OctoberFirst African Business Opportunities Newsletter, July 2010

On July 2nd, 2010, posted in: News by
Welcome to OctoberFirst Consulting’s newsletter. Inside you’ll find articles and information on investment opportunities in Africa. Should you wish to discuss these further, do contact us.
This newsletter is published by Mr Frank Aneke, OctoberFirst Consulting, PO Box 83, Liverpool NSW 1871, Australia.
Telephone +61 (02) 9773 6672, email info@octoberfirst.com.au
This publication is supplied for information purposes. Some articles in this publication have been supplied by third parties and OctoberFirst Consulting does not take responsibility for any inaccuracies in these articles.

In this issue….

Agribusiness.

Uganda: Nation is looking to Process Its Famous Fruits and VegetablesSouth Africa: Call for Private Sector to Invest in FarmingCameroon: Cocoa Yearning for Processing

Environment & Renewable

Morocco unveils $3.5 billion wind power scheme,Uganda: Why Philips Turns to Solar EnergyNigeria and USA Focus On Renewable Energy

Telecoms & ICT

Kenya: ICT Board Pushes for Investment in Local Digital ContentAfrica: Raising Hope for Broadband RevolutionTelcos to put $700 min in new Africa cable

Mining & Energy

Nigeria: FG grants 3,000 mining exploration licencesKenya: Processing opportunities in gemstones and jewellery industry Nigeria: President Jonathan Orders Power Sector Reforms Fast-Tracked

New Investment & Trade

Sub-Saharan Africa: Next Fastest Growing Trillion Dollar Economy, says World Bank Managing Director, Okonjo-IwealaNigeria: Swiss firm offers $20bn to enter infrastructure bond marketSouth Africa: FIFA World Cup costs SA dear but Long Term Boost Seen: Analysts

Interview of the Month

Assessing Africa’s business future: An interview with the CEO of Absa.

Country Stats: Botswana


Uganda: Nation is looking to Process Its Famous Fruits and Vegetables

Uganda’s fruits exports have increased steadily over the years, but because the fruit is exported fresh, the country is missing out on the full potential of its produce. There is huge potential for the production of quality value-added fresh fruits and vegetables.

Uganda is one of the world’s top banana-growing countries, producing an estimated 10 million tonnes of the fruit each year. It is not just the sweet apple banana that is a hit in international markets: pineapples, mangos, passion fruits and vegetables like hot peppers are also in high demand due to their good quality.

Uganda’s vibrant organic farming industry is poised to make the country a major source of organic fruits and vegetables, according to recent data from the National Organic Agricultural Movement of Uganda (NOGAMU).

Fruits exports have increased steadily over the years – in 2007, the value of exports hit more than $1m. But, as the fruit is exported fresh, Uganda is missing out on the full potential of its produce. There is huge potential for the production of quality, semi-processed or value-added fresh fruits and vegetables.

Investment opportunity

British company Anglo-Uganda Development Company (AUDC) plans to set up the Lugazi Foods Company to process fresh fruits and vegetables. The company is seeking an investor to partner in the venture which has the potential to be very lucrative.

Cost of investment: GBP2 million

Return on investment: based on 40% shareholding

Project description

The proposed Lugazi Foods Company aims to increase the competitiveness of Uganda’s fresh fruits and vegetables exports by investing in the production of value-added fresh fruits, including pre-cut, portioned and pre-packed in consumer retail packs. The business will initially target the four most popular fruits – pineapples, apple bananas, passion fruits and also hot peppers. Production will be stimulated easily for scaling up once sufficient demand and capacity is established. The business will also seek to exploit the high demand for organic and fair traded fruit and vegetable products.

Project justification

Access to Resources: Growing of the abundant fresh fruits and vegetables is largely dominated by small-scale farm producers in central, eastern and western Uganda. There are over 200, 000 internationally certified (IDOAM and FiBL 2009) farmers involved in organic farming, producing mostly pineapples, passion fruits and apple bananas. Access to organic raw fruits further increases the competitiveness of Uganda’s value added fresh fruits and vegetables.

Access to Markets: Uganda is already exporting raw fruits and vegetables to the European Union. Demand for processed fresh fruits and vegetables is increasing, presenting new export market opportunities. Uganda’s hot peppers are preferred, especially in the UK, Netherlands and France due to their high quality. In addition, based on the growing global market for organic products now estimated to be above £40 billion, Uganda is bound to be a market leader as a source of organic semi-processed fruits and vegetables.

Availability of affordable labour: Uganda has a competent and well educated labour force that will provide a base for recruiting appropriate staff for the project.

Favourable Location: Excellent climatic conditions drive the production of a variety of fruits and vegetables for the export and regional markets. The country’s geographical suitability for organic production also presents enormous advantages for growing of organic produce. Uganda is well connected for international markets due to the accessibility of the major international airport, which has sufficient cargo flights.

Potential Markets

Business

The European Union presents huge potential export market for minimally processed fruits and vegetables. The main target market will be the major supermarkets, food distributors and the hospitality industry. The growing number of supermarkets in the region, particularly in Uganda, Rwanda, Southern Sudan, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo, present additional market opportunities. The implementation of the East African Community’s Common Market Protocol which will allow free movement of goods, people, services and capital in member states will also present huge opportunities for the company in terms of access to a larger market, as well as facilitate future regional expansion plans.

Project site

The Uganda Investment Authority has secured land that is available for leasing to investors interested in setting up processing plants. A portion of the land has been developed into industrial parks, with the basic infrastructure such as power, water, sewerage and road networks established. AUDC is also exploring the possibility of setting up the processing facility in a special economic zone. Investors operating in the zones benefit from a host of incentives and tax exemptions.

Source: TradeInvestAfrica. Image:www.ifad.org


South Africa: Call for Private Sector to Invest in Farming

by Hopewell Radebe

Johannesburg — Private sector investment in agriculture in SA needed to boost the capacity of emerging farmers to international levels, Absa Business Bank CE Bobby Malabie said recently.

Addressing the Agricultural Business Chamber’s congress in Somerset West, Western Cape, Mr Malabie called on financial institutions and the private sector in general to seriously consider investing heavily in the agricultural sector, particularly in those businesses that were exploring the possibility of expanding into the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) region.

“There is a strong political will in Africa and the region to drive agriculture investment, which augurs well for development and economic growth in this sector.”

Mr Malabie said Absa was looking at ways to help farmers reduce the risks they faced – from climate change to price volatility, which was exaggerated by the fluctuating currency.

