AFRICA'S TOP 10 STORIES:
The month of October saw noteworthy water and sanitation upgrades in Kenya and Ghana. In Kisumu, Kenya’s third largest city, US$82 million has been secured from the Agence Francaise de Development and the European Investment Bank to fund the Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation project. The project’s aim is to expand local water distribution networks, including to informal settlements and the towns of Ahero and Maseno. Over 50 000 households will benefit from these upgrades. Concurrently, in Ghana US$125 million has been secured from the World Bank for the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area Sanitation and Water Project (GAMA SWP). The initiative will benefit 550 000 low income urban communities by providing improved water and sanitation services. The GAMA SWP will also provide hygiene facilities to schools and healthcare centres, and promote handwashing practices.
Sources: WHO / UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme, 2019
LIBERIAN AND SOUTH AFRICAN AIRLINE INDUSTRIES WELCOME NEW PARTNERSHIPS WITH GOLDSTAR AIR, QATAR, AND EMIRATES AIRLINES
The airline industries in Liberia and South Africa have received a welcome boost with the announcement of new partnerships. In Liberia, Goldstar Air, a wholly owned Ghanaian Airline, has partnered with the government to establish Liberia’s new national carrier. Lone Star Air is initially flying to 11 West African destinations including Accra, Abuja and Lagos. The new airline will be used as a driver of social economic transformation, creating more jobs for the youth, as well as attracting visitors to Liberia. In South Africa, Airlink, a regional airline based in Johannesburg, has partnered with Qatar and Emirates airlines. Travellers flying with Airlink now have access to the global networks of both airlines, increasing connectivity and convenience. The interline agreements also signal the intent by the Middle Eastern air carriers to expand further into Southern Africa. The agreements strengthen their presence and give customers greater choice, flexibility and enhanced connections in Southern Africa.
Emirates and Qatar carriers at Dubai International Airport. South Africa’s airline industry has received a welcome boost with the partnership between Airlink and the Middle Eastern air carriers. Image courtesy: Nabeel Hashmi/WikiCommons
NEW GEOTHERMAL PROJECTS LAUNCH IN EAST AFRICA
October heralded the announcement that Kenya has finalised the construction of a new US$108 million geothermal plant at Menengai in the country’s southwest, adding an additional 105MW of geothermal production capacity to the national electricity grid. The opening marks Kenya’s ascension as the continental leader in geothermal power, which now allows for the electrification of 500 000 households, 70 000 of which are in rural areas. This is the latest success in Kenya’s Low Cost Electricity Development Plan, launched in 2011 to increase electricity generation capacity to 5,521MW by the end of 2021. Across the border in Ethiopia the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has invested US$1.55 million in technical development for the Tulu Moye geothermal power project. The DFC’s grant will accelerate the schedule to design the 50MW plant. Once complete the plant will be the country’s first independent power project and one of the largest geothermal plants in Ethiopia.
Sources: IRENA, 2020; Think Geo-Energy, 2018
Mid-October saw the announcement that Olam Palm, a Singaporean-based firm, would start development of a biofuel production centre in Gabon. This forms part of the Gabonese government’s export diversification programme to lessen its dependence on crude oil exports, which account for over 80% of the country’s total exports. Meanwhile, in Zimbabwe, Green Fuel is expanding its mill operations at its bioethanol plant in the town of Chisumbanje, located in the country’s eastern region near the Mozambican border, with the installation of a new planetary gearbox supplied by Zest WEG and which includes a WEG variable speed drive and a WEG electric motor to assist in sugar cane processing. This will allow for the increased production of electricity using excess bioethanol. The plant has operated since 2011 and has played a key role in helping alleviate the country’s energy crisis. The erratic commodity prices of recent years have incentivised divestment away from fossil fuels and will likely continue to spur the development of alternatives like ethanol and others.
Sources: World Bioenergy, 2019
UPTICK IN INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS SET TO HELP REVAMP TRANSPORT IN SOUTHERN AFRICA
October has proven to be an important month for road and rail infrastructure in Southern Africa. In South Africa, two of the country’s main road arteries, the N2 and N3 are set to receive US$1.5 billion-worth of upgrades. Meanwhile, South Africa’s Transnet Freight Rail and Eswatini’s state-owned rail company have announced that the planned railway merger between the two countries is progressing well. Slightly further north, on 10 October it was announced that the Kazungula Bridge over the Zambezi River had been completed, hailing a key milestone in the North-South Corridor project aimed to better integrate the road systems of Southern and Central Africa and encourage regional trade. Once completed, these projects will greatly enhance the economic competitiveness of the Southern African region, which has suffered in recent years compared to other markets such as Ethiopia and Kenya, which are closer to economic hubs in Eurasia.
The Kazungula Bridge over the Zambezi River under construction. On 10 October it was announced that the bridge construction has been completed. It aims to link markets in eight African countries, and enhance trade, integration and spur global competitiveness in the region. Image courtesy: John Chandler/Flickr
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