July 2019 / South Africa

July 2 2019

Ghana to introduce nuclear power into energy mix – Minister

Government has announced plans to introduce nuclear power into the country’s energy mix and will take between 10 to 15 years for the realisation of the vision to ensure affordable energy for industrial development. A team has been constituted to embark on reconnaissance trip for a preliminary assessment and collection of site data for the Nuclear Power Programme, while mass sensitization activities are being carried out to promote public acceptability of the technology and to explain the benefit Ghana stands to gain from a Nuclear Power Plant A nine-member board, known as ‘Nuclear Power Ghana’ has been constituted by government to oversee the full implementation of the programme, which will see the nation rubbing shoulders with nuclear power nations like Iran, Iraq, Russia and South Korea. The Volta River Authority, Bui Power Dam and Atomic Energy have been tasked to support the setting up of the structures for a nuclear power plant taking into consideration the timelines outlined by government. Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, who announced this when he took his turn at the Meet-the-Press Series in Accra on Tuesday, said China, France, Russia and United States have already expressed interest in Ghana’s Nuclear Energy Programme and expressed their readiness to collaborate with the nation towards the realisation of the plan. He said the Atomic Energy is currently preparing a report on the Nuclear Power Programme and upon presentation to government a decision would be taken regarding the financing of the programme. The Minister noted that the nation has competent and well-trained scientists and functional institutions, including the Nuclear Power Institute, Ghana Atomic Energy, Nuclear Regulatory Authority and School of Allied and Nuclear Sciences that are capable to champion the country’s Nuclear Energy Programme. He said the nation had been operating a research reactor for 25 years, which is a miniature of any nuclear power plant, noting that it had trained nuclear scientists from other African countries as well as students from Pakistan and Iran. He said some sites have been identified for the establishment of a nuclear power plant and that a team was collecting data on the candidate sites. Prof. Frimpong Boateng said Ghana had completed the construction of a replica of research reactor to serve as a training facility for any country embarking on reactor core conversion with a training programme completed for some Nigerians. To ensure adequate control of radiation exposure to humans and environment during nuclear and radiation activities, the Minister said the National Regulatory Authority drafted some regulations including Emergency Preparedness and Response Regulation for Operators, Regulations on the Safe Transport and Radioactive Materials, Design of Nuclear Installations Regulations, Licensing of Nuclear Installations Regulations, Transport Security Regulations and Physical Protection of Nuclear Installations Regulations. The Minister announced that feasibility studies were ongoing towards the establishment of two Foundries and Machine Tools Centres to improve the capacity of the nation for manufacturing machine parts and tools for industries.
July 3 2019

Investment fund boosts agriculture with Shs 85bn

Yield Uganda Investment Fund has launched a Shs 34 billion investment fund for agribusinesses in Uganda, a further boost for a sector that does not attract much financing. With the launch, the agribusiness impact fund has now hit the €20 million (Shs 85 billion) mark in total commitments. This took place on June 27 at Kampala Sheraton hotel and it comes on the back of new funding partners such as the Soros Economic Development Fund, part of Open Society Foundations (OSF) and FCA Investments (FCAI). The fund targets agriculture-related businesses across all value chains, including the supply of agricultural inputs, production and agro-processing within all sub-sectors, post-harvest storage and distribution, but also peripheral activities such as transportation, communications and certification. Gabriel Ajedra, the state minister for Finance, General Duties, expressed his gratitude with the new increase in the fund because the fund is wholly dedicated to providing capital through debt and equity to agriculture-related businesses across all value chains in Uganda.  Attilio Pacifici, the EU ambassador to Uganda, said the main reason for the creation for Yield Uganda Investment Fund has been to mobilize investments for the agro industrialization of Uganda. Ambassador Pacifici added that the EU was aiming at attracting capital into Uganda to foster development in agriculture, trade and industrialization. An industrialized agriculture sector shall improve the export earnings of Uganda. This is so because Uganda majorly exports raw materials instead of final goods with added value.  Yield Uganda Investment Fund was established by Deloitte Uganda and Pearl Capital Partners Uganda (PCP) and it is a partnership between public and private investors. The fund offers innovative and tailored financial solutions, using equity, semi-equity and debt, to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) having the potential to generate both strong financial returns and significant social impact in Uganda. It is currently managed by Pearl Capital Partners Uganda with the mandate of making investments in the range of €250,000 to €2 million (approx. Shs 1 billion to Shs 8.5 billion).
July 3 2019

Ethiopia to launch $2.5 billion geothermal electric project

Ethiopia, the east African nation currently facing severe energy shortage, is set to begin implementation of a new 520 MW geothermal electric power project.

