24 Sep

Investment in renewable energy sector continues to power forward

Africa’s grid-connected electricity deficit coupled with its wealth of renewable resources, like sunshine, make it an attractive destination for energy investors. Africa Private Equity News, an industry information service, reports ongoing investment and strong deal activity in the continent’s power sector in August 2018.

“As both GDP growth and urbanisation in African continue to rise, the demand for power on the continent will increase exponentially. Renewable power will continue to make up the bulk of the new supply, in particular as: costs continue to drop; battery storage technology becomes more efficient allowing renewable sources to provide baseload supply; and renewable projects allow for the flexibility of multiple smaller projects in isolated regions or on mini-grids,” Andre Wepener, head of the power and infrastructure finance team at Investec, told Africa Oil & Power in an interview.

African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM), an infrastructure-focused private equity fund and part of Old Mutual Alternative Investments, through its IDEAS Managed Fund, has acquired stakes in nine new solar and wind power plants in South Africa. When all these facilities are fully operational, expected at the end of 2020, they will provide an additional 800 MW of renewable energy capacity into the national power grid. “We are looking at almost R9 billion (US$611 million) in total capital expenditure across these power projects,” said Sean Friend, investment director at AIIM.

In another notable South African power deal, Vantage GreenX Fund Managers announced that through its second renewable energy fund, Vantage GreenX Note II, it has provided R2.05 billion ($139 million) of funding to a combination of six solar and wind energy projects with a combined capacity of 433 MW. Furthermore, Globeleq, an independent power producer, acquired Brookfield Asset Management’s South African renewable energy interests. The agreement will give Globeleq a majority shareholding in six projects totalling 178 MW.

In Senegal, a recent financing deal has cleared the way for progress on the Taiba Ndiaye wind power development. The project reached financial close on 30 July, with construction scheduled to begin in the near future. Operated by London-headquartered Lekela – a joint venture between Irish renewable energy company Mainstream and private equity investor Actis – and sponsored by French developer Sarréole, the site, when completed, will generate 158 MW.

Read more here: How We Made It in Africa

28 Mar

Nigeria’s Sahara Revives IPO as It looks to Pump More Oil

Nigerian energy conglomerate Sahara Group Ltd. said it revived plans for a share-sale as it looks to increase oil production four-fold to 100,000 barrels per day.

Lagos-based Sahara mulled an initial public offering in the Nigerian commercial capital and London in 2015, before falling crude prices forced it to backtrack.

“The IPO is now back on the table,” Tonye Cole, Sahara’s executive director and co-founder, said in an interview in Kigali, Rwanda. “After we made the announcement then, the entire market crashed, oil prices went down, and so we put the plans on hold.”

Cole didn’t provide a timeframe or say how much he wanted to raise. In 2015, he said he would look to sell as much as 25 percent of Sahara for $600 million.

Read the full article @Bloomberg

 

29 Aug

Is the African mining sector becoming uninvestable?

mining sector

At the recent Africa Forum hosted by Hogan Lovells, in London, a number of common, positive themes came through: Africa is a continent of endless possibilities and opportunities; Africa has significant natural and human resources which can be unlocked for the benefit of all Africans; and the investability of many African countries has improved, for various reasons, including mature banking, finance and legal institutions, investment-friendly policies and regulatory frameworks, and national development plans which demonstrate governmental support for sustainable infrastructure and development.

Why then, within the context of a mostly positive view of investment in Africa, is the question posed whether the African mining and natural resources sector, is becoming uninvestable?

Firstly, positive views of investment in Africa don’t always extend to the mining and naturals resources sector. While it is often acknowledged by stakeholders that the mining and natural resources of a country can contribute meaningfully to growth, development and transformation, there is a growing questioning of the impact of mining on aspects such as the environment, host communities, social structures, tourism, and industries such as agriculture, versus the benefits that often flow from mining and beneficiation operations. As the voices of concern increase and develop, the benefits that flow from mining and beneficiation operations are likely to be questioned, even further.

