News Africa

African Union Deepening Relationship With Huawei

Africa should not be beholden to US anti-China policy from President Trump’s administration. China and Africa have formed a closed relationship, collaborating to build vitally necessary infrastructure projects that the US and the West have refused to build over many decades. African nations have the right to have the most advanced technologies to realize their full economic potential on a continent rich with people and resources.

 

Huawei’s vice-president for the Northern African region Philippe Wang (on the left) and the deputy chair of the African Union, H.E. Kwesi Quartey

June 2, 2019

Huawei announced on May 31 that they had signed a three-year MOU to “improve the technical expertise of the African Union (AU) and to cooperate on key issues related to information and communication technologies,” according to Quartz Africa. Huawei and the AU will partner to strengthen sectors including the internet, cloud computing, broadband, 5G networks, artificial intelligence, and cyber-security, while also providing training for young people.

Since an MOU signed in 2015, people from across the AU have been hosted on tours to Huawei training centers in China.    While the China-bashers in the U.S. are warning countries against Huawei spying on people, China is “trying to improve its competitive advantage in the continent,” Quartz Africa reports.

“The company is already one of the biggest phone brands operating in Africa, coming just behind China’s Transsion and South Korea’s Samsung in the smartphone space. Since starting its operations in Kenya in 1998, it has used a blend of pricing, customer service, brand awareness, and a vision to bridge the digital divide to penetrate the African market. Huawei has also reportedly built about 70% of Africa’s 4G networks, vastly outpacing competitors in the demand not just for internet but for improved and faster connectivity.”

“Huawei’s deal with the AU could also be seen in the context of trying to improve its competitive advantage in the continent. The company is already one of the biggest phone brands operating in Africa, coming just behind China’s Transsion and South Korea’s Samsung in the smartphone space. Since starting its operations in Kenya in 1998, it has used a blend of pricing, customer service, brand awareness, and a vision to bridge the digital divide to penetrate the African market.

“Huawei has also reportedly built about 70% of Africa’s 4G networks, vastly outpacing competitors in the demand not just for internet but for improved and faster connectivity.

“Under this agreement, we are pleased to consolidate our existing partnership with Huawei, a leading group in the fields of innovation and technological research,” Thomas Kwesi Quartey, the deputy chairperson of the AU said. “It is essential that we work closely with our partners to meet the digital transformation challenges of Africa.”

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China’s BRI Expanding Trade in Africa With Infrastructure Where the West Has Failed: Djibouti

March 28, 2019

Djibouti Port Director: The BRI Has Vastly Expanded All African Trade and Development

Aboubaker Omar Hadi, chairman of Djibouti Ports and Free Zone Authority, told Xinhua on the sidelines of the Africa CEO Forum that “projects involving cooperation with China (such as the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway and the Doraleh Multi-Purpose Port and international free trade zone) are helping Djibouti promote trade in Africa as well as distribution across the East African region.” Hadi said that more than $40 billion in exports and imports has been recorded through Djibouti ports, “which couldn’t be achieved without developing proper infrastructure, such as sea ports and railway connections.” He went on: “I am expecting more movements of goods, infrastructure develop-ment from the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation slated for April in Beijing, as well as stronger interconnection between Africa and the rest of the world,” speaking with Xinhua News.

Hadi also said that the accusations against China made by Western countries about letting some African countries fall into a debt trap due to cooperation on the BRI, are “complete nonsense, as benefits generated from infrastructure construction will far exceed the investment.”

China Prevails Where Europe Has Failed Miserably

“The New Silk Road is the biggest economic venture in mankind’s history,” former chief economist of Bremen Landesbank Folker Hellmeyer told Sputnik, saying it would be quite absurd if Europe did not take a part in it.  “The West could have built infrastructure in these countries in the past 50 years. We have not done this. China is now filling this gap–and we are criticizing that. That is also power play to a certain extent. That is also why it meets resistance. But we are developing human capital and a sustainable growth potential which is enormous. We could have done it, but we haven’t done it. And that is why we should not accuse others.”

Hellmeyer also said that “what I hear here in Europe in terms of criticism, I rather see as a kind of front line politics serving the interests of the U.S.A.”

Newly Elected President of D.R. Congo Addresses Issue of Lake Chad Water Transfer

Newly elected President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Félix Tshisekedi addressed the issue of water transfer to save Lake Chad at the just- concluded Africa CEO Forum in Kigali, Rwanda. Speaking at the concluding panel together with host, Rwanda President Paul Kagame, Tshisekedi said that someone is proposing to pump water from the Congo River to save Lake Chad, but there are better options than that.

“On the water issue, which is a battle expecting us in the future, we can think about solutions at the mouth [of the Congo River], before the meeting with the ocean waters. There is a way to catch that water from the river and send it through pipes to countries that need it, rather than doing what has been proposed at some point in Chad — i.e. diverting the course of the Ubangi River. This can have consequences, including on energy, because of the peat bog system that helps the CO2-absorbing natural lungs. We believe that there are other solutions and the D.R.C. is ready to offer them to its partners to build this integration which is so important for us.”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pKAsR0qhtQ

President Tshisekedi is right when he rejects foolish ideas such as pumping water from the Congo River or diverting the course of the Ubangi. However, he should know that “other solutions,” namely the Transaqua project, have already been approved by the countries of the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) at the February 2018 International Conference on Lake Chad in Abuja, Nigeria, which was attended by a representative of the D.R.C.. He also should drop the narrative of the peat bog system, created by the British to block the development of the Congo basin.

LCBC observers see the glass as half-full and emphasize the good news of the D.R.C. government addressing publicly the issue and expressing its readiness to help. Notably, this was the first time that a President of D.R. Congo and of Rwanda have appeared together in public. Rwanda President Kagame stressed this in his speech, explaining that Africa will move forward only if personal animosities are put aside. Kagame has recently strongly supported China’s Belt and Road Initiative and blasted the West for having failed in its Africa policies

 

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Will Africa Emulate China in Eliminating Poverty with BRI? More Electrical Power Needed

March 7, 2019

Rwanda Acknowledges Partnership With China Is Beneficial for Both Nations

President Xi Jinping left and President Paul Kegame-right (East African)

Answering a media query in Kigali on March 5, Rwandan Foreign Minister Richard Sezibera said that the Belt and Road Initiative is a partnership that is mutually beneficial for Rwanda and China, and addresses Rwanda’s development challenges, Xinhua reported. China is an important partner for Rwanda at all levels, and Rwanda welcomes the growing partnership with China, he said, adding that Rwanda and China have important relationships in infrastructure development, party-to-party and people-to-people exchanges, and at the political level.

