Abia to Utilise $200m W/Bank Facility to Construct 506km of Roads, Others-Commissioner

Chief Eziuche Ubani, the Commissioner for Works in Abia, has said that the $200m World Bank facility, being expected by the state government, will be judiciously utilised to construct 506 kilometers of roads and drainage system in different parts of the state.

Ubani said this in Umuahia, while speaking with newsmen on Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu’s second term development agenda on roads. He said that the state would collaborate with the World Bank and Nigeria Erosion Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) to execute the two major projects.

He said: “We are going to do about 506 kilometers of roads around Abia to ensure that every part of the state is reached with the road construction plan of the state government. “And with the World Bank, one can be assured that the money will not be diverted but utilised for the road project.”

Ubani also expressed confidence that the present administration would initiate measures during the next four years to permanently address the problem of flooding in Aba. He said: “On Port Harcourt Road in Aba, we didn’t have a proper drainage system. We did what we have to do to provide drainage system from the beginning of the road to the end.

“Now a tunnel will be constructed from Uratta Road and Ngwa Road to Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway down to Aba River. “In Umuocham Road, we will do an underground tunnel of about 40 meters deep through Ngwa Road to Aba River.” NAN

Construction of Ghana’s biggest power bulk supply point begins

Construction of Ghana’s biggest power Bulk Supply Point (BSP) at Pokuase in the Ga West district has commenced. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo cut the sod to mark its beginning.

The President described the project as a “major mile stone in the country’s quest to develop a robust, resilient and reliable electricity supply system that is comparable to top quality networks around the world.”

Power bulk supply point

The project aimed at at improving the quality of power supplied to the northern parts of Accra, will be undertaken by a Spanish company, Messrs Elecnor S.A. It is estimated to cost US $33.5m.

According to President Nana the development fell in line with government’s objectives of ensuring reliable supply of power to industry “so as to diversify our economy and help realise our vision of moving Ghana to a situation beyond aid.

“It is the expectation of Government that consumers at all levels would benefit from improved availability, good quality and reliability of supply within the areas that the project would serve,” said his excellency.

Compact Two

Upon completion the set to be fourth bulk supply point in Accra will be one of the major infrastructural projects in the US $498.2m Ghana Power Compact funded by the United States government through the Millennium Challenge Corporation, popularly known as Compact Two and implemented by the Millennium Development Authority (MiDA)

The 330kv Pokuase BSP is the first among a number of compact-funded interventions that would supply vital infrastructure required to improve the distribution of electric power and to support the realization of the financial and technical turnaround of the operations of the utility power distributor, PDS.

The project would significantly enhance PDS services to customers in Pokusase, Kwabenya, Legon, Nsawam and surrounding towns and villages. Construction works is projected to take 24 months.

“I am informed that there would be reduced outages, cost effective delivery of service and reduced aggregate technical losses, following the addition of the vital input to the assets of our distribution utilities. These are the hallmarks of a country that is in a hurry to develop.” said President Nana Addo Dankwa.

The President urged the contractors working on the project to ensure that Ghana got a well-designed system, comparable to any such facility in the world. The ceremony was jointly performed by the Chief of Staff, Mrs Akosua Frema Osei Opare; the Ambassador of the United States of America (USA) to Ghana, Ms Stephanie Sullivan, and the Vice-President for Compact Operations at the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), Mr Anthony Welcher, at Pokuase.

Source: By Kenneth Mwenda

Kenya secures funds for Konza, JKIA-James Gichuru expressway projects

Kenya has secured US $699m from China for the development of the Konza Data Centre and Smart Cities Project and the JKIA-James Gichuru expressway.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is in China for the second Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)forum, witnessed the signing of the deals that will be fulfilled through concessional financing and Public Private-Partnership (PPP).

Konza data centre

The Konza data centre and smart cities project, which will be undertaken by telecommunications giant Huawei and the ICT Ministry, is worth US $ 173m while the expressway project, by the China Road and Bridge Corporation, is worth US $495m.

