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A.M. Best Revises Outlook of the Issuer Credit Rating to Positive for Dubai Insurance Company PSC

Posted on 18 May 2013 by Africa Business

A.M. Best Europe – Rating Services Limited is a subsidiary of A.M. Best Company. A.M. Best Company is the world’s oldest and most authoritative insurance rating and information source.

 

LONDON —A.M. Best Europe – Rating Services Limited has revised the outlook to positive from stable and affirmed the issuer credit rating (ICR) of “bbb” and the financial strength rating (FSR) of B++ (Good) of Dubai Insurance Company PSC (DIC) (United Arab Emirates). The outlook for the FSR is stable.

The ICR positive outlook reflects DIC’s strong record of operating results, improved franchise and developing enterprise risk management (ERM). The ratings of DIC also reflect its very strong risk-adjusted capitalisation and a reinsurance programme of good quality. Offsetting these positive ratings factors are DIC’s investment concentrations.

DIC is likely to maintain a very strong risk-adjusted capitalisation over the medium term. The company’s capital base is supported by a low level of premium retention and a strong reinsurance panel. A high concentration of equity securities, particularly within the local banking sector, is of some concern and gives rise to volatility in DIC’s capital position. However, DIC’s capital position is sufficiently strong to absorb this volatility.

Despite competitive pressures in the UAE market, DIC has continued its strong growth levels with 21% achieved in 2012—well ahead of the market. DIC’s growth in recent years has improved its franchise and propelled the company to a top 10 position. However, its portfolio is indicative of the market biased towards medical and motor business on a net basis. Furthermore, underwriting performance remains strong with a good record of underwriting profitability. DIC’s combined ratio improved to 78% in 2012.

DIC’s level of ERM is considered to be improving. DIC has developed a better understanding of its risks and is integrating a capital model into its strategic planning process. There remains a disconnect between underwriting and investment risk as DIC’s investments remain concentrated in UAE banking equities. DIC has taken steps in diversifying its profile through surplus funds being conservatively invested.

Positive rating pressures can arise through embedding and integration of ERM and the maintenance of underwriting and operational performance. Considerable deterioration in its operating performance or a failure to embed improvements in ERM could add negative pressure to the current ratings.

The methodology used in determining these ratings is Best’s Credit Rating Methodology, which provides a comprehensive explanation of A.M. Best’s rating process and contains the different rating criteria employed in the rating process. Best’s Credit Rating Methodology can be found at www.ambest.com/ratings/methodology.

In accordance with Regulation (EC) No. 1060/2009, the following is a link to required disclosures: A.M. Best Europe – Rating Services Limited Supplementary Disclosure.

For more information, visit www.ambest.com.

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The Global Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market 2013-2023 – Market Size and Drivers: Market Profile

Posted on 16 May 2013 by Africa Business

NEW YORK, May 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Reportlinker.com announces that a new market research report is available in its catalogue:

The Global Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market 2013-2023 – Market Size and Drivers: Market Profile

http://www.reportlinker.com/p01182628/The-Global-Armored-and-Counter-IED-Vehicles–Market-2013-2023—Market-Size-and-Drivers-Market-Profile.html#utm_source=prnewswire&utm_medium=pr&utm_campaign=Aerospace_and_Defense

Synopsis

This report provides readers with a comprehensive analysis of the Armored and Counter IED Vehicles market through 2013-2023, including highlights of the demand drivers and growth stimulators for Armored and Counter IED Vehicles. It also provides an insight on the spending pattern and modernization pattern in different regions around the world.

Summary

The global armored and counter IED vehicles market valued US$23.4 billion in 2013, and will increase at a CAGR of 2% during the forecast period, to reach US$28.7 billion by 2023. The market consists of six categories: APCs, LMVs, IFVs, MRAPs, MBTs and Tactical Trucks. The IFV segment is expected to account for 34% of the global armored and counter IED vehicles market, followed by the MBT segment with a share of 26.2%.

Reasons To Buy

“The Global Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market 2013-2023 – Market Size and Drivers: Market Profile” allows you to:

- Gain insight into the Armored and Counter IED Vehicles market with current and forecast market values.- Understand the key drivers and attractiveness parameters of the global Armored and Counter IED Vehicles market.- Understand the various factors impacting the growth of the Armored and Counter IED Vehicles market.

Table of Contents 1 Introduction

1.1 What is this Report About?

1.2 Definitions

1.3 Summary Methodology

1.4 About Strategic Defence Intelligence

2 Global Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market Size and Drivers

2.1 Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market Size and Forecast 2013-2023

2.1.1 Global armored and Counter IED vehicles market expected to increase during the forecast period

2.2 Global Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market – Regional Analysis

2.2.1 North America is expected to lead the global Armored and Counter IED vehicles market

2.2.2 New programs in armored vehicles in the US to support the global armored and counter IED vehicles market

2.2.3 Armored and counter IED vehicles market to be robust in Europe

2.2.4 Asia to be a lucrative market for armored and counter IED vehicles

2.2.5 Saudi Arabia and Israel expected to lead the armored and counter IED vehicles market in the Middle East

2.2.6 Demand for armored and counter IED vehicles in Africa is expected to reach US$910 million by 2023

2.2.7 Brazil to lead the armored and counter IED vehicles sector in the Latin American region

2.3 Armored and Counter IED vehicles Sub-Sector Market Size Composition

2.3.1 Infantry Fighting Vehicles and Main Battle Tanks to witness strong demand

2.3.2 IFVs to account for the highest expenditure in the global armored and counter IED vehicles market

2.3.3 Market size of Main Battle Tanks expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.1% during forecast period

