Thursday, February 29

Countries

Eastern Africa Power Pool
  • The Eastern Africa Power Pool has made major inroads in increasing cross-border electrification.
  • The system has the potential to connect 600 million people to clean energy.
  • EAPP member countries are Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.

The Eastern Africa Power Pool (EAPP) is targeting to go live on power auctioning (trading) by December this year, the secretariat now indicates, in what will allow the 13-member countries to sale excess electricity across borders.

This comes as countries continue to build a strong power connection network, amid huge investments in renewable energy mainly solar, wind, hydro and geothermal.

The EAPP member countries are Burundi, DRC, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Council of Ministers and the EAPP Steering Committee met in Nairobi this week to deliberate on the future of the power pool …

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Green Giant project
  • The joint development of the Green Giant Project will expedite the construction of the first 200MW phase of the investment.
  • Mini-grids account for more than half of all new connections in DRC.
  • The agreement represents a significant milestone in the collaborative efforts between SkyPower, AFC, and the DRC.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) and SkyPower Global have entered into a joint development agreement for the first phase of SkyPower’s Green Giant project in the mineral-rich country.

The move is meant to promote the use of renewable energy in the Eastern African state. This 200MW Phase one is a crucial step towards achieving the landmark 1,000MW Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) signed between SkyPower and the DRC’s state-owned utility, Société Nationale d’Electricité (SNEL).

The partnership brings together SkyPower’s extensive experience in developing large-scale solar projects and AFC’s successful track record of de-risking and funding well-structured power …

food inflation
  • Zimbabwe is the worst hit in Africa with food inflation at 26% YoY, followed closely by Egypt at 18%, Malawi at 9%, and Guinea at 7%.
  • The persistent weakness of the Zimbabwe dollar has been a driving force behind the steep price growth throughout 2023.
  • Real food inflation, calculated as the difference between food inflation and overall inflation, provides a dire picture of the strain on households’ budgets in these countries.

The economies of Zimbabwe, Egypt, and Guinea are facing significant challenges due to soaring food inflation, placing them among the top 10 countries globally most affected by this roiling crisis.

According to the World Bank’s February 2024 update, Zimbabwe leads the pack in Africa, with food inflation at a staggering 26 per cent year-on-year, followed closely by Egypt at 18 per cent and Guinea at 7 per cent.

Real food inflation, calculated as the difference between food inflation

Kenyan Shilling
  • Kenyan Shilling, which has been on a free-fall against the Dollar since mid-last year, fell to a record-low of 162 to the greenback with projections it could tumble further into the year.
  • The unit has shed over 31 per cent of its value to the dollar year-to-date, as the Fed rate hikes in the US took a toll on currencies across the different markets.
  • According to Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), the Kenyan shilling also ceded ground against the Euro, Pound Sterling and the Japanese Yen.

The Kenyan government is facing a major headache as the country’s currency continues to fall against the US Dollar and other major currencies, hitting a new low this week.

Kenyan shilling, which has been on a free-fall against the dollar since mid-last year, fell to a record-low of 162 to the greenback with projections it could tumble even further this year.

The local…

World Bank
  • The World Bank attributes the downgrade to the recent conflict in the Middle East, which has heightened geopolitical risks and raised uncertainty in commodity markets.
  • Growth for Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to accelerate to 3.8 per cent in 2024 and firm further to 4.1 per cent next year.
  • The lender has upgraded Kenya’s GDP growth to 5.2 per cent due to easing inflation.

Global growth is projected to slow for the third consecutive year, decreasing from 2.6 per cent last year to 2.4 per cent this year, according to the World Bank.

In its January 2024 Global Economic Prospects report, the lender states that following a sharp slowdown in 2022 and a further decline last year, global output growth is set to decrease slightly this year.

This is occurring as global economic activity continues to soften due to the impacts of tight monetary policies, restrictive financial conditions, and weak growth …

Kenya-Uganda oil deal | East African Court of Justice
  • Uganda has moved to the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) over alleged Kenya's move to block it from importing its refined petroleum products.
  • In 2016, Uganda opted to work with Tanzania to develop a pipeline to evacuate crude oil from its fields in Hoima, western Uganda.
  • This dealt a blow to an initial plan to jointly construct a 1,500-kilometre-long pipeline from oil-rich Hoima to Kenya’s Lamu port, a project envisioned to cost about $2.5 billion.

Kenya’s fallout with Uganda on importing refined petroleum products has caused another rift between the neighbouring countries, threatening trade and bilateral relations.

On December 28, last year, Kampala lodged a case at the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) against Nairobi for blocking its plans to shift from purchasing petroleum products from Kenya to importing consignments.

Over the year, Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) in Uganda have picked imports from Kenya Pipeline’s depots in Eldoret…

open skies policy
  • The open Skies Policy in civil aviation aims to ease international airlines’ access to national airports to increase the flow of tourists and develop their potential as regional air hubs.
  • Kenya is seen to warm up to more international carriers, with the latest being flyDubai, which is now flying directly to the Moi International Airport, Mombasa, after launching last week.
  • Apart from attracting foreign carriers mainly from Europe and the Middle East, airlines from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, and other EAC states will operate across borders without restrictions.

The Open Skies Policy in Kenya

Kenya is slowly heeding calls by the private sector to open its skies to more international airlines seeking to fly directly to the country’s Coast, a leading beach destination preferred mainly by Europeans.

This comes as the government also banks on the recently unveiled “visa-free” to open the country to more visitors, aiming to grow the …

Social Bond
  • Kenyans in the diaspora sent home $4.19 billion in 2023 as remittance inflows to the East African country hit an all-time high.
  • The high numbers signal that Kenyans living and working in the diaspora defied the inflationary pressures they still experienced to send more money back home.
  • Since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Kenyans in the diaspora have had to cut spending to navigate inflationary pressures and afford to send money back home.

Kenyans in the diaspora sent home $4.19 billion in 2023 as remittance inflows to the East African country hit an all-time high, boosting foreign exchange reserves and support for families in the wake of tough economic times.

According to the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), the figures are up by four per cent compared to the $4.02 billion sent in 2022.

“The inflows were strong in December 2023 at $372.6 million compared to $355.0 million …

US Navy SEALS | Somalia
  • The US Navy SEALs executed a complex boarding of a dhow near the coast of Somalia in the international waters of the Arabian Sea, seizing Iranian-made ballistic missile and cruise missile components.
  • The seized items included propulsion, guidance, and warheads for the Yemen-based terror group Houthi medium-range ballistic missiles and anti-ship cruise missiles.
  • During the operation, however, one Navy SEAL fell into the rough waters off Somalia’s coast, and a second SEAL followed, attempting to rescue him in vain.

The US Navy has declared two SEALs, who went missing off the coast of Somalia 11 days ago, dead following a futile search and rescue mission.

The two Navy SEALs were reported missing after a risky mission involving the boarding of a vessel loaded with missile assembly materials in operation on the night of January 11 off the coast of Somalia, as stated by the United States Central Command in an …

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