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Old November 1st, 2006, 01:53 PM   #41
Matthias Offodile
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Sorry, I wanted to put the article in the "African Aviation News" but it just noticed that it landed here... in a moment of absent-mindedness!!! So I will simply leave it here.
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Old November 6th, 2006, 11:18 AM   #42
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Angola's banking sector more attractive than ever

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afrol News / Savana, 8 September 2006 - The Angolan banking sector is living a renaissance. Three new banking groups are to start up activities during the next months and more than ten have already signalled their interest to seek necessary authorisations to be able to operate on the national market. The National Bank of Angola (BNA) will hand out new licences by the dropper to cash in its political triumph.

Although it will be difficult to evaluate the impact that the new competitiveness will have on the profitability of existent banks, the consulting company Deloitte - which this month is to present a deep-ploughing analysis of the sector - guarantees that antiquity represents some sort of competitive advantage. But successes for newcomers are also possible, as for the Banco Internacional de Crédito (BIC), which after only one year managed to gain the fourth place on Angola's bank ranging, in terms of deposits.

Pedro Barreto, "partner" of Deloitte responsible for Angola, argues that "the financial system is daring a frontier moment, producing at the same time a strong growth in the deposit basis and on the other hand an increased competition with the entry of new players that are making banks more aggressive and segmented."

Angola is the continent´s third biggest oil producer, reaching 1.4 million barrels of crude daily. Production is estimated to grow to at least 2.4 million barrels a day by 2010 and other sources claim that the country´s oil production will exceed more than 4 million barrels a day by 2015. Thanks to the very high oil prices on world markets, the country currently is living one of its best moments in history and its future looks very promising.

Angola is seen to be in a similar position as was Portugal some 20 years ago, and this may be the beginning of a long process. The financial system is only in its infancy. Barely 20 percent of the population has a bank account. In Portugal, this indicator is at 92 percent.

The market, which still is not sufficiently oriented towards the costumer, has everything to give. Only recently, a plan was adopted that foresees the payment of salaries to civil servants to go via bank accounts, or a scheme to emit and accept credit cards, initially Visa. Prospects for old and new banks are unlimited, from credit cards to consumers, passing through leasing, factoring and funds or the announced privatisation programme.

Only in 2005, the deposit basis grew by 66 percent in Angolan banks, which has injected liquidity into the system. These growth levels are foreseen to maintain during the next few years, especially now that Angolans are starting to return to a cash economy and assuming capital.

This year, on 5 November, the National Banc of Angola will celebrate the 30th anniversary of its foundation, and the 50th anniversary of the transfer of thus Bank of Angola from Portugal to its new headquarters in Luanda. By now, the Portuguese-speaking banking community is starting to see Luanda as its principal growth motor outside Portugal.

By Isabel Tavares
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Old November 6th, 2006, 11:31 PM   #43
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Mauritania grants third GSM licence to Sudan's Sudatel

18/07/2006

The Mauritanian regulating authority said on Monday (17 July) that it has granted its third Global System for Mobile Communications operating licence to Sudan's Sudatel. GSM is the most popular standard for mobile phones in the world with more than 2 billion users in 210 countries. The consortium of Sudanese and Qatari companies won the licence with a bid of around 79m euros. Tunisia's Mattel and Morocco's Mauritel operate the current two GSM networks. (AMI, AFP)
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Old November 7th, 2006, 06:36 PM   #44
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Angola: Sonangol Concludes Signing of 32 Oil Contracts

Angola: Sonangol Concludes Signing of 32 Oil Contracts


Angola Press Agency (Luanda)

November 4, 2006
Posted to the web November 6, 2006

Luanda

State-owned fuels supply company (Sonangol) Friday in Luanda concluded the signing of thirty two contracts of share of oil production with exploration companies.

The accords will grant to Angolan State an additional revenue estimated at USD 3.1 billion.


The signing session, started on Thursday, had the participation of eight Angolan firms, which should give their participation in the national oil exploration process.

The tenders started September 2005 and ended last May 31.

Among the companies that signed the contract are Sonangol Research and Production, Tullow Oil, Predol, Force Petroleum, Vaalco, Inter Oil, brazilian Petrobras and Gema Group.
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Old November 7th, 2006, 08:20 PM   #45
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Africa beating poverty

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November 1, 2006

Johannesburg - Many African countries, including Mozambique, might meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of halving poverty by 2010 but Zimbabwe is not one of them, according to a World Bank report released on Monday.

"Africa is today a continent on the move, making tangible progress on delivering better health, education, growth, trade and poverty-reduction outcomes," said Gobind Nankani, the World Bank vice president for the Africa region in the report, released in Washington.

The annual World Bank publication, "African Development Indicators (ADI) 2006," depicts a diverse continent, with several countries making remarkable progress, some stagnating and others lagging seriously behind.

Many countries, including Mozambique, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Uganda, Ghana and Cape Verde, have lifted significant percentages of their citizens above the poverty line and might well be on course to meet the MDG target of halving poverty by 2010.

The full spectrum of achievers and laggards stretches from Zimbabwe, which recorded a negative growth rate of 2.4 percent - the only country with a negative growth rate in 2004 on the continent - to Equatorial Guinea, with a 20.9 percent growth rate.

"While economic outcomes are increasingly diverse, Africa has made near uniform progress in social outcomes, notably education and health," said John Page, the World Bank's chief economist for the Africa region, adding that Africa's per capita income is now increasing in tandem with other developing countries.

The ADI 2006 confirms that 16 African countries have sustained annual GDP growth rates in excess of 4.5 percent since the mid-1990s; inflation on the continent is down to historic lows; most exchange rate distortions have been eliminated; and fiscal deficits are dropping.

The continent weathered higher oil prices better than previous shocks and its real GDP grew by 4.3 percent, compared to 5.4 percent in 2004.


Productivity in Africa's best performing firms is on par with competitors in Asia (India and Vietnam).

Factory-floor costs in Africa's best economies compare well with India and China, but Africa has overall lost market share in traditional exports although several countries increased exports by more than 10 percent.


The good news includes primary enrolment rates rising significantly across the continent. HIV/Aids prevalence and child mortality rates have started to fall and the gender gap has started to shrink in several countries.

"Gross primary enrolment rates as a share of the relevant age group -- a standard indicator of investment in the poor -- shot up to 93 percent in 2004 from 72 percent in 1990, contributing to a rise in literacy rates from 50 percent in 1997 to 65 percent in 2002," said Page.

The ADI 2006 highlights the numerous challenges facing Africa, the lone region of the world where the number of the poor continues to rise.


The ADI 2006 calls for the lifting of burdensome rules of origin through reforms in the US African Growth and Opportunity Act and the EU's Everything But Arms initiative, but also for reforms within Africa to promote intra-African trade.

