Nigeria - Domestic Airlines Deploy More Aircraft to Curb Fare Hike
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by FricNews
Nov 13, 2019 - 10:11
Business
As yuletide approaches, domestic airlines have commenced the deployment of more aircraft to meet flight demands and curb potential hike in air fares, THISDAY’s investigation has revealed.

A former Managing Director of Capital Airlines and consultant with Etimfri Group, Amos Akpan, told THISDAY that as the yuletide approaches, airlines are bringing in aircraft from maintenance overseas or take delivery of additional aircraft to position for upsurge in traffic.

According to him, domestic airlines have more to do in this regard because the security situation in Nigeria and the bad state of the roads encourage air travel and discourage road travel.

“Naturally when the demand per seat on a route is higher than the seats available the price per seat will be higher. This will happen more on the southeastern and southwestern routes because of the culture of the people. Christmas is the only season they get to go bond with their kith and kin at home.

“Fares will definitely be higher in the next three weeks. Airlines will take advantage to increase fares and frequencies to some cities. Roads are bad and unsecured; so passengers will prefer air transport. Airlines will try to increase capacity by additional frequency and deploying more aircraft.

“Aero is hoping to add one. Dana has added. Air Peace has started taking delivery. The airlines are making anticipatory moves,” Akpan explained.

Air Peace had at the weekend brought in a B737-800NG to help sustain its domestic and regional operations.
The aircraft arrived the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, from Europe.

The aircraft is a 160-seater aircraft comprising 16 Business Class seats and 144 economy class seats.
Confirming the readiness of the airlines to deploy more aircraft, the Head of Communications, Arik Air, Adebanji Ola, told THISDAY that the airline would deploy additional four aircraft to increase its operating aircraft before the Christmas festivities.

He also said that Arik Air, which is currently operating nine aircraft, would increase the number to13 before the end of the year.
The Arik Air spokesman debunked the claims that the airline was charging exorbitant fares, noting that the highest fares charged between Lagos and Owerri, for example, is about N34,000.

Also, the Corporate Affairs and Communications Manager, Dana Air, Kingsley Ezenwa, told THISDAY in Lagos that the airline would boost its fleet by bringing in additional aircraft from maintenance overseas.
He said that Dana Air would not go for new routes during the high Christmas season but would concentrate on its existing routes by adding more frequencies.

“We are going to consolidate on our existing routes. But we may add more frequencies on those routes,” Ezenwa said.
From over 90 aircraft providing service in the domestic air travel market few years ago, Nigeria currently has about 42 operating aircraft, which is not meeting the demand.

Industry analysts have predicted that the fares may increase by over 40 per cent during the yuletide season.
The Director of Consumer Protection, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Adamu Abdullahi, told THISDAY that many of the operating aircraft in the domestic market have gone for checks.

“There is high demand on the little available seats. This is already happening. The airlines are however aware that Yuletide is coming. So, they must be making their plans.

“What they do with daylight airports is that they operate to them first, when it gets dark they start operating to the airports that have airfield lighting like the airports in Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt. Azman Air today scheduled its flights to Abuja late because the airline knows that anytime it gets there it will land,” Abdullahi said.
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Liberia - Solidaridad trains 38 extension officers in oil-palm cultivation
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by FricNews
Nov 11, 2019 - 9:11
Business
Solidaridad in Liberia has completed a three-day training workshop on the Best Management Practices (BMP) in oil-palm cultivation for extension officers of the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA).According to a release, the workshop took place at Gompa City, Nimba County from 4 – 6, November 2019, bringing together 38 extension workers from the MOA including District Agriculture Officers (DAOs) and County Agriculture Coordinators (CACs), among others.

The training was conducted as part of the implementation of the Sustainable West Africa Oil Palm Program (SWAPP), which is funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.Speaking at the opening ceremony, Solidaridad’s Oil Palm Program Manager J. Cyrus Saygbe, Sr. disclosed that the workshop was part of his institution’s efforts to disperse the BMPs in oil palm cultivation to other production regions outside Solidaridad’s operational areas.

“We [Solidaridad] are trying to extend the BMPs to other parts of Liberia; areas outside Solidaridad project scope because we want to see an increase in harvests and profits for our local farmers. Therefore we all gathered here to work together and ensure that the delivery of BMPs to farmers cultivating oil palm in other regions of the country is assured,” he said.

Saygbe Sr., also stressed that extension delivery services remain pivotal to sustaining progress among smallholder farmers in the oil palm sector.
“Without extension delivery services, work in Liberia’s oil palm sector may be difficult to sustain because the multiplication of farmers’ plots also depends on the pace of extension services delivered,” said Saygbe.

The Director of Extension and Research at the Ministry of Agriculture, Oliver Teekpeh, lauded Solidaridad for organizing such a training workshop.

He said the training comes at a time when the Ministry strives to enhance extension advisory relations.“We appreciate Solidaridad for this initiative. One thing that we are looking forward to is to promote the Extension Advisory relations in the coming years,” said Teekpah.

He, however, called on participants from the Ministry of Agriculture to make the best of the BMPs delivery techniques that Solidaridad preaches.

The workshop opening program was followed by presentations on BMPs in oil palm cultivation, and practical sessions, including on-farm demonstrations.

Solidaridad’s Oil Palm Agronomists, Senkro O. Sumo, and BMP Specialist, Benjamin Gabla worked participants through BMPs processes including Fresh Fruit Branch (FFB) weighing and recording, vegetative growth measurement, lining and pegging, weeds and fertilizer management, among others.

MemaihSirleaf, a District Agriculture Officers (DAO) assigned in Bong County, Central Liberia, lauded Solidaridad for the level of impartation. She said the training has equipped her to help farmers solve some problems they face.

“I am grateful to Solidaridad for organizing such training for us. This is an added knowledge and experience for me. All the techniques I have learned here, I am going to share them with the farmers, especially the weighing and recording techniques of Fresh Fruit Branch,” said Sirleaf.

In the same vein, young extension officer, Emmanuel B. William disclosed that [prior to] the training, he has not had an understanding of how the BMPs work.

“There is a lot that I have learned today. This is my first time to ever attend training on oil palm Best Management Practices and I am willing to pass this set-skills to farmers who poor production practices have affected their yield,” he said.Solidaridad’s work in Liberia forms part of the organization’s approach to bringing sustainable solutions to improve supply chains and better the lives and wellbeing of farmers and producers, as well as their communities.

In West Africa, Solidaridad’s work focuses on sustainable cocoa production, sustainable oil palm and palm oil production, responsible artisinal gold mining, food and nutrition security, gender and inclusive development, youth-focused support for agricultural transformation, climate and landscape innovations and land tenure and land governance.–Press release
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Nigeria - Dangote Refinery, Nigeria’s Success Story, Says Sylva
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by FricNews
Nov 04, 2019 - 9:11
Business
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, has stated that the 650,000 per day capacity Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical Plant, which is under construction, will be a success story coming out of Nigeria.

The minister also pledged the support of the federal government to Dangote Group to ensure the completion of the facility.

Sylvia stated this yesterday during his official visit to the refinery at the Lekki Free Trade Zone in Lagos.

