News from Cape Verde, Angola & Mozambique

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Brazil news update, June 27th

In Uncategorized on June 27, 2009 at 3:36 pm

POLITICS

Brazil’s Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is likely to run for the presidency again in 2014 if an opposition candidate wins next year’s election, he said in an interview (Reuters).

Dilma Rousseff, who is expected to be the Brazilian ruling party’s presidential candidate next year, is showing no sign of cancer after her final chemotherapy treatment, doctors said (Reuters).

Brazil will pay small farmers to plant trees in deforested Amazon areas to slow rain forest degradation, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said as he unveiled a broad plan to protect the region (Reuters).

Seeking to redress one of the darkest chapters of its dictatorship era, Brazil amnestied dozens of peasants who were jailed or tortured on charges they were linked to a 1970s Communist uprising (Reuters).

ECONOMY

Brazil’s current account deficit widened more than expected in May, though a surge in foreign direct investments and inflows to local stocks and bonds eased concerns about the country’s need for overseas capital (Reuters).

Brazilian steelmaker Cia Siderurgica Nacional has hired 1,200 workers at its Volta Redonda plant following signs the market is recovering, a company official said (Reuters).

Corporate investment and factory usage in Brazil will bounce back in the fourth quarter of 2009, should growth in household consumption remain steady, the head of the state development bank BNDES said (Reuters).

BANKING

A top shareholder at Bradesco urged Brazil’s second-largest private bank to expand overseas to benefit from fast-growing markets in Asia and Africa, a newspaper reported. Portugal’s Grupo Espirito Santo, Bradesco’s third-largest shareholder, has recently signed an accord with the Brazilian bank to develop international opportunities (Reuters).

TELECOMS

Brazil’s telecommunications regulator Anatel said it had imposed new measures to maintain the separation of the mobile phone units of Telecom Italia and Telefonica, which owns a controlling stake in the Italian company, in the country (Reuters).

OIL

Brazilian miner Vale signed a preliminary accord on Thursday with state-run oil company Petrobras to buy a 25 percent stake in exploration rights for oil and gas blocks off Brazil’s coast (Reuters).

Chevron Corp announced a slightly earlier start of oil output at the Frade field, a $3 billion project off Brazil’s coast expected to produce 90,000 barrels per day by 2011 (Reuters).

INVESTMENT

Private equity firm Advent International said on Thursday it bought a minority stake in Brazilian education group Kroton Educacional, betting on increased consolidation among schools in Latin America’s largest economy (Reuters).

Wal-Mart Stores Inc plans to invest 1.6 billion reais ($809 million) in Brazil in 2009, betting an economic recovery in Latin America’s largest economy will stoke consumer demand (Reuters).

Brazilian mining giant Vale said it signed a memorandum of understanding to build a steel mill in Brazil’s northeastern state of Ceara with capacity to produce 6 million tons of steel slabs per year. The agreement also included the state government of Ceara, Korean steelmaker Dongkuk and Brazil’s Companhia Siderurgica do Pecem (Reuters).

MINING

Demand for iron ore from steel mills is much improved from the extremely depressed level of the fourth quarter of 2008, Brazilian iron ore miner Vale  said, but the company expects a “slow recovery” (Reuters).

Vale said it would begin to produce biodiesel from palm oil from 2014 to fuel its Carajas mine and railway operations in Brazil’s north (Reuters).

Potential mining mergers have sparked talk that Brazil’s Vale may try to acquire a major industry player, though local analysts say Vale would probably target small companies as the economy slows. Some believe Vale may try to acquire Anglo American or Xstrata after Anglo American rejected Xstrata’s nil-premium merger bid (Reuters).

Brazilian iron ore miner MMX has clinched a deal to sell its Corumba pig iron plant for 100 million reais ($50 million) to Vetorial Siderurgica, MMX said (Reuters).

MMX said that it received a nonbinding offer from China’s Wuhan Iron And Steel Inc for a minority stake in it and its subsidiary MMX Sudeste Mineracao (Reuters).

REAL ESTATE

Brazilian real estate is booming again after fizzling at the end of last year, as sales have rebounded in one of the best emerging markets, a New York-based real estate private equity investor said (Reuters).

LOGISTICS

Brazil has ample cash to revamp its dilapidated transport network even amid an economic recession but corruption and bureaucracy have hampered badly-needed improvements, a senior industry official said (Reuters).