Secondly, the recent mining policy and regulatory changes in Tanzania and South Africa have brought into sharp focus the fragility of investment decisions relating to so-called frontier markets, such as Tanzania, and emerging markets, such as South Africa.

With a decrease in the number of investable frontier markets (equity and bond markets which are typically smaller than emerging markets and where there is less liquidity) and investment instability in emerging markets, such as South Africa, the recent events in these two countries are more concerning.

Tanzanian president, John Magufuli, signed into law the Natural Wealth and Resources Bill 2017, and the Natural Wealth and Resources Contracts Bill 2017, on 3 July, 2017. These laws, which were fast-tracked though the Tanzanian parliament, in a matter of weeks, have far-reaching consequences for foreign companies with investments in Tanzania, one of the continent’s largest gold producers.

There has been extensive investment in Tanzania’s gold mining industry, with a large percentage of the investment, focused on prospecting operations, which are of course critical in the creation of a pipeline that can be converted into mines, in the future. Many of these investors are listed in Australia, and the Australian Stock Exchange took the drastic step of suspending trading of various junior mining companies, following the announcement of the enactment of the laws, by President Magufuli. The uncertainties flowing from the new laws are likely to impact on these junior mining companies, who are focused on exploration, quite dramatically and it will make capital raising exercises extremely difficult, if not impossible. Where ownership of mining assets in a company are put at risk, this is likely to scare off would-be investors, and make existing investors exercise extreme caution.

Key changes brought about by the new legislation in Tanzania include the following:

  • The Tanzanian government is given the right to re-negotiate or dissolve current mining contracts with multi-national companies
  • The state will be required to own at least 16% of mining projects
  • Export royalties have been increased
  • The Tanzanian government can reject a mining company’s valuation where the government believes that the transfer price is too low, and the Tanzanian government is entitled to purchase the consignment of the minerals, at the price declared by the mining company
  • The right to international arbitration is removed
  • The Tanzanian government is also pushing for compulsory listing of mining companies on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange, with the complexities that this will bring, particularly because of the potentially small pool of investors who can take up the public offerings.

While multi-national mining companies with investments in Tanzania continue to engage with the Tanzanian government, some of the multi-national companies have declared disputes with the Tanzanian government and are referring these disputes to arbitration. None of this is good for the Tanzanian mining sector.

On 15 June, 2017, the South African minister of minerals, Mosebenzi Zwane published the “Reviewed Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Charter for the South African Mining and Minerals Industry, 2016″, (“Mining Charter 3“).

The response was immediate, dramatic, and far reaching. It is estimated that mining stocks lost approximately R50bn (US$3.8bn) in value, following the announcement, with the rand losing ground, and the Chamber of Mines, the body that represents the majority of the mining companies, launching legal proceedings against Minister Zwane. The grounds of challenge go to the heart of the minister’s powers and functions under the mining legislation and the Constitutionality of Mining Charter 3.

While Minister Zwane has labelled the legal challenge as being anti-transformation, the Chamber of Mines and other bodies representing mining interests have consistently expressed the position that the industry is committed to transformation, that the industry has demonstrated its commitment through the implementation of appropriate programmes of transformation – including in respect of the host communities through the social and labour plans, which are a requirement under the mining laws, but that the targets in the Mining Charter must be achievable, sustainable, and the timeframe should take into account the reality that the mining industry finds itself in, with the spectre of further job losses in the near future (while figures vary, the suggestion is that in excess of 80,000 direct jobs have been lost, in the industry, over the last three to five years. Various South African mining companies have recently announced proposals for further job losses, which may exceed 20,000 direct jobs).

