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Emerging African enterprise, Harvest Group, spreads reach to Zambia, launches filling stations, foundation

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One of Africa’s emerging conglomerates, Harvest Group of Companies Limited, has made bold its announced plan to expand its business reach by opening a chain of filling stations in Zambia.

The Group, which has business interests across sectors like energy, e-commerce, logistics, hospitality, and infrastructure development had announced that it would open forty filling stations in the East African country by year-end 2022.

Speaking recently at the commissioning of Harvest retail outlet on the International Airport axis in Lusaka, the Group’s chairman, Ugo Ikoro-Ngadi remarked that “Harvest Group is making huge strides that are not only bolstering our bottom line and transforming the Zambian and sub-Saharan African economy but also improving lives of people.”

The chairman, Ikoro-Ngadi further revealed that the group’s commitment to human development has birthed the Harvest Foundation through which it aims “to incubate at least 50,000 small businesses across Africa in the next half decade “through mentoring, knowledge-sharing and financial support.”

“As a responsible corporate entity, we will keep our promises to impact communities around us, especially vulnerable African women and youths” he added.

He also admitted the group’s understanding of the challenges that may lie ahead in its recent quest but reiterated that as perceptive entrepreneurs, they see bright prospects.

“Our convictions are guided by market intelligence which shows Africa’s youths as an emerging powerhouse, and the continent as an investment destination.” He added.

With over $10 million in annual revenue and the capacity to handle other non-oil offerings that are associated with filling stations, Harvest has the vision is to be the most innovative distributor of quality refined petroleum products in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Petroleum products contribute 9.4% to the total national energy demand in Zambia. The country imports all its petroleum products, that is, petroleum feedstock and finished products.

But the distribution line is largely local, a turf which players like Harvest Group of Companies hope to dominate. The products are distributed to various government-owned depots where Oil Marketing Companies lift the finished products and distribute them to their own depots, service stations, and commercial customers.

Zambia’s Minister of Energy, Peter Kapala while speaking at the commissioning in Lusaka, said that the government was keen on reforms in the energy sector and formulation of policies that are targeted at specific areas of interest for the private sector and centred on the ease of doing business.

The minister also mentioned that such investments are products of “deliberate and intentional private sector-supporting policies fully and meaningfully employed” by the government.

Harvest Group’s investment in Zambia is capable of “empowering the mass of underserved African women and vulnerable youths” in the country. The minister added.

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African leaders want more efforts to promote regional industrilisation

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Leaders across the continent of Africa at a recent meeting in Niger’s capital Niamey have called for a doubling of efforts to promote industrialization in the region.

The call came during an Extraordinary Summit on Industrialization and Economic Diversification in the Central African country.

Some of the leaders present were, Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, and Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The leaders noted sectors critical to industrialisation like agriculture, agro-industry, health, education, infrastructure, and especially energy, and urged increased private sector participation in the space.

The summit later held a discussion on trade with a focus on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Africa is the world’s least industrialized, the continent commemorates Africa Industrialization Day every November.

The African Development Bank Group, in its November 2022 index posits that industrialisation is central to Africa’s development prospects. With its young labour force, abundant natural resources, and fast-growing internal markets. Africa has the potential to become the next global frontier for industrial development.

 

 

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Ivory Coast aims regional shipping hub, completes $953 million container terminal

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West African country, Ivory Coast is making waves at becoming a regional shipping hub as it has completed construction of a second container terminal at its main port in Abidjan.

The project, financed by China’s Eximbank by 85% and 15% by the Ivorian state costs about 596 billion CFA francs ($953 million).

The new container terminal, called Cote d’Ivoire Terminal (CIT), started operations on Nov. 1 but was officially unveiled at a press conference on Friday. It is able to receive large ships from Asia, Europe, and America that previously had to land goods in South Africa, transferring them to smaller ships to reach West Africa.

The technical director of the terminal Andre N’Doli, remarked “we are no longer a second port. We are becoming a hub,”

“In addition to national traffic, we will handle traffic from other ports that cannot accommodate large vessels,” he told reporters.

According to official data, there has been growth in recent years in the country’s maritime sector. Ivory Coast shipped goods worth USD 12,717 million in 2019, an -8.5% dip as compared to the previous year.

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