11 Apr

Namibian President Geingob Rejects Graft Claims in French Probe

Namibian President Hage Geingob rejected claims linking him to a French corruption probe related to the purchase by Orano SA of Canadian mining company UraMin Inc.’s Trekkopje uranium mine in the southern African country.

Geingob didn’t participated in the transaction and is demanding a retraction from Radio France Internationale, which reported the allegations last week, spokesman Alfredo Hengari said in a statement.

He was paid as a consultant before he joined the cabinet and for work unrelated to the purchase by Orano, formerly called Areva, of UraMin’s assets in 2007, according to the presidency.

RFI reported that Geingob was linked to the probe in which Areva’s former mining branch head, Sebastien de Montessus, was charged in relation to the French nuclear energy giant’s purchase of the UraMin-owned mine in Namibia.

Anne Lauvergeon, Areva’s former chief executive officer, has been charged with spreading false information related to the purchase of UraMin. The former executives deny wrongdoing.

The RFI report “focuses on the alleged involvement of Mr De Montessus in the allegations referred to, yet the report on its own and in context makes gratuitous insinuations and imputations of dishonesty on the person of Dr Geingob,” the president’s lawyers said in a letter to the radio station, seen by Bloomberg.

The lawyers said there is no connection between the alleged overpricing of the Areva-UraMin transaction and the services Geingob provided by HG Consultancy to UraMin.

RFI didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the demand for a retraction when contacted by Bloomberg on Tuesday.

Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-10/namibian-president-geingob-rejects-graft-claims-in-french-probe 

28 Feb

Namibia to Ready Black-Ownership Law by Year-End, President Says

Namibia will table laws to better distribute wealth among its citizens, most of whom are black, by the end of the year, despite resistance from businesses.

The government of the southwest African nation that’s among the world’s most economically unequal is in the final leg of consultations on the National Equitable Economic Empowerment Framework that will make it mandatory for white-owned businesses to sell a 25 percent stake to blacks, President Hage Geingob told reporters Tuesday in the capital, Windhoek.

“We have to address the underlying structural impediments which make it difficult, if not impossible, for Namibians to effectively participate in the economy,” Geingob said.

The bill outlines six areas to increase black citizens’ participation in business, including developing people’s skills and providing financing for those disadvantaged by inequality to buy stakes in companies.

While only about 6 percent of Namibia’s 2.5 million citizens are white, they own most enterprises. That’s a legacy of white-minority rule South Africa imposed when it controlled Namibia from World War I to 1990, with black people being disenfranchised and displaced.

The Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry wants the focus on economic ownership scrapped, saying it will result in capital flight.

South Africa has a similar policy; critics say it has failed to redress inequalities because it focuses on increasing black ownership of companies rather than raising education standards to match a skills shortage.

Namibia will draw comparative experiences from South Africa, but its legislation will be unique, Geingob said.

Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-27/namibia-to-ready-black-ownership-law-by-year-end-president-says

02 Aug

Mobile contributes $110bn to sub-Saharan economies

sub-Saharan economy

Sub-Saharan Africa is, and will continue to be, the fastest growing mobile market in the world, contributing  $110bn to Sub-Saharan economy

By the end of the decade, there will be more than half a billion mobile subscribers in the region, up from 420 million at the end of 2016.

Among the growth drivers is the under-16 age group, which accounts for more than 40 percent of the population in many countries, and women, who are currently 17 percent less likely to have a mobile phone subscription than their male counterparts.

Mobile is now also a significant contributor to the sub-Saharan African economy. In 2016, mobile technologies and services generated $110bn of economic value, equivalent to 7.7 percent of regional GDP.

This figure is expected to grow to $142bn, or 8.6 percent of GDP, by 2020. The mobile ecosystem also employed about 3.5 million in the region last year, and contributed $13bn to the public sector through taxes.

Here are some of the key trends industry group GSMA has observed:

Transforming industries

Across Africa, mobile is transforming traditional industries and enabling innovative business models to deliver affordable and sustainable services.

Perhaps one of the best examples is mobile money, which has been critical in advancing financial inclusion over the last decade. There are now 140 live mobile money services in 39 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, accounting for nearly 280 million registered accounts.

Today, more than 40 percent of the adult population in seven countries – Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe – use mobile money regularly.

Utilities are another area where mobile is driving innovation. Mobile-based, pay-as-you-go solar enables access to clean energy solutions, with entrepreneurs partnering with mobile operators to deliver the solution.

Growing by nearly 40,000 systems per month, there are now one million home systems installed globally. Some 95 per cent are in sub-Saharan Africa, impacting about 4.8 million people.

We see similar innovation in sectors such as healthcare, agriculture and others. This is just the beginning as we move forward in Africa’s digital age.

Fuelling economies

Local mobile operators have invested $37bn in their networks over the past five years, mainly to deploy new 3G/4G mobile broadband networks across the region.

Fuelled by growing access to mobile data services and smart devices, the local mobile ecosystem is flourishing, supported by investments from operators and others in mobile-focused start-ups and tech hubs.

Seventy-seven tech start-ups across the region raised almost $370m in funding in 2016, up 33 percent from the previous year.

However, this continued growth and investment is not a given. The mobile industry faces several challenges, such as high levels of taxation and outdated regulatory frameworks.

Positive collaboration is needed between governments and the mobile industry to enable innovation and extend connectivity to all.

Connecting everyone

Looking beyond the numbers, mobile is positively impacting African society and helping to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in time for the 2030 deadline.

Mobile operators across Africa are working together to deploy mobile-enabled solutions to deliver key services such as health and education, increase women’s access to mobile, create employment opportunities and decrease poverty.

Of course, the mobile industry cannot solve the challenges of the SDGs alone – no one can. Governments, industry, humanitarian organisations and individuals must come together to build sustainable partnerships.

Having just visited Tanzania and witnessed much of this first-hand, I am struck again by the power of mobile to foster innovation, to fuel economies and to transform lives across Africa.

[Via thisisafricaonline]