ACCRA, Ghana–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Western Union Company (NYSE:WU, a leader in global payment services, today celebrated its 20th anniversary in Africa. With over 34,000 locations and connections to millions of bank accounts and mobile wallets in more than 50 countries and territories, across Africa, the Western Union network serves millions of senders and receivers with a choice of 120 currencies.
To celebrate this special milestone, Western Union’s President for Africa, Middle East, Asia Pacific, Eastern Europe and CIS, Jean Claude Farah, in addition to Aida Diarra, Western Union’s Regional Vice President and Head of Africa and other members of the Africa leadership team visited the first agent location at ADB (Agricultural Development Bank) that offered Western Union money transfer services for the first time in Africa in 1995. The WU leadership team also visited Ecobank head office in Accra and marked the occasion with the launch of the Account Based Money Transfer services through ATM in Ghana.
The Western Union 20th Anniversary celebration in Ghana in Africa, coincides with a speech made by President Barack Obama at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he is quoted saying:
“Today, Africa is one of the fastest-growing regions in the world. Africa’s middle class is projected to grow to more than one billion consumers. With hundreds of millions of mobile phones, surging access to the Internet, Africans are beginning to leapfrog old technologies into new prosperity. Africa is on the move, a new Africa is emerging.”
Western Union is committed to the expansion and development of its pan-African network which provides a critical link to the ever growing African Diaspora living and working in countries around the world.
“More than 30 million Africans live outside their home countries, contributing billions of USD in remittances to their families and communities back home every year1”, said Jean Claude Farah. “We are very humbled to play a role in helping them move their money as they seek to elevate their economic status, meet emergency needs, support healthcare requirements, contribute to the education of future generations and in many instances build their own small businesses. By moving money for better for 20 years Western is enabling a world of possibilities for Africa and in Africa.”
Aida Diarra added, “Through the work we do we also enable economic activity and job creation. Currently over 155,000 Front Line Associates (FLAs) are employed in our agent network on the African continent. Western Union invests in training these FLAs developing their business, technical and compliance skills.”
In addition to the socio-economic impact that remittances enable, the company also supports philanthropic activities in Africa via the Western Union Foundation which has a long history of giving back to communities across the African continent. It supports organizations that promote economic opportunity and growth for individuals, families and entire communities throughout the region. Since its creation, the Western Union Foundation has committed to $8.703 million in grants and donations to 158 NGOs in more than 40 countries across Africa.
About Western Union
The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global payment services. Together with its Vigo, Orlandi Valuta, Pago Facil and Western Union Business Solutions branded payment services, Western Union provides consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, to send payments and to purchase money orders. As of March 31, 2015, the Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta branded services were offered through a combined network of over 500,000 agent locations in 200 countries and territories and over 100,000 ATMs and kiosks. In 2014, The Western Union Company completed 255 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $85 billion of principal between consumers, and 484 million business payments. For more information, visit www.WesternUnion.com.
1 IFAD, 2009
Western Union Press Contact:
Khalid Baddou, +212 522 42 84 02
In this day and age there can still come some surprises like out of the wind a leaf will fall to the ground. It makes a sound and a whistle. You can never be up to speed about everything. I know about the Ethiopian dam projects, but certain industrial projects have gone in the wind. But then out of nothing the ICL buying out Allana Potash in the Danakil Depression caught my eye. Therefore I started doing research and seeing if I could get some information on the matter. A lot of information isn’t above the sea level yet, it’s still loose ends though. The licenses and the agreements between any company and the sovereign nation of Ethiopia are not at bay. But all the other information is saying certain stories. And tell how big of an issue this can get. Especially when you see how many companies is a-part of this shindig. Hope you get some information that you didn’t before and learn about the Danakil Depression in the Afar Region in Ethiopia.
Introduction to the area:
“The potash potential of Ethiopia was dormant until World War II where Italian and other foreign companies initiated exploration activities in different parts of the extremely hot Danakil Depression of northern Ethiopia, where temperatures regularly exceed +50°C. The companies exploited a number of mineral resources, such as potash and sulphur. The Danakil depression is found down to 110 m below sea level. The evaporites of the central parts of the Danakil Depression cover an area of 1165 km2, the major part of which is known as the Salt Plain” (…) “The Afar region of north-east Ethiopia is covered by Quaternary lacustrine sediments and volcanic rocks of the East African Rift Valley. The central part of the Danakil Depression is covered by a thick evaporite succession (Salt Formation), which is partially covered by Quaternary volcanic rocks” (Geus, 2010).
