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Angolan Government Approves US$200 Million Investment Project


Kenya's Tea Output Increases by Over 100%

Kenya's tea production for the first quarter of 2007 increased by 119% to 108 million kg from 49 million kg registered during the same period last year. According to the Tea Board of Kenya, the improved output is due to well-distributed rainfall experienced in tea growing areas. It cited total export volume for the first three months of the year at 100 million kg, an increase of 32% from 75 million kg registered the same period last year. In 2005, Kenya was the fourth largest tea producer after India, China and Sri Lanka and contributed 10% of the global tea production. Alongside tourism and horticulture, tea is a leading foreign exchange earner for Kenya.

Lonrho buys Stake in Mineral Water Company

Lonrho Africa, the pan African investment business, has acquired a 34% stake in Sociedade de Águas de Mocambique, a major mineral water company in Mozambique. Águas de Moçambique is an extractor, bottler and distributor of mineral water, whose principal brand, Água de Namaacha, currently has an overall share of approximately 30% in the Mozambique water market. Águas de Moçambique has achieved year on year growth of approximately 100 percent per annum between 2003 and 2005 and in 2007 water sales are expected to be in the region of 3 000 000 litres. Águas de Moçambique has recently invested $1.2mn in a new bottling plant and factory. This acquisition represents another step in Lonrho’s broader strategy to become a pan African company, focused on investing in growth businesses that will make a difference to Africa by enhancing basic infrastructure to facilitate the sustainable growth of the continent as a resources and business hub.

Namibia to Boost Trade with Malaysia

Namibia and Malaysia have agreed to strengthen economic ties and increase trade. As trade between the two countries grows, the intention is to deepen economic relations and encourage more investments from Malaysia in research, development and agriculture as well as mining, trade and information technologies. Malaysia is also interested in construction and housing projects in the southern African country. Malaysia's largest investment in Namibia is the 100-million-dollar textile and garment factory Ramatex, which initially employed 6,000 people. Malaysia imports processed marble, precious stones for jewellery production and textiles from Namibia. According to the Namibian Trade Minister, bilateral trade between the countries came to 30 million dollars last year.

SADC Forms Diamond Cartel

Diamond-producing member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) have formalised the formation of an African Diamond Producers Association (ADPA). The SADC countries account for more than half of the world's diamonds and the ADPA is meant to increase the producers' influence on the global market for the gem. The countries concerned are Angola, Botswana, DR Congo, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Angola, Botswana, DR Congo, Namibia and South Africa account for about 60% of the world's diamond output, whilst Zimbabwe has two nascent diamond mines, one operated by Rio Tinto and another one by River Ranch. The Association will work closely with such organisations as the Kimberly Process to clamp down on illicit trade in the precious stones.

SABMiller Sells Pepsi Operations in Costa Rica

Brewing giant SABMiller has sold its Pepsi bottling operations in Costa Rica to Cerveceria Costa Rica, a subsidiary of Florida Ice and Farm Company. The brewer acquired the Pepsi operation when it bought Bavaria for $7,8bn in 2005, which provided it with access to Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Panama. According to the company, the group disposed of the Pepsi operation as part of a tidy-up campaign to sell non-core assets it inherited in 2005. The group was focusing on improving beer’s image and on entrenching its portfolio in the region. SABMiller, which posted revenue of $15,3bn in its past year, operates in more than 60 countries on six continents. Latin America is expected to contribute a quarter to SABMiller's earnings

Angolan Postal Service to Invest US$24 Million in Modernization

The Angolan National Post and Telecommunications Firm will invest US$24 million through the year 2012, in the rehabilitation and modernization of approximately 160 of its centers, throughout the country. This investment is part of the institution’s steering plan that has been implemented since 2004 and is aimed at improving their service to the public. Under this plan, nine provincial centers have been rehabilitated and equipped, including the set-up of Internet services. Two additional centers are to be inaugurated soon, in Malanje and Huambo provinces.

