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The Commercial Bank of Cameroon brought together economic actors the public and private sectors customers and non-customers alike, start-ups and others, to concert at their third edition of Cameroon Business Forum that held (at the Krystal Palace Hotel) in Douala on Thursday November 3 with the theme “financing agro-industry…” and other subjects and how it can be made the flagship project of reducing dependence on imported goods and then made to chart a resilient economic growth for the future of this country.

Following their motto of “Lets build the future”, the bank expressed their appreciation for the impressive turn-out of the participants and that the forum was, in a wider sense, a place to exchange views, learn from each other and equally create partnerships and find solutions to the common goals of overcoming the challenges faced brought about by the HIV-AIDS, COVID-19 pandemics, and the inflation in the market place brought about by the Russian-Ukraine invasion, and to reduce poverty.

There were a whole series of challenges and suggestions that were discussed, some of which were the question of the acquisition of land to invest in second-generation agriculture which was a daunting task to overcome, the one-man show in the DNA of Cameroonians instead of forming cooperatives which has been a success-story in other parts of the world and equally on the continent, the scarcity of financing and guarantees on investments, bureaucracy, governance and the lack of adequate state participation in its role as facilitator, infrastructural problems, lack of transparency and a host of others. Participants would want to meet with representatives of the related ministries in the fourth edition for these reasons.

The mounting inflation and because no one knows how long it will it take, the continued rise in interest rates making financing more expensive to the investor and more, made participants tilt towards the idea of substituting imported inputs for local products or import substitution, among others. Niko Milianitis of the European Investment Bank (EIB) of the EU said those to assist the import substitution projects are the state multilateral organisations such as the IFAD, FAO, AIDB, EIB, multilateral banks, private foundations, regional banks etc.. Such projects must have sufficient promoter capital, technical expertise, sound managerial capacity, well-developed business plan,

feasibility studies, co-financing, renewable energy, gender and research and development etc.

Import substitution is not only to reduce dependence on imported goods but also to export goods produced to other countries to gain foreign currency reserves so it is expected to create jobs and reduce poverty.

In the closing remarks the General Manager Leandre Djummo said “we must continue to seek solutions to or problems. We also have problems to overcome equally with the Ministry of Finance but we will always continue to seek solutions. And the objectives of this forum have been met.”Text Box: Participants flank the General Manager Leandre Djummo ( 5th from left )

To a senior Consultant Gabriel Eugene Damfeu on the challenges of import substitution, he said as we embrace import substitution we have to look for a corresponding market to export the products. “We are all aware that it is the international market that has the biggest market and we are in the CEMAC Zone, so we have to have the capacity to export, we also have Nigeria as our natural market so producers have to design the plan and the goods to conquer the domestic market. The big return is to invest adequately to have an export capacity. The other problem is to have large production site.. This land problems are usually solved by the state through creations of zones, to have economies of scale or to invest large quantities to reduce cost and meet the challenges of exporting.”

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Ethiopia defaults on $33 Million bond payment



Ethiopia officially entered default territory on Tuesday, becoming Africa’s third nation to do so within a span of three years. The failure to make a $33 million « coupon » payment on its sole international government bond underscores the country’s severe financial challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and a recently concluded two-year civil war in November 2022.

Ethiopia had previously announced its intention to formally default earlier this month. The payment, originally due on December 11, had a technical grace period extending until Tuesday, thanks to a 14-day clause in the $1 billion bond agreement.

Sources familiar with the situation reported that, as of the close of business on Friday, December 22, the last international banking working day before the grace period ended, bondholders had not received the expected coupon payment. Despite requests for comments, Ethiopian government officials remained silent on Friday and throughout the weekend.

This anticipated default aligns Ethiopia with two other African nations, Zambia and Ghana, which are currently undergoing a comprehensive restructuring process under the « Common Framework. »

Ethiopia initially sought debt relief under the G20-led initiative in early 2021. The civil war delayed progress, but in November, facing depleted foreign exchange reserves and surging inflation, Ethiopia’s official sector government creditors, including China, agreed to a debt service suspension deal.

Parallel negotiations with pension funds and other private sector creditors, who hold Ethiopia’s bond, collapsed on December 8. Subsequently, credit ratings agency S&P Global downgraded the bond to « Default » on December 15, based on the assumption that the coupon payment would not be fulfilled. The default places Ethiopia in a challenging economic position, requiring strategic measures to address its financial instability and navigate the complexities of debt restructuring.


