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Old December 15th, 2006, 09:02 PM   #101
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Mittal Steel Agreement May Be Signed Next Week

The Latest report released in Monrovia, has suggested that the mineral concession agreement between the Liberian government and the world's largest steel company Mittal Steel for the launching of the company's operation in the country, will be signed on next Monday.

The Land Mines and Energy Minister Mr. Eugene Shannon, in an interview with Star Radio Wednesday disclosed that the two sides would sign the agreement next Monday.

Report reaching this paper says that the agreement will be signed between the two sides on next Monday, few days after representatives of the two sides concluded negotiation into the agreement earlier this week, when they met in the United States as part of the efforts to trash out some of the contentious issues in the agreement were discussed.

The agreement between the company and the government was previously signed during the transitional government headed by Mr. Charles Gyude Bryant, but upon it incumbency however, the president Sirleaf's led government called for a review of the contract to reflect on what it called, "The National Interest."

The government contended that the country should however, manage and control the seaports and railways on grounds that they are state owned properties that should be under the control of the government, something that the company accepted before the agreement was concluded.

The Mittal steel agreement, which is a 1 billion United States Dollars' deal, would provide employment to hundreds of Liberians and will assist in the reconstruction and development processes of the nation.

The Inquirer (Monrovia)
NEWS
December 15, 2006
Posted to the web December 15, 2006
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Old December 17th, 2006, 02:37 PM   #102
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Sudan open to trade with Brazil - official


Dec 15, 2006 (RIO DE JANEIRO) — A Sudanese official said on Friday that his country is open to trade with Brazil — a response to the South American country’s support in the United Nations, Brazilian media reported.

Doors are open to Brazil, Abdel Salam, director of the Cooperation Department in Sudan’s finance ministry, said in an interview with a Brazilian newspaper.

The comment came after Brazil voted in favor of the Sudan’s government in the United Nations where European countries demanded an investigation into the conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan.

Sudan has resisted the deployment of UN peacekeepers in the volatile western region.

Brazil supported Africa at international organizations, said Salam, adding that the support was a manifestation of cooperation among the countries from the South.

He said his government was in negotiations with Brazil’s state-owned oil and gas giant Petrobras, and planed to reach an agreement with the company soon.

Sudan produces 520,000 barrels of oil a day and about 12 percent of the country’s GDP comes from oil and gas.

The production would reach up to 1 million barrels a day over the next few years, Salam said.
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Old December 17th, 2006, 02:38 PM   #103
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Turkish firm to invest $60 mln in Sudan oil field



Dec 16, 2006 (KHARTOUM) — The Turkish Delta Petroleum Group announced that it group will begin investment in the oil field in Sudan in next February at the value of 60 million dollars.

At a press conference Saturday in Khartoum at Sharjah Hall, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mehmet Habbab, said that Delta Group has finalized procedure and arrangements to carry out its work in the oil field in Sudan.

He said that Delta Group plans to begin establishment of deposits and workshops in Khartoum, Port-Sudan, Gedarif, Babanousa and Al-Obeid areas at the cost of 10 million dollars in the first stage.

Habbab said that Sudan is anticipated to achieve remarkable progress at the petroleum field in the coming period, depending on its experiences and skills in this domain.

He indicated that Delta Group obtains around 200,000 petroleum tanker vehicles, adding that the loading capacity of each tanker vehicle is 70 tons of petroleum materials and commodities.

He said that Delta Group will depend on Sudanese manpower after providing them with training. He added that Delta Petroleum Company is a multinational and have investments in several countries.

The Delta Petroleum Group is implementing investment projects in Turkey at the value of 500 million dollars, in Georgia at the value of 70 million dollars, besides Sudan at the value of 60 million dollars.
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Old December 20th, 2006, 12:30 PM   #104
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Despite high oil prices (Ghana is an oil importer), it managed to build up a relatively considerable amount of foreign exchange.



International Reserves Crosses $2 Billion Mark

Quote:
Business News of Tuesday, 19 December 2006

Ghana´s international reserves crossed the $2 billion mark for the first time in the economic history of the country at the end of October 2006.

“These reserves are enough to cover 3.5 months of imports of goods and services,” the Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Dr Paul Acquah, has said.

Dr Acquah, who was speaking at a press conference of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the BoG, said the external payments position was robust, with a reduced current account deficit in 2006 and a further build-up of gross international reserves.

He said private inward transfers attributable to non-governmental organisations, embassies, service providers, individuals, among others, and channelled through the banks and finance companies from January to October 2006 amounted to $4.79 billion.

He said that represented a 25.9 per cent increase over what was recorded for the corresponding period of 2005. Of the total transfers in the period, $1.22 billion (about 25 per cent) accrued to individuals, compared with 30.6 per cent over the same period in 2005.

He said the foreign exchange market also saw an increased volume of activity during the year and reduced volatility in the market.

He disclosed that the purchases and sale of foreign exchange by banks and forex bureaux in the 11-month period to November 2006 amounted to $6.01 billion, an increase of 13.9 per cent over the same period in 2005, and stated that the volume of dollar transactions dominated the market, accounting for some 80.4 per cent in the month of November, with the pound sterling at 7.3 per cent and the euro at 12.3 per cent.

Measuring the cedi against international currencies, the governor said the cedi remained relatively stable against the US dollar during the year, explaining that cumulatively the cedi depreciated against the dollar by 1.1 per cent.

He said the cedi depreciated much more against the euro by 12.2 per cent and the pound sterling by 14.2 per cent for the period January to November 2006.

“This compares with a depreciation of 0.6 per cent against the US dollar and an appreciation of 14.3 per cent and 10.5 per cent respectively against the euro and the pound sterling in the same period a year earlier,” he said.

He said in trade weighted terms, the cedi appreciated cumulatively by 1.1 per cent for the period January to October 2006 and by 5.2 per cent in foreign exchange weighted terms.

On the issue of imports during the period under review, Dr Acquah said strong domestic demand reflected in a strong import growth and that amounted to $5,414.80 million in total imports for the period January to October 2006.

That, he explained, represented an increase of 27.2 per cent, compared with a total import bill of $4,255.76 million for the same period in 2005.

