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Corporate News From Africa

  1. KCB secures Sh10bn from MasterCard for jobs plan:

KCB Foundation, the social investments arm of KCB Group , has secured Sh10 billion funding from the MasterCard Foundation to scale up the bank’s 2jiajiri job creation Programme. The funding, part of a Sh30 billion MasterCard Foundation kitty that will also benefit Equity Bank Group, was extended to KCB Foundation under the ‘Young Africa Works’ Programme which was launched in Nairobi last week. “For 2jiajiri, the initiative will focus on providing technical training to 114,000 beneficiaries from micro and small enterprises in the three economic sectors of agriculture, manufacturing and construction in Kenya, in line with the government’s Big 4 Agenda,” said KCB Group CEO Joshua Oigara. “One of the priorities this year is to drive business growth while contributing to the economic growth of all the markets we operate in. ”KCB launched 2jiajiri in 2016 with the aim of benefiting at least 500,000 entrepreneurs in five years with access to credit.

2. Chinese companies register rising income from Uganda:

Chinese companies with construction projects in Uganda have in the last 20 years earned more money than any other foreign company, grossing about $8.7 billion (Ksh881 billion) over the period. These are the annual revenues earned by the companies between 1998 and 2017, according to data by the China Africa Research Initiative. In 1998, Chinese companies made $14.9 million, which was maintained in 1999, but later increased in 2000, rising to $19.1 million. While there was a slump in the following years, revenues bounced back in 2003 with $20.3 million and have since then risen to $2.1 billion (Ksh212 billion) in 2017.The increase in revenues could partly be explained by increased lobbying between the Uganda and Chinese governments.

3. France’s Orange eyes Ethiopia’s telcom sector:

France’s leading telecommunications company Orange believes the planned liberalization of the sector in Ethiopia will take shape in 2020.Ethiopia is one of the last countries whose telecoms industry remains in the hands of the government. Orange is one of the leading contenders seeking to benefit from the end of state-controlled Ethio Telecom’s monopoly, pushed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Sources told Reuters earlier this month that the government aimed to award telecom licenses by the end of 2019, with the new operators expected to launch services next year. However some industry executives have expressed scepticism over the timetable. “The most likely scenario as of today seems to be the opening of the incumbent’s capital to a minority shareholder who could play a significant role within the company,’‘ Orange’s Chief Financial Officer Ramon Fernandez told Reuters on Friday. “And, in parallel, the opening of the market through the sale of at least one license to an operator,” Fernandez added.

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Corporate News From Africa

  1. Jumia adds 150 pick-up points, eyes 450 more:

Online shopping site Jumia has grown the number of pick-up locations across the country by 150 this year, as it races towards recruiting 450 more agents before the year ends. The site has since recruited an additional 20 agents in Eldoret in its latest drive. The e-commerce firm’s new strategy relies on an agency model, through which existing entrepreneurs earn a commission by hosting Jumia pick-up stations in their existing facilities. The site has in the last few months withdrew the Jumia-run flexible offline pick-up points alternative to focus on their core business. “We see a growing potential and many unserved customers in areas outside of Nairobi…Our expanded pick up station network will enhance customer confidence and provide them a convenient shopping experience,” said Jumia MD Sam Chappatte.

  • MasterCard Foundation gives Kenya Sh30bn to boost youth jobs, training:

Kenya will receive Sh30 billion from the MasterCard Foundation to help the youth access jobs and further their businesses as part of a joint strategy with the government aimed at benefitting at least five million people. Speaking during the launch of the initiative dubbed ‘Young Africa Works’ in Nairobi on Thursday morning, President Uhuru Kenyatta thanked the MasterCard Foundation for its partnership with the State and local organizations to help Kenyan youth become “productive members of society”. Also part of the initiative are the Equity Bank Group , KCB Group  and their respective foundations which will provide billions in capital and business development services. “Kenya has a vibrant entrepreneurial culture, a strong private sector, and an enabling policy environment… Young Africa Works in Kenya builds on this momentum to prepare and connect young people to opportunities that will grow the economy and transform their lives,” said Reeta Roy, President and CEO of the MasterCard Foundation. President Kenyatta condemned the get-rich-quick mentality which he said has led to corruption on the country.

