December 2019 / South Africa

December 6 2019

Johannesburg Stock Exchange and AfDB promote cross-border activity

Improving links between African stock exchanges and increasing cross-border trade and investment are the aims of an alliance led by the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, African Development Bank and six other stock exchanges. The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) and African Development Bank (AfDB) have partnered to promote African cross-border investment. The two organisations hosted the African Exchange Linkage Project (AELP), along with other African exchanges from the African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA), last month, aiming to improve cross-border trading and securities activity between the continent’s exchanges. The organisations also sought to increase pan-African investment, encourage diversification and improve financial market liquidity. Lack of intra-African trade, compared to trade with non-African countries and trading blocs, has been cited as one of the major factors limiting the growth of the continent’s economies, and many recent initiatives, led by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) have been launched to tackle this. A recent report suggested that AfCFTA could bring up to USD 3 trillion in economic benefits, much of it from trade within the continent, with 53 out of 54 countries now having signed the agreement. Last month also saw the establishment of a partnership between AfDB and Johannesburg-headquartered bank Absa, aimed at supporting trade and finance for small businesses and corporates. Speaking at the opening of the event, AfDB capital markets and development manager Emmanuel Diarra cited the long association between the bank and the African Securities Exchanges Association, saying: “This partnership compliments the Bank’s interventions toward the development of deep and resilient capital markets in Africa.” He promised: “The bank will continue to enhance its work with regulatory institutions, institutional investors, stock exchanges and other capital market stakeholders to strengthen regulatory frameworks, broaden market participation and product offerings, as well as improve the dissemination of capital markets data for transparent pricing mechanisms.” JSE policy head Anne Clayton commented that AELP “is a great addition to many collaborative initiatives around Africa”. She said JSE was focused on supporting “sustainable and inclusive growth and development, not only in South Africa but on the continent as well”. Clayton added: “There is great interest within Africa for investment, and the AELP provides an opportunity for alignment of exchanges within the continent, therefore collaborations with key stakeholders will continue to be at the centre of securing a growth path for Africa.” As well as JSE, AELP consists of the Egyptian Exchange, Stock Exchange of Mauritius, the Casablanca Stock Exchange, Nairobi Securities Exchange, the Nigerian Stock Exchange and West Africa’s Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières (BRVM), based in Ivory Coast, which between them make up 85% of the continent’s securities market capitalisation. BRVM formed a partneship with the International Finance Corporation in early 2019, aimed at improving corporate governance. Trade links was one of the factors considered by the World Bank’s recent Doing Business report, which found that Africa’s business climate had improved, but not enough to make the necessary progress. Ethiopia recently became the second African country, after Rwanda, to join the electronic trade platform established by Chinese corporation Alibaba
December 9 2019

Akuapem South to develop biggest poultry industry in Ghana – Minister

The Ghana Exim Bank has given approval for funds for the development of the biggest poultry industry in the Akuapem South District of the Eastern Region. Mr O. B. Amoah, the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, and Member of Parliament of Akuapem South, said this at the 35th Annual Farmers Day of the Akuapem South District at Ahwerase near Aburi. He said this would help boost the poultry industry and create employment for the people and called on investors to invest in agro-business. The MP said Parliament would soon pass a legislative instrument for the District to become a municipality. Mr Frank Aidoo, the District Chief Executive (DCE), explained that the District was noted for the production of pineapples and the addition of poultry production would enhance economic growth as the second major agricultural product. He said the District had decided to promote massive production of maize at a low price to be able to produce poultry feed for the sector to make it competitive. Mr Aidoo said the Assembly had budgeted to register farmers willing to accept high yielding maize seed and produce at an agreed price. Next year, the District would raise 200,000 hybrid coconut seedlings to support coconut plantations and promote greenhouse project to ensure all-year-round production of vegetables. Ms Tharzia Akwetey, the Akuapem South District Director of Agriculture, said policies on agro-business must be developed, which must be district specific, to improve the whole agriculture value chain. Eighteen farmers were presented with prizes for their contribution to food production. The Overall Best Farmer went to Mr Noah Offei, 46, of Ashirensu and received a tricycle, two pairs of wellington  boots, five cutlasses, knapsack spraying machine, a piece of cloth, aluminium pans, hand gloves, pack of vegetable seeds and fertilizer. The Best Female Farmer went to Ms Mary Camour of Konkonuru and was presented with a table top fridge, a piece of cloth, head pan, knapsack sprayer, aluminium pans, pack of vegetable seeds and fertilizer. The Best Young Farmer was won by Mr Andrew Asiedu, 29, from Pakro and received 32-inche television set, a bicycle, aluminium pans, knapsack sprayer, a pack of vegetable seeds and fertilizer.
December 9 2019

