Investment: Unlocking Africaís potential
Leading figures within the African energy scene will convene at the 9th Annual Africa Energy Indaba, the World Energy Council’s annual African regional meeting, to discuss how best to unlock investment to develop an energy infrastructure road map for Africa.
The World Energy Council will be holding a number of high-level ministerial meetings as part of the Indaba in Johannesburg between 20 and 22 February.‚Ä®Other discussions will centre on highlighting the scaling up of renewables through innovative business models as well as the role of mobile banking solutions.
By combining state of the art renewable technology with high-efficiency appliances, latest battery technology, and innovative mobile payment systems that have emerged from the mobile phone revolution, entrepreneurs are delivering household solutions that increase rural electrification rates and scale up renewables in Africa.
Key speakers at the Indaba will include: Abubukar Sambo, Special Adviser to the President of Nigeria; Sadique Kebonang, Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security, Botswana; and Pierre Matusila, Minister of Energy and Hydraulic Resources, DR Congo. Experts from the financial, construction, utilities, mining, innovations and technologies sectors, as well as Civil Society will also be present.
‚Ä®Dr Elham Ibrahim, Commissioner for Energy and Infrastructure, Africa Union, and Vice Chair for Africa at the World Energy Council, also participating in the Indaba said: “I believe the time for more serious action has come for scaling up the implementation of renewable energy in Africa.
The continent has abundant Renewable Energy resources in the form of hydropower, solar, wind, geothermal and bio-energy that are appropriate for responding to the challenge of energy access, especially for our large rural population. Thus, the African Union Commission, alongside the World Energy Council, is set to speed up renewable energy projects and strategies already in the pipeline and developed to support the African continent in achieving a sustainable energy future.”
In Africa, energy is at the forefront of political and business decision making. With the visionary agreement at COP21 in Paris, the dynamic innovation context defining new opportunities and the shifting risks and resilience frontiers, the challenge is to now turn words and ambition into measurable actions at both national and regional levels to accelerate the energy transition.
The ability to deliver and deploy the most carbon effective, resources efficient and resilient solutions at scale will be key to achieving secure, equitable and environmentally viable energy systems. But without clear leadership, regional integration and collaboration beyond the borders of individual nations, African nations could fall short on their ambitions.
‚Ä®Liz Hart, Managing Director, Africa Energy Indaba, said: “The African continent has the necessary mineral resources, climate and geology to meet its energy requirements. However, in many of its countries, there is a lack of funding, institutional will or technical skill to assist in developing the energy sector.
The Indaba attempts to address this lack by connecting people and rainmakers who can boost sector development on a regional scale. We bring together politicians and energy luminaries to envision, collaborate and then catalyse the decisions that will unlock and unblock access to energy, and therefore enable growth and prosperity.
“Without access to energy, Africa’s growth will be stifled and, as such, investing in energy solutions for the continent is “mandatory and absolutely necessary”, Hart notes. “Given Africa's growing population and increased demand for energy, the conference will provide project-focused energy sessions for business development, welcoming African Energy Ministers and Utility Managers, pioneering energy project developers, product providers, EPC Contractors, investors, financiers and multilateral agencies to outline the role of renewable energy in Africa’s economic growth strategy and explore unique project development opportunities across the continent.”
Further discussions during the Indaba Energy Leaders’ Dialogue will focus on a high-level Ministerial dialogue: 'Africa’s shifting energy trilemma’ which highlights the challenge facing policymakers as well as energy and finance industry leaders. It refers to the trade-offs between three dimensions: energy security, social equity (energy access and affordability) and environmental impact mitigation (climate change and local pollution) Additional meeting topics will focus on new energy realities: critical pathways to 2060 and disruptive business models.
The World Energy Council will also be hosting its Africa Regional Meeting and will bring together workshops focussing on its World Energy Scenarios work, which envisions scenarios to 2060, led by Executive Chair, Ged Davis, in order to capture the reality of the energy world from an African perspective.
The Council’s Scenarios propose three potential energy futures: Unfinished Symphony, a world in which a more ‘intelligent’, forward looking and sustainable economic growth model emerges; Modern Jazz, which represents a ‘digitally disrupted’, innovative and market driven world; and Hard Rock, which explores the consequences of weaker and unsustainable economic growth in a more fragmented world dominated by inward looking policies.
‚Ä®Using these metaphors, the scenarios allow people to test key assumptions that may or may not shape the energy world of tomorrow. These scenarios can help us assess which are likely to be the most dynamic areas and real game-changers of tomorrow within sub-Saharan Africa.
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Grit divests from Letlole La Rona
Grit Services Limited, a member of the pan African real estate group, London Stock Exchange listed Grit Real Estate Income Group is divesting from Letlole La Rona Limited (LLR), a local real estate company established by government investment arm Botswana Development Corporation over a decade ago.
The Board of Directors of Letlole La Rona Limited this week announced in a statement to Unitholders that Grit Services Limited (‚ÄėGrit‚Äô) has informed them of its intention to exit its investment in the company.
Grit has been a material shareholder in LLR since 2019. On 07 March 2023, Grit sold 6 421 000 linked units, representing 2.29% of the Company‚Äôs total securities in issue, at a market value of BWP 22 537 710.
This trade follows previous sales of 6.79% in December 2022, as communicated to Unitholders on 10 January 2023, as well as a further sale of 4.78% (representing 13 347 068 linked units) on 24 February 2023 to various shareholders.
In aggregate, Grit has sold 13.9% shareholding in the Letlole La Rona between December 2022 and March 2023, resulting in current shareholding of 11.25% in the Company.
Letlole La Rona said in the statement that the exit process will take place in an orderly manner so as to maintain stability of the Company‚Äôs share price.
The statement explained that Grit‚Äôs sale of its entire shareholding in LLR is in line with its decision to exit investments where it does not have majority control, or where it has significant exposure to currencies other than US dollar, Euro or hard-currency-pegged revenue streams.
‚ÄúGrit has announced similar decisions pertaining to certain of its hospitality assets in Mauritius recently. The Company would like to advise Unitholders that it remains focused on long-term value delivery to all stakeholders‚ÄĚ LLR said
In July last year as part of their Go-to-Africa strategy Letlole La Rona acquired an initial 30% equity stake in Orbit Africa Logistics, with an option to increase this investment to 50%. OAL is a special purpose vehicle incorporated in Mauritius, owning an industrial asset in a prime industrial node in Nairobi, Kenya.
The co-investment was done alongside a wholly owned subsidiary of London listed Grit. The Orbit facility is situated on a prime industrial site on Mombasa Road, the principal route south of Nairobi center, serving the main industrial node, the port of Mombasa and the industrial town of Athi River and is strategically located 11 kilometers south of the international airport and 9.6 kilometers from the Inland Container Depot.
Grit shareholding in Letlole La Rona was seen as strategic for LLR, for the company to leverage on Grit‚Äôs already existing continental presence and expand its wings beyond Botswana borders as already delivered by Kenya transaction.
Media reports have however suggested that LLR and Grit have since late last year had fundamental disagreements on how to go about the Go-to-Africa strategy amongst other things, fuelled by alleged Botswana government interference on the affairs of LLR.
Government through LLR founding shareholder – Botswana Development Corporation has a controlling stake of around 40 percent in the company. Government is the sole shareholder of Botswana Development Corporation.
Letlole La Rona recently released their financial results for the six months ended December 2022, revenue increased by 4% to P50.2 million from P48.4 million in the prior comparative six months, whilst operating profit was up 8% to P36.5 million. Profit before tax of P49.7 million was reported, an increase of 8% on the prior comparative six months.
‚ÄúWe are encouraged by the strong results, notwithstanding a challenging economic environment. Our performance was mainly underpinned by annual lease escalations, our quality tenant base and below average market vacancy levels, especially in our warehouse portfolio,‚ÄĚ Kamogelo Mowaneng, Letlole La Rona Chief Executive Officer commented.
