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Africa Brief: Kenya transfers mobile technology to Europe and more…

Kenya transfers mobile technology to Europe.

A Kenyan cash transfer network which now bypasses banks is being adopted in Romania. The “mobile money“ or M-Pesa as it’s known in Swahili, allows clients to send cash with their telephones, has transformed business In East Africa and is now spreading to Europe. M-Pesa which was introduced in Kenya in 2007 by Safaricom, is the country’s largest mobile telecommunications company, in partnership with British giant Vodafone. Since then the service has grown exponentially with about $40bn (R425bn) flowing through the service in Kenya alone. The network allows the customer, using an application on the simplest of mobile phones, to pay utility, buy a drink, or send cash to family and friends.

Excerpt from Kenya transfers mobile technology to Europe published in The New Age on 14/08/2014

Uganda says MTN is withholding taxes.

MTN is one of five companies accused of withholding R118m in tax payments to the Ugandan authorities, despite the country agreeing to the dispute being settled by the World Customs Organization. Brian Gouldie, MTN Uganda CEO, confirmed in a statement yesterday that the tax debt had been outstanding since July 2009, when the company objected to its tax assessment and provided all the relevant information in defense of its position, “Consequently, the parties agreed to refer the matter to the World Customs Organization for guidance.” According to Mr Gouldie, MTN has paid more than n2.2 trillion Ugandan shillings (R8.8.4bn) in taxes in Uganda over the past decade. The matter is therefore not of tax evasion as it has been out before the World Customs Organization and is awaiting feedback”.

by Samuel Mungadze published in Business Day on 13/08/2014

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US summit shifts relationship from aid to commercial partnership.

Many South African and international commentators have been wondering whether there was any real point to the recently held US-Africa summit in Washington. Most of this uncertainty is rooted from many believing that the summit was a “neo-colonial” attempt by the US to lure Africa into exploitative contracts. Standard Bank was lucky enough to send a delegation to the summit and its associated business forum and we can confirm that there was indeed a great deal of hot air in Washington DC during the US-Africa Summit. But that was only because Washington in August is a very humid place.

Several major African countries have settled into a pattern of rapid growth. Economies including Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria and Zambia are likely to double in size over the next decade. Africa is expected to attract about $200 billion (R2.1 trillion) in foreign investment this year. China-Africa trade has multiplies by 20 times since 2000, and China is now Africa’s leasing partner, importing about $113bn worth of African products and selling us $85bn Chinese goods and services in return.

by Sim Tshabalala published in The Star, Business Report on 13/08/2014

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Namibia: Kudu gas plant plans expand.

Nampower (Namibia Power) said yesterday that they have raised the capacity for its planned gas-fired power plant and planned to sign a purchase accord by December with Tullow Oil, which is developing the Kudu fields that will fuel the facility.

by  Bloomberg published in The Star, Business Report on 13/08/2014

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Striking Oil in the Congo.

Oil of DRCongo, a subsidiary of the Fleurette Group, said that seismic testing from Lake Albert, which forms part of the Northeastern border with Uganda, indicated reserves of around 3 billion barrels of oil. The company said it plans to conduct more tests and establish exploratory wells, but warned that further developments was bound to affect people living by the shore of the lake in the restive territory.

Oil of DRCongo has said that the preparation for drilling “includes relocation of some local communities, transport to the site of the drilling equipment, installation of a base camp for staff, new supply roads, a new dock at Lake Albert and a landing strip for moving personnel and equipment. The company has highlighted efforts it has made in return to help the local resident by building roads and schools and giving financial support to a medical and maternity center. A spokesperson for the civil society in North Kivu, Omar Kavota, said the reported oil fund could be a source of opportunity to boost the level of economy.

Excerpt from Striking Oil in the Congo published in The New Age on 13/08/2014 

Anglo Ashanti to retrench hundreds in Ghana.

AngloGold, the world’s third-largest gold miner, is shutting down its Obuasi mine in Ghana in a $300m exercise involving laying off hundreds of workers to reconfigure the mine over the next 18 months as a smaller, more profitable operation. A key focus for AngloGold, which did not declare an interim dividend, was its stubbornly high debt, said outgoing chief Financial officer Richard Duffy, who will be replaced by Christine Ramon, the former Sasol finance chief.

by Allan Seccombe published in Business Day on 12/08/2014

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MTN puts R2.4bn into Africa’s nascent e-commerce sector.

MTN is taking aim at Africa’s e-commerce market, which is still in its infancy, by investing R2.4bn over the next four years. Last Thursday, MTN CEO, Sifiso Dabengwa said that the sector had become an integral part of the mobile network’s growth strategy. The mobile network, which has a presence in 22 countries, recently acquired 33.3% of AIH, a joint venture between Rocket Internet and Mil-licom International Cellular, to develop internet in Africa.

by Samuel Mangadze published in Business Day on 12/08/2014

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David Okwara

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