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Homestrings announces major forum on Zambia's investment potential

Homestrings announces major forum on Zambia's investment potential | Investing in West Africa | Scoop.it
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Homestrings and the Zambia Development Agency are delighted to announce the launch of 5th edition of the Zambia International Investment Forum (ZIIF 2015). The event will take place from the 10th to the 11th of December 2015 at the Radisson Blu Lusaka, the heart of the Capital of Zambia.

 

Read more: http://ow.ly/T9Tui

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United States and Ghana partner with a commitment to improve child literacy

United States and Ghana partner with a commitment to improve child literacy | Investing in West Africa | Scoop.it
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On June 15, 2015, the United States Government, through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and in collaboration with the Ghana Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Ghana Education Service (GES) will launch the Partnership for Education: Learning activity. Learning will reach over 2 million children in Ghana through a broad- based, national project that aligns with and helps to meet Ghana’s basic education priorities. The program is aimed at improving early grade primary school literacy and exploring ways to improve numeracy.


Read more here: https://www.homestrings.com/news-and-analysis/2015/june/20/united-states-and-ghana-partner-with-a-commitment-to-improve-child-literacy

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Ghana's ECOWAS Tariff Begins July

Ghana's ECOWAS Tariff Begins July | Investing in West Africa | Scoop.it
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Ghana will begin full implementation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Common External Tariff (CET) by July 1, 2015.

Albert Akurugu, Senior Revenue Officer (Valuation) at the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), who disclosed this, said the implementation of the CET will eliminate the smuggling of goods into the country.

Ghana missed the January 2015 deadline for implementing CET adopted by member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The development has been attributed to Government's inability to seek parliamentary approval for the new customs regime.

Speaking to BUSINESS GUIDE at a sensitization workshop for the media on the ECOWAS Common External Tariff, Mr Akurugu said the CET regime will ensure that the same tariffs will be imposed on an eligible item imported into the ECOWAS region, irrespective of the ECOWAS- member country it first lands in.

'It is a vehicle to create a customs union as a complementary condition for the creation of a common market for West Africa,' he said.

Mr Akurugu said there will be no incentive for people to smuggle goods into the country and the subject region when the CET is implemented.

'Smuggling thrives on differentials in import duty rates. So if we have common external tariff under which you can freely circulate the goods, then there will be no incentive for smuggling,' he said.

He revealed that there is going to be a mechanism for sharing revenue among the member states, stating 'it does not matter where you enter the sub-region through; whether through Ghana, Nigeria or Togo, once the revenue has been collected, there is going to be a common account in which these monies will be deposited and shared.'

However, he said the sharing ratio is yet to be determined by the heads of member states, explaining that 'once that is determined, we envisage that there will be increase in revenue to the sub-region and also a unified voice when we are dealing with a third country.'

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IFC and SECO Launch Corporate Governance Program to Strengthen Ghanaian Businesses

IFC and SECO Launch Corporate Governance Program to Strengthen Ghanaian Businesses | Investing in West Africa | Scoop.it
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Accra, Ghana. April 8, 2015 IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), Switzerland, today launched the Africa Corporate Governance Program for Ghana to help strengthen businesses and boost economic growth in the country.

IFCs Africa Corporate Governance Program improves the performance of businesses by helping them adopt good corporate governance practices and standards that are adapted to regional priorities. Improved corporate governance helps businesses attract and retain investment, among other benefits.

Speaking on behalf of SECO, His Excellency Gerhard Brügger, the Ambassador of Switzerland to Ghana, said, 'SECO is committed to promoting sustainable growth and reducing poverty and inequality by inducing favorable conditions for new and productive job creation. We are working with IFC, our strategic partner in Africa, to achieve this goal by instituting robust corporate governance systems among Ghana businesses, thereby contributing to Ghanas economic growth.

Ronke Ogunsulire, IFC Country Manager for Ghana, said, Good corporate governance policies and practices help businesses lower their capital costs, and become competitive, profitable, and attractive for investors. Partnering with SECO, IFC will help Ghanaian businesses develop and implement good governance policies to improve their operational efficiency, create more jobs in Ghana and grow the economy in the long-term.

IFC and SECO launched the program at an event attended by Ghanaian regulators including representatives of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, business leaders, and training institutions. Speakers, including representatives of Bank of Ghana,Mr. Millison Narh, 1st Deputy Governor, Bank of Ghana, and Securities and Exchange Commission of Ghana, Dr. Adu Anane Antwi, Director General, Securities and Exchange Commission, noted the need for businesses to adopt and apply sound corporate governance policies and processes to improve their productivity.

The Africa Corporate Governance Program is funded by SECO, Switzerlandand IFC is the implementing partner for the program.

About SECO
SECO is Switzerlands competence center for all core issues relating to economic policy. SECOs economic development cooperation strives to achieve sustainable growth. Such growth is sustainable if it creates jobs, helps to increase productivity, to reduce poverty, inequalities and global risks. For more information, visit www.seco-cooperation.ch.

About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Working with private enterprises in about 100 countries, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. In FY14, we provided more than $22 billion in financing to improve lives in developing countries and tackle the most urgent challenges of development. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

 
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IITA and AfDB to Develop Youth Schemes for Food Security in Africa

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Accra, March 11, GNA - The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in collaboration with The African Development Bank (AfDB), has launched a project to develop a youth scheme for food security and income in Africa.