The Tulu Moye Geothermal project will be implemented in West Arsi Zone in Oromia region of Ethiopia at a total cost of $2.5 billion. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Tulu Moye Geothermal, Darrell Boyed told the state daily paper, The Ethiopian Herald that the Company is currently performing various works in the project site including opening offices in the project site and in Addis Ababa as well as constructing road at the project site. He noted that as the project requires a high cost, it requires the support of anchor international institutions. So far, US Trade and Development Agency has shown interest to support the project, he told the paper. A study released in 2018 shows that Ethiopia has 10,000 megawatts of geothermal energy potential. According to Tesfaye Kessa, Director of Geothermal Resource Development License and Administration Directorate at Ethiopian Energy Authority, 24 geothermal potential areas are identified at different parts of the country. “When we compare with hydro energy though it is a renewable source of power, if there is shortage of rain, it does not generate the required amount of energy,” he told paper. The project would have greater advantages for the social and economic growth of the country in terms of reducing power outages, he added. The paper stated that high operational cost to construct geothermal projects and lack of skilled human power in geothermal sector has hindered Ethiopia from develop its huge geothermal source. The report indicated that the Authority has been undertaking a number of activities to commence the project and to benefit the community by enhancing energy sources, according to the state daily. Mentioning that Ethiopia had no geothermal proclamation in earlier years, he said that the newly enacted Geothermal Resource Development Proclamation plays role to develop the available energy resources and promotes the participation of private investment in the sector thereby achieve accelerated development.
July 4 2019

Ethiopia to construct US $150m five-star hotel

Ethiopian Airline has announced plans to construct its second five star hotel in Addis Ababa at an investment cost of US $150m. Abraham Tesfaye, Ethiopian Airlines Group manager Infrastructure Planning and Development announced the reports and said that the hotel is being built adjacent to the the first hotel on a 22,000sqm of land. The hotel will feature 637 guest rooms, restaurants, bars, conference hall, swimming pool, fitness center and a basement parking which can accommodate 550 cars. Chinese construction firm, AVIC has conducted the design work and will also undertake the construction of the second hotel. The first Ethiopian Skylight Hotel, was built at a cost of US $65m. It sits on a 20,000sqm plot of land in front of the Millennium Hall. The hotel has has eight floors with a total floor area of 42,000sqm and 373 guest rooms Ethiopian Skylight Hotel features three restaurants – a Chinese restaurant, an Ethiopian restaurant and an European restaurant, a lobby, executive roof top and a jazz club. 27 of the guest rooms are spacious suites.  The Hotel was designed and built by AVIC, while a local consulting firm, Sileshi Consult, carried out the supervision work. It also encompasses a grand ballroom designed to accommodate 2000 persons convenient for conference and wedding parties and also has five meeting rooms which can accommodate 20-30 persons. “Addis Ababa is the main gate way to Africa. The hotel will play a significant role in boosting the tourism sector and making Addis Ababa a conference hub,” said Busera Awel, VP Strategic Planning and Alliances. Busera however clarified that both hotels are catering for not only Ethiopian Airlines passengers but it is open for the public. “The hotel is hosting local, regional and international conferences. It is an ideal venue for company staff and management meetings, weddings and other events,” he said. When the second hotel is completed Ethiopian Skylight Hotel would have 1,000 guest rooms. 
Ethiopian government has an aim of making Ethiopia a top tourist destination in Africa and increase the number of tourists streaming into the country to 10 million.
July 5 2019

Chinese city to invest $500m in Ethiopian town’s industrial park

Investors from the Chinese city of Kunshan are planning to invest $500m in a textile production complex in the eastern Ethiopian town of Dire Dawa.

Mayor of Kunshan, Du Xiaogang, announced the plan after visiting the town near the border with Djibouti. Du said investors were ready and work would start in the next two years. He said China was ready to share its manufacturing expertise with Ethiopians “in order to make industrial parks in the country more productive and successful”, reports New Business Ethiopia. About 30 Ethiopian professionals are now on a 10-day training course on industrial park management at a college built in Dire Dawa, the report said. Kunshan is a county-level city in southeastern Jiangsu province, west of Shanghai. Lelise Neme, chief executive of the Ethiopia Industrial Parks Development Corporation, said investment from Kunshan would create jobs and foster university–industry links. There are currently around 23 industrial parks in Ethiopia; the government aims to have 30 completed by 2025 as part of its drive to base the country’s economic development on low-cost manufacturing. In October last year, Ethiopia announced plans to build other textile-based parks in Aysha and Semera, also near the Djibouti border, and Assosa, next to the Sudanese border (see Further reading).
July 9 2019

