News from Cape Verde, Angola & Mozambique

Archive for January, 2010|Monthly archive page

Introducing Brazil Weekly

In Uncategorized on January 31, 2010 at 2:19 pm

From now on Brazil will have its own pages on Atlantico Weekly, which of course does justice to the country’s size and importance. The first issue of Brazil Weekly is now online. It deals with political, economic, business and related news in the same way as you may expect from Atlantico Weekly.

Go to Brazil Weekly

Surinam news update, January 31st

In Uncategorized on January 31, 2010 at 1:03 pm

FINANCE

Surinam insurance company Self Reliance announced it will take over Clico-Surinam, another local insurance company that was hit hard by the global crisis. The bail-out by Self Reliance was made possible with financial support from the Surinam Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Surinam (DWT).

PORTS

A trio of local banks, DSB-bank, Hakrinbank and RBTT will loan an amount of 28 million SRD to Surinam Port authority NV Havenbeer. This sum is needed to co-finance a second phase of the expansion and improvement of Paramaribo’s Nieuwe Haven Terminal (DWT).

AIR TRAVEL

SLM, Surinam Airways, is considering hiring a second Airbus A340-300 for the expansion of its route Paramaribo-Amsterdam and the development of new routes to the US, Canada and Europe (DWT).

Angola news update, January 31st

In Angola on January 31, 2010 at 12:32 pm

ECONOMY

Two years ago, oil-rich Angola was reckoned to have one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. In both 2006 and 2007 real GDP had surged by around 20%, and double-digit growth rates were widely predicted for at least the next five years. Then oil prices crashed with the global recession. Last year the economy is estimated to have grown, at best, by 1.5%. But it is bouncing back. Some say Angola will be among the world’s top five performers again this year, with growth exceeding 8%. Read the full story in The Economist.

Though Angola wants to woo foreign investors, everything seems contrived to deter all but the most intrepid and patient. Getting a visa, for a start, can take many months. Finding somewhere to stay in Luanda, a capital city built for 500,000 that is now home to 5m, is not much easier. A single hotel room, if you can find one, will set you back $500-600 a night. Read about the virtues you need for doing business in Angola in The Economist.

ATLANTICO

The political and economic rivalry between SA and Angola is expected to graduate into a battle for dominance in the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) , says US-based global intelligence think-tank Stratfor (BusinessDay).

BANKING

Standard Bank sees Angola as key growth market. Warming relations between Angola and SA and the ties Africa’s biggest bank by assets has with China and Russia — rivals in attempts to secure access to Angolan resources — should help the new business, a senior executive said (BusinessDay). Africa’s biggest bank by assets plans to invest millions of dollars in Angola to set up a commercial and investment bank and offer retail banking services (News24).

BUSINESS

A new production line for soft drinking production will be operating from May this year at Sefa factory, that will increase the company’s production capacity from 3,000 to 10,500 cases per day (Angop).

PORTS

Lobito Port, in the central Benguela Province, will handle over  12,000 tons of load per year, its director told ANGOP.

OIL

Angola and India have signed a memorandum of  understanding in the oil sector, aimed at strengthening bilateral cooperation, mainly in the entrepreneurial field (ANGOP).

AIR TRAVEL

Angolan airline Taag plans to carry 1.7 million passengers per year as of 2012 as compared to 1.1 million currently, the coordinator of the company’s management commission, Pimentel de Araújo said (Macauhub).

INVESTMENT

The Angolan government approved 39 investment projects valued at a total of US$7 billion. In a statement released after a Council of Ministers meeting, the government said that the investments were focused on the retail, real estate, telecommunications, energy and transport sectors (Macauhub).

Portuguese group Unicer plans to invest US$120 million, US$85 million of which in the first phase, in construction of a beer factory in Angola’s Bengo province, the group’s representative in Angola, José Teixeira said in Luanda (Macauhub).

Brazilian group Odebrecht is analysing the possibility of investing in a petrochemical project in Angola, the group’s chief executive told Brazilian newspaper Estado de São Paulo (Macauhub).