Non-oil imports amounted to $4,202.86 million, an increase of 23.0 per cent over the $3,416.30 million recorded for the same period in 2005.

Consumption goods imported, he said, were estimated at $966.3 million, an increase of 17 per cent over the previous year’s level of $826.1 million.

Capital goods imports, on the other hand, amounted to $873.5 million, representing a 22 per cent increase over the amount for the same period in 2005.

Intermediate goods imports were estimated to be $3,213.0 million, compared with $2,404.0 million in 2005. Of these amounts, fuel and lubricants accounted for $1,164.47 million and $839.48 in 2006 and 2005 respectively, with the increase reflecting mostly in the rise in oil prices on the international market.

These developments, Dr Acquah explained, resulted in a trade deficit of $1,871.56 million for the period up to October 2006 but stated that the current account turned in a reduced deficit of $45.6 million, compared with a deficit of $581.7 million recorded in 2005.

He said the overall balance of payments recorded a deficit of $111.04 million, compared with a deficit of $195.29 million recorded for the corresponding period in 2005.

He said provisional estimates indicated an overall surplus of $406.73 million for the year, bolstered by the seasonal inflows of cocoa proceeds.

Source:
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Old December 20th, 2006, 12:34 PM   #105
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Nigeria invests heavily in LNG projects

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December 13th, 2006

Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Edmund Daukoru has said that the nation is investing heavily in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects. He made this know at the weekend.

Daukoru was quoted as saying that the West Africa gas pipeline project would come on board in early 2007. "The success story of the Nigeria LNG limited (NLNG) in Bonny had resulted in the establishment of the two LNG projects," he said, adding that the two projects were expected to be operational in 2009.

There had been significant gas export since 1999 with NLNG earning over 5 billion U.S. dollars for the country.

Nigeria’s gas reserves are currently put at 210 trillion cubic feet and the first gas export was in the form of liquefied natural gas (LPG) from the Escravos gas project in 1997. Daukoru, who is also the OPEC president, said that Nigeria and other OPEC member countries would continue to invest in gas projects since gas has become a global commodity.
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Old December 21st, 2006, 05:13 AM   #106
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Nigeria expects 2006 growth rate of 7.6%

ABUJA (Reuters) -- Nigeria's economy is seen growing at 7.6 percent in 2006, the finance minister said, below an initial target of 10 percent as it has been hit by attacks by militants on the country's oil industry.

Nenadi Usman said the external reserves of Africa's top oil producer reached to a record $42 billion in November, thanks to high oil prices in the international market.

"In 2006 we expect to see a GDP growth rate of at least 7.6 percent," Usman said at a press conference in the capital Abuja, without specifying the contribution of the oil sector which accounted for a quarter of Nigeria's gross domestic product last year.

"Our external reserve which was $3 billion in 1999 increased to about $42 billion as of the end of November 2006. These positive changes are largely due to prudent management of the economy combined with recently favorable oil prices," the finance minister said.

Nigeria, the world's eighth biggest oil exporter, had targeted a 10 percent growth for this year, after 6.2 percent growth in 2005, but a series of crippling attacks on oil installations since February have cut output by a fifth.

The finance minister said the non-oil sector, which grew by 8.2 percent in 2005, was the driving force behind Nigeria's expanding economy.

"Overall, the government has been able to maintain fiscal prudence, enhance revenue earnings, reduce both domestic and external debts, reduce inflation, stabilize exchange and interest rates with macroeconomic stability," Usman said.

Nigeria is conducting a home-grown programme of free-market economic reforms, which earned it a landmark deal with the Paris Club of sovereign lenders in 2005, in which it repaid $12 billion in debts in return for a write-off of a further $18 billion. The deal was concluded earlier this year.

Nigeria, which is in the process of liquidating the bulk of its $2.4 billion debt to the London Club, earned BB- credit rating from Standard and Poor's and Fitch Ratings in the first quarter of 2006.

http://www.tehrantimes.com/Descripti...6&Cat=9&Num=13
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Old December 21st, 2006, 06:01 AM   #107
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Gambia: Domestic Economy Registers Formidable Performance - SoS Gaye

The Daily Observer (Banjul)
December 20, 2006

Alhagie Jobe


The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of The Gambia has grown by 7.7 percent in 2006, registering a formidable performance of the country's economy compared to the previous years.

This was revealed in the 2007 budget statement of The Gambia Government.


According to the Secretary of State for Finance and Economic Affairs, the performance is as a result of growth in all sectors of the economy. He said that the prime contributor of growth in 2006 is a boom in the building and construction industry, a strong rebound in telecommunications, considerable growth in agricultural output and a substantial increase in the operations of hotels and restaurants. This, he went on, resulted in growth rates of 40 percent, 18 percent, 6.5 percent and 6 percent respectively. In terms of percentage shares, agriculture, industry and the services sector contribute 29.8 percent, 10.9 percent and 56 percent of total value added respectively.

He attributed the growth in the agricultural sector to the increase in value of crop production, livestock, forestry and fishing activities. "The value added for crop production increased by 7 percent, livestock by 3 percent, while forestry and fishing activities increased by 3 percent and 10 percent respectively. The 8.8 percent growth in industry is as a result of increase in productivity in mining and quarrying activities (15 percent), manufacturing (7.2 percent), electricity and water (6 percent), and building and construction (40 percent).

The unprecedented growth in the building and construction industry resulted from construction activities in road and other public civil works related to the hosting of the African Union Summit and private constructions relating to housing amenities were also buoyant during 2006.

According to SoS Gaye, the communications industry registered the highest growth of about 18 percent. "The growth in communication is attributed to the expansion of telecommunication activities, and the rapid internalisation of ICT activities nationwide. National policies will continue to facilitate development within the ICT sector to ensure faster socio-economic development, and optimise benefits from globalization. The contribution of the public service to overall GDP remains at about the same level as in 2005", he concluded.

http://allafrica.com/stories/200612200804.html
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Old December 21st, 2006, 07:17 AM   #108
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Ethiopia: 2005/2006 GDP Records 9.6 Percent Growth, Per Capita GDP Reaches $180

Quote:
The Daily Monitor (Addis Ababa)
December 20, 2006
Posted to the web December 20, 2006

Hayal Alemayehu
Addis Ababa


Country's 2005/ 2006 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth picked up 9.6 per cent against that of the previous fiscal year, according to MOFED's (Ministry of Finance and Economic Development) latest macroeconomic developments report.

