Wednesday 28 June 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 06/27/17)
The International Monetary Fund's executive board on Monday approved a $666 million, three-year extended credit facility for Cameroon to support economic and financial reforms, an IMF statement said. The nations of central Africa's CEMAC currency union have struggled in the face of low oil prices, which have slashed state revenues. Cameroon has also been forced to concentrate resources on combating the threat of Islamist Boko Haram militants along its northwestern border with Nigeria. "Having initially shown resilience owing to its greater diversification, the Cameroonian economy is now facing decelerating growth, declining fiscal and external buffers, and rapidly-rising public debt," IMF Deputy Managing director Mitsuhiro Furusawa said in the statement. The board's decision allows for the...
(AFP (eng) 06/27/17)
Chad President Idriss Deby said Sunday his country had been "irresponsible" in striking oil for cash deals with Swiss commodities giant Glencore, given the subsequent slump in crude prices "We thought it was opportunity -- but it was a fool's bargain," Deby said in an interview with Radio France International, Le Monde and broadcaster TV5 Monde. "It was an irresponsible step. I realise that today. "There was insider trading and an investigation is under way," Deby, who has ruled the poverty-stricken nation since 1990, said of a 2013 deal which saw Glencore acquire 100 percent of the Chad state's stake in its oil business -- equivalent to 16 percent of GDP for one of the world's poorest countries. He said...
(AFP (eng) 06/21/17)
Moves to sell off state assets by Benin's businessman-turned-president Patrice Talon are causing widespread anger, with critics accusing him of "uncontrolled privatisation". The 59-year-old known as "the cotton king" was elected in March last year on a promise to kick-start the economy, which is largely based on farming. But his liberal reforms have met opposition in the tiny West African nation, which borders giant neighbours Nigeria to the east and Niger to the north. The latest dispute is the government's...
(AFP (eng) 06/15/17)
France's Alliance Miniere Responsable (AMR) signed a deal Wednesday with a Franco-Asian consortium to exploit bauxite in a western Guinean city that was recently the target of deadly protests against mining firms. Societe Miniere de Boke (SMB), a joint French-Chinese-Singaporean venture, has been operating in the city of Boke since 2014, and completed the deal with AMR at a Conakry hotel, an AFP journalist present said. Guinea is the world's leading producer of bauxite, a mineral used to make aluminium...
(AFP (eng) 06/14/17)
The Democratic Republic of Congo said Tuesday it has asked Chinese and Spanish bidders of a colossal dam project to join forces and submit a joint bid. The request will further delay the huge project, known as Inga 3, that has been planned for around 30 years. The government had said it would award the contract by the end of last year with an aim to launch construction this year. In the running for the deal are two consortiums, one...
(AFP (eng) 06/13/17)
Zimbabwe has banned the import of corn after enjoying a bumper crop that authorities hope will be enough to feed the nation and stimulate home-grown production, state-owned media reported Tuesday. Zimbabwe was once known as the "breadbasket" of Africa for its fertile land and modern farming practices. But a programme of seizing farms from white owners begun in 2000 seriously damaged productivity, causing the country to become heavily dependent on food imports. "Government stopped issuing grain import permits about four months ago and no maize imports are allowed at our borders...
(AFP (eng) 06/13/17)
Credit ratings agency Moody's on Tuesday said it had downgraded a slew of top South African banks, insurers and local authorities prompted by fears over the country's worsening financial position. It slashed the creditworthiness of the five largest banks -- FirstRand, Standard, Nedbank, Investec and Absa -- to just one notch above junk status, all with a negative outlook. "The primary driver for today's rating downgrades is the challenging operating environment in South Africa, characterized by a pronounced economic slowdown, and weakening institutional strength," Moody's said in a statement.
(Reuters (Eng) 06/10/17)
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) may grant Zambia up to $1.3 billion in a three-year credit facility to help plug a budget deficit of around 7 percent, the lender's mission chief said on Saturday. A decision will be made by the IMF board in August, Tsidi Tsikata told a joint news conference with the Zambian finance ministry, which pledged to halve the deficit to around 4 percent of gross national product by 2019. Africa's second-biggest copper producer has suffered from...
(AFP (eng) 06/10/17)
Credit ratings agency Moody's on Friday said it had downgraded South Africa a notch over gloomy growth prospects and the political instability unleashed by corruption scandals engulfing President Jacob Zuma. Africa's most advanced economy was knocked down from Baa2 to Baa3 -- one notch above junk status -- with a negative outlook, Moody's said in a statement. Fitch and Standard and Poor's, the other two main global ratings agencies, already downgraded South Africa to junk status after Zuma's shock purge of critical ministers in March, including respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan. The decision outraged the opposition
(AFP (eng) 06/08/17)
Royal Dutch Shell has resumed crude exports from its Forcados terminal in Nigeria after production was disrupted following repeated attacks by militants in the restive oil-producing region, a company spokesman said Thursday. The resumption will see Nigeria's oil production rebound to around 2 million barrels per day (bpd), adding more barrels to the market at a time when the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is working to curb output in order boost global crude prices. "We resumed production at Forcados on June 6, 2017 after lifting the force majeure we declared on crude exports from the facility last year," Shell spokesman Precious Okolobo told AFP.
