Postby winston » Mon May 19, 2008 11:35 pm

Inflation in Zimbabwe surged to 355,000 percent in March as food and non-alcoholic beverage costs jumped, the Zimbabwe Independent reported, citing the Finance Ministry.

The inflation rate rose from 164,900 percent in February, the Harare-based newspaper said on its Web site.

Zimbabwe has the world's highest inflation rate. The southern African nation is in its 10th year of economic recession and has the fastest-shrinking peace-time economy, according to the World Bank.
– Bloomberg
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Re: Africa - General News

Postby helios » Tue May 20, 2008 12:15 am

dear Winston: it is not easy to find key information on MENA news: EG: places like jerusalem & egypt.

also, u might want to check out on this SGAM MENA Ossis Fund (SGD: 1.108), i'm tracking this coz v defensive & rising steady, & do rem Lena was talk'g abt it some months back on e fund cap. perhaps she can share abt it?
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Re: Africa - General News

Postby kennynah » Tue May 20, 2008 1:27 am

19 May 2008 17:15 GMT

South Africa fights anti-foreigner attacks

REIGER PARK, South Africa (AP) - Clashes pitting the poorest of the poor against one another have focused attention on complaints that South Africa's post-apartheid government has failed to deliver enough jobs, housing and schools to go around.

Police brought in reinforcements as violence hopped from slum to slum in scenes reminiscent of the bloodiest days of apartheid. Most of the victims were foreigners in squatter camps.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu made an impassioned plea Monday for the violence to end.

"Please stop. Please stop the violence now," he said in a statement. "This is not how we behave. These are our sisters and brothers."

Tutu said that when South Africans were fighting against apartheid they had been supported by people around the world, and particularly in Africa.

"We can't repay them by killing their children. We can't disgrace our struggle by these acts of violence," he said.

South Africans are struggling to buy food as prices rise. Unemployment is 23 percent and many complain the government hasn't worked fast enough to build houses, schools and hospitals for the long-neglected black majority.

Foreigners have been targeted because they are seen as competing for scarce resources -- and because they were the closest targets on hand for the poor.

Leyton Salaman, a 35-year-old tiler from Malawi, said the trouble started slowly in Ramaphosa, a collection of shacks among the mine dumps and warehouses east of Johannesburg. A few foreigners were beaten Friday. Saturday, shacks were set alight. When the killing started Sunday, Salaman and hundreds of others fled to the neighboring community of Reiger Park, where he sat in a church yard Monday.

"These people, they said, `You are taking our jobs,'" said Salaman, who has lived and worked in South Africa for eight years. "Now they just come and take our things."

Police spokesman Govindsamy Mariemuthoo said that, since the violence broke out last week, 22 people had been killed. Mariemuthoo said more than 200 people had been arrested on charges including murder, rape and robbery.

Mariemuthoo said police reservists and officers from other regions were being called in to help. The South African Red Cross and other aid groups appealed for funds to care for the hundreds of people who have been displaced.

Some victims were set alight. Jonathan Whittal, a humanitarian affairs officer with Medecins Sans Frontieres, said his group had seen cases of rape as well as gunshot and other wounds.

"The violence is extreme," Whittal said, calling for a broader, more coordinated humanitarian response. He also said security for immigrants would remain a concern even after the current outbreak is extinguished, and the underlying causes would have to be addressed.

The violence would likely only add to South Africa's image as a crime capital -- it has a murder rate of more than 50 per day -- just as it prepares to host visitors from around the world for the 2010 soccer World Cup.

While still shockingly high, crime rates in South Africa have been slowly dropping. Many South Africans, though, say they believe crime is rising, questioning the official statistics in one measure of distrust of the government.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation was among the organizations called for calm. The foundation noted that the former president had sponsored projects aimed at helping immigrants integrate into South African communities.

In a statement, the foundation repeated a plea that Mandela, South Africa's first black president, made during an outbreak of xenophobic violence in 1995: "We cannot blame other people for our troubles."

Zimbabwean Gina Themba nursed her two-week-old daughter on the floor of a room at a police station in downtown Johannesburg Monday. She said neighbors among whom she had lived for three years broke into her house the night before and demanded she leave. She said she did not understand why.

Such scenes were repeated in pockets across the Johannesburg region. Foreigners fled to police stations, churches and community halls. At one police station-turned-refugee camp, a young man wandered with a loaf of bread and a knife, selling slices a 1 rand (about 15 U.S. cents; 10 euro cents) each, in a display of immigrant entrepreneurship that has sparked resentment.