2.3.4 Armored Personnel Carriers market to experience a marginal decline

2.3.5 Scheduled withdrawal of peacekeeping forces and integration of anti-mine armors on all vehicles to lower MRAP vehicle market

2.3.6 Light Multirole Vehicles market size is expected to decline during the forecast period

2.3.7 Tactical trucks market size expected to witness steady decrease in demand

2.4 Demand Drivers and Growth Stimulators

2.4.1 International peacekeeping missions expected to propel demand for armored and counter IED vehicles

2.4.2 Modernization initiatives will drive the demand for armored and counter IED vehicles

2.4.3 Internal and external security threats fuel the global demand for armored and counter IED vehicles

2.4.4 Increasing costs and capability of armored and counter IED vehicles result in demand for multirole vehicles

2.5 Defense Budget Spending Review

2.5.1 European capital expenditure expected to increase during the forecast period

2.5.2 Asian defense budgets expected to increase at a robust pace

2.5.3 North American defense expenditure projected to decline marginally during the forecast period

2.5.4 Modernization programs likely to drive defense expenditure in South American countries

2.5.5 Military budgets of African countries expected to increase during the forecast period

2.5.6 Defense budgets of Middle Eastern countries likely to increase during the forecast period

2.6 Defense Modernization Review

2.6.1 Debt crisis in Europe leading to postponement of modernization plans

2.6.2 Arms race in Asia reflected in modernization plans

2.6.3 North American modernization plans marginally affected by economic recession

2.6.4 Modernization programs in South America driven by replacement of obsolete armaments

2.6.5 African countries mainly spending on infantry weapons and surveillance and monitoring equipment to slow growing crime rate

2.6.6 Middle Eastern countries pursuing modernization of air force and air defense systems

3 Appendix

3.1 Methodology

3.2 About SDI

3.3 Disclaimer

List of Tables Table 1: Global Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market Overview

Table 2: Global Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market Overview

List of Figures Figure 1: Global Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market (US$ Billion), 2013-2023

Figure 2: Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market Breakdown by Region (%), 2013-2023

Figure 3: North American Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market (US$ Billion), 2013-2023

Figure 4: European Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market (US$ Million), 2013-2023

Figure 5: Asia-Pacific Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market (US$ Million), 2013-2023

Figure 6: Middle East Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market (US$ Million), 2013-2023

Figure 7: African Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market (US$ Million), 2013-2023

Figure 8: Latin American Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market (US$ Million), 2013-2023

Figure 9: Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market Breakdown by Segment (%), 2013-2023

Figure 10: Global IFV Market Size (US$ Billion), 2013-2023

Figure 11: Global MBT Market Size (US$ Billion), 2013-2023

Figure 12: Global APC Market Size (US$ Billion), 2013-2023

Figure 13: Global MRAP Market Size (US$ Billion), 2013-2023

Figure 14: Global LMV Market Size (US$ Billion), 2013-2023

Figure 15: Global Tactical Truck Market Size (US$ Billion), 2013-2023

Figure 16: Defense Capital Expenditure of Top Three European Defense Spenders (US$ Billion), 2013-2023

Figure 17: Defense Capital Expenditure of Top Three Asian Defense Spenders (US$ Billion), 2013-2023

Figure 18: Defense Capital Expenditure of Top North American Defense Spenders (US$ Billion), 2013-2023

Figure 19: Defense Capital Expenditure of Top Three South American Defense Spenders (US$ Billion), 2013-2023

Figure 20: Defense Capital Expenditure of Top Three African Countries (US$ Billion), 2013-2023

Figure 21: Defense Capital Expenditure of Top Three Middle Eastern Defense Spenders (US$ Billion), 2013-2023

To order this report:Aerospace_and_Defense Industry: The Global Armored and Counter IED Vehicles Market 2013-2023 – Market Size and Drivers: Market Profile

Contact Clare: clare@reportlinker.com

US:(339) 368 6001

Intl:+1 339 368 6001

 

SOURCE Reportlinker

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Sarama Resources Continues to Consolidate its Position at the South Houndé Project in Burkina Faso

Posted on 15 May 2013 by Africa Business

TSX-V Ticker: SWA
SWA.WT

VANCOUVER, May 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ – Sarama Resources Limited (“Sarama” or the “Company“) is pleased to report that it has been granted three new exploration permits in Burkina Faso, including one adjacent to the Company’s flagship South Houndé Project, which brings the Company’s exploration landholding in this prospective region to 1,014km².

Highlights

  • Three new exploration permits totalling 240km² granted, expanding Sarama’s total exploration land package in Burkina Faso to 3,339km².
  • The grant of a 127km² exploration permit adjacent to Sarama’s Tankoro exploration property, provides Sarama a commanding presence in the geologically prospective Houndé Belt, with a total landholding of 1,014km².
  • The grant of the Youngou Est and Nianie exploration permits complements Sarama’s existing Youngou exploration property, which borders the Youga mine of Endeavour Mining Corp in the central south of Burkina Faso, bringing the Company’s total landholding in the project area to 363km².
  • Reconnaissance exploration programs to commence in second half of 2013.

Grant of Bini Exploration Permit

Sarama has been granted new exploration permits for the Bini, Youngou Est and Nianie properties by the Ministry of Mines and Energy, bringing the Company’s total exploration property interests in Burkina Faso to 3,339km² (refer Figure 1).

The 127km² Bini exploration property (“Bini“) further consolidates Sarama’s position in the highly prospective Houndé Belt, which hosts the 7.8Moz, 170koz per annum Mana gold mine of Semafo Inc and the 2.2Moz Houndé gold project of Endeavour Mining Corp.  Bini is located centrally within the belt and is adjacent to Sarama’s Tankoro exploration property where the Company has intersected significant gold mineralisation over a 1.9km strike length at the MM Prospect (refer Figure 2).

