Africa sets the foundation for an electric vehicle future

Close up of the Hybrid car electric charger station with power supply plugged into an electric car being charged.
Getty Images

Numerous South Africans facing daily challenges commuting to their workplaces via minibus taxis or cars on crowded highways might have difficulty accepting that an electric mobility revolution is on the horizon. However, several factors are pointing in that direction.

Emobility refers to electric vehicles, ideally powered by renewable energy sources, which may range from two- and three-wheeled vehicles to cars and buses.

Recent developments

Some recent developments are underway in South Africa which are laying the foundation of the future emobility revolution. This will help the country to meet its carbon reduction commitments under the Paris Agreement. Promising moves include the recent publication of the South African Renewable Energy Masterplan, which embraces battery storage and renewable energy.

Work is underway on an EV Masterplan and a Critical Minerals Masterplan, which will have input from the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition and the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, among others.

In the private sector, BMW announced in June 2023 that it would be manufacturing the BMW X3 as a plug-in hybrid for global export at its plant in Tshwane, South Africa. In the last couple of years, there has been a significant increase in the importation of electric and solar batteries into South Africa, as well as the growth of battery assembly in the country, especially in the Western Cape.

These local events are happening in parallel with Africa-wide initiatives. The African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) has prioritised the automotive sector and transport/logistics value chains.

The African Association of Automotive Manufacturers (AAAM) is working with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) on a continent-wide strategy. Afreximbank is supporting investments in the automotive sector with various programmes. Critical minerals and renewable energy are also likely to become priority sectors across the continent.

Certain African jurisdictions are incentivising electric vehicle and emobility development. Rwanda has plans to phase in electric buses, cars and motorcycles, while the recent steps taken by Kenya are particularly noteworthy.

Kenya has established an Emobility Taskforce, whose main objective will be to develop a National Electric Mobility Policy covering all modes of transport (road, air, rail and maritime). and drive uptake of emobility, create an enabling environment, recommend fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to promote import, local manufacture and assembly, provide a framework for the end of life and disposal, a framework for the development of carbon credits, creation of standards and measurement of impact on the economy and the environment.

Likely development path for emobility in Africa

Initially, EVs or emobility are more likely to find traction in public transport and two- to three-wheelers before wide-scale adoption by the automotive sector.

The evolution will be different in each African jurisdiction. For example, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda have more two- and three-wheelers than South Africa, so they are likely to prioritise electrification of those modes of transport.

In South Africa, there may be greater potential in starting emobility in the public transport sector/ delivery sector, to meet a significant gap in the market.

There is a real opportunity for SA to help lead the emobility revolution in Africa, for several reasons. The continent urgently needs affordable and sustainable mobility solutions. The market for lithium battery cells could be met through local manufacturing since the continent possesses many of the necessary raw materials.

South Africa has a mature automotive sector, including OEMs that export around the world, and it has signed various trade agreements that facilitate exports to Europe, such as the European Partnership Agreement (with the SADC) and the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).

In creating an EV export industry, South Africa can take advantage of the AfCFTA’s rules of origin, where 40% of local content from Africa is under discussion.

Implications for South Africa

By developing a multi-faceted emobility manufacturing sector, South Africa would help to speed its own transition to a greener future and meet its climate change goals; promote industrialisation in line with Africa’s Agenda 2063 (the continent’s blueprint for achieving inclusive and sustainable development over a 50-year period, with an emphasis on youth and women); and create jobs.

As South Africa transitions away from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, it would be able to participate in other parts of the value chain beyond car manufacturing.

There is an opportunity to manufacture the cells or batteries needed for EVs, and battery factories can stimulate local and regional economic growth. Battery factories could help to develop skills in engineering and attract talent to different regions where manufacturing takes place.

Of course, there are constraints on these plans. The most obvious in South Africa is the lack of access to uninterrupted energy sources. Another constraint is that it is difficult to raise seed capital for projects related to Environmental, Social and Governance improvement.

More funding is needed in South Africa to support innovative startups.

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The education minister promised all schools would have a library by 29 November – SA

Traditional wooden steps in front of a vast bookshelf in a vintage library. Image used for illustrative purpose. Getty Images

Three-quarters of public schools still don’t have libraries, in spite of a 2013 promise.

