Green banks and national climate funds have a key role in mobilising funds for low-carbon, climate-resilient development in Africa – report

The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) have joined forces to produce a study of the role of green banks and national climate change funds in mobilising finance to support low-carbon, climate-resilient development in Africa. The ground-breaking study, released on Tuesday, 23 March, is expected to underpin development of a multi-country climate finance initiative in Africa. Nationally-based green banks are powerful tools to address market needs, and drive private investment. The Bank engaged six countries in the study – Ghana, Zambia, Uganda, Tunisia, Mozambique and Benin – to explore how expansion of the Green Bank model in Africa could build country-based green finance capacity. The study found that a combination of green banks working alongside national climate change funds has the potential to scale private investment in support of climate and sustainable development goals. Two sectors stand out as priorities across the study countries: renewable energy and climate-smart agriculture. Green cities infrastructure is another potential priority sector in several of the countries engaged in the study.

Source: AfDB

Africa

Life after debt: AfDB chief economist Rabah Arezki reflects on governance and growth in Africa

After contracting by 2.1 % in 2020, Africa’s real gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow by 3.4 % in 2021. This anticipated recovery from the worst recession in more than half a century would be underpinned by Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccinations and helped by a resumption of tourism, a rebound in commodity prices, and the lifting of restrictions aimed at stemming the spread of the virus. However, the picture is clouded by unusually high uncertainties. The 2021 African Economic Outlook (AEO) recommends three blocks of reforms to improve the process of debt resolutions and the nexus with governance and sustainable growth. The current global architecture requires better coordination among creditors, which can be achieved by establishing a wider forum that brings together official bilateral, multilateral, and private-sector creditors to agree on common terms for debt restructuring and resolution.

Source: AfDB

Africa

New WTO report examines ways of increasing Africa’s trading capacities

African economies have been hit hard by the downturn in global trade triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new World Trade Organization (WTO) publication launched on Day 1 of the Aid for Trade Stocktaking Event which took place online from 23 to 25 March. The publication entitled ‘Strengthening Africa’s capacity to trade’ explores how African countries can leverage the multilateral trading system to take greater advantage of international markets and promote economic transformation. At the launch of the report, Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said: “This publication is an excellent starting point for efforts to ensure that Africa's economic response to COVID-19 makes full use of the potential of trade to drive recovery, growth and job creation.” With an estimated negative growth rate of -8.0% in 2020, sub-Saharan Africa has been hit hard by the downturn in trade and economic activity caused by the COVID-19 crisis, the report finds. Efforts made by the WTO to revive the progress made before the crisis and help minimise its effects include technical assistance and capacity-building activities for developing and least-developed countries, the WTO-led Aid for Trade initiative and support for implementing the Trade Facilitation Agreement.

Source: WTO

Africa

Previously postponed Pan-African trade fair to be held in Kigali in December

The second Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2020) which was initially set to take place from 1 to 7 September 2020 in Kigali will be held in December this year following postponement in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision was reached after consultation by the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), the African Union (AU) and the Government of Rwanda. The second Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF2021) is now set to take place from 8 to 14 December 2021. Afreximbank, the AU and the Government of Rwanda decided to shift the date of the continental trade fair to allow for a broader roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines across the continent and ensure that the event is held under the most optimal health conditions. The second edition of the biennial IATF aims at providing a platform for entry into a single market of over 1.2 billion people joined together by the African Continental Free Trade Area, serving as a marketplace bringing together continental and global buyers and sellers and showcasing goods and services.

Source: The New Times

Southern Africa

SADC executive secretary urges businesses to take advantage of region's lucrative investment opportunities

Russian businesses in the Moscow region should take advantage of investment opportunities in the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the executive secretary of SADC, Her Excellency Dr Stergomena Lawrence Tax, has said. Lucrative opportunities exist in SADC’s value chains such as agro-processing, energy, pharmaceuticals, mineral beneficiation and manufacturing of various commodities for domestic and export markets. This is at the back of the region’s secure, peaceful and stable investment environment. Dr Tax made the call on 19 March 2021 during the Moscow-Africa 2021 conference held under the theme ‘Directions and Opportunities for Industrial and Investment Cooperation’, a platform initiated by the Department of Investment and Industrial Policy of Moscow to identify the directions and possibilities of industrial and investment cooperation between Russian and sub-Saharan African companies. The teleconference, in which Dr Tax was one of the panel discussants, was the first of the Moscow-Africa annual cycle.