China and Ethiopia in $200mn Telecom Deal

China's ZTE announced a $200mn deal with Ethiopia's state-owned telecoms group. An agreement with Ethiopia Telecom Corp will build up the east African nation's fledgling telecommunications network. The agreement includes the first phase of fibre transmission backbone, expansion of mobile phone services and the expansion of wireless telephone operations. State-owned ZTE will install 1.2 million mobile telephone lines in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa and eight other towns.

Liberia Re-Launches Diamond Trade

Liberia has re-launched its diamond-mining sector following the United Nations lift of a four-year ban on trade in the precious gemstone. The Liberian government has pledged to abide by the conditions set by the UN to ensure that its diamonds remain within the tight international diamond control system. The UN lifted the block imposed in 2003 on Liberian raw diamond exports, stating that the country has made progress in ensuring international safeguards in diamond trade. Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf assured the UN that her country will strive to make sure the gem is not used again to fund conflicts and to avoid fresh sanctions being imposed on the resource-rich but war ravaged and impoverished country.

Billiton takes Guinea Bauxite Stake

Global resources giant BHP Billiton (BIL) has acquired a 33.3% interest in Global Alumina's Sangaredi Refinery Project in Guinea, West Africa, for US$140 million. The project comprises the design, construction and operation of a 3Mtpa alumina refinery, 9Mtpa bauxite mine, and associated infrastructure. The proposed refinery site is approximately 100km inland from Kamsar and has the benefit of access to existing rail infrastructure linking it to the Port of Kamsar, where dedicated facilities are already under construction. As part of the agreement, BHP Billiton will appoint the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer of the Joint Venture Company (JVC) and will enter into a services agreement with the JVC for the development, construction and operation of the project, which will be operated in accordance with BHP Billiton standards. Global Alumina will now hold a 33.3% equity interest in the Sangaredi Refinery Project. Source: I-Net Bridge

Luanda Business Incubator Inaugurated

The Angolan Minister of Public Administration, Employment and Social Security, Pitra Into, has inaugurated Luanda’s business incubator, established to create and strengthen new businesses and boost job generation and maintenance. Luanda enterprise incubators are organizations equipped with infrastructures and a set of services that support the creation of new businesses in the various sectors of the economy. The incubators stimulate and support the creation of small size enterprises, upgrade business operators with a view to operating in new segments of the market, as well as develop regionally or locally for the potential ability to create new goods and services. The incubators also seek to improve technologies in various sectors of economic activity and operate in the sectors of tourism and hotels, civil construction, oil and derivatives, and information and communication technologies.

Liberia Ratifies Steelmaker Mining Deal

The Liberian Senate has ratified an iron ore-mining contract sealed last year between the government and the world's largest steelmaker, Arcelor Mittal. Senate spokesperson Varney Gbaysay said this week that a majority of its members have approved the deal. Under the so-called Mineral Development Agreement (MDA) signed by the Liberian government and Mittal in December, the steelmaker has promised to pour more than a billion dollars in investment into the war-ravaged state. The agreement is a revised version of an August 2005 deal, reached by a transitional government, but rejected as unfair by Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf when she came into office five months later. The 25-year concession deal - which will generate more than 20 000 jobs once the mining operation is fully operational - gives Mittal access to a billion cubic metres of iron ore in the resource-rich West African country. It will have to make available three million dollars for the three counties for general development as part of the deal.

BAI Opens another Agency in Luanda

The Banco Africano de Investimento (BAI) has opened an additional branch in Luanda to fulfill their expansion strategy that has over 100,000 clients. The opening of the new agency aims at meeting the growing demands of BAI credits and the resulting presence of individuals and companies at its branches. BAI plans to open 15 new branches this year, covering all provincial capitals in its first phase. With capital of approximately US$ 2.3 billion, BAI is one of the banking institutions that approved the most credit to the Angolan economy.

GT Bank Headline Earnings Rocket

Guaranty Trust Bank Gambia announced strong results for the year ended 2006. The bank posted an 84% rise in net profits to D20.2m on top of a 61% growth in net revenues to D94.2m. The impressive results were underpinned by a 156% growth in investments to D231m and an 87% expansion in the loan book to D238m while deposits soared 85% to D577m. The strong outturn and changes in rules on dividend payments by the Central Bank has allowed the bank to declare its first ever dividend of 0.08 bututs per share. The results also lifted shareholders funds up by 24% to D75m.

