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Old August 18th, 2006, 06:53 AM   #1
SE9
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African Business and Economy News

It seems as if the old thread has disappeared (I've searched for 15 minutes)

If anyone sees it, just bump it up, and I'll continue posting there.
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Old August 18th, 2006, 06:57 AM   #2
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'Doing Business' has released a report, ranking countries worldwide by 'best place to do business' (without regulations etc).

Of the African countries, the top-7 order goes:

1. South Africa
2. Namibia
3. Kenya
4. Zambia
5. Malawi
6. Mozambique
7. Zimbabwe.


(news article from a Kenyan perspective)


Quote:
Kenya best place to do business in E. Africa


Kenya has the most conducive environment for doing business in East Africa, according to Doing Business 2006, a new report released by the International Finance Corporation.

The country is ranked 68th out of the 155 countries in the listing ahead of Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania, which took positions 72, 139, and 140 respectively. Burundi is in position 143.

The listing shows that Kenya ranks third in Africa behind Namibia and South Africa and is closely followed by Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Five African countries – Congo, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad and Sudan are at the bottom of the list in that order.

The five countries that top the rankings are New Zealand, Singapore, the US, Canada and Norway in that order.

However, the publishers say having a high ranking does not mean that a country has no regulations. "Few would argue that it is every business for itself in New Zealand, that workers are abused in Canada or that creditors seize debtors’ assets without a fair process in the Netherlands," says the report.

And to protect the rights of creditors and investors, as well as establish or upgrade property and credit registries, more regulation is needed to have a high ranking.

The higher rankings also do not necessarily mean better regulation but are associated with better economic and social outcomes, says the report, singling out court procedures for resolving commercial disputes as a key influence on businesses.

But to ensure fair processes, some procedural requirements are necessary, and these may cause delays.

Likewise, there are trade-offs between job protection and labour market flexibility.

A high ranking on the ease of doing business, however, does mean that the government has created a regulatory environment conducive to business operations.

Often, improvements on the Doing Business indicators proxy for broader reforms, which affect more than the procedures, time and cost to comply with business regulation and the ease of access to credit.

Such improvements are also associated with an expanded reach of regulation, as simpler and less burdensome rules may entice informal businesses to join the formal sector.
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Old September 26th, 2006, 05:14 PM   #3
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Africa seeks $17-bn Indian investment

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A high-level African delegation, comprising of government officials and members of the industry, will visit India next month. The group will seek Indian investments to the tune of over $17 billion in 300-odd projects in Africa.

According to sources, the 350-member delegation will, apart from seeking investment, ask for technology support from India Inc in sectors like oil, infrastructure, telecom, agriculture, mining, education, construction, food-processing, IT (hardware and software) and healthcare—in 16 African countries.

Of the African countries keen to attract Indian investment, Togo tops the list with $4.62 billion, followed by South Africa ($4 billion), Ghana ($3.73 billion) and Nigeria ($2.6 billion), according to the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). The other countries wooing India Inc in a big way are Zambia ($1.31 billion) and Ethiopia ($580 million). Of the 281 projects worth of $11.26 billion discussed in two Indo-African conclaves last year, projects worth $323 million are under execution.

“The biggest problem faced by Indian exporters in Africa is delay in payment. Another problem is that except for South Africa, there is no regular shipping lines for other countries. Moreover, there is a lack of awareness about opportunities in that continent,” DG of Federation of Indian Exporters Organisation Ajay Sahai said. Said CII director (Africa) Shipra Tripathi, “Instability is limited to countries like Sudan, Ivory Coast and Congo. But the rest of Africa is peaceful. Countries like Botswana have a Standard and Poor’s credit ratings equivalent to some European nations. Besides, the return on investment in Africa is more.”

The government has instructed Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India to be liberal in extending insurance coverage to those trading in these countries. Besides, the Exim Bank has extended line of credit.
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Old September 27th, 2006, 05:35 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SE9
'Doing Business' has released a report, ranking countries worldwide by 'best place to do business' (without regulations etc).

Of the African countries, the top-7 order goes:

1. South Africa
2. Namibia
3. Kenya
4. Zambia
5. Malawi
6. Mozambique
7. Zimbabwe.


(news article from a Kenyan perspective)
I wonder why hey rank Zimbabwe 7th?
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Old October 5th, 2006, 06:37 PM   #5
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Beats me!