Project works on Konza project entails the development of core infrastructure including a National Cloud Data Centre, Smart ICT Network, Public Safe City and Smart Traffic Solutions, and a Government Cloud and Enterprise Service. Phase I of the project is estimated to create over 17,000 jobs and contribute over US $800m to the Kenyan economy.

The development is part of the Konza Techno City, a Vision 2030 flagship project started in 2008 and aimed at developing technology-intensive and high-tech industries in ICT, biotechnology and e-commerce.

JKIA -James Gichuru expressway

The JKIA -James Gichuru expressway on the hand is projected to be one of its kind in Africa aimed at easing traffic flow on the bus Mombasa highway. It is part of government interventions to decongest key roads in Nairobi.

The road will have features such as underpasses, overpasses, exits and a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) component covering the entire stretch. President Kenyatta thanked China for projects which he said were expanding economic activities and unlocking the potential for prosperity in Kenya and other developing countries.

Additionally, President Uhuru also signed an agreement with China for the operation and maintenance service of the Nairobi-Naivasha segment of the standard gauge railway (SGR).

The president acknowledged that the inception of the Belt and Road Initiative has forged cooperation in the development of critical sectors including expansion of infrastructure, education and capacity building, trade facilitation and investment, agricultural modernization, industrial promotion and energy connectivity in the country.

Source: By Fidelis John

Nigeria to receive US $21m boost for solar power projects

Nigeria is set to receive US $21m from the United Kingdom and Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) to support the deployment of solar generated electricity small businesses in the country.

The funds will provide a mix of interest free loans and repayable grants and technical assistance to private sector operators in the solar business. It will be deployed through AECF’s Renewable Energy and Adaptation to Climate Technology (REACT) Household Solar Round Two Competition.

“Renewable sources of energy provide just 18% of Africa’s current power generating capacity, therefore developing off grid alternatives could create many more opportunities and transform millions of lives,” said the Chief Executive Officer of AECF, Daniel Ohonde.

AECF funds

The funding window was also part of AECF’s Africa Clean Energy Programme (ACE) which  seeks to increase the supply of household solar systems to rural markets at affordable costs, facilitated through innovative financing; operating and distribution models such as the PAYGO and micro-financed solar power interventions.

Solar power operators in Ethiopia, Ghana, Senegal and Somalia are other countries set to benefit from AECF funds. The countries will be allowed to access the funds as long as they meet the requirements spelt out by AECF. Up to 25 solar-based businesses or operators from these countries would be able to access the fund on a matching grant basis.

“The additional funding will enable AECF to continue investing in private sector companies to deliver business models which accelerate access to trans formative solar home systems to rural markets in sub-Saharan Africa,” said Mr. Daniel.

The REACT programme has so far contributed to the generation of 29.7MW of clean electricity in countries it has supported, while reducing their carbon emission by over one million tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCo2e) cumulatively.

Source: By Fidelis John

Shelter Afrique Invests Sh200mn in Mortgage Refinancing Firm

Pan African housing development financier, Shelter Afrique has invested Sh200mn in the Kenya Mortgage Refinance Company to support the development of affordable housing to meet the rising demand.

 

Confirming the firm’s contribution, Shelter Afrique Chief Executive Officer Andrew Chimphondah said there were many Kenyans who would like to own houses but do not have access to affordable finance.

“We are encouraged by the formation of the Mortgage Refinance Company which provides long term lending to commercial banks, microfinance banks and Saccos to allow them to extend mortgage loans to eligible mwananchi over a longer period and at a lower cost. That is important because that enhances affordability and boosts uptake of housing. I am happy to announce that Shelter Afrique has invested $2m in the Company to stimulate the demand for affordable housing,” Chimphondah said.

