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Archive for November 17th, 2013

IMF Concludes Mission to Uganda

Posted by African Press International on November 17, 2013

KAMPALA, Uganda, November 11, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/– During the last two weeks, a team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) visited Kampala to discuss with the authorities recent developments and outlook in the context of the first review of the program supported by the Policy Support Instrument (PSI). The mission met with the Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development; the Governor of the Bank of Uganda (BoU); as well as with other senior government officials and representatives from the international, business, and financial communities.

At the end of the mission, Ms. Ana Lucía Coronel, IMF mission chief and senior resident representative for Uganda, issued the following statement:

“The growth recovery to 5¾ percent in 2012/13, driven by public investment and consumption and stronger private activity in telecommunications, has been supported by a fiscal stance based on strong implementation of investment projects. Monetary policy backed these efforts while dealing with the challenge of abating the impact of the recent drought-related food price shock on the medium-term 5 percent core inflation target. Aided by an improvement in the current account deficit, international reserves remained at a level equivalent to about 4 months of imports, maintaining a welcome buffer against the uncertain global environment.

“The economic outlook is favorable. With low inflation and higher growth, market confidence is set to induce some recovery in credit to the private sector. At the same time, significant investment in hydropower and road projects is expected to stimulate employment and help bring output closer to potential while addressing critical infrastructure bottlenecks. Growth is projected to reach 6¼ percent this year, inflation to stay within the program target band, and debt to remain sustainable notwithstanding increased borrowing requirements. International reserves would temporarily decline as infrastructure-earmarked government funds at the BoU are used to cover the government’s share of project financing, but would remain at a comfortable level. There are risks to the outlook related to instability in the region, spending pressures, governance weaknesses, and capacity constraints in management and implementation of large projects.

“To support this outlook the authorities have to find the right balance between encouraging growth and avoiding crowding out private sector activity by resisting rising spending pressures and strictly adhering to the budget. The mission welcomes the announcement by the BoU that it will maintain a neutral monetary policy stance and its readiness to adjust it in either direction in line with the forward-looking inflation outlook. The mission supports the BOU’s commitment to exchange rate flexibility and its intention to limit its interventions in the foreign exchange market to rebuilding international reserves while smoothing excessive exchange rate volatility.

“The quantitative assessment criteria for end-June 2013 under the current PSI were broadly met, and some progress on the structural front was achieved. In particular, the mission welcomes the reinforcement of BoU’s independence by strengthening its balance sheet and policy instruments, and the actions taken to improve financial management practices, including starting the implementation of a treasury single account, and upgrading the coverage of accounting systems to prevent misuse of funds. Swift parliamentary approval of the public financial management bill will be essential to improving budget execution and credibility and enhancing reporting and accountability of public finances.

“Tax revenue collection in Uganda remains low by regional standards and needs to improve. This will require a thorough assessment of the tax system to eliminate the numerous tax exemptions that have outlived their usefulness. The mission encourages the government to implement its action plan to enforce compliance, clean up tax registries, and issue the long awaited national identification cards, which would bring benefits in several areas. The revenue effort has to be accompanied by good management of public funds to avoid payment arrears, which have recently accumulated, and the maintenance of the budgeted level and composition of expenditures, by avoiding supplementary budgets. Efforts to this end will complement the important gains already achieved in governance and accountability.

“The IMF Executive Board is tentatively scheduled to consider the first review of the PSI-supported program by end-December 2013.”

 

SOURCE

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

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Wang Yi Holds in Talks with the government of the Republic of Sierra Leone

Posted by African Press International on November 17, 2013

BEIJING, China, November 11, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ On Nov. 6, 2013, Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks with the visiting Foreign Minister of the Republic of Sierra Leone Samura Kamara.

Wang Yi said that for the 42 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and the Republic of Sierra Leone, both sides have worked in unity and helped each other, and supported each other on issues concerning core interests. No matter how strong China grows, we will always be a trustworthy friend and partner of all African peoples. China will implement the spirit of President Xi Jinping’s correct idea of morality and profits, strengthen political mutual trust with the Republic of Sierra Leone, promote mutually beneficial cooperation and people-to-people and cultural exchanges, to create more integrating points of bilateral interests and growth points of cooperation, turning cooperation potentials into real achievements and realizing the common development of China and Africa.

Samura Kamara said that the Republic of Sierra Leone regards China as an important partner, and thanks China for its long-term and strong support for the peace, stability, reconstruction and development of the Republic of Sierra Leone. China has become a strategic partner who helps Africa realize self-confidence, self-reliance and self-improvement, Africa will always keep the door open to China, and is willing to carry out all-round cooperation with China. He also condemned the violent terrorist attack that recently happened in Beijing.

 

SOURCE

China – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 

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Securing over €7million in new export sales to Sub-Saharan Africa a major boost for Irish companies

Posted by African Press International on November 17, 2013

DUBLIN, Ireland, November 15, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ Minister Costello welcomes the success of Irish companies on Enterprise Ireland trade mission to South Africa and Nigeria

Irish companies participating in this week’s Enterprise Ireland trade mission to South Africa and Nigeria, led by Minister for Trade and Development, Joe Costello T.D., have secured new contracts totalling over €7m and agreed significant business alliances across the financial services, telecommunications and education sectors. These announcements underline the growing opportunities for Irish companies in the developing sub-Saharan Africa region.

The five-day trade mission, which involved 37 Irish companies, was organised by Enterprise Ireland in close cooperation with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Embassies of Ireland in Pretoria and Abuja, and focused on Financial Services in Johannesburg, Telecommunications in Cape Town and Financial Services and Education in Lagos.