Cape Verde news update, January 31st

In Cape Verde on January 31, 2010 at 11:32 am

ECONOMY

The government has expressed its satisfaction with the improved raking of Cape Verde on the 2010 Economic Freedom Index released by The Heritage Foundation /Wall Street Journal, and has downplayed the drop in one slot since last year (A Semana).

European Union

Cape Verde’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Communities, José Brito, met in Brussels with European Union diplomatic officials for the first evaluation meeting between Praia and Brussels following the Lisbon Treaty (A Semana).

BANKING

The new board of directors of Cape Verdean bank Banco Comercial do Atlântico, owned by Portugal’s Caixa Geral de Depósitos (CGD), is considering the possibility of a capital increase this year, the bank’s new chairman said (VisaoNews).

Also Cape Verdean bank, Banco Interatlântico plans to increase its capital from 600 million to 1 billion Cape Verdean escudos (from 5.4 million to 9.06 million euros), the bank’s chairman said (Macauhub).

TRAVEL

TAP-Air Portugal is waiting for operational conditions to start flying directly from Lisbon to the Cape Verdean island of Sao Vicente, the representative of the Portuguese airline said (Macauhub).

Brazil news update, January 24th

In Uncategorized on January 24, 2010 at 10:45 pm

POLITICS

Gandhi had to wait until 34 years after his death before he appeared on cinema screens around the world. George Bush junior, by contrast, was the victim of an Oliver Stone biopic during the last year of his presidency. Now a Brazilian director, Fábio Barreto, has done the same for Brazil’s president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, as he starts his final year of office (The Economist).

It is 25 years since Brazil moved from dictatorship to democracy, but its army remains surprisingly unreformed. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was rudely reminded of this just before Christmas when he signed a decree calling for a truth commission to investigate torture, killings and disappearances during military rule between 1964 and 1985. Within 24 hours the heads of the three armed forces threatened to resign along with Nelson Jobim, the defence minister. Lula seemed quick to retreat. He was reported as saying the government would think again (The Economist).

Speculation is intensifying over the political future of Henrique Meirelles, Brazil’s central bank chief, as October’s general elections draw closer, raising concerns over the continuity of monetary policy (Reuters).

2010 will mark the election of the 36th official President of the Brazilian Republic. Although the official calendar for campaigning does not begin until October 3rd, the political atmosphere is already dense with debate. The deadline for candidate registry isn’t until July 5th, but with parties looking to affiliate themselves to recent Brazilian political triumphs – such as the Olympics – a handful of pre-candidates for the presidency are already popping into the limelight. Amongst the many who plan to run, the current forerunners are: Marina Silva (PV-AC), José Serra (PSDB-SP), Dilma Rousseff (PT), and Ciro Gomes (PSB-CE). Check them out at Rio Times.

ECONOMY

Brazilian households like to buy the newest gadget and prefer to spend on items that will enhance their short-term wellbeing rather than save for a rainy day. This partly explains Brazil’s low saving rate – which has fluctuated around 17 per cent of GDP over the last decade, a number that contrasts sharply with China’s 45-50 per cent. Read the view by Arminio Fraga.

Brazil’s economy should grow 5.2 percent in 2010, the country’s finance minister said, underscoring a strong rebound in Latin America’s largest economy (Reuters).

The European Union and Mercosur, the South American trade bloc led by Brazil and Argentina, are studying restarting talks this year to reach a free-trade agreement, an EU trade official said (Bloomberg).

Brazilian exports to the US fell by 42 percent in 2009, to US$15.7 billion, with China replacing the US as Brazil’s top export market, with US$19.9 billion of exports, or more than 13 percent of all Brazil’s exports, according to figures released by the Ministry of Trade (Rio Times).

BANKING & FINANCE

Banco Bradesco, Brazil’s second-largest private-sector bank, said it agreed to buy Mexican bank Ibi Mexico for an undisclosed sum, marking its first international foray in retail banking as it seeks to take advantage of rising credit demand (Reuters).

Brazil’s state-run utility holding Eletrobras plans to raise $4 billion this year to hedge costs associated with the commercialization of energy from the giant Itaipu dam. However, that money will not go to paying overdue dividends, company president Jose Antonio Muniz said. Eletrobras will pay those dividends from its own funds, he said. The company agreed earlier on Friday to pay 10.33 billion reais ($5.65 billion) in overdue dividends dating to the 1970s (Reuters).

