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27 August 2013 | By SAnews.gov.za.
While trade and investment between South Africa and Malaysia has grown considerably in recent years, there is still huge potential for growth, President Jacob Zuma told the South Africa-Malaysia Business Forum in Kuala Lumpur on Monday.
Zuma, who is on an official visit to Malaysia, said that Malaysian companies were active in South Africa, and that the latest trade figures confirmed the growing links between the two economies.
Malaysia is the largest investor in South Africa from Southeast Asia, with focused investments in petrochemicals, telecommunications, real estate and hospitality. South Africa, for its part, is Africa's largest investor in Malaysia, with investments in petro-chemicals, insurance, food and beverages industries.
Total trade between the two countries has grown steadily from approximately R13.8-billion in 2008 to R19.7-billion in 2012. Over this period, South Africa's total exports increased from R5.2-billion to R8.8-billion, and imports from R8.5-billion to R10.9-billion.
"My delegation and I have brought the message that the South African economy offers a multitude of opportunities," Zuma told the delegates at Monday's forum. "South Africa is open for business and is waiting for more Malaysian companies to come and participate."
Trade and Industry Minster Rob Davies, also addressing the forum, said South Africa was keen to revive and strengthen relations that dated back to the launch of the South Africa-Malaysia Business Council by former president Nelson Mandela and former Malaysian prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 1997.
Davies was due to meet with his Malaysian trade and industry counterpart on Tuesday to discuss, among other things, the establishment of a joint trade and investment commission between the two countries.
27 August 2013 | By Construction Review Online.
Developing a new approach to RCC materials and mixes
The Olifants River Water Resources Development Project (ORWRDP) consists of the construction of the new De Hoop Dam that is currently underway in the Limpopo Province and the Flag Boshielo Dam that was completed in 2006.
The purpose of the Olifants River Water Resources Develoment Project is mainly to unlock economic potential and improve social development within the Limpopo Province of South Africa. Phase 2A of the project, which is the construction of the new De Hoop Dam, will essentially be the heart of the system providing life to the project as a whole.
The construction of De Hoop Dam commenced in June 2007 and Completion will be in December 2013. Once completed. De Hoop Dam will be one of the largest concrete dams in South Africa in terms of concrete volume with a total of more than 1,1 million m3 of concrete including Immersion Vibrated Roller Compacted Concrete as well as Conventional Vibrated Concrete.
Materials and RCC mix optimization
The experience at De Hoop dam has been extremely useful in developing a new approach to RCC materials and mixes in South Africa. Former Roller compacted concrete(RCC) dams built in the past by the Water Affairs Authority had followed the low paste approach. RCC mixes were formerly placed at a water to cement ratio of about 0,9. Despite the relatively high water content these mixes tended to segregate and the concrete was generally of a poorer quality than the traditional conventional concrete. As a result of this the design team at De Hoop decided to follow from the beginning a mix approach with a higher paste content that would also be easier to consolidate by roller compaction.
Main properties of the initial RCC mix
Crushed coarse and fine aggregate have been used from a quarry production installed in the future reservoir area. In the initial stages of the mix design the envelopes of the aggregate grading curves were revised and the allowance for the fine content of the sand was increased up to 10% passing 0,075 mm sieve. Coarse aggregate following the SANS standard and with a maximum size of 53 mm was used during the preliminary trials. In the original specified mix, the sand/total aggregate ratio was 41% and the workability was between 15 and 25 seconds.
The investigation of the initial mix at the laboratory and on several test sections concluded that there was still a need for improvement. Although the mix behaved well at the laboratory (compaction and strength), the cores extracted from the test slabs showed some spots with segregation and in some cases lack of bonding between layers. During placement, the fresh RCC mix did not look as a typical high-pozzolanic workable mix. When dumped on the field there were still some signs of segregation at the bottom of the heap and the mix looked too dry. During compaction it was not possible to get much paste on the surface and there was no movement when walking on top of this concrete. These were all signs of a less workable and drier mix than desired.
The findings after testing the proposed mix design were quite positive. The segregation was eliminated, the fresh concrete was much more cohesive and with a higher volume of paste around the particles of aggregate. The placement and compaction were much easier and higher densities could be achieved with just a few passes of the vibratory roller. As a consequence of all this, the production could be increased and the time between layers could be reduced.
The analysis of cores showed that a good bonding and interpenetration between layers was possible to achieve. This was caused by a relatively high volume of paste on the surface of the compacted layers with a reduced setting time. Therefore the treatment of the horizontal joints could be significantly reduced compared to that required with the initial mix.
The mix could have been further optimised if some modifications could have been implemented in the aggregates processing plant. These adjustments would include replacement of a tertiary crusher (vertical impact instead of a cone) and the installation of a fines recovery unit. The aim was to improve the shape of the fine aggregate and to increase the amount of fines passing 0,075 mm sieve up to 14 - 15%. Unfortunately it was too late to implement these measures at the site. Therefore the water content was maintained at a relatively high level to ensure a good workability. This is a much more limiting factor to guarantee the in-situ quality of the RCC than the compressive strength.
Preliminary laboratory tests indicated that if the proposed changes in the crushing plant could have been implemented a reduction of the cement and fly-ash content of more than 25 kg/m3 might have been possible. Thus the total cementitious material content of the RCC mix that has been used for the construction of the dam could not be further reduced from the values mentioned above in order to meet the required compressive and tensile strength of the RCC at the long term.
IVRCC as a result of the mix optimization With the new mix the grout to be added for RCC enrichment could be designed with a lower water/cement ratio. A relatively easy immersion vibration was possible with a 0,65 ratio. But the most extraordinary finding of the RCC mix design optimization developed in April 2009 was that the fresh RCC was so workable, rich in paste and cohesive that it could be even consolidated by immersion vibration without adding any grout at the placement.
This has brought up a significant simplification to the placement as no grout is required to be mixed, transported and placed against shutters and at the interfaces.
Spread. The shorter the elapsed time is between mixing and vibrating, the easiest is to achieve full consolidation. After stripping out the first shutters the finish of the surfaces were inspected. The achievements are as good if not better as those that are typical of conventional concrete. The First (1st) Stage River Diversion consisted of earth-fill embankments (diversion channel) constructed towards the left of the Outlet Works and Spillway, allowing for construction activities to commence in the position of the Outlet Works and a section of the Spillway.
The Second (2nd) Stage River Diversion consisted of a diversion culvert constructed immediately next to the Outlet Works and allowing for construction activities to commence towards the Spillway and Left Bank vicinity. The Second (2nd) Stage River Diversion will remain in position until commencement of Impoundment. This implies that operation of the dam will commence although construction of the dam is not entirely complete.
31 August 2013 | By Engineering News.
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research's (CSIR's) titanium project is not aimed merely at increasing the local beneficiation of one of South Africa's mineral resources, but at creating a whole new high-technology industry in the country.
South Africa has the second-largest reserves of titanium ores (ilmenite and rutile) in the world, but currently only does very limited processing of the metal locally. The country mainly exports titanium dioxide (TiO2) and titanium slag (produced from ilmenite in a smelter and containing a large percentage of TiO2; it is used to produce pigment). A small amount of pigment is also produced locally.