Amounting to 85.2 billion birr (~$11 billion), the reported year's real GDP (computed at constant prices with 1999/2000 taken as a base year) has surpassed that of the preceding year's total sum by 7.5 billion birr, MOFED's annual report indicated.

Commonly accountable for constituting the loin's share of the country's GDP, agricultural products shared 47.3 per cent of the review year's overall GDP, followed by the service sector which contributed 40.4 per cent of the total sum figure. The industry sector has shared the balance.

Although considered minimal relative to most other African economies, the country's per capita GDP has accordingly exhibited growth.

According to the report, the 2005/2006 per capita GDP (computed at current market prices) has increased by 14 per cent versus that of the earlier to hit180 US dollars.

Measured by real GDP growth, the overall economic performance of the country has registered continuous progress over the last three years, noted the report.

The GDP growth recorded in the preceding 2004/2005 and 2003/2004 years stood at 10.5 per cent and 11.9 per cent respectively, according to MOFED's revised GDP report.

MOFED's GDP growth forecast for the (2006/2007) fiscal year even goes higher than the reported year's rate targeted at 10.9 per cent.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), which examines and gives recognition to the world economies' GDP growth reports, has, however, estimated a 5.4 per cent and a 5.5 per cent GDP growth as a possible scenario for Ethiopia for the years 2006 and 2007 respectively.

http://allafrica.com/stories/200612200469.html
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Old December 21st, 2006, 12:20 PM   #109
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Nigeria: FG, Microsoft Seal Deal on e-Government

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From Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja, 12.20.2006


The Federal Government yesterday signed a strategic partnership agreement with global software giant, Microsoft Corporation, for the supply and transfer of a series of initiatives that contribute to effective governance and the socio economic development of Nigeria.
Under the three years agreement valued at over $49.1 million, Nigeria will receive from the corporation’s wealth of knowledge in technology and its capability for social and economic development.
Specifically, apart from the increased access of top-of-the-range software and related training to be provided as a result of the agreement, Nigeria is also expected to benefit from the technical know-how of Microsoft in e-Government. The pact will also streamline the government’s use of Microsoft’s software tools.
The agreement was signed on behalf of both parties in Abuja by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief Ufot Ekaette, and the Regional General Manager for Microsoft in West, East, and Central Africa, Mr. Thomas Hansen.
Nigeria’s Minister of Science and Technology, Prof. Turner Isoun, witnessed the signing of the pact which builds on one implemented in 2003.
Microsoft will establish Microsoft Innovation Centre in Abuja next year primarily to help the Nigeria software industry to further develop skills.
The Innovation Centre is expected to provide IT professional with solid technical training, offer local partners an opportunity to collaborate with eac other or their international counterparts, and help developers to showcase their made in Nigeria software.
The agreement also provides for support for research and innovation as well as security cooperation. All these are aimed at making Nigeria a global player in the IT sector.
Speaking at the ceremony, Chief Ufot Ekaette re-echoed the federal government’s belief that information technology provides a veritable means of developing the nation’s economy.
He said FG has embarked on a deliberate policy to harness its potentials. One of such policies is the continued partnership with global software giants-Microsoft, to ensure that our ministries, departments and agencies are not hamstrung in their ability to creatively use software to improve efficiency and generate wealth.”
“It is therefore imperative that our nation should join the rest of the world in recognizing the pivotal role of software developmentin the overall development of the IT sector", he said.
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Old December 21st, 2006, 10:36 PM   #110
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DIPLOMATIC NETWORK OF GBAGBO

Under French influence, the international Working group (GTI) in Ivory Coast which supports like only one man (except for South Africa) the Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny “CKB”, was quickly émasculé by the international and African lobbies of president Laurent Gbagbo. The Head of the State opened, on December 15 in Abidjan, the 3rd Panafrican Congress of the “young patriots” (COJEP) of Charles Blé Goudé on the topic of the “Resolutions of UNO and (of) sovereignties of the African States: cases of Rwanda and the Ivory Coast”. A whole program which promises next “a festival” anti-UNO and especially, anti French.


China and (Israel) vote Laurent Gbagbo. As for Sudan with the Americans, the resolutions presented at the United Nations by the French diplomats to sanction the behavior of the close relations of Laurent Gbagbo are blocked by China, member permanent of the Security Council.

The new ambassador from China in Abidjan. My Zi Xhué, which was before in station in Madagascar and Mali, offered on November 12, a beautiful pen in Solid gold with the president of the Ivory Coast on behalf of president Hu Jintao, Beijing which built the House of the deputies with Yamoussoukro and exploits already a layer of Manganese piaffe of impatience to obtain oil blocks. That could not delay too much…

If the declarations of the American Ambassador Aubrey Hooks on the absolute primacy of the Constitution of the Ivory Coast, and thus of the capacity of Laurent Gbagbo, have a tantinet aggravated in the Elysium, they are especially the Israelis who are the best relays of the president of the Ivory Coast in Washington and in the international authorities. The ambassador of Israel Daniel Ekem, from which it is the second mission in Ivory Coast, came to propose on December 1 with Laurent Gbagbo a reinforcement of the axis Tel-Aviv Abidjan, with a technical aid of scale in favour of a “civic service” so that the young rebels give up “rifle for the pickaxe”. Soon Kibbutzes in the North of the “released” country? The Israeli businessmen are also very active in their support for Gbagbo. CHAIM Lebovits, whose company “C &L Ressources” obtained the block C 102 (LC n°495, thus took along in its private aircraft the Minister for the Mines and Energy Leon Monnet to Kinshasa for the ceremony of establishment of president Joseph Kabila.



Strategy… Other new international supports of Laurent Gbagbo: (India which will invest in the project of frank Zone high-tech of the adviser Vincent Kragbé. And Iran which seeks Cocoa quotas and ambitionne to install a factory of assembly of bus in Abidjan.


