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Old August 25th, 2019, 05:47 PM   #26881
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S.Africa rare earths mine hopes for boost from US-China feud

STEENKAMPSKRAAL (South Africa) (AFP) - It's old, doesn't look like much and is located well out the way in an arid part of western South Africa.

But the Steenkampskraal Mine may be about to become piping hot mining property thanks to some of the world's highest-grade deposits of rare earth metals.

"Steenkampskraal will become a very important source of rare earths for the global industry," Trevor Blench, chairman of Steenkampskraal Holdings Limited, said during a recent tour.

The mine, located about 350 kilometres (220 miles) north of Cape Town, used to produce thorium, a component of nuclear fuel, in the 1950s and 60s.

But now it's been found to also have monazite ore which contains extremely high grade rare earth minerals including neodymium and praseodymium -- elements vital to cutting-edge industries.

Manufacturing uses range from tinted welding goggles to industrial magnets, strong alloys for aircraft engines, military hardware, hybrid cars, consumer electronic devices, medical equipment and even the flints in cigarette lighters.

- Nothing like it -

China produces the largest share of so-called "tech minerals", with a domestic output of 120,000 tonnes in 2018.

That's vastly more than the United States, which relies on China for about 80 percent of its rare-earth imports.

But now Beijing has threatened to cut off the supply as trade frictions mount, prompting US President Donald Trump on July 22 to give the Pentagon an executive order to find other sources of the crucial elements.

Rare earth elements are a group of 17 minerals unique for their magnetic, catalytic and electrochemical properties.

For the first time since 1985, China last year became a net importer of some rare earths for its industrial needs, while the government cracked down on illegal exploration and production.

Global sales of electric cars, which need the minerals, jumped by 68 percent in 2018 to 5.12 million, with China selling over a million vehicles, according to the International Energy Agency.

...



https://www.yahoo.com/news/africa-ra...030915979.html
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Old August 25th, 2019, 05:52 PM   #26882
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Tanzania central bank threatens hefty fines for lenders over data compliance

DAR ES SALAAM, Aug 25 (Reuters) - Tanzania’s central bank has given banks and financial institutions three months to establish data centres in the East African nation, saying it will impose hefty fines on lenders that fail to comply.

A Bank of Tanzania spokesperson confirmed to Reuters on Sunday the regulator issued a circular on Friday that imposes a fine of 5 billion Tanzanian shillings ($2.18 million) for lenders that have not set up an in-country data centre.

The bank of Tanzania has noted with serious concern that most of the banks and financial institutions have not provided a true position on compliance with the requirements to put in place a primary or secondary data centre in Tanzania,” Bernard Kibesse, deputy central bank governor for financial stability said in a circular seen by Reuters.

Any bank or financial institution, which will be found not to have complied with the above requirements, shall be liable to a penalty of 5 billion shillings,” according to the circular. The central bank will conduct inspections on the status of lenders on the new data centre rules seven days after the issuance of the circular, it read.

The central bank circular read that every bank or financial institution must establish a data centre within three months from the date of the circular. Any institution found not compliant will be fined 500 million shillings per month until it complies, it read.

The central said it had issued three previous circulars to banks and financial institutions since 2014 on the requirement for data centres to be located in Tanzania instead of on servers abroad, but some lenders were yet to comply.

The central bank said last month it had fined Diamond Trust Bank Tanzania Limited 1 billion Tanzanian shillings for breaching regulatory rules on data and service availability.

Tanzania has tightened regulatory oversight over commercial banks and other financial institutions over the past few years.

The country’s financial services sector, which is dominated by lenders like CRDB Bank and NMB Bank, has been hit by a spike in bad loans, which have stifled the growth of credit to the private sector.

In December, the International Monetary Fund said nearly half of Tanzania’s 45 banks were vulnerable to adverse shocks and risked insolvency in the event of a global financial crisis.

Tanzania’s central bank has revoked the licenses of at least nine banks since 2017, saying the move was aimed at safeguarding the stability of the sector.

The closure of the banks comes after President John Magufuli ordered the central bank to take action against failing financial institutions.

https://af.reuters.com/article/tanza.../idAFL5N25L06R
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Old August 25th, 2019, 06:01 PM   #26883
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One More Way to Die: Delivering Food in Cape Town’s Gig Economy



APE TOWN — He had delivered his last food order for the evening and was driving home from Pinelands, a suburb in Cape Town, when an oncoming car swung in front of him, knocking him off his motorbike.