The minister who was led to the refinery by the President of Dangote Industries Limited, Alhaji Aliko Dangote; and the company’s Executive Director, Strategy, Capital Projects and Portfolio Development, Mr. Devakumar Edwin, was accompanied by senators and leaders of government establishments, including Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Downstream, Senator Sabo Nakudu; Chairman, Senate Committee on Services/member, Senate Committee, Upstream, Senator Muhammad Musa; and Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mallam Mele Kyari, among others.

He said: “This is a very heartwarming moment for all of us as Nigerians. There is no way a project of this magnitude will be going on and government will not be interested. Anywhere in the world, if a citizen of a country has committed so much money into investing in this kind of massive project, government must show interest. 

“I must say now that Dangote Group has turned this project to the story of all of us; we must all support this project to succeed, because the success of this project signals a lot. Of course, I am sure that the whole world is looking at the success of this project. Investors all over the world will look at the success of this project and will come to Nigeria to at least also enjoy the benefit of investing here.

“So, we are actually here to assure you, Dangote Group, that as a government, as NNPC, we will support this project as much as we can. You have definitely done very well. We will like to go from here to see the rest of the project. And then, please feel free to tell us where you think we can support.

“As you can see, the whole team is complete, and whatever your concerns are, whatever your problems are, please feel free to let us know, so that we will together find a solution to problems that you might encounter. Because of course, in project of this magnitude, you cannot expect that you will not have problems.

“We really are quite proud of you to have engaged in a project of this magnitude. If we as Nigerians don’t invest in this country, who will come and invest in it? The fact that you are investing this massively in the country is a signal for others to come to this country. That’s why we must support you to ensure that this project becomes a success, because if this project is a success, it is a success story that is coming out of Nigeria that will attract other people to also come here and invest. 

“So, let us all as Nigerians come together, let us all as industry come together and ensure that this project is a success story out of Nigeria”.

Also fielding questions from journalists after the facility tour, Sylva, described the refinery as one of the most impressive projects ever seen.

He added that the government will lend its support to Dangote Group in the area of feedstock, saying that will depend on what the group said is their need.

Also commenting on the project, Kyari said the NNPC as he had been saying, was not in competition with Dangote rather both were out to support each other for the good of the country.

He said: “First of all, we are not competing with Dangote;  we are complementing each other and our objective is the same, to make Nigeria a net exporter of petroleum products. And you can’t do this until you have complementary activities by all stakeholders, the public and the private sector. 

“And what we are doing with our refineries is to make them work so that by the time the Dangote Refinery comes up we have a full complementarity with the NNPC refineries, complementarity that will make Nigeria a net exporter of gasoline and other associated products.” 

On his part, Dangote said the group ventured into the project because of its belief in Nigeria. 

According to him, “First of all, I think we believe in Nigeria and number two, if we don’t do it by ourselves nobody will come down here and do it for us. We know that there is growth in the population, almost three per cent annually. So, Nigeria is actually supposed to be feeding the entire West and Central Africa and that is what we are trying to do, that is why we went for this massive capacity.”
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Timipre Sylva
Nigeria - Dangote Refinery starts production early 2021
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by FricNews
Nov 01, 2019 - 9:11
Business
Nigeria’s Dangote refinery, which is being built privately by Africa’s richest man, will be ready for commissioning at the beginning of 2021, with production reaching full capacity by the end of the first half of the year.

Devakumar Edwin, a group executive director at Dangote Industries Ltd., gave this update in an interview at a conference in Lagos.

The refinery, which is designed to maximize gasoline output, will produce enough to allow for a small surplus of that fuel for export. It will also be able to send a large volume of diesel and jet fuel to international markets, Edwin said.

“We are confident that we can meet 100% of the requirement of the country, so the balance will go for export,” Edwin said.

Dangote plans to take advantage of local crude supply and it won’t participate in the crude-for-fuel swap deal that is managed by the NNPC, which recently extended its crude for fuel deal for another three years.

“We are going to buy the crude just at the export price and will sell our products at the import price, the crude swap is operating only for the importers of the product,” Edwin said.

The new refinery has been designed to process varieties of crude from sweet to light crude sourced both locally, and abroad. Dangote plans to export its diesel to Europe and gasoline to Latin America, Western and Central African markets, Edwin said.

Evacuation of refined products will be done by sea and through roads, he said.

“We are thinking of investing in vessels. We want to make sure we are not held for ransom by any transport operators.”
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Work going on at the refinery in Lekki
Nigeria - Ihedioha secures $50m AfrExim investment
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by FricNews
Oct 30, 2019 - 10:10
Business
Governor Emeka Ihedioha of Imo State has secured a $50million worth of investment from the Africa Export Import Bank.

The deal, is an evident that the governor’s engagement with international development agencies to aid his administration in rebuilding the state, is yielding desired results.

The AfrExim Bank is an export-import Bank which strongly supports expansion, diversification, promotion and development of intra and inter-African trade.

The bank is set to make Imo State a huge investment hub, by setting up an Africa Quality Assurance Centre (AQAC) that would serve the South East and South South regions.

The $50 million (over N18 billion) investment centre under the quality assurance facility of the bank, will provide certification and inspection services for various products for exports to the international market.

It will also provide capacity building to industrialists, make Imo State a business hub, and more importantly, provide employment opportunities and boost economic development of Imo State.

The centre, which is the first of its kind in the entire South East and South South is an indication of the responses of the investment drive of the governor as well as the remarkable improvement on the Ease of Doing Business rating of Imo State.

The Centre is a reflection of the efforts of Governor Ihedioha to restore confidence of investors and development partners in Imo as an investment destination.

Governor Ihedioha had embarked on a trade and investment visit to the Annual General Meeting of the AfrExim Bank, held in Moscow between June  20 – 22.

The meeting was a melting point for international fund custodians, fund managers, investors and multi lateral finance agencies.
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Rwanda - Rwanda drops in ranking but remains top in region in ease of doing business
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by FricNews
Oct 28, 2019 - 9:10
Business
East Africa continues to be an ideal destination for foreign investments after countries in the region posted improvements in facilitating ease of doing business.

Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi saw their positions in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business 2020 ranking improve on the backdrop of reforms geared at making it easy for investors to start a business, get electricity connections, register property and deal with construction permits.

Rwanda, the best performing country on the continent in this ranking over the years, has dropped to position 38 from 29 after it scored 76.5 from 77.88, this being the first time the country has dropped in ranking in the past three years.
Kenya jumped to position 56 from 62 with Uganda rising to position 116 from 127, Tanzania is now position 141 from 144 while Burundi jumped to position 166 from 168.

Encouraging efficiency

South Sudan remained at position 185 out of 190 surveyed. Mauritius at 13 and Rwanda are the only two African countries ranked in the top 50.

Despite the drop, Rwanda remains on the path of making the country attractive to investors after it exempted new small- and medium-size enterprises paying trading licence tax in their first two years of operation and reduce water and sewage connection period.

Other reforms include a requirement for constructors to obtain liability insurance on buildings, improving the reliability of power supply by upgrading its power grid infrastructure and changing regulations for workers pertaining to weekly rest, working hours, severance payments, and reemployment priority rules after redundancy dismissals.

New Zealand and Singapore maintained the first and second position for the second year running while China displaced Denmark at number three in the ranking that measures business regulations in 190 countries with the aim of encouraging efficiency and supporting freedom to do business.