“With SA’s keen understanding and experience in the financial side of agricultural business, the possibilities of expansion into Africa will propel interregional economic growth.”

He said the level of SA’s investment in agriculture had recently reached R140bn, which was significant.

However, there was room for improvement, given that most provincial economies were dependent on the agricultural sector, which employed almost a million people, largely from rural communities.

These jobs could have added value if there was appropriate training of farm workers and owners to encourage diversification, such as product processing for exports to other African countries.

The National Planning Commission’s Prof Mohammad Karaan bemoaned the lack of progress in transformation in the agriculture sector.

He said the stigma surrounding the sector over issues such as abuse of labourers persisted, and contributed to institutions of higher learning failing to attract black students to study agriculture. “We have more black students from Sadc countries and there is hardly 5% of student intake in agricultural studies … this must concern all of us.”

Prof Karaan said the inability of bigger and established farmers to share the space, resources and markets was stifling the growth and viability of these groups.

“It is the human factor that makes farming families fail, not economic conditions, and this contributes to the lack of trust between government and society on the one hand, and the agriculture sector on the other.”

Rather than being seen to be defending the status quo, Prof Karaan said, the agriculture business sector had to genuinely engage with the government and bring proposals to the table that would transform the industry and accommodate new participants and emerging farmers.

He also warned that expansion into Africa should not be carried out at the expense of the country.

Government research institutions and universities needed to stay focused on developing new technology and improving farming systems to keep SA relevant and competitive.

“At the moment, our cost-competitiveness does not take away the need for SA to import food, and this is a concern considering Africa’s food security needs,” he said.

Source: BusinessDay SA Image: www.plaas.org.za


Cameroon: Cocoa Yearning for Processing

by Godlove Bainkong

Very little value is added to the crop before exportation and this weakens its role as a development springboard.

Cocoa production in Cameroon has witness a boost in productivity in recent years. Statistics show that three years ago, annual production stood at 175,000 tons and the country attained a 205, 000 annual tons last year. Government has announced plans to steep production by 37 per cent in five years from now. The progress in production of the cash crop is yet to be marched with that of processing whose added value to the crop before exportation or at least for home consumption boosts the economy.

There are farmer common initiative groups that are working hard to produce chocolate from the cocoa beans but it is yet to get to a recognisable level. There is also the country’s lone cocoa-related company, CHOCOCAM and many consider it largely insufficient to meet the growing needs of processing cocoa in the country. The results of this are that the population relies almost permanently on imported cocoa finished products, irrespective of the potentials and money that could have come in through added value as well as jobs that could have been created by cocoa processing firms elude the many jobless Cameroonians.

With the liberalisation of markets for tropical crop commodities, Cameroon’s cocoa could compete with others elsewhere and win a better clientele where it given at least first level processing before exportation. Most often, farmers hurriedly, or are fooled into selling the produce immediately after harvest, in raw form, sometimes at give away rates. Sometimes this is inevitable as either ignorance on how to process the crop, lack of means and ways of storing it, force many farmers to give out the produce to make ends meet, especially as it is a source of livelihood for most of them. It is difficult, if not impossible to talk about valorising cocoa production and successfully attaining it, when much is not being done to leave from the exportation of raw cocoa. Experts say in a liberalised environment, export quality is determined by market participants and that increased competition from cocoa buyers has resulted in a transfer of some processing functions from farmers to intermediaries. Those intermediaries are not very visible in the country and even where they exist, their main role is to exploit the farmers through down-to-earth prices mostly during the harvesting season where the poor farmers have only one option of giving out the produce to live.

Adding value to the crop would further improve its marketability which stakeholders say is increasingly convincing. Records from the Cocoa and Coffee Interprofessional Council (CICC) show that average sales of the crop between August and September in 2009 stood at FCFA 1,336 per kilogramme, up from FCFA 978 the previous year. As at March, this year, average sales clocked FCFA 1,568 up from 1, 215 in the same period last year. These are palpable evidences that the sector could greatly generate wealth for the State and individuals if it is well structured and developed to meet the needs of the time.

Source: http://www.cameroon-tribune.cm Image: cdn.wn.com


Morocco unveils $3.5 billion wind power scheme

TANGIER (Reuters) – Morocco recently unveiled a wind energy project worth 31.5 billion dirhams, which officials said will help increase the share of the country’s electricity consumption from renewable sources to 42 percent by 2020.

The project will involve building five wind farms to increase the North African state’s wind generation capacity to 2,000 megawatts in 2020 from the approximate 280 megawatts it currently produces from small wind farms.

King Mohammed inaugurated on Monday the first wind farm in Tangier, which has a capacity of 140 megawatts and cost 2.75 billion dirhams.

Officials said the government had selected the other sites of the wind project in Tetouan, Taza, Layoune and Boujdour.

Funding of the wind project will be from a mix of state and private capital, including from foreign investors, the officials said.

Morocco is the only North African country with no oil of its own. It seeks to cut its dependency on imported oil and coal by expanding power generation capacity from renewable sources.

Last year, it launched a solar energy project worth $9 billion, which will account for 38 percent of the North African country’s installed power generation by 2020.

The solar scheme involves five solar power generation stations across Morocco and will produce 2,000 megawatts of electricity by 2020.

Source: Reuters Image: Reuters


Uganda: Why Philips Turns to Solar Energy
by David Ssempijja

Kampala — Emerging economies around the world are grappling with the challenge of improving the living conditions of over 1.6 billion people with no access to electricity.

A lot more people are subjected to frequent power shortages, outages and hard-to-service bills.

The recent report by the International Finance Cooperation of the World Bank indicates that over $17b is spent annually for buying kerosene in Africa where more than 500 million people cannot access electricity.

Worldwide, $38b is spent annually by the 1.6 billion in kerosene receipts because of lack of access to electricity, a problem precipitated by poverty and health hazards caused by smoke inhalation.

Upon this background, the Philips Electronics, in partnership with the Dutch government, under the Sustainable Energy for Africa project is pursuing a plan to provide 10 million people with affordable, sustainable and appropriate energy services in 10 sub-Saharan African countries by 2015. Philips has launched a foot-print into manufacturing solar energy lighting systems, targeting Africa as the products’ biggest market niche.

While launching the products for the Ugandan market, the state minister for energy, Simon D’ujanga, said Uganda needed more private investors into the energy sector so that people’s access to electricity rises from the current 12%.

He said renewable energy technologies would help government meet the energy needs of the country’s population for social and economic development in an environmentally sustainable manner.