Morocco’s Bank Profits Exceeded $1.1 Bn by End of September

Casablanca - Lahcen Mokena
The profits of eight main Moroccan banks reached $1.1 billion at the end of September, a 0.96 percent increase compared to the same period last year, while the total net banking income increased 6.6 percent to reach $5.62 billion, according to financial data released by Moroccan banks for the third quarter of 2019. The performance of the eight banks had uneven profit growth during this period. The net profits of the Moroccan Bank of Foreign Commerce (BMCE) decreased 16.7 percent, and CIH Bank S.A. dropped 28.6 percent. The net profits of the rest of the banks varied between 2.17 percent for the Morocco Bank of Commerce and Industry (BMCI), and 29.41 percent for Credit Agricole Group of Morocco. Meanwhile, the profits of the two largest Moroccan banks, Attijariwafa bank and Banque Populaire of Morocco (GBP), both increased 4.76 percent, while those of Societe Generale grew 6.27 percent. During this period, the banks strengthened their capital in the context of the gradual implementation of the new precautionary measures for the banking sector. The capital of the eight Moroccan banks at the end of September was $16.7 billion, an increase of 6.33 percent compared to the same period last year. The capital of the Banque Populaire of Morocco saw the largest increase with about 9.95 percent, and BMCE’s capital rose during this period about 8.4 percent. As for CIH Bank S.A, its capital rose 7.03 percent, preceding Credit Agricole Group of Morocco which had a 6.27 percent growth. Attijariwafa bank and Banque Populaire of Morocco (GBP) came in last with 5.77 percent and 4.02 percent respectively.
December 10 2019

Qatar Airways to take 60% stake in Rwanda international airport

Qatar Airways has agreed to take a 60 percent stake in a new $1.3bn international airport in Rwanda, according to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed on Monday. The board said a first phase of construction would provide facilities for seven million passengers a year in the Bugesera district, about 25km southeast of the capital Kigali. A second phase, expected to be completed by 2032, would double capacity to 14 million passengers a year. "The partnership features three agreements to build, own, and operate the state-of-the-art facility," the MoU signed between Qatar Airways and the Rwandan government said. The country's infrastructure minister Claver Gatete told a news conference that a construction company was still being sought to build the airport. The plans for the new airport are a modification of those drawn up in 2017 for a smaller facility with a maximum capacity of 4.5 million passengers a year in the same location. Company and government officials said at the time that Rwanda had signed a deal with the African division of Portuguese construction firm Mota-Engil to build an international airport at a cost of $818m. Gatete said the investment from Qatar Airways would enable it to build the larger airport. "We are looking for a bigger sized airport. That's why we are looking for a bigger investor," he said. Qatari ruler Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani is currently visiting Kigali for the presentation of the International Anti-Corruption Excellence (ACE) Award. Gatete said there was also a possibility that Qatar Airways would help state-run carrier RwandAir to expand, but gave no more details.
December 11 2019

Danish Brewing Company to set up a US$45 million plant in Kenya

KENYA – Danish Brewing East Africa Limited, a subsidiary of Bounty Global Management DWC LLC will be setting up a US$45 million (KSh4.59 billion) plant at the Naivasha Industrial Park, Kenya.

While more than 100 local and international investors have so far expressed interest in setting up shop at the planned industrial park, Danish Brewing Company will be the first anchor tenant.

The new plant with a production capacity of 12-15 million cases of beer annually, will enable Danish Brewing East Africa Limited to undertake local production of Tuborg, Carlsberg, Holsten, and Kronenbourg beers in Kenya.

In August the company acquired Carlsberg and Tuborg beers distributor in Kenya, King Beverage Limited from Centum Investment.

Centum Investment sold King Beverage, in which it held 100 per cent of the issued shares, for US$1.3 million (Sh130 million) against the US$5 million (Sh500 million) it had invested in the company.

The firm will also employ 350 locals and produce beverages using sorghum sourced locally from their recently launched Farmers Outreach Programme, expecting to contract 17,000 farmers.

Cabinet Secretary for Trade, Peter Munya, said support given by the government has created an enabling environment in turn attracting a number of local and international private investors.

“As our Government believes in public-private partnership we are working hand-in-hand to realise the goals of the Manufacturing pillar of the Big 4 Agenda,” he said.

Among these is the provision of a direct connection to cheaper geothermal power from the Olkaria plant as well as special tax incentives in line with provisions of the Fiscal Incentives Act, 2015.

Foreign investors from India, Europe, United States of America (USA), the Netherlands, China, Sri Lanka and Thailand are said to be interested in setting up base within the economic zone.

The Government, in July, designated 9,000 acres of land in Naivasha, Mombasa and Machakos as Special Economic Zones (SEZs), aimed at boosting the manufacturing pillar under the Big Four Agenda.

