February 2019 / South Africa

February 6 2019

Radisson advances growth in Africa

Radisson Hospitality AB, part of Radisson Hotel Group, signed 16 new hotel deals across Africa during the last 12 months, doubling the company's original 2018 target set for the first year of Destination 2022, the company’s five-year strategy. The company has 96 hotels and 20,000 rooms open and under development across 31 countries in Africa and is on track to reach 130 hotels and more than 23,000 rooms by 2022.

New Leadership

To support and drive the rapid growth of its Africa portfolio, Radisson Hotel Group has added Ramsay Rankoussi as VP of development, Middle East, Turkey and French-speaking Africa. Rankoussi has been with Radisson Hotel Group for more than five years, initially overseeing the growth of the company in the Middle East and Turkey and now leads the development activities across French-speaking Africa. He is supported by Erwan Garnier, director, development French- and Portuguese-speaking Africa. Together, they will take steps to accelerate the introduction of all Radisson brands in the region with a focus on key capital and economic cities. Also joining the group’s African development team is Caryn Venter, coordinator, development, sub-Sahara Africa. The new organizational structure follows the recent appointment of Frederic Feijs, who leads operations as regional director Africa-French-speaking countries for Radisson Hotel Group, and William McIntyre, the group’s regional director, Africa, overseeing the remaining Anglophone markets in sub-Sahara Africa. “We have ambitious plans for this important market and it is imperative that we have the right resources in place to support our growth,” said Rankoussi. “This means communicating effectively with owners and investors, as well as providing first-class levels of expertise, as we establish long-term relationships with our business partners in this market.” “We will continue to execute our five-year strategy with our expanded team, creating scaled hotel growth in key cities and resort locations across Africa during 2019,” said Andrew Mclachlan, SVP, development, sub-Saharan Africa, Radisson Hotel Group. “Cape Town, Johannesburg and Lagos are our three gateway cities in sub-Saharan Africa where we aim to have scaled growth and an ambition of up to 10 hotels within the same city," Mclachlan continued. "Dakar, [Senegal]; Abidjan, [Côte d'Ivoire]; Douala, [Cameroon]; Luanda, [Angola]; Nairobi, [Kenya]; Dar es Salaam, [Tanzania]; and Addis Ababa, [Ethiopia] are proactive cities where we aim to have between three and five hotels...We expect our future growth to arise from existing hotel take-overs and new-build hotels, “With economic headwinds in some African markets, we have identified opportunities to exploit our vast knowledge and experience in converting unbranded, underperforming hotels or underperforming office or apartment buildings and reposition them to the right brand and market segment within the Radisson Hotel Group brand portfolio. In addition, we are not ignoring the smaller cities and larger towns across Africa where we’ve identified potential to penetrate the market with either our midscale Park Inn by Radisson brand or upscale Radisson," said Mclachlan. Radisson Hotel Group plans to open a further five hotels across Africa in 2019, pushing the African portfolio to more than 50 hotels in operation before the end of the year. These openings include the first Radisson Blu hotel in Casablanca (also the group’s second hotel in Morocco), scheduled to open within the next six months, as well as the Radisson Blu Hotel Niamey, the first internationally branded hotel in Niger. That property is slated to open in second quarter. “Our strategy will most certainly reinforce our presence in key markets across Africa as we continue to focus on delivering on our expanding pipeline,” said Mclachlan.
February 7 2019

Ethiopia’s US$10bn Agro-processing parks set for completion by June

ETHIOPIA – Ethiopia is set to complete construction of its 4 pilot Integrated Agro-Processing Industrial Parks (IAIPs), an investment worth US$10 billion, by the end of June this year reports Ethiopia News Agency. The pilot agro-processing parks have been under construction since 2016 and features; a Baeker for sesame, sorghum and livestock; Bulbula for cereal and milk; Bure for cereals, pulses and spices, and Yirgalem for coffee, fruit and vegetables. The mega project was scheduled for completion by December 2018 but Ayalneh Abawa, Advisor for Integrated Agro-processing Parks in the ministry of Trade and Industry revealed that redesigning of the parks caused the major delay. “The study for the parks took 2 years and the construction was expected to be completed at the end of December 2018. Electric power is the challenge at present as budget was not allocated. Shortage of foreign currency inhibited the construction of substations. Electric power is a challenge as each of the parks consumes 40-50 MW; but shortage of foreign currency has inhibited the construction of electric infrastructure,” he explained. Ayalneh further revealed that about 80-100 investors are expected to engage in each park of which 80% will be local and 20% will be foreign investors. In its efforts to restructure and invest in the agricultural sector, Ethiopia plans to further commission the remaining agro-industry corridors countrywide following a successful completion of the 4 IAIPs. The agro-industrial parks are intended to attract private investors into establishing food processing plants in high producing areas that will add value on agricultural produce. Subsequently, this will create employment opportunities, improve the livelihoods in agriculture dependent regions, reduce post-harvest losses, contribute to food security and accelerate economic growth in the country Last year, the African Development Bank (AfDB) have granted Ethiopia US$15 million to finance the agro-industrial parks which is also aimed at linking producers and Small and Medium Enterprises with strategic industrial clusters. With agricultural sector being the mainstay of Ethiopia’s economy, the government identified increasing productivity of smallholder farms and expanding large-scale commercial farms as two of its priority areas. In addition, as part of the second Growth & Transformation Plan (GTP II), the government wants to ensure the agro-processing sector – processed food, beverages, and livestock products – as one engine to spur future economic growth.
February 11 2019

