23 Sep

African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum 2016

On September 26, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman will deliver opening remarks for the 2016 Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum. Since 2000, AGOA has been the cornerstone of U.S. economic policy in Africa. The annual AGOA Forum serves as the premier event that brings together African Trade Ministers with U.S. counterparts to discuss how we can work together to enhance our trade and investment relationship. Highlights of the AGOA Forum Ministerial will include best practices for an effective AGOA utilization strategy, addressing supply-side constraints to AGOA utilization, e.g., access to finance, preparing for a more reciprocal trade relationship, and managing risk to balance cross-border trade with security.

The Civil Society Forum, taking place on September 22-23, will bring together non-governmental and African diaspora organizations to share their ideas for reinforcing our collective efforts under AGOA. This will be streamed and can be watched at http://www.agoacsonetwork.org

The opening and closing sessions of the one-day AGOA Forum are open to the press and will be streamed live Monday, September 26 at www.video.state.gov.

Opening remarks with Assistant Secretary Linda Thomas-Greenfield and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman will begin at 9:00 a.m.
Pre-set time for video cameras: 8:00 a.m. from the 23rd Street entrance.
Final access time for journalists and still photographers: 8:30 a.m. from the 23rd Street entrance.

Opening remarks with Assistant Secretary Linda Thomas-Greenfield and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman will begin at 9:00 a.m.

Media representatives may attend this event upon presentation of one of the following: (1) A U.S. Government-issued identification card (Department of State, White House, Congress, Department of Defense or Foreign Press Center), (2) a media-issued photo identification card, or (3) a letter from their employer on letterhead verifying their employment as a journalist, accompanied by an official photo identification card (driver’s license, passport).

For a detailed schedule of events open to the press or inquiries, please contact Marion Wohlers, wohlersmj@state.gov

Distributed by APO on behalf of U.S. Department of State.

22 Sep

GE reinforces Commitment to Africa at 2016 U.S.-Africa Business Forum

GE, which has operated in Africa for over 100 years, committed at the 2014 event to invest $2 billion in facility development, skills training, and sustainability initiatives across Africa by 2018

Two years ago, the first U.S.-Africa Business Forum drew the attention of the world to the promise of Africa. Governments and organizations discussed and debated opportunities in infrastructure, innovation, and workforce development, and together committed more than $33 billion in deals, investments, and financing to accelerate African growth.

GE, which has operated in Africa for over 100 years, committed at the 2014 event to invest $2 billion in facility development, skills training, and sustainability initiatives across Africa by 2018. Today, ahead of the second U.S.-Africa Business Forum, GE is proud to announce significant progress against these commitments, as well as several new initiatives.

Jay Ireland, president and CEO of GE Africa, said: “Meeting Africa’s needs takes leadership and cooperation This week’s U.S.-Africa Business Forum signals the strong commitment by both African and U.S. companies and governments to collaborate for economic growth.  GE is proud to remain a steadfast partner in Africa’s sustainable growth and will continue to invest in people and infrastructure across Africa.”

Nabil Habayeb, president and CEO of GE Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey said: “Building on our decades of presence in the region, we have specifically focused on supporting North African nations to strengthen their energy, healthcare and transportation infrastructure – sectors that are mission-critical for sustained growth. In addition to delivering advanced digital industrial technologies that enhance productivity and efficiency, our emphasis has been to create thriving innovation ecosystems and promote local capacity building. Led by the success of these initiatives, we are taking our partnerships to the next level to accelerate growth and progress.”

Building infrastructure

Africa is home to 12 of the world’s 20 fastest-growing economies, and its manufacturing, services and technology sectors are fueling markets around the globe. Improving access to core infrastructure will equip more Africans to tap its vast potential.

1.      GE’s installed base across Africa totals more than 93 gigawatts of power. We have added approximately 11 gigawatts to the grid since 2014, and 2.74 gigawatts are currently under development by GE in Power Africa projects

2.      GE has spent $15m over the past two years on projects representing roughly 2GW of power in Nigeria and Ghana. Today, we are excited to announce the signing of the PPA and related agreements for the Ghana 300 Bridge Project, which will power the equivalent of 700,000 homes in Ghana.

3.      In Egypt, the government needed help to avoid outages during Ramadan in 2015.  GE delivered 2.6 gigawatts — enough emergency power to supply 2.5 million homes — in 9 months, the fastest project of that size we have ever done.

4.      In Algeria, GE has created 3 joint ventures across the energy spectrum.  We broke ground in 2015 at GE Algeria Turbines (GEAT) and are preparing the site; we expect it to be operational by 2018.