Vincent Williams, head of an immigration research project of the independent Institute for Democracy in South Africa, said accusations that immigrants take jobs from natives, or that they are responsible for crime, are heard in many places around the world.

He said it was rare for such sentiment to erupt into sustained violence, but this was not the first time it has done so in South Africa. The last serious outbreak was just after apartheid ended in 1994.

"We've known for quite awhile that levels of xenophobia in South Africa are high," Williams said. He said speculation about the reasons has touched on the isolation created by apartheid as well as fears the institutionalized racism of the past has left even black South Africans suspicious of black foreigners. Zimbabweans, Malawians, Mozambicans and others from elsewhere in Africa have been the main targets of the violence.

President Thabo Mbeki said Sunday that he would set up an expert panel to investigate. Williams said the panel should probe whether the violence has been orchestrated, perhaps by an as yet unknown anti-immigrant group. Williams also called for a public awareness campaign to ensure immigrants as well as native-born South Africans understood their rights, and understood that while immigrants may take jobs here, they also buy South African goods and services, and pay taxes.

Some South Africans were moved to help foreigners, dropping by the impromptu shelters with food, clothing, blankets and other donations. Lisa Letsoso, an 18-year-old South African living in the Ramaphosa squatter, was up all night working with church groups distributing aid to people from the camp who had fled to Reiger Park.

"The South African are fighting the foreigners. Now the foreigners are fighting back," Letsoso said. "Everyone is suffering."
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Re: Africa

Postby blid2def » Sun Jun 08, 2008 1:57 am

Thought this article was useful enough to warrant me cross-linking it. :)

China, Africa, and Oil: viewtopic.php?f=10&p=5140#p5140
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HK & China

Postby winston » Sun Jun 08, 2008 8:47 am

grandrake wrote:China, Africa and Oil

Hi g,

The above is not limited to Oil but encompasses other Commodities as well.

There are now a lot of African students in China, that can speaks fluent Mandarin. Most times, with a Beijing accent. Most of these African students are on scholarship provided by the Chinese government. BJ is already building relationship with the best and brightest, at a very young age.

It is also not uncommon to see hordes of Chinese engineers at Beijing airport, on their way to Africa, to build those dams, roads, railways etc. in Africa. There are a lot of direct flights to Africa from BJ.

ICBC bought the 2nd largest bank in South Africa recently.

There was also the China-Africa Summit in Beijing last year where all the Heads of Africa were invited to Beijing. It was a very pompous affair. Many posters and slogans along the roads and highways, to welcome them.

Finally, I'm starting to see a lot African businessmen at the airports and hotels in China.

Take care,
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Re: Africa

Postby winston » Tue Jun 10, 2008 9:35 am

How To Profit from the Power Crisis in South Africa
By Tom Dyson

A power outage killed Stephen Diza...

On February 3, a man stabbed 22-year-old Stephen Diza in the stomach with a knife. At the hospital, doctors found a foot of intestines hanging from Diza's wound. They sped him to the operating room. When they got there, they discovered it had no power...

Had there been electricity, doctors could have saved Diza's life in less than an hour. Without power, the doctors were unable to operate, and Diza died in their care.

Diza lived in a town called Mokopane in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. Government is the problem. It controls South Africa's electricity sector through a state-owned utility called Eskom. Regulators kept the price of power too low for too long, and Eskom never invested in new capacity. Meanwhile, with the run-up in commodity prices, South Africa is enjoying a mining boom. Mining uses huge quantities of electricity...

The shortage is so acute, this year Eskom has started using rolling blackouts to manage power. Stephen Diza's neighborhood suffered a blackout the night he went to the hospital...

Blackouts in South Africa are epidemic, and they are crippling the country. In January, blackouts shut down the entire South African mining industry for a week. South Africa accounts for nearly 90% of the platinum metals on Earth, 80% of the manganese, 73% of the chrome, 45% of the vanadium, and 41% of the gold. It is the world's largest producer of platinum, rhodium, vanadium, chromium, and manganese. And it's the world's second-largest producer of gold and palladium.

Without guaranteed electricity, you can't send workers underground. It's too dangerous. So the mines closed down.

In the 28 days following this mining shutdown, platinum rose 41%, palladium rose 32%, rhodium rose 29%, vanadium rose 112%, chromium rose 5%, manganese rose 26%, and gold rose 6%.

The South African newspapers predict anywhere from 13,000 to 20,000 gold miners will lose their jobs in South Africa as a result of this power crisis...

"The damage is huge, we are talking millions, possibly billions, of dollars," says the Times of London.

The gravity of the situation hasn't been lost on the shareholders of South African gold-mining stocks.