The project, Agricultural Transformation Agenda Support Programme Phase 1 (ATASP-1) based in Abuja, Nigeria is financed by AfDB to the tune of USD 170 million.

It is aimed at creating additional incomes to an increased number of producers and entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector in Nigeria by providing about 120,000 jobs along the value chain of priority commodities. An additional 20 million tons of key commodity food crops including cassava, rice, and sorghum will be added to the domestic food supply each year.

The project will also develop outreach models with young entrepreneurs in agriculture, dubbed; 'IITA youth agripreneurs' to be implemented by IITA in Ibadan, Oyo State, and in DR Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia.

The Agripreneurs would be promoting agriculture among other young people in their regions through peer education, training and demonstration of agricultural best practices, and business skills in value chain development.

Dr Nteranya Sanginga, IITA's Director General explained that many young people are migrating to cities all over Africa in search of business opportunities, leaving behind an increasingly ageing population.

The challenge, he said, was to create business opportunities for productive activity in agriculture and non-farm enterprises.

'This project aims to build on the youth model developed in IITA to change mindsets of young men and women and gainfully engage them in agriculture,' he added.

AfDB's Chief Country Program Coordinator, Andoh Mensah, explained that the project would capitalize on IITA's participatory approach and will train and retrain young men and women along the commodity value chains.

According to him, the ATASP-1 was part of the Bank's efforts in contributing to the Agricultural Transformation Agenda (ATA) of the Government of Nigeria, which aimed at creating 3.5 million jobs along key crop value chains.

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development in Nigeria, Dr Akinwumi Adesina noted that agriculture was now an exciting sector, adding, 'Today, major local and international investors are investing in this sector and the number of seed companies alone has risen dramatically and the banks are lending to the sector more than ever before.'

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Ghana Netherlands Business and Culture Council launched

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The Ghana Netherlands Business and Culture Council, a merger between The Ghana Netherlands Chamber of Commerce and Culture (GHANECC) and the Netherlands African Business Council (NABC), has been launched.

The Ghana Netherlands Chamber of Commerce and Culture was the agency that facilitated and supported business cooperation between Ghana and the Netherlands since its inception in 2002, fostering trade, investment and cultural understanding between the two countries.

The Netherlands African Business Council was a body of Dutch entrepreneurs founded in 1946 that also promoted Dutch trade and investment in Africa, providing business services to the Dutch business community in Africa.

Victor Rutgers, President of the newly launched GNBCC said: 'The main objective of GNBCC is to facilitate and build upon these business relationships to the benefit of both Ghana and the Netherlands.'

In context of the Dutch embassy's change of policy from aid to trade, he added that, the GNBCC would foster vibrant and symbiotic economic partnership between Ghana and the Netherlands.

'We are here to help the private sector businesses to develop and to do business at the same time', Ms. Caecilia Wijgers, the Acting Ambassador of the Netherlands to Ghana said.

She also said that the Dutch were innovators who liked Public Private Partnerships (PPP).

'This means that there will be many opportunities for both Ghanaian and Dutch businesses through the Dutch financial instruments', she added.

As part of its mandate to support corporate entities by providing regulatory, financial and business-related information to them, the GNBCC has also launched a book titled 'Doing Business in Ghana.'

Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, who launched the Chamber, said fallen prices of Ghana's main exports coupled with some shocks in 2012 led to fiscal imbalance in the economy.

The Vice President expressed the hope that the recent agreement between the government and the International Monetary Fund for an enhanced facility would help reverse the negative pressures and correct the imbalances.

Mr Amissah-Arthur said government was working to reduce the country's large budget deficit through expenditure rationalisation and prioritisation, adding that, this was necessary to sustain the gains made in poverty reduction over the years.

Mr Amissah-Arthur and Ms Wijgers officially launched the GNBCC newly published book.

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Mahama sets up Ghana Infrastructure Fund Board

Mahama sets up Ghana Infrastructure Fund Board | Investing in West Africa | Scoop.it
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President John Dramani Mahama has set up a nine-member board of directors for the Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund(GIIF).

The Board will advise the Minister on viable projects to be financed by GIIF, including those involving special purpose vehicles (SPV) such as joint venture (JV) and public-private partnership (PPP) projects.

A statement signed by the Chief of Staff, Prosper Bani, named Mr. Ato Ahwoi as Chairman of the Board and Mr. Steven Nartey as acting Chief Executive of the Fund.

Other members of the Board are Lionel Van Lare Dosoo, a former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Phillip Sowah, an engineer and former CEO of Airtel Ghana, Clara Arthur and Nana Afoa Appiah-Korang.

The others are David Ofosu Dorte, Kate Quartey-Papafio and Clifford Mpare.

In line with the provisions of the GIIF Act of 2014, the President has also appointed five persons to an Advisory Committee for the Fund.

They are Finance Minister Seth Terkper, Central Bank Governor Dr. K.A. Wampah, Acting Director-General of the National Development Planning Commission Dr. Nii Moi Thompson, President of the Association of Ghana Industries James Asare-Agyei and Phyllis Christian of Shawbell Consulting.

The GIIF was set up to deal with the huge infrastructure deficit.

The fund also focuses on strategic infrastructure to support both the public and private sector infrastructure projects.

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Tamale Airport ready by September

Tamale Airport ready by September | Investing in West Africa | Scoop.it
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The Tamale Airport is expected to be completed by September 2015 for operation as a second international airport in the country.

