A poor man’s travel agency

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Interesting opinion piece on the European Union's unhealthy fixation on "smugglers":

But smugglers are in most cases merely the “poor man’s” agent; a deregulated, brazen, relatively cheap and lucrative travel agency for refugees and people sans papiers. Unseaworthy vessels, bought by smugglers for a one-time use, sink and capsize whether they are overcrowded or not, whether a Mare Nostrum is there to intervene at the last minute or not. If the EU actually wanted to save lives, they could donate their fleet of FRONTEX ships to the smugglers—instead of indulging in false indignation and a predictable humanitarianism that proverbially always arrives too late.

Be sure to click through some of the (very interesting) links.

Source: The people smugglers of the Mediterranean | Africa is a Country

European Union set to adopt incredibly weak conflict minerals code

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From Africa Confidential:

The EU's legislation sets up a self-certification system. It will require large companies with more than 500 employees to disclose information on supply-chain due diligence. It will establish an approved list of 'responsible' smelters and refiners which can assure transparency and certainty to downstream companies as to the ethical origins of the minerals. The new system will only come into force after a transitional two-year period in order to allow time to set up a third-party audit system and for importers to become familiar with their obligations.

In my opinion every "voluntary" regulation is not worth the paper its written on. Due diligence should be a matter of course, be it when it comes to conflict minerals or social and environmental protection standards. That the E.U. is buckling before the before the lobbyists in this regard is shameful.

Source: EU adopts 'weak' code | Article | Africa Confidential

Fatou Diome on immigration: “We will all be rich together, or perish together”

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Some hard truths, eloquently presented by writer Fatou Diome. You should follow the link and watch the whole video (in French) or read the partial translation. This is the money quote:

And the Schengen visa that you speak of – You will let me finish!—this via gives me the opportunity to be invited to give talks in your universities if you find my brains convenient and profitable, but it bothers you that my brother, who may not have the degrees that I have, but who may want to maybe come to Europe and work in construction, that idea makes your countries schizophrenic. You cannot divide the migrants between the useful ones and the poisonous ones.


Stop the hypocrisy. We will all be rich together, or perish together.

Source: That moment when Senegalese writer Fatou Diome kicked European Union butt | Africa is a Country

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