Friends and family arrived within 20 minutes, but the motorcyclist, Christian Hakomeyimana, was already dead. A 20-year-old Rwandan migrant, he had been a contractor for Mr. D Food, an online food delivery service popular in South Africa.

That car hit him so hard,” said Xavier Nshimiyamana, one of his closest friends. The bike, he said, was smashed to pieces — “completely beyond repair.

Mr. Hakomeyimana’s death in the July 5 crash was just one in a rising number of casualties among food delivery workers in South Africa. The emergence here of food delivery apps like Mr. D Food and Uber Eats has drawn thousands of motorbike riders — predominantly migrants — into poorly regulated and highly precarious work.

Migrants around the world have long signed up for dangerous jobs, but experts warn that the gig economy makes it even harder for the authorities to monitor working conditions and enforce labor laws.

Food delivery is an inherently dangerous line of work in South Africa,” said Mark Graham, a geography professor at Oxford University who studies the gig economy in developing nations. “Workers put themselves at risk every time they take on a job.”

According to the Motorcycle Safety Institute, a local organization that collects accident statistics, at least 70 delivery riders — most of them food couriers — have died in South Africa over the past year. Hundreds more have been injured.

As demand for food and small item delivery increases, so does risk to the rider,” said Hein Jonker, the institute’s director.

Scooter delivery riders waiting for their orders. According to one estimate, at least 70 delivery riders have died over the past year.

The figures,” he said, “are frightening.”

South Africa’s food couriers often drive unsafe motorbikes with broken lights, missing mirrors or parts held together with string and tape. Most lack formal motorbike training and adequate protective gear. Only a few have insurance coverage or death benefits.

“Business owners have no responsibility to contracted riders,” Mr. Jonker said. “This is a serious matter of exploitation.”

Mr. D Food, which along with Uber Eats controls nearly 90 percent of South Africa’s booming food delivery market, declined to answer questions. The company is owned by Naspers, a global media and technology giant, and recently announced that its order revenues had grown by 170 percent within a year.

A spokeswoman for Uber South Africa, Samantha Fuller, said in response to questions from The New York Times that her company would begin physically inspecting the bikes used by its couriers. This was not done in the past, she said.

Last year, Uber Eats introduced free insurance coverage in South Africa, including for emergency medical care and payouts for death and disability. But the payouts are capped at about $13,000 — and riders qualify for them only when they are on active trips, not if they are returning from a delivery.

Mr. D Food does not offer its couriers compensation for accidents.

Food delivery app workers in other countries are also grappling with poor labor protections. In France, food couriers outsource work to undocumented migrants, siphoning a portion of their earnings. In Mexico, at least five Uber Eats drivers have died on the job in traffic accidents since November.

But in South Africa, the dangers of being a food courier are particularly acute. The country is infamous for its high rates of traffic mortality, with more than twice as many fatalities per 100,000 people in 2016 than in the United States, according to the World Health Organization.

Adding to the danger, many couriers here use fraudulent licenses and fake vehicle registration documents with impunity.

The Uber spokeswoman, Ms. Fuller, said her company put couriers through “a stringent onboarding process.” It requires them to submit valid licenses, vehicle registration documents and work permits before they join the app, she said.

But Ms. Fuller said it was the responsibility of the transportation authorities to detect fraudulent documents.

A spokeswoman for the Cape Town traffic department, Maxine Bezuidenhout, said that her agency did routine checks and that it suspended unroadworthy vehicles, including motorbikes, from operating on public roads. Drivers found with fake licenses and registration documents are charged with fraud, she added.

But the industry, too, should help fix the problem, Ms. Bezuidenhout said.

One would hope that the companies have a vested interest in the safety of their drivers, but also the public at large, and would therefore put checks and balances in place,” she said.

The driver accused of knocking Mr. Hakomeyimana off his bike was arrested and charged with culpable homicide and drunken driving, said a police spokesman, Andre Traut. The Motorcycle Safety Institute does not have data on how other food courier deaths have been handled by the police.

For young men like Mr. Hakomeyimana, food delivery is an appealing prospect in a country where they have very limited access to the job market. South Africa is inundated with requests for asylum or refugee status, and the wait for work permits can last years.

The pay may be low — couriers seldom pocket more than $330 in a month — but it is simple to sign up online for work, even with forged documents, delivery workers say. More than a dozen agreed to be interviewed, but declined to use their names because they feared their contracts would be revoked.