Ecobank Releases Strong First Quarter Results

Ecobank group has announced a profit of US $24.7 for the first quarter 2007, up 20. According to a statement from the bank, it recorded positive results largely because of a significant increase in the performance of Ecobank Nigeria. Total assets of the Group improved significantly by 57% to US$4 billion, in comparison with the same period in 2006. Total deposits rose by 71 percent to US$3 billion largely resulting from the positive effect of branch expansion.

New Currency Launched in Ghana

The Bank of Ghana has unveiled five new bank notes and six coins to be circulated from 1st July 2007. The Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Paul Acquah, said the new currencies would allow the domestic currency to assume its role as the means of exchange and store of value for all. The introduction of the new currency has become necessary because of re-denomination of the Ghanaian currency the Cedi, which takes effect on July 1, 2007.

UNITEL Expands International Roaming Services in Angola

The mobile telephone company, UNITEL, recently began operating with the "Roaming" services, together with its counterparts from Finland (DNA), Pakistan (WARID) and South Korea (KTF).According to a source from UNITEL, last April they also joined the "Roaming" services with the Thai company (True Move) and another Dutch company, which facilitates communication between its clients. UNITEL started using “Roaming” services in the country in February 2003, with two Portuguese operators, TMN and Vodafone.

Brand South Africa Worth over R500bn

The South Africa brand, according to the South African government is today valued at over half a trillion rand (over R500 billion). Citing the work of the country’s International Marketing Council (IMC) in raising awareness of the country, South African Minister Pahad has reported the value of Brand South Africa R516.6 billion. The IMC has given South Africa a sharper international profile as a dynamic emerging market and created closer working relationship with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI )

Starbucks Strikes Ethiopia Deal

Starbucks and the Ethiopian government have reached an agreement that could help end a dispute over trademarks. The two sides have agreed in principle to sign a licensing and marketing deal that recognises the importance of Ethiopia's speciality coffee beans. Cultivation of the coffee bean first began in Ethiopia, and the country has been seeking to trademark its best-known coffee beans. However, US officials have argued that the plan is not economically viable. Ethiopia and UK charity Oxfam claimed Starbucks was attempting to block plans by the African nation to trademark its Sidamo, Harar and Yirgacheffe coffee beans

IFC Plans African Healthcare Funds

The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank, is in discussions to create new equity and debt funds totalling up to $500m to finance commercial healthcare projects in Africa. The initiatives, which could be launched as soon as this autumn, include an equity fund with up to $100m in capital and a debt-finance facility worth up to $400m, as well as a programme of technical assistance grants for $50m. The agency would provide funding, but also work with other official agencies, philanthropic groups and private banks, and attempt to tap wealthy individuals willing to invest significant sums and balance financial with broader "social" returns.

South Africa to host African Arbitration Court

South Africa is to set up and host the Permanent Court of Arbitration for Africa, a branch of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands, to help resolve inter-state and non-state disputes on the continent. The African PCA's mandate will mirror that of the international PCA, which was established in 1899 as the first global institution to promote the peaceful settlement of disputes between countries. South Africa became a member of the PCA when it signed the Convention for the Pacific Settlement of International Disputes in 1997. The establishment of a regional facility for Africa will offer an alternative means of settling disputes from those offered by bodies such as the African Court of Justice and the International Court of Justice. The African PCA will also be more flexible and offer a greater degree of autonomy to the parties in dispute, as they will have the freedom to choose the arbitrators, rules and procedures to be applied in each case. Over the last decade, the PCA has experienced a considerable increase in its caseload, which now includes disputes over investments and contracts, maritime delimitation, international boundaries, banking and finance, international humanitarian law and environmental law.

IFC and Aureos Launch New Initiative to Promote SME Sustainability

IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, and Aureos Capital Limited, a private equity fund management company based in Mauritius, have launched an initiative to help small and medium enterprises in emerging markets improve their environmental and social performance. The SME Sustainable Opportunities Initiative will channel funding from IFC and other donors to support various environmental, social, and health and safety upgrades in small and medium enterprises in which Aureos-managed private equity funds have invested. The initiative will allow a number of SMEs to reduce carbon emissions, improve energy and water efficiency, reduce effluents, and develop HIV/AIDS awareness programs. At least half of the projects will be in Sub-Saharan Africa. The total cost of this initiative is $3 million, which will be funded by IFC and donor contributions.

