The Writing Is On The Wall: Ghana’s big push to attract investment from Asia – Japan, Singapore and China – is well underway, by Nana Yaa Ofori-Atta

At a breakfast meeting held in Accra on Friday, December 15th, 2017, the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, announced that “we are today examining the possibilities of arranging for a total of US$300 – 500 million Ghanaian debt issuance on Asian capital markets.”

The second ambition he said, is to structure partnerships between state owned enterprises and the private sector in Ghana with counterparts in the Asia to invest in targeted industries and sectors – oil and gas, agriculture, mining and infrastructure including energy, railways, ports, financial services, technology and innovation.

This Minister is seeking also to improve “financial market connectivity through correspondent banking relationships and capital markets.” We should expect soon, moves towards a bilateral currency swap between the GHc and the Japanese Yen and a potential $2 billion bond in the next 3 years.

Lofty ambitions, doable and it will require our business community and policy makers getting to grips, quickly with the business ecosystem of each of these economies. There is also the small matter of aligning our institutional and investment policies to encourage banking, insurance, facilities and services between our financial sectors.

The guiding principles for the Asia roadshow should be to make haste, slowly. With good reason.

Together with 6 other African countries, Ghana accounts for more than 75% of sovereign debt issued thus far for the continent. Directly, since 2007, we have issued 5 sovereign bonds worth more than $4.5 billion. Our cousins in the elite sovereign club are Cote d’Ivoire next door, Nigeria, up the road and further afield, Zambia, South Africa, Angola and Kenya.

Growth is forecast on the back of increased oil and gas production in Ghana and caution is required. The Ministry of Finance (MoF) is intent it says on reprofiling our national debt to seek longer tenures of maturing. While our current credit rating by Fitch has been revised from negative to stable, the B category still puts us in the amber, caution light for skittish investors. Our fundamentals, particularly in macro economic stability and fiscal prudence must be religiously monitored and addressed.

In Asia, the Government of Ghana (GoG) will likely be seeking to avoid funding sources that require and incur further sovereign debt and liabilities. One analyst said, it would be wise if the preferred approach is to seek flexible revolving or facility based funding and not the project specific loans that have not always served us well in the past.

Coordinating the dance

In 2012, Japan virtually doubled its targeted investments in Africa to more than $6 billion, almost a $billion if this wend its way to South Africa.

The World Bank Group’s Global Investment Competitiveness Report 2017/2018 provides the obvious reasons why beyond the headlines, the MoF, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC), our Embassies and High Commissions abroad must be joined up. A-Z, in delivering a tangible measurable investment experience, both inwards and outwards.

In order of importance, the critical markers for an economy to attract foreign direct investment remain locked in the hands of government. Investment Promotion Guarantees, transparency and predictability in the conduct of public agencies; investment incentives, a bilateral investment treaty and a preferential trade agreement bring up the rear.

According to the Report, individual investors tend to respond to the political economy. Stability and security first, then the legal and regulatory environment, followed by the size of the domestic market, macroeconomic stability and bringing up the rear of the top 5, is a pool of available and talented labor.

A recent Ecobank Research forecast is of an uptick in the top 10 fastest growing Sub Saharan African economies. In 2017, we were 5th placed, behind Ethiopia, Cote d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Guinea. In 2018, we must make good on the threat of being #2.

That Asia road trip must deliver. After all, it was Mr. Ofori-Atta who in Berlin, on the announcement that Ghana will be one of the only 3 countries to benefit from a Euro 100 million compact from Germany to improve investments in the private sector said – “We are also not chickens… we are eagles and, as such we should fly”. He quoted Dr. Kwegir Aggrey.

Japan has without fanfare established a quiet solid presence in Ghana. It has on its resume, 90 years of investing in and supporting our scientific and medical facilities in yellow fever and other tropical diseases via the Noguchi Memorial Institute. For more than 40 years, Japan has provided volunteers with technical to Ghana, in what is reported to be their largest program in Africa.

On matters investment and more recent, in July of 2017, the GIPC held a Business Forum in Tokyo. Japan does not appear in the top 10 sources of FDI to Ghana in the 3rd quarter report of the GIPC. China does, at position #9. Singapore doesn’t feature at all.

The positive spin, is there are opportunities yet to pursue with the Asian road trip?