The only reason so many undocumented migrants do this work is that it can be done without papers, said one undocumented Uber Eats courier from Zambia. But that leaves them vulnerable to exploitation by the delivery companies, he said.

Mr. Hakomeyimana moved to Cape Town in 2017, moving in with an older brother named Pacifique. He began working for Mr. D Food but quit because the pay was too low, becoming a driver with Uber instead, his brother said.

In South Africa, few Uber drivers can afford their own vehicles, instead renting them from partners. In July, the car Mr. Hakomeyimana was using was involved in an accident, and while waiting for it to be repaired, he returned to food delivery.

South African food couriers often drive unsafe motorbikes with broken lights, missing mirrors or parts held together with string and tape.

I can’t sit around — I need to earn something,” his brother recalled him saying.

Two days later, Mr. Hakomeyimana was dead.

He was an experienced rider and owned a bike in good condition, according to his brother, who works as a mechanic. “But even for him, it wasn’t safe,” he said.

At the house the brothers shared in Athlone, a working-class neighborhood near the city, friends and relatives gathered to pray a few days after the accident. A framed portrait of Mr. Hakomeyimana, fresh-faced and neatly dressed, hung in the lounge.

Back in Rwanda he had been a truck driver, hauling cargo across East Africa. If he had died on the job, the company would have been obliged to cover his funeral and pay a lump sum, the mourners said.

In South Africa, his family got nothing.

They just give you a job, they don’t look after you afterwards,” said Mr. Nshimiyamana, the courier’s friend.

In the same week Mr. Hakomeyimana died, a delivery bike caught fire in central Cape Town; the flames had to be extinguished by city firefighters. At least three more riders crashed within a two-mile radius. Heavy winter rains made driving especially hazardous, but the orders continued pouring in.

A courier from Tanzania witnessed all but one of these accidents. An undocumented migrant, he was involved in an accident of his own in March, badly injuring his knee.

The courier said he crossed the border illegally in 2016, hiding in the back of a truck. In South Africa he purchased false papers and began working for Uber Eats, sending money back home to his mother and younger siblings.

He came upon the scene of Mr. Hakomeyimana’s crash while returning from a delivery, he said. He recognized the body amid the wreckage beside the road.

Since then, he said, he has cut back on his working hours. He needs the money, but is afraid he may be next.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/24/w...ry-deaths.html
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Old August 25th, 2019, 06:05 PM   #26884
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To Tackle Unemployment, Egypt Allocates Over USD 300 Mn To Build 13 Industrial Parks

A weekend statement from the Egyptian Finance Minister, Mohammed Maait, reveals that the country has set aside LE 5 Bn (USD 300, 547, 500) from the state budget to build 13 industrial parks.

Establishing these parks comes on the trail of the North African country’s strategy to tackle unemployment and provide job opportunities for youths.

Per the statement, special attention is being given to Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the country. The new draft for these growing businesses, which includes tax and custom incentives, takes cognizance of the essence of the sector in upholding the national economy. This recognition comes alongside the various methods used by the government to integrate the informal economy.

The allocation of the funds from this year’s edition of Egypt’s state budget is in a bid to catalyze exports in the trail of a new initiative that addresses the export burden and supports the export infrastructure. The allocation will as well go into the deepening of the local component across a variety of Egypt’s industrial sectors.

According to an official statement released by Egypt’s cabinet this August, the rate of unemployment in Egypt has declined in the second quarter of 2019 to 7.5 percent from 9.9 percent.

This improvement comes as a result of repeated efforts by the government to stimulate investments in the country and increase economic growth. Egypt is maximizing the utilization of its natural resources and making its economy more sustainable and diverse, among many other strides.

According to Maait, the leadership of the country is relentless in bolstering the local industry and the localization of global expertise alongside international technology in the country.

He said that through many efforts, Egypt has been able to achieve comprehensive and sustainable development to an extent. He also explained government investments financed from the public treasury recorded a 40 percent increase in the allocations for the current year’s state budget.



https://weetracker.com/2019/08/19/to...ustrial-parks/
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Old August 25th, 2019, 06:18 PM   #26885
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Tanzania Ports Authority to Use Sh10bn for Upgrade of Lake Zone Ports

Mwanza — The Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) is planning to spend Sh10 billion to modernise and otherwise improve the infrastructures of all the ports on Lake Victoria.

