Sunday, 5 August 2012

Business Around Africa

Cape Town to host Africa's biggest Comedy Festival
CAPE TOWN, August 5 (Xinhua) -- The Cape Town Comedy Festival, Africa's largest festival of its kind, will be held in September, organizers said on Sunday.
The festival will once again bring the world's hottest international and local comedy acts to Cape Town with big names such as Orlando Jones, Michael Winslow, Louis Katz, Brian Haner, Lil Rel and Loni Love. Local funny man David Kau will be the host during the festival that will run from Sept. 3 to 9.
Among the comedians, heavyweight Orlando rose to fame after being cast in Oscar-winning director Barry Levinson's feature film Liberty Heights. The renowned comedian has continued working with film directors like Ivan Reitman (Evolution), Mike Judge (Office Space) and Oscar Paul Thomas Anderson (Magnolia).
Orlando was also nominated for an Ovation Award by the Los Angeles Stage Alliance for his performance in August Wilson's Pulitzer Prize winning play Fences.
For over a decade the festival has put Cape Town on the entertainment map of the world with Africa's largest and funniest comedy festival, organizers said.
The festival innovates, engages and entertains the city and incorporates a number of unique features that makes this festival "international" in the true sense of the word, placing it firmly amongst the top five comedy events in the world.(Xinhua)

Interest rates on Treasury bills in Kenya fall
NAIROBI, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- Interest rates on government short- term papers in Kenya declined in the last auction as investors' appetite for the securities soars.
Weighted average yield on the Treasury bills, which are a favourite with individual investors, declined by at least 0.3 percent.
The fall of the interest rates comes after steady rise in the past months, which saw yields jump from a low of 9.3 percent in early June to 13.4 percent on July 30.
Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) results for the offer indicated that interest rate for the 91-day Treasury bill dropped by 0.36 percent in this auction.
"The market weighted average rate was 13.1 percent and the weighted average of accepted bids, which will be applied to non- competitive bids, was 12.9 percent, down from 13.2 percent in the previous auction," said Gerald Nyaoma, the bank's director Financial Markets Department in a brief on the auction.
Similarly, the results indicate that interest rate for 182-day Treasury bills fell by 0.34 percent in this auction.(Xinhua)
Nigeria seeks more investment to Lagos free zone
LAGOS, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- The southwest Nigeria's Lagos State government on Friday launched a fresh investment drive that will stir more investment into the Lekki Free Zone (LFZ) in Ibeju-Lekki area of the state.
The move is the opening of a one-day joint investment forum and 10-day Eko Expo 2012 aimed at showcasing investment potentials of the state at the Lekki Free Zone.
The events is being put together by the Lagos State Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Lekki Free Zone Development Company (LFZDC).
Investors who play in the key sectors of the economy across Nigeria, South Africa, the United Kingdom, United States and China were present at the opening on Friday.
Babatunde Fashola, the governor of Lagos told his audience that the establishment of the FTZ was a major step toward boosting economic growth and increasing the inflow of Foreign Direct Investments in the country.
"We must work together to achieve this," Fashola added, noting that the state government's desire to make Lagos a preferred destination in sub-Saharan Africa for investors and businesses ranked first among other considerations.
The Minister for Trade and Investment Olusegun Aganga, who described the project as a laudable one, said it was critical to Nigeria's economic development in terms of job creation and poverty alleviation, foreign exchange earnings, technology transfer and economic integration, amongst other significant benefits that the free zone would impact on the socio-economic landscape.
Chinese Consul General in Lagos Liu Xianfa attended the forum and lauded the mutual business understanding of both countries in terms of trade volume and investment.(Xinhua)

Ghana's central bank recommends cashless economy for country
ACCRA, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- A top official of Ghana's Central Bank on Friday recommended a cashless economy for the West African country.
Speaking at a day's stakeholder forum organized by Mobile Telecom Network (MTN), Head of Payment Systems Oversight at the Bank of Ghana, Kwame Ansah, said that, looking at global trends, Ghana's economy had no option than to go cashless.
The forum, which was under the theme of "Building a Cashless Economy in Ghana: Prospects, Challenges and the Way Forward", was put together by MTN and leading local banks to brainstorm on a suitable electronic payment system for the country.
Ansah said if all the electronic payment methods in the country were harmonized and made available for people to transact business, it would reduce the cost burden the nation bore in printing, importing, distributing and maintaining currency notes and coins in the system.
For this reason, he said the central bank was putting in place measures and strategies to ensure that the e-Zwich smart cards introduced in April 2008 by the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems (GhIPSS) became available to all banks and financial institutions and made highly inter-operational.
"Studies have shown that shifting from paper-based to a more electronic-based payment system can generate an annual savings of up to one percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP)," Ansah indicated.
This, he noted, would also reduce costs "through the reduction of redeployment of resources used in handling cash and cheques as well as reducing the cost of banking infrastructure in general".
He believed that electronic payment systems could also help fight corruption and money laundering as the system was transparent with an audit trail of all transactions.
On why the e-Zwich system had not been successful in spite of all the promotions carried out so far, Ansah said the basic infrastructure needed by the banks and other merchants were not available to cater for customers. (Xinhua)

Gabon's gold production hits 50 kg per month
LIBREVILLE, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- Managem, a private mining company with Gabonese shareholders which recently began operations in the country, has started producing 50 kg of gold per month, the spokesman for the presidency Alain Claude Bilie Bi Nze said on Friday when he addressed the press in Libreville.
"Managem is producing between 45 to 50 kg of gold per month," Bi Nze said but added that Managem estimates that it will start producing 100 kg of gold in the coming months.
At the same time, the spokesman for the presidency said that the Gabonese government had put in place measures to control gold production, an exercise which was previously being carried out by illegal gold washers.
Last year, the government dismantled a big network of illegal gold washers who were operating from Minkebo national park in Gabon's north-eastern region of Ogouee Ivindo.
Gold is the second mineral that is mined in Gabon. The country currently produces 3.5 million tons of manganese each year. (Xinhua)

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