Mali’s gold mines

Africa Brief: East Africa lacks local oil expertise, Ecobank under investigation and more

Ellies joins web world with satellite broadband service

Ellies Holdings expected to attract between 2 000 and 3 000 subscribers in the first year after its satellite broadband services went live. The listed manufacturer and distributor of electrical products bought a 50 percent stake in satellite service provider Skyevine nearly two years ago. It aims to attract con­sumer and business customers who seek an alternative to third-generation (3G) wireless connectivity and asymmetric digital subscriber line services that offer fast connection over copper lines. Internet service provider iBurst will provide the internet services.

For the full story, read Ellies joins web world with satellite broadband service by Asha Speckman, published by The Star, Business Report on 28/08/13

East Africa lacks local oil expertise

East African countries are grappling with the challenge of how to fast-track training of oil and gas engineers after unexpec­ted and continuing discoveries have positioned the region as a future global oil hot spot…

For the full story, read East Africa lacks local oil expertise by Steve Mbogo, published by Business Day on 28/08/13

Cote d’lvoire to open trade office in Sandton next month

Cote d’lvoire will open an economic and trade office in Sandton in September, signalling that the West African country is slowly getting back to business. Known in English as Ivory Coast, the former French colony was one of Africa’s success stories and the world’s biggest cocoa producer. But poor governance led to ethnic tension and a military coup in 1999, which propelled the country downhill to a bitter civil war from which it is only timidly recovering

For the full story, read Cote d’lvoire to open trade office in Sandton next month by Nicholas Kotch, published by Business Day on 28/08/13

Nigeria: Ecobank under investigation

Nigeria’s securities regulator was investigating pan-African lender Ecobank International over an alleged misstatement of its 2012 performance, a source at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said on Friday Nigeria’s SEC held meetings with Ecobank’s board of directors on August 6 to discuss the issue, which was raised by a suspended former head of finance at the bank, the source said, but did not elaborate as to what the bank was accused of misstating. Ecobank acknowledged that there was an investigation, giving no details, and said it was co-operating with the SEC. The source said the regulator had sent queries about Ecobank’s 2012 performance to all the directors. The SEC source said: “The core element [of the allegation]… is on material misstatement of facts on [Ecobank] performance.”

Excerpt from Nigeria: Ecobank under investigation by Reuters, published by The Star, Business Report on 02/09/13

Long-awaited Ismo Bill still faces delays

The establishment of the Independent System and Market Operator (Ismo) Bill has been delayed in the past few months, but ANC MP and energy portfolio committee chairman Sisa Njikelana commented that he is hopeful that it will be considered and processed in the coming weeks. The DA has blamed Eskom for employing stalling tactics to halt the bill, however Eskom denies this. The bill will see Eskom lose ownership of the grid and its transmission monopoly.

Excerpt from Long-awaited Ismo Bill still faces delays by Donwald Pressly, published by The Star, Business Report on 02/09/13

Nigeria’s middle class offers big rewards for international retailers

Shoprite is expanding operations into high growth markets such as Nigeria, Zambia, Uganda and Angola. There are challenges in Nigeria such as limited prime retail land and electricity supply, however consumers have been enthusiastic about the new Shoprite store in Lagos. Both Walmart and Woolworths are also expanding into these markets.

For the full story, read Nigeria’s middle class offers big rewards for international retailers by Monica Mark, published by Business Day on 02/09/13

Egypt: Sinopec buys Apache stake

China’s state-run oil giant, Sinopec Group, had bought a 33 percent share of US firm Apache Corporation’s oil and gas business in Egypt for $3.1 billion (R32bn), the two firms said on Friday Sinopec said the deal would increase its production by 130 000 barrels of oil equivalent per day or 6.5 million barrels annually It comes amid a push by Chinese oil companies to expand their overseas assets to satisfy the country’s growing energy consumption. It said

Through this partnership, Sinopec is able to enter the upstream oil and gas sector of Egypt for the first time and expand its international upstream portfolio,”

The company added that the two firms had also agreed on a partnership that “will further build up Sinopec’s capability and experience in promoting overseas reserves and production”.

