Thursday 22 February 2018
(AFP (eng) 02/22/18)
In global markets the price of cobalt, a mineral used in batteries for high-tech products from iPhones to Tesla electric cars, has nearly tripled to $81,500 a tonne in two years. But in the Democratic Republic of Congo, which produced two-thirds of the global supply of the coveted metal last year, artisanal diggers called "creuseurs" sell their best-quality ore for about $7,000 a tonne, blissfully unaware of how much the global price has rocketed. In Kolwezi, a mining town in southeastern DRC, Chinese entrepreneurs dominate the middle section of the market, purchasing the raw cobalt from miners and selling it on for refining. Transactions in the buying houses depend on the purity of the ore...
(AFP (eng) 02/22/18)
Chad announced Wednesday it had struck a deal with Swiss mining giant Glencore to restructure debt of more than $1 billion from a cash-for-crude-oil loan. The poverty-stricken west African nation's state oil company loaned nearly $1.45 billion (1.18 billion euros) from Glencore in 2014, with the backing of four banks. The loan was to be repaid with crude oil assets, but Chad's economy has since been badly hit by a downturn in the price of oil exports. The two sides finally signed a renegotiated agreement on Wednesday, Chad's finance ministry said in a statement. The deal includes a "two-year grace period" for the country to repay its debt, a 12-year extension of debt maturity and a reduction of the interest...
(AFP (eng) 02/21/18)
One in three Burundians will need humanitarian assistance this year, a 20 percent increase on 2017 as conditions worsen in one of the world's poorest countries, the UN development body said Tuesday. The vulnerability of the Burundi people "is perpetuated by the socio-economic situation but also by the rise in natural disasters," said Garry Conille, Burundi representative of the UN Development Programme (UNDP). These problems have brought about "a deterioration in living conditions and access to basic services as well as the displacement of populations," he added. "Analysis of the humanitarian needs (of the country) shows that 3.6 million people, a third of the Burundi population, will need humanitarian assistance this year.
(AFP (eng) 02/21/18)
Morris Kidir gestures at a wide expanse of dark-green land he says was earmarked for a school or clinic in his northern Liberian village, now covered in young oil palm trees. In October last year, he recalls, workers from Malaysian conglomerate Sime Darby arrived at the plot and began filling in the only gap left in a forest of palms that stretch as far as the eye can see. Kidir, an elder in the village of Gbah, Bomi county, is...
(AFP (eng) 02/21/18)
South Africans were hit by the first sales tax increase since apartheid when the finance minister delivered a tough budget on Wednesday, dampening optimism spurred by the country's new reformist president. President Cyril Ramaphosa took over last week from the scandal-plagued Jacob Zuma, raising hope for a turnaround in the economy that slid into recession in 2016 and has grown sluggishly since. Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba warned in his speech to parliament in Cape Town that "this is a tough...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/20/18)
SOWETO, South Africa (Reuters) - Ndumiso Madlala, head of the Soweto Gold Brewery, says he is banking on new South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to kick-start the economy and help his business grow. The micro brewery was founded five years ago in the Johannesburg township but has struggled to grow in a fiercely competitive market for beer as high unemployment and a weak economy strangled consumer spending. Madlala places much of the blame on the administration of Jacob Zuma, who...
(AFP (eng) 02/20/18)
The African Export-Import Bank said it will invest up to $1.5 billion (1.2 billion euros) in fishing, mining and financial projects in Mauritania, as the mineral-rich north African desert nation seeks to diversify its economy. Afreximbank, based in Cairo, was set up by African countries in 1993 to promote and finance trade within the African continent and trade between Africa and other continents. Speaking to reporters on a visit to Nouakchott late Monday, Afreximbank president Benedict Okey Oramah said that...
(Jeune Afrique 02/19/18)
L'italien Saipem s'est engagé à verser près de 200 millions de dollars à l'algérien Sonatrach, pour régler le différend qui oppose les deux sociétés depuis 2014. Le 13 février, Sonatrach et Saipem ont conclu un accord qui clôt définitivement les procédures d’arbitrage international que l’italien avait engagées, en 2014, contre le groupe algérien et qui portaient sur quatre contrats liés à des projets de pipelines et gazoducs. Au terme de cet accord, scellé début février, Saipem versera près de 200...