FACTS AND FIGURES
Titanium is 30% more elastic that steel, is stronger than steel but 45% lighter and has a melting point of 1 660 ˚C (compared with between 1 425 ˚C and 1 540 ˚C for carbon steel and 1 510 ˚C for stainless steel). Titanium is cast at temperatures between 1 750 ˚C and 1 800 ˚C. It is a highly reactive metal and never appears as a metal in nature but normally as a mineral oxide.
In metal form, when exposed to the atmosphere, titanium spontaneously forms a protective oxide film. At temperatures in excess of about 600 ˚C, it forms a brittle oxygen-rich surface layer, or alpha case. Thus, thermal processes with titanium require a very good vacuum (if done at higher temperatures) or a protective gas (if done at lower temperatures).
Because of its combination of strength, lightness and high melting point, titanium is especially useful for the aerospace industry. Titanium metal was first made around 1920 but its production has been commercially viable for only some 60 years and since then the titanium market has grown at an average rate of 8% a year.
The market value of titanium increases dramatically as it is beneficiated. Ilmenite ore fetches about $0.29/kg, while TiO2 is worth some $0.80/kg. Next up the scale is titanium tetrachloride (TiCl4), which can be bought for around $3.00/kg. Once titanium is in metal form, its price rockets – titanium sponge fetches about $10.00/g and titanium ingots some $20.00/kg. South Africa currently does not produce TiCl4 or titanium sponge or ingots. The high price of titanium metal also constrains its use, even in the aerospace sector.
Titanium metal is currently produced commercially using the Kroll process, named after its inventor, William J Kroll (1889–1973), of Luxembourg, (who lived and worked in the US from 1940 to 1961). Many attempts have been made to improve this process, which uses high temperatures and produces titanium metal in batches, and many have failed.
But the CSIR is not aiming to improve the Kroll process. Instead, it is seeking to replace it with a better, cheaper system that will both produce higher-quality metal and bring down titanium costs and so significantly expand the titanium market. To this end, the science council launched its titanium project some seven years ago and, in June, formally commissioned its new titanium pilot plant. This has a production capacity of about 2 kg/h.
At the opening of the pilot plant, Science and Technology Minister Derek Hanekom enthused, in impromptu remarks: "This is actually quite a great moment. . . . Without a dream, nothing happens. . . . [Y]ou can make that dream a reality. Hard work, passion, commitment – all those are very important. What we are doing today [June 7, 2013] is moving from a resources-based economy to a knowledge economy, creating high-quality jobs in the process."
At the same function, CSIR CEO Dr Sibusiso Sibisi said: "We at the CSIR are unequivocally committed to the beneficiation of our natural resources. . . . What we are seeing is not just the CSIR, but the whole system – the national system of innovation – with industry, . . . [cooperating in] the birth of a new industry. This event today . . . marks a fundamental milestone, not just for the CSIR but also for the country."
The CSIR aims to produce titanium metal in powder form, and to do so at lower temperatures than the Kroll process and continuously, not in batches. "There are other people trying to do similar things – to make titanium powder continuously," reports CSIR Materials Science and Manufacturing unit research group leader Dr Dawie van Vuuren.
"The main difference between our method and those of our competitors is that we use the molten salt that's formed as a by-product of the reaction making titanium as the medium in which the reaction takes place. Other people have tried it before, but they haven't succeeded. We think we can do it because the understanding of how the reaction happens in molten salt has advanced and we are capitalising on this."
The CSIR process, which has been patented, starts by reacting TiCl4 with a metal. Because of the intense competition in this field – it is a bit like a hunt for a metallurgical Holy Grail – Van Vuuren cannot identify the metal used. He did reveal, however, that it is an alkali metal. It reacts with the chlorine in the TiCl4 and the chloride salt of the metal is formed.
"We use this as the reaction medium," he explains. "Chloride salts are very soluble in water, so we leach them out. We then get the titanium [powder] and the salt solution. We concentrate the salt solution and crystallise the salt and then recycle the salt crystals to an electrolysis unit, where we recover the alkali metal and make chlorine. The chlorine is then reused to make TiCl4 and the alkali metal is then used to reduce [the TiCl4]. It's almost a closed loop! Some materials are, of course, lost in the process, but our aim is to minimise this loss." Using lower temperatures, the CSIR team believe that they can manage the morphology of the titanium powder they will produce – which is difficult to do, as the reaction processes are very fast – and ensure that the result is a high-quality product.
This process was developed using a laboratory test rig, although the laboratory output was done in batches. With the pilot plant, "we're now moving to truly continuous [production] – that's really the main issue". Continuous production will help reduce costs. However, titanium powder can react violently to oxygen and cause explosions, so care is needed in producing and handling it. If successful, the result could be a new, $3-billion to $5-billion a year industry for South Africa.
"For us, this project demonstrates our commitment to moving from simply digging things out of the ground and making basic things," affirms Sibisi. "We are doing what our mandate tells us to do – use technology to create industries. Here, we could create a whole new industry and not [just] new companies. Hundreds of millions of rands have gone into this over the years, since the launch of the advanced metals initiative some eight to ten years ago – investments by the DST (Department of Science and Technology), ourselves and [minerals beneficiation research agency] Mintek. We are always thinking about how we can stimulate industry: not just supporting existing industry but stimulating new industries."
TIME AND MONEY
However, there is still a long way to go. All being well, the CSIR hopes to follow the pilot plant with a semicommercial plant in 2017, which will have a production capacity of around 500 t/y. This will then be succeeded by a full commercial plant with a capacity of 20 000 t/y, during the early 2020s.
But, first, the pilot plant has to run smoothly. "Operationalising the pilot plant, optimising it, will take about a year," reports CSIR Materials Science and Manufacturing executive director Dr Liesbeth Botha. "Then there will have to be feasibility studies – that's when the technoeconomics really kick in. And then there will be the semicommercial plant and thereafter the commercial plant. Each of these phases will take two to three years." The semi-commercial and commercial plants will require an industrial partner.
Up to now, the titanium project has been funded by the DST. "[The DST] supports early-stage technological development and early-stage innovations. The most logical entity to take it to the next level is the IDC (Industrial Development Corporation), which reports to the Department of Economic Development," points out Hanekom. "Getting to the industrial scale – that would be IDC-funded development. But we might, before then, find a venture capital partner. Each stage [of the project] has to pass the [technoeconomic] test. This [current] stage is not only about the testing process, but also about making titanium powder available to possible customers for them to test. These are not proven or mature technologies."
"Once the decision to build the commercial plant is made, it would take about two years to construct it," elucidates Van Vuuren. "But, before that, there would have to be economic evaluations, site selection, environmental- impact assessments. And we would need customers. Part of our work is to provide product that can be qualified by prospective partners."
