News from Cape Verde, Angola & Mozambique

Archive for April, 2009|Monthly archive page

Brazil news update, April 25th

In Uncategorized on April 25, 2009 at 11:33 am

BANKING & FINANCE

Bank lending in Brazil rebounded in March, with new loans increasing for the first time in three months, signalling a thaw in credit markets in the Latin American nation (Reuters).

Banco do Brasil replaced several top executives on Thursday as newly appointed Chief Executive Officer Aldemir Bendine took the helm of the federally controlled lender (Reuters).

UBS AG agreed to sell its Brazilian business back to its original owners for about $2.5 billion, boosting its capital despite a small loss, and potentially reducing the need for a capital hike (Reuters).

Brazil’s banking spreads, or the difference between the rate that banks lend funds and the country’s benchmark borrowing cost, will only decline once its causes are attacked, the head of the Brazilian banks federation said (Reuters).

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Brazilian companies are better positioned to weather the global downturn than their Mexican counterparts, which are struggling amid a tumbling peso and the U.S. recession, ING Bank analysts said (Reuters).

Brazil cut taxes on Friday on a range of domestic appliances and construction materials for a three-month period, the government’s latest attempt to lift Latin America’s biggest economy out of a slump (Reuters).

MINING

Brazil’s mining giant Vale said on Monday that it is selling iron ore at a 20 percent discount to 2008 benchmark prices, until new annually revised term contract price agreements were set (Reuters).

OIL

Brazil’s Petrobras is seeking around 240 offshore oil development vessels in the next five to six years, its chief financial officer said, deals that could bring new life to the stagnant global shipbuilding sector (Reuters).

Petroleo Brasileiro SA, Brazil’s state-controlled oil company, found more evidence of oil in an onshore block in the country’s Espirito Santo Basin, the Brazilian petroleum regulator said (Reuters).

TELECOM

TIM Participacoes plans to buy Brazilian long-distance operator Intelig in an all-stock deal worth $300 million, the Brazilian mobile phone operator said (Reuters).

BIOFUELS

The big four auto makers in Brazil joined forces with the Sugar Cane Industry Association (Unica) on Wednesday in a campaign aimed at expanding the use of cane-based ethanol in flex-fuel vehicles (Reuters).

Brazilian sugar and ethanol producers will open fewer mills next year and probably won’t expand sugar-cane planting as they struggle with debt amid a global credit crisis, a government official said (Bloomberg).

MEAT

Shares of Brazilian meat industry companies soared on Thursday after the government’s National Monetary Council approved a 10 billion reais ($4.6 billion) credit line for local meat processing companies (Reuters).

FOREIGN INVESTMENT

Rio de Janeiro’s state governor will meet with Baosteel. and offer land and partnership opportunities in a bid to persuade China’s biggest steelmaker to reverse its decision to leave Brazil (Bloomberg).

South Africa’s elections (revised)

In Uncategorized on April 25, 2009 at 10:40 am

No revolutionary changes occurred during the South African national and provincial elections of April 23rd, but subtle swings by groups of voters made this young and vibrant democracy even more interesting to watch.

The ANC won the election with almost 66 % of the vote. Mr Jacob Zuma will be the next president of the Republic of South Africa, no doubt about that. But the ANC, despite massive and successfull efforts to boost voter turnout, fell marginally short of its comfortable two thirds majority, enough to alter the constitution on its own. Nevertheless, the party may form a government and rule the country by it self for years to come.

The Democratic Alliance, led by the tough mayor of Capetown, Mrs Helen Zille, reinforced its position as national opposition, climbing from 13 % of the national vote to almost 17 %. But the DA smashed the ANC in the Western Cape province, taking 52 % of total votes cast there and obtaning absolute control of the province. Mrs Zille may now form a provincial government. The loss of the Western Cape, though expected,  is a painfull blow to the ANC.

Newcomer Cope (Congress of the People), a party founded half a year ago by disaffected members of the ANC, failed to live up to the expectations of taking 10-15 % of the national vote. Though the party managed to establish itself as an opposition party in almost every province, its share of the national vote remained below 8 %. But Cope became the leading opposition party in Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Limpopo provinces, overtaking the DA.

It appears Cope did not manage to persuade large numbers of ANC voters, but instead cannibalised the support for several other smaller opposition parties, like the UDM, ID and the ACDP, all of which saw their share of the vote decrease.

