Weekly news

20/10/2012 to 26/10/2012

Top Stories:                                                                                                          

 Kenya-China Rail to Aid Coal Imports to Uganda – East African Business Week

Fascinating example of the integration Chinese state firms are able to muster in Africa. This story describes how separate infrastructure, iron ore, coal mining and steel making companies have aligned their interests to set up an entire new steel making industry, as well as all of its major inputs, in East Africa. 

 Safety still concern at Zambia’s Chinese-owned mines – Radio Netherlands Worldwide (NED)

This choice of headline shows where Radio Netherlands feel their listeners/readers interest is. The article says Chinese companies safety standards have improved dramatically due to government, public and international pressure (they are still not up to the standard of the top companies). I was interested to read about the improvement. Perhaps others are more interested in a negatively framed story.

 Chinese private equity firm’s bid for Discovery Metals turns hostile – Mineweb (ZAF)

Chinese companies and investors are still keen to find new resources in Africa, but aren’t wiling to be held to ransom on the price.

 China’s ‘Image’ Problem in Africa – The Diplomat

Nice digestion of China’s non-interference policy, it’s roots, and what it means for its relationship with Africa.

 China lodges protest over killing in Maiduguri – News24 (NGA)

Following on from the story I mentioned in Ghana last week it seems China is taking a greater interest in the safety of its citizens in Africa. Public pressure has been growing in China for the government to pressure African governments to do more to protect Chinese in Africa.

 Out to rebrand Africa – China Daily (CHN)

Article in the Chinese press celebrating African entrepreneurship. It is an irony of the China-West competition for Africa that China is on the side of private sector business driven engagement, while the US champions a more interventionist role for the state.

Politics                                                                                                                 

China Vows to Boost Ties With Gabon – FOCAC (CHN) 
26/10/2012
China is determined to widen cooperation with Gabon and boost existing pragmatic relations between the two sides, according to a senior Chinese official on a visit to the Central African country.

Brics holds opportunities for South African: deputy minister – Times Live (ZAF)
25/10/2012
Being part of the largest developing economies group could benefit South Africa’s own development, Deputy International Relations Minister Ebrahim Ebrahim said on Thursday.

Regards from ambassador of Rwanda – China Daily (CHN) 
25/10/2012
My first comment is to say, “Congratulations!” to the leadership and the people of China for this tremendous achievement.

Gabonese PM meets with CPC delegation – China Daily (CHN) 
25/10/2012
Gabonese Prime Minister Raymond Ndong Sima on Wednesday expressed the hope that the cooperation between his country and China could be broadened in all the fields.

How to uphold and expand common interests of china and Africa under new circumstances – Walta Info (ETH)
25/10/2012
Address by DG LU Shaye,  the Director General of the Department of the African Affairs of the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, at the Second China-Africa Think Tank Forum,   12 October, 2012 Addis Ababa

China’s ‘Image’ Problem in Africa – The Diplomat
25/10/2012
Since the 1950s, China has effectively used the doctrine of non-interference to guide its foreign policy agenda in the developing world.

China-African Relations: An African View – The Official Blog of Ambassador David H. Shinn
24/10/2012
The Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa (OSISA) published on 3 October 2012 an analysis of the China-Africa relationship by Claude Kabemba.

China lodges protest over killing in Maiduguri – News24 (NGA)
22/10/2012
China said on Monday it had lodged a diplomatic protest over the fatal shooting of a Chinese worker in Maiduguri and demanded that the African nation take “concrete measures” to better protect its nationals.

Interview on China-Africa Relations – The Official Blog of Ambassador David H. Shinn 
22/10/2012
The U.S. edition of Voice of Russia asked me to address the question of China-Africa relations in an interview that aired on 18 October 2012.

Assessment of China-Africa Ties – Official Blog of Ambassador David H. Shinn
22/10/2012
The Africa Research Institute, an independent , non-partisan think tank based in London, published in October 2012 a four page assessment of China-Africa relations.

Egypt-China Relations – The Official Blog of Ambassador David H. Shinn
20/10/2012
The China Brief, a publication of the Jamestown Foundation in Washington, published an article titled “A New Egypt Looks to China for Balance and Leverage” by Chris Zambelis on 21 September 2012.