Airport authorities say the finished airport will have all the facilities of a modern airport, and have spacious maintenance bays and hangers for airlines. “The project will be completed by September and inaugurated the same month,” an airport source told the B&FT

The project, funded with a loan facility from the Brazilian government, is expected to cost about US$174million. It is being undertaken by Brazilian company Geiroz Galvao Construction – the same company working on the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange in Accra.

The first phase of the project consists of extending the runway from the current 2,480 metres to about 3,940 metres, and the installation of a complete lighting system to accommodate bigger aircraft so as to serve as the second international airport in the country. It is supposed to serve as an alternative to the Kotoka International Airport (KIA).

The project became prudent due to the growth in airlines servicing the Kotoka International Airport and the growing demand for domestic air transport. Tamale is the second-busiest domestic destination in the country.

Domestic passenger throughput during the 2013 financial year grew by 43.3 percent to 780,000 in 2013 from 540,000 in 2012; with Tamale Airport recording a passenger throughput of 162,000.

International carriers number about 42 with a passenger throughput of about two million recorded over the past two years.

James Eric Antwi, Starbow's Chief Executive Officer said: “Yes I believe it is very necessary for us to construct an international airport in Tamale because that part of the country needs to be opened-up. When we build an international airport in Tamale, it will create a lot of jobs; companies will go there and invest.

“Manufacturing companies can move in because they can get their products easily into Accra. We can grow flowers and export them from Tamale. Flowers fetch a lot of income in most countries that I know; for instance Kenya, Ethiopia and other countries, and Northern Ghana is conducive for this business.

“I think that if they do, it will help a whole lot of people -- and also with the airlines going there, companies going there. Tamale will just be another commercial centre that will open the door to all countries…Burkina and the surrounding countries,” he said.

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Dangote, role model to young African leaders

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The Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce has described the Chairman of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, as a role model to the youth, following his recent award as the ‘Forbes Africa Person of the Year 2014’ by Forbes Magazine.

A statement by NBCC quoted its President, Mr. Yemi Adefulu, as saying that Africa was in dire need of leaders in all walks of life, adding that the emergence of Dangote as the African Person of the Year, would serve as a world-class model for future generations of business leaders in Africa and beyond to emulate.

“In selecting Alhaji Dangote as a patron of the NBCC in 2013, the chamber had closely monitored with satisfaction, his steady meteoric rise in business and social service leadership by prodigious hard work, strategic business planning and focused entrepreneurial ingenuity,” Adefulu was quoted as saying.

“The chamber agrees with the encomiums showered on Dangote at the Forbes Award ceremony in terms of business investment. He is also a capitalist with a big heart. He puts his money where his mouth is and his foundation is a step forward for a man who wants to make a difference on the continent,” he added.

Adefulu urged the youth to emulate the Dangote and positively impact the lives of the people in the continent through entrepreneurship.

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Nigeria, not Kenya, is about to become Africa’s next big technology hub

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There’s too much money in Nairobi.

 

 

That’s one way to explain why some venture capitalists are setting their sights elsewhere.

 

 

Largely off the back of Mpesa, the hugely successful mobile money-transfer system, the Kenyan capital has gained a reputation for technological innovation—and with it an influx of no-strings (or few-strings) development funding that has crowded out some of the private investment searching for tech startups to finance.

 

 

Now investors are looking to the other side of the African continent for results. Nigeria, with nearly 200 million people, a growing economy, and no shortage of local problems, stands out as an option. It’s slowly building up a tech sector of its own. The funding circuit is still small: probably no more than 10 companies investing money, says Kresten Buch, founder of the Nairobi tech accelerator 88mph (which has since expanded to South Africa).

 

 

Buch recently started working with Chika Nwobi of seed investment firm Level 5 Labs in Lagos, to become the latest investor to enter Nigeria. The pair have teamed up to start 440ng, a tech accelerator that puts between $20,000 and $100,000 into startups and provides a workspace and mentorship. It graduated its first cohort of nine startups this week. (Underscoring the newness of the local tech scene, only two of the nine have founders with prior startup experience.)

 

 

The biggest difference between Nigeria and other major African economies is its sheer size. With roughly four times as many people as Kenya or South Africa, Nigeria is big enough to reward products and services that are domestic in nature. “When I was investing in Kenya and in South Africa, it was very hard to find businesses in those markets where the opportunity is big enough for them to stay in that market. Nigeria has parallels to the US market, where you can say, ‘Let’s just take the US, even if we stay there, we will become a very big company,'” says Buch.

 

 

The first set of companies that are growing up in Nigeria, says Nwobi, are based on proven models from the West: things like travel, e-commerce, jobs, and deals. “But now I think, what I’m seeing with 440ng, is more people trying to solve more local problems.”

 

 

One example of that is Obiwezy, a venue for selling used smartphones. Nigeria is primarily a pre-paid market, where customers pay the full cost of a handset up front. That puts most high-end devices out of reach for all but the very rich. But the aspiration to own a high-end Apple or Samsung handset remains, as it does elsewhere in the world. Obiwezy’s founders figure that a secondhand market—with warranties—is one way to sate that demand. They have tied up with MTN, a large telco, to offer the service.

 

 

Nigeria still has a big hole where investors willing to put in between $100,000 and $1 million should be, says Buch. For now, those investors are ensconced in Nairobi. But Buch suggests that will change as Nigeria’s companies grow larger, signaling opportunity to deeper-pocketed investors looking for returns. “We want to create successful companies. I don’t want to think, ‘Is this helping some poor farmer in a rural area?’ I want to create a big, successful company that will create the next wave of entrepreneurs,” Buch says. “Making a profit is a signal that we’re creating value."

