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Angolan Government Approves US$200 Million Investment Project


The Angolan Government has approved a private investment project, Palanca Cimento, valued at US$200 million that will include the construction of an industrial complex for the production of clinker and cement. The industrial complex, to be built in the locality of Hanha in 24 months, will include commercial facilities, a loading quay, distribution centers, and electricity and water treatment stations. The primary project investors include the Angolan group, GEMA, S.A. and the US consortium BGGA Group Ventures 1, LLP.

Ghana - Most Significant Improvement in Economic Freedom

Economic Freedom of the World 2006 Annual Report, by Vancouver-based Fraser Institute ranks Ghana first in the world for having made the most significant improvement in economic freedom over the last few years. With 10 being the highest score, Ghana, for instance, has seen its rating moved up from 5.6 in 2001 to 6.3 in 2004, clocking the highest jump for the period, only matched by Barbados and Bulgaria, which moved up from 5.5 to 6.2 and 5.7 to 6.3, respectively, over the same period. Commenting on Ghana's superior showing, Finance Minister Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu said it only goes to confirm the World Bank survey that placed Ghana among the top ten improved countries in which to do business. Source: Databank

New Angolan Shopping Centre Offers 100 Shops and Eight Cinemas

Belas Shopping Center was recently inaugurated in the Talatona area and offers 100 stores and restaurants, as well as eight cinemas, with 2,400 seats. After an investment of US$ 35 million, the center was built over an area of 119,418,47 square meters, with the layout designed by Brazilian architects André Sá and Francisco Mota. An administrator of HO Investments Management (HOGI), one of the investors in the project, explained that the company is looking into building shopping centers in Huíla, Huambo and Benguela provinces. Belas Shopping will employ 950 people and create 2,500 jobs, indirectly.

MTN Nigeria Boosts Group's Revenue By N263bn

The MTN Group has increased its revenue by 49 per cent to over N912.918 billion for the year ended December 31, 2006 with MTN Nigeria correspondingly increasing its own revenue by 31% to N263.497 billion for the same year. A breakdown of the company’s figures show that South Africa is still the major earner, with the highest revenue of N439 billion, an increase of 22%. Ghana made N29 billion revenue for the group, while Sudan earned N10 billion. MTN Nigeria also increased its subscriber base by 47 per cent to add 3.9 million additional subscribers to the Group's over 40 million-subscriber base, bringing MTN's Nigerian subscriber platform to 12.3 million at the end of 2006. MTN Nigeria also recorded a market share of 46% and reduced churn levels from 35 to 30%. Source: Databank

Over US$33 Million Released for Social Projects

Approximately US$ 33 million was allocated for the implementation of a public investment program in the Kwanza-Norte province, aimed at improving and increasing the supply of basic goods and services to the population, in 2007/2008. The budget has recorded a 47 percent increase in relation to the previous biennium (2005/2006). Of the invested amount, 14.8 percent was allocated to the energy and water sectors and 12.3 percent to infrastructure and public works.

Zambian Bank sold in $8million Deal

The Zambian government has sold its largest state-run commercial bank to Rabobank of The Netherlands in a deal worth more than eight million dollars. Rabobank has taken over the management of the Zambia National Commercial Bank (ZNCB). The Dutch firm will effectively take control of 45%of the shares with management rights while 25% of the shares will be floated on the Lusaka Stock Exchange, with the government retaining the minority shares. Rabobank has promised to maintain the rural branches, which service the poor communities throughout the country.

Commercial Banks Allocate US$400 Million for Public Works

The Angolan Commercial Banks will finance the construction and improvements of public infrastructures, estimated at approximately US$400 million. The contract between the Finance Ministry and the Union of Commercial Banks, led by the Foment Bank of Angola (BFA), covers financing for the construction of the Capanda/Lucala/Luanda electricity supply network and of the Luanda/Viana motorway.

