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Fund to Spur African Investment


ImageBusiness and political leaders in Africa have launched a $550m (£294m) fund to promote investment in Africa. The fund - the Investment Climate Facility (ICF) - aims to breakdown barriers to business in Africa. Aims of the fund include accelerating business registration, improving customs regulation and securing property rights. The fund was launched at the World Economic Forum in Cape Town. "We will be able to show that Africa is ready to prepare a climate that is favourable for investment," said Benjamin Mkapa, Tanzania's former president and the fund's co-chair. Barriers to business and trade include bottlenecks at ports and when registering businesses. Mr. Mkapa also said that improving the investment climate was crucial to combating poverty.   The aim is for $550m to be provided over the fund's seven-year lifetime, with multilateral and country donors giving $500m and the remainder coming from private firms.

Kwanza "gained Second Most Value among African currencies”

"The Macauhub economic news service reported that Angola’s kwanza was the African currency to have gained the second most value over the last year, thanks to oil revenues and reduced inflation, according to the South African Standard Bank’s latest report.  In the last twelve months, the Standard report said, the kwanza had gained 9.8 percent in value against the dollar, and was surpassed only by Zambia’s kwacha, which increased by 35 percent during the same period, and projections pointed to a continuation of this trend.  ‘While oil export revenues remain strong, the National Bank of Angola will continue to intervene in the currency market to maintain the currency’s relative stability,’ said the report.  At the end of the week, it continued, the Angolan currency was worth US$0.0215, a record value on the international market.  Angola’s economy expanded by 15.7 percent last year and this year, according to the latest forecast from the International Monetary Fund, should grow 26 percent, the highest growth rate on the African continent.  Source: Angola News

Gold Takes over from Cocoa as Ghana’s Leading Forex Earner

"Ghana recorded a significant increase in all mineral productions in 2005 with gold taking over from cocoa as the leading foreign exchange earner for the Country.  Mineral revenue went up from 798 million dollars in 2004 to 995.2 million dollars in 2005 contributing about 13% of the total collection of Internal Revenue Service in the year under review. Gold production recorded an increase of 63% in 2005 with its export revenue increasing from 731.2 million dollars to 903.9 million dollars. These were contained in the 2005 annual report of the Chamber of Mines released at its 78th Annual General Meeting held in Accra under the theme, "The Impact of Mining on Local Economy." The Report said bauxite revenue increased from 11.9 million dollars in 2004 to 18.1 million dollars in 2005, while diamond rose from 26 million dollars to 34.7 million dollars. Manganese exports realised 39.1 million dollars in 2005, up from 30.2 million dollars the previous year. Source: Databank

DRC Prepares for $40 billion Power Project

"The Democratic Republic of Congo is seeking investors to fund the expansion of its Inga hydroelectricity project at a cost of $40bn, its Energy Minister said. The largest single hydropower initiative in the world, Inga in the western DRC is seen as key to powering up stretches of central and southern Africa. The DRC says it is now time to launch the expansion, with a target capacity of 40 000 megawatts, forming the base of an African grid that will link the continent's power pools. The country needs to raise the investment required and Salomon Baliene, the Energy Minister plans to hold a conference in July in South Africa to speak to businesses and investors about a stake in Inga.

South African firm to invest in Angolan Diamonds

"The South African company Metalon is to spend US$10 million this year on diamond prospecting in Luachassi, municipality of Chitembo, in the central highland province of Bié.  Mzi Khumalo, President of the Board of Directors of Metalon, said this sum was only for the first phase of prospecting, analyses to complete the feasibility study, the acquisition of equipment and the installation of material.   He said the project would benefit the local population because his company would rebuild destroyed bridges and build schools, homes and other undertakings.   They also planned to build hospitals.  ‘Metalon will be the first company to do this in the region,’ he said. Ana Maria Mvuayi, deputy governor of Bié Province for social affairs, said partnerships between the provincial government and diamond companies were important because this project would create many jobs for local youth and would contribute to the economic and social development of the region through the rehabilitation of facilities destroyed during the war. Source: Angola News

MTN Plans Takeover of Investcoms


MTN is planning to raise part of the $5,5bn it needs to take over the pan-African and Middle Eastern cellular operator Investcom by selling bonds worth up to R8bn. It has started selling bonds to South African investors in a sale led by Deutsche Bank's South African arm, said finance director Rob Nisbet. Four banks including Deutsche will lend MTN the cash it needs, but Nisbet did not name the other backers. MTN would borrow $3,85bn and issue up to 204-million shares to complete the payment, giving Investcom shareholders up to 13% of MTN. Taking over Beirut-based Investcom will give MTN another 4,9-million customers in eight countries, along with licences to operate in two more. Source: Databank

China Signs $1.3 billion Energy Deal with Zimbabwe

China has signed a $1.3bn deal with Zimbabwe to help relieve an acute shortage of energy. Chinese companies will build new coal mines and three thermal power stations in the Zambezi valley on the Zambian border. In exchange, Zimbabwe will provide China with chrome. Zimbabwean industry suffers from hours of power cuts every day. Zimbabwean officials and representatives of the China Machine-Building International Corporation (CMEC) signed the deal Chinese companies are also to rebuild Zimbabwe's rail network and provide trains and buses. Source: Databank

