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Old August 30th, 2019, 01:48 PM   #441
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Aug 29, 2019
From Yemen to South Sudan, climate and water stress seen worsening conflict
Excerpt

STOCKHOLM (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Social and political tensions fueled by climate change have yet to translate into international military confrontations, but local conflicts are heating up due to pressures such as drought and water scarcity, officials and researchers said on Wednesday.

In fragile states like Yemen and South Sudan, competition for scarce natural resources is increasing while a growing need for humanitarian aid undermines states’ ability to deal with climate risks, said Johan Schaar of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

“I don’t see big, shooting wars but I think you will have an increasing frequency of very localized conflicts and tensions that could then escalate into much more,” Schaar told the Thomson Reuters Foundation at World Water Week in Stockholm.

Climate-related disasters often force people from their homes, putting a strain on the communities into which they move and stirring grievances, he added.

In South Sudan, the world’s newest country, climate change is shortening and delaying the rainy season, while almost 80% of the rural population is affected by droughts and floods, said Alier Oka, undersecretary at the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation.

More : https://www.reuters.com/article/us-c...-idUSKCN1VI2G4
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Old September 8th, 2019, 06:38 AM   #442
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Nigeria uses tax credits for private firms to boost infrastructure
Excerpt
Sept 5, 2019

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigeria is using a system of tax credits to encourage private companies to share the cost of infrastructure projects as part of a drive to diversify Africa’s biggest economy away from its reliance on oil sales, the country’s tax chief said.

Tunde Fowler, executive chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), said in an interview on Wednesday that more than 10 local companies had applied for the scheme to receive 50% of expenditure in tax credits.

He also said Nigeria had a target to nearly double tax revenues this year from 2018 due to a surge of new payers following the end of an amnesty and the introduction of a new database that uses biometric data.

Africa’s biggest oil producing country has sought to diversify its economy away from crude sales, but has struggled to improve non-oil revenues as debt servicing costs rise.

And after Nigeria signed up to a new continent-wide free trade agreement in July, manufacturers have called for improvements to road, rail and power networks to compete with firms from across Africa.

Fowler said two companies had successfully applied to receive tax credits for infrastructure projects so far. One was part of the Dangote Group conglomerate, owned by the continent’s richest man Aliko Dangote, which will build a road under the scheme. He did not name the other company.

More : https://www.reuters.com/article/us-n...-idUSKCN1VP2P7
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Old September 19th, 2019, 04:45 PM   #443
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Niger seeks to step up oil production with pipeline to coast
Excerpt
18 September 2019

NIAMEY, Niger (AP) — Niger has started construction on an oil pipeline that will link it to the coast through West African neighbor Benin, a project that Niger's president said will bolster the country's economic development.

President Issoufou Mahamadou called the 1,982 kilometer-long pipeline one of Niger's most important projects since independence and an important step in the Sahel nation's oil production. Nearly two-thirds, just under 1,300 kilometers, will run within Niger, the remainder in Benin.

China National Petroleum Corp., which has operated in Niger since 2011, was tasked with building the pipeline along with the West African Oil Pipeline Company.

This "phase of oil field operations is a historic moment for Niger," Mahamadou said during a building launch ceremony Tuesday. It "will allow Niger to restructure its economy," he added.

The first phase of construction requires an investment of $4 billion between 2019 and 2021. The total through completion is expected to be $7 billion, the presidency said.

Oil accounts for 4% of GDP in Niger. By 2022, it's expected to represent 24%, according to the government.

More : https://www.apnews.com/77dc925cba5d441f99b324bf3fb8a593
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Old September 24th, 2019, 02:41 PM   #444
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Japan to give Kenya about $860 million in loans, grants for bridge, economic zone
Sep 20, 2019
Excerpt

NAIROBI (Reuters) - Japan will give Kenya nearly $860 million in concessional loans and grants for the construction of a bridge in the port city of Mombasa and other infrastructure projects to support an economic zone there, Kenyan and Japanese officials said on Friday.

Katsutoshi Komori, Japan’s ambassador to Kenya, told a news conference that a loan of about $450 million will go toward building a 1.3 km bridge linking Mombasa’s mainland to an island in the city.

“It is expected that the Mombasa Gate Bridge will reduce the economic losses caused by traffic congestion and allow Mombasa to achieve its full economic potential,” he said.

Another $350 million loan and a $57 million grant will go toward developing a port, road, electricity and water supply and drainage in the special economic zone known as Dongo Kundu in Mombasa.

More : https://www.reuters.com/article/us-k...-idUSKBN1W514R
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Old September 29th, 2019, 03:24 PM   #445
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Sep 26, 2019
Reuters Excerpt
Africa dreams of free trade as red tape rules on the ground

NAMANGA, Kenya/Tanzania, Sept 26 (Reuters) - The speed limit is 110 km per hour on the new highway that Abadalla Chande uses to haul his truckload of animal feed from Tanzania to Kenya, two nations that share a common market often hailed as a model for the continent.

But Chande is parked on the tarmac, caught up in a snarl of red tape. He is in a long line of trucks waiting for cargo to be scanned or for documents to be checked by officials.