The Freedom Front, a fringe Afrikaner nationalist party,  saw its share of the national vote drop slightly too, though in absolute terms the numbers of voters grew with about 8.000. Though further analysis of these elections is needed, it appears the Front lost large numbers of voters to the DA in both Western Cape and Kwazulu-Natal provinces, while it gained 17.000 votes in Gauteng province, the industrial and political heartland of the country.

(Atlantico Weekly)

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In Uncategorized on April 24, 2009 at 12:25 pm

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Angola news update, April 24th

In Angola on April 24, 2009 at 11:58 am

INVESTMENTS

The Angolan Government is considering to invest USD 8.6 billion in the implementation of its Industry Transformation Program for the 2009/2012 period (ANGOP).

TELECOM

State-owned Angola Telecom is preparing to invest $2.4 billion by 2013 to boost the fixed-line fibre network in Angola (Reuters).

BANKING

The International Business Bank (BNI) will inaugurate two business centres of the “Rede Expresso 24” in the provinces of Cabinda and Lubango (ANGOP).

TOURISM

An agreement for cooperation in area of tourism was signed in Luanda, between Angola and Brazil (ANGOP).

AIR TRAVEL

The staterun airline (Taag) is to start flights to Brazil’s São Paulo from May 2nd, twice a week (ANGOP).

Brazilian airline Air Puma is interested in carrying out flights to Luanda as of the end of May, and is now awaiting official authorisation to do so, a source from the Brazilian Tourism Ministry (Macauhub).

Construction of the Lubango International Airport, in Angola’s Huíla province, begun in February of this year. The project, carried out by Brazilian company Andrade Gutierrez and its Portuguese subsidiary Zagope Construções e Engenharia,  is going well. Its first phase, which includes widening the two runways, the passenger terminal, aircraft parking areas and external arrangements, is expected to be handed over at the end of December and its total conclusion is scheduled for May 2010 (Macauhub).

BUILDING

Angolan construction company “Angospencer” will implement this year an innovating method for the construction of 20 houses/daily, in an investment estimated at USD 20 million (ANGOP).

Brazilian construction companies Sequência Lda and OAS Lda would build four hotels in as many cities in Angola to help redress the lack of accommodation for the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) in 2010 (Macauhub).

OIL

Angola’s National Oil Company (Sonangol) and its associates drilled 29 oil wells in 2008 (ANGOP).

Sonangol is mulling a return to onshore oil exploration despite the global financial crisis (Reuters)

SECURITY

Angola’s Defence Ministry is negotiating with Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer for the purchase of six Super Tucano reconnaissance and patrol aircraft to boost its Air Force fleet (Macauhub).

Angola-Brazil trade up

In Angola on April 24, 2009 at 11:55 am

Indifferent to the negative global economic situation, business between Angola and Brazil had its best ever year in 2008 and continues to intensify, with new opportunities opening up in bio-fuels and agri-business. Of the most recent trade figures between the two countries, the growth in the value of Angolan exports to Brazil is particularly noteworthy – 8.35 percent, to over US$76 million in the first half of the year.

Read the full story at Macauhub.

Cape Verde news update, April 24th

In Cape Verde on April 24, 2009 at 11:29 am

ECONOMY

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission that came to Cape Verde to evaluate the application of the most recent Policy Support Instrument (PSI), a program established between Cape Verde and the Bretton Woods institution in 2006, has called its analysis “extremely positive.”(A Semana).

Remittances sent back to Cape Verde by Cape Verdean émigrés totaled 10.42 billion escudos in 2008, with the largest portions coming from Portugal (3.1 billion), France (2.2 billion) and the United States of America (1.4 billion) (A Semana).

In 2008 Portugal remained Cape Verde’s biggest trading partner and was the destination of 43 percent of Cape Verdean exports, according to figures issued Monday in Praia by the Cape Verdean National Statistics Institute (INE) (Macauhub).

Cape Verde’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth slowed again in the first quarter of 2009, continuing on the downward trend started in the last quarter of 2008, according to the archipelago’s National Statistics Institute (INE) (Macauhub).

AIR TRAVEL

TACV’s in-flight and land support services received three stars in an evaluation made by an association of 625 airlines and 645 airports. Skytrax World Airlines Awards placed TACV on the same level as Portuguese airline TAP, Brazil’s TAM, Scandinavian Airlines and Continental Airlines (A Semana).

During the first trimester of this year, Cape Verde was the main destination for charter flights departing from Lisbon airport in Portugal (A Semana).