Qatar is interested in buying minority stakes in Petrobras and Banco do Brasil, a Brazilian cabinet official told Reuters. The country’s investment agency already owns a $300 million stake in Brazil’s Vale, the world’s largest iron ore miner (Reuters).

OIL

Brazilian oil and gas start-up company OGX Petroleo e Gas Participacoes saidit had found signs of hydrocarbons in a well in the southern part of the offshore Campos basin (Reuters).

MINING

A Brazilian scientist is developing a method of purifying contaminated waste water that accumulates at mining sites by using a genetically modified bacteria that can absorb heavy metals (Reuters).

INVESTMENT

Carrefour SA, Europe’s biggest retailer, plans to invest 2.5 billion reais ($1.4 billion) in Brazil in the next two years to expand in the north and northeast regions of Latin America’s largest economy (Bloomberg).

REAL ESTATE

Housing prices in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro will jump as much as 40 percent in the next year as record-low interest rates and a growing Brazil economy boost demand, according to the chief executive officer of Gafisa SA (Bloomberg).

AIR TRAVEL

The continuing growth of the domestic airline industry has stimulated investors and over the last few months more airlines have obtained permits to begin operations while others have obtained concessions for new domestic routes (Rio Times).

Angola news update, January 24th

In Angola on January 24, 2010 at 9:47 pm

POLITICS

Cabinda’s once-forgotten separatists won new notoriety with their deadly attack on Togo’s football team, embarrassing Angola’s government, which has long tried to quell the movement, analysts said (Mail & Guardian).

Angola’s ruling MPLA party used its two-thirds parliamentary majority to approve a new constitution which critics say will increase President Jose Eduardo dos Santos three-decade-long grip on power. For the main points in the new constitution see News24.

Cabindans, cut off from most of Angola by a thin strip of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the mighty Congo river, have deep and complex grievances against central government. But the biggest is oil. Read the feature article at Reuters.

ECONOMY

The Angolan economy is expected to post growth of 6.5 percent in 2010 and 8.0 percent in 2011, according to projections from the World Bank (Macauhub).

Angola’s inflation quickened in December to 13.99 percent year-on-year from 13.57 percent in November, due to higher transportation and food prices, the National Statistics Institute (INE) said (Reuters).

Luanda is considered the world’s most expensive city for foreign personnel, yet this situation could be reversed with more business competition and better basic infrastructures that would allow companies to reduce operating costs, indicate Angolan researchers and managers (Macauhub).

MINING

The demand for diamond on the world market will lead to the doubling of production until 2020, due to the recovery of the US economy and the needs from emerging countries such as India and China, a source from the sector has announced (ANGOP).

Escom Mining plans to invest US$750 million in the diamond sector in Angola, by 2014, added to the US$430 million invested since 2001, the Espírito Santo group company said in Lisbon (Macauhub).

AGRICULTURE

At least 15,000 tonnes of coffee were harvested during the 2009 campaign, thereby overcoming the 5,000 tonnes obtained during the previous season, in a deed that creates new medium-term perspectives for the sector, with view to achieve 50,000 tonnes/year of commercial coffee (ANGOP).

OIL

The total production of crude-oil in Angola, from January to November 2009, reached 601,492,344 barrels, which represents a significant decrease in comparison to the same period of 2008, in which was produced 635,755,166 barrels (ANGOP).

Angola was the second-biggest supplier of oil to the People’s Republic of China in the first ten months of last year, behind Saudi Arabia, providing around 15 percent of the country’s oil imports, the China Daily newspaper reported (Macauhub).

BANKING

Angolan bank, Banco de Desenvolvimento de Angola (BDA) in 2009 approved funding for 102 projects with an overall value of 20.5 billion kwanzas (around US$243.5 million), a year on year increase of 108 percent, the bank said (Macauhub).

REAL ESTATE

The Luanda International Fair (FIL), plans in May to host the 1st edition of the Angola Real estate Fair (SIMA), the project’s organisers said (Macauhub).