Gold Fields' stock price has fallen 29% since January 14, while the gold price has stayed flat. Harmony's stock price is down 11%, and DRD Gold's stock price has fallen 22%.

Here's the thing: This power shortage is a temporary situation. But investors haven't figured this out yet... and they're still punishing the South African gold-mining stocks as if these problems are going to last forever.

South Africa will host the soccer World Cup in 2010. The World Cup has the second-highest television audience of any sporting event... after the Olympics. The 2006 World Cup final attracted 715 million viewers. If you add up all the games in the tournament, the World Cup had a cumulative television audience of 26.29 billion people.

It will be the first time an African country hosts the World Cup. Can you imagine how eager South Africa will be to impress the world?

South Africa has the fifth-largest coal deposits in the world and is the third-largest exporter of coal. So there's no shortage of energy. It's just a problem of investment.

As soon as Eskom builds new infrastructure and new power plants, the problem will disappear. Besides, Eskom has three mothballed power stations. It can bring these power plants online in the next year.

There's an opportunity here: Take advantage of worried investors and buy South African gold-mining stocks. As the power crisis subsides, these stocks will soar...
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Re: Africa

Postby winston » Sun Jun 15, 2008 9:18 am

A Potential Oil Sands Boom You've Never Heard Of
By Chris Mayer, editor, Capital & Crisis

There is a map of the world on my office wall. What I like about this map is that the mapmaker paid particular attention to getting the scale right.

That means Africa gets its proper gigantic sizing. It is truly a massive landmass.

It's also fitting that it sits close to the center, because Africa is a big part of the future of natural resource exploration and production. In some sense, it's retaking its historical preeminence. For instance, consider the former rich trading cities in the East.

Zanzibar, Dar es Salaam, Mombasa, Mogadishu, Mumbai, Mangalore… all trading cities along the fabled rim of the Indian Ocean. These east African trading cities thrived between the 12th and 18th centuries, with ships sailing in and out on monsoon winds.

Africa had good harbors and plentiful fish and lots to trade with India and Arabia. Ties between India and Africa, especially, strengthened under the common influence of Islam and the Portuguese. (Portugal colonized both Goa and Africa's coast.) Africa is also home to a large population of ethnic Indians, which helps bridge trade further. One of Africa's better known industrialists – Manu Chandaria – was born in Kenya, but his parents are from the Indian state of Gujarat.

These historical ties and those old trade routes are reviving once again. In the spring, Delhi hosted the first Indian-African summit. Trade between India and Africa tops $25 billion per year. Nigeria, for example, accounts for 10% of India's crude oil imports. But China's trade with Africa is a lot more – $55 billion annually. The reason for this boom in trade? A hunger for the natural resources of Africa.

Africa increasingly is right in the middle of the global quest for natural resources. It has the highest ratio of light and sweet crude in the world – the best-quality stuff you can find. And most of its oil – some 83% – comes from large fields that produce at least 100 million barrels per day. Meaningful amounts of premium oil in large fields explains why Africa attracts so much investment. Between 2002-2006, the big oil companies tripled their spending in Africa.

The recent discovery of oil sands in the Congo by Eni, a big Italian oil group, lends more credence to the idea of Africa as the future of global oil supply. Eni hasn't said how much resource its vast acreage might hold. But the Financial Times reports early samples suggest, "The area as a whole could hold more oil than Eni's entire reserves of 7 billion barrels of oil equivalent." That would put Eni's resource on par with the huge Kashagan field in Kazakhstan. Eni potentially doubled its oil reserves with this one African find.

Right now, Africa produces only about 12% of the world's oil output. By 2012, that could be 30%. No wonder, then, it has become such a competitive battleground for the oil companies. In a recent auction, India's state oil company bid $321 million for an Angolan oil block. A Chinese oil giant bid $725 million. Guess who won?

It's not just about oil, either. Africa holds tremendous amounts of natural gas, minerals, and natural resources of all kinds. Much of it is in places where it's easy to do business. But there is often a fragile social fabric, which seems ever on the brink of a civil war or a coup or worse.

In Niger, for example, you will find some of the world's largest deposits of uranium. Niger plans to double its output over the next several years.

Companies from all over the world – Australia, Canada, China, India, and France – scramble to lock down claims. But the uranium deposits lie in the ancestral home of the nomadic Tuareg. The Blue Men of the Desert (so-called due to the color of their favored indigo dyes) return to old ceremonial grounds to find red flags marking uranium deposits. The result is predictable – battles between the Niger army and Tuareg fighters, and bloodshed.

