Rich Links: Power Africa and Kenyan Land Seizures

Rich Links: Rising Cocoa Prices and Shadowy Oil Deals

  • “Le cacao a atteint son plus haut niveau en trois ans (2000 livres la tonne à la Bourse de Londres et 3 234 dollars à celle de New York) grâce à une bonne demande mais aussi en raison d’un regain d’intérêt de la part des spéculateurs.”

  • “Mining, more than anything else, fixed the economic, social and racial relations we see today. It is probably too much to expect that relationship between a government elected by the descendants of the victims of mining and the mining sector itself would not be a fraught one.”

  • “Governments in sub-Saharan Africa are selling crude petroleum in shadowy deals worth hundreds of billions of dollars without publicly accounting for the money, according to a new report.”

  • “From interior regions of Guinea-Bissau, the trucks openly haul tree trunks, said Constantino Correia, an agro-engineer and former director of the country’s forest management agency. The cargo, mainly African rosewood, is destined for China, according to Abílio Rachid Said of the government Institute of Biodiversity and Protected Areas (IBAP).”

  • “Fred Kabagambe-Kaliisa, the permanent secretary of the energy ministry said globalization has opened up new investment frontiers leading to an increase in the pool of risk capital available for exploration and mining development. Kaliisa said for Uganda to sustain the attraction of mobile international capital, it is imperative to review the current legal regime.”

  • “As our recent SAIS-CARI conference on Chinese agricultural investment in Africa pointed out, China is not exploring ways to feed its growing population using food grown in Africa. At least, not yet.”

  • “Surging global demand for chocolate should keep the rally going, even if the cocoa crop hits a record. And an El Niño could boost prices even more.”

  • “Le ministre ivoirien de l’Industrie et des Mines, Jean-Claude Brou, a officiellement lancé ce lundi 21 juillet le projet “Droits de propriété et développement du diamant artisanal” (DPDDA II), qui vise à améliorer la production et la traçabilité du diamant en Côte d’Ivoire, avec le soutien de l’USAID.”

  • “Government’s failure to crack down on firms undervaluing mineral exports has resulted in “significant losses” for the Treasury, according to tax advisory firm RSM Ashvir.”

  • “The forthcoming exploitation of sizable reserves of gas, expected to accrue billions of dollars in the coming decades, pave the way for a different scenario for the future. […] Amongst other changes, the ‘peripheral’ status of the South East might shift. Let us speculate a little bit about some potential trajectories in the coming decades.”

  • “Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt will resume tripartite negotiations over the construction of Ethiopia’s hydro power plant project known as the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).”

Rich Links: Gas Revenues in Tanzania

  • “With the gas industry expected to be the largest player in Tanzania’s economy, the Tanzanian government could face substantial losses if they do not act to curb bad policies and practices.  Here are three major issues Tanzania needs to tackle in order to ensure they capitalize on upcoming gas revenues:”

  • “Mining prospectors will be able to apply for licences online and get feedback within 90 days, according to new amendments to the Mining Bill.”

  • “By the evidence of South Sudan’s budget, presented to parliament in late June, the country’s finance ministry has lost its mind.”

  • The Norwegian Ambassador to Ghana, Mrs. Hege Hertzberg, has urged the Ghana government to use the oil resource to transform the country’s economy from import dependent, to become a leading exporter on the African continent.

  • “Built by a consortium led by British company Globeleq, the 138 megawatt (MW) wind farm is one of Africa’s biggest – larger than the 120 MW Ashegoda windfarm that was unveiled by Ethiopia in October 2013, though not as big as the Tarfaya wind farm in south-western Morocco, which started producing energy in April and will eventually generate up to 300 MW of electricity.”

  • “Some neighbouring countries are less upbeat about the project. Citing two treaties, dating from 1929 and 1959, Egypt claims a historic right over the Nile. It fears that the dam will restrict the flow of water. […] “These treaties are now obsolete. We are entitled to build the dam,” says Alemayehu Tegenu, Ethiopia’s minister of water, energy and irrigation. “For a long time we derived no benefit from our river.”