The titanium project is not a standalone effort. It is closely linked to another national and CSIR priority – the development of advanced manufacturing in the country. Titanium powder is an ideal material for use in what is called additive manufacturing, or, more popularly, three dimensional (3D) printing. This involves making a solid object, which can be complex in shape, from a digital (computer) model.
This is done by laying down successive layers of material, in the shape desired, which are then melted by computer-controlled robots using lasers. As each layer is added, the object builds up, the laser melting ensuring that it comes out as a single, solid entity. There is no need for any machining (although a little trimming may be required). Consequently, there is very little waste of material. It thus has the potential to massively cut the costs of manufacturing parts from expensive raw materials – like titanium. It also has the potential to significantly reduce production time and increase quality.
The potential combination of more affordable titanium powder and 3D printing has attracted strong interest from giant aerospace groups Airbus and Boeing. To cite just one example – 15% of Boeing's latest, and current flagship, airliner design, the 787 Dreamliner, is made from titanium. Both companies have memorandums in Understanding (MoUs) with the CSIR.
The collaboration agreement with Airbus was signed at the Africa Aerospace and Defence exhibition in September last year, while the MoU with Boeing was formalised in June this year. The MoU with Airbus is directed more at the development of additive manufacturing, while that with Boeing is focused more on the use of titanium powder in industrial manufacturing.
"With both Airbus and Boeing, we are engaging with them to help us develop appropriate manufacturing technologies for titanium parts that would be suitable for aerospace applications," explains Botha. "We're also collaborating with both of them to produce titanium powder suitable for additive manufacturing, because they both need the same quality titanium powder and the same quality titanium products. We are collaborating with them and they are not in competition. They both want titanium parts that are bigger and cheaper."
A key part of this collaboration is that both aerospace groups will help the CSIR qualify its titanium powder and titanium products. "They have slightly different specifications because they have different designs for their aircraft and components," she points out. "If we want to be in the mainstream aerospace supply chain, we need to meet these specifications. Only they can tell us their specifications – they're not in the public domain. The current big problem with additive manufacturing is ensuring a consistent quality of final product."
31 August 2013 | By Engineering News.
The Gauteng Provincial Government is to spend R11-billion for a large scale roll-out of solar panels on all State-owned buildings across the province.
This will result in the generation of electricity, which will be in line with the National Development Plan's call to implement renewable energy initiatives.
Speaking at the South African Black Technical and Allied Careers Organisation at the Birchwood Hotel on Thursday, Gauteng Infrastructure Development MEC Qedani Mahlangu said the investment was amongst several infrastructure commitments that she would carry out in the current financial year.
"This will enable us to harness the sun's rays to meet, in part, government's energy needs. "We have quantified the available roof top space on government-owned buildings to be approximately eight-million square meters.
"Our calculations indicate that a mass roll-out of solar panels on government roof tops will come at a cost of about R11.2-billion and lead to the generation of up to 300 MW of electricity," she said.
Mahlangu said the move was in line with government's national objectives to fast-track the implementation of the Gauteng Integrated Energy Strategy, and to ensure that her department worked towards achieving the set targets.
Mahlangu, whose department is central to infrastructure needs that overlap across all of the province's departments, said her department would also invest in natural gas infrastructure.
"Gauteng has the most developed natural gas infrastructure in South Africa. This constitutes a natural gas pipeline infrastructure connecting from the supply source in Mozambique, through Secunda to Babelegi.
"March 2014 will herald the end of Sasol's natural gas monopoly and the start of a natural gas industry regulated by Nersa [the National Energy Regulator of South Africa].
"It is at the back of these developments that our ambitious plans for natural gas are rooted. Our first project is the replacement of the 77 coal-fired boilers in Gauteng hospitals with natural gas or diesel-fired boilers. Twenty-one boilers are planned for replacement this fiscal year and the balance over the next three years," she said.
Mahlangu said that her department had entered into a partnership with iGas to conduct a feasibility study on gas infrastructure required to supply natural gas to hospital boilers.
"Our biggest showcase for the use of gas to meet hospital energy needs will be the tri-generation plant proposed for Chris Hani Baragwanath Memorial as a pilot project.
"In this regard, the consultation process with stakeholders, such as the Department of Health and Treasury, is at an advanced stage."
She also said the same natural gas infrastructure had the potential to benefit about two-million residents in Gauteng's townships and suburbs, a market considered to be middle-class homes.
She said through the infrastructure that runs past their areas, they could end up using natural gas reticulation for cooking and heating..
30 August 2013 | By Construction Review Online.
Nairobi County has secured Ksh87billion (US$995million) from China for funding the infrastructure which will enable the city to become a hub of all investors. The deal was made by Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero and China Investment Bank during his business trip in China. According to Kidero, the monies will be used to fund the new infrastructure in County areas where there exist old houses.
Kidero said that China Investment Bank is more than willing to Invest in Nairobi County and its chairman, Hu Huai Bang, is expected soon in the country to finalise the deal.
He stated that once done, the county will be transformed using all means of transport, from road, rail and rapid transit buses. He added that some other Chinese investors had proposed to fund the second phase of the Digital Traffic and Security Control, where cameras will be installed in 253 major junctions across the city from Mowlem area in Embakasi West to Karen.
In the recent past, Nairobi has become more improved with new roads including Thika Super highway, new real estates and security lights. The East African nation, under Vision 2030, plans to create and develop metropolitan regions across the country namely Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, Kakamega, Nakuru, Eldoret, Wajir, Garissa, Mandera, Kitui, Mwingi and Metu
Nairobi is Kenya's capital and the largest, most important business and residential city. Its metropolitan region continues to expand and is stressed by rapid growth and urbanization.
One of the biggest challenges Nairobi faces today is poor water and sewerage system which is not only expensive but also plagued with logistical problems. Another problem is high population in the slums which lack water and the electricity.
Metropolitan regions in most third world nations are characterized by poor service delivery, inaccessible networks, inadequate capital investments and high operating and maintenance costs for business enterprises among other factors.
13 September 2010 | By Thomson Reuters
Kenya on Monday invited bids for the first phase of construction of a new port along its coast in Lamu, involving the building of three berths.
The port is part of a proposed $22 billion development plan meant to connect Kenya to Southern Sudan and Ethiopia. The project will also include a pipeline, roads, a railway, and airports in major towns along the way.
"As first phase of this project, the Government plans to construct the first three berths with associated infrastructure at Manda Bay, Lamu," the Ministry of Transport said in a newspaper advertisement.
The ministry said the berths would be expected to handle container ships with capacities of 100,000 deadweight tonnes (dwt), general cargo ships with 30,000 dwt and bulk cargo ships of 100,000 dwt.
The other amenities to be built along with the berths include access roads, railway sidings, warehouses and buildings, the ministry said.
Kenya has been improving and expanding its infrastructure with the aim of attracting and retaining investors who often complain its dilapidated facilities increase the cost of doing business.
Southern Sudan, which is due to hold a referendum in 2011 on whether it wants to separate from the north, hopes to export some of its oil.
Kenya hopes its neighbour will use its facilities for the exports.