The Minister of Finance is of a certain dark type, Presbyterian modest and monogamous. A suggestion. It helps in matters nation building these days in the developing world, to be an ambidextrous polyglot, who is financially, at least, open to polygamy within an open marriage.

There is, besides the flirtation with Asia, an ongoing relationship with our ‘traditional’ investment partners that he and others should continue to nurture and harvest.

The Master Plan to upgrade and construct a railway network of 4,000 kilometers across Ghana was drawn up in 2013. It was envisaged that a modern rail based system would cost an estimated $12.5 billion. The GoG set out 6 distinct phases evolving sedately over 30 years.

Last week, following surely what must have been the purely coincidental flying visits, of first the French and then the German Presidents to Accra, came the announcement by the German-French Railway Consortium (GFRC), that it is they, who will build the critical link between Accra, our national capital and Kumasi, the country’s second largest city.

The statement issued from the purposely formed consortium of ALSTOM S.A. of France and LINDE AG of Germany, revealed much. First, that the construction of the double track network would take 4 years; secondly, they would also build a single track rail system from Kumasi to the port city of Takoradi, in the oil rich Western region and thirdly; service roads will be built alongside the tracks to enable maintenance as well as access by emergency vehicles in the event of accidents.

We are in a hurry to industrialise Ghana, other countries have done this faster and better with lessons learnt on matters quality, return on investments with particular regard to governance, cost, community and environmental impact.

The Europeans have form when it comes to swallowing national pride and ganging up. There is a context to the Franco-German railway win in Ghana. In September 2017, came the announcement of a merger between France’s Alston, a manufacturer of high speed trains with the technological know how of Siemens, Germany.

A report published by CNN Money stated then ‘The deal aims to counter China’s growing clout in global rail markets. Beijing stepped up its efforts in 2015 by merging two local companies into state-backed giant CRCC, which describes itself as “the world’s largest supplier of rail transit equipment.”

We will have arrived, when a Ghanaian company, assured enough, in finance, expertise, quality and ambition, partners with a Nigerian company to take on projects in East Africa for instance, or challenges the droit de seigneur approach of Europe and the new might of Asia by winning large contracts in the Middle and Far East.

Uncomfortable and true. In Ghana, when it comes to our instinctive definition of ‘quality’ brands, few are ‘Made in Ghana’, almost all are invariably European or American.

Yet the deep pockets and increasingly global reach of Asia beckons. In 2016, CRCC’s reported sales of more than $33 billion. Uncomfortable and also true, is that amongst the 3 countries slated for the Asian roadshow, China and Ghana will likely have to work harder on the trust thing.

The writing is on the wall. In English, French, German, Chinese (at least 5 main dialects), Dutch, Japanese ….

The Business and Financial Times, will be back. Management of the paper insists on taking much needed time off between December 22, 2017 – January 8, 2018. My column will return, published and available via online circulation.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Nana Yaa Ofori Atta.

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Luambe National Park Now The World’s Most Carbon Neutral

Luambe National Park in Zambia has achieved a conservation milestone this week as it became the most carbon neutral National Park in the world.

Luambe’s carbon neutral status is a result of the USAID-funded Community Forests Program (CFP) implemented by BioCarbon Partners (BCP) (http://BioCarbonPartners.com), in partnership with the Zambian Government. This world-first level of carbon neutrality means the emissions of all tourism and conservation management activities within with the park are offset, including all international tourist airline travel. Platinum is the highest possible carbon rating available from BCP.

The announcement comes just 18 months after the Lower Zambezi National Park – also in Zambia – became the world’s first to achieve carbon neutrality from operations. This latest announcement from Luambe secures Zambia’s recognition as a global leader in carbon offsetting.

“Luambe National Park’s carbon neutral status sets a great example for other protected areas in Zambia,” said USAID/Zambia Economic Development Office Director Jeremy Boley. “This status shows the world that Zambia takes emissions reduction seriously.”

Luambe Camp (http://Luambe.com) voluntarily funded the carbon neutrality from their own internal revenues, investing in renewable energy sources and purchasing Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) audited forest carbon offsets generated within Zambia. Luambe Camp began operations in June 2017, and are committed to establishing a new bar of environmental stewardship and sustainability. Mario Voss, Director of Luambe Camp, stated that “as a business that operates as a showcase and celebration of Luambe National Park’s unique beauty and biodiversity, it is crucial that we take responsibility for its conservation. We’re passionate environmentalists and it is important to the whole Luambe Camp team that we can offer our guests a truly eco-friendly experience.”