Slum walls raise suspicion in Rio

In Uncategorized on June 27, 2009 at 3:14 pm

When residents of Rio de Janeiro’s mammoth Rocinha slum heard of government plans to build a wall around parts of their community, opposition to the idea quickly mounted. The wall would be an “ecobarrier” aimed at curbing the unchecked and damaging expansion of the “favela” slums into Rio’s lush tropical forest, state officials told them.

Read the full story at Reuters

Cape Verde news update, June 27th

In Angola, Cape Verde on June 27, 2009 at 11:45 am

HERITAGE

Cidade Velha, Cape Verde’s first settlement and cultural bedrock, has been unanimously declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO Committee (A Semana). Earlier, Cidade Velha was elected as one of the “Seven Portuguese Wonders of the World” (A Semana).

SECURITY

Cape Verde and the United Kingdom signed a memorandum of understanding calling for joint surveillance and patrol operations aimed at combating drug trafficking to be carried out in Cape Verdean territorial waters and in the surrounding zone of the Atlantic Ocean (A Semana).

The Portuguese and Cape Verdean Ministries of Internal Administration have issued a joint communiqué expressing satisfaction at the results obtained so far as part of their cooperation initiatives. They also announced that Portugal will donate 30 computers and 40 passport reading devices to Cape Verde’s Emigration and Border Department (A Semana).

A course on investigating violent crimes, administered by instructors from the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), took place in Praia (A Semana).

AGRICULTURE

The Cape Verdean government has created a public capital corporation to manage the agricultural lands it was given in Angola by that country’s authorities as a part of bilateral cooperation between the two states (A Semana).

ECONOMY

According to Fitch Ratings, the Cape Verdean state’s revenues “are below budget forecasts,” and, as a result, the budget deficit will likely be “more than 7% of GDP” this year, considerably more than the 5% mentioned by the government (A Semana).

Cape Verde’s General Directorate for Tax and Contributions (DGCI) calculates that taxpayers owe it 2 billion Cape Verdean escudos (US$25 million), and has announced measures to put an end to tax evasion. Emanuel Moreira, the director-general of the DGCI said that there were currently hundreds of public and private institutions that were not paying taxes and added that the fall in tax collection was not due to the crisis but rather to taxpayers not meeting their obligations (Macauhub).

BANKING

Cape Verdean commercial bank Banco Interatlântico has been distinguished by the magazine Global Finance with the Best Bank award. The magazine, which has been in publication for 22 years and is distributed in more than 150 countries, is an international reference (A Semana).

AIR TRAVEL

TACV Cabo Verde Airlines’ new regional representative in Fortaleza, Brazil, Sá Nogueira, affirms that the company hopes to serve as a link between northeastern Brazil and South Africa during the 2010 World Cup (A Semana).

Portuguese travel agency Soltrópico will introduce another direct flight between Portuguese city Porto and the island of Boa Vista this week. The initiative will be the third weekly flight the company offers to Cape Verde (A Semana).

The director-general for Tourism Development in Cape Verde, Carlos Pires Ferreira, has advised against building an international airport in Santo Antão, if the island should opt for developing quality tourism. Although he recognised that tourists prefer to travel directly to their final destination, Pires Ferreira said he believed that building an international airport in Santo Antão would only make sense if the island opted for mass tourism (Macauhub).

HOTELS

The Roterdão Hotel is Praia’s newest hotel establishment. Located in the city’s Achada de Santo António district, the hotel has 17 rooms – four junior suites, eight doubles and five singles – and is the result of investments of more than 100 million escudos (A Semana).

YOUTH

The town of Tarrafal, on the north of the island of Santiago, has been temporarily transformed into a little Euro-Afro-Brazilian village. There, young leaders from countries as distant from one another as Switzerland and Zimbabwe, Georgia and Brazil, are preparing to turn this new generation into spreaders of knowledge on political, environmental and gender issues (A Semana).

Angola news update, June 27th

In Angola on June 27, 2009 at 11:09 am

BANKING & FINANCE

South African ABSA Group sold its 50% shareholding in Banco Comercial Angolano Sarl (BCA) to six of the current BCA Angolan shareholders for an undisclosed sum. As Absa‘s strategy is to obtain controlling shareholdings in banks in selected countries in Africa and the bank was unable to obtain outright control of BCA, it has therefore decided to dispose of its shareholding (BusinessDay).

