22 February 2011

Uganda to generate power from waste

Kampala, Uganda - a Ugandan company has embarked on a project to generate electricity from garbage.
Rather than hydro electricity generation, Sesam Energetics Ltd, will be recycling solid waste to generate renewable energy through a technology that can convert Uganda's predominantly organic urban solid waste into energy.
Announcing a collaboration agreement with a US based Taylor Biomass Energy LLC to operate a waste to energy Plant in Kampala Uganda, Sesam's Chief executive Director Dr Maalanti Noa, said the project will be replicated in several other African countries.
"Within the next six months Taylor Biomass Energy Uganda will conclude the Power Purchase Agreement, the Waste Management Contract and secure the necessary finances and begin constructing the recycling plant," Maalanti said.
Maalanti said the agreement marks the existence of a new entity Taylor Biomass Energy Uganda that will conclude all the project execution instruments including the Power Purchase Agreement with Uganda Electricity Transmission Company (UETCL), and the urban solid waste management contracts.
The proposed project will utilize proprietary Taylor Biomass Energy Technology in an integrated sorting separating recycling and gasification system together with a combined cycle power island to generate 40MW of green electricity.
According to the feasibility studies done by the project promoters, the companies will invest over US$160 million to construct a plant that will recycle almost 1030 tonnes daily of urban Solid Waste from Kampala and the surrounding Wakiso district to generate renewable clean energy for over 35,000 homes.
A senior energy officer, Ministry of Energy, Michael Ahimbisibwe, said the energy sector has gone through a number of reforms. He cited the 1999 Energy Act that allows investors to generate and sell electricity and the Uganda Energy capitalization fund that acts as a source of credit to energy investors.
"Generating energy for waste is still a new area. Before the act, it was UEB, but now everyone can generate and sell electricity," Ahimbisibwe said at Lugala village, 8km from Kampala city where the project is located.
Garbage generation in Kampala is estimated at 1,400 tonnes daily.  However, Kampala City Council (KCC) collects only 600 tonnes, which it dumps at Kitezi landfill north of Kampala.
Sesam Energetics Director Operations, Seith Magambo, said the project will start in 18 months time. He said the company will institute more efficient ways of garbage collection that will cater for the uncollected.
"We need over 1,000 tonnes of garbage everyday to generate electricity. So we can utilise all the garbage generated in Kampala and Wakiso districts,' Magambo said.

