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Sahara Group Canvasses More Investment In Africa’s E&P Business

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Paris France: June 25, 2019 – Oil and Gas businesses in Africa need to intensify exploration efforts to guarantee reserve replacement and enhanced capacity to meet growing demand and global competition, Olajumoke Ajayi, Managing Director, Asharami Energy (A Sahara Group Upstream Company), has told participants at the Oil and Gas Council’s Africa Assembly in Paris.

Ajayi noted that Africa’s large volumes of undiscovered oil and gas makes the continent a veritable frontier for investment, adding that operators need to adopt new technology, explore alternative cost saving measures, ensure sustainable community relations, and build diverse multidisciplinary teams to ensure successful exploration projects.

In her presentation, “Renewing Players Commitment to Exploration and the Importance of Community Engagement in Capital Intensive Projects”, Ajayi cited the downturn in global oil prices and the corresponding negative effect on investor funds and returns as factors that have made a good number of Exploration and Production (E&P) companies in Africa cut down on investments, delay Final Investment Decision (FID) or totally stop embarking on new capital projects.

“Consequently, producing companies continue to pump oil from operated mature fields thereby depleting existing reserves with non-corresponding efforts for reserve replacement via new exploration discoveries. The big question remains whether or not E&P players should commit to exploration and how players can justify this commitment in the face of lower oil prices,” she stated.

According to Ajayi, the compelling case for the relevance of hydrocarbons in the future, in addition to huge investments on new technology, responsible and intentional community engagement will play a significant role in creating a stable and conducive environment for exploration and production. “Sahara Group’s exploration success story is being driven by a combination of technology, innovation and community management expertise. At Sahara, we are intentionally committed to creating a sustainable balance between our projects and host communities to ensure the creation of shared value for all stakeholders.”

Also Read Cycles, Nigeria’s No.1 Bike-Sharing Platform Achieving The United Nations SDG Goal 11 – Damilola Soladoye

Going by the PwC Oil and Gas Review 2018, proven oil reserves in Africa have stayed at the same level of 7.5% of global reserves. The report also notes that exploration activity continued to decline in 2017. “The consequences of modest recovery in exploration spending and a continued decline in new discoveries are unavoidable and imminent. The International Energy Agency and various players in the oil industry have warned of demand exceeding supply as oil demand continues to grow and investment in projects is deferred,” the report stated. The report adds that Africa’s oil and gas consumption is predicted to increase by 45%, increasing its global share 5.1% by 2050.

Ajayi said strategic community engagements eliminate community interference in operations of capital projects that may lead to significant downtime; ensure that the host community understands its role as a project stakeholder and treats projects as commonwealth source for the people; reduce security breach as community representatives serves as infrastructure surveillance outfit; and promoting easy negotiations for Freedom To Operate (FTO) and Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMOU).

– Sahara Group

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PepsiCo to Acquire South Africa’s Pioneer Foods for $1.7 Billion

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Image: IndustryWeek

The beverage and snack giant has agreed to purchase the maker of Weet-Bix breakfast cereal and Ceres fruit juice for roughly $1.7 billion.

PepsiCo (PEP – Get Report)  has agreed to purchase South Africa’s Pioneer Foods Group for $1.8 billion, or 24.4 billion rand. The deal allows PepsiCo to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Pioneer for 110.00 rand in cash per share. According to a press release, that price represents a 56% premium to the 30-day volume weighted average price “prior to the cautionary announcement on July 15, 2019.”

The acquisition is PepsiCo’s first major purchase since it bought carbonated drink maker SodaStream for $3.2 billion in late 2018. The Pioneer Foods Group makes local brands such as Weet-Bix breakfast cereal and Ceres fruit juice.

Also Read Cycles, Nigeria’s No.1 Bike-Sharing Platform Achieving The United Nations SDG Goal 11 – Damilola Soladoye

“This transaction is all about growth. We are looking to expand our footprint,” Eugene Willemsen, executive vice president, Global Categories and Franchise Management, told Bloomberg Friday.

Willemsen, plans to move from PepsiCo’s New York headquarters to Cape Town to oversee operations there. Expanding even further into sub-Saharan Africa is a near-term possibility for Pepsi, some speculate.

PepsiCo shares were down 0.9% to $131.68 following the announcement on Friday.

 Credit: The Street

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Fenix reaches 500,000 customers in 6 markets, announces new leadership team

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Fenix International, a company of ENGIE, offering Solar Home Systems across Africa has appointed co-founder and current COO Brian Warshawsky to the role of CEO

KAMPALA, Uganda, July 19, 2019 – Brian Warshawsky, co-founder and current COO of Fenix to succeed the current CEO, Lyndsay Handler.