TPA's Lake Victoria ports manager, Mr Morris Mchindiuzi, named the ports which will be improved as including Nyamirembe in Geita Region; Magagani and Nyamkwikwi in Kagera Region; Lushamba and Ntama in Mwanza Region, as well as Mwigobelo in Mara Region.

"Improvements of the ports' infrastructures target to strengthen their cargo and passengers handling and transportation capacities in line with growing demands," he said - adding that the job is projected to be completed by the end of this year.

Noting that the improvements would also boost revenues for the Ports Authority, Mr Mchindiuzi revealed that, "during the 2017/18 financial year, we collected Sh590 million in revenues. This almost doubled to Sh1.4 billion in 2018/19 - and we expect to collect Sh1.8 billion in the 2019/20 financial year."

All the ports in question handled a total of 280,000 passengers and 84 tonnes of cargoes during the 2017/18 financial year, the manager said. The figures dramatically rose in the following year (FY-2018/19), when the ports handled a record 157,000 tonnes of cargoes and 600,000 passengers.

In that regard, it is projected that some 167,000 tonnes of cargoes and 700,000 passengers will be handled through all the ports during the 2019/20 financial year.


"We expect to increase the number of passengers and tonnage of cargoes handled through the ports after we complete the envisaged improvements to the ports infrastructure," he said, noting that the improvements will further facilitate cargo and passenger transport to and from the neighbouring country of Uganda. Other ports which are in Lake Victoria are Nansio, Mwanza North, Mwanza South, Bukoba, Musoma, Kemondo and the Isaka dry port.

Commenting on the developments, a Mwanza-based food trader Joachim Maleko said the proposed improvements to the ports infrastructure will not only reduce travelling and transport costs, but also improve the agriculture value-chain in the area.



https://www.thecitizen.co.tz/news/Sh...qqv/index.html
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Old August 25th, 2019, 06:35 PM   #26886
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NicSA View Post
SA’s oranges take world by storm

One in every 10 oranges eaten around the world now comes from South Africa.

The country’s flourishing fruit industry has increasingly made up a bigger proportion of the international trade, said the Bureau for Food and Agricultural Policy in its latest agricultural outlook for the period 2018 to 2028.

Citrus, grapes and pome fruits, in particular, have strengthened their market position in the past decade.

Citrus’ market share has risen from 4% in 2001 to more than 10% last year, followed by table grapes (5% to 7%) and pome fruits (3% to 6%).

Citrus is South Africa’s biggest and most important fruit export, according to value and volume.

By the year 2028 the country could be exporting 25% more cartons than last year, said the bureau.

But to sustain this growth, new and diversified markets need to be found, the bureau said.

The EU and UK are far and away the most important export markets for locally grown fruit, but the dependence on these markets leaves South Africa vulnerable because the populations in both markets are growing at less than 1.5% a year.

The report said these are also regions where there are no food shortages.

South Africa is the world’s third-largest citrus exporter, after Spain and Turkey. Oranges make up the bulk of the exports.

About 76% of the citrus that South Africa produces is exported, with 32% going to the EU and 10% to the UK.

About 25% of stone fruit (such as peaches and prunes), is exported, with 40% of the fruit going to the EU and 31% to the UK.

In the past season South Africa passed Argentina and is now the fourth-largest exporter of lemons and limes, after Mexico, Spain and Turkey.

https://city-press.news24.com/Busine...storm-20190823
how much is produced in SA. i wonder if SA doesnt consume much of it, hence the export focus.
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Old August 25th, 2019, 07:27 PM   #26887
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The west takes its eyes off Africa at its peril

The G7 thought it had solved Africa’s problems, but rising child poverty is a ticking time bomb

Time was when Africa dominated gatherings of the G7. In the period between two summits held in the UK – Birmingham in 1998 and Gleneagles in 2005 – the talk was of little else. There was public activism and it led to political action.

In part, that was because the big developed countries were enjoying a spell of low-inflationary growth and could look beyond their own problems to see a bigger picture. There was the occasional financial panic, but the G7 thought the problems of economic management had largely been solved and all that was needed was a bit of tinkering by technocratic central bankers.

Once it turned its attention to other parts of the world, the G7 found much that needed attention. There were initiatives to reduce the burden of debt, to increase aid, to improve governance and to free up trade. It helped that the UK at the time had a prime minister and chancellor of the exchequer – Tony Blair and Gordon Brown – who were committed to the cause and prepared to chivvy along the more reluctant members of the G7.