“ETHIOPIAN POTASH CORP. (ETHIOPIAN POTASH) has signed an Option Agreement to buy over G&B Central African Resources, which holds the title for the G&B Mineral Property in the Danakil Depression, Afar State, Ethiopia” (…) “Pursuant to the Option Agreement, upon the Option Closing, the Founders will also receive, on a pro rata basis, an aggregate of 20,000,000 Resulting Issuer Common Shares at a deemed price of $0.20 per Resulting Issuer Common Share, as incentive payments for their roles in reorganizing, financing and developing the business of G&B and in negotiating the Option Agreement” (…) “The value of the Danakil Potash Permits, the option and the payments under the Option Agreement were determined and negotiated through arm‟s length negotiations. The Danakil Technical Report was filed with the Exchange on December 3, 2010” (…) “ETHIOPIAN POTASH commissioned the production of a Technical Report in compliance with NI 43-101 to both summarise past exploration and to provide guidance for further project development. As a first step this Preliminary Resource Assessment Study (PRAS) from the independent consultant ERCOSPLAN, a German consultancy firm with more than half a century of experiences in industrial potash mining and processing was prepared” (…) “According to official information, exploration and mining licences were granted to Sainik Coal Mining Private Limited from the Ethiopian Ministry of Mines and Energy in 2007. Referring to this source, the deposit is estimated to contain resources of 160 million tonnes (without further specification)” (…) “ALLANA POTASH CORP. reports in 2008 for the part of the Musley deposit within their property an inferred resource amounting to 31.3 million tonnes of sylvinite at 25.4% KCl and 73.9 million tonnes of kainitite at 18.8% KCl, not taking into account mining and processing losses” (…) “The Musley Deposit, in the extension as defined by PARSONS, contains 171.27 million tonnes of mineralised material (55.63 million tonnes KCl) and partly extends onto the G&B Danakil Property. Six of the historical drill holes are located within the south western part of this property” (…) “The modelling of the 6 drill holes within the G&B Danakil Property and nearby drill holes south of the property resulted in inferred geological sylvinite resources of 28 million tonnes at an average grade of 29% KCl from the so-called Sylvinite Member, with additional inferred geological sylvinite/carnallitite resources of 5 million tonnes at an average grade of 22% KCl from the sampled part of the intermediate Member and inferred geological kainitite resources of 95 million tonnes at an average grade of 18% KCl. In these numbers, no deduction for mining and plant losses are considered. Resource estimations refer to the G&B Danakil Property only” (…) “The Danakil Depression stretches some 200km between Lake Bada (lake level 50m below sea level) in the NNW and Lake Acori (lake level 94m below sea level) in the SSE. The deepest point is located at Lake Assale where the lake level is 128m below sea level. This desert area is characterised by a flat surface that is interrupted by only few hills known as Mount Dallol, Black Mountain and Ashe Ale” (…) “Danakil Potash Exploration: Licence 3137-3150/2000 – 265.05km²” (…) “The mining policy of Ethiopia has received partial updating via the Mining and Income Tax Proclamations in 1993 and the supporting Mineral Operations Regulations in 1994 . These laws were established to stimulate the development of mining and to guarantee the property rights of both local and foreign investors. The preamble to the new mining law states that the law recognizes the significant role of private investment in capital formation, technology acquisition and marketing of minerals. The laws foresee different kinds of permits. The permit holders have both rights and obligations” (…) “The Danakil Depression is known as the hottest place on Earth, and is consistently hot throughout the year. Dallol‟s record high of the annual average temperature for an inhabited location on Earth of 34°C was recorded between the years 1960 and 1966” (…) “Because of the harsh conditions, the area of the G&B Property is very sparsely populated, and is mostly only temporarily inhabited by the Afari nomads. In the north western part of the G&B Danakil Property the small (temporary?) settlements of Ghebro (local salt extraction), and Iremle are located. In the northernmost part of the G&B Bada Property several small settlements are situated adjacent to the agriculturally used area on the alluvial fan of the Ragali River delta” (…) “road access is limited, but since 2010 it is in relatively good condition. No railway facility is available. No supply of electrical energy, fresh water and internet access is present. Connection to global system for mobile phone communication (GSM) is not available; the only option for communication at the site is via satellite telephone or radio. Mechanical and technical services as well as fuel cannot be obtained on site. Reasonable infrastructure for this is either present at Mekele or Afdera” (Raushe, 2011).
Information on AgriMinco:
“Following the completion of the maiden National Instrument 43-101-compliant mineral resource estimate, the operator of Danakil Holdings Ltd., Plinian Capital LLP, requested a preliminary investigation into the economic viable mining and processing options for the Danakil potash resources” (…) “AgriMinco’s chief executive officer, Bruce Cumming, comments: “Whilst the results are encouraging, they must be seen against the backdrop of uncertainty that the company continues to face due to the difficulties experienced in attempting to raise additional finance and the existing debt burden the company carries. We continue to focus our efforts on completion either of a capital raise or a corporate transaction. Under the terms of the JV agreement and the amendment thereto, AgriMinco was required to contribute 30 per cent of expenditure in excess of the agreed free carry by April 7, 2014” (…) “The operator of the joint venture, Plinian Capital, and Circum Minerals Ltd., the 70-per-cent joint venture partner, have consented to the release of the information contained herein” (Cumming, 2014).
BHP Billiton pulls away:
In 2012 pulled BHP Billiton out of the Danakil Depression. The spokesman for the company commented on it like this: “They already informed the ministry they want to leave” (…) “We have made a decision to discontinue exploration activities in Ethiopia” (…) “This was because following completion of sufficient work it’s not expected to meet BHP’s investment criteria”. The company didn’t deliver any more information to why they pulled away from the project at the time (Davison, 2012).