Grameen Foundation Announces a $1 Million Landmark Financing for Nigerian MFI LAPO

Grameen Foundation has announced its first Growth Guarantee transaction in Sub-Saharan Africa: US$1 million for Lift above Poverty Organization (LAPO), a leading microfinance institution (MFI) in Nigeria. Citibank, acting through its subsidiary in the country, The Nigeria International Bank (NIB), structured the US$1mm Naira equivalent loan supported by a US$500,000 guarantee from Grameen Foundation. This marks the first transaction between a Nigerian MFI and NIB/Citibank, and it is LAPO’s first leveraged commercial bank transaction. This financing will support LAPO’s aggressive expansion plans to serve an increasing number of customers in Nigeria that currently lack access to formal financial products and services. It will also allow LAPO to tap new sources of funding, previously only available from donors or subsidized loans. Grameen Foundation is a global non-profit organization that combines microfinance, technology, and innovation to empower the world's poorest people to escape poverty.

South Africa Simplifies Its Tax system

The South African Revenue Services (SARS) has launched a new simpler, redesigned Income Tax Return and Filing Process that will make it easier for individual and business taxpayers to complete and file their returns. Individuals will now receive their returns by mid-July 2007 and will have until 31 October 2007 to submit them while companies will receive returns in September 2007and will have six to 12 months after the end of their financial year to submit the returns. Previously the deadline for the submission of completed tax returns was early July. The changes are also intended to ensure improved efficiency and faster turn-around times to SARS internal processes and capturing.

World Bank Funds Transparency in DRC

The World Bank has announced that it is providing $15mn in additional grant financing for extension of a transparency and governance capacity-building project in the Republic of Congo. Additional government finance of $5.6 million will also be provided in support of the project. According to the Bank, the first funding for the project - $7.665mn - was approved in 2002 and was initially scheduled to close on 31 December 2007. This additional funding extends the closing date June 2010. The aim of the project is to enhance governance, transparency and effectiveness in public sector financial management, including the oil sector. The project will also assist the Republic of Congo in putting in place the necessary systems and capacities to ensure the effective management of surplus budget resources generated by windfall oil revenues. Under the project, the Republic of Congo has also set up an Oil Sector Monitoring Unit in the Ministry of Finance, started implementation of reforms in the tax and customs administration and initiated reforms in the overall budget management system.

E-commerce offers a Way Forward for Africa

A new book, launched by the Economic Commission for Africa, seeks to underline the importance of the burgeoning electronic and mobile commerce industry for Africa's economic development. The book, 'African E-Markets: Information and Economic Development', is the second in a series issued by the Committee on Development Information (CODI) and is co-published by ECA, International Books and the Centre for African Studies in Copenhagen. The publication looks at the role of issues such as the enabling environment, e-economics, the stakeholders and data in assessing the implications for economic growth, meeting the Millennium Development Goals and poverty reduction. According to the book, the African e-commerce model differs significantly from that of the West and Asia, due to the continent's late entry into ICT, which means it has encountered a more advanced technology. The African model is essentially based on mobile telephony, a cash economy, marketplace culture and pre-paid accounts. The publication was written completely from an African perspective by African experts and is aimed at practitioners and teachers.

Barloworld in Joint Venture with Caterpillar Dealer

South African industrial brands management group Barloworld (BAW) has entered into, through its Barloworld Equipment division, a 50:50 joint venture transaction with its Caterpillar dealer counterpart in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Tractafric Equipment. The joint venture, known as Congo Equipment, will service the earthmoving equipment needs of DRC's copper and cobalt rich Katanga Province. Congo Equipment has been formed based on an agreement between Caterpillar and the two dealers to provide equipment solutions to customers in the Katanga Province. Barloworld Equipment is the Caterpillar dealer for South Africa and neighbouring countries Namibia, Botswana, Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi and Mozambique.