  • Ex- Deloitte boss & Gulf Energy chief executive join BAT board:

British American Tobacco Kenya (BAT)  has tapped immediate former Deloitte East Africa chief executive Samuel Onyango to its board as a non-executive director. Mr. Onyango, who retired from the audit and advisory firm last year after serving it for about 38 years, joins the cigarette maker’s board alongside Gulf Africa Petroleum Corporation Kenya managing director Samson Irungu. “The chairman and directors of BAT Kenya congratulate and welcome Dr M Irungu and Mr. S Onyango to the board,” BAT said in a statement announcing the appointments Thursday. The duo will be expected to among other roles help develop strategy, review management proposals, scrutinize performance of management and bring an external perspective to the board. Mr. Onyango, a bachelor of commerce graduate from the University of Nairobi and a certified public accountant and company secretary, had an illustrious career at Deloitte.

  • America based insurer targets expatriates in Kenyan entry:

American health services company, Cigna, has ventured into the Kenyan insurance market with the launch of its African headquarters in Nairobi. The international insurer, which is targeting multinationals and locally-recruited staff working at inter-governmental and NGOs, said it is looking to make Kenya its hub for Africa. Cigna’s entry will step up competition for global health insurers such as Bupa International that equally provides health insurance services to the growing middle-class, mid-level executives and expatriates living in Kenya and travelling in and around Africa, including those seeking treatment in South Africa, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Cigna chief executive Arjaan Toor said the firm’s success would be driven by betting that the future of health insurance is managing its clients’ needs holistically, rather than just one aspect of their medical care. “We see more and more multinationals setting up shop locally and more Kenyan companies are setting up office in other countries and so we thought that there is a need for global insurance service providers in Kenya that will cater to the needs of this increasingly global market segment,” he said at the office’s launch yesterday.

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Corporate News From Africa

  1. Safaricom starts reverse calling:

About 31 million Safaricom  customers are now able to make reverse calls in a move allowing subscribers to foot bills for calls made by loved ones. The service enables a caller to transfer the cost of a call to the receiver by adding ‘#’ before the number they are dialing. For instance, to transfer the cost of the call to 0722000000, a customer is required to dial #0722000000.“This innovation is in line with this commitment and has been tailored to mirror the relationships between our customers with a goal of empowering them to always remain connected with their loved ones,” Safaricom’s chief customer officer Sylvia Mulinge said in a statement yesterday. Ms Mulinge said that the reverse call feature works in such a way that a customer receiving a reverse call request will see the caller’s details appear on the screen as normal, but once they pick the call, they will receive a voice prompt asking them to key in “1” to accept the reverse call.

  • Win for firm in trademark row with state agency:

The High Court in Mombasa has quashed a decision by the Registrar of Trademarks to expunge a trademark belonging to a solar firm in a bitter dispute pitting the company against the Anti-Counterfeit Agency (ACA).Justice Eric Ogola quashed the decision made on September 3 last year, which rectified the register by expunging Uwin Investment Africa Company Ltd.’s ‘GDLITE’ trademark from the register. The judge also declared that the ACA’s decision to seize and detain two containers with Uwin Investment Africa Company Ltd.’s goods bearing its trademark was unlawful and a breach of the company’s right to a fair hearing. “The Registrar of Trademarks decision is tainted with procedural impropriety, falls short of the requirement envisaged under Article 47 (2) of the Constitution and Section 4 (3) b of the Fair Administrative Action Act 2015,” said Justice Ogola adding that the decision was null and void.He further ruled that ACA took into consideration irrelevant matters in arriving at its decision to seize and prefer criminal charges against Uwin Investments Africa Company Ltd.’s officers.