Thabo Mbeki and Paul Kagamé for “godfathers”. Except notable for the president Malian Amani Toumani Touré ATT”, uncle of the wife of the star of the Ivory Coast of football Didier Drogba. Laurent Gbagbo does not have really many “pals” in the area. On the other hand, several “independent” presidents, english-speaking support it openly. To start with president Thabo Mbeki whose country will sit at the Security Council of the United Nations from January 1. South Africa recently sent in Abidjan officers instructors specialized in the urban guerrilla warfare and four African southern Generals came “to shoulder”, on December 11, the general Philippe Mangou, chief of Staff of the army of the Ivory Coast. Always last week, it is the Adviser in Safety of the president of the Ivory Coast, Bertin Kadet, which was in Luanda at another aficionado of Laurent Gbagbo.

President Jose Eduardo Back Santos. This last ambitionne to succeed Denis Sassou Guesso with the presidency of the African Union (UA). Since the rupture of the diplomatic relations between France and Rwanda, another strategic alliance was tied between Laurent Gbagbo and Paul Kagamé, first financed the monument with the victims of the genocide of Kigali and the second takes again from now on the theses of the “patriots” of the Ivory Coast showing France of interference in the businesses of his old colonies. Sometimes called, the “French-speaking Mugabe”.

Laurent Gbagbo can also count on the support of the strong man of Harare, another “friend” of Large China…
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Old December 22nd, 2006, 12:59 AM   #111
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Nigeria: Nigeria-Cameroon Highway Project Signed


Quote:
Cameroon Tribune (Yaoundé)

December 21, 2006
Posted to the web December 21, 2006

Emmanuel Kendemeh

Minister of State, Jean-Marie Atangana Mebara signed the Memorandum of Understanding of the project yesterday.

Cameroon's Minister of State, Minister of External Relations, Jean-Marie Atangana Mebara yesterday, December 20 at his ministry signed the memorandum of understanding for the Nigeria- Cameroon Multinational Highway Transport Facilitation Project. This was in the presence of the Minister of Public Works, Bernard Messengue Avom, the Nigerian High Commissioner to Cameroon, Edwin Edobor, the National Coordinator of the African Development Bank Programme, Denis Léopold Tankoua and the two Ministers Delegate at MINREX, Joseph Dion Ngute and the Adoum Gargoum.


The project was one of the decisions reached at the Nigeria -Cameroon Mixed Commission set up for the implementation of the International Court of Justice ruling on the Bakassi border dispute. The two countries requested for the funding of the project by the African Development Bank. The Bank's officials on their part requested the parties to sign a Memorandum of Understanding as a prerequisite to facilitate the preparation and implementation of the entire project. According to the Director of the Legal Affairs and Treaties Division at MINREX, Sebastien Foumane, both the plenipotentiaries of Cameroon and Nigeria were supposed to meet and sign the memorandum of understanding for the project but due to time table constraints, the Nigerian official could not be present. As such, in diplomatic circles the method of alternative signing had to be used where an official signs and forward the document to the other. He explained that as the Minister of State Atangana Mebara had signed on behalf of Cameroon, the same memorandum of understanding will be sent to his Nigerian counterpart for signature through diplomatic channels.

The memorandum of understanding concerns the project to rehabilitate and construct a highway from Enugu-Abakiliki-Ogoja Junction- Ikom Mfum in Nigeria to Ekok-Mamfe-Batibo in Cameroon and transport facilitation between Enugu and Bamenda. The memorandum of understanding states that the project shall comprise of two segments called the "Nigeria segment" and the "Cameroon segment". Each party, it further specified, shall be responsible for the design and implementation of its own segment of the project, subject to agreed technical specification and standards. The Nigeria segment is divided into three sections. They relate to the dualisation of Enugu- Abakiliki Road (78.2km), rehabilitation of Abakiliki-Ogoja Junction (87.2km) and rehabilitation of Ogoja Junction-Mfum (74.6 Km). The Cameroon segment of the project concerns the upgrading of Ekok-Mamfe road (60Km) and upgrading the Numba -Batibo raod (20 Km).
PS: Let´s hope that it takes off and that it is no blabla again!
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Old December 22nd, 2006, 08:10 PM   #112
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FG, Chinese Firms Sign N24bn Rural Telephony Contract

Quote:
From Onwuka Nzeshi in Abuja, 12.22.2006

The Federal Government yesterday signed contracts with two chinese firms - ZTE and Alcatel Shanghai Bell in respect of the second phase of the National Rural Telephony Project. Both firms executed the first phase of the project which covered 218 local councils spread across the federation.
In addition, the second phase is expected to cover over 300 local government areas and will upon completion bring to 576 the number of local government areas where Nigerians living in the rural areas will have access to basic telecommunications including voice, data transmission and internet services.
Minister of Communi-cations, Dr. Obafemi Anibaba who signed the contract on behalf of the Federal Government disclosed that this second phase will also involve a third Chinese firm, Huwawei but noted that even at the completion of the second phase the nation's 774 local councils would not have been fully covered.
He disclosed that the Minstry of Communications has equally received Pres-ident Olusegun Oba-sanjo's approval that contract for the third phase of the National Rural Telephony Programme be awarded by March 2007 to ensure that every nook and cranny of Nigeria was linked by telecommunications signal.
According to him, part of the design of government is to make telecommunications services available to the the rural areas currently underserved, improving their level of awareness of development around the world and reducing rural urban migration in the country.
"We have also decided that most of the projects will be sited as near as possible to most post offices across the country to enable the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) tap into the network and provide various electronic communication services to the
rural dwellers. In other words, from March next year, if students in rural areas want to check their JAMB results, they need not travel to the cities but could walk to the nearest rural post office to access the internet," Anibaba stated.
He appealed to the three firms involved in the second phase to rededicate themselves to the project to ensure its completion on schedule, adding that it was because of their track record and level of performance in the first phase ofthe project that has necessitated their invitation to participate in the current phase.
The Project is being financed through a concessionary loan secured by the Federal Government from the government of the Peoples Republic of China.
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Old December 22nd, 2006, 08:50 PM   #113
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Gabon: Signature d’une autorisation d’exploitation pétroličre sur le champ d’ONAL

Quote:
(Infosplusgabon 21/12/2006)

LIBREVILLE, 21 décembre (Infosplusgabon) - Le ministre gabonais des Mines, de l’Energie, du Pétrole et des Ressources hydrauliques, Richard Auguste Onouviet, a délivré la semaine écoulée ŕ la société pétroličre Maurel & Prom une autorisation exclusive d’exploitation pour le champ onshore d’ONAL, d’une superficie de 45,8 km˛, situé sur le permis d’Omoueyi (4 178 km˛), au Gabon.
« Cette approbation a été accordée le mercredi 13 décembre 2006 pour une durée de 20 ans, renouvelable une fois, et concrétise l’intensité, la rapidité et le succčs du programme d’exploration-appréciation de Maurel & Prom au Gabon », souligne un communiqué de presse rendu public jeudi.

