News Africa

Africa Needs Energy Not Population Reduction

African nations are working with China and Russia to increase their energy capacity. This is seential for progress. Africa is not OVER POPULATED, but rather UNDER DEVELOPED. Human beings are the source of all wealth, and “should multiply and subdue the earth.”

China’s Help To Enhance Ivory Coast’s Hydropower Has Achieved a Milestone–One New Dam, and Another To Be Started

Ivory Coast on November 2, 2017 inaugurated the Chinese-built Soubre hydroelectric power station, the largest of its kind in the West African country. “The 4.5-km-long hydropower dam at Naoua Falls on the Sassandra River, with an installed capacity of 275 MW, is expected to increase hydropower in Ivory Coast’s energy mix and cement the country’s status as a key power producer and supplier in West Africa. Following the Soubre inauguration, a foundation-laying ceremony was held at the same site for the 112-MW Gribo-Popoli project, a dam 15 km downstream of Soubre, to be built also by Sinohydro, {Xinhua} reported.  The four-turbine Soubre dam was financed in part by a loan from China’s Export-Import Bank.

          Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara, who inaugurated the Soubre dam, said “the government of Ivory Coast is very satisfied with the quality and speed of the construction of the Soubre hydroelectric dam.” Ivory Coast aims to push its power production capacity to 4,000 MW by 2020. The inauguration of the Soubre plant adds to the nation’s existing capacity of around 2,000 MW. The Chinese embassy described the initiative as “emblematic” of bilateral cooperation, Xinhua} reported. 

South Africa Energy Minister Focuses on Nuclear Energy for Future Generations

November 5, 2017–Undaunted by vocal and political opposition to its ambitious plan to build 9,600 MW of new nuclear generation, South Africa’s leadership is pushing ahead, trying to make up for lost time, by accelerating its timetable.

          Energy Minister David Mahlobo, who has been on the job for only a few weeks, has decided to finalize the country’s integrated energy resource plan this weekend, and have it finished in the next two weeks, {City Press} reported today.

Originally, the report, which lays out South Africa’s projected energy needs and mix of energy resources for the future, was to be done in February. Two days ago, Mahlobo told the press that “People who say we should not invest [in nuclear] do not understand that, each and every day, more companies are closing down and more young people are getting out of employment and even more out of the educational system.  We are creating soldiers of unemployment.

          “Any responsible government will plan well because it is becoming a national security issue. One day these people would have nothing to lose and they will take this government out. The ANC must never be deterred in the face of political parties who want to stop us from implementing our program.”

          The Minister stressed that South Africa wants to “ensure energy security…. That is, you do not want to have disturbances that one day you wake up you do not have sufficient energy.” For those who complain that nuclear is more expensive, Mahlobo said, there are things that are more important than the finances, such as a secure source of energy. We have to be able guarantee energy for future generations, he said. The resource requirement projections in the integrated plan assume economic growth and the need for more energy.

          President Jacob Zuma, who has had to fight within his own cabinet for the nuclear program, and has replaced some of the worst opposers, assured Members of Parliament on Nov. 2 that despite opposition from Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, the nuclear program will go forward. President Jacob Zuma said while his Energy and Finance Ministers appear to disagree on the nuclear program, “they were not saying we [will] change policy. They were talking about how do we implement this particular decision.”

Nigeria and Russia have signed agreements on the construction and operation of a nuclear power plant and a nuclear research centre, including a multi-purpose research reactor, in the African country.

31 October 2017

Nigeria and Russia have signed agreements on the construction and operation of a nuclear power plant and a nuclear research centre, including a multi-purpose research reactor, in the African country.

The documents, as well as a roadmap for cooperation in the field of peaceful nuclear technologies, were signed in Abu Dhabi yesterday by Anton Moskin, vice president for marketing and business development of Rosatom subsidiary Rusatom Overseas, and Simon Pesco Mallam, chairman of the Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission (NAEC). The ceremony was also attended by Rosatom Director-General Alexey Likhachov and Nigeria’s permanent representative to the international organisations in Vienna, Vivian Nwunaku Rose Okeke.

