News from Cape Verde, Angola & Mozambique

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South Africa news update, December 20th

In Uncategorized on December 20, 2009 at 8:50 pm

ECONOMY

In light of South Africa’s position as the largest and most important economy in Africa, it is imperative that South Africa aligns itself with the growth potential of the BRIC nation. Can it become BRICS? (TradeInvest).

The automotive industry in South Africa was hit very hard by the financial crisis over the past year. With vehicles sales down and with many major automotive companies experiencing major financial difficulties, it has been an extremely testing year (TradeInvest).

With 2010 around the corner and most South Africans reflecting on a year that has seen an economic recession that spared very few, what does the New Year hold in store (TradeInvest)?

The South Atlantic in 2010

In Angola, Cape Verde on December 20, 2009 at 7:30 pm

Season’s greetings to all readers of Atlantico Weekly!

Atlantico Weekly is proud to present a short forecast for Brazil, Cape Verde, Angola, South Africa and Surinam in 2010.

Read The South Atlantic in 2010

Brazil news update, December 20th

In Uncategorized on December 20, 2009 at 7:28 pm

OIL & GAS

Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras agreed to pay tens of millions of dollars more per year for imported Bolivian natural gas after a price dispute that has dragged on for years (Reuters).

Brazilian increases in oil production, along with Russia, is threatening the OPEC’s (Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries) control over oil prices. The current view of petroleum reserves may be deceptive as production, and most of all exportation, seem to be the determinant variable of the oil market equation (Rio Times).

Petrobras will get a 2.6 billion-real ($1.46 billion) loan from Brazil’s development bank, known as BNDES, to help finance construction of the Suape petrochemical complex (Bloomberg).

BUSINESS

Brazil’s CSN offered to buy Portuguese cement producer Cimpor for 3.86 billion euros ($5.6 billion) as the steelmaker slowly diversifies from its core business outside its home base (Reuters).

Brazilian meat processor Marfrig Alimentos received European Union regulatory approval for its takeover of local poultry export company Seara in a deal worth about $900 million (Reuters).

Fiat’s commercial vehicles unit Iveco has won a $3.37 billion contract to supply 2,044 armoured personnel carriers to the Brazilian army, Iveco said (Reuters). The vehicles will be produced in Brazil.

Junior miner MMX, owned by Brazilian magnate Eike Batista, will invest up to $1.2 billion to more than triple iron ore production capacity by 2015, the company’s president said (Reuters).

POLITICS

Brazil’s central bank chief, Henrique Meirelles, said he was not interested in running for the vice-presidency in next October’s election and had not decided whether to step down in April (Reuters).

The governor of Brazil’s central Minas Gerais state said he would no longer seek to become the presidential candidate for the opposition PSDB party in next October’s election (Reuters).

Brazil’s president will propose a truth commission this month to investigate torture during the country’s 1964-85 military dictatorship. The move by President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva could mark a rare step by Brazil toward tackling the thorny question of dictatorship-era abuses (Reuters).

FINANCE

As Brazil emerges stronger than many other countries from the deepest global recession in decades, the time may have come for the largest private equity firms to plant roots in Latin America’s biggest economy (Reuters).

Banco do Brasil, Latin America’s largest bank by assets, is in talks to buy a stake in Argentina’s Banco Patagonia in what would be the state-run bank’s biggest international foray (Reuters).

SECURITY

One minute Victor Javier was rapt in a carefree game of beach soccer; the next he was a hapless victim of Rio de Janeiro’s “shock of order” crackdown. Rio state this month hired former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who takes credit for cleaning up the Big Apple, to help advise it on the Brazilian city’s crime problems (Reuters).

ECONOMY

After months of bullish forecasts from analysts in Brazil and around the world, the economic recovery has proven to have progressed at a significantly slower rate than has been anticipated over the last financial quarter (Rio Times).

The Brazilian government has announced that the bidding process for the construction and operation of a high-speed rail line that will link Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Campinas is to begin (Rio Times).

Chile and Brazil form part of 10- country group called ‘advanced emerging markets,’ Barclays Plc said. Singapore, Korea, Taiwan, Israel, China, South Africa, Poland and the Czech Republic are also part of the group, Barclays analysts including Eduardo Levy-Yeyati wrote in a report (Bloomberg).