The property is underlain by a sequence of meta-sedimentary and volcanic rocks and is interpreted to contain north-north-east trending structures, which are thought to be one of the controls on the mineralisation encountered at the Company’s MM Prospect.  Sarama anticipates commencing first-pass reconnaissance exploration activities on the property in the second half of 2013.

The exploration permit gives Sarama the exclusive right to explore for gold and associated minerals during an initial term of 3 years.  Subject to certain statutory obligations being met, the permit is renewable for a further two 3-year terms, after which time, the permit will be eligible for conversion to an exploitation permit.

Figure 1:    Sarama’s Exploration Properties in Burkina Faso

Figure 2:    Sarama’s Exploration Properties in South-West Burkina Faso

Grant of Youngou Est and Nianie Exploration Permits

The Youngou Est and Nianie exploration properties, covering areas of 95km² and 18km² respectively, lie in the extreme south of central Burkina Faso (Figure 3).  Being proximal to Sarama’s existing Youngou exploration property, the permit grants bring Sarama’s landholding in the project area to 363km².

The properties are underlain by volcano-sedimentary and gneissic rocks with the prospective sequence arranged along a north-east striking trend bounded by granite.  The 90,000oz per annum Youga gold mine of  Endeavour Mining Corp is located immediately adjacent to Sarama’s property group and within the same lithological sequence, illustrating the prospectivity of the region.

Sarama anticipates commencing reconnaissance exploration activities on the recently granted properties in the second half of 2013.

The exploration permits give Sarama the exclusive right to explore for gold and associated minerals during an initial term of 3 years.  Subject to certain statutory obligations being met, the permit is renewable for a further two 3-year terms, after which time, the permit will be eligible for conversion to an exploitation permit.

Figure 3:    Sarama’s Exploration Properties in Central South Burkina Faso

Sarama’s President and CEO, Andrew Dinning commented:

“We are pleased to have been granted these new permits in two of our existing project areas.  Our position at the South Houndé Project continues to strengthen with the addition of the Bini property and we look forward to commencing our reconnaissance exploration programs in the upcoming exploration season.

Sarama is well funded with a cash balance of approximately US$11M at the end of March 2013 and is currently finalising regional exploration programs in the south of the MM Prospect which are expected to contribute to the maiden resource estimate planned for Q3 2013.”

For further information on the Company’s activities, please contact:

Andrew Dinning or Paul Schmiede
email:  info@saramaresources.com
telephone: +61 8 9363 7600

About Sarama Resources Ltd
Sarama Resources Ltd is a Canadian company with a focus on the exploration and development of gold deposits in West Africa.  The board of directors and management team, a majority of whom are founders of the Company, are seasoned resource industry professionals with extensive experience in the exploration and development of world-class gold projects in Africa.

The South Houndé Project in south-west Burkina Faso is the Company’s flagship property and is currently the focus of an aggressive exploration program to increase the size of its maiden discovery and to test gold-in-soil anomalies located in a 30km-long structural corridor.  Recent drilling programs at the South Houndé Project have intersected significant mineralisation in several prospect areas which the Company is actively following up.  The Company has built substantial early-stage exploration landholdings in prospective and underexplored areas of Burkina Faso (>3,300 km²), Liberia (>880 km²) and Mali (>560 km²) and is aggressively exploring across the property portfolio.

Caution Regarding Forward Looking Statements
Information in this news release that is not a statement of historical fact constitutes forward-looking information.  Such forward-looking information includes statements regarding the Company’s planned exploration programs.  Actual results, performance or achievements of the Company may vary from the results suggested by such forward-looking statements due to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors. Such factors include, among others, that the business of exploration for gold and other precious minerals involves a high degree of risk and is highly speculative in nature; few properties that are explored are ultimately developed into producing mines; geological factors; the actual results of current and future exploration; changes in project parameters as plans continue to be evaluated, as well as those factors disclosed in the Company’s publicly filed documents.

There can be no assurance that any mineralisation that is discovered will be proven to be economic, or that future required regulatory licensing or approvals will be obtained. However, the Company believes that the assumptions and expectations reflected in the forward-looking information are reasonable. Assumptions have been made regarding, among other things, the Company’s ability to carry on its exploration activities, the sufficiency of funding, the timely receipt of required approvals, the price of gold and other precious metals, that the Company will not be affected by adverse political events, the ability of the Company to operate in a safe, efficient and effective manner and the ability of the Company to obtain further financing as and when required and on reasonable terms. Readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information.

Sarama does not undertake to update any forward-looking information, except as required by applicable laws.

Qualified Person’s Statement

Scientific or technical information in this news release that relates to the Company’s exploration activities in Burkina Faso is based on information compiled or approved by Michel Mercier Michel Mercier is an employee of Sarama Resources Ltd and is a member in good standing of the Ordre des Géologues du Québec and has sufficient experience which is relevant to the commodity, style of mineralisation under consideration and activity which he is undertaking to qualify as a Qualified Person under National Instrument 43-101.  Michel Mercier consents to the inclusion in this report of the information, in the form and context in which it appears.

Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

SOURCE Sarama Resources Limited

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WORLD ENERGY CONGRESS UNVEILS PROGRAM THEMES

Posted on 14 May 2013 by Africa Business

Ministers, CEOs and experts to address full range of energy issues

LONDON &SEOUL– 14th May 2013: The 2013 World Energy Congress Organizing Committee announced today some of the significant program topics that will be discussed by leading figures in the energy sector at the world’s premier energy event, to be held in Daegu, South Korea from October 13 to 17, 2013.

