Africa in Business: Carbon dioxide capture and a new agriculture fund
STORY: Here's what's been making the business headlines in sub-Saharan Africa this week.
1. The United States and Norway pledged a total of $70 million on Monday (September 18) to launch a fund to help farmers and agricultural businesses in Africa.
That's according to a U.S. Agency for International Development spokesperson.
Hunger has worsened in several regions of Africa, driven by armed conflict and extreme weather that scientists have linked to fossil fuel-driven climate change.
The fund aims to reach a total of $200 million through additional contributions from donors and has the potential to benefit nearly 7.5 million people, USAID said.
2. Chinese sovereign lending to Africa fell below $1 billion last year - the lowest level in nearly two decades.
Tuesday's (September 19) data underscores Beijing's shift away from a decades-long big ticket infrastructure spree on the continent.
Lending has declined sharply since a 2016 peak. Just nine loans totalling $994 million were agreed last year, marking the lowest level of Chinese lending since 2004.
3. Kenya's energy regulator said on Tuesday that it has extended an oil supply deal with three Gulf-based companies, which is designed to manage demand for dollars.
The East African nation entered the deal with Saudi Aramco, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company and Emirates National Oil Company in March, switching from an open tender system in which local companies bid to import oil every month.
Defending the deal, the head of the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority Daniel Kiptoo said the agreement had helped lower the cost of transporting oil to Kenya and the premium it pays to suppliers.
Currency traders have been skeptical of its effectiveness though, saying it amounts to postponing demand.
4. South Africa's central bank kept its main interest rate unchanged on Thursday (September 21), despite inflation being firmly within its target.
It stressed that deteriorating public finances risked fuelling price pressures.
A higher public sector wage increase and lower tax collections mean the government has struggled to meet expenditure demands this financial year, with the National Treasury recently taking a raft of cost-cutting measures.
5. And finally, a Swiss company is exploring the development of a large-scale direct air capture project in Kenya to remove and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere with project development venture, Great Carbon Valley.
The project by Climeworks would the first of its kind in East Africa, the two companies said on Thursday.
Many scientists believe extracting billions of tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere annually, by using nature or technology, is the only way to meet goals set under the U.N. Paris climate agreement.
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