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Investors See Clear Opportunity To Take Advantage Of AfCFTA At Africa’s Largest In-person Gathering

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The Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF) 2021, which took place from 15 – 21 November 2021, hosted on November 18 a day focusing on investments and investment opportunities: The Investment Forum looked at Africa’s investment landscape, with a focus on opportunities across four strategic sectors: Agriculture, Logistics, Technology and Tourism.

With over 10,000 registered participants, IATF was Africa’s largest in-person B2B and B2G event of the year.

The opening ceremony featured seven Heads of Government from Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia, Zanzibar and Zimbabwe. The seven days programme organized by the African Export-Import Bank alongside the African Union put the spotlight, through various debates and discussions, on how the African Continental Trade Agreement will unlock Africa’s economic potential, enabling greater cross-border trading and developing industrial capacity which will take advantage of the continent’s natural wealth.

During one of the panel discussions, Dr. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, noted that: “The IATF is not an ends in itself but rather is a means to an end. And the end game is the Africa we want; an integrated Africa that trades with itself, that uses trade to restore the dignity of Africans, and for trade to become an instrument of development and that helps Africa gain respect internationally. So that others don’t see Africa as a basket case but rather as a bread basket.”

The Investment Forum took place on the fourth day of the IATF 2021 programme, showcasing investment opportunities on the continent and promoting cross-border investment by African national champions, focusing on some key sectors and learning from investors and companies who are committed and invested in the African continent.

The Investment Forum also served as a platform to launch of the IATF 2021 Project Book, which, in cooperation with African Investment Promotion Agencies, showcases a multitude of investment ready projects.

While the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery was a common theme across the Investment Forum, Dr. Acha Leke, Senior Partner and Chairman, McKinsey & Company, Africa, spoke of the general optimism investors feel about Africa, “The good news is that we didn’t lose 150 million jobs [in Africa in the pandemic], we did lose about 30 million. So generally, we were not as affected as we feared by the crisis which makes it more exciting on one hand for investors to come and continue to invest in these markets.”

However, in his presentation, Leke did point out that Africa’s economic performance over the past few years, even before Covid-19 hit had been on a downward trajectory, something governments and investors will have to work hard together to reverse.

One path towards transformation is leveraging technology. Panellists spoke about the innovation taking place in Technology in Africa. “Over the last two years we have seen a significant acceleration in digital adoption and that’s been driven primarily by the pandemic,” commented Fabian Whate, head of South African-based tech investment company Naspers Foundry, while pointing out that at least 60% of venture capital (VC) investment in Africa is into the fintech sector.

This was echoed by the Hon. Bogolo Joy Kenewendo, Former Minister of Trade, Botswana, “Covid has certainly challenged us, many governments were challenged to start delivering services to people and they were forced to start talking about digitalisation.”

Perhaps no industry was more adversely affected by the pandemic than tourism and on the Tourism sector dedicated panel, Cuthbert Ncube, African tourism board, South Africa, urged African tourism boards and governments to work together to help the continent’s tourism to recover from the pandemic, “we need to start breaking the barriers that had separated us. In the past two and half years, we have experienced the worst negative impact on our tourism sector. That brought our tourism economies to a standstill.”

The organisers announced US$36bn of deals signed during the week which saw just under 12,000 attend the event in person. The fair had 1,161 exhibitors with participants from 128 countries. As well as the Fair and the Forum, there were specific programmes dedicated to Automotive Manufacturing; Pharmaceuticals; Creative Industries; Start-ups; and the Youth throughout the week.

The event was on the record and the panel discussions, expert insights and project presentations that occurred during the IATF Investment Forum 2021 can be found on the event YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfLaGeW3KLI

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Kiwi Pay Group Launches Largest Online Marketplace In Sub Saharan Africa

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With millions of product SKUs from various categories and a strategic partnership with Bolloré Logistics, one of the biggest transport and logistics business in Africa, with more than 5,000 employees on the continent, Kiwi Pay Group is ready to launch the biggest online marketplace in Sub Saharan Africa.

