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Ghana considering $50 bln century bond, president says

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Ghana may issue a 100-year $50 billion bond as part of a long-term industrialisation plan that aims to wean the West African country off aid, its president said during a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The government, in power since January 2017, has said it needs about $2 billion a year for infrastructure spending. Ghana, which exports cocoa, gold and oil, is in its final year of a $918 million IMF credit programme.

President Nana Akufo-Addo said during a meeting with Xi in Beijing on Sunday:

“The Ministry of Finance and economists in Ghana are looking at floating a $50 billion century bond. This will provide us with the resources to finance our infrastructural and industrial development.”

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The announcement drew scepticism in financial markets, with analysts expressing doubts over Ghana’s capacity to undertake such a transaction.

“While the estimate of Ghana’s likely infrastructure investment need over the next century may well total more than $50 billion, Ghana’s ability to raise anything like $50 billion in a single issue is doubtful, given the country’s current financing capacity,” said Standard-Chartered Bank chief economist Razia Khan.

Deputy Finance Finister Charles Adu Boahen told Reuters discussions on the bond were at an early stage and that the plan was to raise the amount over a period and possibly in different currencies based on investor appetite and planned uses.

Akufo-Addo’s delegation also finalised a deal with Sinohydro Corp Ltd to provide $2 billion for government road and railway projects in exchange for refined Ghanaian bauxite, Nkrumah said.

The two countries also finalised a deal between China Harbour Engineering Company and Africa-focused private equity firm Helios on building a $350 million liquefied natural gas terminal in Ghana’s eastern Tema port.

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AfDB to sponsor Rwanda’s African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) says it will be sponsoring Rwanda’s venture to host the new African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation.

The venture is expected boost the continent’s access to technology in manufacturing medicines and vaccines.

AfDB President Dr Akinwumi Adesina said the project includes “revamping Africa’s pharmaceutical industry, building Africa’s vaccine manufacturing capacity, and building Africa’s quality healthcare infrastructure.

“Even with the decision of the Trips waiver at the World Trade Organization (WTO), millions are dying -and will most likely continue to die – from lack of vaccines and effective protection,” Dr Adesina said.

Meanwhile the venture has drawn commendation from players. The Director-General of the World Trade Organization, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, remarked that the project “provides part of the infrastructure needed to assure an emergent pharmaceutical industry in Africa.”

Africa is short of pharmaceutical companies that fits its population size. The continent is currently home to about 375 pharmaceutical firms, which produce less than 25 percent of the needed products annually, forcing the countries to import vastly to meet demand.

This dependence on imports leaves citizens vulnerable to shortages of medication — a problem that triggered a continent-wide crisis during the pandemic.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, small pharmacies and large medical stores in Rwanda ran out of stock. In South Africa, it became nearly impossible to fill prescriptions for psychiatric drugs and oral contraceptives. In Kenya, oncologists complained about challenges treating their cancer patients. And in Nigeria, stocks of treatments to manage chronic illnesses, including HIV medicines, dipped critically low.

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Farmers lament as wild fire, heat waves cut grain harvest in Tunisia

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Farmers union in Tunisia has forecasted that output will fall well short of government hopes following heat waves and fires that are badly damaging the country’s grain harvest.

Farmers union official Mohamed Rejaibia, pointing to fires that began raging over much of the country last month, said that was no longer possible.

“The grain harvest will not be more than 1.4 million tonnes,” said Rejaibia, a member of the union’s executive office. “Some of it will be lost to fires and some perhaps during collection.”

The North African country has struggled with food importation costs driven higher by the war in Ukraine. That is largely because Ukraine and Russia account for a great amount of the global supply for grains, particularly wheat.

Earlier this month, agriculture minister, Mhamoud Elyess Hamza forecasted the 2022 grain harvest would reach 1.8 million tonnes, that is 10% up from last year’s harvest.

Wild fire has had a devastating effect in Tunisia. According to a statement released by the Tunisian Federation of Insurance Companies (FTUSA), the insurance industry in the country paid fire insurance claims totalling TND25m ($8m) in 2015 and the quantum jumped over the years to TND107m in 2020. That represented an average increase over 30% a year.

Another farmer, Abderraouf Arfaoui, in Krib, revealed that most of his colleagues had to harvest their grains earlier than usual.

“Usually we begin the harvest season in July, but this year we started on June 18… we are afraid of fires. We must watch our land day and night.

“We must harvest without waiting, even if that reduces the quantity and quality of the wheat, and when we finish the harvest we must watch our haystacks, too.”

 According to Thinkhazard, wildfire hazard is classified as high with more than a 50% chance of encountering weather that could support a significant wildfire that is likely to result in both life and property loss in any given year.

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