KenGen heads index of Africa's top 40 stocks
Publication Date: 10/5/2006


KenGen led African stocks in the weekly Africa 40 Stock Index published by Reuters.

The index, however, excludes South Africa regarded as the most advanced on the continent.

Also among the top five for the second week running was Kenya Airways, coming in third after KenGen and Telecom Egypt.

Methodology

Moroccan stocks, led by dairy firm Centrale Laitiere, were the main losers in the week ending September 28, according to Nex Rubica data released on Wednesday.

he table is based on the Nex-Rubica Africa 40 Index of African equities.

The index stood at 1,275.78 on September 28, after hitting an intraweek high of 1,280.12 on September 22. It ended the previous week to September 21 at 1,280.12.

The Nex-Rubica methodology ranks shares with a minimum market capitalisation of $500 million (Sh36.5 billion) and a free float of greater than 25 per cent within each issuer.

It is a free float adjusted, market capitalisation-weighted index that aims to capture over 50 per cent of the (publicly available) total market capitalisation of stocks on the continent.

It applies cross-ownership and local legal restriction screens to stocks with a market cap greater than one per cent of each country's total.

Component companies are adjusted for available float, unavailable strategic shareholdings and limitations to foreign ownership.

Reuters
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Old October 11th, 2006, 11:40 AM   #6
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Foreign Reserve Now Above $40bn

From Kunle Aderinokun in Abuja, 10.11.2006


Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof Charles Soludo, yesterday disclosed that the country’s external reserves is now above $40 billion.
But Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is not very comfortable with the news saying, rather than accumulate reserves and keep them in foreign accounts, the Federal Government should release the monies to the three tiers of government for developmental projects and programmes that would pull the ordinary people out of poverty.
Speaking at the 36th Annual Conference of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Soludo said the nation’s external reserves net over $40 billion, even after the payment of over $30 billion foreign debt to exit the Paris Club of creditors.
He also said Nigerian banks are now becoming stronger and are now receiving inflows from foreign banks.

“When we started the reforms, none of them was in the top 1000 in the world. As at the end of last year, nine of them are now in and I tell you, by the end of this year when they now take into account the new capital bases of these banks, my prediction is that no less than 15 of them would be in.
“We are not looking at top 1000. Our goal is not the top 1000, we are looking at the top 50 to 100, and I believe this economy has the capacity to get there.
The deposits in the banking system have actually more than tripled from last year to now. All those who predicted doom, I think they better look at the numbers and see that the Nigerian banking system has turned the corner. There is no better time to invest in the economy than now.
“FDIs in Nigeria is on the surge particularly for tenor inflows. We now discovered that all the Federal Government bond issued, all the instruments are now heavily oversubscribed.
Foreign investors are investing in Nigerian instruments massively to an extent that we are even beginning to worry a little bit about over exposure. Historically, every country that has received 5 percent of its GDP per annum in foreign investments, consistently for a long period of time, has invariably suffered from one financial crisis or the other at some point. And so we are watching the development. This is principally because the returns on investment in the country are actually one of the highest in the world”, Soludo said.
However, the apex bank boss canvassed for the establishment of commercial courts that would deal with commercial banks’ disputes, especially as it relates to loan default.
He disclosed that President Olusegun Obasanjo would next week convene a special meeting that will seek on the way to establish such.
According to him, “commercial courts that will actually be dedicated to dealing with nothing but commercial issues. When a bank gives you a loan and you refuse to pay, they don’t take you to the same court that tries murder cases etc… We need commercial courts and the President is convening a special meeting on this next Tuesday because justice delayed is justice denied.”
Meanwhile, Governor Tinubu who spoke on “Economic Development and Empowerment: Public and Private Sector Initiatives”, during the Plenary Session at the ICAN conference, totally disagreed with the policy of piling up external reserves at the expense of some Nigerians whom he said are “wallowing in poverty.”
He said: “I want to disagree with the CBN Governor, Professor Charles Soludo, on the issue of reserves. Don’t lock up the money in reserves, spend it. Let’s spend our way out of poverty. The Federal Government should stop being the store keeper without the inventory card.”
He said there should not be anything called excess revenue saying all monies realised should be accounted for, in the spirit of transparency and accountability. If you are talking about transparency and accountability, you must talk correctly. You must practice what you preach.”
On the recent performance of the National Economy and the impact on Nigerians, Tinubu said the economic indices reeled by the Federal Government, even though portray positive economic situation, ordinary Nigerians are not feeling the positive impact as they are still groaning in hardship.
“The news from official federal sources, including Mr. President’s recent national day broadcast is that the various economic indices point to a considerable remarkable economic recovery, which is projected to be further strengthened and deepened by the plethora of projects in the pipeline.
“There is no denying that there has been some progress in the last seven years. Oil price have been at sustained high and often record levels for much of the period”, he said.
“Clearly, there need to be greater involvement in the economy by the people. The key empowerment for people comes in the form of jobs. Therefore, unless and until the economic initiatives undertaken by government create substantial new jobs in addition to retaining existing ones (in the public and/or private sector), people will feel left out, and unconvinced of the benefits of the ongoing economic programme, no matter the rosy picture that the statistics may paint”, he added.
In her keynote address, ICAN President, Dr. (Mrs.) Catherine Okparaeke said the institute was delighted by the ongoing economic reform programme and its successes.
According to her, “we note with delight and indeed, commend the remarkable progress so far made particularly with the revolution in the telecommunication industry, the debt forgiveness, the consolidation in the banking sector, the introduction of the due process mechanism, the growth in external reserves, the first ever national investment and risk rating, the privatisation of public sector parastatals, the trend towards the professionalism of the public service, the creation of SEVICOM, the cassava revolution , the anti-corruption crusade, the war against financial crimes, the shift of emphasis from oil to solid minerals.”


