by Johan Burger
NEW PORT INFRASTRUCTURE IN SENEGAL
Dubai’s port operator DP World recently announced plans for a large new deep-water port development project in Senegal. It signed an agreement worth more than US$1.1 billion with Senegal’s government for its most significant port investment to date in Africa. DP World will build a new 607-hectare port near Dakar, located approximately 50km from the current port and near the international airport. They will also build a 283-hectare container terminal and an adjacent free trade zone. DP World and the Port Authority of Dakar has established a new company, DP World Dakar.
The JV-partners view the new Ndayane port as reinforcing Dakar's role as a central logistics hub and gateway to West and North West Africa. The existing DP World terminal will continue to operate during the development phase. They will later redevelop the site into a mixed-use residential and commercial waterfront. The partners are also considering developing a cruise terminal.
A new channel able to handle the largest container vessels in the world will be launched during the first phase of the project, at a cost of US$837 million. This first phase will also be the single largest private sector investment in Senegal. The channel will later be expanded to accommodate even larger container ships and increase the dock length by nearly half. The budget for the second phase is US$290 million. The new port will reportedly create jobs, attract new foreign direct investment to Senegal, and enable economic diversification through the generation of new trading opportunities. 
DEVELOPING THE PORT OF LUANDA IN ANGOLA
DP World recently announced the signing of a 20-year concession agreement with the Angolan government to operate the Multipurpose Terminal (MPT) at the Port of Luanda, which is Angola’s largest port. The Port's location makes it a mandatory stop on the sea routes along the west coast of Africa. It gives Angola the opportunity to benefit from trade flows into the surrounding region.
The MPT will be the first seaport terminal located on the west coast of Southern Africa to be operated and managed by DP World. DP World was selected as the preferred bidder by an evaluation committee set up by the Angolan Ministry of Transport, following an international tender process.
The agreement commits US$190 million to rehabilitate the existing infrastructure and acquire new equipment. These upgrades will raise operations at the port to global standards and improve its efficiency. The terminal’s annual throughput is expected to increase to approximately 700,000 TEUs per year. A modern port management system will be established to support this goal, and further training and development will be provided to Angolan terminal employees.
According to Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, group chairman and CEO of DP World, the Group believes in Angola’s potential for further economic growth. DP World intends supporting the Angolan government to achieve its growth objectives through this key sector by leveraging its expertise as a port operator and a global provider of end-to-end logistics solutions. 
POINT OF INTEREST
- DP World formerly managed the Doraleh container terminal in the Port of Djibouti. Some years ago, the Djibouti government evicted DP World. Since then, DP World has won six hearings against the Djibouti government. However, Djibouti refuses to heed the verdict. DP World has remained bullish about Africa and its massive potential. It has now won contracts in Senegal and Angola, as detailed above. DP World recently won several contracts in Africa. In 2018, DP World announced it would build and operate a logistics hub in Mali under a 20-year concession agreement. It also signed a preliminary agreement with Egypt’s Suez Canal Authority and government to jointly develop a new inland container depot that would boost the flow of cargo between ships and major land transportation networks in the country. DP World also won a 30-year concession to develop a US$1 billion deep-water port along the DRC’s Atlantic coast.
CROWDFUNDING TO FUND INFRASTRUCTURE IN GHANA
Cofundie, a Ghanaianstartup formed in August 2019,recently developed a crowdfunding platform to generate funds for developing affordable housing using alternative materials and techniques. The model allows crowd funders to share in the profits after these homes are sold or rented out. Cofundie takes 5% of all funds raised and 10% of the profits from buildings funded through the platform as revenues.
Africa’s housing deficit is close to 56 million units, which Cofundie ascribes to real estate financing dynamics, directed mainly towards luxury and commercial developments. Simultaneously, the entry barriers to investing in real estate are too high for small scale investors. Cofundie’s vision is to solve Africa’s housing crisis. They intend doing this by growing investments in affordable housing built using cost-effective and time-saving techniques and materials such as earth bricks, rammed earth, used shipping containers and polystyrene panels.
Cofundie ensures that the platform funds only the highest quality deals by performing thorough due diligence on both the developers and potential deals. Cofundie’s investment committee interviews the developers that meet stringent tests for a final decision. Less than 5% of the offered deals are accepted.
Cofundie’s first project entailed crowdfunding for the first phase of a 20-unit housing project in collaboration with Ghana’s largest urban developer, i.e., Appolonia City. More than 20% of the required amount has been raised.
Cofundie is also collaborating with one of its developers to develop 100 units of one-, two- and three-bedroom homes built using polystyrene panels. These homes will sell at between US$21,000 and US$45,000, 20% less than comparable units built using traditional materials.