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Nigeria: Dangote refinery to begin operation 2018

Nigeria: Dangote refinery to begin operation 2018 | Investing in West Africa | Scoop.it
homestrings's insight:

Indication emerged on Monday that Dangote Group’s oil refinery project for Nigeria would come on stream in 2018.

The Director of Petroleum Refining, Dangote Industries, Mr. George Nicolaides, said in an interview at the Platts African Refining Summit in Cape Town, South Africa, on Monday that the plant located at Olokola Free Trade Zone, Ondo State, would process 500,000 barrels of crude a day.

“The site is being cleared; the plant is being designed,” Nicolaides was quoted by Bloomberg as saying, “We are close to the beginning of detailed engineering.”

Dangote had said in September last year that it had agreed on a $3.3bn loan with 12 Nigerian and foreign lenders to build the refinery as well as a petrochemical and fertilizer complex costing a total of $9bn.

The facility was initially expected to be completed in 2016 and the capacity of the refinery was put at 400,000 barrels a day.

“We have a very ambitious construction schedule,” Nicolaides said, adding that, “I’m not sure about the history of those dates.”

Dangote has named Engineers India Limited to do most of the detailed engineering work for the new plant. Construction contractors have yet to be appointed.

“Supplying the local market is the primary objective,” Nicolaides said, explaining that, “Naturally, we can move products to the region. The government is being very supportive, very enthusiastic about this project. We are not looking for or wanting any particular subsidies.”

The refinery, according to the President, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, will generate over 10,000 direct jobs and end the importation of refined petroleum products into the country.

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Economic growth relies on locally made goods, urges Minister

Economic growth relies on locally made goods, urges Minister | Investing in West Africa | Scoop.it
homestrings's insight:

Dr Ekwow Spio-Gabrah, Minister of Trade and Industry (MOTI), has said Ghana's economic growth would rely much on the attention and importance Ghanaians attach to the consumption of locally made goods and services.

He said the patronization of locally made goods and services by citizens would not only offer numerous opportunities for the country's economic, national growth and integration but rather it would help promote business building relationships, trade, exchange linkages and innovations.

“Again, when Made-in-Ghana goods are patronized extensively by us, as citizens of the Ghana,  it will create jobs that will improve our competitive vitality, and above all provide stakeholders a trusted platform to interact with the industry and economic operators”, Dr Spio-Gabrah stated in Accra at a Press launch of the Grand Sales 2014, Co-locating with Made-in-Ghana Fair.

He said he recognised that co-locating the two distinct events would gain serious attention in the international exhibition industry, as the concept allows for the creation of bigger platforms for exhibitors, visitors and trade buyers who would converge and transact one-stop-shop business activity.

“As a consumer fair, it aims at boosting both internal and international trade especially to promote Ghana's exports to create employment”, Dr Spio-Gabrah said.

The 10-day fair which is scheduled to take place from December 15 to December 24 at the Ghana International Trade Fair Centre La-Accra seeks to promote made in Ghana goods.

According to Dr Spio-Gabrah, the target for this year's Fair would not be less than 25,000 visitors adding that “Organizers are also expecting over 400 exhibitors to take part in the fair”, he said.

He said the 2014 Grand Sales which would be on the theme “Bringing Buyers and Sellers together” would come with activities such as the Made-In-Ghana Health Walk slated for December 20th 2014, a musical concert coming off on December 24th, a daily aerobics session from 15 hours to 17 hours and a Free Health Screening.

He appealed to all companies, entities and potential exhibitors who had not yet registered to earnestly do so, so as to enjoy the maximum benefit that this platforms offer both local and international economic operators.

Dr Spio-Gabrah also urged the public to promote and patronize made in Ghana goods  as by changing their preference and taste for foreign goods to the patronage of Ghana made goods and services would reduce the quantum of the country's importers and arrest the pressure on the cedi over major world currencies.

Mrs Hannah Amoateng, Board Chairperson, Ghana Trade Fair Company Limited (GHTFCL), called for partnership between MOTI and the GHTFCL that would help promote Ghana's trade Agenda.

She also called on the public to patronize made in Ghana goods as the fair and exhibition would be used to promote the quality of goods produced locally in the county.

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Nigeria to import petroleum products for 20 years

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Nigeria and other African countries will continue to be net importers of petroleum products despite the availability of functional and quasi-functional refineries, and plans to build more refineries on the continent, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mr. Diezani Alison-Madueke, has said.

According to her, plans to build more refineries in Angola, Uganda, Mozambique and Nigeria cannot change the situation.

Alison-Madueke spoke at the eight edition of the Oil, Trading and Logistics (African Downstream) Expo held in Lagos on Tuesday.

“Notwithstanding the possibility of building new refineries in Africa, including new projects in Angola (Sonaref refinery); Uganda (Uganda oil refinery); Mozambique (Nacala refinery); and Nigeria, among others, Africa will remain a net importer of petroleum products for at least 20 years to come,” she said.

The minister, however, pointed out that Nigeria was already on the path to adding more capacity by 2020 through the proposed private refineries by the Dangote Group and Orient, and Bayelsa, Kogi, and Lagos states, among others.

Alison-Madueke, who was represented by the Deputy Director, Gas, Department of Petroleum Resources, Mr. Oliver Okparaojiakor, said sub-Saharan Africa was the least sophisticated refining centre in the world.