BANKING

Carrying out transactions with so-called “plastic money” has definitively become a part of Cape Verdeans’ everyday life. In the first trimester of this year alone, a total of 4,284,900 escudos were withdrawn in more than 700,000 transactions from machines belonging to the Vinti4 network, which operates all of Cape Verde’s automatic teller machines (A Semana).

LAW ENFORCEMENT

Cape Verde may be being used by Nigerian criminal networks to traffic human beings to Europe, according to an alert issued this weekend by Portugal’s Foreigners and Border Service (A Semana).

HOTELS

The number of hotel establishments in existence in Cape Verde rose 5.3% in 2008 to a total of 158 establishments (A Semana).

Surinam news update, April 24th

In Uncategorized on April 24, 2009 at 11:09 am

MINING

Glencore International AG (GI) agreed to buy Surinam bauxite and finance the founding of Alumsur, the country’s new stateowned bauxite mining company.

HOTELS

The new Marriott Courtyard hotel in Paramaribo will be inaugurated in May, adding 140 rooms on six floors to the capital’s capacity.

VENEZUELA

Venezuela’s ambassador to Surinam suddenly returned home “for a extended vacation” after Surinam President Venetiaan complained to his colleague Chavez about the Venezuelan diplomat’s alleged “meddling in Surinam’s internal affairs”.

(DWT)

Bad news for Panama real estate

In Uncategorized on April 23, 2009 at 11:30 pm

The condo market in Panama’s capital city is in “complete meltdown” with the number of sales “slowed to zero or very close to it,” said Sam Taliaferro, a Panama developer and widely-read blogger.

Read the full story at the International Herald Tribune

Three consortia bidding for Panama Canal

In Uncategorized on April 23, 2009 at 11:28 pm

Three consortia placed bids for the contract to expand the Panama Canal in March. The winning companies will be known by May.

Read the story at Reuters

Brazil’s development bank

In Uncategorized on April 23, 2009 at 10:52 pm

Faith in BNDES (National Bank for Economic and Social Development) waned along with faith in civil servants. But now that most governments own a bank or two, BNDES is back in fashion.

Read the full story in The Economist

A Brazilian soya king’s change of heart

In Uncategorized on April 23, 2009 at 10:50 pm

Mato Grosso governor Maggi’s family company is the world’s biggest soya producer. His state has a poor record on slowing deforestation. He is loathed by many NGOs. But Mr Maggi seems to have had a change of heart.

Read the full story in The Economist

Look to Brasilia, not Beijing

In Uncategorized on April 10, 2009 at 2:35 pm

A compelling challenge to the current world order may be emerging from an unlikely trio of countries that boast both impeccable democratic credentials and serious global throw weight. They are India, Brazil and South Africa and their little-noticed experiment in foreign policy coordination since 2003 to promote subtle but potentially far-reaching changes to the international system has the potential to leave fears of a rising China in the dustbin of history.

Read the full analysis by Bruce Gilley at the Wall Street Journal

Brazil news update, April 10th

In Uncategorized on April 10, 2009 at 2:34 pm

ECONOMY

Four months of rising car sales in Brazil suggest that Latin America’s biggest auto industry could already be over the worst of the global crisis, even as makers elsewhere face plunging demand (Reuters).

BANKING & FINANCE

Brazil’s government named Aldemir Bendine as chief executive of federally owned Banco do Brasil, seeking to boost lending in the country’s financial system and lower borrowing costs to stoke the economy (Reuters).

Private equity investors expect to invest more money in emerging markets in the next five years with China and Brazil topping the list of favoured destinations, according to an industry survey released on Monday (Reuters).

OIL & GAS

Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras has discovered signs of oil in the C-M-401 block in the Campos Basin, the company told Brazil’s National Petroleum Agency on Monday (Reuters).

Petrobras said on Wednesday a consortium formed by the company and BG Group found evidences of oil in the subsalt layer in Santos basin (Reuters).

Petrobras also said on Wednesday it plans to launch in May a bidding for 28 drilling units, most of them to operate in subsalt oil reserves (Reuters).

Petrobras said on Monday that natural gas reservoirs found in January by a consortium with Spain’s Repsol, are commercially viable (Reuters).

MINING

Cia. Vale do Rio Doce, the world’s biggest iron-ore producer, may boost shipments of the raw material after the second quarter as stockpiles fall and demand from Chinese builders increases, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said (Bloomberg).

MMX Mineracao e Metalicos SA, the iron-ore mining company which is seeking to sell all or part of its assets or voting shares by the end of this year, may draw interest from BHP Billiton Ltd. or Chinese steelmakers, according to Itau Corretora (Bloomberg).