Now Singapore-based fintech firm Kiwi Pay Group has been building its newest mobile application in stealth mode for the last few months, and is about to launch it in Cameroon first with a strategic partnership with the french group Bolloré Logistics, allowing them to offer millions of products from European retailers to the African market, with affordable price, local payment methods including credit cards and mobile money, and 4 to 5 days shipping by air to various delivery collection points in the country.

Customers in Cameroon will be allowed to purchase products like books, DVDs, computers, cosmetics, games, appliances and millions of other SKUs through this strategic partnership and thanks to their mobile application in the weeks to come.

Kiwi Pay Group, Bolloré Logistics and the Customs Bureau of Cameroon signed a strategic agreement on Wednesday 4th November 2021 in Douala to officialise their agreement. Before then, Kiwi Pay Group has been signing strategic agreements with different economic zones on the African continent like CEMAC, GIM-UEMOA and others, allowing them to offer transactions in the local currency, FCFA.

“This strategic partnership with Bolloré Logistics and the Customs in Cameroon is allowing us to benefit from the strong growth of the ecommerce in the country, while leveraging from decades of experience from our partners to ensure a trustworthy experience for the customers and compliance with the local tax system” declares FONGOD NUVAGA Edwin, Director General of Customs in Cameroon.

Serge AGNERO, regional manager for Bolloré Transport and Logistics states, “We are thrilled to initiate this strategic partnership in Cameroon and the region with an experienced player such as Kiwi Pay Group, to allow millions of local customers to benefit from attractive prices from retailers in Europe, and be able to order quickly and securely the products they are looking for, delivered at their place within a few days with our smooth service.”

Earlier this year, Kiwi Pay Group also launched its token KGO, that will be used as a way to reward users of the app, on all sides, vendors, drivers and customers, to allow them to hold it and use it later on for benefits on their e-commerce platform.

The company plans to push the token rewarding process as soon as they launch their e-commerce platform in Cameroon and other markets in the upcoming few months.

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How AGRA’s Financial Support Made His Quality Seed Company A success

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Back in 2018, Protais Musanganya, the CEO and owner of Top Quality Seed Company came into contact with Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) after the agro-based company visited farmers and their activities in the area Musanganya operated in.

He says when AGRA and Rwanda Agricultural Board visited him they were attracted by his activities of multiplying seeds and due so he was placed in good position to benefit their financial support because he couldn’t get enough capital to fund his agricultural bossiness on the large scale.

However, his projects became a reality when AGRA selected him among the beneficiary of financial boost and as an added opportunity to be trained by RAB.

“AGRA selected me to benefit from its support. Initially, the company helped me to rent more land, pay staff salaries for a whole year and buy inputs. By their support, I also managed to produce 60 sacks of quality seeds from 5 sacks in the past.”

Musanganya started his venture in agriculture back in 2017 using only 3 ha of rented land but now his company multiply seeds on 80 ha land.

He has exploited AGRA’s financial support and bought 35 ha land in Ndego, 20 ha in Ngoma, and the remaining land is in Rwamagana.

He expects to harvest 180 and 200 tons of land this season and When he sold multiplied seeds, he managed to get money and re-invested by buying 50 ha of land from his former landlord. “Then I had to clear 30 ha land. I exploited the land and managed to produce 120 tons of top quality seeds.”

Musanganya produces top quality seeds of maize, soybean and beans.

The government of Rwanda also provided subsidized fertilizers and irrigation equipment through the subsidy program to him and he was linked to buyers.

Musanganya say that AGRA’s funding helped him to boost his activities and sustained his expenditure on the salaries of the employees.

“My company employs between 150 and 200 casual laborers who work on the farms on a daily basis. We pay them their salaries on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The biggest part of the staff salary I pay is from AGRA.”