Funds raised from REDD+ offset sales are reinvested into conservation and community development in buffer zone areas to national parks within Zambia. All countries on earth have now signed up to the Paris Climate Agreement, and there are more signals towards innovative carbon conscious milestones and action. With experts agreeing that Africa is likely to be the continent most vulnerable to climate change, the leadership of Zambian tourism businesses and the Zambian Government agrees to operate with carbon neutrality and set a positive example throughout the continent. Director of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), Mr Paul Zyambo, stated that “We are happy to partner with another innovative carbon-conscious achievement in the conservation and tourism sector in Zambia with partners like Luambe Camp and BCP. Luambe forms a part of Zambia’s famous Luangwa Valley and we hope that this showcases how special this area is, and why it is worth a visit.”

Dr Hassan Sachedina, BCP’s CEO, added, “It is exciting that Zambia now has two of the world’s first carbon neutral parks, which are helping to conserve two of the most important biodiversity strongholds left in Africa. I am really proud to be partnering with these family-owned businesses raising the bar of what eco-tourism to include carbon offsetting.” We hope that this spurs more action globally to address climate change.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of BioCarbon Partners (BCP).

For more information, please contact info@biocarbonpartners.com

Corporate organizations wishing to purchase bulk REDD+ offsets from BCP Zambia, please contact:
Hassan Sachedina, hassan@biocarbonpartners.com

Individuals and small businesses can purchase Zambian forest carbon offsets directly at https://BioCarbonPartners.com/buy-offsets/

Partner Lodge achieving Platinum Level Carbon Neutrality:

With Luambe National Park being located in a core area of Zambia’s Luangwa Valley, it forms a crucial part of its entire ecosystem. The main objective of Luambe Camp and its operating company Luambe Conservation Ltd. is to primarily conserve the habitat and biodiversity of the National Park by generating profit through sustainable safari tourism. These will be used by Luambe Conservation Ltd. to ensure the future protection of Luambe National

Park and the sustainable development of its surrounding communities.

Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project Implementing Partners:

BioCarbon Partners (BCP) (https://BioCarbonPartners.com) is a Zambian-based social enterprise, which develops and manages long term forest carbon projects in Zambia. The current focus of BCP is on implementing REDD+ projects in the greater Zambezi-Luangwa ecosystem in Zambia. BCP has certified Zambia’s first pilot REDD+ demonstration project known as the ‘Lower Zambezi REDD+ Project’ (LZRP) to CCBA triple gold standards (validation) and VCS verification; the first project in Africa with these certifications. In addition, BCP is proud to partner with USAID/ZAMBIA in the implementation of the Community Forests Program (CFP). This innovative program targets the verification of a minimum of 700,000 additional hectares (ha) across two Provinces in Zambia www.biocarbonpartners.com

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is an independent federal government agency advancing U.S. foreign policy objectives by supporting long-term and equitable economic growth, agriculture and trade, global health, democracy, conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance. www.usaid.gov

The Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) is mandated under the Zambian Wildlife Act No. 12 of 1998 to manage and conserve Zambia’s wildlife, its national parks and game management areas; which cover 31 percent of the country’s land mass. DNPW endeavors to integrate the wildlife policy with economic, environmental and social policies to ensure effective contribution to sustainable national development. BCP and DNPW collaborate closely in the implementation of REDD+ activities adjacent to protected areas. www.zambiatourism.com

Disclaimer: This Press Release is made possible by the support of the American People through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of BCP and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

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“Consumers are Being Sold Something That’s Not Real”: Non-Profit Announces Departure from Conflict Diamonds Certification Scheme

The Canadian-based non-profit organization IMPACT (formerly Partnership Africa Canada) (www.ImpactTransform.org) today announced it is leaving the conflict diamond certification scheme known as the Kimberley Process.

The announcement came at the end of the Kimberley Process Plenary held in Brisbane from December 9-14, during which members were to discuss and adopt needed reforms. The scheme goes through a reform cycle every five years.

