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‘The Private Sector in Development Initiative' Launches Formal Association


Entrepreneurs in emerging and developing countries face immense barriers to success, operating in risk-averse societies where financing and mentorship are scarce. This is particularly challenging for small and medium-sized ventures that are too large for micro-credit and have not reached scale to access larger investment funds or financing.  More than 25 organizations have agreed to work together to bring about a new phase of global development focused on giving private enterprise and entrepreneurs the tools to fight subsistence poverty. The group comprised of funds, non-profits, and advisors focused on entrepreneurship beyond microfinance, will launch a formal association that will invigorate private sector involvement in development. Organized by the Aspen Institute and the Global Development Advisors and sponsored by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, this group of practitioners aims to focus on job creation, building capital, and generating revenue while providing needed health, energy and other social services in emerging and developing countries. The group includes some of the most innovative professionals in the development field with a proven track record of building competitive businesses worldwide.

Ghana report says her people are generally happy with progress

In its annual progress report on the implementation of the APRM Programme of Action, Ghana’s national APRM Governing Council says the report findings were that Ghanaians generally are happy with their freedom of expression, and the safety and security of life and property. They also expressed satisfaction with the resilience of the economy in the face of increasing oil prices. Support to the private sector, especially micro and small enterprises, was also mentioned as noteworthy. Improving access to water and sanitation was also commended. The country continues to enjoy a B+ rating from both Standard and Poor’s and Fitch Ratings. The country ranks 82nd in the World Bank Study – Doing Business in 2006. The survey also found Ghana as the 9th easiest place to do business in Africa. In West Africa, Ghana ranks number 1 as the easiest place to do business.

South Africa Business Community gearing up for 2010

Seventy-five percent of medium to large privately held businesses surveyed in South Africa believe that the 2010 FIFA World Cup will benefit them financially, and are taking steps to capitalise on the country's hosting of the event, according to the latest International Business Report by consultants Grant Thornton. According to the survey, 60% of SA companies are considering diversifying their product or service in order to maximise their returns from the tournament, 53% are increasing their workforce, and 46% are making additional capital investments in their businesses. A third (33%) of the businesses surveyed said they were increasing their geographic spread in preparation for the event and its build-up, while a quarter (25%) said they would be importing more goods from abroad.

Kenya's Economy expected to continue Growth during Election Year

The Kenyan Government has expressed optimism that the economic growth witnessed since 2005 will continue upwards this election year. According to the country’s Finance Minister, the Kenyan economy grew by 6% in 2006, an improvement on the growth rate of 5.8% announced by the government in 2005. The Central Bank of Kenya stated, in its '2007 Economic Outlook' forecast, that growth was underpinned by macro-economic stability and improved investor confidence, citing a revitalised agricultural sector, tourism, telecommunication and finance (with revenue collection surpassing the $4.2bn threshold by over 20 percent).

Angolan President inaugurates New Bank

President José Eduardo dos Santos has inaugurated the Development Bank of Angola.  According to José Pedro de Morais, Minister of Finance, the bank will provide a sound basis for productive investments at reasonable costs, creating more jobs and involving the population in production.  The bank will provide long-term loans, guaranteeing immediate resources for areas defined as strategic and, subsequently, for other economic sectors where there is a clear need for goods and services.  The BDA is to be partly financed by oil and diamond revenues.

Biomass export plant for Coega

The Coega Industrial Development Zone outside Port Elizabeth has secured a R70-million investment into a biomass fuel project which will supply 10 000 tons of the product per month to European markets. According to the Coega Development Corporation, the plant will be one of the largest among the 285 operations of this product globally. Production is scheduled to commence in August, with the first product due for export in November. According to the company, about 100 jobs will be created during construction of the plant, which is currently under way, while an additional 60 direct jobs and about 3,000 indirect jobs will be created. Biomass is an environmentally friendly alternative source of energy.

Oil investments in Angola increased by 37% in 2006

Investment in oil exploration amounted to about US$10 billion in 2006, a 37% increase over the previous year, according to Oil Minister Desidério da Costa.  With the start of production in the Dalia oilfield in December and other projects to be implemented in 2007, oil production is expected to reach two million barrels a day.  Angola has seen a continued increase in output in 2006, rising to 1.4 million barrels a day, and by the end of third quarter of 2006 Angola, through Sonangol, the state oil company, had exported about 129 million barrels of crude oil at an average price of US$63 a barrel. Source: ANIP

Virtual Market for Farmers in Ghana

Farmers in Ghana will soon be introduced to an innovative agricultural market information service that will help them sell their produce across Africa. The new service known as TradeNet will enable farmers and traders across the continent to share and fix prices of various agricultural products through the use of mobile phone text messages. Farmers who sign up for the service will receive SMS alerts on whatever commodity they are interested in and where the product is available. Source: Ghanaian Chronicle

South Africa launches State-Owned Broadband Company

The South African Government has announced that it will launch a state-owned company that will provide long-distance telecommunications connectivity “on a cost basis” to the market. The state-owned company, Infraco, will provide such connectivity to Neotel, the second network operator, based on the telecommunications infrastructure originally built by Eskom and Transnet. Infraco is not intended to be a telecommunications company providing a whole host of services but will own the fibre optic cable that was previously held by Eskom and Transnet and it will provide only broadband capacity on fibre cabling across the country.  The South African Government considers broadband to be a key driver of economic growth and wealth generation, enabling South Africa to gain access to universally available, reliable and affordable broadband. According to the Minister of Communications, Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, the costs of broadband will reduce given the government’s investment in providing the requisite infrastructure.