  • “Unfortunately, Tullow could not repeat its African success story in Ethiopia. […] Sources told The Reporter that executives of Tullow decided to suspend drilling operation in Ethiopia. “They will pull out their drilling crew out of Ethiopia. They will take out their core staff to other projects in other countries and lay off the rest of the staff in their Ethiopia office.”

  • “Zimbabwe’s cotton industry will remain under pressure as international lint prices continue to wane with China’s imports expected to decline in the 2014/2015 season as the Asian nation shifts to domestic cotton for national reserves.”

  • “The duration of license now depends on the size and nature of mineral deposits, as well as the size of investment to be injected in a concession. This will be shown through a feasibility study conducted by the investor.”

Rich Links: World Bank loan requirements

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Rich Links: Fishing in Namibia and GMOs across Africa

As always, the most interesting links from around the ‘net:

Fishing over drilling in Namibia

Namibia is planning to halt oil and gas companies from carrying out off-shore exploration for part of the year to protect the fishing industry.

This comes on the heels of an earlier memorandum on off-shore mineral exploration. Namibia makes an interesting contrast to other African countries, where the promise of oil often trumps all other concerns.

Why Namibia’s off-shore is under threat | African Mining Brief

GMOs in Africa

IRIN details a new report on the adoption of genetically modified organisms in African agriculture. The report is very positive, as is the article, and gives little consideration to the drawbacks of a GMO-reliant agribusiness:

A recent study published in the journal Food Policy, titled Status of development, regulation and adoption of GM agriculture in Africa, shows that heated debates over safety concerns continue to plague efforts to use GM crop technology to tackle food security problems and poverty.

Is Africa ready for GM? | IRIN

The need for good governance

Since African extractive industries are often shrouded in secrecy and lack clear revenue management and accountability mechanisms, good governance is essential for African countries to properly harness their natural resources for development.

UNCTAD African Oil and Gas Conference Focus on Governance is Spot On | Africa in Focus

Drilling in Western Sahara

Plans by Kosmos Energy and partner Cairn Energy to drill a well next year in a Moroccan-licensed block in the Western Sahara continue to provoke intense interest among oil companies excited by the disputed territory’s offshore potential, as well as political debate among the traditional protagonists.

Oil drilling plan stirs hornets’ nest in Western Sahara | African Arguments

Other stuff:

Rich Links: land grabbing in Tanzania, Amnesty blames Shell for oil spills

As always, the best reads from around the internet on resource politics in Africa:

Land grabbing in Tanzania

High hopes meet reality for Tanzanian farmers and land owners:

I just gave my land because we were convinced by a politician that it would make us rich. I knew I would get money for the land, and also get a well-paying job when the [investment] company began operations. Now they didn’t do anything and they sold our land to another company we didn’t even know,

Analysis: The poisoned chalice of Tanzania’s land deals (IRIN)

Monsanto’s push for Africa

Monsanto, a U.S. company best known for its controversial genetically modified crops, is currently targeting African markets:

It gets problematic in the future, because the farmer has to continue to buy seeds from Monsanto instead of returning to the age-old way of growing maize, which is saving and reusing seeds.

Monsanto Brings Agro-Slavery to Africa (@lissnup)

Does Uganda benefit from its natural resources?

At the moment, the answer seems to be no and this needs to change:

Onesmus Mugyenyi, a policy analyst with the Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment, a local policy research and advocacy think tank, explained that Uganda’s poverty levels were closely related to its failure to sustainably exploit its natural resources.

Uganda: Country Needs to Exploit Its Own Mineral Riches (IPS/allAfrica)

Swiss company in trouble over handling Congolese conflict gold

Non-profit TRIAL has sued Swiss smelting company Argor-Haraeus for allegedly entering into business with Congolese warlords and conflict profiteers:

According to TRIAL, the gold in question was illegally mined by FNI and then sold in Uganda by a Congolese middleman, Kisoni Kambale, who trades in gold and owns an air transport company.

