Saturday 24 June 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 05/19/17)
When rich countries wrote off billions of dollars of African debt in 2005, they hoped governments would think twice about borrowing again in costly foreign currencies. Over a decade later, most sub-Saharan African countries still rely on U.S. dollar-denominated debt to finance their economies. Some investors say this is sowing the seeds of future debt crises if local currencies devalue and make dollar debt repayments more expensive. Aside from South Africa and Nigeria, governments have not yet done enough to develop capital markets that would have allowed them to raise more money in their own currencies, investors say. United Nations trade body UNCTAD estimates that Africa's external debt stock rapidly grew to $443 billion by 2013 through bilateral borrowing, syndicated...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/18/17)
The head of Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) is determined to fend off an attempt by the U.N.-backed government to appropriate energy sector powers, and says settling a related dispute with Germany's Wintershall is a "top priority". In an interview with Reuters, NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla also said output from NOC subsidiary Waha Oil Co could rise by some 80,000 barrels per day (bpd) in coming weeks and that staff had returned to parts of the Sirte basin for the first time in more than two years. National output dipped this week due a power outage affecting Messla and Sarir oil fields and on Wednesday stood at 683,000 bpd, Sanalla said, but was expected to return to its "normal" level...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/18/17)
Libya has become a modern-day slave market, with migrants caught in a complex trafficking web largely ignored by the outside world, a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer said on Wednesday. Narciso Contreras, who spoke to migrants turned Libyan slaves, said most attention focused on the North African country as a gateway for migrants attempting to reach Europe by sea. "What I found is that it's a slave market, it's like an industry but the world is looking at Libya as a transit country," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Six years after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, Libya is still a lawless state where armed groups compete for land and resources and large weapons and people-smuggling networks operate with impunity. Frustrated by...
(AL Jazeera 05/18/17)
Analysts say the recent meeting in the UAE may only serve to validate Haftar's political legitimacy. On May 3, Libya's two rival leaders, Fayez Serraj, the head of the UN- backed Government of National Accord in Tripoli and strongman General Khalifa Haftar, whose Libyan National Army (LNA) keeps a tight grip on the East of the country, held a surprise meeting in the United Arab Emirates. The encounter spurred fears among Serraj's supporters that the conditions discussed in the Gulf country, a powerful sponsor of General Haftar, may disrupt a UN-brokered peace plan, known as the Libyan Political Agreement (LPA), rather than help it. The UN deal was signed in 2015 but is widely considered as insufficient to reconcile internal...
(Press Tv 05/18/17)
Wintershall, a German oil company, has withheld more than $900 million of Libya’s oil money, a senior Libyan official says, as a row deepens over what role the UN-backed government should have in monitoring and implementing oil contracts. Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) chief Mustafa Sanalla has said Wintershall failed to honor a memorandum of understanding that was signed in August 2010 and extended two concessions granted to Wintershall in 1966 in the East Sirte basin, about 1,000 kilometers south of the capital Tripoli. Sanalla and NOC say the 2010 agreement was supposed to make the terms of the concessions more favorable to the government and make it more consistent with other types of contracts agreed by other foreign oil...
(Bloomberg 05/18/17)
Steinhoff International Holdings NV plans to list its African assets separately as the acquisitive retailer seeks a new prize for shareholders following this year’s failed merger talks with Shoprite Holdings Ltd. The company said Wednesday it will seek to list businesses including clothing retailer Pepkor and furniture chain JD Group Ltd. on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, about 18 months after moving its primary listing to Frankfurt from the South African commercial hub. The new business could be worth as much as 60 billion rand ($4.5 billion), said Evan Walker, a money manager at 36one Asset Management in Johannesburg, although the valuation could also be as low as 40 billion rand depending on how much debt Steinhoff puts into the vehicle...