Last August, {China Daily} reported Rwandan Ambassador to China Charles Kayonga telling the newspaper, through e-mail, that in Rwanda, “we have had financing for a number of roads, and we have seen direct investment by Chinese companies in a number of businesses rise.” 

 Africa is in need of infrastructure, among other things, to achieve sustainable economic transformation, he said, adding that cooperation with China will help finance the infrastructure projects to help spur the continent’s industrial development, which will, in turn, favor China in its vision of going global.

Prescient Xi: China is Eliminating Poverty

Speaking today with deputies from Gansu Province, President Xi Jinping underlined the importance of reaching the goal of eliminating poverty by 2020.

“There should be no retreat until a complete victory is won,” Xi said. “Decisive progress has been achieved in the country’s tough fight against poverty over the past years, marking a new chapter in the poverty reduction history of mankind.” Xi stressed, that the goal to eradicate extreme poverty must be achieved on time. He warned that the tasks ahead remain arduous and hard, as those still in poverty are the worst stricken. He also warned that, “the practices of ‘formalities for formalities’ sake and bureaucratism hamper the effective advancement of poverty reduction.” He also warned against the tendency to celebrate short-term gains when it comes to addressing the problem of poverty. He insisted that claims of success should be grounded in reality, and that the results of poverty alleviation work must be able to stand the test of time.

 Also today, a comprehensive briefing was given on the success of poverty reduction over the last few years by Liu Yongfu, Director of the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development. He held a press conference outlining the progress of the poverty-alleviation campaign. Liu noted that between 2012 and 2018, some 80 million people had been brought out of poverty at an average of 13 million people a year. Of the nine eastern provinces, eight were now free of poverty. He said there are 832 counties still enmired in poverty. In 2016, there were 28 counties that had been lifted out of poverty, and in 2017, some 125 counties, and in 2018, an estimated 280 counties. In 2013 there were 128,000 villages in poverty, while in 2018 there were 20,000. Poverty has been reduced during that period by 85%, Liu said, and the goal this year is to bring 10 million more people out of poverty. In 2019 the government will increase the funds devoted to poverty alleviation by 18.9%


African Development Bank Funding New Power Transmission Line For East Africa

In an article on its website, the African Development Bank (AfDB), pointing to regular power cuts in the East African countries from Kenya to Tanzania, from Uganda to Ethiopia, said this is about to change with the upcoming commissioning of a power transmission line to interconnect Kenya and Ethiopia. This project falls under one of the AfDB’s ‘High 5 priorities’ to ‘Light up and Power Africa.’ Working with
institutional partners, the Bank has mobilized resources to ensure the success of this project. At a cost of $1.26 billion, the project was co-funded by the African Development Bank ($338 million), the World Bank ($684 million), the Government of Kenya ($88 million), and the Government of Ethiopia ($32 million), the article noted.

The interconnection will function by means of a 1,068-km, 500-kilovolt high-voltage direct current transmission line, 437 km in Ethiopia and 631 km in Kenya with related facilities at Wolayta-Sodo (Ethiopia) and Suswa (Kenya). By December 2020, it will have a transmission capacity of 2,000 MW. This will make Ethiopia the energy giant of East Africa, while Kenya will become the epicenter of electricity trading in this part of the continent.

“The project will initially be able to transfer 400 MW from Ethiopia to Kenya, but negotiations are under way to better match the capacity of the line to Kenyan demand,” said Joseph Njogore, first secretary at the Kenyan Ministry of Energy, at an energy forum held in Nairobi in August 2018, the website noted.

 

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African Union Commission chief praises AU-China partnership

 
 
Moussa Faki Mahamat

Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, has extolled the partnership between the 55-member pan-African bloc and China in different arenas.

The AU Commission chief made the remarks at the opening of the 32nd AU summit on Sunday in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, with the attendance of African leaders, foreign diplomats, and other prominent personalities.

Speaking of the AU-China partnership, Mahamat said that the two sides have been enjoying unprecedentedly dynamic partnership in various areas.

The successful Forum of China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit in Beijing in September 2018 demonstrated “the unprecedented dynamism” of the partnership between the two sides, he said.

In September 2018, AU officially launched the AU representational office in Beijing, he recalled, indicating that it would further strengthen the partnership.

“The remarkable success of FOCAC held in Beijing in September 2018 illustrates the unprecedented dynamism of our partnership,” Mahamat said.

“The opening of an AU office in Beijing will obviously strengthen this multifarious and fruitful partnership, including the strategic dialogue between the AU Commission and the People’s Republic of China,” he added.

Chinese support for AU peace and security totals $180 million

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Italy and Buhari Keep Transaqua on the Agenda to Save the Shrinking Lake Chad

Jan. 18, 2019

Italian Prime Minister Conte Discusses Development with Presidents of Chad and Niger

Giuseppe Conte made a two-day visit to Niger and Chad, two countries members of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, to discuss short and long-term measures to fight terrorism, migration, and their causes on Jan. 15-16. In both countries he discussed development perspectives with national leaders.

At the joint press conference in Ndjamena with Chad President Idriss Déby, Conte referred to the Transaqua project for the revitalization of Lake Chad as an example of development programs.

European countries, Conte said, “cannot remain insensible to the drying up of Lake Chad. If it goes on, there will be increased misery and thus increased emigration and terrorist threat,” Conte remarked. “If we don’t have a vision on those issues, we will be overwhelmed. I reminded President Déby that the possibly oldest project to tackle the drying out of Lake Chad has been made by Italian experts. There is a project of dams and canals to provide irrigation.

This means laying the basis for the development of those territories and therefore better controlling migration flows.”

Both in Niger and Chad, Conte said that Italy will be “the ambassador” of the Sahel region at the EU, to promote a larger effort to finance development. The EU Trust Fund for Africa must be enlarged, Conte said.

At the joint press conference in Niamey, Niger President Mahamadou Issofou thanked Italy for the support of the Sahel-5 Multinational Force to fight terrorism, but repeatedly stressed that “the solution is developing Africa, industrializing Africa.” This goes for defeating terrorism as well as for controlling immigration flows.

