Commercial News from Africa

Kenya tops region in 2013 private equity fund deals. Kenya signed the highest number of private equity deals last year in sub-Saharan Africa ahead of its main rivals South Africa and Nigeria.The country recorded 12 private equity deals to South Africa's 10 and Nigeria's 9 - this from a PE report released by Deloitte and others. Most of the deals were struck in East Africa, 26, followed by West Africa, 24.

Off-grid solar market attracts US$7m investment. The United States’ biggest solar energy firm has partnered with venture firms Vulcan Capital and Omidyar Network to invest US$7 million into Off-Grid Electric, a Tanzania-based company providing solar lighting services in Africa. Vulcan Capital is owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Off-Grid Electric is an African-focused energy firm that uses a mobile payment platform which allows customers in Africa to purchase solar lighting services in small amounts, rather than having to pay for an entire solar system up front.

Chinese companies invested US$1.79b in Nigeria last year. According to the Chinese Consul-General, China invested US$1.79 billion in the West African country last year. The investments were mainly those of Chinese companies involved in petroleum, iron and steel, agricultural and manufacturing sectors, as well as free trade zone. China's bilateral trade volume with Nigeria has risen significantly to US$13 billion in 2012 from US$2 billion in 2002.

China to fund new US$10b port for Tanzania. President of China is in the Tanzanian capital to inaugurate construction of a new, modern port at Bagamoyo, which international observers say, will transform the historic town. The new Bagamoyo port in the Mbegani area, would cost about US$10 billion. Tanzania Shipping Agents Association (TASAA) said that Bagamoyo port should be far bigger than Dar Es Salaam. Since discoveries of huge reserves of gas off the East African coastline in 2009 and 2010 in the Rovuma Basin shared by Tanzania and Mozambique, foreign investment, particularly from China, has increased sharply. The Chinese oil company CNPC this month acquired a 20 percent stake in the Eni Mozambique offshore project worth US$4.21 billion, linking Africa’s untapped gas resources with the fastest growing gas consuming country.

Kenya's wind power project secures funds to start construction. Construction of Kenya's Lake Turkana Wind Power project, which has been delayed by financing difficulties, should begin by June after it secured US$686 million in funding. The wind farm will have a capacity of 300MW and will help to plug a power supply shortfall which has led to frequent blackouts. One source noted that a 428km transmission line would be built to transport the electricity from the wind plant. Denmark's Vestas Wind Systems will supply some 365 wind turbines at the site in the north west of the country.