The report provides quantitative indicators on regulation for starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, and resolving insolvency.

Most improved

In Doing Business 2020, technology has emerged as a central component in facilitating business with countries that scored highest adopting widespread use of electronic systems.

All the 20 top-ranking countries have online business incorporation processes, have electronic tax filing platforms and allow online procedures related to property transfers.

Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Togo, Bahrain, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Kuwait, China, India and Nigeria emerged as the top improvers after implementing a total of 59 regulatory reforms accounting for one-fifth of all the reforms recorded worldwide.The report shows that sub-Saharan Africa remains one of the weak-performing regions on the ease of doing business index with an average score of 51.8, well below high-income countries at an average of 78.4 and the global average of 63.

The region managed to raise its score by just 1 percentage point in Doing Business 2020, whereas countries in the Middle East and North Africa region raised their average score by 1.9.

The push for improving the business environment in sub-Saharan Africa has become contagious with countries like Nigeria and Togo getting motivation for reforms from neighbours.
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A view of Kigali. Rwanda’s reforms came in handy, making it even more investor-friendly. NMG PHOTO
Africa - Russia strategizes African market
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by FricNews
Oct 28, 2019 - 8:10
Business
Russia plans to offer trade subsidies and investment guarantees as an emergency support for Russian companies to penetrate into African market, part of the strategy for strengthening economic ties between Russia and Africa, according a special meeting report released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The report indicated that the Ministry’s Business Council had discussed a wide range of issues on promoting Russia and Russian businesses’ interests in Africa. Noting further that Africa has huge natural resources still untapped, all kinds of emerging business opportunities and constantly growing consumer market due to the increasing population. It has currently become a new business field for global players.

There was a lot of interesting and demanding work ahead, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at the Ministry’s Business Council meeting held July 16 in Moscow. He added “perhaps, there is a need to pay attention to the experience of China, which provides its enterprises with state guarantees and subsidies, thus ensuring the ability of companies to work on a systematic and long-term basis.”

According to Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Ministry would continue to provide all-round support for initiatives aimed at strengthen relations between Russia and Africa. “Our African friends have spoken up for closer interaction with Russia and would welcome our companies on their markets. But much depends on the reciprocity of Russian businesses and their readiness to show initiative and ingenuity, as well as to offer quality goods and services,” he said at the meeting.

He urged Russian entrepreneurs, both small and medium-sized, to race against other foreign players to get access to the African markets and its trading resources, be fearless of competition and rivalry but play with adequate caution to save Russia’s image in Africa.

“We find it important to estimate options for attracting small and medium-sized businesses to African markets. This segment of our cooperation is still insignificant,” he stated.

“We will rely on the existing and strengthening foundation of Russian-African cooperation. This year we have significantly intensified political dialogue, cooperation between parliaments and civil societies,” Lavrov explained.

“This positive groundwork allows us to convert this into increasing trade, economic and investment exchanges, to expand banking cooperation, the implementation of mutually beneficial projects,” he underlined.

Lavrov further underscored the fact that trade and economic relations have reached a new level, and “the first ever Russia-Africa summit, which is to be held in October in Sochi, would give a special impetus to these processes.”

The first Russia–Africa summit scheduled to take place in Sochi on October 24 and will be co-chaired by President of Russia Vladimir Putin and President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who currently chairs the African Union.

In June, Moscow hosted a shareholder meeting of the African Export-Import Bank, as well as the Russia-Africa Economic Conference. Early July, the Russia-Africa Parliamentary Conference was held as part of the International Development of Parliamentarianism Forum, which took place in Moscow.

During the special session on Russia-Africa held July 3, the former Special Presidential Representative to Africa, Professor Alexey Vasileyev, pointed out that the level and scope of Russian economic cooperation with Africa has doubled in recent years, “but unfortunately Russian-African cooperation is not in the top five of the foreign players in Africa.”

Speaking particularly about trade, Vasileyev noted that not all African countries have signed agreements with Russia, for example, on the abolition of double taxation. He urged African countries to make trade choices that are in their best economic interests and further suggested that Russia should also consider the issue of removal of tariff and non-tariff restrictions on economic relations.

In order to increase trade, Russia has to improve its manufacturing base and Africa has to standardize its export products to compete in external markets. Russia has only few manufactured goods that could successfully compete with Western-made products in Africa.

The former Presidential Envoy believes that it is also necessary to create, for example, free trade areas. “But before creating them, we need information. And here, I am ready to reproach the Russian side, providing little or inadequate information to Africans about their capabilities, and on the other hand, reproach the African side, because when our business comes to Africa, they should know where they go, why and what they will get as a result,” Vasileyev told the gathering of parliamentarians.

Interestingly, there are few Russian traders in Africa and African exporters are not trading in Russia’s market, in both cases, due to multiple reasons including inadequate knowledge of trade procedures, rules and regulations as well as the existing market conditions, he pointed out.

“The task before us, especially before the both parliaments, is to harmonize the norms of trade, contract and civil law. The parliamentarians of the two sides have the task to work together on a legislative framework that would be in the interests of both sides. This should be a matter of priority,” Vasileyev concluded.

Meanwhile, there is possibility that a memorandum on cooperation between the Eurasian Economic Commission and the African Union will be signed in the near future. This memorandum will bring Russian-African trade and economic cooperation to a higher level and will accelerate the growth of bilateral trade. The Eurasian consumer market, especially the growing middle-class, could be good for African exporters.

Russia is interested in new markets and external alliances more than ever before, while Africa also looks for ways toward economic growth in recent years. In this context, African countries need to think about the smart approaches, mechanisms, and tools to use for effective trade cooperation, according to a new analytical handbook on Russia-Africa published by Modern Diplomacy ahead of Russia-Africa Summit in October.

With the current sanctions of the United States and Europe against Russia, there is this massive opportunity for African producers to develop more effectively their trade relationships with Russia. Try to find answers to a few questions, for example, what are the key initiatives and competencies that can create a deeper strategic trade partnership between Russia and Africa?

In practice of diplomacy, parties usually talk about mutual benefits. While Africans will benefit largely from Russia’s trade with the continent, taking into account the changing consumer landscape, it is deeply important for Africans, for example, to negotiate for trade preferences, tariff and tax relief) for their products to Russia and its neighboring republics.

But this factor is often missed. Nevertheless, African leaders and business directors have to take steps to explore two-way corporate business, begin looking at wide range of ways on promoting Africa and its business interests in the Russian Federation, contained in the published geopolitical handbook on Russia-Africa.

Whether Moscow will move from mere intentions to concrete actions, with commitment and consistency, remains largely to be seen in the subsequent years, according to policy experts and observers who monitor developments between Russia and Africa. According to official reports, Russia has a positive dynamics of trade with Africa, its trade exceeded US$20 billion in 2018. *KesterKennKlomegah writes frequently about Russia-Africa and the BRICS.By KesterKennKlomegah*
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Ghana - Windfall at 2020/21 cocoa sale: Ghana bags extra $40m
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by FricNews
Oct 28, 2019 - 8:10
Business
Ghana has earned $40 million extra revenue from the sale of cocoa beans for the 2020/21 crop season to be distributed to cocoa farmers. 

The amount was grossed from the sale of 100,000 tonnes of next season’s cocoa beans, according to data sighted by the Daily Graphic.