Nearly three quarters of public schools still don’t have libraries, in spite of a 2013 promise by the Minister of Education. Archive photo: Lucas Nowicki

– In 2013 Education Minister Angie Motshekga promised that all public schools would have libraries by 29 November.

– But there is no chance that this deadline will be met.

– According to the department’s latest figures, which date from 2021, nearly three-quarters of schools do not yet have libraries.

About three quarters of South African public schools don’t have libraries and the Department of Basic Education (DBE) is set to miss its 29 November deadline for fixing this.

Libraries are among the minimum requirements for public schools set in 2013 by then Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga after pressure from Equal Education. According to the 2013 Minimum Norms and Standards:

– All schools must have a school library or media centre and a minimum, adequate and suitable school library collection.

– The core suitable library collection must be regularly replenished according to the requirements of a particular school.

The document set three, seven and ten-year deadlines for issues regarding public school infrastructure. The deadline for the library requirement was 29 November 2023.

But there is no chance the deadline will be met.

An Education Facility Management System report from last month shows that in August 2021, 74% of 22,697 public schools were without libraries. Of the schools with libraries, 43% were not fully stocked, meaning only 14% of the country’s public schools had fully stocked libraries. More recent figures are not available.

Putting a library into each school would require an investment of over R8bn in the next seven years, according to an April 2023 DBE infrastructure report. But the DBE report does not mention any plans to invest any money at all in libraries.

According to a recent international literacy survey, 81% of grade 4 learners in South Africa cannot read for meaning.

Tatiana Kazim, an Equal Education Law Centre (EELC) legal researcher, said the South African Human Rights Commission views library books as a necessary material to learn how to read and write.

“When access to the internet in South Africa is so patchy and so unequal, there’s still a pressing need for physical resources, like books and libraries,” she said.

“Why not public schools?”

Lunga Nqadolo is managing director of The Bookery, a civic organisation that builds libraries in South African schools.

She said libraries are important not only for the books they provide, but also as spaces for children to do homework and enroll in extra lessons, reading groups and other activities. This early exposure gives children a better chance at succeeding in academic work later, she said.

Private schools usually have well-stocked libraries, Nqadolo said. “And one has to ask, ‘why not public schools? Why is that a question?’”

In July 2023, The Bookery built and stocked a library with 4,000 books at Zibodla Primary School in the Eastern Cape town of Mqanduli. Zibodla was the 93rd library The Bookery has constructed, and two more are being prepared. They receive over 850 applications from schools every year to help build libraries.

The percentage of schools without libraries is highest in the Eastern Cape at 93%, followed by Limpopo at 91% and the Northern Cape at 80%, according to the DBE data.

Buyiswa Nogcinisa, the principal at Zibodla, said the library has helped her 160 students tremendously. She had been trying to get a library for years because the school only had a few books.


“We are always struggling with learners who cannot write, who cannot read and who cannot speak,” she said.

Nogcinisa said the school hosts phonics and writing programmes in the library. She still needs more equipment, like overhead projectors.

Nqadolo said if the government was doing its job properly, then organisations like The Bookery would not need to exist.

According to the National Treasury’s 2023 Estimates of National Expenditure, R48.7bn has been allocated to the education infrastructure grant and school infrastructure backlogs grant over the budget period through 2026. But this money will be prioritised for building new schools, providing sanitation, supplying water and repairing infrastructure.

The department plans to distribute 60 million workbooks for grades R to 9 in languages, mathematics and life skills to public schools that request them, according to the expenditure estimates. There is no mention of libraries.

The DBE did not respond to requests for comment from GroundUp.

GroundUp sent emails to the DBE’s media desk and departmental spokesperson, Elijah Mhlanga, on Thursday and Monday. There was no response. Mhlanga also did not answer or return several phone calls on Monday.

Equities market dips by 1.1%: Nigeria

Nigerian Tribune

Traders work at the Nigerian Stock Exchange in Lagos, February 13, 2015.REUTERS/Joe Penney. Image used for illustrative purpose only
Reuters Images

THE local bourse reversed prior week’s gains as the All-Share index declined by 1.10 percent week-on-week (W-o-W) to close at 67,395.74 basis points. Concomitantly, the total market capitalisation of listed equities experienced a decline of N400 billion week-on-week to close at N36.886 trillion.

