News

ATI Attracts $82m In Trade, Investments To Tanzania

posted Jun 2, 2014, 11:58 AM by Nnamdi Eguh

VENTURES AFRICA – The African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) in the year ended December 2013 helped Tanzania secure trade and investments worth $82 million (Tsh132 billion), Chairman ATI Board of Directors, Israel Kamuzora said last week.

The multilateral developmental institution which operates across various African markets said it particularly supported the energy, financial services, ICT/Telecommunications and transport sectors in the country in the year 2013.

While speaking during the presentation of the firm’s 2013 financial result at the country’s capital, ATI’s Chief Executive Officer, George Otieno said ATI posted $1.5 million (Tsh 2.4bn) profit in the year in view, a 144 percent increase from $600m it made in the year 2012.

According to him, ATI is engaged in a $62 million (Tsh100 billion) lending facility that propose to help state power utility, Tanzania Electric Supply Company (TANESCO) expand electricity coverage. It also supported a Tanzanian bank with $1.1 million (Tsh1.7 billion) loan coverage to help a local transport company buy seven additional overhauled trucks and new tankers.

Other projects it involved in included $13.1 million reinsurance support to companies on political violence, $ 1.5 million cover on a contract financing facility for a local subsidiary and another $ 1.5 million cover on the import of telecommunications equipment from Japan.

“ATI was created to fill a market gap in trade and investment risk mitigation in Africa,” said Kamuzora, who noted that most international lenders believe that the continent was unsafe for lending due to trade credit and political risks.

The agency helps member countries to attract investments and local companies to do business safely across borders. It also covers key business risks, including the risk of non-payment by governments and private companies.

Chairman of the ATI Board of Directors, Mr Israel Kamuzora said the ATI was created to fill a market gap in trade and investment risk mitigation in Africa and to correct the negative perception of most international lenders who see Africa as an unsafe place for lending due to political and trade credit risks.

Since inception, ATI has supported $13 billion in Trade and Investments across Africa in sectors such as agribusiness, energy, infrastructure manufacturing and telecommunications.

Canadian Company introduces Solar Powered Laptop to Nigeria

posted May 8, 2014, 9:05 AM by Nnamdi Eguh

Canadian company Wewi Telecommunications has introduced its solar-powered laptop into the Nigerian market with a focus on revolutionising Africa’s tech sector, especially computing.

The company said its Sun Operated Laptop (SOL) is the such device totally powered by the sun.

Saadina Dantata, chairman of Wewi Telecommunications, said plans are underway to begin product assembly in Nigeria and set up customer service centres across the country.

He also announced the company is talking to agencies such as the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deploy the SOL for general election purposes.

Dantata said: “We have demonstrated the product to INEC and they believe that this is the way to go.”

The company is selling each laptop for NGN100,000 (US$620) and is offering a 12-month warranty.

WEF recognises 16 African firms as Global Growth Companies

posted May 8, 2014, 9:01 AM by Nnamdi Eguh

The World Economic Forum (WEF) on Tuesday announced its selection of Global Growth Companies (GGCs) in Africa, consisting of 16 of the region’s most dynamic and high-growth companies. These companies are considered trailblazers, shapers and innovators that are committed to improving the state of the world.

GGCs are fast-growing companies with the clear potential to become global economic leaders. The 16 nominated African GGCs represent a broad cross section of industrial sectors, but share in common a track record in exceeding industry standards in revenue growth, promotion of innovative business practices and demonstration of leadership in corporate citizenship.

The selected companies are: Seplat Petroleum Development Company plc (Nigeria); Computer Warehouse Group (Nigeria); Interswitch Limited (Nigeria); Nagode Group (Nigeria); UAC of Nigeria plc (Nigeria); Notore Chemical Industries Ltd (Nigeria); Nation Media Group (Kenya); Bidco Oil Refineries Ltd (Kenya); GML (Mauritius); Growthpoint Properties (South Africa); Capitec Bank Holdings Ltd (South Africa); Webber Wentzel (South Africa); KZN Oils (South Africa); Net1 UEPS Technologies, Inc (South Africa); Tekkie Town (South Africa), and Simba Group (Uganda).