The Ghanaian diaspora appears to be very interested in the model, and their uptake has been the greatest. While local Ghanaians also show interest, crowdfunding is a relatively new concept, and trust appears to be an issue.
Cofundie, now in the process of raising a seed round, plans to launch in Nigeria by mid-2021. Nigerian developers and investors have indicated sufficient demand. One challenge facing Cofundie is the lack of clear regulations to govern crowdfunding in Africa, especially in Ghana.
POINT OF INTEREST
- Cofundie’s crowdfunding platform is impressive, not only for crowdfunding but also because it uses alternative resources as building materials. Their business model links funders with property developers and the eventual property buyers. The revenue model appears quite lucrative, earning a 5% commission on funds raised and 10% on the profits from selling the properties. Cofundie performs due diligence on the projects, ensuring the developers' quality and providing investors with peace of mind. Many investors are cautious about property developments as they fear becoming the victims of poorly managed projects.
DEVELOPING THE TRANSPORT SECTOR IN ETHIOPIA
Ethiopia’s Minister of Transport Dagmawit Moges said the realization of the 10-year development plan of its transport sector required an investment of approximately US$5.8 billion. She also noted that such large initiatives require the active participation of foreign investors and the private sector. The Ethiopian government would not be able to handle such a massive project on its own.
The 10-year development plan focuses on infrastructure development, creating access and addressing quality issues. The programme will incorporate international standards for infrastructure development, such as constructing roads, railway lines, and the aviation sector.
The Ministry identified 20 projects for immediate action but will develop many more projects in future. The government adopted different platforms where they will introduce projects. These would be supported by public-private-partnerships involving foreign investors.
Ethiopia’s Transport Ministry is preparing a 30-year transport master plan, which will lead to integrated action across all transportation modes. The significant increase in the volume of imports and exports drives the necessity for this initiative. With a more efficient logistics system, Ethiopia can serve as a hub for its neighbours and benefit from the resulting new employment opportunities for its population.
POINT OF INTEREST
- Ethiopia’s transport plan addresses a challenge that faces many African countries. Traffic congestion due to poorly planned roads and badly designed cities is a massive headache. Inadequate road maintenance, high traffic, and heavy vehicles aggravate the situation, not only in Addis Ababa and Ethiopia but also in many other countries. The road system in Lagos, Nigeria, is notorious. The roads in and out of the Port of Apapa are a significant headache. However, as long as heavy freight moves on roads instead of rail, the quality of the roads will remain problematic. Africa must invest in better transport infrastructure that connects the various countries, although funding is a significant challenge. Until good roads are a reality, intra-African transport, and for that matter, trade, will be costly and complicated. Hopefully, the AfCFTA will facilitate the modernisation of transport networks on the continent and ease the flow of goods and people between the various countries.
FLOATING BRIDGE IN MOMBASA, KENYA
In Mombasa, Kenya, the Likoni Channel serves as a gateway for Mombasa Port. People and vehicles cross the channel daily using ferries. As the city’s population grows, the demand for ferry services rises, which pressures its viability. About 300,000 pedestrians and 6,000 vehicles cross the channel daily, leading to immense congestion during peak hours.
To alleviate this bottleneck, Kenya recently launched a 1.2-kilometre floating bridge across the channel built by China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) at the cost of US$17 million. The bridge features a six-meter-wide deck and a floating section of 715 metres. A 150-meter swing opening in the middle allows for the passage of ships calling at Mombasa Port to transit through the channel.
Kenya Ports Authority will operate the bridge, using tag boats to open and close the movable part one hour before a ship passes.
The temporary bridge is to be dismantled and replaced on completion of the permanent Mombasa Gate Bridge project. This project is currently in design and estimated to cost US$1.8 billion.
POINT OF INTEREST
- Kenya’s Nairobi is another city where traffic congestion can be a nightmare. Anyone trapped in peak traffic, either in the morning or late afternoon, can attest to this. A trip to or from the airport outside the city is not advisable during peak traffic. Again, other cities also find this challenge a significant problem. Contributing factors include Africa’s rapid urbanisation, a growing middle class with increasing ability to purchase cars, and the rising number of commercial vehicles on the roads. Cities are also rarely planned but tend to “just happen”, – which aggravates the poorly designed road networks.