ATLANTICO

Angolan state oil company Sonangol plans to include Brazil in its expansion plan and to invest up to US$1 billion in the country, the Sonangol concessions manager said in Rio de Janeiro (Macauhub).

Cape Verde news update, January 24th

In Cape Verde on January 24, 2010 at 12:40 pm

POLITICS

In the year in which Cape Verde will celebrate the 550th anniversary of its discovery, the 35th anniversary of its independence and the 20th anniversary of the opening of its political system, January 13, Freedom and Democracy Day, is finally beginning to shed its party connotations, with civil society taking on a greater role in commemorating the date (A Semana).

A possible change in Cape Verde’s governing party as a result of the 2011 legislative elections could end up dampening foreign investors’ “enthusiasm” for Cape Verde, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s report on the country for the 2010.2011 period (A Semana).

The ambassadors of the world’s Portuguese language countries accredited in the People’s Republic of China will meet in Macau on February 1 and 2 for the 5th meeting of the Forum for Economic and Commercial Cooperation between China and the Portuguese-Speaking World (A Semana).

ECONOMY

The national minimum wage will likely be set at between 15,000 and 21,000 escudos per month, according to a study carried out by labor union UNTC-CS that will be presented Tuesday, January 26 (A Semana).

Four articles in Cape Verde’s current Labor Code are to be altered. A proposal in this sense was approved in the most recent Social Coordination Council meeting, and the government believes it will bring “crystal-clear gains for both workers and employers.” (A Semana)

Ministry of the Economy, Growth and Competitiveness Fátima Fialho believes that the impact of the restrictions placed on the tariff benefits attributed to Cape Verde by the United States as a part of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) is practically negligible, considering the relatively insignificant value of Cape Verdean exports to the US (A Semana).

Cape Verde, according to World Bank’s projections, saw a slowdown in growth to 3.3 percent in 2009 (compared to 5.9 percent the previous year) and is due to recover to 4.4 percent growth this year rising to 5.4 percent in 2011.

The inflation rate recorded in Cape Verde in 2009 was 1 percent, 5.8 percentage points below the 2008 figure, the island country’s National Statistics Institute (INE) has announced (Macauhub).

Cape Verde has risen one position on the 2010 list of the Doing Business report, though it is still close to the bottom of the table in which countries are ordered according to the ease of doing business (Macauhub).

BANKING

The Ministry of Finances will, in the name of the government, underwrite a 5% financial participation in the capital of the future Social Bank of Cape Verde with 300 million escudos in its initial phase (A Semana).

ATLANTICO

The government of Spain’s Canary Islands autonomous region and a group of construction companies have announced the hiring of four specialists in international bids to strengthen the region’s presence in projects in West and sub-Saharan Africa, including Cape Verde (A Semana).

INVESTMENT

The Cape Verdean government is studying plans to implement a forestry project on Sal, one of the country’s most arid islands, which will make use of residual water distribution potential (Visao News).

The government of Cape Verde is set to launch an international tender next week for the construction of three dams to hold rainwater, the chairman of the National Institute for Management of Water Resources said in Praia. António Pedro Borges said that the dams would be funded by Portugal as part of a financial package of 100 million euros (Macauhub).

The Cape Verdean National Communications Agency (ANAC) has granted a license to SGPM to be a new Internet and cable television operator, the PANA news agency reported (Macauhub).

The Portuguese company Martifer Solar plans to install in Cape Verde two photovoltaic solar energy complexes with a power capacity of 7.5 megawatts (MW), the Martifer group has announced (Macauhub).

TOURISM

Cape Verde’s Tourism Strategy Plan aims to achieve a flow of 500,000 tourists per year by 2013, causing a significant rise in associated employment and in tourism’s share of the gross domestic product, the local press reported (Macauhub).

Brazil news update, January 3rd

In Uncategorized on January 3, 2010 at 3:43 pm

ECONOMY

Brazil’s government will turn its focus to investment and away from stimulus measures, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said, as the country’s economy makes a robust exit from recession (Reuters).

Brazil’s state development bank BNDES will focus its 2010 lending on energy projects and infrastructure to support continued economic growth, bank president Luciano Coutinho said (Reuters).

