Earth Finds

Earth Finds

Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort Trains Butlers

In the hotel and the entire hospitality industry, the human resource can make or break the business especially due to poor service delivery and customer care.

Well aware of this risk, Uganda’s leading 5-star luxury resort, Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort, continues to train its staff so that they can deliver on the promise made to their customers.

Recently, the resort hotel announced it had trained over 30 butlers in an attempt to satisfy their valued guests who choose them above other hotels in the country.

In the hotel business, butlers look after the needs of guests while at the hotel and within their rooms.

Butler responsibilities include greeting and checking in guests, unpacking luggage, laundry services, making dining and entertainment arrangements and keeping guest rooms and suites up to the hotel and guest standards.

Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort and their sister hotel Speke Resort have been busy lately as they are the preferred choice for many foreigners visiting Uganda for business and leisure.

In March this year during Africa Now conference, Africa’s 8th richest person- billionaire Strive Masiyiwa was awed by the classic beauty of Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort and proposed that it is recognized as “the official African Conference Centre.”

And with the growing Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) tourism, Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort has invested tremendously to ensure that it fits the global billing it has garnered over the years.

Specifically constructed to host the 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort has earned worldwide recognition as ‘the Presidents’ hotel’ for hosting numerous high profile guests, from Heads of State to foreign dignitaries and international celebrities, who consider it a home away from home.

Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort is dedicated to providing unrivalled comfort and unmatched service. Boasting 59 Presidential suites, with a unique blend of traditional Ugandan and ultra-modern furnishings that merge into the Pearl of Africa theme carried through the entire décor.

In Central Africa, A Revolutionary Driller Is Teaching Us A Lesson About Oil

By Mickael Vogel

Chad’s rigs count has been surprisingly high for a year now, in a country that produces only about 100,000 bopd. With seven rigs deployed on its territory since September 2018 accoridng to Baker Hughes GE, Chad counts more rigs than most African petroleum provinces.

It is more than Angola, sub-Saharan Africa’s second largest producer of oil. It is almost more than Congo, sub-Saharan Africa’s third largest producer. The list continues: it is more than Gabon, Cameroon, or even Equatorial Guinea.

The reason: Chad is drilling. In efforts to expand exploration and boost domestic production, the land-locked Central African nation is proving that focusing on basics is a recipe for success. Drilling efforts have translated in increased production and oil revenues, despite several industry setbacks.

The recovery of Chad’s economy and petroleum sector after the recent plunge in oil prices has indeed not been a smooth journey to say the least. Chad has Africa’s 10th largest proven oil reserves but its output has been slipping in recent years due to maturing fields and disruptions caused by the conflict with Boko Haram in the southwest.

Lower commodity prices added another layer of complexity to an already very intricate situation, and put the economy in jeopardy. Hopes brought by the renegotiation of the country’s debt with Glencore and the rebound in oil prices were short lived.

In 2019, both ExxonMobil, which produces a fourth of the country’s oil and Glencore, which represents about 9% of Chad’s production, announced their intention to sell their assets in the country.

But as two of its biggest operators prepared their exit, Chad welcomed new ones and did not loose focus on bringing out what former minister Me Béchir Madit had then called a “second golden age of oil between the end of 2019 and 2025.”

To ensure the growth of its industry, Chad launched the construction of the mini Rig-Rig refinery in 2017 to address crying domestic shortage of petroleum products, granted several new fields to the CNPCIC in the Bongor Basin, welcomed new operator United Hydrocarbons, and renegotiated its debt with commodity trading giant Glencore in 2018.

As oil prices started rebounding, good news came along. Taiwan’s Overseas Petroleum and Investment Corporation completed its exploitation platform and connection pipeline to the Komé centre, while Petrochad developed its Krim-Krim wells.

The Société des Hydrocarbures du Tchad (SHT), the country’s national oil company, also made progress on the development of its Sedigui field by signing a contract with a Sino-British consortium for the construction of a gas pipeline, gas treatment facility and gas terminal in Djarmaya.

In two months alone, between July 2018 and September 2018, rigs deployed in Chad went up from only one to seven, according to Baker Hughes GE. That’s a considerable jump in such a short time, while most of its neighbours were still dealing with a drilling syndrome.

For a year now, Chad has had more rigs deployed on its territory than most other African markets, revealing sustained drilling activity which has now translated in numbers. As drilling activity picked up, production increased, and so did revenues.

According to the latest reports of the Ministry of Finance and Budget, Chad’s oil production and oil revenues have witnessed considerable increase in 2019 so far. In the first quarter, oil revenues increased by over 64% compared to the same period last year, led by an increase in production by over 18%, most of it due to the CNPCIC, and thanks to a better foreign exchange rate.

The second quarter confirmed the trend. During this period, oil revenues increased by another 38.6% while oil production increased by 23%, again led by the CNPCIC which has witnessed a growth of production by over 45% this year so far.

Between January 2019 and June 2019, Chad produced 22,791,749 barrels. On a daily basis, that’s an average of 126,000 bopd, a very healthy figure for a state whose revenues come at 70% from oil exports.

Improved situation in Chad explains why the acquisition of ExxonMobil’s 40% stake in the Doba Basin has become a source of intense bidding and negotiations. It also explains why the country’s economic forecast are bright.

In 2019, the IMG predicts Chad’s economy to grow by 4.5%, well above the world’s average of 3.3%. When many African oil nations struggle with a slow recovery, Chad reminds us that a successful energy strategy is a no brainer, and drilling must be a part of it.

Mickael Vogel,

Director of Strategy, African Energy Chamber

Desert To Power Initiative Gets G5 Sahel Heads Of State

G5 Sahel heads of state at a Summit on Friday in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, gave strong support to Desert to Power, an Africa Development Bank -led initiative.

