Monday 23 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...
(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".
(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 (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...
(AFP (eng) 03/14/18)
The United Arab Emirates has offered $1.4 billion to Sudan's central bank to help Khartoum tackle an acute foreign exchange crisis, the official Sudanese news agency reported Tuesday. The Sudanese pound has weakened against the dollar in recent months on the black market amid a shortage of hard foreign currency, in turn forcing the central bank to devalue the pound this year. "President Omar al-Bashir has been informed by the UAE that it is giving Sudan 4 billion dirhams... as...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/14/18)
TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Libya’s Zawiya oil terminal returned to normal operations on Tuesday after workers who were blocking ships from docking agreed to end a one-day strike, two sources said. Zawiya exports crude from Libya’s giant El Sharara oilfield, which produces 300,000 barrels per day (bpd), more than a quarter of the North African country’s output. Production at El Sharara had not been affected by the strike at Zawiya, an engineer at the field said. The field is operated by...
(AFP (eng) 03/13/18)
Somalia's parliament has declared "null and void" a port deal signed by breakaway Somaliland that has raised tensions between Mogadishu and Hargeisa. Dubai-based DP World this month struck a deal giving Ethiopia a 19-percent stake in Somaliland's Berbera port. The move has angered Somalia, which does not recognise Somaliland's long-standing claim of independence and has a history of animosity with Ethiopia. Declaring the deal unconstitutional and therefore "null and void" Mogadishu's parliament on Monday asserted in a resolution: "It is only the Federal Government of Somalia that can engage in international deals." "All ports, and airports in the country are national property and... no one can...
(AFP (eng) 03/12/18)
DR Congo President Joseph Kabila enacted a law to hike taxes on so-called strategic metals and ordered government consultations with foreign companies worried by the change, an official said Sunday. "The law has been promulgated in the same form as was adopted by parliament," a presidential adviser who asked not to be named told AFP. The new text replaces the Democratic Republic of Congo's 2002 mining code, which the government considered to favour foreign investors at the expense of the...
(AFP (eng) 03/08/18)
DR Congo President Joseph Kabila has promised to have "constructive dialogue" with mining companies worried over plans to hike taxes on so-called strategic metals, a category expected to include the booming market for cobalt and copper. Kabila on Tuesday held more than seven hours of talks with leading players in the Democratic Republic of Congo's mining sector over plans to change the country's 2002 mining code. "The president reassures mining operators that they are economic partners in the DRC and...
(AFP (eng) 03/08/18)
Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday met with Zimbabwe's new President Emmerson Mnangagwa and discussed possible military co-operation as well as plans to boost economic ties. Lavrov, who is on a tour of Africa, is the first high-profile Russian official to visit Zimbabwe since veteran ruler Robert Mugabe's resignation in November last year. "We talked about the tasks that we have to pursue in order to develop these trade and economic ties between our countries," Lavrov told journalists after meeting Mnangagwa at his office in the capital Harare. "We emphasised the implementation of the joint project of exploring the Darwendale platinum deposits," he said.
(AFP (eng) 03/07/18)
Kenya's government cannot account for $400 million in public funds, according to a damning report from the auditor general highlighting the country's failure to crack down on graft and misuse of state resources. The report for the 2015/2016 financial year describes a litany of misspending and poor accounting under President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is several months into a second term after an election in which he again vowed to tackle graft. Less than a third of financial statements of ministries, departments and agencies that were scrutinised were clean, according to the report presented to parliament last week. Auditor general Edward Ouko noted that this was however an improvement, with only six percent of financial statements...

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