14 Dec 2020

The Week That Was is a weekly recap of all major events that took place in Africa last week.

Central Africa

  • After the OPEC meeting held on December 3rd in Vienna, Angola plans to limit oil production to 1.267 million barrels per day for 2021. This represents reducing output by 261 thousand barrels per day.
  • After regional elections in Cameroon to decentralise power, the ruling party has won control in 9 out of 10 regional councils. Most opposition parties boycotted the election.

East Africa

  • Six consultants are tendering for a contract to manage the $120 million 118 kilometres urban road network in Ethiopia.  Construction work will take 18 months to complete.
  • At a joint press conference, Kenya’s President Kenyatta and the visiting Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia reaffirmed their commitment to developing cross border infrastructure projects.  They announced that the prominent Mombasa-Nairobi-Addis Ababa road corridor project would be fast-tracked.  This will provide critical access to Lamu port in Kenya for landlocked Ethiopia.
  • Kenya’s President Kenyatta commissioned the $40 million Makupa bridge connecting Mombasa Island replacing the old bridge with a new 450-metre long bridge.  Construction work will start in 2021 based on the contract signed between the Kenya National Highways Authority and China Communications Construction Company Limited.
  • Mozambique secured a $100 million grant from the World Bank through the International Development Agency.  The funding will be used for the Maputo Urban Transformation Project that will develop critical urban infrastructure and services.
  • Uganda has, in recent years, discovered more than 500 million tonnes of iron ore deposits.  Currently, iron ore is shipped to refineries at a great expense. The government has announced that it plans to import coal from Tanzania to build a steel refinery closer to the mines.  Also, a gas pipeline will be constructed to bring Tanzanian gas to Uganda to feed steel processing plants.
  • Uganda is one of a few African countries which will have excess power capacity by 2025.  As a result, Uganda is exploring export options.  One of these options is to export electricity to neighboring South Sudan. The Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited is working on an interconnection at the moment in collaboration with the South Sudan Electricity Corporation.
  • Zambia has formally requested a financing arrangement with the IMF. Zambia became the first African country to default on a coupon payment on one of its Eurobonds.  The IMF is currently reviewing the request.
  • The Bank of Zambia has agreed to purchase gold from the locally listed miner ZCCM-IH and copper from Canadian miner First Quantim Minerals.
  • Caledonia Mining Corporation Plc has announced it acquired an option to explore the Glen Hume area in the Zimbabwe midlands.  The area is known to deliver significant quantities of gold.  Caledonia has the right to mine at its discretion should exploration work prove successful.

North Africa

  • Egypt’s Finance Minister announced that the government purchase oil contracts to hedge against rising oil prices.
  • Egypt has received the first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine from China’s state-owned Sinopharm.
  • The Moroccan renewable energies development plan will aim to produce 52 percent of the countries power needs from renewable sources by 2030.  It will also aim to reduce power consumption by 20 percent.

Southern Africa

  • Moody’s Investors Service on Friday downgraded Namibia’s long-term debt. Moody’s maintained a negative outlook for Namibia’s economy.
  • Statistics South Africa announced better-than-expected GDP numbers followed by a reduced inflation rate of 3.2 percent.

West Africa

  • Guinea received a $49.47 million loan from the IMF Board under the extended credit facility.
  • As a result of COVID-19, The Gambia has recorded its first economic contraction in the past nine years.  GDP declined by -1.5 percent year-on-year.
  • The Federal Government of Nigeria has signed an Investment Protection Agreement (IPA) with Morocco and Singapore to which will improve investor confidence in the country.
  • The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) said it had commenced discussion with its partners, Shell, Total, and ENI, for the construction of the eight LNG train.
  • Exploration in Nigeria reduced by almost 20 percent over the first ten months of the year.  This could be a setback for the government’s objective to restore its 40-billion-barrel oil reserve by 2025.
  • Africa’s outstanding debt is estimated at over $700 billion. The president of the African Development Bank has urged Nigeria and other African countries to unlock their pension funds and insurance assets to free up capital required to invest in the continent and reduce its foreign debt burden.

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