Les investissements de développement liés ŕ ce projet sont évalués ŕ 250 M$, , concentrés sur les années 2007 puis 2008.

Selon la représentation de Maurel & Prom ŕ Libreville, « le développement d’ONAL est prévu en deux phases. La premičre phase est constituée de la mise en place des installations de surface, de la construction des flowlines (raccordements) et de l’oléoduc, et de la mise en production des 4 puits d’exploration forés en 2006 et de 11 puits producteurs ŕ forer en 2007 ».



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Old December 22nd, 2006, 09:55 PM   #114
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Africa must look East _ MUST READ

There was little attempt on the part of speakers or delegates at the Leadership for Growth conference to expound on the direct leadership lessons that China might have for Africa. Instead there was widespread agreement that the rise of China offered real opportunities for Africa and much of the session was spent exploring these.

It might be that there are few direct leadership lessons from China. One speaker commented caustically that the same management consultants who had previously advocated “the Japanese way” were now punting “the Chinese model”. Delegates, it seemed, were fed-up with management fads. But it did eventually emerge that there was some admiration for certain aspects of Chinese leadership.

Dr Matthews Chikoanda spoke about how the Chinese had broken out of the commodity export-manufacturers import cycle. Much of the Chinese experience he noted was singular but there are some general lessons.

First, he suggested that the Chinese had shown that it was necessary to become “economic warriors” in the pursuit of growth. He approved of the fact that business leaders — and not only in Africa — were drawing increasingly on thinking related to Sun Tzu’s ancient classic, The Art of War. The basic principle he quoted involved preparation: “Win the battle before the fighting begins”.

There are limits to this insight. Chinese development strategy has a coherence and common purpose between government and corporation that is simply not possible in Africa, at least in the near future. One of the advantages Chinese companies are able to bring to bids for African contracts is financing. But the ready availability of Chinese money is based on that country’s profound propensity to save. At the end of October China’s reserves — already the largest-ever recorded — reached an astounding $1 trillion. One high-profile loan beneficiary has been Angola where the creation of a $2bn facility at negligible interest (1,7%/annum over 17 years) was the key to the return of Chinese firms after a 30-year absence. Angola had previously been conceded by China as falling within the Soviet sphere of influence. Such resources are simply not at the disposal of Africa, dependent as the continent is on injections of foreign capital.

Nevertheless, the lessons of focus, single-mindedness and advanced preparation are pertinent to African governments. Kobus van der Wath of the consultancy Beijing Axis observes that China is planning 10 years ahead in terms of its penetration of Africa. China, he notes, wants to secure resources, assert itself diplomatically (especially against Taiwan) and develop markets for its own goods and services. But the unity of purpose and close organisational links between the Chinese government and its corporates may not be possible for Africans. Programmes for good governance in Africa are premised on a separation of state and private sector borrowed from the Western model of development. This distinction is inseparably linked to multi-party democracy. The development paths chosen by Africa — not to mention the continent’s (Western) donor dependency — make this model unattainable at present.

The other Art of War precepts quoted by Chikoanda seem a little alarming and might not have too much application outside modern (Western) corporate careers. One is “learn to fight and do it right”, another is “burn the bridges behind you” (making retreat impossible). He also notes that one precept starts with the insight that “standing alone is very difficult” and proceeds to advise “pulling together”. Chikoanda suggests the African notion of Ubuntu may feed into this process. Finally, he suggests, “when you’re doing all of this, you need to keep your opponents guessing”.

The problem with these insights is that while the wrapping may be Chinese, the substance is simply sensible management practice. The lessons boil down to adequate technique, commitment, teamwork and surprise. These are surely not the uniquely Chinese lessons for Africa.

However a further point made by Chikoanda may ultimately be the more important. He points out that the Chinese very successfully ditched their historical baggage. Africa, with its primary reference point in colonial history, needs to do the same. “Sure history is ‘there’,” he said. “So what? It’s gone.” There is a degree of truth in this statement but again, it should not be overdrawn. China has a strong sense of historical destiny, rooted in awareness of its position as the “Middle (of the earth) Kingdom” and a burning desire to reclaim its historical pre-eminence. Africa’s claims to past glory — while all too often underestimated — are nevertheless thin stuff by comparison.

China’s growth, insists Van der Wath, offers opportunity rather than posing a threat. He points out that China’s resource gap is wide and likely to widen further. China’s interest in Africa’s commodities “brings in the investment dollars”. African countries need to accept that they are going to have to compete with one another for that resource and that means developing whatever comparative advantage each country can find.

Ali Mufuruki pointed out that not only does China make infrastructure finance more readily available than any other country but it also delivers more for each dollar spent. His rule-of-thumb estimate is that the Chinese deliver any given construction at a cost reduction of about 50 percent.

Chikoanda produces another pertinent example. One of the companies he chairs, Malawi Telecom, went to Europe to price new equipment and found it prohibitively expensive. The Chinese offered to same equipment — switch and transmission mechanisms — at “half the price”. The two Chinese firms are now Malawi Telecom’s largest suppliers. He further points out that this is not only a boon to Malawi Telecom but to the entire business community as “the costs of doing business are lowered”.

Indeed, sourcing cheaper capital goods from China may, alongside trade, be the biggest benefit from the burgeoning relationship. Mufuruki gives an example of how things might work in practice: “In Tanzania we needed a large order of new pumps. The world-leading German supplier could promise delivery only in 8 weeks. We wanted them sooner than that so we looked to China — where we found a company manufacturing exactly the same product. They couldn’t sell to us for licensing reasons. But they could direct us to another company that made a perfectly acceptable substitute at one-third of the price! We placed the order and they actually manufactured the pumps while we waited at the hotel.” In the West, he comments, a large portion of the price of capital goods appears to go to the middleman. In China by contrast it is common practice to deal directly with the manufacturer. “If we do more business with China, we can make our meagre resources go further,” he comments.