“Consumers are being sold something that is not real,” Joanne Lebert, IMPACT’s Executive Director told gathered Kimberley Process members.

“The Kimberley Process—and its Certificate—has lost its legitimacy. The internal controls that governments conform to do not provide the evidence of traceability and due diligence needed to ensure a clean, conflict-free, and legal diamond supply chain. Consumers have been given a false confidence about where their diamonds come from. This stops now,” said Lebert.

IMPACT had called for major reforms to bring legitimacy back to the scheme after civil society boycotted the 2016 Kimberley Process Chair—the United Arab Emirates—due to lax trading practices that have allowed conflict diamonds to enter the legitimate supply chain.

Along with members of the Kimberley Process Civil Society Coalition, IMPACT had called for an expanded conflict diamond definition. The definition currently in use limits “conflict diamonds” to only those used by rebel groups to finance their activities to overthrow governments, and remains silent on abuses perpetrated by governments themselves or private security firms.

Civil society also called for reforms to reinforce internal controls at national and regional levels to strengthen traceability and minimize illicit trade. Many cases have highlighted the weaknesses of internal controls, and IMPACT’s research in 2016 demonstrated how —despite an embargo—Central African Republic’s diamonds were entering the legitimate supply chain through Cameroon.

After extensive evaluation, the Kimberley Process did not make enough progress on any of the reforms.

“We have come to the conclusion that the Kimberley Process has lost its will to be an effective mechanism for responsible diamond governance,” said Lebert. “We have also noted a growing tolerance for personalized attacks against civil society members of the Kimberley Process and attempts to undermine the independence and credibility of Civil Society Coalition .”

The Kimberley Process was once celebrated as one of the first multi-stakeholder initiatives with collaboration between governments, industry, and civil society. But in recent years, these attacks against civil society members by other Kimberley Process participants have caused irreparable damage to the foundation of the tripartite initiative.

IMPACT will continue working with the Kimberley Process members who genuinely seek to end the trade of conflict and illicit diamonds, through traceability and due diligence, whether through the KP or other initiatives. The organization will collaborate with civil society members in diamond producing countries. In particular, IMPACT will work in continued solidarity with KP Civil Society Coalition members on the effective implementation of internal controls for diamonds and other conflict-prone minerals, as well as support countries to implement measures to end illicit trade.

IMPACT’s research into the conflict in Sierra Leone in 2000, was the first report to draw the link between diamonds and conflict financing, leading to international attention and action on conflict diamonds. In 2003, IMPACT was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for its work to end the trade of conflict diamonds.

Full Statement by IMPACT in Australia: http://bit.ly/2CkDqdU

False Consumer Confidence in Diamonds: Decline of Credibility in the Kimberley Process: http://bit.ly/2BjEBwD

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of IMPACT.

Media Contact:
Zuzia Danielski, Communications Director
+1-613-263-0661
zdanielski@impacttransform.org

IMPACT (www.ImpactTransform.org) —formerly Partnership Africa Canada—transforms how natural resources are managed in areas where security and human rights are at risk. We investigate and develop approaches for natural resources to improve security, development, and equality. We are an independent non-profit, collaborating with local partners for lasting change. www.ImpactTransform.org

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flydubai touches down at Kilimanjaro International Airport

  • flydubai becomes first UAE airline to provide direct air links to Kilimanjaro
  • Dubai-based carrier expands network in Africa to twelve destinations with 14 flights a week
  • Kilimanjaro becomes third point in Tanzania

Dubai-based flydubai’s inaugural flight touched down today at Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) (https://www.flydubai.com), increasing capacity to Tanzania and further expanding its network in Africa to twelve destinations. flydubai will offer six flights a week to Kilimanjaro, three of which are via a stop in the capital, Dar es Salaam and will increase the total number of flights to Tanzania to 14 flights a week.

The aircraft touched down at 07:45 (Kilimanjaro local time) and on board the flight was a delegation led by Sudhir Sreedharan, Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations (GCC, Subcontinent and Africa) for flydubai. The delegation was met on arrival by Hon Prof Makame Mbarawa MB, Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, Mr Gregory George Teu, Chairman of the Board of Kilimanjaro Airports Development Company (KADCO), the Board of Directors of the KADCO, the Regional Commissioners for Kilimanjaro and Arusha, representatives of the District Commissioners, Members of Parliament, Tanzania Tourist Board, together with representatives of the local tourism industry.