The report warns that the immense disease burden posed by HIV/Aids, malaria, and tuberculosis, as well as by corruption, anaemic aid, cascading tariffs barring made-in-Africa products from entering global markets and dwindling foreign direct investments threaten gains in poverty alleviation.

"Improving governance and smart management of natural resource rents are key requirements for improving development outcomes in Africa, where an estimated windfall of more than 200 billion dollars in oil revenue alone will accrue to African governments between 2000 and 2010," said Nankani, reflecting on the fact natural resource-rich economies have tended to make slow progress on the continent despite their enormous wealth endowment.

The publication includes development data from all 53 African countries and covers 1980 to 2004. - Sapa
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Old November 9th, 2006, 02:52 AM   #46
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Interesting story about Italians in Malindi, Kenya

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Malindi Town is increasingly becoming known as Kenya’s version of ‘little Italy’. With Italians now owning more than 2,500 properties, prices of beach plots have hit Sh8 million per acre, writes Paul Gitau.


It is dusk. Colourful neon lights are flashing in the compound of a luxurious multi-million shilling villa, identified by a signpost in Italian.

A well-dressed Italian couple come out of the villa and head to a pizzeria (Italian cafe) for dinner a few metres from the residence.

Later after dinner, they leave the pizzeria in a taxi to a famous discotheque in town owned by an Italian.

Welcome to Malindi town, and be surprised at how many of its sections look like part of an Italian town or an African Rome.

The number of Italian residents in Malindi town and its environs, estimated at slightly over 3,000, is the largest European population compared to other European populations anywhere in Kenya.

The Italian embassy is the only foreign mission with a resident consul in Malindi to cater for its population.

With their financial and investment muscle, Italians have come to influence and even dominate life in Malindi and its neighbouring beach settlements of Mambrui, Mayungu and Watamu.

Favourable climatic conditions


Beach property in Malindi

A pioneer hotelier, Mr Godfrey Karume, who came to the town in the early 1970s, said the first Italian came to work at San Marco Space Centre at Ngomeni, owned by the University of Rome, in 1976. The centre has since changed hands and is now owned by the Italian Space Agency.

Karume says while socialising with the local people in evenings, the Italians noticed the attractiveness of virgin beaches from Ngomeni, Mambrui, Malindi, Mayungu and Watamu.

He said the workers at the space research centre sent word back home and some friends, who were leaving Somalia at the outbreak of the Ogaden War with Ethiopia started taking refuge in Malindi just a boat’s journey south of Mogadishu.

The Italian Consul in Malindi, Mr Roberto Macri, said that on arrival, and due to favourable climatic conditions and the hospitality of the local Mijikenda community, the Italian pioneers started buying beach plots, which by then only cost between Sh500,000 to Sh1 million (approx £10,000 sterling) an acre.

This attracted more Italian investors as an acre of beach plot in Italy was too expensive and could be sold at as much as Sh20 million.

Increased demand for beach plots

Since then, Macri says, the Italians have invested billions of shillings. He says currently, there are more than 2,500 properties owned by Italian investors.

Some of these include three two four-star tourist class hotels, villas, apartments and cottages.

A nominated councillor, Mr Kassim Omar, who is also a property agent, says due to increased demand for beach plots for investment by Italians, majority of whom are from North Italy, plots are now too expensive for locals.

He says an acre of beach plot costs between Sh5 million to Sh8 million, while ordinary land within the town costs between Sh1 million to Sh2 million an acre.

Omar insists the Italians, who own about 80 per cent of investments in Malindi, have brought a big impact on the prices of plots and houses.

For instance, he says, earlier a self-contained villa or cottage on a beach plot cost the owners between approximately four million shillings. Today, buyers have to cough between Sh10 to Sh12 million.

The heavy investments, especially in the hospitality industry, employ thousands of local people, who are living relatively comfortable lives, since there are no agro-based industries in the area.

Marriages of convenience

Interestingly, there have been a lot of intermarriages between the foreigners and the locals, but with a minimal impact on lifestyles as majority of these Italians like the local lifestyle.

With ever increasing number of tourists, prostitution has come up. It has also become a common occurrence for spouses in the area to consent to dual marriages, by allowing each other to hook up with a mzungu just for economic gain.

Such relationships are usually seasonal. During the high tourist season, the African couples separate and join their white lovers, only to reunite during the low season when Italian tourists go back to their motherland.

But for the Italians that have decided to make Malindi their permanent abode, such couples have had to divorce in a bid to cohabit with their white ‘friends’. These are merely marriages of convenience.

Interest in Magarini Parliamentary seat

An MP of Italian heritage? Yes. One Mr Franco Esposito, a former chief executive officer with the San Marco Space Centre in Ngomeni area, has declared his candidature for the Magarini Parliamentary seat currently held by Mr Harrison Garama Kombe.

Esposito, who has been nick-named ‘Kasoso wa Baya’ by the locals, wants to unseat Kombe, claiming that his development record would make him sail through.

Speaking at his luxurious Woburn Residence hotel, Esposito said that elders from the area have approached him.

"Kasoso is a very small bird, and since I am a short man, the people thought the name befitted me, and I accepted," he says with a chuckle.

"I am a Kenyan citizen who has lived here for over thirty years, and I believe I can make a good MP," he says.
Source The standard: http://www.eastandard.net/restate/in...?id=1143960840
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Old November 11th, 2006, 09:56 PM   #47
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Zimbabwe inflation up to 1,070,2%

Reuters

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HARARE 10 November 2006 - Zimbabwe’s annual inflation rose to 1,070,2% year-on-year last month, up from 1,023,3% in September, shy of a previous record but still the highest in the world, official data showed on Friday.

Analysts say Zimbabwe’s galloping inflation is pressuring President Robert Mugabe’s government, which many critics blame for a severe economic crisis marked by chronic shortages of food, fuel, foreign currency and deteriorating social services.

The Central Statistical Office said that, on a monthly basis, Zimbabwe’s consumer price index rose 27,5% last month compared with a 14,8% increase the previous month.

The increases in both annual and monthly inflation were in line with forecasts by local economists who say inflationary pressures are very strong in the economy over faltering efforts to boost production in industry and the key agricultural sector.

Mugabe’s government has admitted inflation is one of the biggest hurdles to reversing an economic slide that critics say has been worsened by poor yields from commercial farms seized from their previous white owners and distributed to blacks.

Mugabe, who has ruled the former British colony since independence in 1980, denies responsibility for the ailing economy and, in turn, charges sabotage by opponents of his controversial land seizures.

Zimbabwe’s soaring inflation is seen as a major stumbling block to pulling the country out of an eight-year recession also marked by a jobless rate of above 70%. Inflation reached a record 1,204,06% year-on-year in August.
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Old November 12th, 2006, 10:45 AM   #48
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Sudan, Arab fund to invest $200 mln in agricultural development
Saturday 11 November 2006 05:30.

