PwC and Strategy& map the road ahead for power sector transformation

JOHANNESBURG, South-Africa, April 22, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ —

• Megatrends have major implications as to how electricity is generated and distributed

• Profound implications for the strategies and future role of companies all along the power utility value chain is imminent

• Countries and companies need to make the right moves to ensure they are a successful part of energy transformation

• Countries and companies need to ask themselves if they have a clear vision of likely new market models and the new business models that will deliver future success

Download the report: http://www.apo-mail.org/150422.pdf

Photo 1: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1901 (Angeli Hoekstra, Africa power and utilities leader, PwC)

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/pwc.png

A new report from PwC (http://www.pwc.com) and Strategy& warns that the Power Sector is transforming fast and companies that don’t stay ahead of change are in danger. New market models and new business models will become established as a result of energy transformation and could quickly eclipse current company and country strategies.

The report, The Road Ahead: gaining momentum from energy transformation, finds global megatrends such as technological breakthroughs, rapid urbanisation and resource shifts are creating new opportunities and challenges in customer behaviour, new forms of competition, different generation models and changes in regulation.

Among the issues:

 Existing generation assets could be left stranded as local energy systems and self-generation by customers eat away at the traditional centralised grid and large-scale generation model.

 Sector transformation could shrink the role of some power utility companies to providers of back-up power.

 Developing countries may ‘leapfrog’ conventional centralised system models in favour of local energy systems.

 Existing grid and network systems may be unable to rapidly evolve to meet the needs of decentralised assets delaying the adoption of advanced technologies.

Angeli Hoekstra, Africa power and utilities leader, PwC, said:

“The disruption taking hold in the power sector is just the start of a transformation in the energy industry. It’s not a question of whether new market models will be taken shape, as this is already happening around Africa and the world, but also which new business models will be pursued in the sector and what countries and regulators will do to increase access to reliable electricity supply and what existing power utilities will do to keep up with the change and alter their course.”

The report identifies a number of market models that could emerge such as:

• (Green) Command and control – markets in which governments own and operate the energy sector and mandate the adoption of (renewable) or other forms of electricity generation.

• Ultra-distributed generation – markets in which generators have invested in distributed (renewable) generation, with investment decisions based on policy incentives and/or economic business cases.

• Local energy systems – markets in which there is significant fragmentation of existing transmission and distribution grids and local communities demand greater control over their energy supply, or markets in which a local approach is adopted for serving remote communities.

• Regional supergrid – markets which are pan-national and designed to transmit renewable energy over long distances, requiring large-scale (renewable) generation, interconnectors, large-scale storage and significant levels of transmission capacity.

Angeli Hoekstra further said:

“We don’t believe there will be a single winning market or business model. We see a range of market and business models that build on existing models or fill new service or product needs. Incumbent companies may not be as nimble or focused as some new entrants. But they have a number of potential advantages with regards to existing assets, relationships, pricing and partnering. New companies will mainly play in providing additional generation capacity, building self-sustainable local energy systems without grid connections or behind the meter solutions.”

Alongside the evolution of current asset-based business models, the report also identifies eight new and emerging business model strategies and what capabilities companies should be building now to stay competitive in the future or to enter a new market.

Examples include:

• Product innovator model – we anticipate that many product innovators will seek to be active players in “behind the meter” products to customers, such as smart thermostats, energy efficiency solutions and the management of roof-top solar.

• Partner of partners model – a ‘partner of partners’ utility will be a company that offers not only standard power products and associated services, but also a range of other energy-related services, for example the management of net metering.

• Virtual utility model – aggregating the generation from various distributed systems and acting as the intermediary between, and with, energy markets.

In Africa, according to Hoekstra, governments, businesses, regulators, incumbent and new utilities, donors, investors and customers need to work together to increase access and supply of reliable electricity and embrace new market and business models to achieve this.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC).

Contacts:

Angeli Hoekstra: Africa Power and Utilities Leader

Office: + 27 11 797 4162

Email: angeli.hoekstra@za.pwc.com

OR

Jocelyn Newmarch: Account Manager: Edelman, South Africa

Office: + 27 11 504 4000

Mobile: + 27 84 462 1111

Email: Jocelyn.Newmarch@edelman.com

OR

Sanchia Temkin: Head of Media Relations, PwC

Office: + 27 11 797 4470

Email: sanchia.temkin@za.pwc.com

OR

Nonki Ndlazi: PwC Media Liaison Officer

Office: + 27 11 797 0418

Email: nonki.ndlazi@za.pwc.com

About PwC:

PwC (http://www.pwc.com) helps organisations and individuals create the value they’re looking for. We’re a network of firms in 157 countries with more than 195,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, tax and advisory services. Find out more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at www.pwc.com

PwC refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms, each of which is a separate legal entity. Please see www.pwc.com/structure for further details.

