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Botswana Power Corporation partners Norwegian firm, Scatec, to build solar plant

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Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) has announced that it has awarded Norwegian company Scatec ASA a contract to build a 50 MW solar plant.

According to the agreement, Scatec will finance, build, own and operate the solar plant and recoup its investment by selling electricity to BPC over 25 years.

BPC CEO David Kgoboko said procurement of another large-scale solar plant was underway, “The plant is our first and largest utility-scale grid-connected solar PV plant and we expect the project to be operational by June 2024.”

According to a statement by Scatec, though Botswana possesses 66% of Africa’s coal resources, the nation’s ambitions to drive a renewable energy transformation are clear to see. Neighboring country, South Africa, has displayed that the transition to renewables can be cost-effective and sustainable – whilst aligning with global carbon emission reduction goals.

“We are proud to have reached this milestone with the BPC – demonstrating our ability to support and deliver clean energy and infrastructure to Sub-Saharan Africa. It is also a significant achievement for the people of Botswana,” says General Manager of Sub-Saharan Africa, Jan Fourie.

Botswana’s energy capacity is thermal, produced mostly in coal-fired plants with a few small diesel generators in rural areas. The 132 MW Morupule coal-fired station generates most of the domestic electricity supply. More than 50 per cent of Botswana’s power requirements are imported from South Africa and Zambia.

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Kenya’s apex bank sets lending rate benchmark at 8.75%

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Kenya’s central bank on Monday announced new monetary policy holding its benchmark lending rate steady at 8.75%.

Kenya’s monetary policy committee however said, its last hike in November was still working its way through the economy, stressing that there are there had been others measures that could help to lower inflationary pressure.

The committee said “this action will be complemented by the recently announced government measures to allow limited duty-free imports on specific food items, which are expected to moderate prices.”

Inflation inched down to 9.1% in December, the second straight month of decrease, but still above the government’s preferred band of 2.5-7.5%.

Policymakers major African countries like Nigeria and South Africa have hiked rates last week, while their Ghanaian counterparts hiked earlier on Monday.

Policymakers raised the policy rate for the first time since 2015 during their meeting in May last year, when they increased it by 50 basis points, citing growing inflation.

They followed that with a 75 basis points hike in September and another one of 50 basis points in November.

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Nigeria’s apex bank, CBN, bows to pressure, extends deadline for use of notes

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Nigeria’s apex bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has extended the deadline for the use of the old notes till February 10.

The bank’s governor, Godwin Emefiele, announced the extension in a statement signed on Sunday.

According to the statement, the CBN revealed that it sought approval from President Muhammadu Buhari to extend the deadline for the use of the old notes by 10 days.

“based on the foregoing, we have sought and obtained Mr. President’s approval for the following:  A 10-day extension of the deadline from January 31 to February 10 to allow for the collection of more old notes legitimately held by Nigerians,” the statement read.

Nigeria has been on a recent trend of monetary policy in a bid to rescue its struggling economy. Nigeria’s apex bank recently announced plans to introduce new designs of the N200, N500, and N1,000 notes this month.

“A 7-day grace period, beginning from February 10 to February 17, in compliance with Sections 20(3) and 22 of the CBN Act allowing Nigerians to deposit their old notes at the CBN after the February deadline when the old currency would have lost its Legal Tender Status.”

There has been calls and protests in some quarters for the extension of the deadline for the use of the old bank notes, including allegations by the ruling party presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu that the policy was targeted at him and aimed at sabotaging his election.

 

 

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