  • Carrefour moves to fill Nakumatt void in Uganda:

French retailer Carrefour is set to open its first branch in Kampala as it moves to take up space previously occupied by struggling Kenyan retailer Nakumatt. Carrefour, whose local franchise is held by Dubai-based conglomerate Majid Al Futtaim, said the store set to be opened in the next few months at Oasis Mall in Kampala will employ about 150 locals. It will stock fast-moving consumer goods such as packaged foods, beverages and electronics among other household items. In a statement Tuesday, Majid Al Futtaim chief executive Hani Weiss described the planned opening of the new store in Kampala as a key milestone in the firm’s East Africa expansion plans. “Uganda is considered one of the fastest growing economies in Africa, and we are delighted to partner with local stakeholders to offer a world-class retail experience to the Ugandan community, specifically tailored to their needs,” he said.

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Good News From Africa

  1. Portuguese companies eye Kenya investments:

Portuguese companies looking to invest in the country will now find it easier to locate targeted opportunities following the launch of the Portuguese Business Council Kenya, a lobby group set up to help the firms advance their agenda locally and in Lisbon. The lobby is eyeing increased trade in the pharmaceutical, technology, agriculture, and manufacturing industries in Kenyan. “The Portuguese Business Council Kenya will provide networking opportunities for businesses and individuals from both nations while at the same time working with relevant agencies to ensure there is ease in carrying out this trade,” said, João Ramos a founding member of the council. This latest development follows efforts by Portuguese and local state officials to have Nairobi and Lisbon re-engage. “The bilateral instruments of co-operation that have been signed in the diverse fields have also provided the much-needed impetus for enhancing these relations,” said International Conferences & Events Director-General Benson Ogutu at the launch of the lobby group.

  • Tullow Oil pays State Sh49.6m License fees:

London-based Tullow Oil Plc. paid the Kenyan government Sh49.6 million in license fees and infrastructure improvement payments last year, down from Sh64.6 million paid in 2017.This is according to a disclosure in the multinational’s consolidated report for the year ended December 31, 2018, which reveals payouts made to various governments in accordance with the UK’s Reports on Payments to Governments Regulations 2014.The sum paid to Kenya is a three-year low. In 2016, it rose to Sh61.4 million with a further increase in 2017. However, the amount is expected to rise in future when commercial oil production starts. The firm had disclosed in January that it plans to invest Sh7 billion in its Kenyan operations this year as it steps up preparations for commercial production starting 2022.“The group’s 2019 capital expenditure is expected to total approximately $570 million (Sh57.5 billion), comprising … Kenya pre-development expenditure of circa $70 million (Sh7 billion),” Tullow said in a January trading update.

  • Kemsa to get title deeds ‘by the end of this month’:

The Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (Kemsa) says it is in the process of acquiring title deeds for its land parcels in Kaka mega, Kisumu, and Eldoret. The State agency, however, did not disclose when it is set to acquire the same for its prime property in Mombasa, Garissa, Nakuru and Nyeri. “We expect to have the title deeds for Kaka mega, Kisumu, and Eldoret parcels of land by end of June 2019,” said Dr Jonah Manjari, Kemsa CEO in a statement. This comes after the Auditor- General said in a report last year that Kemsa risked losing land worth Sh183 million located in different parts of the country since they lacked proper documentation. Dr Manjari last year appeared before the Public Investments Committee (PIC) to answer to why the agency lacked title deeds for some of its land. He told MPs that the process of acquiring ownership documents has been ongoing and that Kemsa had hired advocates to follow up on the title deeds for its property.

  • Kenya’s trademark, patent applications rise to historic high:

Patent and trademark applications in Kenya hit a record high of 7,788 last year, surpassing requests recorded in the country’s history and signaling increased awareness among innovators on the need to protect their intellectual property rights. However, the number of patents granted reduced to 245 despite 914 applications compared to the 410 patents granted in 2017, according to data released by Kenya Industrial Property Institute (Kipi).Kipi Managing Director Sylvance Sange said most of the applications did not meet the requisite conditions and were therefore rejected. A patent is an exclusive right granted for the protection of an invention. To be granted, the invention must be new, be capable of being used in some kind of industry and must not be obvious. “Some of these applications did not meet the requirements of the Industrial Property Act (IPA 2001) on patentability such as novelty, inventive step, industrial applicability,” he said.