“The development of nuclear technologies will allow Nigeria to strengthen its position as one of the leading countries of the African continent,” Moskvin said. “These are the projects of a large scale and strategic importance, that will determine the relationship between our two countries in the long term,” he added.

Feasibility studies for the nuclear power plant project and research centre construction will include site screening and the determination of key “parameters of implementation”, including capacity, equipment lists, timeframes and stages of implementation, as well as financing schemes, Rosatom said.

Nigeria has been a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) since 1964. Faced with rapidly increasing baseload electricity demand, the country’s federal government in 2007 approved a technical framework for a nuclear power programme.

Nigeria has sought the support of the IAEA to develop plans for up to 4000 MWe of nuclear capacity by 2025. IAEA support has included two missions to Nigeria in 2015, which found the country’s emergency preparedness and response framework to be consistent with IAEA safety standards. A 10-day IAEA Integrated Regulatory Review Service peer review mission earlier this year described the country’s nuclear regulator, the Nigerian Nuclear Regulatory Authority, as a “committed” regulatory body working for the continuous improvement of nuclear and radiation safety, but noted challenges related to its independence in implementing regulatory decisions and activities.

The NAEC was set up in 1976, and the country’s first research reactor – a 30 kW Chinese Miniature Neutron Source Reactor similar to units operating in China, Ghana, Iran and Syria – was commissioned at Ahmadu Bello University in 2004.

Russia signed its first intergovernmental nuclear cooperation agreement with Nigeria 2009. This was followed by agreements on the design, construction, operation and decommissioning of an initial nuclear power plant. Two sites, at Geregu in Kogi State and Itu in Akwa Ibom State, were in 2015 confirmed as preferred sites for the country’s first nuclear power plants after evaluation by the NAEC.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News

British Support Population Reduction Not Development

November 3, 2017–Prince William, second in line to the bloody throne of England after his whacky old man, has shown his capacity to be just as whacky, and as deadly, as his dad, as well as his grandfather, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, founder of the World Wide Fund for Nature, an organization that advocates drastic reduction of the world’s population.

          According to The Telegraph, William was speaking at the Tusk Trust (a group to save the beasts and rid the hunting grounds of humans) last night, and bemoaned the fact that human beings were having a “terrible impact” on the world. “In my lifetime, we have seen global wildlife populations decline by over half,” he said. “We are going to have to work much harder, and think much deeper, if we are to ensure that human beings and the other species of animal (!) with which we share this planet can continue to co-exist. Africa’s rapidly growing human population is predicted to more than double by 2050 — a staggering increase of three and a half million people per month. There is no question that this increase puts wildlife and habitat under enormous pressure.”

          Not only does he explicitly reduce human beings to the state of animals, but he specifically denounces human progress: “Urbanization, infrastructure development, cultivation – all good things in themselves, but they will have a terrible impact unless we begin to plan and to take measures now.”

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Africa Development News-Sudan, Nigeria, and Chad

This conference scheduled for late November in Khartoum confirms what I have been telling my friends for years: 1) Sudan is a strategic nation for the development of Sub-Sharan Africa, North Africa, and the Middle East; 2) Sudan is an important link in China’s Silk Road.