Telkom Kenya Seeks New Investor

Telkom Kenya is to be privatised within the next seven months through the initial sale of a 26% stake to a strategic equity partner. The Government invited expressions of interest from companies interested in buying the stake in the State-owned landline company. In a newspaper advertisement, the Government said it also intended to sell off a further 34% of Telkom in an initial public offering once the strategic partner was on board. The date of the IPO is yet to be determined but it is to be executed in consultation and co-operation with the new shareholding partner. Source: Databank

Increase in Jobs Created in South Africa

According to Statistics SA, South Africa's economy is creating more jobs, and jobs of higher quality, than ever before. The labour force survey shows a modest decline in unemployment between 2005 and 2006 as well. The country’s official unemployment rate has decreased from 26.7% to 25.5% in September 2006, while 500,000 new jobs have been created. South Africa's formal sector (excluding agriculture) was the main driver, accounting for 1.4-million of the 1.6-million new jobs created in the five years to last September. The survey shows that despite an increase in the number of people in the market for jobs, the percentage of working-age South Africans with jobs improved from 41.1% to 42.7%. The country's trade industry (including the wholesale and retail sectors) accounted for 23.9% of the total increase in employment, the single largest contribution by any industry. The industry currently employs more than 3 million people.

Shell Plans Full Production from Nigeria

Petroleum giant Shell has announced that it expects to resume full production in its oil operations in Nigeria’s Niger Delta within the next few months. This follows a year of numerous closures when Shell lost about 500,000 barrels a day in production from its fields in the western part of the oil-rich delta after attacks by rebel groups. Violence in the region has curtailed up to a fifth of Nigeria’s total oil production. Shell, the biggest operator in Nigeria, still pumps about 500,000 barrels a day from the eastern delta region and from several large offshore platforms. Nearly half of Shell’s production in Nigeria has been interrupted since February 2006, after a critical loading platform linked to the Forcados export terminal was blown up. The attack created a chokepoint that forced Shell to shut most of its fields and interrupt production. Source: New York Times Online

Mauritius Exported $1.1bn in 2006

Mauritius exported products worth $1.1bn in 2006 against $963.3mn in 2005, according to the country’s central statistics bureau. It said the 16.4% increase in exports was led by the 13.4% increase in clothing items, 57.8%in sea products and 16.3%in fabrics. The statistics indicated that the United Kingdom, France and US remained the main export markets for the Mauritian duty-free zone, representing about 67 percent of the overall exports. The British market shot up by 24.2 percent and the French by 9.1 percent against 2005 figures, while the US market dropped by 14 percent, the bureau said. In trade with African countries, products worth $36.6mn were exported to South Africa and some $30mn to Madagascar, the Bureau reported.

Angolan Government Invests Luanda Roads Reconstruction

The Angolan Government plans to invest US$1 million over the next year in the reconstruction of Luanda’s road network. The funding is from the credit line made available by Brazil and Brazilian construction companies will carry out the projects. The road rehabilitation will increase traffic flow, make outskirts of the city more accessible, enhance regular circulation of vehicles and pedestrians, and improve the drainage of rainwater.

Chinese and Namibian Businesses Sign Agreements

Chinese and Namibian businesses have signed agreements regarding the purchase of marble blocks, seal oil, wet-blue cattle hides, manganese ore, marble slabs, fishmeal, tuna and blister copper. In addition, the two countries have agreed on the implementation of projects in the areas of trade, partnership and co-operation. The agreements were signed during the visit to Namibia of a Chinese business delegation. Source: African Resource Network

IFC Invests US$15 million in new Lonmin Shares

Further to the Lonmin IFC (International Finance Corporation) partnership signed in March 2007, the IFC has notified Lonmin that it is exercising the first tranche of its option to invest in new Lonmin shares with an initial investment of US$15 million. Lonmin will issue 245,020 shares to the IFC at 3103 pence per share, a discount of 5.0% to the closing mid market price of Lonmin shares on the London Stock Exchange on 2 April 2007. Lonmin has committed to use the US$15 million received from the IFC for this investment to fund projects to benefit the communities that host Lonmin's operations in South Africa.

