Africa Brief: Call for power grid investors, Egypt gets boost in Saudi Funding, Ethiopian dam raises concern, and more
Call for power grid investors
Sierra Leone was seeking $3.5 billion (R34.5bn) of investment from the private sector to overhaul its creaking electricity industry with the aim of increasing output tenfold by 2017, Deputy Energy Minister Martin Bash-Kamara said at the weekend. Sierra Leone has one of Africa’s lowest power generation capacities, at just 100 megawatts for its 5.6 million people. Bash-Kamara said the government had signed memorandums of understanding with investors to develop power projects in the mineral-rich country.
For the full story, read Call for power grid investors by Reuters, published by The Star, Business Report on 22/07/13
Cancel $1bn oil rights, says MPs
Nigeria should revoke oil rights for which Royal Dutch Shell and Eni paid $1.1 billion (R11bn), a parliamentary committee said, alleging the acquisition process was “highly flawed”. Shell and Eni bought oil prospecting licence 245 from Malabu Oil & Gas, controlled by former oil minister Dan Etete, in 2011. “Unfortunately our national interest, knowingly or unknowingly, was ceded away to the two oil majors,” the committee said. The sale violates a law to promote increased Nigerian ownership of oil assets.
For the full story, read Cancel $1bn oil rights, says MPs by Bloomberg, published by The Star, Business Report on 22/07/13
Egypt gets $2bn boost in Saudi funding
Egypt’s central bank has received $2bn in Saudi funds, the latest instalment of a $12bn aid pledged by Gulf Arab states after the military ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi on July 3. Egypt’s finances, in havoc from political strife since worsened in the first five months of this year, with the budget deficit widening to almost half of all state spending.
The mounting distress pushed Mr Morsi to approve a 24.2% increase in borrowing to finance the budget deficit days before he was deposed, a law published in the official gazette yesterday showed. Central bank governor Hisham Ramez said the Saudi funds arrived in the form of a five-year interest-free deposit. The bank already received $3bn from the United Arab Emirates on Thursday, $2bn of which was a cash deposit and $1bn an outright grant. Kuwait has pledged $4bn and Saudi Arabia a further $2bn in energy products and $1bn in cash. Mr Ramez said no date had been set for the Kuwaiti payment and did not indicate when the Saudi $1bn was expected.
For the full story, read Egypt gets $2bn boost in Saudi funding by Ehab Farouk and Patrick Werr, published by Business Day on 22/07/13
Ethiopian dam raises concerns
Egypt was highly concerned that Ethiopia had not responded to an invitation to discuss a dispute over a giant dam that Ethiopia plans to build on the Nile River, the Egyptian foreign ministry said at the weekend. Cairo fears the dam will reduce water flows vital for its 84 million people. Before his ousting on July 3, former Egyptian president Mohamed Mursi said last month that “all options” were open in dealing with the issue, but Ethiopia said it was ready to defend its $4.7 billion (R46bn) dam to be built near its border with Sudan.
For the full story, read Ethiopian dam raises concerns by Reuters, published by The Star, Business Report on 22/07/13
Fibre-optic link makes progress
A $210 million (R2 billion) project to lay fibre-optic network across Ivory Coast should allow the country to connect up to 30 percent of its population to broadband internet within five years, boosting economic growth, Technology, Information and Communication Minister Bruno Nabagne Kone said at the weekend. Chinese telecoms firm Huawei began work last year on the first stage of the 6 700km network, a 1 400km cable in the west of the country, which Kone said would be completed before the end of the year.
For the full story, read Fibre-optic link makes progress by Reuters, published by The Star, Business Report on 22/07/13
Kenya prepares to invite tenders for railway line project
Kenya kicked off the process of the construction of a 500km high-speed standard gauge railway line, floating a tender for consultancy services to oversee the design and construction of the project. The railway line is part of the proposed 820 Km track that the government intends to lay in the next three years, running from the coastal city of Mombasa to the lake side city of Kisumu. The planned railway line is one of the flagship projects for the new administration of President Uhuru Kenyatta. His government has allocated $260m for the project. This project when completed in three years, will improve turnaround time and reduce significantly the cost of freight from Mombasa to Kisumu, by as much as 79 % from about $1648 to $353 per 20 foot container, this according to Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury Henry Rotich.
The current railway line carries about 2.4-million tonnes of cargo a year against its capacity for 7-million tonnes of cargo a year. This means that most of the 16-million tonnes of cargo handled at the Port of Mombasa is transported through the roads, a major factor that contributes to traffic congestion along the Mombasa-Kisumu-Kampala-Kigali route and affects the quality of roads. The Kenyan initiative will complement the East Africa Community (EAC) regional railway initiative that will be overseen by the East Africa Railway Authority. The authority will exclusively focus on implementation of the East African Railway Master Plan that was completed in 2009. The aim of the plan is to have an EAC that is fully inter-linked with railway system in the next decade.
For the full story, read Kenya prepares to invite tenders for railway line project by Steve Mbogo, published by Business Day on 22/07/13