Angola plans to launch a sovereign fund in 2009 to invest the oil-producing nation’s wealth abroad. Plans to create the fund, known as the Fundo Soberano Angolano, were announced in November by President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, but the project has since been delayed due to the global economic downturn (Reuters).

POLITICS

The Angolan government should end the unlawful detention and torture of people suspected of rebel activities in the oil-producing province of Cabinda, New York-based Human Rights Watch said in a report (Reuters).

Angolan society is like a volcano that could erupt at any moment if serious measures to tackle poverty and social exclusion are not taken, Angolan writer and former minister Artur Pestana said. Angola has been labelled as one of the world’s richest nations in terms of resources; it rivals Nigeria as Africa’s biggest oil producer and is also a top diamond exporter. But two-thirds of the population live on less than $2 a day. “If that volcano one day explodes, we cannot say there weren’t enough warning signs,” Pestana, simply known as Pepetela, said during the presentation of a book from an author-friend entitled “Social Exclusion in Angola” (Reuters).

MINING

Angolan police have so far this year deported more than 6,000 foreigners caught digging for diamonds illegally in the country’s northeastern region of Lunda Norte (Reuters).

Angola will spend $350 million carrying out a nationwide geological survey to determine the extent of the country’s mineral recourses (Bloomberg).

The study will comprise of aerial photographs and mapping, and will take five years to complete, the Luanda-based broadcaster said.

CONSTRUCTION & INFRASTRUCTURE

Portugal’s biggest construction firm Mota-Engil has inked a deal to form a consortium under its control in Angola with the African country’s state energy company Sonangol and local bank BPA (Reuters).

Mota-Engil has been awarded a contract in Angola to build a container terminal in Luanda. The project is due to be delivered in June, 2010 and the capacity of the container terminal at the port of Luanda will rise from 150,000 TEU (twenty foot equivalent units) to 204,500 TEU (Macauhub).

OIL

Angola will start prospecting for oil in the onshore Cabinda regions of Necuto and Buco Zau in July. The state-owned company will conduct seismic studies to determine the existence of oil in the areas (Bloomberg).

TRADE

Angola has been offered a $1 billion credit line from the Export DSevelopment Canada agency to boost trade between the two countries. The loan will be available to entrepreneurs wanting to import or export products to either country (Bloomberg).

Portuguese exports to Angola totalled 720 million euros between January and April, having risen 21.6 percent against the same period of 2008. The rise posted boosted Angola’s role as the fourth destination for Portuguese exports, and the first outside the European Union (Macauhub).

INVESTMENT

Angola will spend $29 million by 2010 building four factories in the south-eastern province of Kuando Kubango. The red clay, zinc sheeting, tire re-treading and aluminum crockery factories will create 190 jobs (Bloomberg).

Dutch companies Heerema and Cembir Maritime Construction plan to invest US$160 million in the construction of a ship yard in the municipality of Porto Amboim, in Angola’s Kwanza Sul province. Construction of the ship yard would provide assistance at sea for Angola’s oil and gas industry, and the yard was expected to be operational in June, 2010 (Angop).

AIR TRAVEL

German airline Lufthansa said it planned to open up a second weekly flight to Angola, between Luanda and Frankfurt, after a year of a once-a-week flight with a load factor of over 70 percent.

Portuguese air carrier, TAP Air Portugal, has announced that it will add nine flights to the destinations of Luanda, Dakar, Praia and Sao Tome over the Summer. TAP said it will offer three additional flights per week to Luanda.

TELECOMS

Angola and Russia signed a contract for the building, launching and operation of the Angolan telecommunication satellite named AngoSat, following the visit of president of the Russian Federation, Dimitri Medvedev. Worth USD 327.600 million and a production time estimated at 39 months, the contract foresees apart from supply of technical means, the training of Angolan cadres in space technology for satellite management. AngoSat will have 15 years of life and will serve to support national infrastructures of telecommunications and terrestrial digital television all over the country. It will enable the coverage in Africa, Europe, in C band, and the Southern Africa, in particular, in Ku band (Angop).

COFFEE

The Angolan agriculture sector will harvest 12,000 tonnes of coffee during the 2009 campaign, in comparison to the 5,000 tonnes harvested in 2008, the minister of Agriculture, Afonso Pedro Canga announced  at Cabuto farm, in coastal Kwanza Sul province (Angop).