(The Guardian 05/17/17)
Libya’s National Oil Corporation chief also claims Wintershall colluded with unlawful efforts by Libyan government to take over sale of oil contracts. A German oil producer has been accused by the head of Libya’s National Oil Corporation of withholding more than $900m (£697m) from the Libyan state and colluding with unlawful efforts by Libya’s UN-backed government to take over the sale of the country’s vastly profitable oil contracts. The power struggle between the NOC and Wintershall – which denied that it owed any money and said it had always met
(AFP (eng) 05/17/17)
A Libyan man suspected of killing a British police officer during a 1984 London protest against Moamer Kadhafi was released Tuesday because evidence against him could have breached national security. The suspect, aged in his fifties, was arrested in November 2015 as part of the long-running investigation into the murder of Yvonne Fletcher. The 25-year-old female officer was killed while policing what had been a small and peaceful demonstration outside the Libyan embassy in London. Her family said they were "deeply disappointed and frustrated" at Tuesday's news. Supporters of Kadhafi -- the longtime Libyan dictator who would be killed in 2011 -- were holding a rival rally on the same day and "a number of shots were fired" from within...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/17/17)
Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar staged a large military parade on Tuesday for the third anniversary of his campaign to control Benghazi, as his troops fight to secure two last districts in Libya's second city. Haftar's self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) has become the dominant force in eastern Libya over the past three years, though it continues to face armed resistance in Benghazi and other regions, and to take heavy losses. The LNA is aligned with a government and parliament based in eastern Libya that rejects a U.N.-backed government in Tripoli. That has frustrated Western efforts to end a conflict between two loose and shifting alliances that escalated in 2014, worsening the divisions and instability that surfaced with the 2011 uprising...
(The Independent 05/17/17)
Strengthening the north African country's border management is “only a good idea, says Federica Mogherini, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs. Plans that would see European border agents conduct patrols in Libya to stop the flow of migrants have been welcomed by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs. Federica Mogherini said strengthening the north African country's border management was “only a good idea”, although she said there was already an EU mission, lead by Italy, that specifically addressed the issue. The Italian Commissioner also stated her support for ''the appeal by Germany and Italy for work to be stepped up on the southern border of Libya'' to control the movement of African migrants across the desert. Her comments...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/17/17)
Gay and lesbian Africans who fled abuse in their home countries face a "culture of disbelief" which makes their experience of seeking asylum in Britain traumatic, a Nigerian lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender rights (LGBT) campaigner said. Aderonke Apata, 50, who fled persecution in Nigeria, said the practice of assessing Africans' sexual orientation claims based on Western standards was problematic. "They expect an LGBT person to have used sex toys, to go to gay clubs," Apata, an asylum seeker who founded African LGBT charity, African Rainbow Family, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Apata has been trying to claim asylum in Britain for 13 years, but her case was refused several times after a judge ruled that she was pretending to be...
(Bloomberg 05/16/17)
When the impoverished West African nation of Niger imposed a ban on donkey exports last year, a small community of traders just over the border in Nigeria was devastated. “Before the ban, you could see thousands of donkeys here,” said Mohammed Sani, a 45-year-old trader in the Nigerian town of Jibiya, as he wiped the sweat off his brow. “Now look at them: there’s no more than 50, crippling the business.” Donkeys are being slaughtered at an alarming pace to feed a global trade in donkey hides that’s fueled by soaring demand in China, where the skins are used to manufacture a gelatin believed to have anti-ageing and libido-enhancing properties. The gelatin, known in China as e’jiao, is so popular...
(Bloomberg 05/15/17)
The U.K. Serious Fraud Office sought documents as part of a “pending” probe into a dispute between Societe Generale SA and the Libyan Investment Authority, days after the bank agreed to pay 963 million euros ($1.06 billion) to resolve a related civil-bribery lawsuit. A lawyer for the LIA said at a London court hearing Monday that the SFO, which prosecutes white-collar crime, had given Societe Generale a June deadline to comply with a demand for documents related to the case. The lender and LIA settled the dispute, related to five transactions between 2007 and 2009, hours before a trial was scheduled to start this month. "My understanding is that the SFO wishes the SocGen defendants to hand over various categories...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/13/17)
Tackling climate change in Africa could help resolve multiple problems ravaging the continent, from drought to refugees and violence, the head of the African Union said on Friday. The mix of global warming with economic woes and political conflicts keeps peace from taking hold, said Moussa Faki Mahamat, the Union's new chairman, at Chatham House, an international think tank. "There is a link between climate change and prosperity, as well as peace, on the continent," Mahamat said in French with an interpreter. "Africa is among the least polluting continents, and yet it is the continent that suffers most," he said. Mahamat, the former foreign minister of Chad, was chosen to chair the 55-member, Addis Ababa-based organization in January. In Africa's...