“The World Economic Forum is proud to recognise these 16 champions that are at the forefront of driving responsible economic growth, job creation and entrepreneurism in Africa. We look forward to the active and dynamic role they will play at our meeting in Abuja, working with the region’s leaders to foster inclusive, sustainable growth in the region,” said David Aikman, managing director/head of New Champions, at the WEF.

Together with the Social Entrepreneurs, Technology Pioneers, Young Global Leaders, Global Shapers and Young Scientists, the GGCs make up the New Champions, a larger WEF community of pioneers, disruptors and innovators. Nomination as a GGC provides companies with an opportunity to join the larger GGC community of over 360 companies worldwide. These companies contribute to the Forum’s meetings, projects and knowledge products, which in turn support them on their path to achieving responsible and sustainable growth.

The 24th WEF on Africa will be held in Abuja, Nigeria, May 7 – 9, 2014. The theme of the meeting is Forging Inclusive Growth, Creating Jobs.

The co-chairs of the meeting are Dominic Barton, managing director, McKinsey & Company, United Kingdom; Jean-François van Boxmeer, chairman of the executive board/CEO, Heineken, Netherlands; Aliko Dangote, president/CEO, Dangote Group, Nigeria; Bineta Diop, president, Femmes Africa Solidarité, Switzerland; Jabu A. Mabuza, chairman, Telkom Group, South Africa; Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman, Bharti Enterprises, India, and John Rice, vice-chairman, GE, Hong Kong SAR.


WB To Assist Nigeria with US$8 Billion in Projects in the Next 4 Years

posted May 7, 2014, 8:25 AM by Nnamdi Eguh

WASHINGTON, April 25, 2014 - The World Bank has approved a Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for Nigeria which would increase its development assistance to the country for job creation, social service delivery and governance to about US$2 billion per year through the International Development Association (IDA) and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)  financing.

The new CPS which covers the period of FY2014-2017 introduces a change in the country’s borrowing status. Nigeria was declared credit worthy for IBRD financing last year and is officially entering blend status from July 1, 2014.

This CPS has been prepared in the context of the World Bank’s renewed commitment to the twin goals of reducing extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity in Nigeria and globally. It is fully aligned with Nigeria’s development agenda, Vision 20: 2020, and its medium-term strategy for realizing that vision; the Transformation Agenda.

In support of these objectives, the CPS program is structured around three areas: (a) promoting diversified growth and job creation by reforming the power sector, enhancing agricultural productivity, and increasing access to finance; (b) improving the quality and efficiency of social service delivery at the State level to promote social inclusion; and (c) strengthening governance and public sector management, with gender equity and conflict sensitivity as essential elements of governance.

“The CPS seeks to address inequalities in income and opportunities for the poor and vulnerable by developing more effective mechanisms for social service delivery including social protection programs, education, health and water service delivery” said Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria. 

The CPS represents the joint World Bank Group’s program under a common donor platform known as the Country Assistance Framework (CAF) and would work in close cooperation among development partners to enhance the effectiveness and transformational impact of national efforts and avoid duplication of tasks. This approach of the CAF is proving as very effective for better coordination and synergies among partners’ strategies of support to Nigeria.

“The bulk of the financing program will focus on increasing installed power generation and transmission capacity and improving the efficiency and governance of electricity delivery”said Indira Konjhodzic, World Bank Task Team Leader for the CPS. She added,“Boosting agricultural productivity, improving farmers’ linkages with agro-processors, and increasing access to finance including long time financing to the citizens particularly women is a major focus of this partnership strategy”

New Country Partnership Strategy in Nigeria Set to Spur Growth, Less Poverty

posted May 7, 2014, 7:58 AM by Nnamdi Eguh

WASHINGTON, May 1, 2014—The World Bank Group’s collaboration with the Federal Republic of Nigeria received a boost on April 24th with the Board of Executive Directors endorsing a new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) that includes support for a bold and ambitious program of development targets and interventions for the next four years to 2017.

Nigeria is recognized as Africa’s largest economy, following its recent GDP rebasing initiative on which the Word Bank advised. It is the region's most populous country, its largest oil producer, and an ethnically diverse nation, with over 400 linguistic groups represented in 36 states.