Yet the rewards dangling before the world's eyes are so great. Many companies will walk the edge of that precipice for a shot at glory. A longtime holding in my Capital & Crisis advisory, Canadian Natural Resources has a mix of West African oil properties that could be significant. Another longtime holding, electrical infrastructure specialist ABB Ltd, has a big power project in Namibia and a growing presence in Africa.

Betting on Western companies that have this sort of backdoor exposure to Africa is my preferred modus operandi.

It's far safer, for one thing. But I wouldn't mind investing in more of a pure play if I could find a company that offers enough safety and enough upside. In my Mayer's Special Situations letter, we recently doubled our money in Vaalco Energy, a small West African oil explorer and producer, in about eight months. So there are success stories here.

Ryszard Kapuscinski, the late journalist, once wrote that Africa was too large to describe. Africa was "a veritable ocean, a separate planet, a varied, immensely rich cosmos." (The Heat of the Serengeti Plain, 1962) "Only with the greatest simplification," he wrote, "can we say 'Africa.' In reality, except as a geographic appellation, Africa does not exist."

I think the same holds true today. But one generalization is safe to make: Africa is in the thick of the race for more natural resources.
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Re: Africa

Postby winston » Sun Jun 15, 2008 6:46 pm

Eoin Treacy (Fullermoney): African stocks outperforming rest of world

“Africa remains an interesting, if high risk, investment destination. It may also be benefitting, at this time, because it is non-correlated with the rest of the financial world and is currently outperforming.

However, investors should also be aware that markets with such small capitalisations are easily manipulated and often rise extraordinarily because of the weight of money. When investors eventually decide to take their money out, apparently strong markets can turn into laggards overnight.

I have every belief that Africa will eventually emerge as a safer place to invest but it will take decades and the path will be far from linear.”
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Re: Africa

Postby millionairemind » Mon Jun 16, 2008 9:10 am


Will it ever be able to stave off starvation?

Jun 12th 2008 | HARAR
From The Economist print edition

Famine is once again threatening the continent's second-most-populous country and once again its government is partly to blame.Reuters

GORU GUTU is perched in the misty heights of the steep hills above Harar, in eastern Ethiopia. For the poorest, life here is still akin to serfdom—minus a tsarist order. The government owns the land; a banner over its local office proclaims “the people” to be “the base of all development”. Yet labourers get by in Goru Gutu district much as they have always done, tilling soil by hand, digging ditches, doing whatever it takes to buy a few cups of grain to keep their families alive.

This year, however, their efforts have been in vain. The land is green but hailstorms, rains that came too late, then rains that fell too heavily, as well as infestations of insects, have left Goru Gutu starving. As you head deeper into the hills, the animals get thinner, the children more listless. The food in the market is too expensive, and there are no informal sales on the roadside. No one is eating. Where wheat and maize should have been growing in the terraces that slice back and forth along the slopes, there is nothing. The average daily labouring wage, equivalent to 80 American cents, is not enough to survive on.

So it is across much of south and east Ethiopia. In the highlands the rain was erratic; in the lowlands it fell not at all. The result is that an extra 4.5m of Ethiopia's 80m people need emergency food, on top of the 5m or so who already get it, according to the UN's World Food Programme.

The government says a recovery is possible if the rains expected later in the year are good. Foreign aid specialists say that the food shortages are “going in the direction of high mortality”. The government is supposed to have 450,000 tonnes in a grain stockpile, with 100,000 tonnes in reserve to keep prices from rising too much. But it has only 65,000 tonnes left.

If Goru Gutu district is an indicator, things will get far worse; many people will starve to death. Ibsaa Sadiq, a local government official, reckons that nearly half of the 116,000 people who live here, especially women and children, need food aid to survive. A feeding centre run by the government, assisted by Catholic nuns, cares for some 800 of the hungriest children. They spend days or weeks in a metal shed smelling of diesel and disinfectant.

Hindiya, 18 months old, is puffed up by edema, a protein deficiency. Even if she survives, she may suffer mental and physical stunting, heart disorders and a weakened immune system. Her mother, Fatima, gently peels back a dirty cloth to show how the skin along Hindiya's calves and heel has split wide open. She is in excruciating pain. Her three siblings survive on a bowl of maize-meal porridge a day, with no milk or sugar; no one in the family has ever eaten meat. If she makes a full recovery Hindiya will be sent home with rations, but there is no money for a return visit. “This is a revolving door,” explains an aid worker. “Next time we'll have nothing for these children.”

Because of the failed harvest, more food has to come from outside. Prices have been pushed up by rising fuel costs as well as by scarcity. Potatoes, maize and sorghum cost three times more in the market than they did last year, yet wages have hardly budged. The communal spirit that encourages people to share food, especially when it is scarce, may start to break down. People in Goru Gutu who have buried grain in pits by their huts get at it only by night for fear of begging neighbours.