This sort of example is part of the reason why Western firms and indeed governments are so suspicious of China. The fact is that in many areas Chinese firms can comprehensively out-compete their Western counterparts even without such notorious props as state subsidisation. The rise of China offers the prospect of breaking a long-standing Western monopoly on doing business with Africa, and African business interests and governments can negotiate better terms in the process. Mufuruki says that on a recent trip to China, he encountered a Tanzanian tea exporter doing business. “That’s something you’ll never see in the EU,” he argues. “There, it’s understood that Africa will engage in the value chain only at a certain, subordinate level.” It is acceptable, in other words, for Africans to work on tea plantations and packing sheds — even to manage them in Africa. But the lucrative middle-man function of organising the trade between continents is “reserved” for Europeans. The EU’s many layers of informal trade protectionism suggest that Mufuruki has a point.

Not that Mufuruki is engaging in moral posturing. “China is not (morally) different to the West, from an African perspective,” he says. “It’s not better or worse. They all want our resources. The real issue is how can we, as Africans, take advantage of the opportunity.”

It may be that China’s greatest impact in the immediate future will be on Africa’s infrastructure revolution. Van der Wath points out that Chinese interests tend to invest in all elements of a needed infrastructure network. Not only will they develop a mine, but also the associated roads, railway and port. “They will even invest in logistics,” he points out. Self-interest is of course the driver.

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Old December 22nd, 2006, 11:13 PM   #115
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Economy on the upswing, latest scorecard shows

Story by MWANIKI WAHOME
Publication Date: 12/23/2006


The Government yesterday released its performance scorecard in the form of mid-term review of its Economic Recovery Strategy.

The report shows a significant growth in various sectors over the last three years but unemployment remained the greatest challenge.

The economic recovery strategy was launched in 2003 when Narc came to power with the aim of speeding up wealth and employment creation. It covers the period between July 2003 to June 2006.

Although the Government had set a target of creating 500,000 jobs every year, the economy managed to create an average of 470,000 annually.

Most of these jobs were created in the informal sector. The share of modern sector employment declined from an average of 25.4 per cent of the jobs created in 2001-2002 to 22.6 per cent in 2003-2005.

Speaking at The Stanley Hotel in Nairobi on Thursday night, Planning and National Development permanent secretary Edward Sambili said: "When the economy was at its worst, the jobs created were 450,000 per year.

The Government is concerned with the slow rate of creation of jobs and we shall soon be making recommendations on how to accelerate job creation."

However, yesterday Head of Public Service Francis Muthaura said the country was on the path to sustainable development.

"We are now beyond economic recovery and are moving towards sustainable economic development," he said at the Kenyatta International Conference (KICC) during the launch of the report.

The report says there was steady growth in the economy from 0.6 per cent in 2002 to 5.8 per cent in 2005. The challenge, he added, was to sustain the momentum and safeguard the gains made.

Among the sectors that surpassed targets was agriculture which registered 6.7 per cent growth in 2005 against a target of 3.1 per cent. This was driven by the recovery of cane, horticulture, cereals and dairy farming. Others were coffee and tea.

Between 2002 and 2005, the value of tea increased to Sh37.7 billion from Sh33.4 billion, coffee nearly doubled to Sh9 billion from Sh5.4 billion, horticulture increased to Sh38.8 billion from Sh26.7 billion and maize fetched Sh6.3 billion up from Sh4.5 billion.

Construction sector's share contribution to the GDP reached four per cent in 2005 against a target of 4.2 per cent by end of 2007.

Tourism, which the report described as "a key driver to growth" registered phenomenal growth exceeding the target by 25.6 per cent and six per cent in 2004 and 2005. The earnings increased by 27 per cent to Sh48.9 billion in 2005 from Sh38.5 billion in 2004.

The manufacturing sector's share contribution to the GDP stood at 10.5 per cent in 2005 for 9.7 per cent in 2003 indicating slow progress was made.

The targeted growth is 15.7 per cent by the end of 2007. Planning and National Development minister Henry Obwocha attributed the sluggish growth to poor infrastructure.

"The cost of doing business is still costly due to high fuel and electricity costs, poor roads among other factors," he said.

Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector registered 11.8 per cent growth against a target of five per cent to 2007, which indicates its way beyond the target. The number of Internet Service Providers increased to 78 from 66 between 2001 and 2004.

With the duty waiver on computers and ICT items during this year's Budget, and the laying of undersea cable next year, the sector is expected to grow even faster.

Built roads

According to the report, the Government built 1,063 kilometres of roads while another 40,500 is under routine maintenance.

Additionally, 236 boreholes ware drilled serving about 260,000 people. The Government also rehabilitated 67 rural water supply systems and another 74 are under construction.

The foreign exchange reserves at the end of 2005 was $1.8 billion against a target of $1.7 billion by the end of 2007, while the public debt as a percentage to the GDP declined to 50.1 per cent in 2006 from 53.2 per cent in 2004.

The report also says that this will result in debt service as a percentage to the revenue to drop to 14.6 per cent in 2006 from 15.6 per cent in 2004.
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Old December 24th, 2006, 08:20 PM   #116
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2006: Best Ever Year for NSE (Nairobi Stock Exchange)
24th December 2006



Year 2006 closes as, by far, the best ever for the stock market, breaking all the previous records as retailers emerged as a force to reckon with.

A share price rally — driven by speculation and improved performance by listed companies and a resurgent economy — bulked up shareholders wealth by over Sh300 billion. The additional wealth falls just Sh75 billion short of what the Government intends to collect as revenue in the current year budget.

The secret to success for companies was rather simple: Go regional, innovate or, get plain lucky.

Sasini

Curiously leading the pack was Sasini Tea and Coffee whose change of strategy into value addition has paid handsomely. By close of trading last week the share had loaded over 464.49 per cent on its January price of Sh26.75 to peak at Sh151. Equally, the shareholder wealth has grown from Sh969.4 million to Sh5.7 billion.

