Tuesday, August 30, 2011

China scooping up Congo's minerals

From StrategyPage

August 16, 2011: Complaints from the Congo are growing about the U.S. legislation intended to stop illegal mineral sales. The Dodd-Frank bill (also called the Obama Law) has a clause that prohibits the sale of so-called conflict minerals may have been well-intentioned but it was not well-thought out. Rather than run the risk of buying any minerals that might have been smuggled from the Congo, many major mining companies are simply refusing to buy minerals from central Africa. The result is a de facto embargo. There are few buyers for Congo’s valuable minerals, especially tantalum and tungsten which have many hi-tech uses. This has damaged the Congo’s economy, because the nation relies on mineral exports. According to some sources, China, which does not have to meet Dodd-Frank standards, is snapping up many minerals at very cheap prices.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

FAO report on African land grabs

link

Large-scale acquisitions of farmland in Africa, Latin America, Central Asia and Southeast Asia have made headlines in a flurry of media reports across the world. Yet international land deals and their impacts still remain little understood. This report is a step towards filling this gap. The outcome of a collaboration between IIED, FAO and IFAD, the report discusses key trends and drivers in land acquisitions, the contractual arrangements underpinning them and the way these are negotiated, and the early impacts on land access for rural people in recipient countries – with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa.


India to invest in African land

From Oryza:

Africa’s “land grab” continues with India agribusiness set to spend $2.5 billion to buy or rent land for decades in Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Uganda to grow palm oil, maize, cotton, rice, and vegetables, mostly for the domestic Indian market and global markets under several deals being discussed. Some land is being offered for decade-long leases at just $1.50 per hectare or about 60 cents per acre. Investors point out that east Africa has as much arable land as all of India...


The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), a division of the UN, notes that “new international players, including the governments and some companies of the Gulf States, China, Libya, India and South Korea, have begun to acquire land, partly in response to the 2007-08 price spike in commodities.” FAO reports that at least 60 million hectares of land in Africa has been bought or leased for up to 100 years. There are also large land deals taking place in South America.

Many of these land purchase and lease agreements have been criticized for their lack of transparency and further consolidation of food production and processing.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Simon Muguru has died

from Al Jezeerah:


General Solomon Mujuru, a former Zimbabwean military chief and guerrilla leader in the country's independence war, has died in a fire at one of his homes, Zimbabwe's army commander said on Tuesday.


his wife, of course, is the VP, and like others in Mugabe's circle, he got rich

After his retirement, Mujuru acquired an empire of farms, properties, mines and other interests that made him one of wealthiest and most influential figures in the top echelons of Mugabe's party and its policymaking politburo.

if this happened in the Philippines, we would assume it was an assassination by a political rival, but Zimbabwe, despite all the violence, doesn't have that level of political assassinations.

peace be to his soul, and prayers for his family.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Plutocracy in Nigeria

Mugabe is an ideologue and lets his minions steal stuff, but he is minor league compared to Nigeria.

From StrategyPage

In the Niger Delta, fifty years of oil production has left millions of barrels of oil spilled into the local waterways and, increasingly, in the drinking water. Most of this leakage was the result of oil theft (tapping into pipelines, and stealing some of what gushed out, leaving the rest to flow into the waterways of the delta). Most of the oil revenue has been stolen by corrupt government officials, leaving very little to pay for over a decade of cleanup efforts (which will apparently never ha
ppen.)
 
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