Khartoum to Host Arab, African, Chinese Conference Next Month Khartoum

Sudan News Agency (Khartoum), October 30, 2017

Khartoum to Host Arab, African, Chinese Conference Next Month Khartoum — The Arab, African and Chinese conference will be hosted by Khartoum last week of next November, at the residence of Africa International University, and to be organized by the General Secretariat of the Arab Chinese Friendship Associations, with the cooperation of the Africa International University. Number of Sudanese, Chinese, Arab and African experts will take part in the conference that aims at acknowledging the Initiative of the Silk Road, and its impacts on the economy, and contribution in the realization of peace and development. The Secretary General of the Arab- Chinese Friendship Associations, Ahmed Abdul-Rahman Mohamed, during his chairmanship to the conference’s preparatory meeting, has considered the conference to be the first of its kind for boosting cooperation and understanding between the African continent, the Arab states and China, indicating the particular importance of the conference, its many goals and great outcomes. He noted that the conference would discuss number of the joint cooperation domains between the Arab, African states and China, with the presentation of work papers by great specialists and concerned figures. The chairman of the conference’s steering committee, the Association’s Executive Director, Ambassador Ali Yousif Ahmed has delivered a detailed review to the arrangements made in this regard, referring to the committee’s next meeting in the mid of next month.

Nigeria, Russia Sign Nuclear Energy Deal

The BRICS Post:  October 31, 2017:

Russia and Nigeria, two of the world’s major emerging markets, have signed a nuclear research and cooperation agreement on Tuesday. Russia’s Rosatom official nuclear corporation said that the agreement was signed on the sidelines of the International Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Power in the 21st Century, held in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The conference is held under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Anton Moskvin, vice president of the marketing and business development department of Rusatom Overseas, said “The development of nuclear technologies will allow Nigeria to strengthen its position as one of the leading countries of the African continent”. Nigeria has been holding talks with Rusatom for the past two years to look at feasibility studies for the construction of four nuclear power plants at a cost of about $20 billion.

Chad Begins Work on Transformative Energy Schemes

October 30, 2017                                                                                                                                        

The Saharan state of Chad has officially begun work on two energy projects that it hopes will transform its economy. A ceremony was held on Saturday (28 October) in which President Idriss Déby laid the foundation stone for the twin plants. The two schemes are Sedigui oil refinery and the Rig-Rig gas treatment plant, both of which are to be built in the northwestern Kanem region, north of Lake Chad and about 300km from the capital, N’Djamena. The goal of becoming partly self-sufficient in petrol and gas has been a national goal of Chadian governments for decades, and has become tied to the country’s self-image and national prestige. In his speech, Déby said the Sedigui project had been planned since 1973, but the country’s political situation has always been too unstable for it to go ahead.

The GDP of Chad increased from $220m in 2002 to $1bn in 2014 owing to the successful exploitation of an oilfield in Kanem and the Doba basin in the south of the country, and the construction of a $4bn pipeline to terminals on the Atlantic coast. However, it has since slumped to $660m following the collapse of oil prices in 2015.

The construction cost for Sedigui is expected to be $120m and Rig-Rig are $58m. Together they account for more than 10% of the country’s annual income. In return, the Chadian state will be able to capture more of the value of its oil reserves.

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UN Envoy Haley Off to Africa While McCain and Graham Thump for More War

October 21, 2017–In all the controversy that has arisen around the deaths, earlier this month, of four U.S. Green Berets in Niger, the question that nobody seems to be able to answer is what is U.S. policy in Africa. The Trump Administration hasn’t spelled out a strategic concept, beyond giving U.S. military forces looser rules of engagement to go after terrorists. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley will be the first member of the Trump Administration to actually visit Africa when she travels to South Sudan, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo next week. Her mission, announced by President Trump last month on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, is officially to review UN peace-keeping activities on the continent, but she may go ‘off-mission’ and freelance on policy.

       Back in Washington, the Senate Armed Services Committee is growing increasingly frustrated with what they say is a lack of information flowing from the Pentagon on the Niger attack, but the Committee clearly has war-making on its mind as well. Members of the Committee met with Secretary of Defense James Mattis, after which Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said that the Trump Administration plans to step up its counter-terrorism operations and loosen its military rules of engagement. “The war is morphing,” Graham said, reported {Politico}. “You’re going to see more actions in Africa, not less. You’re going to see more aggression by the United States toward our enemies, not less. You’re going to have decisions being made not in the White House, but out in the field, and I support that entire construct.

