News – Africa Investment News The Investing News Source for Investors in Africa Wed, 16 May 2018 05:16:15 +0000 en-US hourly 1 News – Africa Investment News 32 32 How Blockchain Will Affect Oil, Gas Sector in Nigeria Thu, 18 Jan 2018 01:29:10 +0000

Abuja — As emerging frontiers, especially digital ledger system also called blockchain become a more globally recognised solution, experts have called for frameworks that will enable Nigeria’s oil and gas sector to benefit from the innovation.

With a new $2.5million funding secured by US-based, Rocky Mountain Institute, from about 10 utility companies to support Energy Web Foundation (EWF), to extend the use of blockchain across the sector, stakeholders have said the transition of the financial technology in the petroleum industry remained unstoppable.

Blockchain, described as an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently, and in a verifiable and permanent way, provides a singular network, with a constantly increasing list of records that are referred to as “blocks”.

The technology, which reduces transaction costs by keeping a single logical copy of transaction records, would help the sector avoid the need for reconciliation and settlement, thereby a potential game-changer for the energy sector.

A report conducted by Deloitte, titled, “Is Blockchain’s Future in Oil and Gas Transformative or Transient?, discovered that the data-intensive opportunities available through the growth and expansion of the Internet of Things, could make blockchain an important vessel to carry the industry’s data transformation forward.

 This is regardless of the fact that technology has had little impact on the oil and gas industry, providing a small frame of reference for oil executives to adequately assess its current and future value.

In the Nigerian scenario where transparency, accountability and efficiency are reportedly lacking, Deloitte expect Blockchain to offer “transactional verification instantly across a network, without relying on a central authority – potentially reducing operating costs, more securely storing and managing data, and improving the speed of transaction processing.”

 “Blockchain could also lead to increasing database and trading efficiency, improving transparency and compliance, addressing cyber threats and even improving the supply chain, through more seamless contract management,” the report stated.

Experts quoted in the report, said the challenges development is posing to orthodox models across the world, required proactive measures to mitigate the impact of the trend, especially in Nigerian kind.

President, Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) Prof. Segun Ajibola, said the capability of the trend to address issues bothering on the recurring cases of openness of data and accuracy as well as accountability in the Nigeria petroleum sector would be a welcome development.

 “This goes beyond government. If international trades begin to recognise and adopt blockchain technology as a major means of international trade techniques, government will be helpless. It is not just about what government wants or does not want. It will be much of what the global economy is saying.

“A lot of issues that bother on transparency and accuracy of record, issues on honesty and sincerity in terms keeping records and open disclosure of what is happening in the oil and gas in Nigeria. Operators and regulators may not feel comfortable of the openness the technology will introduce. But it will override the interest of individual,” he said.

But for the system to work, Ajibola said: “We need a seamless, legal, institutional and operational framework. We need to recognise it in our payment system. We need to also invest in technology using our peculiarity. We need to appreciate the globally acceptable system coming from blockchain technology.

“Since the global payment system is embracing the technology, we need to start thinking about it in Nigeria.

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Namibia: Agribank Offers Collateral-Free Loans to Farmers Thu, 18 Jan 2018 01:26:23 +0000

Rundu — Agribank CEO Sakaria Nghikembua says that looking at the agricultural bank’s loan book it is quite clear there is a lot that Agribank needs to do for all farmers in the country, more specifically for farmers in communal areas and specifically the northern communal areas (NCAs).

Nghikembua was speaking at the Namibia National Farmers Union of Namibia (NNFU) stakeholders’ engagement meeting that was held in Rundu last Thursday. He said that the loans that the bank has extended to farmers is about N$2.6 billion.

“The reason why I said we have to do a little bit more for communal farmers is that if I look at that loan book and I analyse it closely, I come to a point that 5 percent of that book is sitting in these northern communal areas, north of the red line. The five percent is about N$133 million out of the N$2.6 billion, so that is what it is,” explained the Agribank CEO.

According to Nghikembua, N$28 million of that is in Zambezi, N$30 million is in the two Kavango regions and N$75 million is in Oshikoto, Ohangwena, Omusati, Oshana and parts of Kunene.

“Our problem historically with the communal farmers has been that when we lend money we ask for collateral, so we will give the farmer money but we will need something tangible so that if he does not manage to repay the loan we will go and take that thing and sell it, and at least recover some of our money, if not all,” Nghikembua informed stakeholders gathered in Rundu.

 “That something can be either a house or it can be any investment that you might have in a fixed-term investment, or in an insurance policy that has surrender value and so on. Or a business property or an erf that is in a proclaimed town for it to have value and a title deed – and if you look at the communal areas many do not have that, that is why the figures I spoke about look the way they do,” he added.

Nghikembua said to solve that problem Agribank has thought of loans with no collateral for farmers who can’t provide collateral.

“So we did a two-strike deal or action last year. First, we said we will have phase one and in that phase we will introduce what we call a salary-backed no-collateral loan product so if anyone has employment and gets a salary we would sign up with that employer so that we have a salary deduction agreement from that employer. If they get a loan from us we would then deduct from the payroll every month and then that loan will be paid,” he said.

 The product was launched on April 28 last year and in the 7th month to the end of December they approved no-collateral loans to the value of N$21 million.

“So, if we can pump in N$35 million to N$40 million per year – I think before everyone knows we would have pumped some good amount of money on a non-secured basis into communal areas,” he noted.

“On 22 June last year, the board approved a strategy for what we call the emerging finance retail product. It’s a product non-secured to farmers and of course what we wanted to do is to ask the government to provide some money into a fund that will serve as a guarantee for the loans, so that the farmer does not need to provide any guarantee,” Nghikembua revealed.