Kenya’s technopolis dream gets a boost from European, Asian firms

At least six firms have expressed interest in competing for contracts to build Kenya’s multi-billion Shilling dream ICT park on a 5,000-acre site south of Nairobi.
Winners of the contracts will become master builders of the $10 billion (Sh800 billion) project, whose construction begins next month at a ground-breaking ceremony to be presided over by President Kibaki.
In the list of contenders are India’s Mahindra, Tata Infrastructure, Leasing and Financial Services, Wipro from America and global technology firm IBM.
Swedish, South Korean and American firms — whose names could not be immediately verified — are also eyeing infrastructure projects at the park.
Construction of the technopolis is hinged on a model that puts third parties at the centre of its execution with the owners — the government — offering the land, legal backing and architectural plans.
Winners of the master builder tender are expected to develop property on location and upon conclusion lease it out (for 99 years) or sell it to interested buyers, the master plan crafted by the Ministry of Information says.
A separate group of bidders will build the city’s infrastructure and levy service charges under the build, operate and transfer (BoT) model.
Lease periods will be hinged on the length of time it takes them to recoup costs without imposing a heavy cost burden on users.
People familiar with the bidders’ plans said a Swedish company is gunning for the tender to construct and manage the technopolis’ sewerage system while the Korean firm wants to build the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) park.
Infrastructure development at the park situated 41 kilometres South of Nairobi begins next month paving the way for invitation of the initial tenders worth $3.8 billion (Sh304 billion).
“The official launch should make it possible for the government to actively market the project to potential investors throughout the world,” said Dr Bitange Ndemo, the Information permanent secretary.
Prime minister Raila Odinga is expected to lead a team of top government and private sector personalities who will leave the country in April for a road show in New York.
Service providers, including a leading hospital, an international school and an investment group have expressed interest in putting up units at the park, Mr Ndemo said.
Next month’s launch of infrastructure development projects will also see the grounds zoned for planned activities such as IT, hospitality, education, health and finance.
The ICT park is expected to create 80,000 new jobs in the first four years as part of the government’s Vision 2030 development blueprint.
Last Friday, the parliamentary accounts committee team led by Gichugu MP Martha Karua, Nairobi Metropolitan and Ministry of Information officials toured the site to ascertain whether the public had got value for the Sh1 billion that has so far been pumped into the project.
Kenya intends to use the facility to promote conference tourism and is preparing a bid for the 2018 GSMA World Congress.
The annual meeting brings together 800 of the world’s mobile operators, more than 200 technology companies and about 50,000 IT executives.
Successful execution will make Konza technology city Eastern Africa’s first and only technopolis – a city built specifically for technology firms.
It will host Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) ventures, a science park, a convention centre, shopping malls, hotels, international schools and health facilities.
Similar cities already exist in Malaysia (PutraJaya), Panama (Pacifico), the Philippines (Subic-Clark) and China (Shenzhen).
Mr Mugo Kibati, the director general of Vision 2030 said execution of the plan is hinged on the allocation of money in the next budget to kick-start the initial phase.
“We are now packaging the project ready for show casing to potential investors,” he said.
The technopolis has faced numerous hurdles, including encroachment on its land by private developers, since its inception in 2008.
There is also fear that implementation of the project may be mired in politics as the Kenya moves into the next general election.
“This is the worst time to implement a project of this magnitude as politicians can go promising investors anything to get campaign money in exchange,” Dr Ndemo said.
The ICT park was initially embroiled in a fierce disagreement between shareholders of Malili Ranch, its directors and area politicians.
Shareholders of the ranch accused brokers of cheating them out of their land and threatened to block the project unless they were paid more.
The Ministry of Information, entered into an agreement with the directors of Malili Ranch on June 17 last year to purchase 5,000 acres of land at a price of Sh200,000 per acre and made a down-payment of Sh400 million.
The Sh600 million balance was paid in January paving the way for work to begin.
Malili Ranch belonged to 606 farmers who owned 7.8 acres each and were paid Sh1.56 million each for their shares.
Mr Mugo advised land owners in the area to stop subdividing it because they could end up getting more value for consolidated units in mega projects around the technopolis.
By Okuttah Mark, Business Daily

18 February 2011

GCN Canada signs US$200 Million Infrastructure Development Agreement with SIKON INC. for Cameroon Project

GCN Canada Inc., headed by its President & CEO, His Excellency Robert M. Sabga (former High Commissioner for the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago) and his global team of professionals, in conjunction with their Cameroon joint-venture partner Bonanza Estates S.A., have been granted by the Republic of Cameroon a license to develop and operate a Tourist and Financial Tax Haven and Free Zone for a 311-hectare estate with 1.7 km of pristine beachfront in Batok√©, north-west of the coastal town of Limbe, in Cameroon’s Strategic  Economic Development ZoneH.E. Robert Sabga enjoys excellent relationships at the highest levels of the Government of Cameroon, and through him GCN Canada, Inc. (GCN-C) has committed to help develop and support the country’s economic growth based on a proven tax haven and free zone development platform.   
GCN-C has designed a most remarkable and unique development concept, combining the benefits of a financial tax haven with the attraction of an ultra-exclusive resort-style duty free zone, the only such destination of its kind in the world. Unlike existing free zones in places such as Dubai, South Korea, India, some Caribbean countries, and other places in the globe, the design of GCN-C’s Emerald Coast Financial and Tourist Free Zone for the Republic of Cameroon is truly in a class of its own.