Oil service providers hope to share into $20b cash

As Uganda prepares for the development and production phases of the oil sector with expected investments worth $20b (Shs74 trillion) over the next five years, local service providers are upbeat, planning on how they will share into the multi-billion cash.
This was the mood during the national content conference for Ugandan companies organised by oil sector regulator, Petroleum Authority of Uganda. The meeting, which was held at the weekend in Kampala, according to Mr Dennis Kamurasi, the vice chairperson of the Association of Uganda Oil & Gas Service Providers, discussed the huge capital requirements, capacity gaps, inexperience in business and competition.
“You can try getting the money but experience is not something you can buy,” he said, emphasising that government must define and support Ugandan companies to promote the local content policy and regulations that seek to protect local service providers from foreign companies.
The local content wording, as it is, does not explain company ownership, registration, or place of registration. The policy also does not draw distinction between a company incorporated in Uganda, or controlled by a citizen of Uganda. “We are not pushing for protectionist laws, but we think a policy of domiciliation is preferable over indigenisation. But to combine the two is most ideal,” Mr Kamurasi added.
In broad terms, local content is defined as “the value addition by Ugandans using Ugandan materials, with services produced by Ugandan firms” with the aim of keeping money within the country. Over the last years since discovery of commercial oil in 2006, participation of Ugandans has been a sticking issue.
Between 2006 and 2016 the country saw investments to a tune of $3.2b (Shs11 trillion) but local service providers raked in only 28 per cent of that or roughly $900m (Shs3b) mostly going to logistics, clearing and forwarding, supply chain management, catering services, air transport services (light aircraft carriers to the field) and camp management services. With more investments in the region of Shs74 trillion expected, covering among others, development of Total E&P’s Tilenga oil fields in Buliisa and Nwoya districts and CNOOC’s Kingfisher and Kaiso Tonya fields in Kikuube and Hoima districts, respectively, a crude oil export pipeline and a refinery, local service providers want a bigger share.
CAPACITY According to Mr Tony Okao Otoa, the head of Stanbic Bank’s business incubator programme, which trains SMEs, local service providers are set back by challenges such as failure to adhere to standards, lack of business plans and financial records and poor banking and borrowing history, which makes it hard for them to compete favorably with either established local companies or foreign firms.
February 14 2019

Egypt: PPA signed for 250MW wind farm

Lekela Power has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC) for its 250MW wind farm project in the Gulf of Suez, near Ras Ghareb. Present at the signing were H.E. the Egyptian Prime Minister Dr. Mostafa Madbouly; H.E. Dr. Mohamed Shaker El-Markabi, Egypt’s Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy; Eng. Sabah Mashaly Chairperson of the EETC, Chris Antonopoulos, Chief Executive Officer, Lekela and Faisal Eissa, Egypt General Manager, Lekela. Located 30 kilometres north-west of Ras Ghareb, the project is part of the Government’s Build, Own, Operate (BOO) scheme. Once constructed, it will increase Egypt’s wind energy capacity by 14%. The project will produce more than 1000GWh a year, powering the equivalent of over 350,000 homes in Egypt. The total investment for the project is estimated at $325 million and leading Development Finance Institutions have been mandated to provide financing. The Network Connection Agreement with EETC has been signed. The project will be constructed on a turnkey EPC basis and an announcement regarding the EPC contractor will be made at a later date. Financial close is expected to take place later this year, and the project is expected to be operational in 2021. Chris Antonopoulos, Chief Executive Officer at Lekela commented: Egypt has a target of achieving 20% renewable power in its overall energy mix by 2022. Today’s agreement is a major milestone for delivering a 250MW wind farm to help achieve that goal. We would like to thank the Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy, EETC, The Egyptian Electricity Holding Company (EEHC), Egypt's New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA), the Minister of Investment and all those people, both in Egypt and beyond the country, who have helped us get to this point. Across Africa we are starting to see the positive impact renewable energy can have on communities and on enterprise. Egypt is a key part of our strategy to develop 1,300MW of clean energy across Africa which will drive economic and social prosperity for its communities.” Faisal Eissa, General Manager, Egypt, Lekela commented: “We are excited to progress this project with the signing of the PPA. Egypt has favourable conditions to produce renewable energy and it is great to see that the government has ambitions to bring more clean energy onto the grid. "Further, we look forward to working with the local community to develop a Community Investment Plan that will leave an impact that lasts even longer than the wind farm itself.”
February 18 2019

