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A new agreement has been signed between Kenya and the United States increasing Visa validity period for Kenyans travelling to the US to five years.

This will be welcome news to students, temporary visitors, business people and tourists travelling to the US as they have been hitherto restricted to a one year visa period.

The memorandum of understanding (MoU) allowing a Visa duration was among four separate agreements signed on Friday between the two countries aimed at deepening bilateral relations.

 The agreements were signed between Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs and International Trade Ms Amina Mohamed and US Secretary of Commerce Ms Penny Pritzker.

The extension of Visa validity period has been among the leading concerns from Kenyans who had appealed for a consideration between the two governments.

The two countries also signed pacts on infrastructure development and health during a ceremony at Harambee House. Read more

warned that a delay would have caused significant disruption to the export cycle and endangered tens of thousands of jobs in Africa

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The US government has granted a long-term extension to a major US-Africa trade programme on 29 June, a move welcomed by African textile and apparel manufacturers.

President Obama signed into law a bill reauthorising the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) for another 10 years. Since 2001, the non-reciprocal trade programme has allowed more than 6,400 items from around 40 sub-Saharan African countries to be imported into the US without duties or quotas.

The African textile and apparel sector, one of the main beneficiaries of the scheme, had urged the US government to proceed with the extension of AGOA well ahead of its expiration in September. Industry bodies warned that a delay would have caused significant disruption to the export cycle and endangered tens of thousands of jobs in Africa.

US imports of apparel manufacturing products from Agoa countries dropped by 5.6 percent to $225m in the first quarter of 2015, according to the latest available statistics from the US Department of Commerce. More decline is expected for third quarter of the year, according to Paul Ryberg, president of the African Coalition for Trade, a US organisation which represents African companies mostly in the textile and apparel sector and that has lobbied for the extension of Agoa.

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Ethiopian Airlines is set to buy six more 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft after striking a deal with Boeing at the Paris Air Show.

The order was previously attributed to an unidentified customer on Boeing’s orders and deliveries website.

we will keep investing heavily in technologically advanced and modern airplanes

The Dreamliners complement the airline’s existing 787 that are part of Ethiopian’s long-term strategy to increase capacity and provide greater route flexibility to and from its hub in the capital, Addis Ababa.

“This new addition to our fleet will not only benefit Ethiopian because of its unmatched operating costs, but will also help us to enhance overall travel experience of our customers,” said Tewolde Gebre Mariam, CEO of Ethiopian Airlines.

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AFRICAN NATIONS are taking steps toward creating a free-trade zone with a combined size of $2 trillion, as heads of state meet in Johannesburg this week.

This comes after a potentially historic deal was signed in Egypt this week that created a common market that would span half the continent from Cairo to Cape Town.

Talks on removing the barriers to trade and the movement of people between the continent’s 54 countries will begin on June 15 at the African Union summit and conclude by the end of 2017, Fatima Haram Acyl, the AU’s trade commissioner, said in an interview on Thursday.

Progress on creating a continental trade bloc inched forward on Wednesday after an agreement on a free-trade area was signed in Egypt between three regional groups: the Common Market for East and Southern Africa, the East African Community and the Southern African Development Community. Read more

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Tazania’s current natural gas reserves now stand at about 55 trillion cubic feet (tcf) following new deep sea discoveries off its southern coast. According to the East African nation’s energy minister, George Simbachawene, natural gas resources discovered in the country increased by  18 percent to 55.08 tcf in April 2015, from 46.5 tcf in June 2014.

The United Republic of Tanzania has the second largest economy in East Africa, and the Twelfth largest in Africa. A great contributor to this is its agricultural sector, which accounts for 24.5 percent of the country’s GDP, 85 percent of exports and over half of the employed workforce. The country had relied heavily on this sector to drive its economy, but the emergence of natural gas is expected to change that narrative. Commercial production is scheduled to begin in September this year and expectations are high that the new commodity will rival the dominance of agriculture and enhance living conditions. Read more

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A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S, owner of the world’s largest shipping container line, is seeking to win contracts to build and upgrade ports in Nigeria and Kenya as the Danish company expands its African operations.

Maersk is awaiting a final sign-off on a contract to help build a new port in Badagry in Nigeria’s southern Lagos state, according to Lars Reno Jakobsen, the company’s senior vice president for Africa.

“That project, once its been finalized could be more than $2 billion in terms of investment,” he said in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Cape Town on Friday. “Hopefully we can start some time this year. It will provide capacity, not only for containers, but also for oil, break-bulk and offshore.” Read more

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General Electric (GE), a 123-year old American Conglomerate with operations in 130 countries around the world, is gearing up to further exploit the economic potentials inherent in sub-Saharan African markets, especially Nigeria and Ethiopia. At the ongoing World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa, GE said it would increase its capital outlay to $10 billion over the next half-decade.

The conglomerate will target power, health and locomotive opportunities in several African countries. Nigeria, its prime target, offers a ready market with the numerous gaps in infrastructure and a new government looking to drive “change.” Read more

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According to worldometers.info, the population within South Africa sits at just over 53 million individuals. To add to the figures, Nigeria currently has over 183 million individuals populating its city’s.

Africa has always been viewed as a continent that isn’t very connected in terms of internet speeds and the number of users – compared to other parts of the world. However, the latest statistics say otherwise. Read more

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The challenges of this financing are magnified in sub-Saharan Africa, as there is a paucity of projects that meet the high-water mark required by most investment banks. Basic requirements include experienced and credit-worthy sponsors, healthy financial ratios and forecasts, exhaustive technical due diligence, and a stable and cohesive political and legal framework. Development finance institutions (DFIs) are more flexible than investment banks, but African governments are increasingly less willing to accept the more onerous conditions attached to their funding. Read more

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Drones are a controversial topic when it comes to national security. However cargo drones, with their potential applications for last mile delivery in remote areas and humanitarian emergency situations, are tipped to be an exciting area of innovation for Africa.

But who is behind the push for cargo drones in Africa, why has it got the business world so excited, and how is progress on this embryonic technology panning out?

Cargo drones are small pilotless airplanes designed to transport 20-30kg packages across distances of 80km or perhaps further. The technology could have a revolutionary impact for delivering products to remote, poorly connected communities in much of Africa. Read more