Africa News blog
African business, politics and lifestyle
That old Africa oil chestnut is being discussed again: is it a blessing or a curse?
When it comes to Uganda, nobody really knows which way to bet yet and its people often shrug their shoulders when asked what impact it will have.
One reason for that, and a cause of concern for some, is the secrecy surrounding the deals the government has struck with the foreign firms in the country and a lack of transparency around much of the planning ahead of production next year.
The Pearl of Africa discovered oil reserves, now estimated by some to be 2.5 million barrel’s worth, in its Albertine rift basin near Democratic Republic of Congo in 2006.
Back in1978, Sudanese statesman Abel Alier decided he had had enough of negotiating with troublesome locals over a controversial development project. Exasperated at the endless obstacles, he vowed to force it through without an agreement.
“If we have to drive our people to paradise with sticks we will do so for their own good and the good of those who come after us,” he infamously said.
It was a just another seminar on transparency in the oil sector. Seemingly banal.
But this was being held in Khartoum, involving live debates between northern and southern Sudanese officials, a minerals watchdog and the international media, who were allowed free access to publicly grill those who administer what has for years been an incredibly opaque oil industry.
from Global Investing:
It has debt levels to die for and huge amounts of oil, but economically it's lagging and political concerns remain. Speakers at a Libyan trade and investment forum this week saw the North African country as a mixed bag.
Robert Tashima, an editor for Oxford Business Group, highlighted the country's "elephantine" levels of FX reserves, and the privatisation of 80 companies so far, with telecoms and steel sales slated for this year.
What’s in a name? An entire cultural and national identity if you are from Sudan’s oil-producing south.
The region of southern Sudan is now less than seven months away from a referendum on whether it should split away to form Africa’s newest country.
One of the few positives of Sudan’s elections, dubbed to be the first open vote in 24 years but marred by opposition boycotts and accusations of fraud, was a tiny opening of democratic freedom in Africa’s largest country.
Direct press censorship was lifted from Sudan’s papers and opposition politicians were given an albeit limited platform to address the population through state media.
Nigerian, Kenyan and South African banks have been making forays into the rest of the continent in search of growth so it was interesting to see Angola’s biggest bank opening an office in Johannesburg this month.
Banco Africano de Investimentos, Angola’s biggest bank by deposits, sees the office as a launchpad for ventures further afield in the southern African region as well as in business between Angola and South Africa.
Angola’s banking sector has enjoyed huge growth since the country emerged from a three-decade long civil war in 2002 as one of the world’s fastest growing economies thanks to booming oil production and high oil prices.
In a shock unilateral announcement, the leading south Sudanese party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), withdrew its presidential candidate, Yasir Arman, and said it would also boycott elections on all levels in Darfur.
It paved the way for incumbent President Omar Hassan al-Bashir to win the April 11-18 polls. Arman was viewed as his main challenger, with much of south Sudan’s support – about 25 percent of the 16-million strong electorate.
With a democratic touch rare in a region better known for dictators, Ghana is asking its citizens what it should do with the windfall from oil production due to start later this year.
In a questionnaire entitled “The Use and Management of Oil and Gas Revenues – A Survey of Public Choices” posted on the finance ministry website this week, Ghana says oil-producer nations face three major questions:
Confusion over the names of two similar-sounding African countries may have helped boosted oil prices to near $80 a barrel this week as traders rushed to buy oil after reports of a military coup.
A Reuters reporter received a flustered phone call from a hedge fund partner who had heard animated discussion in the market about an incident in Nigeria, only to realise that traders had muddled up Africa’s biggest oil producer with its neighbour Niger.