Kuwait okays $2b loans for African countries

The Ambassador of the State of Kuwait to Nigeria, Abdulaziz Albisher, has said that the Emir of Kuwait has approved $2 billion as grants and concessionary loans to African countries. He said the loans, reserved for investment and development, will be spread over five years. Besides, the envoy said that Kuwait has initiated another Annual Prize of $1 million for researches and research projects on agriculture, health and Ebola eradication. Mr. Albisher, who made the disclosures at a pre-58th National Day interaction with select media in Abuja, urged African nations to take advantage of the loan facility. He said: “Kuwait has always had Africa at heart, that need not to be underlined, for it fashioned numerous contributions and initiatives meant to enhance Africa’s development. The presence of my government`s developmental efforts is well recognised. “Let me first of all throw the light on the Arab-African Summit held in Kuwait during which His Highness, the Emir of the State of Kuwait gave his directive to the Kuwaiti Fund for Arab Economic Development to facilitate grants and concessionary loans to African countries to the tune of $2 billion reserved for investment and development spread over five years. “It (the $2 billion) is meant to support the efforts of the African countries towards realising their developmental aspiration in various fields, particularly infrastructure.  As this initiative is to be executed through the Kuwait Fund it goes through legal procedures. “In line with the interest of His Highness on Africa, he attended the 19th African Union Summit held in Ethiopia as guest of honors where he offered to well equip the then newly build African Union secretariat. “The same summit witnessed granting the State of Kuwait membership to the African Union in the capacity of an observer.” Albisher also informed that Kuwait has set aside another $1 million annually for researches in agriculture, health interventions and Ebola eradication, among others. He added: “Let me also make mention that the Emir of the state of Kuwait has also announced the intention of his country to grant an Annual Prize of one $1 million U.S. in the memory of late Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Sumit. “This prize is meant for development researches and research projects in agriculture, health and Ebola eradication. This prize is under the auspices of Kuwait Scientific Institution and the theme for the 2019 prize is food security.” On his assessment of Nigeria, Albisher said it has the potentials of emerging as one of the best economies in the world.
He said: “Nigeria in my opinion is the giant of Africa, with huge potential that made it a pioneer in regional, continental and international scenes; it has already assumed remarkable roles by maintaining peace and stability through financial and human sacrifices. “As for the Nigerians they are indeed hospitable and friendly. In fact we share a lot in terms of culture and cherished values. “Nigeria is a very special country endowed with numerous resources that will undoubtedly enable it to be one of the top world economies in the near future, its cultural heritage is exceptional, the roles played by its successive governments and the current able government in particular on the regional continental and world levels maintaining peace and security are very much appreciated.”
February 23 2019

Ghana to build first RE industrial park in Africa

Ghana is set to construct first industrial and business park in Africa wholly powered by renewable energy in Takoradi, Western Ghana. According to Sabine Dall’Omo, CEO of Siemens who confirmed the report, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with WestPark Enterprises was signed to develop an expandable microgrid solution for the fast-growing industrial and business park.
RE industrial park
The new industrial park is poised to accelerate the transformation of Takoradi – Ghana’s third-largest city. As part of the agreement, Siemens will develop a 250kW microgrid that controls the energy generation and throughput for the initial phase of buildings to be constructed at WestPark. The microgrid will be powered by onsite photovoltaic panels. A back-up battery storage solution will be sourced as well. The grid can be expanded as more buildings are added with the aim to ensure that the park remains powered by renewable energy.   “This project is perfectly in line with Siemens’ vision for future business in Ghana and other African countries. As a company we are continuously looking for new responsible and efficient energy and infrastructure solutions, and our collaboration with WestPark is a good example of how we can support partners with similar goals,” said Sabine Dall’Omo. Economic growth across Africa Siemens is committed to economic growth across Africa, and in doing so in a forward-thinking manner by implementing environmentally sustainable solutions that will help its partners and customers succeed in today’s environmentally-conscious global market. The WestPark aims to eliminate many of the challenges faced by companies doing business in Sub-Sahara Africa, such as access to reliable power, water, broadband internet, and transport.