Cape Verde news update, December 20th

In Cape Verde on December 20, 2009 at 4:59 pm

SECURITY

The border service at Sal’s Amílcar Cabral International Airport has started carrying out consultations using the new PASSE border control system, the same day the system was officially unveiled by Minister of Internal Administration Lívio Lopes and by Portugal’s State Secretary of Internal Administration, Dalila Araújo (A Semana).

ECONOMY

Between 2005 and 2007, Cape Verde grew at an annual average of 8.4%, according to data to be presented tomorrow, December 16, by the National Statistics Institute INE) (A Semana).

United States congressman Barney Frank congratulated the directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) for its historic decision to make Cape Verde the first country eligible for a second Millennium Challenge Account compact in Washington, D.C. The MCC’s chief executive officer responded with praise for Cape Verde (A Semana).

The National Assembly approved a bill reducing customs tariffs for construction and pavements materials, aircraft parts, telecommunications, electricity, sound and photographic equipment and accessories, and a number of other articles. The bill was approved 51 favorable votes – 39 from the PAICV, 11 from the MpD and one from the UCID – and two abstentions (A Semana).

AIR TRAVEL

São Pedro Airport on the island of São Vicente has been authorized to receive international flights by the Civil Aeronautics Agency. The airport  received its first international cargo flight, a Boeing 737 sent by Portuguese airline TAP that will bring equipment for the airline’s international operations on the island (A Semana).

PORTS

The first phase in the expansion and modernization of Vale dos Cavaleiros sea port in São Filipe, Fogo, will be unveiled this week. The 140 million-escudo project was executed by construction company Armando Cunha (A Semana).

ENERGY

The government of Cape Verde and two foreign companies, Vestel and Infraco signed a contract for construction of four wind farms, aimed at providing 25 percent of the electricity consumed on the archipelago (Macauhub).

Angola news update, December 20th

In Angola on December 20, 2009 at 4:58 pm

OIL

Angola, holder of the OPEC presidency and host of an OPEC meeting next week, is the least compliant with the group’s agreements to limit oil output, according to Reuters calculations.

Sonangol SA, Angola’s state-run oil producer said a number of companies have shown interest in partnering it to search for oil in Iraq (Bloomberg).

Angola’s oil exports are expected to remain above 1.8 million barrels per day in February, despite a slight drop on the previous month, according to export projections from operators in the country (Macauhub).

BANKING

The Angolan council of ministers approved the memorandum of understanding between the governments of Angola and Portugal to set up a bank in Angola, with a subsidiary in Portugal (Macauhub).

AIR TRAVEL

Angolan airline Taag, which has been on the European Union black list of flying in EU air space since June 2007, has had its safety standards internationally recognised, Portuguese newspaper Sol reported (Macauhub).

Brazil news update, December 14th

In Uncategorized on December 14, 2009 at 7:05 pm

ECONOMY

At present, Brazil is the fifth-largest country in the world and has the fifth-largest population as well. But in 17 years’ time, it will also be the fifth-largest economy in the world, says its finance minister, Guido Mantega. Read the full article at the BBC.

Brazil’s government said it will lend an additional $80 billion reais ($45.3 billion) to the national development bank over the next two years to boost investment and keep the economy’s strong recovery on track (Reuters).

Brazil’s economy created a record number of jobs in November, in the latest sign the country’s labor market has fully recovered from this year’s recession, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said (Reuters).

BUSINESS

Brazil’s JBS SA, the world’s largest beef processor, said it plans to raise the equivalent of $2 billion in a bond offering, part of a plan to fund its U.S. unit after the takeover of Pilgrim’s Pride Corp (Reuters).

China’s Lenovo, the world’s fourth-largest seller of personal computers, is “open” to buy rivals in Brazil, where it wants to triple market share by 2014, if it strikes the right acquisition price, the company’s top two officials said (Reuters).

Brazil’s Embraer, the world’s third largest aircraft maker, has signed an agreement with CDB Leasing Co worth $2.2 billion over three years to help finance the sale of regional jets in Asia (Reuters).