Mining Charter 3 made significant amendments to the transformation requirements under the previous versions of the mining charter. Key changes include the following:

  • Holders of new prospecting rights must have a minimum of 50% plus one black person shareholding
  • A holder of a new mining right must have a minimum of 30% black person shareholding (up from the previous 26%)
  • The 30% black person shareholding in new mining rights must be distributed amongst three beneficiaries, namely a minimum of 8% for employee share ownership plans, a minimum of 8% for mine communities to be held in a community trust, and a minimum of 14% to Black Economic Empowerment entrepreneurs
  • For employee share ownership plans, a minimum of 8% for mine communities to be held in a community trust, and a minimum of 14% to Black Economic Empowerment entrepreneurs
  • A holder of a new mining right must pay a minimum of 1% of its annual turnover in any given financial year to the black person shareholders prior to, and over and above, any distributions to the shareholders of the holder
  • While there is limited recognition of the “once empowered, always empowered” principle, unless the historical Black Economic Empowerment transaction achieved 26% black shareholding or more, the historical transaction is not recognised
  • Where a historical Black Economic Empowerment transaction is recognised, the holder is required to top up the black person shareholding from the existing level to a minimum of 30% black person shareholding within 12 months;
  • Even where a holder of a mining right maintained a minimum of 26% black person shareholding as at 15 June, 2017, the holder is required to top up its black person shareholding to a minimum of 30% within 12 months from the date of publication of Mining Charter 3;
  • Minimum requirements are specified in relation to procurement, supplier and enterprise development. A holder is required to spend a minimum of 70% of total mining goods procurement spend on South African manufacturedgoods, with the 70%, being broken down into specified requirements. A minimum of 80% of total spend on services must be sources from South African-based companies, with the 80%, being broken down, into specified requirements;
  • A foreign supplier (a foreign controlled and registered company, supplying the South African mining and minerals industry with mining goods and services, which does not have at least a Level 4 DTI Code BEE Status, and 25% plus one vote black ownership) must contribute a minimum of 1% of its annual turnover generated from local mining companies towards the Mining Transformation and Development Agency;
  • Employment equity targets are increased, and there are specified requirements from board level, to core and critical skills.

There were glimmers of hope when, following negotiations between the Chamber of Mines and Minister Zwane, Minister Zwane agreed to suspend Mining Charter 3 pending the outcome of the legal challenge initiated by the Chamber of Mines. However, the following week, Minister Zwane published his intention to issue a notice placing a moratorium on all applications for new prospecting and mining rights, renewals of prospecting and mining rights, and ministerial consents in terms of Section 11 of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, No. 28 of 2002 (“MPRDA”) (in summary where a right or an interest in a right is to be transferred or there is a change of control, ministerial consent is required).

The minister indicated his intention to issue the moratorium notice under Section 49 of the MPRDA which vests the minister with the authority to issue a notice prohibiting prospecting or mining in respect of certain geographical areas or certain minerals for a particular period, having regard to the national interest, the strategic nature of the mineral in question and the need to promote the sustainable development of the nation’s mineral resources.

The widely expressed view was that the minister had exceeded his powers under Section 49 of the MPRDA by intending to issue a blanket notice. Litigation was again initiated, and at the time of publishing this article, there is uncertainty regarding the status of the moratorium notice.

On a positive note, stakeholders across the spectrum, including the largest, recognised trade unions in the mining industry, have spoken out against the actions of Minister Zwane, and there have been widespread calls for his resignation or sacking.

But this of course does not remedy the turmoil which the South African mining sector finds itself in, and large scale job losses loom.

While the South African and Tanzanian mining sectors are in turmoil, this does not mean that Africa is uninvestable.

Africa has a significant and, often, thriving mining and minerals industry, providing millions of jobs and opportunities. It is also a source of significant foreign direct investment, and the mining sector remains a substantial contributor to the GDP of many African countries with the benefits that this brings to the growth of those economies.

It is likely that demand for certain precious metals will continue to grow, and that the demand for the so-called “battery metals” will grow exponentially. All of this creates opportunities for investors, provided that the investors have a proper understanding of the various risks that are faced in these investment opportunities.

