Tourism stakeholders are optimistic over the aviation industry’s recovery following Kenya Airways resumption of service on the Nairobi-New York route on November 29, despite low bookings ahead of the Yuletide holiday.
Regionally, last week, Uganda Airlines announced resumption of direct flights from Uganda to Mombasa. The flights, which resumed on December 4, have also lifted prospects of business between the two countries. The flights are scheduled for three frequencies weekly, on Tuesday, Friday, and Sunday.
The route will add value to travellers from Entebbe who no longer have to spend three to four hours connection time in Nairobi.
In a statement, Uganda Airlines Country Manager Peggy Macharia said the one-hour 50-minute trip will target business people who depend on the port of Mombasa as well as tourists to the Coastal holiday destination.
Macharia said “we are delighted to be relaunching flights to port city of Mombasa in addition to our existing Entebbe – Nairobi flights that resumed in October. Amidst Covid-19, Uganda Airlines commits to keeping passengers safe and healthy, through strict adherence to approved standard operating procedures.”
Kenya Tourism Federation chairman Mohammed Hersi said international tourists will play a key role in ensuring tourism sector bounces back from the effects of Covid-19.
Hersi said “players in the sector have complied with all health protocols and they are ready to receive tourists from around the world, because domestic visitors alone cannot bring back to life the sector as it was before Covid-19. KQ resuming direct flights to New York will bring confidence and we hope to have more visitors in the first quarter of 2021.”
KQ has offered special discounts to passengers who book their New York flights in December as part of the phased relaunch of routes that had been suspended in March.
Uganda Airlines currently operates the Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Bujumbura, Mombasa, Zanzibar, Kilimanjaro, Mogadishu, and Juba routes using Bombadier CRJ-900.
With more airlines resuming international service, players in the tourism sector which depends mostly on travel for its survival are hoping for less government Covid-19 restrictions.
Ten African Presidents Receive AfCFTA Awards
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari and nine other African Presidents have received awards for their contributions to the kick-off of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
Dr Akinwumi Adesina, the President of African Development Bank (AfDB), and some heads of institutions also received awards for their roles in the enforcement of the AfCFTA.
The award ceremony was organised virtually by the African Union (AU) with the private sector in the AU headquarters at Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
The presidents given the awards were Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria; Akufo-Addo of Ghana; Felix Tshekedi of Congo; Ahmed Fattah Al-Sisi of Egypt; Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger; Alpha Conde of Guinea; Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa and Chairperson of the AU; and Paul Kagame of Rwanda.
Others are King Mswati III, Ngwenyama of Eswatini; Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia; two former heads of states – Hailemariam Desalegn, former Prime Minister of Ethiopia and Mr Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria.
The President, Africa Business Council (AfBC), Amany Asfour, was also presented with an award for her role in that respect.
Some heads of African institutions and other prominent individuals were also awarded for their exceptional contributions to the AfCFTA process.
The awards were received by the various countries’ ambassadors and representatives of institutions present while those absent will receive through courier services to the recipients.
One of the award recipients, Amany Asfour said the ceremony showed the commitment of the private sector towards the implementation of the AU Agenda 2063.
“We need an architecture where the organised private sector would cater for the implementation of the AfCFTA and it is such a pleasure now it has been constituted by the efforts of the AU Commission,” she said.
Asfour urged the players in the private sector to ensure the implementation of policies regarding the agreement.
“We need the legislation that will make it happen with the AfCFTA, the policies can be on paper but the implementation is our role as the private sector.
“It is a must to empower our Small and Medium Enterprises, youths and women. We are the richest continent in the world but we need to manage our own resources,” she said.
In her remarks, Saratu Aliyu, President, Federation of West Africa Chambers of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (FEWACCI) apd governments, private sector players and contributors to the success of the AfCFTA implementation.
Aliyu expressed optimism that the agreement would promote e-commerce and e-business infrastructure and develop a roadmap for the development of a digital economy to support the growth in member states.
She also reiterated the support of FEWACCI to achieving economic development and growth in Africa.
Nigerian Billionaire to Invest N3bn in Fidelity Bank
U.S.-based Nigerian billionaire, Dr Oluleye Adigun has disclosed ongoing efforts to invest N3Bn ($6.8million) in Fidelity Bank through shares acquisition.
Dr Adigun, in a recent interview, said the acquisition is part of his planned investment in the Nigerian economy, adding that the process of buying Fidelity bank was almost done, attributing the little delay to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Fidelity bank purchase is almost done. COVID-19 delayed the process a little due to everything closing down, but the process just picked up again. I was told I have to open a bank account and will need BVN. I am planning to come to Nigeria to do that as soon as possible.
The Osun State-born billionaire is the owner and Chief Operating Officer of Golden Glades Treatment Centre as well as Adigun Investment Group with stakes in nine companies operating in commercial real estate, several e-commerce companies. as well as wind and solar energy.
Others are aviation, with four private planes, a technology company, which owns computer software/applications, and six clinics in the healthcare industry.
Peter Aletor, Managing Director for Apel Asset Limited, and a friend, Mr Tosin Afolabi, have been very helpful on it. Afolabi will be partner in my bank venture in Nigeria with small share,” he said of his foray into the Nigerian economy.
Adigun expressed willingness to bring his airline company, healthcare, technology as well as solar and wind energy to Nigeria in the future.