10 September 2010 | By Stevenson Mugisha
Rwanda - Works on the anticipated Isaka Kigali railway line will cost between $3 and 4 billion , the Minister of Infrastructure has said.
The minister explained that the existing railway line in Tanzania will first be upgraded before being extended to Mosonga region in Burundi, and later to Kigali. Karega said that appropriate types of trains to be used on the planned railway line have already been identified, adding that efforts are underway to attract more funding from several other multinational banks, such as OPEC Bank.
A final resource mobilization roundtable is scheduled next month in Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania, he added. "In order to facilitate the process, we are recruiting some transaction and auditing companies of international calibre that will be transacting and engaging with all the stakeholders," Karega added.
The minister also noted that China has shown interest in financing the project, and that the US government, through USAID, also supported one of the preparatory activities.
17 September 2010 | By Sunday Williams & Nahimah Ajikanle Nurudeen
Lagos — The Federal Government said yesterday that Nigerian airports will start wearing a new look with the plans to construct five new terminal buildings across the nation's airports to make them align with international standards.
Minister of Aviation Mrs. Fidelia Njeze said this while declaring open the 19th edition of the Airport Council International (ACI) Conference and Exhibition, Africa Regional in Abuja. She said Federal Government was determined to develop new terminal buildings at the major airports, including Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano and Enugu.
She said: "The Federal Government is in the process of upgrading and remodelling her airports with five key airports in the first phase. These include the construction of four new terminals at Abuja, Kano, Port Harcourt and Enugu, as well as the expansion and massive upgrade and remodelling of the Murtala Muhammed Terminal in Lagos.
This she said will help in the deployment of the required technology that will help in enhancing security, safety and passenger comforts at the airports.
Meanwhile, the managing director of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) Mr. Richard Aisuebeogun, has said that the Federal Government has given the authority approval to adopt the same "pay-as-you-go" introduced by the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) to avert being owed by airlines and other airport users.
According to him, government's approval of the new payment mode came against the backdrop of the over N16 billion owed FAAN by airlines and for which it had given the airlines three years within which to defray.
He explained that the new payment mode would commence on October 1, 2010.
Aisuebeogun noted that airlines who fail to adhere to the new mode will have themselves to blame as FAAN will not hesitate to shut down their operations.
"We have government's approval to begin the pay-as-you-go mode of payment by airlines on October 1, 2010. The essence of the new system is to ensure that airlines don't continue to owe us. We will not hesitate to apply sanctions on airlines who fail to comply. We hope airlines will take advantage of this new system to avoid holding on to our money," Aisuebeogun emphasised.
09 August 2010 | By ethiopian-news
A Chinese Company, Huang Shan Cement plc of the Guangdong Chuanhui Technology Development Group Co. Ltd. on Sunday officially commenced production of clinker and cement in Mojo town of the Oromia Regional State about 75 km south of Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. The Group invested in the cement manufacturing company in 2009.
Speaking at the official launching ceremony of the production, Gu Xiaojie, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia, said the operation of Huang Shan Cement Clinker Production line is an excellent showcase for the successful cooperation in the field of investment between China and Ethiopia.
Gu has expressed delight that the project by the Group helps boost the economic development of Ethiopia by utilizing its natural resources and local labor force.
The ambassador said the Chinese government had always been supportive to and encouraging the Chinese companies to invest in Ethiopia that they play constructive role in Ethiopia's industrialization endeavors.
"I am very glad to see that, according to the Ethiopian Investment Agency, there were more than 700 Chinese investment projects with a volume at 1.2 billion U.S. dollars by November 2008," said Ambassador Gu.
"There are great potentials in the cooperation between China and Ethiopia as the economies of the two countries are highly complementary. I am looking forward to more Chinese companies to invest in Ethiopia, which will bring more tangible benefits for the well-being of both peoples of the two countries," he said.
"The Chinese embassy will do its best to continue to support and provide necessary service to the Chinese companies," he added.
It has been almost two years since Guangdong Chuanhui Group invested industry in Ethiopia.
Yanlin Liu, president of the group, said on the occasion that the group would do all its possible to contribute to Ethiopia' s economic promotion and improve the livelihoods of the local people by providing more job opportunities.
Speaking on his part, Abdulaziz Mohammed, Vice-President of the Oromia Regional State, said the construction of the cement plant helps to narrow the gap between demand and supply of the products while it creates significant number of jobs for the local people.
"Having more cement plants like this one, however, if the amount of production of cement exceeds the amount needed locally, export the rest to foreign market, while creating jobs for our graduates and people; aside from the jobs created for those who will have to perform duties inside the factory, it also provides sideline jobs for people in the localities," said Abdulaziz.
14 September 2010 | By Morris Aron
Construction in the real estate sector surged in the first six months of the year, driven by a growing number of developers investing in middle-income residential estates, Kenya National Bureau of Statistics figures have shown.
Leading economic indicators for the month of July show City Council of Nairobi approved development plans worth Sh11.6 billion, with the residential property segment accounting for Sh7.3 billion of the planned developments for the month of June alone. The latest KNBS figures confirm a trend that many property analysts have in the recent past projected.
Real estate experts say there is a renewed interest among developers who are moving to cash in on the opportunities created by the ongoing infrastructure developments, particularly roads in and around the city, which are promising to open up land prime for residential estates on the outskirts of the city to meet demand for housing.
"Demand for housing is most acute at the middle and low end of the market," said Frank Ireri, the managing director of Housing Finance, a mortgage financing company at a recent function.
"More developers are increasingly looking for opportunities in the low and middle income housing projects, especially along the corridors of major road developments, and in the old dilapidated housing units built in the colonial era," said Wilberforce Oundo of Regent Group, a property company.
13 September 2010 | By Masembe Tambwe
POWER transmission and distribution to rural areas of the country is expected to increase in the next three years after the government signed a contract worth 97bn/- with two USA companies. ''We hope that the signing of these two contracts that were won by American companies will help Tanzanians leap frog into the 21st Century as well as help chip away the barriers that limit greater distribution of power,'' the US Ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Alfonso Lenhardt said.
Speaking at the signing ceremony in Dar es Salaam on Monday, Mr Lenhardt who witnessed the event said that the contracts would help in increasing the number of people getting power to at least 18 per cent from the current 15 per cent. Mr Lenhardt said that the US firms would ensure that from the power transmission and distribution projects under the Millennium Challenge Compact, Tanzanians get better health, education and better lives. ''This is indeed a thrill to see two US companies coming up on top after fierce competition for the contracts. I would like to urge Pike Electric and Symbion Power to get the work done on time and it should be done professionally though I have no doubt it shall be,'' he said.
The Tanzania Millennium Challenge Account Chief Executive Officer, Mr Bernard Mchomvu explained that the contract awards represent the achievement of yet another important milestone in the ongoing implementation of the 206m US dollars MCC Energy Project.
Mr Mchomvu pointed out that Symbion Power had been given two lots worth 47.7m US dollars covering Mwanza, Morogoro, and Iringa and Mbeya regions while Pike Electric will execute a package covering the regions of Dodoma and Tanga amounting to 17.9m US dollars. ''We are very confident that the great historical performance record you are carrying will be positively demonstrated at the delivery end and we hate to see anything otherwise,'' he cautioned.