Under the theme of ‘Securing Tomorrow’s Energy Today’, topics range from the future prospects of the oil & gas, coal, nuclear, and renewables sectors to the tough policy decisions needed to balance the often conflicting priorities of energy security, universal access to affordable energy, and environmental protection. Delegates will also be given insights into how finance and innovation are shaping our energy future.

“The Congress will provide a fascinating overview of the opportunities and challenges of our energy world in transition,” said Dr. Christoph Frei, Secretary General of the World Energy Council. “The issues to be highlighted will be addressed from a number of viewpoints, encompassing the perspectives of individual energy sectors and geographical regions, as well as providing a strategic overview of global energy trends.”

More than 200 prominent speakers, including energy ministers, industry CEOs and top experts and researchers, will answer the most pressing questions facing the global energy industry today, such as:

· Oil: Will state oil companies and independents come to dominate the industry?

· Gas: Will shale gas be a game changer in redrawing the global energy map or is it just a bubble?

· Coal: Can demand for coal overcome environmental concerns?

· Renewables: Is the honeymoon over?

· Nuclear: Can effective international governance rules keep alive the nuclear renaissance?

· Hydro: Has its time finally come?

· Biofuels: What are the critical success factors for sustainable projects?

· Utilities: Will new business models succeed in promoting decentralization?

· Energy access: Is it achievable against the competing demands for water and food?

· Energy security: What are the next big energy sources?

· Environment mitigation: Are green growth and rapid economic growth compatible?

· Energy efficiency: Are yesterday’s cities fit for tomorrow’s energy?

· Finance: Is development finance delivering inclusive green growth?

· Energy innovation: Is venture capital more important than government support?

· Asia: Can the region become a showcase for green growth?

· Eurasia: Can it achieve partnerships to unlock its full energy potential?

· Middle East: Will it balance the needs of energy exports, local energy growth and job creation?

· Latin America: Blessed with resources, but overwhelmed by choice?

· Europe: Can it achieve effective energy market integration?

· Africa: Is there an energy infrastructure road map?

“The program at the 22nd World Energy Congress captures the full range and complexity of today’s energy challenges,” said Cho Hwan-eik, chair of the Organizing Committee of the 2013 World Energy Congress. “The Congress offers an impressive and unmatched list of speakers to provide insights on how these challenges can be addressed and overcome.”

Specific sessions and speakers will be announced shortly.

For further information, registration and other details, please log on to www.daegu2013.kr

Media Enquiries:

World Energy Congress – international

Seán Galvin

Tel: +44 (0)20 7269 7133

M: +44 (0)7788 568 245

Email: sean.galvin@fticonsulting.com

World Energy Council

Monique Tsang

Tel: +44 (0)20 3214 0616

Email: tsang@worldenergy.org

About the World Energy Congress

The World Energy Congress is the world’s premier energy gathering. The triennial World Energy Congress has gained recognition since the first event in 1923 as the premier global forum for leaders and thinkers to debate solutions to energy issues. In addition to the discussions, the event provides an opportunity for executives to display their technologies and explore business opportunities. With the upcoming Congress in Daegu the event will have been held in 20 major cities around the world since its founding.

Further details at www.daegu2013.kr and @WECongress

About the World Energy Council (WEC)

The World Energy Council (WEC) is the principal impartial network of leaders and practitioners promoting an affordable, stable and environmentally sensitive energy system for the greatest benefit of all. Formed in 1923, WEC is the UN-accredited global energy body, representing the entire energy spectrum, with more than 3000 member organisations located in over 90 countries and drawn from governments, private and state corporations, academia, NGOs and energy related stakeholders. WEC informs global, regional and national energy strategies by hosting high-level events, publishing authoritative studies, and working through its extensive member network to facilitate the world’s energy policy dialogue.

Further details at www.worldenergy.org and @WECouncil

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Green business awards launched in Zimbabwe

Posted on 14 May 2013 by Wallace Mawire

Zimbabwe anticipates to ignite its green economic revolution with the recent launch of the green business awards expected to be presented to outstanding winners in November 2013, according to Sebastian Zuze, Chairman of the awards. The awards recently launched in Harare under the theme:Greening the economy for sustainable national prosperity are an initiative of Xhib-it Events company and are meant to celebrate excellence in green practice,strategy and products, complimenting the Ministry of Environment’s efforts on greening the economy.They seek to recognize the most innovative,ambitious and effective initiatives by Zimbabwean business and individuals for achieving environmental sustainability and implementing smart business practice.

Launching the award, Zuze said going green is the idea of making sure that in any activity that is conducted by individuals,communities and business,the environmental impacts are assessed and minimized to ensure sustainability.

He added that the effects of not managing the environment include loss of bio-diversity and long term damage to ecosystems,pollution of the atmosphere and the consequences of climate change,damage to aquatic ecosystems,land degradation,the impacts of chemicals use and disposal,waste production and depletion of non-renewable resources.

“On the other hand, good environmental practice ensures increased productivity in our factories,reduction of waste, improved efficiencies,enhanced national image,better utilization of resources and development of environmentally friendly technologies,” Zuze said.   Through the awards, Zimbabwe seeks to explore various approaches to attain sustainable growth in the global market place.

“Goals for the awards are simple, but bold, to fill heads with practical knowledge,ideas,new trends,helping transform business as usual by partnering with extraordinary visionaries,forward thinkers,creative industry leaders and companies committed to building profitable and sustainable enterprises while solving some of the world’s toughest problems,” Zuze said.