PS: WHAT DO YOU THINK? SHOULD NIGERIA´S FOREIGN RESERVES BE SPENT OR KEPT FOR HARD TIMES?
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Old October 11th, 2006, 05:44 PM   #7
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Better Invest it in industrialization and education... that would do well for the country. But definitely not in luxurious projects or non-development expenditure.

Nigeria has lots of oil. It doesnt need that much of foriegn reserves. Now it is the right time to its industry and balance/diversify its revenues.
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Old October 12th, 2006, 12:11 AM   #8
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kboy, I think that Nigeria´s foreign reserves are OK. at first glance but small for a country the size of Nigeria. If Angola, Namibia, Gabon, Botswana, Mauritius etc. had more than 40$ billion dollars in foreign exchange reserves, it would be a true bonanza for those countries, but for countries such as Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa or Lybia 40$ bn is nothing more than a drop in the ocean, honestly said. Just look at the massive foreign exchange reserves of Russia, India or not to speak of China or the GCC countries.......
Personally, I think that Nigeria has done good for the first time in history to build up foreign reserves instead of spending it senselessly on stupid so-called "white elephant" projects. It should continue to build up foreign exchange reserves, when Nigeria transcends the $150bn or $200 bn dollar mark, Nigeria´s economic weight on the world stage will increase tremendously.... but that is still a long way to go......
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Old October 12th, 2006, 12:20 AM   #9
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Correction: (...)but for countries such as Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa or Lybia 40$ bn is nothing more than a drop in the ocean(...)"

Take out Lybia, and reduce it to the Three Big Ones: South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt! so the sentence should be:" If Angola, Namibia, Gabon, Botswana, Mauritius etc. had more than 40$ billion dollars in foreign exchange reserves, it would be a true bonanza for those countries, but for countries such as Egypt, Nigeria or South Africa 40$ bn is nothing more than a drop in the ocean, honestly said."
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Old October 12th, 2006, 12:21 AM   #10
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well said
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Old October 12th, 2006, 10:11 AM   #11
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Do you really know of the huge amount of debts of Russia,China and even the US?

I agree spending senselessly is a waste of resources. But what i suggested was concrete steps to get the basics right. I mean all the 3 countries i have mentioned take huge amounts of loans to get the infrastructure and education strong. These things pay in the long run.

You might check it out on the net on the debts of these countries.

Actually what makes 3rd world countries so poor (relatively to developed countries) is the fact that they spend the loan money on non productive sectors. Like billions is spent on so called 'powerty reduction' on the advise of IMF and WORLD BANK. Most of it goes into complete waste and there is no powerty reduction whatsoever.