As the third quarter reporting season draws closer and investors take a bet on the back of recently published macroeconomic data, bearish momentum and pattern pervaded the domestic market last week with the benchmark index recording a 1.10 percent week-on-week loss.

This comes as FTSE Russell, a global index provider, opted to downgrade Nigeria’s equity index from ‘frontier’ to ‘unclassified’ market status on September 18 on the back of Nigeria’s ongoing foreign exchange (FX) crisis, which has posed hurdles for international institutional investors seeking to repatriate their capital from the nation.

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This means that Nigerian stocks will be excluded from the FTSE Frontier Index Series, the FTSE Frontier 50 Index and others.

The week’s performance was driven by profit-taking activities in Zenith Bank, Guaranty Trust Holding Company (GTCO), Dangote Sugar Refinery and MTN Nigeria Communications (MTNN).

The sectoral performance in the week under review unveiled a largely bearish outing. The NGX Insurance index emerged as the lone gainer in the week by 0.46 percent week-on-week.

On the contrary, the NGX Banking index was hardest hit in the week as the index lost 3.24 percent week-on-week. The NGX Oil and Gas, NGX Consumer Goods and NGX Industrial Goods indices also exhibited signs of decline, albeit to a lesser extent, with losses of 2.02 percent, 1.84 percent and 0.28 percent, respectively.

However, market breadth for the week was negative as 32 equities appreciated in price, 53 equities depreciated in price, while 70 equities remained unchanged. Oando led the gainers’ table by 42.86 percent to close at N11.00 per share. Chellarams followed with a gain of 32.76 percent to close at N3.85, while CWG went up by 29.76 percent to close to N7.50 per share.

On the other side, Associated Bus Company led the decliners table by 33.63 percent to close at 75 kobo per share. Omatek Ventures followed with a loss of 31.03 percent to close at 40 kobo, while eTranzact International declined by 26.50 percent to close at N7.35 per share.

Overall, a total turnover of 2.933 billion shares worth N47.449 billion in 44,654 deals was traded last week by investors on the floor of the Exchange, in contrast to a total of 2.644 billion shares valued at N45.450 billion that exchanged hands prior week in 44,189 deals.

The financial services industry (measured by volume) led the activity chart with 1.955 billion shares valued at N26.384 billion traded in 21,707 deals, contributing 66.67 percent and 55.61 percent to the total equity turnover volume and value, respectively.

The oil and gas industry followed with 281.356 million shares worth N5.307 billion in 4,423 deals, while the conglomerates industry traded a turnover of 280.586 million shares worth N1.763 billion in 3,079 deals.

Trading in the top three equities, United Bank for Africa (UBA), Transnational Corporation (Transcorp) and Access Holdings (measured by volume) accounted for 1.026 billion shares worth N13.649 billion in 9,733 deals, contributing 34.98 percent and 28.77 percent to the total equity turnover volume and value, respectively.

Capital market analysts had predicted cautious trading on the Nigerian stock market last week, in the absence of strong positive triggers to boost investors’ appetite for risky assets.

Looking into the new week, analysts at Cowry Assets Management Limited said, “Market sentiment is likely to be diverse as investors engage in bargain hunting ahead of the highly anticipated third-quarter earnings season which draws closer.

“This will be driven by reactions on the just published inflation data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which has remained elevated, potentially prompting further interest rate adjustments by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at its upcoming Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting later this month. Meanwhile, we continue to advise investors on taking positions in stocks with sound fundamentals.”

Cordros Securities Limited noted that “We anticipate cautious trading on the bourse next week in the absence of strong positive triggers to boost investors’ appetite for risky assets. Overall, we reiterate that investors should seek trading opportunities in fundamentally sound stocks as the weak macroeconomic environment remains a significant headwind to corporate earnings.”

While, Comercio Partners Limited stated that “looking ahead, we anticipate a continuation of similar market dynamics in the new trading session.”

