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Average Market Return in Africa Maintained @15%


The average year-to-date return chalked by markets across the African continent (excluding Zimbabwe) was 15%. The best performing markets as at the close of business on March 16 include Algeria (137%), Nigeria and Morocco (23 %), Zambia (15 %) and Mauritius (14%). The Tanzanian market led the pack of losers with a loss of 40 per cent by the end of the relevant period, followed by Swaziland (-6 per cent) and South Africa (-3 per cent).  Another significant development has been the approval of the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) of Kenya of plans to set up an over-the-counter trading board. This will allow institutional investors easier access to riskier investment options. The trading board is to be called the Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation system (ASDAQ).  Source: Databank

Investment in Angola Totals over US$ 4 billion

Angola’s National Private Investment Agency (ANIP) has approved 1,124 investment projects, with an overall value of US$4 billion, over the last four years, according to the Chief Executive of the agency, Ari de Carvalho. In the last year alone, 463 investment projects have been approved, the highest number over the last three years, with a total value of US$794 million. The highest number of projects approved was in the construction sector with a total of 238, followed by industry with 173. The growth of investment projects approved since 2003 shows the growing interest investors have in doing business in the country, motivated in part by macro-economic stability and economic growth. Source: ANIP

Fidelity Bank Ghana Introduces New Lifestyle Account

Fidelity Bank Ghana has introduced the Fidelity Lifestyle Investment Plan (FLIP) Account as an investment product that enables an individual to switch over from a pro-expenditure lifestyle to a Wealth Creation Lifestyle. According to the company, its new FLIP Account has three unique characteristics; it guarantees 91-day Treasury bill yield, offers a Capital Accumulation Plan (CAP) which encourages accumulation of wealth through a consistent monthly payment of contributions as well as providing a credit facility that ensures instant liquidity at the time of need.  FLIP Account holders also qualify for a Flip Loan. The FLIP Account which targets both salaried employees and the self-employed was launched by the bank in March 2007. http://www.fidelitybank.com.gh/

South Africa to build a 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. The state power utility Eskom, with government backing, plans to build a new conventional nuclear power plant in the southern part of the country to produce upwards of 1000 MW of baseload power. Eskom is committed to spending R97-billion over the next five years on building new coal-fired power stations and rehabilitating older stations to address South Africa's looming electricity shortage. The South African government announced that it would develop the local nuclear industry as an affordable, environmentally sound alternative to gas and coal-fired sources of energy. The country will also continue to explore other clean energy sources such as biofuels and liquid fuels. Source: Business Day

Nigeria to increase Oil Production to 4 Million Barrels by 2010

The Nigerian Government has announced plans to increase production from the current level of 2.6 million barrels per day to four million by 2010. Nigeria is the world's sixth-largest oil exporter and derives more than 95% of its foreign exchange earnings from oil.  In addition, the Government intends to increase the nation's oil refining capacity to two million barrels a day and has urged the major oil companies to work towards achieving these goals and to intensify offshore exploration.

China's Hangxiao Steel Structure wins Angolan Construction Contract

China's Hangxiao Steel Structure has won a $4.4bn contract to sell construction products and services for public housing projects in Angola. The contract was signed with China International Fund Ltd, a Hong Kong-based company with construction interests in Africa. In addition to the sale of construction products, estimated at 3.2 billion, the company will also be paid for construction services in 12 cities across Angola. China International Fund has also signed an Equipment, Procurement and Construction agreement with the Angolan government to build a series of public housing projects within five years.

BFA Bank Opens New Branch in Luanda

The Foment Bank of Angola (BFA) recently inaugurated a new branch in Luanda, increasing the number of agencies opened to 69. The recently opened BFA branch, located at Major Kanhangulo Street, offers three different solutions for providing service to its clients, in order to improve the quality of service rendered. The main goal of the bank is to expand its commercial network to 100 branches within the year.

South Africa Commits Further Investment into Education

South Africa has committed an additional R8.1 billion over the next three years to hire additional teachers, teaching assistants and support staff in schools and districts and to improve remuneration levels of teachers. In the country’s 2997 budget announced by Finance Minister Trevor Manuel, the Government has also set aside R850 million for adult education and training while R700 million has been allocated for bursaries to encourage young people to train as teachers and to pursue careers in the public schooling system. The Minister announced a further R2,2 billion to support the university sector to meet its objectives of increasing enrolment and producing more science, engineering and technology graduates

Angola to Have First Visa Credit Cards

Angolans will shortly have access to Visa credit cards, according to the Chairman of Banco International de Crédito (BIC), Fernando Teles.  Angola is among the few countries in Africa that are yet to introduce a credit card system, which eases banking, business and other transactions.  Teles explained that at this introductory point, five banks have been given the green light by the Angolan government to use the Visa credit card system.  Source: ANIP

ENANA Invests US$400 Million in Airports Rehabilitation

The National Company of Airports Exploration and Air Navigation (ENANA) intends to rehabilitate around 32 airports and airfields, a move that will be carried out in partnership with the Public Works Ministry, by 2010. The Angola National Company of Exploration of Airports and Air Navigation (ENANA) will invest approximately US$400 million, in the 2007/2008 period, for the rehabilitation and recovery of airports and airfields in the country. In the next three years, ambitious infrastructure programs will be developed as, according to the Luanda airport administration, the airports need to be made operational to enable the company to reach all districts with airports, especially those under ENANA control. The company has announced that the first stage priority will be to reconstruct 25 of the mentioned infrastructures, with the remainder to be completed thereafter.