Source:: PwC and Strategy& map the road ahead for power sector transformation

Categories: African Press Organization

e-Commerce: MOBOfree Records Outstanding Performances in Africa

LAGOS, Nigeria, April 22, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — MOBOfree.com (http://www.mobofree.com), the leading African social marketplace, today announced that it had experienced an increase of more than 44% in the number of registered users of MOBOfree.com in Nigeria over the past 12 months, resulting in a 1042% increase in the number of classifieds published on MOBOfree.com in Nigeria which makes more than 500 000 active listings on platform in Nigeria only. Over the same period, the number of registered users of MOBOfree.com in Uganda increased by more than 1555%, resulting in a 5548% increase in the number of classifieds published on MOBOfree.com in Uganda.

Logo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/plog-content/images/apo/logos/mobofree-1.png

Screenshot: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1309

Photo: http://www.photos.apo-opa.com/index.php?level=picture&id=1896 (Cristobal Alonso, CEO and co-founder of MOBOfree)

With 4 million registered users, including 2 million monthly active users in Nigeria and a strong footprint in Uganda and Zimbabwe, MOBOfree is one of the largest and most successful classifieds platforms in Africa.

“Online trading is growing rapidly across Africa as the IT and mobile infrastructure across the continent continues improving. Despite that, part of our challenge still is convincing people of the value of using the internet to buy, sell or swap items and services,” said Cristobal Alonso, CEO and co-founder of MOBOfree. “In line with that, we understand that African countries have their own culture, different rates of internet, mobile and smartphone penetration, so every African market should be approached with an individual strategy. Things that work in Europe or United States can be totally unacceptable for African users. MOBOfree entered the African markets with a unique concept as it connects social networks and classifieds together in a single platform. The substantial growth achieved by MOBOfree confirms that this concept is well accepted in African markets as number of users is quickly growing and more and more people seem to prefer MOBOfree to traditional classifieds companies,” added Alonso.

Nigeria’s e-commerce market is developing rapidly, with an estimated growth rate of 25% annually and a potential worth of $10 billion – with around 300,000 online orders currently being placed on a daily basis. A report released by McKinsey & Company indicated that e-commerce could account for 10 % of retail sales in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economies, by 2025.

The MOBOfree technological platform makes buying and selling online easy for any African user with any device, not only for PCs and smartphones but also for old phones with small screens (known as “feature” phones).

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of MOBOfree.

For more information, please contact:

Darius Kudarauskas, PR manager

E-mail: dk@mobofree.com

Mobile phone: 37065659516

About MOBOfree.com

MOBOfree.com (http://www.mobofree.com) is a leading African social marketplace allowing people to buy, sell and swap products and services with other trusted people. MOBOfree.com combines a social network and classifieds board in a single integrated online platform and makes buying and selling online more personal and safe.

MOBOfree currently has almost 4 million registered users, with more than 2 million monthly active users in Nigeria and a leading position in several other African countries such as Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Over 3000 new registered members are joining MOBOfree every day, thousands new items are listed daily; more than 5 million personal messages are exchanged between buyers and sellers every month on MOBOfree.

Company is backed by eVa Ventures Fund and has offices in Lagos, Nigeria and Vilnius, Lithuania.

Source:: e-Commerce: MOBOfree Records Outstanding Performances in Africa

Categories: African Press Organization

Farmers make more money with ecological farming- Greenpeace

NAIROBI, Kenya, April 22, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — More money for small scale farmers with ecological farming – this is the message contained in a Greenpeace Africa report released in Nairobi today. The report, entitled Fostering economic resilience: The Financial Benefits of Ecological Farming in Kenya and Malawi, marks the start of Greenpeace Africa’s campaign for ecological farming in East Africa.

The report – based on research by Greenpeace in Kenya and Malawi – shows that ecological farming provides substantial financial benefits to small-scale farmers when compared to those farmers that use agro-chemicals.

In partnership with theKenya Biodiversity Coalition (KBioC) and the Kenyan Organic Agriculture Network (KOAN), Greenpeace will host a food fair –to celebrate ecological farming – on Saturday 25th April at Central Park, (behind Serena Hotel) Nairobi.

