The Norwegian seismic research vessel WESTERN NEPTUNE (8,369-gt, built 1999) was in Cape Town this month when she berthed on No.2 Jetty at the V&A Waterfront, providing
quite a tourist attraction in the process. Picture by Aad Noorland
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SPECIAL REPORT: AFRICA’S WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY
Since Africa was partitioned by the European powers in the mid 1880s, the continent has been systematically exploited for the benefit of others, its fertile land left
under-cultivated, its rich cultures destroyed, and its brain power ‘drained’ to other parts of the world,” said Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba at the recent
African Renaissance Conference held in Durban.
For Africa to now break the shackles of the past it will require turning over new leaves, and working out new concepts by destroying all colonial concepts and practices, he
“We must proceed from the premise that Africa is one continent; that the people of Africa are one people and therefore their unity is paramount to the pursuit of her
Colonialism was predicated on this geographic partition of Africa and the pursuit of “divide-and-rule”. It created not only vulnerable societies and nation-states, but also
left a legacy of a divided continent even long after its political demise.
“As a result of this legacy, intra-African trade only totals 10% whereas intra-European trade totals 80%. What this tale tells is that Africans are not trading with one
another, largely because of the absence or lack of infrastructure networks, persistent colonial ties and over-reliance on commodity exports.
“This latter point has for centuries made Africa a target for the global scramble, which is still true today. What it means is that African countries have nothing with which
to trade with each other.”
The minister said that African economic integration and the role of infrastructure development on the continent is an important strategic priority for South Africa. “It is
not only an economic imperative, but also a political imperative that would constitute the ultimate negation of the colonisation project.”
He said that the process of economic and political integration on the basis of infrastructure development must be led by the Africans themselves, for their own benefit.
“It is not that we think or should think that the West has no role in this obviously mammoth endeavour, but it is that we believe that those keen still on plundering our
continent, who were responsible for the situation we currently find ourselves in, do not possess the generosity of spirit or even the will to help us solve our problems, or
to solve those problems for us, even though they possess the material wherewithal to do so.
“As a medium-sized economy, South Africa is at a structural disadvantage in building our industrial base given our remoteness from major global markets. This hinders our
ability to invest in adequate economies of scale, realise technology learning curves and build robust clusters that are the backbone to a competitive industrial economy.
“However, in relation to the African market, South Africa has a locational advantage, and hence by failing to foster high levels of economic cooperation and integration in
Africa, we are effectively imposing limits on the growth of the South African economy.”
Gigaba pointed out that South Africa’s future, and her future prosperity, is intricately linked with and dependent upon that of the rest of the African continent. The
problems anywhere in Africa are felt immediately on the skins of South Africans, he said.
“Accordingly, we should similarly be of the same attitude of mind that prosperity anywhere in Africa will be immediately felt on the skins of South Africans. After all, most
tourists in South Africa are from Africa.”
This report continues below… Africa’s true size in perspective, not always known by those outside the continent
Africa’s Need for Infrastructure
Turning to the need for infrastructure throughout Africa, the minister said that infrastructure was a key enabler of trade and economic integration. “Logistics
infrastructure enables the efficient movement of goods; telecommunications enables commercial activity whilst an integrated energy grid enhances security of power supply for
He said infrastructure, such as electricity and water supply, telecommunications and the logistics network were both sources and enablers of economic activity. As key
enablers of activity, infrastructure investments tend to require relatively large amounts of up-front capital that will only be repaid over the usually long life-time of the
“But, when all is said and done, the private sector driven approach has not been successful in attracting a critical mass of infrastructure investment in Africa. On the
other hand, the rapid existing and planned growth of the Chinese economy has both created a significant demand for commodities as well as large surpluses that need to be
invested abroad, and the Chinese need new markets abroad for their products.
“In this regard, Africa has been identified by Beijing as a strategic source to meet this resource and new market requirements and, consequently, Chinese engagement in
Africa has increased dramatically over the last decade. However, the Chinese engagement has been accompanied by an accelerated process of infrastructure investment, albeit
with the challenges and dynamics of its own.
Yet, while we must not contribute to the China phobia we hear all around us, we must not be romantic about the nature of Chinese involvement in Africa. Our engagement with
the China challenge must be driven by neither anxiety nor infantile exuberance.
“First and foremost, China is involved in Africa to further its own national interest. Whilst Chinese pragmatism has certainly enabled infrastructure and broader investment
in a range of African countries, the lack of institutional pre-conditions to such projects has often resulted in negligible local skills, technology and business
development. In many instances, the Chinese have brought in their own skills and workers to construct the infrastructure.”