Conte thanked Issofou for its support to Italy in the stabilization plan for Libya. Although this was the first visit ever of an Italian Prime Minister to Niger (and Chad as well), Conte remarked that this was his third meeting with Issofou, following meetings in Rome and Palermo, the latter at the International Libya conference. Stabilizing Libya is key to defeat terrorism, Conte remarked.

Nigerian President Buhari Reiterates His Commitment To Refilling Lake Chad

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari called for more commitment from the international community on redirecting water to Lake Chad on Jan. 14, warning that the 40 million people who rely on the lake in the region would pose adverse migration and security challenges to the world.

The Transaqua project to refill Lake Chad was approved at the Feb. 26-28, 2018 International Conference on Lake Chad in Abuja and soon the feasibility study financed by the Italian government should start. The cost of the entire 2400 km system of dams and canals will be in the order of several dozen billion dollars.

Receiving Letters of Credence from the High Commissioner of Canada to Nigeria Philip Baker at the Presidential Villa, President Buhari said the tragedy of the shrinking Lake Chad would continue to fuel more illegal migrations, banditry and provide willing hands for terrorism since majority of the people have lost their means of livelihood.

A statement by the special adviser to the President on media and publicity Femi Adesina said that Buhari warned that “the about 40 million population in the region will pose adverse migration and security challenges to the world” if the lake should dry up completely. The President pointed out that banditry, illegal migration and terrorism would worsen if the lake were not rescued. He said: “An academic rightly predicted that unless there was a redirection of water to Lake Chad, it would dry up. Now, whenever I go for any global meeting or visit a country, I will always draw the world’s attention to the adverse effect of climate change on the lake, and the resulting negative effects.”

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China & the US Can End Poverty by Exploring Space: Africa Gains

Exploring outer space is a natural driver of economic growth. Discovering the universe beyond earth stimulates the mind, excites the imagination, and challenges our human understanding of the physical laws-principles that govern our planet. Discovering new scientific principles leads to new technologies that transform our economic mode of production. Knowledge, understood in this way, changes i.e. improves our relationship to nature-the physical universe. There is no so-called environmental limit to continued economic growth for the human noetic-creative species. The last great burst of productivity in America was a result of President John K Kennedy’s vision for man to land on the Moon. All the new discoveries that were required to accomplish that feat created new technologies here at home, on planet earth. Kennedy’s space program resulted in a 14:1 return on investment. This will happen again as mankind continues to probes further into space. China has taken the lead. However, if the US, instead of demonizing China and Russia were to collaborate with space fairing nations, in searching out new scientific principles of the universe, we would cause a revolution in science. In possession of this scientific knowledge we could end hunger, poverty, and conflict throughout the world. Africa has much to gain by supporting new endeavors into outer space.

“Get Rid of Poverty, But Also Aim Deeper into the Sky”

In the context of the press conference today by China National Space Administration (CNSA), CGTN conducted an interview with lunar mission chief designer, Wu Weiren, with its “face-to-face” reporter. The title of the interview is: “face to face Wu Weiren: a big step for mankind.” He was asked more than once about cooperation with the U.S. Wu responded that there is, in fact, some cooperation with the U.S. on this mission. The Chang’e-4 relay satellite “will extend its service life, and they can use it at that time, after the Chang’e-4 mission… The U.S. made a request to know the landing time and location in advance, so that their satellite can be adjusted to [pass over] the landing site, and record the precise location of the landing site.” This would be of benefit to China.

He continued: “This is a golden opportunity for the United States. It always wants to measure the meteorites hitting the Moon, which can raise the state of the moon dust. This is very difficult. The probability [of observing a meteorite hit] is too small; it is difficult to achieve. But this time we have such an opportunity, so Americans want to seize it, and we are willing to provide them the opportunity.” Asked numerous times about cooperation, Wu said, that “the scientists of the two countries still hope to cooperate together,” providing examples of areas of complimentary science investigations.

When asked by a reporter, “Our country has spent so much money and used so many scientists to do this. Why do we have to help people [do this]?” Wu Weiren responded: “China has fallen behind in the past few hundred years. From the perspective of modern science and technology, we still benefit from the Western countries. We have bathed in the rain of world science and technology development, and we enjoy the benefits. Now that we have the ability, our economy has developed, and our science and technology are gradually catching up with the pace of world development. As General Secretary Xi said, big countries must take on big tasks. I think we should contribute to the world’s science and technology now. We can do this in an era of contribution.”

Wu added: “A nation needs to look up at the stars, and China’s deep space exploration will fly further and further. [We have had] the successful landing of the Chang’e-4, the relay link connection, payload start-up, two-unit separation [of the rover from the lander], rover moon-day dormancy and wake-up, and two-way mutual [photograph] shootings were completed. Every move and every step attracts the attention of the world.”

“Of course, we must do our own things well,” advised. For example, the tens of millions of people in our country have not yet gotten rid of poverty. This should be solved. However, we should also aim deeper into the sky. One philosopher has said that if a nation does not look up at the starry sky and only buries its head and feet, this nation has no hope and no future.

We have 1.3 billion people and we are a big country. I hope that in our generation or the next generation, we can turn our big space power into a strong space power. Now we say that we can catch up with the world’s advanced level. Next we can lead the world. That is the dream of our generation.”

‘A Nation Needs to Look Up at the Stars’

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) held a press conference this morning on the on-going Chang’e-4 mission, and future lunar exploration missions. Giving the briefing was Wu Yunhua, deputy chief commander of the agency, and Wu Weiren, general designer of the lunar program. Wu Weiren
said that CNSA is organizing Chinese experts to work on the follow-on lunar missions, and that three future missions are being planned:
* Chang’e-5, which will launch at the end of this year, will return a sample from the near side of the Moon * Chang’e-6 will conduct a south pole sample return. Whether it will be conducted on the near side or the far side of the Moon depending on the results from the sampling mission of Chang’e-5.
* Chang’e-7 will conduct comprehensive exploration of the south pole, including its land forms, material composition, and environment
* Chang’e-8 will test key advanced technologies on the far side, and companies will be invited to industrialize the technologies. {China Science and Technology Daily} reports that Wu Yunhua added, “On Change-8 we are planning even more crucial experiments for our lunar exploration, including to determine the
possibility of establishing a lunar base for scientific research, if we can do 3D printing on the Moon, and whether it is possible to use the lunar soil for the construction of buildings, in order to jointly construct a lunar base for further exploration of the Moon.”