License giving to Allana:
“The Ethiopian Ministry of Mines has issued a mining license for the country’s Danakhil Potash Project to Allana Potash – a Canadian mineral exploration company. The license was issued after its approval by the Ethiopian council of ministers. A detailed review of the projects feasibility study and the Environmental, Social and Health Impacts Assessment (ESHIA) by the Ministry of Mines and other government departments had been carried out” (Wanene, 2013). “Approval of the ESHIA is conditional on the fulfillment of several action plans, most of which are identified in the ESHIA and already in place. These include monitoring ground water in the region (ongoing), resettlement of two small villages (in progress) and a commitment to community development (part of Allana’s Community Development Plan). Approval of the Company’s ESHIA is necessary for the granting of a Mining License in Ethiopia. The Ministry continues to review Allana’s application for the Mining License and meetings last week in Ethiopia indicate significant progress has been made in the evaluation of the Company’s Feasibility Study. While this work is ongoing, Allana is optimistic that the granting of the Mining License will occur in the next few months” (Mbendi, 2013).
Beginning information on Allana:
Allana had already before 2010 was finished had 60 drilling holes in the Danakil Depression. “Allana tacked on 28 drill holes from its wholly-owned Nova project, which occupies roughly 132-sq.km adjacent to its Dallol concessions and was picked up in a merger with Nova-Ethio Potash in November 2012”. The president and CEO Farhad Abasov is excited and was quoted saying: “We are excited to see the large increase in total mineral resources on the project and the significant conversion of inferred mineral resources into measured and indicated mineral resource categories” (…) “Potash resources continue to expand with our exploration activities which are ongoing on the Nova license. We are encouraged that significant additional mineralization of [carnallite and kainitite] has been delineated and will initiate further study on these resource estimates” (Northern Miner, 2013).
Basic information on Allana:
“Allana’s potash project is comprised of four potash concessions (Danakil Potash Project) located in Ethiopia’s northeastern Danakil Depression totaling approximately 312 square kilometers” (Allana).
Allana has completed a NI 43-101 compliant technical report for the three concessions. The technical report highlighted several unique advantages of this project:
- An inferred mineral resource of 105,200,000 tonnes of potash mineralization (Sylvinite and Kainitite) with a composite grade of 20.8% KCI
- Near-surface (shallow-depth) potash mineralization (within 50 metres of surface)
- Potential for solution or open-pit potash mining
- 16 drill holes immediately on Allana’s property
- 2 hole intersect 45 metres of potash mineralization at a depth of 680 metres – demonstrate significant potential to expand potash resource
- Unique environment that may provide for low-cost production utilizing solar evaporation and geothermal power
- MOP (muriate of potash) and SOP (sulphate of potash) production is feasible (NaFinance, 2009)”
Allana raised funds for construction:
“Abasov and company have raised over $90 million in equity markets and has sufficient cash reserves to reach the construction stage. And the news keeps getting better. Just last month, Allana’s debt financing process reached a new milestone as the company further de-risks the project” (InvestorIntel, 2013). “At this stage, little is known about the role of Ethiopian banks in the transaction for the loans between Afreximbank and Allana Potash” (Keffyalew, 2013). Allana Potash, a Vancouver-based mining company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, is set to acquire financing for its mammoth potash mining project in Danakil Depression in the Afar Regional State of Ethiopia in the order of 11.1 billion birr from the little-known-in-Ethiopia Africa Export/Import Bank-Afreximbank (Seyoum, 2013). “In Ethiopia, we are at the moment looking at potash project. It is about $600 million and we are still at the preliminary stage, but we are positive about that,” said Denys Denya, AfrEximBank’s Executive Vice-President for Finance, Administration and Banking Services” (Andualem, 2013).
Getting power-supply to the Danakil depression:
“The study is initiated by the request of Ethiopotash SC for 70MW of power. Ethiopotash, a company established by Dutch investors, is now managed by Yara International, which, in May 2012, upped its share in the company from 16pc to 51pc. Yara International, the Norwegian fertiliser manufacturer, itself is established with a majority share by the Norwegian government” (…) “The area will get power supply from Mekele, Tigray.
“We have studied all options, but Mekelle is better,” Mekuria said. “Since the area is not included under the EPPCo electricity expansion projects, the company will cover the project cost,” he added. However, both Mekuria and WondimuTakele (Eng), state minister for MoWE, say that it is not yet known how much it could cost supplying electricity to the Danakil Depression. The company wants the power supply to be ready for 2014, according to the company’s request” (…) “The project cost of the Danakil Depression concession could reach two billion Birr, according to Hoslestad” (Mesfin, 2012).
The Yara study itself confirms the mining potential in Ethiopia:
“The independent study identified an annual production of 600,000 metric tons sulfate of potash (SOP) over 23 years from reserves (Kainite, Carnallite and Sylvinite) at Yara’s Danakil concession. The company, which aims to begin mining activities in 3Q, 2018, is now seeking equity partners to develop the project” (Yara, 2015).
The potash from Danakil depression goes further:
“The product will be trucked 790 kilometres to Tadjoura, Djibouti, where the project includes a product storage and handling terminal at the new port currently under construction by the Djibouti Port Authority” (Topf, 2015).
