The 5th Africa Resource Bank (ARB) meeting went underway this week in the coastal town of Dar es salaam, Tanzania. Organized by Inter Region Economic Network (IREN), the annual event brings together like-minded Africans and friends of Africa keen on shaping the future of this continent. Launched in 2003, ARB is an event that aims at promoting ideas that enhance economic freedom and wealth creation in Africa. This year’s theme: Positioning Africa in the 21st Century has drawn ideas from Africans in the Diaspora, business people, economists and policy makers in government. For the last four years, the event has enhanced its role as a major player in setting the African agenda.
Uganda Airline Takes to the Skies
Air Uganda will start its first commercial flights out of Uganda's Entebbe International Airport later this month; this comes after a decade-long collapse of the national carrier. The airline bounces back in the wake of economic growth within the East African region, a boom Uganda’s carrier was missing out on. "The necessity of a national carrier for Uganda cannot be overemphasized, especially on high frequency routes within the region that are critical to the economy," said Air Uganda Chief Executive Officer, Pietro Niedda. He added that they will run test flights for about one week in preparation for the official launch later this month. Both Kenya and Tanzania have approved landing rights for the airline.
Oilibya Enters Kenya
Oilibya, Libya's oil giant and African company that took over the American firm, Mobil last year has formally entered the Kenyan market. The company comes in the wake of rising oil prices on the international market, a trend that has pushed commodity prices to their highest in Kenya. An upward adjustment in transport costs is also being experienced in many parts of the country occasioned by high fuel costs. The North African company is expected to loosen the western-multinational's grip on the domestic. Oilibya’s entry is lauded by the chief executive of the Petroleum Institute of East Africa (PIEA), Mr George Wachira. He reckons that the entry of the new player who is famous for low operation costs promises consumers better pricing.
Rebels to be Disarmed
Congo and Rwanda have agreed to forcibly disarm Rwandan Hutu rebels in an effort to reduce tension between the communities living within the border region of the two central African nations. In a move to promote peace and avert growth of militia and insurgent groups, a situation that contributed to the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, the Congolese and Rwandese foreign ministers made the disarmament agreement in a meeting held earlier this month in Nairobi, Kenya.
Merger of the Year
The much-awaited merger between CFC Bank and Stanbic Bank Kenya is on its take-off gear. The merger process, which has taken close to a year, has seen both companies ensure all legal and financial frameworks put in place to allay any fears of a fall out or grumbling afterwards. The deal which is viewed as a major business tie between South Africa and Kenya has been a ‘headliner’ in the business sector for the better part of this year. As a result, Stanbic Bank Kenya will become CFC-Stanbic Bank - the combined banking business of CFC Bank and Standard Bank Kenya. "There are three countries in Africa that you have to dominate to be dominant and relevant in the continent," said the Standard Bank chief executive, Craig Bond. "We spend years worrying about Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa." he added. However, the deal awaits approval from South African Reserve Bank and Nairobi Stock Exchange. NSE chairman, Jimnah Mbaru said his board would meet within the week to approve the merger.
Sudan Peace-Talks Halted
Sudan peace talks have yet again hit a deadlock. The talks that were being held in Sirte, Libya, had to be halted to allow meetings between Sudan President, Omar el-Bashir and southern Sudan president who is also first Vice President of the Sudan republic, Salva Kiir. The talks were also suspended to make room for further negotiations among the rebel movements and other stakeholders. The AU and the UN have now set up a committee to travel to Juba and meet the rebel groups that boycotted the talks, in the hope that they will join them when they resume in December. Khartoum has in the past been accused of allegations that it routinely enters agreements that it does not intend to implement, a situation that fuels repeated fallouts between the south and the north. It is expected that the talks in December will bring harmony in the war-torn region of Darfur.
Niger Building Ties With Nigeria
The West African countries of Niger Republic and Nigeria have expressed willingness to collaborate on the construction and rehabilitation of road networks linking both countries, to boost trade and economic ties. While paying a courtesy call to Nigeria’s Minister for Transport, Niger’s Minister for Equipment, Alhaji Damuni, the two revealed the plans to contribute to creation of a link that will help strengthen ties between the two nations. Niger shares a common boundary with Nigeria from the North with a transportation link that is almost 100 per cent on land. "Our aim is to find ways of collaborating with Nigeria to develop a good transportation link to enhance trade exchanges across our common border," said Damuni.
African World Business Congress
More than 400 business executives from across the world attended the 4th African World Business Congress held in Arusha, Tanzania. While addressing the participants, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni said that Africa was losing an estimated 20,000 doctors, university lecturers, engineers and other professionals leaving the continent for jobs overseas every year. He lamented that Africa holds the solution to its own problems but governments have since refused to utilize the ability and resource in the African professionals in the Diaspora, who sustain the economy of western nations.
Compiled by Antony Odeo
Odeo is an African Executive Staff Writer