The Naivasha Industrial Park under the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) will see the development of the 1,000-acre Special Economic Zone (SEZ) of which 800 acres will have warehousing for various manufacturers, logistics parks and support services to provide a world class manufacturing hub in the region.

“The Government continues to support investment opportunities in the Industrial Park and encourages private investors to make their enquiries about tenancy opportunities through SEZA,” Munya said.

Under the 2019/20 budget, the government allocated a total of KSh1.1 billion (US$11m) to go towards the development of textile and leather industrial parks, the Naivasha Industrial Park and the Cotton Development subsidy.

Construction works at the KSh6.9 billion (US$69m) industrial park began early last month after President Uhuru Kenyatta opened the Mai-Mahiu SGR Terminus.

Land for the industrial park is situated where the SGR and the Inland Container Depot will meet.

December 16 2019

Garissa solar plant raises Kenya’s green energy to 93pc

Kenya's new 50 megawatt (MW) solar plant in Garissa has increased the share of renewable energy to the grid to 93 percent, setting the stage for cheaper electricity. The 54.6 megawatt (MW) plant, the largest in East and Central Africa and located 15 kilometres from Garissa Town, was commissioned on Friday by President Uhuru Kenyatta, further cutting reliance on expensive thermal power. The Government is increasing electricity generation and investing in Kenya’s power grid to keep up with growing demand and reduce frequent blackouts. But Kenya’s solar energy is still small compared to other sources. “The 50MW solar plant has increased the share of renewable energy in our energy mix to more than 90 percent,” the Ministry of Energy said on Twitter. Most of Kenya’s electricity is generated by renewable sources, with geothermal ranked the biggest source of power to the grid with hydroelectricity and wind following. The new solar plant, backed by increased geothermal and hydropower generation—which has received a boost from the ongoing rains—has cut the share of expensive thermal power to the grid at seven percent from 19 percent in April. Kenya ranks 40th worldwide in EY’s renewable energy country attractiveness index, which was issued in November. The injection of the Sh13 billion Chinese loan- funded solar power to the national grid comes months after Kenya increased its share of cheaper wind power. Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation (REREC), formerly Rural Electrification Authority (REA), owns the plant. The 310MW Turkana Wind Farm, which was switched on in October last year, accounted for 13.9 percent of Kenya’s generation mix, up from 9.8 percent in June, say the electricity regulator. Solar power cost about Sh8 per kilowatt hour matching the wholesale cost off wind, and lower than thermal that goes for above Sh20. The reduced reliance of thermal power will reflect on electricity bills, pulled down by lower fuel cost charge.
December 16 2019

Tanzania, partners sign 14.8 mln USD deal to improve cancer care

DAR ES SALAAM, Dec. 16 (Xinhua) --Tanzanian government and its two partners, the Aga Khan Health Services and the French Development Agency, on Monday signed a 13.3 million Euros (about 14.8 million U.S. dollars) grant agreement and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to improve cancer care in the east African nation. The funding will be run by the Tanzania Comprehensive Cancer Project (TCCP), an innovative public-private project aimed at enhancing cancer care in Tanzania. Under this funding, the French Development Agency will release a grant to the tune of 10 million Euros and 3.3 million Euros will be contributed by the Geneva-based Aga Khan Foundation, which is part of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN). Speaking shortly after the signing of the agreement in the commercial capital Dar es Salaam, Tanzania's Deputy Minister for Health Faustine Ndugulile said with the rise in the prevalence of cancer in Tanzania, the project will serve to accelerate performance in cancer screening, prevention and early detection targeting low-income groups through mobile outreach campaigns. Harrison Chuwa, a consultant oncologist at the Aga Khan Hospital in Dar es Salaam and director of TCCP, said the project was a four-year plan designed to reduce the burden of cancer mortality and morbidity in Dar es Salaam and Mwanza regions. Chuwa said under the project, the implementing partners will create an integrated health care network at local and hospital levels to accelerate performance in cancer care in the country. Julius Mwaiselage, the Executive Director of the Ocean Road Cancer Institute, the country's leading facility for treating cancer patients, said the facility was currently receiving 64,000 cancer patients annually, compared to 30,000 patients received in 2015.
December 17 2019

Uganda to start exporting medical marijuana in 2020

Uganda will officially start exporting medicinal marijuana in March 2020 with the first batches going to Malta and Israel. The medical marijuana comes courtesy of a partnership between Hemp Uganda and an Israeli firm, Together Pharma. The partnership first began growing medical marijuana at a factory in Hima Town in 2014. The factory sits on 12.5 acres of land and houses five greenhouses of marijuana weed and a processing factory. Benjamin Cadet, Director Industrial Hemp Uganda Limited, said the facility will produce several different varieties of medical marijuana for treatment of a number of health issues including skin ailments, chronic pain, epilepsy and cancer.