Allana Potash getting bought by ICL:
On 22nd June 2015 bought the whole company of 100%, even if it had already bought 16.22% in 2014. So ICL bought the rest now in June 2015. With this trade the ICL get rights to develop the Potash project in Danakil depression. ICL has faith in the Ethiopian government and plans for infrastructure to succeed with the development of the potash mines at the sight in the Afar region of Ethiopia. ICL President & CEO Stefan Borgas, said, “We are delighted to complete our acquisition of Allana Potash and appreciate the strong support of Allana’s Board, management team and shareholders in conducting the process expeditiously. Our purchase of Allana is in line with ICL’s “Next Step Forward” strategy to broaden our sources of raw materials globally and to focus on high growth, emerging markets. Allana gives us a major mining concession in Africa, as well as a talented on-the-ground team with whom we intend to pursue our development of potash resources in Ethiopia. We are excited about the potential of establishing a strong potash platform in the Afar region that will enable us to serve rapidly growing fertilizer markets throughout Ethiopia and Africa, at large, as well as our growing customer base in Asian markets, and which will complement our existing potash operations in Israel, Spain and the UK. We are encouraged by the initial support of our activities by the Ethiopian government, which we trust will be translated into the assistance that we require to fully develop Ethiopia’s natural resources for the benefit of Ethiopia, its farmers and its people, as well as for ICL” (ICL, 2015).
I won’t write much here now. Because this piece is already at a major size, but I look forward to follow the Danakil Depression and see how this industrial and mining adventure will go. How the companies will earn their cash and how the reports from the area will be. Especially how the Ethiopian government will deliver information on the matter, which will be amazing. Because they keep so much information at bay and never really release anything. Hope you got some knowledge and understand better how this is in Afar Region in Ethiopia. Peace.
Topf, Andrew – ‘Study confirms potash potential at Danakil Depression, Ethiopia’ (17.02.2015) Link: http://www.mining.com/study-confirms-potash-potential-at-danakil-depression-ethiopia-96831/
Yara – ‘Yara study confirms potash mining potential in Ethiopia’ (13.02.2015) Link:
Ministry of Mines of Ethiopia (Geus) – ‘Potash in Ethiopia’ (December 2010) Link:
Davison, William – ‘BHP Billiton Abandoning Potash Project in Ethiopia’s Danakil’ (09.07.2012) Link:
Northern Miner – ‘Allana adds major potash tonnage at Danakil’ (26.06.2013) Link:
Rauche, Dr. Henry – ‘PRELIMINARY RESOURCE ASSESSMENT STUDY – Danakil Potash Deposit, Afar State/Ethiopia (01.02.2011) Link: http://agriminco.com/home/ul/Technical%20Report%20(NI%2043-101)%20Danakil%202%20Feb%202011.pdf
NaFinance – ‘Allana Resources Inc’ (2009) Link:
Mesfin, Mahlet – ‘Ethiopotash Seeking 70MW Dedicated Power Supply to Danakil Plant’ (07.10.2012) Link:
InvestorIntel – ‘Significantly de-risked, potash powerhouse Allana Potash is on the fast track to production’ (25.09.2013) Link:
Gebremedhin, Keffyalew – ‘Axis between Ethiopia-Allana Potash-African Export Import Bank: What cost to Ethiopia?’ – Seyoum, Arat – (23.06.2013) Link:
Wanene, Grace – ‘Ethiopia issues potash mining license to Canada’s Allana Potash’ (10.10.2013) Link: http://www.zegabi.com/articles/4772
Mbendi – ‘Allana Potash Announces Approval of ESHIA by Ethiopian Ministry of Mines, Danakil Potash Project’ (22.05.2013) Link:
Andualem, Sisay – ‘AfrEximBank eyeing $600m Ethiopia potash deal’ (20.06.2013) Link:
Cumming, Bruce – ‘AgriMinco’s Danakil report to look into mining options’ (18.03.2014) Link:
ICL – ‘ICL COMPLETES ITS ACQUISITION OF ALLANA POTASH’ (22.06.2015)
SECOND NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN 2015/16 – 2019/20 (NDPII):
“A Transformed Ugandan Society from a Peasant to a Modern and Prosperous Country within 30 years”.
This here piece will be the important and special words and numbers from this report that has had a release date the same as budget for financial year 2015/2016. This is important to address to show what the draft of 3rd March 2015 is saying. If the numbers has changed then the government should drop and show the world the updated NDPII. But that hasn’t surfaced anywhere. Therefore I will drop the numbers and quotes I do have. It will be a long piece. But this is a big plan with enormous sums of monies in play. So with that play you got show what the government really want to do. I have already showed the dream-piece or press release earlier this week. So this here will see if that has changed or not. The pages where the quotes are from are not direct pages because the page number is different in an pdf so the empty pages also get counted. Just to explain that.
Basic of the Plan:
“This National Development Plan (NDPII) is the second in a series of six 5-year Plans aimed at achieving Uganda Vision 2040” (…) “The Plan also seeks to leverage opportunities and honour obligations presented by emerging developments at the national, regional (East African Community (EAC), and the Africa Agenda 2063), and global levels (the Post 2015 Development Agenda)” (P: 12). “This Plan prioritizes investment in three key growth opportunities including Agriculture; Tourism; Minerals, Oil and Gas as well as two fundamentals: Infrastructure and Human Capital Development” (P: 13).