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Good News From Africa

  1. Addressing Africa’s Infrastructure Challenges:

Inadequate infrastructure remains a major obstacle towards Africa achieving its full economic growth potential. With Africa seen as one of the world’s fastest growing economic hubs, meeting the demand for key infrastructure has been identified as a priority. This translates into exciting opportunities for global investors who need to look past the traditional Western view of Africa as a homogeneous block: By André Pottas, Deloitte Corporate Finance Advisory. One of sub-Saharan Africa’s top developmental challenges continues to be the shortage of physical infrastructure. Greater economic activity, enhanced efficiency and increased competitiveness are hampered by inadequate transport, communication, water and power infrastructure. The world is eager to do business with Africa, but finds it difficult to access African markets, especially in the interior, due to poor infrastructure.

  • Africa50: an innovative African solution to an African Challenge:

Its COO, Carole Waianae, talks to African Business about how Africa50 is building a team to support its mission and describes some of its priority projects I often get asked this question given that I don’t have an infrastructure background. My leadership and business experience across different organizations, sectors and geographies has taught me that, regardless of the entity’s mission, people, organization and partnerships are key success factors. I therefore consider my “toolbox”, which contains diverse experiences, capabilities and networks, not only highly transferable but complimentary and much needed in any organization today.Africa50 was particularly attractive because it came at a time when I was feeling more called to play a bigger role in contributing to the transformation of Africa. The opportunity to help build a more innovative organisation to develop and invest in infrastructure on the continent that had both a commercial and a developmental mandate was exciting. I was also inspired by the fact that Africa50 is an African solution to an African challenge. 

  • UK brings a new focus to Africa:

Visits to five African countries in five days may not allow much time to make a meaningful or lasting impression, but for UK foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt, a whistle-stop April tour to Nigeria, Senegal, Ethiopia, Ghana and Kenya was a chance to keep up appearances and secure maximum exposure to what he dubbed the UK’s “partners for investment and trade”. From the obligatory economic forum in Kenya featuring a purported £64m in business funding to deal announcements in Ghana, Hunt’s conversations revolved around the fresh trade opportunities that the UK hopes to unlock on the continent following its exit from the European Union.

  • Shaping Africa’s economic strategy for the digital age:

Africa is grasping the technological revolution with both hands. Hundreds of millions of venture capital dollars are flowing into the region which remains the fastest growing mobile phone market in the world, and an emerging competitor in the global race for tech. With innovation hubs sprouting up throughout the continent, solutions are being found to solve uniquely African problems and dissolve barriers to trade, financial services and capital. But governments need to do more to seize on the opportunities of the global digital economy, which is set to grow from $11.5 trillion in 2016 to over $23 trillion by 2025.In response, the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) set the focus of its 2019 conference of African ministers of finance, planning and economic development squarely on the subject.

  • Recruiters set sights on continents scare executives:

As the former global head of recruitment for PZ Cussons, a venerable British soap manufacturer that became one of Nigeria’s biggest consumer goods companies, Steve Hassan was tasked with unearthing a talented local supply chain director in a country responsible for over $200m of the company’s annual revenues. With multinationals and Nigerian firms involved in a “bun fight” over a limited pool of gifted local executives, the ideal candidate proved elusive. “The one thing we faced over all of our African businesses – and PZ Cussons was mainly in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya – was the fight for local talent,” says Hassan. “A lot of people expect that in a place like Nigeria with over 180m people it’s not too difficult to find people, but it’s actually the opposite, especially finding a good cultural fit with the right technical skills.” Short on options, Hassan turned to an executive search company specializing in headhunting on the continent.  