       “So the rules of engagement are going to change when it comes to counter-terrorism operations,” he said

Ethiopia to Inaugurate Two Industrial Parks

October 21, 2017 – The Adama and Dire Dawa industrial parks, whose construction was launched in 2016, will be inaugurated at the end of this month, reports Ethiopian News Agency. The industrial parks will specialize in textile, apparel, and agro-processing and will increase the number of parks with similar sector to five next to Hawassa, Mekele and Kombolcha, according to Ethiopian Investment commission.

The industrial park in Hawassa, which was inaugurated last year, started operation. Companies have also shown keen interest to open shop at the recently inaugurated industrial parks in Mekele and Kombolcha.

The government spent about USD 315 million to develop the two industrial parks, deputy commissioner in charge of Industrial Parks, Belachew Mekuria  (PhD), said.

As Adama and Dire Dawa are in close proximity to the Port of Djibouti, it expected that they will contribute to the facilitation of foreign trade for the country.

The parks are expected to further strengthen industrial development in the country by facilitating the way in fulfilling its vision of becoming manufacturing hub in Africa.

Nigeria Should Join the AIIB to Muster Funds for its Infrastructure Development

October 19, 2017–Addressing a forum organized by the Center for China Studies to mark the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China and its implications for the Sino-Africa cooperation, held in Abuja, Nigeria, on Oct. 18, Director of the Center for China Studies, Charles Onunaiju urged the Nigerian government “to become a member of the AIIB, as many countries of the world, especially in developing countries, have accessed funds for infrastructure development from the bank,” {Business Day} reported. He also pointed out that there is a desperate need for infrastructure development in Nigeria, and lack of funds is a major reason why the country’s infrastructure has remained inadequate.

          Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara, who was represented by Mohammed Usman (APC-Kaduna), said, “China today is our important partner that has been supporting us, and indeed Africa, in our development strides. Nigeria and China have been cooperating in numerous areas such as in agriculture, education, finance, infrastructure and solid minerals,” Business Day reported.

          “It is in the light of this that we believe the 2017 National Congress of the Communist Party of China will most assuredly provide another opportunity to consolidate on the gains of the on-going bilateral relations between Nigeria and China in particular and Sino-African Relations [in general],” the Speaker said

South African President Zuma Appoints Mahlobo as Energy Mininster To Push His Nuclear Power Generation Plan

 October 17, 2017– In a major cabinet reshuffle, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has appointed his confidant David Mahlobo to head the Energy Ministry, raising speculation that Zuma will push through the nuclear deal before his second term ends in 2019, Reuters reported today. Mahlobo was the former state security minister. South Africa is preparing to add 9,600 MW of nuclear capacity — equivalent to up to 10 nuclear reactors — in a contract that could be worth tens of billions of dollars and would be one of the biggest nuclear deals anywhere in decades.

          Commenting on the cabinet reshuffle, including bringing in Mahlobo as the new Energy Minister, Lawson Naidoo of the Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (CASAC) said: “This is all about the nuclear deal. Mahlobo has accompanied the President on visits to Russia, presumably to lay the ground for the Rosatom nuclear deal,” according to coverage by Fin24 business site. CASAC is a private outfit which is critical of Zuma and his politics.

          What agitated the anti-nuclear cabal in South Africa further were two events occurring within days. These were: Last Friday’s nuclear site authorization and now today’s cabinet changes, including Energy Minister Mahlobo. On Friday, Oct. 13, Department of Environmental Affairs approved the Final Environmental Impact Report for the Nuclear-1 Power Station and its associated infrastructure, and has authorized the South African electricity utility Eskom to proceed with the construction of new 4 GW nuclear power plant complex at Duynefontein in the Western Cape.

          Nuclear reactor makers including Rosatom, South Korea’s Kepco, France’s EDF and Areva, Toshiba-owned Westinghouse and China’s CGN are eyeing the South African project, which could be worth tens of billions of dollars, Reuters reported.