ETHANOL

Santelisa Vale, one of Brazil’s largest sugar and ethanol producer, agreed to sell a 40 percent stake for an undisclosed sum to Swiss-based trader Louis Dreyfus Commodities, a source with direct knowledge of the transaction said on Tuesday (Reuters).

Cosan, the world’s biggest sugar-cane processor, rose to a six-month high in Sao Paulo on a media report it’s seeking a partnership with Brazilian state-controlled oil company Petrobras (Bloomberg).

Angola news update, April 10th

In Angola on April 10, 2009 at 2:07 pm

BANKING

At least USD 120 million will be granted by the US Export and Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) to four Angolan banks (Angop).

A new branch of the Savings and Credit Bank (BPC) was opened last Saturday in Cabinda city, rising to three the number of BPC divisions in the northern province (Angop).

INVESTMENT

The multi-national Coca-Cola Bottling/Luanda has invested USD 70 million in the construction of a brewery dubbed “N’gola-Norte”, in Funda, Luanda (Angop).

Sabmiller/Angola invested USD 12 million through Coca-Cola Bottling in two new products, namely Coca-cola Zero and energy drink Burn (Angop).

The director of the Hydraulic Technical Society “Cimianto” firm in Angola, Francisco Simões, defends the need for setting up more construction equipment factories aimed at making products accessible and cheaper (Angop).

The mineral water production company Purangol has invested US$25 million to increase production (Macauhub).

CONSTRUCTION

The synthetic fibres factory (Fibrex), situated in Viana district in Luanda, expects to increase its production of construction material from 350 tonnes per month to 500 tonnes as from this April (Angop).

RETAIL

A total of 25 proximity stores dubbed “Poupa Lá” will be opened this year in the country’s capital, Luanda (Angop).

At least USD 120 million were earned  by the supermarket chain Nosso Super, since the inauguration of its first shop on 8 March 2007 in Luanda (Angop).

LAW ENFORCEMENT

Aa new Angolan traffic law that carries fines of over $1,000 for drivers who fail to respect the speed limit, forget to put on a seat belt, or talk on cell-phones while driving (Reuters).

AIR TRAVEL

Emirates Airlines, the United Arab Emirates air carrier, has announced the launch of flights between Dubai and Luanda as of 1 August, operating three times a week, and thus increasing the airline’s African destinations to a total of 17 (Macauhub).

On Wednesday the European Commission kept Angolan airline Taag on its list of companies banned from flying in European airspace, but acknowledged the “significant progress” made by Angola (Macauhub). But Taag is to increase the number of flights to Beijing from two to three per week as of 7 April (Macauhub).

HOTELS

The Angolan province of Huíla will have a new four star hotel by December of this year, which will be the property of Angolan group Chicoil and is an investment of over US$18 million (Macauhub)

Poll: what kind of work do you do?

In Uncategorized on April 10, 2009 at 10:35 am

Cape Verde news update, April 10th

In Cape Verde on April 10, 2009 at 9:16 am

BANKING

Cape Verdean bank, Banco Interatlântico, owned by Portugal’s Caixa Geral de Depósitos (CGD), posted a net profit in 2008 of 212.4 million Cape Verdean escudos, or 27 percent more than in 2007, the chairman of the bank said (Macauhub).

TOURISM

Cape Verdean President Pedro Pires affirmed this weekend that it was time for Cape Verdeans to get past their “spirit of survival” and show more boldness and entrepreneurship. Pedro Pires, who spoke at the official opening of the tourist village Sírio in Chã das Caldeiras, on the island of Fogo, stressed that “it’s time to think about the future, and we have to know what future we want and what future we can build.” (A Semana)

Cape Verde saw a 6.5% increase in the number of tourists visiting the country in 2008 despite the international financial crisis, according to the National Statistics Institute (INE) (A Semana).

INFRASTRUCTURE

The INC/Engeobra consortium has concluded asphalting work on the recently-completed road connecting Porto Novo and Janela, on the island of Santo Antão. Work on the highway, considered one of Cape Verde’s longest, began in 2003, and the road will be officially opened to traffic in May or June of this year (A Semana).

LAW ENFORCEMENT

The Judiciary Police will investigate accusations made by the PAICV regarding the existence of a corruption scheme inside the São Vicente municipal chamber, which is administered by the political party MpD. Reliable sources say that the police will investigate the alleged favoring of individuals close to the MpD in the distribution and sale of 68 plots of land on the island of São Vicente (A Semana).