Some of the award categories include;the overall green business award,the green leader award,the green entrepreneur award,the green supply chain award,the green building award,the green residential building award,the green energy award,the green professional services award,the green travel initiatives award,the waste to business resource award,the green retailer award,the green school/college award,the green SME award,the green manufacturer award,the green product award,the green innovation award,the green local council award,the green community award,the green healthcare award,the green entertainment and leisure award,the green communications award, the green financial institution award,the green corporate citizen award, the Minister of Environment’s award for environmental excellence, the minister of tourism’s award for eco-tourism excellence and the ministry of mines green mining award of excellence.

Awards chairman Zuze says many factors are impacting on local, regional and international trade.”Managing the environmental impact of manufacturing,mining and the activities involved during the provision of services to markets is assuming significance of enormous proportions especially in Zimbabwe,” Zuze said.

Zimbabwe’s Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Management, Francis Nhema said threats to the environment in Zimbabwe are arising from the construction industry, infrastructure development, mineral resources exploration, waste disposal, packaging and branding, communications, natural resource consumption, energy and water consumption.

“The precautionary principle is therefore crucial to apply that business should operate in a way that does not threaten the future of our existence by continually seeking alternative means and ways of operations that are sustainable,” Nhema said.

Nhema added that his ministry envisions using platforms like the Green Business awards,the merging of business and the environment through behaviour change known as sustainable business or green business to present opportunities for new business that is future oriented.

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“In each market where wind energy is being developed, the state is a big player in the initial stages of industry development and is often the sponsor of pilot projects.”

Posted on 08 May 2013 by Africa Business

Exclusive interview with Dr Emelly Mutambatsere, Principal Regional Economist, African Development Bank, and a speaker at the upcoming Clean Power Africa

1) You are the co-author of a comprehensive document on Africa’s wind energy market – can we start with a short summary of how it has evolved over the years?

The harnessing of wind energy for electricity production on commercial scale started in Africa in the late 1990s. Our study shows that the first commercial scale wind farms were commissioned in 2000/2001 in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. This was after over a decade of pilot testing with Egypt as the trail blazer.

Between 1990 and 2010, wind energy installed capacity increased twelve fold to reach 1.1 Giga Watts in 2011. While the annual growth rate of Africa’s installed capacity was almost twice the growth of global capacity during the same period, it remains similar to the growth rate reported for global capacity when wind took-off on the global market. This growth followed a phased approach, whereby countries lacking familiarity with the technology and having limited geo-referenced data started with pilot projects, migrating to semi-commercial projects, before reaching full-fledged commercial scale. The average project size has also increased over time, while the lead time achieving commercial scale has decreased.

But overall, wind energy markets in Africa remains small in absolute terms and the importance of wind in the energy mix is limited, at less than 1 percent of continent’s total installed generation capacity. This is not expected to significantly change in the medium term given the significant concurrent development of installed capacity from conventional energy source.

2) Which structural characteristics affected the development of wind energy projects?

Taking the presence of wind energy potential as given, four key factors affect the uptake of wind energy. Firstly, the physical attributes of wind – in particular its intermittency which translates into variable electricity output – affect the role that wind can effectively play in the generation mix, and add complexity to the integration of wind-based power plants into conventional electricity grids, including the need for back-up capacity.

Secondly, the level of electrification observed in African countries with strong wind energy potential matters. Those countries that have reached high electrification rates are more amiable to adopting wind energy which they use to increase available electricity generation capacity in both peak and off-peak periods, thus improve reliability of service. On the other hand, countries trying to reach access objectives, and cannot rely solely on wind to achieve this objective given its aforementioned physical attributes, have opted for conventional energy resources which a provide a stable base-load capacity.

Third, the business environment is important. We observe that fast growing wind energy markets have benefited from strong political will, supported by strategic policy direction and an enabling business environment, including industry specific legislation. Finally, while harnessing wind energy improves the environmental footprint of African power systems, we do not see climate change benefits being an overriding driver of market development on the continent. Other factors such as achieving energy security, by improving diversity of the electricity generation mix and/or increasing use of locally available energy resources, appear to take precedence. This is because Africa still makes a meager contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, an underdeveloped market for carbon tips the scale against wind in simple economic and financial comparisons with conventional energy resources.

3) The paper provides the first mapping of the continent’s wind energy market – can you give us a summary of this, where are the most developed markets, which areas have most potential etc.?

A wind energy potential mapping exercise conducted by the African Development Bank in 2004 shows that coastal countries have the best wind from a wind speed perspective. This includes (in no particular order) Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Mauritania in North Africa; Djibouti, Eretria, Seychelles and Somalia in the East; and South Africa, Lesotho and Madagascar in the South. Another study we reference in the paper identifies Kenya and Chad as also having large inland wind energy potential. Central and West Africa are shown to have limited potential.

We observed in conducting this study that wind energy potential is a dynamic concept which evolves with the industry’s technology advancement. It is also important in discussing this concept to clearly define the type of potential being measured: whether on-shore or off-shore, whether the physical upper limit of the energy resource or the convertible potential considering technological, structural and ecological constraints. The ranking of countries by potential follows suite. For example, a study which evaluates technical potential ranks Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Egypt, Madagascar, Kenya and Chad as being among the top 30 countries on global scale.

Looking at the developed potential at end-2011, we see strong concentration of wind energy capacity in three North African countries – Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia. Egypt held half of the continent’s total installed capacity, followed by Morocco with 40% and Tunisia with 5%. Outside of North Africa, there is commercial capacity in Cape Verde, and limited capacity in South Africa, Kenya, Mauritius, Eritrea and Mozambique.