Nov 10, 2006 (BEIRUT) — Bank of Sudan and the Sudan-based state-owned Arab Organization for Agricultural Development signed a memorandum of understanding to invest $200 million in agricultural development projects in Sudan, the London-based Asharq Al Awsat reported Friday.

The memorandum was signed at the Khartoum Economic Forum that was held on Wednesday and Thursday.

The Forum is part’s of the Sudanese government plans to encourage foreign investment in the Sudan and by all indicators, Arab and western interest in the country appears to be serious. During the Forum Sudanese officials and Gulf Arab countries reached an agreement to remove investment impediments for the oil-rich states in the vast African country.

According to Sudan’s Minister of Finance, al-Zubair Ahmed al-Hassan foreign investments in the country are expected to reach $3 billion in 2006.

Sudan’s economy has been growing at a fast pace and macroeconomic conditions have been stable. Real GDP grew at an estimated rate of 8% in 2005, owing mainly to a recovery in agriculture and robust activity in construction and services.

The Forum, according to the paper, witnessed a number of deals including an agreement between investors from the GCC and local bankers to form a joint Gulf-Sudan investment bank. Officials did not provide any details as to the size of the capital and principle activities of the bank.

Gulf investors also agreed to set up a joint Gulf-Sudan reinsurance company, and a MoU between the Central Bank of Qatar and Bank of Sudan was signed to provide credit facilities.

Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir said during his remarks, that Sudan was ready and prepared to accommodate Arab investors and invited them to take part in the development of both the public and private sectors in the country.

(Dow Jones)
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Old November 14th, 2006, 05:17 AM   #49
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Some more positive reporting by the western media. Slowly but surely they are becoming aware of the economy transformation on the continent.

Quote:
Corporate South Africa spreads across continent, world

By David J. Lynch, USA TODAY
Until several years ago, few people outside South Africa had ever heard of a company called Sasol (SSL).
At home, the energy producer was known for using a process pioneered by Nazi Germany to keep the engines of apartheid humming with fuel made from liquefied coal. Yet, until apartheid ended in 1994, Sasol's home-grown success stayed at home. International sanctions aimed at toppling the country's racist government penned the energy producer, and the rest of Corporate South Africa, inside an isolated pariah state.

No longer. In recent years, as South Africa built a multiracial democracy, its corporate stars burst onto the global stage. The biggest inroads have been made in other African markets, where South African banks, fast-food franchises, supermarkets and clothing stores now dominate. But the commercial gains extend beyond this continent to stock exchanges in London, computer networks in South Korea and Brazilian magazine publishers.

"South African businesses are diversifying internationally at an incredibly rapid rate," says economist Stephen Gelb. "They are active not just in sub-Saharan Africa, but all over the world."

Sasol, created by the government in 1950 to make the race-based state energy independent, today is pursuing projects in Nigeria, as well as farther afield in China, India and Qatar. In the USA, amid fears about tight oil supplies, the company is conducting preliminary studies on converting coal to gasoline in Wyoming, Illinois and Montana, and is in early talks with the Pentagon about providing alternative fuels for the military, CEO Patrick Davies says.

Sasol's international ambitions are mirrored by supermarket operator Shoprite Checkers, fast-food chicken franchiser Nando's and one of the country's big four financial institutions, Standard Bank. In Africa, all are capitalizing on the continuation of a decade of sustained growth in countries such as Zambia, Mozambique and Ghana. In 2007, sub-Saharan Africa's economy is expected to grow about 6%, according to the World Bank.

Shoprite Checkers, which opened its first store outside South Africa in 1995 and now operates in 17 countries, plans to unveil 58 stores in the 12 months ending in June. A total of 13 are planned outside South Africa. India, Angola and Nigeria are key targets.

Restrained for decades

Such globe-trotting was unknown under apartheid, which year by year left white-ruled South Africa increasingly ostracized. For much of the 20th century, South African companies' forays outside their home market were limited to a handful of immediate neighbors. Among them: Lesotho, a landlocked country surrounded by South Africa and Zimbabwe, which had been closely linked to the apartheid state when it was ruled by whites and known as Rhodesia.

Otherwise, South African companies stayed home, a tendency that was reinforced as international controversy about apartheid intensified. Efforts to use economic pressure to compel change in the racist system began in the late 1970s. In 1986, over President Reagan's veto, Congress barred the importation of any South African goods, prohibited American investment in the apartheid state and cut air links. The vote came one month after similar trade bans were enacted by Europe and Japan.

South African companies responded to economic quarantine by focusing their energy on their modest domestic market. The resulting corporate inbreeding spawned an economy dominated by a small number of large corporations who increasingly delved into businesses far removed from their core expertise. SABMiller, one of the world's largest brewers and producer of the USA's Miller brand, ran a hotel and gaming venture. Anglo American, a giant miner, sold insurance, while the bankers at Nedbank peddled food.

"South African companies couldn't expand internationally the way they should have," says Wendy Lucas-Bull, a prominent South African businesswoman. "They expanded into other areas that weren't their core competencies."

That started to change in 1991 when, following Nelson Mandela's release from prison in 1990, the United States began lifting sanctions. In November 1993, six months before Mandela was sworn in as the country's first democratically elected president, the U.S. ended its final economic sanctions. (Washington maintained an arms embargo for an additional five years.)

Facing global competition

As trade barriers fell, South African companies faced new competition in their previously protected home market. Elsewhere in Africa, states struggling to overhaul outmoded economies lured investors with attractive incentives. South African companies, desperate for new sales to compensate for losses at home, responded.

Today, with the typical American or European multinational preoccupied with opportunities elsewhere, African markets still represent relatively untapped terrain. Local companies in these markets often are no match for bigger South African competitors. "For companies aspiring to become multinationals, Africa is a stepping stone, an opportunity to test the waters," says Neuma Grobbelaar, who runs the "Business in Africa" project at the South African Institute of International Affairs.

Thanks to their experience with South Africa's decades-long political evolution, South African executives see themselves as better equipped than Americans or Europeans to handle the challenges of undeveloped or even dangerous markets, says Gelb, the executive director of The Edge Institute, a non-profit think tank here.

Fully 40% of South African companies' foreign affiliates now are located outside Africa. Example: Dimension Data, a computer networking and security firm, operates in 35 countries from Algeria to Vietnam.

"Perhaps South African companies are less risk averse. Perhaps they have to be less cautious: They have more ground to make up," says Roger Crawford, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in South Africa.

South African corporations are making up ground at home, too, transforming themselves from bastions of white privilege into pillars of a new, multiracial society. Under government prodding, companies are promoting black managers, selling stakes to black investors and increasing purchases from black suppliers. Today's South African global stars little resemble their apartheid-era ancestors.