Congo-Kinshasa: NGO Files Complaint Against Swiss Company Over ‘Pillaged’ Gold (Deutsche Welle/allAfrica)

Amnesty International challenges Shell on oil spills in Nigeria

The international human rights organisation is not happy with the corporation:

Shell has claimed that… oil spill investigations are sound when they are not, that sites are cleaned up when they are not, and that the company is transparent when, in reality, it maintains very tight control over every piece of information – deciding what to disclose and what to withhold.

Advocacy Group Tackles Oil Companies Over Spills (allAfrica)

Amnesty International – ‘Shell Must Come Clean On Niger Delta Oil Spills’ (Deutsche Welle/allAfrica)

Shell’s False Claims On Niger Delta Oil Spills Exposed (Amnesty International)

Other stuff:

Rich links: diamonds and bushmen in Botswana

As usual, the web’s most interesting reads:

Diamonds and Bushmen

Charity Survival International alleges that the government of Botswana systematically uses access to water as weapon to drive the country’s Bushmen out of their diamond rich reservation. The Independent

South Sudan plans allocation of new exploration blocks

The East African country will hold an auction to sell exploration licences to new oil blocks. If exploration proves successful, additional oil production could significantly enhance government income. Voice of America

Tullow Oil stops exploration in Kenya

After demonstrations in Kenya’s Turkana region by local communities demanding a greater share of jobs and higher income from Tullow’s operations, the British company has suspended all exploration activity in the area. Kenya hopes to significantly add to its natural resources portfolio with oil deposits currently appraised by Tullow. Sabahi | the Star | African Mining Brief

Zambia first cancels, then reinstates tax on unrefined copper exports

Only days Zambia has cancelled a 10% export tax on unrefined copper and other minerals, the country’s president Michael Sata has ordered his government to reintroduce the tax. Lifting the regulation had been a key demand of international mining firms, which argued that Zambia doesn’t have the necessary smelting capacity to process all ores in the country itself and that the additional tax would make operations uncompetitive. African Mining Brief

The future of Tanzania’s mining sector

Tanzania sports quite a wealth of various precious metals, gemstones, fossil fuels and other minerals. But falling gold prices and power challenges have made some investors weary. Mining Weekly | Daily News

Other stuff

  • How can African countries use their oil revenue for lasting development? the Guardian
  • Angola has opened a training centre for oil industry related professions: Mining Review
  • Women are breaking into the male dominated mining sector in Zimbabwe: IRIN

Rich Links: Nile politics and geothermal power

Some reading material for the weekend:

Egypt is the looser of a new era of Nile politics

Amid internal commotion and regional power shifts, Egypt’s historical dominance over the politics of the Nile catchment area has diminished. New King of the hill is Ethiopia, which has secured an alliance of upstream countries against the ‘colonial era’ treaties that govern the Nile’s waters. Monde Diplomatique

Exploitation of Western Sahara’s resources

The value of its resources are one of the main reasons for Morocco’s continued occupation of Western Sahara. The main piece of the puzzle is phosphate, with Western Sahara being the world’s largest producer of this essential mineral. Think Africa Press

Ethiopia’s geothermal plans

The East African country plans to become the major power exporter in the region, with work starting on a 1 GW geothermal plant, to the first stage of 20 MW going online in 2015. This in addition to the 6 GW Renaissance hydroelectric dam on the Nile river, which will also be finished around that date. Jeune Afrique (French)

Congo basin states sign agreement to protect timber

Six Central and West African states have signed the Brazzaville Declaration, a legally not binding agreement to take concerted action against illegal logging and smuggling of timber. Logging is one of the main economic activities in the Congo basin (the second largest rainforest system in the world) and illegal activities deprive the states of substantial income. Voice of America