The earnings are the fruits from the living income differential (LID) on the sale of Ghana's cocoa beans which was introduced in July this year.

The data showed that the beans were sold under the forwards contracts – a special arrangement that the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) uses to sell the country’s cocoa beans well before they are harvested.

A source at the Cocoa Marketing Company Limited (CMC), a subsidiary of COCOBOD, confirmed the development in an interview.

It further explained that realising $40 million from 100,000 tonnes so far showed that the country was well on course to earning a total of $360 million from the LID, should it meet its 2020/21 production target.

COCOBOD is targeting 900,000 tonnes of cocoa beans for the 2020/21 crop season.

Total buy-in

The LID was introduced in July this year by Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire as an income booster for cocoa farmers and their respective countries.

It requires that buyers of cocoa from either country pay $400 in extra revenue on every tonne of cocoa bought.

The amount is irrespective of the prevailing price of the crop in the international market and the individual country premium differentials on cocoa produced in the two countries.

The source, who was not authorised to speak on the issue, said: “The 100,000 tonnes was bought by different buyers and each buyer agreed to the new conditions governing the marketing and sale of our cocoa.

“Generally, there is a total buy-in from stakeholders now and that is how come we were able to earn this amount,” it said.

Mars

The development comes after global chocolate manufacturer, Mars Incorporated, threw its weight behind the LID and further asked stakeholders in the sector to do same to boost farmer incomes.

Last week, the Global Vice-President of Cocoa at Mars, Mr John Ament, told participants in the 2019 WCF partnership meeting in Berlin, Germany that the LID was "a robust and transparent process that ensures that the additional income reaches each farmer.”

Improved remuneration

When contacted, a source at COCOBOD also corroborated the authenticity of the data and explained that any amount that would be realised from the LID would go a long way to boost the incomes of farmers and protect them against the impact of a drop in cocoa prices.

It said the results of the LID policy “is an indication that something good can happen to the farmer.”

“We at COCOBOD cannot wait for the farmer to start benefiting from it. It will lead to improved remuneration for the farmers, better planning for the farmer and something to cushion them in the event of a price fall,” the source said.

It said the board was keen on ensuring that the country operated a cocoa sector that placed priority on the remuneration of the cocoa sector.

Using the recent fall in the prices of cocoa beans, it said the availability of a policy such as the LID would have insulated the farmers against the impact and ensured that the government did not have to come in to subsidise for the farmers.

Background

Under the LID, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire have agreed to pay 70 per cent of the achieved price on every tonne of cocoa to the farmer, should the price stay below $1,950 per tonne.

However, should the price exceed the $2,950 per tonne mark, the excess would be invested in a Cocoa Stabilisation Fund to be used to cushion farmers whenever the free on board (FOD) price is below $2,600.

Mode of sharing

The COCOBOD source indicated that as the regulator of the cocoa sector, COCOBOD was well aware of its responsibility to the farmer and the country as a whole and would ensure that it used superior policies and programmes to sustain the cocoa sector.

It observed that the LID, which was a departure from the status quo of marketing Ghana’s cocoa beans, was key to the sustainability of the cocoa industry.

The source, thus, charged all stakeholders “interested in the sustainability of the cocoa industry to be prepared to lend their support to this system.

“Of course, the responsibility is also on the farmers, in that if you are well remunerated, then you must ensure that you produce sustainability and then ensure that issues such as child labour and deforestation are not entertained,” it added.
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Zimbabwe - Zim, Russia sign 2 mining MoUs
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by FricNews
Oct 25, 2019 - 10:10
Business
Zimbabwe and Russia have signed two Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) in geology and mining at the Russia-Africa Summit that ended here yesterday.Russian Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Mr Dmitry N. Kobylkin said his country was ready to assist Zimbabwe deal with environment, geology and mining developments.

“We have signed two memorandums one is to do with geology. We have vast experience in geological prospecting and developing. Second is to do with issues of environment protection . . .

“When it comes to the development, issues of environmental protection are top priority and this regard we know how to develop projects in the mining sector with the best way to protect the nature in this way we are happy to share our knowledge and makeup the constructive engagement in the environmental corporation with your country (Zimbabwe),” he said.

Speaking on the same occasion, Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando said the deals will be beneficial to Zimbabwe which is blessed with a lot of mineral resources

“We are excited to sign (these MOUs) with our counterpart (Russian Minister) and essentially we want to see the country benefiting from the mineral resources we have and these agreements will go a long way in the two countries’ cooperation in the mining sector,” Minister Chitando said.
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Minister Chitando
Zimbabwe - Industry will improve living standard
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by FricNews
Oct 25, 2019 - 10:10
Business
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday said Zimbabwe was determined to industrialise and improve living standards, adding that the Russia-Africa Summit had elevated long-standing relations between Harare and Moscow to a new high. The President said Zimbabwe remains ready to make its contribution in the community of nations, through critical fora such as the Russia-Africa partnership.He said this while addressing the two-day Russia-Africa Summit which ended here yesterday, with 49 Heads of State and Government in attendance.

“In spite of various machinations by our detractors, ‘Zimbabwe is Open for Business’ and continues on a new economic development trajectory,” said President Mnangagwa.

“Zimbabwe is more determined to industrialise, modernise and improve the quality of life of her people. Zimbabwe stands ready to make its contribution in the community of nations, through such fora as this Russia-Africa partnership.

“This summit elevates our long standing association with Russia, at both the bilateral and the continental levels, to a much higher platform of cooperation. This partnership is born out of the need to strengthen our economic and scientific cooperation to harness our collective socioeconomic potential.”

President Mnangagwa said development was being hampered by numerous challenges including wars, but with friends such as Russia, Africa has security and the parties must now renew their resolve in order to combat any lingering threats.

“Sustainable socioeconomic development at regional and global level is hampered by increasing threats to national regional and global peace and security in the form of civil wars, transnational terrorism and extremism,” he said.

Earlier President Mnangagwa met Alrosa diamond company officials who paid a courtesy call on him.

Alrosa is one of Russian companies doing business in the country. The diamond giant has opened an office and done exploration work.

Meanwhile, the President took a swipe at Western countries that imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe, which are causing the untold suffering of ordinary citizens.

He added that the countries that imposed sanctions were also interfering in Zimbabwe’s domestic affairs.

Zimbabwe joins the rest of the SADC bloc in protesting against the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.

President Mnangagwa, who left Russia yesterday evening after the successful Russia-Africa Summit is expected in the country early this morning ahead of the anti-sanctions march.

He is expected to make a keynote address at the National Sports Stadium where thousands are expected to gather.
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President Mnangagwa poses for a group photograph with other Heads of State and Government on the sidelines of the Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi, Russia, yesterday
Rwanda - Inside Rwanda, Russia nuclear deal
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by FricNews
Oct 25, 2019 - 9:10
Business
Rwanda’s ambitions to adopt nuclear technology inched closer to realisation Thursday following the signing of an agreement with Russia for the establishment of a Centre for Nuclear Science and Technology in the country.

The pact was signed on the sidelines of the just-concluded Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi, Russia.

The agreement was signed by Minister for Infrastructure Claver Gatete on behalf of Rwanda and the Director General of Russian State-owned nuclear group Rosatom Alexey Likhachev.