Reception marks 50th anniversary of China-Uganda ties – FOCAC (CHN)
19/10/2012
A reception was held in Beijing on Thursday evening to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of China-Uganda diplomatic relations.

5 Reasons Why China Is Africa’s New Best Friend – Jameni (KEN)
18/10/2012
Amid accusations of neo-colonialism from the United States and other Western powers, China recently pledged $US 20 billion in credit to African countries. China’s growing influence in Africa is making the West uneasy as China recently supplanted the United States as Africa’s largest trade partner.

Finance and Banking                                                                                           

South Africa falling between two stools in a rapidly changing world – Engineering News (ZAF)
26/10/2012
Recently, the World Bank reported that it expects sub-Saharan Africa to experience economic growth of 4.8% this year. But, it added, if you exclude South Africa, that growth jumps to 6%. Elsewhere in this edition, I report on the sad state of the country’s microsatellite maker, Sun Space & Information Systems (SunSpace), which, basically, is hamstrung because of continuing delays in implementing the African Resources and Environmental Monitoring Constellation (ARMC) programme. This currently involves South Africa, Algeria, Kenya and Nigeria.

Sub-Saharan Africa Growth Remains Strong, but Challenges Lie Ahead – The New Times (RWA)
25/10/2012
The global economy faces significant uncertainty and growth prospects remain weak. Yet, Sub-Saharan Africa continues to perform strongly, with economic growth expected to exceed 5 per cent this year and next.

China’s Exim bank: Africa’s largest financier looks for an even bigger role – The Africa Report 
25/10/2012
Already the largest stakeholder in Africa’s export-import bank, Beijing is cementing its role on the continent, with new loan pledges such as $20bn promised at a summit in July.

African Barrick downgrades 2012 output forecast – Reuters (GBR)
25/10/2012
Miner African Barrick Gold Plc downgraded its 2012 production forecast and reported soaring production costs, hurting quarterly profit, as suitor China National Gold Group Corporation (CNGGC) continued its due diligence on the company.

China Construction Company Too Strong for Bank of Africa – Tanzania Daily News (TZA)
24/10/2012
China Construction Company beat Bank of Africa (BOA) 3-1 in an entertaining friendly match that took place at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam over the weekend.

COLUMN-Africa: the next economic tiger?-Chrystia Freeland – Reuters (GBR)
19/10/2012
If you are looking for some good cheer in a pretty gloomy world, consider the growing consensus among some of the world’s smartest money that the next big emerging market may be Africa.

Manufacturing                                                                                                      

Expos in China boosting SA exports – The New Age (ZAF)
24/10/2012
Bilateral relations between South Africa and China have grown in leaps and bounds over the last couple of years, adding more value to the country’s economy, the Minister of Trade and Industry (DTI), Rob Davies, told delegates attending the ceremony of the South African Expo that is underway in China.

Mining and Metals                                                                                                

Nation Offers More Than Just Mineral Commodities – ZA News (ZAF)
23/10/2012
Although relations between South Africa and China have been improving, South Africa is still seen as a country that provides mineral commodities and not value-added products, says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.

Chinese private equity firm’s bid for Discovery Metals turns hostile – Mineweb (ZAF)
23/10/2012
Chinese private equity fund Cathay Fortune Investments has mounted a hostile bid for Discovery Metals. The fund has gone direct to shareholders with its takeover offer after an initial setback.

Safety still concern at Zambia’s Chinese-owned mines – Radio Netherlands Worldwide (NED)
19/10/2012
Work conditions at Zambia’s Chinese-owned copper mines have improved, but the Asian giant’s labour record is still clouding its sizeable investments into the country, Human Rights Watch said Friday.

Case for miners to split local, international assets – Business Day (ZAF)
19/10/2012
Looking at the difficulty faced by South African gold miners, the case to separate their local assets and their less problematic international operations looks to be growing stronger by the day.

Oil and Energy                                                                                                     

Sasol sees viable opportunities in building GTL plants – Creamer’s Engineering News (ZAF)
26/10/2012
With the abundance of gas currently available at a low price, especially in North America, the future of energy looks bright for petrochemicals group Sasol, CEO David Constable said at the company’s 2012 financial results presentation last month.

