Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Kenya Tourism Board boosts regional tourism by targeting West Africa

Kenya has kicked off massive tourism marketing campaigns in West Africa by launching travel trade training sessions in different regions of Ghana and Nigeria.

Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) says the two countries have shown all the indications of contributing to the Kenya's tourism growth as Kenya turns to emerging markets and the Africa region for more tourists.

"West Africa is potential to us and this is the beginning of our efforts to tapping into the market that has high spenders with willingness to spend" says KTB Regional Marketing Manager Fred Okeyo during the launch of travel trade training and media engagement programs underway in the cities of Ghana and Nigeria.

KTB is training about 200 travel agents in West Africa as well as media engagement programs in a bid to equip them with information on Kenya's tourism products.

Last year Ghana and Nigeria recorded about 23,000 arrivals to Kenya, a figure KTB says will be increased significantly soon as a result of aggressive marketing being put in place.

Besides holiday leisure, education, conferencing and medical tourism are becoming key tourism products attracting Nigerians to Kenya.

Kenya High Commissioner to Nigeria Tom Amolo says assurance about the safety of destination is one of the key messages the Embassy will be pitching during the ongoing Kenya at 50 celebrations.

"We have continued to reassure the market of Kenya's safety and her conducive business for tourism business and other economic activities” says the Ambassador.

Kenya Airways sales manager in charge of Nigeria Diran Oloyede said the airline will launch a direct flight from Abuja direct to Nairobi early next year so as to handle the expected increase of travelers to Kenya.

"With these marketing activities by KTB, we will expect interest of travelers to Kenya and the launch of direct flight to Nairobi will come in handy" says the manager.

Currently Kenya airways airline operates Nigeria through Lagos ten times a week. At the moment passengers from Abuja are forced to fly to Lagos to catch Kenya airways flight direct to Nairobi.
Travelers have termed the introduction of direct flight from Abuja to Nairobi as a major Milestone in easing access to Kenya.

Monday, January 6, 2014

African Development Fund (ADF) gives $184.2 to cover political risk in Nigerian Power Sector Privatisation

Image: http://www.ifeadebayo.com
The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) (http://www.afdb.org) approved an African Development Fund (ADF) Partial Risk Guarantee (PRG) program of US $184.2 million1 , and an ADF loan of US $3.1 million, for capacity building, to support the Nigerian power sector privatization program.
The PRG program in Nigeria aims to increase the country’s electricity generation by catalyzing private sector investment and commercial financing in the power sector through the provision of PRGs. The PRGs will mitigate the risk of the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading Plc (NBET), a Federal Government of Nigeria entity established to purchase electricity from independent power producers (IPPs), not fulfilling its contractual obligations under its power purchase agreements with eligible IPPs. This in turn will increase the comfort level of private sector financiers and commercial lenders investing in the Nigerian power sector privatization program.

Following the Board’s decision, the Director of the AfDB’s Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department, Alex Rugamba, explained the potential impact of the program: “An effective and steady power supply is critical to the sustainability of Nigeria’s development path. The Board’s decision today will allow the AfDB to support the Nigerian Government’s efforts to reform the power sector and position the country for sustainable and inclusive growth.”

Over the long term, the Nigerian PRG program is expected to lead to increased productivity, economic activity and growth, and reduced poverty. In the short to medium term, the project will yield an increase in the maximum electricity supply and consumption per capita.
According to government statistics, power outages cost Nigeria about three per cent of its GDP annually. It is anticipated that the IPPs eligible for coverage under the program could generate an additional 1,380 MW of power by 2016, thereby contributing to increasing the population’s access to more reliable and affordable electricity (from 41 per cent currently to 50 per cent by 2016).

Nigeria, in its development objective to rank amongst the top 20 economies of the world by the year 2020, targets an ambitious 40,000 MW of electricity generation, which represents more than half of the current installed capacity on the African continent. With a population surpassing 160 million, its current maximum electricity generation capacity – approximately 5,500 MW – is inadequate to meet demand estimated at 10,000 MW. To meet the generation targets set for 2020, significant private sector investment is required in the supply chain, including generation, gas to power infrastructure and distribution networks.
This is the second ADF PRG issued by the Bank in less than two months after the one in support of the Lake Turkana Wind Project in Kenya. The AfDB’s innovative approach for crowding-in private financing for infrastructure investments with the guarantees will have a catalytic and replication effect in Nigeria and more broadly in Africa.
The ADF PRG is a political risk mitigation instrument that covers private lenders and investors against the risk of the government or government-owned entity failing to meet its contractual obligations to a project. Since 2004, the AfDB has made African Development Fund PRGs available to catalyze private investment in middle-income countries. With the introduction of the ADF PRG in 2011, it has offered the financial instrument to low-income countries as well.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Joe Keshi appointed UBA chair

Joe Keshi (left)
United Bank for Africa (UBA), the pan-African financial services group in which investment company Heirs Holdings (http://www.heirsholdings.com/) has a strategic interest, has announced the appointment of a new board chairman, Ambassador Joe Keshi. The appointment of Ambassador Keshi, who brings significant foreign service experience, signals the increasing importance of UBA’s pan-African and global network.

Heirs Holdings Chairman, Tony O. Elumelu (http://www.tonyelumelu.com/), who retired as Group Managing Director and CEO of UBA in 2010 and whose strategic vision is responsible for today’s UBA, confirmed that Keshi's appointment would add significant value to UBA’s shareholders.

Elumelu said, "Joe Keshi brings to this position a track record of rigorous governance, an international perspective and experience in policy formulation. These qualities are critical to UBA’s strategy of consolidating its position as the leading pan-African financial services group in Africa."

He added, “This appointment lays to rest some of the ill-informed speculation relating to my own possible return to UBA.   With Heirs Holdings developing an increasingly diversified portfolio, including Transcorp (http://www.transcorpnigeria.com/), as well as Tenoil (http://www.tenoilenergy.com/), Afriland (http://www.avonhealthcare.com/), our real estate business, and Avon Healthcare, leading Heirs Holdings and ensuring that we capture the many exciting opportunities in Nigeria and across Africa, requires my full time attention. I can think of no better person than Joe Keshi to lead UBA.''

Ambassador Keshi has over 35 years of public service, working at the highest levels of government administration in Africa and during his career served as Permanent Secretary, at the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Charge d’Affaires, Embassy of Nigeria, The Hague, Netherlands and Consul-General of Nigeria in Atlanta, USA. Ambassador Keshi was first appointed to the UBA Board in 2010 and became Vice Chairman in 2011. Ambassador Keshi’s appointment follows the retirement of Chief Israel Ogbue, a member of the UBA Board since 2005 and who has served as Chairman since January 1, 2011.

Speaking on his appointment, Ambassador Keshi said, “UBA has demonstrated ability for creating sustained value for our various stakeholders. Our pan-African footprint, particularly, gives UBA an extremely effective platform for harnessing and indeed contributing to, the growing economic potential of African markets.”

UBA Group is a significant investment within Heirs Holdings’ financial services portfolio and is listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. The UBA Group closed third quarter 2013 with operating income of N130 billion and total balance sheet size of N3.03 trillion.

A leading pan-African financial services group with presence in 22 countries globally, UBA has a strong retail franchise providing banking services to over 7 million customers through over 750 branches and other customer touch points in 19 high growth African markets.