“I am interested in investing in Nigeria because it’s my father land. I believe there has to be a way of doing something in my own country and be successful in it.
“I have touched almost every industry here in the U.S. and very successful in it. I have done business with people in other countries like South African, Zimbabwe, Jamaica and Europe. I want to do same in my own country,” he said.
He added: “The Nigerian economy has great potentials. Nigeria has everything to be giant in the world. We have the smartest people in Nigeria.
“With the right people, with great mind and good intentions, Nigeria can be like U.S. and other thriving countries. I need to build my own too. Nigeria is my home regardless of what I have here in U.S. .”
He narrated how his previous efforts to purchase failing Polaris Bank in Nigeria was thwarted, on the grounds that he was not known in Nigeria.
“When I decided to start investing in the Nigerian economy, I first heard of Polaris Bank. So I decided to buy a failing bank and Polaris came up through my connections with CBN.
“We are going through with the process of buying into Fidelity Bank now and that should be completely done in a few weeks. This is a billion naira project and hope it goes well. I have built myself from making less than 30,000 dollars yearly to having a net worth of over 100 million dollars within the last four years.
“We are all Nigerians and looking to better our country together. We can’t fix Nigeria if we are all divided. As Nigerians, we need to change our mindset to fix and make Nigeria better together,” he said.
He said he is also in the process of applying for a banking license with CBN to dive into fintech
Adigun is an old student of Olivet Baptist High School in Oyo, Miami Dade college, Florida Atlantic University and Walden University.
He has served in several U.S. organisations as a Police Officer, Substance Abuse Counselor and Clinical Director before he opened his first business in 2017.
Heirs Holdings Acquires 45% of OML 17 from Shell, Total, ENI
Heirs Holdings (HH) an affiliate of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp) has acquired 45 per cent participating interest in Nigerian oil licence OML 17 from Shell Petroleum, Total and ENI.
A statement by Mr Chike Anikwe, Acting Group Company Secretary, Transcorp, said on Friday that the transaction is one of the largest oil and gas financings in Africa in more than a decade, with a financing component of $1.1 billion, provided by a consortium of global and regional banks and investors.
It said that the transaction was through TNOG Oil and Gas Limited (a related company of Heirs Holdings and Transcorp), which will have sole oparatorshio of the asset from Shell Petroleum Development Nigeria Plc, Total E&P Nigeria Limited and ENI.
Tony Elumelu, Chairman of Heirs Holdings, said in the statement: “We have a very clear vision: creating Africa’s first integrated energy multinational, a global quality business, uniquely focused on Africa and Africa’s energy needs.
“The acquisition of such a high quality asset, with significant potential for further growth, is a strong statement of our confidence in Nigeria, the Nigerian oil and gas sector and a tribute to the extremely high-quality management team that we have assembled.
“As a Nigerian, and more particularly an indigene of the Niger Delta region, I understand well our responsibilities that come with stewardship of the asset, our engagement with communities and the strategic importance of the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.
“We see significant benefits from integrating our production, with our ability to power Nigeria, through Transcorp, and deliver value across the energy value chain,” he said.
Elumelu further said: “I would like to thank Shell, Total and ENI, for the professionalism of the process, the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, and the NNPC for the confidence they have placed in us,” he noted.
Speaking on the investment, Mr Owen Omogiafo, the President and Group Chief Executive Officer, of Transcorp, said that the transaction was an evidence of the company’s strategy to power Africa.
“This deal further demonstrates Transcorp’s integrated energy strategy and our determination to power Africa.”
Heirs Holdings was advised by Standard Chartered Plc, as Global Coordinator, and United Capital Plc, with a syndicate of lending institutions including Afreximbank, ABSA, Africa Finance Corporation, Union Bank of Nigeria, Hybrid Capital, and global asset management firm Amundi.
The deal also involves Schlumberger as a technical partner, as well as the trading arm of Shell as an offtaker.
According to the statement, OML 17 has a current production capacity of 27,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day and, according to our estimates, 2P reserves of 1.2 billion barrels of oil equivalent, with an additional 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent resources of further exploration potential.
The investment demonstrates an advance in the execution of Heirs Holdings’ integrated energy strategy and the Group’s commitment to Africa’s development, through long term investments that create economic prosperity and social wealth.
Heirs Holdings’ heritage and approach to business fundamentally underscores its commitment to inclusive development and shared prosperity with its host communities. Heirs Holdings is fully invested in the development of the Niger Delta region.
The statement also reported that Heirs Holdings’ strategy of creating the leading integrated energy business in Africa is executed through a series of strategic portfolio holdings.
Transcorp is one of the largest power producers in Nigeria, with 2,000 MW of installed capacity, through ownership of Transcorp Power Plant and the recent acquisition of Afam Power Plc and Afam Three Fast Power Limited.
Transcorp closed the US$300 million Afam acquisitions in November 2020. Transcorp supplies electricity to the Republic of Benin, as part of an emphasis on promoting regional integration and delivering robust power supply to catalyse development in Africa.
Transcorp also operates OPL281, under a production sharing contract with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (“NNPC”).
Similarly, Heirs Holdings’ subsidiary, Tenoil is the operator of OPL 2008, under a production sharing contract with NNPC.
Tenoil also owns the Ata Marginal Field which will commence production in Q2, 2021, with 3,500 barrels of oil per day.
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