Previously it has been stated by CNSA that the first Chinese lunar base will be robotic, with periodic visits by astronauts. China has said that its first manned lunar mission will take place around 2030.

At the press conference, the importance of international cooperation was stressed by a number of speakers. All countries are welcome to participate in China’s follow-up lunar exploration and deep space exploration projects, he said.

Ouyang Ziyuan Gives His Views on Chang’e-4 and Future Exploration

Geologist and Academician Ouyang Ziyuan, in an undated, but recent, interview on CCTV, commented on the Chang’e-4 mission. The program was titled “Why We Want To Go to Far Side of the Moon?” Ouyang said that it had been the dream of scientists immemorial to find out about that side of the Moon that we never see. In addition, the far side, which is open to the universe — and all its effects — would no doubt contain ancient rocks that would reveal the secret of the origin of our Solar System. Scientists have chosen a level area of the Moon in the Aiken Basin and have concentrated on an ancient crater, the Von Karman Crater, Ouyang said, which could be one of the oldest parts of the Moon.

Eventually, he said, one task would be bringing ancient rocks back from the crater for examination on Earth. In addition, the Moon could serve as a base for future exploration.

“Our task in the final analysis is twofold. One is the low-frequency radiation. The other is the record contained in the ancient rocks. Our next phase on the Moon must be scientific research, and we have to plan a base for scientific research and gradually improve that base for our work. I am convinced that in
this way we will look forward to new knowledge and to new breakthroughs,” he said.

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AU Chairman, and African Leaders Congratulate China’s “Dark Side” of the Moon Landing

China is Making History with Moon Landing

January 8, 2019

Senegalese President Macky Sall congratulated China for the success of its Chang’e-4 mission to deploy a lunar rover on the far side of the Moon, when he met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Jan. 6. Senegal, which is currently co-chair of the Forum of China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). This was the last stop in Wang’s four-nation tour of Africa that began in Ethiopia.

According to Xinhua, Sall said that “this major technological breakthrough has shown that China is taking the lead in the field of technological innovation…. China’s African friends are proud of its achievement.” He added that they hope to strengthen their cooperation with China in scientific and technological innovation.

African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat had said much the same thing, when he met with Wang on Jan. 4 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where the AU has its headquarters. Expressing his congratulations on the successful landing of the Chang’e-4 lunar probe, Faki told Wang, “for humans, the Moon is out of reach, but with its super-scientific capabilities, China has successfully achieved this landing event, making history.” He, too, said that Africa, as a friend of China, is happy about its success, and hopes that African countries will strengthen cooperation with China in science and technological innovation.

Xinhua reported that Wang, in responding to Sall, said that China’s achievements are also achievements of developing countries, “stressing that developing countries have the right and ability to achieve rapid development in the field of scientific and technological innovation.”

Between those two stops, Wang visited The Gambia and Burkina Faso, two countries which had only established relations with China in 2016 and 2018. Cooperation through the Belt and Road Initiative was on the agenda in each stop, as was China’s commitment to helping bring peace to Africa, which is fighting off terrorism. Wang told AU Commission Chair Faki, and Burkina Faso’s President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré and Foreign Minister Alpha Barry, in particular, that China will “soon” provide its $45 million commitment for the anti-terror force of the Group of 5 Sahel countries (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger), plus additional support for equipment as well as equipment for the fight against terrorism. One Burkina Faso newspaper called Wang’s pledge “a breath of fresh air,” because while the G5 Sahel counter-force is backed by the United Nations Security Council, international funding has been way below commitments.

Traditionally China’s foreign minister makes the first overseas trip of each year to Africa.

{China Daily} Reflects on Chang’e-4 Mission

In an article headlined “Exploring Outer Space for Benefit of Mankind,” the semi-official {China Daily} takes stock of the significance of the ongoing Chang’e-4 mission.

“The successful landing of China’s Chang’e 4 probe on the far side of the Moon on Jan. 3 marks a significant step forward in the exploration of outer space and paves the way for future space missions…. Both the country and its people have a good reason to take pride in this pioneering achievement, which contributes to the efforts to learn our homes planet’s satellite, the Solar System and the universe beyond…. Following the Chang’e 4 mission, China is expected to quicken its steps in exploring outer space.

“In recent years, each significant achievement made by China’s space industry has drawn global attention. Although its space industry is comparatively young, China’s commitment to the exploration of outer space has always been crystal clear and consistent. It is committed to the principle of using outer space for peaceful purposes, and opposes the militarization of or an arms race in outer space. Its door is open to international cooperation in space exploration….

China’s commitment to international cooperation demonstrates its unwavering belief that outer space is a common home for all humanity and that its space
dream is part of the dream of all humankind.”

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President Paul Kagame: Time for Europe To Invest in Industry and Infrastructure

December  26, 2018) In an exclusive interview with Austria’s {Die Presse} news daily, Rwandan President Paul Kagame stated that “Europe has invested billions upon billions of dollars in Africa. (But) something must have gone wrong…. Part of it is that these billions had a return ticket. They flowed to Africa and then back to Europe again. This money left nothing on the ground in Africa.” The European money was invested in the wrong place, he said.  Instead it should go to investments “in industry, infrastructure, and educational institutions for Africa’s youth, whose number is growing fast. That is the only way to create a  demographic dividend.” It would be a better way of preventing migration of young Africans to Europe, which the Europeans were so much worried about. Europe could cooperate with China, Kagame hints: “China is active in Rwanda, but not in an inappropriate way. The new roads in Rwanda are largely built with European money. Sometimes there are Chinese subcontractors.”

What Africans do not need, is Europeans trying to give them lessons on democracy, Kagame said. The European model of democracy is a failure, Europe is in a profound political crisis, as shown by the recent mass protests and other aspects, this model cannot be one for Africans to follow. Europe finally has to give up its attitudes of fake generosity, and begin accepting Africa as a real partner, he said.