“The overall government budget deficit level was unstable over the three years, increasing from an overall balance including grants of 2.5 percent of GDP in 2011/12 to 3.4 percent in 2012/13 and to 5.0 percent in 2013/14” (…) “ (…) “Fiscal Deficit: The overall government budget deficit level was unstable over the three years, increasing from an overall balance including grants of 2.5 percent of GDP in 2011/12 to 3.4 percent in 2012/13 and to 5.0 percent in 2013/14.” (…) “Uganda‘s total debt stock rose from UGX11,234.9 billion in 2010/11 to UGX15,939.1 billion in 2012/13 (close to 30 percent of GDP). External debt in 2012/13 was UGX9,893.3 billion (USD3.761 billion). In 2012/13, the total stock of domestic debt stood at 10.4 percent of GDP and 15.8 percent of GDP for the total stock of External debt” (P. 30)
“The Public Debt-to-GDP ratio is currently (2013/14) at 26.14 percent and is projected to peak at about 42 percent in 2019/20, but will remain below the 2013/14 debt strategy threshold of 50 percent throughout the projection period. The debt is however still highly sensitive to non-concessional borrowing, given the current structure of external debt” (P: 32).
“Commercial Banking and Microfinance: As of April 2014, Uganda had 26 licensed commercial banks, with about 544 branches and 5.5 million accounts. The commercial banks hold about 80 percent of the total assets of the financial system and the NSSF holds almost the remaining 20 percent. Savings are still low despite measures to increase savings in the past which included: NSSF improving its return on savings; starting the financial literacy project; URBRA putting in place a framework to enable the informal sector to participate in formal saving schemes; and having SACCO‘s empowered to mobilize savings. SACCOs and MFIs are still experiencing weaknesses in regard to their sustainability, due to the low mobilization of savings from the public, partly due to the over dependence on Government through the Uganda Micro Finance Support Centre and also the fraudulent activities that are a vice to the people‘s savings” (P: 36). “Uganda‘s capital markets are characterized by under capitalization and limited investment opportunities. The Stock Market remains thin, with only 16 companies listed on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE). Equity markets are poorly developed and only large and well established firms can realistically raise finance on equity markets” (P: 37).
“Generally, during the NDPI period the paved road stock increased at an average rate of 123km, lower than the targeted increase of 220km per year” (P: 42). “The rail infrastructure has not changed over the last 5 years. The current rail network comprises of long meter-gauge rail lines, running from the east to the west of the country. Its operations are limited to 640 km between Kampala-Malaba, Kampala–Port Bell, Kampala-Nalukolongo and Tororo-Gulu, while the rest of the network is defunct” (P: 42).
“Currently, only 2 percent of water is used for production, with only 1 percent of potential irrigable area, where 15,000Ha out of 3,030,000Ha is under formal irrigation. Access to water for livestock at present is estimated at 48.8 percent. The country is increasingly facing a major challenge of prolonged droughts and unexpected floods due to climatic change and variability and is predicted to be water stressed by 2025” (P: 44).
“Financing Health Services: The trend in allocation of funds to the health sector shows an average increase of 20 percent per annum in absolute terms over the past four years of HSSIP. However, the allocation to health as percentage of the total Government budget has reduced from 9.6 percent in 2003/2004 (AHSPR, 2013/14) to 8.6 percent in 2014/15 of the total Government budget much lower than the Abuja Declaration target of 15 percent. This decline has taken place in the midst of rising health care demand and costs due to high population growth” (P: 48-49).
“Pre-Primary Education: The net enrollment at pre-primary level stands at 10.1percent (EMIS 2013). The provision of pre-primary education continues to be dependent on NGOs, multilateral organizations, and the private sector. This limits access with high disparities between urban and rural areas and among different socio-economical levels” (P: 50).
“Primary Education: The implementation of UPE program since 1997 resulted to increased access from 2.5 million to 8.5 million in 2013. The Pupil/Book ratio has stagnated at an average of 4:1 from 2009 to 2013. The repetition rate reduced from 11.7percent in 2009 to 10.3percent in 2013” (P: 50).
“Secondary Education Sub-sector: The Student/Classroom Ratio (SCR) improved from 68:1 in 2009 to 57:1 in 2013 (EMIS 2013). In 2013, Government owned secondary schools were 1,019 (36 percent), private schools were 1,819 (64 percent). Enrolment in Government secondary schools is 669,225 (49 percent) and it is 693,514 (51 percent) in private schools” (P: 51).
“Higher Education: Total student enrolment in higher education increased by 26percent from 183,985 in 2010 to 232,612 in 2013. Universities continue to enrol the majority (67.3 percent) of post-secondary students (156,747) as of 2013. 60 percent of these are in Public Universities. The private providers cater for the remaining 40 percent” (P: 51).