Brazil’s tax collection may rise 11 percent next year, allowing the government to boost spending while still meeting its fiscal targets (Bloomberg)

RIO

‘The Olympic Effect’ may already be well underway in Rio’s real estate market with prices expected to double in many of the city’s neighborhoods by 2016, but values in one of the most fashionable parts of the city will receive another significant boost later on this month (Rio Times).

BUSINESS

American agribusiness company Bunge is more than doubling its sugar cane milling capacity in Brazil, by acquiring sugar and ethanol producer Moema for US$452 million in stock (Rio Times).

Brazilian lender Itau Unibanco is considering buying stakes in one of the United Kingdom banks rescued by the government during the height of the global credit crisis of 2008, the U.K. Sunday Times reported (Reuters).

Brazilian mining company Vale expects iron ore production in 2010 to reach about 300 million tonnes, Chief Executive Roger Agnelli said (Reuters).

Brazil’s state-controlled energy firm Petrobras bought a 40.4 percent stake in a mill that produces ethanol biofuel from sugar cane, the company said in a filing with the local securities market regulator (Reuters).

Goldman Sachs plans to start a private pension fund in Brazil in the first quarter of 2010. New York-based Goldman is negotiating a partnership with an insurance company to distribute the fund (Bloomberg).

PORTS & AIRPORTS

LLX Logistica, the Brazilian logistics firm controlled by billionaire Eike Batista, said it obtained a loan of 408 million reais ($234 million) for its Sudeste Port from state development bank BNDES (Reuters).

Brazil’s government will raise investments in airports to prepare for the 2014 World Cup, Budget Minister Paulo Bernardo said. Brazil may have 10 percent more passengers during this period, Bernardo said in an interview to government radio Radiobras (Bloomberg).

OIL

Brazilian oil and gas start-up company OGX Petroleo e Gas Participacoes said it had found signs of more hydrocarbons in well 1-OGX-3-RJS, off Rio de Janeiro’s coast in the southern part of the Campos basin (Reuters).

ENERGY

Demand for electricity in Brazil will probably soar next year as factories ramp up output and household income continues to rise, a government agency said (Reuters).

South Africa news update, January 3rd

In Uncategorized on January 3, 2010 at 3:16 pm

2010

With the World Cup nearing, 2010 will be South Africa’s year. The self-proclaimed Rainbow Nation will receive a rainbow crowd of visitors, the largest and most diverse group of tourists in its history. The spotlight on the country’s progress since apartheid will be more intense than ever. Read the analysis in the Mail & Guardian.

South Africa is set to bounce back strongly in headline-growth terms in 2010, asset manager and investment bank Nomura said. This was due to continuing infrastructure spending, a contribution from net trade and restocking from low levels (SA Goodnews).

EXPATS

In a global survey commissioned by HSBC Bank International, it was revealed that South Africa is the sixth best country in the world to live in, according to expatriates based there. In addition to making the top 10 overall, South Africa scored highly in the categories of making local friends (2), organising schools (3), finding somewhere to live (3), social life (3), quality of life (3), and accommodation (4) (TradeInvestSA)

Angola news update, January 3rd

In Angola on January 3, 2010 at 2:56 pm

ECONOMY

Traffic defines life in Luanda, Angola’s rapidly expanding capital. Traffic and fresh concrete. In many minds, Angola remains synonymous with the Africa of war, a bullet-strafed nation where civil conflict raged for so long that it seemed beyond redemption. Read the report in the Mail & Guardian.

Angola is in the international spotlight. From magazine covers to billboards, messages of “Viva Angola” and “Proud to be Angolan” in Luanda mark the war-scarred Southern African nation’s rising international presence. Read another report in the Mail & Guardian.

OIL

Angola will not hold a bidding round for new oil concessions for at least another year, the head of state-owned oil company Sonangol said (Reuters).

The total production of crude-oil in Angola, from January to November 2009, reached 601,492,344 barrels, which represents a significant decrease in comparison to the same period of 2008, in which was produced 635,755,166 barrels (ANGOP).

Angola’s oil minister, Botelho de Vasconcelos said that the new refinery located in Lobito would only be concluded in 2014 or 2015. Angolan newspaper Jornal de Angola reported that the new refinery was intended to make up for the current refining deficit of around 50 percent (Macauhub).