Presidents Museveni of Uganda and Kagame of Rwanda

China Creating Tens of Thousands of Jobs for Ugandans in Infrastructure Projects

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni revealed in an interview with {Xinhua} with its focus on infrastructure development, the country wanted to attract more invest-ment from China: “We are likely to advance the project of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR)… in the government-to-government (talks).” Extending the Chinese-built SGR line from the Kenyan seaport of Mombasa, which is expected to reach the border areas with Rwanda, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, to Uganda would make sense as a catalyst of economic growth. To finance its infra-structure development agenda, Uganda looked at China because of the country’s favorable lending terms compared to some of the Western global financiers.

Other major infrastructure projects in Uganda will benefit from Chinese support as well: A few months ago, the Kampala-Entebbe Expressway, linking the capital Kampala to Entebbe Airport, the country’s gateway to the world, was completed. China financed the construction of the mega road  project, the first of its kind in the country. China is also financing the expansion of Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport. Official figures show that after completion of the first phase of expansion, the cargo center can handle up to 150,000 metric tons of goods, compared to the previous 69,000 metric tons.

In the northern part of Uganda along the River Nile, the world’s longest river, China is constructing the 600MW Karuma Hydropower Plant. While touring the facility in July, President Museveni said he was amazed by the progress noting that the plant will not only address Uganda’s inadequate power supply, but also that youths have become skilled through the construction process.

Farther upstream on the River Nile, in the central Ugandan district of Kayunga, construction of a Chinese-funded 183MW Isimba Hydro-power plant that is nearing completion according to the Chinese engineers on site, power generated by the plant is expected to come onto the national grid early next year.

The power development plan is crucial for the Uganda’s industrialization policy, which has designated over 22 industrial parks across the country where investors can set up base, taking advantage of the incentives that come with establishing their factories in the parks. In October, President Museveni launched the first phase of a $620 million Chinese industrial project in the eastern district of Tororo. The project has dubbed the Uganda-China Free Zone of International Industrial Cooperation, undertaken by the Dongsong Energy Group, will manufacture glass, steel, and organic-fertilizers, creating about 3,000 jobs at peak when completed in 2020.

President Museveni, in March of this year launched another Chinese-owned Mbale Industrial Park. The park owners, Tian Tang Group, said it will attract more than 30 investors with a total investment of about $600 million and an annual output value of $1.5 billion. The park will directly employ about 12,000 locals.

The $220 million Kehong China-Uganda Agricultural Industrial Park, is another park that will play a critical role in transforming the economy. According to government figures, almost 80% of the country’s population derives its livelihood from agriculture.

When fully operational, Kehong China-Uganda Agricultural Industrial Park is expected to produce about 600,000 tons of agro-products annually to meet the domestic and regional market demands.

It will also create 25,000 jobs as well as making opportunities for training local people available, according to the managers of the park.

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Scientific Economic Progress is Essential to Stem the Migration of Africans

The only real solution to the migrant crisis is the economic development of Africa. Sadly, Africans will continue to take dangerous journeys and risk their very lives searching for opportunities for productive employment in other countries. Economic growth is the sine qua non for Africa and this depends on massive expansion of infrastructure across the continent. The levels of investments required in vital areas of infrastructure cannot be accomplished by the private and financial sectors. Government issued public credit is necessary to fund the trillions of dollars of infrastructure needed to develop the African continent. The application, training, and education in new scientific endeavors in nuclear energy and space satellites are key components of a healthy growing economy that all African nations should enthusiastically embrace to secure the their future. 

More African Refugees Take Dangerous Atlantic Route to Europe

Dec. 5, 2018 –Reuters reports “a  resurgence in African migrants taking the treacherous Atlantic route to the Spanish territory this year in search of jobs and prosperity that they cannot find at home. It marks the revival of a worrying trend. In 2006 — when 30,000 migrants managed to reach the Canary Islands — some 7,000 people died trying to make the crossing, rights groups say.” Faced with the land route via Libya ending now in detention camps, with no hope of ever reaching Europe, migrants increasingly take the sea route from West Africa to the Iberian Peninsula. “Managing … migratory flows is very much like squeezing a balloon. When one route closes, the flows increase on another,” the Reuters report quotes Izabella Cooper, spokeswoman for EU border agency Frontex, as saying. “Migrants face many dangers on the open ocean, including mountainous waves, blistering heat and starvation,” writes Reuters, and, although reliable data are not available, authorities in Senegal and Gambia said there has been a rise in boats attempting to reach the Canary Islands this year. The boats are often canoes not really seaworthy for ocean voyages, or tiny boats with dozens of refugees on board, propelled by engines not fit for such voyages either. Empty boats have been spotted repeatedly, and their real numbers remain unrecorded. “The sea is very, very big. And they can leave from wherever in Senegal, Gambia or further south,” the Reuters report quotes Rafael Carballo Abeger, an attaché at the Spanish Embassy in Dakar, Senegal.

Rwanda Has Signed a Nuclear Deal with Russia

Dec. 6, 2018– During an official visit of Rwanda’s Minister of Infrastructure Claver Gatete to Moscow, an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the field of peaceful uses of atomic energy was signed between the two countries. “The cooperation agreement will lay the foundation for active dialogue between the two countries in the field of peaceful use of atomic energy, and will allow for practical implementation of particular projects,” {ESI Africa}, a power journal, reported on Dec. 6. Rosatom’s Director General Aleksey Likhachev signed the agreement on behalf of Russia and Gatete signed on behalf of Rwanda. Likhachev said: “We are happy to share our more than 70 years expertise in the field of peaceful use of nuclear technologies with our Rwandan partners. We hope that our cooperation in that area will contribute to the economic growth and improve the quality of life of the Rwandan population.” The document establishes a legal basis for interaction between the two countries including elaboration of the project for the construction of a Center for Nuclear Science and Technology, and of a Nuclear Power Plant in the Republic of Rwanda, {World Nuclear News} reported.

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Science and Technology Will Transform Africa: Ethiopia to Launch New Satellite in 2019

Finally, in recent years African nations and the African Union have embarked on the exciting and necessary use of space technology to advance their societies. Science and technology are the most fundamental drivers of economic growth. It is the discovery of new scientific principles of space that lead to breakthroughs in new technologies to transform the continent. For too long, Africa has been denied the “right” to use space science, and it no surprise that Ethiopia is in the leadership of this effort.