Ottawa, Canada, February 16, 2011 –
Ottawa-based GCN Canada, Inc. has announced that it has signed a US $200 Million agreement with the Aboriginal owned and operated SIKON Infrastructure Inc. to provide planning and infrastructure works for the Emerald Coast Financial & Tourism Free Zone Project in Cameroon. SIKON will also collaborate with GCN Canada to fund the initial infrastructural works through its financing network. The first phase is estimated to cost some US$200 Million, and will provide road works, drainage, sewage and wastewater management, and electrical and general site infrastructure. Future collaborative phases will include environmentally friendly energy production (wind turbine and solar), and on and off-site development programs.
SIKON Infrastructure Inc. is an Aboriginal owned and operated consulting company dedicated to delivering beneficial infrastructure and environmental solutions in particular for Canada’s Aboriginal Peoples, but also internationally. Their areas of expertise include environmental assessment and management, water and wastewater treatment, buildings and facilities, and green energy solutions. (http://www.sikonmh.com)
Mr. Antonio Dalpra, Vice-President of SIKON, says, “This agreement with GCN Canada marks a new and exciting development for us, and is the first project we have taken on in Cameroon. Most of our international projects to date have been in Central and South America, and we welcome the opportunity to collaborate with GCN Canada in its Emerald Coast Project, which will be the first development of its kind in Africa. We are very proud and excited to be part of this historic venture.”
President and CEO of GCN Canada, His Excellency Robert M. Sabga, has a long history of association with Aboriginal groups and organizations dating back to his years in the diplomatic corps, and has expressed his pleasure with this new agreement: “We are very happy to have SIKON as a development and financing partner with us for the Emerald Coast Project – their expertise and resource network are a welcome addition to what everyone agrees will be a truly world-class enterprise. This agreement now adds a new and truly historical dimension to what we are building in Cameroon, since it will be the bringing together of the First Peoples of North America with those of Africa for the first time that we are aware of, to mutual benefit and for the creation of mutual opportunity. We are witnessing history in the making with this agreement!”
GCN Canada recently announced it has signed a US$850 Million funding agreement with Hiram Estates Investments of Cairo to finance and build the Emerald Coast Plaza Resort Hotel. This latest agreement with SIKON will provide the necessary infrastructure for the hotel and for other key aspects of the free zone development.
For more information of the Emerald Coast Project, contact Monty Elsabbagh at pr@gcncanada.com and/or visit the project website at http://www.gcncanada.com.

7 February 2011


Ottawa-based developer GCN Canada, Inc. has announced that it has signed a US$850 Million financing agreement with the Egyptian finance company Hiram Estates Investments of Nasr City, Cairo (http://www.hei-eg.com/). The funding is to be used to construct the Emerald Coast Plaza Resort Hotel, which is a principal feature of the initial phase of its multi-billion dollar Emerald Coast Financial & Tourism Free Zone Project on the coast of Cameroon (see www.gcncanada.com for project details).

The Emerald Coast Plaza Resort Hotel will be a 30-storey luxury hotel and condominium combo featuring a 250-room 5-star hotel in its lower 10 stories and 200 luxury condominiums in the top 20 floors, built above a grand duty-free shopping mall and entertainment center and casino, overlooking the development’s 2 km-long private beach. It will be the central focus of a larger complex with a boardwalk, fine dining restaurants, a business and financial center, and a full service deep water marina, and forms an integral part of the core Emerald Coast Development. Later Phases will see the construction of luxury villas and time-share chalets, a golf course, an arts and entertainment center with live theatre and movieplex, a convention center, an artificial island with additional luxury accommodations, and more. The financial and off-shore banking activities that will be the main engine of the Emerald Coast Development will be initially housed in the hotel/mall until the separate financial district is completed sometime in Years 3-4 of construction.

Mr. Emad Mahgoub, Chairman of Hiram Estates Investments, has had extensive experience with banks and finance institutions in the Middle East, and has worked with Al Mashriq Bank, BNP Paribas, Al Watany Bank of Egypt, and National Societe General Bank.

Recent finance projects undertaken by Hiram Estates Investments include a US$500 Million biomass plant project in Brazil for the SWISS Group of Sao Paolo, and a US$300 Million real estate project in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, for CONEL CAPITAL Pte. Ltd. of Singapore.

Despite the current political unrest in Egypt, Mr. Maghoub is confident that this will not affect his firm’s ability to realize the financing for GCN Canada Inc. as the banks he will be dealing with are in Qatar and Bahrain. The terms of the financing agreement grant Hiram Estates Investments the exclusive rights to funding this particular aspect of the Project, and do not limit GCN Canada Inc. from accessing financing for other Phases from additional lenders.