(AFP (eng) 05/11/17)
Libya's coastguard on Wednesday intercepted a wooden boat packed with almost 500 migrants after duelling with a German rescue ship and coming under fire from traffickers, the navy said. The migrants, who were bound for Italy, were picked up off the western city of Sabratha, said navy spokesman Ayoub Qassem. The German non-governmental organisation "Sea-Watch tried to disrupt the coastguard operation... inside Libyan waters and wanted to take the migrants, on the pretext that Libya wasn't safe," Qassem told AFP. Sea-Watch posted a video on Twitter of what it said was a Libyan coastguard vessel narrowly cutting across the bow of its ship. "This EU-funded Libyan patrol vessel almost crashed (into) our civil rescue ship," read the caption. Qassem also...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/11/17)
Libya's oil production is running at above 800,000 barrels per day (bpd) for the first time since 2014, the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Wednesday, but a commercial dispute with German oil firm Wintershall [WINT.UL] has shut in a further 160,000 bpd. Libya's output could reach between 1.1 million and 1.2 million bpd if political obstacles were removed, the NOC said in a statement. "We are able to produce an average of 1.1 million to 1.2 million (bpd) over the rest of this year, but for this to happen our oil must flow freely. A national effort is required," NOC Chairman Mustafa Sanalla said. Libya's output remains well below the 1.6 million bpd it was producing before the 2011...
(Financial Times 05/11/17)
Production recovers dramatically but still well below that of before 2011 uprising. Libya’s production has risen to more than 800,000 b/d for the first time since 2014 but a dispute with German energy company Wintershall is hindering further increases, said the head of the north African country’s national oil company. “We are able to produce an average of 1.1m to 1.2m [barrels a day] over the rest of this year but for this to happen our oil must flow freely. A national effort is required,” said Mustafa Sanalla, chairman of Libya NOC, in a statement to the Financial Times. Although output has recovered dramatically in recent months, it is still well below the 1.6m b/d that it was producing before...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/11/17)
Libya's coastguard said it had intercepted nearly 500 migrants packed onto a wooden boat and returned them to Tripoli on Wednesday after warning off a ship that was preparing to pick them up for passage to Europe. Footage filmed by Sea-Watch, a non-governmental organization, showed a Libyan coastguard vessel coming within meters of its own ship as it sped to stop the migrants. Tripoli coastguard spokesman Ayoub Qassem said the incident occurred about 19 miles (30 km) north of Libya's coast. It highlighted the confusion in the crowded waters as desperate migrants try to reach a better life and authorities scramble to deal with the chaos. "An international rescue organization called Sea-Watch tried to hinder the work of our coastguard...
(Reuters (Eng) 05/11/17)
Italy has arrested a Libyan man suspected of involvement in the killing last week of a migrant, who was shot dead when he refused to take off his baseball cap, police said on Thursday. Police on the island of Sicily said a group of migrants had been packed on a motorized rubber dinghy and were heading from Libya toward Italy when a group of people smugglers drew alongside and ordered that they remove their hats. Seconds later, Kellie Osman, 21, from Sierra Leone, was shot by one of the smugglers. Police said in a statement that the gunman had not been identified, however, they said aerial video showed Libyan suspect Abouzid Nouredine Alhadi had boarded the dinghy from the smugglers'...
(AFP (eng) 05/10/17)
Libya's foreign minister said Tuesday a rival general must accept civilian rule in order to play a role in the country's future. Field Marshal Khalifa "Haftar must first accept to work under a civilian authority and officially approve the political deal" that gave rise to the power-sharing authority, Mohamed al-Taher Siala told AFP by phone from Algiers. Haftar, who heads the self-styled Libyan National Army, does not recognise the authority of the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord and instead backs a rival parliament based in the country's far east. That parliament, Libya's sole elected house of representatives, has also refused to endorse the GNA. Siala spoke a day after making controversial comments about Haftar in Algiers following a regional meeting...

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