The market’s outlook is also noteworthy. Our survey produced a comprehensive sample of about 60 ongoing and planned wind energy projects on the continent. This places South and East African markets in the lead in terms of market growth. South Africa alone is expected to contribute a third of the wind energy capacity currently under developed or planned in Africa; and Kenya is making significant strides toward developing what is poised to be the continent’s largest wind power project. This trend is attributed to increased strategic focus on wind in these regions, whilst in the North market development has been stalled by socio-economic instability.

4) What do African countries need to take into consideration when developing wind projects?

First, there is need to develop a national champion to promote the industry, offering a single focal point for regulation, financing and oversight. In Egypt, the New and Renewable Energy Agency (NREA) was specifically established to play this role. Elsewhere, the existing power utility or a division therein was used.

Second, the wind energy market is attractive to private developers provided clear legislation exists to support the market. This includes rebalancing the scale in cases where subsidies exist on fossil fuels in order to improve competitiveness of renewable technologies.  In addition to legislative support, the state should focus on kick-starting market development by supporting research and development, developing comprehensive geo-referenced datasets required for feasibility studies, and funding pilot projects.

It is important for countries to choose an industry development model which serves the country’s energy sector needs best. Country experiences have thus far been different among market leaders: while some countries opted for a state utility sponsored market development path (e.g. Egypt), others have used a blend of public and private sponsorship of projects including by industrial users (e.g. Morocco) and still others, a competitive private sector led path (e.g. South Africa). The same is true for choice of pricing model (whether a predetermined feed-in tariff, direct negotiation or price competition). The different approaches reflect different priorities and local preferences.

Finally, most African countries developing renewable energy markets are hoping for farther reaching results including industrialization and job creation. Countries pursing this secondary goal should support local linkages, including local manufacturing of turbines and turbine components, as an integral part of their wind sector strategy. Examples of best practice in the respect are still limited.

5) What did you find regarding funding of such projects?

In each market where wind energy is being developed, the state is a big player in the initial stages of industry development; and is often the sponsor of pilot projects.  Donor financing is also very visible in these initial stages. As the market matures, we see the profile of both sponsors and financiers evolving, from public entities and grant financing, to public-private / private entities and non-concessional financing. However, the market has not yet developed to the point where it can be fully funded by the private sector, therefore development finance institutions remain major players.

6) What will be your main message at Clean Power Africa?

Africa’s wind energy market has developed at a pace similar to that observed in leading markets at the early stages of their industry development. Despite this progress and the presence of significant potential on the continent, we should not expect wind to take over conventional energy resources in terms of share in the electricity generation mix, as key structural characteristics of the market affect both efficacy in addressing the energy access challenge, and competitiveness of wind, relative to non-renewable energy resources. Countries seeking to develop this market should do so deliberately and be intent on supporting early market development. However given the urgency with which most governments must address the more pressing access needs, conventional solutions will more likely be adopted ahead of, or concurrently with, wind energy.

7) What are you most looking forward to at the event in Cape Town?

I always look forward to interacting with practitioners and policy makers in these forums. It is an opportunity to learn from them how institutions such as AfDB can best serve as a partner in Africa’s development.

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Multi-faceted consumer car market bucks economic trend, says Standard Bank South Africa

Posted on 06 May 2013 by Africa Business

The South African new car market is bucking the economic trend with sales increasing by 4.1% to 163 092 units during the first three months of 2013 when compared to the same period last year. This is despite tough economic conditions, with the South African Reserve Bank expecting GDP to grow by only 2.7% during 2013.

Sydney Soundy, head of Vehicle and Asset Finance at Standard Bank South Africa, says that the prosperity within the market is notable when compared to other sectors, which were feeling the brunt of reduced consumer spending and the cost pressure caused by higher inflation and fuel prices, among other factors.

“Consumers seem to be taking advantage of the low interest rate environment and clearly still have an appetite for secured credit,” Mr Soundy says.

Vehicle sales continue to be driven by passenger vehicles and individual purchases. As at February 2013 total vehicle instalment debtors and leases were made up largely by individuals, who made up 72% of the instalment and leases book.

Looking at the South African buyer reveals several interesting facts.

“The majority of people applying for vehicle finance are between the ages of 18 and 45, constituting 62.4% of the market. These consumers display the highest level of awareness about technical changes to vehicles taking place in the industry, the brand offerings available, the legislation and the financial offerings available to buyers,” Mr Soundy says.

He notes that manufacturers have reacted to this knowledgeable sector of the market by ensuring that their offerings are competitively priced and offer the features demanded. One of the results is a diversified market in which about 70 brands of passenger vehicle are available, offering customers a choice of around 2 500 variants.

“About 65% of consumers are purchasing cars that cost less than R200 000. Toyota, Hyundai and Volkswagen are some of the manufacturers that have met the need for buying economical vehicles, capturing 50% of the new car market in this segment,” he said. Smaller engine vehicles (<1.7 litres) have seen the biggest sales growth in recent times, growing by just under 12% in 2012 from 2011, compared to growth of 9% and 1% for medium (1.8 to 3 litres) and large (>3 litres) engine vehicles respectively.

Consumers have been addressing the monthly affordability of repayments for their vehicles of choice in different ways, including through financing vehicles over a longer period, using the Residual Value option on their finance deals, and varying the extent of deposits offered.

The advent of the National Credit Act has also seen finance contracts taken over longer terms, with the average contract for new vehicles now being just over 60 months. “The average settlement period for new vehicles however, is just over 40 months,” Mr Soundy says.