Minister Costello described the trade mission as very important in terms of deepening Ireland’s trade and economic ties in the region, as well as supporting the aims of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s Africa Strategy. Speaking from Lagos Minister Costello said:

“This was a highly successful mission both in terms of business secured and introductions and connections made. It is truly encouraging to see Irish companies continuing to win new business in South Africa, and deeply satisfying to watch Enterprise Ireland working with innovative Irish companies to help them break into developing markets like Nigeria.

“Enterprise Ireland’s new office in Johannesburg will act as a hub for supporting Irish companies in growing their trade relationships and export sales, not just in South Africa but also in other key economic growth areas in the wider Sub-Saharan Africa market of over 900 million people. This is the first time Enterprise Ireland has organised a trade mission to Nigeria which is the most populous country in Africa. Based on the initial success of Irish companies in this enormous market I have no doubt that a second trade mission to the region will quickly follow.

“My Department, the Embassy network and the State Agencies are working closely together to ensure that Irish exports to these increasingly important markets continue to grow – sustaining and creating jobs in Ireland”.

The Minister’s intensive five-day schedule included seven major networking events with South African, Nigerian and Irish businesses and other key contacts, as well as 12 individual company meetings with Irish companies and their sub-Saharan Africa partners and customers. Minister Costello also took part in high-level meetings with major international companies and participated in numerous media interviews. All activities were aimed at promoting the capabilities and strengths of Irish companies in key sectors and highlighting the opportunities for bilateral trade between Ireland and Southern Africa.

In South Africa Minister Costello opened Enterprise Ireland and ESB International’s new offices which are co-located in Johannesburg, and visited the Ireland Pavilion at the Africa Com expo where six Irish companies were participating for the second consecutive year.

While in Nigeria the Minister opened Wexford company Chevron Training and Recruitment’s new training centre, and Kerry Group’s new Nigerian office, and launched Enterprise Ireland’s “Access Nigeria” Guide.

Among the contracts and alliances agreed during the trade mission were:

Digisoft.tv (Cork) signed a development and agency agreement with Discover Digital (South Africa). The Discover Digital and Digisoft.tv program promotes OTT (Over The Top) Video supporting the distribution of TVOD educational and entertainment content in hard to reach and less connected environments. Digisoft.tv will manage this development effort from their headquarters in Cork.

Sentinel Fuel Products (Mayo) signed an initial contract worth €500k with South African company Lebone Engineering (Pty) Ltd. Lebone will distribute Sentinel’s Oilguard 9000 product range and provide front-line support across the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. Sentinel Fuel Products is a start-up business targeting global markets for the manufacture and supply of fuel anti-theft devices and fuel management systems.

SourceDogg (Galway) signed a partnership agreement with Resolve Solution Partners (South Africa) to deliver their cutting-edge e-procurement solution to the South African market. Resolve Solution Partners, a subsidiary of the Imperial Logistics Group, has identified a strong need for effective e-procurement among public and private organisations in South Africa where uncompetitive procurement practices and non-compliance are longstanding problems.

Nasctech (Dublin), the leading provider of Field Operation Support Systems for Communication Service Providers (CSPs) announced that its STREAMLINE™ solution has been deployed by Vodacom in the Democratic Republic of Congo. STREAMLINE™ is a unique solution that enables CSPs to reduce their network field OPEX spend while increasing visibility and control over their field operations, including fuel management.

Chevron Training and Recruitment (Wexford), specialists in the provision of construction skills training to international learners, officially opened their new Training Centre in Lagos. In February 2013 Chevron Training & Recruitment partnered with Nigerian company ETIWA Vocational Training to provide construction workers in Nigeria with international best-practise training. The partnership will see Chevron Training and Recruitment train 1000 constructions workers in Nigeria in a deal worth €3m over three years.

Hybrid Energy Solutions Ltd. (HES) announced details of a deal with Airtel Nigeria – the world’s 3rd largest mobile phone provider – to improve its network availability and massively reduce operating costs. HES and Airtel, along with HES’ local partner on the ground – ‘Eureka Power’ will invest up to $50m to upgrade and optimize the power supply to Airtel’s Nigerian network over the next 24 months.

Dublin International Foundation College (DIFC) and Professional Global Training Institute (PGTI) (or Greenville Schools) signed an agreement to run education programmes in Nigeria and Ireland for Nigerian students who want to progress to Irish and other EU universities to study Medicine, Business and Engineering. The first programme will concentrate on Medicine and will start in Lagos in January 2014 with an initial intake of 50–100 students. These students will transfer to DIFC Dublin in September 2014 to complete their Foundation Course and then progress on to medical-related courses in Ireland, the UK and Central European universities.

Waterford Institute of Technology announced a MOU with Yaba-Tech University in Lagos.

Brendan Flood, Divisional Manager with Enterprise Ireland, who is accompanying Minister Costello on the trade mission, commented:

“The trade mission has been a significant success for the participating Irish companies. They are carving out a strong reputation for Irish products and services, confirming that there are significant opportunities for increased trade and partnerships between Irish and Sub-Saharan Africa companies. The market growth is in sectors where Enterprise Ireland’s client companies are particularly strong performers – financial services, telecommunications and education. Enterprise Ireland will continue to provide every support to Irish companies to secure more business in this developing region”.

 

SOURCE

Ireland – Ministry of Foreign Affairs

 

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