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UK-Africa Forum on Trade, Policy and Reform to Examine the Future of Trade and Avenues for Policy Reform

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Invest Africa, a Pan-African business and investment platform, aims to build constructive dialogue between policy makers and business leaders from the UK and Africa during the Forum. James Duddridge MP, Minister for Africa, Emma Wade-Smith OBE, H.M. Trade Commissioner for Africa, and His Excellency Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of Finance of the Republic of Ghana will feature in the programme.

The Forum will feature Dr Mo Ibrahim in conversation with CNBC Africa, discussing why supporting good governance is essential to driving growth and improving livelihoods across the continent. Speaking earlier this month, the Sudanese-British businessman called attention to the impact of Covid-19 on governance in Africa, highlighting job creation, improved education and healthcare and investment in economic development as essential conditions to building healthy democracies.

The Forum brings together speakers from Invest Africa’s membership, including Absa international; DHL; Casa Orascom; TTRO; Mischon de Reya; Tysers; Pernod Ricard and Afreximbank.

An explosion of trade with Africa

The Forum comes at an opportune time as trading under the AfCFTA commenced on the 1 January 2021, accelerating intra-African trade, and boosting Africa’s trading position in the global market.

This, combined with the UK’s departure from the European Union, has seen a rise in investment interest in Africa. The UK trade envoy to Egypt was recently quoted in the UK press, saying that Egypt ‘can be the “gateway” to an explosion of trade with Africa.’ Earlier this year, Helen Grant, Conservative MP and trade envoy to Nigeria claimed a trade deal with the country could be significant for the UK.  Ms Grant boasted of Nigeria’s emerging economy and the impact it could have for British business (https://bit.ly/3z9gQ5g) in terms of financial services, agriculture, and tech.

In March 2021, the UK signed a trade partnership agreement with Ghana, that secures tariff-free trade and provides a platform for greater economic and cultural cooperation. In practical terms, it means that Ghanaian products such as bananas, tinned tuna and cocoa will benefit from tariff-free access to the United Kingdom.

In fact, as of June this year, the UK Government website lists over 15 trade agreements that the government has concluded in Africa. Where the agreement has not yet been ratified, provisional application or bridging mechanisms have been put in place to ensure continuity of trade. African countries with deals in place come from across the continent, including Egypt and Morocco in the North, Botswana and Lesotho in the South, Kenya in the East and Ghana in the West.

The private sector sees the potential too. Cheryl Buss, CEO of Absa International and a speaker at the Invest Africa Forum next week, was recently interviewed by a London financial newspaper and was optimistic about trade between the UK and Africa. She stated that “the UK is in a position to strengthen its relationships with Africa post-Brexit.  This will lead to a more collaborative relationship based around trade and investment. Moreover, international trade opportunities into Africa are often facilitated via London, with the majority of European-African capital flows going through the City. “

Regulatory frameworks are fundamental to investors

Karen Taylor, CEO of Invest Africa and Lord Popat, UK Trade Envoy to the DRC and other panellists took part in an international trade webinar this month, hosted by the Congolese Chamber of Commerce in Great Britain. The event looked at regional integration and UK strategic investments in the DRC and the Republic of Angola.

Taylor echoed Dr Mo Ibrahim’s support of good governance during the event, making the following comments: “UK and international global investors are very much looking at ESG factors, critical to their decisions on which countries they are going to invest in and which companies they are going to invest in, so good governance is crucial for facilitating investment. Regulatory frameworks are also fundamental to the investors, and we need to make sure that they are in place to attract them in the first place so that they have that confidence and if it is not there it will hinder capital flow”.

Intra-African trade optimism is tempered by an acknowledgement of the challenges that investors face, ranging from logistical issues to regulatory frameworks. These challenges – and opportunities – will be discussed in the Invest Africa UK-Africa Forum.

To attend Invest Africa’s UK-Africa Forum on Trade, Policy and Reform on the 15th of June, register online at https://bit.ly/3ggn0YA.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Dangote Cement Boosts Sub-Saharan Africa’s Economic Development

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Dangote Cement - Investors King

Operating in 10 African countries, Dangote Cement has significantly boost Sub-Saharan Africa Economic Development and play major roles in attracting Investors and job creation.