She said, “In fact, there are only 24fuels refineries within the region, with a total refining capacity of 1.6 million barrels per day for a population that is close to a billion. Population growth means more energy consumption.

“However, the uncompetitive and inefficient nature of many of these refineries, combined with the difficulty in funding major upgrades, or new capacity, seem likely to keep the average utilisation at a low level in the short term.

“The implication of population growth for Africa is that demand for petroleum products will continue to be on the rise without commensurate refining capacity addition. There is an urgent need to encourage investors to partner with national oil companies or privately to build more refineries, and for us to be less dependent on imports.”

On petroleum products subsidies, the minister said the stunted growth of the downstream sector was attributable to the distortion introduced to the market as a direct result of the regulated regime in some sub-Saharan African countries, adding, “There is a need to eliminate this convoluted price subsidy and stimulate competition across the value chain.”

The issue of subsidy, she explained, could not be over flogged, as according to the World Bank, subsidy on petroleum products in Nigeria and other oil-producing African countries would be unsustainable in the medium term.

Alison-Madueke said heavy subsidy was an unsustainable expenditure even on the long term, as it generally promoted energy inefficiency and imprudent consumption.

Over the last 10 years, she said Nigeria had taken important steps towards a more deregulated downstream, adding that to provide a competitive market environment and sustain supply, the downstream sector should be fully deregulated.

Similarly, the Executive Secretary, Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency, Mr. Farouk Ahmed, said activities in the downstream sector had facilitated a net inflow of investment in excess of N60bn.

The Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum (Downstream), Mr. Dakoko Peterside, who represented the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal, stated, “We are working on the Petroleum Industry Bill and we are conscious of the fact that it is very critical to the economy of Nigeria; and so, we are not taking it lightly. I want to reassure you again that we are taking the PIB very seriously and I’m very optimistic that the bill will be passed before 2015.”

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Homestrings Events launches Invest in Ghana 2015 22-23 October, Accra

Homestrings Events launches Invest in Ghana 2015 22-23 October, Accra | Investing in West Africa | Scoop.it
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Ghana will host an international investment conference in October with the aim of encouraging more global investors to take up business opportunities in the country.

Invest in Ghana, 2015 will take place in Accra on October, 22-23 and is expected to bring together over 300 local, regional and international business leaders and investors. The investment conference will be climaxed by the annual Ghana Club 100 awards for 2013/14.


Read more: https://www.homestrings.com/news-and-analysis/2015/july/09/homestrings-events-launches-invest-in-ghana-2015-22-23-october-accra/#.VakD5vmqqko

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Private Equity exits in Africa reach an 8-year high

Private Equity exits in Africa reach an 8-year high | Investing in West Africa | Scoop.it
In their second annual study of private equity value creation in Africa which was published last week, transaction advisory firm EY and the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association found that private equity exits reached an eight-year high in 2014, and anticipate that exit activity will remain buoyant as more and more portfolio investments enter their divestment periods.
homestrings's insight:

Read more: https://www.homestrings.com/news-and-analysis/2015/may/07/private-equity-exits-in-africa-reach-an-8-year-high/#.VUyaIvmqqko

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Nigeria will be Africa’s sole representative in the top 20 economies by 2030

Nigeria will be Africa’s sole representative in the top 20 economies by 2030 | Investing in West Africa | Scoop.it
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Nigeria, currently Africa’s biggest economy with a GDP of $510 billion, will be the only African country amongst the 20 largest economies in the world by 2030. This is indicated in a macro-economic projection by the US Department of Agriculture.


Read more: https://www.homestrings.com/news-and-analysis/2015/april/15/nigeria-will-be-africa-s-sole-representative-in-the-top-20-economies-by-2030/#.VTZovSGeDRY

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Lagos could soon be Africa’s 13th biggest economy – equivalent to that of Ghana

Lagos could soon be Africa’s 13th biggest economy – equivalent to that of Ghana | Investing in West Africa | Scoop.it
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Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub, could soon have a US$45 billion economy – equivalent to that of Ghana, according to a recent report produced by Renaissance Capital economist Yvonne Mhango.

Mhango says that the size of Lagos State’s economy is currently about US$32 billion, or 12% of Nigeria’s total GDP. However, in 2014 Nigeriais expected to change the base year for its GDP calculation. Nigeria’s GDP is currently calculated by using 1990 as a base year, which does not account for the rapid development of the services, telecoms, and entertainment industries. The rebasing is expected to boost the GDP of Africa’s most populous country by about 40%.

“By our estimates, the Lagos State economy will become Africa’s 13th biggest economy in 2014, around $45 billion,” notes Mhango.

According to Anna Rosenberg, a senior analyst for sub-Saharan Africa at Frontier Strategy Group, Nigeria’s rebased GDP figures, when they are released, are likely to make Nigeria the largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa, surpassing South Africa. “Nigeria will surpass South Africa as the continent’s largest economy when GDP is revised upwards between 40-60%. It is unclear however, when the new figures will be released. But if GDP increases by 40%, Nigeria’s economy would swell from $275 billion to $385 billion,” said Rosenberg. “South Africa’s economic output is $378.9 billion.”

Although Lagos is the smallest of Nigeria’s 36 states by area, it is by far the most densely populated.

“Lagos State has parallels with South Africa’s smallest province Gauteng, in that it is Nigeria’s smallest, but most densely populated state,” says Mhango. “This will be no surprise to readers that have travelled to Lagos and experienced its congestion. Lagos State accounts for only 0.5% of Nigeria’s total area of 924,000 km2, yet it has the country’s second biggest population, behind Kano.”