“We engaged the shareholders which is government, and it was so supportive of the idea we asked for around N$300 million over the next five years, and we have put in our request in the next budget to have that money. We have decided not to wait for that but on a limited basis we will now kick-start this product in this quarter starting January to March with Agribank’s own funding on a limited basis. However, we need to start while we wait for funds from government and then we will be able to provide loans to unemployed farmers … so that they can be productive,” he said.

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Zimbabwe: New U.S.$150 Million Victoria Falls Airport Not Fit for Purpose – Official Thu, 18 Jan 2018 01:20:49 +0000 When the new $150 million Victoria Falls Airport – funded (through a loan) and built China – was commissioned, the Harare government hyped the fact that it could accommodate the world’s biggest planes.

However, it has now turned out that, while the new terminal can accommodate larger aircraft, it apparently has no room for the passengers.

An immigration official last week told tourism executives that, by the time construction started, the airport design was actually 20 years too old.

The project had been conceived several years in advance, but when funding was eventually secured and the first brick laid, the designs were not revised.

“It was done many years ago and when it was then developed I think close to 20 years after and many things were not revised,” immigration department principal director, Clemence Masango, told a tourism meeting in Harare last week.

The department has reportedly been struggling to handle the increased visitor numbers, resulting in tourists spending spells in queues that often stretch outside the airport terminal.

Concerned about the adverse impact on business, the tourism industry has demanded action, accusing the immigration of incompetence.

However, Masango said it was not the department’s fault. Facilities at the airport were just not fit for purpose, he explained.

“That arrivals hall, I think most of you travel a lot; in other airports (a facility like that would) just a lounge,” said the immigration office

 “That hall is far from being a hall; it cannot take 600 passengers and, at times, is the nature of the volumes that we deal with.

“If three planes come fully loaded and they bring on average 200 people, the hall cannot fit in 600 people at once, that is why you see some passengers spilling to the tarmac.”

The airport was commissioned by former President Robert Mugabe in November 2016.

Speaking at the event, the veteran leader said the new terminal could accomodate1,500 000 passengers per year, up from 500,000 before the multi-million-dollar revamp.

“This development indeed signifies exciting times ahead for our aviation and tourism sectors. The upgrading of the airport paves way for Victoria Falls Town to become a tourist hub for Zimbabwe, SADC and the rest of the continent,” he added.

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Ethiopian Airlines Partners With Zambia to Re-Launch National Carrier Thu, 18 Jan 2018 01:16:05 +0000 Windhoek — Ethiopian Airlines, the largest aviation group in Africa and SKYTRAX certified Four Star Global Airline, has confirmed that it has finalised a shareholders agreement with the Government of Zambia for the re-launch of Zambia Airways. The Government of Zambia will be the majority shareholder with 55 percent, and Ethiopian Airlines will have 45 percent stake in the airline.

Tewolde Gebremariam, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines (Ethiopian) remarked: “In line with our Vision 2025 multiple hubs strategy in Africa, we are very happy that the discussions with the Zambian government have been crowned with success.

“The launching of Zambia Airways will enable the travelling public in Zambia and the Southern African region to enjoy greater connectivity options, thereby facilitating the flow of investment, trade and tourism, and contributing to the socioeconomic growth of the country and the region.

“As an indigenous and truly Pan-African airline, we firmly believe that it is only through partnerships among African carriers that the aviation industry of the continent will be able to get its fair share of the African market, currently heavily skewed in favour of non-African airlines, and play its rightful role in availing efficient air connectivity within Africa as well as with the rest of the world”.

 The airline is meant to initially serve national and regional destinations before embarking on international flights.

With the establishment of multiple hubs in Africa being an overarching strategy of Ethiopian under its Vision 2025, it currently operates hubs in Lomé (Togo) with ASKY Airlines, and in Lilongwe (Malawi).

Ethiopian Airlines is still the fastest growing airline in Africa and in its 70 plus years of operation it has become one of the continent’s leading carriers, unrivalled in efficiency and operational success. Ethiopian is currently implementing a 15-year strategic plan called Vision 2025 through which it aims to become the leading aviation group in Africa.

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South Africa: H&M Appoints Global Diversity Leader After Offensive Hoodie Debacle Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:28:16 +0000 H&M on Tuesday said it has appointed a “global leader” in addressing diversity and inclusiveness.

“Our commitment to addressing diversity and inclusiveness is genuine, and therefore we have appointed a global leader in this area to drive our work forward. There will be more from us soon,” the popular chain said in a statement.

“Our position is simple. We got things wrong and we are deeply sorry. The recent incident was entirely unintentional but it demonstrates clearly how big our responsibility is as a global brand and how sensitive and mindful we need to be about different cultures and particularly about issues of race.”

 The retailer caused outrage after it showed a black child in a sweatshirt with the words “Coolest monkey in the jungle” printed on it.

H&M has since apologised and removed the image and the sweatshirt from its stores, saying it was “investigating internally to ensure this can’t ever happen again”.

 The company on Tuesday reiterated its apology for the “controversial image of the hoodie”.

“We are reaching out to gather ideas, feedback, comments and observations from our staff, critics, experts, influencers and business partners. We are open to constructive thoughts to help us create a better future,” the company said.

“We would also like to apologise sincerely to our employees, many of whom were placed in highly stressful situations in the wake of protest action. It has been a difficult and challenging week for H&M but we remain fully committed to our South African operation.”

Source: News24

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