Kenya and Tanzania are the two largest economies in the East African Community (EAC) common market. It was set up in 2010 to allow people and goods to move freely among members, which also include Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.

One of the most successful of Africa’s many trade blocs, it should be superseded by a continent-wide free trade area that will begin trading in July next year. But businessmen say the delays plaguing the East African union bode ill for the future of the unified market.

“Sometimes we get to the border crossing and spend five, six days or even a week,” said Chande, who said he’d been waiting there more than a day.

Behind him, police pried apart shouting drivers as hundreds of trucks slowly belched and groaned towards the Kenya-Tanzania border in Namanga town.

Kenyan and Tanzanian officials say that even in a free trade area, goods crossing borders must be checked by multiple agencies including the tax authorities, plant health inspectorate, departments of human health, livestock control and forestry. This takes time.

More : https://www.reuters.com/article/afri...-idUSL8N2593ZD
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Old October 3rd, 2019, 02:51 PM   #446
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Congo mine deploys digital weapons in fight against conflict minerals
Excerpt
Oct 1, 2019

RUBAYA, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) - In a small shack overlooking muddy pits hewn out of eastern Congo’s rolling green hills, a government official puts a barcoded tag on a sack of ore rich in tantalum, a rare metal widely used in smartphones.

With a handheld device linked to a server in the cloud, the agent scans the barcode, uploading data including the sealed bag’s weight, when it was tagged, and by whom.

It’s the latest initiative in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo to improve systems meant to show minerals entering global supply chains come from mines that don’t use child labor or fund warlords and corrupt soldiers.

The new system developed by RCS Global, a company in Berlin that audits supply chains, started in January at Societe Miniere de Bisunzu’s (SMB) mine near Rubaya, which has some of Africa’s largest deposits of coltan, a tantalum-rich ore.

“It allows purchasers of SMB material to be sure that it actually comes from that mine site and is not smuggled into the supply chain from other mines, as much as possible,” said Ferdinand Maubrey, a managing director at RCS.

Whether the new digital approach to tracing metals such as tantalum and cobalt succeeds is of keen interest to companies, especially carmakers like Tesla, General Motors and Ford, as regulators on both sides of the Atlantic put pressure on end-users to prove their supply chains are clean.

Now, companies mostly rely on a paper-based certification scheme. But U.N. experts have documented cases of tags used to identify clean minerals being stolen in another part of eastern Congo and sold to smugglers - allowing them to pass off ore from blacklisted mines as responsibly sourced.

More : https://www.reuters.com/article/us-c...-idUSKBN1WG2W1
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Old October 9th, 2019, 02:46 PM   #447
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Australia's Fortescue confirms bid to develop Guinea iron ore

MELBOURNE, Oct 7 (Reuters) - Australia's Fortescue Metals Group confirmed on Monday that it has submitted a bid to develop two blocks in the giant Simandou iron ore deposit in Guinea.

Reuters reported on Friday that Fortescue and Guinea's biggest bauxite exporter SMB-Winning were the last two bidders in the running for the rights to develop the two blocks.

A Guinea government commission in charge of the international tender for Simandou blocks 1 and 2 should come to a final decision in around a month, the sources close to the commission said last week.

"Consistent with our active business development program, Fortescue is interested in global opportunities in iron ore and other commodities which align with our strategy and expertise," Fortescue Chief Executive Elizabeth Gaines said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

"Following the release of information at a public meeting held in Guinea last week, Fortescue confirms that it is participating in the tender for Simandou Blocks 1 and 2. Details of Fortescue's bid are confidential and there is no guarantee that any bid submitted will be successful."

Speculation emerged in July that Fortescue may be interested in the deposit after chairman Andrew Forrest was pictured on social media among a group of potential investors in a Liberian rail line.

Guinea has struggled for decades to develop the Simandou deposit which is among the world's biggest and contains billions of tonnes of high-grade iron ore, increasingly in demand as steel mills try to lower carbon emssions.

Simandou has been mired in protracted legal disputes, while the high cost of infrastructure to transport the ore out of the remote southeastern corner of Guinea has also put a dampener on potential developers' enthusiasm.

More : https://www.reuters.com/article/us-g...-idUSKBN1WM0B8
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Old October 14th, 2019, 04:29 AM   #448
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Oct 11, 2019
Uber launches boat service in Nigeria's megacity Lagos
Excerpt

LAGOS (Reuters) - Global ride-hailing firm Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] on Friday launched a pilot test of a boat service in Nigeria’s commercial capital Lagos to attract commuters seeking to avoid the megacity’s notoriously congested roads.

The United Nations predicts that Nigeria’s population will more than double to 400 million by 2050, which would make it the third most populous country in the world after China and India.

The combination of population growth and congestion has made Nigeria, and more broadly West Africa, attractive to foreign transport companies.

Uber’s chief business officer told Reuters in June the company planned to launch the service to carry travelers in the Lagos megacity of around 20 million people that is built on a lagoon.

The waterway service, UberBOAT, is operated in partnership with local boat operator Texas Connection Ferries and the Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), said the ride-hailing firm.

