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Monday, 17 February 2020

The Nigerian power sector lost about N19.15 billion between 5th and 14th February 2020, statistics gleaned from the Advisory Power Team (APT) in the Office of the Vice President has revealed.

The loss stemmed from a number of operational bottlenecks, ranging from poor distribution and transmission facilities to a dearth of gas supply.

An estimated N1.55 billion was lost on 5th February, N1.77 billion on 6th February, N1.92 billion on 7th February, and N1.89 billion on 8th February 2020.

Similarly, N1.95 billion, N2.15 billion, N1.95 billion, N2 billion, N2.01 billion and N1.96 billion were lost on February 9, February 10, February 11, February 12 and February 14 respectively.

Giving grounds for the acute shortage of power in the period, the APT mentioned that 579.2 MW was not generated because of the high frequency stemming from a dearth of distribution machinery while 3,314MW was lost to unavailability of gas. It also disclosed that inadequacy of transmission infrastructure was responsible for the loss of 188.6MW.

An average of 4,145 megawatts-hour/hour was dispensed on 5th February, 4,092 MWh/h on 6th February, 4,040 MWh/h on 7th February, 3,872 MWh/h on 8th February and 3,929MWh/h on 9th February 2020.

The power sector distributed an average of 3,908 MWh/h on 10th February, 3,994 MWh/h on 11th February, 4,033 MWh/h on 12th February, 3,977MWh/h on 13th February and 4,108 MWh/h on 14th February.

In the generation segment, 4,476MW, 4,064.2MW, 4,171.4MW and 4,181.4MW were not generated on 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th February 2020 respectively.

Nigeria’s power generation capacity currently stands at 12,910.40MW while the available capacity is 7,652.60MW.

Meanwhile, the transmission wheeling capacity of the power sector is 8100MW. Interestingly, the peak generation has been 5,375MW.

The chunk of the country’s power generation comes from gas-fired power plants while hydropower plants contribute 30% to the generation segment of the power value chain.

Published in Engineering
Monday, 17 February 2020 07:29

Farming and Agribusiness are back in vogue!

Farming and Agribusiness are back in vogue!

Something is definitely up there when of all the choices available to him, famous actor and political aspirant John Dumelo opts to be a large-scale farmer. That’s because he gets it. That’s because he knows that by growing farm produce for both human and animal consumption, he taps into an agricultural sector that contributes to almost 20% of Ghana’s gross domestic product (GDP).

In 2009, that figure was 30.99%. The inevitable rise of industry and the incorporation of formal business models into every scalable enterprise brought boundless opportunity for every business sector. Ghanaian farmers get that even more now. The 2010 Population & Housing Census revealed that, even though agricultural households accounted for 54.2% of the total population, a large number of the members of those households lacked formal education.

That situation is vastly different now.

Agriculture continues to marry Business Models

Today, I know medical doctors, professionals in tech, and yes even most famed actors who are heavily into farming or agribusiness because they understand what happens when agriculture marries business models properly.

It is the pursuit of that marriage that impels our nation’s General Agricultural Workers’ Union (GAWU) of Ghana’s Trade Union Congress (TUC), founded in 1959, to appoint me as their first-ever Business Advisor to the collective whose members are tens of thousands strong. I have always found labour unions remarkable in their ability to facilitate growth and welfare by quite easily demonstrating the popular adage of the whole being much larger than the sum of the individual parts.

From Far to Fork

I am not and will not be involved in wage negotiations, employee benefits nor anything remotely in that line. My mandate is to expedite business momentum and trade. My network and I will be providing real business opportunities, real business solutions and not excuses. Maxwell Investments Group and its affiliates like our trading subsidiary, TAFT Commodities (est. 2006), already incorporate many of these into our supply-chain enabling activities while we endeavour to take harvests all the way from farm to fork.

Farmers get a bigger win when they are aware of basic economic concepts like turnover and value chain. So just like how a grain of soya bean takes calculated steps to becoming nutritious soy milk, Ghana farmers are finally getting there. I have witnessed it. For instance, coffee bean farmers in the Akuapem area are utilising the commodity as a catalyst for rapid rural development under budding companies like Asili and it’s beautiful.

Ghana’s farmers are better positioned now to engage you because they are adopting Trade Facilitation principles and guidelines that will continue to serve them very well.