The strategy’s endorsement comes at an opportune time just as Nigeria is redoubling its efforts to tackle critical development challenges and is committing itself to lift major constraints that are hindering it from achieving broad-based, inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction goals.

Nigeria has been growing at 6 to 8% annually over the past decade but now needs to achieve even higher job-led growth rates to make a dent in poverty. Another key challenge facing Nigeria is to diversify its economy and reduce its heavy reliance on oil which makes the country vulnerable to commodity price volatility. 

“The new strategy is a joint product, developed in close consultation with the Government of Nigeria under the Country Assistance Framework, a strategic platform developed by Nigeria’s partners to coordinate interventions and leverage resources to deliver strong results and development solutions,” said Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria.  “It reflects Nigeria’s development aspirations and commits the World Bank Group to working hand-in-hand to unleash Nigeria’s potential for the benefit of all Nigerians.”

The World Bank Group’s support for Nigeria is structured around three strategic priorities:

  • Promoting diversified growth and job creation by reforming the power sector, enhancing agricultural productivity and increasing access to finance
  • Improving the quality and efficiency of social service delivery at the state level to promote social inclusion
  • Strengthening governance and public sector management with gender equity and conflict sensitivity as essential elements of governance
Open Quotes

The new strategy is a joint product, developed in close consultation with the Government of Nigeria under the Country Assistance Framework, a strategic platform developed by Nigeria’s partners to coordinate interventions and leverage resources to deliver strong results and development solutions. Close Quotes

Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly
World Bank Country Director for Nigeria

Strategic Alignment

The new partnership strategy, jointly developed with the Government of Nigeria, is supportive of and complements the country’s Vision 20: 2020 plan and Transformation Agenda.  The former sets out Nigeria’s long-term development objectives including promoting sustainable growth and welfare improvements for the Nigerian people while the latter is the country’s medium-term strategy for operationalizing Vision 20: 2020. 

The new strategy seeks to exploit synergies for generating maximum development impact through innovative solutions while leveraging World Bank Group knowledge and technical expertise, including through other partners’ resources.

Energy Sector Engagement

Most development experts agree that pervasive energy shortages are severely restricting economic growth in Nigeria.  With approximately 3,500 megawatts of total available capacity in 2013, against an estimated demand of 10,000 MW, Nigeria has considerable unmet demand for power. 

In recent years, significant progress has been made in the power sector which has the highest potential to propel the economy to grow faster. In 2009, the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) launched the ‘Roadmap for Power Sector Reform’ outlining comprehensive reforms across the power sector. This ambitious effort is one of the most comprehensive and complex ever undertaken in Africa.

The reform program establishes an independent regulator for the sector (Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission), sets up a commercial framework for the sector, with cost-reflective electricity tariffs, establishes a bulk trader, privatizes the Power Holding Company of Nigeria’s (PHCN) six successor generation companies and continues efforts to strengthen the gas-to-power segment. Significant progress has been achieved in all these areas, which has already led to tangible improvements in available supply, increased grid stability, increased revenue collection, and the introduction of a cost-reflective, multi-year tariff.

As Nigeria pursues its ambitious plan to become one of the 20 largest economies in the world by 2020, the World Bank Group looks forward to being a steady partner to accelerate efforts to end poverty and boost shared prosperity in Africa’s largest, most populous country.  This in turn will also benefit Nigeria’s neighbors across West Africa

China To Increase Aid To Africa By $12bn

posted May 7, 2014, 5:52 AM by Nnamdi Eguh

VENTURES AFRICA – Africa will receive an additional $12 billion in aid, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has said.

The Chinese Premier announced this while speaking at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He also added that Beijing was ready to allow Africa utilize its advance technology for the development of high-speed rail.

A report by Chinese news agency Xinhua said the Asian powerhouse would increase credit available to Africa by $10 billion and also inject an additional $2 billion in China-Africa Development Fund. The news agency however did not say when the funds would be released.

It is the dream of the Chinese Premier that all capital cities in Africa are connected with high-speed rail, which he noted would bolster true pan-African communication and development, a report by Xinhua said.