“Economic development and transformation cannot thrive if citizens and investors have no confidence in the rule of law and the justice system” (…) “Good governance provides a setting for the equitable distribution of benefits from economic growth. The Constitution requires that the State promotes balanced development for all regions of the country, between rural and urban areas. It also requires the State to take special measures to develop Uganda‘s least developed areas and to pay special attention to the problems of the marginalized” (P: 57). “The Government of Uganda has adopted the Zero Tolerance‖ to Corruption Policy (2009). The policy correctly recognizes that fighting corruption requires measures beyond legislation and sanctions against corruption. It also requires restoring public sector ethics and creating behavioural change” (P: 60). “However, international surveys, as well as nationally representative data indicate that corruption in Uganda remains a major problem. The East African Bribery Index (EABI, 2013) found that 82 percent of respondents in Uganda described the current level of corruption as high, while 10 percent perceived it to be medium (Transparency International, 2013)” (P: 61).
Oil and Minerals:
“Uganda is destined to benefit from the opportunities explored along the minerals, oil and gas development value chain by addressing a number of challenges and emerging issues involved in minerals and petroleum development” (…) “The petroleum sub-sector is challenged by: inadequate industry infrastructure to support upstream petroleum activities; excitement and high expectations from the general public; lack of skilled manpower, both in the public and the private sectors; inadequate financing; land acquisition for infrastructure development for oil prospecting; and low institutional preparedness; huge capital requirements and technical expertise needed for projects; inconsistent fuel supply leading to scarcity of petroleum products; and absence of a legal framework and associated technical capacity to regulate and minimize the attendant environmental risks” (P: 71).
“There are over 6,351 registered SACCOS with savings of over UGX 120 billion, total shareholding of over UGX 25 billion and loans of UGX 80 billion. Cooperatives have also been formed in other sectors of the economy. For example, 2 energy cooperatives are managing the distribution of energy, 10 housing cooperatives are at various stages of development” (P: 76).
“The country still faces high levels of illiteracy. According to UNHS 2009/10, 6.9 million Ugandans (5.5 million women & 1 .4 million men) aged 15 years and above are non-literate – unable to read, write and numerate with understanding” (P: 83).
“The financing for local governments has increased from UShs974 billion to over UShs2 trillion today” (…) “In general, LG staffing level is at 56 percent for the districts and 57 percent for the municipal councils – a state that has further constrained service delivery. Rapid urbanization characterized by an increase in urban centers from 28 in 1969 to more than 400 in 2013 (1 City, 22 Municipalities, 174 Town Councils and 207 Town Boards) has been without proper planning and facing declining resources. In addition, governance at LGs characterized by poor coordination between the technical and political leadership especially in newly created districts is hindering service delivery” (…) “This is mainly due to breakdown of social values, peoples‘ expectations of hand-outs from government and CSOs, mistrust of communities towards leaders due to persistent unfulfilled promises” (P: 84-85).
“Regional Commitments: Protocol on the establishment of the East African Community Monetary Union. Particularly; Article 2 (b) attain the macroeconomic convergence criteria in article 6 (2) and maintain the criteria for at least 3 consecutive years. The criteria include:
- a) ceiling on headline inflation of 8 percent
- b) a ceiling on fiscal deficit, including grants, of 3 percent of GDP
- c) a ceiling on Gross Public Debt of 50 percent of GDP in Net Present Value terms; and
- d) a reserve cover of 4.5 months of imports
The indicative convergence criteria are;
- a) a ceiling on core inflation of percent
- b) a ceiling on fiscal deficit, excluding grants, of 6 percent of GDP
- c) A tax to GDP ratio of 25 percent” (P: 103).
Part III: Strategic Direction:
“The strategy highlights the key development outcomes expected under the NDPII, the interventions and resources required to achieve these outcomes. The strategy also provides a motivation for the sources of growth and the expected socio-economic outcomes” (P: 111). “The goal of this Plan is to attain middle income status by 2020” (P: 112). “Fiscal Expansion for Frontloading Infrastructure Investment: In order to realize the necessary public investment, government will harness concessional and semi-concessional financing and other development support facilities that are targeted to accelerate investment in infrastructure and human development, among others. Industrialization: To stimulate growth and employment, the country will promote value addition through agro-processing and mineral beneficiation as well as light manufacturing which have a higher multiplier effect on wealth creation. Fast Tracking Skills Development: In order to plug the current skills gap, government will establish five centers of excellence to rapidly build the necessary skills required in the key priority areas. Export Oriented Growth: Uganda‘s strategic location at the heart of East Africa makes it well placed to exploit the regional market. The region is increasingly becoming a fertile ground for small scale exporters, diversifying the export market and adding value to traditional export commodities. A Quasi-Market Approach: A Quasi-Market approach will be pursued in order to increase efficiency of the public sector and competitiveness of the private sector. With this approach Government will invest in key strategic infrastructure in order to remove the barriers of entry and increase private sector participation in the key growth areas” (P: 114).
“Harnessing the Demographic Dividend: Uganda will implement policies aimed at accelerating a rapid decline in fertility and ensure the resulting surplus labour force is well educated, skilled, healthy and economically engaged in order to reap the demographic dividend. Urbanization: Uganda will implement a tripartite strategic policy aimed at accelerating planned and controlled urbanization, while ensuring the critical link between urbanization and modernization of agriculture where the urbanizing community frees land for commercial agriculture as well as create a market for the increased output and quality of agro products. Strengthening Governance: The key development results cannot be achieved without the necessary enabling environment. Meeting good governance principles which include: constitutional democracy; protection of human rights; rule of law; free and fair political and electoral processes; transparency and accountability. Integrating Key Cross-Cutting Issues into Programmes and Projects: The key cross-cutting issues of; Gender, HIV/AIDS, environment, nutrition, climate change, human rights, social protection, child welfare among others will be mainstreamed in the relevant programmes and projects during the implementation of the Plan” (P: 115).
