Author: James Wambua

James Wambua is a seasoned business news editor specializing in various industries including energy, economics, and agriculture. With a comprehensive understanding of these industries across Africa, he excels in delivering accurate and insightful news coverage that keeps readers informed about key developments and trends.

Innovate Africa
  • The fund’s mission is to support startups seeking to address societal problems such as insecurity, joblessness, and poverty eradication through tech-powered innovations.
  • Applications are now open for founders across Africa who meet six screening criteria: Character, Credibility, Capacity, Courage, Competence, and Context. Interested founders can apply via Innovate Africa Fund.
  • Since 2019, the African startup funding scene has seen a remarkable increase, with disclosed exits crossing $2.3 billion.

Innovate Africa, a newly launched angel investment fund, is set to revolutionize the startup ecosystem in Africa with an initial $2.5 million investment aimed at supporting early-stage founders.

The platform, co-founded by Kristin Wilson and Christian Idodi, is sector-agnostic and plans to finance up to 20 startups in its first year.

The fund’s mission is to support startups seeking to address societal problems such as insecurity, joblessness, and poverty eradication through tech-powered innovations. Applications are now open for founders across Africa …

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clean cooking
  • Data firm Bboxx is scaling up clean cooking access in Rwanda in liaison with TotalEnergies following a successful pilot of Pay-As-You-Go LPG.
  • This deal will see Bboxx provide its innovative technology and PAYGo finance model and TotalEnergies Marketing Rwanda LPG cylinders.
  • The partnership is targeting one million people over the next 5 years.

Data-driven platform Bboxx has entered a new partnership that seeks to transform lives and unlock potential by connecting consumers has joined forces with TotalEnergies to scale access to clean cooking solutions, targeting one million people in Rwanda.

This partnership will see more Rwandans start accessing Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) clean cooking in and beyond Kigali City, Rwanda. While unveiling the plan, the companies said the latest move follows a successful pilot programme in 2023, and plans are underway to reach 1 million people over the next 5 years.

Bboxx, a firm that prides itself on accelerating the …

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negative outlook Kenya Moody's
  • Ratings agency Moody’s has downgraded Kenya’s local and foreign-currency long-term issuer ratings to Caa1 from B3, with a negative outlook.
  • This downgrade ushers the economy into an era of reduced capacity to rollout revenue-based fiscal consolidation.
  • The move also has broader implications for the country’s near-term economic stability.

East Africa’s giant economy is at a pivotal moment following ratings agency Moody’s move to downgrade its local and foreign-currency long-term issuer ratings to Caa1 from B3, with a negative outlook.

This downgrade, which comes just a week after a three-week nationwide revolt forced the government to shelve the Finance Bill 2024, ushers the economy into an era of reduced capacity to roll out revenue-based fiscal consolidation. This negative outlook also has broader implications for the country’s near-term economic stability, Moody’s states.

Kenya’s fiscal consolidation challenges amid negative outlook

Moody’s downgrade signals the Kenyan government’s shift away from planned tax increases, opting …

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Shelter Afrique
  • South African rating agency GCR has upgraded Shelter Afrique Development Bank’s global scale long issuer rating to B from B- and affirmed a stable outlook.
  • Additionally, GCR has upgraded the national scale issuer ratings for Kenya, Nigeria, and Mauritius, all with stable outlooks, while recognizing Shelter Afrique’s transition to a treaty-based entity and strategic efforts to address capital arrears.
  • This transformation has improved the bank’s operational and financial performance, enhanced governance, and solidified its legitimacy and confidence among members.

South African rating agency GCR, has upgraded Shelter Afrique Development Bank’s (ShafDB) international scale long issuer rating to B from B- and affirmed the short-term national scale issuer rating of B, with the outlook accorded as Stable.

At the same time, GCR has also upgraded the long and short-term national scale issuer ratings for Kenya to AA-(KE)/A1+(KE) from A+(KE)/ A1(KE); Nigerian to AA+(NG)/A1+(NG) from AA(NG) / A1+(NG); and Mauritian to BB+(MU)/B(MU) …

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airlines blocked funds in Africa
  • Algeria tops countries holding airlines’ blocked funds in Africa at $261 million followed by countries within the XAF Zone that are trapping $140 million.
  • Ethiopia has $115 million in blocked funds for airlines while its neighbour Eritrea is sitting on $75 million.
  • Zimbabwe closes the top five countries with blocked funds at $69 million.

Airlines across the world continue to struggle to repatriate their profits, with several African countries accounting for the bulk of blocked funds at $880 million. This amount, which represents 52 percent of the total $1.68 billion blocked funds globally continues to act as a hindrance to the growth of the industry post-Covid-19 fallout.

