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AfCFTA delay presents new opportunities for construction, manufacturing

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AfCFTA Secretary-General, Wamkele Mene

The delay in the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which was scheduled to launch in July this year, could provide much-needed breathing room for Africa’s manufacturing and construction sectors.

This is according to Duncan Bonnett, Director Market Access & Research at Africa House – a research partner of the bauma CONEXPO AFRICA trade exhibition, organised by Messe Muenchen South Africa. Bonnett says several sectors now have an opportunity to better prepare for the implementation of the AfCFTA.

The implementation, pushed out until 2021 because of the impact of Covid-19, could have the potential to increase growth, raise welfare and stimulate industrial development, according to studies by the likes of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). However, there have also been concerns that some countries could suffer revenue losses and other negative effects from premature liberalisation.

Speaking ahead of the bauma CONEXPO AFRICA trade show, Bonnett says: “This gives companies and countries a bit of breathing space, even though changes brought about by the agreement would not have been immediate, and certain duties are already zero or near zero. The delay in implementing the agreement, along with the pandemic down time, allows companies to reinforce what they have been doing to get systems in place, and better prepare to take advantage of emerging opportunities.

At a strategic level, it allows them time to assess the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the sector, and on companies in the global north. In countries badly affected by the pandemic, a lot of the industrial capacity is in small to medium sized companies which have been incredibly badly impacted, so this may present new opportunities for African companies to look at where they can take space in that market.”

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Bonnett notes that the pandemic highlighted supply chain issues, which continental free trade could help to mitigate. Across Africa, there were disruptions in the supply of goods and services out of Europe and elsewhere in the global north. “There were impacts on the cost of building materials, for example. When China shut down, the cost of building materials in Kenya rose by 5 – 10%. This may not have a major impact on a residential project, but it becomes prohibitive in a billion dollar infrastructure project. This reinforces need for better intra-regional trade linkages.”

African companies – particularly in key east and west African markets – now have a real opportunity to position themselves to compete globally and build resilience into the pan-African supply chain, he says.

Suzette Scheepers, CEO of bauma CONEXPO AFRICA organisers Messe Muenchen South Africa, says there is optimism across the construction sector that enhanced pan-African trade will help the industry overcome recent challenges. “We believe collaboration and the application of new models and technologies will help the sector capitalise on emerging opportunities across the continent,” she says. “bauma CONEXPO, traditionally bringing together key decision-makers from across Africa, will focus on highlighting opportunities and boosting collaboration among stakeholders.”

bauma CONEXPO AFRICA, sub-Saharan Africa’s Leading Trade Fair for Construction, Building Material, Mining, Agriculture & Forestry Machines, Machinery and Vehicles, will be staged in Johannesburg from 13 – 16 October 2021.

Issued by ITP Communications on behalf of Messe Muenchen South Africa

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3attar secures seed investment from AUC Angels, UI Investment and Angel Investors

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3attar a health-focused tech and e-commerce platform secures seed investment from AUC Angels, UI Investment and individual Angel Investors. Established in 2019, 3attar is a B2C online platform that provides value to its customers through: Online healthy food/products ordering, Delivery services, Diet-consultation programs and Live-coaching programs. Additional subscription and e-payment models.

During the COVID-19 crisis, the company was quick to expand its ‘selection from a few hundred products to +3,000. Rendering it the biggest healthy-shopping destination in Egypt. Its unique name/logo combination expanded to grow into its own private label that generates 20% of the entire business revenue model.

Mohamed Ali, founder/CEO of 3attar said “We aim to become the dominant one-stop shop for the whole health community in Egypt. And expand into MENA regions; including chronic diseases and obesity by providing a holistic healthy lifestyle app.” 

The company’s vision is to support the health community that is comprised of At-risk individuals who lack the resources, awareness, products necessary to alleviate their conditions and improve their health (customers suffering from Obesity, Diabetes, Allergies, Hypertension and more). Healthy individuals as well as Athletes, Dieters and Fitness professional. Who maintain and lead a healthy food intake and are constantly seeking a platform that holistically offers all their lifestyle needs.

Eng. Tarek Roushdy, investor and board advisory member of 3attar said: “Since the huge growth in the global “health” community is reaching the MENA region rapidly. 3attar made a smart move to be the first and only platform to serve not only the health community in Egypt and MENA. But also those who want to joint this movement. I am glad to be part of this journey helping them to bring such value to that big market ..” 

Mariam Kamel, of AUC Angels said: “The specialized e-commerce space has witnessed increased inflow of angel investments and venture capital this past year. 3attar not only satisfies this, but also strives for impact in addressing the growing trends towards healthier living.” 

The investment raised will be utilized to expand the customer-base through marketing acquisition and diversification. Further developing the tech-stack to achieve higher order volume and revenues.