CONNECTING BURKINA FASO TO THE GHANAIAN COAST
According to Ghana’s Minister of Railway Development, John Peter Amewu, the implementation of the Burkina Faso–Ghana rail interconnection project will commence in 2022. Amewu and the Prime Minister of Burkina Faso, Christophe Joseph Marie Dabire, resolved a number of outstanding issues holding up the project implementation. These included tax and customs issues, the expropriation and compensation of landowners along the route, the selection of a suitable contractor, and the financial arrangements for the project. The railway line is nearly 1,100 kms long, 29% (320 kms) of which will be in Burkina Faso with the rest (782 kms) in Ghana. A total of 45 stations will be in Ghana and 10 in Burkina Faso.
Three successful bidders have been shortlisted for the project - China No 10 Engineering Company, African Global Group, and Frontline Advisors. Railway connectivity between the port of Tema in Ghana and Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso will accelerate the socio-economic growth and development of the two countries. The project is expected to take five years to complete. 
POINTS OF INTEREST
- Burkina Faso is one of Africa’s 16 landlocked states. The development of the railway line will improve its access to the port. A World Bank study found that landlocked countries are among the poorest in the world. Customs delays and high transport costs often make landlocked economies uncompetitive. Additional hurdles like border delays, truck cartels, multiple clearance processes, and bribes - all of which push up transport costs, make the economy uncompetitive.
- The rail project will ease the movement of goods in and out of Burkina Faso and enhance its trade competitiveness. It may boost intra-African trade, which received a shot in the arm after the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) came into effect in January 2021.
- The railway could make Burkina Faso attractive for agribusiness investors and commodity traders.
ADDRESSING NIGERIA’S INFRASTRUCTURE CHALLENGES
Nigeria has launched a number of megaprojects to address its infrastructure deficit. Projects include the 156 km Lagos-Ibadan Standard Gauge Railway Line with an extension to Lagos Port; the 614 km Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano Gas Pipeline; the Lekki deep seaport outside Lagos; a 35 km Expressway to link the Lekki deep seaport to the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, and the construction of four new international airport terminals in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, and Kano. Construction has also started on a US$2bn railway line connecting northern Nigeria to Niger, while US$3bn has been earmarked for the rehabilitation of a 1,400 km line linking Port Harcourt with Maiduguri in the northeast. Asian investors have put significant stakes in these projects. For instance, the US$2.1bn Lagos Free Zone is owned and managed by Singapore’s Tolaram Group. It is located 60 km east of Lagos and built on an 830ha site. It is Nigeria's first privately owned SEZ and is fully integrated with the Lekki deep-sea port. Designed and constructed by Singapore's Surbana Jurong and China Harbour Engineering Company the Lagos Free Zone could be a “game-changer” for Nigeria. The “plug-and-play” business zone offers “best in class” infrastructure for firms looking to invest in the country, claims Tolaram. When phase one is completed next year, it will have the capacity to host more than 100 firms. The facility will generate its own power and have residential complexes, medical facilities, transport depots, and warehousing facilities.
President Buhari announced a number of initiatives to deal with infrastructure challenges in the country. The Infrastructure Corporation of Nigeria (InfraCo), announced in February 2021, aims to raise US$36.7bn for projects. InfraCo’s seed capital of N1trn (US$2.6bn) will come from the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Agency (NSIA) and the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC).
The Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) is another initiative to invest in road and power projects and is managed by the NSIA. It was launched in 2020 to drive the completion of several large projects that have been plagued by delays. These include the Mambilla hydropower project, the 11.9 km second Niger Bridge, and the 130 km Lagos to Ibadan Expressway. There are approximately 600 road construction and repair projects underway across Nigeria.
Infrastructure deficit has been a major constraint on the growth and development of Nigeria. The country ranked 116 on the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) 2019 Global Competitiveness Index of 141 countries Moody’s estimates that Nigeria’s financing shortfall for infrastructure will increase to US$3trn over the next three decades.
POINTS OF INTEREST
- Infrastructure acts as a catalyst for development providing access to basic needs such as health care, education, transport, and jobs. Lack of adequate infrastructure hinders economic growth and hurts development. When communities lack roads they are unable to travel for work and access health care facilities. Food security also becomes a challenge due to the absence of proper roads and railway lines.
- Infrastructure development also plays a significant role in attracting foreign direct investment. The availability of functional infrastructural facilities such as transport, communication networks and electricity has also been found to contribute to the success of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
- With a GDP of US$443bn, Nigeria is the largest economy in Africa and the most populous. An ISS Africa report in 2015 explored the changing power capabilities of the continent’s ‘big five’ (Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and South Africa) It forecast that over the next 25 years Ethiopia and Nigeria to grow while Algeria, Egypt and South Africa will stagnate or decline. The report argued that if Nigeria could take the necessary steps to fix poor governance it could become Africa’s lone superpower. But poor infrastructure has proved to be a major constraint. So much so that former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo says lack of infrastructure could be a contributing factor to the rise of the terror group, Boko Haram, in northeast Nigeria.