(AFP (eng) 02/19/18)
About 224 million people are suffering from malnutrition across Africa as climate change and conflicts heighten food insecurity across the continent, a top UN food agency official said Monday. The official, speaking at a conference on Africa organised by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said the situation was a "cause of concern" as the continent's population was expected to reach 1.7 billion by 2030. "Under-nourishment appears to have increased from about 21 percent to nearly 23 percent between...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/16/18)
MOGADISHU (Reuters) - Ahmed Nur moves through the Somali capital of Mogadishu with a bodyguard of six men, a pistol in the waistband of his baggy trousers. He speaks of his work in whispers; seven of his colleagues have been killed in the last three years. But Nur is no intelligence operative. He’s a tax collector. Now the central government’s imposition of a five percent sales tax last month, part of its efforts to win billions of dollars in international...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/16/18)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa’s Treasury is set to present its 2018 budget to parliament on Wednesday but market focus is on whether new President Cyril Ramaphosa will reshuffle the cabinet before then and replace Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba. Ramaphosa was sworn in as head of state on Thursday after his scandal-plagued predecessor, Jacob Zuma, reluctantly resigned on orders of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) after nine years in office blighted by corruption, economic mismanagement and disputed appointments. Ramaphosa...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/16/18)
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African stocks index rose as much as 5 percent on Thursday, putting the main index on track for its biggest one-day gain in more than three years, on hopes the resignation of Jacob Zuma as president paves the way for new leaders to quicken the pace of economic growth. The currency remained on the frontfoot, soaring to its firmest since early 2015 in the wake of Zuma’s exit. Analysts have however warned the rally faces serious...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/16/18)
DAKAR (Reuters) - Democratic Republic of Congo’s oil minister on Thursday defended the country’s right to explore for oil anywhere on its territory after media reports that President Joseph Kabila approved drilling in Africa’s largest tropical rainforest reserve. Oil minister Aime Ngoy Mukena declined to confirm a report in Germany’s Die Tageszeitung newspaper that Kabila had this month authorized exploration inside Salonga National Park, but he said that no land should be off-limits. Salonga, a UNESCO World Heritage site, covers...
(AFP (eng) 02/15/18)
Sudan's annual inflation rate soared to 52 percent in January, officials said Wednesday, on the back of food price rises that have triggered protests and a security crackdown on opposition groups. The January inflation rate more than doubled the 25-percent figure recorded in December, Central Statistics Office chief Karamallah Ali told a news conference in Khartoum. "This rate of inflation is the highest in recent years," Ali said. "Even in 2013 when inflation was very high, it did not reach...
(Reuters (Eng) 02/14/18)
DAKAR (Reuters) - The British government said it has frozen 580,000 pounds ($802,894) in assets held by several dozen militia leaders, army officers and private organizations with ties to Democratic Republic of Congo. The freezes were mandated by the European Union as part of a sanctions regime imposed by the United Nations. Economic Secretary John Glen had written on the UK parliament website in response to an MP’s question that the total sum seized was 580 million pounds before his...
(AFP (eng) 02/12/18)
Morocco recorded a bumper year for tourist arrivals in 2017, breaking through the 11-million barrier for the first time, the tourism ministry announced Monday. Visitor arrivals numbered some 11.4 million, a 10-percent increase over 2016, with tourists from "emerging markets" such as China and Brazil joining those from France, Spain and Germany. Revenues from the sector jumped to 69.7 billion dirhams ($7.55 billion, 6.16 billion euros) in 2017, up from 64.2 billion dirhams the previous year. Fez, Tangiers and Marrakesh,...
(AFP (eng) 02/10/18)
Villagers in central Ivory Coast are savouring a rare victory after reaching a deal with a Canadian gold mine operator following a four-year battle for compensation that at times turned violent. Since it began operating in 2014, the Agbaou gold mine -- which covers an area of 334 square kilometres (130 square miles), or nearly 10 times that of New York's Central Park -- has been hit by demonstrations by local people angered that they had not received money for...
(AFP (eng) 02/09/18)
Chad's finance minister says the country will not impose further cuts on civil servants' pay this year, after strikes and protests erupted over one of the most unpopular measures in an austerity programme. "There won't be further cuts this year," the finance and budget minister, Abdoulaye Sabre Fadoul, told AFP in an interview on Thursday. The government last month reduced civil servants' bonus pay by 50 percent, adding to a previous 50-percent cut in 2016. Income tax was also hiked...
(AFP (eng) 02/09/18)
The world's biggest producer of cobalt, a key ingredient in modern batteries, plans a five-fold increase in tax on the commodity as part of an overhaul of its mining laws, industrial sources said Friday. The Democratic Republic of Congo would impose a tax of 10 percent on so-called "strategic metals" under the plan, a copy of which was obtained by AFP. The government last year signalled its intention to reform its 2002 mining code, which it considered to favour foreign...
(AFP (eng) 02/08/18)
Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo on Thursday hailed the country's economic recovery and said he saw "no reason" to seek further help from the International Monetary Fund. Once hailed as a regional growth model, in 2015 former president John Mahama's administration was forced to turn to the IMF for help amid a global commodities rout. But Akufo-Addo told parliament in the annual state of the union address that his government had buckled down on mismanagement and pledged to stabilise the economy...

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