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The project has a total of 210 planned connections. (Image source: ECOWAS)

Energy

A clean energy mini grid powered by solar power has been opened on the Island of Fogo, Cabo Verde, as part of efforts to provide universal access to electricity to its inhabitants for the first time

The project has been implemented by the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) in partnership with the local AgroCoopCha cooperative. It received funding from the Cabo Verde Government, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and ECREE through the ECOWAS Special Intervention Fund (ESIF).

Officially unveiled in an inauguration ceremony attended by Ulisses Correia e Silva, the Prime Minister of Cabo Verde, and key officials from the participating partners, the project features installed solar capacity of 40kWp, a 150kWh battery energy storage system, a 50kVA generator, a 5 km underground electricity distribution network and a total of 210 planned connections. Primarily, the system will be used to electrify the local Chã das Caldeiras community which has around 800 members.

For ECOWAS, it marks yet another clean energy initiative that has been successfully delivered and implemented through ESIF and ECREEE. In the press release relating to the Cabo Verde project, the centre reiterated its commitment to expanding access to renewable energy, improving energy security and mitigating the impact of climate change through such initiatives. It added that further projects financed by ESIF will be inaugurated by ECREE in the coming months, including ones in Benin, Ghana and Senegal.

Ghana’s President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, speaking at the launch. (Image source: Office of the President, Republic of Ghana)

Construction

Ghana’s President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has presided over the sod-cutting ceremony for the dualisation of the Anwiankwanta-Ahenema Kokoben Road

The 20 km project is considered a vital step towards enhancing the road infrastructure in the Ashanti Region and alleviating traffic congestion and improving connectivity.

“The dualisation of the Anwiankwanta-Ahenema Kokoben Road will address the perennial congestion experienced on this road, which has affected the movement of goods to towns such as Ahenema Kokoben, Brofoyeduru, Kotwi, Trede, Adjamesu Dominase, Ofoase Kokoben, Anwiankwanta, Bekwai, and Obuasi,” commented the President at the ceremony.

He continued by highlighting that the project is part of a broader initiative to improve road conditions across densely populated areas in a bid to reduce travel times, lower vehicle operating costs and enhance road safety.

The project in Ghana will be executed by M/S Kofi Job Ltd, a Ghanaian company, under the supervision of the Ministry of Roads and Highways through the Ghana Highway Authority.

“Our government remains committed to decongesting urban areas and improving the overall infrastructure of our nation,” the President surmised. “This project is a testament to our dedication to solving real-life challenges and enhancing the quality of life for Ghanaians.”

Other significant road projects in the region were also outlined by the President, including the dualisation of the Ofankor-Nsawam Road and the Adenta-Dodowa Road. Additionally, the government is focused on replicating such initiatives along other road corridors within the region, such as the Suame Roundabout to Tafo Pankrono, and in other parts of the country, such as Takoradi and Tamale.

In his concluding remarks, President Akufo-Addo stressed the importance of continued investment in road infrastructure to address the country’s road deficit and meet the evolving needs of the population.

The completion of the acquisitions remains subject to NGX completing due diligence in relation to the EPLs. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

Mining

NGX, a leading African explorer and developer, has entered into earn-in joint venture agreements to acquire two uranium exploration project applications in Namibia in a bid to complement its existing graphite assets in Malawi

The two sites are located within the Damara uranium belt of the country, recognised for being one of the world’s best known uranium districts in the world with a number of uranium projects in operation. The two applications include Rossingburg, located in the main uranium production hub of the belt between the Rossing uranium mine and Etango uranium project, and Tubusis, northeast of Swakopmund in an under-explored region of the belt.

“While NGX has been progressing permitting and processing testwork on our flagship graphite projects in Malawi, we have also been looking for opportunities to expand our clean energy minerals portfolio in Africa, to meet the world’s growing need for carbon free energy,” remarked Matt Syme, NGX executive director. “Our management group includes considerable and very successful experience in uranium exploration, so this is a natural addition to our portfolio. We are very optimistic about the outlook for the uranium market and Namibia remains the premier uranium exploration environment in Africa.”

Namibia’s fertile mining environment has found plenty of suitors this year as a number of companies look to take advantage of the business opportunities it offers. Click here to read how B2Gold has been expanding its efforts at the Otjikoto mine in the country.

The AfDB board complemented Transnet for progress made in rolling out its compliance and governance improvement programme. (Image source: AfDB)

Logistics

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a US$1bn corporate loan to Transnet, a major freight transport and logistics company in South Africa

The company has faced significant operational challenges over the last few years and has been an ever-present stay in media headlines due to underinvestment in infrastructure and equipment, theft and vandalism, and external shocks (such as floods) that have affected critical rail and port businesses.

It has now committed to addressing these past challenges, fostering integrity and enhancing efficiency. This is being pursued, primarily, through its recovery plan that was launched in October 2023 that seeks to rehabilitate infrastructure and accelerate the relaunch of operations over 18 months. Restoring operational performance and freight volumes to meet customer demands has been recognised as a priority.

Vital AfDB support

In order to assist with these recovery and growth plans, AfDB has now committed to a US$1bn corporate loan to Transnet. The 25-year loan – fully guaranteed by the Government of South Africa – will facilitate the first phase of the company’s US$8.1bn five-year capital investment plan.