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Good News From Africa

  1. Generation Africa: Inspiring young Africans to become Agri-Food Entrepreneurs:

Pan-African telecommunications, media and technology group, Eco net, and global crop nutrition leader, Yara International ASA, today launch “Generation Africa”, a partnership initiative to inspire young African entrepreneurs to join the agri-food sector for its viable business opportunities. Generation Africa will reach thousands of young people through its “Go Gettaz” competition, which will award US$100,000 in prize money to two exceptional business ventures in the agri-food sector. The partnership initiative will support a cohort of 12 budding young agri-food entrepreneurs to scale and prosper their ventures. “Africa’s agri-food sector presents a US$ 1-trillion business opportunity by 2030, especially when connected with the current technology revolution. Across Africa’s agri-food chain, innovations can be found in how we grow, harvest, process, store, transport, package, sell and consume food. Together with the pioneers of Africa’s next generation, we want to seize these opportunities. Generation Africa will help youth entrepreneurs launch, grow and mature agri-food businesses that will drive job creation, inclusive growth, and better food supply,” says Svein Tore Holsether, President and CEO of Yara.

  • Ghana & Ethiopia Airlines to create National Ghana Airlines:

Africa’s largest airline, Ethiopian Airlines, and the government of Ghana have signed a strategic partnership agreement to set up a new national carrier in Accra, Ghana. Ethiopian and the Ghanaian government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) last December. The proposed airline will be a home based airline that would be established by Ethiopian Airlines in collaboration with the government of Ghana and the private sector. The government of Ghana and the private sector will have a minimum of 51 percent stake in the proposed airline while Ethiopian will hold up to 49 percent interest in the new national airline. Ethiopian Airlines Group CEO Tewolde Gebremariam told The Reporter that the final agreement was signed with the government of Ghana last week. “It is still at an initial stage and we don’t have any timeline yet,” Tewolde said.

  • First South African Innovation wins the Africa prize for Engineering Innovation:

A 31-year-old South African electrical engineer has won the Royal Academy of Engineering’s 2019 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation. Neo Hutiri is the first South African to win the prestigious Africa Prize. Hutiri and his team developed Pele box, a smart locker system designed to dispense medicine to patients with chronic conditions. Pele box is used at public healthcare facilities in South Africa, cutting down on long queues and easing pressure on the healthcare system. Pele box is a simple wall of lockers, controlled by a digital system. Healthcare workers stock the lockers with prescription refills, log the medicine on the system, and secure each locker. Pele box then sends patients a one-time PIN, which they use to open their locker and access their medicine. Hutiri wins the first prize of £25,000 (463,000 ZAR). Four finalists from across sub-Saharan Africa delivered presentations at an awards ceremony in Kampala, Uganda, on 4 June 2019, with the Africa Prize judges and a live audience voting for the most promising engineering innovation.

  • Corporate Council on Africa set to host 1000+ Business & Govt leaders at its 12th U.S Africa Business Summit in Maputo, Mozambique this June:

Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) will co-host with the Government of Mozambique the 12th U.S.-Africa Business Summit on June 18-21, 2019 at the Joaquim Chissano International Conference Center, in Maputo, Mozambique. The Summit will bring together more than 1,000 U.S. and African private sector executives, international investors, senior government officials and multilateral stakeholders. Since its inception in 1997, the U.S.-Africa Business Summit has been considered an essential conference for anyone doing business in Africa. Leveraging over twenty years of expertise, CCA has designed its upcoming U.S.-Africa Business Summit to address the rapidly evolving models for business and investment on the continent by providing a platform for value-driven engagement, solutions-driven dialogue and mutually beneficial partnerships. Specifically, the Summit will serve as a platform for delegates to hear from leading U.S and African industry experts on best practices in sectors including agribusiness, energy, health, infrastructure, ICT, finance, housing, security and more; explore new business opportunities, meet potential business partners and obtain real-time leads; and advocate to shape effective U.S.-Africa trade and investment policies. 

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Good News from Africa

  1. Wandile Sihlobo: From Land reform to job creation, here’s how we should boost SA’s small towns:

SA’s small towns hold great economic potential, and agribusiness could help unlock it, says Wandile Sihlobo. Drawing from conversations with farmers in the region, these are among the factors that keep some farmers up at night: climate change, biosecurity, water regulations and – last but not least – land reform. Fortunately, most of these matters are within the regulators’ or government’s control – and I hope the above-mentioned parties will continue to have close cooperation with organized agriculture groups while pursuing the necessary transformation objectives.