(Voice of America 06/08/17)
It was almost sunset as fishermen guided their boats back onto the beach at Joal, Senegal, after a long day at sea. At first glance, it looks as though they'd collected a good day's haul, but their nets were full of small sardinella, known locally as yaabooy. Fisherman Mamdou Lamine had caught just one bucket of mackerel. He held one up next to a yaabooy to show how much bigger it was — and there are many more yaabooy than...
(Financial Times 06/07/17)
South Africa plunged into its second recession in eight years in the first three months of the year, even before a political crisis in the ruling African National Congress triggered rating cuts to junk status. On an annualised basis Africa's most industrialised economy contracted 0.7 per cent in the first quarter after a 0.3 per cent drop at the end of 2016, Statistics South Africa said on Tuesday. The announcement confounded most economists' expectations for growth of about 1 per...
(Bloomberg 06/07/17)
Zambia’s copper output will climb by about 4 percent to a record this year as operators near a resolution with government over power prices, according to the Chamber of Mines in Africa’s second-biggest producer of the metal. Production will increase to about 800,000 metric tons, said Nathan Chishimba, president of the lobby group. That would be higher than the 770,600 tons mined last year, and exceed a previous record of about 790,000 tons in 2013. The forecast is less optimistic...
(Bloomberg 06/06/17)
South Africa’s economy fell into a recession for the first time since 2009 after it contracted for a second straight quarter in the first three months of the year. Gross domestic product shrank an annualized 0.7 percent in the first quarter from a contraction of 0.3 percent in the previous three months, Statistics South Africa said in a report released on Tuesday in the capital, Pretoria. The median of 19 economists’ estimates in a Bloomberg survey was for 1 percent expansion. One economist forecast the contraction. While rains are helping Africa’s most-industrialized economy recover from a 2015 drought that was the worst since
(Reuters (Eng) 06/02/17)
Namibia will invest 164 billion Namibian dollars ($12.44 billion) over the next five years on plans which include upgrading and revamping hospitals, and building water and energy infrastructure, President Hage Geingob said on Wednesday. The investment package under a National Development Plan will be deployed on programmes and projects which also cover agriculture, technical and vocational training, and industrial development. "This would involve modernising and up-scaling our production sectors and systems including agriculture, manufacturing, fisheries, mining and tourism," Geingob said at the launch of the programme. "By focusing on these sectors, we should be able to create more jobs to absorb new entrants
(RFI 06/02/17)
Senegal's growing oil sector received a 25-million-euro boost from the World Bank on Wednesday to help it negotiate complex oil and gas contracts. But the oil boom has sparked concerns the country may not keep its commitment to the Paris climate deal. Producers say Dakar could be sitting on upwards of one billion barrels of petrol with production slated to begin in 2021. While the world waited Thursday for President Donald Trump to decide whether the US would stay committed...
(Financial Times 06/02/17)
South Africa’s government has avoided a second damaging credit rating cut from Fitch, but the ratings agency warned that the recent political upheaval is likely to further weaken the economy. Fitch cut South Africa’s foreign- and local-currency credit ratings to junk status in an unscheduled update in April after the ousting of finance minister Pravin Gordhan. In its regular ratings decision announced today, the agency confirmed the government’s BB+ rating with a stable outlook, suggesting further downgrades are unlikely in the short-term. Fitch said “South Africa’s ratings are weighed down by low trend GDP growth, sizeable contingent liabilities and deteriorating governance”, and said the cabinet reshuffle “is likely to undermine governance
(Reuters (Eng) 06/02/17)
Italian energy company Eni signed an $8 billion deal on Thursday to develop a gas field off the coast of Mozambique, the first of a series of projects that could transform the poor African nation into a major energy supplier to Asia. Developing the Coral South field, discovered in May 2012 and operated by Eni, requires building six subsea wells connected to a floating facility capable of producing about 3.4 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas (LNG) per year, Eni said. The project would cost $8 billion and LNG exports were expected to start in 2022, Eni said.
(Xinhuanet 06/02/17)
President of Mozambique Filipe Nyusi launched on Thursday in Maputo a 6 billion U.S. dollar project, including an installment of a floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facility in Cabo Delgado province, northern region of the country. Located in the Area Four block at Rovuma Basin, the project of Coral gas field is a joint venture by energy giants sponsored by China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), the Portuguese energy company Galp, the Korean Kogas, the Italian ENI and the Mozambican ENH...
(Xinhuanet 06/02/17)
Oil and gas productions in the fields of Tataouine, southwest of Tunisia and Kebili, southeast of Tunisia, have been completely interrupted due to protests in both provinces since two months ago, announced on Thursday night the Tunisian Ministry of Energy and Mines. "Having a direct negative impact on the national economy, these sit-ins lead to a halt in production, hence the worsening trade deficit due to a shortfall of 24 million dinars (9.88 million U.S. dollars) per week," said the Ministry in a press release. According to the release, the oil fields located in the two provinces provide 46 percent of the national oil production and 27 percent of gas production.