 

He noted that housing developers were not keen on building houses without guaranteed take-up, hence less focus on the lower end of the market. He added that that a lack of affordability also explains the reasons why there were only 24,000 active mortgages in Kenya despite the country having a housing shortage of over 2 million units.

“If 100 Kenyans apply for mortgages only five will qualify because of lack of affordability; 10 might be due to high credit risk, but the majority will be disqualified on the basis that they wouldn’t be able to the mortgage repayment terms”.

Free land

Chimphondah lauded the government’s efforts to provide free land to developers and also for undertaking to provide necessary infrastructure conducive for housing development, under its affordable housing plan, which seeks to develop 500,000 housing units by the year 2022.

 

“Cost of land constitutes about 40% of the total cost of a housing unit and the Government undertaking to provide free land means a discount of equal margins on the units already,” said Mr Chimphondah. “Through such initiatives, it’s possible to develop housing units costing as low as KSh1.5 million which I believe would be affordable to many Kenyan.”

 

The Kenya Mortgage Refinance Company, fashioned as an implementing arm of government’s affordable housing plan, operates as a private sector-driven company with the purpose of developing the primary and secondary mortgage markets through the provision of long-term funding to the mortgage lenders, thereby increasing the availability and affordability of mortgage loans to Kenyans whose incomes cannot allow them to take home loans from financial institutions.

Source: Capitalfm

Rwanda Boosts SMEs in Construction Industry with Incentives

Rwanda has announced plan to ease cost of doing business for Small and Medium Enterprises in construction industry in the country a move that is expected to ultimately spur economic growth.

Under the new plan, small construction companies will not incur costs related to geotechnical studies, environmental impact assessment and topographic surveys.

“We estimate that this will save contractors over 10% of their revenues,” says Louise Kanyonga, head of strategy and competitiveness at Rwanda Development Board.

In addition new businesses will not pay local government trading licenses within their first two years of operation.

Another key reform that has been initiated is ensuring power reliability. As Ms Kanyonga explains, companies seeking to invest in Africa have raised concerns on the reliability of electricity and is one of the key indicators in the to ease of doing business index.

“We have put in place an automated system to measure the frequency and duration of power outages to inform the utility and regulator on how best to improve reliability and quality of electricity.”

Thus, Rwanda Energy Group has built five more power substations in the country allowing the country to reduce duration of power outage from about 14 hours to 2 hours annually.

In an effort to improve the business environment, Rwanda has rolled out small claims procedure to help businesses easily settle corporate legal issues.

Under small claims procedure, cases are litigated between 20-30 days, maximum, at any primary court in the country, rather than seek litigation in commercial courts. Litigation in commercial courts can be lengthy taking years, and is expensive adds Ms Kanyonga.

Rwanda is one of the best preforming country in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Index.

Two years ago the country introduced the use of a new digital system in construction that will be used in issuing and managing building permits.

The new digital system in construction dubbed electronic Building Permit Management Information System (eBPMIS) has made it easier and faster to process construction permit applications in the City of Kigali (CoK) and secondary cities around the country.

By Christine Odar

Construction Arbitration and Infrastructure Development: Role of Quantity Surveyors

Construction is very expensive business. Business News, an online publication, estimated in its 2015 report that construction projects worth N700 billion would be delivered by 2018.
Some of these projects include the Nestoil Towers, Civic Towers and the British America Tobacco (BAT) building- mostly commercial office space on Lagos Island which have been indeed delivered.

In 2016, new office spaces built in Lagos equaled 20% of the then existing stock, according to the consulting firm, Estate Intel Limited. These figures clearly underscore the potential of the market, the sheer appetite for high-grade commercial property. I remain a Nigerian optimist. The recession of 2016 and the subsequent weak growth- below 2 % since we came out of recession- are only a blip.

Much stronger growth is on the horizon as our politicians develop a better grasp of policies that unlock investment and the deliberative skills to negotiate consensus on and successfully initiate them. About 40% of the funds that go into high-grade commercial property come from abroad.