The Symbion Power Chief Executive Officer, Mr Paul Hicks said after the signing that over 2000 jobs would be established from the distribution and transmission of power to the regions and that a lot more would be trained along the way. ''We are setting up a training centre in Morogoro and hope that once our three years are up, we will leave numerous Tanzanians with the skills as well as companies that will not necessitate foreign assistance,'' Mr Hicks said.
The Pike Electric Chief Executive Officer, Mr Eric Pike explained that his company had been in the power distribution industry since 1945 but it had never worked outside the US and that this was a challenge they were looking forward to especially since the country was on its way towards achieving its goals.
21 September 2010 | By TradeInvestAfrica
Chinese firm Lee Building Materials plans to construct a $12.5 million cement factory in Lindi, South of Dar es Salaam. Construction of the plant, with a capacity of 300,000 metric tonnes per annum, will commence this September and is expected to strengthen Tanzania's position as a cement supplier in East Africa. Lee will specialise in white cement, which is not produced in abundance locally. The project is also expected to rejuvenate the dormant Kilwa port in Lindi district.
Tanzania's cement production stands at three million metric tonnes per annum against a local demand of over 2.1 million tonnes. Current cement producers include Heidelberg's subsidiary Tanzania Portland Cement Company, French Lafarge's subsidiary Mbeya Cement Company Ltd and Holcim Mauritius subsidiary Tanga Cement Company Ltd. Local manufacturers complain that cheap imported cement is hurting their industries, and want the East African Community governments to support them so that the industry can compete with the imported cement.
15 July 2010 | By TradeInvestAfrica
Kenya's promising wind power sector is attracting big firms set on exploiting the country's huge potential. The result of ongoing feasibility studies could pave way for multimillion dollar infrastructure spending in wind energy in the East African region. Among the firms involved in the studies is General Electric, a leading global player in the energy infrastructure sector. The firm is evaluating proposals from developers, collecting data and formulating projects.
Wind energy constitutes about 20% of the 1699 Megawatts additional power that Kenya is working towards injecting into the national grid over the next five years. The Lake Turkana Wind Power Project is the largest of the three wind power plants that are expected to come online in the next two years, to produce 365 Megawatts of electricity. The other projects are a 15-megawatt plant by the Kenya Electricity Generating Company and a 50-megawatt plant by Aeolus.
According to the Lake Turkana Wind Power Project officials, the amount of energy that can be generated from one turbine is double what can be produced from a similar turbine in Europe.
04 October 2010 | By Reuters
Growth in global steel demand is expected to slow to 5,3% in 2011 but to still hit a record 1,34-billion tons after jumping more than expected this year to above levels seen before the global economic crisis, the World Steel Association said. China will make up 45% of global demand in 2011, while India will emerge as the world's third-biggest steel consumer after China and the United States, the steel body predicted on Monday in a report issued at its annual conference in Tokyo. "The industry landscape has been changing rapidly, particularly after the global financial crisis," said Hajime Bada, president of the world's No.5 steelmaker, JFE Holdings Inc, who will chair the global body for the year starting after the conference ends.
"We are in a transitional period: emerging economies like China, India, Latin American countries and Russia are bolstering their shares in steel output and consumption while demand in developed economies remains in the doldrums," he said. The steel group is expected to pick Xiangang Zhang, president of Anshan Iron & Steel Corp, as its chairman for the following year, which will be the first time its head has come from China. China's demand in 2011 will be 42% above the level in 2007, but demand in the developed world in 2011 is expected to be 25% below the 2007 level, Paolo Rocca, the body's current chairman and also CEO of Techint Group, told a news conference.
Demand for steel is set to rise 13,1% to 1,27-billion tons this year, higher than an earlier forecast of 8,4% growth. Growth in China's steel demand in 2011 is expected to slow to 3,5% from an estimated 6,7% in 2010 due to government efforts to cool the real estate sector and ongoing steel production control, the steel body said. Demand in India will rise 13,6% in 2011 to 68-million tons, about one-tenth of China's estimated 599-million tons.
09 October 2010 | By Kennedy
Bluesea Energy Ltd is investing Sh12 billion ($149.88 million) in various projects to generate 117 megawatts (MW) of electricity from wind as a renewable source of energy. Projects in Lambwe Valley, Kericho, Eldoret and Isiolo in various phases of implementation are being undertaken using offshore financing to reduce over reliance on power generated from hydro and fossil fuel sources.
Lambwe project site in western Kenya was selected because it has enough wind to support power generation. Wind from Lake Victoria and the one from Transmara District converge on the hill in the valley. The firm's chief executive officer John Majiwa, said the company's $95 million (Sh7.6 billion) wind farm at Lambwe will inject 60 MW of electricity to the national grid as the site has adequate resources. "The target is to step up output from wind as a clean green renewable source as hydro power is prone to drought and fossil fuel generation becomes more expensive when cost of crude oil escalates," he said.
Kenyans have in the past paid high power bills after thermal generation went up as diesel and fuel oil prices escalated due to global market volatility. Output from water had declined as a result of prolonged drought. Costs of
thermal generation (fuel cost and forex adjustments) are borne by clients as pass through items for Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) that is mandated to transit, distribute and supply electricity. Bluesea's chairman David Ikiara said the company is investing to make use of feed in tariffs developed by the government to contribute to harnessing resources to satisfy energy needs at competitive prices.
The 2 MW wind farm being undertaken for Kapchet Tea Factory in Kericho at a cost of Sh230.4 million is expected to be operational upon installing of requisite equipment within three months. Bluesea's is spending Sh3.2 billion on 40 MW wind plant in Eldoret and Sh960 million on 15 MW facility at Nthumburi in Isiolo. The firm will build transmission and interconnection facilities to the generation sites to transfer power to the national grid. It is working with internationally recognised suppliers like Atelc Global and Hyunda Heavy Machinery from Korea, Viability from United States of America and Tempro of Netherlands for quick equipment delivery. Mr Majiwa said the company is also in process of engaging the Energy Regulatory Commission to seek a licence for electricity production and KPLC to negotiate for power purchase agreement.
July 11 2011
Gombe — Governor Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe State has said that no fewer than 18 roads would be constructed with a view to tackling problem of inaccessible roads within Gombe metropolis.
He said that the government was committed to making inaccessible roads in the state accessible within the limit of the financial resources of the government, and promised that the road construction would commence soon.
The governor spoke during the setting up of 11 committees by his government to find the way forward for the development of the state in all ramifications.
Governor Dankwambo further explained that the report of the committees would be implemented to the letter, even as he commended members of the committee for a job well done. He pointed out that the setting up of the committees was not to witch-hunt anybody but the committees report would act as a reference point in his poise to provide good governance to the state, adding that no past administration should be blamed in some of the problem identified by the committee, because they are cumulative. He prayed that his administration would try as much as possible to provide dividends of democracy to the people of the state, adding that by the grave of God "we will not disappoint you".