The summit, "Harnessing solar energy for the socio-economic development of the G5 Sahel countries" came on the heels of a high-level technical meeting attended by the region’s energy ministers, and development partners including the World Bank, and regional institutions such as the West African Economic and Monetary Union and ECOWAS.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Executive Chairman of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, participated in the high-level meeting and endorsed the initiative.

Addressing journalists, the G5 Sahel President Christian Kabore of Burkina Faso urged the private sector to support the Desert to Power and underscored the strategic and critical role of power provision in the Sahel region.

“The African Development Bank is our bank and the private sector must be involved in this important initiative for our countries. I have no doubt that with technical leadership of the AfDB, we will be able to mobilize the necessary funds. Access to electricity is key for the economic development, prosperity and security of the G5 Sahel countries” Kabore said at a joint press conference hosted with the President of the African Development Bank Group, Akinwumi Adesina, after the Summit.

The goal of Desert to Power is to propel the Sahelian economies to higher growth and prosperity.

Adesina outlined the initiative’s ambitions of providing 10,000 MW of solar-generated electricity to 250 million people across the Sahel.

 “The African Development Bank is fully ready to work with all partners to make this Baobab of Energy a success. Your strong political support and policies to make solar energy affordable across the Sahel will be critical,” Adesina said.

“Generations of people in the Sahel have waited for light for too long. Generations today and in the future can wait no longer! The time for action is now. The time for Desert to Power to provide electricity for all in the Sahel is now,” he urged.

G5 Sahel heads of state acknowledged that limited energy access and a dependence on fossil fuels underscores the necessity of an energy shift and the need to accelerate the economic development of the region and ensure its stability.

Five priority areas for the G5 Sahel include  expanded utility-scale solar generation capacity; extending and strengthening power transmission networks; accelerating electrification through decentralized energy solutions; revitalizing national power utilities; and improving business climates for increased private sector investments.

A joint Task Force and a coordination unit, to be hosted by the African Developmemnt Bank, will be set up to improve legal and institutional frameworks, to ensure that priority in energy provision is given to rural communities.

Donor and development partners were asked to help mobilise $140 million for the initiatives project preparation phase.

Desert to Power has already galvanized huge political support at the global level. during the recent G7 Summit in Biarritz, France.

The Desert to Power initiative covers 11 countries: Burkina Faso, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan, Djibouti, Senegal and Chad and is in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Climate Agreement and the Renewable Energy Initiative for Africa.

“If the Sahel is blessed with this super abundant natural resource, it simply means God intended for us to have electricity. 100% through the sun. it is, therefore, time to turn the Sahel’s largest natural resource – the sun – into the most powerful driver of its growth and prosperity. That is why we are here,” Adesina said.

  • Published in Energy
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Fenix To Launch Off-Grid Solar In Mozambique

Fenix International, a next-generation energy company and subsidiary of ENGIE, opens its sixth market in Mozambique, where it expects to reach 200,000 households with clean energy and inclusive financial services within 3 years.

Launching sales in Mozambique is the latest step in Fenix's expansion. Headquartered in Kampala, the company has already connected 500,000 customers to solar power in Uganda, Zambia, Côte d'Ivoire, Benin, and Nigeria.

Fenix has rapidly grown operations as a subsidiary of ENGIE, enabling the company to scale off-grid energy and financial services across new markets, with Mozambique the fourth new market opened within the past year.

Luke Hodgkinson, Managing Director of Fenix Mozambique, comments, "Mozambique has set an ambitious target with their ProEnergia initiative to reach 100% of the population with electricity by 2030. The country represents an optimal market for off-grid solar products, with only 27% of households currently connected to electricity and a highly distributed population.

Fenix's operations here will focus on reaching those most in need of energy access, particularly districts in the North and people who are using expensive, polluting, and dangerous methods such as kerosene and candles to light their homes."

By replacing fossil fuel-powered lanterns, solar home systems allow off-grid customers to illuminate their homes with clean LED lights, as well as charge phones and run radios, TVs, hair clippers and speakers.

Fenix's latest product, Fenix Power, is a GSM-enabled power system that enables the company to determine product usage and potential technical issues remotely, improving the customer experience.

Fenix is the first PAYGO solar company in Mozambique to use these Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to reduce costs and bring high-quality, affordable technology to rural, last-mile customers.

Fenix has partnered with Vodacom and Vodafone M-Pesa SA to tackle the challenges of distribution, connectivity and mobile payments that have left rural Mozambicans underserved by affordable energy products in the past.

Luke adds, "We are delighted to partner with Vodacom and Vodafone M-Pesa SA. With their market-leading brand, distribution network and payment platform, and Fenix's high-quality products and excellent last-mile customer service, together we can provide clean energy and financial inclusion to millions of rural Mozambicans.

Once these foundations have been established, the possibilities to bring other life-changing products, from household appliances to crop insurance, are truly endless."

Gulamo Nabi, from Vodafone M-Pesa SA adds, "We've been working to unlock the potential of M-Pesa for the millions of Mozambicans in rural areas, far from the national grid or traditional financial services.

"Vodafone M-Pesa SA is excited to work with Fenix to access these areas and provide the easy, fast and secure payment platform for customers to light up their homes with clean, affordable energy. This is totally aligned with our mission to create mobile solutions to change our customers lives."

Fenix is headquartered in Maputo, but will operate in every province of Mozambique within the next three years. Whilst sales have already begun in the South Region, the next point of entry for investment will be in the province of Nampula before the end of the year.

This decision is motivated by Fenix's commitment to delivering its solution to households most in need and in the hardest to reach corners of rural Mozambique.

To serve its customers across the country, Fenix will train and employ over 150 full-time sales and marketing, customer service, product diagnostics, and logistics professionals. 

  • Published in Energy
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