  • Hilton Hotels to open first upscale African Canopy in Cape Town:

Western Cape farmers have built Africa’s first commercial floating solar park – that now let’s them tackle load shedding and drought. They say it’s a better investment than a new orchard. Hilton Hotels has announced the signing of a management agreement with Growth point Properties, South Africa’s largest real estate investment trust (REIT), to open a hotel under its lifestyle Canopy by Hilton brand. The 150 guestroom Canopy by Hilton Cape Town Long Kloof is expected to open in 2021 and will be the brand’s debut property in Africa. It will be located at Long Kloof Studios on the corner of Park Road and Kloof Street.

  • Safaricom, Vodacom plan $13 million M-Pesa deal:

Kenya’s Safaricom will start a joint venture worth $13 million with South Africa’s Vodacom to acquire the intellectual property rights of M-Pesa from Britain’s Vodafone, Safaricom’s CEO said on Thursday. The two mobile phone operators will acquire the intellectual property rights to the financial services platform M-Pesa, from Britain’s Vodafone. Safaricom chief executive Bob Collymore said the deal would be used to expand M-Pesa services to more African markets, and to develop new products.

  • MTN’s Nigeria listing: View from the stock exchange floor in Lagos:

At exactly 2.30pm, when the stock market closed on Thursday, MTN Nigeria’s chairperson Pascal Dozie and Ferdi Moolman, MTN Nigeria’s CEO, excitedly clanged metal sticks on a gong on the crowded trade floor at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) building. The room, filled with brokers in their maroon jackets, erupted in celebration. It is April 16 and South African telecoms giant, MTN has just made history as the first mobile telephone company to trade on the NSE. The new MTN Nigeria Plc. is putting up 20.33-billion shares valued at ?90 (R3.56) per share. The listing will see the groups’ largest unit valued at $5-billion, putting it high on the list of firms trading on Nigerian markets. Trade brokers in the Lagos exchange yelled their congratulations at each other. Yellow balloons flew on the trading floor, symbolizing the company’s yellow colors. “There’s cause to celebrate,” one NSE broker said.

  • New shots fired in banking wars:

The battle of the banks continued this week when African Bank launched its zero monthly fee account, becoming the third bank to do so. The new banks entering the market with competitive banking fees and interest rates — Tyme Bank, Bank Zero and Discovery Bank — have sparked a banking war, with consumers reaping the benefits. African Bank’s new digital product offers low fees and competitive interest rates in an increasing cutthroat climate that is set to improve South Africans’ access to quality services. The bank was in tatters five years ago, but has recovered to become one of the trendsetters of 2019.African Bank’s offering of interest of 5.5% a year on money in a transactional account is the highest, and clients will receive 6.5% interest from the savings account. The transactional account is current; the savings account requires one month’s notice. Until this year Capital was South Africa’s low-fee king, not only offering a low banking tariff, but also a high interest rate. Capital clients could earn 5% on money in a transactional account and up to 5.6% on savings that are not fixed. Tyme Bank, however, promises the best interest rate on savings at 10% a year, with conditions. African Bank’s no-fee offering comes after Tyme Bank introduced its “no fee” account at its launch at the end of February. 
At that time Tyme Bank, with its cheap banking fees, ruled the roost, according to trade union Solidarity’s Bank Charges report, released in October.

  • Adjusted Ayo, financial statements being audited, PIC inquiry hears:

Accounting adjustments were made to reflect higher profits in AYO Technology Solutions’ interim financial statements, the Public Investment Corporation commission of inquiry heard. Ayo former chief investment officer (CIO) Abdul Malick Salie provided his testimony to the commission which is investigating allegations of wrongdoing at the PIC, which manages R2.2-trillion in investments on behalf of public servants. Salie was subpoenaed to take the stand after he resigned from his position as CIO last week due to pressures he was facing following reports on governance issues at Ayo. The ICT company is a subsidiary of African Equity Empowerment Investments (AEEI).The PIC invested R4.3-billion in Ayo when it listed on the JSE in late 2017. There are allegations that the value of Ayo was misstated at the time of its listing. Salie responded to these allegations in his testimony. The inquiry, chaired by Justice Lex Mpati has also previously heard from Ayo’s former chief executive Kevin Hardy that the group’s interim financials were tampered with. Ayo has denied wrongdoing, but the JSE has ordered an audit of the financial statements.