After recording Sh524.8 million loss last year, the value addition has seen the company make Sh349.4 million profit to the year ending September 2006. The good financials pushed company price from Sh27.75 of June.

While releasing the results, the company credited its change of fortune to the new product lines. “We have gone into blending and packaging of tea, which is giving us better returns and the initial response from the market has been positive,” said managing director Peter Muthoka.

Closely stalking a trend that has dominated the market in the last half of the year, Sasini directors have proposed to issue bonus shares and make a stock split.

The 5:1 bonus share will be complemented by capitalisation of Sh38 million of the company retained earnings. To make its shares affordable, the board proposes to split the company shares into five shares each.

ICDCI

The local investment group share price surged 382.76 per cent to hit Sh350 from Sh72 the beginning of the year.

This follows a 105 per cent surge in profit-after tax, largely attributed to good performance of associated companies, whose profits rose 68 per cent.

Speculative activity shadowing the announced share price split saw the company stock spike to a high of Sh800 in October before correcting at the current level.

The good tidings represent a payoff after the company exited from the troubled Uchumi Supermarket before it was temporarily de-listed after Madaraka Day.

The company wrote off the entire investment in the supermarket chain from its accounts in the last financial year after Uchumi share of losses exceeded the book value of the investment. The shares were sold in the last quarter of 2005.

“The growth was supported largely by a 109 per cent increase in investment income as a result of successfully divesting from Uchumi Supermarkets Limited after a highly subscribed rights issue,” noted Peter Mwangi, Managing Director ICDC Investment when releasing the first half year results.

The company recently invested Sh39 million in acquiring a 3.8 per cent holding in K-Rep Bank.

Other unquoted investments are Aon Minet Insurance Brokers, General Motors, UAP Insurance, NAS Airport Services and the offshore Wildlife Works Inc. Last week the investment company bought into the Rift Valley Railway.

Jubilee Holdings Ltd

Regional expansion and cross-listing comes top on Jubilee Holdings’ 315.66 per cent stock rise. The composite insurer’s decision to expand its business operation to the three East African countries is bring cash home. This week saw the company join Kenya Airways and East African Breweries in listing on the three stock exchanges.

The company points its strategy has largely been a result of a four-year corporate restructuring programme.

In the first half 2006, Jubilee chalked up a 25 per cent increase in pre-tax profit making a respectable Sh201.7 million contrasted to Sh161 million in the same period last year.

The company attributed the profitability to continuous roll out of new products. Major among them is the re-launch of the medical insurance business, which registered 256 per cent growth last year.

It intends to spread its tentacles to Southern Sudan, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo.


East African Cables

Speculation, regional expansion and increased profitability worked as the catalyst driving the E.A. Cables share price surge to historical high to even reportedly attract the market regulator’s wrath.

By last week Cables had risen 226.64 per cent from January price of Sh137 to the current price of Sh447.50. The shares are currently selling at the level of Sh44.75 after the August share split at ratio ten-to-one.

The bull run on the cable and conductor maker commenced in July after the company announced a 93 per cent increase in pre-tax take for the first half of 2006, from Sh100 million to Sh193 million.

In the week preceding the results, speculation saw company stock gain Sh25 in under two days.

But the gain attributable to profit surge was dwarfed by speculative trading that followed announcement of a split. From the Sh300 range, it went up to Sh607 prompting the Capital Market Authority (CMA) to announce it would (allegedly) institute investigation on possible manipulation.

The company has sustained a steady growth over past two years, since a local investment group, Transcentury, acquired a 75 per cent stake in it, with a marked 65 per cent organic growth in 2005 lifting sales above Sh1 billion mark.

In a strategic move to enter Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), the company acquired 51 per cent of Tanzania Daesung Cable Ltd - the largest manufacturer of cables in Tanzania - last year for Sh160 million, subsequently changing the name to East Africa Cables (Tanzania) Ltd.

CMC

Up 181 per cent, motor franchiser and assembler CMC’s shares are now trading at Sh152 from a low of Sh54 beginning of the year.

The company, besides reports of a phase-out of the 14-seat Matatu that competes with its Nissan buses early next year, is a beneficiary of economic growth as increased individual/corporate incomes mean more spending on purchase of motor vehicle.

The franchise group operates Kenya’s premier motor dealership network with ranches across the country. The company represents 10 different motor manufacturers including Maruti, Suzuki, Volkswagen, Land Rover, Mazda and Ford cars, Nissan Diesel & Iveco Trucks, New Holland and Nardi Agricultural Equipment and Bobcat.

Incorporated as a private limited company in July 1948 by Messrs Allen and Cooper, who came to East Africa to sell Land Rovers, the company has grown to become one of Kenya’s largest vehicle distributors within East Africa.
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Old December 25th, 2006, 07:58 AM   #117
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Kenya says economic growth to exceed 6% in 2006


NAIROBI (Reuters) -- Kenya's economy is expected to grow by more than 6 percent in 2006 compared with 5.8 percent in 2005, boosted by tourism, construction and agriculture, the minister for planning and national development said.

"It will be over 6 percent. As we see it now, the tourism sector (is doing well), agriculture has recovered," Henry Obwocha told reporters after launching the government's mid-term review of its economic recovery strategy.

In its 2005 economic survey, the planning ministry said it expected the country's economy to grow by between 5.5 and 6.0 percent in 2006.

However, Obwocha said growth in 2007 would be affected by, among other factors, politics ahead of general elections.

Jostling has already started, with politicians split into two groups -- one supporting President Mwai Kibaki and another backing opposition coalition the Orange Democratic Movement-Kenya.

"Politics will be a big impediment to achieving growth ... It is going to slow economic growth unless Kenyans divert their attention to economic matters," Obwocha said.

However, one analyst said he expected the economy to withstand political headwinds.

"It's a very resilient economy. It's not to do with politics. It's really if there is any major disruption, if there was any civil unrest," analyst Robert Shaw told Reuters.

Obwocha said growth would also be hampered by the poor state of roads and high agriculture input prices.

Kenyan growth has been on an upward trend since Kibaki's government came to power in 2002 on a platform of economic reform.

In a review of the government's progress between mid-2003 and mid-2006, the ministry said gross domestic product (GDP) growth performed better than targeted by recording 3.0 percent in 2003, 4.9 percent in 2004 and 5.8 percent in 2005.