Econet orders Ericsson, ZTE equipment

Zimbabwean mobile phone giant Econet Wireless has awarded a $15mn contract to Ericsson and ZTE Corporation of China for the supply of equipment to extend its network. Econet says the expansion drive will see the number of its subscribers increase from 800 000 to 1.2 million by the end of this year. Under the deal, the Swedish firm will supply equipment for switches, intelligent network platforms, pre-paid systems as well as new base stations in Harare and the Mashonaland and Manicaland provinces. ZTE has been contracted to install base stations in a project that will see Econet extending coverage to Matabeleland provinces, Masvingo and the Midlands. The new expansion project follows a $20mn project launched by Econet in 2006 which increased its network capacity from 500 000 to 800 000.

South Africa to Build New Power Station

State-owned electricity company Eskom has received a licence to build the first new coal-fired power station in the country for more than 20 years. According to Eskom’s Chief Executive, Jacob Maroga, Roshcon, Eskom's in-house civil engineering unit, will begin site preparation for the R66 billion project in Lephalale in Limpopo province. The value of the project is likely to increase to above R80-billion, should Eskom be required to install stringing air-quality systems. The power station, Medupi, will be a greenfield, coal-fired power plant with six units of 4 500 megawatts of installed capacity. The first unit will be commissioned by early 2011, with the last unit scheduled for commissioning by January 2015

Demand for BAI Visa Cards in Angola Exceeds Expectations

The demand for visa credit cards, offered by Banco Africano de Investimento (BAI), has surpassed all initial expectations of 5,000 units from March 2007 through the end of the year. The bank has already received 3,000 applications and by December 2007, approximately 6,000 BAI customers will hold Visa BAI Classic, BAI Gold and BAI Platinum cards. The release of BAI Visa cards followed negotiations with the VISA network, which formalized the Angolan bank adhesion in 2006 as a member authorized to issue and accept the credit cards used worldwide. The authorization secures BAI full power to control the issuing of credit cards and all transactions affected under the VISA network throughout the world. The new (BAI Classic, BAI Gold and BAI Platinum) cards enable BAI customers to join the world’s biggest payment network and secure them access to ATMs and shopping from 150 countries and about 30 million outlets.

China Writes Off 40% of Cote D’Ivoire Debt

The government of Côte d'Ivoire has announced that China has written off 40% of the debt it was owed by the West African state, during a visit by the Ivorian foreign minister to the Asian economic giant. The cancelled debt amounted to €18-million and Beijing also extended a new €10-million gift to the country. Since the beginning of a political crisis in 2002, China has given tens of millions of euros for construction work in the political capital Yamoussoukro. Chinese firms built a large parliamentary complex there and funded 72% of the €33-million building, while Beijing is also financing a new presidential palace.

Angola Records High Economic Growth

Between 2002 and 2006, Angola’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has reached 89.6%, a General Programme Performance Report approved by the cabinet council reveals. The fourth extra-ordinary cabinet council meeting chaired by the Angolan President, José Eduardo dos Santos, approved the report and in a statement, the Council said agriculture, transforming industry and commercial services recorded greater growth than had been planned.

West African Stock Exchanges Meet on Harmonisation of Rules

The three Stock Exchanges in the West African sub-region have met to find ways to harmonise the trading platform, rules and regulations governing trading in shares on the respective markets to pave way for integration of the markets. Officials of the Ghana Stock Exchange, the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the Abidjan based Bourse, Regionale des Valeurs Mobilieres (BRVM) that serves the eight Francophone countries, said adoption of common rules and laws to govern operations within the exchanges was a necessary first step to full integration. The creation of a single stock market would allow the stock exchanges to grow and to become competitive on the global market as well as provide investors and companies a large market within which to raise capital, they said. The West Africa Monetary Institute (WAMI) is already working on the integration of the Ghana and Nigeria Stock Exchanges as a first step to the integration of capital markets of member countries of the West Africa Monetary Zone, which is expected to adopt a single currency by 2009. Source: Databank