The investability of Africa is likely to depend, significantly, on balancing the growing need for mineral resources while at the same time, addressing concerns that multi-national companies extract value without returning benefits for the host countries, and ensuring that the vast socio-economic benefits that can flow from mining operations, materialise.

Warren Beech is global head for mining at Hogan Lovells in Johannesburg. Jessica Black Livingston is a deputy for mining at Hogan Lovells in Denver.

 

from How We Made It In Africa

29 Aug

Kwale titanium miner rebounds to Sh1.71bn full-year profit

titanium

Base Resources has rebounded to full-year profit of Sh1.71 billion (AU$21 million) for the period ended June 30 from $20.9 million (Sh1.70 billion) loss a year earlier, the Kwale-based miner announced on Monday.

The Australia-owned large-scale mining firm attributed the performance to increased sales volumes, rise in commodity prices and cost management measures.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 81 per cent to AU$109.7 million (Sh8.94 billion) from A$60.6 million (Sh4.94 billion) the year before.

The firm said sales revenue from the Kwale mine exports rose 28 per cent to AU$215 million (Sh17.53 billion) from AU$169 million (Sh13.78 billion) in June 2016, hitting a new record since it made first shipments in February 2014.

Ilmenite volumes rose by a marginal 4.4 per cent to 501,676 tonnes, rutile increased to 91,991 tonnes from 85,536 tonnes, while shipments of zircon climbed to 34,566 tonnes from 33,062 tonnes last year.

The company said it also sold 9,501 tonnes of low grade zircon, volumes which it did not ship last year. The minerals were sold at an average price of AU$338 per tonne (Sh27,560), a 19.86 per cent jump, it says.

In Summary

  • Base Resources attributed the performance to increased sales volumes, rise in commodity prices and cost management measures

source from Nation

29 Aug

‘Solar key to sustainable energy supply in Nigeria,’ says report

solar

In the oil-soaked West African nation of 187 million people, solar is slowly infiltrating every part of society in Nigeria. It is awakening entrepreneurial instincts, giving life to innovative payment models, and promising to restore at least some faith in the government’s ability to bring electricity to citizens used to frequent blackouts or no power at all.

A recent report produced by Power Nigeria, which is taking place from 5-7 September at the Landmark Centre in Lagos, highlighted the need for additional solar capacity in the country and what challenges the country faces to achieve this.

In 2017, financial closure is expected on at least some of the 14 solar plant projects announced in July 2016. If successful, they’ll bring a total of 1.2GW to Nigeria, largely in the north, far from most conventional generation capacity.

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous country and has power capacity of roughly 5GW (at peak in February 2016), but dropped to less than half that in January 2017.

Half of Nigerians have no access to grid-based electricity. About 40% of Nigerian grid-powered businesses use supplemental energy. The rule of thumb is 1GW is needed per million people, in a fully developed economy. That means Nigeria has a 181GW deficit. The 1.2GW of solar doesn’t make a dent.

Yet Nigeria aims for renewables to supply 30% of output by 2030. The social consideration is significant in a country suffering terrorist violence in the north, energy vandalism in the south, and poverty levels of 70%. One business solution is to initially provide smart metres only to those who pay bills, and use that revenue to build the infrastructure and subsidise other end-users. Instead, there is a push to get everyone a smart meter at once.

Despite the push for utility-scale solar, much of Nigeria’s solar power may start off-grid. As Nigeria’s growing community of solar PV entrepreneurs will tell you, anyone with a diesel or petrol generator is a potential solar client. In 2016, Nigeria imported US$23m worth of solar panels, not including integrated or plug-and-play solar kits. That makes Nigeria the world’s second largest solar panel importer among emerging economies, behind India, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Most of those panels weren’t meant for utility-scale projects. Nigerians have long sought out their own electricity sources, but for most, solar is not an obvious solution. It’s deemed expensive, they can be serviced poorly, and public awareness is low.