Sub-Saharan Africa is populated by more than half a billion people, and rapid urbanisation is creating challenges in the areas of housing, roads, railways, power supply, dams and water pipelines – aspects of infrastructure that are critical to the well-being of the population.

This situation indicates that cement and concrete will play a major role in construction technology in Africa, an aspect that makes the continent an attractive destination for investors.

The Dangote Group has taken cognizance and advantage of the cement demand in Africa by investing in 10 sub-Saharan counties like Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zambia, Ghana, Congo, and Sierra Leone.

Remarkably, the Dangote Cement plant has successfully operated in Senegal in the last five years, producing 32.5 and 42.5-grades, thereby offering the domestic market higher-quality cement at competitive prices.

The company’s 1.5Mta factory located in Pout, about 60km from Dakar, was commissioned at the end of December 2014 to take advantage of the geographical strategic location, strong demand and abundant limestone deposits.

Country Manager, Dangote Cement, Senegal, Luk Haelterman, said: “before our entry, the domestic market was almost entirely made up of 32.5-grade cement. Our plant produces 42.5-grade cement, thereby offering the market higher-quality cement at a competitive price, which the construction industry urgently needs.”

Dangote Cement Senegal’s integrated plant is modern, fuel-efficient that uses the latest technology to produce high-quality cement. This enables the company to compete very effectively in a Sub-Saharan cement industry that is fragmented and characterised by smaller-scale operators with older technologies.

Haelterman described Dangote Cement’s investment in Senegal as one of the biggest foreign direct investments by an African company, which is an indication of its strong belief in the future growth of its economy.

He said the market has potential for growth for both local consumption and export, despite being saturated by other cement brands, saying, “apart from capturing the local market in Senegal, we also now export cement to neighbouring countries of Mali, The Gambia and Guinea-Bissau.”

Haelterman attributed the company’s outstanding performance in Senegal to stringent quality assurance processes, which were deployed to ensure that customers get high-quality products that meet all the required technical standards.

According to him, Dangote’s introduction of the 42.5-degree brand of cement to the major market in Senegal upon entry has enabled the company to gain the desired market share in the country.

Luk also disclosed that Dangote Cement Senegal has developed a culture of supporting local employees and prioritising local hiring, which allows local country employees have the necessary knowledge, experience, and support to take up key roles within the company.

He said the policy aims to gradually reduce the number of expatriates employed by the business by enhancing the skills and capacity of Senegalese employees to take up leadership positions.

“We have ensured that our image has been aligned with two key principles from day one: maintaining high quality, and taking a local approach in everything that we do,” he said.

Human resources manager, Dangote Cement, Senegal, Waly Diouf, said the company takes training and development of employees as a priority. “Today, Dangote Senegal has about 800 employees. We make sure that we invest heavily in the training and development of employees. We have a programme, which enables us to boost the skills of local staff at all levels. Dangote Cement Senegal is one of the best plants in Africa. This consistent training of indigenous manpower has made our plant one of the best in Africa ” he disclosed.

Chief finance officer, Dangote Cement, Senegal, Ousmane Mbaye, said the company has contributed significantly to the development of Senegal’s economy, saying, “Dangote Senegal started operation in Senegal in 2015, and between 2015 and 2019, the company has contributed heavily into the Senegalese government treasury, thereby assisting in economic development.”

Head of mines, Dangote Cement, Senegal, Leyti Ndiaye added that “our job is to supply raw materials to the plant and make sure that blending of the limestone is done correctly. We operate under very strict environmental regulations. As a company, we have a sustainable environment management plan so as to reduce environmental degradation during operation as well as restoration of degraded lands after final mine closure.”

Chief executive officer, National Sector Mining Company, Ousmane Cisse commended Dangote Cement for investing massively in the Senegalese economy. “I am very proud to have Dangote Cement in Senegal. Dangote has been able to satisfy the Senegalese cement market since its inception in 2015. When Dangote arrived here, there were two players in the market. Dangote brought quantity and quality products through the introduction of 45.2R. Dangote has helped cement consumers in Senegal to access quality cement products.