Africa Investment Climate Facility Appoints CEO

The Investment Climate Facility (ICF) for Africa has appointed Omari Issa, formerly of Celtel, as its first CEO.  Launched at the World Economic Forum in Cape Town in 2006, the ICF is a private-public partnership structured on private sector principles and governed by an independent board. Its vision is to identify key challenges to doing business and to develop a core of large-scale investment programmes focused on demonstrable change. It has the support of the African Union, NEPAD, the Commission for Africa, the G8 and Business Action for Africa. The ICF's donor funding has increased by 50 percent since June last year from $80mn to $120mn and Standard Bank has announced that it is committing $2.5 million to the Facility to improve the investment climate as well as promote sound governance in Africa.  The ICF will provide both technical and financial assistance in support of the NEPAD strategy of ensuring good governance as the necessary condition for Africa's socio-economic transformation. The ICF says that investment climate reform will help promote economic growth and employment creation on the continent.  Source: I-Net Bridge

Russian-Angolan VTB Bank Opens

Banco VTB Africa SA, the first Angolan foreign-controlled bank, has opened in the capital, Luanda, with Russia's foreign trade bank Vneshtorgbank (VTB) holding 66% stock. The bank has authorized capital of US$10 million and is expected to initially focus on corporate and investment business. The main clients of the bank will be companies interested in developing their business in Angola, in such sectors as processing natural resources, energy, telecommunications, construction and trade.

Strate assesses the future of Settlements in South Africa

Strate Limited has embarked on a new initiative called the Security Services Enhancement Model (SSEM) that will ultimately determine the future of clearing and settlement for the South African securities markets. According to the company, Strate has dedicated much time and effort to the Alternate Settlement Model (ASM) project. The SSEM project is to investigate a new approach to securities settlement that will further increase efficiencies and manage risk while strategically aligning Strate’s business and the South African market with internationally accepted best practices. According to the company, the project represents a stepping stone in its ongoing quest to reduce risk and ensure operational excellence and is engaged in ongoing consultations with South African market players and Central Securities Depository Participants. Source: STRATE

Virgin Atlantic opens new route to Kenya

Virgin Atlantic will launch a new daily service in Kenya in June 2007 to be operated by a 240-seater Airbus A340-300 aircraft.  The new service will target a fifth of the 100,000-passenger market and, if successful, will aim to capture a quarter of the market currently dominated by British Airways and Kenyan Airways. Nairobi will become Virgin Atlantic's fourth African destination. The airline, which already flies to Cape Town, Lagos and Johannesburg, will also plans to launch a London-Mauritius flight in November.

South Africa’s Bonds Turnover Soars to over R11 Trillion

Turnover on the Bond Exchange of South Africa in 2006 amounted to R11.4 trillion, an increase of 40.6% over the 2005 figure of R8.1 trillion. The bond trades, cleared and settled through Strate Limited, translates to a total value of R21,9 trillion in trades being captured through the Strate bond system, pointing to a sharp rise in the average value of those trades.  The company has ascribed the remarkable growth in activity largely to increased trading in liquid government bonds with bigger individual trades, and supported by an increase in activity from foreign clients trading in the local market. The nominal value of bonds under management in Strate and the market has got off to a good start in 2007 with a turnover in January of R1.1 trillion that far exceeded expectations and is almost double the January 2006 figure. Source: STRATE

Tianli Group Creates Business Park in Mauritius

The Tianli Group of China has announced that it is to spend US$500 million to set up a business park in Mauritius. The Mauritian Government has approved a plan for the Group, which already has a weaving factory on the island, to house 40 Chinese businesses in an industrial zone north of the capital, a project that will create 5,000 jobs and lead to the creation of a further 2,500 among the local population as well as 8,000 jobs for Chinese contract workers.  The project will take five years to develop and is due to start later this year. The businesses destined for the new zone will cover a variety of sectors including light industrial, medicine production, textiles and the manufacture of electrical goods.  Source AFP

South Africa Steps up Support for Business Process Outsourcing

The South African Government has announced details of a comprehensive government assistance and support programme aimed at creating 100,000 jobs by the end of 2009.  Key elements include marketing, facilitating easy entry into South Africa for both new and expanding BPO operations, skills development, simplified administrative procedures and other investment incentives. In addition to raising South Africa’s profile as a global outsourcing destination, the measures includes targeted marketing for high-impact foreign investors and a talent development initiative, Monyetla, that will provide unemployed matriculants with work-readiness skills. A Training and Skills Support Grant will subsidise the cost of company specific skills training The BPO sector is expected to grow by 50% per annum for the next four to five years, resulting in a growth potential of US$50bn to $60bn.