Brazil’s Embraer, the world’s third-largest aircraft maker, will likely sell a record $500 million worth of planes in Brazil this year, helping offset a tumble in global demand amid the worst civil aviation market in years (Reuters).

Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer will be invited to join a tender to supply narrow-bodied planes to United Airlines, the head of United’s parent company UAL Corp said (Reuters).

France’s Renault SA plans to invest about 1 billion reais ($571 million) in Brazil over the next three years, the company’s chief for the Mercosur trade bloc said (Reuters).

MINING

Iron ore prices will likely rise in 2010, underpinned by growing demand from China, the chief executive of Brazilian mining giant Vale said, without offering estimates of how much prices could rise (Reuters).

AMAZON

The $7.7 billion Santo Antonio dam on the Madeira river is part of Brazil’s largest concerted development plan for the Amazon since the country’s military government cut highways through the rain forest to settle the vast region during its two-decade reign starting in 1964. Read the full report at Reuters.

Brazil took a step forward in protecting the Amazon rainforest, starting satellite surveillance of the cattle ranches that are among the chief culprits in the forest’s destruction (Reuters).

AGRICULTURE

Brazilian authorities have approved the use of a new genetically-modified soy seed which was developed jointly by BASF and state agricultural researchers in the world’s No. 2 soy exporter (Reuters).

Sugar output in Brazil, the world’s largest producer, will rise to a record after declining supplies from India boosted demand for sweetener from the South American country, the government said (Bloomberg).

FINANCE

BTG Pactual, the securities firm led by Andre Esteves, is set to launch a private equity-backed Brazilian infrastructure fund, to take advantage of massive road, port and dam projects (Reuters).

OIL

Brazil’s lower house of Congress has approved the second of four bills designed to overhaul the country’s oil legislation and give the government greater control over vast new offshore reserves (Reuters).

Brazil’s Petrobras expects to raise more than $10 billion in a sale of shares it is planning as part of an ambitious expansion effort, the company’s Chief Executive Jose Sergio Gabrielli said (Reuters).

Brazil’s oil giant Petrobras said tests confirmed that Iara oil field, off the coast of the state of Rio de Janeiro, contains a potential of 3 billion to 4 billion barrels of oil equivalent (Reuters).

TELECOM

Spain’s Telefonica plans to spend more than 2 billion reais ($1.14 billion) in Brazil next year, compared with expected capital expenditures of 2.4 billion reais earmarked for 2009, the chief executive of its Brazilian unit Antonio Carlos Valente said (Reuters).

Angola news update, December 14th

In Angola on December 14, 2009 at 6:36 pm

POLITICS

Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos signalled the oil-producing nation’s first post-war presidential elections, scheduled for 2009, would have to wait at least another three years (Reuters).

Angola plans to halve the number of nationals living on a dollar or less a day by 2015, Radio Nacional de Angola reported, citing Diogenes de Oliveira, head of parliament’s finance committee. Around 60 percent of the oil-rich nation’s 18 million people live below the poverty line, President Jose Eduardo dos Santos said last week, accusing “irresponsible” officials of squandering state resources (Bloomberg).

OIL

Angola’s national oil company Sonangol won deals to develop two oilfields in one of Iraq’s most dangerous provinces (Reuters).

Marathon Oil Corp. the fourth- largest U.S. energy producer, agreed to sell a 20 percent working interest in Block 32 off the coast of Angola to that country’s state-owned oil company for $1.3 billion (Bloomberg).

The China Petroleum and Chemical Corp (Sinopec), one of Asia’s largest oil refiners, may be granted an oil field in Angola by its parent company China Petrochemical Corp (Sinopec Group), the China Business News newspaper reported (Macauhub).

BANKING

Portugal’s second-largest listed bank Banco Espirito Santo said it agreed to sell a 24 percent stake in its Angolan unit for around 254 million euros ($375 million) (Reuters).

Standard Bank, Africa’s biggest lender by assets, said its Angolan unit will start operations next year with capital of $50 million (Bloomberg).

South Africa’s First National Bank (FNB) has decided to expand into the Angolan market, and is waiting for approval from the Luanda authorities to open a representative office (Macauhub).