As we improve policies, including those concerning mortgage banking and urban planning, we will see more foreign investment in closing our famed 17 million housing gap. There will be a similar boom in the construction of infrastructure for delivering gas and oil, including to power plants and industries, when Nigeria finally delivers new oil industry legislation popularly known as the Petroleum Industry Bills (PIBS) and resolves pricing issues surrounding gas and electricity.

These are big-ticket transactions. Where there is money, there is always risk. But any country that wants to attract a lot of money, i.e. investment, must take risk mitigation very seriously.

The practice of arbitration is a key tool in managing the perception of risk and stimulating investment in construction. But construction is also a complex and dynamic business, involving not only quite large sums but the engagement of diverse skills and industries, from law, to information technology, logistics renewable energy, economics and various fields of engineering. A multiplicity of contracts and parties are also usually involved, often from different legal traditions.

So, to stimulate big-ticket investments in construction through the practice of arbitration, construction professionals, especially Quantity Surveyors, must invest in acquiring globally up-to-date arbitration knowledge and skills.

By Agele John Alufohai

 

Mashaba Announces R20-Billion Investment to Rebuild Joburg’s Inner City

After two years of talking about the need to rebuild the inner city, Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba on Wednesday announced that R20-billion has been invested into turning Johannesburg’s inner city into a construction site with the aim of building affordable residential units and student accommodation.

In December 2016, Joburg Mayor Herman Mashaba declared that he had plans to see the inner city of Johannesburg “reborn” as the people of Johannesburg demanded change.

A little over two years later Mashaba announced that through the release of City properties to the private sector, R20-billion had been invested to redevelop and rebuild the inner city while at the same time creating affordable housing. This multi-billion investment was in addition to the three developments already underway in Hillbrow and Newtown.

Mashaba briefed the media about the investment at the City’s Metro Centre, on Wednesday but said it would be premature to announce who the investors were at this stage.

According to Mashaba, the need for better housing in the inner city stems from the fact that more than 150,000 people were on the city’s housing list and there was a backlog. There were also about 3,000 migrants who come into Johannesburg every month in search of further economic opportunities.

“We declare today that the dreams and aspirations of Johannesburg residents are taking shape. The promises of Johannesburg’s multi-party to return the inner-city to its former glory are being realised,” Mashaba said.

The properties to be redeveloped are in central Johannesburg, Yeoville, Berea, Vrededorp, Fairview, Salisbury, Marshalltown, Wolhuter and Turffontein. The developments are earmarked to be for predominantly mixed-use and will include student accommodation and family residential units. Rent will range from R900 to R4,500 (excluding utilities) and units will comprise one or two bedrooms.

Construction is expected to begin in the next six to seven months and will create over 10,000 jobs, according to Mashaba.

“I know that many of our stakeholders remain concerned with public safety in our inner city. We too as an administration remain concerned. That is why I am happy to announce that the city will welcome 1,500 new police officers to the rank of the Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD). They will be ready to patrol our streets at the end of October this year. I intend to make the inner city the safest place to invest in,” Mashaba said.

Mashaba said there would be no place for construction mafias or any form of corruption in this project.

“These are some of the things that make me extremely angry. To allow a country like ours to be held to ransom by thuggery and criminal elements when we have the national government. I will personally hold national government accountable if in this project there is an intervention from criminal syndicates. I will hold the president accountable,” Mashaba said.

Chairperson of the Johannesburg Inner City Partnership Forum, Ishmael Mkhabela stated that he supported the investment and development plan.

“I like this city because it brings a lot of challenges. Intractable challenges and opportunities and to realise those opportunities you have to come to terms with the fact that you can’t do it alone. You need partners, you need investors, you need healthy and dynamic institutions, religious congregations and others. I get a sense that the time is right. There is goodwill in the city. We don’t celebrate crime, decay, or alienation of communities. The city will present us with opportunities,” said Mkhabela.