Panama economic activity falls slightly

In Uncategorized on June 26, 2009 at 8:45 am

Panama’s economic activity fell 2.65 percent in April compared with the same month a year earlier, the government said.

Read the full report by Reuters

Surinam news update, June 26th

In Uncategorized on June 26, 2009 at 8:38 am

Surinam insurance company Self Reliance boasted pre tax profits of 4,3 million SRD for 2008, indicating a raise of 42% in profits. The company received 67 million through selling insurance and turned out 44 million in damages last year (DWT).

RBTT (Royal Bank of Trinidad and Tobago – owned by Royal Bank of Canada) announced new investments in its Surinam branch, notably in two branch offices for Paramaribo as well as bringing technologies up to the Canadian owner’s standards. The bank also reported investing much of its profit in Surinam, which it calls a “success story” (DWT).

SLM, Surinam Airways, announced further booking cooperation with foreign airlines, now introducing ticketing for Delta Airlines and Brazilian marketleader Gol-Varig. In addition to existing deals with KLM, NorthWest and Martinair, SLM now offers tickets throughout Europe as well as North and South America (DWT).

Three Surinam banks sold a total of 225 million SRD worth of  mortgages in 2008. Hakrinbank sold 110 million worth, DSB 80 million and Surichange Bank another 35 million SRD. In 2007 the total amount of sold mortgages was still at a 160 million SRD total (DWT).

NV Verenigde Surinaamse Holdingmaatschappij (VSH), a Surinam industrial holding conglomerate, reported net profits for 2008 of 3,7 million SRD. The holding company especially noted growth in its port operations and steel production, the latter partly for foreign, Caribbean customers (DWT).

Payback for South Africa’s trade unions?

In Uncategorized on June 26, 2009 at 7:43 am

Tensions between the union federation and the government are running high. High enough to force Mr Zuma to deviate from his declared market-friendly macroeconomic policies?

Read the full story in The Economist

The future of the Amazon

In Uncategorized on June 26, 2009 at 7:38 am

Brazil’s government hopes that land reform in the Amazon will slow deforestation. Greens doubt it.

Read the full story in The Economist

Brazil’s recovering economy

In Uncategorized on June 26, 2009 at 7:33 am

Among the last to fall into recession, Brazil may be among the first to grow out of it.

Read the full story in The Economist

Brazil’s failing education system

In Uncategorized on June 4, 2009 at 8:35 pm

Brazil has much going for it these days—stable politics, an open and fairly harmonious society, an economy that has remembered how to grow after decades of stagnation—but when it comes to the quality of schools, it falls far short even of many other developing countries despite heavy public spending on education.

Read the full story in The Economist

Cape Verde news update, June 1st

In Cape Verde on June 1, 2009 at 10:42 am

LIFE

Cape Verdeans’ life expectancy rose from 65 to 66 years for men and from 69 to 71 years for women. The country’s mortality rate is nine per 1,000 live births. The figures were released yesterday by World Health Organization (WHO) services yesterday in Geneva, Switzerland (A Semana).

AIR TRAVEL

Tap Air Portugal has announced it will offer as from August this year three weekly direct flights from Lisbon to Sao Vicente, now the new international airport of that island is to become operational soon (A Semana).

Asky Airlines plans to set up partnership with Cape Verdean airline Transportadora Aérea de Cabo Verde (TACV) in the technical, maintenance and international certifications areas (Macauhub).

WIND ENERGY

The European Investment bank announced the funding of four new windenergy parks with 30million Euros. The windmills will be installed on Santiago, São Vicente, Sal and Boavista islands (A Semana).


Brazil news update, June 1st

In Uncategorized on June 1, 2009 at 10:19 am

CATTLE

About a third of Brazil’s 200 million-strong cattle herd is in the Amazon area, where most of its growth has occurred in recent years, leading to criticism that the industry is a major culprit in illegal deforestation (Reuters).

OIL

Brazilian government advisors “strongly support” a production-sharing model to develop massive offshore oil reserves as the country considers revamping its oil law to boost state income from new-found reserves (Reuters).

Petrobras  may need benchmark oil prices near $60 a barrel to profitably tap Brazil’s massive subsalt offshore finds, Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) said (Reuters).

Petrobras may suffer as lawmakers probe tax fraud allegations at Brazil’s state-controlled oil producer, BNP Paribas and Banco Geracao Futuro de Investimentos said (Bloomberg).