The food fair will also have a cook off, aimed at celebrating the diversity of Kenyan food. Five (5) participants will compete to cook the tastiest meals using typical East African ingredients. Coupled with that is an organic farmers’ market where people will be able to buy healthy organic foods and meet as well as interact with famers.

“Bring your family to the food fair this Saturday for entertainment to celebrate foods grown in harmony with nature. Be Food Sovereign, choose foods that are naturally nurtured” enthused KOAN’s WanjiruKamau.

KBioC continues to urge the government of Kenya to support family farmers who have practiced ecological agriculture for hundreds of years, “Agroecology can comfortably feed everyone in the country. All we ask is for the government to start a national irrigation fund and invest substantial financial resources into it. With enough water on our lands, we will be able to grow more food throughout the year using sustainable and ecologically friendly farming methods and eradicate hunger across Kenya”Anne Maina, the director KBioC said.

The three (3)organisations have come together to show how farmers can benefit from ecological farming. Together, they aim to work towards a healthy and food secure population for today, tomorrow and our future.

“The chemical intensive practices of the Green Revolution are increasingly unsustainable, Greenpeace Africa wants to show that ecological farming is not only good for the planet, but provides superior economic benefits to farmers,” explained Greenpeace Africa executive director, Michael O’Brien Onyeka.

Greenpeace Africa already works in South Africa, the Congo Basin and Senegal, and is now looking to begin working, specifically on agriculture, in East Africa. With agriculture taking centre stage in many governments efforts to ensure economic growth, Greenpeace Africa believes ecological farming is the solution to agricultural development in the region

Source:: Farmers make more money with ecological farming- Greenpeace

Categories: African Press Organization

Central African Republic: Muslims Held Captive, Raped / UN, Government Should Free Ethnic Peuhl Women, Children Held by Anti-Balaka

BANGUI, Central African Republic, April 22, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — At least 42 Muslim Peuhl herders, mostly women and girls, are being held captive by anti-balaka fighters in the Central African Republic and are at risk of sexual violence, Human Rights Watch said today. There are reports that many others may also be held. United Nations peacekeepers and the government should urgently act to free them.

Members of one family Human Rights Watch interviewed on April 13, 2015, described the horrors they endured during 14 months of captivity in Pondo, a village in the southwest. The anti-balaka killed two boys, ages about 6 and 7, and raped three young women and girls, one of whom became ill and died in captivity. Her year-old baby died of malnutrition. The surviving family members were rescued on April 4 and 5.

“Holding civilians captive, killing children, and sexually enslaving women and girls are shocking tactics by these anti-balaka and amount to war crimes,” said Lewis Mudge, Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “UN peacekeepers and government officials who have already taken bold steps to free one group of ethnic Peuhl should urgently intervene to free the others and arrest their captors.”

The anti-balaka are an armed group who have killed and targeted thousands of Muslims since 2013. Thirteen surviving members of the family were released on April 4 and 5 following the intervention of local authorities and the UN peacekeeping mission in the country, known as MINUSCA. Human Rights Watch first reported that a group of Peuhl was held captive in Pondo on December 22, 2014, and urged action to free them.

Members of the recently released family, witnesses, and other sources said that dozens of other Peuhl are being held in the southwest, including towns and villages near Pondo. They said about 30 are being held in Lambi, 11 in Ngbaina, and 1 in Betefio. Human Rights Watch has also received information that dozens of Peuhl were being held in Gadzi and others in Gaga, though their circumstances remain unclear. The vast majority are women and girls, some held for over a year. The reports raise a strong possibility that other groups of Peuhl are also being held.

One young woman, about 18 years old, said she had been raped by multiple anti-balaka fighters during her captivity. “I was taken as a wife by the anti-balaka,” she said. “It was against my will, I did not want to accept it. It was not just one man, it was with many different men. They would just take me. They brutalized me and I am now pregnant.”

The victim’s sister, who is about 20, was raped repeatedly during her captivity by one anti-balaka fighter who had claimed her as his “wife.”

The 20-member extended family was fleeing from anti-balaka attacks in late 2013 and early 2014, like many other Peuhl at the time. They became trapped in a forested area with their cattle, uncertain where to head for safety. In February 2014, as the family was camped with their cattle at Yassibele, near Pondo, the anti-balaka ambushed them. Family members ran in various directions, but most were captured. Three male members of the family have not been heard from since.

The anti-balaka fighters, commanded by François Wote, took the captured Peuhl to Pondo. Four family members told Human Rights Watch that the anti-balaka fighters said they would “protect” the family, but it quickly became clear they were captives. They were held in a house on the outskirts of Pondo surrounded by anti-balaka fighters.

