Carl Sheldon, the chief executive of Taqa, speaks during the ground breaking ceremony of an expansion project at a power plant in the Ghanaian oil town of Takoradi. From left, John Dramani Mahama, the president of Ghana, Khalid Al Ghaith, the UAE Assistant Foreign Minister for Economic Affairs and Emmanual Armah-Kofi Buah, the energy minister of Ghana. Photo courtesy Taqa
Carl Sheldon, the chief executive of Taqa, speaks during the ground breaking ceremony of an expansion project at a power plant in the Ghanaian oil town of Takoradi. From left, John Dramani Mahama, theShow more

Abu Dhabi's Taqa to exploit strong growth in Africa



Abu Dhabi National Energy Company is seeking to build on Ghana's first public-private partnership in power generation to exploit strong growth in Africa, and to gain access to the continent's burgeoning oil and gas sector.

The company, know as Taqa, this week began an expansion project at a power plant in the Ghanaian oil town of Takoradi. The plant operates as an independent power project, the public-private partnership model used by Taqa to expand internationally.

"We see opportunities here not just in power but also through our value chain, so in oil and gas we have to try and broaden our footprint around this business," said Carl Sheldon, Taqa's chief executive, at the groundbreaking ceremony for the expansion.

Ghana is one of Africa's most promising economies, and its potential has grown with the development of its oil reserves in recent years. But the country has experienced blackouts this year as gas supplies from Nigeria have been disrupted. Priority has now been given to develop gas resources that can feed into power plants in a country where demand has increased by up to 10 per cent per annum recently.

The focus is on gas from the Jubilee field off the shores of Takoradi, which has been the source of most of Ghana's oil.

"I am confident that the target of processing and supplying our own gas from the Jubilee field to our power plants by the end of this year is achievable," said John Mahama, Ghana's president, at the ceremony.

Taqa has identified processing gas from the Jubilee field as a way to expand business in the country.

The company also wants to grow its power portfolio in Ghana, which it hopes will serve as a platform for regional expansion.

"It's certainly a springboard for us to grow throughout the rest of Africa. We've been approached by other countries," said Frank Perez, Taqa's head of power and water operations. "We think Africa has several decades of good growth and a huge need for power as they develop their natural resources and their growing economy."

Ghana's president has laid out plans to double generation capacity to 5,000 megawatts by 2016, and hopes to exceed this target to become an exporter of electricity to its neighbours in two years' time.

Mr Mahama is looking to private players to grow Ghana's power sector. "The role of independent power producers such as Taqa […] have become vital and important," he said.

Taqa, which operates the largest power portfolio in the Mena region alongside oil and gas assets in the Middle East, North America and Europe, plans to spearhead its expansion into Africa with power projects.

"Generally what we try to do is where power goes, our oil and gas guys try and follow throughout the region, as we try to redeploy capital from the West towards the eastern markets," said Mr Perez.

Taqa took control of the Takoradi plant in 2007, buying a 90 per cent stake from the previous owner Volta River Authority.

The extension will involve the plant's two turbines being augmented with steam turbines that recycle heat to boost the power output by about 50 per cent to 340MW, sufficient to supply 15 per cent of Ghana's electricity.

Credit Score explained

What is a credit score?

In the UAE your credit score is a number generated by the Al Etihad Credit Bureau (AECB), which represents your credit worthiness – in other words, your risk of defaulting on any debt repayments. In this country, the number is between 300 and 900. A low score indicates a higher risk of default, while a high score indicates you are a lower risk.

Why is it important?

Financial institutions will use it to decide whether or not you are a credit risk. Those with better scores may also receive preferential interest rates or terms on products such as loans, credit cards and mortgages.

How is it calculated?

The AECB collects information on your payment behaviour from banks as well as utilitiy and telecoms providers.

How can I improve my score?

By paying your bills on time and not missing any repayments, particularly your loan, credit card and mortgage payments. It is also wise to limit the number of credit card and loan applications you make and to reduce your outstanding balances.

How do I know if my score is low or high?

By checking it. Visit one of AECB’s Customer Happiness Centres with an original and valid Emirates ID, passport copy and valid email address. Liv. customers can also access the score directly from the banking app.