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President Mahama promises to promote continental trade

President Mahama promises to promote continental trade | Investing in West Africa | Scoop.it
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Francistown, March 11, GNA - President John Dramani Mahama on Tuesday said he would do everything under his purview as the Chair of Continental Free Trade to promote Intra-African trade.

He said although various regional economic communities were working around the clock to actualize what had over the years been on the drawing board, individual countries need to leverage areas that they had comparative advantage to realize their dream.

President Mahama said this after he was conducted round the Botswana Meat Commission in Francistown in Northern Botswana as part of his three-day state visit to the Southern African country.

The Ghanaian President was accompanied by Ms Hannah Tetteh, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Nii Osah-Mills, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Alhaji Abdul-Rahman Haruna Attah, Ghana's High Commissioner to Botswana among others.

He also earlier in the day inaugurated a water dam at Dikgatlhong also in northern Botswana.

The country's Meat Commission provides all the meat needs of Botswana and neighbouring countries like Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

President Mahama said the meat commission in Botswana had one of the first class facilities in the world and there was the need for them to open up their exports to more African countries since it was shorter and cheaper.

"I will not hesitate to encourage and recommend this meat company to West African countries, because of the quality and proximity."

He said African countries could succeed in the intra-African trade with the engagement of both the state and private sectors and called on all African leaders to step up their collaborations to achieve their continental goals.

Madam Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, Botswana Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said Botswana had positioned herself properly to export their products to willing African countries.

She said they had the capacity to produce and deliver on demand and called on President Mahama to use his position as ECOWAS Chair and Chair of Continental Free Trade to encourage countries to be more vibrant to become self-reliant.

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Aggressive strategy required to reduce the unbanked in Nigeria – but possible

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Nigerian banking continues to face significant headwinds – in relation to both revenue and costs. It may seem as though the banking industry shrunk between 2004 and 2014 due to massive consolidation in the market, however, these mergers and acquisitions (M&As) actually represented approximately 60% of the organic growth for the remaining (stronger) banks.

As a result, the quality of service and customer experience is shaping the competitive landscape – where those clearly ahead of the pack are looking for a single view of the customer across channels to understand what they want, how they want to interact with the bank and how the bank can deliver the services required.

“Our view is that the greatest opportunity to grow revenue will not only come from just new markets or products, but also from the ability to deliver a high quality and a differentiated customer experience,” says Ayodele Othihiwa, partner and head of financial services for KPMG in Nigeria.

“Keeping current market share is critical, but growing it is even more so, which is why tapping into the unbanked Nigerian population becomes a crucial element for the industry to explore going forward,” indicates Othihiwa. Given the positive correlations between access to finance, economic growth and poverty alleviation, this is also strongly supported by the Federal Government, who in October 2014 disclosed its intentions to explore the network of the Nigerian Postal Service to reduce the unbanked population in the country to 10% by 2016.

Continues Othihiwa: “This is certainly a very aggressive target by the Federal Government if we consider that in 2012 approximately 46.7% of the adult population of the country (+/- 90,000,000 then) was unbanked. Even if we work off this number – as the latest available statistic – the Federal Government is talking about reducing 40,000,000 unbanked to 9,000,000. To do this, even within three years, is not an easy task. That said, the target is attainable.”

“Currently the national Postal Service has approximately 5,000 branches, which presents a great opportunity for access points that can be leveraged – particularly in areas where the banks may not have a physical presence currently. However, there will be plenty of challenges to getting this strategy right.”

Othihiwa mentions a few critical cornerstones that will need to be considered:

Capacity building – up-skilling employees to be efficient in financial services will need to be undertaken, taking into consideration the recent customer-centric approach the banks are striving will mean intense training and skills developmentTechnology – technology and networking will be critical and as such, a full scale collaborative system will need to be built, managed and rolled out nationallyInfrastructure – access to adequate and reliable infrastructure will be paramount including power, transport and bandwidth (internet access) – particularly in rural areasConsumer education – education is critical not only on financial services and banking services but also around personal information protection. Banking is based on trust – and trust must be built in these regions and communities.

“These are just some areas that need consideration, along with who will supervise the National Postal Service – for instance, will it be the banking or telecoms industries? There will need to be clear guidelines and level of responsibility for the system to have any chance of success,” adds Othihiwa.

“Leveraging on the National Postal Service is certainly not a bad strategy to tap into the unbanked population, however, perhaps it shouldn’t be the only strategy. For instance, Nigeria has a mobile money strategy, though currently this isn’t being implemented, which is limiting – but if we consider the trends and numbers around mobile penetration and rapid adoption, it may be something worth relooking?”

“Overall, I believe Nigeria will see a dramatic decrease in the unbanked population, however, I don’t believe the 10% of the population by 2016 target is obtainable – not solely based on the National Postal Service strategy, but perhaps though a collaborative strategy that includes mobile money or mobile banking, this target just may be attainable,” says Othihiwa.

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Nigeria beyond 2015: Insights on Africa’s largest economy - Homestrings

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Last year Nigeria became the largest economy on the continent, surpassing South Africa with a GDP valued at US$519bn. At a GDP growth rate of 7.3% and a population of over 160 million, Nigeria could be argued to present the best opportunity for many investors, including South Africans, looking at the African continent.