Jit Bhattacharya, CTO and Chris Bagnall, Group Marketing Director, step down from the company with successions plans in place. New CFO appointed and Head of Credit position established alongside new Chief Commercial Officer, Junior Zerebela Kwebiiha within executive team. 

Fenix International https://www.FenixIntl.com/ , a company of ENGIE, offering Solar Home Systems across Africa has appointed co-founder and current COO Brian Warshawsky to the role of CEO to drive the next phase of the company’s ambitious growth plans. Warshawsky is succeeding Lyndsay Handler who has been with the company for 7 years and served as CEO since 2016. Warshawsky is well-placed to lead the company, having previously spent 5 years at Apple as part of the iPod Operations team before co-founding Fenix International in 2009. Having worked as COO with Fenix from inception, Brian has a deep understanding of the business from product design to manufacturing, country operations, distribution and last-mile customer experience.

Ivan Topalov, who previously served as Corporate Finance Director has been promoted to Chief Financial Officer following the departure of the previous CFO, Josh Romisher, in June. The company has also appointed a new Head of Customer Credit, Alison Boess, reporting to the CEO.

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Yoven Moorooven, CEO of ENGIE Africa, said, “Brian is a highly regarded leader with the right mix of skills and experience to lead this new chapter for Fenix as we continue to establish ourselves as the market leader across Africa. With commercial operations in Uganda, Zambia, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Benin and Mozambique, Fenix is growing from strength to strength. Under Brian’s leadership I’m incredibly excited for the future of our decentralized energy offering in Africa.” 

He continued, “I join everyone at ENGIE and the Fenix team in thanking Lyndsay, Jit and Chris for their many years of dedicated service and commitment to the Fenix Mission. Under their leadership, Fenix transformed millions of lives across the continent and built an inspiring team that is driven to succeed.” 

Brian Warshawsky, newly appointed CEO commented, “While it is difficult to say goodbye to such incredible colleagues and collaborators through so many years, I’m proud to be able to continue their legacy. On behalf of the Fenix team I would like to thank Jit for his technology leadership and the work he did to build Fenix Power, our next generation solar home system platform. I would like to thank Chris for his commercial and marketing leadership as Fenix grew from a few customers in Uganda to 500,000 customers across 6 countries in Africa. And I would like to especially thank Lyndsay for leading Fenix through so many milestones, most recently the ENGIE acquisition and establishing Fenix as the strongest off-grid solar home system company in the industry.”

He added, “Backed by a world class product, a world class team and with the full support of ENGIE, I am excited for what we will do to take our life changing product to customers across the continent. We are now set for an exciting future as we continue our expansion across Africa and achieving universal energy access for all.”

Lyndsay Handler added, “Building Fenix from 2011 to 2017 and accelerating our growth following the acquisition by ENGIE in 2018 has truly been an honour. Together, we have delivered clean, affordable energy to over 500,000 households or 2.5 million people in six countries across Africa. I am especially proud of the way we built a passionate Fenix team based in Africa who are deeply committed to our mission, values, and customers. Looking ahead, I am happy to pass the torch to our co-founder Brian and I am confident that the entire team will put the customer first in all that we do in Fenix’s next chapter. I hope that Fenix will continue to create new products and drive forward innovation so that clean energy is affordable to all at the last mile.”

Credit: Fenix International

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Key economic issues to be addressed at WEF Africa in Cape Town

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CAPE TOWN – The World Economic Forum on Africa to be held in Cape Town will address a number of key issues facing the region’s inclusive development, the organisers said on Thursday.

WEF on Africa will take place in Cape Town, on September 4 – 6, under the theme “Shaping Inclusive Growth and Shared Futures in the Fourth Industrial Revolution”.

The organisers said the meeting will be the first that the Forum has held in sub-Saharan Africa since 2017 when leaders from government, business, and civil society from around the world gathered in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.

This year’s meeting falls in a year when 20 elections will take place across the region, and nearly 100 days since South African President Cyril Ramaphosa took office. While progress has been made politically in sub-Saharan Africa, economic growth is also expected to accelerate modestly in 2019 from 3.1 percent in 2018 to an average of 3.6 percent in 2019, according to the World Bank.

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According to the organisers, the Forum will address a number of key issues facing the region’s inclusive development, including supporting growth and integration through the African Continental Free Trade Area, creating high-quality employment opportunities and protecting workers in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and employing drones to address health, infrastructure and other societal needs, among others.

“Africa’s successful development depends on building the right conditions for its new generation of entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders. This means smart, agile institutions; an enabling environment for innovation that includes access to skills and capital; and a determined approach by policy-makers to level the playing field and implement policies that prioritise sustainable, inclusive growth over short-term imperatives,” said Elsie Kanza, head of the regional agenda, Africa, and member of the executive committee at the World Economic Forum.

PHOTO: weforum African News Agency (ANA) 

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