Vol. II Issue. 41
South Sudan to resume oil exports
19 October 2012
South Sudan's government has issued an order instructing foreign and national oil companies operating in the region to immediately resume production and export, which was halted in January 2012 due to disagreement over transit fee with Sudan's government.
According to official sources, operations would recommence within a period of three months. The move comes in light of the successful attempts towards negotiating key post-partition issues, with the two sides having signed agreements on nine post-partition issues.
Source(S): Sudan Tribune, October 18, 2012
Tunisia elections scheduled for June next year
Tunisia's ruling government coalition, led by the Islamic Ennahda Movement, has announced the scheduling of parliamentary and presidential elections for June 23, 2013. Further, they announced the adoption of a mixed political system, where the election of the president of the republic would be directly chosen by the people.
The coalition's agreement on a date for elections and the establishment of an amended parliamentary system comes after widespread criticism from the opposition. Additionally, the announcement should restore investor confidence in the Tunisian market.
Source(s): Reuters, October 14, 2012
Libya elects new PM
Libya's national congress elected Ali Zidan, an independent candidate, as the new prime minister of the North African nations following the dismissal of the previous PM, Mustafa Abu Shagur. Mr. Shagur was dismissed due to his failure in attempts at forming a new government. Mr. Zidan has been requested to propose a new cabinet within two weeks by the president of Libya's national assembly.
Source(s): BBC, October 14, 2012
Shell on trial over pollution in Nigeria
Four Nigerians filed a court case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against international oil giant Shell over environmental damage to their farmlands caused by multiple oil spills in a case that could set a precedent for global environmental responsibility, potentially opening the door for countless number of similar cases.
The case relates to damage caused in 2005 and was initially filed in 2008 demanding that Shell should contain and control the environmental damage, repair and maintain defective pipelines to prevent further damage and pay out compensation. The prosecution has accused the oil giant of severe environmental and ecological damage in the Niger Delta. Shell was also further accused of violating legal obligations due to its negligence in pipeline maintenance.
On the other hand, a representative from the company claims these accusations to be unsubstantiated, blaming oil spills between 2004 and 2007 on the consequence of illegal theft and sabotage.
Source(s): Vanguard, October 12, 2012
World leaders meet in Mali
Representatives from about 20 countries, a number of international organisations and senior UN officials, arrived in Bamako on October 19, 2012, to discuss the unfolding crisis in the north of Mali, which has been taken over by Islamist forces.
The meeting follows the UN Security Council adoption of a resolution to facilitate international military intervention. The regional bloc ECOWAS was given 45 days to draw a plan with details of its offer to deploy 3,000 troops to the region. Sources state that former colonial power France has supported plans for intervention, but other nations have displayed caution.
Source(s): BBC, October 19, 2012
Nigeria, Niger sign pact on terrorism
Nigeria and Niger signed an agreement on joint border patrols along the border between the two countries, with a view to tackle the growing menace of terrorism in West Africa. The agreement was an outcome of Goodluck Jonathan's, the Nigerian President, trip to Niger for the sixth session of the Authority of the Nigeria-Niger Joint Commission for Cooperation. The agreement also directed both governments to provide envisaged funds and required logistics for the exercise while also ensuring joint efforts for completion f cross-border infrastructural projects.
Source(s): allafrica.com, October 19, 2012
South African firms ready to invest in Zimbabwe
South Africa's business community stated their intent to invest and create business partnerships with Zimbabweans during a visit of a business delegation representing over 40 South African companies to Harare, Kwekwe and Bulavoyo from October 15 to 18.
The purpose of the visit was to establish investment and trade partnerships with Zimbabwean companies in the sectors of infrastructure, information and communication technologies, manufacturing, agro-processing and mining.
Source(s): The Herald, October 17, 2012
SA looks to boost investor confidence
Boosting public and investor confidence in South Africa's economy was identified as critical for development at a social dialogue meeting focussing on the state of the economy.