LLR reported a weighted average lease expiry period of 3.3 years and escalation rates averaging 6.8% per annum for the period ended 31 December 2022.Its investment portfolio value increased by 14% year-on-year to close the period at P1.4 billion, mainly driven by the acquisition of a 30% stake in OAL in July 2022.
The Company also recorded a significant increase in other income, predominantly due to foreign exchange gains on the OAL shareholder loan. ‚ÄúWe continue to explore pipeline opportunities locally, and regionally in line with our Go-to-Africa strategy and our interest remains on value-accretive investments,‚ÄĚ Mowaneng said.
An interim distribution of 9.11 thebe per linked unit was declared on the 6th of February 2023 for the half-year period to 31 December 2022, comprising of a dividend of 0.05 thebe and debenture interest of 9.06 thebe per linked unit which will be paid to linked unit holders registered in the books of the Company at the close of business on 24 February 2023.
Stargems Group establishes Training Center in BW
Internationally-acclaimed diamond manufacturing company StarGems Group has established the Stargems Diamond Training Center which will be providing specialized training in diamond manufacturing and evaluation.
The Stargems Diamond Training Institute is located at the Stargems Group Botswana Unit in Gaborone.
‚ÄúIn accordance with the National Human Resource Development Strategy (NHRDS) which holds the principle that through education and skills development as well as the strategic alignment between national ambitions and individual capabilities, Botswana will become a prosperous, productive and innovative nation due to the quality and efficacy of its citizenry. The Training Centre will provide a range of modules in theory and in practice; from rough diamond evaluation to diamond grading and polishing for Batswana, at no cost for eight weeks. The internationally- recognized certificate offered in partnership with Harry Oppenheimer Diamond Training School presents invaluable opportunities for Batswana to access in the diamond industry locally and internationally. The initiative is an extension of our Corporate Social Investment to the community in which we operate,‚ÄĚ said Vishal Shah, Stargems Group Managing Director, during the launch of the Stargems Diamond Training Center.
In order to participate in this rare opportunity, interested candidates are invited to submit a police clearance certificate and a BGCSE certificate only to the Stargems offices.¬† Students who excel in these programs will have the chance to be onboarded by the Stargems Group. This serves as motivation for them to go through this training with a high level of seriousness.
‚ÄúCommunity empowerment is one of our CSR principles. We believe that businesses can only thrive when their communities are well taken of. We are hoping that our presence will be impactful to various communities and economies. In the six countries that we are operating in, we have contributed through dedicating 10% of our revenues during COVID-19 to facilitate education, donating to hospitals and also to NGOs committed to supporting women and children living with HIV. One key issue that we are targeting in Botswana is the rate of unemployment amongst the youth. We are looking forward to working closely with the government and other relevant authorities to curb unemployment,‚ÄĚ said Shah.
Currently, Stargems Group has employed 117 Batswana and they are looking forward to growing the numbers to 500 as the company grows. Majority of the employees will be graduates from the Stargems Diamond Training Center. This initiation has been received with open arms by the general public and stakeholders. During the launch, the Minister of Minerals and Energy, ¬†Honorable Lefoko Moagi, stated that the ministry fully endorses Stargems Diamond Training and will work closely with the Group to support and grow the initiative.
‚ÄúAs a ministry, we see this as an game changer that is aligned with one of the United Nations’ Six Priority Sustainable Development Goals, which is to Advance Opportunity and Impact for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). What Stargems Group is launching today will have a huge impact on the creation of employment in Botswana. An economy‚Äôs productivity rises as the number of educated workers increases as its skilled workmanship increases. It is not a secret that low skills perpetuate poverty and widen the inequality gap, therefore the development of skills has the potential to contribute significantly to structural transformation and economic growth by enhancing employability and helping the country become more competitive. We are grateful to see the emergence of industry players such as Stargems Group who have strived to create such opportunities that mitigate the negative effects of COVID-19 on the economy,‚ÄĚ said the Minister of Minerals and Energy.
Food import bill slightly declines
The latest figures released by Statistics Botswana this week shows that food import bill for Botswana slightly declined from around P1.1 billion in November 2022 to around P981 million in December during the same year.
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