Will 'Power Africa' Help Grow Sustainable Energy?
"While recognising the role that this emerging initiative plays in elevating U.S. dialogue with Africa, a valid question could be asked about the extent to which it contributes to sustainable energy alternatives in Africa."
Sh*T the EFF will do: Ban genetically modified organisms
"Strange as it may seem, the use of GMOs has never properly been debated in South Africa, mostly because there always seemed to be something more urgent to print on a t-shirt."
Kenyan leader orders seizure of coastal zone
"Kenyatta said the vast coastal zone, nearly the size of Luxembourg and located around a proposed multi-billion dollar port area, had been stolen, fuelling a wave of massacres."
With Rio Tinto’s humiliating exit, a degree of sanity returns to mining in Mozambique
"The mining giant is exiting Mozambique with a massive hole in its balance sheet – and its tail between its legs."
The winners of the platinum strike in South Africa
"While one could properly quantify the losses and the meagre, almost negligible, economic benefits of Amcu’s exercise, the extra-financial gains are weightier and more significant. The answer to the question ‘who won’ requires some digression."
Ghana's Takoradi and Its Uneasy Affair With Oil
"When the oil began to gush, Ghana was determined to avoid the 'resource curse.' But the prosperity many had hoped for in the coastal city of Sekondi-Takoradi has so far trickled down to just a tiny minority."
Platinum future in South Africa: Provide dignity, prevent strikes
"The strike is over. The workers got decent increases, but if non-wage related issues such as housing aren’t dealt with, we’re due to see continued strike action and militancy in the mining sector."
Le directeur général de la Gécamines révoqué pour "manquements graves"
"Durant une conférence de presse tenue conjointement avec Makhtar Diop, vice-président de la Banque mondiale, Augustin Matata Ponyo, Premier ministre de la RD Congo a déclaré qu'"un audit a été réalisé d'une manière totalement professionnelle et, devant le conseil d'administration de la Gécamines, de graves erreurs de gouvernance ont été reconnus par la direction [de l'entreprise]"."
Oil Lubricates Equatorial Guinea's Entry Into Portuguese Language Community
"Evidently, oil talked louder. By unanimous resolution, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) admitted Equatorial Guinea as a full member, in spite of the CPLP's ban on dictatorial regimes and the death penalty."
Rich Links: Rising Cocoa Prices and Shadowy Oil Deals
Le cacao grimpe à son plus haut niveau en trois ans
"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."
South African Mining: What an Iraqi in Norway can teach us all
"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."
Sub-Saharan Africa's Biggest Oil Producers in Shadowy Deals With Swiss Commodity Traders
"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."
Rosewood plunder in #Guinea-Bissau
"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)."
#Uganda to Review #Mining Laws
"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."
Will China Be Buying African Rice?
"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."
A Sweet Outlook for #Cocoa Investors
"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."
Abidjan veut passer aux "diamants du développement"
"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."
Kenya: Extractives Industry Cautioned Over Transfer Pricing
"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."
Southeastern #Tanzania, 2050: Texas, Dubai, Cabinda, or Makondeland?
"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, #Egypt and #Sudan resume talks over Nile dam
"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
Why #Tanzania Needs to Be Careful about Gas Revenues
"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:"
#Kenya: Firms to Get Mining Licences Within 90 Days
"Mining prospectors will be able to apply for licences online and get feedback within 90 days, according to new amendments to the Mining Bill."
South Sudan draws up ‘War Budget’, but oil production targets unlikely to be reached
"By the evidence of South Sudan’s budget, presented to parliament in late June, the country’s finance ministry has lost its mind."
#Norway Offers Oil Advice to #Ghana
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.
#SouthAfrica Launches One of #Africa's Biggest Wind Farms
"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."
#Ethiopia's Nile dam project signals its intention to become an African power
"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."
Tullow Oil strikes 4th dry well, will leave #Ethiopia
"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: International Cotton Prices Continue to Tumble
"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."
#Rwanda: New #Mining Law Targets Large Scale Investors
"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
Leaked World Bank emails reveal plans to ease loan requirements
"Ana Revenga, the bank's vice-president for poverty reduction, says in one of the emails: "It might appear that the bank is interested in lending more, hence lowering standards … [It] would likely entail an increase in the number of problem projects and cancellations."
Are electricity tariffs in #Nigeria really the lowest in Africa?
Rioters destroy Arcelor Mittal facilities in #Liberia, hold staff hostage
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
- The dark side of Kenya's oil, gas discoveries | African Mining Brief
- How gold has fueled war in Congo | African Mining Brief
- Mozambique: Government Plans to Renegotiate Fishing Agreement | allAfrica
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)
- UK Lead On Oil and Mining Transparency Law Sends Strong Signal to U.S. (Global Witness/allAfrica)
- South Africa: Nation Uses Biogas to Turn Waste Into Power (Voice of America/allAfrica)
- Zambia president threatens to shelve Konkola Copper’s licence over job layoffs (African Mining Brief)
- South Africa ready to issue fracking licenses (This is Africa)
- Tanzania publishes new rules for oil and gas companies (This is Africa)
- Maghreb, Europe Talk Green Energy Deals (Magharebia/allAfrica)
- Kenya: Tullow to Resume Kenya Operations Friday (CapitalFM/allAfrica)
- Investment Is Key to West Africa Renewable Energy Scheme (Voice of America/allAfrica)
- EU May Help Mineral Exporters From Eastern Congo (Voice of America/allAfrica)
- Africa: The Clean Energy Voyage (United Nations Environment Program/allAfrica)
- Rio Tinto admits Mozambique concerns (BBC)
- Nigeria: Jonathan sees reforming electricity supply as the key to re-election (African Arguments)
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
- 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
- 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:
- An in-depth look at the importance of oil for Chadian politics: allAfrica/DeutscheWelle
- Nigerian rebel group claims responsibility for oil spills: allAfrica/This Day
- Ghana releases annual oil and gas report: allAfrica/Government of Ghana
- Oil companies are finding it harder to justify investment in Libya due to insecurity: This is Africa
- Kenya is set to pass a bill benefiting artisan miners: African Mining Brief
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
- 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