Costs of globalization

The globalization of South Africa's leading companies, however, has entailed costs both at home and abroad. In recent years, five major South African companies — including brewer SABMiller and Anglo American (AAUK), with its origins in the gold mines that gave rise to the South African state — transferred their primary stock listings from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) to London. Those moves dented both national prestige and the JSE's ambitions of surviving as a major global equity market.

In other African countries, South Africa's high profile sometimes invokes the same resentment triggered by European colonialists 150 years ago. With South Africa selling to its neighbors about four times as much as it buys from them, there is a "perception that trade is a one-way street in South Africa's relations with the rest of the continent," said a report from the South Africa Foundation, a business group. African consumers welcome the improved service and choice of goods, but African retailers and manufacturers decry competition from more sophisticated rivals.

As South African firms advanced into the rest of Africa the past few years, top African companies made Johannesburg the continent's financial capital. Functioning telephone and electric utilities, extensive international airline connections and political stability all give the city an advantage over alternative locations.

When Papa Ndiaye, chief executive of the Advanced Finance and Investment Group, launched his private equity firm last year, he chose to locate his main office in Johannesburg. For firms seeking to attract elite global talent, it's the only place in Africa that makes sense, the native of Senegal says.

"We're looking to get people off Wall Street to live in Africa. It's not going to be that easy," says Ndiaye, a former JPMorgan emerging markets specialist.

For individual companies, there is a commercial imperative to expanding outside South Africa's market of 46 million people. But on a larger scale, South African leaders see Africa's economic development as essential to their country's long-term stability.

Today, South Africa stands apart from much of the rest of Africa, accounting for about half the continent's total electricity generation and paved roads. Elsewhere in Africa, a lack of modern roads, ports, railways and telecommunication networks is a chronic impediment to economic growth.

The South African government is promoting a number of projects that would fill in some blank spots on Africa's economic map. To spur development, the government has tapped Mintek, a state-supported mining institute, to use South Africa's traditional mining expertise to exploit the natural endowments of less-advanced African countries. Building the roads, rail networks, ports and power plants needed to convert buried minerals into cash-generating industries will lay the groundwork for later industrial development, officials hope.

A typical proposal in a province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo calls for phosphate and base metals mining to support construction of new electricity grids, ports and roads linking area countries.

"We can't exist as an island of prosperity in a sea of poverty," says Paul Jourdan, Mintek CEO. "It's in our interest that our neighbors develop."
http://www.usatoday.com/money/world/...ica-usat_x.htm
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Old November 14th, 2006, 08:08 AM   #50
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An overview

Quote:
'Infrastructure critical for Africa's development'
13-NOV-06

Johannesburg - Boosting economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa was dependent, to a large extent, on expanding infrastructure investments, improving the investment climate, harnessing skills for innovation and building institutional capacity across the continent, a World Bank study has said.

The bank revealed this in its report called Facing the Challenges of African Growth: Opportunities, Constraints, and Strategic Directions.

The study said these were among the most critical areas demanding action if Africa was to make up for missing two decades of global growth or replicate the growth models that have lifted millions of people out of poverty in other regions of the developing world.

"Africa is on the move and is perched on the cusp of breaking out of the long economic stagnation of the 1970s and 1980s. The last ten years have seen renewed growth and improved governance across a number of African states, setting the stage for taking advantage of opportunities that are emerging from a rapidly changing world economy," said Gobind Nankani, the World Bank's vice-president for Africa.

African economies have shown that they are capable of short spurts of robust growth. The challenge, as the study confirms, remains one of sustaining such a pace for longer periods and ensuring that the majority, notably the poor, women, youth and other marginalized groups contribute to and benefit from that growth, Nankani added.

Africa’s slow and erratic growth performance, particularly when compared to other developing regions, has been identified as the single most important reason behind its lagging position in eradicating poverty. Extreme poverty (spending less than a dollar a day on basic necessities of life) rose from 36 percent of the population in 1970 to around 50 percent of the population (300 million people) in 2000, explained Page. Africa hosts only 10 percent of global population, yet it is home to 30 percent of the world’s poor.

The study notes that inequalities have a major influence on the efficacy of growth in reducing poverty. There is need to pay greater attention to this dimension of poverty reduction to complement the impact of accelerating growth, particularly by enhancing the income-earning opportunities for the poor more than for other income-earning segments, or by enabling their greater participation in the growth process. Uncharacteristically high levels of age dependency have also created fiscal and household pressures to care for overwhelming number of young at a time when few countries have enhanced the employability of youth through job creation and vocational training.

The study sets out to answer three key questions: (i) what are the opportunities and options for growth available to the diverse range of African countries; (ii) what are the major constraints to exploiting these opportunities and (iii) what are the strategic choices to be made by African governments, as well as development partners, including the World Bank, in supporting actions taken by African countries. Its findings based on an analysis of 45 years of Africa’s growth recommend, among others, prudent management of rents from resources and of shocks and the need for countries to look beyond creating conditions for attracting new investors to measures that help raise productivity of existing and new investments.

The study finds that a distinct characteristic of Africa’s long-term growth experience is its historical U-shape, featuring a deep and prolonged contraction of growth from 1974-1994, a period sandwiched between the moderately high growth rates of the 1960s and after the mid-1990s.

Per capita growth rates of around 2 percent in the early 1960s rose to nearly 5 percent by the end of that decade, then fell steadily through the early 1970s, turned negative during the mid-1980s, and then climbed back to around 2 percent since the mid-1990s, explained Benno Ndulu, the author of the study who is also an advisor to World Bank vice-president for the Africa Region and Manager of the Partnership Group.

The global deceleration of the 1970s, which began with a set of shocks to energy and tropical commodity market, took many African countries into outright contraction lasting about 20 years - but by 2005, African growth had rebounded to the levels of the 1960s and with more diversified economies. Since 1995, more than one-third of the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa were growing at average rates exceeding 5 percent.

Two primary factors accounted for Africa’s slow growth over the lost decades: a relatively low rate of capital accumulation and a low growth rate of productivity for the investments that are made in the region compared to productivity in other developing regions.

Although per capita incomes for Africa and East Asia were virtually the same in 1960, by the end of the 20th century, Sub-Saharan Africa’s per capita income - even after adjusting for differences in purchasing power - was less than one-fourth of East Asia, Ndulu added.

With the exception of Botswana and Mauritius, growth in the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa has been episodic in the four decades since 1960 resulting in the region falling further behind the rest of the developing world and in income levels regressing relative to the levels in 1960.

In 2004, per capita income for a group of nine African countries had actually regressed relative to the levels in 1960. These include Angola , Central African Republic, Comoros, Madagascar, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, DRC, and Zambia. The same year (2004), the per capita incomes of 13 middle income African countries were several-fold higher than 1960 levels. Although these countries together are home to 13 percent of Africa’s population they account for a combined total of 66 percent of all incomes earned in the region, the study reveals.