Applications with a residual value request have increased, with the overall percentage of applications received with residual values at around 13% in the first quarter of 2013, from just over 11% in 2012. Consumers are seeing the benefit of this finance option, in which the monthly installments are reduced due to a residual value.

In the first quarter of this year, Standard Bank South Africa has seen an increase in the number of vehicle finance applications; however the percentage of applications with deposits have declined, with more consumers seeking to finance vehicles without a deposit.

Mr. Soundy also notes that although the traditional installment sale agreement remains very popular, consideration for alternative financing options, such as rental and leasing options, is gaining traction.

“Astute consumers are well aware that a vehicle cannot be deemed an asset. They are shifting the risk of vehicle ownership and residual values, and the responsibility of disposing the vehicle at the end of the contract, to the financier.”

Looking ahead, Mr Soundy notes that certain factors this year may work against growth in new vehicles sales. These include the Rand exchange rate which could put pressure on vehicle prices, continuing high levels of consumer household debt, and the high level of households with impaired credit records. Increases in food prices, energy prices (both fuel and electricity), and transport costs, including toll fees, will also impact on consumers’ disposable income. Inflation will be under pressure to remain below the target of 6% in 2013, impacted largely by the depreciation of the Rand and higher fuel prices.

“The Rand is likely to remain sensitive to both domestic and global developments. This could have a negative knock-on effect on vehicle prices,” he says. “However, the effect of the exchange rate has not yet reflected in car sales. Last year, vehicle prices rose by only 2.2% year-on-year.”

Mr Soundy believes that the continuing current low interest rate environment and the competitive nature of the South African motor industry will provide potential boost for growth in the market.

He says that Standard Bank South Africa’s financing activities will continue to be based on responsible lending that takes into account cash flow optimisation for both personal and commercial customers.

“Regardless of the economic situation, we will continue to assist customers by developing and providing financial services that make the acquisition of vehicles, whether for private or corporate use, as easy as possible.”

Source: StandardBank.com

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External Capital Support Has Sustained China’s Non-Life Expansion

Posted on 02 May 2013 by Africa Business

LONDON, UK
Direct premium in China’s non-life sector annually grew by 23% on average during 2009-2012, according to a new report from A.M. Best Co. Amid rapid premium growth, non-life insurers faced solvency pressure relative to capital and surplus levels, as evidenced by the peak amount of new capital and subordinated debt issued by non-life insurers in 2011 and 2012. This report analyzes the factors that impact the solvency level of major non-life insurers as grouped by average capital adequacy levels over the past three years, and assesses whether each sector can sustain these levels under current growth rates and operating profitability.

For a full complimentary copy of this report, please click the following link: A.M. Best Special Report: China Non-Life.

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AfDB’s COMPELLING CASE FOR AFRICA’S STRUCTURAL TRANSFORMATION

Posted on 27 April 2013 by Amat JENG

For the African Development Bank (AfDB), transforming Africa’s economies entails diversifying and expanding the sources of economic growth and opportunity in a manner that promotes greater productivity for sustained and inclusive economic development.

“A major policy challenge for Africa today is how to broaden access to economic opportunities for its expanding population, including the most vulnerable groups,” the Bank says in its 2012 Annual Report, which will be presented to the institution’s Governors at the Marrakech meetings.

“Africa requires structural transformation to propel it towards inclusive growth,” the report says, citing high unemployment and underemployment especially among young people and women, as one of the main problems facing the continent today.

AfDB's headquarters in Abidjan, Cote D'ivoire

Structural transformation will not materialize unless there is a concomitant investment in skills development in areas that have kept the continent behind other developing regions. In this regard, Africa needs to harness its natural resources to build skills for its youthful population in order to leapfrog development and secure a place in the global value chain. Developing skills will unleash the dynamism of Africa’s untapped entrepreneurship potential, creating opportunities for increased job and wealth creation. An enlightened population is also important in Africa’s global engagement in trade and commerce.

“The key message is that Africa should accelerate its structural transformation by boosting the potential of its youthful population, investing in science and technology and innovation, speeding up its rate of economic integration, greening the economy and supporting private sector enterprise,” the report emphasized.

The report identifies leadership, degree of economic integration at the national, regional and global levels, as well as inclusive growth as the key factors that can influence transformation. Regional political events, weather, and price shocks must also be taken into consideration.

Mr. Donald Kaberuka

According to the report, Africa’s transformation can be realized by leveraging the huge potentials in some of the following areas:

- Infrastructure – Africa’s infrastructure financing needs — about USD 390 billion in the medium term, mostly for power and energy — are in the USD trillions in the longer term.

- Natural resources – It is estimated that Africa’s natural resource extractive industries will contribute over USD 30 billion per annum in government revenues in the next 20 years.

- Revenues from natural resources could finance a substantial part of Africa’s infrastructure development. Some countries have already issued Eurobonds for infrastructure, on the basis of natural-resource revenues.

- Demographics – Young people comprise the bulk of Africa’s one billion population. To convert this “youth bulge” into a “demographic dividend” will require investing in skills and the creation of job opportunities on a large and unprecedented scale.

- Promoting agriculture – the agriculture sector employs the vast majority of Africa’s population, and provides direct inputs to the agro-processing value chain, supplies food to urban areas, and is a source of household savings for investment.

- The Private Sector – As Africa’s economies expand, the private sector, which accounts for 90 per cent of informal employment, will become even more important, especially in industry.

- Urbanization –- Africa’s cities, with 40 per cent of the population in 2010 — projected to be 50 per cent in a generation, and 65 per cent by 2060 — are increasingly becoming the drivers of consumer demand and hence economic growth.