Ghana Eurobond to Open New Chapter for Africa

Ghana plans to tap the Eurobond market in July, underlining global appetite for emerging market debt but fanning a controversy over whether developing countries that have won debt relief should risk piling up new borrowings. The long-awaited issue, the first by a sub-Saharan sovereign outside South Africa since the 1970s, is likely to be followed later in the year by Nigeria, according to bankers attending the annual meeting of the African Development Bank. Ghana's Finance Minister, Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, said that lead managers UBS and Citigroup had been mandated to raise between $500 million and $750 million for the West African country, which plans to use the money to develop its energy and telecommunications sectors and for housing and afforestation. Source: Databank

AccessKenya IPO Oversubscribed

Kenya's only to be listed ICT company, AccessKenya, has announced the successful completion of its initial public offering (IPO) with significant oversubscription of the offer. According to Jonathan Somen, managing director of Access Kenya Group, the company is delighted that the IPO has been fully subscribed.

South African Tourism Partners with Nigerian Company

South African Tourism (SAT) has announced that it had formed a partnership with Netcom Africa. Netcom Africa is one of Nigeria's leading communications infrastructure providers of satellite and wireless broadband in West Africa, to promote South Africa as a tourist destination to its database of subscribers. The Netcom/SAT partnership, a first of its kind for Netcom, means great rewards for the Netcom subscriber base in the form of promotions and easy access to travel information on South Africa as a tourist destination.

China launches Satellite for Nigeria

China has launched a communications satellite for Nigeria, marking the first time the emerging space power has carried out a commercial launch for Africa, the state press said. The Chinese-made satellite is expected to mean big changes for telecommunications, broadcast and Internet services in Africa, saving Nigerians millions of dollars in phone and Internet charges, Xinhua news agency said. The "super hybrid" geo-stationary satellite is expected to change positions in orbit until it is finally fixed over Nigeria, coming into operation later this year with a 15-year lifespan, the report said.

$20mn to Rehabilitate Maputo-SA Railway

Mozambique's publicly owned Ports and Railway Company, CFM, is fully rehabilitating the Maputo-South Africa railway, at a cost of $20 million. The work began in 2006, with the replacement of rails, sleepers, points and ballast, overhaul of the drainage system, and repairing stations. The rehabilitation will be complete in July and will immediately raise the line's capacity from 30 to 35 goods trains a week, with the figure expected to reach 60 trains a week by 2008.

Databank to Co-manage Ghana’s Sovereign Bond

Databank Financial Services has been appointed as one of the financial institutions to manage the first international sovereign bond issue of US$500m-US$1bn by the Government of Ghana. UBS and Citigroup are named as the lead managers. The bond is geared towards financing major infrastructural projects in the country.

UBA and FMB to Issue N100 Bond

UBA Global Markets and Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria are set to issue N100 billion bonds as part of a N43 trillion mortgage financing package to ease the accommodation problem in the Nigeria and assist Nigerians to buy their own houses. Potential investors in the bond include UBA Plc, NIB, Stanbic, GTB, IBTC PFA, Intercontinental, Oceanic and First Bank.

NamPower to List on Namibia Stock Exchange

Power utility NamPower will list on the Namibia Stock Exchange (NSX) and the Bond Exchange of South Africa (BESA) in June. The power utility, which is battling the clock to raise capital to fund its major power generating projects, said it intends to raise about $430mn through listing. The bond listing initiative by NamPower is the first of its kind in Namibia and also for South Africa. Money raised through listing would be used to fund the Caprivi Link Interconnector, a 970km, 350kV High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) bipolar line which is expected to link Namibia to the Zambian and Zimbabwean electricity grids. Construction of the Caprivi Link is expected to start in June 2007.

CNBC Africa Launches 24-hour News Network

CNBC will launch the first 24-hour information network dedicated to coverage of news and business on the continent. CNBC Africa is to go on air from its main studios in Johannesburg and will also take feeds from bureaus in Lagos, Nairobi and London. The new channel will have a heavy business bias and will feature live broadcasts of the opening and closing of key African markets, including the stock exchanges in Johannesburg, Lagos and Nairobi. According to the network, the new channel is the first one of its kind that caters to the information needs of the average viewer as well as to business and investment communities, by providing meaningful analysis behind the headlines.

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