“Philips solar energy technology is expected to play a significant role in supplementing the government rural electrification strategy,” he said at a function held at the Kampala Protea Hotel recently. The range of products is powered by panels with capacity from 30 watts to less than a watt.

The Philips East Africa boss, Tamer Abolghar, said the LED system can save over 85% of power compared with the conventional bulbs.

The director for Kiboko Enterprises, Ramesh Babu, said his company would continue with the products awareness campaign in Uganda, especially in rural areas where they are most needed.

Source: http://www.newvision.co.ug/ Image: depletedcranium.com


Nigeria and USA Focus On Renewable Energyby Charles W. Corey

Advancing renewable energy in Nigeria was the focus of the first-ever meeting of the U.S.-Nigeria Binational Commission’s Energy and Investment Working Group, held at the State Department June 10-11. The United States and Nigeria signed joint communiqués on renewable energy, and the United States pledged to do all it can to help Nigeria achieve a greater level of energy independence — which is key to its long-term economic growth and development.

At a ceremony June 11 marking the conclusion of the talks, the U.S. coordinator for international energy affairs, David L. Goldwyn, and the permanent secretary of Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Elizabeth B.P. Emuren, signed a joint communiqué to advance renewable energy opportunities in Nigeria.

Goldwyn told those in attendance that the first meeting of the working group shows that the United States and Nigeria are partners in many areas, including trade, regional security and energy security. Electric power is essential to Nigeria’s economic growth and development, he stressed.

For two days, Goldwyn said, the group focused their discussions on electric power, gas, energy efficiency, renewable energy and fundamental areas of reform such as power generation, transmission, distribution and gas supply. The group also addressed how change will happen in the country’s power sector and “what needs to happen in order for more electricity to be delivered in an affordable way.”

Key elements were identified for change, he said, including “the introduction of market pricing … cost-recovery tariffs, and … a clear regulatory and institutional framework” that will allow investors to make investments. Goldwyn said the United States was “delighted to get really extensive presentations from Nigeria … [detailing the] path forward …[and] how those changes will happen and the time calendar on which they will happen.

“From a U.S. government perspective,” he said, “we are happy to help in any way that we can and we are going to help in a number of ways,” particularly through the efforts of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Independent power producers will be the key to Nigeria’s power development, he said, as he also praised Nigeria for moving to reform its petroleum sector to include increased transparency.

Speaking for Nigeria, Minister Emuren called the working group’s deliberations “extensive and fruitful.”

Emuren agreed that “energy is the key to any development” in a nation and that Nigeria is no exception. She thanked the United States for its willingness to provide advisory and technical assistance to Nigeria in the areas of capacity development, research and help” with Nigeria’s petroleum sector.

(Katherine Sierra, the World Bank’s vice president for sustainable development, recently told the Corporate Council on Africa’s 2010 Africa Infrastructure Conference that electric power is a major issue across the entire African continent. “The entire capacity for electric power in sub-Saharan Africa — with its 48 countries and population of 800 million — is not more than Spain, with a population of 40 million.”

Only one-fifth of Africa’s population has access to electricity or modern forms of energy, compared to one-half of the population in South Asia and four-fifths in Latin America, she said.)

Also during the ceremony, the director of the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), Leocadia I. Zak and Ifeyinwa Ikeonu, the head of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission’s Strategy and Project Management Office, signed a $323,000 grant agreement under which USTDA will fund technical assistance to develop a framework for renewable energy independent power in Nigeria.

In a written statement, Zak said: “This grant agreement represents a mutual commitment by both the United States and Nigeria to continue cooperation to facilitate investment and improve the transparency, administration, and performance of Nigeria’s private sector. Establishing clear and transparent requirements for renewable independent power producer investments in Nigeria will enable an environment for the U.S. private sector to compete for business in a growing market …” she said.

Commenting on the state of the U.S.-Nigeria bilateral relationship, Goldwyn described it as “strong and very deep” and said that Nigeria is a great friend and ally of the United States. Speaking for the Nigerians, the Nigerian ambassador to the United States, Adebowale Ibidapo Adefuye, termed the relationship very strong and profitable for both nations. The working group expects to convene for follow-up meetings in Nigeria at a later date.

Source: http://www.america.gov/world/africa.html Image powerplussolar.files.wordpress.com


Kenya: ICT Board Pushes for Investment in Local Digital Contentby Frankline Sunday

Six years ago, Mark Zuckerburg founded the iconic Facebook to allow his friends to share intimate thoughts with each other.

The billion dollar enterprise has turned into a vital tool for businesses – and now, the Kenyan government hopes a local entrepreneur can create a similar application, hoping to spark the creative juices of local developers.

Basing its belief on continued local interest in foreign websites such as Yahoo, Gmail, Google and Facebook, the ICT Board is pegging its hopes on local developers to come up with similar applications.

Kenya ICT Board CEO, Mr Paul Kukubo, said there was a considerable lack of local content on the Internet.

“There is a big need for investment in local digital content to spur economic growth in the industry. This is an area with great economic potential but remains largely untapped due to a lack of awareness,” he said.

Statistics reveal that most Kenyans flock to foreign websites to remain updated and to keep in touch with their friends.

A growing number are visiting local sites, and those registering the highest number of hits include media company websites like the Nation and the Standard online editions followed by Job advertising websites like kenyanjobs.blogspot.com and bestjobskenya.com among others.

The ICT board believes the disparity between the number of locally visited sites and Western and European sites is largely due to the fact that there is little local digital content on the Internet.

“We have realised that there is a lot of untapped talent, especially from our youth in the area of digital content. This has been evident through the vibrant participation we have witnessed through the Tandaa festivals that we have been organising around the country,” said Mr Kukubo.

Despite the perception, over the years, the amount of local content on the Internet has been on the increase.

This has partly been attributed to the advent of fibre optic technology in Kenya last year and an overall increase in the number of internet users both in the urban and rural areas.

Recent statistics by the Kenya ICT Board puts the number of internet users at 3.4 million as at May 2010.

“One thing about local content creation in Kenya is that we actually do not need to reinvent any wheel. There are good models that are being run in other countries that we can replicate here with relative ease,” said Marvin Tumbo, CEO of Socialight Media.

Mr Tumbo’s company specialises in providing social media solutions to businesses in Kenya where there is a booming market from mature Internet users looking to find relevant content.

“As a content developer, the most important thing to do is to find a niche and then hyper-target. Finding a niche, research on what other countries are doing in the same area, import it, build the platform and yell from mountain tops about what you are doing.”

An example is cited of the Kenyan website Eat Out that lists local restaurants and their services, including a map of restaurants in Nairobi.