- Infrastructure development could provide a major boost to the economy of the country. It will make Nigeria attractive to foreign investors. A booming market of 200 million consumers, Nigeria has the potential to grow further if it can fix its infrastructure. It will be interesting to see if the newfound momentum will gather pace.
KARPOWERSHIP IN SOUTH AFRICA
Karpowership from Turkey is a preferred bidder for South Africa’s Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (RMIPPPP). The Programme will supply three power ships to address the country’s electricity supply challenges. South Africa’s Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe reports that the vessels will feed power to the grid in three ports: Coega, in the Eastern Cape, Richards Bay in KwaZulu-Natal and Saldanha in the Western Cape.
The government released the RMIPPPP in August 2020 to alleviate South Africa’s electricity supply constraints and reduce the extensive use of diesel-based generators in the medium-to-long-term.
Powers ships are privately owned and operated floating power stations, which contain their complete sets of generation, electrical control, and substation components. The vessels also manage their maintenance workshop and engineering capabilities. The onboard substation can deliver power through connections to the national grid without lengthy delays or complicated engineering. The ships can operate both on liquid fuels (HFO/RFO) and natural gas. With high efficiency and availability, power ships can provide uninterrupted electricity at various high voltage levels.
The value of the South African contract to Turkey’s Karpowership is R218 billion (±US$15.23 billion) with a term of 20 years. This contract term is the company’s longest to date. Liquefied natural gas will fuel the three vessels to provide 1,220 MW of electricity. This power will close a supply gap in South Africa that results in periodic blackouts. The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in South Africa estimates the deal will cost as much as R10.9 billion annually (±US$762 million).
According to analysts, the long duration of the contract is an indication of the seriousness of South Africa’s power crisis, as well as a sign of its “questionable long-term planning in light of dropping renewables costs.” Karpowership will dock its powerships in South Africa around August of 2022.
According to Karpowership, they keep costs low through their reach into the LNG market and an exclusive, long-term deal with Shell. Currently, only around 3% of South Africa’s energy mix involves LNG, which is cheaper than the diesel used to run Eskom’s Open Cycle Gas Turbines but far more expensive than coal.
Environmental groups have raised concerns about the continued use of fossil fuels. Researchers have warned that Karpowership’s 20-year contract could generate close to 20 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions per site.
POINT OF INTEREST
- South Africa’s state-owned utility, Eskom, is unable to keep the lights on consistently and affordably. The government has now turned towards Turkey’s Karpowership for a long-term contract of 20 years. This conveys a clear message - Eskom is unlikely to sort out its capital equipment and management challenges anytime soon, despite what the government and Eskom itself regularly tells its citizens and consumers. In a recent development, it recently surfaced that Eskom’s procurement managers were colluding until very recently with private sector companies to fleece the company, continuing the corrupt practices at the company. For example, in March 2019, a buyer at one of Eskom’s power stations placed an order with a company for the refurbishment of two compressors to the value of R368,550 (US$25,781). It was later discovered that this company had sub-contracted another company to perform the work, which in turn sub-contracted yet another company, who then completed the job for US$2,895. Eskom further discovered that two completely new compressors would have cost only R112,000 (US$7,832). This is sadly only one example of many. The South African public and business sector end up paying the price for this situation.
KENYA REVIVES KISUMU PORT
Kenya’s attempt to build a multimodal transport system received a boost in June 2021 with after a lakeside port was refurbished at the cost of US$30m. Kisumu port could facilitate the flow of trade in the Lake Victoria region of East Africa as it provides connects the northern corridor from the port of Mombasa to neighbouring Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo. that was refurbished at a cost of US$30m. As part of the refurbishment, Kenya has also invested US$17m to build the Kisumu oil jetty which will help supply petroleum products across the region and ease the burden on congested roads. Neighbouring Uganda has also contracted a consortium of private investors to build a US$270m liquid bulk jetty on its side of the lake. The port is expected to reposition Kisumu as Kenya’s frontier for regional trade and logistics. Its revival also involved the revamping of MV Uhuru, a wagon ferry, which was repaired and rehabilitated by the state-run Kisumu Kenya Shipyard Limited. The shipyard is also expected to build another vessel, MV Uhuru 2, which will be used to ferry petroleum products.