Read more: https://www.homestrings.com/news-and-analysis/2015/january/16/nigeria-beyond-2015-insights-on-africa-s-largest-economy/#.VLkKt0fF_K8

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Nigerian firm to build Equatorial Guinea's giant oil storage hub

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Nigerian energy firm Taleveras Group said on Monday it had signed a deal with the government of Equatorial Guinea to build a giant oil storage hub in the central African country.


The Bioko Island facility will have a total capacity of 1.34 million tonnes of storage for crude oil and products such as gasoline, naphtha, jet fuel and fuel oil, the firm said.

 

It will be the largest crude and products storage facility in Africa.

"The terminal will be built at Punta Europa, located on the Bioko Island part of Equatorial Guinea, and will therefore be ideally located to service the key oil supply and demand centres throughout West Africa," the statement said.

 

Taleveras, a growing trading firm with more than $2 billion in credit lines, did not give a value for the deal or a start date.

 

It said it obtained the rights in December through an open negotiation process which involved several companies, without naming them.

Global trading houses are vying for access to Africa's booming gasoline and diesel markets where demand is expected to grow by nearly 60 percent by 2025, according to African energy consultancy CITAC.

 

Storage hubs near big markets can help trading firms boost profits by allowing them to quickly exploit arbitrage opportunities resulting from changes in supply and demand.

 

Switzerland's Gunvor signed a similar deal with Gabon in 2013 to create a joint trading company to sell oil products along the western coast of Africa.




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2014 seen as record year for world cereal production : FAO in Emergencies

2014 seen as record year for world cereal production : FAO in Emergencies | Investing in West Africa | Scoop.it
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Latest indications confirm that world cereal production will reach an all-time record of more than 2.5 billion tonnes in 2014.

Buoyed by bumper crops in Europe and a record maize output in the United States of America, this year's cereal output should reach 2.532 billion tonnes, including rice in milled terms, or 0.3% higher than 2013, according to FAO's latest Crop Prospects and Food Situation Report. 

The record global cereal harvest in 2014 will outpace projected world cereal utilization in 2014/15, allowing stocks to rise to their highest level since 2000 and pushing the worldwide stock-to-use ratio, a proxy measure for supply conditions, to rise to 25.2 percent, its highest level in 13 years, according to FAO. 

However, the report also warns that food insecurity is worsening in a number of countries due to civil conflicts, adverse weather and the Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak. Some 38 countries are at risk of food insecurity, including 29 in Africa, 3 more countries than reported in October. 

EVD triggered one of the biggest shocks to West Africa's agriculture and food sectors, as it started to spread when crops were being planted and expanded throughout the farming cycle, especially in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. FAO warned that local rice prices and those for cassava, the region's second staple food, showed notable increases in Freetown and other cities in September. 

Adverse weather in the Sahel region is also expected to result in a sharply reduced harvest - by as much as 38 percent below average in Senegal.

Conflict seriously impacts on food insecurity

The situation in Syria is particularly urgent, as a weak harvest is exacerbating strains due to worsening civil conflict. An estimated 6.8 million people - some refugees in neighboring countries - are facing severe food insecurity. FAO reports a notable production decline for the 2014 crop, due to abandoned land, scarce labor, damaged power stations and canals as well as drought conditions. 

The situation in Iraq is also acutely serious, where the number of people displaced due to civil conflict has tripled since last year to 2.8 million. 

One third of the population is in need of urgent food assistance in the Central African Republic (CAR), where this year's food crop production is estimated to be 58 percent below average despite improving on 2013, FAO said. It noted an increase in violence since early October in a country where one in four households has resorted to negative coping strategies, including selling productive assets and slaughtering livestock.

Prices of agricultural commodities shot up as much as 70 percent this year in the CAR. According to FAO, the decline in cereal output was partially mitigated by a large 45 percent jump in the production of cassava, which though less nutritious is less reliant on labor and other inputs.

Refugee movements - especially from Sudan's Darfur region, northern Nigeria, the CAR and Mali - have put pressure on local food supplies, notably in Chad, where more than 550,000 people need food and livelihood assistance, according to the report. 

While the recent harvest and delivery of humanitarian aid has offered relief, more than 6 million peoplein South Sudan, Sudan and Somalia are deemed to be in need of food and livelihood assistance. Prices in those countries remain at high levels, with sorghum prices running as much as four times higher in some of the most conflict-affected areas, further deteriorating vulnerable people's access to food.

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Nigeria Records Improvement, Ranked 39th on Corruption Index

Nigeria Records Improvement, Ranked 39th on Corruption Index | Investing in West Africa | Scoop.it
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By Obinna Chima

Nigeria recorded significant improvement in the Transparency International’s ‘Corruption Perception Index 2014’ as the country was ranked 136th out of 175 countries/territories surveyed.

Nigeria was ranked 144 in the index in 2013. The 2014 performance showed that the country improved by nine places.

However, the report released by the Germany-based non-governmental organisation on Wednesday showed that the country is the 39th most corrupt nation among the 175 countries on the index.

The country was scored 27 out of 100, higher than the 25 it was in 2013.
The Corruption Perception Index ranks countries and territories based on how corrupt their public sector is perceived to be. A country or territory’s score indicates the perceived level of public sector corruption on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

A country or territory’s rank indicates its position relative to the other countries and territories in the index.

According to the report, poorly equipped schools, counterfeit medicine and elections decided by money are some of the consequences of public sector corruption.

