Monday, March 4, 2024

Ethiopia eyes $150 million fee for Safaricom’s M-Pesa entry

The Safaricom-led consortium in Ethiopia will pay USD 150 million (Ksh18.9 billion) as license fees to roll out M-Pesa in the populous nation if the proposed regulations by the Horn of Africa country are passed.

The amount referred to as an investment protection fee is contained in the proposed rules that will guide the licensing and launch of mobile money operations such as M-Pesa.

“A foreign national applicant shall present evidence for the payment of USD 150 million or equivalent in another foreign currency for the investment protection fee,” reads the draft published by the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE).

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An investment protection fee is the amount paid by foreigners to invest in businesses exclusively reserved for domestic investors or the government.

The amount will be in addition to the 50 million birr (about Ksh117.8 million) that Safaricom will have to pay in cash as paid-up capital and the amount deposited in a bank account with restricted access.

The NBE is expected to hold a consultative meeting with officials from Safaricom Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Telecommunication Authority, and those from banks, microfinance institutions, and payment system operators to discuss the draft.

(The East African)

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AU health official hails China-Africa cooperation, calling for deepening ties

African Union Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs, and Social Development Minata Samate Cessouma has commended the China-Africa partnership, with particular emphasis on fruitful cooperation in the health sector.

“China is a big partner for Africa, and our wish is to continue this cooperation with China, to exchange experiences with them, and to see how we can achieve our aspiration, the Agenda 2063—the Africa we want,” Samate Cessouma told Xinhua in a recent interview.

The Commissioner called for strengthening China-Africa and China-African Union cooperation with the help of cooperation platforms, including the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

“The cooperation between China and Africa and between China and the African Union Commission is very important, and it is important for me as the commissioner in charge of health at the African Union Commission,” Cessouma said. “I would like to say thank you to China for the cooperation we have with China. As you know, we have FOCAC with China, and this is the occasion to strengthen cooperation between Africa and China.”

Cessouma underscored the partnership with China as important in the African Union’s quest to realize the continent’s socioeconomic development aspirations.

(People’s Daily Online)

Ethiopian Airlines, IGAD sign MoU

Ethiopian Airlines, the largest airline in Africa, and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide a framework for the provision of Ethiopian Airlines products and services to IGAD.

Per the MoU, Ethiopian Airlines will also provide hospitality services to IGAD at the Ethiopian Skylight Hotel and assign a dedicated team to handle the travel and hospitality needs of IGAD.

Following the signing, Ethiopian Airlines Group Chief Commercial Officer Lemma Yadecha said, “We are pleased to have signed this agreement with IGAD and play our part in the region’s socio-economic development.”

“Ethiopian Airlines operates more than 20 flights daily to IGAD member states, playing a significant role in the socio-economic ties in the region and facilitating a way to achieve the economic cooperation and regional integration that IGAD strives to achieve.”

Ethiopian Airlines signed a strategic partnership agreement with International Djibouti Industrial Park Operation (IDIPO) and Air Djibouti to jointly commence sea-air multimodal transportation for expeditious transportation of goods to Africa in March 2022, taking its cargo transportation sector to a multimodal level.

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(Air101)

Kazakhstan takes part in AU summit as Observer State

Kazakh Ambassador to Ethiopia and Permanent Representative to the African Union (AU) Barlybai Sadykov participated in the annual 36th African Union summit in Addis Ababa on Feb. 18–19, reported the Kazakh Foreign Ministry.

The summit agenda included discussions on security, terrorism, unconstitutional coups, food security, UN Security Council (UNSC) reforms, the AU response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, and climate change, among other issues.

Kazakhstan has been an observer state in the AU since 2013. This year also marks the 60th anniversary of the AU.

During the summit, the UN announced the allocation of USD 250 million to Africa, while the World Bank said it would provide USD 50 billion in financial development assistance to African countries in 2023.

More than 40 heads of state and government and other high-ranking officials, including President of the European Council Charles Michel, attended the summit.

Sadykov also participated in the 42nd session of the AU Executive Council on Feb. 15-16, which gathered African foreign ministers. He also held bilateral meetings with members of delegations of AU member states.