Gleneagles was the culmination of the process. Public awareness was at its height and was marshalled effectively by the development movement. G7 countries talked the talk with a big package of aid and debt relief. Africa, it was thought, was sorted. Time to move on to other issues.

As it turned out, the G7 was living in a fool’s paradise. It hadn’t found the secret to trouble-free growth, as the financial crisis that erupted two years after Gleneagles conclusively proved. And it certainly hadn’t sorted all Africa’s problems, even though economic management generally improved and some countries – Ethiopia, for example – grew strongly.

The west took its eyes off Africa as it focused on its own problems. China, hungry for natural resources, moved in to commodity-rich African countries and provided infrastructure on a no-questions-asked basis. Countries that were rich in natural resources borrowed in the expectation that high oil and mineral prices would be sustained but, when they weren’t, growth slowed and debt problems resurfaced.

Since the Gleneagles summit, the west, for the most part, has become more alive to the risks of global heating; fences have put been erected to keep out migrants; a meeting of the G7 never goes by without a commitment to keep fighting terrorism.

Yet it doesn’t take a genius to work out that escaping poverty is the motivation for migrants to travel to the west, or that the failure of poor countries to provide their young adults with decent jobs breeds extremism. Birth rates are higher in poor countries, with the result that rising populations put pressure on the natural environment. All these problems are particularly acute in Africa.

Even the biggest and longest walls in the world are not going to prevent poor people being lured to the west. No amount of security is going to keep societies safe from the young and angry. And any attempts to reduce carbon emissions in developed nations are going to be irrelevant if – as seems inevitable – Africa’s hunger for energy rises exponentially as its population grows.

And Africa’s demographic trends are truly scary. Of the 2.4 billion increase in the world’s population between 2015 and 2050, it is estimated more than half (1.3 billion) will come from Africa.

...



https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...a-at-its-peril

https://www.un.org/development/desa/...ects-2019.html
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Old August 25th, 2019, 07:43 PM   #26888
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Macron welcomes African heads of state and other influential figures to the G7 Biarritz summit, including:

🇿🇦South Africa
🇧🇫Burkina Faso
🇪🇬Egypt
🇸🇳Senegal
🇷🇼Rwanda

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Old August 25th, 2019, 07:45 PM   #26889
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South Sudan to align customs systems

South Sudan National Revenue Authority has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Trade Mark East Africa which if implemented as anticipated will not only see the newest country in the world diversify from reliance on oil revenues but importantly perhaps, align its custom operations to other regional member states, namely: Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and even DRC. This is important for smooth and flawless regional trade

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Old August 25th, 2019, 08:30 PM   #26890
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Ghana to stop importing rice by 2023.

The government has assured that Ghana by 2023 would stop importing rice from other countries, the deputy minister of Food and Agriculture in charge of tree Crops Hon. George Boahen Oduro alluded.

According to him Ghana cannot be described as Agrarian country whilst she continues to import everything from other countries to feed her people. ‘How can you tell me Ghana is agrarian country and we continue to import nine hundred thousand metric tons of rice annually at the tune of five hundred to seven hundred million dollars ($500 – 700m) per annum’, he quizzed.

The government is assiduously working to increase the yields of rice for commercialisation and insofar exportation purposes. As part of its bid to achieve a bumper harvest, one thousand seven hundred (1,700) and seven thousand (7,000) tonnes of rice seeds were made available last and this year respectively.

Suffice it to say, there has been a drastic reduction in the price of rice seed’s; one kilogram of rice that was sold at thirty-five (Gh35.00) is now sold at a subsidised price two cedis (his 2.00). Having to reduce the price has enabled farmers to afford the seeds and thus, there has been an improvement which has escalated the engagement of rice farmers in the distribution.

The fertilizers also have been subsidized for the farmers making it affordable for the farmers to patronize.

Hon. Oduro articulated to those in Agribusiness to be precise in the rice sector to get ready to produce more rice hence to feed the country.

At the verge of closing his speech he urged all Ghanaians to develop a strong taste for the local manufacturing products especially rice in order to make the agenda achievable.



https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePa...by-2023-774718
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Old August 25th, 2019, 09:04 PM   #26891
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Ethiopia’s Economy Is Booming, but at What Cost?

A dam built with Chinese money stopped the Omo River from flooding, altering the lives of more than half a million people.