MINING

The state-run diamond company, Endiama EP, aims to produce gems without foreign support. “We need to produce our diamonds ourselves,” chairman Sumbula said. The company’s partners include De Beers, which produces about 40 percent of the world’s diamonds. Endiama also aims to “make profits for the state” and is now engaged “classifying” its staff to see “what each can offer the company,” the Luanda-based company said (Bloomberg).

AIRPORTS  AND TRAVEL

The runway at Luena airport in Angolan province of Moxico, was re-opened  after work that began in May 2007 was concluded by Chinese construction company Sinohydro Corporation to extend the runway from 2,400 metres to 3,350 metres and a width of 60 metres (Macauhub).

The new Lubango international airport, in the capital of Angola’s Huila province, is due to be handed over within the next few days, the head of the company responsible for inspecting the project told Angolan news agency Angop (Macauhub).

Cape Verde news update, December 14th

In Cape Verde on December 14, 2009 at 6:19 pm

POLITICS

Cape Verde is being pointed to as an example to be followed in relations between Africa and the People’s Republic of China. A recent study states that “Cape Verde and some other [countries] have shown that with an honest and responsible approach, Sino-African ties can be highly beneficial to both sides.” Read the full story in A Semana.

The International Monetary Fund presented its seventh report on Cape Verde, praising the “prudent management” policies of the Cape Verdean government, which have allowed the country to weather the international financial crisis. The institute also mentioned the possibility of a gradual reduction in interest rates in the future (A Semana).

ENERGY

A company from the northeastern Brazilian state of Ceará, Esbra (short for “Energia Solar Brasileira,” or Brazilian Solar Energy), hopes to bring photovoltaic energy to Cape Verde. The project is still in an embryonic phase, as the factory will only begin to be built in February of 2010 and go into operation in August of the same year. The main target market is Latin America, but company owner Nelson Estevan Seidl has already mentioned his desire to bring the alternative energy to Cape Verde (A Semana).

INVESTMENT

Cape Verde is expected to be one of the countries encompassed by a € 750,000 investment program from Portugal’s Azores islands in transnational projects. Cape Verde is expected to benefit from the European Union Ultra-peripheral Region Neighborhood Program, which encompasses the Economic Community of West African States, and is aimed at investing in projects in the area of innovation, investigation, sustainable development and risk prevention (A Semana).

Brazilian company Universo Pescados, based in the state of Ceará and specializing in the production and commercialization of fish, will receive 615,000 euros from the Dutch government to finance the production of tilapia minnows in Cape Verde. The production, estimated at 300 metric tons per year and slated to begin in late 2010, will be used as live bait for the tuna fishing industry in the country. Non-reimbursable resources correspond to 50% of the project’s total estimated worth of € 1.23 million (A Semana).

Cape Verde is one of five African countries that will benefit from World Bank financing for fishing-sector projects. The financing accord was signed by Cape Verde’s ambassador to Washington, D.C., Fátima Veiga, and the World Bank representative for Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Mali and Senegal, Benjamin McDonald (A Semana).

COMING SOON: The South Atlantic in 2010

In Angola, Cape Verde on December 6, 2009 at 5:05 pm

Atlantico Weekly announces its own assessment of political and economic developments in the South Atlantic democratic hemisphere: Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, Panama, South Africa and Surinam. Watch this, it’s coming soon!

Brazil news update, December 6th

In Uncategorized on December 6, 2009 at 5:02 pm

ECONOMY

Investors have piled back into Brazilian assets in the wake of the global financial crisis, sending the stock market soaring 83 percent and the currency up 37 percent this year. Are Brazil’s asset markets overvalued? Read the analysis at Reuters.

Car manufacturing in Brazil will climb in 2010, along with sales and export revenue, the national automakers’ association Anfavea said, with expectations for strong economic growth set to stoke domestic demand. Brazilian automobile production in 2010 could grow 5.4 percent, the group said, with sales to jump 9.3 percent (Reuters).

Brazil’s central bank said that dollar inflows into the country totaled $3.558 billion last month through Nov. 27 (Reuters).

BUSINESS

Since the start of the year the price of sugar futures has almost doubled. For Brazil’s big sugar companies the timing is perfect: the credit crunch set off a wave of consolidation in an industry that had been resistant to it. The firms that have survived now have more scale and lots of cash. Read the full story in The Economist.