Ethiopia Will Have Its Own Remote Sensing Satellite, with Help from China

Nov. 27, 2018 Dawn breaks over a radio telescope dish of the KAT-7 Array pointing skyward at the proposed South African site for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope near Carnavon in the country's remote Northern Cape province in this picture taken May 18, 2012. South Africa is bidding against Australia to host the SKA, which will be the world's largest radio telescope when completed. Picture taken May 18, 2012. As reported yesterday by Reuters, the government of Ethiopia announced that Ethiopia would have an Earth remote sensing satellite built in China and launched in September 2019. China would pay $6 million for the design and construction of the satellite and the launch, toward the $8 million total cost. {The EastAfrican} weekly newspaper and on-line site reported that the satellite will be launched from China, but the command and control center will be based in Ethiopia. Although according to the Reuters wire, the satellite will be used for “climate and related phenomena,” in fact, the data will also be used for agriculture, land use, and other necessary monitoring for the economy. Ethiopia’s Ministry of Innovation and Technology released a statement on the future of the country’s space plans, and mentioned a number of African space projects. One of these involves China granting $550 million to Nigeria to purchase two satellites according to Quartz Africa multimedia website, which explains that China has “deepened its place in all spheres, economic and political. Conquering the space business and providing space mapping services is part of Beijing’s globe-spanning Belt and Road Initiative, with both state-run and private Chinese space companies selling made-in-China satellites abroad.” Quartz Africa reports that “as satellites get smaller and cheaper, an increasing number of African nations are declaring their plans to look skyward. The African Union has also introduced an African space policy, which calls for the development of a continental outer-space program and the adoption of a new framework to use satellite communications for economic progress. The demand for satellite capacity is expected to double in the next five years in Sub-Saharan Africa.” Undoubtedly, as part of the “Space Silk Road,” China will be playing a leading role in bringing space technology to Africa. Read: China to Help Launch Ethiopia’s First Satellite in 2019   
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Zambia Daily Mail

Zambia Russia Nuclear Science Deal 

The agreement that was signed will turn Zambia into a hub of nuclear sciences. The centre is to be used for peaceful purposes such has boosting the energy, health and agriculture sectors. Nuclear is important for meeting the world’s growing need for reliable, affordable and clean energy.  Global electricity demand is expected to double by 2050 as people everywhere demand a better quality of life. All low-carbon sources, including nuclear energy, are important for meeting this demand. Nuclear energy is expected to provide at least 25 percent of global electricity by 2050 to successfully meet the needs of human development and protecting the environment. Zambia has seen the need to embrace nuclear energy by ensuring the country does not lag behind in being a highly industrialised nation.
Read article
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Africa Updates: Ethiopia Attacked by US; Zimbabwe; Uganda; China; the Great Green Wall

April 13, 2018

US Congress Disgraces Itself in Vote Against The Nation of Ethiopia

–The US Congress displayed short-sightedness, and a lack of understanding about Africa in general and Ethiopia in particular when it foolishly voted up HR 128, condemning Ethiopia. Though it is only a resolution with no lawful consequences, it demonstrates how easily the US Congress can be manipulated, and how little they know about the progress Ethiopia has made in achieving significant levels of economic growth that benefit all its citizens. The irony is the that one week before the Congress embarrassed itself, the ruling EPRDF conducted a voluntary peaceful transition of government by selecting Abiy Ahmed from the Oromo community as their new young Prime Minister. There is no doubt that Ethiopia will remain a strong ally of the US, and will continue to pursue policies that have made Ethiopia a leader in economic growth on the Africa continent as they struggle to balance human rights with economic and social rights. (I will be writing more on this subject in the near future.) Read about Ethiopia’s progress in providing jobs and growth for its people: Ethiopia Stands Poised to Lead an African Industrial Revolution

Ties between Zimbabwe and China Hit a New High, ‘Comprehensive’ Partnership Stressed

— An editorial in the Zimbabwe {Herald}, a daily that speaks for the government, hailed the “new high” in China-Zimbabwe relations following the official visit of Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa to China last week, where he met with President Xi Jinping as well as other Chinese officials. The same vision was expressed to CGTN, April 8, by Ms. He Wenpeng, Africa Studies Director at the China Academy of Social Sciences, who said it marks a new era for Zimbabwe and Africa. Last November, at a Schiller Institute international conference in Germany, He outlined what is ahead for Africa in linking up with the Belt and Road Initiative. The {Herald} stressed that two major milestones were reached by the visit of the Mnangagwa delegation, which included 10 cabinet members as well as 80 businessmen. The first is that bilateral relations were elevated to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Status, meaning that “China is demonstrating its willingness to boost trade with Zimbabwe and stimulate the country’s economic growth.” Zimbabwe will now profit by more Chinese investment, especially in infrastructure in which the Chinese have become experts. The second milestone was the “incorporation of Zimbabwe into the Belt and Road Initiative. Not many people have cared to examine the benefits of this initiative, which is part of President Xi’s thought on the new economic trajectory China is taking. We reckon that Zimbabwe stands to reap huge benefits by being part of a select group of countries that China is dealing with under the Belt and Road Initiative.” The editorial continues, describing the BRI as “the largest infrastructure development project, which will see more than a trillion dollars being invested across the globe…. Under this initiative, China will build massive infrastructure that will connect it to many countries around world, including Zimbabwe. This will help facilitate trade and the transfer of capital, technology and expertise. “The project is meant to create an economic cooperation framework with the countries involved that will bring real benefits to the people, making it ‘a belt of new opportunities.'” The editorial urges Zimbabwe to take steps to “come up with laws, rules and regulations that govern foreign investment.” This new legislation should be clear and without “shifting of goalposts.”

