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Afinitas waxes lyrical about opportunities in Ethiopian

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VINCENT MATUMO

Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) listed investment company, Afinitas Limited, is investing over P27 million in an Ethiopian holding company that will exploit various business opportunies in one of the oldest countries on the continent. Afinitas Limited Executive Director, Leutlwetse Tumelo told Gazette Business that Ethiopia is a cauldron of opportunities for an investment company, “We have made a decision to go into Ethiopia,” said Tumelo, emphatically.
“The place is a hive of construction work and this is a period of rapid growth due to the Ethiopia government’s first and second parts of the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP).”Replacing GTP I which ran from 2010 to 2015, GPT II is expected to give world beating annual growth rates of over 11 percent.
To foster agricultural development, irrigation systems will be developed over four million hectares of land. Irrigation expansion was established as a priority in GTP I. With a decreasing share of GDP, the agricultural sector is expected to represent 36 percent of the GDP by the end of GTP II. “There are opportunities in agriculture, looking at the population of the country which stands at over 90 million,” said Tumelo.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), formerly known as the Millennium Dam, is under construction on the Blue Nile River, which is located about 40km east of Sudan and the project is owned by Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCO).
Construction of the Grand Renaissance Dam started in April 2011 after the $4.7 billion investment and is expected to be completed by July 2017. The people and Government of Ethiopia are funding the project, which will not only serve Ethiopia, but Sudan and Egypt as well. The latter two countries depend on the Nile River for their water although 85 percent of the river flows in Ethiopia.
The dam’s construction is expected to create up to 12,000 jobs. Approximately 20,000 people will be resettled during the course of the project. The newest entrant to the BSE’s Venture Capital Board listed following an IPO and private placement in which the company sold 2.7 million shares and 91.2 million shares respectively.
Some of the priority investments identified to date are in sectors such as: agriculture, leasing, manufacturing and services.
“The team will now focus on concluding these investments. Shareholder approval will be sought where required in compliance with the Botswana Stock Exchange listing requirements,” the company said in a statement last week.However, Tumelo says that the company is working around the clock to close several other deals on the continent but he is keeping his cards close to his chest, saying the announcements will be made “at the appropriate time and keep shareholders regularly informed on progress.”

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