Sao Martinho, one of Brazil’s main sugar and ethanol companies, will sell a 40 percent stake in its Boa Vista mill for 140 million reais ($81.9 million) to U.S-based Amyris (Reuters).

Brazil’s largest sugar and ethanol group, has closed a deal to buy the local Petrosul chain of filling stations based in Sao Paulo (Reuters).

Brazilian retail group Pao de Acucar reached an agreement to acquire a controlling stake in rival Casas Bahia in a noncash deal, gaining a commanding grip over the South American country’s booming home appliances market (Reuters).

Votorantim Group has signed a deal to join Trinidad and Tobago’s government-owned Alutrint in a project to build a 125,000 tonnes-per-year aluminum smelter in the Caribbean nation (Reuters).

Brazil’s crude steel output is forecast to rise to 33.1 million tonnes next year, up 24 percent from an estimated 26.7 million tonnes this year, the Brazilian Steel Institute said (Reuters).

Brazilian mining company Vale plans to invest 1 billion reais ($573 million) in a steel rolling mill in Rio de Janeiro state (Reuters).

Mirabela Nickel Ltd., an Australian miner, may build a smelter to process nickel ore from its Santa Rita mine in Brazil’s northeastern Bahia state and start underground mining (Bloomberg).

China’s Wuhan Iron and Steel Co agreed to pay $400 million for a 21.52 percent stake in Brazilian miner MMX, according to a regulatory filing (Reuters).

OIL

Brazilian oil upstart OGX said it had found a 50 meter column of hydrocarbons with net pay of 15 meters from a well it is drilling in the BM-C-41 block in the Campos basin (Reuters).

Earlier OGX had said it had made a promising discovery of hydrocarbons in the Albiano field in the Campos basin off the coast of Rio de Janeiro (Reuters).

The Abreu Lima refinery in Brazil, a joint venture between state-run oil companies Petrobras and Venezuela’s PDVSA, will cost roughly 23 billion reais ($13.3 bln), more than triple its previous estimate (Reuters).

Petrobras, Brazil’s state-controlled oil producer, plans to expand its $174.4 billion investment program as it develops offshore fields in the so-called pre-salt region (Bloomberg).

ATLANTICO

Trade between Brazil and Africa is incipient and needs to be worked on. African countries imported around US$500 billion, of which less than US$10 billion or 2% was from Brazil (Macauhub).

Angola news update, December 6th

In Angola on December 6, 2009 at 4:33 pm

ECONOMY

Angola may be forced to delay a planned $4 billion international bond sale until “early 2010” and seek a credit rating due to concern caused by Dubai’s request to reschedule debt payments, according to Eurasia Group (Bloomberg).

Angola has access to $400 million from the International Monetary Fund in addition to the $1.4 billion Standby Agreement approved by the lender on Nov. 23, the World Bank said (Bloomberg).

Luanda is the world’s most expensive expat city. For a full table of cities check Bloomberg.

The African Development Bank (BfDA) announced in Luanda it has set aside Usd 2.0 billion to finance projects in the private sector in the 2010/2014 period (ANGOP).

POLITICS

An Angolan minister said a separatist group that has waged war for control of the country’s oil-producing province of Cabinda for more than 30 years no longer existed (Reuters).

OIL

Angola’s national oil company, Sonangol, will hold 20 percent in Iran’s South Pars-12 project that will be developed at a cost of $7.5 billion (Reuters).

Romania will make “considerable” investments in the exploration and processing of minerals in Angola, including oil and diamonds. The two countries will sign an agreement early next year that will allow Romania to build and oil research and development center in Angola, the Luanda-based news agency said. Romania is also interested in investing in Angola’s oil, diamond, uranium, copper and energy industries (Bloomberg).

Angola has oil reserves that will make it possible to maintain daily production of 1.9 million barrels for the next 15 years, the country’s Oil Minister, Botelho de Vasconcelos said (Macauhub).

BANKING

The African Investment Bank (SA-BAI) was recently elected, by “The Banker” magazine of the Financial Times Group, as the best bank of the year in Angola due to the growth it recorded during the year 2009 (ANGOP).