Data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has single out Algeria, the XAF Zone, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Zimbabwe as the top five countries in Africa where airlines are struggling to repatriate their profits.

Across Africa, Algeria tops among …

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Airline routes in Africa
  • The top unserved routes identified by Airbus are in Africa’s biggest cities, Nairobi, Lagos, Cape Town, Dakar, and Douala.
  • Despite significant traffic between certain city pairs, Airbus notes that some of these routes lack regularly scheduled non-stop flights.
  • Overall, Airbus forecasts a 4.1% growth in air traffic over the next 20 years, resulting in demand for 1,180 new aircraft by 2043 across Africa.

An analysis by global aviation giant Airbus has revealed several key unserved airline routes in Africa that could provide greater connectivity for travelers, and drive economic growth in the economies while offering fresh income streams for airlines.

Several of the top unserved routes identified in Airbus’ latest Global Market Forecast analysis are concentrated in Africa’s biggest cities, including Nairobi in Kenya, Lagos in Nigeria, Cape Town in South Africa, Dakar in Senegal, as well as Douala in Cameroon.

In its review, the aircraft maker also offered strategic …

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EU-Kenya EPA
  • The EU-Kenya agreement will boost bilateral trade in goods, increase investment flows, and strengthen the ties between these partners.
  • It is also expected to facilitate mutually advantageous economic relations sustainably, stimulating job creation and economic growth.
  • The EU-Kenya EPA is the most ambitious deal negotiated with an African country in terms of sustainability and can serve as a template for other sustainable trade agreements.

The activation of the EU-Kenya Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) on July 1st, 2024, marks a historic moment in the growing economic relations between Kenya and the European Union.

According to a statement from Kenya’s Ministry of Investments and Trade as well as the EU, this agreement is poised to greatly transform Kenya’s trade with Europe, opening doors for Kenyan exporters to access duty-free the opportunities set by the $18 trillion bloc.

“The EPA will also create more opportunities for Kenyan businesses and exporters, as it will …

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Ashden Awards
  • Ashden says these trailblasers, armed with groundbreaking technologies and innovative solutions, stand at the forefront of the battle against global warming.
  • Climate charity Ashden has called for financiers, investors, and policymakers worldwide to step up support for proven climate solutions that hold the keys to our sustainable future.
  • The Ashden Awards recognise inclusive solutions that deliver a wide range of benefits, from new jobs to community resilience and lowering emissions.

In an era marked by increasing environmental crises and the relentless march of climate change, the call for innovation has never been more urgent. Climate charity Ashden has called for financiers, investors, and policymakers around the world to step up support for proven climate solutions that hold the keys to our sustainable future.

These trailblasers, armed with groundbreaking technologies and innovative solutions, stand at the forefront of the battle against global warming.

Speaking at the 2024 Ashden Awards ceremony, Ashden …

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Zimbabwe economy Zimbabwe's economy
  • The IMF forecasts that Zimbabwe’s economy will decelerate to about 2% this year, down from 5.3% in 2023, due to a severe El-Niño-induced drought.
  • Declared a national disaster in April 2024, the El-Niño-induced drought in Zimbabwe has severely hit agriculture, and tourism while sparking human-wildlife conflict.
  • Traditional grain suppliers Zambia and Malawi are unable to meet Zimbabwe’s needs, compelling Harare to import GMO maize from South Africa.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected that Zimbabwe economy will decelerate to about 2 percent this year, down from 5.3 percent in 2023, primarily due to a severe El-Niño-induced drought, which has adversely affected agriculture, a critical sector for the Southern African country’s economy.

Declared a national disaster in April 2024, the El-Niño-induced drought in Zimbabwe has severely depleted water sources, with Lake Kariba, one of the country’s primary water reservoirs, holding only 13 percent of its capacity. The dire situation is …

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Regional Liquidity Support Facility
  • ATIDI supports the 35MW greenfield geothermal project in Kenya with its Regional Liquidity Support Facility (RLSF).
  • The project, the first to be considered for RLSF cover in Kenya, is set to benefit from ATIDI’s liquidity instrument which will cover the risk of payment default by public entities: Geothermal Development Corporation and Kenya Power.
  • Kenya’s power sector benefits from an active private sector and boasts abundant renewable energy resources with hydro, wind, and geothermal projects dominating its energy mix.

Regional Liquidity Support Facility (RLSF)

The African Trade and Investment Development Insurance (ATIDI) and Globeleq Africa Limited, have jointly announced the former’s support for the 35MW Globeleq Menengai Geothermal Project with liquidity cover via the Regional Liquidity Support Facility (RLSF).

RLSF, a joint initiative of ATIDI, the KfW Development Bank and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), is a credit enhancement instrument available to renewable energy Independent Power Producers …

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