DURBAN PORT GETS AN UPGRADE
The South African port of Durban is set for a US$6.73bn upgrade. The project includes deepening the Maydon Wharf channel to accommodate larger vessels, building additional container capacity at Pier 1 and Pier 2, and developing a new container terminal in the Point Precinct. These upgrades will expand the port’s container capacity from 2.9m units to more than 11m units. Durban is ideally located as a hub for containerised cargo but its port operations have been dogged by poor maintenance, slow turnaround, ship berthing delays, and truck congestion. Transnet, the state-owned enterprise which operates the port, will advertise a concession later this year to build and operate the new Point Terminal, and President Cyril Ramaphosa said that greater private sector participation and investment will be necessary to implement the project successfully.
South Africa needs to upgrade its ports to maintain its position as a container hub and it may consider contracting parts of its terminal operations to Asian port operators such as Dubai’s DP World or Singapore’s PSA.
LAMU HIGHLIGHT KENYA’S MARITIME PRESENCE
The Kenyan government intends to position Lamu Port as a gateway of choice for Ethiopia, Somalia, and South Sudan, as well as an attractive alternative to companies doing business in Somalia. The China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) developed the first three berths of the port at a cost of US$689m which are expected to become operational in June 2021. Lamu port handles containers and oil cargo and can complement Mombasa as it is also a natural deep port that can handle larger sea vessels. The remaining 29 berths in Lamu Port will be handed over to private sector investors for financing, construction, and operation.
Once the port is fully operational, there will be jobs in port operations, agriculture, fishery, logistics, manufacturing, trade and commerce, and transport. Business costs will also be reduced due to the faster ship turnaround time.
PORT UPGRADING IN THE DRC
The China Gezhouba Group Company (CGGC) is refurbishing and modernising the Port of Kalemie on the western shore of Lake Tanganyika in the DRC at a cost of US$127m. This will allow berthing of barges and large-tonnage ships and increase export capacity from 1,500 tons per annum to 15,000 tons per annum. The project also includes the refurbishment of the military annex of the port and construction of an administrative building. The renovated port is expected to boost economic exchanges between the DRC and other inland East African ports, such as Bujumbura (Burundi), Mpulungu (Zambia), and Kigoma (Tanzania). There will also be benefits for the neighbouring provinces of Maniema, Grand Kasai, North and South Kivu, Haut-Lomami, Lualaba, and Haut-Katanga.
The DRC has a large population and mineral wealth, but trade with Europe and the Americas is curtailed by the absence of a deep seaport. DP World of the UAE is developing a deep seaport at Banana, the country’s first deep seaport along its 37 km coastline which faces the Atlantic ocean. Banana Port, which is expected to take two years to develop, is expected to attract calls from large vessels from Asia and Europe, thus boost the growth of shipping and trade in the DRC. The new port may also help some of the DRC’s landlocked neighbours such as Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda, shorten trade routes and reduce costs.
LEKKI DEEP SEA PORT TO ATTRACT MORE INVESTMENT TO NIGERIA
The Apapa Port in Lagos has long suffered from congestion and cargo movement in and out of the port has been slow. But now with the construction of the new US$1.6bn Lekki deep sea port in Lagos, Nigeria, almost complete, those problems may be a thing of the past. The brand new port is expected it to commence operations in the last quarter of 2022. Lekki Port and the nearby Lagos Free Zone (LFZ) are part of Nigeria’s effort to capture regional trade. Once complete the port will be able to accommodate ships carrying more than 14,500 containers each and boost manufacturing and logistics activity at the sprawling LFZ, which has been constructed by the Singapore-based Tolaram Group at a cost of US$2bn. However, Lekki port is likely to face competition from Tema in Ghana, Lomé in Togo, Abidjan II in Ivory Coast, Port du Futur in Senegal, Kribi in Cameroon, and Badagry in Nigeria.
DEVELOPMENT OF THE BERBERA CONTAINER TERMINAL
The economy of the breakaway self-declared independent republic of Somaliland is expected to receive a major boost as the port of Berbera, managed by DP World, becomes fully operational. The port is expected to serve as a major trade gateway for landlocked Ethiopia and enhance Somaliland’s trade relations with East African and Gulf countries. Berbera’s new container terminal was inaugurated on 24 June 2021. With the Phase 1 of the new terminal complete, the port’s annual container capacity has jumped from 150,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) to 500,000 TEUs. After Phase Two is completed, its capacity will increase further to 2m TEUs annually. Somaliland is also building a Berbera free trade zone and corridor. The port of Berbera may give additional legitimacy to the democratically government in Hargeisa and although no other country has yet conferred official recognition to Somaliland, the successful completion of the port at Berbera, has attracted international attention and raised the republic’s standing in the horn of Africa. Ethiopia has long been dependent on Djibouti as the primary hub for its imports and exports, and has been looking to Sudan, Eritrea, and Somaliland for viable alternatives.
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