Actually i consider these institutions to be front end tools of big nations. First they convince you that they are lending you money to help you, then dictate on how to spend the money. Once the country becomes overburdened with debt.. there is no way out... and the cycle begins. You borrow more money just to pay of interest/installmenst of the previous debt and that country is ruined forever and is bound to bow to every demand of these 'super powers'.
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Old October 12th, 2006, 01:17 PM   #12
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All Libyan pupils to get laptop and web access

· Project pledges 1.2m hand-powered machines
· Gadafy's son aims to set up first 'e-democracy'

Brian Whitaker, Middle East editor
Thursday October 12, 2006
The Guardian


Libya could become the first country to provide every school-age child with a laptop computer and internet connection under a scheme supported by the UN Development Programme.
In a £134m deal with One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), an American non-profit group, Libya will acquire 1.2m computers with internet connection.

The deal, reported by the New York Times yesterday, follows a visit by computer scientist Nicholas Negroponte to Colonel Muammar Gadafy last August.

Mr Negroponte, who founded the Media Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is chairman of OLPC, which aims to provide laptops for children in developing countries that cost $100 (£54) each. The specially designed laptops will have a rugged case and a sealed rubber keyboard to keep out dust and water.

In an effort to eliminate the parts most likely to go wrong, the designers have dispensed with a cooling fan and replaced the conventional hard disc with a flash drive.
Col Gadafy's son, Saif al-Islam, has talked of turning the country into the first "e-democracy", with citizens participating electronically in government decision-making.

Last August, Saif al-Islam - who is regarded as a likely successor to his father - spoke of wiring-up the country with optical fibres, mobile networks and computers in every home to provide "electronic government" where Libyans can interact with officialdom.

OLPC has also reached tentative purchase agreements with Argentina, Brazil, Nigeria and Thailand.

In his meeting with Col Gadafy, Mr Negroponte discussed the possibility that Libya might fund laptops for poorer African countries such as Chad, Niger and Rwanda, according to the New York Times.

It is possible that Libya will become the first country in the world where all school-age children are connected to the internet through educational computers, he told the newspaper. "The US and Singapore are not even close," he said.

Test versions of the computers will be distributed to the participating countries in November, with mass production by the Taiwanese manufacturer Quanta expected to begin next year.

These computers will rely on free software, such as Linux rather than Microsoft's Windows to keep costs down.

They will also need about 10% of the power of normal laptops, OLPC says. "The power supply is tolerant of almost any voltage you might have at hand for charging, either from a human powered generator or a car or truck battery ... under typical use, the computer should last the entire school day without requiring charging.

"Our goal is to provide children around the world with new opportunities to explore, experiment, and express themselves.

"Laptops are both a window and a tool: a window into the world and a tool with which to think."

OLPC was initially funded by technology companies, including Google and eBay, but Intel and Microsoft have been sceptical about the project.
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Old October 12th, 2006, 02:02 PM   #13
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kbboy, russia has very small debt and china is much smaller in percentage to gdp.
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Old October 12th, 2006, 11:43 PM   #14
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The Inga Dam which is currently under construction in Congo, has the potential of producing a whooping 39,000 megawatts of electricity, Nigeria which already has a couple of projects like the mambilla scheduled for completion next year is intrested in the Inga Dam, Nigeria which as been supplying 98% of Niger's electricity demands for 40 years is familiar with the power pool concept, Nigeria is also planning on building a transmisiion line from Congo to Nigeria and from Nigeria to the Benin republic and Ivory Coast, and potentially even to Burkina Faso, Congo has a huge Hydro-electric potential it's Government are keen to provide partsof Central Africa na dwest Africa with electricity in turn for money
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Old October 13th, 2006, 07:21 AM   #15
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Rwanda's expansion will slow to 6% - central bank October 12, 2006

By Arthur Asiimwe

Kigali - Rwanda's economy would grow by 6 percent this year, easing from 6.5 percent year on year because of drought conditions hampering the agricultural sector, central bank governor Francois Kanimba said yesterday.

"Agriculture performance has almost declined by 3 percent due to poor rains, but the manufacturing and service sectors will grow by over 10 percent this year."

Rwanda registered 6.5 percent growth in gross domestic product (GDP) last year, riding mainly on improved coffee prices on the international market and better rains.

For the past five years Rwanda's economy has grown at an average rate of 7 percent.

But a two-year energy crisis has started to take its toll and drought in parts of Rwanda's eastern and southern provinces have hit the agricultural sector, which contributes up to 45 percent of GDP.