“Transnet, the custodian of South Africa's critical transport and logistics infrastructure, plays an indispensable role in the economy of the country, ensuring a competitive freight system and serving as a gateway to the SADC region,” commented African Development Bank’s vice president for private sector, infrastructure and industrialisation, Solomon Quaynor. “Our partnership will enable Transnet to execute a comprehensive recovery plan, addressing operational inefficiencies, particularly in rail and port sectors.

“It is aligned with South Africa's strategic 'Roadmap for Freight Logistics System,' and overseen by the National Logistics Crisis Committee, chaired at the Presidency level. This initiative signifies our commitment to enhancing national logistics capabilities and driving sustainable economic growth.”

Michelle Phillips, group chief executive of Transnet, added, “We appreciate the support demonstrated by the African Development Bank, the loan extended by the bank will make a significant contribution to Transnet’s capital investment plan to stabilise and improve the rail network and to contribute to the broader South African economy. The accompanying grant funding to the loan will also greatly assist Transnet with to its energy efficiency efforts and with Infrastructure Project Preparation initiatives.”

The launch was marked at the Sun Boardwalk Convention Centre. (Image source: Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber)

Finance

The Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber has launched the Trade and Investment Desk in a bid to position the metro as a diversified manufacturing investment destination and exports hub for Africa

The Desk, in partnership with global auditing, advisory & tax leaders BDO South Africa, global financial services leader Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) and the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC), is a key driver in the Business Chamber’s strategy to unlock the economic potential of Nelson Mandela Bay to attract and foreign direct investment and enable job creation.

The positioning of the metro as the Bay of Opportunity is aimed to utilise its unique advantages as a two-port city with a strong manufacturing base. This is according to Chamber chief executive Denise Van Huyssteen, who continued, “The Trade and Investment Desk is a strategic driver in bringing this vision to life, working as a united business community along with our partners and key role-players in the trade and investment space to market the Bay as an investment destination of choice and secure catalytic projects that will drive growth.

“The launch of the Desk is a major step forward in resurging the Bay and setting up the local economy for growth and diversification amid massive global advances in technology, new energy and the need for climate resilience. In parallel, as the Chamber is working to improve the enabling environment for business, it is critical that we are proactive in building investor confidence in the advantages of the Bay, and providing support to retain and attract investors.”

Viable new business opportunities

The Trade and Investment Desk will lead on the marketing of Nelson Mandela Bay as an investment destination to secure partnerships with key trade and investment stakeholders. It will also support potential investors with economic data, local information and networking while facilitating trade and export opportunities for local businesses. Moreover, it will support the Chamber’s Local Economy Reinvention Think Tank.

Bonga Mokoena, BDO South Africa CEO, commented, “I believe that as partners, we are aligned in our vision of unlocking economic growth. The Chamber’s Trade and Investment Desk, founded on global investment promotion best practice, will be an important lever in our collective vision and create much needed opportunities for the people, businesses and communities of Nelson Mandela Bay and South Africa at large.”

“Nelson Mandela Bay is the largest commercial centre in the Eastern Cape, an anchor for large-scale trade, investment and tourism, and the automotive manufacturers in the Bay are the largest contributor to provincial manufacturing output and trade,” added, ECDC chief executive Ayanda Wakaba. “It stands to reason that the metro and the Chamber are key partners for the province in economic development.”

Africa’s share of global manufacturing only sits at around 2% today. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

Manufacturing

The emerging efforts to raise Africa’s share of global manufacturing have been explored in the latest issue of African Review

Manufacturing was a key topic of scrutiny in the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) recently-published ‘2024 African Economic Outlook’, which sought to influence inclusive growth across the continent. While noting that a “single-minded” focus on development through manufacturing should make way for advancing regional diversity and encouragement of wider sectors, it stated that developing manufacturing and reducing the size of exports of unprocessed raw materials “must be part of the economic transformation strategy of African countries.”

While the continent’s share of global manufacturing sits at a paltry 2% today, the development of the sector is still widely regarded as crucial to its ongoing industrialisation and future prosperity. By shaking off the post-colonial reputation as a feedstock for global industrialised economies, African nations can ensure greater value is captured from their vast pool of resources.

Here, a significant opportunity emerges in the form of the continent’s abundance of minerals critical to the energy transition. Already, Africa is positioning itself at the heart of global critical mineral production with countries such as DRC, for example, responsible for more than 70% of global cobalt output. Calls to maximise the reach of these resources are increasing in volume. Speaking at UNCTAD’s ‘Maximising Africa’s Potential’ event in Addis Ababa, UN Economic Commission for Africa’s deputy executive secretary, Antonio Pedro, remarked, “Imagine the potential if African minerals are processed into African batteries, installed into African cars that are driven across the continent and the world... This would accelerate the deployment of renewable energy and the electrification of transport systems on the continent, create decent jobs and make Africa a competitive hub for green industrialisation.”

Click here to read the full article in the latest issue of African Review, including the initiatives being undertaken to realise the green mineral opportunity and the future market for medical manufacturing.

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