South Africa’s Standard Bank, the biggest bank in South Africa, has been granted a banking license to operate in Angola, where it is due to start operating in mid 2010, the bank said in Johannesburg (Macauhub).

BUSINESS

Angola’s central Huambo province might become the national distribution centre for Panalpina, one of the world’s leading providers of forwarding and logistics services, specialising in intercontinental air freight and ocean freight (ANGOP).

ATLANTICO

An Angolan business delegation is in South Africa to get in touch with local entrepreneurs in light of the recommendations emanated from the recent visit to Angola by the South African President, Jacob Zuma (ANGOP).

Brazilian wholesale group Tenda Atacado at the end of November opened its first warehouse-store in the Angolan capital of Luanda, called Alimenta Angola (Feed Angola), the Brazilian press reported (Macauhub).

South Africa news update, December 6th

In Uncategorized on December 6, 2009 at 4:22 pm

ECONOMY

Dubai is the nation state as mortgage bubble: hype, leverage, and a lot of concrete mixers. But in Cape Town, Dubai World’s bubble burst a year ago, with the ousting of provincial premier, Ebrahim Rasool, the state-owned investment company’s local champion. Read the full story in the Mail & Guardian.

Land reform in South Africa is lagging behind its schedule. Read the report in The Economist.

More than 2.2m additional foreign tourists will visit South Africa between 2008 and 2015, thanks to next year’s World Cup soccer tournament. Foreign visitors’ spending is alone expected to contribute R14.3bn (News24).

Cape Verde news update, December 6th

In Cape Verde on December 6, 2009 at 3:46 pm

AIRPORTS & TRAVEL

São Pedro Airport on the island of São Vicente received a test flight of TACV Cabo Verde Airlines’ Boeing 757-200 at 2:20 pm December 4. This is one of the final tests in the audit being carried out by the Civil Aeronautics Agency (AAC) prior to allowing the airport to open for international flights (A Semana).

The financial directorships of TACV Cabo Verde Airlines and Airport and Air Security company ASA reached an accord on the night of Monday, November 30, to overcome the impasse regarding the payment of the flagship airline’s debt to the airport management company, estimated at more than 1.3 billion escudos. TACV has promised to pay more than 10 million escudos per month to ASA (A Semana).

PORTS

The process of privatisation of Cape Verde’s port services is due to be concluded in June, 2010, the manager of the Programme for Regulation and Privatisations in Cape Verde said in Praia. The ports of Praia and Mindelo are due to be handed over to two concession-holders, whilst the port of Palmeira will have just one concession (Macauhub).

HEALTH

Cape Verde’s Minister of Health, Basílio Mosso Ramos, announced that Cape Verde had registered 272 new cases of AIDS in 2008, indicating a stabilization in the number of new infections in the archipelago. Cape Verde’s seroprevalance is 0.8% (A Semana).

POLITICS

The president of opposition party MpD, Carlos Veiga, will be a special guest at the congress of the European People’s Party (PPE) in Bonn, Germany between December 8 and 10. The party is a member of the Centrist Democrat International, of which the MpD is also a part. The meeting’s host will be German Chancellor Angela Merkel (A Semana).

FINANCE

Eight microfinance institutions undergo training in the realm of data base normalization. The course, which is being supported by the Millennium Challenge Account – Cape Verde, is aimed at raising the entities’ capacities in order for them to be able to normalize their data bases, thus making it easier for them to migrate to a new system in the future. The course will be administered by a consultant from Planet Finance – Brazil, Ricardo Linder, and will take place at the National Administration and Management Institute (INAG) (A Semana).

SECURITY

After several months of relative calm, thieves have once again begun attacking tourists on the beaches of Boa Vista. Local police have registered robberies victimizing tourists on the beaches of Estoril, Chaves and Cabo de Santa Maria (A Semana).

Panama unlocking its Canal and future

In Uncategorized on December 6, 2009 at 3:28 pm

Ten years ago Panama took possession of the canal that bears its name.  Under Panamanian control the canal was run much better than under the Americans.  Panama now has high hopes for a $5.25 billion expansion of the waterway to boost the economy ot the tiny country. Read the full report in The Economist