(The Astana Times)

Egypt willing to provide technical support to Kenya’s water management efforts

Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Hany Suwailam said that Egypt is keen on promoting cooperation with fellow African nations in light of its anticipated two-year presidency of the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW), which will enable it to put the water issue at the top of Africa’s development agenda.

The Egyptian minister was speaking during a meeting with a group of Kenyan lawmakers who chair their Parliament’s committees on agriculture, livestock, the blue economy, irrigation, and public investments in the public service and agricultural sectors, at the premises of the Kenyan Parliament.

Suwailam expressed Egypt’s willingness to provide technical support to Kenya to help its water management and rainwater harvesting dam projects, given the Egyptian State’s commitment to support the development efforts pursued by the Kenyan president for greater economic growth and quality of life, while discussing aspects of mutual cooperation in various sectors.

He also pointed to the “Action for Water Adaptation and Resilience” initiative launched during the UN Climate Change Conference (COP27), held in Egypt’s seaside city of Sharm El Sheikh in November, and the establishment of an Africa Center of Excellence (ACE) in Egypt to serve as a platform for building African capacities in this critical area.

(Egypt Independent)

Kenya sees record $3.4 billion in tourism earnings this year

Kenya forecasts its earnings from tourism, one of the nation’s main sources of foreign currency, will surge to a record high this year as the government moves to diversify its attractions.

Earnings are expected to increase by almost 60 percent to KSh425.4 billion (USD 3.37 billion) in the 12 months through December as the number of visitors to the East African country rises by the same measure to 2.3 million arrivals, according to the government’s Tourism Research Institute.

Kenya, known for iconic safaris featuring animals from wildebeests to elephants and lions as well as sandy beaches off the Indian Ocean coastline, is looking to promote other attractions such as its cuisine and sports, according to Tourism Secretary Peninah Malonza. Her department will also “focus more on domestic and regional tourism promotion,” she said at a briefing on Wednesday in the capital, Nairobi. 

Kenya’s tourist arrivals increased by 72 percent to 1.48 million visitors last year as the sector began to rebound from the impact of the pandemic, compared with a global recovery rate of 63 percent. The industry accounts for 10.4 percent of Kenya’s GDP and 5.5 percent of its formal employment, according to the Tourism Research Institute.

(Bloomberg)

South Sudan central bank to inject $5 mln into economy amid plummeting currency

South Sudan’s central bank announced a USD five-million injection into the country’s economy in an attempt to save the country’s plummeting local currency.

In circulars posted to its social media accounts, the bank said separate auctions of USD two and USD three million will take place on Thursday.

“The bank of South Sudan intends to sell USD two million to eligible forex bureaus through an auction to be held on February 23, 2023,” the bank said in one of the circulars seen by Sudans Post.

Another circular stated that the “Bank of South Sudan Foreign Exchange Auction Rules and Procedures will govern the auctioning process,” promising USD three million on the same day.

The Central Bank’s announcement comes a week after the dollar rate jumped to more than 800 pounds in the parallel market.

One USD is currently being sold for 776 South Sudanese pounds at the central bank.

Traders last week expressed fears that one USD may rise to 1000 South Sudanese pounds by next week if the government does not pour enough dollars into the market.

(Sudan’s Post)

US announces additional $3 mln in funding to fight food insecurity in South Sudan

The United States government has announced that it is pledging an additional USD three million in efforts to fight food insecurity in South Sudan.

This is just less than a week after US Ambassador Michael J. Adler announced USD 288.5 million in new funding for humanitarian assistance to South Sudanese through the World Food Program (WFP).

Kate Crawford, the head of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), said the USD three million funding will help in the US’s efforts to fight food insecurity in the world’s youngest country.

“This additional funding will strengthen USAID efforts to reduce emergency food dependence and increase household resilience,” Crawford said.

Crawford says food security remains a USAID priority, and the additional funds will be used to strengthen community agriculture development. These additional funds will support farmer groups in areas where seasonal production is possible and specifically target women’s economic advancement through increased agriculture production and diet diversification.

“The funds will help women farmers access improved seed varieties, increase crop diversity, and improve agricultural practices.”

(Sudan’s Post)

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