Family members quoted Wote as saying: “We will keep you. The whites must come and pay for the protection that we are giving you. If people never come to pay, then you will never leave.” Family members said the anti-balaka would regularly threaten them saying, “We will kill you today,” or at other times, “You are Peuhl, why are we protecting you?” insinuating they should be killed.

A few weeks after the family was taken captive, anti-balaka fighters from a neighboring village took away two boys, Baboule and Issa Bouba, and killed them. The anti-balaka fighters told the family: “We don’t want to see men, we only want to see women.”

A female member of the family told Human Rights Watch how helpless she felt when the anti-balaka took Issa. “Issa did not want to go [with the anti-balaka],” she said. “He tried to grab onto us to save himself because he was so scared. But if we had tried to save Issa, the anti-balaka would have killed us too.”

A female baby named Biba died of malnutrition after several months of detention. Members of the group told Human Rights Watch that her mother, Aï, was raped and later died of an undiagnosed illness.

On April 4 and 5, local authorities from the area, hearing about a possible group of captive Peuhl, travelled to Pondo and freed the captives. UN peacekeepers facilitated the effort. The captives were taken to the Muslim enclave at Yaloké, where they have access to basic medical services. They said they want to leave there for Cameroon to join other Peuhl who have sought refuge.

Human Rights Watch has documented other cases in which anti-balaka fighters held civilians for ransom in 2014, in Ngbaina in the southwest and in Nana-Grebezi province in the central area. In one case, 34 women and children were released only after the anti-balaka received payment from their family.

Wote, the anti-balaka leader in Pondo, reports to Guy Wabilo, the anti-balaka zone commander of the Gadzi region. The former Pondo captives said that Wabilo regularly passed by the village, knew of their captivity and had registered their names. The family members said that the Pondo anti-balaka asked Wabilo for money to release the Peuhl, but he said he did not have it and that “they should just keep us.” Peuhl believed to be held captive in Ngbaina and Betefio are also in the zone Wabilo controls. In recent weeks Wabilo has told UN officials he is willing to cooperate in releasing other captives.

Human Rights Watch sought unsuccessfully to speak with Wabilo on several occasions, both in Yaloké and over the phone. In March 2014, Wabilo told Human Rights Watch that “Any anti-balaka who breaks the law must be arrested.” He said then that he reported to Patrice Edouard Ngaissona, who claims national leadership of the anti-balaka.

The national justice system in the Central African Republic has been ravaged by successive conflicts and lacks the resources and expertise to deal with grave international crimes. In September, acting on a referral from the transitional government, the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor opened a second investigation in the Central African Republic, concerning crimes committed since January 2012.

The National Transitional Council, the country’s interim parliament, is debating a draft law to create a Special Criminal Court within the national judicial system that would include national and international judges and staff. The special court would complement the work of the ICC and try those responsible for grave crimes. The draft law under consideration specifies that the special court should pay specific attention to sexual violence and crimes against children, such as those Human Rights Watch documented in Pondo.

The Central African Republic has been in crisis since early 2013, when the mostly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power in a campaign characterized by widespread killing of civilians, burning and looting of homes, and other serious crimes. In mid-2013, groups calling themselves the anti-balaka organized to fight the Seleka and began large-scale reprisal attacks against Muslim civilians, including Peuhl herders. Thousands of civilians were killed and hundreds of thousands displaced during the conflict. The conflict continues between Seleka, anti-balaka and international forces – MINUSCA and French troops – in the eastern part of the country.

The UN Security Council has mandated MINUSCA to address sexual violence, and to ensure that these efforts are mainstreamed within the work of the mission, including helping to hold those responsible to account. The MINUSCA mandate is to be renewed on April 28 and it is expected that the provisions for combatting sexual violence will remain strong.

“Those responsible for these brutal crimes need to be held to account as continued impunity is likely to only embolden the attackers,” Mudge said. “UN and government officials should also urgently assess where else Peuhl and other civilians might be held captive, work to release them, and help the victims get counselling and medical treatment.”

Source:: Central African Republic: Muslims Held Captive, Raped / UN, Government Should Free Ethnic Peuhl Women, Children Held by Anti-Balaka

Categories: African Press Organization

Zimbabwe—IMF Management Completes First Review of Staff-Monitored Program

HARARE, Zimbabwe, April 22, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — On April 8, 2015, the Management of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) completed the first review under the Staff-Monitored Program (SMP)1 with Zimbabwe.