Trade Facilitation

The main goal of our Trade Facilitation efforts is to get farmers to export more in a faster, safer, more affordable and more standardised way. Imagine your local farmers effortlessly trading with global markets, moving a majority of their harvests for exports. The processes require some degree of simplification for the average farmer to comprehend the formalities, documentation and other complexities of the export-import markets.

We do what it takes.

This is happening now in Ghana. Farmers are seeking to have more of the available rewards on the whole value chain. It is not without its challenges. As farmers try to shy from “middlemen” who negotiate deals that have more of the available margins tilted towards them, many have been forced through countless disappointments and setbacks to have a healthy appreciation for the formal safeguards that protect exporters.

As Business Advisor to GAWU, I have heard many tales, even recently, of financial losses that I feel may have been averted if only these farmers understood the different avenues available to them.

I keep telling them, “You have to address what happens IF you’ve done your part well and they still say no; with your capital stuck in these exports, you are going to be negotiated down regardless of your CAD agreements”, and this happens to them a lot. These unpleasant conversations are always necessary to open farmers’ eyes to the fact that they have the power to negotiate for better payment terms and delivery requirements through the insertion of clauses that address these loopholes. Many importers respect farmers that demand for reciprocity of quality delivery. This is because by demanding for reciprocated value, you prove your competency and knowhow to deliver in the first place.

Nonetheless, Ghanaian Farmers continue to build a strong capacity to tap into foreign markets by adopting these four (4) principles of our Trade Facilitation efforts with them:

  • Standardisation
  • Harmonisation
  • Simplification
  • Transparency

Standardisation

Standardisation is one of the first steps towards Trade Facilitation. If you’ve been to the typical community market in Ghana, you’d know the only modus operandi is that there is no modus operandi; it’s all about how well you bargain, and outsiders usually get crushed. For cash crops, Ghanaian farmers are moving towards readily accepting standardisation guidelines.

Standardisation is the creation of the framework of a set of agreements on trading parameters to which all parties of an industry, local and abroad, must adhere. This is to make sure that all the processes within said industry associated with the production of goods and services are done within the agreed upon working parameters.

Ghana Cocoa Board is one of the best examples of how a regulatory body can so well standardise the growing and trading of a cash crop. Standardisation efforts by our local farmers are painting a familiar picture to importers outside, thus creating the trust and encourage for trade participation.

Harmonisation

After the creation of working frameworks of agreed trading parameters, farmers in Ghana are understanding that all these should mimic and mirror how things are done in other countries within the international trading community as well.

Conversation moves along much more smoothly when responses are filled with “oh yes that’s how we also do it in our country”. Cashew farmers in Ghana are starting to accept the need to adopt harmonisation at a faster pace, in an effort to match the high sales and production levels in neighbouring countries like the Ivory Coast, where a lot of the action happens. Harmonisation also helps local markets to easily pick up best industry practices from the best competing markets.

Simplification

So, a corporate language is created and understood by all stakeholders in the Ghanaian agricultural sector, home and abroad, through Standardisation. That corporate language needs to mimic that which is spoken by others in the same trade in other countries, and this is done by way of Harmonisation.

What next… WE KEEP IT SIMPLE!

Simplification is where we eliminate useless bureaucracy and duplication of procedures from the trading processes. Any and all unnecessary elements that doesn’t add value, but stifles momentum and ease of flow will hinder our Trade Facilitation efforts.

Transparency

I am even more honoured by my appointment as Business Advisor to GAWU because farmers are amongst the most sceptical of people I have ever met in my life. Having access to these famers and agribusiness stakeholders have reintroduced me to the value of building goodwill and social capital.

They don’t just demand my trustworthiness. They expect it from the government, from the importers, and from you reading this as a stakeholder in Ghana’s agricultural sector. When they have access to the right information and data, aid and other enabling elements, it emboldens their steps to reach much higher than they would have.

Regulatory information should be made public, easily accessible and well disseminated. How do you trade efficiently when at every step, some laws you were not made aware of keep popping up? It gets frustrating and drains the enthusiasm for the agric sector when aid and other formal programs aimed at helping these farmers are put beyond their reach.