As part of the inaugural programme, flydubai showcased its new Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft which it unveiled for the first time at the Dubai Airshow in November 2017.

The service to Kilimanjaro sees the total number of flydubai’s destinations in Tanzania increase to three, along with Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar. The carrier began operations to Tanzania in 2014 and has become increasingly popular among travellers from Dubai and the GCC as a tourist destination, and is seeing a steady growth in passenger numbers.

Kilimanjaro International Airport is located between the regions of Kilimanjaro and Arusha in Northern Tanzania. The airport is the major gateway to the Kilimanjaro region, a main international tourism destination that includes Mount Kilimanjaro, Arusha National Park, Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park. Only a few international carriers operate to Kilimanjaro and flydubai will be the first airline to provide direct air links from the UAE.

Ghaith Al Ghaith, Chief Executive Officer of flydubai, commented on the inaugural: ”With our service to Kilimanjaro, we are responding to a growing demand for travel between the UAE and Tanzania. flydubai is the first UAE airline to offer direct air links to Kilimanjaro with the aim to connect this market to Dubai and beyond, and offer travellers more choice and flexibility. Passengers will have the opportunity to connect from Dubai onwards to more than 250 destinations.”

Hon Prof Makame MB, Minister for Works, Transport and Communication, said: “I’m very glad to welcome flydubai to our ‘Gateway to Africa’s Wildlife Heritage’. On behalf of the Government and the KADCO Management we would like to thank you for working tirelessly together to make this new service possible and no doubt this route will be a success.”

Sudhir Sreedharan, Senior Vice President Commercial (GCC, Subcontinent and Africa) at flydubai, who led flydubai’s inaugural delegation, said: “We are delighted to see our service to Kilimanjaro take off today, as it marks our twelfth destination in our network in Africa and the third point in Tanzania. Our service to Kilimanjaro follows an increase in passenger demand and reflects flydubai’s commitment to open up underserved markets. We look forward to offering six weekly flights on this route and to connecting travellers from across flydubai’s network with the Kilimanjaro region and vice versa.”

Emirates will codeshare on this route and as part of the Emirates flydubai partnership, passengers will have greater choice for onward travel from Dubai to hundreds of destinations across the world.

flydubai operates flights to twelve destinations in Africa, including Addis Ababa, Alexandria, Asmara, Djibouti, Entebbe, Hargeisa, Juba, Khartoum and Port Sudan, as well as Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar.

Flight Details

flydubai flights FZ673/FZ683 operate six times a week between Dubai International, Terminal 2 (DXB) and Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO).

Flight Number

Route

Departure Time

Arrival Time

FZ673

DXB – JRO

02:40

07:45

FZ673

JRO – DXB (via DAR)

08:45

17:45

FZ683

DXB – JRO (via DAR)

13:55

21:05

FZ683

JRO – DXB

22:05

04:50

Business Class return fares from Kilimanjaro to Dubai start at USD 1228 and are inclusive of all taxes and 40kg checked baggage. Economy Class return fares from Kilimanjaro to Dubai start at USD 339 and are inclusive of all taxes including 7kg of hand baggage.

Flights can be booked through flydubai’s website (https://www.flydubai.com), Contact Centre in Dubai on (+971) 600 54 44 45, the flydubai travel shops or through our travel partners.

For the full timetable and fares, visit: https://www.flydubai.com/en/plan/timetable

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of flydubai.

Press Office Contact Details:
Daniya Zaynullina, Senior Press Officer, flydubai: (+971) 556356110, Email: daniya.zaynullina@flydubai.com

About flydubai
Dubai-based flydubai strives to remove barriers to travel and enhance connectivity between different cultures across its ever-expanding network. Since launching its operations in 2009, flydubai:
• Created a network of more than 100 destinations in 46 countries.
• Opened up 67 new routes that did not previously have direct air links to Dubai or were not served by a UAE national carrier from Dubai.
• Operates a single fleet type of 61 Next-Generation Boeing aircraft
In addition, flydubai’s agility and flexibility as a young airline has enhanced Dubai’s economic development, in line with the Government of Dubai’s vision, by creating trade and tourism flows in previously underserved markets.
For more information about flydubai, please, visit our Website https://news.flydubai.com

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