He said that what is clear is that South Africa needs to develop a strategy for engaging, if not partnering, China in Africa.
“International relations are based on power and interest and it would thus be foolhardy and naïve to suggest that China has any intention of being Africa’s saviour.
Consequently, there is a window of opportunity that we need to grasp with some urgency, particularly utilising South Africa’s membership of Brazil, Russia, India, China and
South Africa (BRICS) as leverage both for Africa and ourselves.
The minister said that South Africa needed to envisage the possibility of South African State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) playing a leading role in building partnerships with
key Chinese, Brazilian and Indian enterprises that are concerned with their long-term access to resources from Africa. These enterprises are essentially portals to access
the entire BRICS international development aid system.
“We can envision a public – public partnership between key South African and Chinese SOEs. What is critical though is to know what we want from and what value we are going
to deliver to these partnerships.
“We have to feel confident that these partnerships will add to the sustainability of infrastructure development in Africa which will require the development of institutional
and industrial capabilities in the countries where the infrastructure is built – this will require a long-term view.”
Gigaba added that the reality of the Chinese investments in Africa will force Western agencies to become more flexible, or face becoming irrelevant. “South Africa should not
limit its options, but seek to work with any agency that can contribute towards impacting on the Africa infrastructure challenge – but on terms that make sense both to South
Africa and our partner countries in Africa.”
The above is an abridged version of the minister’s speech given at the African Renaissance Conference in Durban earlier this month. For the full presentation go HERE. Use your BACK BUTTON to return to this page.
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SHIPS AND SHIPPING LINE NEWS
NYK naming ceremony for two LNG carriers for Angola
From the left, president & CEO Roh of Samsung Heavy Industries,
director and senior managing corporate officer and Mrs Kato of NYK, Mrs Kobayashi of Mitsui, Mrs and President Glendinning of Teekay Gas Services, Petroleum minister HE Jose
Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos of the Republic of Angola, and managing officer and COO Kobayashi of Mitsui
A naming ceremony has taken place in Korea for two LNG carriers being built for joint owners NYK LNG (Atlantic) Ltd (headquarters in London, UK), a wholly owned subsidiary
of NYK; Mitsui & Co Ltd; and Teekay Corporation (headquarters: Vancouver, Canada).
The ships are being chartered by Angola LNG Supply Services (ALSS with headquarters in Houston, USA) and will be used to ship the LNG produced by Angola LNG Ltd.
Mrs Kobayashi’s wife named one vessel SOYO, and the other vessel was named MALANJE by Mrs Glendinning before the ceremonial rope holding the vessels in place was cut by the
two women and Mrs Kato.
Soyo and Malanje are jointly owned by NYK LNG (Atlantic) (33%), Mitsui (34%), and Teekay (33%). Soyo will be completed by 30 August and Malanje by 30 September. The vessels
are the first and second of four sister vessels - the remaining two ships are currently under construction at Samsung’s Geoje Island shipyard. These four vessels will be
used for shipments of LNG from Angola to the global market under 20-year time charters.
Maersk bumps up Asia-South America rates
Maersk Line says it is including a general rate increase on freight from Asia to east coast South America at the rate of US$500 per TEU as from 1 September.
This will be followed by a hike in sea freight of $200 per 20ft and $400 per 40ft from the Indian subcontinent to the east coast of South America as from 15 September.
“To continue offering our broad portfolio of services and high level of reliability, it will be necessary for us to implement such rate increases,” said Maersk in its
COSCO increases Asia-South Africa rates
COSCO is the latest shipping line to announced freight rate increases between Asia and South Africa of $300 for 20ft and $600 per 40ft or or 40-foot high-cube container.
These take effect from 1 September.
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GOOD PERFORMANCE IMPROVEMENT AT DAR ES SALAAM
Dar es Salaam
There has been a marked improvement in performance from the port of Dar es Salaam since the Tanzanian government lifted the monopoly held by concession holder TICTS as the
sole operator of the port’s container terminal.
This was said in Dodoma by the Minister of Transport, Omari Nundu when he tabled his budget report for 2011/12.
Nundu said that the port handled 352,737 TEU during the 2010/11 financial year, compared with 304,155 TEU for the preceding year, a 16% improvement. This he attributed to
the opening of the port to other container terminal handlers. He said this had had the effect of attracting more customers, who came from the DRC, Zambia, Malawi, Burundi
According to the minister Dar es Salaam handled import and export cargo amounting to 2.441 million tonnes from Tanzania’s neighbouring countries, which was an increase from
the 2.332mt of the previous year, an increase of 4.7%.