5.      In Nigeria, we launched a $20M Healthymagination Mother & Child initiative in 2016 with USAID, the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health, and the National Primary Health Care Development Agency. Two million expectant Nigerian mothers are set to benefit from the program by 2020.

6.      GE is supporting Kenya’s Managed Equipment Services (MES) project in line with the country’s transformation strategy. One of the largest healthcare modernization programs to date in Africa, we have so far upgraded radiology departments at 96 Ministry of Health hospitals. Early results are positive; access to radiology services improved by 50 percent across three pilot hospitals in the first five months after the new equipment was installed.

7.      Through partnership agreements in Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Angola, we support their development agendas in power generation, healthcare, and transportation. We were even named one of Nigeria’s most strategic investors this year.

Localized solutions

GE is proud to remain a steadfast partner in Africa’s sustainable growth and will continue to invest in people and infrastructure across Africa

GE is working with partners in Africa to drive sustainable development and solve local challenges by investing in technology, building capital markets and developing technical skills within communities:

1.      GE launched its first Africa-based innovation center in South Africa in 2016. The Africa Innovation Centre, according to GE Africa president Jay Ireland, will be a “collaborative work space” aimed at “driving innovation in Africa for Africa.”

2.      The Centre, which serves as the Africa HQ for GE’s growing Healthcare business, also houses the first Healthcare Customer Experience Centre in Africa, which is designed to mimic different care areas in a hospital environment.

3.      GE inaugurated the brand new $13 million GE Healthcare Skills and Training Institute, an education facility for healthcare professionals, in Kenya in 2016, as part of its MES commitment. Through the new facility, GE has committed to training over 10,000 healthcare professionals from across Kenya and East Africa by 2020.

4.      The $19M supplier development fund we outlined in 2014 is operational, and 18 small- and medium-sized businesses are now receiving business and technical services.

5.      In collaboration with the U.S. Africa Development Foundation and USAID, today GE continues its commitment to the “Power Africa Off-Grid Energy Challenge”. The initiative has awarded 50 grants of up to $100,000 each to local enterprises to develop and expand off-grid solutions in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia.

6.      In 2016, GE’s and the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship launched a program to train and mentor African social entrepreneurs addressing maternal and/or child health. The program selected its first cohort of 17 social entrepreneurs, who will gain support in strengthening their business models, refining business plans, reinforcing organizational development, managing talent, and learning how to scale sustainably.

7.      In Egypt, GE and the Ministry of Communications and IT launched the GE Egypt Digital Innovation Challenge in September 2016. Entrepreneurs can submit digital solutions for industrial challenges in healthcare, transportation, and energy until November 30, and winners will receive a cash award of EGP 100,000, as well as an opportunity to receive training to develop their software solution on Predix.

Capacity building

GE investing in capacity building that will ensure sustained growth by providing skills training and developing leaders through partnerships with local governments, schools, and hospitals:

1.      GE employs more than ~4100 workers across 35 countries in Africa. Since the U.S.-Africa Business Forum in 2014, GE has received over $11B in orders. In 2015, GE saw $6.4B in revenue across the continent.

2.      Since 2014 GE upgraded GE facilities in South Africa and Nigeria; opened new facilities in Kenya and Ghana; and launched offices in Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Cote d’Ivoire.

3.      In 2014, the GE Foundation announced a $20M commitment to advance maternal and child health in Africa, through the extension of programs supporting the Sustainable Development Goals to eradicate preventable maternal and infant mortality. Nearly 800 health workers have been trained so far through biomedical equipment technician and nurse anesthetist programs.

4.      The GE Foundation further committed in 2015 to its Safe Surgery 2020 Initiative, a $25 million-dollar, 3-year commitment to accelerate access to safe surgery in low- and middle-income countries. The Initiative launched in Ethiopia and will expand to Tanzania next.

5.      GE and the GE Foundation’s 2014 investment in Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon has trained 30 technicians in equipment repair and maintenance in Ethiopia. The program is launching a biomedical center of excellence there.

6.      GE has facilitated leadership development and helped develop curricula at Regional Leadership Centres for President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). GE staff members also serve as mentors to youth in the program.

7.      GE  expanded its GE Garages program into Kenya in 2015, collaborating with Gearbox and Seven Seas Technologies help build a skilled workforce and drive entrepreneurial development in the country.

Source: GE

22 Sep

Financing small-scale farmers: Opportunities for the private sector to get involved

Agriculture – especially small-scale farming – is a vital part of the African economies. The sector employs most of the continent’s labour force and contributes to an estimated 25% of GDP, with smallholder farmers producing up to 80% of the food in sub-Saharan Africa.

