Famous Brands, the owner of brands such as Debonairs and Steers, has ambitious expansion plans for oil-rich African countries such as Nigeria, Ghana and Angola.

Africa Brief: Business News from around the continent (Pt 1)

Brain Molefe now acting head of Eskom

BRIAN Molefe, the chief execu­tive of the nation’s ports and rail utility, has been appointed the acting head of Eskom, which is struggling to meet the country’s power needs.

Eskom rationed supply for a sixth consecutive day on Friday because it could not meet demand from its ageing plants following years of underinvestment. Its chairman stepped down last month after losing the board’s support over a decision to suspend chief executive Tshediso Matona and three other top managers, leaving it without permanent leadership.

“What I need is a full-time chief executive who can do the job from the get-go,” Public Enterprises Minister Lynne Brown told reporters on Friday. There were three candidates to replace Molefe at Transnet, she said.

As the chief executive of Transnet, Molefe has presided over an improvement in rail services to South Africa’s coal industry, which is the continents biggest. Appointed in 2011, Molefe has been overseeing a seven year, R312 billion plan to increase rail and port capacity to end transportation bottlenecks.

Publication: THE STAR BUSINESS REPORT; Author: Paul Burkhardt

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Gama is frontrunner to head Transnet

TRANSNET Freight Rail chief executive Siyabonga Gama has emerged as a frontrunner to head the country’s largest and crucial part of the freight logistics chain after the in­cumbent Brain Molefe moved to Eskom last week.

Sources within Transnet say Gama, who has had a very temperamental relationship with the company, has the requisite credentials and political backing to head the transport parastatal.

“Siya (Gama) knows Transnet in and out and has executed his responsibilities with flying colours in every de­partment he has worked for in the company,” one source said.

Publication: THE STAR BUSINESS REPORT; Author: Sechaba ka’Nkosi

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African cocoa a golden ticket for Tanzanian chocolate

JAKIKWEKA is that rare breed of gourmet chocolatier. She makes fine chocolate in Africa us­ing local African ingre­dients.

Other African companies such as Ghana’s Golden Tree use local cocoa, but import milk powder and sugar. Multi­nationals such as Nestle mass produce chocolate in South Africa for the continent’s consumers and source ingredients globally.

But few firms match Kweka’s ideal she uses Tan­zanian beans and local sugar to make organic chocolate that is 100 percent African. She pack­ages her bars in recycled maize husks for extra authenticity

Kweka’s Chocolate Mamas is one of a handful of East African firms carving out a niche in the chocolate world and seeking to reverse a trend that has led to the foreign domi­nation of Africa’s growing chocolate economy.

Publication: THE STAR BUSINESS REPORT; Author: Edith Honan

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Liberty starts to broaden Nigeria plans

LIBERTY plans to start offering asset management services in Nigeria, the company said in its recently released annual report. It is an initiative that should broaden its offering in the coun­try beyond health insurance.

The plan was to establish a presence in West Africa and be in a position to offer insurance and investment solutions.

Liberty operates in 16 African countries. Its vision for the year 2020 is to be among the top 10 insurers in Nigeria and top three in Kenya.

At the moment Liberty has only health and asset manage­ment capability in Ghana and a health offering in Nigeria. In Nigeria, Liberty has been offer­ing health insurance since 2009 through Total Health Trust. Last year Liberty’s asset manager Stanlib set up operations in Ghana through the acquisition of Stanbic Investment Manage­ment Services division.


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Tsogo to build 500-room hotel complex in Cape Town

TSOGO Sun would begin con­struction of a 500-room hotel complex in Cape Town’s city centre, the gaming and hotel group said yesterday.

The R680m investment brings to 2,000 the number of Tsogo Sun rooms in the city cen­tre. The area has attracted a slew of development and renovation driven by tourism and business.

The central business district last year welcomed its first skyscraper in 21 years, namely Portside, which is largely occu­pied by Old Mutual, First National Bank and subsidiaries such as WesBank, as well as some smaller tenants.

The Cape Town International Convention Centre is also being expanded, and a new hospital and theatre are on the cards.


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Nedbank expanding African presence

BANKING group Nedbank is looking to take a controlling stake in Mozambique’s Banco Unico next year and is eyeing two or three acquisitions in Southern and East Africa, its annual report shows.

These are part of Ned­bank’s plans to expand its operations in Southern and East Africa.

In 2013, Nedbank bought an initial 36.4% in Banco Unico for $24m. The latest annual report showed Ned­bank’s stake was now 36.6% and valued at R286m.

Nedbank CEO Mike Brown has previously said the group was contractually com­mitted to increase the stake to between 50% and 70%.


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The Part 2 of this week’s Africa brief will be online by 12 noon

David Okwara

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