 

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EFG Hermes Closes Sixth Issuance for Premium International for Credit Services in an EGP 170 Million Securitization Transaction

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EFG Hermes Mostafa Gad (Image: Supplied)

EFG Hermes’ investment banking division, the leading investment banking franchise in Frontier Emerging Markets (FEM). Announced today that it has successfully closed the sixth issuance, worth EGP 170 million. As part of Premium International for Credit Services’ (Premium) EGP 2 billion securitization program. This transaction marks the first issuance this year, following two transactions last year, as part of the two-year program.

Premium is the originator, assigning a portfolio to EFG Hermes, the securitization special purpose vehicle (SPV), backed by Premium customer credit portfolios. The EGP 170 million bond, which consists of a single 10-month tranche, received a “Prime 1 Rating” for its last five issuances. The strongest amongst Egyptian bond issuances as quoted by Middle East Ratings and Investor Services (MERIS).

Mostafa Gad, Co-Head of Investment Banking at EFG Hermes, commented: “Our partnership with Premium is a reflection of the continued growth of the Egyptian debt capital market space. With the sixth transaction in the program highlighting an increasing utilization of the asset class. The success of this issuance is a testament to our team’s commitment to broadening our capacity for value creation. And expanding our offering to bring together a holistic set of services that incite growth for our partners and clients alike.”

The deal follows the Firm’s back-to-back conclusions of a securitized bond offering worth EGP 627.5 million for Pioneers Properties for Urban Development. And EGP 790 million for EFG Hermes Corp-Solutions’ first issuance, both in December 2021. Both transactions come on the heels of the Firm’s successful advisory on valU’s first securitized bond offering, worth EGP 322.5 million, in September 2021.

EFG Hermes acted as the sole financial advisor, sole transaction manager & book-runner, underwriter, and arranger.

With a current footprint spanning thirteen countries across four continents. EFG Hermes Holding (EGX: HRHO.CA – LSE: EFGD) started in Egypt and has grown over 37 years of success to become a universal bank in Egypt. With a leading investment banking platform with access to emerging and frontier markets. Drawing on our proven track-record and a diverse team of talented employees. EFG Hermes provide a wide spectrum of financial services that include advisory, asset management, securities brokerage, research and private equity to the entire MENA region.

 

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Softline expands in MENA by increasing its investments in the Egyptian market

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Softline, the leading company in digital transformation, cloud and cybersecurity services, unveiled a plan to increase its business and investments in Egypt. The company recently held a series of meetings with officials in different sectors and government institutions including the Ministry of Communications and Information, The General Authority for Investments and the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA).

During these meetings, representatives from the company and government discussed a wide range of issues including Softline’s targeted investments over the next few years, as the company works to consolidate its presence and investments in Egypt. They also discussed the joint frameworks of cooperation to support Egypt’s national plan for digital transformation, which encompasses various companies and sectors.

The meetings also touched on the company’s plan and strategy to hire recent engineering graduates from Egyptian colleges – especially the technology colleges – and also providing ongoing support through training.

The meetings were attended by Roy Harding, President of Softline International; Atul Ahuja, Softline Senior Vice President for Middle East, Africa and Asia; Engineer Ahmed Nabil, Managing Director of Softline Egypt; and Mohamed Khattab, director of government and education sector at Softline Egypt.

Engineer Ahmed Nabil, the managing director of Softline Egypt commented: “It was an honour to meet with officials and decision makers in Egypt, which is making a great leap forward in terms of its digital transformation and IT. Today we are looking forward to expanding our business in the Middle East by increasing our investments in Egypt, which will also serve as a hub for our business in the region.”

Softline provides digital transformation and cybersecurity services in more than 50 countries and around 95 global cities. Roy Harding, Softline International’s President mentioned: “These meetings have given us a very clear sense of how Softline can support the public and private sectors, and we’re excited to be playing a part in realizing Egypt’s vision for overhauling its digital infrastructure over the next decade.”

Atul Ahuja, Softline Senior Vice President for Middle East, Africa and Asia, commented: “At Softline Egypt, we feel we are at the right time and right place. Softline’s global experience in offering solutions and services for emerging economies would be just right for the growth and transformation Egypt as a country is experiencing”.

The company also contributes to building and managing a safe hybrid infrastructure for its clients. It also provides support and maintenance teams for the required infrastructure to support global digital transformation, cloud services and cybersecurity.

Nabil, asserted that the stable economic situation in Egypt and the continued improvement of the investment environment in Egypt “gives us a confident push to increase our investments in Egypt and support Egypt’s national agenda and the long-term strategic plan of the state to achieve the principles and goals of the sustainable development in all sectors according to Egypt 2030 vision”.

 

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