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Standard Chartered shuts operations in 5 African countries, reviews stands in 2. Here’s why

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Standard Chartered Bank said it has decided to end its operations in seven countries in the Middle East and Africa. According to the Group, the decision is “as set out in its full-year 2021 results presentation to accelerate its strategy, deliver efficiencies, reduce complexity and drive scale.”

The decision was made public in a statement africanewswatch.com retrieved on the company’s website.

“Today the Group announces a set of actions to redirect resources within its Africa and the Middle East (“AME”) region to those areas where it can have the greatest scale and growth potential, in order to better support its clients.” The statement reads.

The decision is however subject to regulatory approval as the Group now intends to exit onshore operations in seven markets in AME. “The seven markets where there will be a full exit of operations are Angola, Cameroon, Gambia, Jordan, Lebanon, Sierra Leone, and Zimbabwe.”

Standard Chartered also reviewed its position in two other African countries. “In Tanzania and Cote d’Ivoire, the Consumer, Private and Business Banking businesses will be exited and the focus will turn solely to CCIB.”

The exit decision is a course for worry, particularly for African countries, many of which largely depends on foreign investment to drive their economy. Exit or lack of foreign investment are developments that threaten fragile economies like Africa.   Slamreportsafrica.com reported on Thursday that Ride-hailing company, Uber, has suspended its services in Tanzania as a result of regulations that are not business-friendly which has made its operation in the East African country.

Also recall that Nigeria’s official data source, for one of Africa’s biggest economies earlier this month, released data (Pdf), which indicated that 24 out of 36 states of the Nigerian Federation got no Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the year 2021.

As Standard Chartered Group CEO, Bill Winters, said, the group as with other profitably structured companies “focuses on the most significant opportunities for growth while also simplifying business”, African countries most beyond their leaders holidaying across the world in the guise of looking for foreign investors, rather position their economies for growth opportunities for potential investors.

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Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi, TotalEnergies, discuss over gas project

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Discussion on the humanitarian situation in the Cabo Delgado area in Mozambique is ongoing between The head of TotalEnergies and Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi.

TotalEnergies’ chairman and chief executive Patrick Pouyanne had visited the Cabo Delgado area to review the security and humanitarian situation, and Pouyanne had met the Mozambique President during his trip.

The multinational revealed that it has engaged Jean-Christophe Rufin, whom it said was an expert in humanitarian action and human rights, with an independent mission to assess the humanitarian situation in Cabo Delgado province.

Pouyanné said, “since 2021, the situation in Cabo Delgado province has improved significantly, thanks in particular to the support provided by the African countries that committed themselves to restore peace and security.”

“The mission entrusted to Jean-Christophe Rufin should enable Mozambique LNG’s partners to assess whether the current situation allows for a resumption of activities while respecting human rights,” he added.

A force majeure’ was declared in 2021 on TotalEnergies’ Mozambique LNG project, valued at $20 billion, due to regional unrest after an insurgent group linked to Islamic State attacked the northern town of Palma.

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Sierra Leone, Liberia, 2 others, receive $311 million from World Bank for renewables

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Four West and Central African countries are set to receive aid worth $311 million from the World Bank after signing an agreement that would improve renewable energy projects.

The countries, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Togo, and Chad will receive funds will finance around 106 megawatts (MW) of solar power generation capacity with battery energy and storage systems, and a 41 MW expansion of hydroelectric capacity.

Commenting on the development, Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio, who presided over the signing ceremony on Wednesday, said the deal was the beginning of a revolution in energy supply and access in the respective countries.

“We are paying far more for energy now than we were 18 months ago. Very high and rising energy prices continue to have an adverse impact on other sectors of our economies,” Maada Bio said.

The World Bank’s Director for Regional Integration, Boutheina Guermazi said the project was the first time four countries had been brought together for a regional energy approach.

“It is a continental approach to make sure that we reach universal access to clean affordable energy by 2030,” Guermazi said, adding that the project would be completed in four years.

The West and Central sub-regions of Africa have one of the lowest electrification rates coupled with some of the highest electricity costs in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Under a new World Bank Regional Emergency Solar Power Intervention Project, the West Africa Power Pool, a regional approach to improve electricity in the sub-region, will also receive some funds approved in December.

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