July 13 2011
The Federal Government is committed to putting in place a machinery to address the nation's infrastructure challenges, Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) has said .
Anyim stated this in Abuja when members of the Governing Board of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC), led by Dr Bernard Verr, paid him a courtesy call.
A statement signed by Alhaji Salisu Dambatta, Deputy Director (Information) in the office of the SGF, quoted Anyim as saying that the work of the ICRC would be strengthened.
He said the commission would be positioned to give the team the necessary direction to provide infrastructure in the country.
Earlier, members of the Board told the SGF that the Commission had developed a successful model for the implementation of the Public Private Partnership projects in the country.
He said one of the objectives of the ICRC was to eliminate the perennial paucity of funds which stalled the provision of infrastructure by the government.
"The evolving relationship between China and Africa could be one of the most important developments in the international relations of the post-Cold-War era," say Kweku Ampiah and Sanusha Naidu.
The past two decades have witnessed the growth of an increasingly close relationship between Africa and China. China's phenomenal economic growth has had many positive implications for the African continent, including increased trade, investment, and development. Africa has experienced significantly higher levels of foreign direct investment as a result of its engagement with China, the latter having established more than 540 companies and 1600 development projects in 47 African countries. This number rose sharply to 750 companies by 2007.
However, the Africa-China relationship has sparked much debate, as scholars and economists alike try to interpret what it means for Africa's development in the long term. Ampiah and Naidu present two competing visions of this relationship: one casts China as a coloniser, the other views China as a competitor with the West. Many see China as an imperialist that seeks to exploit Africa and perpetuate its deplorable state of underdevelopment, but others argue that China competes with the West for Africa's resources and that this situation affords Africa the opportunity to promote its growth and development in an international system largely dominated by the West. This newsletter by Consultancy Africa Intelligence (CAI) argues that the China-Africa relationship, questionable as it may be, should be hailed for challenging hegemonic Western power and for actively supporting development in Africa.
Increased infrastructure and trade for Africa
Despite China's phenomenal growth levels, which quickly rendered it an international economic force, it maintains and displays solidarity with developing countries. China is one of the biggest aid donors to African countries. Its infrastructure-development projects have ranged from building railway lines in Tanzania and Zambia, to erecting skyscrapers in Luanda and stadiums in Ghana. China has further invested millions of US dollars in oil-rich countries such as Sudan, Nigeria, Angola and Algeria, and has granted loans to numerous African countries.
Due to its own history of economic stagnation and poverty, China realises the importance of infrastructure development in developing countries. Unlike the West, it does not simply offer Africa humanitarian aid, but rather growth and development opportunities through increased trade and infrastructural capacity. Struggling African countries have grabbed these opportunities for growth with both hands. The China-Africa relationship can thus be considered a strategic partnership rather than simple patronage. It has not only contributed towards Africa's infrastructure, but also encouraged South-South trade. China's engagement with Africa has made other developing countries, such as India, aware of the lucrative investment opportunities the African continent has to offer. China's involvement in Africa put it on the international trading map and increased its international trade with southern-hemisphere countries.
An alternative to United States hegemony
China's own development sets an example for other developing countries that are working to find their place in the international system, yet want to remain relatively independent. China's alternative development model, the Beijing Consensus, challenges the Western Washington Consensus. The Beijing Consensus emphasises the importance of innovation, non-interference by investors in domestic affairs, and self-determination in Third World states' bid to promote their economic development. These development tenets differ significantly from the Washington Consensus approach, which suggests that poverty alleviation and development be achieved by the liberalisation, deregulation and privatisation of domestic economies. The Washington Consensus has had devastating effects on African countries as their economies struggled to cope with the ‘shock therapy' of liberalising their markets and subsequently being exposed to the unfair trade practices of the West.
Apart from offering an alternative to the Washington Consensus, the Beijing Consensus affords African states the advantage of a choice between two major economic poles. They are no longer coerced to align with United States hegemony. However, the Beijing Consensus should not be seen as a development model that can simply be applied to all African countries, but rather as one that can bring about the global terms that would accommodate and encourage the development of African countries.
Non-intervention and sovereign equality for Africa
China's relationship with Africa has been based on five tenets since 1996, namely, "reliable friendship, sovereign equality, non-intervention, mutually beneficial development and international cooperation." These five points strongly contrast with the conditions attached to loans and development packages offered by the West, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. Developing African states, who are reluctant to turn to the West and the IMF, now have an alternative source of funding. China's dynamic economic growth has increased its need for energy sources, in which Africa is rich. African countries that have abundant amounts of crude oil, titanium, copper, iron ore, platinum, coal, zinc and a wide range of other natural commodities such as timber and natural gasses, have experienced high levels of investment by China along with growing markets (due to China's increasing energy needs) in which they are able to sell their products at a competitive price.
China creates training and employment opportunities
These investments, as well as the infrastructural development discussed above, have led to job creation and the increase of technical training programmes in Africa. Chinese companies that establish business initiatives in Africa provide training in technical areas such as agricultural production, irrigation and telecommunications to African citizens. The maintenance and repair of the equipment used in these business initiatives and technical areas further stimulate job creation. Large numbers of previously unemployed Africans can now provide for their families.
Whilst food security has become a growing concern in China, Africa is rich in agricultural goods and able to supply China with much-needed foodstuffs. This has led to further Chinese investment in African industries like agriculture, farming machinery, fisheries, secondary production and agricultural processing facilities. China has also used military cooperation with Africa as a means to further gain access to its resources and economy. China has provided uniforms to Mozambique's army, as well as equipment, training and arms to various African countries. It has provided fighter jets and helicopters to Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia, Sierra Leone and Mali. China has also contributed humanitarian aid and peacekeepers to the African Union (AU) and United Nations (UN) missions in Africa, in an attempt to promote stability on the continent. Last but not least, China has granted many African countries complete debt cancellation.
Trade and investment with no strings attached
Chinese investment came with some political conditions, such as trading partners not being allowed to have relations with Taiwan. They must accept the ‘one-China' policy. However, investment and development aid from the West came with political conditions, too, including adherence to the practice of good governance and acceptance of a liberalised economy, in exchange for financial assistance. Many feel that the West has always regarded Africa as a backward, poverty- and disease-ridden continent. It has treated Africa as a burden to the international system, and engaged with the continent in a spirit of paternalistic and cultural superiority.
Africa's relationship with China has given the continent an opportunity to escape old stereotypes and Western conditions and to promote its development instead. China and the West have now become strategic competitors for Africa's resources. As a result of China's regarding Africa as a sovereign equal in the international system and a lucrative investment destination, it has also promoted Africa as an official approved travel destination. More Chinese citizens now travel to African countries, which generates revenue, motivation for growth, and other positives in destination countries.
Nairobi — Kenya Engineers Board (KEB) has warned that the real estate sector will not achieve Vision 2030 aspirations owing to its manifest risky growth and dearth of professionals.
The board says it is concerned by collapsing, sinking and cracking buildings as well as those that continue to be built illegally on public utility land.