Mozambique and Angola Sign Cooperation Protocol

The Governments of Angola and Mozambique recently signed a cooperation accord in the field of public works that, among other matters, provides for a reciprocal technical training of staff and a permanent exchange of projects between the two countries. The accord was signed by the Angolan minister of Public Works, Higino Carneiro, and his colleague, Feliciano Pedro Zacarias, Mozambique. Carneiro stated that the sector of Public Works will become a fundamental element for the re-launch of bilateral cooperation and for the social and economic development of Southern Africa. The protocol will enable the establishment of an important partnership for the Government of Mozambique, mainly in the rehabilitation of roads.  Source; Angola News

Kenya Airways Report 24% Rise in Profits

Kenya Airways has reported a 24 per cent rise in after tax profit to Sh4.83 billion driven by good performance in African and European routes. The airline, one of Africa’s most profitable carriers, saw its profits rise from Sh3.88 billion recorded in the previous year. This is the first time that the airline’s profitability has crossed the Sh4 billion mark since it was privatised in 1996. The earning rise had defied the negative impact brought about by sharp rise in fuel prices and concerns of terrorism attacks witnessed during the review period. This year, the airline is also recommending a final dividend of Sh1.75 per share, a 40 per cent increase over the previous year’s offer. During the period, the strongest growth was registered on African routes, with West and Central Africa leading with 26% growth, followed by Southern, Northern, and Eastern Africa at 22, 21 and five per cent respectively. Source: Databank

Cadbury Schweppes Purchases Leading South African Gum Company

Confectionery giant Cadbury Schweppes has completed the purchase of South Africa's leading chewing gum company for £33m ($62m) in cash. Dan Products makes the Stimorol and Dirol brands in Botswana for sale in South Africa. Cadbury Schweppes says the deal will "reinforce its strong participation in the fast-growing South African market". It also says the purchase will give it a platform for expansion into other southern African markets. In 2005, Dan Products' revenue is forecast to be £9m, and earnings before interest and tax of £3m. The purchase has been cleared by the South African competition authorities.

Angola Registers Highest Economic Growth

Economic growth of 20.6% in Angola’s economy was recorded in 2006, being the country’s highest to date. According to the country’s Finance Vice Minister, Severim de Morais, in the same period, public investments were at a high and valued at USD 850 million. With record highs in the economy and the unemployment rate decreasing by 74 percent in 2005, to 29.2, hope of a more emphatic reduction, this year, is growing. In the Public Investment Program for 2005/2006, the government registered 1,663 projects. Of the 1,663 projects, 52 percent are complete or are in the process of implementation. The majority of the projects are in the fields of education, health, public works, energy and water.

Roundtable on African Investment

World Bank Group President Paul D. Wolfowitz said Africans can attract far higher levels of investment, and in doing so, generate the jobs that will lift more of the population out of poverty.  Co-chairing a roundtable discussion at the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Investment Summit in Washington, he said that since coming to the Bank, “I’ve discovered how much hope there is” in Africa, made stronger by the sustained growth record of some 15 countries. But he warned against impatience and reform fatigue, stressing that economic and social change takes time. Africa Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka, who co-chaired the roundtable, said that African countries need to “close the gap between policies and practice,” noting that many countries have adopted sound economic policies without substantially changing the investment environment.  A number of African countries are taking steps to create a more business-friendly environment. For example, Madagascar has brought down the time required to register a firm from 38 to 8 days, while Burkina Faso has created a one-stop shopping concept that cuts by nearly a third the time required to start a new company. Company registration costs there have dropped 60 percent.  Source: World Bank

World Bank Approves Funds for Senegal Basin Water Programme

The World Bank has approved three International Development Association (IDA) credits* and one grant in the amount of US$110 million to support the development of water resources in the four riparian countries of the Senegal River Basin (Guinea, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal).  The three countries that received IDA credits are Mali (US$30.08 million), Mauritania (US$31.78 million) and Senegal (US$30.08 million) while Guinea received an IDA grant of US$18.04 million.   The Senegal River Basin Multi-purpose Water Resources Development (MWRD) program, as it is called, will fund integrated water resources development activities focusing at the local level to help generate income to reduce poverty among rural communities along the river basin.   The funding will also be used to strengthen disease surveillance systems and local operations research capacity, in the hope of creating a sustainable platform for improved disease monitoring.   The MWRD will help consolidate and modernize the institutional, legal and technical framework of the Senegal River Basin Organization (OMVS) to better serve the four countries.  Source: World Bank

Angola Wants to Become Member of OPEC

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is assessing a request from Angola to become a member of the organization, along with another from Sudan. The two countries submitted their requests to the ministers of OPEC for a decision. If the new members are admitted, Angola and Sudan would be the first countries to join OPEC since 1971, when Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer became a member of the cartel, which represents around 40 percent of world oil production. The current president of OPEC, the Nigerian oil minister, Edmund Daukoru, recently visited Angola and Sudan, as part of the applications to join the organization.  Source: Angola News

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