Eat out is modelled on the UK website under the same name and providing the same services.

Similarly, iborian, a local social networking website, attempts to model itself on Facebook.

But analysts say most investors in the field shy away from new and untested ideas owing to the risk involved.

Many face hurdles obtaining funding for proposals that could be lucrative digital business solutions.

Another challenge to local digital content providers who are starting up is monetising the concepts.

“Some digital content developers make the mistake of starting projects from poorly informed business models thus monetisation becomes an issue,” said Mr Tumbo.

Analysts say it is advisable for investors in the content industry to attempt to get some traction by having an initial test period to explore various revenue streams and tweak their business models accordingly until they find something that works.

A sure way of getting known is in utilising social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, advises Mr Tumbo.

While it is not guaranteed that content will go viral like the Makmende craze, the networking effect of these sites can help investors cover a lot of ground in a short time.

Developing the proper content through appropriate business models is a sure way of banking on the local talent to ensure that culture is online at the same time making definite strides to bridge the digital divide between developing and developed countries.

Source: http://www.businessdailyafrica.com/ Image: api.ning.com


Africa: Raising Hope for Broadband Revolution

by Emma Okonji

Participants to the just concluded West and Central Africa Com (WECA) conference in Dakar, Senegal, are hopeful that Africa, like other developed continents of the world, would soon experience full broadband revolution.

Majority of speakers, who were concerned about the poor state of infrastructure in Africa, called on telecom operators from various countries in Africa, especially those from West and Central Africa, to intensify efforts in building networks that would accommodate the expected broadband revolution.

Some speakers that were particularly concerned about the deployment of last-mile services to homes and offices in the region said the expected broadband revolution would drive down cost and increase accessibility as well as Internet speed.

Participants welcomed the several submarine cable operators in Africa like Main One, Glo1, WACS and ACE, and encouraged them to invest more and bring the expected broadband revolution to Africa.

Chief Executive Officer for Etisalat Nigeria, Mr. Steve Evans, who delivered paper on enhancing connectivity in Africa at the conference, said telecom operators in Nigeria have invested so much in infrastructure and that Etisalat is building more networks to cover every part of the country.

According to him, “Etisalat is fully prepared for the broadband revolution and has bought broadband capacity from Main One, with plans to buy more capacity from another submarine cable operator.

While some participants were hopeful of imminent broadband revolution in Africa, some decried the current state of poor broadband and mobile penetration in Africa, explaining that Africa needs faster broadband and mobile penetration.

Thelca Mbongue, Senior Analyst from Informa Telecoms, organisers of WECA 2010 conference, explained that mobile penetration among the West and Central African countries remained at 40 percent and that operators in those countries were yet to make good penetration in the mobile market.

She however identified insufficient broadband capacity, poor regulatory environment, poor interconnection agreement, harsh government policies, unfair competition and poor funding as major obstacles to broadband penetration in the West and Central African countries.

Addressing the issue of connecting West and Central African countries to broadband, Jabulani Dhliwayo, director in charge of market development in Africa for Corning Optical Fibre, insisted that fibre remained the key technology that would drive broadband in Africa. He called on African operators to invest in fibre, be it wired or wireless. He was optimistic that the several expected sub-marine optic fibre cable coming to Africa, would boost fibre technology and increase technology usage in Africa. He listed SAT 3, which is already active in most African countries, and the expected Glo 1, Main One, ACE and WACS, as major sub-marine fibre optic cables that would boost technology in Africa, if properly handled.

Dhliwayo identified the deployment of Large Effective Area Fibre (LEAF), and the Wide Interoperability Microwave Access (WiMax) for last mile solution that would boost the deployment of broadband to homes and offices across Africa.

CEO of GeoidTel, Mr. Ismail Olubiyi, spoke on next steps for fixed line, mobile and wireless operators to deliver reliable and affordable broadband.

He was optimistic that the expected landing of the several submarine cables to the shores of Nigeria would boost broadband penetration.

The two-day WECA conference dwelt largely on building international connectivity, deployment of advanced fibre optic cable networks that would deliver optimised broadband access in West and Central Africa. It also deliberated on the role of WiMAX technology in delivering broadband access in the region.

Apart from broadband, other issues that were discussed included co-location and infrastructure sharing among telecom operators and Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Chief Executive of Informa Telecoms, Ian Hemming said the goal of WECA 2010 congress was to extend the leading position of Informa Telecoms as provider of business intelligence and marketing solutions to the global telecoms and media markets.

Research Director for Informa Telecoms, Julie Rey said the objective was to provide the best networking opportunities in the region, as well as creating a forum to share ideas, experiences and knowledge among telecommunications professionals.

Chief Executive Officer of Alink Telecoms of Cote d Ivore, Etienne Kouadio, who spoke on strategies to remain competitive in the West and Central Africa market, listed innovation, cost effectiveness and field support as good measures that operators should hold on to, if they must remain competitive in the African telecom market.

He said operators need to be more innovative in product and service delivery in order to offer more than market demands.

The WECA 2010 conference was well attended by several speakers, exhibitors and participants.

Source: http://www.independentngonline.com/ Image: ictfoundation.com/africa2.png


Telcos to put $700 min in new Africa cable

By Tarmo Virki, EMEA Technology Correspondent

HELSINKI (Reuters) – France Telecom said recently it has set up a consortium of 20 companies to invest a total of $700 million in a new submarine data cable to connect West Africa and France, reinforcing its presence in Africa.

Despite being the fastest-growing telecoms market in the world, Africa’s broadband growth has been hamstrung by costly international bandwidth and patchy national infrastructure, impeding development and deterring investors.

The new 17,000 kilometres (10,563-miles) long ACE cable between Penmarch in France and Cape Town South Africa will connect in total 23 countries.

It will be the first international submarine cable to land in Mauritania, Gambia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Sao Tome and Principe, and Equatorial Guinea, France Telecom said in a statement.

“The ACE cable will reduce the cost of access to international telecommunications networks, thereby removing a major barrier to the Internet’s development in Africa,” France Telecom said.

Separately Alcatel-Lucent said it had won an order to provide equipment worth more than $500 million from the new consortium.

Source: Reuters Image: Reuters


Nigeria: FG grants 3,000 mining exploration licences

by Emma Ezekiel, Abuja

The Federal Government has said that more foreign investors are currently renewing their interests in investing in Nigeria’s solid minerals sector.

This follows the completion of the comprehensive airborne geophysical survey of the country’s mining sector and the disclosure that over 3,000 exploration licences have been issued to prospective investors.

