Key Development and Finance Updates
China Grants $32 million For ECOWAS's new HQ in Abuja
China announced late in March that it will provide the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) $31.6 million grant to construct a new headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria's federal capital city.
The president of ECOWAS, Jean-Claude Brou, said the grant was a mark of goodwill from China and reiterated the subregional organization's commitment to promoting future West Africa-China cooperation.
At least 70 percent of China's overseas aid went to Africa from 2000 to 2014, according to AidData. China constructed the $200 million African Union's headquarters in Addis Ababa in 2012. In 2017, the world's second-largest economy also broke ground on the fully-funded $58 million parliament building in Brazzaville, capital of Republic of Congo.
Siemens creates opportunities for digitalization skills development across Africa
Siemens, the German industrial conglomerate, is handing over equipment specifically related to industrial automation that enables integrated engineering to 13 engineering faculties at universities in Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa. This is part of the company's commitment to sustainable skills development across the continent. The value of the equipment is about $400,000.00.
According to The Future of Jobs and Skills in Africa Report, by the World Economic Forum (WEF), it is predicted that 44 percent of all work activities in Ethiopia are susceptible to automation, as are 46 percent in Nigeria, 52 percent in Kenya and 41 percent in South Africa.
However, data collected by WEF in key African markets shows employers across the region identify inadequately skilled workforces as a major constraint to their businesses. In South Africa alone, 39 percent of core skills required across occupations will be wholly different by 2020.
According to a statement by Siemen, “the best way for African markets to benefit from the digital revolution is to combine skills training and improved or new infrastructure.”
The factory automation and electrical engineering equipment donations were made to Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana; Dar-EsSalaam Institute of Technology, Tanzania; Dedan Kimathi University of Technology (DeKUT), Kenya; and nine Universities and Colleges across South Africa.
Didier Drogba launches StanChart's digital bank in Cote d'Ivoire
Standard Chartered Bank (StanChart) on March 16th announced the official launch of its digital bank in Côte d’Ivoire. This marked the Bank’s first digital bank in Africa and the first-of-its-kind to open in Côte d’Ivoire.
Mr. Bruno Nabagné Kone, Minister of Information Technologies and Communication of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, was the guest of honour at the official launch event. The event was attended by dignitaries, business leaders, clients and senior management, as well as sporting legend and Ivorian icon, Didier Drogba.
As the Bank’s Digital Ambassador, Drogba shared his experience on the ease of opening an account using his mobile phone. He was the first person in Côte d’Ivoire to open a digital account at the Bank.
Commenting on the launch, Sunil Kaushal, Regional CEO, Africa and Middle East at StanChart said: “This is a key milestone on our digital journey as a Bank and underlines our commitment to investing and growing in the market. We have been steadily investing in expanding our footprint in Africa over the years, and this will continue to be a priority moving forward.”
The bank’s digital services are available by downloading the Standard Chartered mobile application. New clients can execute all of their banking activities right from their mobile devices, starting by opening their bank account in less than 15 minutes. They can also provide all verification documents by uploading to the application and fully complete their onboarding process within minutes.
Coca-Cola partners Intelsat to stimulate rural growth
Coca-Cola and Intelsat have joined forces to help stimulate economic and social growth in the world's rural communities by leveraging VSAT internet connection. This entails offering Wi-Fi hotspots in CocaCola's small retail kiosks in developing regions, including Sub Saharan Africa.
Tagged the Ekocentre project, the goal is to enable long-term sustainable solutions that benefit both the local community and Coca-Cola's business.
The Ekocentres aim to deliver simple benefits like entertainment, such as gathering the community together to watch a movie or a soccer game. Coca-Cola is also looking for ways to expand the connectivity to the broader ecosystem around the kiosks, such as bringing nearby schools, healthcare centres, and community centres online.
From a business perspective, the Ekocentres' solar power combined with WiFi opens up opportunities such as ecommerce, banking, advertising and marketing, or passing along relevant market prices to local farmers. According to a study by the World Bank, a 10 percent increase in broadband penetration also correlates directly to a 1.38 percent increase in GDP growth.
Where it is culturally tenable, Coca-Cola is running the centre with women, in line with its 5by20 programme, which aims to economically empower five million women by 2020.
Chelsea FC legend and Ivorian footballer Didier Drogba