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TotalEnergies ready to invest $6 billion in Nigeria



French energy giant TotalEnergies is ready to invest $6 billion (around €5.5 billion) over several years in Nigeria’s energy industry, particularly in gas and offshore projects, the Nigerian presidency has said.

« We are ready to invest $6 billion over the next few years. We are looking in depth at more opportunities for deepwater and gas production, » said TotalEnergies CEO Patrick Pouyanné, according to a presidential statement.

On Monday, Head of State Bola Ahmed Tinubu held talks with Mr Pouyanné in Abuja, the capital.

« Everything is in place. We just need to finalise the adjustments and changes needed to unlock the exceptional potential in oil and gas », continued Mr Pouyanné, according to the Presidency.

Nigeria is « very important » for TotalEnergies, which accounts for between 8% and 10% of the group’s total oil production, according to the CEO quoted in the press release.

For his part, the Nigerian president pledged to « remove all obstacles in the oil and gas industry ». « We are ready to work with you », he said.

The oil and gas major indicated that it « has a substantial portfolio of projects that could represent 6 billion dollars of investment over the next few years ».

Ten days ago, the Nigerian president’s office announced similar commitments from British oil and gas giant Shell, for USD 6 billion in offshore, natural gas and liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects.

Since his inauguration at the end of May, Bola Ahmed Tinubu has taken a series of economic measures aimed at attracting more foreign investment to this oil-producing country and member of OPEC.

A law, the Petroleum Industry Bill, adopted in 2021 after years of debate and delays, was already aimed at attracting more foreign investment in the oil sector through changes to regulations, royalties and taxes.

Nigeria has seen its oil production decline in recent years due to widespread pipeline theft, attacks, high operating costs and red tape, which have deterred investors.

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Nigeria, Cameroon missing in top 10 best international airports in Africa



Africa is emerging as a preferred global destination for travellers, driven by a thriving tourism and business sector. The continent’s aviation landscape is now a formidable force, fostering crucial connections between Africa and the global community.

Recently, Skytrax, a renowned international airline assessment organization, revealed its 2023 report on the Best Airports in Africa. South Africa dominated the regional ranking, with additional entries from Kenya, Morocco, Rwanda, and Mauritius.

1. Cape Town International Airport, South Africa

This is a premier international hub with modern infrastructure and a commitment to eco-friendly practices. The airport hosts 4.13 passengers per 10 square meters daily, catering to a discerning crowd.

2. King Shaka International Airport, South Africa

Located in Durban, it stands as a beacon of excellence among Africa’s best international airports. The terminal, covering 102,000 m2, can handle 7.5 million passengers annually.

3. Johannesburg International Airport, South Africa

Serving as the primary hub for domestic and international travel in South Africa. Since 2020, Africa’s fifth busiest airport with a capacity for 28 million passengers per year.

4. Casablanca International Airport, Morocco

Handled about 7.6 million passengers in 2022, ranking among the top 10 busiest airports in Africa. A hub for Royal Air Maroc, Royal Air Maroc Express, and Air Arabia Maroc.

5. Mauritius International Airport

A strategic gateway with direct flights to Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe. Renowned for its commitment to passenger satisfaction and prime location.

6. Marrakech International Airport, Morocco

An international facility connecting Europe, the Arab world, and soon North America. Terminals designed to handle 2,500,000 passengers annually.

7. Addis Ababa International Airport, Ethiopia

Formerly Haile Selassie I International Airport, it’s the main hub for Ethiopian Airlines. Links Ethiopia and Africa to Asia, Europe, North America, and South America.

8. Kigali International Airport, Rwanda

Serving Kigali and playing a vital role in connecting Congolese, Burundian, and Ugandan cities. The terminal accommodates 1.5 million passengers annually.

9. Nairobi International Airport, Kenya

A key connection point to East African destinations, quadrupling its capacity to host 26.5 million passengers yearly.

10. Bloemfontein International Airport, South Africa

Formerly Bloemfontein International Airport, now Bram Fischer International Airport. An economic hub hosting over 300,000 passengers and 17,000 air traffic movements annually.

Source: africanews


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