The agreement lays ground for the establishment of Center for Nuclear Science and Technology (CNST) with the latest technology of a 10 MW pool- type reactor in Rwanda.

Going by the agreement, the centre will feature six multi-purpose sections; Research Reactors and Lab Complex, Centre for Nuclear Medicine, Multipurpose Irradiation Center, and Radiobiology Laboratory and Greenhouse.

Other sections will include Education and Training Complex and Radiation Material Science Complex.

The selection of the six laboratories of the centre follow consideration on ensuring impact on key sectors.

The sectors to be impacted by the development include medical research, energy, agriculture, security, industry and exploration, education, geology and the environment.

The cost of the centre is still undisclosed but officials have dismissed reports that the facility is valued at $1 trillion.

How we got here:

In May this year, Rwanda and the Russian State-owned nuclear group signed a roadmap for establishing Russian-Rwanda cooperation in the peaceful uses of atomic energy.

The roadmap outlined action points within the course of the year which culminated in yesterday’s signing of the pact.

In December 2018, Rwanda and Russia signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) on peaceful uses of nuclear energy in Moscow.

Around 2011, Rwanda enlisted as member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with an aim to achieve safe, secure, and peaceful use of atomic energy.

Training local experts:

In the build-up to yesterday’s signing, Rwandan technicians have received training on a range of aspects such as international legal framework, nuclear safety, security, transportation of radioactive material and civil liability for nuclear damage among other subjects.

The trainings have been conducted by world-renowned bodies such as International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Rwanda’s Legal framework

Rwanda adopted a national legal framework in 2017 by enacting a law on the use of nuclear energy and has since moved to raise awareness about the use of nuclear technologies.

The objective is to have the Centre for Nuclear Science and Technology by 2024.
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Minister for Infrastructure Claver Gatete signed the agreement on behalf of Rwanda while Rosatom Alexey Likhachev represented the Russian State-owned nuclear group. (Courtesy)
Nigeria - 2020 Budget: FG Proposes N15bn for Group Life Insurance of MDAs
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by FricNews
Oct 23, 2019 - 8:10
Business
The federal government has proposed N15 billion for payment of group life insurance of its employees.

The proposal was contained in the 2020 Appropriation Bill presented by President Muhammadu Buhari before the National Assembly recently.

According to the federal government, the N15 billion would be used to pay for Group life insurance for employees of all federal government ministries, departments and agencies including DSS/insurance of sensitive assets, Corpers plus administrative monitoring.

Section 4 (5), of the Pension Reform Act, 2014 states that “every employer shall maintain a group life insurance policy in favour of each employee for a minimum of three times the annual total emolument of the employee and premium shall be paid not later than the date of commencement of the cover.

There had been reports that governments over the years had neglected payment of premium for its workers’ group life insurance despite the implementation of the ‘no premium no cover’ policy by insurance sector in January 2013.

Against this backdrop, families of many government employees who died in service were always denied of their group life insurance entitlements.
Reports had also shown that where government paid the premium, it often does that in piece meal.

This year, the failure by the government to procure group life insurance cover for its employees almost one year running, gave the impression that the government had taken to self-insurance.

This meant that in the event of loss occurring, particularly death, the government would pay compensation from taxpayers’ money, a burden that could have been transferred to the insurers known to be professional risk bearers.

A former Chairman, Nigeria Insurers Association(NIA), Mr. Eddie Efekoha, said the delay, not only distorts the industry’s business plans, programmes and activities but also goes contrary to government’s promise of leading by good example in payment of premium for insurances of its assets and life cover for its work force.

According to him, the most disturbing part of it was that the delay was fast becoming the culture of the government, saying every year, instead of renewing contract with insurance firms concerned in January, the government would wait until last quarter of the year and when it pays, it is always parts.

He noted that in the course of the delay, some workers whose families were supposed to benefit from the compulsory group life insurance policy, lose their lives, raising the question on how government settles such dependents.

Findings by THISDAY on the causes of the delay to renew the policy for the year which expire in July, showed that often times, bureaucratic bottlenecks and power tussle between the office of Head of Civil Service of the Federation and the National Insurance Commission ( NAICOM) was the main cause of the delay.
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Rwanda - $5m mobilised for gorilla conservation in Rwanda
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by FricNews
Oct 17, 2019 - 9:10
Business
A fundraiser organised by popular American TV personality and comedian Ellen DeGeners has raised some $5 million (about Rwf4.6 billion) as her efforts to raise funds for conservation of mountain gorillas in Rwanda kicks off in earnest.

Ellen DeGeneres was, over the weekend, joined by her wife Portia de Rossi and a host of other big names in the entertainment world for the ‘Gorillapalooza’ event in Los Angeles, California.

The proceeds were more than double the initial target, she said on her popular show, The Ellen Show, earlier this week.

“We were hoping to raise $2 million. That didn’t happen. We raised $5 million. This is so important because there are only 1,000 mountain gorillas left,” she said.

DeGeneres has initiated one of the world’s largest gorilla conservation projects in Rwanda having visited the country in May last year. The comedian is building a campus in Rwanda, dubbed, The Ellen DeGeneres’ Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, at the foot of Volcanoes National Park, a natural habitant of the endangered species, in Musanze District.

The Ellen DeGeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund will sit on 11 acres with 50,000 square feet, complete with laboratories, a library, meeting space, exhibits and classrooms.

The facility will include housing, and education and research centre, and a conservation gallery.

The ultimate goal is to provide tools to the Dian Fossey Fund to save the gorillas, she said.

The fundraiser

At the event, A-listers in the entertainment industry graced the fundraiser, many making significant contributions toward DeGeneres’ conservation work.

Some of the big names in attendance included Chris Martin, who staged a performance for the audience; James Corden who co-hosted a live auction, along with DeGeneres; as well as Julia Roberts and Sofía Vergara who tried to outbid each other for tickets at the “12 Days of Giveaways.”

12 Days of Giveaways is an event where DeGeneres lavishes her audiences, for the period of 12 days, with increasingly exciting prize packages including electronics, gift cards, and Netflix subscriptions.

From the videos shared online, the live auction kicked off with James Corden asking participants on each table to point to the richest person sitting on every table.

The first bidder set $25,000 before Diane Keaton increased the value to $30,000 and Julia Roberts hiked the price to $50,000. But Sofía Vergara did not want Roberts to run away with the tickets so she hiked the amount to $55,000.

The bidding went on between Vergara and Roberts until Sofía Vergara had the final say with $85,000.

According to DeGeneres, stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Kendall Jenner, Sean Hayes, and Diane Keaton, among others, all donated towards the comedian’s cause to save the endangered mountain gorillas.

The Rwanda DeGeneres campus

Last year, DeGeneres was gifted with a campus by her long-time partner de Rossi. That gift would later see DeGeneres embark on a first trip to Rwanda to witness the legacy of the late Dian Fossey, the American primatologist who dedicated her life to conservation of mountain gorillas in Rwanda before her murder in 1985.

DeGeneres, who’s passionate about animal conservation, has since been raising awareness and mobilising resources to boost her conservation project in Rwanda.

The proposed campus, set to be the largest such facility of its kind, will mainly focus on research about conservation of the endangered mountain gorillas.

The campus will be home to the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund which has been operating in Rwanda for more than 50 years through its Karisoke Research Centre in Musanze.