“For this Plan period, focus is placed on investing in the following agricultural enterprises along the value chain: Cotton, Coffee, Tea, Maize, Rice, Cassava, Beans, Fish, Beef, Milk, Citrus and Bananas. These enterprises were selected for a number of reasons including, high potential for food security (maize, beans, Cassava, Bananas); high contribution to export earnings (e.g. Maize – USD 21 million in 2005; coffee -USD 388 million in FY 2007/08; fish – USD 143 million at its peak; tea – USD 56 million in 2007)” (P: 120). “During NDPII the necessary institutional changes should be made so that a clear strategy for agro-processing can be developed and implemented. This should enable proposals for locating value addition facilities in the proposed zones” (P: 121).
“The NDPII has prioritized investment in strategic tourism supportive infrastructure (expansion of Entebbe International Airport, construction of Kabale Airport in Hoima, upgrading of strategic airfields, construction and maintenance of strategic tourism roads, as well as, investing in water transport to support tourism activities” (P: 122).
Minerals, Oils and Gas NDPII:
“The pumping of an estimated reserve of 3.5 billion barrels of oil, expected to start by 2017/18, portends great benefits for transport, energy, road infrastructure and public revenue” (…) “In the first year of implementation of the NDPII, a mineral development master plan containing the Country Mining Vision will be developed to implement the African Mining Vision. The Vision will clearly provide the detailed strategic direction and guidance for the mining, oil and gas during the NDP period and beyond” (P: 124-125).
“Standard Gauge Railway System” (…) “A good railway system would effectively link Uganda to other countries within the East African region and to overseas. This is key to exporting, and importing for manufacturing and services at affordable/competitive rates via connections to Djibouti and Mombasa if we are to achieve the Plan targets” (P: 126). “Strategic Roads” (…)“For this Plan period, 1,500KM of gravel roads will be upgraded to tarmac, 700KM of old paved roads will be rehabilitated and 2,500KM of paved roads and 10,000KMs of unpaved roads will be maintenance” (P: 128) (…) “Energy Infrastructure: Government will invest in the necessary infrastructure to facilitate the exploitation of the abundant renewable energy sources including hydropower, geothermal, and nuclear, so as to increase power generation capacity from 825MW in 2012 to 2,500MW in 2020 and prepare for achievement of the required 41,738 Mega Watts by year 2040” (P: 130). “Oil and Gas: The pumping of this oil and gas is expected to start by 2017/18” (…) “The Government will commence construction of a 22-inch diameter, 1,300Km long oil pipeline from Hoima via Lokichar to Lamu in Kenya. This is in addition to the oil refinery that is to be constructed at Kabaale in Hoima to process petroleum and other products for the domestic and international market” (P: 131). ICT: “Over the Plan period, government will prioritize investment in the following ICT infrastructure: extension of the National Backbone Infrastructure (NBI) to cover most of the country so as to increase penetration of communication services; finalise the migration from analogue to digital terrestrial broadcasting” (P: 132). Human Capital Development: “the Plan will focus on providing early childhood survival and full cognitive development. Efforts will be geared at: reducing incidences of morbidity and mortality; scaling up critical nutrition interventions outcomes especially for children below 5-years; and implementation of Early Childhood Development (ECD)” (P: 134). “A skills development programme will be designed and tailored to the Industrial strategy, production zones and urban corridor locations that will be planned during NDPII. Provisions will be made for skills training on location at infrastructure construction sites to give unemployed young Ugandans rather than imported labour the maximum chance of personal development”(P: 135).
“The NDPII assumes that all the interventions outlined in the strategic direction will be implemented during the period 2015/16-2019/20. In particular, it is assumed that the following will be realized during the NDPII period: (i) increasing productivity of all sectors, (ii) pursuing value addition especially for the agro-processing and mineral products, (iii) creating an environment where industrialization can flourish, and; (iv) improving social delivery of services” (P: 139).
“The fiscal strategy of the NDPII is underpinned by the need to maintain macroeconomic stability and a quest to competitively position Uganda to fully benefit from the East African Common Market” (P: 141). ”The focus of addressing the infrastructure deficit while consolidating the gains in human capital development remains a key priority for the NDPII. In summary, being that infrastructure has been prioritized; the fiscal deficit will mainly be driven by the additional resources required for infrastructure and human capital development” (P: 142).
“The overall average spending is expected to be 21.1 percent of GDP with the peak of 22 percent of GDP expected in 2016/17, and consolidation of spending by the end of the Plan period” (P: 142).
