Tuesday 24 April 2018
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
French transport giant Bollore said Tuesday it would seek compensation for work already carried out on a major rail infrastructure project after Benin asked it to withdraw "amicably" in favour of China. Patrice Talon, president of the small West African country, said both the French conglomerate and its local rival Petrolin would be "compensated fairly", without elaborating. Philippe Labonne, deputy CEO of Bollore Transport and Logistics, said the firm should be compensated notably for the some 140 kilometres (85 miles) of rail it has already laid down. "We are a little disappointed not to complete" the project, he said, speaking to AFP on the sidelines of a business forum in the Ivorian business hub Abidjan...
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
In Cameroon's port of Douala, corruption, bureaucratic red tape, overpriced services and a growing backlog have combined to put a major drag on cargo trade through central Africa's largest harbour. More than 95 percent of Cameroon's maritime traffic transits through Douala, a sprawling hub that serves as the main gateway for landlocked Chad and Central African Republic. But the procedures for clearing goods are a permanent headache, and very little gets done without greasing palms with extra cash, traders say. "There is high-level corruption at Douala port," says one businessman as he slips a 1,000 CFA franc (1.50 euros) note to the ticket seller at the entrance -- a quarter of the official entry price. Bribes are just one of...
(AFP (eng) 03/28/18)
Mozambique's renewed efforts to solve its spiralling "secret debt" crisis have again collapsed, leaving the country struggling to recover its reputation as one of Africa's potential growth hotspots. Last week, Finance Minister Adriano Maleiane flew to London to present creditors with a long-awaited restructuring plan for the $2.2-billion (1.77 billion euros) debt that Mozambique has defaulted on since last year. Maleiane presented options including a massive write-down, low interest rates until 2023 and a partial swap for a local long-term debt. All his proposals were dismissed by the Global Group of Mozambique Bondholders, which says it represents most of the holders of the Eurobond debt and commercial...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/27/18)
GABORONE (Reuters) - Botswana’s Debswana Diamond Mining said on Tuesday production jumped 11 percent to a three year high in 2017 and it expects growth this year as lower taxes in the United States leave consumers with more to spend on luxury goods. Debswana, a joint venture between De Beers and the southern African country’s government, said annual production rose to 22.2 million carats last year. Sales jumped 16 percent, contributing to a 20 percent increase in earnings before interest, tax and amortization. De Beers Executive Vice-President, Diamond Trading, Paul Rowley, said a weaker dollar had boosted diamond sales and he expected global demand for diamonds to rise again this year after rising...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/27/18)
LONDON (Reuters) - Global oil traders Vitol and Glencore are in talks to financially back Nigerian firms racing to buy assets owned by Brazil’s Petrobras valued at up to $2 billion, several sources familiar with the matter said. Cash is being lined up for purchases of stakes in two major oilfields in the west African country, according to the banking and industry sources. The potential consortiums including Glencore and Vitol offer the local bidders financial backing that would otherwise be...
(AFP (eng) 03/24/18)
South Africa, whose debt is rated as "junk" or non-investment grade by credit rating agencies Fitch and S&P, has escaped a third junk rating from Moody's which suggested the country's economic outlook was set to improve under its new President Cyril Ramaphosa. Moody's said in a statement that it was holding the rating on South Africa's long-term debt at Baa3, the lowest investment grade above junk status. But the statement, released overnight on Friday, said that the ratings agency had decided to upgrade the outlook for the country's debt from "negative" to "stable", meaning that a further downgrade...
(AFP (eng) 03/23/18)
The World Bank will provide Ivory Coast $1 billion for development, in particular to help it get more value out of its agricultural exports, a top official for the bank's Africa region has said. Of that figure, $300 million would be set aside for the cocoa industry while another $200 million would be ploughed into cashew nut production, said Makhtar Diop, vice president of the World Bank's Africa region. Ivory Coast is the world's top cocoa-producing nation and the second...
(AFP (eng) 03/23/18)
South African internet and entertainment group Naspers on Friday raised $9.8 billion (7.8 billion euros) selling two percent of its hugely-profitable stake in Chinese technology giant Tencent. Naspers' investment in Tencent has been "one of the greatest venture-capital investments ever", according to Bloomberg News. It said the stake in Tencent that Naspers bought for $32 million in 2001 was valued at $175 billion on Thursday. Naspers, Tencent's biggest investor, vowed to not sell any more shares for three years. "These...
(AFP (eng) 03/22/18)
Benin's President Patrice Talon has asked local firm Petrolin and French giant Bollore to "withdraw" from a major rail infrastructure project to make way for China, in the latest development of the controversial scheme. In an interview published on Thursday in the French magazine Challenges, Talon asked the two companies to "withdraw amicably from the project", which links Benin to Niger to the north, promising they will be "compensated fairly". "A private investor cannot finance the railway we want alone," the head of state was quoted as saying, describing Bollore's offer as "lower-end".