To help tackle these issues and bring the discussion of solar to the forefront, the Power Agenda conference at Power Nigeria will dedicate a day of discussion to different aspects of the solar chain. Verticals such as rural, urban and hybrid solar will be covered, as well as a session on supporting solar in Nigeria and how pay-as-you-go and mobile payment systems are changing the power business model.

Some of the key speakers on the day are: Olu Ogunlela, co-Founder, Gridless Africa; Tinyan Ogiehor, technical advisor (Solar PV), Solar Nigeria Programme (UK DFID programme); Suleiman Yusuf, CEO, Blue Camel Energy; Ifeanyi Odoh, regional sales manager – solar business, Schneider Electric; and Wale Rafael Yusuff, head of sales – Nigeria, Clarke Energy.

The 2017 edition of Power Nigeria will be the largest to date and is set to attract over 100 exhibitors from 11 countries, offering visitors a first look of some of the latest products available on the market covering a range of products relating to power generation, transmission and distribution. This year, there has also been a significant increase in country pavilions from one to three with representation from Turkey, China and India.

Some of the standout exhibitors this year include Cummins, Polycab, GWB Energy, Schneider Electric, Sterling & Wilson and Skipper Seil.

Power Nigeria draws on the strengths of Informa Industrial Group’s geographical foothold in the Middle East and Africa through its partner events Electricx and Solar-Tec in Cairo, and Middle East Electricity in Dubai, which holds the title of world’s largest power event.

Power Nigeria will take place at a new purpose built exhibition venue in Lagos – Landmark Centre, Nigeria from the 5-7 September 2017. Visitor pre-registration can be done online at www.power-nigeria.com

 

from how we made it in Africa

24 Aug

Africa: Agriculture a Culprit in Global Warming, Says U.S. Research

Global Warming

New York — Agriculture has contributed nearly as much to climate change as deforestation by intensifying global warming, according to U.S. research that has quantified the amount of carbon taken from the soil by farming.

Some 133 billion tons of carbon have been removed from the top two meters of the earth’s soil over the last two centuries by agriculture at a rate that is increasing, said the study in PNAS, a journal published by the National Academy of Sciences.

Global warming is largely due to the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from such activities as burning fossil fuels and cutting down trees that otherwise would absorb greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.

But this research showed the significance of agriculture as a contributing factor as well, said Jonathan Sanderman, a soil scientist at the Woods Hole Research Center in Falmouth, Massachusetts and one of the authors of the research.

While soil absorbs carbon in organic matter from plants and trees as they decompose, agriculture has helped deplete that carbon accumulation in the ground, he said.

Widespread harvesting removes carbon from the soil as do tilling methods that can accelerate erosion and decomposition.

“It’s alarming how much carbon has been lost from the soil,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “Small changes to the amount of carbon in the soil can have really big consequences for how much carbon is accumulating in the atmosphere.”

Sanderman said the research marked the first time the amount of carbon pulled out of the soil has been spatially quantified.

The 133 billion tons of carbon lost from soil compares to about 140 billion tons lost due to deforestation, he said, mostly since the mid-1800s and the Industrial Revolution.

But the findings show potential for the earth’s soil to mitigate global warming by absorbing more carbon through such practices as better land stewardship, more extensive ground cover to minimize erosion, better diversity of crop rotation and no-till farming, he said.

The world’s nations agreed in Paris in 2015 to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases generated by burning fossil fuels that are blamed by scientists for warming the planet.

President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the landmark Paris accord in May, saying it would undermine the U.S. economy and weaken national sovereignty.

Supporters of the accord, including some leading U.S. business figures, said Trump’s move was a blow to international efforts to tackle global warming that would isolate the United States.

Source from allAfrica

22 Aug

Mozambique: Gas-Fired Power Station Plans to Triple Production

electricity generation

Maputo — The company Gigawatt-Mocambique plans to expand the electricity generation from its gas-fired power station at Ressano Garcia, on the border with South Africa from the current 120 to 350 megawatts.