The Fossey Fund is the world’s longest-running and largest organisation dedicated to the conservation of gorillas.

It particularly works in areas of conservation of mountain gorillas and their habitat, scientific research on the gorillas and greater biodiversity of the region, educating the next generation of African scientists through working with Rwandan institutions of higher learning, and engaging local communities to increase their support for conservation.

When she visited Rwanda last year, she met several government leaders, including President Paul Kagame.

Kagame’s government has over the years promoted gorilla conservation as part of broader efforts to harness the country’s tourism potential and to position Rwanda as a top destination.

In a notable conservation effort, Rwanda has been naming baby gorillas – through the popular annual Kwita Izina (naming) ceremony – for the last 15 years attracting keen interest from conservationists globally. The Government has also rolled out hundreds of community initiatives as part of the 10 per cent of tourism proceeds it gives to communities surrounding national parks. This has helped eliminate poaching and win the support of residents around national parks in conservation efforts.

In terms of ‘gorilla revenue’, Rwanda generated $19.2 million from gorilla permits in 2018, up from $15 million in 2016, according to Rwanda Development Board (RDB).

The proposed DeGeneres campus

Size – 50,000 square feet

Jobs to be created – 1500

Local labour – $2 million

Local raw materials – $2.5 million

Gorilla revenue

2016 – $15 million (22,219 permits)

2018 – $19.2 million (15,132 permits)
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A family of mountain gorillas in the Volcanoes National Park. Ellen DeGeneres has raised $5 million for the conservation of mountain Gorillas. The initiative is expected to add impetus to Rwanda’s tou
Rwanda - E-waste dismantling and recycling plant creates green jobs for youth
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by FricNews
Oct 15, 2019 - 8:10
Business
To create jobs for the youth in TVET by deploying them in different industries, Rwanda’s only state-of-the-art e-waste dismantling and recycling facility in Bugesera District has equipped about 70 young people with  skills in repair, maintenance and recycling of end of life electrical and electronic equipment.

Last year government signed a ten-year lease agreement with Enviroserve Rwanda Green Park (a subsidiary of the Emirati Company Enviroserve Services LLC Dubai) ) to manage the recycling facility.

The plant processes electronic and electrical equipment from across the region, through proper and environmentally friendly processes.

The facility is now transferring skills to Rwandan youth for job creation.

 Enviroserve Rwanda’s Country General Manager, Olivier Mbera, said the graduates received skills in repair, maintenance and recycling of end of life electrical and electronic equipment, adding that the idea behind such educational initiatives is to build a green Rwanda.

The trainees completed rapid a response training programme in a period of four months and acquired technical skills to advance Rwanda’s environmental protection and to contribute to job creation

“The training has been fruitful for the graduates. They received on-the-job training by working alongside experienced staffs of the facility and external experts,” he said.

Also, he said the best candidates will become agents of the Enviroserve, and assist at the upcoming collection points and repair centres around the country.

The training is part of Skills Development Fund implemented by Workforce Development Authority and financed by World Bank at the cost of $24 million.

Under the programme, over 9,000 youth are set to get jobs after being deployed to different private sector industries over three-year period.

The Project is providing grants to firms with the most responsive proposals as an effective instrument to rapidly reduce skills gaps and promote employment.

It focuses on selected economic sectors of energy, transport and logistics, and manufacturing with a focus on ‘Made in Rwanda’ products.

In March this year, WDA deployed 4,500 youths to private industries for training and employment under an investment of Rwf2 billion and it also injected Rwf1.7 billion for up 2,445 youths in the following batch.

With the additional support of GIZ Eco Emploi program the 70 young people trained at the electronic waste facility are now better placed to enter the job market in e-waste management value chain, Mbera said.

“They now possess skills that are valued highly by the market and have been empowered to become environmental champions. They are prepared to deal with the ever-growing amount of e-waste, and strive to reach a safe e-waste treatment and disposal,” he added.

It is estimated that Rwanda generates 10,000 tonnes of e-waste every year.
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Some of the graduates will become agents of Enviroserve. Courtesy.
Africa - Effective media cooperation could boost Russia-African business
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by FricNews
Oct 14, 2019 - 8:10
Business
Ahead of the upcoming Russia-Africa Summit in Sochi, Russia experts and academics have consistently called for forging media cooperation as an instrument for promoting business opportunities and positive perception, and knowledge about post-Soviet achievements in Russia and developments in Africa.

Professor Irina Abramova, Director of the Institute for African Studies under the Russian Academy of Sciences, said in the eyes of the Russian political establishment and business community, Africa is still viewed as a continent of poverty, endless wars and epidemics, stuck in the pre-industrial stage of development, and surviving only thanks to international aid.

Meanwhile, there is a different Africa, she maintains, Africa with rapid economic growth, dynamic formation of democratic management systems, modern structures and institutions of a market economy, a major player in the market of natural and human resources, a key source of growth in global demands and profitable spheres of investment operations.

“The media should more actively inform Russians about the prospects for the development of the African continent, its history and culture. Unfortunately, the Russian man in the street does not know much about Africa,” the director explained.

“For Africans, so far Russia is associated with the Soviet Union, the majority of Africans still have very warm feelings towards Russia. But in general, the Russian Federation in Africa, and Africa in the Russian Federation are very poorly represented in the media. It is necessary to organize a special media entirely dedicated to Russia-Africa,” Abramova suggested.

Olga Kulkova, Research Fellow of the Center for Development and Security Studies, Faculty of World Politics, Moscow State University, has acknowledged that Russia is back to Africa, Africa truly is a continent of new opportunities and there is huge potential here for developing economic ties.

She, however, urged Russia to share its scientific and cultural achievements with the African people and boost the prestige of the Russian language on the continent.

Kulkova said “Africa needs broader coverage in Russian media. Leading Russian media agencies should release more topical news items and quality analytical articles about the continent in order to adequately collaborate with African partners and attract Russian business to Africa. More quality information about modern Russia should be broadcast in African states. Indisputably, it would take a lot of money and efforts, but the result will pay off.”

LyubovDemidova, Deputy Chairperson of the Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Moscow Region, reiterated that Russia is now aiming to raise its relations with Africa than before and media could serve as a good purpose for the development of fruitful cooperation in various fields.

Over the years, one of the key challenges and problems facing Russian companies and investors has been insufficient knowledge of the economic potential, on the part of Russian entrepreneurs, the needs and business opportunities of the African region, she pointed out.

Lack of effective and frequent interaction in order to understand the capabilities and needs of each other leading to the development of the economy both with Russian and with the African side, she added as another obstacle which stands on the way for sustainable cooperation.

NataliyaZaiser, Founder and CEO of the Africa Business Initiative (ABI), a business NGO created to support relations between Russia and Africa, explained in an interview that the time has changed significantly so it is necessary to find absolutely different approaches and strategies to building business relationships.

For Africa in particular, the Africa Business Initiative offers the chance of a consolidated approach, and an independent organization to work with the business community in Russia and at the same time combine the interests of the African entrepreneurs.

On the other hand, she explains that Africa has much to offer Russia, which is a large country and has excellent prospects in the regions, many of which are developing very rapidly and are ready to accept new partnerships, and discuss forms of cooperation.