Zimbabwe President Mnangagwa: China Helps African Nations To Develop Faster

–In an interview, Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa, with China’s CGTN Africa senior correspondent Tian Wei, in which he praised China’s effort to develop Africa and responded to some Western critics of China’s Africa policy. By building infrastructure, China increases connectivity among African economies, and thus it helps such economies to develop faster than their individual national efforts would allow, he said. To the specious criticism, raised by the West, that China is driving African nations into debt, President Mnangagwa laughed. “We got so many grants from China,” he first said. Then he explained that China is giving credit for capital investments which are accounted for in a capital budget and therefore do not increase national debt. Asked what his political goal is, Mnangagwa replied that it is to lead his country to become a middle-income nation by 2040 and even an advanced country. At his next meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, during the China Africa Summit later this year, some of the projects they discussed will already be underway, so that they can talk about them, he said. “For me as Zimbabwe’s President, national interest comes first: There is nothing China has done that threatens the independence or national interest of Zimbabwe. But Western countries have done a lot of things to threaten our unity and political economic sovereignty,”  Mnangagwa told her. Excerpts of the video interview: https://eblnews.com/video/interview-emmerson-mnangagwa-371574

Uganda Plans To Develop Its Uranium Reserves, and Go Nuclear

–A six-man delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency has been in Uganda at that country’s request, to conduct a Site and External Events Design, or SEED mission. This inspection and consultation is designed to assist member states at different stages of nuclear development. The focus of the IAEA experts’ trip, is four uranium-rich districts in the country, which the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development has identified for possible exploitation. Uganda’s Atomic Energy Council has developed a Nuclear Power Roadmap, which the government approved in 2015. Further down the line, an MOU has been signed with Russia for the peaceful application of atomic energy, and the country’s plan is for its first nuclear power plant in 2026. The Uganda daily {Observer} reports that President Yoweri Museveni met with IAEA Director General Yuiya Amano in January to discuss Uganda’s nuclear ambitions, including in health, energy, and agriculture. Museveni, the article reports, has had to defend Uganda’s nuclear plans against critics, including at the UN Security Council, assuring them that countries like his will utilize their uranium reserves only for peaceful purposes. IAEA head Amano has been on a multi-nation tour of Africa, offering the IAEA’s assistance in their new nuclear programs.    Uganda is one of the 45 countries, including others in East Africa, including Kenya and Tanzania, that are planning to develop their uranium resources for nuclear power generation.

China Will Help Africa Green Its Desert

–China has approved a project to offer technological support for the construction of Africa’s Great Green Wall, the Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography (XIEG) under the Chinese Academy of Sciences said on Tuesday. Proposed by the African Union in 2007, Africa’s Great Green Wall initiative aims to reverse desertification spreading drought, famine, and poverty through the Sahel region. According to Lei Jiaqiang, director of the XIEG, China will cooperate with Mauritania, Nigeria, and Ethiopia, among other African countries, to systematically diagnose desertification and the technical needs in the region. The project will bring China’s desertification-prevention and -control technologies, materials, and products to Africa, and conduct environmental adaptability assessments. It will also include personnel training and capacity building on anti-desertification measures in African countries. Some Chinese enterprises dealing with prevention and control of desertification will also participate in the project. “We hope to bring China’s wisdom in anti-desertification to Africa and help enhance the capability of desertification prevention in African countries along the Great Green Wall,” Lei said.
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“China all weather friend of Namibia”–President Buhari Moves Against British–Zimbabwe President in China

Namibian President Strengthens Relations with China; Defends China as Best Friend of Africa

The Presidents of China and Namibia, Xi Jinping and Hage Geingob, agreed to establish a comprehensive strategic partnership for cooperation between their countries, and signed six bilateral cooperation agreements, at their meeting in Beijing on March 29. President Geingob had begun his seven-day state visit to China the day before. At the signing ceremony, both presidents spoke of how China has been an “all-weather friend of Namibia,” in reference to China’s support for Namibia’s independence, and now in its development. Xi said, “China welcomes Namibia to participate in the BRI, and hopes to strengthen policy cooperation and synergy of development plans,” Xinhua reported. Xi spoke also of his belief that China and Africa will join hands to build a closer community with shared future and inject new impetus to China-Africa ties. For his part, Geingob expressed Namibia’s interest in cooperating with China on infrastructure, sustainable development, human resources, technology, poverty reduction, people-to-people exchanges, and major cooperation projects. He also took the occasion to deliver an emphatic defense of China’s development efforts in Africa. Xinhua reported that the Namibian president called China Africa’s best friend. It never colonized Africa, and has always treated small and medium-sized African countries on an equal footing, Geingob said, and the African people oppose unfounded accusations against China. In an interview with CGTN today, Geingob expressed his pride and appreciation for the elevation of relations with China to a comprehensive strategic partnership. “China has been supporting us when things were bad, and then after independence, we continued [our cooperation] to another level,” he told CGTN. “Now we are moving up. Now it is the era of the second phase of the struggle for us, where people now have peace and stability, but they are anxious to get the benefits of that freedom. They want to prosper. They want to have shelter, infrastructure, schools, clinics, etc., and they are eager. They are in a hurry. So China being the all-weather friend, who was there when we were first struggling, now that we are in the second phase of the struggle, that of economic emancipation, those who are with us, must come to join us… This time, we are talking about creating a win-win situation.”

Did British Intelligence-MI6 Interfere in its former colony? Nigeria to investigate allegations of Cambridge Analytica involvement in elections

Nigeria’s government will investigate allegations of improper involvement by political consultancy Cambridge Analytica in the country’s 2007 and 2015 elections, a presidency spokesman said on Monday. The UK-based political consultancy is facing allegations that it improperly accessed data from social media website Facebook to target voters prior to the U.S. presidential election and Britain’s Brexit referendum in 2016. In Nigeria, a government committee is looking into claims that SCL Elections, a Cambridge Analytica affiliate, organised anti-election rallies to dissuade opposition supporters from voting in 2007, Garba Shehu, a spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari, said. He said it would examine claims that Buhari’s personal data was hacked in 2015 when he was an opposition candidate in the presidential election. The investigation would also look into whether Cambridge Analytica’s work for the election campaigns of the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) broke Nigerian law “or infringed on the rights of other parties and their candidates”. Depending on the outcome, criminal prosecutions might result, said Shehu. Cambridge Analytica could not immediately be reached for comment. PDP candidate Umaru Yar’Adua won the 2007 presidential ballot. He died in office in 2010 and was succeeded by his deputy, Goodluck Jonathan. (REUTERS): 2018-04-02