Cited by the Maputo daily “Noticias”, the Gigawatt director of operations, Nazario Meguigy, said that an additional 60 megawatts of generating capacity will be added in 2018, with an investment of about 120 million US dollars.

The project to almost triple production, to 350 megawatts, will require a further 700 million dollars, and Meguigy, who was speaking during a visit to the power station by Deputy Labour Minister Osvaldo Petersburgo, said this sum is under negotiation with several financial institutions.

For his part, the Chief Executive Officer of Gigawatt-Mocambique, Bruno Morgado, said the company intends to transfer knowledge from foreign technical staff to their Mozambican colleagues, so that Mozambicans can guarantee the company’s production.

“When the company began its operations, we drew up a plan to reduce the number of foreign workers”, said Morgado. “We are in the second year of the plan and we think that within the next three years the company’s operations will be 100 per cent managed by Mozambicans”.

He added that, whenever necessary, specialists will be hired to support the Mozambican workers in such sensitive questions as the maintenance of equipment. Currently the Ressano Garcia power station employs 112 workers, of whom 102 are Mozambican.

“We have no doubt that, within the next three years, the company will be run by Mozambican workers”, he stressed.

source allAfrica

22 Aug

Nigeria: State Positioned for International Oil, Gas Dominance Despite Challenges

international oil

By embracing a digital revolution in its oil and gas facilities, Nigeria could propel itself from the shadows of persistent underperformance to become a global energy powerhouse. This will be a catalyst for industrialisation and growth in many other economic sectors too.

Digitalisation in the energy sector involves the better use of data to manage and control multiple operations. It drives efficiencies in energy management and automation systems. Importantly, workers in a digital industrial environment enjoy a massive increase in skills and productivity.

Digital development is not confined to new oil and gas facilities. Existing oil and gas infrastructure, from pipeline to refinery, can easily be upgraded to digital automation. This means that Nigeria’s ageing oil refineries in Port Harcourt, Warri, and Kaduna can be optimised with digitalisation.

These facilities were built as early as 1978 but could be made far more efficient and productive, thereby significantly reducing Nigeria’s dependency on imported petroleum products. The benefits of this investment would be measured in billions of dollars.

Effective integration of digital technologies could reduce capital expenditure in the oil and gas sector by up to 20 per cent, cut upstream operating costs by up to five per cent and downstream costs by up to 2.5 per cent.

Nigeria’s best approach will be a combination of local skills and knowledge, and the expertise and experience of a proven international partner able to deliver digital technologies and automation, together with traditional instrumentation and controls, across the entire energy value chain. This further supports backward integration of skills and technical competence in Nigeria’s limited skilled workforce.

A recent PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report suggests that by end-2019 Nigeria could assume the status of the largest producer of refined petroleum products in Africa. The projection sees Nigerian exports exceed 300,000 bpd by 2019 – up 350 per cent from 2016 production of 65,000 bpd.

In this scenario, Nigeria becomes an international trading hub similar to Australia, Russia, Europe, and the U.S. Gulf Coast, while the entire West Africa region becomes energy self-sufficient by 2019, thus eliminating the need to source refined oil products from the U.S. and Europe.

Despite dwindling crude oil sales to the West, West African demand for Nigeria’s crude oil is set to rise dramatically. The region annually consumes 22 billion litres of petrol, and Nigeria’s domestic market accounts for 17 billion of those litres, yet the country still imports around 80 per cent of this energy.

With 37.2 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, Nigeria could easily meet this demand locally through modernisation and continued exploration. The country’s refining capabilities are currently underperforming and notoriously inefficient, due to lack of maintenance and underinvestment in technology.

Nigeria also struggles with ongoing vandalism of its oil and gas infrastructure. Pipeline insecurity has a devastating effect on oil production, with a staggering financial impact. Technology is a significant part of the solution to this challenge, as it enables real-time monitoring of infrastructure and quicker incident responses.