Exports grew by 9 percent in the first eight months of the year compared with the same period in 2005 as increased coffee and tea volumes fetched higher prices.

Rwanda's coffee industry is expected to earn $50 million (R385 million) this year and tea $38 million. Other growth areas in the economy include beer production, construction, tourism and telecommunications.

But food shortages and persistent energy crises drove inflation up to 9.2 percent this year from 7 percent last year, Kanimba said. "Prices of food items have been hiking on a daily basis."

Rwanda's banks, laden with non-performing loans stemming from the country's 1994 genocide, were steadily recovering because of a new wave of banking sector reforms, he said.

Non-performing loans had fallen to 22 percent this year from 40 percent in 2003, thanks to information sharing about bad borrowers among commercial banks.

By the end of the year, minimum share capital for existing and new commercial banks will be raised to $7.2 million from $2.7 million to boost competitiveness.

"Those that fail to adhere to this new regulation will be obliged to merge or close," Kanimba said.

The central bank would introduce a capital market next year for long-term bonds capable of financing bigger companies and the government. - Reuters
http://www.busrep.co.za/index.php?fA...604&fSetId=662
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Old October 13th, 2006, 07:25 AM   #16
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Firm discovers more oil in Uganda
Posted Thu, 12 Oct 2006

Kampala - Tullow oil and Heritage Oil, partners in exploration area 3A, expect up to 500 million barrels of oil at the Kingfisher well in Hoima, Uganda.

“Based on the success of the well to date, Tullow oil and its partner Heritage Oil, hope to find up to 500 million barrels of oil,” Tom Hickey, Tullow’s chief financial officer, said.

The company announced that the joint venture had found oil and gas after drilling just 2 000m of the projected 4 000m.

“Discovery of oil and gas at this point justifies the group’s decision to target Uganda, which has been relatively unexplored.

Hickey stressed that the positive signs would have no direct bearing on what the group may encounter at 4 000m.

“But based on the current indications, Tullow and Heritage are hoping to discover a well containing up to 500 million barrels of oil,” Hickey said.

He said if the well delivers the expected amount, this would double Tullow’s total oil reserves overnight and add significantly to its revenue stream and earning potential in the years ahead.

The group’s shares have already shot up by 4.8 percent after the find.

The joint venture would carry out tests to establish whether the oil could flow out of the ground, its quality and quantity.

This would start within a month at four levels. It was scheduled to take up to three weeks.

Meanwhile, Hardman resources, which was exploring block 2 with Tullow, released said on Wednesday that they had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ugandan government, relating to the investment plans for exploration area 2, where they recently found huge volumes of commercially exploitable oil.

The memorandum includes commitments by the joint venture partners and the government to advance appraisal and development activities to realise the full potential of discoveries on block 2 and provide time to explore the rest of the block.

According to the statement signed by Simon Potter, the chief executive officer, the next oil well to be explored in November would be Nzizi, to the south of Mputa-1.

The joint venture would also undertake further studies to ascertain the volume of the existing discoveries as well as explore the northern area of the block to identify prospects for drilling in 2007 and 2008.

They would also evaluate the most effective manner to drill offshore prospects around Lake Albert by the end of 2007. -AND
http://www.businessinafrica.net/news...ica/276123.htm
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Old October 13th, 2006, 07:52 PM   #17
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Grand plan for wealth

A national plan to make Kenya as wealthy as the rising stars of the Far East like Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia was unveiled yesterday.



The strategy targets an annual growth rate of 10 per cent for the next 25 years, which would see individual incomes rise more than six times over from the current Sh33,120 a year to Sh220,680 a year.

In addition the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – an indicator of the nation's wealth – would grow from Sh1,123 billion a year to Sh12,168 billion.

The plan – called Kenya Vision 2030, Transforming National Development and led by the National Economic and Social Council – is to be launched by President Kibaki on October 26.

It is based on the premise that the so-called Asian Tigers of Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia were at the same stage of development as Kenya was 30 years ago, yet catapulted themselves to industrialised and modern economies within a generation.

The project will be spearheaded by a national steering committee chaired by the President and comprising members of the National Economic and Social Council. It will be the main decision-making team of the Vision 2030 project and will meet every four to six weeks.