A famine on the scale of 1984, when Band Aid and Live Aid raised about $150m in relief for Ethiopia, is still unlikely. Logistics and medical understanding have improved. Yet, sadly, some of the conditions that created that famine have not really changed. Ethiopia still has too many people eking out a living on too little land, depending on rains that can never be relied on. Meteorologists say that the problem is not just the amount of rain but the climate's increasing volatility.

The government has also failed. After several good harvests since the last big famine, in 2003, Ethiopia had a chance to progress. Instead, it dithered over reforms to promote private business and overhaul the country's sclerotic banking system and mobile-phone sector. Aside from coffee, qat (a narcotic leaf chewed by Somalis), horticulture and a little tourism, Ethiopia is one of Africa's very few countries that still has virtually no serious private business—and thus few jobs—outside the state sector. Almost three-quarters of the population may be under- or unemployed.

So few families have a chance to save anything for hard times. The lack of wealth creation makes the government more vulnerable to external shocks. The soaring price of oil may cost Ethiopia $1 billion this year—equivalent to its entire foreign-exchange earnings. Meles Zenawi, the prime minister, cannot be blamed for record oil prices or for the rising cost of food worldwide, both of which have sparked riots in several African countries. But he bears some responsibility for failing to increase his country's hard-currency earnings.

His government people point out that new power-generating projects are set to turn Ethiopia into an exporter of electricity. They also point to reductions in infant mortality and say that Ethiopia is achieving several of the UN's Millennium Development Goals. Still, with 80% of its people living off the land, Ethiopia is producing far too little to cope with a possible doubling of its population by 2050.

The government's lack of enthusiasm for private enterprise is matched by its lack of enthusiasm for competition in politics. Mr Zenawi has already splintered the ineffectual opposition parties with the liberal use of torture and imprisonment. A proposed new law on charities would stamp on many groups working to improve human rights and encourage press freedom.

This week the government brushed off allegations of war crimes in the Ogaden region, where it is conducting a ferocious counter-insurgency against an armed separatist group, the Ogaden National Liberation Front. A report by Human Rights Watch, a New York-based monitoring group, says that violence against civilians in Ogaden has risen dramatically since the front's guerrillas slaughtered 70 Chinese and Ethiopian oil workers last year. At least 159 civilians, it says, have been publicly executed, including young girls. The government has banned journalists from visiting the worst-affected areas, but some of the allegations of burning villages have been backed by satellite imagery.

Don't mention the famine
Mr Zenawi is particularly sensitive about famine talk. He has denied that pastoralists in the south are losing livestock to the drought or that the rates of malnutrition elsewhere are at all close to what foreign aid workers claim. The government has banned photographs of the starving and has told field workers not to give information to foreign journalists.

Ethiopia understandably yearns to shed its reputation as the world's poster child for famine. Some foreign agencies do seize crudely on images of emaciated infants to secure extra funding. But the government's attitude comes close to denial; it will not help the people of Goro Gutu.

“The only future is resettlement,” blurts out a local official. Even so, if the population of the district were to stand still, some 4,000 people a year would have to be resettled from Goro Gutu to more fertile land; the government has a budget to shift a few hundred. With its population increasing so fast and farming methods still too basic to sustain it even when the rains are good, Ethiopia's chances of making real progress any time soon look slim.
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Re: Africa

Postby winston » Wed Jun 18, 2008 9:30 am

Macau's Ho eyes Angola partnership
Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Macau tycoon Stanley Ho Hung-sun is in talks with Angolan state-owned Sonangol to create a partnership that will pave the way for more Chinese investments in the oil-rich African nation, according to daily Diario Economico.

The Portuguese business daily cited a spokesman for Ho yesterday as saying the casino magnate would soon create a holding company, called Geocapital, that would seek investments in the southwestern African nation's energy and banking sectors. Geocapital will be 51 percent owned by Sonangol and 49 percent owned by Ho. "The negotiations [with Sonangol] are ongoing and a deal could be reached at any moment," Ferro Ribeiro, who heads Ho's investments in the tourism and gaming industry in Portugal, told the paper.

Ho recently bought bank Montepio Geral in Guinea Bissau and launched another small bank, Moza Banco, in Mozambique on Monday.

Both banks are based in former Portuguese colonies. "The goal is to use Macau as a privileged structure to attract Asian businessmen interested in investing in big projects that are being launched in Portuguese-speaking Africa," he said. REUTERS
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