  • Habebe resigns from Eskom citing ill health:

Eskom has lost yet another chief executive, as the utility announced on Friday evening that Phakamani Hadebe would be stepping down at the end of July, due to health reasons. Hadebe had been in the role for a little over a year. After taking the helm on an interim basis last January, Hadebe was permanently appointed in May 2018.In a statement Hadebe said: “It is no secret that this role comes with unimaginable demands which have unfortunately had a negative impact on my health. In the best interest of Eskom and my family, I have therefore decided to step down.” Eskom board chairperson Jabu Mabuza, said that the Hadebe had been “instrumental in driving stability at Eskom during a very challenging period at the organization”. “Appreciating the toll that this takes on an individual, we have had to, with regret, accept his decision,” said Mabuza. Since 2010, Eskom has had no less than eight chief executives and acting chief executive, including the likes of Brian Molefe, Matshela Koko and Sean Maritz all of whom left under a cloud. High hopes accompanied Hadebe’s appointment. His experience at treasury, and time spent overhauling the Land Bank, another embattled state owned entity, as well as his work in corporate finance at Absa, meant he was cast in the role of Mr. Fixit.

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Corporate Good News From Africa

  1. Wimmer Financial in talks to finance lithium mine in Zimbabwe:

The demand for certain natural resources found in Africa play a key role in electric products. For example, lithium is a much sought after commodity found in many parts of southern Africa’s Zimbabwe. A jump in global demand for electric cars and batteries has driven demand for mined minerals such as lithium, graphite, cobalt and copper, a key component in electric car batteries. “We see investment opportunities across Africa in mining, oil and gas, green energy as well as real estate. We are currently doing a deal in the lithium space. Lithium is what you need for batteries and electric cars,” says Per Wimmer, a former Goldman Sachs banker and the founder of Wimmer Financial LLP, a London-based corporate advisory firm. As the demand for electric cars and batteries increases, so does demand for what goes into a battery, which is lithium, graphite, cobalt and copper, Wimmer explains. These elements are vital for new technology advancements and products, and are therefore shaping demand and supply on a global scale.

  • North Africa- Egyptian companies score biggest increase in rankings:

Market capitalization for the region is down to $98bn or 13% of the total, with the bulk of the market capital supplied by the Bourse de Casablanca in Morocco and the Egyptian Exchange. Both the Egyptian Exchange EGX30 and Morocco’s MASI Free Float indices are down by about 16% in local currency over the year to March 2019. The outlook for Egypt is particularly positive, with stockbroker Exotic forecasting higher economic growth (GDP) than in 2018, and lower inflation, interest rates and deficit in the current account. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the prospects for Egypt’s economy are good with real GDP growth of 5.5% forecast this year, rising to 6% by 2024. Egypt scored the biggest increase with its share of the top 250 ranking rising from 34 companies in 2018 to 39 this year. Moroccan companies though accounted for a bigger share by market capitalization. The new entrants include healthcare (Cleopatra Hospital at #161), building materials (Samcrete #184), banks and capital markets companies, distributors MM Group (#244) and Egypt Chemical Industries (#248).Many Egyptian companies scaled the rankings including hotels, banks, food, real estate, capital markets and telecoms. The number of Tunisian companies in the ranking has shrunk from seven to five. However leading beverages firm Society and industrial conglomerate Poulina – whose iconic founder passed away earlier this year – soared up the Top 250.