The Minister of Mines and Steel, Mr. Musa Sada, disclosed this during a press briefing in Abuja recently.

He stated that the Federal Government had already granted over 3,000 exploration licences to prospective investors just as it had processed applications for over 9,000 mining titles.

He said, “As part of efforts geared towards generating reliable data to drive the mining sector, the Ministry of Mines and Steel has carried out a comprehensive airborne geophysical survey programme. The release of the data has generated tremendous increase in investors’ confidence in the country’s mining sector. Already, there is a remarkable upsurge in the demand for these data by foreign investors seeking to invest in Nigeria.

“Currently, we have granted over 3,000 exploration licences, while over 9,000 mining titles have been processed. Already some foreign companies have begun mining exploration in various parts of Nigeria. One of such companies is CGA of Canada, which has announced a major gold find in Ilesha, Osun State. Other major companies that are active in the field are ERIN, Savannah Gold and Ecophenix.”

Sada further said that the government was intensifying efforts towards the completion of the last phase of the airborne geophysics of the Niger Delta region, adding that the project would be completed before the end of the year.

He said, “Airborne geophysics provides improved knowledge of the geology of the country through the application of new geophysical mapping techniques and the provision of scientific guidelines for the private sector to begin new minerals exploration in Nigeria.

“The execution of the last phase of the airborne geophysics of the Niger Delta region is on-going. The project involves 18,994 lines kilometres data of magnetic and 18,994 line kilometres of magnetic and gravity. As of now, over 65 per cent of magnetic and 45 per cent gravity have been achieved.”

The minister added, “Although the completion date of the contract was fixed for September 2010, based on the performance so far, the project is more likely to be completed ahead of schedule. When completed, the entire Nigerian land mass would be 100 per cent covered, placing the country ahead of any other country in Africa and most of the countries of the world in geophysical coverage.

“Apart from mineral exploration, airborne geophysical data can be used directly in land use planning, development of physical infrastructure and water supply management, among other things. It is the single most demanded data set for decision making by miners in accessing credit.”

Source: www.punchng.com/ Image: www.russiablog.org


Kenya: Processing opportunities in gemstones and jewellery industryForeign and local investors have the opportunity to invest in Kenya’s largely unexploited jewellery and gemstones industry.

Investment Opportunity

Kenya’s mineral potential remains largely untapped. There are vast opportunities in mining new and existing varieties of gemstones for the international market. This could be undertaken solely or in partnership with claim holders. There are also opportunities for investors wanting to carry out gemstone polishing as well as jewellery manufacturing.

The gemstone discoveries in East Africa in the 1960s transformed the jewellery world. New varieties, colours and variations on existing species made the decade the most exciting time in the gemstone industry. Some of Kenya’s gemstones and precious minerals include green garnet, ruby corrondum, tsavorite, gold, ruby, zoisite, sapphire, tourmaline and aquamarine.

Ruby is currently being mined in Taita Taveta, Kwale, Kitui, West Pokot and Baringo districts; tsavorite in Taita Taveta and Kwale districts; sapphire in the Kitui, Mwingi and Isiolo districts; tourmaline in Taita Taveta, Kajiado, Kwale and Kitui districts and aquamarine in Meru and Tharaka districts.

The gemstone and jewellery sub-sector in Kenya is liberalised with no trade restrictions. So as long as a miner or dealer is licensed, he or she can trade in an otherwise free market. Dealers can sell their products either as raw material or as finished products although the value addition process is highly encouraged.

Market

Currently the domestic market consumes less than 10% of the jewellery produced and 50% of the local buyers are tourists while the rest is exported. Most Kenyan gemstone products are exported to India, the USA, Germany, the United Kingdom and the Middle East.

Legal and Regulatory framework

All unextracted minerals are the property of the government according to the mining act. Their exploration and exploitation is controlled by the Department of Mines and Geology, which also undertakes geological surveys, geo-scientific research and the general regulation of the mining sector. The department, which falls under the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, also grants licenses to miners and prospectors.

Source: TradeInvestAfrica Image: www.comesatradehub.com


Nigeria: President Jonathan Orders Power Sector Reforms Fast-Tracked

by Onyebuchi Ezigbo

Abuja — Ministry of Power yesterday said President Goodluck Jonathan, has directed it to commence full implementation of the Power sector Reform Act in order to create room for private sector participation and efficient service delivery to Nigerians.

The president’s charge came just as the average national power generation by the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) hovered at 3,760 megawatts (Mw) with an off-peak of 3,250mw as at last month.

THISDAY checks gathered that Shell Afam is yet to come up fully, contributing 345mw against expected 650mw. Some units in Kainji and Shiroro hydro power stations are down thereby drawing down on available generation capacity.

Minister of State for Power, Nuhu Somo Wya in a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Yakubu Lawal yesterday, said the President has given the ministry a fresh mandate to fast-track the reform process and break all barriers that would prevent private sector players coming to invest in the sector.

The statement quoted the minister as having said at the weekend while receiving a group of foreign investors from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), who made presentation on their planned participation in the sector, said the mandate is to the effect that the Electric Power Sector Reform (EPSR) Act of 2005 be fully implemented. “President has given mandate to commence the reform process and break all barriers that would prevent private sector players coming to invest in the sector”.

“I have clear mandate of Mr. President to break all bottlenecks to private investor’s participation in the power sector .We are ready to encourage you and we will create the enabling environment for you to actively invest in the sector. Our doors are open to all genuine investors “he said.

Wya explained that that based on the President’s directives, the Ministry will be commencing full reform of the sector in order to encourage the inflow of the much needed investment for the sector.

The partial implementation of this Act before now had led to the establishment of Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and unbundling of Power Holding Company of Nigeria(PHCN) into 18 successor companies as follows,Generation-6,Transmission-1 and Distribution-11 respectively

According to Wya, it has become obvious that government alone cannot provide the required investment that would drive the sector for the benefit of all Nigerians, adding that government is open to anybody who has the resources and ready to invest in the sector to come on board.

Wya explained that though most of the power stations in the country are thermal or gas fired based, Nigeria still needs more thermal or gas powered plants adding that investors could easily diversify into other alternative power generation opportunities that exist in the country.

The minister directed the officials of the visiting firm-Energy Trading Group FZC of UAE to meet with the relevant agencies within the Power sector for proper guidelines for investing in the sector urging them to also look at the model on Power Purchase Agreement(PPA) developed by NERC with a view to help them design a sound business plan that will conform with the practice in Nigeria.