Port Harcourt refinery, for example, has capacity for 150,000 bpd of oil production but has been running at just 10 per cent capacity for the past three years. This is mainly due to its reliance on 1980s technology now regarded as obsolete in the global oil and gas sector.

The consequence is lack of preventative and reactive maintenance, inaccurate forecasts and allocations, and soaring energy costs. To boost productivity and returns, Nigeria’s energy operators should rapidly adopt and integrate digital technology that improves efficiencies and up skills staff.

Instead of being a threat to the workforce, digital technology redefines the role of the worker, and it has the potential to bridge the blue and white-collar worker, to create what is termed the ‘grey-collar’ worker. Humans and machines are therefore not competing for jobs, but working together to create a new type of talent, which is a vital component to sustained sector growth and maturity.

In the near future, Nigeria’s oil and gas operations will have real-time access to data at the click of a button, from any location on earth. This essentially connects a team of global experts collaborating in real-time to drive improvements in exploration and extraction, health & safety, pipeline security, distribution, refining and transportation of the finished products.

And with a potential $300billion added to the African economy by 2026 through the adoption of digitalisation, Africa’s largest economy will receive a significant portion of that figure to advance its burgeoning oil and gas market.

This in turn addresses the triple threat of unemployment, inequality and poverty – paving the way for a society where business success leads to socio-economic advancement, such as new business development and job creation, and essential new infrastructure projects that include schools, hospitals, transportation networks and housing.

To make this a reality, the Federal Government of Nigeria should include a robust digitalisation policy and supporting legislation in connection to its Economic and Recovery Growth Plan 2017-2020 (ERGP), which sets out the medium-term structural reforms to restore economic growth, invest in people and build a globally competitive economy.

One of its key priorities is to ensure power and petroleum product efficiency, which can only be achieved through a digital transition in the oil and gas sector.

Oil and gas operators in Nigeria should be early adopters of technology, their employees should be proactively trained in the application of the new technology, and the industry should be supported by an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) with proven global experience across the entire upstream, mid-stream and downstream value chain.

Tifase is the Chief Executive Officer, Siemens Nigeria, and a key player in the country’s push for investment and growth in the oil and gas sector

Source from allAfrica

14 Aug

Nigeria: Prepare for Life After Oil, Govt Advises Amnesty Beneficiaries

oil

Port Harcourt — As the world marked the United Nations 2017 International Youth Day saturday, the federal government has warned youth in the country, especially beneficiaries of the amnesty programme in the Niger Delta region to prepare for life after oil.

Speaking at a forum to mark the event in Port Harcourt, the Presidential Adviser on the Amnesty Programme, Gen Paul Boro, called on the Niger Delta youths to prepare for life after oil by making use of the skills, knowledge and experience they gained while undergoing training.

The forum was put in place by a non-governmental organisation (NGO), Nevido Media in collaboration with the NOA with the support of the Nigerian Youth Council and other bodies.

Boro called for paradigm shift in thinking and focus among the youths and beneficiaries of the amnesty, saying, “since it has become clear that oil will not last forever, there is need to prepare the youths for the future.”

He noted that the federal amnesty programme had the mandate to train 30,000 youths, out of which it had already trained 16,000.

Represented by the Head, monitoring and evaluation in the federal amnesty, Mr. Bestman Probel, Boro explained that this was why “the youths have been drawn into training in agriculture and skills while an exit programme whereby the youths after training are mobilised to start practicing the trade they learnt”.

In his remarks the Rivers state Director of NOA, Mr. Oliver Wolugbom, expressed concern that Nigerian youths have abandoned the old cherished value system and taken to kidnapping, cultism, armed robbery, thuggery and other odious practices that debase humanity.

