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Uganda To Conduct Aerial Survey Of Minerals

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Uganda has received planes and technical experts to begin conducting an aerial assessment of its mineral wealth beneath the Karamoja sub region.

This development comes at a time there are concerns that Uganda exports more gold than it actually mines.

According to Dr Mary Kitutu, Energy and Minerals Minister, the data on the type, quality and quantities of minerals available under the ground across Karamoja, will be identified over the next one year.

Details also indicate that a massive U$20million has been injected for this aggressive aerial mineral magnetic survey on the resource rich Karamoja sub region.

Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum, says this development will grow investor confidence, shake off speculators and elevate the country on a commercial pedestal for harnessing the mineral resource.

Gold exports more than doubled in the period between January 2018 and January 2019, according to data from Bank of Uganda (BoU).  

According to official statistics, gold exports surged to $514m in 2018 from less than $10m a decade ago. In 2018 gold surpassed coffee as Uganda’s biggest earner of foreign currency.

The east African country shipped $1.25-billion worth of gold in 2019, compared with $514.8 million exported in the previous 12 months.

Uganda’s gold exports, according to Bank of Uganda, during December 2019 and November 2020 grew to 34,450 kilogrammes from 27,025kgs.

Despite skepticism that Uganda may be obtaining gold from conflict sites in the region, Adam Mugume, executive director in charge of research at the central Bank of Uganda, told reporters the spike in export volumes was due to a growing international demand for gold and a boost in Uganda’s refining capacity.

Shipments of gold had been negligible for Uganda but they started to rise sharply after a major refiner, Africa Gold Refinery, opened shop in 2016.

Uganda’s gold shipments stood at under $10-million about decade ago, but in 2018 gold for the first time overtook coffee as Uganda’s biggest export.

Three more smaller refineries have since been commissioned, adding to the country’s processing capacity and allowing Uganda to slowly emerge as a regional gold trading hub despite low domestic production of the metal.

Mugume estimated Uganda’s own domestic gold production, mostly dominated by small-scale wildcat miners, at less than $50-million.

The four refineries source their gold from regional countries, including Democratic Republic of Congo, where rights activists previously blamed parts of the mineral trade for fuelling militia violence.

Mugume said the 2019 jump in exports was also caused by the large consignment of gold that the African Gold Refinery imported from sanctions-hit Venezuela and subsequently re-exported.

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Germany, Rwanda Sign Rwf90B Financing Agreement

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Finance Minister, Dr. Uzziel Ndagijimana, and the Germany Ambassador to Rwanda, Dr. Thomas Kurz, today signed two agreements worth € 78 million (Approximately Frw 90 billion).

The financing and technical cooperation agreement is the outcome of the Inter-Governmental Negotiations that were concluded last Year between our two respective Governments.

59 million Euros of the grant agreement will be provided through KFW Development Bank and will support various initiatives including technical and vocational training, promotion of export oriented SMEs, through the support to Export Credit Facility in Rwanda under BRD, promotion of green investments as well as ICT support.

The remaining Euros19 million will be channeled through GIZ and will support decentralization and good governance, prevention of sexual and gender based violence among others.

Speaking after the signing event, Minister Ndagijimana said the financial support extended to Rwanda will support key areas that are critical to the attainment of the country’s development objectives.

“This support comes at a critical juncture given the effects COVID-19 has had on our social –economic advancement. We look forward to boosting these important areas that are in line with our National Strategy for Transformation. We thank Germany for the strong cooperation and solidarity especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,“ Minister Ndagijimana said.

Ambassador Kurz stressed: “These Agreements underline the long-standing and proven cooperation between our two countries based on friendship and mutual trust. Germany is committed to support Rwanda in its Economic Recovery Process and the implementation of NST 1 in order to reach the SDGs and to leave no one behind.”

The Division of Labor allows Germany development cooperation programme to be active in Education (including TVET); Decentralization and Good Governance, Private Sector Development and Youth; Public Financial Management (PFM); Financial Development. Germany also supports Regional Projects: Centre of Excellence for Health, Improvement of the Investment Climate, Microfinance sector-MIFSSA, ICGLR and Energy.

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Malawi Issues 86 Licenses For Cannabis Production

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Malawi’s Cannabis Regulatory Authority said on Friday they had issued 86 licenses to 35 companies and cooperatives to venture into cannabis cultivation for industrial hemp production.

Boniface Kadzamila the Board Chairman of Cannabis Regulatory Authority made the announcement from Lilongwe on Friday afternoon.

He said that a total of 41 companies applied but only 35 of them satisfied the requirements.

According to him the authority has issued licenses for cultivation, processing and storage and has not yet issued any license for export of cannabis.

A recent analysis by Invegrow Limited, one of the firms that conducted research on industrial hemp, found that a kilogram of industrial hemp could fetch U$1,444 on the market that there is potential for direct annual benefit for Malawians in excess of U$ 135,440,973 on 16.5 hectares or U$8,803,663 per five hectares.

The analysis further indicated that the crop has ready markets whose global value chain is worth U$9billion thus giving local Malawi investors a basis to take up cannabis production.

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ex-Nakumatt CEO’s Home Auctioned

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Atul Shah, the former chief executive officer of the collapsed retail giant Nakumatt lost his home to auctioneers over a U$18,609,740 debt.

The auction follows the conclusion of a protracted court battle after the Kenyan High Court dismissed a petition seeking to overturn the forced sale of the high-end property by KCB Group.

Justice Francis Tuiyott dismissed the petition by the administrator of the collapsed Supermarket chain, saying it has no chance of success.

Nakumatt’s court-appointed administrator had opposed the sale on grounds that the auction failed to follow the law, and tagged Mr Shah as an interested party to suit.

The bank, through Leakey Auctioneers, early in the year quietly sold the property, which Mr Shah had used as additional security as Nakumatt’s guarantor to offer comfort to the multiple bank loans.

“This court is not persuaded that the suit, as currently presented, demonstrates a prima facie case with a probability of success. Being unable to surmount that hurdle, it is needless for this court to discuss other aspects raised in the application,” the judge said.

KCB had earlier sold Mr Shah’s prime property in Industrial Area, Nairobi, to Furniture Palace International Ltd for about U$9,677,064 court records show.

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