He also asked them to meet with NERC officials with a view to obtaining the guidelines for licensing companies that want to operate or do business in the sector noting that relevant committees within the Ministry of Power directly concern with issues on Independent Power Projects (IPP) would also be able to help them fast tract their investment plans in line with the existing guidelines.

The Director of Business Development of ETG, Mr.Mike McCafferty, in his Presentation, said ETG Power is seeking to establish an Independent Power Project with a frame 9 Power plant in simple cycle operation as phase 1 of the project to be delivered within 12 months to commercial operations.

He explained that that phase 2 of the project will incorporate combine cycle operation and that the commissioning of phase II can be delivered within twelve months after commercial operation of phase I, which he said could give 230Megawatts(MW) of electricity to Nigerians.

He said the company has over 33 years of working experience in both Power as well as oil and gas industry across major continent of the world.

Source: http://www.thisdayonline.com/ Image: www.nigerianmuse.com


Sub-Saharan Africa: Next Fastest Growing Trillion Dollar Economy, says World Bank Managing Director, Okonjo-IwealaOn May 14, World Bank Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala shared a riddle and a “big idea” with fellow Harvard alumni.

“What trillion dollar economy has grown faster than Brazil and India between 2000 and 2010 … and is projected by the IMF to grow faster than Brazil between 2010 and 2015?

“The answer may surprise you: It is sub-Saharan Africa!”

The “big idea” the former finance and foreign minister for Nigeria wanted to impart was that sub-Saharan Africa is on the verge of joining the ranks of the BRICS – the rising powers of Brazil, Russia, India and China, whose wealth and clout have increased dramatically in the last decade.

Africa can serve, she said, as a new source of global demand; its population may soon rival that of China and India. It should be a destination for investment, “not just aid.”

In the space of a few years, the Group of Seven (G7) major economies expanded to the G8, then the G20 with the inclusion of the BRICs and other newly influential economies. The developing world’s share of global gross domestic product (GDP) in purchasing power parity terms increased from 33.7 per cent in 1980 to 43.4 per cent in 2010.

This growth has translated into more voting power for developing and transition economies at the World Bank. The Bank’s 186 shareholder countries agreed at the Spring Meetings in April to increase developing countries’ share of the votes by 3.13 per cent to give them 47 per cent of the votes.

Like others, World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick has made clear that he wants to see this go to 50% over time. However, that — as with the earlier reforms — is a decision for shareholders – the countries who own the Bank.

The change will make China the third largest shareholder at the Bank. Turkey, Mexico, Brazil and India will also see major increases in their voting shares, reflecting their new position in the world economy. Several poorer countries including Vietnam, El Salvador, Lebanon and Cambodia saw their voting power increase by 50 per cent.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s share went from 5.55 per cent to 5.86 per cent in April. Most African nations, including Ethiopia, Liberia, Mali and Uganda, will benefit from voting share increases.

But more significantly, sub-Saharan Africa gained a new seat on the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors, bringing the number of directors on the Board to 25.

“As the Bank’s Board generally operates by consensus, rather than votes, having another seat at the table—literally—will ensure that the voice and concerns of these countries are heard more loudly, and more clearly,” said World Bank Director Carlos Alberto Braga.

The World Bank itself looks like the world it serves, with staff from 167 countries. Nearly two-thirds come from developing and transition countries. The World Bank has also seen a significant shift over the past three years in developing country representation at the senior-most levels.

Okonjo-Iweala, former finance minister of Nigeria, is among that group. As a managing director, she is one of the World Bank’s most influential people.

“Other Africans in senior-most positions include Leonard McCarthy, a South African corruption fighter and Vice President of the World Bank’s anti-corruption investigative arm, and Obiageli Ezekwesili, Nigeria’s former Minister of Education, now Vice President for Africa.

All were powerful reformers in their own countries. They are now bringing their internationally recognized expertise to the benefit of the broader global community. The group will soon be joined by newly appointed Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati, former finance minister of Indonesia.”

“It’s high time Africa saw and presented itself as the fifth BRIC, an attractive destination for investment, not just aid,” Okonjo-Iweala said in her Harvard speech.

“This is realistic and within reach. As Nelson Mandela said, ‘It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

Indeed, as countries recover from the global downturn, investment is returning to Africa—and much of it is coming from the BRICs. Sub-Saharan Africa could grow by an average of over six per cent to 2015, . Zoellick said in a speech last month at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars.

“This is not about charity,” said Okonjo-Iweala. “Businesses are looking for new markets in which to invest and Africa is ripe for consideration.”

Source: http://www.compassnewspaper.com


Nigeria: Swiss firm offers $20bn to enter infrastructure bond marketby Enam Obiosio

Mediterranean Consulting Company (MCC) S.A. (Switzerland) on recently wrote the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) of its readiness to acquire up to $20 billion 25 years notes in form of certificate of deposits (CDs), bond or medium term notes (MTNs) under its debt financing and collateral trading programme over a 10-month period starting from June 1, 2010.

The expression of interest provides an unexpected ally for the ICRC in its bid to step-up activities in infrastructure financing in the country.

BusinessDay gathered that the proposal is on the top of agenda for discussions at the meeting of top management of ICRC in Abuja.

The letter of intent was signed on behalf of MCC S.A by Ing.Luigi Forino, the president of MCC Holding Group, a company that specialises in the business of oil and gas marketing facilitation. Forino stated that the fund which would be operated as private-public partnership (PPP) would be for the funding of infrastructure in the country.

“We are willing, ready and able to commit to acquiring up to $20 billion 25 years notes in form of Nigerian government CDs, bond or MTNs under our debt financing and collateral trading programme”, Forino wrote in the letter.

The move is seen as a first major expression of interest in Nigeria’s infrastructure finance market in recent times by a major international player in infrastructure financing.

Indeed, an HSBC Hong Kong and Shangai Bank’s “proof of funds letter” signed by JD Coombe and RA. Fairhead, director, international banking operations and director of treasury, respectively, sent to AL Saleh Abdulrahman Al Saleh, department of finance, Dubai, U.A.E, in possession of BusinessDay confirmed with full responsibility that MCC is one of its clients and that it has the amount in its account.

“We, HSBC Bank hereby confirm with full responsibility that our above mentioned client have twenty billion United States dollars ($20, 000,000,000.00) in cash/assets (Type of assets) on deposits in the above referenced account. We further confirm that these funds are good, clean, cleared, of non-criminal origin, free of any liens or encumbrances, were legally earned, and are fully transferable. We further confirm that Mr. Luigi Forino, with passport No. F0609661, issued by Switzerland, has been recorded as signatory on the above referenced account.”