Zambia’s and Cote d’Ivoire’s per capita income have hardly progressed relative to their levels in 1960. Somalia and Liberia have lost significant ground in terms of income levels relative to the early 1960s.

Capital flight from Africa has made a dire situation worse. In 1990, it was estimated that Africans held up to $360bn, or 40 percent of their wealth, outside Africa. This compares with only 6 percent in East Asia and 10 percent in Latin America.

The study holds that the continent is capable of regaining the pace of robust growth it experience between 1960 and 1973. It urges African countries to create the right conditions to benefit from opportunities offered by the growing global economy and by information-based technology. Key among these conditions is the need to lower indirect costs that seriously constrain export-led growth, invest in skills and support innovation to spur productivity and competitiveness.

The report identifies opportunities, constraints and strategic choices that face African countries in their quest for achieving the growth necessary for poverty alleviation. It includes a broad menu of strategic options that countries can use in developing growth strategies, underlining the importance of good governance and bureaucratic efficiency; the importance of innovation (technological progress) in raising productivity and competitiveness; and the need to address infrastructure shortcomings, notably in transportation and energy. The study emphasises two dimensions of policy action: the need for African countries to avoid policy distortions (sins of commission) and the need to address the issue of under-provision of public goods to support the growth process (sins of omission).

In Africa, the costs of contract enforcement difficulties, inadequate infrastructure, crime, corruption and regulation can amount to over 25 percent of sales or more than three times what firms typically pay in taxes, Ndulu explained.

The assessment in the study uses the benchmarks of other developing countries to compare the state of institutional, policy, and regulatory frameworks; business regulations and their enforcement; adequacy and quality of infrastructure; stability of the macro economy; protection of property rights; and functioning of the financial system
http://www.businessinafrica.net/news...ica/410405.htm
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Old November 16th, 2006, 07:27 PM   #51
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Kenya ‘hopeful’ of oil find in Mandera basin

The Government is hopeful that oil exploration in the northern Anza basin will produce a significant discovery, as was the case in Sudan, an Energy ministry official said.


"Because Sudan has discovered a lot of oil, we have a lot of hope in the Anza basin," Mr Martin Heya said in a presentation at the 13th annual Africa Upstream oil conference in Cape Town. The basin is a geological formation that Kenya shares with Sudan and Chad. The Kenyan section covers Mandera and Lokichar regions.

Exploration activities resumed in 2003 after a ten-year break. Industry interest in Kenya has increased in recent years, driven partly by heightened competition in more established crude-producing areas and advances in exploration technology that may reveal deposits overlooked in the past.

The oil industry in Sudan is by far the most advanced in eastern Africa, although experts say Kenya has made strides in recent years and is vigorously marketing itself as a destination for overseas oil companies.

"We’ve seen in Kenya how quickly they can market their acreage in five years," David Pratt, new ventures manager for oilfield services firm PGS, told delegates at the conference.

Currently, much of the new activity is centered on various offshore blocks on the Lamu basin. China’s state-owned China National Offshore Oil Company Ltd (CNOOC) is among those that have staked a claim on Kenya’s oil exploration scene. The company controls more than a quarter of the total exploration area in the country.

Apart from allocating blocks to CNOOC, Kenyan authorities have granted exploration rights to other firms, including Australia’s Woodside Energy.

Oil exploration in Kenya began in the 1950s when a group of Western companies drilled a few wells. Despite early promising signs, full-scale development was not carried out on the sites. More recent exploration has also failed to yield a major oil strike. France’s Total SA was among a group of companies that drilled ten wells between 1985 and 1990 in Kenya. The wells were found to contain limited amounts of oil and gas.

Africa Upstream, which began on Wednesday and closes on Friday, is the world’s largest and most significant event on oil exploration and development in the continent.

It follows an annual ‘Scramble For Africa’ strategy briefing attended by less than a hundred high-level delegates. No press is invited to this briefing. The meet is a major deal-making environment for people in the African exploration business.

A Royal Dutch Shell Plc representative at the same conference said that Africa would play an important role in ensuring that the world had enough energy to meet its needs in the coming decades.

The continent has become a key battleground for oil giants scrambling to meet strong global demand for oil, gas and other types of energy.

"Africa has a clear role to play in energy security for future generations," Mr Koos Beurskens, the Anglo-Dutch firm’s general manager for gas and power in South Africa.

Beurskens, however, added that civil unrest and problems ensuring security in some African nations posed a challenge to companies operating on the continent.
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Old November 17th, 2006, 09:52 AM   #52
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It's really heart warming to read all the positive economic news on the continent. The only black spot, is Zimbabwe with its continuing downward spiral.
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Old November 17th, 2006, 10:30 AM   #53
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Quote:
Nigeria's external reserves hit $42bn
Published: 17-NOV-06

Lagos - Nigeria's external reserves rose to $42bn in November from $38bn at the end of September, President Olusegun Obasanjo announced on Thursday in Abuja, according to the official News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

Speaking at a breakfast meeting with the nation's star footballers, Obasanjo said that his administration had inherited $3.7bn when it came into office in May 1999, according to NAN.

In October, the Nigerian government for the first time appointed professional external fund managers for its foreign reserves and assets, saying it wanted to align itself with best global practice.

It said it sought "to allow for professional management, diversification of investment and to leverage on the expertise of the foreign banks to transform Nigerian banks into global financial institutions".

The appointed managers include local banks, as well as foreign banks with local partners, such as J.P. Morgan Chase, BNP Paribas, UBS, Credit Suisse, United Bank for Africa, Zenith Bank, First Bank of Nigeria, Morgan Stanley and Bank of New York.

Three other foreign institutions, Barclays Bank (DCO), Deutsche Bank AG and Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO), were technically qualified, but could not be awarded mandates because they did not have local partners, the Central Bank of Nigeria said at the time of the appointments. -AFP
http://www.businessinafrica.net/news...ica/215838.htm
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Old November 21st, 2006, 01:37 AM   #54
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News from Mauritania

Quote:
Oil, debt relief push Mauritania's growth

Published: 20-NOV-06

Nouakchott - Strengthened by oil fields that recently came on-stream and international debt relief, Mauritania has seen economic growth take off, but many in the West African desert country have yet to benefit.

"Mauritania is undergoing an economic mutation and will post in 2006 a growth rate estimated at 13.9 percent compared with 5.4 percent in 2005," said Isselmou Ould Sidi Elmoctar, director of public projects at the ministry of economic affairs.

"The administration was stable and good governance and transparency have been re-established" by the military junta that toppled President Maaouiya Ould Taya from power in 2005, he added.

