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African Business 2021

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The 2021 edition of African Business is the second issue of this useful guide to business and investment on the continent. The positive reception accorded the inaugural edition in 2020 was encouraging and we are optimistic that this publication and future issues will continue to meet the need for timely and relevant information in an exciting time for African business. African Business 2021 has articles on recent trends plus overviews of the key economic sectors on the continent and regional and country profiles. There is an in-depth analysis of the implications for trade on the continent of the introduction of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA) and an article on the growth and importance of exploration for minerals, gas and oil. Namibia and Botswana feature in an article on how cooperation can drive economic growth and an opinion piece focusses on the role that digital technology can play not only in the financial sector, but in the driving progress in a broader sense. Global African Network is a proudly African company which has been producing region-specific business and investment guides since 2004, including South African Business and Nigerian Business, in addition to its online investment promotion platform: https://www.globalafricanetwork.com

SPECIAL FEATURE

SPECIAL FEATURE Neighbours working together for growth A bridge is being built between Botswana and Namibia. Namdock’s repair facility at Walvis Bay. Credit: Namdock A new bridge over the Okavango River neatly symbolises increased ties between Botswana and Namibia, neighbours within the Southern African Development Community (SADC), but the two countries are cooperating on a range of other initiatives as well. The bridge at Mohembo in the north-west of Botswana will facilitate better access to the Caprivi Strip in Namibia. An Italian joint venture between Itinera SPA and Cimolai was appointed by Botswana’s Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and is expected to be completed in May 2021. CPP Botswana is consulting on the project. Sectors that are expected to benefit include tourism, agriculture, manufacturing and the film industry. The two countries are also discussing the possibility of jointly building solar power projects with a view to supplying their own markets and exporting into Southern Africa. This project is backed by Power Africa, a USAID initiative that works to bring together state and private actors to add more than 30 000MW to the continent’s capacity. Botswana is reliant on coal-fired power stations and Namibia currently imports more than 60% of its electricity requirements. Botswana has plans for new thermal and solar plants which it will develop independently to become self-sufficient in energy. Diversification is an important part of the plan although the country still has vast reserves of coal, estimated to be 200-billion tons. The state-owned Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) will retain distribution rights to electricity, but licences have been granted to three private power producers for 827MW. Four wind farms in the Tsau/Khaeb National Park in Namibia will help to wean the country off foreign supply of energy. State-owned NamPower is building two farms which will generate 90MW. AFRICAN BUSINESS 2021 26

SPECIAL FEATURE Two private companies, InnoSun Energy Holding and United Africa, will generate the same amount of electricity on the two other farms. When it comes to trade, transport and tourism, a specialised unit, the Trans Kalahari Corridor Secretariat (TKCS), works on easing conditions for interaction between the two countries. South Africa is the third participant in an initiative which focusses on organisational efficiency, border management, stakeholder management and safety and security. Namibia Namibia’s population of about 2.5-million has lots of room to move in more than 842 000km² of land, much of which is desert, along Africa’s west coast. Historically, the country has been rich in diamonds and uranium production. Husab Uranium Mine is the third-largest uranium mine in the world but no new mines are planned. Good copper prices are expected to boost earnings in the short term. The agricultural sector made breakthroughs in 2019 and 2020 with the acceptance by China and the US of consignments of imported Namibian beef. A -million rail project, part-funded by a loan from the African Development Bank, will see the Walvis Bay-Kranzberg line upgraded. State entity TransNamib regards this as a strategic line as it links the port with the interior and beyond to other countries in the region. Other infrastructure news is that Chinese state-owned construction company, China Henan International Cooperation Group, has won the contract worth .6-million to construct the Tses-Gochas road in the south. The marine sector is growing in importance. Marine engineering and ship-repair company Namdock has onshore engineering and fabricating facilities and operates three floating docks, including a Panamax-sized dock, in Walvis Bay. Engen Namibia’s acquisition of the services of a 77.4m barge will boost bunkering capabilities at the Namibian ports of Walvis Bay and Lüderitz. Engen Namibia has stated its support of Namport’s vision to attract increased volumes of cargo to the Port of Walvis Bay and position the Walvis Bay Corridor as a natural gateway for international trade. A kelp farm to be developed off the coast of Lüderitz is said to be the first in the world to be developed to a large scale (Engineering News). Netherlands-based Kelp Blue will run the project which is currently backed by Climate Fund Managers’ Climate Investor Two Fund and Namibia Infrastructure Development and Investment Fund (NIDIF). More investors will be invited to join the -million project. The Namibia Investment Centre (NIC) falls under the Ministry of Industrialisation, Trade and SME Development. Botswana Botswana’s Vision 2036 aims to transform Botswana from an upper middle-income country to a highincome country by 2036. A National Transformation Strategy (NTS) is to be developed. In 2020 proposals were invited from local providers for the development of methodology for Vision 2036. Consultants were also invited to register. In implementing infrastructure projects ranging from hospitals, schools and police stations, the state is looking at various models of delivery, including creating smaller tasks within projects that can be tackled by co-operatives. Botswana has made the most of its natural resources and succeeded in turning what was a poor country at the time of its independence from Britain in 1966 into the ranks of middle-income countries. The country has enjoyed long periods of political stability and runs credible elections. Botswana’s mineral wealth includes diamonds, copper, nickel, salt, soda ash, potash, coal, iron ore and silver. The main economic sectors are mining and tourism where the Okavango Delta is the jewel in the crown, attracting high-spending tourists. The Botswana Trade and Investment Centre (BTIC) is responsible for investment and export promotion, and the promotion and development of the nation’s brand. ■ 27 AFRICAN BUSINESS 2021

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