“On the revenue outlook, the NDPII envisages that there will be some improvement in domestic revenue mobilization (excluding oil revenues). These gains will arise from minimizing the use of non-standard VAT tax exemptions which have compromised the effectiveness of tax collection. These exemptions are estimated to reduce government revenue by 1 percent of GDP” (P: 144). “Grants under the NDPII period are expected to decline due to a combination of factors including: (i) austerity measures pursued in donor countries (ii) continued positive growth perception of donors about Uganda‘s recent developments and therefore not being eligible for certain grants. As a result grants are expected to decline further to 0.5 percent by the end of 2020” (P: 145).
Monetary Policy Stance and inflation:
“The Bank of Uganda (BOU) has been implementing monetary policy under an Inflation Targeting Lite (ITL) monetary policy framework since July 2011” (…) “BOU will continue to implement a monetary policy framework that will ensure price stability and at the same time conducive in attaining economic growth over the NDPII period. The inflation outlook will be largely dependent on changes in domestic food prices, exchange rate and international commodity prices. Over the NDPII period, the objective is to keep annual inflation low and stable assuming no major shocks to the economy” (…) “The foreign exchange market: The import content of infrastructure investment in Uganda is estimated to be between 67 percent and 80 percent, but over 80 percent of the key infrastructure projects will be financed from external sources” (…) “Domestic liquidity and private sector credit: The impact of public investment on domestic liquidity will be limited due to the high import content of the infrastructure projects. Nonetheless, a higher fiscal deficit and foreign exchange purchases by BOU will create a liquidity injection that must be managed appropriately to maintain low and stable inflation and healthy levels of private sector credit” (…) “Credit rating: There is a risk that higher fiscal deficits over the medium term will reduce confidence in Uganda‘s public finances. This could lead to a downgrading of the country‘s credit rating and raise interest costs” (P: 149-150).
Concessional External loans:
“Concessional loans are defined as external loans contracted with a grant element of more than 35 percent mainly sourced from the bilateral and multilateral donors. Over the years these loans have cushioned Uganda to finance a moderate deficit. In 2014/15, concessional loans were projected to contribute up to 2.3 percent of GDP” (…) “Less than 50 percent of the financing needs will be met through concessional borrowing in 2013/14. Given this background, the NDPII relies on conservative estimates for concessional borrowing. It is expected that over the NDPII period concessional loans will remain a key source of financing in 2015/16 and 2016/17 and decline to 1 percent of GDP in fiscal year 2019/20 as the financing needs also decline” (P: 151-152).
Semi-Concessional External Loans:
“Financing from semi-concessional loans especially for large infrastructure projects including Karuma and Isimba dams and the SGR are expected to total USD 5.3 billion during the period 2015-20” (…) “Under the NDPII Government will continue to source these types of loans given their favorable terms compared to commercial loans” (P: 152).
Non-Concessional External Borrowing
“It is imperative that Government also starts exploring other options especially to finance large infrastructure projects whose economic returns may not be viable in the short run but with enormous social benefits. Uganda is currently rated at B by Fitch and Standard and Poors rating agencies” (P: 152).
“Government started issuing securities for fiscal purposes in the year 2012/13 raising about UGX650bn (1.2 percent of GDP)” (…) “Given these challenges, the NDPII would attempt to limit domestic borrowing to current levels especially as the infrastructure projects get completed. The level of domestic debt would be limited to the range of 1.5-3 percent if domestic debt is to be contained within sustainable levels” (P: 153).
Public Private Partnership:
“Given the scale of investments required under NDPII, there is need to have close cooperation between the public and private sectors in form of public-private sector partnerships (PPP)” (…) “Government has already embarked on promoting and encouraging PPP in various forms for the smooth implementation of NDPII. Legislation towards formulating laws for PPPs is also in advanced stages. The forms that PPPs usually take include joint ventures between the Government and private sector entity/ies where both may contribute financial resources, Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT), Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT), Build, Own and Operate (BOO) and Concessions” (P: 153).
“Under this financing strategy, all the solvency and liquidity external debt-burden indicators remained well below their policy-dependent thresholds throughout the projection period. The public gross national debt would peak at 42 percent of GDP in 2019/20 while the NPV is expected to peak at about 40 percent of GDP” (P: 154-155).
This must be an eye-opener. It has already been a long article. I could have written my opinion on the matters and the whole NDPII. But I think the quotes speak for themselves. That if these don’t give you any indication on how the Government of Uganda hopes it turns out. They also told in this draft that certain aspects of the NDPI they didn’t succeed so if they don’t do it here. It shouldn’t be like a lightning strike from a clear sky. More like expected, this should be hard to achieve it’s a broad and general plan that has visions of all aspects of society from narrow industrial projects to infrastructure. That gives a lot of power and also a framework which is big. Therefore they need massive funding for this and already seen in other documents and in this that the scale of debt and loans is getting higher while the donor countries are offering less to the state coffers. Meanwhile the economy isn’t sustainably growing. While the Oil and Gas might cover for this that will still to be seen in 2017/2018 when the monies are expecting to recover. In the meanwhile the economy will drive itself on loans and hope for other funding. It’s already up to 40% of all budget concerns which is alarming. It should be, even if progression and analyzes say it can go up to 50% before the debt rate is too high. Even though that makes sense from an economic standpoint it’s still frightening to see the figures on how it has risen. And I wonder does the government have a constructive plan to pay this back to its creditors? Because that doesn’t comply here or anywhere else I have seen which is a little bit frightening. Peace.