Angolan Government Investments Estimated at US$ 7 Billion for 2007

The Angolan Government’s Public Investments Program for this year is estimated to total US$ 7 billion, according to the country’s Minister of Finance José Pedro de Morais during a ceremony at which a US$ 400 million loan contract was signed with Angolan commercial banks to build highways and improve the electric power infrastructure in the country’s capital city. José Pedro de Morais said the government has adopted a policy of replacing foreign loans with loans from internal sources, enabling the Government to obtain longer repayment terms, at interest rates more competitive than those prevailing abroad. Treasury Bonds will be issued that are redeemable between 8 and 12 years. Source: ANIP

South Africa’s Property Ranks High Globally

According to the Investment Property Databank, the South African commercial property market achieved returns of 26.7% in 2006, placing it among the top performing markets worldwide. This represents South Africa's second-highest annual return since the inception of the IPD Index in 1995 and, according to the index, the three-year annualised return for South African commercial property was 26.7%, equivalent to the total return of 2006. Property returns from other countries included Ireland (27.2%), Canada (18.6%), the UK (18.1%), Denmark (17.8%), Norway (17.6%), Sweden (16.2%), Netherlands (12.5%) and Portugal (12%).

United Nations Report Lauds Angola’s Growth

High oil export prices helped Angola reach the study's top position with 17.6% growth, the UN's Economic Commission for Africa said in a report published in Addis Ababa. Mauritania placed second with 14.1%, while mineral exports helped Mozambique reach third place at 7.9 percent. At the bottom of the ladder apart from Zimbabwe, the Comoros, Ivory Coast, the Seychelles and Swaziland exhibited the most dismal economic growth rates in Africa. The report projected a 5.8% growth rate on the continent this year, a slight improvement from last year's 5.6 % due to growing global demand for commodities such as oil, minerals and agricultural products.

Survey finds neglect of small businesses by African banks

A survey by global auditing firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers of strategic and emerging banking issues in key African markets has reported that banking institutions neglect small businesses. The survey focused on a number of leading countries including South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, Senegal and the Ivory Coast. The study also identified concerns in all markets about servicing the “un-banked” market, particularly for people living in rural areas. The development and growth of SMEs in the country has been identified as one of the key drivers for job creation and the fight against poverty.

Accesskenya Declares Its Value Ahead of IPO

Accesskenya Group, an ICT provider, has released extracts of its financial statements ahead of listing on the Nairobi Stock Exchange. Figures covering the last three years indicate the firm's revenues have grown by an average 75% annually over the period to the current Sh578 million. The company's adjusted after-tax profit rose from Sh25 million to Sh94 million, showing an average growth of 90% annually. The ICT provider plans to raise Sh800 million, through floatation of 80 million shares at Sh10 each. Source: Databank

East Africa Set for Single Bourse

East African countries have taken a closer step towards integration of their stock markets after stock market chiefs agreed on a strategic plan for a common bourse. The Uganda Securities Exchange (USE), Nairobi Stock Exchange and Dar-Es-Salaam Stock Exchange agreed to hasten plans of cross listing companies on the three stock markets. The chiefs agreed to lobby their respective Governments to mandate such ventures. Under the new proposal, cross-listed companies will pay annual listing fees only to the market of primary listing. The chiefs, under East African Securities Exchanges Association, also agreed to lower the initial listing fees to $5,000 (about Shs8 million). Companies have previously paid a percentage of the company's market capitalization. Source: Databank

Ghana Targets US$2 Billion from One Million Tourists

Ghana expects some one million tourists in 2007 with an expected income of two billion dollars, according to the country’s Ministry of Tourism and Diasporan Relations. 428,533 tourists were recorded to have visited Ghana in 2005 giving the nation about 836 million dollars. The number of arrivals increased by 16% in 2006. He said the expected increase in 2007 was because of "The Joseph Project", which would come to a climax between July and August 2007. The Joseph Project is aimed at reconciling and uniting Africans who have lost contact with their roots back home to contribute to the realization of African goals. According to the Ministry, the Ghanaian Government intends to convert James Fort in Accra, which kept the first slaves and prisoners, into a home of "African Excellence Experience" for all Africans from all walks of life who triumphed over slavery. Source: Databank

Angola Airline Starts Flights to London in April

Angolan airline, TAAG, is awaiting official documentation from the United Kingdom to launch a Luanda/London flight. The route to London will run once a week in its initial stage. The company is also preparing flights from Luanda to Dubai, which are expected to open in October, as well as Luanda to Frankfurt and Luanda to China.