Mr. Maghoub is confident that financing arrangements will be concluded within 3 months, and the financing terms he will secure for the hotel will be very reasonable and well within acceptable banking convention. H.E. Robert Sabga, President and CEO of GCN Canada Inc., has expressed his delight at the signing of the agreement, and is looking forward to breaking ground on this key initial aspect of the Project:

“We are very pleased to be working with Mr. Maghoub in this venture. He comes highly recommended by CONEL’s CEO Mr. Young Cheon Kim, and also by Mr. Edda Silvestro, President of the Swiss Group out of Brazil. I have no doubt that through his extensive banking connections we will very soon realize the funding required to start this phase of construction. We are excited, and we know that all of Cameroon will be elated to learn that the Emerald Coast Project is now well on its way to starting operations.”

Financing for other phases is being negotiated with companies in the UK, USA, and Hong Kong, and are in different stages of completion. Enquiries on the Emerald Coast Project may be made to GCN Canada Inc.’s Monty Elsabbagh at info@gcncanada.com, and/or by visiting the company’s website www.gcncanada.com.

WTCA (World Trade Centers Association) board approves 12 Licenses for Mochron Investments Ltd for Sub-Saharan Africa" by WTC Johannesburg President Julius Steyn

One of the most iconic business opportunities in Africa – an opportunity that will be etched in the minds of every nation in Africa is the creation and participation in the global network of World Trade Centers. The Mochron Office for International Trade, that provides services to the World Trade Center Johannesburg and Cape Town, has as its primary objective to increase trade with Africa. To achieve this objective it has applied to the WTCA for 10 additional WTC licenses in Sub Saharan Africa.

As a group with diverse shareholding and operations across Africa, Mochron has developed an initiative to achieve its vision, by combining the most successful multinational brands of; a Hotel Chain (Rezidor ponsored by Norfund), top African banks and trade companies with the global brand of the World Trade Center.

Mochron concretely believes that the value of this combination with the dedicated focus of highly successful business men and women on the African continent will ensure the achievement of this business objective. Furthermore, Mochron trusts that the success of this venture will clearly demonstrate the value of World Trade Centers in an emerging economy when positioned as centers of excellence presenting the best-of-the-best of local business partners and participation.

The licenses owned by Mochron will provide the initial impetus and critical mass to establish the WTC brand as superior and create economic power houses on the African continent. The planned WTC's will not only contribute to the economic drivers of the city where they are established but the combined effort will significantly contribute to the revenue of Africa. Mochron combines the established international brand of the WTC with effective first world trade solutions such as trade data, trade finance, modern trading platforms and integrated official relationships to increase trade efficiencies with Africa. The company is invested in:

WTC Gaborone
WTC Kinshasa
WTC Nairobi
WTC Maputo
WTC Antananarivo
WTC Windhoek
Republic of Djibouti:
WTC Djibouti
WTC Kigali
South Africa:
WTC Cape Town and Johannesburg
WTC Dar es Salaam
WTC Kampala
WTC Lusaka

The vision that Mochron has for the Sub-Saharan WTC's is that the combined effort of these centers will achieve an increase of 1% of Global Trade with Africa within 5 years which will earn the African continent approximately US$ 70 Billion in annual revenue which equates to more than three times the current foreign aid donations it receives from the G8 and 16% more than Africa requires to alleviate poverty on the continent.

Mochron invites all other WTC's to participate in this vision and to share in the mutual financial benefits that this opportunity may award.

Africa Business Panel publishes First Africa Business Confidence Index

Manufacturing index 63.88 and non-manufacturing index 61.33 both indicating expansion

Africa Business Panel has published the first pan African Business Confidence Index (ABCI). The index measures business confidence in the manufacturing and non-manufacturing private sector throughout Africa. Results are published on a monthly basis.

January’s results indicate confidence and growth with an index of 63.88 and 61.33 for the manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors respectively. A level of 50 and above indicates expansion. 955 business professionals from 42 countries in Africa participated in the survey making the results a reliable gauge and early indicator of the underlying economic activity on the African continent.

