First Bank of Nigeria has taken over Ghana’s International Commercial Bank (ICB) according to reports. The deal went through in January but it is not known how much the acquisition cost First Bank, which, two years ago, was rated the most valuable Nigerian bank and the best retail bank last year.
International Commercial Bank Ghana is part of a network of 12 banks with a presence in Asia, Eastern Europe and Africa. It began operations in Ghana in 1996 and provides financial services to small and medium-sized companies.
The Ghanaian Minister for Energy and Petroleum, Hon. Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah has said that the country’s move to achieve its Local Content target in the oil and gas industry is shifting to high gear. The Minister said during a meeting with Chief Executive Officer, Emperor Chris Baywood Ibe, President of Baywood Continental Limited (BCL) in Accra yesterday, that Ghana plans to learn from other indigenous companies in sub-Saharan Africa to accomplish greater success in the oil and gas industry, which will lead job creation and locally-based economic growth.
Ghana has begun construction of a US$10 billion technology park aiming to bring the country’s information, communication and technology operations under one roof.
The IT hub, named City Of Hope, is close to the capital Accra, and is scheduled to be finished by 2016. Most of the project is privately funded, with much of it coming from African communications firm, Rlg, which is building the technology park.
A British company is building the biggest solar powered electricity generating plant in Sub-Saharan Africa. Blue Energy announced in December that the 155MW facility, featuring thousands of photo voltaic panels, would provide 6% of the country's power needs when it is completed in two years' time.
Construction on the US$400m Nzema project is due to begin near the village of Aiwiaso in western Ghana by the end of 2013, with the installation of some 630,000 PV modules.
The source of much of the world's cocoa and an increasingly significant oil producer, Ghana's new plant is expected to create 200 jobs and another 500 during construction and increase the country's electricity as well as cutting emissions. The electricity produced from the solar energy will be fed into a transmission line that links to Ivory Coast, Togo, Benin and Nigeria.
The power plant - the fourth biggest of its kind in the world - will be the first major project to claim payments from Ghana's feed-in tariff incentive scheme, created by the government in 2011. Ghana aims to increase renewable energy capacity from its current 1% of the country's energy mix to 10% by 2020.
The construction comes as a separate initiative which envisions solar plants in North Africa providing 15% of Europe's energy foundered after major backers bulled out of the project created by Desertec. Siemens, Bosch and the Spanish government felt Desertec had lost its way, a claim denied by the organisation.
Driven by oil production, Ghana's economy grew fastest in Sub-Saharan Africa last year, with GDP at 14.3%. In March, London-based Tullow Oil said an oil field it had discovered off the coast in 2011 was a major find.