These reforms have allowed Mauritania to benefit from debt relief from creditors at a time when the country was effecting a transition to democracy, which would be completed with a presidential election scheduled for March 2007, Elmoctar said.

In December 2005, Mauritania's multilateral debt, which had risen to $830mn, was completely cancelled by international lenders.

The country's good economic health derives essentially from natural resource wealth, notably since the opening in March of the Chinguetti offshore oil fields near the capital Nouakchott.

The new sector, which should represent about 22 percent of GDP this year, has breathed unexpected life into the national budget.

According to the government, the debt cancellation combined with oil revenue would take Mauritania out of the circle of "poorest" countries and bring it into the club of "intermediary" countries.

Mineral resources - 12.8 percent of GDP - already in production, such as iron and copper, or soon to be mined, such as gold discovered in the north, also continue to support growth.

Another important source of revenue, the fishing industry, was the subject of an agreement in July with the European Union, which will bring $135mn to Mauritania per year until 2012.

But this flattering overall picture hides several negative aspects, such as "the difficulty in raising taxes despite a clear improvement of the fiscal base", said economist Isselmou Ould Mohamed. In addition, the great hopes placed on oil have already been deflated somewhat after production forecasts were recently revised downward in anticipation of results from exploration by Chinese and French interests, who were also looking at natural gas, which was still not exploited in Mauritania.

These difficulties have dropped projected revenues from the so-called "black gold" from an initial $300mn annually to $150mn in 2006 and 2007. A bonus of $100mn was, however, promised by the Australian firm Woodside, Elmoctar said.

But the growth has thus far failed to benefit many in the country. A good half of the population of three million still lives on less than a dollar a day, according to estimates from the economy ministry. "The country is rich in revenues, but poor within the population," Elmoctar said, adding that "three-quarters of the poor are rural".

Faced with this reality, public projects of the past year have focused on the fight against poverty in the countryside by building roads, dams, irrigation systems, and expanding the electricity network. -AFP
http://www.businessinafrica.net/news...ica/241874.htm
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Old November 24th, 2006, 11:13 PM   #55
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Angola: City of Benguela - Improvement of Sanitation Amounted At $436 Million


Angola Press Agency (Luanda)

November 22, 2006
Posted to the web November 22, 2006

Benguela

About USD 436 million will be invested as from the year 2007 each year to improve Benguela Province's littoral basic sanitation, in the ambit of the integrated project called "Infrastructures of Benguela", presented Tuesday in this city to the citizens.

The project will benefit 1.7 people residents of the province and is aimed at securing better quality of life to the population, contributing to the decrease of diseases, reduction of child mortality rate, as well as increase of peoples' life expectancy.

The works of the project are divided in five stages for nine years, and will start in the first quarter of 2007, under the responsibility of Brazilian and Angolan-Portuguese building companies.

The company will build among other things, systems of collecting and treatment of residual and fluvial waters of macro and micro drainage in the entireprovince, public lighting and paving of the main roads of access to the main towns of this coastal province, namely Benguela, Lobito, Catumbela and Baía Farta.
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Old November 24th, 2006, 11:17 PM   #56
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Angola: USD 46 Million for Huambo Hospital Rehabilitation

Angola: USD 46 Million for Huambo Hospital Rehabilitation


Angola Press Agency (Luanda)

November 21, 2006
Posted to the web November 21, 2006

Luanda
Quote:
About USD 46.4 million are being spent on the repair and complete modernization of the Huambo Province Central hospital, whose works are to last 24 months, the institution manager, João Chicoa, disclosed to ANGOP.

In the ambit of the investment aimed also at increasing local sanitary services, 86 new ambulances will be purchased and distributed to various health units.

The hospital works are under the responsibility of the company Sinohydro and after conclusion, people from Bié and Kuando Kubango province and others will also benefit from it.

According to João Chicoa, the number of nurses will double after the work is concluded, thus stating the modernisation and increase of staff an important factor in assisting the main illness registered in hospitals like malaria, measles, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis etc.
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Old November 25th, 2006, 09:57 PM   #57
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Lets hope Nigeria continues along this path.

Quote:
Nigeria: FG Spends 40 Percent Capital Budget On Infrastructure
This Day (Lagos)

November 22, 2006

Kunle Aderinokun And Onyebuchi Ezigbo
Abuja

Finance Minister, Mrs. Nenadi Usman, yesterday disclosed that $1.68 billion, representing 40 per cent of the $4.2 billion capital budget for this year, was appropriated for three key infrastructure including power, roads, railways and water supply.

And ahead of next month's scheduled launching of the Federal Government's $350 million support fund for local oil companies, a consortium of local banks have raised $260 million for the programme.

According to the Finance Minister, the 40 per cent of capital budget was in addition to a total of $2.3 billion committed on seven gas-turbine power plants, $1.6 billion on associated investments for downstream gas and $1.8 billion on investments for upstream gas.

Usman who spoke at the just-concluded National Council of Finance and Economic Development in Enugu, enthused that, with improved fiscal position, the Federal Government has started addressing the country's huge infrastructure challenges.

She added that, in the next 15 months, there would be additional expenditure on the $2 billion Mambila and Zungeru Hydro Projects.

Similarly, she noted that, other envisaged expenditure would be $3.5 billion to be expended on Railway rehabilitation while $0.5 billion would be spent on rural telephony and the provision of a national information and communication technology infrastructure backbone.

She pointed out that, fiscal and monetary policy measures have been carefully managed in the implementation of the Economic Reform Program-me, to bring about macro economic stability that is critical for growth and economic development.

A major component of the fiscal reform, she explained, was the decision to smoothen the expenditure pattern, and the pattern of GDP growth, by basing government expenditure on prudent oil price benchmark.

The finance minister said, by adopting this fiscal rule, government expenditure was disconnected from fluctuations in the oil price, adding that government fiscal balance moved from the previous 3.5 percent of GDP deficits to a consolidated fiscal surplus of about 10 per cent of GDP in 2004, and 11 per cent of GDP in 2005.

Noting that the GDP growth rate has averaged 7.6 per cent per annum over the past three years, she said this represented "significant improvement on the performance of the previous two decades when real GDP per annum grew by an average of about 3 per cent."

She said the non-oil sector has been the driving force behind the recorded growths, achieving 7.4 per cent in 2004 and 8.2 per cent in 2005.

According to her, the Federal Government has been able to maintain fiscal prudence, enhance revenue earnings, reduce both domestic and external debts, reduce inflation, stabilise exchange and interest rates with macroeconomic stability.

The National Tax Policy, she added, was focused on stimulating economic growth and creating incentives for positive social behaviour.

Usman also pointed out that, "we are simplifying customs procedures and have adopted ASYCUDA international software platform. We have also been successful in bringing down weighted average of our tariff regime from 27 per cent to 17 per cent."

