05 Sep

Francophone Africa’s construction industry: Seizing the opportunities

The economic growth rate in sub-Saharan Africa is projected to recover to 2.6% in 2017, following a net deceleration in 2016. According to the World Bank, the upturn in economic activity is expected to continue in 2018 and 2019, reflecting improvements in commodity prices, a pickup in global growth, and more supportive domestic conditions.

In order to fuel the growth, the region is continuously improving the quality and quantity of public infrastructure that remains weak in many sub-regions and countries. With an average GDP growth of 9% over 2012-2015, Côte d’Ivoire is working hard to restore its status as an economic engine of West Africa, with robust public infrastructure as a pillar, to become an emerging economy by 2020. Similarly, in the other French-speaking countries of Senegal and Cameroon, the construction industry is boiling and large-scale projects are currently being launched locally.

Ambitious construction projects in Francophone Africa

With a total of 80,000km of roads, Côte d’Ivoire has one the largest road networks in West Africa. However, only 6,000km are paved and it has generally suffered from a lack of maintenance during the 2000-2010 decade. As part of the 2016 2020 National Development Programme, the government has set the objective to renovate and upgrade 4,500km of roads across the country. This plan also includes the construction of a fourth bridge in Abidjan, the economic capital. While nearly 10 foreign companies are currently working on sections totalling 1,500km, the Ivorian government is still looking for funds for the remaining 3,000 km (estimation: US$13bn).

In Central Africa, Cameroon has also launched an ambitious programme to improve its road network. The 120km-highway connecting Douala to Yaoundé is currently under construction. The first portion (60km) has been completed and studies for the second one are progressing. Other strategic projects are the Douala-Limbé project and the motorway connecting the three ports of Douala, Yaoundé and Kribi. These projects are funded by Chinese companies. On a larger scale, a corridor linking the capital cities of Yaoundé and Brazzaville (Republic of Congo) is being built with funds from Islamic banks. In Senegal, Ageroute (national agency in charge of road infrastructure) has recently launched 46 road projects (investment involved: $2.8bn).

please read more here: How We Made It in Africa

14 Jul

Egypt set to receive $1.25 bln IMF loan tranche: MENA

CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt is to receive a second loan installment worth $1.25 billion from the International Monetary fund on Thursday night or Friday at the latest, state news agency MENA said.

Egypt agreed a three-year, $12 billion IMF loan programme in November that is tied to ambitious economic reforms such as subsidy cuts and tax hikes.

The IMF had said in May that there was a staff-level agreement to disburse the second instalment based on Egypt’s reform progress but that its executive board first had to meet to sign off on it.

[via Reuters Africa]

22 Jun

Nigeria Rolls Out $2 Billion Brazil-Like Social-Welfare Plan

Nigeria is rolling out its first national social-welfare program modeled partly on Brazil’s Bolsa Familia in a bid to boost a weak economy and curb poverty by giving cash to its poorest citizens and ensuring their children go to school.

The government of Africa’s most-populous nation is investing 500 billion naira ($1.5 billion) in the initiative this year and is talking to the World Bank about a $500 million loan, Minister of State for Budget and National Planning Zainab Ahmed said in an interview in the capital, Abuja. Launched in December, the program is initially targeting about 1 million households starting in eight of Nigeria’s 36 states. The government expects that reducing poverty will have a knock-on effect for the rest of the economy, she said.

“It increases money in the hands of people,” Ahmed said. “It means they are contributing towards consumption and an increase in consumption is desirable because it now encourages producers to produce more and as producers produce more it means they are able to employ more people.”

As in Brazil, Nigeria’s plan requires cash-transfer beneficiaries to fulfill two conditions: keep their children in school and immunize them. It also includes providing school meals, short-term job training for graduates, loans at below-market rates to 1.6 million potential entrepreneurs, grants for science and technology students and low-cost housing.

The state will use biometric systems to register beneficiaries, and will make transfers into bank accounts that are opened for families’ caregivers, Ahmed said.

President Muhammad Buhari’s administration seems committed to make it a success, said Esili Eigbe, the head of Nigerian equities at Exotix Capital.

“Other administrations tried to do this before, but not with the kind of determination of Buhari’s administration,” Eigbe said by phone from the commercial capital, Lagos. “The enormous political will and a strong partner in the World Bank shows their determination to do it.” […]

Read more: Nigeria Rolls Out $2 Billion Brazil-Like Social-Welfare Plan