Li noted that China’s advancement in these technologies would be helpful for Africa as he noted with enthusiasm that the country was ready to work with Africa “to make this dream come true”.

Apart from the additional $12 billion, Li said Beijing will help Africa protect its rich wildlife, offering $100 million in aid for this.

The visit is the Chinese premier’s first visit to Africa since resuming office last year.

According to Chinese officials, the visit will include Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria and also Angola, both leading oil-producing countries on the continent. They noted however, that the visit would be more than just energy deals as China would be looking to help improve living standards on the continent.

Nigeria - Ughelli Expansion

posted Feb 18, 2014, 9:39 AM by Nnamdi Eguh   [ updated Feb 18, 2014, 9:39 AM ]

GE has signed agreements with Transcorp Ughelli Power to expand the capacity of the Ughelli power plant by 1,000MW over the next three to five years, and to rehabilitate the damaged GT15 turbine, which will add 115MW to the plant’s output. The Ughelli power plant is generating 360MW of electricity, up from 160MW on 1 November, when Transcorp took ownership of the plant. With the additional 115MW, as well as other planned rehabilitation work, output will increase to 700MW by December 2014, Transcorp said. The Ughelli power plant, Nigeria’s largest gas-fired electricity generation asset, was bought by Transcorp during the 2013 power privatisation programme (AE 261/7).

Agribusiness Set To Boom Across Africa – DHL MD

posted Jan 7, 2014, 3:17 PM by Nnamdi Eguh   [ updated Jan 7, 2014, 3:17 PM ]

VENTURES AFRICA – Managing Director of DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa, Charles Brewer, has said that agribusiness has witnessed “significant” growth in Africa across the full value chain from production down to retail following increasing demand from the growing middle class.

“The retail sector is booming in Africa, as is the rapid growth of populations and the African middle class. As a result of this expansion, there is a greater availability of and demand for good quality agricultural produce and processed food products than ever before,” he says.

According to a World Bank report, Africa’s farmers and agribusinesses could create a trillion-dollar food market by 2030 – a three-fold increase from the current size of the market which is estimated to be worth $313 billion.

“This expected growth highlights the growing market and many opportunities for South African agribusiness and related value chain role players to expand into Africa,” says Brewer.

According to Hennie van der Merwe, CEO of the Agribusiness Development Corporation (ADC), based in South Africa, given the increased spending power, demand for goods and untapped land resources of the continent, “Africa is currently experiencing a revival in terms of its focus on agribusiness, not only to increase food self-sufficiency, but also to create jobs and economic activity, specifically in rural areas.”

However, he explains that while Africa is well-endowed with resources, it often lacks much of the necessary expertise to unlock the commercial potential of its agriculture resources, whereas South Africa is well regarded for its expertise in commercial farming and agribusiness.

Van der Merwe posits that major technology transfer and capacity building would be necessary to mitigate the problem adding that opportunity lies for local businesses and farmers in this regard to expand beyond their borders and offer expertise in neighbouring countries.

“Partnerships with a local business or association in the specific country are necessary as business owners need to be provided with assistance, guidance and sometimes protection when in the area. It is also essential/indispensable to ensure that all the building blocks for working value chains are in place to ensure and support successful operation. A local partnership will also assist with analysing the market carefully to evaluate what the real market needs, requirements and opportunities are,” Van der Merwe concludes.

The Rise of Entrepreneurship and E-commerce In Africa

posted Jan 7, 2014, 3:15 PM by Nnamdi Eguh   [ updated Jan 7, 2014, 3:15 PM ]

VENTURES AFRICA - Despite what they naysayers claim about widespread fraud and easier access to goods through the markets of other countries, Africa (and Kenya in particular) is ripe for entrepreneurship – e-commerce in particular.

If there’s one business model that seems to be generating the most success in Africa, it’s the “simple” model. Creating easy to crack business models that allow companies to make money early on while growing slowly and strategically gives startups a greater chance at success versus other models. Easy-to-execute ideas, especially online business/e-commerce models are allowing African entrepreneurs to dip their toes into the business world to get a feel for the water.

Those willing to put in the work and realize that success will rarely, if ever, come overnight will be best poised to grow in the African economy. They are the ones who will learn every aspect of their business and, when the time is right, will be able to hand tasks to the right team members as growth happens.