Explorers revive interest in Isiolo gas well – Business Daily (KEN)
25/10/2012
Oil explorers have revived interest in a well abandoned by the China Offshore National Oil Corporation (CNOOC) two years ago after failing to get commercial quantities of gas.

West African Crude-Depressed, demand outlook dim- Reuters (GBR)
22/10/2012
West African crude oil stayed relatively depressed on Monday, with lacklustre demand from China and India and unsold cargoes weighing on differentials.

China-Africa Oil Ties: How Different from the US? – China in Africa: The Real story
21/10/2012
An updated report from the Council on Foreign Relations on China-Africa Oil Ties makes several statements that made it past reviewers (and that reflect conventional wisdom).

Telecommunications                                                                                            

Cameroon to launch e-Post project funded by China – China Daily (CHN)
26/10/2012
Cameroon’s postal sector will soon launch a major initiative that will enhance its performance following the announcement of an expected launch of the e-Post project that will be implemented by the state operator Campost through a Chinese loan of $62 million.

Trade                                                                                                                    

South Africa/China trade a boon to both – iAfrica
25/10/2012
Relations between South Africa and China are of mutual economic benefit, trade and industry director general Lionel October said on Thursday.

Chinese communists impress SA – Business Day (ZAF)
25/10/2012
is Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies so in love with China? Everything about Davies’s recent pronouncements suggests he is determined to make China even more prominent than it already is in the list of our trading partners.

‘World class’ investment market in China and S. Africa – Borneo Post (CHN)
25/10/2012
Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) sees China and South Africa as a gateway to a ‘world class’ market given that there are vast opportunities ahead for Malaysian investors to venture in.

Davies arrives in China for export expo – Business Report (ZAF)
22/10/2012
Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies arrived in China to officially open the South African Expos 2012, his department said on Sunday.

Transport and Infrastructure                                                                                 

China, Economic Community of West African States Sign Agreement On Infrastructural Development – Ventures
26/10/2012
In continuance of strategic far East investments in Africa, China signed an agreement on infrastructural development and economic cooperation with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Thursday in Abuja, Nigeria. The pact which was signed by the Vice Minister, Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, Li Jinzao, involves China building a trans-West African highway (which will go through nine states) and the construction of the ECOWAS headquarters building extension in Abuja.

Kenya-China Rail to Aid Coal Imports to Uganda – East African Business Week
23/10/2012
The new railway line Kenya and Chinese authorities are planning on will transport coal from Tanzania to Uganda for steel making.

Chinese Firm Wins SA Locomotives Order – South Africa Info (ZAF)
22/10/2012
A consortium led by Chinese manufacturer CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive (CSR) has been named as the winning  bidder to supply Transnet with 95 electric locomotives as the South African state company embarks on a massive drive to upgrade its freight rail capabilities.

Environment                                                                                                         

China to promote sustainable development – China Daily (CHN)
26/10/2012
A Chinese official Thursday expressed here China’s willingness and determination to work with the international community to promote sustainable development.

South African man sends toenail clippings to Chinese embassy in protest against rhino poaching – New York Daily News (USA)
24/10/2012
A South African film production designer armed with a nail cutter is trying to help stamp out rhino poaching by sending toenail clippings to the Chinese embassy in Pretoria.

Tanzania Disowns Tusks Seized in Hong Kong – Tanzania Daily News (TZA)
22/10/2012
Tanzanian wildlife authorities have disowned a consignment of elephant tusks seized in Hong Kong that were reported to have been shipped from the country.

Hong Kong seizes $3.4M in illegal ivory from Africa in biggest ever bust – The Washington Post (USA)
20/10/2012
Hong Kong customs officers have confiscated nearly 4 tons of ivory worth $3.4 million in their biggest ever seizure of endangered species products, authorities said on Saturday.

Society                                                                                                                 

Chinese Culture of Gratitude – New Era (NAM)
22/10/2012
A culture of gratitude is regarded as an encouraging factor to increase productivity, to strengthen unity and promote harmony in the workplace nowadays.

Out to rebrand Africa – China Daily (CHN)
22/10/2012
Far too often, in the view of Africa’s budding female entrepreneurs, their continent is characterized as the recipient of aid that enables residents just to struggle by, and as a place that mistreats and marginalizes its women.

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