[East Africa Business Week] Bob Koigi: Region bets on bioeconomy to bolster growth
The East African Community recently unveiled the Regional Bioeconomy Strategy 2021/22-2031
The strategy will offer an opportunity for Partners States to achieve their individual aspirations, making use of the region’s abundant natural resources, including underutilized agricultural waste materials, to produce value-added products with applications in many sectors including food, health, energy and industrial goods.
Among the key interventions proposed in the strategy is the creation of new forms of sustainable bioenergy, and the conversion of waste materials to useful products.
The strategy further seeks to ensure the transformation of economies and place innovation in bio-based products and processes at the centre, with a bio-based circular economy as the organising framework.
In the agriculture sector, The World Bank Group approved a $2.3 billion programme to help countries in Eastern and Southern Africa increase the resilience of the region’s food systems and ability to tackle growing food insecurity.
Food system shocks brought on by extreme weather, pest and disease outbreaks, political and market instability, and conflict are becoming more frequent and severe, putting more people at risk of food insecurity.
At the same time, The Global Center on Adaptation (GCA) announced that it is providing technical advisory support to a new World Bank’s investment project in Ethiopia. The project valued at $600 million aims to increase the resilience of Ethiopia’s food systems and its preparedness for food insecurity
In the financials, Pesapal has received a Payment System Operator license from the Bank of Uganda to operate in the country.
According to Pesapal Uganda Country Director Martin Barungi, the authorization gives Pesapal a license to drive cashless transactions and related benefits, including financial inclusion and convenience, by simplifying the processing of payments and expanding how, what type and how fast businesses can get paid and access their funds
This, as The African Development Bank launched a 19-billion Ugandan shilling (UGX) ($5.07 million) 2-year theme bond, the first-ever African frontier currency-denominated environmental, social and governance (ESG) issuance by a multilateral development institution.
The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved an €89 million loan to boost the Kenyan government’s economic recovery efforts.
The loan will provide funding for the second phase of Kenya’s Competitiveness and Economic Recovery Support Program (CERSP) that was approved by the Bank in June 2021 and will help the country to free up fiscal space to address other priorities in one of the region’s largest economies.
And The African Development Bank, Africa50, and Africa Sovereign Investors Forum (ASIF), have signed a letter of intent to collaborate on developing green and climate resilient infrastructure projects across Africa. The three entities will work together to galvanize financing and to drive the development of skills and expertise within the infrastructure sector.
In the health sector, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Health and the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI), together with the Ministry of Innovation and Technology and the Mastercard Foundation launched a digital service that will provide sustainable public health emergency information to the public in five different languages. The Digital Platform, 8335, developed by the Ministry of Innovation and Technology and the Mastercard Foundation, provides public health emergency information such as COVID-19, yellow fever, cholera, and guinea worm and the recent outbreak of monkeypox has also been added to the information system so the public is aware and can take the necessary precautionary measures.
Amref Health Africa and AstraZeneca, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Kenya, are launching a fleet of Mobile Vaccination Clinics (MVCs) in an effort to protect last-mile communities from the pandemic. The ten movable clinics will bring COVID-19 vaccines and other health services to hard-to-reach communities across Kenya.
Focusing on the startup’s scene, Mono, a Nigerian fintech startup that builds open banking infrastructure to enable access to customer financial data and bank payments for digital businesses in Africa, announced it has expanded its services to Kenya.
Kenya, being one of the most populous East African countries and is an advanced mobile money technology and services hub, creates a population of customers who have a growing appetite for innovative money solutions.
Kenyan-based AfyaRekod launched the fully automated Universal Patient Portal – a block-chain driven technology that will transform the face of patient care across Africa and the World. Through a secure central platform (Rekod.com) patients and the medical professionals treating them will have real-time access to their health data and medical history not only ensuring effective ongoing medical management, but critical, timely information in an emergency.
Elsewhere, Four Points by Sheraton, part of Marriott Bonvoy’s portfolio of 30 hotel brands, announced the opening of Four Points by Sheraton Kigali, marking the brand‘s debut in Rwanda. Designed to appeal to both business and leisure travelers, the hotel offers a warm and welcoming atmosphere, approachable and relaxed design, and stylish comfort in the heart of the capital city.