South African rand steady in start of rate decision week

FILE PHOTO: A street money changer counts South African rand in Harare, May 5, 2016. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo/File Photo

The South African rand was steady in early trade on Monday, ahead of local and international interest rate announcements this week.

At 0718 GMT, the rand traded at 18.9800 against the dollar , not far from its previous close of 18.9850.

The dollar last traded near its previous close of 105.260 against a basket of global currencies.

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) will announce its interest rate decision on Thursday and provide clues on the country’s future rate path.

“The SARB is expected to keep rates unchanged but remain hawkish on the back of concerns of an uptick in inflation on the back of the higher fuel price,” said Andre Cilliers, currency strategist at TreasuryONE.

The U.S. Federal Reserve is also expected to keep rate unchanged when it meets on Wednesday, he added, “but with a hawkish outlook given the higher oil price and higher inflation numbers”.

Shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange opened lower, with the blue-chip Top-40 index last trading down more than 0.6%.

South Africa’s benchmark 2030 government bond was marginally weaker in early deals, with the yield up 0.5 basis points to 10.480%.

Nigeria, Cuba sign MoU on food security, agriculture advancement

Nigerian Tribune

Image used for illustrative purpose. Getty Images

Nigeria and Cuba have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on food security and agriculture advancement.

The signing ceremony on the sidelines of the G77+ China Leaders’ Summit, took place at the Ministry of Agriculture of Cuba in the presence of officials from both countries.

According to a statement issued on Sunday by Olusola Abiola, Director of Information, Office of the Vice President, the Expression of Interest (EOI) is a historic journey to strengthen the ties between Nigeria and Cuba in the field of agriculture.

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The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari signed on behalf of Nigeria.

The statement said that during the pre-signing meeting, Kyari lauded the willingness of Cuba’s government to partner with Nigeria, noting both countries share a common vision for their people.

The Minister expressed heartfelt gratitude for the shared insights into Nigeria’s pressing food and agricultural opportunities and challenges.

He also underlined Nigeria’s demographic advantage, vast land resources, immense agricultural potential, promoting President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s vision for food and nutrition security.

“It was in this spirit that the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development evolved into the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security,” he said.

Senator Kyari extended a hand of partnership to his Cuban counterparts with a focus on vital areas such as bio-fortification of agricultural produce, improvement of agricultural seeds and seedlings, agricultural mechanization, cutting-edge technologies for increased yields, and the reduction of post-harvest losses.

The Minister also said that “Nigeria is keenly interested in collaborating with Cuba in the domains of poultry, livestock, and fisheries.

Key areas of cooperation include veterinary medicine, vaccine development, artificial insemination, and the development of pastures and ranching as essential components in curbing the challenges posed by inefficient open grazing of cattle.

Others are training, capacity building, and knowledge transfer as the cornerstone of any thriving agricultural economy.

In his own remarks, Cuba’s Minister of Agriculture, Ydael Jesus Perez Brito who signed the MOU told the Nigerian delegation about the island nation’s agricultural prowess, admitting that the country has “over 500,000 hectares under cultivation” and remains “a global player in the export of tobacco, coffee, honey, and other commodities.”

Brito expressed delight at the opportunity to partner with Nigeria stating that his country would provide impactful cooperation in identified areas contained in the MOU.

The host Minister highlighted Cuba’s agricultural human capital and different models of practices that have raised its productivity.

He also explained that his country would deploy its wealth of experience to help Nigeria achieve its agriculture and food security policies.

Nigeria will benefit from Cuba’s agricultural capacity in areas such as bilateral relationships encompassing agricultural productivity, sustainability, knowledge sharing and technology transfer.

The Nigerian delegation to the G77 + China Leaders’ Summit in Cuba was led by Vice President Kashim Shettima, who represented President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Abubakar Kyari was accompanied to the ceremony by Nigeria’s Ambassador to Cuba, H.E. Ben Okoyen and other members of the Nigerian delegation.

Nigeria unlocked $3.2bln economic output through electronic payments in 2022

Nigerian Tribune

Nigerian naira bills. GettyImages Image used for illustrative purpose.