It says the current multiplying factor of the sector will be reversed by loss in the tourism sector as well as foreign developers shunning the country if it continues being associated with inherent risks.
The board now wants the Ministry of Local Government, which is the custodian of the building code, to carry out an extensive audit of all buildings and demolish risky ones while at the same time ensuring others do not sprout up.
In an interview, KEB chairman Michael Kamau said currently, the sector is "a mass of confusion devoid of professionalism" and that most buildings in the country "cannot pass structural integrity tests."
He said his major fear was of an earthquake measuring six on the Richter scale visiting some of the urban estates.
"We are very close to a geological fault, which is Rift Valley. We have volcanic mountains and if a quake emanates from such places, most buildings will come tumbling down, presenting us with a major human disaster," said the chairman.
Mr Kamau said while the Earthquake Code outlaws any building exceeding three floors unless the architectural design is by glass framing, there are those that are going up to eight floors.
Mr Kamau, who is also the Roads permanent secretary, said the Kenya Bureau of Standards has failed to regulate the quality of building materials while developers shun professional engineers in favour of quacks and brokers.
"Building materials quality has in some instances deteriorated, especially cement and steel which are the main elements of structural safety and stability.
"Most steel products have high carbon elements and are not malleable, hence cannot support structural weight," he said.
Mr Kamau said the sector will get some reprieve once the National Construction Authority Act is implemented next year.
"The World Bank has offered to finance its implementation and hopefully it will address issues of unprofessionalism that have continued to allow structures that are endangering Kenyans' lives," he said.
The PS said an acute shortage of engineers in the country was a big hindrance towards attaining real estate safety in line with Vision 2030.
"We have 10,373 engineers who have graduated since 1963. Of these, 6,467 are in the real estate sector but only 1,253 are registered as certified professionals," he said.
Mr Kamau said growth in the real estate sector was not commensurate with available engineering capacity, hence a major shortage in building and construction supervision manpower.
"The ratio of engineers and citizens currently stands at one engineer per 24,500 citizens when the desired ratio should be one per 500.
"It is a wake-up call for students to pursue engineering courses since they are guaranteed employment as we approach 2030," he said.
Mr Kamau said Kenya has the capacity to employ all engineers who graduate from locally approved training institutions.
He said any excess engineers could help spearhead reconstruction in neighbouring countries like Somalia and Southern Sudan.
June 12 2011
As the world's largest and most active construction market - the construction industry at home and abroad will undoubtedly attract the common concern of the construction industry can not develop without building design and construction materials innovation and development. Innovative use of traditional materials and the continuous generation of new materials has brought a lot to the possibility of building design; new materials are emerging in various ways to change our architecture, but also to bring unlimited creative architectural design for innovation.
China International Architectural Expo since its inception in 2006, has always been to build architectural design, building materials, construction technology downstream industries for the purpose of communication and exchange platform, based on "the perfect combination of design and materials," in-depth understanding of various construction for architects materials for building new products, new technologies, innovative applications in the building played an active role in promoting. The exhibition is becoming the most concerned about architect industry event, each year thousands of domestic and international architects to visit the exhibition.
Held in the same period the "China Architectural Forum" attracted nearly a thousand bits global architects, real estate developers, entrepreneurs and other excellent materials, discuss industry hot topics the year, forecasting the future trend of the industry, has become involved in building a wide range of upstream and downstream industries annual major meetings.
Linked design and materials, technology and innovation integration. The Sixth China International Architectural Expo will present the construction industry and foreign industry event even more exciting!
African Customs Union building materials Zaiyu export opportunities in China
Time: 2009-06-10 11:31:47 | Source: South China network hardware
The largest regional economic organizations in Africa - COMESA 7 Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe announced the formal establishment of a customs union, external trade in the region to achieve a high degree of unity. Chinese Ambassador to Zambia and COMESA in the Special Representative, said Li Qiang, China 8, establishing the COMESA customs union is good news for China.
In the thirteenth summit of COMESA, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa Customs Union (hereinafter referred to as the customs union) was established, it means that COMESA member countries outside the region would impose a uniform tariff of imported goods.
President of Zimbabwe, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa Mugabe said the new presidency, the establishment of Customs Union, COMESA to achieve the wish of many years. Since then, the Member States to come together as a whole. He welcomed the parties to this large market to invest in East and Southern Africa.
Chinese Ambassador to Zambia and COMESA in the Special Representative of the people, said Li Qiang, COMESA customs union set up for Chinese enterprises to provide a good opportunity for export to Africa, Chinese imports of a country, you can in 19 allies in the free flow of To reduce the large costs of tariff costs.
Meanwhile, the Customs Union member states are to maintain traditional friendship with China, and in the development of domestic infrastructure, are expressed strongly welcomed Chinese enterprises of the state, therefore, China's export and investment into a customs union employees will be a good time to usher in an unprecedented .
For Africa, this huge emerging market, industry, building materials industry was undoubtedly the most attention, the great Chinese building materials industry, production capacity and operating capacity, African governments have been promising. In the traditional export markets shrinking, the African emerging markets, building materials export sector will be extended an olive branch.
edited by stone coated steelroof
The Gonder Malt Factory, owned by Tiret Endowment Investment Organization, has announced that it will start producing malt by December 2011.
The factory, located in Gonder which is 658km from Addis Abeba, has started constructing a malt factory adjacent to Dashen Brewery, investing 670 million Br. The factory covers an area of four hectares and will soon be open for production.
The factory, when complete, will be the second malt factory producing 15,000tn of malt annually, of which 10,000tn to 12,000tn goes to its affiliate, Dashen Brewery. The lone malt factory in Ethiopia, Assela Malt Factory, located 164km from the capital, is up for auction by Public Enterprises Supervising Agency (PPESA). It was established in 1984 with a start-up capital of 9.2 million Br.
Construction, being done by Afro Tsion Construction Plc, has seen 40pc of the construction complete, Tadesse Kassa, CEO of Tiret, told Fortune.
Tiret is an endowment established in 1995 in Amhara Regional State by pooling resources under the Amhara National Democratic Movement (ANDM) and the ruling coalition, EPRDF. It administers five companies: Tikur Abbay Transport Plc, Dashen Brewery Plc, Ambasel Trading House, Zeleke Agriculture Mechanisation, and Belesa Logisitcs & Transit.
The organisation foresees itself playing a meaningful role in the development of the region by 2020, by creating a fortune of 20 billion Br, claims the company's profile.
"We are planning to minimise the amount of malt that is being imported from Europe, Kenya, Sudan, and other countries," Tadesse said. "Close to 20,000tn of barley will be bought from farmers in Gojjam as well as parts of Gonder's and Amhara's barley growing regions, and 65pc of it will produce malt."
"We believe this factory will be helpful in generating revenue for the farmers and will provide enough malt for the breweries," Tadesse said.
There are around five major breweries in Ethiopia: BGI Ethiopia, Dashen Brewery, Meta Beer, Bedele Beer, and Harar Beer. This year, they projected a total of 64,579tn of malt, 22,500tn and 42,079tn from domestic and imported sources, respectively. The unsatisfied demand of malt will grow to 64,041tn by 2017, according to CSA.