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Presidents of Egypt, South Africa, and Nigeria Speak-out

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el Sisi Reiterates Egypt’s Orientation Is Toward Africa

           President el-Sisi, in a timely reiteration of a theme in his 2014 inaugural address, told the UN General Assembly Sept. 19 that “Africa lies at the heart of Egypt’s foreign policy.” He also condemned the current world order for its hypocrisy and its reliance on “conflict and zero-sum games,” and had sharp remarks about the state of affairs in Libya and Syria.

          Concerning Africa, el-Sisi said, “As Egypt’s geographical home, Africa lies at the heart of Egypt’s foreign policy, for it is in Africa that our historic roots lie, and it is from Africa that we derive pride in our identity and our deep sense of

belonging. This continent has also become subject to the same security threats facing the Arab region, and constitutes a major example of the crisis in the current international economic order, which cements poverty and economic disparity. This global order bears a major responsibility in the economic, political and social crises that threaten international peace and stability, rendering any discussion on sustainable development goals futile.”

          Leaders in Black Africa in the 1950s and 1960s, the era of African (political) independence–such as Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah and Senegal’s Cheikh Anta Diop–looked to ancient Egypt and the Egypt of their contemporary, President Gamal Abdel Nasser, as a source of inspiration.

          El-Sisi repeatedly condemned the current world order, and pointed to the alternative, saying in one place, “Force and zero-sum games cannot remain as a means to realize interests, especially in today’s world, which is based on mutual interdependence among nations, and where significant horizons for cooperation and understanding exist to achieve the common interests of everyone….”

          “This requires,” he said, “involving developing countries more in the international economic governance structure and facilitating their access to easier financing, markets, and technology transfer.”

          Turning to the Arab region’s crises, with emphasis on Syria, he said that these crises can only be resolved by “upholding the notion of the modern nation-state.” There will be “no salvation for Syria except through a consensual political solution amongst all Syrians at the core of which is the preservation of the unity

of the Syrian state, the maintenance of its institutions, and the broadening of their political and social base to include all factions of the Syrian society, and to decisively counter terrorism until it is defeated.”

          On Libya, Iraq, and Yemen, he said: “Egypt will not allow the continuation of attempts to tamper with the unity and integrity of the Libyan state, or to undermine the capabilities of the Libyan people. We will continue to work diligently with the UN to achieve a political settlement based on the Sokhairat Agreement. The aforementioned logic applies to the Egyptian strategy regarding the crises in Iraq and Yemen.”

South African President Zuma’s Message at the UNGA: No  More Regime Change, Anywhere!

           President Jacob Zuma’s assertive address to the UN General Assembly on Sept. 20 included a denunciation, in detail, of regime change as a threat to world peace and development. It seems clear that his message was directed especially to U.S. President Donald Trump.

          He said in part: “In 2011, the African Union called for dialogue to resolve the crisis in Libya. Unfortunately, some among us here opted for guns and bombs. Today those countries are making little effort to promote stability in Libya. The major focus and preoccupation has become how to deal with the flow of migrants arriving in Europe from our continent and the Middle East, which are just mere symptoms.

          “The war in Libya contributed a great deal to the destabilization of the Sahel region and all the way to Central Africa, creating a corridor for illicit trafficking in arms as well as terrorist activities.

          “In fact, had our warning been heeded, that the supply of arms to civilians in Libya and the arming of civilians in Syria would cause loss of life, great instability, and mayhem, the world would be more peaceful today.

          “South Africa continues to call for an immediate end to the violence and for a Syrian-led political transition and a negotiated settlement reflecting the will of the Syrian people.

          “In both instances of Libya and Syria, we strongly cautioned against seeking to resolve internal challenges of sovereign states by imposing foreign solutions through military means.”