But despite its significance, the sector’s potential remains mostly unrealised. This is largely due to farmers’ lack of access to adequate financing, according to the recently-released Africa Agriculture Status Report 2016 by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). While commercial bank lending for agriculture amounts to US$660m per year, the research noted there is still considerable untapped capacity. In addition, funds generally have not reached smallholder farmers – many of whom remain unbanked and do not possess the assets needed for traditional financing collateral.

There is a growing consensus that Africa requires innovative strategies to meet its agriculture investment needs and the report highlights some areas where the private sector can get involved.

1. Africa could double its manufacturing output by 2025

While the continent’s manufacturing sector underperforms – compared to those of other emerging regions – it has the potential to nearly double output, from US$500bn in 2015, to $930bn in 2025. This increased productivity would generate between six and 14 million jobs. Key to this would be creating a more enabling environment for manufacturers by addressing factors hindering the ability to produce and export goods.

According to the report, three-quarters of Africa’s manufacturing potential lies in African-based companies meeting local demand, considering that the continent imports one-third of its food products. The other quarter would result from an increase in exports.

2. Africa’s GDP statistics show a misleadingly negative story

The continent’s GDP, annual productivity and foreign direct investment growth rates have all slowed in recent years. However, McKinsey notes that Africa’s overall growth slowdown largely reflects economic challenges in two distinct groups of countries: “North African countries caught up in the turmoil that followed the democracy movements collectively known as the Arab Spring, and oil exporters affected by the sharp decline in oil prices”. According to the report, these two groups account for nearly three-fifths of Africa’s combined GDP.

Tunisia, Egypt and Libya were the North African countries most affected by the Arab Spring – which began in early Tunisia and spread across Arab nations 2011. As a result, these three markets did not grow at all between 2010 and 2015 – having experienced an average growth of 4.8% over the previous decade. For oil-exporting nations like Angola, Nigeria, Algeria and Sudan, growth slowed from 7.3% to 4%. Both groups also experienced a decline in productivity growth.

[…]

Read the full story here:  buff.ly/2cNpG3t

13 Sep

Coal-based Independent Power Producer Programme Announcement

As one of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change participating member states, South Africa has made international commitments to both sustainable development and climate change

Ms. Tina Joematt-Pettersson, the Minister of Energy has announced the successful bidders for the 1st Coal-based Independent Power Producer Programme. Coal is South Africa’s dominant energy source. 77% of South Africa’s energy needs are provided by this mineral. Environmental considerations and the increasing prevalence of extreme climate events compel the South African government to progressively reduce our dependence on coal and traditional coal fired electricity plant technologies. As one of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change participating member states, South Africa has made international commitments to both sustainable development and climate change. With the understanding that this will entail a reduction in the use of fossil fuels, these commitments signalled an important step in South Africa’s journey to a cleaner energy future. In October 2015, along with Energy Ministers from the G20 countries, South Africa affirmed its commitment to enhanced deployment of Renewable Energy (RE).

South Africa’s commitments to a lower carbon and carbon resilient future have also been embedded throughout the country’s national policy framework. In 2010, the South African Government adopted a plan to grow the share of RE in the electricity mix from 0% to 21% over the 20 year planning horizon to 2030, simultaneously reducing the capacity share of fossil fuels in the electricity mix from 86.5% to 57%.Our Renewal Energy Independent Power Producers Programme (REIPPPP) is effecting this commitment. “As at the end of June 2016, 6 376 MW of electricity have been procured from 102 RE Independent Power Producers in six (6) bid rounds. Of this, 2 200 MW of electrical generation capacity from 44 IPP projects has been connected to the national grid”, said the Minister.

Launched in December 2014, the Coal Programme is the first baseload programme which allows the private sector to generate energy using coal resources. This programme is rolled out through two (2) bid windows. The preferred bidders of the first bid window coal baseload programme are Thabametsi and Khanyisa. Both bidders were selected as per the stringent requirements of the first bid submission phase, with all bids reviewed and evaluated by the IPP Office. […]

You can read the full story here

11 Sep

Uganda: Gold Is Second Largest Export

Gold is now Uganda’s second largest export commodity after coffee, after posting historical highs in the last three-quarters of the financial year 2015/16.

According to the Bank of Uganda’s (BoU) 2015/16 annual report, the gold exports value during the financial year rose to $204m (Shs693b) from a paltry $230,000 (Shs782m) in the 2014/15 financial year.

This is the highest value of gold exports Uganda has released since 1997/1998. In fact, the last time gold export values were this high was in 2006/07 financial year at $116m (Shs394b) but then fish export values were in second place, with coffee remaining in the lead.

According to Dr Adam Mugume, the director of research at BoU, they’re yet to determine why gold exports expanded at a much higher rate than any other export.