There’s a good case for creating a specific program (a roadmap if possible media program) for cooperation between African countries and the Russian regions, she said, added that the role of the media allows to assist businesses in broader cooperation, involving foreign colleagues interested in doing business in Africa.

Fyodor Lukyanov, Chairman of the Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defence Policy, Research Director at the Valdai Discussion Club and Editor-in-Chief of the Russia in Global Affairs journal, has observed that the Russian media writes very little about Africa – what is going on there, what are the social and political dynamics in different parts of the continent.

He suggested that the media and non-governmental organizations should make big efforts to increase the level of mutual knowledge, this can stimulate interest for each other and lead to increased economic interaction, and added that “soft power has never been a strong side of Russian policy in the post-Soviet era.”

Professor Vladimir Shubin, Deputy Director of the Institute for African Studies under the Russian Academy of Sciences, reminded: “Russia is not doing enough to communicate to the broad public, particularly in Africa, true information about its domestic and foreign policies as well as the accomplishments of Russian culture, the economy, science and technology in order to form a positive perception of Russia abroad and a friendly attitude towards it as stated by the new Concept of the Foreign Policy.”By KesterKennKlomegah
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Africa - Mantashe: Africa should push harder for oil and gas investment
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by FricNews
Oct 11, 2019 - 9:10
Business
Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe has said the African continent receives disproportionately low returns for its natural oil and gas endowments and should work to attract strategic investment in this area with single-minded purpose.

Mantashe was speaking at the Africa Oil and Power Conference in Cape Town on Thursday morning. The minister showed strong support for mega energy projects across the continent, highlighting Africa's lack of development compared to other regions as a reason to keep going.

Mantashe said Africa was endowed with fossil fuels the continent could not stop using abruptly. He said this did not mean that African leaders and investors were denialists when it comes to climate change, but that they subscribed to "a just transition" towards cleaner forms of energy.

"That just transition, in our view, includes - among others - investment in cleaner coal technologies. In this regard, we have engaged the key role players to support research in cleaner coal technologies. Also important in this transition is a greater focus on the efficient use of energy," said Mantashe.

Govt revives plan to take free stake in energy projects

Mantashe said Africa as a region needed to attract investment in refining hubs throughout the continent, as it already had the natural resources it needed to capitalise off the sub-sector.

"On liquid fuels, it is an anomaly that we continue to import large quantities of diesel and petrol, when so many of our countries are endowed with oil. Importation of refined products drains foreign currency reserves in many of our countries," Mantashe said.

Mantashe said Africa needed to attract investment in refining hubs throughout the continent, like the large refinery complex under construction in Nigeria. The Dangote refinery in Lagos, currently due for completion in 2020, is set to be Africa's biggest.

"We should welcome that. In South Africa we are working closely with Saudi Aramco to conclude a feasibility study into a crude oil refinery and associated petrochemical plants," Mantashe said.
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Africa - Nigeria to Team up with Cameroon to Set Cocoa Price
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by FricNews
Oct 11, 2019 - 9:10
Business
Nigeria is planning to team up with Cameroon to agree on a premium for their cocoa with international buyers, following moves by the top producers – Ivory Coast and Ghana, to boost prices for their crops, the Vice President of the World Cocoa Producers Organisation, Sayina Riman, has said.

The plan, which was said to have been suggested by Nigeria, the world’s fourth-largest cocoa producer, is part of a drive by cocoa growers in West Africa and Latin America to try to address a perceived imbalance between farmers’ incomes and money made by big commodities traders.

Reuters reported that Ivory Coast and Ghana, which account for nearly two thirds of global cocoa production, have imposed a fixed “living income differential” of $400 per ton on all cocoa contracts sold by either country for the 2020/2021 season.

However, despite being the world’s leading cocoa producers, the two countries exert very limited influence over international prices.

Cocoa producing countries have sought ways to protect farmers from market swings after global overproduction sent prices crashing between 2016 and 2017, and oversupply has meant a slow recovery.

Riman, who doubles as president of the Cocoa Association of Nigeria, told Reuters that Ivory Coast and Ghana had effectively agreed a $400 per ton premium above global prices for their cocoa, stressing that Nigeria wanted to follow suit to protect its farmers.

According to him, Nigeria has had informal discussions with Cameroon.

“We are talking to Cameroon to see if we can become a regional bloc … and see if we can get our buyers, who know our quality to give us better differentials,” he said, adding: “We need to approach it as a bilateral discussion.”

Peru has said it would propose a minimum price of $3,200 per ton to its regional growers, which together make up 17 per cent of global output, after the moves by West African producers.

Riman added that Nigeria and Cameroon both account for around 10 per cent of global production and have the potential to more than double output within five years.

The two countries share a border and similar weather.
According to Riman, private sector representatives in Nigeria would hold talks with the federal government this month to map out a plan after which the country would formally engage with Cameroon.

He said Nigerian officials had also met with Dutch and British officials about boosting cocoa exports to Europe rather than selling beans through third party buyers in Asia.

However, spokesman of Cameroon’s Trade Ministry, Serge Eric Epoune, said the ministry was unaware of Nigeria’s plans, while a source at the country’s National Office of Cocoa and Coffee, who did not want to be named, said the plans were just “rumours”.

Also, a top cocoa trader at one of the world’s biggest agriculture trade houses said he did not see how Nigeria and Cameroon could team up because Nigeria does not have a central cocoa authority, unlike Ivory Coast, Ghana and Cameroon.

“I believe the Nigeria and Cameroon prices will move up in line with Ivory Coast and Ghana … because of supply and demand,” said the trader.

“If Nigeria becomes too cheap, everyone will buy Nigeria and the market will adjust higher automatically, but not because they teaming are up,” the trader added.

Farmgate cocoa prices in Nigeria rose to around N720,000 ($2,353) per ton from N650,000 in September.
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Zambia - Multi-million solar energy project earmarked in Western Province
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by FricNews
Oct 10, 2019 - 9:10
Business
Government says it will soon launch a multi-million solar energy project in Western Province, aimed at cushioning the effects of energy shortages in the country. President Edgar Lungu says his administration is doing everything possible to ensure that dependency on hydro power is reduced, through alternative energy sources.

President Lungu said it is in the interest of his administration to ensure that there is more investment in other sources of energy.

The Head of State said government has lined up a number of solar projects countrywide and will not allow the power shortage to continue.

And President Lungu reiterated government’s continued engagements such as the South African power deal, which is also aimed at addressing the power deficit.

He said it was better for the country to have expensive power, and have the economy run as opposed to having no power at all.

The President said his administration is aware of the critics of government and will not divert from implementing what is right for the people.

The President said this yesterday at Kaoma Trades Training Institute in Kaoma District in Western Province when he addressed the business community.

President Lungu also said he is aware of the dwindled resources which have resulted in a number of projects not been completed.

He recognised that because of this development, projects such as roads and infrastructure have been redesigned to suit the available resources.

The President assured the business community that his office will continue engaging respective wings of government to support their needs.
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Africa - Govts to cushion depositors against collapsed banks
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by FricNews
Oct 07, 2019 - 9:10
Business
East African governments are working on increasing compensation for victims of collapsed banks as part of efforts to boost depositor confidence in the banking industry, which has had incidences of bank failures in the past five years.
Regional member states are working towards harmonising rules and regulations for dealing with troubled banks as part of measures to enhance the stability of the region’s banking sector.