Zimbabwe President, Mnangagwa in China with Large Delegation for Economic Deals

–President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa is on a five-day official visit to China. He will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping today. Mnangagwa, who is accompanied by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa, met several Cabinet ministers and private sector executives, and will also meet officials of the Communist Party of China and the Chinese business community according to Zimbabwe daily {The Herald}. The Zimbabwean President will also visit the provinces of Anhui and Zhejiang to meet with the political leadership and the business community. Several economic and business deals are expected to be signed. The director of Platinum Agriculture and Princewood Enterprises, Dakarayi Mapuranga, who is in China with the President, said his company had secured $500 million worth of deals in agriculture, mining and transport sectors. These include a $400 million deal with China’s Lovol company that produces heavy machinery for agriculture and mining, while a $40 million revolving facility was secured with Good Agro Rising for the supply of chemicals for tobacco and other export-oriented crops, and an $80 million deal for the supply of irrigation equipment, including center-pivot and drip irrigation systems. Dayu, the Chinese-listed firm which clinched the deal, will soon be in Zimbabwe to assess specific irrigation requirements and technology applicable to Zimbabwe. “They [Dayu] need to know our specific needs and the Ministry of Agriculture has already identified farms where the equipment will be installed,” said Mapuranga. “Our thrust is to support initiatives by the new dispensation to ensure farmers are supported with the machinery they need. This will help bring Zimbabwe back to its breadbasket status.” A deal was also signed with Allen Bus for 1,500 buses to ease transport challenges in the capital, Harare, and other towns. While 500 buses will be imported fully assembled, the remaining 1,000 will be imported as kits to be assembled in Zimbabwe.

China has Drafted a Partnership Agreement for Algeria

–Joining the Belt and Road Initiative, Chinese Amb. to Algeria Yang Guangyu said on March 30. The draft is being studied by Algeria now, and China hopes to sign it in the next few weeks, at most within 2-3 months, he added. Yang made the announcement in a speech to the Chinese Day celebration on March 30 at the Higher Institute for Algerian Affairs, held on the 60th anniversary of their nations establishing diplomatic relations.
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PIDA Conference: Six Economic Corridors in SADC

African Infrastructure Discussed at Pan-African Conference in Namibia–Six Corridors Highlighted

Dec. 26—The 2017 Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) Week took place in Swakopmund, Namibia on Dec. 10-14. Countries throughout Africa and especially member states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) showcased major development projects to promote regional integration. According to an article by the SADC news agency, the six infrastructure corridor projects showcased during the event included: 1) The Batoka Gorge Hydropower Plant 2) The Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya (ZTK) Power Interconnector 3) The Kinshasa-Brazzaville Road and Railway Bridge 4) The Central Corridor in the United Republic of Tanzania 5) The Ethiopia-Sudan Power Interconnector being sponsored by the East African Community (EAC) 6) The Abidjan-Lagos Corridor sponsored by the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas). The Batoka Gorge hydropower station which entails the construction of an 181 meter gravity dam and the installation of eight 200MW units with the power shared equally between the Zambia and Zimbabwe. The 1,600 MW of electricity the project will produce will be enough to ease shortages in Zambia and Zimbabwe. Since the two countries are connected to the Southern  African Power Pool (SAPP), which coordinates the management of electricity in the region, the proposed power station will also benefit member states of SADC, with the exception of Angola, Malawi, and Tanzania. The ZTK interconnector entails a high-voltage power transmission line connecting Zambia, United Republic of Tanzania and Kenya. Once completed it will create a link between SAPP and the East African Power Pool (EAPP), making it possible to transmit power from Cape Town in South Africa to Cairo, in Egypt. The 2,206 km interconnector will have a capacity of 400MW. It is a Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA)-SADC-EAC Tripartite Priority project as well as a New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) project under the PIDA program and the Africa Power Vision, and has been endorsed by the African Union (AU) heads of state and government. The proposed Kinshasa-Brazzaville Road and Railway Bridge will be a railroad bridge across the Congo River to link Kinshasa and Brazzaville, the capitals of the Democratic Republic of Congo (D.R.C.) and Republic of Congo, respectively. It also will involve the construction of a 1,000 km railway to connect the cities of Kinshasa and Ilebo in the D.R.C., as well as development of road networks on both sides of the Congo River to link the two countries to the bridge. Sponsored by the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the project would be part of the Central Corridor which involves the construction of the Dar-es-Salaam to Chalinze Toll Road. SADC Deputy Executive Secretary responsible for corporate affairs, Emilie Mushobekwa said infrastructure development “requires sustained efforts from all stakeholders to maintain the momentum of implementation. Sustaining this momentum requires that in addition to political will, other necessary enabling conditions are availed.” PIDA is a blueprint for African infrastructure transformation for the period 2012-2040. The program was adopted by African leaders in January 2012 and provides a strategic framework for priority infrastructure projects to interconnected and integrated region. The African Development Bank, African Union Commission, Namibian government, NEPAD, and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa organized the 2017 PIDA Week to present the project to potential donors
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Chinese Firms Have Built, or are Building Hydro-power Projects Totaling 3.7 Gigawatts of Electric Capacity in Sub-Saharan Africa

{New China} reported Dec. 27. This is increasing the region’s installed electric capacity (currently at 28 GW) by about 15%. Projects in Cote d’Ivoire, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Angola and DR Congo have also created tens of thousands of jobs. Africa’s sub-Saharan electricity deficit is still huge, with two-thirds lacking reliable electricity access.

China’s Investment in New Transport Networks Can Set a Mark

Dec. 27, 2017–China’s Ministry of Transport held a conference, reported in the government newspaper {People’s Daily}, on the Ministry’s planned 2018 investment in transportation infrastructure. The scale of new infrastructure in 2017, also reported there, gives an idea of what it takes to build out new national transportation networks rapidly, at a time when the United States, for one, is about to hold a debate on this subject. {Peoples Daily} reported that China’s transportation infrastructure investments were $323 billion equivalent in 2017 through November, or roughly total $350 billion for 2017 as a whole. This equals about seven years’ of surface transportation bills in the United States. The plans for 2018 are for 5,000 km of new roads, renovation of 216,000 km of roads, 4,000 km of rail, and increasing container port freight-handling volumes by more than 15%. Reuters reported that at this conference, the Ministry said it intended to speed up the construction of logistics hubs and inland waterways, build more roads to reach rural areas, and concentrate on accelerating the Beijing-Hebei-Tianjin urban triangle plan, mainly by improving roads and rail lines. It notes, “Infrastructure investment is expected to be among the biggest drivers of China’s economic growth in coming years.”
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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, 2017

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.

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

August 2017 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.