Other stuff

  • The U.S. has expressed interest in taking part in the Congolese Inga 3 hydroelectric project on the Congo river: Jeune Afrique (French)
  • Nigeria has launched the Nigerian Geological Service Agency to further the diversification of its resource industry: African Mining Brief
  • Kenya will start giving out new mining licences in November: African Mining Brief
  • Decreased rainfall has led to a higher risk of conflicts over access to water in Tanzania: afrika.info (German)
  • Angola and the Congo (DR) are looking to extend the railway network between the two countries for the benefit of mineral exports: Jeune Afrique (French)

Rich links: Nile water diplomacy and copper corruption in the DRC

Again, lots of interesting stuff to read from around the internet:

Angola ends talks about a strategic partnership with Portugal

Disgruntled because of Portuguese investigations of high ranking government officials, Angolan president dos Santos has made clear that his country is no longer persuing a strategic partnership with its former colonizer. This is a heavy blow for Portugal which is still caught in the repercussions of the financial crisis and was hoping to profit from its ties with the African country. Especially the oil sector is of interest to Portuguese companies. allAfrica/Deutsche Welle

Sale of Congolese copper producer raises corruption concernas

Congolese government-owned mining company Gécamines is preparing to sell its stake in one of the countries largest copper producer, Kamoto Copper Company. It is unclear if Gécamines has notified the Congolese government of the deal, as is required by law. No details have been published, either by Gécamines, the government or Fleurette Group, the potential buyer. Fleurette is an offshore company tied to Dan Gertler, an Israeli businessman with a colourful reputation and long history in Congolese mining. Africa Progress Panel | Global Witness

Egypt renews its diplomatic offensive for control of Nile waters

Three Egyptian ministers will embark on a diplomatic tour de force through Nile basin countries to try and secure Egypt’s share of the Nile’s waters. Still based on colonial-era contracts, upstream countries like Ethiopia and Uganda are eager to change the current terms. Martin Plaut

International personnel returns to In Amenas

BP has confirmed that its international employees are set to return to In Amenas. The gas facility gained international notoriety when terrorists affiliated with Al Qaeda invaded the plant in January 2013. 37 hostages and 29 of the attackers were killed during a three day long siege and the subsequent assault by the army. Jeune Afrique

More short links:

 

Rich Links: Copper in Zambia, Gold in Darfur and more

As always, the best reads from around the ‘net:

Zambian copper project results in many disputes

An excellent article looks at the many controversies surrounding the Sentinel copper project in Zambia. Owner First Quantum Minerals is embroiled in land disputes, competing interpretation of mining and compensation law, as well as a governmental approach swaying between support and condemnation. Think Africa Press

A rare look at illegal oil refineries in Nigeria

The British Guardian provides insights into illegal refineries in the Niger Delta, where stolen crude oil is converted into Diesel under incredibly dangerous conditions for workers, communities and environment (including video). The Guardian

Detailed look at the future of East African oil

Many issues and challenges mentioned in this piece will sound familiar to observers of the East African oil business, but the article offers a nice and in-depth summary. Voice of America

Angola ends tax exemption of oil companies

The government has gazetted a law that applies consumption tax rates ranging from 5 to 10 per cent on activities of companies working in the oil sector. These were so far completely exempt from the tax that reaches rates of up to 30 per cent on luxury goods. This is Africa | Mining Review

Gold and violence in Darfur

A look at how government-supported gold mining activities contribute to increasing violence and a change of conflict dynamics in Darfur. The Guardian

Other stuff

  • Study forecasts continuing stagnation of the South African mining sector: African Mining Brief
  • The European Parliament has accepted a new Fishery treaty with Mauritania: Jeune Afrique
  • Uganda is looking to import Coal from Mozambique to develop local iron ore reserves: AllAfrica/New Vision
  • The European Union has lifted sanctions against Zimbabwe, allowing for diamond exports from its controversial Marange mine to resume: Mining Review
  • Thousands of people demonstrated against French mining giant Areva in the town of Arli, Niger: Jeune Afrique
  • Mozambique plans to finish its new natural gas legislation at the end of this year: Mining Review
  • Namibia plans to start exporting large quantities of cattle on the hoof to neighbour Angola: AllAfrica/New Era