KANGATEN, Ethiopia—In Nyangatom, on the plains of the Omo River in southern Ethiopia, they call 2015 the “Year of China.” Around then, a bridge was built from there to Kangaten, the district capital, and cccc (for China Communications Construction Company) appeared in giant blue lettering on the riverbank.

A few years earlier, a telephone tower had been erected at the edge of town. Then a two-lane highway constructed by a Chinese company started to unfold through the valley, toward the beginnings of a sugar factory and a vast irrigated plantation. The Year of China, locals say, was a period of development like nothing that they had ever witnessed. It was also the moment the river stopped flooding, and their world was altered forever.

More than half a million people depend on the lower Omo, which uncurls through southern Ethiopia, and on Kenya’s Lake Turkana, into which it flows. For millennia, the inhabitants of the Lower Omo Valley have survived on the fruits of the annual flood. When the river swelled, it brought fish upstream from the delta; when it receded, it left verdant soil for growing sorghum and maize, and rich pastures for grazing. Home to eight distinct ethnicities, including the Nyangatom, and to three of Africa’s main language groups, South Omo exemplifies the label Italian scholar Carlo Conti Rossini in 1937 gave Ethiopia: a “museum of peoples.

But not for much longer. In 2006, hundreds of miles upstream, the Ethiopian government began constructing Africa’s tallest and arguably most controversial dam, known as Gibe III, with the help of a Chinese loan. The dam has the capacity to increase national energy output by 85 percent. It has another, more far-reaching, purpose as well. By regulating the river’s flow, it will feed the continent’s largest-ever state agricultural program, the Kuraz Sugar Development Project (KSDP)—almost as large as the total irrigated land area of neighboring Kenya. Together, Gibe III and KSDP represent the pinnacle of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front’s (EPRDF) development ambitions. But by ending the Omo’s annual flood and, as a result, rupturing the fragile ecosystem on which the valley’s tribes depend, the project also raises a troubling question: Can the imperatives of a national economy ever outweigh the rights of a small minority to preserve its traditional way of life?

The government has long argued they can. In the past decade, it has embarked on Africa’s grandest infrastructure-building program, much of it financed by China, stacking up roads, dams, housing, industrial parks, and railways at a dizzying rate. State spending has powered economic growth of between 8 percent and 10 percent every year from 2004 to 2014, among the fastest in the world. But it came with a heavy social cost, triggering in recent years mass protests against land grabs, evictions, and home demolitions.

In the distant south, the government’s leaders echo the highland Ethiopians, who conquered the lowlands and annexed them to the Abyssinian empire in the late 19th century. They talk of bringing “civilization” to benighted backwaters, only this time through agricultural development. The idea of trade-off—that modernization might come with a cost—has rarely, if ever, been acknowledged. In 2010 then–Prime Minister Meles Zenawi accused critics, which included many international rights groups, of wishing to keep South Omo as an ethnographic zoo. “They want us to remain undeveloped and backward to serve their tourists as a museum,” he said at the time.

No one made a meaningful assessment of the project’s downstream impacts. And no one consulted with the valley’s inhabitants. “We don’t know why the water stopped,” Lokubal, who lives in a Nyangatom village, a stone’s throw from the border with Kenya, told me. “We’ve heard the Omo has been blocked somehow,” she said. “But we don’t know why; nobody told us.”

...



https://www.theatlantic.com/internat...conomy/594799/
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Old August 25th, 2019, 09:19 PM   #26892
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Why South African manufacturing is under pressure (and what to do about it)


I have been covering South Africa for nearly four years now. I have learned a lot, and I keep learning. One question I had been pondering for a while: in January 2017, we published our 9th South Africa Economic Update where we discussed industrial policy. When we launched the update, a member from the audience stood up and asked us about a graph we presented (Figure 1). He was a representative from the manufacturing sector and asked us how South African manufacturing was expected to survive with unit labor costs rising as the data suggests. The problem: labor productivity has remained broadly flat since 2011, while wages have been rising. This means that firms have to pay workers more for the same output they produce. Clearly, as firms have to remain price-competitive, this is not a sustainable situation and it can accelerate premature de-industrialization. At the same time, this dynamic can explain help why South Africa finds itself fighting job losses rather than seeing massive job creation, especially for the large number of unskilled youth. I did not have a good answer back then, but I thought it was something we would need to understand better.