NIGERIA in 2022 unlocked $3.2 billion as additional economic output through the development and utilisation of electronic payments, particularly real-time payment services.

This was made known at the weekend by the Chief Finance Officer (CFO), Parthian Partners, Mr Oluyinka Arewa, at the 2023 annual conference of the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN).

This is just as the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) said that strengthening digital infrastructure for efficient and innovative payment systems in Nigeria requires a multi-faceted approach involving various stakeholders.

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According to Arewa, electronic payments continue to attract substantial global investments and have exhibited the highest returns and growth within the sector over the past decade.

As one of Africa’s largest economies, Arewa observed that Nigeria is well-positioned to harness the potential within the sector.

Indeed, Nigeria has witnessed a remarkable digital transformation with over 100 million active mobile phone users as of 2023.

This statistics signals the advent of a fully digitised financial services sector. However, he noted that despite these advancements, Nigeria’s payment system predominantly relies on cash. Recent events, such as the implementation of the cashless policy following the naira redesign late last year/early this year, highlighted the challenges associated with the country’s transition to a cashless economy.

“We understand that these challenges may appear formidable, but we are gathered here today because we believe these challenges are not insurmountable.

“One of the significant challenges facing electronic payments in Nigeria is the inadequacy of infrastructure, including operational and telecommunications facilities, as well as reliable electricity supply. Many e-payment systems depend on stable power sources and robust IT infrastructure, such as laptops, mobile phones, POS terminals and dependable internet connectivity,” Arewa said.

During the period of cash scarcity earlier this year, banks faced unprecedented e-payment failures, prompting the urgent need for technological infrastructure upgrades. The failure of e-payment channels on such a scale compelled customers to wait for banks’ networks to stabilise before completing their transactions.

Furthermore, Arewa added that fintech companies, initially considered a lifeline, also encountered challenges due to increased pressure. The issue of failed transactions has persistently affected numerous businesses reliant on electronic payment systems, he stated.

Also speaking, the Deputy Director, Technical Standards and Network Integrity, NCC, Mr Anthony Ikemefuna, said strengthening digital infrastructure for efficient and innovative payment systems in Nigeria requires a multi-faceted approach involving various stakeholders, including government agencies, regulatory bodies, financial institutions, technology providers and the private sector.

He listed key strategies and the way forward for achieving this goal to include, “Expand and upgrade broadband and mobile network infrastructure, particularly in underserved and rural areas; invest in data centers and reliable power supply to ensure the resilience and availability of digital payment systems.

“Launch nationwide digital literacy campaigns to educate citizens, especially those in rural areas, about digital payment systems; encourage the adoption of mobile banking and agency banking to reach unbanked and under-banked populations; update and streamline regulatory frameworks to accommodate digital payment innovations while ensuring consumer protection, security and financial stability.

“Collaborate with industry stakeholders to establish clear standards and interoperability requirements; develop and enforce robust cybersecurity regulations to protect digital payment systems from cyber threats and promote the adoption of encryption, multi-factor authentication, and fraud detection technologies, among others.”

Ikemefuna further called for the promotion of a competitive environment by preventing monopolistic practices and ensuring fair market access for new players; encourage fintech innovation through regulatory sandboxes and support for startups; implementing robust consumer protection mechanisms, including dispute resolution processes and complaint handling as well as raising awareness about the security and benefits of digital payments through public campaigns.

IMF, World Bank meetings to go ahead as planned: Morocco


Image for illustrative purposes. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) logo is seen at the IMF headquarters building during the 2013 Spring Meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington. Yuri Gripas, Reuters

Morocco confirmed that the IMF and World Bank annual meetings scheduled to take place next month in Marrakech will go ahead as planned, despite last week’s devastating earthquake near the city, Bloomberg reported.

The event will still happen from October 9 to October 15, central bank Governor Abdellatif Jouahri said Thursday at a conference in Morocco’s capital, Rabat, Bloomberg reported.

The death toll from the 6.8 magnitude earthquake that hit the High Atlas Mountains late Friday evening has risen to more than 2,900, while the number of injured has more than doubled to 5,530.