“My business of seed multiplication is important to local communities as it creates jobs. I also equipped 200 local farmers with skills in seed multiplication and they are now my out growers.” he adds.

He says AGRA’s financial support worth 100 Million Rwandan Francs said surmounted far the value of the money he benefited.

“This support largely exceeds that amount of money I got. As I said, I started this business renting 3 ha land. Now I own more than 50 ha of land that I purchased with money from AGRA support.”

Despite the Government subsidizes with provision of certified seeds, Musanganya believes hybrid maize farmers need to have skills in the domain and exploit the seeds at their potential.

As a result, he has signed agreements with the out growers whereby he provide them with technical assistance and buys their seeds.

“Thus, our company conduct promotion and extension activities (variety demonstration, distribution of seed packs, etc) to create awareness of new seed varieties and improve crop management.” he says.

Though he has benefited AGRA’s partnership but he wishes the company continue supporting them.

“Our partnership with AGRA is still ongoing as they organize quarterly trainings for our staff, pay agronomists and assist us in the audit of our activities but AGRA should keep helping us to grow into big companies that will carry on activities even when AGRA support is no longer there.” he wishes.

Plans of establishing a seed processing plant

He believes that with the help of the AGRA, they will be able to establish a seed processing plant that will prepare their produce, dry, treat and label our seeds.

“We have made initial steps whereby we bought a plot of land and started negotiating with a company that will construct the plant. We are now at the step of acquiring a bank loan that we will invest as our company’s share in the plant.” he says.

“It will be a joint venture business involving three companies. We hope that by next year our plant will be producing seeds that will be based Kayonza. I am also in talks with irrigation technicians to see how we can expand the irrigated surface using solar powered irrigation systems. They conducted a feasibility study and are now at the costing step. That is the direction that we are giving to our business with the support of AGRA.” he adds.

“As the manager of Top Quality Seed Production, considering where we came from and where we are today, I believe that our investment will have increased three fold by next year. I wish the support from AGRA is maintained because I have made tremendous progress. Of course I am making profits but I am also happy that farmers have access to locally produced seeds.”

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German, Rwanda Sign € 8.666m to Support Exporters

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Rwandan exporters that had suspended their activities due to the grinding effects of covid-19 pandemic, now have reason to smile following a new financing opportunity that will revive their activities.

According to details German and Rwanda have today signed a financing deal worth 8.666million for the expansion of the long-term refinancing line for on-lending to export-oriented Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

The signing involved the Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD) represented by Chief Financial Officer Vincent Ngirikiringo and Minister Dr. Uzziel Ndagijimana of the Ministry of Economic Planning and Finance, Honorable Ambassador Dr. Thomas Kurz of the Federal Republic of Germany alongside Rwanda’s Minister of State, Richard Tusabe.

“The purpose of this financing is to support Rwandan Exporters who have postponed their planned exports investments due to the economic impact of COVID-19 by providing them with affordable long-term loans under the Export Growth Fund (EGF),” the presser reads in part.

This financing will empower exporting Small and Medium Enterprises to exploit the recent re-opening of foreign markets. Indeed, EGF replenishment will provide for BRD to provide affordable additional capital to a unique opportunity to enable local partner Financial Institutions (PFIs) to serve exporting SMEs’ thereby creating employment opportunities to more skilled workers.

Since the inception of the Export Growth Fund in 2016, BRD has operationalized the EGF by providing affordable loans directly to SMEs and through participating Commercial Banks.

With the support of the German Government through KFW, 34 projects have benefited from the fund through 5 partner Public Financial Institutions (PFIs), with total loans approved amounting to approximately EUR 12 million.

These approved loans are distributed in different sectors including textile, essential oils, horticulture, coffee, pharmaceuticals, tea, food products, and minerals.

Compared to 2020, loans extended to exporting SMEs as percentage of the total commercial loan portfolio increased by 8%; average revenue of these SMEs grew by 20% along with an average export revenue growth of 40%.

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