MEDIA

A company owned by the daughter of Angola’s president agreed to buy a 10 percent stake in Portugal’s pay TV and Internet company Zon in a deal that also marks the beginning of Zon’s expansion to Africa (Reuters).

Zon Multimedia SA, which announced a venture to provide pay-television service in Angola, said the African country’s market has the potential to grow several times over (Bloomberg).

STOCK EXCHANGE

Angola may list parts of its state-run oil company, Sonangol SA, in 2012. Sonangol is considering listing units in Johannesburg and New York, as well as in Luanda once the exchange opens, he said (Bloomberg).

PORTS

At least USD 3.2 million were invested throughout the year 2009 in the rehabilitation of the Port of the southwest Namibe Province, thus enabling the reclassification and improvement of the first 240 metres of the wharf (ANGOP).

AIRPORTS

Over 500,000 passangers will travel every year through the newly inaugurated Mukanka International airport, in Lubango, southern Huila province, against the 120,000 handled by the old airport, according to Angolan Transport minister, Augusto da Silva Tomás (ANGOP).

INVESTMENTS

Sab Miller Angola plans to invest US$120 million in a tin can factory that is due to start operating in October, 2010, in Viana municipality, Luanda province (Macauhub).

Portuguese construction company Mota-Engil said Wednesday it planned to invest, in 2010, in the construction of a factory to manufacture nails and electro-soldered mesh in Benguela, Angola (Macauhub).

BANKING

Net profits in Angola’s banking sector posted growth of 98 percent in 2008, according to an annual study by KPMG about the banking sector in Angola (Macauhub).

Cape Verde news update, January 3rd

In Cape Verde on January 3, 2010 at 1:42 pm

ECONOMY

Cape Verde is a “success story” as a country in Africa and in its relations with the European Union, according to affirmations made by the European Commission representative in Praia, Jospe Coll, in an interview with newspaper OJE and Portuguese news agency Lusa. The EU official says that the country offers “new cooperation opportunities” to its foreign partners (A Semana).

The Minister of the Presidency and cabinet spokeswoman Janira Hopffer Almada announced last week that the government will carry out a gradual reduction in customs tariffs between now and 2018, a commitment made when Cape Verde joined the World Trade Organization. This reduction “will benefit purchasing power and improve the business environment.” (A Semana)

Cape Verde is among the most sought-after New Year’s tourist destinations for Europeans this year. A number of tourist companies and travel agencies saw their vacation packages to the country sell out for the Reveillon (A Semana).

ENERGY

The islands of Santiago and Sal will see their electricity production capacities reinforced beginning next summer. The guarantee was given by Minister of the Economy, Growth and Competitiveness Fátima Fialho during the ceremony for the signing of two contracts with a Portuguese company for the purchase, installation and maintenance of two diesel potential reinforcements intended to give “greater electricity potential” to the two islands. The two mobile generators can also be taken to other islands when they are no longer needed on Sal and Santiago (A Semana).

REAL ESTATE

Real-estate company Tecnicil has gone to the Cape Verde Stick Exchange to issue future bonds in order to finance its Vila Verde Resort real-estate project. The company has issued more than one million ordinary bonds at a nominal worth of 1,000 escudos each, for a total of 1,102,650,000 escudos in bonds at a fixed interest rate of 7.5% (A Semana).

Not long ago, the Cape Verde islands were billed as the new Caribbean. With endless beaches, guaranteed sunshine, engaging people and only a five-hour flight from the UK, this archipelago 300 miles off West Africa was full of promise for holidaymakers and investors. So, what’s happening now? Read the report in the Daily Mail.

TRANSPORT

The hydrofoil Marine Princess remains docked at Praia sea port with no date in sight for the resumption of business. After news indicating that the vessel was paralyzed due to the departure of its captain, several A Semana Online sources have revealed additional problems that have combined to keep the embarkation from going out to sea. This is the second time the Marine Princess has been forced to lay idle in the short time it has been operating in Cape Verde, thus dashing expectations that it would help resolve the problematic issue of connections among the country’s southern islands (A Semana).