According to the letter signed by Luigi Forino, president of MCC Holding Group, the company with offices in USA, Canada, Brazil, Argentina, UK, France, Italy, Germany and Africa, among others, has given power of attorney to one Benjamin Aduli for the opening of MCC Petroli branch office in Nigeria to manage the transaction, adding: “We are willing, ready and able to commit to acquiring up to $20 billion 25 years notes in form of Nigerian government CDs, bond or MTNs under our debt financing and collateral trading programme”.

Aduli confirmed to BusinessDay that he has been given the power of attorney to carry out the transactions. He said the company was motivated by opportunities that abound in the bond market coupled with the higher coupon rate currently at 9 percent per annum.

Source: http://www.businessdayonline.com Image: hotels-nigeria.com


South Africa: FIFA World Cup costs SA dear but Long Term Boost Seen: AnalystsBy Stella Mapenzauswa

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South Africa will only directly recoup a fraction of the billions of rand spent on staging the World Cup but should reap long-term economic benefits through the rebranding of a nation noted for violent crime.

Businesses in Africa’s biggest economy have reported booming trade, including increased hotel bookings, car rentals and sales of World Cup memorabilia since the start of the soccer spectacular on June 11.

Visa Inc says spending by foreigners using its credit cards has topped $128 million, up 54 percent compared to the same period last year.

But analysts estimate foreign spending will only inject 13 billion rand into the local economy, far short of the roughly 40 billion rand the government has ploughed into new stadia and upgrading roads and airports.

“In the short-term, the economic benefits will be to a very minor extent, if there is a benefit at all,” said Econometrix analyst Tony Twine, adding more costs would come from lost production while workers watch soccer matches.

“But I think in the longer term we will see definite assistance to economic growth simply because of the global market exposure that the South African economy is enjoying at the moment,” he told Reuters.

Office rental firm Regus says a recent survey of 15,000 contacts on its database showed South African companies were optimistic the country would gain from the World Cup.

Overall, 86.5 percent of respondents said hosting the soccer extravaganza would be good for business, while 83.5 percent believed it would improve global opinions about South Africa as a place to do business.

“The strongly positive view about a change in outside perceptions is especially relevant as South Africa moves into the post-World Cup phase,” said Joanne Bushell, Regus vice-president for Middle East and Africa.

“Some believe the big win is yet to come as business builds on South Africa’s new image as a reliable organiser with modern infrastructure and a can-do attitude.”

BUSINESSES SEE LONG-TERM SPIN-OFF

At the G20 summit in Toronto, President Jacob Zuma said preparations for the World Cup over the last few years had already boosted South Africa’s economy.

“Additional spending by World Cup visitors and residents should boost economic growth this year alone by at least 0.3 percentage points,” he said.

“The marketing benefits, including tourism spin offs, will no doubt be felt for many years to come.”

The Treasury has previously predicted the World Cup would add 0.5 percentage points to GDP this year, with a lasting positive effect seen on the South African economy through infrastructure development, investment and tourism.

It is however too early to definitely say how much in total will flow from the tournament for the country of 50 million, the majority of whose people are still mired in poverty 16 years after the advent of democracy.

While some tourists have been robbed, the world’s biggest sporting event has gone smoothly, dousing initial fears of attacks on foreigners in a country with one of the world’s highest rates of violent crime outside a war zone.

“Most important is the global profiling of South Africa more positively. We were very misunderstood as a destination, both for tourism and even for FDI (foreign direct investment),” said Gillian Saunders, director at Grant Thornton Advisory Services.

“The stories that are going out now are largely that the event is going well, the fans are having a great time. It’s a welcoming and friendly country and there’s nothing major going wrong except little incidents which are being handled as they happen.”

This, among other “non-tangible” benefits, would make up for the monetary shortfall in recovering the government and private sector’s World Cup expenditure, Saunders added.

“Is it money worth spent? I’d say yes, it’s money well spent. I think we got a bargain,” she said.

Source: Reuters Image: Reuters


Assessing Africa’s business future: An interview with the CEO of AbsaMaria RamosMaria Ramos could not have chosen a more difficult moment to become CEO of Absa, a Barclays subsidiary that is one of South Africa’s largest financial-services companies. In an interview with McKinsey’s David Fine, Ramos discusses Africa’s economic prospects, the status of the continent’s financial sector and the way the crisis has affected it, and the importance of financial inclusiveness to economic development.

The Quarterly: How would you describe the state of the African economy?

Maria Ramos: Africa did not go through the recession unscathed. That’s not possible; we’re part of the global economy. But we did relatively OK, given the depth of the global recession. If you look across the African economies, the biggest ones do reflect the downturn. But we’re starting to see African economies come back—whether you look at Botswana, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia—and show some decent growth. Going into the global crisis and recession, African economies were already growing pretty strongly.

It’s also important to realize that it’s a vast continent, with a lot of very different economies. But this is a continent with solid growth opportunities in many of those economies.

The Quarterly: What are the drivers and enablers of growth in Africa?

Maria Ramos: In many countries, there is absolutely no doubt that the focus continues to be, and will remain for some time, on commodities. But we also need to understand that it’s not just the commodity endowment that is driving the potential of those economies. It’s also what’s happened in the last decade and a half around the investment in people, systems, and social and physical infrastructure, as well as increasing government stability and sounder fiscal policies. Those moves are beginning to pay dividends.

The Quarterly: Some people see Africa as the last frontier, the last of the world’s really big growth opportunities. Yet it’s the continent most in need of aid. What is your view on the seemingly contradictory nature of Africa’s situation?

Maria Ramos: We live on a continent where there is still significant poverty and where we still need to have the likes of nongovernmental agencies come in and offer support. I think we should see that not as a negative but rather as an enabler. Africa is much more than a recipient of aid flows. We have countries with large economies and the makings of an economic base that will be increasingly attractive to foreign direct investment and domestic investment.

The notion of the “last frontier” creates an image in my mind that anything goes. It isn’t like that. It’s not an anything-goes kind of place. But it is a place where there are many, many opportunities and a heck of a lot of talent. I have always felt that the biggest resource on our continent isn’t natural resources—irrespective of how important those are. It’s actually the talent, the people. And if we just continue to invest in talent, that’s what’s going to give Africa its comparative advantage.

The Quarterly: What advice do you have for multinationals seeking to invest in Africa?

Maria Ramos: The first piece of advice I give our teams—and remind myself of—is that we need to do very thorough due diligence. We need to understand that if we are going to invest in another country, we must understand that environment well, irrespective of whether you’re investing in Africa or investing in any other geography.