Ghana-China to construct a $100 million chocolate factory in Sefwi-Wiawso

Government has announced a joint partnership deal with the Chinese to construct a 100 million dollar chocolate factory at Sefwi-Wiaso in the Western North region. The facility is expected to process about 50,000 tonnes of cocoa beans into chocolate in a year. This is expected to help the country add value to its cocoa beans before export. Speaking at programme organized by Ecobank Ghana on the Cocoa Supply Chain, Minister for Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie Akoto stated that the agreement will soon be signed in Ghana. “We have agreed with the Chinese who are ready to bring 60 million dollars while Ghana looks for some Ghanaian investors who will to bring 40 million dollars,” he said. Dr. Afriyie Akoto explained that the Western North area is known to be major cocoa growing area, contributing to the export earnings of the country over the years. He maintained that the move, apart from creating jobs will also provide an opportunity for the people in the area to be part of the value addition in cocoa production. Background Even though Ghana is among the leading producers of cocoa in the world, less than 15 percent of the beans is processed in the country for cocoa products such as chocolate. This has also negatively impacted the consumption of locally made Chocolate in the country. The consumption of locally made chocolate remains low despite the celebration of the National Chocolate Day for over a decade. According to the Cocoa Processing Company (CPC), Ghanaians consume only 400 grams of chocolate daily compared other developed countries that consume thrice the number. Meanwhile, the global chocolate market is worth some 103.28 billion dollars and has been estimated to reach approximately 161.56 billion dollars by 2024. Ghana’s major producer of Chocolate, the Cocoa Processing Company produces 2000 metric tons of chocolate annually.
July 9 2019

Bank of Kigali hires Swiss tech firm in drive to deepen financial inclusion

Bank of Kigali has selected Temenos, a banking software company based in Geneva, Switzerland, to power its digital transformation journey as it continues to expand regionally and realize its financial inclusion objectives. With the services of the Swiss firm, Bank of Kigali aims to gain business agility and dramatically lower the cost of deployment. With the new system, the bank could deliver innovative products and services specifically to underserved segments of the economy and key population demographics like the youth and the unbanked. Bank of Kigali plans to grow the number of customers to one million by 2021, from the over 400,000 the bank currently has, according to the lender’s projections The bank is the biggest commercial bank in the country by total assets. The new system has capabilities and functions such as advanced analytics, reporting, risk and compliance modules among others provided by the Temenos Payments product. Bank of Kigali is currently looking to drive its transactional growth revenue through both retail and insurance and brokerage business. Temenos banking software could help the bank simplify and automate its processes, significantly grow its digital banking customer base and provide a 360-degree customer view through a single digital banking platform. By implementing Temenos’ software, the bank will be in position to introduce innovative products and services more quickly to support its growth ambitions and continue to pursue its vision of becoming the financial institution of choice. The bank will leverage Temenos' global expertise and 25 years of banking software experience as well as the firm’s commitment to invest 20 per cent of revenues into research and development every year. Dr. Diane Karusisi, Chief Executive of Bank of Kigali said that the development will form the foundation to drive their three-year digital transformation strategy. “Temenos' cloud-native and cloud-agnostic banking software will help reduce deployment costs and drive simplicity and efficiency of operations. The new open digital banking platform will enable us to gain a deeper understanding of our customers’ needs and allow us to provide the best-in-class customer experience,” she said. Jean-Paul Mergeai, the Managing Director Middle East and Africa at Temenos, said: “We believe that financial institutions can only become truly digital when they transform their end-to-end operations and we are the best provider to help them realize their digital vision,” Mergeai said. He added that the system functionality and cloud technology will place the lender in an ideal position to drastically reduce time to market and cost and at the same time expand its digital customer base and promote financial inclusion both in Rwanda and throughout the region. Temenos has a longstanding presence with over clients in the East African providing real-time and scalable banking software.
July 19 2019