For the full story, read Egypt: Sinopec buys Apache stake by Sapa-DPA, published by The Star, Business Report on 02/09/13

Metrofile: Africa growth eyed as results improve

Revenue rose 13 percent to R590.2 million in the year to June, docu­ment and records Management Company Metrofile said yesterday. “People are becoming more aware that information is needed and you need to keep ft in a safe place that you can access it,” chief exec­utive Graham Wackrill said. Much of the storage was in paper format, the cheapest alternative to electronic data archiving. Metrofile recorded 17 percent increases in earnings a share and headline earn­ings a share to 25.5c.

For the full story, read Metrofile: Africa growth eyed as results improve by Asha Speckman, published by The Star, Business Report on 04/09/13

Uganda: Bank surprises with rate hike

Uganda’s central bank unexpectedly raised its key lending rate for the first time in almost two years yesterday in an effort to prevent accelerating food inflation from spreading to other areas of the economy The Bank of Uganda had increased its policy rate to 12 percent from 11 percent, governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile said. Two economists surveyed by Bloomberg forecast the rate would remain unchanged. It was the first increase since November 2011. “The Bank of Uganda is taking seriously the risk of further pressure on prices,” said Razia Khan at Standard Chartered.

Excerpt from Uganda: Bank surprises with rate hike by Bloomberg, published by The Star, Business Report on 04/09/13

Central bank says it will resist pressure to devalue the naira

Nigeria’s central bank will resist pressure to devalue the naira since it retains ample funds to defend the currency, a spokesman said yesterday, and its governor is expected to stay the course until his term is up in 10 months. Nigeria’s naira has fallen in recent months, trading outside the central bank’s target band of 150-160 naira to the US dollar since June, initially due to foreign investors booking profits on their naira assets and on importers buying dollars.

For the full story, read Central bank says it will resist pressure to devalue the naira by Reuters, published by Business Day on 04/09/13

Chinese joint venture to mine coal and generate power in Zimbabwe

China Africa Sunlight Energy has said it plans to invest as much as $2.1bn developing coal mines and building a 2,100MW plant powered by the fuel in Zimbabwe to help ease electricity shortages in that country. The company, a venture between Old Stone Investments of Zimbabwe and Shandong Taishan Sunlight, will start with capacity to produce 300MW by mid-2015 and raise this to 600MW by the end of that year, GM Charles Mugari said. The company has spent $20m on exploration, and was granted rights to look for coal, and coal-bed methane in October last year.

For the full story, Chinese joint venture to mine coal and generate power in Zimbabwe by Godfrey Marawanyika, published by Business Day on 04/09/13

Jindal caught up in Mozambique land battle

Indian firm Jindal has become the latest company in Mozam­bique to become embroiled in a mining resettlement scandal, which threatens to trip up the booming coal sector. On August 14, amid much fan­fare, Mozambique’s President Armando Guebuza inaugurated Jindal’s huge new coal mine in north western Tete province that hugs the mighty Zambezi River. It was the third-biggest mine of its kind in the country, which has already seen 7% annual growth fuelled by revenues from one of the world’s largest unexploited coal fields. Two decades after a debilitating civil war, it is just the kind of investment Mozambique wel­comes and that if well managed may help pull it out of poverty. Jindal, which is also a steel maker, eyes exporting 10-million tonnes of coal yearly, cashing in on indus­trial development in India and China. But days before the inau­guration of the mine, anger at the company’s failure to relocate 2,500 nearby residents boiled over into conflict.

Excerpt from Jindal caught up in Mozambique land battle by Jinty Jackson, published by Business Day on 04/09/13

Mozambican gas-fired plant sends power to Namibia

Aggreko, a London-listed provider of tem­porary power genera­tion, along with South African project partner the Shanduka Group and the South­ern African Power Pool (Sapp), has expanded output at its gas-fired power plant at Ressano Garcia, on the Mozambique-SA border, to 232MW.In March, the firm signed agreements with Mozambique national power utility Electrici-dade de Mozambique (EDM) and Namibia’s utility NamPower to supply an extra 122MW from the site. This helps alleviate a “crit­ical shortage of energy” in the Southern African Development Community (Sadc).The region wants to lift ener­gy output by 70% in the next 15 years, investing $170bn in power projects. Ressano Garcia is the world’s first interim cross-border independent power pro­ducer project.

For the full story, read Mozambican gas-fired plant sends power to Namibia by Mark Allix, published by Business Day on 04/09/14

David Okwara

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