[East Africa Business Week] Bob Koigi: Bolstering integration with Tripartite Business Council
In a historic move for the integration process, The East African Business Council, COMESA and SADC Business Council recently launched and formed the African Tripartite Business Council to spearhead the inclusion of private sector policy proposals into the negotiations of African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Agreement and the African Tripartite Free Trade Area.
This comes as local and regional players look for ways to leverage the AfCFTA to create regional value chains at a time when The COVID pandemic and the Ukraine crisis have disrupted global supply chains.
This development comes as the latest entrant into the East African Community, The Democratic Republic of Congo continues to attract investors as it positions itself as the region’s investment hub.
Visa marked the official opening of its Kinshasa office and a series of partnerships in the Democratic Republic of Congo during a visit by Al Kelly, Visa’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. The multinational’s immediate partnerships in DRC are aimed at expanding consumers’ access to the digital economy by introducing new payment credentials, as well as solutions to help more businesses accept digital payments.
At the same time, Dubai-based independent hotel management company, Aleph Hospitality, has signed a management contract with Congo-based Sokerico Group to operate Kertel Suites in Kinshasa.
The boutique property, which is currently under development, is set to open in Q1 2023, and on opening the hotel will set a new benchmark for the hospitality sector in Kinshasa with its all-suites accommodations and state of the art food and beverage offerings.
Nomanini, a fast-growing fintech in Africa, with a goal to improve business growth for informal, cash-first markets and financial services provider Baobab Group have announced they are launching end to end retailer supply chain finance solution StockNow in DRC. They are targeting the 90 million people and approximately 180,000 general trade retailers that have limited access to working capital in the East Africa nation.
In agriculture, Fahari Aviation, a subsidiary of Kenya Airways PLC has signed a service agreement with Kipkebe Ltd, which is a subsidiary of Sasini PLC, to offer precision agricultural services. Fahari Aviation will use drone technology on the farm to offer agricultural services such as fertilizer application and chemical spraying on the tea farm. Kipkebe farm will be used to benchmark the effectiveness of drone use with a possibility to expand the services offering to other Sasini estates.
AGRA has provided three documents to officials from the Government of Ethiopia that emerged from joint programs in Ethiopia. The documents support the Government of Ethiopia (GoE) in investment prioritization and implementation of three flagship programs. These programs are designed to promote local production, marketing and consumption of four critical agricultural items; wheat, rice, oil seeds and animal feed.
And to strengthen food security in sub-Saharan Africa, IFC and Jubaili Agrotec, a Nigeria-based agrochemicals manufacturer and distributor announced a partnership that will support the company to expand its regional footprint and increase thousands of smallholder farmers' access to key inputs such as fertilizer used to protect crops and increase food production.
Elsewhere, with funding from the Government of Japan, and in partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Government of Kenya, and the Kenya Electricity Generating Company PLC (KenGen), the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) launched its “Strengthening Capacity for Operation and Maintenance with Internet of Things (IoT) Technologies for Olkaria Geothermal Power Station in Kenya” project.
The IoT project aims to install and demonstrates the effectiveness of the IoT technology at the Olkaria geothermal power station, in conjunction with the provision of awareness raising and technical trainings. The project will further centralize, accumulate, and analyze operational data at a data centre equipped with specialized servers as well as collection and transmission systems.
And finally upon the approval granted by the BRSA (Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency) and the National Bank of Rwanda, Aktif Bank, a Turkish bank, has opened its first international representative office in Kigali, Rwanda, a country in East Africa. This will further allow Aktif Bank to amplify its operations with the continent and adding more banks to its current network of 350.