The 15-month SMP approved in October 2014 constitutes the lynchpin of the authorities’ roadmap for building a strong track record towards normalizing the relationship with Zimbabwe’s creditors and mobilizing development partners’ support. The main objective of the program is to strengthen Zimbabwe’s external position as a prerequisite towards arrears clearance, normalization of debt servicing, and restoring access to external financing. This will require further fiscal consolidation to rebuild the country’s capacity to repay; restoring financial stability; and mobilizing international support for resolving the country’s external debt situation.

Zimbabwe’s economic prospects remain difficult. Growth has slowed and is expected to weaken further in 2015. Despite the favorable impact of lower oil prices, the external position remains precarious and the country is in debt distress. Key risks to the outlook stem largely from a further decline in global commodity prices, fiscal challenges, and possible difficulties in policy implementation. However, the authorities are committed to intensifying their efforts to ensure successful implementation of the program and to lay the ground for stronger, more inclusive, and lasting economic growth.

Despite economic and financial difficulties, the Zimbabwean authorities have made progress in implementing their macroeconomic and structural reform programs, particularly regarding clarifying the indigenization policy, restoring confidence and improving financial sector soundness, and strengthening public financial management. During 2015, the authorities’ policy reform agenda will continue to focus on: (a) reducing the primary fiscal deficit to raise Zimbabwe’s capacity to repay; (b) restoring confidence in the financial system; (c) improving the business climate; and (d) garnering support for an arrears clearance strategy.

Strong performance under the SMP would improve Zimbabwe’s repayment capacity and demonstrate that it can implement reforms that could justify a Fund-financial arrangement, which could help tackle the country’s deep-rooted problems. The Zimbabwean authorities remain committed to implementing sound macroeconomic and structural policies.

The authorities have stepped up their reengagement with creditors, including by increasing payments to the World Bank and the African Development Bank. These re-engagement steps open the way for further constructive dialogue to identify feasible options for clearing the arrears to these institutions—a key step towards seeking rescheduling of bilateral official debt under the umbrella of the Paris Club.

IMF staff will continue to support Zimbabwe’s economic reforms and their pursuit towards a debt relief strategy. Staff will remain engaged with the authorities to monitor progress in the implementation of their economic program, and will continue to provide targeted technical assistance in order to support Zimbabwe’s capacity-building efforts and its adjustment and ongoing reform process.

1 An SMP is an informal agreement between country authorities and Fund staff to monitor the implementation of the authorities’ economic program. SMPs do not entail financial assistance or endorsement by the IMF Executive Board.

Source:: Zimbabwe—IMF Management Completes First Review of Staff-Monitored Program

Categories: African Press Organization

Nigerian churches engage actively in national electoral process

GENEVA, Switzerland, April 21, 2015/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Member churches of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Nigeria, represented through the Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN), have been actively engaged in observing the recent Nigerian elections, continuing its stated conviction that effective participation of Nigerians in the processes of governance is very important in shaping the nation’s future.

Despite deep political divisions and unrest in the northeast of the country, Nigeria’s elections in March were judged free and fair by international observers, and the vote occasioned little violence and disruption.

“The incessant loss of lives, poverty and multiple suffering of Nigerians can be curtailed if Nigerians take full responsibilities in electing leaders. Our involvement in the election observation exercise also helps establish whether the Nigeria 2015 general elections were credible,” reads a recent statement from Emmanuel J. Udofia, the CCN president and Rev. Dr Wushishi I. Yusuf, the CCN general secretary.

The WCC general secretary, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, in his letter to Nigeria’s president-elect Muhammadu Buhari conveyed congratulations on behalf of the WCC. “I was greatly relieved that the election was able to take place without major incidents of violence, and I hope that the period of transition and your taking up your new office will remain similarly peaceful,” said Tveit.

“Our member churches will strive alongside you for the good of the Nigerian people and society, particularly over issues such as fighting corruption and insecurity. I share their belief that you, as President, will work for the good of all Nigerians, irrespective of religion or tribe,” Tveit added.

The CCN, a national ecumenical partner of the WCC, trained and deployed about 2000 domestic election observers in all the 36 states of the Nigerian federation and in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory. They observed the entire process of opening, accreditation, voting, counting and also the collation of results at the ward level and local government level.

Based on findings from its domestic election observers, the CCN statement also highlights technical and logistical shortcomings in the electoral process. To improve the process, the CCN has offered a set of recommendations to the Independent National Electoral Commission of Nigeria.

Source:: Nigerian churches engage actively in national electoral process

Categories: African Press Organization