South African Airways expands American Network

South African Airways (SAA) has expanded its presence in the United States, with travellers now offered the choice of flying to and from an additional 15 American cities. Through a code-sharing agreement with fellow Star Alliance member United Airlines, SAA now offers flights to Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Cleveland, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Miami, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Raleigh-Durham and St Louis. SAA is currently the only airline to offer non-stop flights from the US to South Africa, with daily departures from both Washington DC and New York. Through its membership of Star Alliance, SAA is able to offer its customers the choice of 852 destinations in 152 countries, with more than 15 000 daily flights.

BritishTelecom and UNICEF offer ICT Assistance to South African Schools

BT and UNICEF are working together on a three-year development partnership to invest £1.5-million (approximately R21-million) to bring education, technology and communications skills to children from poor backgrounds in South Africa, Brazil and China. Rural schools in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal will benefit from well-equipped computer centres. Apart from the installation of 250 computers, the sponsorship will help renovate schools, build additional classrooms and provide state-of-the-art computer laboratories. To make best use of the new facilities being provided, 150 head teachers and administrators will be trained in effective school management and leadership skills.

Investment Climate Facility Announces Tanzanian Headquarters

The Investment Climate Facility (ICF), a fund designed to help Africa create a more attractive business environment, has announced that its headquarters are to be based in Tanzania. The ICF is a partnership between African governments, the private sector, G8 countries, and donor agencies and has a mandate of improving Africa’s investment climate and remove barriers to growth. Since its launch at the World Economic Forum in 2006 in South Africa, the Facility has increased committed sponsor funding by 50% from $80 million to $120 million and significant additional commitments are expected in the coming months.

TAAG Re-opens Luanda/Luena Route

Angola Airlines (TAAG) re-opened their Luanda/Luena passenger and cargo flights, which had been out of service for the past four years, due to poor runway conditions. With five flights a week, TAAG is operating the Luena (eastern Moxico province) route with a boieng-727/100, everyday of the week except Sunday. The re-opening of TAAG flights in the region will help the local population facilitate their travels to other provinces of the country.

Great Lakes countries Reunite

Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) have re-launched the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Countries (CEPGL), an organisation that has been dormant for 13 years. Diplomatic heads from the three nations participated in the meeting, which will re-launch an organisation begun in 1976 but is inactive because of war and rebellion that has plagued the region. The re-launch program includes a budget for the first year of $970 000, financed primarily by Belgium and the European Union, and the creation of an interim executive secretary. The organisation will permit the free movement of people and goods within the region, and plans to create a regional bank and an institute for agricultural research.

Higher Institute Releases First Hotels and Tourism Graduates

The first graduates of the Hotels and Tourism course, from Angola’s Higher Private Institute (Ispra), were presented recently in Luanda. The group of 20 students will present their graduation works in the up coming months. At school, they tackled four-year course subjects that were related to tourism and hotel management, as well as investment appraisal and statistics. The conclusion of the training program represents a benefit to the national market, as the country is in need of highly qualified personnel in this sector. Ispra is Angola’s only institution that runs higher degrees in hotels and tourism, and there are currently around 150 students enrolled in the study.

Sub-Saharan Africa to grow 6.5%

Economic growth in sub-Saharan African countries over the past three years has been the best in more than three decades, driven by higher oil revenues, high commodity prices and debt relief. The International Monetary Fund's (IMF's) Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa, released in early April, predicts that growth in the region will rise to about 6.5% in 2007, driven mainly by rising oil production in a number of countries. The report adds that even oil-importing countries will experience economic growth at about 5%. Inflation for the region is projected to remain unchanged at about 7%, with three-quarters of the countries expected to record single-digit inflation. According to the IMF report, African oil-exporting countries have taken advantage of large windfall profits in recent years and, in contrast to previous commodity price booms, have saved a significant part of this additional revenue. The region's economic growth is also being driven by Asian demand for its commodities, providing it with an opportunity to reverse the long-term decline in the region's share in world trade.

South Africa's Blue Train to go private

South Africa's luxury Blue Train is set to go private. State rail company Spoornet is to offer the Blue Train to investors on a long-term lease, as the operator focuses on its core business of bulk freight transportation. According to Business Day, Public Enterprises Director-General Portia Molefe told Parliament's portfolio committee on public enterprises last month that the department had received a disposal strategy from Spoornet's parent company, Transnet, with bidding to start by the end of April. According to the newspaper, bidding will be open to both local and international rail operators, with speculation that Chinese, Indian and British investors are interested in the sale.

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