Vision 2030 committee

Implementation will be handled by a committee chaired by the head of the public service and made up of permanent secretaries from key ministries, meeting every three to four weeks. It will be supported by a core technical team of key managers from the public sector backed by external experts to be hired as required. It will meet continuously.

Support for the project will be provided by a ministerial Vision 2030 committee of five-seven Cabinet ministers and it will be managed on a daily basis by a project director. Already, the council has interviewed several candidates and has evaluated bids from leading international consulting teams, some with experience in the programmes that transformed Singapore and Malaysia.

The plan was unveiled to media owners and editors at Nairobi's Grand Regency hotel yesterday by, among others, Civil Service head Francis Muthaura, Planning permanent secretary Edward Sambili and Dr Wahome Gakuru, director of the National Economic and Social Council.

Mr Muthaura said Kenya has in the past had two long -term policies and several five-year development plans that had guided planning and investment.

The first was Sessional Paper No 10 of 1965 on African Socialism and Its Application to Planning in Kenya, and the second was the Sessional Paper No 1 of 1986: Economic Planning Management for Renewed Growth.

These attempted to confront the country’s most entrenched problems by charting a vision of how development would tackle them.

While the economy grew by an average of six per cent over 1964-1980 and 4.1 per cent over 1980-1990, the period 1990-2002 saw a fall in individual incomes with GDP growth of 1.9 per cent against a population growth of 2.9 per cent.

Mr Muthaura said since 2003 Kenya had made a tremendous effort to get the economy back on track, with a growth in the GDP of 5.8 per cent last year.

He said: "The challenge we now have is to consolidate this growth rate and increase it in the long term to make Kenya a middle-income country with high standards of living,"

While Kenya fared well when compared to other sub-Saharan Africa countries, it performed poorly compared to Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand that 35 years ago were at the same stage of development as Kenya. Indonesia was another example of a country that had prospered.

Mr Muthaura said: "These countries have a number of things in common, the most spectacular of which are the strategic visions they formulated and implemented. These visions defined their long-term and and short-term agendas on development priorities."

In these countries, the implementation of their visions was not distracted by changing donor priorities.

Dr Sambili said the Government recognised the vital role the media played in national development, and hence the need to involve it in the vision.

Politics of the day

Mr Wangethi Mwangi, group editorial director of Nation Media Group asked what plans would be put in place to insulate the strategy from the politics of the day, since the General Election was just 15 months away.

He also wanted to know how the vision was going to survive a political transition, given that new governments usually come to office with their own economic agendas.

Mr Muthaura replied that the strategy would be of such high quality that it would be almost universally acceptable and difficult to challenge, even by an new incoming government of a different political complexion.

Industrialist Manu Chandaria said politics should be removed from Vision 2030, adding that economic growth transcended political leanings.

For all Kenyans

Another industrialist, Mr Chris Kirubi, said the vision was not a strategy for political parties, but for all Kenyans.

The media had an important role in galvanising Kenyans to support Vision 2030 because it would ultimately benefit them.

The chairman of Nairobi Stock Exchange, Mr Jimnah Mbaru, asked the media to look at Vision 2030 as an institution like the Bourse, which would always be there regardless of the government in power. No country in the world had ever developed without a clear vision, he said.

Dr Gakuru of the National Economic and Social Council said Kenya's flag and national anthem were two critical galvanising forces for all Kenyans

While the flag reminds us of our common heritage, the anthem gave us a proper moral foundation and commitment.
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Old October 14th, 2006, 10:40 AM   #18
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Quote:
Nigeria: I Regret Nigeria's Wasted Technological Years - Obasanjo

This Day (Lagos)

October 13, 2006
Posted to the web October 13, 2006

Ahamefula Ogbu
Port Harcourt

President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday expressed regret that considering its capacities before his government took over power, Nigeria has a technological and developmental wasted pasts, due to the systemic rot which pervaded all strata of state enterprise.

He said the Federal Government would in pursuit of its advancing tertiary health system, complete the remaining block in the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital next year, as contained in the 2007 budget.

He urged all players in the oil and gas industry to press for 45 per cent local content by the end of this year, and aim for 75 percent by 2010, which he insisted was achievable.

Obasanjo, who spoke in Port Harcourt, at the re-inauguration of the Eleme Petrochemical Complex, expressed sadness that though Nigeria had the capacity to do what it was doing currently in the past, such opportunities were never taken advantage of, and called Nigerians to brace up to cover the lost time.