She assured that the Commerce 44 initiative that seeks to harness Nigeria's export potentials and diversify the economy, would also be accorded top priority.

The initiative, she explained, was aimed at promoting the export of 11 commodities and 11 solid minerals to 11 export destinations.

Delving on improvements in key social indicators, she pointed out that, life expectancy rose from 54 to 57 years, HIV/AIDS prevalence reduced from 5.4 per cent to 4.4 per cent, while school enrolment has also risen considerably.

Usman said the 2007 budget would build on investments made on health, education, water resources and power in the 2006 budget, adding that there would be emphasis on transportation, in particular, railway, roads and inland waterways.

Meanwhile, ahead of next month's scheduled launching of Federal Government's ambitious $350 million support fund for local oil companies, a consortium of local banks have raised $260m for the programme.

The amount represents 74 per cent of the entire package of $350m, being set up to fast track the achievement of government's 70 per cent target for local participation in the country's petroleum industry.

Speaking at a legislative workshop on capacity building for Nigerian content development in oil and gas in Abuja, the Group General Manager, Local Content Division of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Engr. Joseph Akande, said the corporation has secured the patronage of most local banks who have agreed to jointly set up a $260m credit line to support Nigerian content project.

THISDAY gathered that the support from the banks is being spearheaded by First Bank, Zenith, Oceanic, Guaranty Trust and Access Bank, along with other financial institutions in the country.

Akande said the drive for the achievement of the 70 per cent indegenous participation in the oil and gas industry projects is already in top gear following the commencement of implementation of a strategic policy meant to reserve certain percentage of contracts for local companies.


He said there has been a marked improvement in the work rate of Nigerian engineering personnel, such that their work book are currently in the excess of 3 million man hours.

HE added that fabrication jobs carried out by local companies have shown remarkable increase from 12,000 tonnage to 100,000 tonnage, while the fabrication yard lifting capacity rose from 100,000 to 500,000 tons.

Akande said NNPC is actively implementing various programmes ranging from engineering training, skills acquisition for fabricators and other capacity enhancement schemes for local operators in the oil industry.

He said NNPC and the Petroleum Development Technology Fund (PTDF), have compiled a data bank comprising 700 engineers that would be taken through specialist training in designs and fabricating skills.

According to him, the aim of the capacity training is to prepare Nigerian operators adequately to be able to participate in the execution of $17 billion oil industry projects planned over the next 5 years.

Senator Victor Oyofo, who represented the Senate President, Mr. Ken Nnamani at the event said government is fine-tuning the legislation on local content with a view to effecting its passage.

He said legislation would redress a neglect that has been on for years.

"We must overhaul our society, so that the practitioners in the sector who want to exercise or take advantage of the local sector can, to some degree, rely on what the state can provide because the state has a responsibility to provide basic infrastructure to make it possible for you to rise and take advantage of local content", he said.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Senator Lee Ledogo Maeba, noted that while countries that are producing oil as Nigeria are already applying local content, we are still in the process of getting our own off the ground.

"It is a shame that we are talking about local content 50 years after exploration, oil companies operate on negotiation and we must end that trend by putting in place a legislation.

"Before the senate, there is an Oil Content Bill and we are going to work on it for the President Olusegun Obasanjo to sign it into law, before the end of the year", he said.

He said the directive of the Federal Government and NNPC on the minimum local content in the oil sector was not sufficient as such instructions could be reversed by another government in future.

"We need a robust legislation so that Nigerian contractors can take the companies to court if they are not satisfied", he said.
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Old November 28th, 2006, 04:41 AM   #58
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Good news from Morocco
Quote:
Is Morocco’s economy booming?

Some Moroccan economists hail economic boom this year, others accuse government of massaging figures.

By Abdelfettah Fakihani - RABAT

Morocco is officially enjoying an economic boom this year, with the state predicting that growth will leap to 7.3 percent from just 1.8 percent in 2005.

But while some economists are hailing the upturn, others are sceptical about the rosy outlook presented by a government with an eye on next year's general election.

They warn that continued growth will depend on the fortunes of the north African country's key agricultural sector. And in these days of global warming, that farming sector depends on the vagaries of increasingly unpredictable weather.

The kingdom of Morocco has in recent months attracted significant foreign investment. The tourist industry has sparked particular interest, with United Arab Emirates groups EMAAR and Dubai Holdings pouring nine billion dollars into the sector.

Major infrastructure projects are flourishing - in roads, in low-cost housing to replace slum dwellings and in bringing power to the countryside. Energy Minister Mohamed Boutaleb says the electricity grid will be extended to cover 89 percent of the largely rural country by the end of 2006.

"Morocco is well on the road to sustainable growth," said Abdelali Doumou, professor of economics at Casablanca University. Average economic growth was 4.7 percent between 2001 and 2006, compared to 3.0 to 3.5 percent in the 1990s, he noted.

The huge infrastructure projects and the halving of Morocco's foreign debt to 11 billion euros (14.4 billion dollars) over the past seven years are contributing to national wealth, he told AFP. So are improvements in governance and and public companies, which are set to invest 53 billion dirhams (4.82 billion euros) in 2007.

"There is also an undeniable improvement in Moroccans' standard of living," Doumou added, pointing to a surge in car sales and mortgages.

If there is a major weakness in the Moroccan economy today, it is its regional disparities of wealth, which need evening out, he said.

For example, in the southern region of Marrakesh, increasingly prized by European tourists and house-buyers, 7.0 percent of the population lives below the poverty line. In the western regions of Essaouira and Chichaoua poverty scales heights of 30 percent.

Other economists are less enthusiastic, though.

The state planning commission (HCP) recently announced that the number of jobless people in Morocco - a country of 30 million - had just dropped below the one-million mark for the first time in 13 years. Officially, unemployment now stands at 7.7 percent of the active population, as opposed to 11.1 percent a year ago.

Around the same time, Finance Minister Fathalah Oualalou declared the number of people living in extreme poverty - surviving on less that one dollar a day - had fallen to 14 percent in 2005, or 4.2 million people, from 16.5 percent in 1997.

"The figures have been massaged," protested Najib Akesbi, economics professor at the Hassan II Agronomy Institute in Rabat.

"How can you say the poverty rate and unemployment rate are falling when Morocco's Human Development Index in the United Nations Development Programme report for 2005 is stagnant? The country was classed 124th (in 2005) and 125th the previous year."

"The government is churning out propaganda in the run-up to the autumn 2007 parliamentary election," he sniffed.

Akesbi acknowledged that "privatisation of the air transport sector and the 'Azur' plan for the tourist industry are positive points".

But, he cautioned, "growth is volatile because it depends on climatic conditions and these are changing."

Farming employs 40 percent of Morocco's active population and generates between 15 and 20 percent of gross domestic product, depending on the year. Nearly 45 percent of the population lives in rural areas.

