Isolation by airlines: Sierra Leone’s greatest challenge in Ebola recovery?

As Sierra Leone copes with the setback of a new mortality from Ebola, the country’s finance minister has singled out isolation by international airlines as the biggest obstacle to economic recovery.

“Our biggest challenge is that we have been isolated by the airline industry. We are urging all of them to return, because it is a partnership,” minister Kaifala Marah tells This Is Africa on the side of an OECD Development Centre conference in Paris.

Flight bans were a key issue in the international debate around containing the virus’ spread. The bans were met with criticism from experts at the US-based Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and the United Nations. Critics claim these measures slowed humanitarian efforts and quashed business linkages.

International airlines including British Airways, Air France and KLM, as well as regional airlines such as Nigeria-based Asky and Arik Air, all suspended flights to Ebola-affected countries in August 2014. Most have yet to resume full service.

Despite progress eliminating cases of the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone, the country recorded its first death from the disease in several months on 4 April. While conceding the setback, Mr Marah maintains that the Sierra Leone will adhere to a 6-9 month recovery timetable.

“We are clear about our recovery strategy, and we are receiving support across government and from international partners. All of these supports working together ensure that we can get the recovery process right,” he says.




Construction of road in Côte d’Ivoire, linking Côte d’Ivoire


The Ivorian Ministry of Economic Infrastructure has awarded a Louis Berger-led consortium a 1.65 million euro (US$1.76 million) construction supervision contract financed through the French Agency for Development’s debt relief and development program for Côte d’Ivoire.

The consortium will supervise the construction of a 45 kilometer (28 miles) road between Ferkessédougou, the second largest town in northern Côte d’Ivoire, and Ouangolodougou, a northern town near the country’s border with Burkina Faso. Work also will include the rehabilitation of various road crossings.

“This road, when complete, will help local Ivorian producers transport their products to market faster and under better conditions,” said Jean-Pierre Dupacq, head of Louis Berger’s operations in Africa. “The road also will generate additional regional trade and economic benefits because it links the Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Mali.”

Louis Berger has more than 50 years of experience in Africa and 20 years of experience working in the Côte d’Ivoire, where the firm has implemented nearly 15 projects covering a broad range of professional services in the agriculture and transportation sectors.



SA Construction Industry faces its challenges

New forecasts from the JSE’s construction and materials index suggest that the South African construction sector is struggling mainly due to muted economic growth and slowdown in the government’s multi trillion-rand infrastructure plan.

Construction companies are expected to show less impressive earnings this year, as the JSE’s construction and materials index is still contracting amid lingering questions over the sector’s outlook.

Construction stock investors are taking it on the chin at the half way mark of the year and the outlook remains uncertain for the struggling sector even as some analysts point to green shoots.

The slowdown in the government’s multi trillion-rand infrastructure plan has stifled profit margins‚ forcing many players such as Aveng to diversify their operations away from South Africa‚ which still expects muted economic growth this year.

But the pain has been particularly acute in the small- cap construction counters in the past six months where Esor and Protech Khuthele have lost 52% and 65% of their market value before the latter was suspended last month and subsequently liquidated.

Basil Read‚ which still expects its headline earnings per share to slide as much as 270% in the year to June‚ is down 22% so far this year.

“We are very cautious on the domestic construction sector — especially the smaller ones — due to some disappointing financials. The balance sheets of major construction and engineering groups are still showing strain‚” BP Bernstein Stockbrokers trader Vasilis Girasis said on Wednesday.

Operating conditions remain equally challenging for the big-cap shares although slowly improving. The JSE construction and materials index‚ which consists of leading players such as Wilson Bayly Holmes (WBHO)‚ is down 5% since the start of the year and is more than 50% below its 2007 highs. In its most recent trading guidance‚ Aveng expects full-year headline profit‚ excluding on e-off items‚ to be down by up to 10%.

“The Asia-Pacific region has been a lifesaver for big South African construction firms‚ including Aveng and Murray & Roberts. Chinese demand for Australian minerals has complemented a boom in oil and gas projects in the region despite the global recession‚” Coface senior risk analyst Warrick Robertson said.

Stanlib industrials analyst Anashrin Pillay said order books and revenue growth in most companies had been stable‚ indicating that there was work‚ but there needed to be more of a buffer on the margin side. “Larger projects would need to come to market to absorb excess capacity and bring back some pricing power.”

The lack of construction projects has also put pressure on the steel sector‚ forcing the small-cap Alert Steel into a business rescue‚ which triggered a slump in its shares before it was suspended.

WBHO ended 1.19% lower at R124.25 on Wednesday‚ with Group Five losing 1.19% to R39.80 and Aveng shedding 0.41% to R24.



Construction boom brightens future for East Africa

It is a ‘boom’ as many people are describing the growth of East Africa Construction industry. Many investors have taken the advantage of the boom by shaking off their pockets to invest in skyscrapers, shopping malls, roads, schools, hospitals etc.

Both private and public sectors are in a hurry trying to satisfy the rising middle class and regional integration, and the E.A. governments still have the high stake in the sector. According to Frost & Sullivan research service titled Growth Opportunities in East Africa’s Construction Industries, the construction industry in East Africa is expended to expand in a value of US$3 billion in the next six years due to increased investments. The progress will be accelerated by the finances from the governments into housing, roads and civil works.
The construction industries in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania are primarily driven by government initiatives to eliminate urban slums.