“The company is also satisfying markets in the surrounding countries. When you visit Dangote, you will discover that most of the employees are Senegalese. The company has employed Senegalese and ensure adequate capacity building for everybody,” he stated.

The best practices adopted by the Dangote Cement Senegal Plant over the past five years have boosted its production process and quality of its products, with a corresponding positive impact on the economy of the country, Sub-Saharan Africa and the continent as a whole. This is a plus for development.

Dangote Cement has a production capacity of 48.6 million tonnes per year across 10 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Group has integrated factories in seven countries, clinker grinding plant in Cameroon, and import and distribution facilities for bulk cement in Ghana and Sierra Leone. Together, these operations make the Group the largest cement producer in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Based in Nigeria, the Group operates in many of Sub-Saharan Africa’s key cement markets, helping the continent become self-sufficient in this basic commodity. In 2020, it started shipping clinker to West and Central Africa from Nigeria. Its regional strategy stated that it look for markets that have ample limestone, thriving economies, growing populations, and a pressing need for housing and infrastructure.

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Arla Food To Set Up Dairy Farm In Nigeria, Train 1,000 Dairy Farmers

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Arla Foods- Investors King

Arla Foods, makers of Dano Milk, has announced that it will build a state-of-the-art commercial dairy farm in Northern Nigeria where it plans to train and support up to 1,000 local dairy farmers as part of its long-term commitment to developing the Nigerian dairy sector.

The 200-hectare farm, scheduled to open in 2022, will have housing for 400 dairy cows, modern milking parlours and technology, grasslands and living facilities for 25 employees.

The firm said the farm is expected to produce over 10 tonnes of milk per day to supply locally produced dairy products to Nigerian consumers.

Managing Director, Arla Foods, Peder Pedersen said “there was a great need for nutritious food and dairy products to satisfy the growing demand from Nigeria’s fast-growing population.”

“This requires a complementary approach where imported food is crucial to ensuring food security while also supporting the government’s long-term agricultural transformation plan to build a sustainable dairy sector in Nigeria,” Pedersen said.

In 2019 Arla scaled up its commitment to developing a sustainable dairy sector in Nigeria with a new public-private partnership with the Kaduna State government.

It is the first of its size and offers 1,000 nomadic dairy farmers permanent farmlands. Arla is the commercial partner that will purchase, collect, process and bring the local milk to market.

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The Board of Chemical and Allied Products Plc (CAP Plc) Appoints Vitus Ezinwa as a Non-Executive Director

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Chemical & Allied Products (CAP) Plc - Investors King

The Board of Chemical and Allied Products Plc (CAP Plc) has appointed Dr. Vitus Ezinwa as a Non-Executive Director of the company effective from Thursday June 17, 2021, subject to the approval of the Company’s shareholders at the next Annual General Meeting.

The company announced in a statement signed by Ayomipo Wey, Company Secretary/General Counsel, CAP Plc.

Dr. Ezinwa is a seasoned business manager and human resource professional with experience in leading multinational corporations.

He is currently the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of UAC of Nigeria Plc (“UACN”) and previously, the Group Director of HR at UACN.

Prior to Joining UACN, Dr. Ezinwa worked as Group Human Resources Director for Promasidor Africa; Human Resources Director, CocaCola Nigeria & Equatorial Africa with responsibility for 10 countries and Human Resources Director for British American Tobacco, West & Central Africa covering Ghana, Benin, Niger & Togo.

Dr. Ezinwa was, until recently, the Group Human Resource Director for Tropical General Investments (TGI) Group.

He is a member of the Advisory Board of Afterschool Graduate Development Centre, member of the Institute of Directors and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) UK.

He is a co-founder and Director of HR Network Africa and was until 2014, a member of the Lagos Business School’s Advisory Board. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology/Anthropology from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, MBA in Management from Lagos Business School, a Master’s in applied business research and a Doctorate in Business Administration, both from Swiss Business School, Zurich, Switzerland.

In addition to holding an executive director role on the Board of UACN, Dr. Ezinwa is a non-executive director of Grand Cereals Limited.

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