"There is growth but it's fragile," agreed Mustapha Meftah, economist and deputy director of the national construction federation.

"The weight of the farming sector in the economy is still significant. We haven't yet got into a virtuous growth circle," he said.

"It's paradoxical to declare that Morocco is close to full employment when only a handful of sectors are showing any dynamism," Meftah continued.

"The informal sector and hidden unemployment are still huge - particularly in the countryside."
http://www.middle-east-online.com/en...ness/?id=18496
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Old November 28th, 2006, 04:46 AM   #59
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RWANDA

Quote:
Rwanda points, clicks its way to growth, change


27 November 2006 09:54

Ange Mukarusagara never thought she would get the chance to use a computer at school.

That used to be the exclusive privilege of a handful of students at the National University of Rwanda. But times are changing.

The tiny Central African country wants to become one of the most plugged-in countries on the continent. Hundreds of kilometres of fibre-optic cables have been laid, the capital Kigali is working to become a high-tech hub and computers have been placed in thousands of schools.

Mukarusagara's Groupe Scolaire de Muhura, a secondary school in a village set between hills and banana plantations, is one beneficiary.

"I had never dreamt of doing this," the shy 22-year-old said as she clicked her desktop computer to open an interactive site showing the human respiratory process.

Like many second-level students in a country where conflict closed schools for long periods, she is older than Western counterparts. She is studying physics, chemistry and biology.

"This has now become my library," Mukarusagara said. "It is very difficult for us to access textbooks."

Almost half Rwanda's 2 300 primary schools now own at least two computers. More than 100 out of 500 secondary schools offer computer laboratories with wireless internet. And the government plans to provide all secondary schools with broadband access by 2010.

"In the absence of major natural resources, we can only depend on our human capital to grow this nation," said Albert Butare, Minister for Energy and Communications.

Coffee and tea are Rwanda's main export earners and have helped the economy grow at an average of 7% over the past five years, putting the country among the top economic performers in Africa during that time.

But the government wants to move away from reliance on rain-dependent agriculture.

"Look at what the Asian Tigers have done to grow their economies," Butare said. "The secret to their success is training their people in science and technology. This is the route we want to take."

'A country reborn'
Building up the information technology sector would help Rwanda deliver on its Vision 2020 development plan, which aims to raise per capita income to $900 from the present $230 by the end of the next decade.

But Rwanda is seeking more than just an economic transformation.

To the outside world, the country is still synonymous with the 1994 genocide of nearly 800 000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus by Hutu extremists in a 100-day campaign.

Authorities are striving to change this image.

One part of the strategy has been to lure more tourists. Already home to a third of the world's mountain gorillas, Rwanda announced plans this year to import rhinos to solidify its place as a top destination for wildlife enthusiasts.

President Paul Kagame has also sought to attract investors, saying the country's location, zero tolerance for corruption and current peace and security were strong incentives.

Information technology is one of the areas which officials want to develop in order to win fresh foreign funds.

For now, state institutions are proving the boldest in making the leap into advanced technology as Rwanda seeks to position itself as an African leader in communications technology.

Bulky paper work for parliamentary sessions and Cabinet meetings is a thing of the past as all documents are handled electronically.

The senate, the Parliament's upper house, is transforming itself into a high-tech base. It is offering free rent to get companies to move into the modern Kigali office tower that is its home.

And Rwanda has been chosen as the headquarters for a project to build a submarine cable that would drastically lower telecom costs in East Africa.

A fibre-optic cable runs to a telecom mast atop the 4 500m Karisimbi volcano, which is set to become a regional air traffic control centre.

The government can point the way, but for these high-tech plans to bear fruit, it needs the younger generation to commit to learning the right skills.

Early signs are promising.

From the primary level on, Rwanda's education system favours science subjects, offering a wider range of such disciplines than previously. The Kigali Institute for Science and Technology, on ground once occupied by army barracks, has produced about 2 000 graduates since its establishment in 1997

And more students are looking to follow this path.

"I have chosen to concentrate on physics so that I can do computer engineering at university," said Pauline Hakizimana (20) who is also studying at Groupe Scolaire de Muhura. - Reuters
http://www.mg.co.za/articlePage.aspx...ews__business/
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Old November 28th, 2006, 04:52 AM   #60
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Djibouti
Quote:
Djibouti to become East Africa's main port

Published: 27-NOV-06

Djibouti - The tiny but strategic Red Sea state of Djibouti was working all out to become the Horn of Africa's main regional shipping terminal over the next few years.

The expansion of Doraleh port, about 10km south of the capital, entails construction of a 2km container jetty for deep-water anchorage, allowing an additional 1.5 million offloads a year, officials said.

Located at the southern end of the Red Sea on the Gulf of Aden, Djibouti, a former French colony, was a key staging post between the Mediterranean and the Suez Canal shipping route through to the Indian Ocean.

It was also home to the largest overseas French military base and the only United States military base in Africa.

The port, with four container terminals and 10 cranes, currently has the capacity to handle 10 million tonnes of general cargo and 400 000 container units per year and the upgrade would significantly boost in cargo traffic, officials said.

In 2000 the government went into partnership with Dubai's DP World, one of the world's largest container port operators.

DP World said the new port would be operational at the end of 2008.

The Dubai government-controlled DP World became one of the world's top three container port operators after its $6.9bnacquisition of Britain's Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co earlier this year.

The construction for $400mn of the new container terminal in Doraleh was launched officially last weekend, and with its extra offloads should knock Mombasa in Kenya off its perch.

The first phase of the upgrade, a $130mn oil terminal was launched in February, with a capacity of 370 000m3 and 200 lorries a day.

The expansion was expected to improve access to the region, especially Africa's main trading bloc, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), which counts 21 countries and 400 million inhabitants.

"Djibouti is the main entry point for Comesa," said its secretary general, Festus Mwencha.

"In 10 or 15 years we hope that we will be able to go from Djibouti right to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, we have plans for access, notably rail," he said.

The plans have also been welcomed in a desert country of around 800 000 inhabitants that does not have any natural resources.

"The port of Doraleh will allow Djibouti to have a new clientele: very big ships coming directly from Europe or Asia," carrying 10 000 to 12 000 containers, Thierry Marill, the Djibouti-based secretary general of the Marill Establishments said.

"Raw materials can get to Djibouti, which will allow processing businesses to play their role, create jobs and which means in the medium term more industries," he said.

On top of the development of the port a duty-free zone was being set up, which should open the way for setting up new companies.

"Our ambition is to promote Djibouti as the gateway for investors to Africa and of exit for African producers towards other continents' markets," said Zeinab Kamil Ali, who manages the port authority and Djibouti'as duty free zone. -
http://www.businessinafrica.net/news...ica/346802.htm
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