Late nights, stress and creative problem-solving come with the territory for entrepreneurs, and not everybody is up for this kind of work when the idea is not their own. Fortunately, there is a large pool of talented people in Africa who are eager to gain experience and do whatever it takes to be part of a successful, and profitable, startup. It’s this talent pool that is re-branding many African nations as open for business on a regional and global scale.

Barriers to Success?

One large, yet surmountable, barrier that stands between many African entrepreneurs and a successful business is the continents diverse payment landscape. M-Pesa, for example, is popular in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda – three countries where there are more mobile money accounts than bank accounts. However, some merchants are wary of M-Pesa and other mobile money providers because the system is arguably new and not fully understood by all in business.

In the case of M-Pesa, entrepreneurs are fighting misinformation and misunderstanding more than they are any form of scam because direct cash transfer systems like M-Pesa is incredibly safe.

Conversely, Nigerians tend to prefer the Interswitch Verve card – offered through over a dozen major banks in the country. Ten million Interswitch Verve cards are in circulation – far outnumbering MasterCard and Visa, so anybody who wishes to sell to the Nigerian market will want to accept Verve payments and carefully weigh their other options to ensure they are selling to a wide audience while keeping an eye on the costs of processing payments from such a variety of payment options.

Destination for Africa’s Entrepreneurs

Of all the countries that offer prime landscapes for doing business, Kenya has become to gold standard for entrepreneurs both online and offline. Reasons for starting a business are Kenya are easy to see. The country boasts a large penetration of smartphones that supports a high propensity for mobile payments. The dynamic market in Kenya is full of young people with disposable income and available credit who aren’t afraid to make their purchases online as well as pay through their mobile devices. Many Kenyan entrepreneurs are finding Kenya to be incredibly open-minded and willing to try new businesses if the business offers the right product or service at the right price.

Kenya at a glance: Ripe for entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes, Kenya offers businesses a surprisingly large potential customer base. Nearly 30 percent of Kenya’s population is between 20 and 40 years old. As more people in the country have greater access to credit and regular earnings, they will be looking to unload disposable income on goods and services that are easily accessible through mobile devices. Smart entrepreneurs will reach out to this population by accepting mobile payments and easy-to-use websites that simplify the purchase and checkout process

Africa is far too big for a one-size fits all approach to business. It is a continent, not a country. Entrepreneurs must be extremely creative and nimble to adapt to the varied business landscape and diverse groups of potential customers that every business needs to survive. Smart entrepreneurs will look to successful businesses operating in Kenya as a model for success.

Toyota targets emerging economies for half of global sales

posted Jul 2, 2013, 7:26 AM by Nnamdi Eguh   [ updated Jul 2, 2013, 7:26 AM ]

NAGOYA--Toyota Motor Corp. hopes to see half of its global sales come from emerging economies, which offer access to huge markets of potential new customers, an official said at a briefing session July 1.

"We hope to be selling 5 million units in emerging countries when we reach 10 million units worldwide," Executive Vice President Yasumori Ihara said, referring to Toyota's plans to develop new markets in Myanmar, Cambodia, Kenya and elsewhere.

The briefing session was held in Nagoya to present a new management structure that took office in June.

In 2012, 8.7 million units of Toyota and Lexus vehicles were sold globally, with 3.7 million coming from emerging countries. Selling 5 million units in emerging economies would divide Toyota's sales figures in roughly equal numbers between the developed world and developing markets.

Executive Vice President Satoshi Ozawa said Toyota will "not pursue market share figures at all costs" in the industrialized world. He said the automaker hopes to sell 1.5 million units in Japan, unchanged from the current level.

Observers say sales in Japan could plummet next year due to a planned increase in the consumption tax rate from the current 5 percent to 8 percent in April.

In a separate announcement, Toyota said it began rolling out a new Corolla model, intended for the European market, at its Turkish plant in Sakarya on July 1.

The production in Turkey replaces that at the automaker's Takaoka plant in Toyota, Aichi Prefecture. Toyota hopes to sell 90,000 units of the new model in 2014.

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