          Regarding North Korea, he said:

          “We continue with our call for calm in the Korean Peninsula. The situation cannot be allowed to get out of hand. …. It can no longer be acceptable that some few countries keep arsenals and stockpiles of nuclear weapons as part of their strategic defense and security doctrine, while expecting others to remain at their mercy.”

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari Speaking on October 1.

Below are excerpts from President Buhari’s address to the Nation of Nigeria on the 57th anniversary of independence from British colonial rule

                 “Recent calls on re-structuring, quite proper in a legitimate debate, has let in highly irresponsible groups to call for dismemberment of the country. We cannot and we will not allow such advocacy. As a young Army Officer, I took part from the beginning to the end in our tragic civil war costing about 2m lives, resulting in fearful destruction and untold suffering. Those who are agitating for a re-run were not born by 1967 and have no idea of the horrendous consequences of the civil conflict which we went through
                “December last year, this Administration has produced over 7 million 50Kg bags of fertilizer. Eleven blending plants with a capacity of 2.1 million metric tons have been reactivated. We have saved $150 million in foreign exchange and N60 billion in subsidy. Fertilizer prices have dropped from N13,000 per 50Kg bag to N5,500.

              “Furthermore, a new presidential initiative is starting with each state of the Federation creating a minimum of 10,000 jobs for unemployed youths, again with the aid of CBN’s development finance initiatives.

               “Power remains a huge problem. As of September 12th, production of power reached an all — time high of 7,001 Megawatts. Government is increasing its investment, clearing up the operational and financial log jam bedeviling the industry. We hope to reach 10,000 Megawatts by 2020.

               “Key priorities include better energy mix through solar and Hydro technologies. I am glad to say that after many years of limbo, Mambilla Power Project has taken off.

               “Elsewhere in the economy, the special window created for manufacturers, investors and exporters, foreign exchange requirements has proved very effective. Since April, about $7 billion has come through this window alone. The main effect of these policies is improved confidence in the economy and better investment sentiments.

               “The country has recorded 7 consecutive months of lower inflation, and the Naira rate is beginning to stabilize, appreciating from N525 per $1 in February this year to N360 today. Broad-based economic growth is leading us out of recession.

August 21, 2017

South Korea is planning to build an agricultural “city” worth $10bn in Egypt.

Located in the Qattara Depression in Egypt’s north west, the second lowest point in Africa, the city will contain 50,000 smart greenhouses, solar arrays and seawater desalination plants.

Work on the 311,400 acre development is due to be completed in a mere six months according to website ArabFinance.

The project was agreed between the Egyptian government’s General Authority for Reconstruction Projects and Agricultural Development and the Korea-Arab Society, which was represented by the Korean Arab Company for Economic and Cultural Consultancy.

Korean experts will oversee building work, which will utilise the “latest technologies”.

According to ArabFinance the city’s produce will include fodder and Stevia, a sugar substitute.

The project is said to be a result of the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s visit to South Korea in 2016.

BRICS set to play larger role in global economic development, security: expert: China Daily: Xinhua:

With the 9th annual BRICS summit less than two weeks away, a world-renowned global BRICS expert based in Australia said the member nations are primed to step into the leading position in worldwide leadership. David Thomas, chief executive officer of Think Global, a Sydney-based consultant firm, spoke exclusively to Xinhua on Thursday that the BRICS nations are “stepping into the vacuum of global leadership” that has been created by the withdrawal of the countries, particularly those in the West, previously associated with worldwide leadership.

“The fact that the BRICS want to take over investments through the institutions that they are establishing, to take some of the decision-making away from the United States, and played the part that they can in building the next phase of globalisation — the importance of governance that sits behind that, is very significant,” Thomas said. This year’s summit will be hosted in the seaside city of Xiamen in southeast China’s Fujian province, and with leaders from member countries and other nations around the globe set to attend. Thomas said the biggest achievement for the yearly summit since its inception is the way that has brought countries together.