Source: SADC

West Africa

AfDB Group launches second phase of West African Capital Markets Integration Project backed by USD850,000 grant

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has launched the second phase of the West African Capital Markets Integration (WACMI) Project to establish a common securities listing and trading platform across West African bourses. In December 2020, WACMI received a grant of USD850,000 from the Capital Markets Development Trust Fund (CMDTF), a multi-donor fund administered by the AfDB and supported by Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Phase 2 of the integration project, financed by the grant, entails harmonisation of regulations in participating capital markets as well as building capacity of market regulators and operators to handle cross-border investments. The West African region’s capital markets are fragmented and lack depth and liquidity –¬ all challenges the project is intended to address. Expected beneficiary countries are Ghana, Nigeria, The Gambia, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Cape Verde, as well as the eight countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union: Benin, Guinea Bissau, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.

Source: AfDB

Botswana

New accord gets nod

Botswana, alongside fellow Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) member states, has endorsed and adopted the agreed text of the new partnership agreement between the bloc and the European Union (EU). This was said by minister of International Affairs and Cooperation, Dr Lemogang Kwape during the Botswana-EU virtual political dialogue. Dr Kwape stated that the meeting was convened at the sunset of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement (CPA) in an endeavour to continue strengthening the relationship which he said was indicative of the long-lasting and strategic partnership between Botswana and the EU. Through the agreement, the minister said, Botswana and other OACPS member states had reiterated their resolve to further enhance and entrench the long standing relations with Europe. During the dialogue, Dr Kwape said Botswana and the EU exchanged views and set out priorities to effectively strengthen the partnership, Botswana's Economic Recovery and Transformation Plan and the EU's new financing model for 2021 to 2027.

Source: Botswana Daily News

Democratic Republic of the Congo

African Union welcomes DRC to African Peer Review Mechanism

The African Union (AU) has welcomed the Democratic Republic of the Congo as the newest member of its African Peer Review Mechanism. This took place during the AU’s 30th Forum of Heads of State and Government on Thursday, 25 March. The meeting included presentations on ongoing or imminent reviews of governance and other spheres in a number of countries, including Liberia, Sierra Leone, Zambia and Kenya. Improving governance, tackling corruption and upholding human rights are central to the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s governance program, said President Félix Tshisekedi, adding that his government welcomed external review and support of its policies. “By joining the African Peer Review Mechanism, we hope to get the support of our peers in the review of our practices regarding good governance, which is a prerequisite for development.” The summit covered an upcoming peer review of Liberia; the discussion of a gap analysis of Sudan; two reviews of tourism and mineral resources governance in Zambia; a targeted review of Sierra Leone’s national response to the COVID-19 pandemic; and peer reviews of progress reports for Kenya and Mozambique.

Source: AfDB

Equatorial Guinea

Tullow Oil approves sale of assets to Panoro Energy

Tullow Oil shareholders have approved the sale of its Equatorial Guinea assets to Panoro Energy. In February, Tullow agreed, subject to certain conditions, to sell its subsidiaries with assets in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon to Panoro for up to USD180-million. Tullow’s shareholders voted 99.98% in favor of the sale of Tullow Equatorial Guinea Limited (TEGL) to Panoro. TEGL holds a 14.25% non-operated working interest in Block G, which contains the Ceiba and Okume Complex assets offshore Equatorial Guinea. The resolution is the final condition for the completion of the agreement. Panoro and Tullow will work on the final steps and expect completion in the coming weeks. Also, Panoro is continuing with the completion conditions related to its purchase of Tullow’s 10% working interest in the Dussafu Marin permit offshore Gabon, and will update shareholders in due course.

Source: Africa Oil & Power

Ghana

Potential AfCFTA exporters urged to register for free

Potential exporters seeking to do business under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), are being encouraged to register since registration is free. According to the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA-CD) exporters under the AfCFTA are not required to pay any registration fees before being admitted. It said prospective exporters are supposed to download the registration form on the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) online portal and provide the necessary information for registration. Mr Fechin Akoto, assistant commissioner in charge of Trade and Tariffs at the GRA-CD, explained that exporters and the trading public could also visit the Customs Technical Services Bureau at the GRA headquarters in Accra for all enquiries concerning exporting under the AfCFTA. The assistant commissioner underlined the need for exporters to know the Rules of Origin at their fingertips since it was the legal standards supporting the differential treatment of some goods. Additionally, the Rules of Origin aimed at deepening market integration, fostering the economic transformation of the African continent through industrialisation, boosting intra-African trade and continental value chain, he stated.