Over two years later, I now believe I have a better answer. It draws on a just-published working paper, which I co-authored with Vincent Dadam and Nicola Viegi from the University of Pretoria. The paper focuses on the impact of productivity on relative prices, which economists refer to as the Balassa-Samuelson effect. To keep it simple: why can a New Yorker waiter afford a holiday in South Africa, but a South African waiter cannot necessarily afford a holiday in New York? The difference is the productivity differential: wages are much higher in more productive places. Normally, goods that are globally traded (often manufactured goods) drive productivity gains, and higher productivity drives higher wages both in traded sectors and non-traded sectors (many services are non-traded: it is difficult to globally trade a restaurant visit). But what if the productivity gains happen in the non-traded sectors and raise wages in the traded sector? In that case, wages will decouple from productivity and unit labor costs will increase in traded sectors like manufacturing. It the exact narrative the representative from the manufacturing sector during our launch bemoaned.

South African data clearly show that productivity gains have been much higher in the tertiary sectors (i.e. services, Figure 2), which tend to be less traded. Productivity gains have been strongest in sectors like finance and construction, while they have been much lower in agriculture, mining, and manufacturing. Our analysis demonstrates that this can explain the decoupling of wages from productivity in traded sectors.



This dynamic has a few important implications for South Africa. For one, it helps explain why manufacturing exports barely respond to a depreciating real exchange rate: the real exchange rate captures the differential between prices for traded and non-traded goods. South Africa’s long-term depreciation reflects the relative drop in productivity of South Africa’s manufacturing sector. In this case, clearly, a depreciation will not result in higher exports. Our paper also shows that the dynamic disproportionately hurts the poor: the poor consume relatively more manufactured goods (notably food) than services, so if productivity gains are higher in services, the rich can afford more items in their consumption basket at the same price. The poor do not benefit from a similar gain in the goods they tend to buy. South Africa is cheap for the rich and expensive for the poor.

What does this mean for policy, and for the role of the World Bank? Clearly, the answer is that productivity in manufacturing needs to increase. Linking South African manufacturing more closely with global productivity trends requires a further opening of the economy to international trade—this would need to be done very carefully, however, as it can result in large-scale job-losses in the short-term, as South Africa painfully experienced in the 1990s. The World Bank is already working with the South African government to increase global competitiveness, attract foreign direct investment, and foster regional integration.

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Old August 25th, 2019, 09:27 PM   #26893
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"South Africa is cheap for the rich and expensive for the poor." - Marek Hanusch (World Bank Senior Economist)

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Old August 25th, 2019, 10:49 PM   #26894
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Like the way of Sall and Kabore...

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Old August 25th, 2019, 11:51 PM   #26895
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U.S. firm seeks $561 million from Tanzania in power supply dispute

DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) - Symbion Power is seeking $561 million from Tanzania’s state power supplier TANESCO via international mediation, accusing it of breach of contract, the U.S. firm said on Tuesday.

Symbion owns a 120 MW thermal power plant in Tanzania’s commercial capital Dar es Salaam and is one the handful of independent producers that sell power to state-owned utility Tanzania Electric Supply (TANESCO).

Tanzania has reserves of over 57 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas but faces chronic power shortages due its reliance on hydro-power dams in a drought-prone region, forcing its utility to buy from the private firms.

Symbion’s spokesperson Julie Foster said it sued TANESCO at the International Chamber of Commerce’s International Court of Arbitration in Paris on March 13, saying it had failed to honour a 15-year agreement.

The power purchase agreement is now terminated and the amount claimed is $561 million. Since the case is a very simple case to adjudicate, we hope that it will not take too long for the arbitration to come to a conclusion,” Foster told Reuters.

Foster said Symbion filed for arbitration because it ran out of options “after trying to resolve the dispute ... in a friendly manner for more than a whole year.”

TANESCO declined to comment, saying the matter was under court proceedings.

Tanzanian president John Magufuli, nicknamed “the Bulldozer” for his infrastructure projects and strict leadership style, launched his reform drive after he was elected in 2015, promising to transform an economy hobbled by bureaucracy and corruption.

But some foreign investors have said they could scale back their operations or expansion plans because of tougher demands, including higher tax bills, as part of the president’s drive to overhaul the economy.