He said the improvements hadn’t been restricted to container numbers but that more ships were now calling at Dar es Salaam. Whereas in the past the port could handle three
container ships at a time it was now handling five ships simultaneously.
Import container dwell time has also been reduced from 15 days in July 2010 down to 10 days by June 2011 and ship’s turn-around has also been reduced from an average of
eight days in June 2010 to 7.3 in June 2011.
Despite these improvements Dar es Salaam faces a number of challenges including that of draught requirement to allow for ships that require 12 metres alongside and a quay
length greater than 250 metres in length. The port currently has a draught restriction of 10.5m and a quay length of 240m per ship.
Nundu said there were plans to deepen the harbour and widen the port entrance. Tanzania Ports Authority would also be establishing offices in neighbouring countries to
market Dar es Salaam and attract more cargo. – source East African Business Week (Kampala)
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AFRICAN MINERALS UPS CAPACITY OF SIERRA LEONE’S TONKOLILI IRON ORE PROJECT
map courtesy IRIN
London-listed Africa-focused mining giant African Minerals Ltd has announced that the operating capacity of Tonkolili iron ore mine in Sierra Leone has increased from 12
tonnes per year to 15 million tonnes per year.
As a result, African Minerals has also revised its sales outlook; it now expects to sell 1.2 million mt of direct export ore this year, while next year it expects to sell 12
The costs of phase one of the Tonkolili project have also increased by $284 million from the originally announced $1.1 billion, of which $132 million will be used for
Additionally, African Minerals has announced that it has received credit committee approval for an approximate $90 million credit facility for equipment financing.
The first iron ore shipment from the mine is scheduled in the fourth quarter of the current year. To this end, Africa Minerals expects to launch its railway connection from
the mine by the end of September. Source Steel Orbis
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COASTWATCH: NEW PIRATE HIGHJACKING OFF BENIN
A new maritime security alert has been issued for waters off the coast of Benin after the products tanker EMOCEAN (12,228-dwt, built 2007) was hijacked late on 20 August
approximately 50 nautical miles off Cotonou.
All contact has been lost with the vessel, and its whereabouts are currently unknown. The vessel was reportedly involved in an STS (Ship to Ship) operation at the time of
the attack, but no further details are available.
Emocean is Swiss owned and managed.
The region has seen an increase in piracy attacks over recent months, and was recently designated a war risk zone by the Lloyd's Market Association. Operators should
exercise caution when anchoring in and transiting the area. Watch rotas, crew preparation and security planning are essential. - source GAC World
SOUTH AFRICAN ENTREPRENEURS SEEKING BUSINESS IN NACALA
Google eyeview of Nacala and the port
A group of South African entrepreneurs linked to the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) and the Business Foundation (NBF) have visited the Nacala Special
Economic Zone in Nampula, seeking investment opportunities in the area, the Maputo newspaper Noticias newspaper reports.
The 13-member group also inspected the Beluluane Industrial Park in Maputo province, a zone with an area of nearly 700 hectares and basic infrastructure to house light
The director general of the Office for Accelerated Development Economic Zones (GAZEDA), Danilo Nala, explained that while some of the entrepreneurs were already familiar
with Mozambique, for others it was their first contact with the country.
During the visit to the Nacala Special Economic Zone the South African entrepreneurs met with representatives of other companies investing in that region. They also visited
the Nacala port and installations of the Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht, which is in charge of rebuilding the Nacala International Airport.
A total of 37 investment projects for the Nacala zone were approved by the end of the first quarter of this year, for an investment volume of around US$383 million that will
create 7,500 jobs.
The Nacala Special Economic Zone was the first to be created in Mozambique in December 2007, in the districts of Nacala-Porto and Nacala-a-Velha. Companies situated in
Special Economic Zones are exempt from customs duties on the import of raw materials, equipment and other goods used to implement investment activities in those zones.
PICS OF THE DAY – KAPITAN GLAZACHEV
A conventional Russian freighter, the KAPITAN GLAZACHEV (10,133-gt, built 1977) coming down from Rotterdam and passing Hoek van Holland at some speed, is how this scene
is described. The ship is owned by Northern Shipping of Archangel. Pictures by Trevor Jones, who says he was a little surprised to see a boomed freighter on the
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