Tiret announced an international tender where 15 companies showed interest, including companies from the Czech Republic, Greece and Germany. The company has already signed a contract for the supply of machineries priced at 17.1 million dollars with a Buhle GmbH, German company, winning the other five tenders that made it to the final with its price and proposal.
"The factory plans to provide malt to all the breweries in Ethiopia and export it to other countries," Tadesse said.
"It is going to be helpful for Raya Brewery because it is going to minimise the transport costs as well as the inventory costs," says Lemma Bekele, manager of Raya Brewery.
Out of the total budget approved by the Addis Abeba City Council for the next fiscal year, which is 11.8 billion Br, 61pc (7.28 billion Br) is allocated as Capital Budget. Addis Abeba Water and Sewerage Authority (AAWSA) took the lion's share at 26pc. The Addis Abeba City Roads Authority (AACRA), Land Development and Housing Projects took 16.4pc, 13.7pc, and 13.2pc, respectively.
Aiming at ensuring complete coverage in water supply for the city of Addis Abeba, from the current 73pc coverage authorities claim there is, councillors of the Addis Abeba City Administration have approved 1.4 billion Br to the sector last week, an amount claiming 25.8pc of the city's 11.8 billion Br budget for the 2011/12 fiscal year.
Not only is this the largest appropriation in the list of the city's capital menu of capital expenditures; it is also the first time the city administration proposed to spend more money in improving Addis Abeba's water supply than the construction of road projects.
The all too EPRDF dominant city council, where there is only one seat claimed by an opposition MP out of the 138 seats, approved the city's budget for the fiscal year on July 6, 2011. The total budget has seen an increase of 25.3pc from last year's budget.
A big chunk of the budget, 61pc, goes to finance capital expenditures such as public project works by the city's Water and Sewerage Authority (AAWSA), Roads Authority (AACRA) and housing development agency; the three top priorities in the budget. Spending in the capital expenditure has seen an increase of 32.4pc from last year, while recurrent budget, 1.5 billion Br (34pc), showed a 27.7pc increment.
"The city's budget allocation is healthy," Haile Fisseha, general manager of the city administration, told Fortune. "Most of the budget is allocated for development projects."
Promotion of micro enterprises, construction of youth centres, expansion in social services in education and health are also among some of the programmes provided with significant levels of funding.
A newly established spy agency, designated with the task of securing the nation's information technology infrastructure, the Information Network & Security Agency (INSA), will soon have its ultramodern headquarters at a cost of 100 million Br, Fortune learned. INSA's headquarters is part of the federal government's plan to construct several new buildings with a budget of 115 million Br for the 2010/11 fiscal year, according to the budget endorsed by Parliament.
The federal government is undertaking construction work for the headquarters of the Central Statistics Agency (CSA), the Ethiopian Customs and Revenues Authority (ERCA), the Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA) and the Ethiopian Press Agency (EPA).
These buildings will cost the state a total of 238 million Br in total, of which ERCA and ERA have been denied building permits from the city government due to the newly introduced rules regulating building heights.
INSA wants to build its headquarters within five blocks, each with 13 to 17 storeys on a 16,000sqm plot granted by the Addis Abeba City Administration on the Ethio-China Friendship Road, inside what was previously the College of Telecommunications and Information Technology (CTIT) under the former Ethiopian Telecommunications Cooperation (ETC). The plot given to INSA in 2008 was previously reserved for the construction of hotels.
The design for INSA's headquarters is developed by MH Consulting Engineers and Architects, which has its marks in the city's architectural landscape, including the model units of the condominium houses. It is also known for its works with the former GTZ in designing the 10 university complexes built across the country.
The contract for the construction of INSA headquarters is overseen by the Office Building Project under the Ministry of Works and Urban Development (MoWUD), which is tasked to oversee construction works for state buildings.
However, the ministry is to pay only for one block as a first phase and is to place additional land requests to the city administration, sources in the ministry told Fortune. The construction of five blocks will require a total of 20,000sqm, according to the structural design developed by the consulting firm.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's visit to Kenya as part a three-nation tour of Africa reaffirms a changing world order towards bilateral ties based on equal partnership, analysts said. With China already making inroads in Africa's key sectors through its open-to-all policy, other economic power houses are taking note with Germany and its European Union partners keen not to be left out.
During Tuesday's stopover, Dr Merkel said Germany would provide Kenya with Sh17.5 billion to fund various projects critical to the attainment of Millennium Development Goals (MDGS) between 2010 and 2013.
She disclosed that Germany would donate Sh128 million (1 million euros) towards intervention programmes on the large numbers of refugees streaming into the Northern parts of Kenya from Somalia.
The Chancellor further said Germany is willing to support the strengthening of Kenya's electoral system in preparation for next year's general elections so as to avoid a repeat of violence witnessed in 2007.
President Kibaki recommended to German investors the lucrative infrastructure projects such as the construction of the Lamu Port and the Lamu-Ethiopia-South Sudan rail, road and pipeline link.
As the aircraft floats across the landscape of West Africa, one notices ruler-straight earth roads stretching as far as the eye can see. A gaggle of Chinamen seated right behind me are animatedly watching the terrain from the vantage point and excitedly making conversation only they for now can understand.
I ignore them and their chatter until we meet at the opening of the Ecobank Group in headquarters Lome, Togo, the next day. Ceedi the group whose plainly dressed and unassuming female president, Ms Hu Ping, proudly tells me in tortured English needing a good dose of interpretation that they built "the stadium in Kenya", constructed the building.
A sky blue imposing seven-storey building facing the Atlantic Ocean just across the seaside road stretching from Ghana across the Togolese strip, it represents a partnership between the pan-African group represented in 32 continental states and the Chinese.
More aptly, it is a symbolism of the new Africa where investors are belatedly realising that Africa with its backwardness, just in 2000 cover headlined as the 'hopeless continent' by the widely respected Economist magazine, is the last high potential destination for investors. ("Since then its progress has been remarkably hopeful," the magazine wrote in a grudging retraction last year.
Timely if you consider seven of the fastest countries in the World are African, you may say.) As a matter of fact, just like the Chinese Ecobank, whose headquarters in Kenya is Ecobank Towers in Nairobi, was one of the pioneering visionaries that concluded Africa was the place to invest in despite the obvious difficulties. And it is by no means a charitable dream of pan-Africanism going by their books.
Last year for instance, the company made $169 million (Sh15 billion) in pre-tax profit, representing a 67 per cent increase on the previous year. Not much to write home about, you may think, on the back of $900 million revenue, which means the efficiency ratio was slightly below 70 per cent.
But looking at the growth and more importantly, the strategy to be top three in every market they operate in meaning it is only a matter of time before they snap up a local bank in Kenya, probably bid for National Bank it is clear the bank has only scratched the surface. The 3.1-million Ecobank so far operates in more markets in Africa than any other bank including Standard Bank of South Africa and it may not be long before the continent's growth rubs off on its bottom line.