“They are (BRICS) very different countries with very different historical backgrounds, and cultures, and histories — so the fact that they actually meet as a group every year, not just the leaders, but many other parts of their leadership teams is very significant,” Thomas said.

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Zuma Welcomes Launch of BRICS Bank’s Africa Regional Center

          Aug. 17, 2017–Launching the Africa Regional Center of the BRICS’ New Development Bank (NDB) in Johannesburg today, South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma addressed NDB President K.V.Kamath, South Africa’s Ministers of Finance and Foreign Affairs, leaders of industry and finance, members of the diplomatic corps, and others. Zuma said in part:

          “We are truly delighted to share this extremely important occasion with you. The launch of the Africa Regional Center of the New Development Bank is a historic occasion, as it marks the strengthening of the BRICS formation and also underlines the BRICS’ commitment to the development of the African continent and emerging markets. This is a critical milestone not only for South Africa, but for the African continent as a whole. We are thus celebrating it as a shared achievement.”

          Zuma emphasized that setting up the Africa Regional Center shows the bank is working to expand its membership to other countries beyond BRICS; South Africa is the S in BRICS’ name. “We certainly trust that African countries will be among the first to take up membership at the New Development Bank.” He said, “The bank will start the process to consider new members and finalize the project pipeline for the second batch of loans to be offered in the 2017/2018 financial year…. The biggest challenge is that Africa remains largely unindustrialized, with the result that our economies are overexposed to the whims of commodities markets.”

          Referring to the NDB Board of Governors’ recent increase in the bank’s lending to $2.5 billion for the 2017-2018 financial year, Zuma continued, “This announcement has come at an opportune time for South Africa, as we need more projects. We have great expectations for this regional office.”

          Zuma said of the limitations of the Regional Center, “The regional office will have to extend its core focus beyond project identification and preparation if it wants to truly realize these [the NDB’s] objectives. The office should in time be given the autonomy to extend loans to qualifying countries in the continent, while also serving as a node for capacity building and knowledge sharing.”

          The Regional Center seemed ready to go many months ago, but President Zuma waited until he could appoint a finance minister, and a South African director of the NDB, who were in tune with the objectives of the BRICS. The key change was his replacement of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, with Malusi Gigaba, who is strongly oriented to the spirit of the BRICS.

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Game Changer for Nigeria–$41 Billion Railway Network Expansion

   Aug. 16, 2017– In an interview with Bloomberg’s Dulue Mbachu in Abuja last week, Nigeria’s Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi announced that the country is seeking to invest $41 billion to develop transport links throughout the country.

          “The plan we have now will go to every nook and corner,” he said, Bloomberg reported today.

          Amaechi said that Nigeria is experiencing its worst economic slump in 25 years, due to the low oil prices, which account for more than 90% of the nation’s foreign income and two-thirds of government revenue. Diversification is urgent.

          Last March, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari had said that in order to boost agriculture and manufacturing, the country’s transport network and power infrastructure had to be expanded.

According to Bloomberg, the key railroad development projects include building a second railway line connecting Nigeria’s two biggest cities, the commercial capital Lagos, and Kano in the north.

          The 1,100-km line will carry freight and passengers. The government also wants to build a coastal railway that connects Lagos to the eastern city of Calabar. Amaechi reported that the two new railways are expected to cost $20 billion, with most of the funding coming from the Export-Import Bank of China, which has so far released $5.9 billion.

          China’s Civil Engineering and Construction Co. is building the project and both railways should be ready by the end of 2019.

          While $5.2 billion has been allocated for the completion of the railroad linking Abuja to the southern oil hub of Warri, and for rehabilitating Nigeria’s 3,505 km of century-old, narrow-gauge railways linking the coastal cities of Port Harcourt and Lagos with the north, $16 billion will be invested in new rail routes to connect all the country’s state capitals and extend across the northern border into neighboring Niger’s southern city of Maradi, said the Transport Minister.