More : https://www.reuters.com/article/us-u...-idUSKBN1WQ1GB
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Old October 16th, 2019, 02:04 AM   #449
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Mubadala sells Medgaz pipeline stake to Naturgy, Sonatrach
Excerpt

Oct 15 (Reuters) - Spain's Naturgy Energy Group SA and Algeria's Sonatrach have agreed to buy Abu Dhabi state fund Mubadala's 42.09% stake in the Medgaz pipeline, which carries natural gas from Algeria to Spain, Naturgy said Tuesday.

The deal values the infrastructure at 1.9 billion euros including debt.

Following the close of the transaction, Sonatrach will be the main shareholder with a 51% stake, while Naturgy will hold the remaining 49%.

More : https://www.reuters.com/article/us-s...-idUSKBN1WU0VO
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Old October 21st, 2019, 05:51 AM   #450
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Zimbabwe cancels deal with Transnet to recapitalise state rail firm
Excerpt

HARARE, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe is cancelling a deal struck with South African logistics group Transnet to recapitalise National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ), a government official said on Thursday, blaming the consortium for not providing a viable funding plan.

Transnet said it had not been informed that Zimbabwe's deal with the South African company and its joint venture partner had been cancelled.

A joint venture between Transnet and Diaspora Infrastructure Development Group (DIDG), a consortium of Zimbabwean investors living abroad, won the bid to recapitalise the financially struggling NRZ with $400 million in August 2017.

Nick Mangwana, permanent secretary at Zimbabwe's information ministry, in a statement announcing the cancellation said the government would hold a new tender for the recapitalisation and that Transnet and DIDG could participate.

More : https://www.reuters.com/article/us-z...-idUSKBN1WW0WS
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Old November 6th, 2019, 03:07 PM   #451
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African Development Bank approves record capital boost of 125% to $208 billion
1 Nov 2019
Excerpt

ABIDJAN (Reuters) - The African Development Bank’s board approved a 125% capital increase to $208 billion on Thursday, the largest in the lender’s history, AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina said.

The decision caps two years of negotiations to give the Abidjan-based bank greater scope to meet the continent’s funding needs. The last increase was agreed in 2010.

At an extraordinary meeting of the board, Adesina said the extra capital would help the bank finance energy, climate, and agricultural projects, as well as support infrastructure needed for the success of a continental free-trade zone.

“This is a joyful day for Africa, a historic day,” he said in a press conference after the meeting. “This will give us greater stability for the future.”

The AfDB’s shareholders are Africa’s 54 nations and 26 non-African donor countries. Part of its lending to poorer countries is at concessionary rates, largely financed by Western donors.

More : https://www.reuters.com/article/us-a...-idUSKBN1XA2DP
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Old November 8th, 2019, 02:19 PM   #452
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Africa must quadruple power investment to supply electricity for all, IEA says
Excerpt
Nov 8, 2019

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - African countries will need to quadruple their rate of investment in their power sectors for the next two decades to bring reliable electricity to all Africans, an International Energy Agency (IEA) study published on Friday said.

If African countries continue on their policy trajectories, 530 million Africans will still lack electricity in 2030, the IEA report said. It said bringing reliable electricity to all Africans would require annual investment of around $120 billion.

“We’re talking about 2.5% of GDP that should go into the power sector,” Laura Cozzi, the IEA’s Chief Energy Modeller, told journalists ahead of the report’s launch. “India’s done it over the past 20 years. China has done it. So it’s something that is doable.”

Taking advantage of technological advances and optimizing natural resources could help Africa’s economy grow four-fold by 2040 while requiring just 50% more energy, the agency said.

Africa’s population is currently growing at more than twice the global average rate. By 2040, it will be home to more than 2 billion people. Its cities are forecast to expand by 580 million people, a historically unprecedented pace of urbanization.

More : https://www.reuters.com/article/us-a...-idUSKBN1XI003
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Old November 13th, 2019, 03:23 PM   #453
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Nov 11, 2019
In Kimberley, the world's diamond capital, illicit mining fight flounders
Excerpt

KIMBERLEY, South Africa (Reuters) - The first South African project to bring illegal miners into the formal fold has been plagued by violence in diamond capital Kimberley, dealing a major blow to national efforts to stem a booming illicit trade.

The project was launched 18 months ago in Kimberley, the site of a 19th-century diamond rush that lured fortune-seekers from the world over. Mine owners granted more than 800 unlicensed, or informal, small-scale miners the right to legally mine around 1,500 acres of diamond-rich waste fields.

The aim of the government-backed scheme was to curb illegal mining and black-market trade of diamonds, and serve as a blueprint for future attempts elsewhere in the country, not only in the diamond sector, but also potentially manganese, gold and chrome.

However the project has been hit by violence, with informal miners not included in the scheme attacking infrastructure and even members of the newly licensed cooperative, according to mine owner Ekapa Minerals which is running the initiative.

The failure thus far of this pilot scheme is a blow to wider corporate and governmental efforts to bring South Africa’s estimated tens of thousands of informal miners, or “zama-zamas”, into the mainstream, to boost productivity and curb crime.

More : https://www.reuters.com/article/us-s...-idUSKBN1XL0J0
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