Farming and Agribusiness is back in vogue and Ghanaian Farmers can now serve you even better!

Everybody’s jumping in now. There have been millionaires tapping into funding aimed at helping the small-scale farmer because these guys are aware of such aid and have the knowhow to be eligible for and access it, whereas information dissemination efforts in rural Ghana have some more work to do.

Good business is about structure. With good structure comes rapid replicability, then easily follows scalability. As the first-ever Business Advisor to the General Agricultural Workers’ Union (GAWU) of Ghana’s Trade Union Congress (TUC), the onus is on me to add to the innovative solutions and opportunities that local farmers and agricultural stakeholders require to take their next big step.

Already outlined here are how these farmers are adopting our Trade Facilitation principles of Standardisation, Harmonisation, Simplification and Transparency.

It’s an exciting time for agribusinesses and for you to do business with Ghanaian farmers!

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Featured Today

Farming and agribusiness ayɛ dɛ in Ghana!

Our one and only Prep Prefect, Stephen Odartefio and I attended Achimota Secondary School way before Snapchat filters was a thing. He proceeded to Asheshi University and got a Computer Science Degree. He even had an impressive stint at Goldman Sachs as a Research Analyst. He is now the Head of Strategy, Research & Agribusiness Development at IESO Agribusiness Consult.

IESO Agribusiness Consult has developed a platform for African start-ups and young entrepreneurs in agribusinesses to pitch innovative ideas and business models addressing key areas related to the typical inefficiencies and vulnerabilities in the agriculture sector. Their flagship project is named the AgroMinds Africa Challenge.

Apply now for this challenge and stand a chance to access more than $50,000 in equity financing. In addition, you get to receive technical guidance and coaching and also gain some market visibility for your business models to attract more investment capital along the road.

www.agrominds.org/apply-now

This is one of the many innovative initiatives that competent companies and skilled stakeholders like IESO Agribusiness Consult and Stephen are championing to unlock Africa’s agribusiness potential by leveraging on the huge youthful entrepreneurial potential among Africa’s youth.

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Hit me up on social media and let’s keep the conversation going! I read all the feedback you send me on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Also, feel free to send me your articles on relevant topics for publication on the Macroeconomic Bulletin. I’d give you full credit, an intro, and an outro. Kindly make it about 1000 words.

Have a lovely week!

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Maxwell Ampong is the CEO of Maxwell Investments Group, a Trading and Business Solutions provider. He is also the Business Advisor for the General Agricultural Workers’ Union of TUC (Gh). He writes about trending and relevant economic topics, and general perspective pieces.

LinkedIn:/in/thisisthemax   Instagram:@thisisthemax   Twitter:@thisisthemax   Facebook:@thisisthemax   Website: www.maxwellinvestmentsgroup.com   Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   Mobile: 0249993319

Published in Macroeconomic Bulletin

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the Trump administration is assessing what level of American military force is needed in West Africa to counter the rise of extremist violence.

Pompeo said he discussed the issue of the US military presence in West Africa with Senegal President Macky Sall amid reports the Trump administration intends to reduce troops in Africa.

"We did have a lot of conversation about security issues here, about America's role in those. We've made it clear that the Department of Defence is looking at West Africa to make sure we have our force levels right," Pompeo said to reporters on Sunday.

"We have an obligation to get security right here, in the region - it's what will permit economic growth and we're determined to do that," Pompeo said. " We'll deliver an outcome that works for all of us."

Senegal's Foreign Minister Amadou Ba confirmed that West Africa is concerned about the spread of extremist violence.

"Terrorism has no border, and it is very costly," said Ba at the news conference with Pompeo. He said Senegal and the region wants continued military support from the US

"Yes, we are under threat," Ba said. "We want them (the US) to remain present. We hope they will continue to support in security areas. We hope they will continue to support us in training and intelligence.

Pompeo left Senegal Sunday to go to Angola and after that will travel to Ethiopia as the Trump administration tries to counter the growing interest of China, Russia and other global powers in Africa and its booming young population of more than 1.2 billion.

Ethiopia,has undergone dramatic political reforms since Nobel Peace Prize-winning Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in 2018. The loosening of repressive measures has been exploited by some with long-held grievances, leading to sometimes violent ethnic tensions that threaten a national election later this year.