Source: ModernGhana

Kenya

Equity Group Holdings plans trans-Africa expansion with USD100-million loan from the AfDB

The African Development Bank (AfDB) and Equity Group Holdings (EGH) have signed a USD100-million loan facility to support the commercial bank’s expansion across East and Central Africa, enhancing its ability to serve small and medium enterprises as it grows. The loan, a tier two facility with a seven-year maturity, is expected to promote EGH’s ability to offer bespoke products to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), strengthen its balance sheet and optimise its capital structure across the continent with a special focus on women and youth entrepreneurs. Dr James Mwangi, managing director and chief executive officer of EGH said, “together with the African Development Bank Group, Equity Group will be strongly positioned to support MSMEs to keep their lights on during the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic that has slowed down the economy, impacting on the cash flow of enterprises. We have seen the impact of pumping oxygen to our MSMEs during this period. They have emerged more resilient, thereby protecting jobs and creating more job opportunities through venturing into more innovative initiatives, such as manufacturing of internationally certified quality PPEs.”

Source: AfDB

Kenya

Lamu port set to start operations by June

Lamu port is set to begin clearing Ethiopian cargo by 15 June this year, according to multi agency team steering the project, Kenya News Agency reports. Speaking after an inter-agency meeting in Garissa, LAPSSET chairperson Maj Gen (Rtd) Titus Ibui, said following the meeting between President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ethiopia Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed late last year at official inspection tour to Lamu Port Project, the government is keen to complete the project and start clearing Ethiopian cargo from Lamu port. “We travelled by road from Mombasa to Garissa to inspect the project. The progress is good. The road between Lamu and Garsen is complete,” Ibui said. Ibui however said that the Lamu – Garsen – Garissa road is an alternative route until the completion of the railway, pipeline and road project. The LAPSSET Corridor Project embodies Kenya’s dream of becoming a newly industrialised middle-income economy by 2030. The Project is intended to facilitate regional integration and interconnectivity within the African continent, through Regional Infrastructure, Social and Economic Development. Kenya and Ethiopia have come a long way in developing the LAPSSET Corridor Project, having various bilateral agreements.

Source: The Africa Logistics

Lesotho

No budget for standards body

The implementation of the Lesotho Standards Institution (LSI) is set to be further delayed as the Ministry of Trade and Industry has not been allocated any funds for its operationalisation in the proposed 2021/22 financial year budget. Following the LSI’s launch by the Trade ministry last August, it was expected that the LSI would be allocated funds in the 2021/22 budget so that it would begin its work. The LSI was set up to develop and publish the national standards, testing and certification of various local products as well as to conduct trainings on standards related matters. Trade ministry principal secretary Maile Masoebe told the Lesotho Times that the LSI has not been allocated any funds in the ongoing budget process. “We submitted a budget proposal for the LSI but it was turned down by the Ministry of Finance,” Mr Masoebe said. The acting LSI chief executive officer, Molebatsi Rabolinyane, said it will not be easy to provide a full scope of the LSI without an operating budget.

Source: Lesotho Times

Malawi

Firm invests MWK99-billion in 75 MW power plant

Africa Energy and Power Limited, an independent power producer (IPP), has unveiled plans to build a USD125-million (about MWK99-billion) 75 MW hybrid power plant at Wovwe in Karonga. The 75 MW is a single hybrid power project comprising 50 MW from coal and 25 MW from solar power. This follows a successful review and preliminary approval of an unsolicited IPP proposal submitted by African Energy and Power Limited to Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM) in February last year and later to Power Market Limited (PML) in July. In a statement, African Energy and Power Limited managing director Lumbani Mbale said the approval is an important step towards the accomplishment of the power project. Mbale also said that following the licensing of MPL by the Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) as a single buyer, the project is expected to move at a much faster pace than before. Once successful, the project will add value to the energy sector by improving power supply to the national grid, which has an installed capacity of 422.2 MW.

Source: The Nation

Nigeria

Afreximbank, NEXIM sign USD50-million fund MoU to stimulate local industries

African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and Nigeria Export-Import Bank (NEXIM) have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a fund that will provide early project preparation financing and technical support services to public and private sector entities. Under the terms of the MoU signed in February 2021, Afreximbank and NEXIM will collaborate through the Joint Project Preparation Fund to unlock investments into sectors such as manufacturing, agro-processing, solid minerals development, beneficiation services, healthcare, information, and communications technology as well as creative industries. The fund will support public and private sector investors by providing technical and financial support services that will result in a steady pipeline of well-structured, bankable projects that Afreximbank, NEXIM, and other financial institutions can readily finance. Afreximbank and NEXIM aim to mobilise up to USD50-million forms of project preparation fund for investments in Nigeria.

