distributed to Uganda and Rwanda, and to South Sudan.

Source: VOA


EIF project boosts Malawi export base

Malawi Investment and Trade Centre (MITC) has touted the impact of the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) in boosting the country’s export base. MITC figures show that through the project, at least 10 local firms exported goods valued at USD7-million in the 2018/19 financial year. EIF is a multilateral partnership dedicated to assisting least developed countries use trade as an engine for growth, sustainable development and poverty reduction. Under the project, MITC is supporting local exporters in capacity building. In a statement, MITC says in the past financial year alone, it assisted more than eight companies in enhancing export readiness through improvements in product packaging and labeling.

Source: The Times Group


Mozambique's LNG projects ready for implementation

The latest final investment decision (FID) on Mozambique's USD20-billion Anadarko liquefied natural gas (LNG) project makes it the largest sanction ever in sub-Saharan Africa oil and gas sector. This is not the only mega-LNG project on the drawing board. ExxonMobil’s Rovuma LNG project, which envisages a 15 million tonnes per annum (tpa) two-train facility taking gas from its offshore area 4 block, is also lined up to take FID. Meanwhile, Italy’s ENI is already moving ahead with its 3.4 million tpa floating LNG facility, which will draw on 5 trillion cubic feet (TCF) of gas in waters more than 2,000 metres deep with first gas due in mid-2022. State revenue from Mozambique LNG alone will reach USD3-billion per annum, single-handedly doubling the current revenue as calculated by the IMF and World Bank by the 2030s.

Source: Bizcommunity


Relief for taxpayers as new law eases penalties for missed deadlines

It’s a sigh of relief for businesses following the gazetting of a new tax law which eases penalties for failure to comply in time. The Law on Tax Procedures, N° 026/2019 of 18/09/2019, published in the Official Gazette on 10 October, replaces the one of 2005 which provided for much tougher penalties. Among key highlights of the new law is the amended approach in calculation of penalties and interest in case of late payments of taxes. In the new tax law, administrative fine for non-declaration and late payment will be determined by the time limit exceeded by a taxpayer. This is an adjustment of the previous regime where fines for non-declaration and late payment were flat at 60% of the tax one should have declared and paid. Under the old law, that was the case whether one paid one day or three months late. The new regime is expected to, among other things, improve the doing business environment.

Source: The New Times


UCC proposes improved regulation of social media

The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) is proposing improved regulation of over the top services (OTT) such as Facebook and Twitter to encourage investment in the sector. During the second international preparatory meeting hosted by UCC, which attracted stakeholders from different countries in Africa’s telecommunication industry, the Commission proposed that African countries take a stand on all OTT oriented matters. “Uganda is proposing an African Union declaration on all OTT related issues. While Africa is a net user of OTTs such as Facebook and Twitter, regulators are hard-pressed to protect consumers, personal data, pricing and to regulate competition-related matters involving multinational OTTs in their markets,” a statement from UCC reads in part.

Source: Daily Monitor


Trade deficit narrows

Zimbabwe’s trade deficit narrowed to USD57.5-million after the country recorded a 24.9% growth in its exports. According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s (RBZ) latest report for the month of July 2019, the increase in exports was attributable to a rise in export earnings from gold, nickel ore and concentrate, and ferrochrome. Exports for gold were up by 40.8%; nickel ore and concentrates up by 27.8%; and ferrochrome up by 28.1%. Zimbabwe is banking on the minerals sector for economic growth and development. President Mnangagwa launched a strategic roadmap to the achievement of a USD12-billion mining industry by 2023 as Government ramps up efforts to increase the sector’s contribution to the economy. By 2030, the industry is expected to be generating upwards of USD20-billion.

Source: The Herald