Africa brief: Mustek explores partnerships with Huawei in Africa; rolling blackouts stall SA economy; and more …

Mustek explores partnerships with Huawei in Africa

MUSTEK, which announced on Friday that it would supply and deliver R128 million worth of Huawei’s signalling and tele­communications equipment to Zambia, could explore other op­portunities in the African mar­ket with its Chinese partner. Mustek is the largest JSE-listed assembler and distribu­tor of personal computers and other information and commu­nication technology products for international brands.

The deal in Zambia involves Mustek’s logistics expertise to move the equipment, which will be imported from Huawei Inter­national in Hong Kong to Hua­wei Enterprise in Zambia. Huawei Enterprise is re­sponsible for installation and warranty of the equipment on behalf of a consortium of Hua­wei International, GMC Tech­nologies and Bombardier Transportation, the Canadian firm involved in the execution of South Africa’s Gautrain rapid rail project.

Excerpt from Mustek explores partnerships with Huawei in Africa published on 10 March 2014 by The Star, Business Report.

Political unrest slows growth

EGYPT’S economy was likely to grow less this year than the government’s target of at least 3 percent because of political turmoil.

Excerpt from Political unrest slows growth published on 10 March 2014 by The Star, Business Report.

Niger: Solution soon in uranium talks

AREVA had made an “important step” in negotiations with the Niger government on new contracts to mine uranium.

Excerpt from Solution soon’ in uranium talks published on 10 March 2014 by The Star, Business Report.

‘Energy crisis’ puts a stop to copper mining expansion in Congo’s Katanga province

THE Democratic Republic of Con­go’s prime minister has told min­ing companies to halt expansion plans needing extra power in cop­per-rich Katanga province due to an “energy crisis”.

Augustin Matata Ponyo has stated in a letter, addressed to President Joseph Kabila and various ministers, that the national power company, SNEL, should not grant new energy con­tracts for mining companies nor allow changes to contracts. Mr Ponyo has stated in the letter that at present the mining companies demand roughly about 900 megawatts (MW) of which only 461.7 MW are available.

To manage the energy deficit, Mr Ponyo says the government will ration power allocation to each mining firm. Allocations will be on the basis of the age of the contract, the level of production and the minimum energy levels required to carry out profitable business.

Excerpt from ‘Energy crisis’ puts a stop to copper mining expansion in Congo’s Katanga province published on 7 March 2014 by Business Day.

Rolling blackouts stall SA economy

ESKOM pulled the plug on the economy yesterday as it de­clared an emergency, claiming that continuous heavy rains had left its coal stocks sodden. Rolling cuts to the electricity supply, the first in six years, shut shops, restaurants and factories in major cities across the country, and delayed flights at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport.

The crisis has also spread to Botswana when ESKOM cut 35 of the 300MW supplied to the neighbouring country along with a warning that the exports could be cut completely depending on the situation in South Africa.

Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa has tried to be positive about the crisis by saying that the situation is extremely temporary and that no negative impact should be realised. Differing views from economist Peter Attard Montalto state that the outages might cut gross domestic product by about 0.2 percent a day.

Excerpt from Rolling blackouts stall SA economy published on 7 March 2014 by The Star, Business Report. 

Three takeover bids on the table

ZIMBABWE Alloys Chrome, a ferrochrome producer declared insolvent last July, is evaluating three takeover bids. According to a person with knowledge of the matter Zimbabwe Alloys requires $40 million (R429m) in order to fund working capital and refurbish three chrome smelting furnaces or else face liquidation.

The three bidders had been asked to provide details of the financing that would allow the Zimbabwe-based company to resume production.

Excerpt from Three takeover bids on the table published on 7 March 2014 by The Star, Business Report.

Standard Bank Africa strategy ‘gains traction’

STANDARD Bank is making headway in its African-focused strategy, with continental operations, excluding SA, contributing 26 percent to group revenue for the year ended December. The rest-of-Africa operations grew aggregate headline earnings 44 percent, from. R2.4bn in 2012 to R3.5bn last year, in what CEO Sim Tshabalala called a “stellar performance”. Mr Tshabalala stated at the press conference that Standard Bank is back to trend growth after suffering painfully as a result of the financial crisis.

In January, Standard Bank announced it would sell its controlling stake in London-based global markets business Standard Bank plc to the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China — which owns 20% of the Standard Bank group — for about $765m. The sale is being made in order to release capital to be used to grow the African business.

The portfolio manager for Old Mutual Investment Group’s Electus boutique, Siboniso Nxumalo, said the rest-of-Africa operations were “gaining traction” off a small base with “pleasing returns”.

Excerpt from Standard Bank Africa strategy ‘gains traction’ published on 7 March 2014 by Business Day.

Exxaro waits for Congo rail deal

EXXARO Resources would not allocate more funds for its iron ore project in the Republic of Congo until it had finalised agreements on the usage of rail and port facilities when production started. The company has so far secured a mining licence and signed memorandums of understanding with the Con­golese rail and port authorities. But there are no agreements yet on how the ore can be transported on the railway and how it will be handled at the port.

Finance director Wim de Klerk has stated that no further funds will be allocated to this project until all definite agreements have been received.

Excerpt from Exxaro waits for Congo rail deal published on 7 March 2014 by The Star, Business Day.

World Bank to renew talks on Congo plant

THE World Bank has announced it is resuming talks with the Democratic Republic of Congo on funding for a major hydroelectric power plant.

David Theis, the spokesperson for The World Bank, has said that the project has the potential to improve the lives of Africans in the DRC and elsewhere in Africa by supplying them with clean energy.

Excerpt from World Bank to renew talks on Congo plant published on 7 March 2014 by The New Age.

David Okwara

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