Spanish oil major Repsol YPF  is seeking a buyer for its 30 percent stake in Brazil’s Refap refinery, which it bought in 2001 in an asset swap worth nearly $1 billion, a source close to the operation (Reuters).

Brazil may auction the rights to offshore oil fields in its so-called pre-salt region as soon as 2010, Mines and Energy Minister Edison Lobao told the Financial Times.

ELECTIONS

Brazil will hold elections in October 2010 to choose the successor to President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who is barred by law from seeking a third consecutive term. Parties will formally nominate their candidates late this year. Here are some of the key names to watch in the race.

BUSINESS

Bristow Group Inc, which provides helicopter services to the offshore energy industry, said it acquired a 42.5 percent stake in Brazil’s Lider Aviacao Holding S.A for $174 million, helping it expand its helicopter operations in Brazil (Reuters).

Braskem, Latin America’s largest petrochemical company, and Venezuela’s state-owned Pequiven are aiming to build a plant in Brazil’s northeastern Bahia state (Reuters).

Brazil’s economy isn’t in a recession and demand is at a “healthy” level, Fiat SpA Chief Executive Officer Marchionne said. The Italian firm stands by its commitment to invest “billions of euros” in South America in the next four years, Marchionne said. Fiat reopened a tractor factory in Brazil that was closed in 1988 because “this growth regime will continue in the foreseeable future,” Marchionne said (Blooomberg).

Odebrecht construction and engineering company will receive a 1 billion- real ($494 million) loan frombanco Santander SA and four other banks to help fund its investment in a Sao Paulo toll road (Bloomberg).

FINANCING

Brazil’s state-run development bank will loan Venezuela as much as $4 billion to finance projects. Brazil and Venezuela signed a letter of intent for the financing earlier this week. A spokeswoman at BNDES, as the bank is known, said the loans would be provided for contracts won by Brazilian companies (Bloomberg).

STEEL

Brazilian steelmaker CSN, betting on a boom in Brazil’s housing and infrastructure industries, is planning to unveil a new line of products for construction by 2010 (Reuters).

Brazil mergers to rebound

In Uncategorized on June 1, 2009 at 9:54 am

Mergers and acquisitions activity in Brazil looks poised for a strong revival in the coming months, as signs of improved global sentiment spread across domestic capital markets.

Read the full report at Reuters

Angola news update, June 1st

In Angola on June 1, 2009 at 8:22 am

AIR TRAVEL

TAP, Portugal’s state-owned airline, plans to increase the number of flights it offers to Luanda from 7 to 10 a week, Jornal de Negocios reported (Bloomberg).

BUSINESS

Castle grouphas invested USD 200 million in the construction of the Nocal brewery in Bom Jesus village, Bengo province, aiming at extending its activity in the country, the general director of  Cuca Brewery, Bernard Coulais (ANGOP).

HOTELS

At least ten new hotels, of the 32 under construction in the city of Luanda, will be ready by next December, thus boosting the accommodation capacity in time for the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations, to be held between 10 and 31 January, 2010 in the country (Macauhub).

OIL

A new oil well, with a production capacity of 5,000 barrels per day has been discovered by Angolan state-owned oil company Sonangol and by BP (ANGOP).

BANKING

The first Financial City in Angola will be built in the Talatona area of Luanda Sul, as an initiative of banks Banco Privado Atlêntico (BPA) and Banco Millenium Angola (Macauhub).

CONSTRUCTION

Cement maker Cauê, of Brazilian construction group Camargo Corrêa plans to invest US$370 million in building a cement factory in Angola with an annual production capacity of 1.5 million tonnes (Macauhub).

Surinam news update, June 1st

In Uncategorized on June 1, 2009 at 8:07 am

The IDB has announced it will fund the rehabilitation of the East-West road linking Paramaribo with Albina on the border with French Guyana. The bank’s input will be USD 62 million (De Ware Tijd).

Telenamic NV, a Surinam based callcentre jointly owned by Telesur and Unamic, saw a 2008 turnover of SRD 10 million. This will set the pace for further expansion and investments for the future, Telenamic’s manager Mark de Vries announced (De Ware Tijd).

The ABCs of South Africa’s GDP

In Uncategorized on June 1, 2009 at 7:44 am

The drop in the gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter of 2009 show that — unsurprisingly — South Africa is not immune to the worldwide economic downturn.

Read the analysis by Neva Seidman Makgetla in the Mail & Guardian