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India woos Kenya for top trade partner position

In line with the Kenyan government’s Big Four Agenda, India will invest in Kenya’s agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

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Director of Asia and Australasia, Kenya's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Christopher Chika, State Secretary, Investment and Industry, Betty Maina and India high Commissioner to Kenya, Rahul Chhabra at the annual trade and investment promotion event in Nairobi on March 26,2019. Photo/Enos Teche.

In line with the Kenyan government’s Big Four Agenda, India will invest in Kenya’s agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

Speaking at the India-Kenya Trade and Investment Forum held in Nairobi on Tuesday, India’s High Commissioner, Rahul Chhabra says India is keen to reduce its trade gap with Kenya and regain its top trade partner position.”

My country is committed to jump-starting Kenya’s industrial development in partnership with keen focus on manufacturing, agribusiness and pharmaceuticals. Coincidentally, the three sectors cover most of Kenya’s big four social economic goals’, says Chhabra.

Kenya’s trade deficit, leapt to Sh1.145 trillion in 12 months through December 2018 from Sh1.13 trillion a year earlier.

In 2015, China overtook India as the leading net import market for Kenya on the strength of infrastructure materials for the Standard Gauge Railway.

Last year, China remained Kenya’s largest source of imports for machinery and transport equipment, accounting for Sh291.8 billion followed by India at Sh161.2 billion, Saudi Arabia (Sh138.4 billion) and the United Arab Emirates (Sh126 billion).

Pakistan remained Kenya’s biggest export market, mainly for tea, coffee and flowers worth Sh50.2 billion followed by Uganda (Sh42.2 billion), the US (Sh39.5 billion), the Netherlands (Sh38.9 billion) and United Kingdom at Sh37 billion.

India continues to outperform China in terms of the number of jobs created by its foreign direct investment (FDI).

World Bank rankings of FDI-to-job creation ratios place China fifth, while India tops the list for the number of jobs directly created by FDI. Other countries include Britain, USA, South Africa and Germany. The Kenya National Chambers of Commerce and Industry chairman, Kiprono Kittony says India should take advantage of the strong trade ties with Kenya to exploit untapped business opportunities in manufacturing, agribusiness, health and housing sectors.

‘We welcome more investors from India, promising them skilled labour and a conducive business environment’, Kittony says.

State Department of Investment and Industry, Betty Maina assured investors of the government’s support, highlighting that plans are in works to further smoothen ease of doing business. “Although our ease of doing business has improved to position 61 globally, we want to clear more blocks to create the best environment for businesses coming to the country’’, Maina adds.

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International partners set to boost northern Nigeria’s leather industry

The partners will develop a leather tannery aimed at improving the production capacity of indigenous entity, Sokoto Shoe

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International partners set to boost northern Nigeria’s leather industry

In a bid to revitalise the region’s traditional leather sector, Sokoto state, in northern Nigeria has attracted international partnership towards the development of a leather tannery aimed at improving the production capacity of indigenous entity, Sokoto Shoe.

The latest firms to seek business opportunities are UK-based Pan African Enterprises and Asia-based Simple Factory Group, a footwear producer- a marriage of convenience credited to the state government’s Sokoto Investment Company Limited.

With a target of 2000 shoes per day, the output increase and further boost in quality could position Sokoto Shoe as a leading player in the leather goods industry increasing the continent’s export potential.

Nigeria’s leather industry is a network of production clusters with a concentration in a number of its cities such as Kano, Aba, Lagos, Sokoto and Onitsha. Leather produced from these centres are fashioned into footwear, bags, belts, and houseware by local workers.

While Nigeria exports a lot of its finished products, (estimates place its annual revenue at $100 million), the country imports about 5 times this value, leading local producers to compete with foreign manufacturers.

The country’s capacity to take up a large share of the global leather industry is, however, immense with its huge cattle population and age-long leather working tradition.

The partnership inches closer to accessing manufacturing and supply-chain advantages in the footwear sector to develop northern Nigeria’s productive capacity. Operations are expected to begin next year.

PAE’s chief executive, Dawn Spetale says “Simple is a natural partner for us to develop our vision in Nigeria with Sokoto Shoe”

“Teaming up with such a well-established producer allows us to leverage its networks, experience and marketing know-how from the past 30 years.

We’re excited that some of our staff will get training in Asia through Simple, as this will greatly enhance our production capacity and quality control from the outset,” Spetale adds.

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World’s biggest marine diamond mining vessel to be financed by African banks

Nedbank Namibia, RMB Namibia, Standard Bank, ABSA and Bank Windhoek agreed to provide 80% of the funding for the ship

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African banks to finance World’s biggest marine diamond mining vessel
(File photo)

Five African commercial banks have partnered in a $375 million financing deal to build a new diamond mining vessel for a subsidiary of Anglo American’s diamond unit, De Beers. 

Nedbank Namibia, RMB Namibia, Standard Bank, ABSA and Bank Windhoek agreed to provide 80% of the funding for the ship, which will be the world’s largest of its type. 

Debmarine Namibia – a 50-50 joint venture company between De Beers and the government of Namibia – will provide the balance of $94 million. 

The ship, to be known as the AMV3, will be the seventh in the Debmarine Namibia joint venture’s fleet, which mines high-quality diamonds from the ocean floor using hi-tech surveying equipment. 

The AMV3 has the capacity to add 500,000 carats of annual production from 2022, and is expected to contribute 2 billion Namibian dollars ($137.64 million) a year in taxes and royalties to the Namibian treasury in its first five years of production.

“The highest quality diamonds in the world are found in our ocean,” Debmarine Namibia Chief Executive Otto Shikongo said in a statement. 

“With this investment, we will be able to optimize new technology to find and recover diamonds more efficiently and meet growing consumer demand”.

Nedbank Namibia, which facilitated the arrangement, will contribute 40% of the financing and will also provide currency hedging for the deal, according to Karl-Stefan Altmann, an executive at Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banking and Treasury.

Mining, of which uranium and diamonds are a major part, contributed 14% of Namibia’s gross domestic product in 2018, according to the latest annual report of Namibia’s Chamber of Mines. 

Diamonds also accounted for 14% of Anglo American’s core profit in 2018.

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Zimbabwe’s inflation soars, stocks hit record high

Stocks are rising because local investors are desperate to hedge against inflation

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Zimbabwe's inflation soars, stocks hit record high | News Central TV
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Zimbabwe’s stock market has hit a record high, for all the wrong reasons as the country’s Industrial Index rose 5.6 per cent on Monday to extend its gain this quarter to 80 per cent.

Stocks are rising because local investors are desperate to hedge against inflation, which accelerated to 98 per cent in May. Prices are rocketing amid a scarcity of foreign exchange, which is causing shortages of fuel, medicine, and other imported goods.

In Zimbabwe, investors’ fears about inflation are heightened by a plunging currency.

The RTGS$, which the government de-linked from the U.S. dollar in February, has sunk about 57 per cent since March on the black market.

On the streets of Harare, the capital, it trades at 9.7 against the greenback. That compares with the central bank’s official and much stronger rate of 6.08.

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