In 2016, the EAC member states through the Monetary Affairs Committee resolved to jointly put in place measures to deal with troubled banks.

PROTECT DEPOSITORS

Recently, Kenya’s Deposit Insurance Corporation (KDIC) increased the insurance coverage for depositors to Ksh500,000 ($5,000) from Ksh100,000 ($1000), which had been in force for three decades.

The increase came after the KDIC jointly with the US-Treasury carried out a study in 2016 on the possibility of reviewing the insured deposits to boost confidence in the banking sector.

Last month, Ugandan Finance Minister Matia Kasaija announced plans to increase the deposit insurance limit to Ush10 million ($2,700) from Ush3 million ($809) before the end of this year.

“The government is committed to ensuring that the banking sector remains safe and sound. The public is encouraged to deposit their savings in the formal banking sector,” said Mr Kasaija.

In Tanzania, the Deposit Insurance Board has increased the amount of protected deposits from Tsh500,000 ($215) to Tsh1,500,000 ($646), while the Deposit Guarantee Fund of Rwanda protects eligible deposits up to Rwf500,000 ($535) per depositor per member bank and microfinance institution.

In Kenya, 90 per cent of total deposits in the banking sector have balances of less than Ksh100,000 ($1,000) while only one per cent of the deposit accounts have more than Ksh1 million ($10,000).

The latest development increases coverage from 90 per cent of the deposits to 98 per cent and in terms of value from eight per cent of deposits to 20 per cent.
“Our main aim is to enhance confidence in the industry and reward depositors who have been resilient during hard times and thereafter mobilise more savings,” KDIC chief executive Mohamud Ahmed Mohamud told The EastAfrican.

COMPENSATE

According to Mr Mohamud, in the unlikely event that a bank is put under liquidation depositors will be compensated within a period of 30 days.

Deposit insurance is the protection provided by governments to depositors of bank or deposit-taking institutions. It assures depositors of compensation in case a bank collapses.

Since 1989, Kenya has been compensating depositors of failed institutions up to a maximum of Ksh100,000 ($1,000).

While this amount fully covers small depositors, it leaves medium to high net worth savers who control over 90 per cent of an estimated Ksh3.5 trillion ($35 billion) worth of deposits highly exposed.

The new policy shift takes effect on July 1, 2020.

Compensation to depositors is made from the levies that banks pay to KDIC every year. Although banks currently pay premiums to KDIC at a flat rate of 0.15 per cent of their total deposits in a year, Mr Mohamud said the model is switching to a risk-based one on July 1, 2020 where high risk and unstable lenders pay more compared with more stable institutions.

In Uganda, there are about 11 million accounts including micro-deposit taking institutions with an estimated Ush20 trillion ($5.4 billion) worth of deposits. However, 98 per cent of deposit accounts have less than Ush3 million ($809).
In terms of total deposits in the sector, only 9.4 per cent are insured.

“The Deposit Insurance Fund, together with the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, is working on revising this limit in order to cover a larger percentage of deposits in the sector,” said Ben Patrick Kagoro, chairman of Uganda’s Deposit Protection Fund in the 2018 annual report.
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People at a Chase Bank branch in Nairobi, Kenya, on April 7, 2016. Dubai Bank, Imperial Bank and Chase bank were shut down in 2015 and 2016 with an estimated $1 billion in customer deposits. PHOTO | F
Nigeria - How Nigeria plans to implement 5G networks
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by FricNews
Sep 25, 2019 - 10:09
Business
Ahead of the 2020 set date for the roll out of 5G networks in Nigeria, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) will look at three strategic areas of interest that will be beneficial to the country, cum Africa.These areas of focus include enhanced mobile broadband applications, the low ultra-reliable, low latency applications and the Machine to Machine application.
    
According to NCC, Nigeria and other part of Africa will subscribe quickly to the enhanced mobile broadband application.The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, while responding to questions at the just concluded ITU Telecoms World in Budapest, Hungary, said the reason for this was because African countries are trying to roll out broadband infrastructure for broadband applications. “So this will spur us on to ensure we put in place the necessary infrastructure,” he stressed.
   
In terms of readiness of the Continent for 5G evolution, Danbatta said Nigeria and other countries within the region are trying to reserve the spectrum for the roll out of broadband services.Specifically, Danbatta said in Nigeria, the focus is on 26, 38 and 42 GHz. He noted that these frequencies exist and are not licensed for any other application.
   
According to him, the country is waiting in anticipation for the standardization process to be completed at the World Radio Communication (WRC) in Egypt, then we will see how we can go forward with licensing process in the three frequencies.
   
“The other important step that African countries are taking is to address new forms of social anxiety occasioned by this emerging technology, 5G. There’s also the regulatory anxiety. And therefore to do that, because of the practice we had in the past every service we deploy is normally preceded by proof of concept trial. And the 5G is not an exception definitely there’s going to be the trial as preparations are underway for this important trial to take place, “ Danbatta stressed.
    
The NCC EVC pointed out that the whole idea behind the trial is to be able see what are the challenges, including security, levels of radiation, power density, whether this is within the acceptable limits provided for the international non-ionization radio regulatory agencies as well as to ensure whatever factors that we need to come to terms with preparatory to commercial deployment of services, which are identified in readiness for commercial roll out of services using 5G.
   
“This is ongoing in Nigeria. The steps we are taking during the trials will involve the security agencies, who have a say on the security dimension of this new technology when it’s eventually rolled out. So we want to ensure they are fully involved at this trial state for the purpose of advising on the elements of the security concerns we should accommodate in the regulatory frameworks that will guide the deployment of this service if it eventually becomes commercialised, “ Danbatta noted.
    
Furthermore, the EVC revealed that  African countries are exchanging information and experiences on what they are seeing, the promise of the 5G roll out in the area of enhanced   Broadband mobile services in individual countries as well as addressing the anxiety of the citizens by giving the information that will make them receptive to this branch of important technology that is emerging that’s virtually here.
  
“Whether all African countries will be ready by 2020 for the roll out of commercial 5G services is something I cannot answer immediately, but I know our state of readiness is such that spectrum is being reserved in many countries, there are trials going on in many African countries, and Nigeria is getting ready to do this trial, “he stated.
     
On safety and security concerns raised by stakeholders, Danbatta said there was need to have an idea about the levels of radiation from the devices, the devices we intent to connect, especially bearing in mind the levels of devices connectivity density that 5G will be driving.According to him, million devices in an area of a kilo meter by kilo meter, where most of these are domestic appliances used at homes. He said  concerns will arise as to whether the levels of radiation coming from these devices conform to the non-ionization standard for devices, adding that the manufacturers of these technology and services are saying that they are safe, but the regulator will need to check so that subscribers of this new service can be assured.
 
Speaking on the role of infrastructure and spectrum to 5G, Danbatta said “without pervasive infrastructure the dream of roll out of 5G services will remain what it is, just a dream. On this we need to share experiences. In Nigeria, we have divided the country into seven zones, and each zone has been assigned an infrastructure company to deploy broadband infrastructure.“We have also put in place and excellent initiative of spectrum trading, meaning; you just don’t hang on to a spectrum that’s not going to be put to use to deploy services. You can trade the spectrum, lease it or transfer it to another operator.”
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