Africa Brief: Barclays Africa looks at asset disposals and more...

Africa Brief: Barclays Africa looks at asset disposals and more…

Barclays Africa looks at asset disposals

Barclays Africa Group is looking to dispose of about R400m assets this year as part of its strategy to exit non-core activities and reduce risk to revenue. The retail and business banking unit is looking to dispose of investment properties while the head office has a number of assets classified as property within corporate real estate services that are classified as held for sale. Furthermore, the business banking division disposed of investment properties valued at R1.4bn last year. In terms of investments planned for the year, the group increased its stake in the National Bank of Commerce of Tanzania to 65.89 percent. It is looking to invest more in its corporate banking business and is targeting multinationals from across the world doing business in Africa. It plans to invest R3bn in operations this year.

Excerpt from: Barclays Africa looks at asset disposals by Phakamisa Ndzamela published by Business Day on 03/04/2014

Egypt: Cellular licence to cost R3.8bn

Fixed-line monopoly operator Telecom Egypt was offered 2.5bn Egyptian pounds (R3.8bn) for a mobile license. With Egyptians increasingly using cell phones and the internet rather than fixed lines, Telecom has been relying on its data traffic for revenue growth. It has been waiting to launch a new mobile operation that would complement an existing joint venture with Vodafone and compete with the sector’s two other cellular operators, Mobinil and Etisalat Egypt.

Excerpt from: Egypt, Cellular licence to cost R3.8bn by Reuters published by The Star Business Report on 03/04/2014

Energy: Africa denied electricity-Kim

World Bank president Jim Yong Kim said that the combined energy usage of the billion people in Africa equals what Belgium offers to its 11 million residents. This was in context of the World Bank’s newest large project in Africa: a $73 million (R775m) grant to the DRC to help begin development of the 4 800 megawatt Inga 3 hydroelectric project. About 1.2 billion people around the world live without electricity, a third of them concentrated in five Asian and African countries.

Excerpt from: Africa denied electricity-Kim by SAPA-AFP published by The Star Business Report on 03/04/2014

Mass firing reported at Zimasco mine after blunder at refinery

Sinosteel’s Zimbabwe unit, Zimasco, had fired almost all its managers and workers and closed supply stores at its Mutorashanga mine after equipment meant to refine chrome ore fines failed to work. Mutorashanga’s mining would now be conducted by small-scale contractors who were paid by the ton at market prices. Fuel, equipment and explosives would now have to be bought in Harare, 100km south of the mining town. Zimasco dug for chrome ore alongside Zimbabwe Alloys, once owned by Anglo American, which ceased mining operations last year. Now that Zimbabwe Alloys and Zimasco aren’t operating in the district, poverty and crime has escalated significantly. The latest round of cuts brought to more than 500 the number of jobs that had been eliminated over the past two years.

Excerpt from: Mass firing reported at Zimasco mine after blunder at refinery by Brian Latham published by The Star Business Report on 03/04/2014

New Ecobank CEO moves to calm nerves

Ecobank Transnational’s new CEO, Albert Essien, will focus on consolidating the bank’s 35-country network across Africa and maximising returns as he seeks to calm nerves following a nine-month dispute over governance issues. The group is Africa’s most geographically diverse bank, with assets worth more than $20bn. The bank was established in Togo in 1988 by a pioneering group of West Africans intent on breaking down the barriers that have fragmented the continent since colonial times. Mr Essien has played a central role in expanding the bank’s presence into East Africa and Southern Africa. He replaced the former controversial CEO Thierry Tanoh, who was dismissed at a shareholders’ meeting.

Excerpt from:New Ecobank CEO moves to calm nerves by William Wallace published by Business Day on 03/04/2014

KENYA : Oil wealth fund in the pipeline

Kenya planned to set up a sovereign wealth fund to invest revenue from future output of oil that Tullow Oil and Africa Oil expect to start pumping as soon as 2016. The framework of the fund will ensure that it would shield the economy from cyclical changes in commodity prices, build savings for future generations and be used to invest in infrastructure. The situation is unique in that the fund is being set up prior to the phase of exploitation of natural resources.

Excerpt from: KENYA : Oil wealth fund in the pipeline by Bloomberg published by The Star Business Report  on 03/04/2014

KENYA: Telecoms firms ‘must compete’

The Communications Authority of Kenya has granted approval to license three new telecommunications firms, in order to support increased competition in the telecommunications industry. With a cell phone penetration rate of 77 percent, there is room for more providers to enter the market.

Excerpt from:KENYA: Telecoms firms ‘must compete’ by Bloomberg published by The Star Business Report on 03/04/2014

Peugeot set to make a decision on SA assembly

French vehicle manufacturer PSA Peugeot Citroen is set to soon take a decision about manufacturing a right-hand drive version of its Peugeot 301 car in South Africa. Although developed for emerging markets, it is currently only produced as a left-hand drive version in Vigo, Spain. There is a budget of 3.5 million (R50.9m) for the project to develop and manufacture the right-hand drive dashboard. Nigeria is the biggest competitor to South Africa as a manufacturing location for the model, but the Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP) in South Africa provided PSA Peugeot Citroen with more opportunities than Nigeria. Nigeria is quite unstable from a security perspective and its policies and rules could also change overnight.

Excerpt from: Peugeot set to make a decision on SA assembly by Roy Cokayne published by The Star Business Report  on 03/04/2014

David Okwara

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