Africa Brief: Tanzania call costs, Fridays off, Chinese loan, and more

Tanzania bids to cut call costs

Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority plans to increase the competition between telecoms operators by cutting the interconnection rates telecoms operators charge each other by 69% in March.

For the full story, read Tanzania bids to cut call costs by Bloomberg, published in Business Day on 21/01/2013.

Public Officials get Fridays off

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has declared Friday a rest day to allow for more prayer, social activities and agriculture. This four-day work week will take effect from 1 February.

For the full story, read Public Officials get Fridays off by Reuters, published in The Star, Business Report on 21/01/2013.

State secures Chinese Loan

Sudan won a $1.5 billion loan from the state-run China Development Bank, in hopes of stabilising Sudan’s economy. China has been investing aggressively in Africa to secure resources. China wants to stabilise Sudan’s economy due to the oil exports passing through South Sudan.

For the full story, read State secures Chinese Loan by Reuters, published in The Star, Business Report on 21/01/2013.

Qatar helps lift foreign reserves

Qatar made a deposit in Egypt to help lift their foreign reserves to defend their currency. The central bank of Egypt has implemented new buying and selling regimes and currency controls to stem a fall in reserves.

For the full story, read Qatar helps lift foreign reserves by Reuters, published in The Star, Business Report on 21/01/2013.

Liberians left out as government sells land to highest bidder

Othello Brandy, the Chairman of the Land Commission said that 57.5 % of Liberia’s land has been allotted via concessions. The UN maintains a peace-keeping force in Liberia to help with potential future land conflicts. The UN’s report underscored numerous conflicts of title and violations of land owners rights.

The Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who won the Nobel peace prize in 2011, is under pressure to rebuild the nation’s economy. Sirleaf annulled many controversial deals, but also signed new ones covering agriculture, forestry, mineral and offshore oil resources. Agriculture accounts for 61% of the nation’s total economic output.

For the full story, read Liberians left out as government sells land to highest bidder by Anne Chaon, published in The Star, Business Report on 21/01/2013.

Blue Financial seeks to grow its footprint in Africa

Blue Financial Services is negotiating with its majority shareholder Mayibuye to increase its 51% shareholding through purchasing new capital, to enable the company to finance growth in Africa. Mayibuye rescued the company through purchasing R 463 million worth of debt and equity in 2010.

The capital will be used to fund the lending business, and thus increasing the loans available to customers. The company has plans to roll out home and education loan products this year. Blue Financial Services wants to grow its customer base to 5 million by 2015. The company is refocusing its strategy to offer development-orientated loans.

In the 6 months ended August the company’s interest income and operating income declined by 18.8% and 9.6% respectively. Mayibuye’s preparedness to purchase more capital shows their confidence in Blue Financial Services since initially purchasing capital in 2010.

For the full story, read Blue Financial seeks to grow its footprint in Africa by Phakamisa Ndzamela, published in Business Day on 22/01/2013.

Zambia ‘attractive for foreign investors’ 

Zambia is set for significant economic growth and may be an attractive market for international investors. The Zambian economy was expected to grow by 7% this year, driven by mining and agriculture. The discovery of copper around Solwezi is seeing enormous investment programmes being implemented. Spur, KFC, Pick ‘n Pay and the Protea Hospitality Group all have plans to expand in Zambia.

Transnet Freight Rail hopes to finalise an agreement on co-operation between Zambia and SA next month. Some of Zambia’s leading companies recorded significantly higher sales volumes and continue to invest to meet the increasing demand.

For the full story, read Zambia ‘attractive for foreign investors’ by Nick Hedley, published in Business Day on 22/01/2013.

David Okwara

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