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Africell Acquires Angolan Telco Licence

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Africa-focused mobile network operator, Africell, has secured a mobile telecommunications operator’s licence in Angola, joining three other operators – Movicel, Unitel and Angola Telecom – already serving the country.

Africell is a holding company of telecommunications operations with its headquarters in London, United Kingdom. Its current portfolio spans across West, Central, and East Africa, namely Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, The Gambia, and Sierra Leone. It currently provides service to around 12 million subscribers.

In 2018, the company secured a $100 million loan from the U.S. Development Finance Corporation to fund an expansion strategy that included growing mobile payments and micro-finance offerings, alongside upgrading its 2G, 3G and 4G networks.

Africell said it planned to invest in infrastructure and services during the first phase of its rollout in Angola, with operations expected to create about 6,500 jobs over the next five years.

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Business News

Nigeria Ports Authority Commences Electronic Call Up System

The NPA also stated that about 7000 trucks have been certified fit for the proposed digitalised call up system. Henceforth, in order to access the ports, trucks must approach the ports from a holding bay or truck parks with a bar code.

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As part of efforts aimed at finding a permanent solution to truck congestion around Apapa and its environs, the Nigerian Ports Authority has commenced the Electronic Truck call-up system designed for the management of truck movement and access to and from the Lagos Ports Complex and the Tin Can Island Ports, Apapa, Lagos.

With effect from today 27th February 2021, the ETO app will be responsible for the scheduling, entry and exit of all trucks into the ports.

According to the NPA, about 7000 trucks have been certified fit for the proposed digitalised call up system.

Henceforth, in order to access the ports, trucks must approach the ports from a holding bay or truck parks with a bar code.

Players in the maritime sector have expressed optimism toward the commencement of the electronic call-up system, saying it will improve access and reduce corruption.

One of the executives of the National Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), Alhaji Abdullahi Inuwa said the call-up system will put an end to artificial bottlenecks on the port access road.

Speaking further, the National Vice president, Association of Nigerian Liscenced Customs Agents (ANLCA), Kayode Farinto asked the NPA management to be steadfast in enforcing the call-up system.

Farinto said the ongoing repairs on the Oshodi-Apapa expressway must also be completed in good time for the call-up system to be effective.

“The road should be put in adequate place because there is nothing the call-up can achieve without a proper port access road.” he said.

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Southern Africa Business

South Africans Happy with 2021 Budget Presentation

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Anticipation, and many other emotions had run wild among South Africans before Finance Minister, Tito Mboweni read out the 2021 budget proposal. Even organised labour prepared for a showdown protest.

What was the reason for sigh of the relief? South Africa’s government will not increase the personal income tax. Although, the rainbow nation will miss out on $3 billion over the next four years. And, now the South Africa Treasury Department will pay for the COVID-19 vaccination.

But Finance Minister Tito Mboweni announced a 1 percentage point cut in corporate tax from April 2022.

 “We are allocating more than R10-billion ($708 million) for the purchase and delivery of vaccines over the next two years,” Mboweni told the National Assembly.

A further 9 billion rand could be drawn from contingency reserves and emergency allocations, if needed, as the final costs remain uncertain for the vaccines.

However, Mboweni cautioned that the roll-out was likely to gather pace only in the second half of the year, hence the threat of further waves of infection continues to cloud the treasury’s forecast on key indicators.

It is predicted that the country will experience real economic growth of 3.3% in the current year, off the low base of last year’s historic lockdown shrinkage, followed by 1.9% in the outer years.

Meanwhile, the government will increase the excise duties on alcohol and tobacco products by 8%, the National Treasury said on Wednesday.

This comes as the Treasury took a decision to reverse its earlier announcement of additional tax measures that would have raised R40 billion amid a revenue shortfall.

In order to make up for some of the revenue lost by the now-canceled income tax increases, the government will jack up taxes on tobacco products and hard liquor.

A packet of cigarettes will cost R1.39 more. Cigar prices were raised by R7.71 per 23g of a rolled cigar.

Fans of vodka, gin, brandy and whisky will have to dig a little deeper into their pockets as the price of a 750ml bottle is going up by R5.50.

A can of malt beer rises by 14c per 340ml can.

After an estimated 7.2% GDP contraction last year, the prospects of cultivating growth depend on the success of economic stimulus measures and the country’s COVID-19 vaccine roll-out — and the extent to which it allows a full reopening of the economy, the minister said.

The news helped send the South African rand to its highest levels since January 2020. The rand strengthened as much as 1% versus the dollar to 14.3950.

Ten-year local government bond yields rallied to an eight-day low of 8.545%, while some sovereign dollar bonds gained more than 2 cents, according to Tradeweb data.

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All Eyes on Ghana as African Gold Rises Like the Phoenix

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Ghana has become the toast of exploration firms in the continent and is now Africa’s largest gold producer. It churned out 80.5 tonnes in 2008. To prove her worthiness of the title, Ghana has 23 large-scale mining companies producing gold, diamonds, bauxite and manganese.

There are over 300 registered small scale mining groups and 90 mine support service companies. So, apart from earning revenue for Ghana directly, it also ensures many people earn a stable living along the value chain.

Gold production in becoming an important export earner in West Africa.

This is true for countries like Ghana, Burkina Faso and Mali as these nations are expected to increase their export quota by 2.7% in 2021 to 8 Moz (million ounces) and grow to 8.4 Moz (million ounces) by 2024 – a 1.6% compound annual growth rate (CAGR).

After strong growth in 2019, West Africa’s gold production was badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, owing to the temporary suspension of mines such as Fekola in Mali.

The pandemic had a significant impact on African operations, mainly during the early part of the second quarter of 2020, when, at one point, the region’s gold mines were on hold with no production due to COVID-19 lockdowns according to Global Data, a leading data and analytics company.

And Ghana is expected to lead the growth, where the production is expected to reach 3.9moz (million ounces) in 2024 from a forecasted 3.6 Moz in 2021. West Africa’s second largest economy is looking more money in her coffers in 2021.

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