How much does it cost?

A credit report costs Dh100 while a report with the score included costs Dh150. Those only wanting the credit score pay Dh60. VAT is payable on top.

Du Football Champions

The fourth season of du Football Champions was launched at Gitex on Wednesday alongside the Middle East’s first sports-tech scouting platform.“du Talents”, which enables aspiring footballers to upload their profiles and highlights reels and communicate directly with coaches, is designed to extend the reach of the programme, which has already attracted more than 21,500 players in its first three years.

Attacks on Egypt’s long rooted Copts

Egypt’s Copts belong to one of the world’s oldest Christian communities, with Mark the Evangelist credited with founding their church around 300 AD. Orthodox Christians account for the overwhelming majority of Christians in Egypt, with the rest mainly made up of Greek Orthodox, Catholics and Anglicans.

The community accounts for some 10 per cent of Egypt’s 100 million people, with the largest concentrations of Christians found in Cairo, Alexandria and the provinces of Minya and Assiut south of Cairo.

Egypt’s Christians have had a somewhat turbulent history in the Muslim majority Arab nation, with the community occasionally suffering outright persecution but generally living in peace with their Muslim compatriots. But radical Muslims who have first emerged in the 1970s have whipped up anti-Christian sentiments, something that has, in turn, led to an upsurge in attacks against their places of worship, church-linked facilities as well as their businesses and homes.

More recently, ISIS has vowed to go after the Christians, claiming responsibility for a series of attacks against churches packed with worshippers starting December 2016.

The discrimination many Christians complain about and the shift towards religious conservatism by many Egyptian Muslims over the last 50 years have forced hundreds of thousands of Christians to migrate, starting new lives in growing communities in places as far afield as Australia, Canada and the United States.

Here is a look at major attacks against Egypt's Coptic Christians in recent years:

November 2: Masked gunmen riding pickup trucks opened fire on three buses carrying pilgrims to the remote desert monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor south of Cairo, killing 7 and wounding about 20. IS claimed responsibility for the attack.

May 26, 2017: Masked militants riding in three all-terrain cars open fire on a bus carrying pilgrims on their way to the Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor, killing 29 and wounding 22. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack.

April 2017: Twin attacks by suicide bombers hit churches in the coastal city of Alexandria and the Nile Delta city of Tanta. At least 43 people are killed and scores of worshippers injured in the Palm Sunday attack, which narrowly missed a ceremony presided over by Pope Tawadros II, spiritual leader of Egypt Orthodox Copts, in Alexandria's St. Mark's Cathedral. ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks.

February 2017: Hundreds of Egyptian Christians flee their homes in the northern part of the Sinai Peninsula, fearing attacks by ISIS. The group's North Sinai affiliate had killed at least seven Coptic Christians in the restive peninsula in less than a month.

December 2016: A bombing at a chapel adjacent to Egypt's main Coptic Christian cathedral in Cairo kills 30 people and wounds dozens during Sunday Mass in one of the deadliest attacks carried out against the religious minority in recent memory. ISIS claimed responsibility.

July 2016: Pope Tawadros II says that since 2013 there were 37 sectarian attacks on Christians in Egypt, nearly one incident a month. A Muslim mob stabs to death a 27-year-old Coptic Christian man, Fam Khalaf, in the central city of Minya over a personal feud.

May 2016: A Muslim mob ransacks and torches seven Christian homes in Minya after rumours spread that a Christian man had an affair with a Muslim woman. The elderly mother of the Christian man was stripped naked and dragged through a street by the mob.

New Year's Eve 2011: A bomb explodes in a Coptic Christian church in Alexandria as worshippers leave after a midnight mass, killing more than 20 people.

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

Company profile

Company name: Fasset
Started: 2019
Founders: Mohammad Raafi Hossain, Daniel Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech
Initial investment: $2.45 million
Current number of staff: 86
Investment stage: Pre-series B
Investors: Investcorp, Liberty City Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Primal Capital, Wealthwell Ventures, FHS Capital, VN2 Capital, local family offices

A QUIET PLACE

Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5