The east African country's farm-based economy is reliant on exports of coffee, tea and cut flowers plus tourism at its world-famous game parks and Indian Ocean beach resorts.

In its review, the ministry said the tourism sector grew by 6.0 percent in 2005, exceeding a targeted 5.4 percent.

The government underperformed its pledge to create 500,000 jobs a year as promised by Kibaki in late 2002. The mid-term review showed that for the last three years the economy created on average 471,000 jobs annually, mostly in the informal sector of the economy.
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Old December 27th, 2006, 11:02 PM   #118
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Nigeria: Ispat Unveils $445 Million Expansion Plan


Quote:
Vanguard (Lagos)

December 26, 2006
Posted to the web December 27, 2006

Luka Binniyat
Abuja

Ispat Industries Limited, a sister company to Global Infrastructures Nigeria Limited, (GINL), managers of Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited, (ASCL) last week signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Government of Maharashtra to expand its steel-making capacity at its integrated steel plant at Dolvi in Raigad, Maharashtra.

Ispat's expansion plan includes increasing its steel-making capacity from the present 3 million tonnes to 5 million tonnes per annum, entailing an investment of about $445 million and creating new employment opportunity to over 10,000 people, directly and indirectly. The steel-making capacity will also be scaled up to 10 million tonnes in later phases. The first phase of expansion will be completed over a period of 18 months from the date of commencement of work.

A second blast furnace, a coke oven plant and a new slab caster will be added to the existing facility in the expansion project. Ispat's existing 3 million tonnes per annum integrated steel complex at Dolvi has been set up with an investment of over Rs. 10,000 crores and provides employment to over 6,000 people, directly and indirectly.

The MoU was signed by Mr V K Jairath, Secretary, Department of Industries, Government of Maharashtra (GoM) and Mr Vinod Mittal, Managing Director, Ispat Industries Ltd, in the presence of Mr Vilasrao Deshmukh, Hon'ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Mr Ashok Chavan, Hon'ble Minister of Industries, GoM, Dr D K Sankaran, Chief Secretary, GoM, Mr V R Sharma, Executive Director (Strategic Business) and Mr Anil Sharma, Director (Corporate Affairs) of Ispat Industries Ltd.

The Maharashtra government, which is keen to attract more investment in the state and strengthen its economy, has agreed to provide the necessary support for the project. The state government will also facilitate Ispat's requirement of iron ore mines while the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation will act as a single window clearance agency for various infrastructure requirements of the expansion project.

Ispat Industries Limited's Managing Director Mr. Vinod Mittal said, "We are grateful to the government for promising all necessary help to expedite the implementation of the expansion project."

Speaking on the occasion, the Maharashtra Chief Minister Mr. Vilasrao Deshmukh said, "Ispat has contributed immensely for the development of the state by setting up the steel plant in Raigad. Ispat was the first company in the private sector, which made an investment of over Rs 10,000 crore in a sector like steel in the state of Maharashtra. I am happy to note that Ispat has planned to bring in fresh investment in its existing plant in Raigad to increase steel-making capacity."

"This will definitely add to the development of the area and increase employment opportunities. The investment plan of Ispat is in tune with the Maharashtra government's vision towards overall progress in the state, especially in the rural areas. We assure Ispat of all the assistance needed like iron ore requirement, etc, to take the project forward," the Chief Minister added.

Minister for Industries, GoM, Mr Ashok Chavan said, "In Maharashtra, Ispat is in the forefront as far as investment in steel-making is concerned and this new project assumes significance considering the importance of steel in infrastructure development. The investment plan also proves that Maharashtra enjoys the confidence of industrialists regarding infrastructure and the support it provides."
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Old December 28th, 2006, 12:06 AM   #119
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Mombasa Port cargo up nine per cent (1 million tonnes)


NAIROBI 28Dec06: The total cargo handled at the port of Mombasa from January to November this year has surpassed that handled over a similar period last year by over one million tonnes.

According to the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), the port recorded a total of 13.2 million tonnes in the first eleven months of the year, against 12.1 million tonnes in a similar period last year, a rise of about 9 per cent. The figure is expected to hit 14 million tonnes by the end of the year. Last year the port handled a total of 13.28 million tons.

The improved performance is attributed to faster turnaround of vessels at the port due to the newly installed cargo handling equipment.

In the same period, transit traffic has also risen eleven per cent, from 3.2 million tonnes last year to 3.6 million tonnes this year.

During the period under review, the port has handled a total of 437,328 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs), a 22 per cent rise compared to the same period last year.

A TEU is a standard shipping industry unit for containers. Most containers nowadays are 40ft long.

Recent modernisaton efforts have enabled the port to currently handle an average of over one million tonnes per month.
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Old December 28th, 2006, 12:39 AM   #120
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Kuwaiti group to establish $2 bln capital bank in Sudan
Monday 25 December 2006 00:30. Printer-Friendly version

Dec 24, 2006 (KUWAIT) — The International Investment Group will establish the largest investment bank in Sudan with a capital of USD two billion, of which 50 percent are paid capital.

The group and its affiliates will cover 30 percent of the capital, said IIG Board Chairman Samy al-Badr in a joint press conference with Sudan Ambassador to Kuwait Yussef Fadel Ahmed here on Sunday.

Strategic shareholders and their partners in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and other countries will cover another 30 percent of the capital while the government of Sudan will account for the remaining 40 percent.

In case the bank received extra shareholding orders from other firms in the GCC member states, it will increase its capital accordingly, al-Badr pointed out.

The new bank will be a comprehensive one and will meet the demands of Africa wholly, he continued.

Sudan was chosen as a premise for the bank due to its strategic location in Africa. It shares borders with nine African countries and it has promising investment opportunities, he explained.

All relevant studies will be worked out in the coming three months and the bank will be set up thin six months, al-Badr underlined.

For his part, ambassador Ahmed said his country adopted investment-attractive policy and made all riches of Sudan available to Arab and African sisterly countries.

Sudan has abundant investment opportunities as the second largest African country in terms of industry and agriculture, he noted, adding that there were more than 45 Kuwaiti firms doing business in Sudan.

(KUNA)
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