Source: The Guardian

Nigeria

NEPC asks Nigerian exportable goods producers, manufacturers to integrate mandatory, non-mandatory certification to enter global market

The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), an agency for the promotion, development and diversification of exports from Nigeria, has asked producers and manufacturers of exportable products in the country to integrate mandatory and non-mandatory certification as an edge to penetrate the global export market. The call comes on the heels of woeful performance by Nigerian export companies at the global scene, accounting for a paltry 0.33% of the global trade, and 19% of African trade. A recent remark by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, first female and African director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to the Nigerian Presidency, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), opened miserable statistics about Nigeria’s status in manufacturing value-addition. For example, Nigeria currently ranks 103 out of 167 counties in terms of logistics. Also, the country’s 100% export of crude oil, without value-addition in terms of refining, results in billions of dollars in lost export revenues. The NEPC chief executive said that penetrating the international markets for processed and value-added products, particularly food items requires additional certification to enable the products to access competitive overseas markets.

Source: BusinessAMLive

Rwanda

Government to inject another RWF150-billion in manufacturing

In a bid to revive the manufacturing sector, the government plans to inject at least RWF150-billion into the sector by the end of this year, Prime Minister Édouard Ngirente said. He said this during his appearance before members of both chambers of Parliament where he provided an update on the current status of the sector during the COVID-19 crisis and the plans ahead. During the virtual session, Ngirente told the legislators that the manufacturing industry was one of the sectors hit the hardest by the pandemic, falling by 19%. As a result, productivity slumped and 7,401 jobs in agro-processing, 13,000 in mining, and 2,644 in energy were lost. Ngirente shed light on the RWF100-billion injected in the economic recovery fund, saying that at least RWF75-billion has already been disbursed at very low interest rates. “We are going to continue injecting money into this fund and we expect that money to be RWF370-billion by the end of this year. That means an additional RWF250-billion is being sourced,” he said. Ngirente said that at least RWF955-billion had gone to manufacturing but more will be added to revive the sector. The extra RWF150-billion will be invested in construction and other industries, he said.

Source: The New Times

Senegal / Mauritania

Construction of the Rosso Bridge between Senegal and Mauritania begins

Members of the Mauritanian and Senegalese governments participated in the signing ceremony of a series of contracts to begin construction of the Rosso Bridge, which will link the two neighbouring countries. The absence of a crossing of the Senegal River, the natural border between the two countries, constitutes a major handicap to the mobility of people and goods. The construction of the Rosso Bridge will thus connect the 1,500 metres that separate the two banks of the river. In addition to transport facilitation and trade development measures, the Rosso Bridge will reduce journey times and lower transportation costs. This project will also contribute, by extension, to the development of transport activities along the Tangier-Lagos and Algiers-Dakar trans-African corridors, with a view to consolidating South-South integration between West Africa and the Maghreb. The total cost of the project is around EUR88-million, including a donation of EUR20-million from the European Union, two loans totalling EUR41-million from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to both countries and EUR22-million from the European Investment Bank. The remainder of the financing is provided by matching funds committed by the two states.

Source: AfDB

Seychelles

New project in Seychelles aims to facilitate trade with African countries

Seychelles will soon start the implementation of the African Trade Observatory (ATO) project where local businesses can get more information about trade potential within the African continent, a top government official said. The principal secretary for Trade, Cillia Mangroo, told a press conference that the government will need to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Trade Centre (ITC) to be able to benefit from the project. Mangroo added that the cabinet of ministers recently endorsed the signing of the MoU. According to the ministry, the ATO is a system that aims to create a continent-wide trade information portal to facilitate intra-African trade. It also will help to monitor the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and boost intra-Africa trade by connecting interested traders within the continent. A press release said the system will seek to collect trade-related data from member states and provide trade intelligence to both government and the private sector. With the establishment of such collaboration, it is expected that it will considerably enhance the coverage, quality and availability of real-time trade data for all African countries, including Seychelles.

Source: Seychelles News Agency

Zambia

Zambia launches blueprint to enhance electricity generation

Zambia on Wednesday, 24 March launched an ambitious plan aimed at increasing electricity generation in the southern African nation. The Integrated Resource Plan will be implemented during a 30-year period with the support of the British government through a grant equivalent to USD1.78-million. Minister of Energy Mathew Nkhuwa, who launched the plan virtually, said the plan will be an approach to the national power system that incorporates assessment of available energy resources and opportunities for demand. The implementation of the plan is expected to, among other things, improve long-term reliability, affordability, efficiency and security of electricity supply, while keeping pace with the economic growth and development, he said. British High Commissioner to Zambia Nicholas Woolley said the plan will go a long way in the utilisation of renewable power technologies and operation of smart grids, which will put energy users more in control of their own energy use. He said innovations in the private sector will bring new options to the market which will go a long way in reducing the cost of developing and operating power systems.

Source: Xinhua