You are going to find some challenges in Africa that you probably wouldn’t be finding if you were investing, for example, in parts of Europe. There certainly will be challenges in some aspects of infrastructure and in telecommunications—the World Bank says that African countries lag behind their peers in other parts of the developing world by just about every measure of infrastructure coverage. If you do encounter challenges, what’s required is a thorough engagement and commitment to the investment you’re making. Sometimes investments have longer return horizons than they do at other times, and that requires you to put some of your best people, technology, and systems on the job. There are no shortcuts. This is not one of those places where you’re going to come in and make a quick buck and leave. That said, we believe that countries offering the strongest growth potential in the coming years are Angola, Ghana, Nigeria, Uganda, and Zambia, which are likely to be the biggest gainers from development in the mining, energy, and other infrastructure sectors.

The big issue is financing—for example, how to cross the divide and provide funding solutions to African countries and businesses. In some cases, there will be a need for governments to support the financing solutions. This will reduce the risk and naturally reduce the cost of funding. Public–private partnerships, which are already being seen, may become more prevalent on the continent.

The Quarterly: How would you describe political risk in Africa to corporate board members?

Maria Ramos: Most boards are pretty sophisticated—they can distinguish between the different countries and their political risks. But I also want to make the point that most countries in Africa have actually made great progress in the last 15 or 20 years in dealing with political risk. Of course, there are still some countries where we are currently experiencing political risk and uncertainty and even war. But those are a minority.

The Quarterly: How did the South African and African financial systems fare in the crisis?

Maria Ramos: South Africa has come through this crisis with a banking sector that has actually done very well, thanks to regulators who acted ahead of the curve. The fact that we’ve been disciplined about the implementation of Basel II,1 for example, has been a good thing. South Africa as a country committed itself to some of the IMF2 disciplines around reviewing its own banking system and financial system. As a consequence, South Africa has undergone several reviews through the IMF’s and World Bank’s Financial Sector Assessment Program and published the results. Interestingly enough, many of the African countries have not had their banking systems decimated, in part because these systems were not as sophisticated and as integrated into the global financial system as banks in the developed part of the world.

As we consider the proposed changes to the regulatory framework currently under discussion in the aftermath of the global financial crisis and the recession that has accompanied it, we need to remind ourselves that we need a sounder, safer, global financial system.

The regulation that we take on board has to be suitable for the countries that we are operating in. But you need to test that principle against the need to be a global player and to keep up with and be connected to the global financial system. The measures that you adopt have to suit your domestic economy but also have to keep you on the same trajectory as what’s going on globally.

The Quarterly: How do you assess the evolution of the financial sector in Africa?

Maria Ramos: One of the barriers to doing business for many years has been the fact that we haven’t really had, in many countries, very well-developed and very deep financial markets. In some countries, we’re beginning to see some development in that regard. In fact, we’re starting to see more African countries get credit ratings, allowing them to access capital markets and to raise money. That’s a great development. We are starting to see stock markets emerge and become better traded, with more liquidity. I happen to believe that we need more regionalization. You’ll get more liquidity if we were to have, for example, a regional stock market as opposed to just individual country stock markets. But I’m also very conscious of the fact that we’ve been talking about that for a long time. I think this is probably one of the things that we don’t do as well as we should—we often talk about things but we don’t really get down to the actual implementation fast enough, before people in other parts of the world move ahead and take the space from a market point of view.

The Quarterly: What about the issue of financial inclusiveness—moving people from the rolls of the unbanked?

Maria Ramos: If you want economic development, you need to broaden financial access and inclusion. We are beginning to see some of that, but not to the extent and at the pace we ought to see in many countries. Some reports suggest that only around one-quarter of Africans have bank accounts. As banks in South Africa, we have had to think long and hard and were pushed to extend services to the many South Africans who, often for political reasons, had not been included in financial services. The more we move down the road of inclusiveness—across many African countries—the better we are going to get at finding the connection between economic development and economic opportunity. That would also create great opportunities for financial institutions. And there are lessons to be learned from India about how to do entry-level banking.

The Quarterly: What is your view on China’s increasing role in Africa, and how do you see that playing out over time?

Maria Ramos: It’s an interesting thing that China attracts so much attention in relation to Africa. China has become a more and more dominant player in the global economy. You’re going to be hard-pressed to find a big global company that looks at the world and doesn’t think of having a presence in China. Yet when we think about China in relation to Africa, we think there’s something unnatural about the Chinese investing in African countries.

The first point I want to make is that China’s relationship with Africa is not a new relationship. It is an old relationship. What we have seen is China looking at Africa and saying, what are the opportunities? We need resources and commodities—where are they available? Where do we look for them? Are there business and investment opportunities? So, of course, China is investing. Perhaps they just see different opportunities. Maybe they are able to respond to those opportunities faster. I think they certainly respond to them without the same conditions other investors look for.

We should not underestimate the Chinese—they are smart investors. And in some cases they are aggressive investors too, in the sense that when they see an opportunity, they are going to pursue it, and pursue it really hard.

The Quarterly: How should foreigners, and particularly potential investors, view the current social and political situation in South Africa?

Maria Ramos: The important thing to remember is that South Africa has a strong constitution. We’re a democracy. Our country has a solid legal framework, and since this country became a democracy, that actually has never failed us. Crime is however still a concern. It’s incumbent on us, as South Africans, to keep in perspective that we need to put our trust in our legal system to ensure that the perpetrators of crime will be judged in an appropriate court and that the process will be followed. Crime is one of the challenges we face, and the government is trying to deal with it and has put an enormous amount of resources behind the effort. But as businesspeople, it’s one of the things that we need to constantly remind the government of. South Africa isn’t going to fall apart because we have experienced these events. They are tragic. They grab the global headlines and that’s not good. But this is not the way to judge our country’s performance.

Source: https://www.mckinseyquarterly.com Image: www.timeslive.co.za


Country Stats: Botswana

Capital: Gaborone
Area: 582,000 sq km
Total Population 2009: 2 Million
Urban Population 2009: 60.41%
Female Population 2009: 50.04%
GDP 2009: US$ 11.8 Billion
GNI Per Capita 2008: US$ 6,470
Inflation Rate 2009: 8.6%
Crude Birth Rate (per 1000) 2009: 24.37%
Human Development Index (scale 0 to 1) 2007: 0.694
Membership Date: 31/03/1972
Cumulative Approvals (1967-2009): UA 1.5 Billion

Source: Africa Development Bank

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