“It is equally a source of concern that all the centrifugal forces such as separatist movements by ethnic bodies and their accompanying hate speeches are being bandied by the youths”, he said, adding that for peace to be built in the society, the youths must be properly positioned while the leadership re-strategise to plan

From allAfrica

14 Aug

Africa’s Working-Age Population to Grow By 450 Million in 20 Years

working-age population

The working-age population in Africa is projected to grow by about 70 per cent or 450 million over a period of 20 years, spanning 2015 to 2035, said the Africa Competitiveness Report 2017. To date, Africa, which has Nigeria as one of the most populated, is inhabited by 1.246 billion people. The population had grown by about 550 million, nearly doubled to 1.2 billion over 30 years, from 1985 to 2015, and now to the current level.

The recently released ACR 2017, which was prepared by the Africa Development Bank, World Economic Forum and World Bank, noted that, going by the current trends, only about 100 million of the 450 million increased population would be able to find stable employment opportunities by 2035.

According to the report, “Countries that are able to enact policies conducive to job creation are likely to reap significant benefits from this rapid population growth. Those that fail to implement such policies are likely to suffer demographic vulnerabilities resulting from large numbers of unemployed and/or underemployed youth. New research is providing governments in the region with insights into how they can address the coming rise in the working-age populations.”

In its analysis, the ACR noted: “From 2004 to 2014, employment grew by only 1.7 percent in total–an average of less than 0.2 percent a year. This level of job creation has been barely sufficient to absorb the approximately 100 million additional African workers aged 20-59 who entered the job market in this period, which meant that the formal unemployment rate remained virtually unchanged amid continuing high rates of informal and vulnerable employment.

“Over the next decade, both GDP and the working-age population are expected to increase by about 3 percent per year. If it was possible to increase employment by only 1 per cent in the past decade, when GDP growth was higher, it could be harder to add jobs over the next few years when economic performance is expected to be softer. Looking ahead, the main question for Africa will be how to improve its competitiveness while absorbing a continuously expanding labor force in a scenario of lower growth.”

The report posited that, it was imperative for African countries to find ways to expand aggregate demand for labor and improve supply-side factors at the same time. “Beyond the traditional prescriptions–such as stable macroeconomic policy, a supportive investment climate, and improving the quality of human and physical capital–countries can facilitate more rapid and better job creation as well as accelerate the development of their manufacturing sector by implementing policies suited to their specific circumstances.”

It added: “Since almost all new jobs in Africa today are in agriculture and microenterprises, improving the business environment in these sectors is a high priority. Fragile countries can create jobs as well as promote growth and stability through targeted support to vulnerable regions and/or populations. Open trade policies and developing value chain links to extractive sectors are crucial for encouraging diversification and job creation in resource-rich countries. Finally, policies that foster regional trade and integration can be a major source of new jobs as well as improve firm-level productivity and economic competitiveness.”

Pointing out that this edition of the Africa Competitiveness Report came at a time of reduced enthusiasm about African growth prospects, the ACR expressed regret that, “The robust expansion experienced by the region over the past two decades may not continue over the next few years, reducing expectations about the continent’s employment outlook.”

“Since the publication of the last Africa Competitiveness Report in 2015, the region’s growth prospects have been affected by multiple external shocks: for example, oil exporters such as Nigeria have begun to be affected by lower oil prices over the past few years, and other mineral exporters, such as South Africa, have been hit by the slowdown of emerging economies, especially China,” the report pointed out.

Stating that, “Growth is expected to pick up in 2018 but will most likely remain below 4 per cent over the next few years,” the ACR 2017 recalled that, from 2004 to 2014, the region as a whole averaged a growth above 5 per cent a year, but it is now about 2.2 percent.

“Over that same period, growth of GDP per capita, however–the main indicator of economic development–was well above 5 per cent only between 2004 and 2007. Relatively few jobs have been added to African economies over almost 20 years of strong output expansion, mainly because of an overreliance on the primary sector (mineral extraction and agricultural products), little diversification, and low productivity,” it added.

from allAfrica