“One of the reasons is the establishment of firms that process gold in Uganda. This formalised gold operations. Instead of taking gold to Nairobi in raw form, moreover unrecorded or smuggled, both Gold from Uganda and DRC are processed in Uganda and exported,” he told the Daily Monitor in an email. He, however, emphasises that the research department at BoU was still trying to ascertain the source of the exported gold.

Volume of exports

At least 5,423 kilogrammes of gold were exported through Uganda. Value addition is currently being done by the latest gold refinery in Uganda. The Africa Gold Refinery, located in Entebbe, officially unveiled its presence in the country at last week’s 5th Mineral Wealth Conference.

“Because of the good investment opportunity, we have just registered a state of the art gold refinery in the country. This has been put up by a private investor. This is the next gold refinery in Africa after South Africa. It has the capacity to produce 200kgs per day in a double shift,” said Mr Edwards Katto, commissioner, Directorate of Geological Survey and Mines (DGSM) at the conference.

 Read the full story here: AllAfrica
05 Sep

African trade integration most exciting whenever it creates more jobs

This integration will be key to Africa’s long-term success and African nations must integrate more, UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi told a public meeting in Geneva.

While some politicians in the global north express doubt about the benefits of trade, countries in Africa are moving ahead with deeper economic integration.

This integration will be key to Africa’s long-term success and African nations must integrate more, UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi told a public meeting in Geneva.

“Africa has to know that there is no part of the world which has been successful in trading globally without learning first to trade with its neighbours,” Dr. Kituyi said on Thursday, talking at a session on inclusive trade at the World Trade Organization (WTO) public forum.

“Africa is widely noted for its low levels of intra-regional trade, but in fact the levels are much higher when North Africa is removed from the analysis,” Dr. Kituyi said. In East Africa, intra-regional trade is closer to 26%, the same level as in Latin America.

Meanwhile, preparations continue for the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), bringing together more than one billion people in 54 African countries with a combined gross domestic product of more than $3.4 trillion. Dr. Kituyi said the CFTA was unlikely to happen in 2017 as originally planned, but the target had helped to move the project forward.

“I had the privilege to visit 16 African presidents to talk to them about the CFTA and I am satisfied that a large number of the political leadership believes in the future and the need for African integration.”

Change is already happening. In the space of a year, the time required to move a container from Mombasa in Kenya to Kampala in Uganda has

rica’s largest economic sector, its extractive industries, has not created enough jobs on the continent. More intra-African trade will lead to fairer, more equitable, growth, and the creation of more and better jobs.

Dr. Kituyi said there were limits to regional integration, however. Switzerland has prospered without joining the European Union. And although a single African currency is politically attractive, it cannot be effective without an effective mechanism to discipline public deficits.

Despite the reservations of some politicians, trade is a powerful driver of jobs, economic growth, and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

“Trade is not just about statistics on goods and services. It is also about people,” Dr. Kituyi said.

“And for me, trade integration is most exciting whenever it creates more jobs.”

Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

03 Sep

Digital finance set to open opportunities in Africa

DIGITAL finance has been hailed as a powerful tool that holds opportunities in the extension of basic services and financial inclusion across Africa.

Speaking at the Africa Financial Summit, Reserve Bank deputy governor Daniel Mminele said: “One can no longer talk about growth without making reference to the fourth industrial revolution and digital finance.”

Earlier this year, the World Bank highlighted digital finance as having the capacity to contribute to reaching the goal of universal access to financial services by 2020.

About 2-billion adults across the world do not have access to formal financial services. In sub-Saharan Africa, about 30% of the population has a bank account, a low figure when compared with emerging Asia’s 50%.

Financial inclusion in East Asia is close to 70%. In SA, 77% of the adult population has a bank account.

Organisations such as the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) are working with financial services providers to leverage payment infrastructure that is increasing in parts of Africa and offer other financial services. The aim, said CGAP’s Michel Hanouch, was to offer more advanced services, such as credit facilities.

Kenya has successfully transformed mobile banking services to reach beyond simple money-sending capability. Mobile wallets now allow people to save and transact via their phones.

The Commercial Bank of Africa noted that mobile wallet users tended to retain money in their wallet, thus using it as a savings facility.

Eric Muriuki, who heads the new business ventures division at the Commercial Bank of Africa, said clients used their wallets like they would a current account and they wanted to capitalise on that. “What we’re looking at now is how we extend financial inclusion beyond payments so that we’re not just facilitating a money-sending service,” he said.

Financial literacy was also vital in ensuring clients had a better understanding of financial products and the importance of healthy financial habits.

This allowed the bank to extend products beyond simple money transfers.

Source: bdlive