The Supreme Court of Justice on Monday ordered the detention of three Judiciary Police agents allegedly involved in the theft of 140 kilograms of cocaine from police safes last year. The three agents, whom the Supreme Court had ordered released late last year, are now back at Praia’s São Martinho prison (A Semana).

SECURITY

Airport and Air Security company ASA and the National Police signed a protocol Monday afternoon for the acquisition and installation of optical and biometric reading devices in Cape Verde’s four international airports. The 13 million-escudo investment is aimed at quickening and improving security services in the airports (A Semana).

SEX

Cape Verde is first on a list of more than 40 sub-Saharan African countries in terms of condom use, according to last Sunday’s edition of French newspaper Le Monde. Some 70% of Cape Verdeans with more than one sexual partner say they use prophylactics (A Semana).

The Portuguese edition of Playboy will be distributed in Cape Verde, according to an announcement by Frestacom, the company responsible for the recent release of the publication in Portugal (A Semana).

Cape Verde: An African success story

In Cape Verde on April 10, 2009 at 9:16 am

Cape Verde is “an African success story,” above all for the stability and running of its institutions, though also an economy very dependent on the outside world which means it will suffer from the current crisis, according to Standard & Poor’s.

Read the full article at Macauhub

Supermarket tycoon leads Panama polls

In Uncategorized on April 10, 2009 at 8:58 am

A month before Panama’s presidential election, supermarket tycoon Ricardo Martinelli maintained a comfortable lead over the ruling party contender, according to a survey released on Thursday.

Read the full story at Reuters

Surinam news update, April 10th

In Uncategorized on April 10, 2009 at 8:56 am

MINING

Rains have delayed the expansion of the IamGold mining operation in Brokopondo district. This also delays the hiring of 200-300 new workers.
According to plan the 46 million USD investment should have been completed by april this year.

FRENCH GUYANA

Surinamese and French Chambers of Commerce have reached an agreement to intensify economic contacts between Surinam and French Guyana.

France also granted three loans for varous projects in Suriname, among which the rehabilitation of the East West road linking French Guyana with the Surinam capital, Paramaribo.

LAW ENFORCEMENT

Illegal copying of intellectual and artistic products will be countered throughly, Justice and Police Minister Santokhi announced. Special attention will be given to copyrights to musical products.

(De Ware Tijd, Waterkant)

South Africa news update, April 10th

In Uncategorized on April 10, 2009 at 8:37 am

ECONOMY

The South African government is to extend its Expanded Public Works programme fourfold in the next five years, spending R4 billion (US$440 million) to create 4.5 million job opportunities by 2014. If successful, this will give work to roughly 10% of the country’s population (SA Goodnews).

Optimal Energy, the Cape Town-based company behind Joule, SA’s first fully electric multi-purpose urban passenger vehicle, has secured funding to mass produce the vehicle. South Africans can look forward to pilot fleets of Joule on our roads and around the globe from 2010 onwards (SA Goodnews).

BUSINESS

State-owned regional airline South African Express is expected to post an improved profit for the six months to March this year, in stark contrast to its rivals, including South African Airways (SAA) which is expected to post its third full-year loss in the next few months (Business Day).

South African retail sales growth slowed to an annual 7.6 percent in February, from 11 percent in January, an industry group said (Bloomberg).

South African construction firm Raubex Group (RBXJ.J) was awarded two contracts worth 1 billion rand ($111.2 million) to rebuild Namibian roads, sending shares soaring nearly 10 percent (Reuters).

Fuel and oil group Sasol announced it had signed heads of agreement with two partners to develop a gas-to-liquids project in Uzbekistan (Business Day).

TAKEOVERS

South Africa’s No. 2 drugs producer Adcock Ingram plans to offer 2.1 billion rand ($228 million) for rival Cipla Medpro South Africa (CMSA) to boost its share of the generic medicine market (Reuters).

ArcelorMittal SA, the South African unit of the world’s No. 1 steel maker, has acquired a 16.3 percent stake in Coal of Africa Ltd. (CoAL) for 404.5 million rand ($44.98 million) in cash (Reuters).

PORTS

South Africa’s Richards Bay Coal Terminal, the world’s largest coal-export facility, shipped 5 percent more coal in March than the same month a year earlier (Bloomberg).

AIRPORTS

Lanseria International, SA’s largest privately owned airport, is believed to be up for sale, possibly to a foreign group of investors (Business Day).