In dealings between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Sub-Saharan Africa during the second quarter of 2014, notable emphasis fell on power projects, communication deals and private equity ventures. Below are the top power plays over the last three months, by value:
SkyPower FAS Energy, a joint venture between Toronto’s SkyPower Global and FAS Energy of Saudi’s Fawaz Alhokair Group, has signed agreements with Nigeria’s federal and Delta State Government departments to develop a 3,000MW solar project worth an estimated $5bn.
The project entails a multi-phase build schedule over the next five years, with SkyPower FAS Energy expected to deliver the first phase of the project and commence commercial operations in 2015, as they gradually transition to the operation of the utility-scale facilities.
Emirates Telecommunications (Etisalat), the UAE’s most valuable publicly-traded company, has agreed to sell its businesses in six West African countries to Maroc Telecom to combine its in-country assets as it completes the $5.8bn acquisition of the firm from Vivendi SA.
The deal includes $650m in assets, spread across units that provide mobile voice and data services in Benin, the Central African Republic, Gabon, Niger and Togo and Prestige Telecom in the Côte D’Ivoire, which provides IT services for Etisalat operations in these countries.
Swiss investment bank, Edmond de Rothschild has raised $530m alongside Dubai’s Abraaj Group and the US-based Carlyle Group for its first Africa-focused private equity fund, and joined a growing list of foreign investors eyeing Africa’s booming economy and middle class.
According to the Financial Times, the Rothschild fund will be managed by Amethis Finance – which is part owned by the Edmond de Rothschild Group and operates out of Nairobi and Abidjan – and will target target small and medium sized companies on the continent.
Abraaj Group, a Dubai-based private equity group, expects to raise an additional $500m-$750m in capital and deploy $200m-$300m in sub-Saharan Africa from its existing funds over the next 12 months, Abraaj partner Sev Vettivetpillai told ft.com blog beyondbrics.
Abraaj, which has $7.5bn in assets under management and is based in Dubai, expects to complete four transactions within South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya by the end of the year, spread across the financial services, consumer goods and logistics sectors.
South Africa’s third-biggest mobile operator Cell C, which is 60% owned by Dubai-based Oger Telecom of Saudi Oger group, will spend $221.62m in 2014 to facilitate the expansion of its subscription base through the upgrade of its network and the addition of 300 sites.
The relative newcomer to the market has been steadily stealing share from the bigger players such as leader Vodacom and MTN, and according to a statement its users increased to 16.6 million at the end of April, which represents a 22% rise from the end of 2013.
Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama has reached an agreement with the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA) for the development of a 350MW power plant in Western Ghana under government plans to double installed generation capacity to 5,000MW by 2016.
Ben Dotsei Malor, Ghana’s presidential spokesperson, stated: “One key thing that emerged was an offer from the UAE for a support of $100m from the Abu-Dhabi development fund to be used by the government of Ghana for various projects including infrastructure projects.”
Qatar has committed $88 million to the development of Sudan’s Darfur region, a year after an international donors’ conference in Doha secured $3.6bn in pledges, mostly from the Sudanese government in Khartoum, to finance a six-year development strategy.
Qatar is funding 19 UN-sponsored projects across Darfur’s five states under the Darfur Development Strategy, which itself was a condition of the July 2011 Doha Document for Peace in Darfur signed by the Khartoum government and an alliance of rebel factions.
Atlas Mara Co-Nvest, the London-based investment joint venture between ex-Barclays CEO Bob Diamond and Ashish Thakkar, founder of the Dubai-based Mara Group, has signed a memorandum of understanding to acquire a 77% stake in the Development Bank of Rwanda.
“Much of the change of the last twenty years can be attributed to the leadership of the government and I am excited to be associated with this development,” said Diamond, with the Kigali-born Thakkar adding: “Rwanda is a country that holds a very special place in my heart.”
Saudi Arabia’s deputy foreign minister met with Mauritania’s education minister at the University of Nouakchott to lay the foundation of a new faculty being built with an allocation of a sum of some $30m from Saudi Arabia towards the cost of the building’s construction.
The funding expands the scope of bilateral relations and collaboration between the two countries, building on Saudi Arabia’s existing investment into the mining sector, where it has commenced iron ore exploration through Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC).
Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) has confirmed its provision of financing for a $18m solar park in Sierra Leone’s capital Freetown, with the body agreeing to provide $9m of the total cost in the form of a long-term, low-interest loan, as well as to directly monitor the project.
Sierra Leons’s solar park will be completed within 21 months and will generate sufficient power for some 3,000 households in Freetown and its suburbs. It will be constructed along the Toke-Lumley highway also partially financed to the tune of $5.4m in 2011 by ADFD.