“Bribes and backroom deals don’t just steal resources from the most vulnerable – they undermine justice and economic development, and destroy public trust in government and leaders.

“Based on expert opinion from around the world, the Corruption Perceptions Index measures the perceived levels of public sector corruption worldwide, and it paints an alarming picture.

Not one single country gets a perfect score and more than two-thirds score below 50, on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean).

“Countries at the bottom need to adopt radical anti-corruption measures in favour of their people. Countries at the top of the index should make sure they don’t export corrupt practices to underdeveloped countries,” the Chairman of Transparency International, José Ugaz, said.

He also pointed out that corruption is a problem for all countries, adding that a poor score was likely a sign of widespread bribery, lack of punishment for corruption and public institutions that don’t respond to citizens’ needs.

Meanwhile, Nigeria shared same position in the index with Cameroun, Iran, Lebanon, Kyrgyzstan and Russia.

Denmark was adjudged the least corrupt country as it emerged top out of the 175 countries. The country was closely followed by New Zealand, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, Singapore, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Canada, Australia, Germany, Iceland and United Kingdom, in that order.

On the other hand, North Korea and Somalia were rated as the most corrupt countries in the world. Other countries also on the bottom of the corruption index are Sudan, Afghanistan, South Sudan , Iraq, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Libya, Eritrea and Yemen.

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Ghana To Host 4th SME Summit

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The Ghana Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Summit, an annual event which aims to provide a unique platform for small business to learn, network and grow, is due to take place on November 20 and 21, this year.

This year’s conference, the fourth in a series, is expected to offer practical solutions to the problems facing the Ghanaian small business owner.

The two-day meeting is being organised by Occupational Management Ltd. (OML) Africa.

Every year, the Ghana SME summit engages well-respected business leaders and knowledge experts to share their insights and experiences.

Benefits of attending the training conference include discovering how to grow one’s business even in a challenging economic climate; gaining practical insights and learning from successful business owners and experts on their innovation experiences, business philosophies and formulae for success; and hearing from representatives from the various government agencies on the new government assistance schemes available to power the growth of companies.

Topics to be covered are “Sales, the Essence of Every Business;” “Financing Start-Ups with Emphasis on Agricultural Companies;” “Staying Ahead of the Competition—Crucial Tips to Beat Your Rivals;”

“Redundancy in a Downturn—Getting It Right;” and “Getting Customers—Tips to selling successfully.”

The others are “Creating a Loyal Workforce Culture Even in a Challenging Economy;” “Best Businesses to Start in an Economic Downturn;” “Government initiatives to support SMEs in Ghana;” and “Initiatives to Support SMEs in Ghana.”

The rest are “ Good Corporate Governance Practice for SMEs;” “The Impact of an Economic Recession on Business Strategies of an SME;” and

“The Effect of a Sliding Cedi on Your Business and How to Combat It.”

According to a statement issued by the organizers of the programme, Ghana's Minister of Trade, Dr Ekow Spio-Garbrah, will be the Guest of Honour and Keynote Speaker.

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Viettel to invest $1 bln on 3G telecoms network in Tanzania

Viettel to invest $1 bln on 3G telecoms network in Tanzania | Investing in West Africa | Scoop.it
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Vietnam-based telecoms operator Viettel plans to invest $1 billion in a new third-generation (3G) mobile phone network in Tanzania.


This is according to the office of the East African country's president.

The mobile telecoms sector in East Africa's second-biggest economy has grown rapidly over the past decade, driven by demand for 3G mobile services. There are about 29 million mobile subscribers, representing market penetration of 64 percent, according to the country's telecoms regulator.

 

"Viettel will invest 1 billion dollars in telecoms and other services in Tanzania, hence making Tanzania the second country after Peru to receive its state-of-the-art telecoms technology," the Tanzanian President's office said in a statement.

 

State-owned Viettel, which is run by Vietnam's Ministry of Defence, won its Peruvian mobile licence in 2012.

 

Viettel chairman Manh Nguyen Hung made the investment pledge when Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete visited the company's headquarters in Vietnam on Monday, the president's office said.

 

The company will offer low-cost smartphones and provide free internet services to schools, hospitals and offices, the president's office added.

 

Tanzania announced this month that it had granted a mobile phone network to Viettel, which is expected to launch its mobile services next July.

 

Viettel will compete with the four other main operators: Bharti Airtel, Etisalat-owned Zantel, Vodacom Tanzania, owned by South Africa's Vodacom, and Tigo Tanzania, which is part of Sweden's Millicom.

 

Three other mobile operators - state-run TTCL, Benson and Smart - have a tiny market share.

 

Tanzania expects its mobile operators to list on its stock exchange next year under rules aimed at enabling its citizens to take a stake in one of Africa's fastest-growing industries.

 

Like other African countries, mobile phone use has rocketed in Tanzania over the past decade, with telecoms the fastest-expanding sector in the country.

 

Leading telecoms companies operating in the country said they were in talks with the government over the mandatory listing requirements, but most declined further comment.

 

However, Egypt-based TA Telecom's CEO Amr Shady said the rules are counter-productive to sector growth.

 

"The ... law that states that new telecoms are required to list on the exchange is extreme. In reality, offering incentives to list would be a much better approach," Shady said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

 

"Companies such as TA Telecom have experienced  many challenges acquiring a licence to operate in the telecoms services space in Tanzania. Disincentives and roadblocks for (foreign companies) to come to Tanzania can only hamper Tanzania's long-term competitiveness.”


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