Manda Makwarela from the Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (Seri) said the organisation supports the plans for development.

“Development is a good thing as long as it is recognised that people currently living in the inner city should be accommodated. Essentially Seri’s view is that any revitalising of the city has to make accommodation for people living in the inner city. Many of Seri’s inner city clients would appreciate the investment that would provide them with decent affordable accommodation,” Makwarela told Daily Maverick.

By Chanel Retief

AfDB Invests in Partnerships for Africa’s Transformation

The African Development Bank (AfDB), has held a Business Opportunity Seminar (BOS), focused on strengthening and fostering the engagement of the business sector and of other stakeholders, to effectively support investment in infrastructure and human development projects.

Seeking strategic alliances and potential business opportunities with the Bank, participants, including private-sector representatives, civil works contractors, local manufacturers, suppliers, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and government representatives, took part in presentations and interactive sessions on the Bank’s vision for Africa’s economic development, operational priorities, business processes and procurement guidelines.

Bank officials at the two-day seminar also facilitated dialogue sessions on ongoing projects, financial products, business opportunities and programmes available to public, private, and social enterprises.Delivering the first presentation on the Bank’s strategies and policy parameters for partnerships and project financing, a Senior Policy Specialist, Hassanatu Mansaray, said: “In every investment we make, the Bank’s due diligence teams look at the economic viability and development impact of the project or programme.”

Manager, Resource Mobilisation and Partnerships, AfDB, Valerie Dabady, said the institution’s capacity to link public-sector needs with private sector expertise, technology and resources was unrivalled on the continent. “The African Development Bank Group has funded 4,391 projects since its inception. These include 1,166 projects in West Africa with total commitments of $23.5 billion. In 2018, the Bank’s total approvals and disbursements stood at $8.90 billion and $6.02billion, respectively,” Dabady said.

The Bank’s non-sovereign investments also continue to grow, Dabady remarked, with investments in private sector transactions growing from $250 million in 2005 to $2.29 billion in 2018.She listed many prospective opportunities for private sector partners in the infrastructure space, including the $371.22 million Abidjan urban transport project to finance work on a fourth bridge in the Abidjan metropolis, the Dakar – Lagos Highway rehabilitation project, and Yeleen Rural Electrification Project In Burkina Faso.

Participants at the seminar affirmed that the Bank’s ethical business model is responsible for the successful financing, execution and delivery of its infrastructure and human development projects.

However, Finance Controller, Johannesburg-based, AGCO Corporation, an agriculture equipment maker, Oladipo Ajayi, urged the Bank, “to get more private sector players plugged into its investment plans and priorities, and its business development and investment framework for key sectors like infrastructure and agriculture.”

Convened twice a year, the Abidjan BOS was attended by about 200 delegates from Algeria, Angola, Austria, Canada, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, France, Nigeria, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and Turkey. The second 2019 seminar is scheduled for the fourth quarter, and will be hosted by the Bank’s Field Regional Resource Centre in Tunis, Tunisia.

By Victor Uzoho

APBN Advise Buhari to Engage Professionals in Infrastructure Development

The Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to engage the services of indigenous professionals in the development of the country’s infrastructure as he sets to begin his second term in office.

APBN’s President, Olumuyiwa Ajibola, disclosed this in a communique that was issued in Abuja recently after the second board meeting of the association in the 2018-2020 council year.

APBN is the umbrella body of all recognised and chartered professional institutes, institutions, associations and societies in Nigeria, comprising 30 professional bodies.

Ajibola said, “Infrastructure is clearly the critical part of the flow of chart of activities that will make the economy better and also assure sustainable growth.

“This must be realised and a robust strategy put in place to engage the relevant professionals in charting the roadmap to the attainment of functional infrastructure employing all the viable options in this regard.”

Okechukwu Nnodim

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