Nigeria appoints new central bank chief

Agence France-Presse (AFP)

A man exchanges Nigeria’s currency Naira for US dollars in Lagos, Nigeria, on April 19, 2021. – Nigeria’s economy was already struggling with a fall in the price of oil, Nigeria’s major export, and a weak local naira currency, before the global pandemic struck. Now Nigeria’s inflation has soared to a four-year high of more than 18 percent in March 2021, with food prices up 22.9 percent, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP)

Nigeria’s President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has named a US-educated former investment banker as his new central bank chief months after the predecessor was arrested as part of a criminal investigation, the government said on Friday.

Tinubu’s appointee, Olayemi Michael Cardoso, is a Harvard graduate and former Citibank director in Nigeria, according to local media reports.

Since the Nigerian leader came to office in May, Tinubu has swiftly implemented reforms to attract more investment to Africa’s largest economy as part of his “Renewed Hope” agenda.

“President Bola Tinubu has approved the nomination of Dr. Olayemi Michael Cardoso to serve as the new Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),” the presidency said in a statement.

Lawmakers will have to approve the nomination of Cardoso and a new central bank board.

A major oil producer in Africa and the continent’s most populous country, Nigeria is struggling with rising inflation now at 25 percent, high debt and a weakening naira currency.

A former Lagos governor, Tinubu has won praise from investors and foreign governments for his early economic reforms, ending a long-standing subsidy to keep petrol prices low and freeing up the naira.

But the short-term impact has seen fuel prices triple, a sharp depreciation of the naira against the dollar and inflation quicken even as the government asks Nigerians for patience.

Former central bank governor Godwin Emefiele, who critics questioned for his unorthodox policies, was detained by the national security agency in June after Tinubu suspended him. He is still under investigation.

Cameroon, Namibia round off AFCON 2023 qualification

By JerryOwilli

FILE: The Africa Cup of Nations trophy. /CFP

All 24 slots for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations have been filled after Cameroon and Namibia qualified on Tuesday night.

The five-time African Champions, Cameroon, beat Burundi 3-0 on the last match day of the AFCON qualifiers to seal their spot, also ensuring Namibia qualify as runners up.

The two teams from Group C played only four games in their qualification journeys after Kenya was slapped with a FIFA ban, rendering the Harambee Stars ineligible to participate.

The Indomitable Lions and the Southern African country’s Brave Warriors join an impressive list of teams that will battle it out for honors in the continental tournament that will be staged in Côte d’Ivoire in January-February 2024.

Cameroon will be looking forward to playing in Côte d’Ivoire, having won the competition the last time the West African country hosted the event in 1984.

Coach Rigobert Song and his side will be tasked with hunting down an elusive sixth AFCON title, having failed to deliver on home soil in the last edition held in 2022.

Other countries that have qualified for AFCON 2023 are; Côte d’Ivoire, Algeria, Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, DR Congo, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia and Zambia.

Egypt inaugurates newly restored Ottoman mosque at Cairo citadel


CAIRO, Sept 17 (Reuters) – Egypt has inaugurated a newly restored Ottoman mosque, built by the 16th century governor Suleyman Pasha al-Khadim, that lies within the citadel that has dominated Cairo’s skyline for centuries.

The mosque, with 22 green-tiled domes and minbar (prayer niche) inlaid with renowned Iznik tiles, is Cairo’s earliest Ottoman mosque, built in 1528 A.D., eleven years after the Ottoman army under Sultan Selim conquered Egypt from the Mamluk empire.

The 2,360-square metre mosque complex lies on the site of the Fatimid-era tomb of Sayed Sariya, built in 1140 A.D. and which still survives.

“To distinguish the Ottoman mosques, the minaret is usually pencil-shaped,” said Mostafa Waziri, head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities. “The mosque consists of the prayer area, the vicinity, the Fatimid cemetery and the Kuttab (Quran school).”

The mosque, known as the Suleyman Pasha al-Khadim mosque and also the Sariya mosque, is inside Cairo’s citadel. The citadel was built by the Muslim general Salah al-Din after he conquered Cairo from the Fatimids. A few years later Salah al-Din went on to conquer Jerusalem from the Crusaders.

The restoration took five years under the supervision of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities and the military’s Arab Organisation for Industrialisation.