PepsiCo to buy South Africa’s Pioneer Food for $1.7 bln

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - PepsiCo has struck a deal to buy South Africa’s Pioneer Food Group for $1.7 billion, the companies said on Friday, lifting Pioneer’s shares and boosting a sector that has been hit by drought and tough trading conditions. The U.S. drinks and snack group said on Friday that Pioneer’s product portfolio was complementary to its own and would help PepsiCo to expand in sub-Saharan Africa by adding manufacturing and distribution capabilities. “Pioneer Foods forms an important part of our strategy to not only expand in South Africa, but further into sub-Saharan Africa as well,” PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Ramon Laguarta said in a statement. PepsiCo has offered 110 rand ($7.94) per Pioneer ordinary share in what would be its second largest deal since 2010, the companies said, with the news lifting the South African company’s shares by 29.32% to more than 100 rand. Shares in agribusiness investment company Zeder Investments, which holds Pioneer as part of its portfolio, also rose more than 22%. “It’s a vote of confidence in South Africa at a time when we really need it,” Pioneer CEO Tertius Carstens told Reuters. Food producers have struggled amid a slump in retail sales as consumers cut back and dry weather hit maize and other produce. Pioneer, which uses maize in many of its products, reported a decline in half-year earnings in May, weighed down by shortages in the staple food. “It’s almost a signal to other overseas companies that we are open for business. If PepsiCo is willing to put money down it may lift sentiment of other foreign investors that might come looking at South Africa for bargains,” said Greg Davies, equities trader at Cratos Capital. Pioneer, whose brands include Weet-Bix cereal, Liqui Fruit juice and Sasko bread, is the latest consumer goods firm to be the target of a buyout after South Africa’s Clover Industries, which processes products including yoghurt, beverages, and olive oil, began takeover talks with a consortium of companies called Milco SA last year. Pioneer was in talks over a potential deal with “a multinational organisation” in 2017, but that fell apart after South Africa’s credit rating was cut to junk status. Pioneer and PepsiCo declined to comment whether those talks referred to them.
Pioneer exports to more than 80 countries. Its deal with PepsiCo is conditional on regulatory approvals. ($1 = 13.8613 rand)
July 20 2019

Kenya launches largest wind power plant in Africa

(CNN)Kenya has launched Africa's largest wind power farm in a bid to boost electricity generating capacity and to meet the country's ambitious goal of 100% green energy by 2020.

The farm, known as the Lake Turkana Wind Power (LTWP) will generate around 310 megawatts of power to the national grid and will increase the country's electricity supply by 13%, President Uhuru Kenyatta said at the launch of the project on Friday.
"Today, we again raised the bar for the continent as we unveil Africa's single largest wind farm," Kenyatta said.
"Kenya is without doubt on course to be a global leader in renewable energy."
The project is powered by the Turkana corridor wind, a low level jet stream originating from the Indian Ocean and blows all year round, according to a government statement.
An international consortium of lenders and producers, which includes the African Development Bank, came together to install the 365 wind turbines, which cost around $700m, the largest private investment in Kenya's history, President Kenyatta said.
The 52-meter blade span windmills will take advantage of high winds in the remote area.
In the past years, Kenya has made progress in investing in clean sources of energy. According to theRenewables 2018 Global Status Report, the country is 9th in the world for its geothermal power generating capacity of up to 700 megawatts.
Around 70% of Kenya's national electricity comes from renewable sources like hydro power and geothermal.
State-owned power company KenGen produces approximately 80% of electricity consumed in Kenya, and of that, 65% comes from hydro-power sources, which it sells to Kenya Power, the country's main electricity transmission company, Kenya's LTWP is not the only existing wind power project on the continent. Africa has fully operational wind farms in Morocco, Ethiopia, and South Africaproviding sustainable energy.
In South Africa, wind energy is already boosting electricity. With five wind farms in place, the country has added a collective 645.71 MW to the national grid.
And in Ethiopia, two of its wind farms account for 324 MW of the country's total electricity output of 4180 MW.
While these projects will help build energy supply on the continent, the International Energy Agency has said sub-Saharan Africa needs to invest $300 billion in order to achieve universal electricity access by 2030.
July 26 2019

Construction of US $180m brewery plant in Mozambique on track

The construction of US $180 million brewery plant in Mozambique is on track despite the late start of the ambitious project by beverage company Cervejas de Moçambique’s (CDM’s).  The late start and constraints saw geotechnical specialist Franki Africa make efforts to ensure partial handover of the foundations and lateral support to allow the main contractor progress with construction works. “We have managed to partially handover different areas to allow the main contractor carry on with works smoothly. The design team is working in hand with the client’s engineers are working tirelessly to overcome any arising challenges,” said Botelho. CDM, the project owner broke ground last year December for construction of the two million hectolitre brewery in Mozambique’s Marracuene district which is about 30 KM North of Maputo. The project is one of the largest in the beer sector in Mozambique since the inception of CDM in 1995. The new brewery is scheduled to begin producing its first batch of beer at the end of the year. The plant is expected to produce about 200 million litres of beer annually. Franki will carry out geotechnical works on the project and will also be responsible for the installation of foundation and lateral support piling for different structures of the brewery, according to the company’s engineer Marta Botelho. The project’s duration has been extended from five weeks to ten weeks and as a result, the contract value has increased from US $1.5m to US $2.5m owing to additional works required. This is attributed to the late start of the project which has attributed to the project’s stringent timeline.