(Reuters (Eng) 03/22/18)
HARARE (Reuters) - A Cypriot investor signed a $4.2 billion deal on Thursday to develop a platinum mine and refinery in Zimbabwe, an investment that President Emmerson Mnangagwa said showed the country was “open for business”. Signing the agreement with Cyprus-based Karo Resources, Mines Minister Winston Chitando said work would start in July, with the first output of platinum group metals expected in 2020, aiming to reach 1.4 million ounces annually within three years. It was unclear, however, where all...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/21/18)
TORONTO/LONDON (Reuters) - Canada’s First Quantum Minerals said on Wednesday that it disputes a 76.5 billion Zambian kwacha ($8.07 billion) bill by Zambia’s tax agency for unpaid duties on imports to its Sentinel mine between January 2012 and December 2017. Zambia has reduced “significant” tax assessments against it in the past, First Quantum said on a conference call. But the company would not speculate on any outcome of a review of the government’s claim, which could take up to six months. The bill comprises $150 million for higher import duties, $2.1 billion in penalties and $5.7 billion in interest, said First Quantum, which owns two copper....
(AFP (eng) 03/21/18)
Forty-four African countries have signed an agreement establishing a free trade area seen as vital to the continent's economic development, the head of the African Union said Wednesday. "The agreement establishing the CFTA (African Continental Free Trade Area) was signed by 44 countries," said Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the AU commission. The creation of a free trade area -- billed as the world's largest -- comes after two years of negotiations, and is one of the AU's flagship projects...
(AFP (eng) 03/20/18)
A ship's cargo of phosphate claimed by the disputed territory of Western Sahara has been put up for auction in South Africa, 10 months after being seized by local authorities. The cargo, which was extracted by a Moroccan company, has been claimed by Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony controlled by Rabat where the Polisario Front group is fighting for independence. Last month, a court in Port Elizabeth, South Africa gave an order granting the auction after a petition from the Polisario Front. South Africa is a strong supporter of Western Sahara's struggle for independence.
(AFP 03/19/18)
Les dirigeants africains se réunissent mercredi à Kigali pour signer l'accord instituant ce qui pourrait à terme devenir la plus vaste zone de libre-échange au monde, mais le chemin est, de l'avis des experts, encore long pour convaincre tous les pays de l'intérêt du projet. La création de cette Zone de libre-échange continentale (Zlec), qui concerne les 55 membres de l'Union africaine (UA) avec un PIB cumulé de 2.500 milliards de dollars, est l'un des projets phare de l'organisation. Mais...
(AFP (eng) 03/19/18)
Africa's leaders will gather in Rwanda Wednesday to launch what they say will be the world's largest free trade area but Nigeria has already pulled out, highlighting the challenge in getting the continent to sign up. Establishing the African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) with 55 African Union (AU) members having a cumulative GDP of $2.5 trillion is one of the bloc's flagship projects. However Muhammadu Buhari, president of one of Africa's largest markets Nigeria, this week cancelled plans to...
(AFP (eng) 03/19/18)
Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari will not attend the African Union summit in Rwanda this week, an official statement said Sunday, in a blow to plans to launch a major free trade treaty across 54 countries. The meeting in Kigali is intended to formally launch the African Continental Free Trade Area Treaty, which Nigeria's cabinet endorsed last Wednesday. Buhari was scheduled to leave Abuja on Monday ahead of Wednesday's launch but pulled out to allow for more consultations. "Mr President will no longer be travelling to Kigali for the event because certain key stakeholders in Nigeria indicated that they had not been consulted, for which reasons they had some concerns on the provisions of the treaty," the statement said.
(AFP (eng) 03/16/18)
Egypt's national carrier EgyptAir said Friday it would resume direct flights between Cairo and Moscow, three years after they were halted following the bombing of a Russian charter jet over the Sinai. The announcement came three days after Russian flagship carrier Aeroflot said it would restart flights between the two capitals from April 11. EgyptAir flights are set to resume the following day. Both companies suspended the route in October 2015 after an airliner operated by Russia's Kogalymavia, carrying holidaymakers...
(AFP (eng) 03/15/18)
South Sudan this week got yet another finance minister as it struggles to halt the free fall of a war-ravaged economy, but analysts warn prospects are bleak as long as conflict and corruption go unaddressed. President Salva Kiir named Salvatore Garang Mabiordit, a former undersecretary in the finance ministry, to head the portfolio after sacking Stephen Dhieu Dau on Tuesday. "We have lost the value of our currency... this is a challenge that is ahead of you and you must...
(AFP (eng) 03/15/18)
Egypt is seeing a promising rebound in tourism following devastating jihadist attacks, in welcome news to the government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as he seeks re-election this month. In the eastern Red Sea city of Hurghada, tourists lounge on sunbeds on the beach or play volleyball as boats carrying divers pass by. Among them is Bent Skovboe from Denmark, a 77-year-old who says he has visited Egypt more than 75 times. "If there was only Red Sea for snorkelling,...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/14/18)
NAIROBI (Reuters) - Djibouti’s container port will remain in state hands as the government seeks investment, a senior official said on Wednesday in comments likely to reassure Washington where lawmakers say they fear it could be ceded to China. The Doraleh Container Terminal is a key asset for Djibouti, a tiny state on the Red Sea whose location is of strategic value to countries such as the United States, China, Japan and former colonial power France, all of whom have...

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