He said the event was a vindication of his trips abroad to look for foreign investors, pointing out that it was at one of such trips that he met core investor in the company, Indorama, which has finally turned around the company into a viable productive venture.

According to him, he invited the Indonesian firm, which he had promised a conducive investment climate, and enthused that he was right, since the move has within 12 months, turned around a company which had been moribund for over 10 years.

"In an occasion like this, the feeling that comes to me is that of a mixed feeling, because when I remember the past, it reminds me and should remind you of the wasted past. That we can do it should rekindle in us a feeling of hope, a feeling of pride of what Nigerians can achieve," he said.

"Today's even is another milestone to vindicate our desire for industrial growth. While it is not time to lament our past, we are proving that with a well thought out development and production plan, we can advance", he said.

He charged the company to spread the news that Nigeria was safe for investment and promised a good return on their investments. He advised the company to go into other areas of production which are in the same chain with what the complex produces.

Rather than complain that they would have done better in National Fertilizer Company of Nigeria (NAFCON), he asked the company to push for optimal production and expansion which may then include setting up a fertilizer plant with which they can run NAFCON out of business.

According to him, he would like to see Indorama go into the oil and gas sector which was an offshoot of the plant by increasing in related capacities.

President Obasanjo directed the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to buy into the Petrochemical Company just like the Rivers State government has done, adding that they had a stake which they should consolidate in the company.

Speaking at the occasion, Governor Peter Odili of Rivers State told the President that following his advice on wise investment, he acquired 10 percent of the shares of the company and expressed happiness that it was a rewarding investment.

In his welcome address, Chairman of Indorama, Mr. Sri Prakash Lohia said they would employ over 13,000 people in the complex and have as at present, a manufacturing capacity of 25,000 tons of petrochemical products daily which is nearing full capacity but regretted that supply of gas was posing a problem to them.

He said they aim to place Nigeria as a major petrochemical hub in the African continent as they aim to ear over $400 million in foreign exchange from their products.

Director General of the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mrs. Irene Chigbue traced the path of Indorama taking over the complex, saying that they paid the $225 million price for the complex in addition to another $80million used for the turn around maintenance of the facility.

Managing Director of NNPC, Engineer Funsho Kupolokun said selling the complex to Indorama was a good deal as the taking over of the company was with a zero job loss since 300 of those engaged there went back to the NNPC while another three hundred were still on secondment to the company.

The President later commissioned the UPTH where he said that his administration hopes to complete most projects they have started in the health institution before its exit date since he regarded the sector as being germane to the immediate needs of the country.

He advised the hospital to imbibe good maintenance culture so that they would prolong the lifespan of the machines in the hospital which he described as sophisticated and expensive.

He later commissioned an all made in Nigeria oil platform at Ogbogoro where he charged the Chevron/NNPC Joint Venture which is behind the feat to press harder for increase in local content.

President Obasanjo said that when he directed for the target of local content before a certain date, some people laughed at his projections which he said has been met and almost surpassed.

He later commissioned the Meji Riser platform which weighs 525 metric tones and charged the Transcoastal-Waos Fabrication Yard which handled the construction to try to build something bigger since they have the capacity to build 100,000 metric tones weight.
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Old October 15th, 2006, 03:50 PM   #19
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Efroze Chemical Industries has announced it will set up a pharmaceutical plant, and marketing and exporting firm in Sudan in the next three years.

The House of Medicine Sudan and Efroze Chemical Industries signed a Memorandum of Understanding recently aimed at establishing an elite pharmaceutical manufacturing company which would provide life-saving medicines and drugs to poverty-stricken African countries.

Efroze, which started export operations in 1992, is contributing $1 million to the country’s exports.

New markets explored by the company were Myanmar, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Singapore in the Far East and Kenya, Nigeria and Sudan in Africa.

Efroze has entered into lucrative markets of Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, the Russian Federation, Ukraine and Belarus and by 2003 it had exported its products to 20 countries with over 200 registrations.
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Old October 15th, 2006, 03:52 PM   #20
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Sudan now Africa's third largest oil producer (11/10/06)
Sudan, which only started exporting oil in 1999, during this year has become sub-Saharan Africa's third largest oil producer, only surpassed by Nigeria and Angola.