Kenya Ready to Adopt Cable

The Kenyan government has confirmed that it is ready to adopt three different under sea cables provided through various routes which should enable the cost of international broadband to be drastically reduced within 18 months. According to the country’s Ministry of Information and Communication, Kenya is taking a three-pronged approach calculated to reduce the cost of international connectivity. Priority will be given to the East African Marine System (Teams), the fiber optic cable link to Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates. Under the Teams agreement, the Kenya Government will have a 40% holding in the project, Etisalat of UAE will hold 20% and the remaining 40% will go to investors in the East African region. Kenya is also involved in the East African Submarine Cable System (EASSy) an initiative aimed at constructing and operating a submarine fiber optic cable along the East African Coast. EASSy will connect nine coastal countries and island nations and to the rest of the world. Source: Highway Africa News.

South Africa is to set up a State Diamond Trader

The government is to set up a new state-owned diamond trading company that will buy 10% of locally produced diamonds for resale on the South African market, helping to develop local diamond cutters and polishers. According to the Government, the initiative is in line with its National Industrial Policy Framework aimed at increasing mineral beneficiation in the country.  The policy also promotes strategic state intervention in the agriculture, agro-processing, pharmaceutical and white goods sectors, as well as in creative industries and community and social services.  De Beers, the South African diamond company, had agreed to assist with free management, technical skills and asset provision over the first three years. The company is set to spend R2.2-billion in capital investment in new mines and new exploration activities in South Africa.

Chevron to Build New Headquarters in Angola

The multinational Chevron, Cabinda Gulf Oil Company (Cabgoc), has announced the construction of a new headquarters in the Angolan capital, as a result of the investments made in the country in the fields of exploration, prospecting and production of oil and natural gas. The headquarters will be built in the Chicala zone, in the Ingombota district (Luanda).

South Africa to Build Second Nuclear Plant

South Africa is to build a second nuclear power station as part of a multi-billion rand plan to meet the surging demand for electricity fuelled by the country's economic growth. According to the Government, the state power utility Eskom, with government backing, has taken a decision to build a new conventional nuclear power plant in the southern part of the country to produce upwards of 1 000MW of base load power as an affordable, environmentally sound alternative to gas and coal-fired sources of energy. South Africa currently has one conventional nuclear station: Koeberg in the Western Cape, which contributes base load power of about 1 800MW to the national grid.

$15 Million invested in Kenyan Grain Handling Company

UK private equity investor in emerging markets, Actis, has announced a $15mn investment, through its Actis Africa Agribusiness Fund (AAAF), in Grain Bulk Handlers Limited (GBHL) at Kenya's Kilindini Port. GBHL is a state of the art integrated grain terminal at the port in Mombasa, Kenya's city on the Indian Ocean coast. This is the first investment for the fund in the agri-infrastructure sector in Kenya since it was launched in April 2006. Actis is a leading private equity investor in emerging markets and currently has US$3.3bn of funds under management. The firm said the investment in Mombasa makes Actis a significant minority equity investor in GBHL and, through its representation on the Board of Directors, Actis will participate in providing strategic leadership to the business in its next phase of growth.

Valco-Alcoa Foundation Youth Clinic Inaugurated in Ghana

Alcoa has announced the official opening of the Valco-Alcoa Foundation Youth Clinic in Ashaiman, in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana. The new youth health and recreation center was created through a partnership between Alcoa Foundation, Ghana Health Services and Mercy Ships, a global charity. Alcoa Foundation provided $68,000 funding last August to Mercy Ships, who managed the construction project and provided necessary equipment for the center. The new center is staffed and managed by Ghana Health Services, the Ghana government health agency.  Alcoa’s presence in Ghana is through Volta Aluminum Company (Valco), a joint venture with the government of Ghana. Valco provides aluminum ingot from its smelter in Tema to Alcoa customers around the world.  Alcoa is the world's leading producer and manager of primary aluminum, fabricated aluminum and alumina facilities and has been named one of the top most sustainable corporations in the world at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

South Africa Releases Codes of Good Practice

The South Africa Minister of Trade has published the final Black Economic Empowerment Codes of Good Practice in the Government Gazette and Industry which now have full legal standing. The Codes of Good Practice on Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment were published along with the sector charters for the Construction and Finance industries. Their publication in the Government Gazette follows cabinet’s approval of the codes in December last year. Qualifying businesses, all government institutions and State Owned Enterprises, must comply with the codes and be rated in terms of the Generic Scorecard or sector specific charters. The codes allocate 70 percent of their points to broad-based elements such as enterprise development, skills development, preferential procurement and socio-economic development, and smaller companies and start-ups in their first year of operations will be exempt from empowerment requirements, while multi-nationals will have flexibility in how they choose to structure their empowerment deals. The Generic Scorecard awards points amounting to a total of 100 on the seven elements of ownership (20 points), management control (10), employment equity (15), skills development (15), preferential procurement (20), enterprise development (15) and socio-economic development (5).

NEPAD and FARA sign up to boost development of agriculture in Africa

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between NEPAD and the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA).  FARA, based in Accra, Ghana, facilitates the coordination and exchange of information among the African Sub-Regional Agricultural Research Organisations (SROs), and their National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) stakeholders.FARA’s main activities in supporting the SROs range from strategic planning, strengthening and integrating NARS at the sub-regional level, and increasing collaboration between NARS, International Agricultural Research Centres, (IARCs) and Advanced Research Institutes, (ARIs).  In consultation with NEPAD and its members, FARA will identify priority projects and will work together to enhance the capacity of African scientists, development agencies and farmers to take advantage of new technologies and methodologies to improve African agricultural productivity.

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