What driving the industry

Both the governments and the private sectors have been putting their money in major construction projects across the region. Major projects where the gamble is involved include construction of major roads, power plants, shopping malls, skyscrapers, hospitals etc.
According to the Business Liner Manger of Atlas Copco’s Road Construction Equipment sector, Peter Kimani, East Africa States are the key players in the major road and railway construction projects.

“Governments have remained the main investors in roads and railways projects,” Kimani notes, adding that in Kenya, the State has embarked on many roads projects.

Currently, Kenya has set off for the construction of a Ksh327 billion ($3.8 billion) new standard gauge railway (SGR) railway between Mombasa and Nairobi. The country has also inked a partnership with the World Bank of Sh17 billion funding for the development of several key roads. The funds will go towards upgrading of northern and western road corridors.Among the roads to benefit include, the Athi River- Machakos turnoff, Bachuma Gate-Maji ya Chumvi sections and Kisumu-Kakamega-Webuye-Kitale road sections. Construction of interchanges at three major junctions along Nakuru-Nyahururu, Nakuru-Njoro and Mau Summit-Kericho roads will also benefit from the funds.
Recently, African Development Bank Group (AfDB) approved US$109 million loan to the Government of Uganda for the construction sector. The money will be used for the transport service levels in south-western and eastern parts of Uganda. To achieve this, the Rukungiri-Kihihi-Ishasha/Kanungu and Bumbobi-Lwakhakha roads will be upgraded from gravel to bitumen standard. This will help to improve standards of living of the beneficiaries, support the tourism industry and promote regional integration and cross border trade.


Sustainable economic growth and social advancement in West Africa

Bechtel and the government of Gabon developed a $25 billion national master plan for infrastructure, and a public-works agency that Bechtel helped to establish―and is now supporting―is delivering a hundred projects to serve the nation’s 1.5 million people.

The transformation plan and resulting buildout cover education, housing and urbanization, transportation, water and power, medical resources, and more.

The master infrastructure plan balances economic progress with social and environmental priorities to support the government of Gabon’s vision.

So far, the Bechtel-led team has completed a range of infrastructure projects, including:

  • 5,000 public housing units
  • Gabon’s first community wastewater treatment plant
  • two stadiums, hotels, and roads for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations football tournament, hosted by Gabon
  • the design for and feasibility study of a new port, marina, and conference center in Libreville


Gabon is looking to provide for its citizens better transportation networks, housing stock, water and sanitation systems, schools and universities, and medical facilities.

As the projects progress, Bechtel and the agency it manages are training and employing increasing numbers of Gabonese workers and professionals―raising standards and transferring both knowledge and skills.


Turkish construction firms speed up Libyan reconstruction effort


Turkey is working to make good on its pledges for Libya’s reconstruction as the government plans to build a new physiotherapy clinic, the Anatolia news agency reported Monday.

The new clinic will be built in Misrata, as promised by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during a visit last September.

Representatives from Turkish construction companies met with Turkey’s ambassador to Libya in this Mediterranean coastal city, one of the worst-hit cities during the popular uprising that ended Muammar Gaddafi’s 42-year rule.

Turkey also pledged to restore five police stations and a police headquarters in Misrata, both of which will be funded by the Turkish government.

Over 1,500 Libyans were killed and 13,000 others were wounded in Misrata during the fighting between forces loyal to Gaddafi and dissidents, and nearly 1,200 people went missing. Most of the buildings in the city were destroyed or heavily damaged.

Turkey’s state-run air carrier Turkish Airlines (THY) is scheduled to begin direct flights to Misrata on Dec. 15. The city will be THY’s third destination in Libya after Tripoli and Benghazi.



ECONOMY NEWS ETHIOPIA                                                                    08 May 2015


Mamo Kacha, a family-run and owned business after the tycoon Mamo Yenberberu, is planning to construct two hotels rated  4.5 to five stars in Ethiopia in collaboration with UK based Collier International. The first hotel construction project is expected to be completed in 2018.

Managing director of Mamo Kacha, Yenberberu Mamo (Abbey), has said the first hotel will be located near the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa. It will be constructed on a 2,300 square meters of land.

Abbey said that the project is at the feasibility study stage expected within a couple of months. In addition, architectural designs and necessary details were being worked on by a UK-based firm.  While he did not disclose the financial details of the hotel construction project, he said the company was willing to invest money required since hospitality industry was growing.

The second hotel project will be a boutique hotel at Yeka sub city. While the first hotel will be owned by Mamo Kacha company, the second hotel might be run by Hilton Worldwide or Sheraton Group brands according to Abbey.

Mamo Kacha family has invested in businesses across Ethiopia and US. Abbey’s brother Eyo (Joe) Mamo is said to control 42 percent of Washington DC’s gas stations.

In addition to this hotel construction project, Ethiopia hotel industry was also expecting introduction of a Crowne Plazza Hotel as part of the Intercontinental Hotels, following announcement that a US$ 10m deal would be signed by the International Finance Corporation, Intercontinental Hotels Group and the Tsemex Hotels & Business Plc. A management agreement had been entered towards the same, with Tsemex Hotels and Business Plc.