The concern however is that such short-term thinking, and ensuing polices, only reinforces a growing investor sentiment that Magufuli’s government is anti-business,” Ahmed Salim, vice president of consultancy Teneo Intelligence, said in a note to clients on March 6.

https://www.reuters.com/article/tanz...-idUSL2N1GY1T8
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Old August 26th, 2019, 04:40 AM   #26896
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ekema View Post
how much is produced in SA. i wonder if SA doesnt consume much of it, hence the export focus.
Citrus consumption in SA is quite high.. but of course it is a middle-income country of 60 million people so nothing like US or European consumption. 10% of global production is in SA now so probably it is 4th or 5th or so in the world behind US (which consumes most of its own production), Spain, Turkey and maybe Mexico.
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Old August 26th, 2019, 05:35 AM   #26897
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NicSA View Post
Citrus consumption in SA is quite high.. but of course it is a middle-income country of 60 million people so nothing like US or European consumption. 10% of global production is in SA now so probably it is 4th or 5th or so in the world behind US (which consumes most of its own production), Spain, Turkey and maybe Mexico.
This is 10% of export. Don’t think it’s production. Also USA produces a lot but eats most of it. I think I read 90%. Which is why I’m thinking SA must not consume that much of it and a huge chunk goes for export.
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Old August 26th, 2019, 07:29 AM   #26898
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Japan should help Africa achieve self-reliance, sustainable growth

The Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), which will be held in Yokohama for three days from Aug. 28 on the initiative of the Japanese government, will call into question how Japan should reach out to Africa, which is viewed as the last huge global market due to its expected population explosion.

Africa has a high potential for growth. The population of the region, which currently stands at approximately 1.3 billion, is estimated to nearly double to about 2.5 billion by 2050, as a result of which one in four people in the world is expected to be African.

For many years, Africa had been viewed as a continent plagued by poverty and conflict, but the situation has drastically changed. Africa is now like an experimental field for cutting-edge technologies. Electronic money payments are spreading with the proliferation of mobile phones and drones transport pharmaceutical products.

It is notable that Africa launched the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), a single market, this past May as protectionism pursued by the U.S government of President Donald Trump is shaking the world.

Japan's assistance to Africa has reached a crossroad. About 10% of Japan's official development assistance goes to Africa, but it is difficult for Tokyo to increase the amount of aid to the region any further. Emphasis is shifting to investments by the private sector from government-led assistance.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the previous TICAD meeting in 2016 that Japan aims to increase its investments in Africa, including those by the private sector, to roughly $30 billion. The upcoming meeting, which will be officially attended by representatives of Japanese and African businesses, will highlight the shift from the public to the private sector.

However, growth in the amount of money that Japanese companies are investing in Africa has remained sluggish in recent years. Japan has ranked 10th or lower in terms of the volume of direct investments in the continent.

Still, there are examples of small success by Japanese investors in Africa, such as the bag workshops Japanese businesswomen have established in Ethiopia and Uganda.

However, it is inappropriate to view Africa only as a market. The continent is growing by benefiting from technological innovation. At the same time, however, the economic gap between African countries and regions is widening.

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles...0m/0in/009000c
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Old August 26th, 2019, 08:24 AM   #26899
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Somalia’s annual sesame exports rise to a record $300 million

Somali Enterprise


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The global sesame trade has become one of Somalia’s most lucrative hard currency earners and employs tens of thousands of farmers, as the country steadily revives its agricultural industry.

According to the US backed ´Growth, Enterprise, Employment and Livelihoods (GEEL)´ project, the country exported an estimated $300 million worth of sesame in 2018, and as a result Somalia has moved into the list of top 10 global sesame exporters, jumping from the 12th to the 8th place.

This rapid growth is fueled by the increasing demand from countries in the Middle East, India and China, where the popular seed is frequently used in pastries and bread, and is also prized for its oil.

The success of Somali sesame farmers and their expansion to new markets has become an important case-study for the Somali government and its partners with regards to the economic potential of the country’s other major crops and resources such as fruit, vegetables, fisheries, and dairy.
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Old August 26th, 2019, 09:24 AM   #26900
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ECCO, the innovative startup transforming Mogadishu’s trash removal sector

Somali Enterprise





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As a city of 3 million people, Mogadishu is currently one of the fastest growing cities in the world and according to Demographia, its the fastest growing city on the African continent.

The return of hundreds of thousands of Somali expats, a steady reconstruction boom and the prospect of job opportunities in the city all have contributed to drawing in people from the countryside and from around the world.

These factors significantly increased the need for an efficient waste management system for the city.

The Environmental Cleaning Company also known by the abbreviation ‘ECCO’ stepped up to the challenge and transformed Somalia’s capacity to collect, transport and dispose of waste, while keeping the streets of Mogadishu neat and clean. - Read more



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