Peace between the North and South has enabled Sudan to produce around 400,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) of crude oil by now, with government plans to increase this to 600,000 bbl/d by the end of the year. With large undeveloped fields, exports are set to boom.

New statistics presented by US state agencies today indicate that Sudan already has become a bigger oil producer than Equatorial Guinea (330,000 bbl/d), Congo Brazzaville (244,000 bbl/d) and Gabon (237,000 bbl/d) - countries that have shifted on holding sub-Saharan Africa's third place among oil producers during the last decade.

Only Nigeria (2.2 million bbl/d) and Angola (1.4 million bbl/d) produce more oil in sub-Saharan Africa.

Also in a North African context, Sudan's oil production is becoming significant. Algeria is estimated to have an oil production of around 2.1 million bbl/d, including condensates and natural gas plant liquids, while Libya's oil production is around 1.8 million bbl/d - both countries experiencing rapid production growth. Meanwhile, the Egyptian oil production is currently estimated at 579,000 bbl/d, being on a downwards trend since the mid-1990s. Sudan will soon surpass its northern neighbour.

By conservative estimates, Sudan's current oil production is at 382,000 bbl/d, according to figures from the US agency Energy Information Administration (EIA). In 2005, Sudan's crude oil production had averaged 363,000 bbl/d, and rapid growth was registered. It is therefore possible that the Sudanese oil production already has hit the 400,000 bbl/d threshold, sources indicate.

Numbers on Sudanese oil production always are insecure as the Khartoum government and major oil companies operating in the country avoid publicity and do not hand out complete data. Oil production in Sudan is a sensitive issue due to US sanctions against the country and "genocide complicity" allegations against oil companies involved there made by US courts.

Sudan only started producing and exporting oil in July 1999, with the completion of an export pipeline that runs from central Sudan to the Red Sea port of Bashair. North American and European companies have been strongly discouraged from taking part in Sudan's oil adventure - especially by Washington - leaving Sudan open to Chinese, Indian and Malaysian investors. China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), India's Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Malaysia's Petronas are now the biggest players in Sudan's oil sector.

According to the 'Oil and Gas Journal', Sudan contained proven conventional reserves of 563 million barrels in January 2006, which is more than twice the proven estimates of 2001. The Sudanese Energy Ministry estimates total oil reserves at five billion barrels. Exploration efforts have so far covered only a few parts of the country.

Due to civil conflict, oil exploration has been mostly limited to the central and south-central regions of Sudan. Production is centred on the areas bordering the Khartoum-held north and the autonomous government of South Sudan, a region that finally has found peace and thus allows for stable oil production and investments at a larger level.

But the Chinese also operate larger oil fields between the regions of Kordofan and Darfur - both under Khartoum's control - which are close to the Darfur conflict area. Sudanese sources estimate that Darfur and Kordofan may be the areas richest in oil in the entire country. It is further estimated that vast potential reserves are held in the desert regions of north-western Sudan, the Blue Nile Basin, and the Red Sea area in eastern Sudan.

The expansion of the Sudanese oil production is going very quickly, with major investments flowing into the country from Hina's CNPCs. According to local sources, it is the large and controversial concession of Block 6 that is currently experiencing the largest Chinese investments. Block 6 is partly located in Darfur. During the last few months, CNPC has been able to increase the production on Block 6 from 10,000 to 40,000 bbl/d.

With the large increases on Block 6 - but also in South Sudan, where North American oil companies meanwhile are able to participate - Sudan's oil production by now probably already is at around 420,000 bbl/d. Khartoum is therefore on a steady road to reach the production target of 600,000 bbl/d it has set for the end of 2006.

Khartoum and the autonomous government of South Sudan - which have signed a revenue-sharing deal on oil production in the south - can make good use of the booming incomes. Since November 2005, oil revenues have streamed into the empty pockets of the South Sudan government, which is in the process of establishing entirely new state structures in a vast region plagued by warfare for over two decades. Revenues are to help finance rebuilding of health and education services.

Also the Khartoum government strongly needs these extra revenues, especially as Western countries increasingly have isolated Sudan. Despite sanctions against Khartoum, the country's GDP grew by 6.4 percent in 2005 and is expected to grow 5.7 percent in 2006, mainly driven by the oil industry. Currently, 70 percent of Sudan's total export revenues come from oil exports, according to EIA.
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