New realities of Arab-Africa trade

Africa’s growing middle class, its discoveries of oil and other natural resources, and predictions of double digit economic growth have initiated a new scramble for the continent. While the continent isn’t a new market for the Middle East – trade between the regions dates back to the 15th century – October’s Africa Global Business Forum in Dubai suggests the GCC does not want to be left behind in the race.

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Published in bq, September 15 2014

A place in the sun

A Kenyan university which has opted for solar-powered energy has achieved a series of remarkable firsts, including a zero-carbon footprint, enormous savings and revenue generating capacity.

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Published in African Business, July 2014

Can sector survive body blows?

Spiralling energy costs and an increased tax burden have seen the sector’s contribution to the economy (GDP) decline from 11.21% in 2009 to 10.41% in 2012.

The latest data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KeNBS) shows that the downturn affects all key sectors including sugar, cement, vehicles and dairy, which experienced a month-on-month decline in production of between 2% and 11%.

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Published in African Business, December 2013

Sticky questions emerge as Essar exits oil refining market

When India-based Essar Energy announced last month that it would pull out of an oil refining joint venture with the Kenyan government, analysts questioned the move.

Why would a global energy company exit the Kenyan refinery market incurring a 28.5% depreciation on its original purchase price?

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Published in Nairobi Business Monthly, November 2013

Climbing a slippery slope

Her 9th floor office, which is three sides wall and one side glass, offers a panoramic view of the city starting at Nairobi Serena, crossing Central Park and stretching into the busy streets of the Central Business District.

When I watch the traffic from up here, she said, I can see how we are making the situation on the roads worse for ourselves. She turned with a smile, a blue silhouette

against the reflected grey of the glass. It was just one sentence in a conversation of many that morning, and would have been unremarkable if it had come from anyone except Sumayya Hassan-Athmani, Managing Director of National Oil. But as the head of the state corporation in Kenya’s energy sector – a country on the brink of becoming an oil producer – her off the cuff comment was telling.

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Published in June 2013

Corporate acquisitions in Africa’s energy sector

Africa continues to attract interest from international energy companies following the discovery of oil in three countries – Ghana, Uganda and Kenya – in the last five years.

The latest corporate acquisition, the third phase of which was completed last month, sees the creation of a holding group Vivo Energy, through the acquisition of majority shareholding in energy and petrochemicals company Shell by Vitol and Helios Investment partners. Two years in the making, the agreement aims to capitalise on energy opportunities afforded in Africa and simultaneously boost the ability of the flailing Shell brand to regain market share.

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Published in Nairobi Business Monthly, March 2013