  • West Africa- Region holds many star performers:

Many of the star economies for 2019 and future years are in the region, with growth set to benefit from relative political stability, improving prices for oil and other commodities, and ever closer links between the economies. Top real GDP growth in 2019 is forecast for Ghana (8.8%), Côte d’Ivoire (7.5%), Senegal (6.9%), Benin (6.5%), Burkina Faso (6%) and Niger (6.5%). Nigeria’s election in February, won by the incumbent Muhammadu Buhari, has not brought stock market cheer and the NGSE Main Index has slid steadily since. In April the IMF forecast 2.1% real GDP growth, rising to 2.6% by 2024. It will be boosted by recovering oil production and rising private demand. Excitement about economic growth in the Francophone economies is not reflected in the market capitalizations and the stock exchange indices, with the BRVM-Composite Index on the regional exchange down 28% from March 2018.The high growth economies are linked by a shared currency, with value pegged to the euro, a shared central bank and regulator, and a dynamic regional stock exchange shared by eight markets. Growth in Ghana is forecast to slow by 2024, meanwhile the Ghana Stock Exchange Composite Index shows that investors are already cautious as it is down by 28% in the year to March, after peaking in late April 2018.

  • African Women build businesses:

Across sub-Saharan Africa, ambitious women are unleashing their potential by starting businesses. Tanzeel Akhtar talks to successful female entrepreneurs from Nigeria and South Africa to find out about their achievements and discover what motivates them. Female entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa is rising rapidly, with a number of ambitious women defying the odds, going solo and unleashing their potential. In an increasingly interconnected world, the rise in technology-based businesses is playing a crucial role in narrowing the gender gap and pushing female entrepreneurship forward. As national economies face stiff competition for specialist market skills and resources, a number of startups are drawing international interest. There are also a number of global initiatives supporting and propelling female-run businesses on the continent. Speaking in March at a dinner held by She Means Business, an initiative designed to empower female entrepreneurs across Nigeria, Facebook’s policy programmers head in Africa, Sherry Dzinoreva, said that the company would be intensifying its female entrepreneurship training. But despite the launch of such initiatives there are still a number of challenges women need to overcome. Across Africa, women are prevented from pursuing a career in business through overt and hidden discriminatory practices. In sub-Saharan Africa, at least 40% of the labour force is female, according to the Pew Research Centre. However, 74% of women’s non-agricultural employment is informal, in contrast with 61% for men. In the private sector, African women hold 23% of positions at executive committee level and just 5% of CEO-level jobs, according to McKinsey. Access to capital and exclusion from male dominated business networks constrain women’s participation in business. 

  • Indian Ocean oil & gas: Africa’s next energy frontier:

There have been substantial discoveries of oil and gas in East Africa and the Indian Ocean in the last decade, but the full potential of the region has yet to be realized, asTom Collins reports. When, in February, Somalia’s ambassador to Kenya found himself bundled aboard a direct flight to Mogadishu after hasty instruction from the Kenyan government, it was clear that the long-standing Indian Ocean border dispute between Kenyan and Somalia had reached a new low. With both sides laying claim to a 100,000sq km triangle containing potential offshore oil and gas, the long-standing row – which was taken to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2014 – was triggered once more after Kenya accused Somalia of auctioning off four contested blocks to bidders during a conference in London earlier this year. While the Mogadishu government strongly denies this claim, Kenya’s foreign affairs principal secretary, Macharia Kamau, hit back by saying. “This unparalleled affront and illegal grab at the resources of Kenya will not go unanswered and is tantamount to an act of aggression against the people of Kenya and their resources. ”As diplomats and ministers continue to trade blows, accusing one another of undermining national sovereignty and threatening regional stability, the standoff reminds the region of its lucrative hydrocarbon reserves and the high stakes involved in their exploitation. Substantial discoveries made over the past decade have drawn the focus of large international oil companies (IOCs) – some of whom are beginning to produce at established sites along east Africa’s India Ocean seaboard – and have triggered the interest of a flurry of smaller exploration companies and eager parastatals looking to pioneer the next big find. Africa’s Indian Ocean sits directly opposite the energy-hungry Asian markets of India, Southeast Asia and China.

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