“We are delighted to present results for the first pan African Business Confidence Index. The level of participation across the African continent is a good indication of trends and activity across the private sector in Africa and will contribute to the outlook and reputation of Africa as a place to do business”, says Bas Vlugt, partner and co-founder of Africa Business Panel.

The ABCI follows a similar methodology and logic as the PMI indices which set the global standard. Members of the African Business Panel are business professionals and entrepreneurs working in Africa’s private sector. On a monthly basis they are invited to report change from the previous month on the following indicators: new orders, production, employment, supplier deliveries and inventories for the manufacturing sector and business activity, new orders, employment and supplier deliveries for the non-manufacturing sector. For more information on the survey and index methodology please visit www.africabusinesspanel.com
Survey Highlights:
  • First private sector business confidence index for the African continent
  • 955 African business professionals from 42 countries in Africa participated in survey
  • Manufacturing sector confidence index 63.88; non-manufacturing 61.33
  • These levels indicate expansion for manufacturing and non- manufacturing sectors
  • Senior level participants from 337 African companies with revenues of more than $ 100.000 and 17 with revenues of more than $ 1 billion

About Africa Business Panel

Africa Business Panel (ABP) is a joint initiative of Africa Business Communities (www.africabusinesscommunities.com) , a fast-growing network of African entrepreneurs and business professionals, and NarrowMinds (www.narrowminds.com), a leading architect of online market research and loyalty programs.

Africa Business Panel generates reliable indices on business developments and economic outlook in Africa and in doing so wishes to contribute to the continent’s business reputation and produce in-depth market research data for governments, the business community and international organizations. Africa Business Panel provides intelligent matches for African business professionals with the rest of the world offering promising business opportunities.

About the Panel

Business professionals based in Africa are invited to join the Africa Business Panel. As a member of the Panel your insights and opinions directly contribute to the Africa Business Confidence Index. Panel members benefit by participating: the outcome of the survey results are shared with Panel members directly and in greater detail than with non-members. All surveys are permission based, allowing members to decide when and to what degree they wish to participate. Personal details are treated strictly confidentially by the African Business Panel. No personal information is ever published or sold to third parties.
We encourage African business people to join the Panel at www.africabusinesspanel.com so they can shine their light on the business climate in Africa.

5 February 2011

Africa Better Prepared for Jump in Food Costs, World Bank Says

Africa’s increased investment in agriculture over the past few years has left it in a better position to weather the jump in global good prices in 2010, the World Bank’s African vice president said.
Global food costs rose to a record in December on higher sugar, grain and oilseed prices, the United Nations said on Jan. 5, exceeding levels reached in 2008 that sparked riots in African nations including Somalia, Burkina Faso and Cameroon.
“The situation is different to 2008-09 when many of the African countries were really caught in a bind,” Obiageli Ezekwesili said in an interview yesterday in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. “Today what we have is a more ebullient harvest environment.”
Rising food costs were one of the concerns of the protesters in Tunisia that forced President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to flee the country on Jan. 14, and also of those currently demanding the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. Increased food production in the rest of Africa reduces the likelihood of social unrest spreading further south.
Investment since 2008 in infrastructure, irrigation, fertilizer and seed technology has reduced reliance on grain and rice imports, particularly in West African countries, Ezekwesili said.
Farming Rediscovered
The 2008 unrest led to “a rediscovery of the importance of agriculture and food security,” Ezekwesili said. “Those that have made the reorientation have seen much more progress. A significant number of African countries are now able to have agricultural productivity growth of 3 percent per annum. It was below 1 percent before.”
French President Nicolas Sarkozy accused commodity speculators of “extortion and pillaging” in an address to the African Union on Jan. 30, blaming them in part for the jump in world food prices. The premier promised to take action against traders during his leadership of the G8 and G20 this year.
Instead of clamping down, “light touch regulation” to improve information on the quantity and quality of food stocks should be introduced, Ezekwesili said.
“Having a system that allows transparency helps to reduce the opportunities for rent seeking and speculation that are inimical to the needs of the poorer people,” she said.
Spreading the benefits of projected economic growth of 5 percent for the continent this year to the 70 percent of Africans working in agriculture will also help stave off social unrest, she said.
To contact the reporter on this story: William Davison in Addis Ababa via Johannesburg at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net.