 

- Associated Press

Published in World

Late last year Bissau-Guineans went to the polls to decide who would replace José Mário Vaz as president of Guinea-Bissau.

It was viewed as a crucial poll. Decades of instability and military intervention came down to this one moment. Would Guinea-Bissau see a peaceful transfer of power following Vaz’s historic completion of his tenure as president?

The election was a run-off pitting Domingos Simões Pereira against Umaro Sissoco Embaló after Vaz failed to make the cut-off in the first round of voting.

Both Pereira and Embaló previously held the prime ministership. Emabló was also once a member of Pereira’s ruling party before leaving it to form another one.

Embaló’s tenure as prime minister was fragile. He formed a government without the help of his own party at the time and he resigned less than two years later, after coming into conflict with President Vaz.

The election was tense. Given the history between the contestants, it is not surprising. With a constitutional crisis as the backdrop, it would not have been far-fetched to expect the worst. Political rivalries have previously resulted in assassinations, military coups, and even civil war, with elections often serving as catalysts.

In the end, Embaló won with 53% of the vote. The election was ultimately peaceful, earning praise from the United Nations.

So what might this mean for coup risk and stability in future in Guinea-Bissau?

CoupCast: https://oefresearch.org/activities/coup-cast/methodology

Using CoupCast, a machine learning algorithm, we can quantify structural coup risk at the country level and forecast future risk. CoupCast uses over 70 predictors of coup risk and country-month data going back to January 1950.

CoupCast is an open-source tool that combines substantive expertise on coups with modern machine learning forecasting methods. Publicly released in 2016, the tool has performed well at identifying countries with a high structural risk of a coup event.

When forecasting Guinea-Bissau’s risk post-election, CoupCast suggests that the country’s risk remains higher than the average risk in sub-Saharan Africa.

Embaló’s post-election coup risk remains higher than similar countries but CoupCast also suggests a slow decline in risk into the future.

Cause for optimism

Guinea-Bissau has had to navigate considerable political instability over the past two decades and risk is not likely to decrease quickly, but there are reasons to be optimistic.

It appears that Vaz’s military reforms have worked. The ongoing constitutional crisis might have pushed the military to intervene in the past, but forced officer retirements and a high-profile punishment of an attempted coup plotter may have been key to containing further military plots.

If Embaló can finish his term and hold elections, this will be the gold standard by which to strengthen Guinea-Bissau’s slow and steady trajectory towards political stability.

The country will also need to maintain its firm commitment to reforming the military and cracking down on organised crime as first steps to continuing political stability.

Guinea-Bissau has seen an increase in the population of young people over the past two decades, and has one of the worst youth development index scores in the world.

As the country improves one source of stability, it should not neglect the potential problems that come with an underserved youth demographic. Achieving growth and stability is a long-term process and Bissau-Guinean leaders should seek to take advantage of their gains by addressing pressing problems related to economic opportunity and youth employment.

Coup risk remains

Overall, the country’s coup risk trajectory looks optimistic. The country has made considerable political gains since the last coup event in 2012. And coup risk in Guinea-Bissau is likely to decline.

Nevertheless, the coup risk remains significantly higher than in much of the region.

The continued relative risk is due to two main factors.

First, economic and socio-economic indicators remain poor. Second, according to CoupCast, coup risk can escalate around both elections and leadership change.

This trend is likely playing out in Guinea-Bissau.

Not taking into account the election, we estimated that Guinea-Bissau’s coup risk is higher than 75% of all other countries in 2020. Once the algorithm takes into account both the election event and Embaló’s tenure, the country’s risk percentile increases, making it the highest at-risk country in sub-Saharan Africa.

CoupCast: https://oefresearch.org/activities/coup-cast/methodology

This is not surprising.

Elections in which leadership changes occur are often flashpoints for coup events, especially if the ruling party loses out or the military decides that they do not support the opposition.

Comparing all sub-Saharan African countries that have experienced at least one coup event since 2000, countries such as Burkina Faso and Zimbabwe, we can see that coup risk percentile is highest after elections in which the leader changed.The Conversation

 

Clayton Besaw, Political Science Researcher, University of Central Florida and Jonathan Powell, Associate professor, University of Central Florida

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Published in Economy
  1. Opinions and Analysis

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