Africa in Business: corn and carbon

STORY: Here are five business stories making headlines in sub-Saharan Africa this week.

1. Germany backs the African Union getting a seat at the G20 group of large economies, its Chancellor Olaf Scholz said on Thursday (May 4), as the West seeks to woo the continent away from rivals like China.

The bid, which has also been supported by the presidents of the United States and France, would give one of the world's fastest growing regions a bigger voice on key issues such as climate change.

2. China received its first cargo of maize, totaling 53,000 metric tons, from South Africa this week - official news agency Xinhua said.

That's as the world's top buyer of the grain seeks to diversify its purchasing markets.

3. Ethiopia's will issue up to five banking licenses to foreign investors in the next five years, a senior central bank official said on Wednesday (May 3).

Under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed's government, sectors previously controlled by state firms have been opened up in a bid to drive foreign investment inflows and economic growth.

4. The day after Nigeria's Senate gave its approval, the lower house of parliament has backed a plan to restructure 23.7 trillion naira, or $52 billion, in short term loans due to the central bank to long term debt.

Government revenues have been under pressure as oil production fell due to crude theft in the Niger Delta, forcing authorities to seek overdrafts from the central bank to plug growing deficits.

5. And finally, Congo Republic's environment minister has said countries that are home to the rainforests and peatlands that are vital to limiting climate change want easier access to sovereign carbon credits.

That's a financial scheme, established by U.N. climate agreements, designed to reward countries for protecting ecosystems.

Arlette Soudan-Nonault said access to the sovereign carbon market could help to grow the country's GDP by up to 40% as well as funding the energy transition and sustainable job-creation.