- Governance/Investment climate – improved governance and better macroeconomic policies – lower debt, low inflation and stable exchange rates are essential in fostering economic competitiveness.

- Technological innovation – Investment in technology, and particularly ICT, have greatly improved public access to information, spurring a knowledge economy and innovative approaches to micro-finance and the mobilization of rural producers, e.g. Kenya’s M-PESA, Kenya’s innovative mobile banking.

The strategies to unlock Africa’s potential reside in elimination of the causes of national and regional conflict to bring peace; visionary leadership and strong and effective government institutions, while empowering women and youth; strengthening human capital development through education and training, especially in science and technology, and improvements in basic services; fostering diversification, especially in agriculture and rural areas, including sustainable greening of the economy and promotion of manufacturing; and promoting intra-Africa trade through increased domestic and regional investment, and forging strong trade links with emerging partners.

The Bank will continue to support and monitor the transformation efforts of the Regional Member Countries. Accordingly, the Bank has adopted a 10-year strategy whose overarching goal is to promote socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable economic growth. The core operational priorities of this strategy include infrastructure development; regional integration; private sector development; governance and accountability; as well as skills and technology development.

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The African Development Bank’s Compelling Case for Africa’s Structural Transformation

Posted on 23 April 2013 by Africa Business

AfDB Annual Meetings take place from 27-31 May in Marrakech, Morocco

MARRAKECH, Morocco, April 23, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group’s 2013 Annual Meetings (http://www.afdb.org) take place from 27-31 May in Marrakech, Morocco. The 48th meetings of the AfDB and the 39th meetings of the African Development Fund (ADF) will be held under the central theme of “Structural Transformation in Africa.”

For the AfDB, transforming Africa’s economies entails diversifying and expanding the sources of economic growth and opportunity in a manner that promotes greater productivity for sustained and inclusive economic development.

“A major policy challenge for Africa today is how to broaden access to economic opportunities for its expanding population, including the most vulnerable groups,” the Bank says in its 2012 Annual Report, which will be presented to the institution’s Governors at the Marrakech meetings.

“Africa requires structural transformation to propel it towards inclusive growth,” the report says, citing high unemployment and underemployment especially among young people and women, as one of the main problems facing the continent today.

Structural transformation will not materialize unless there is a concomitant investment in skills development in areas that have kept the continent behind other developing regions. In this regard, Africa needs to harness its natural resources to build skills for its youthful population in order to leapfrog development and secure a place in the global value chain. Developing skills will unleash the dynamism of Africa’s untapped entrepreneurship potential, creating opportunities for increased job and wealth creation. An enlightened population is also important in Africa’s global engagement in trade and commerce.

“The key message is that Africa should accelerate its structural transformation by boosting the potential of its youthful population, investing in science and technology and innovation, speeding up its rate of economic integration, greening the economy and supporting private sector enterprise,” the report emphasized.

The report identifies leadership, degree of economic integration at the national, regional and global levels, as well as inclusive growth as the key factors that can influence transformation. Regional political events, weather, and price shocks must also be taken into consideration.

According to the report, Africa’s transformation can be realized by leveraging the huge potentials in some of the following areas:

-    Infrastructure – Africa’s infrastructure financing needs — about USD 390 billion in the medium term, mostly for power and energy — are in the USD trillions in the longer term.

 

-    Natural resources – It is estimated that Africa’s natural resource extractive industries will contribute over USD 30 billion per annum in government revenues in the next 20 years.

 

-    Revenues from natural resources could finance a substantial part of Africa’s infrastructure development. Some countries have already issued Eurobonds for infrastructure, on the basis of natural-resource revenues.

 

-    Demographics – Young people comprise the bulk of Africa’s one billion population. To convert this “youth bulge” into a “demographic dividend” will require investing in skills and the creation of job opportunities on a large and unprecedented scale.

 

-    Promoting agriculture – the agriculture sector employs the vast majority of Africa’s population, and provides direct inputs to the agro-processing value chain, supplies food to urban areas, and is a source of household savings for investment.

 

-    The Private Sector – As Africa’s economies expand, the private sector, which accounts for 90 per cent of informal employment, will become even more important, especially in industry.

 

-    Urbanization –- Africa’s cities, with 40 per cent of the population in 2010 — projected to be 50 per cent in a generation, and 65 per cent by 2060 — are increasingly becoming the drivers of consumer demand and hence economic growth.

 

-    Governance/Investment climate – improved governance and better macroeconomic policies – lower debt, low inflation and stable exchange rates are essential in fostering economic competitiveness.

 

-    Technological innovation – Investment in technology, and particularly ICT, have greatly improved public access to information, spurring a knowledge economy and innovative approaches to micro-finance and the mobilization of rural producers, e.g. Kenya’s M-PESA, Kenya’s innovative mobile banking.

The strategies to unlock Africa’s potential reside in elimination of the causes of national and regional conflict to bring peace; visionary leadership and strong and effective government institutions, while empowering women and youth; strengthening human capital development through education and training, especially in science and technology, and improvements in basic services; fostering diversification, especially in agriculture and rural areas, including sustainable greening of the economy and promotion of manufacturing; and promoting intra-Africa trade through increased domestic and regional investment, and forging strong trade links with emerging partners.

The Bank will continue to support and monitor the transformation efforts of the Regional Member Countries. Accordingly, the Bank has adopted a 10-year strategy whose overarching goal is to promote socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable economic growth. The core operational priorities of this strategy include infrastructure development; regional integration; private sector development; governance and accountability; as well as skills and technology development.

Distributed by the African Press Organization on behalf of the African Development Bank.

SOURCE

African Development Bank (AfDB)

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