Chinese Company Signs Contracts for Two Construction Projects in Angola

Hangxiao Steel Structure, a Chinese construction company, has signed two contracts to supply construction materials and carry out construction projects in Angola over five years. The contract for supplying construction materials includes products such as steel structures, flooring, doors and windows. The construction contract includes the installation of the steel structures, which will be produced in the company’s factory. Hangxiao Steel Structure, from Zhejiang province, was founded in December 1994. Source: ANIP

Ivory Coast launches New IT Technology Park

Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo has laid the foundation stone for a multi-million-dollar technology park which has been part-financed by China and India, which it is hoped will create 20 000 jobs. Targeted to create what the Government calls the biggest IT centre in Africa, the new venture, on a 500-hectare site will cost $402mn, two thirds of which will be financed by China and India. Source: Sapa-AFP

African Development Bank Launches Visa Card

The African Development Bank will launch three Visa credit cards, called BAI Classic, BAI Gold and BAI Platinum. This launch follows negotiations with the Visa network, dating back to 2006, which formally admitted BAI as a member authorized to issue and accept credit cards used in the world. The new cards enable BAI customers to join the world’s largest payment network, withdraw money from more than one million ATMs, and buy from 150 countries and approximately 30 million counters.

South Africa’s First National Bank Partners with China

The First National Bank (FNB) will be collaborating with China Union Pay, China's state-owned payment mechanism, to provide Chinese cardholders with the opportunity to transact with South Africa. As China seeks new markets throughout the world and with the easing of travel restrictions for the Chinese population, there is greater demand for Chinese business people and tourists to visit other countries. South Africa conducts significant trade with China and requires a banking system that supports this.  China Union Pay was set up to develop a single payment system for all Chinese people, cutting out the regional systems that used to apply. The deal with enable anyone from China to transact via the South African banking system.  China Union Pay has already signed deals with banks in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and the USA, as well as with Eufiserv, a pan-European payment system. Source: I-Net Bridge

IFC Approves $50 Million Loan for Leading Nigerian bank

The Board of the IFC has approved a convertible loan of $150 million as part of a $75 million financing and advisory services package for the Nigerian bank, United Bank for Africa.  The agreement is also expected to include a partial credit guarantee for bonds and medium term notes that UBA plans to issue to finance mortgage lending and other strategic businesses.  United Bank for Africa (UBA), is Nigeria's largest bank in terms of commercial assets.  Nigeria became a member and a shareholder of IFC in 1961. Since then, IFC has invested more than one billion dollars in the country, including $113mn in syndicated loans, to finance over 68 projects across a variety of sectors.  The organisation’s committed portfolio in Nigeria currently stands at 719 million.

New Call Centre Planned for Coega in South Africa

The Coega Development Corporation (CDC) is building a R125-million call centre that will feature 1 500 seats as well as office and recreational space to improve the global competitiveness of the Coega Industrial Development Zone. The facility, called Business Process Outsourcing Park (BPO) in the Coega IDZ, will be built on a 5-hectare piece of land and will be the first of its kind in South Africa. The centre is part of a plan to attract local and international investors and will be placed in the Business Service Precinct, replacing a 200-seater call centre currently in operation. Coega, he said, would be responsible for the overall management of the building that is designed to cater for various scenarios.

Development Bank approves $115 million for Swazi Projects

The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) has approved $115mn in loan approvals for various development projects in Swaziland to support a diversified economic portfolio in Swaziland and promote broad-based economic participation of the local people.  Much of DBSA's previous investment in Swaziland has focused on the public sector, and specifically in water infrastructure.  Diversification into other sectors offers the country an economic advantage. The Bank has to date invested around R. 12 billion within the SADC region on a wide range of projects and programmes.  Source: I-Net Bridge

South Africa to Promote Maths and Science in High Schools

The South African Government has reaffirmed its commitment to promote Maths, Science and Technology in high schools and has announced a plan to deploy teachers qualified in those fields to the country's 6,000 schools. The Government aims to attract competent local and foreign teachers and to encourage new teachers into public education through a programme of incentives, including bursaries and rewards. Maths, science and technology are some of the critical skills identified as a key part of the Government’s Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (Asgi-SA) that aims to increase economic growth to 6% per annum between 2010 and 2014, while also halving unemployment and poverty by 2014.

South Africa’s Telkom acquires Nigeria's Multi-links

South Africa’s Telkom has announced the finalization of a transaction with Nigerian-based Multi-Links Telecommunications Limited that will result in its holding company, Kenston Investments Limited, transferring 75% of its equity shareholding in Multi-Links to Telkom (TKG). The $280mn deal will give Telkom a strong footprint in Nigeria, Africa's largest market and fastest growing telecoms market, and provide the company with a springboard for further expansion into other countries in West Africa. Multi-Links is Nigeria's pioneer Private Telephone Operator (PTO) and the second largest PTO in the country in terms of its subscriber base of 162 000, including the highest number of subscribers in Lagos. Telkom's deal with Multi-Links follows February's acquisition of Africa Online, an Internet Service Provider on the African continent that affords Telkom a footprint into nine African states (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Namibia, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Zambia). Source: I-Net Bridge

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