At the end of September 2012, Moody's Investors Service downgraded South Africa's bond rating by one notch from A3 to Baa1, citing "increased socio-economic stresses". On October 12, Standard & Poor's cut the country's sovereign debt rating by one notch as well, blaming the unrest affecting the mining sector.
Jacob Zuma stated after the meeting that urgent steps were necessary to avoid an economic downturn. He added that the government had drafted a framework for responding to the situation and that discussions would be finalised on Wednesday.
Source(s): Mail and Guardian, October 13, 2012
Malawi considers EPA with EU
Malawi has reopened negotiations on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU), which has been deadlocked since 2002. The new round of negotiations could witness a shift in the status quo through the signing of a free trade agreement.
Previous apprehension towards the EPA were due to Malawi's position as an exporter of low-value agricultural commodities and the importance of agricultural tariff's for the common population. The new government, however, seems to be emphasizing on the countries potential gains from preferential trading with the EU.
If Malawi signs the agreement, it will signify another major policy shift by current President Banda, who rolled back on repressive legislation mechanisms and removed the pegging of local currency against the US dollar.
Source(s): allafrica.com, October 17, 2012
Russian company plans Zimbabwe pipeline
Russian company, Rosneft, has acquired licenses for the construction of a petrochemical pipeline from Beira, Mozambique to Harare, Zimbabwe. The pipeline will also serve the Southern and East African nations of Zambia, Malawi and Botswana.
The pipeline will be Zimbabwe's second and reports suggest that Rosneft has additionally obtained permits from the Mozambique government to increase the capacity of the existing pipeline.
Source(s): The Herald, September 17, 2012
Major East African ports to be privatised
Negotiations for the privatisation of the East African ports of Mombasa and Dar-es-Salaam have reached advanced stages according to Richard Sezibera, Secretary General of the East African Community (EAC). The negotiations are looking to establish the ports of both cities as regionally-owned ports under the management of private players. The move looks to strengthen the cost-competitiveness of business in the region, serving as a basis for increased investment and growth, providing access to the sea to all EAC member states and land-locked neighbouring states.
Source(s): New Times, October 11, 2012
Rwanda elected to the UNSC
Rwanda became one of five new members in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), in spite of recent UNSC reports accusing Rwanda of actively instigating conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Rwanda's Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo expressed the nation's happiness about their election as Africa's non-permanent UNSC member. She further stated that the vote spoke for itself in relation to the allegations regarding Rwanda's role in DRC.
Meanwhhile, the Rwanda Government is set to pursue legal action against the United Nations (UN) appointed Group of Experts that have produced reports accusing Rwanda of fermenting dissent and political chaos in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Rwandan government has been subsequently subjected to various types of punitive action including suspension of financial aid, a move that had not been received well in official Rwandan circles.
Source(s): RFI, allafrica.com, October 17, 2012
Somalia Federal Parliament elects new PM
Somalia's Federal Parliament elected Abdi Farah Shirdon as Somalia's Prime Minister on October 17, 2012, another landmark moment in the transition of Somalia. The new prime minister has not announced his cabinet, nor has he specified a date for the appointment. Somalia's leadership now faces the tremendous security, economic and political challenges in rebuilding the war-torn nation's institutions and infrastructure
Source(s): allafrica.com, October 17, 2012
Angola launches sovereign wealth fund
Africa's second major oil producer, Angola, launched a 5 billion USD sovereign wealth fund to invest a portion of its oil capital, following in the footsteps of the oil-rich Arab nations.
The wealth fund will channel investments into the infrastructure and hospitality sectors with a strategy to create attractive long-term risk-adjusted returns through investment. The fund was first suggested four years ago and in 2011, a law was enacted for the creation of this wealth fund.
Source(s): Agence France Presse, October 18, 2012
(This report is prepared by Shaantanu Shankar, Research Intern at Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi)