Friday, November 26, 2010

Sentula wins back R88m in court case against ex-exec Scharrighuisen

Sentula wins back R88m in court case against ex-exec Scharrighuisen

Africa And Corruption

Consultancy Africa Intelligence (CAI) is a South African-based research and strategy firm with a focus on social, health, political and economic trends and developments in Africa. CAI releases a wide range of African-focused discussion papers on a regular basis, produces various fortnightly and monthly subscription-based reports, and offers clients cutting-edge tailored research services to meet all African-related intelligence needs. For more information, see
Article by: Consultancy Africa Intelligence CAI
Corruption is a pervasive problem in both the developed and developing world. In recent years, the problem has gained much interest due primarily to a series of high level corruption cases in industrialised countries, an increasing awareness of the cost of corruption throughout the world and the practical and economic changes many countries are undergoing.(2) In Africa however, corruption is a development issue. In 2009, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Southern Africa Representative Jonathan Lucas labelled corruption as “a crime against development, democracy, education, prosperity, public health and justice - what many would consider the pillars of social well being."(3)

Transparency International’s (TI) 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), released in October 2010, identified Africa as the most corrupt region in the world.(4) Sub-Saharan Africa is also one of the most under-developed regions on earth.(5) While Governments commit large sums to addressing the plethora of problems hindering development on the continent, corruption remains a major obstacle to achieving much needed progress. It is therefore imperative that anti-corruption measures form part of Africa’s development agenda to ensure future growth and prosperity in the region.

Corruption is a complex issue with a vast array of determinants and effects that are often context and country specific. This discussion paper provides a concise overview of corruption in Africa and outlines how this corruption constrains development, with solutions to the problem also being briefly discussed.

Corruption is crippling development in Africa

The CPI report defines corruption as the abuse of entrusted power for private gain, in public and private sectors.(6) Countries are scored based on assessments of the prevalence of bribery of public officials, embezzlement of public funds, kickbacks in public procurement, and questions about the effectiveness of public anti-corruption efforts. According to the report, conduct within most African countries in these areas leaves much to be desired.

The Berlin-based group’s 2010 list ranks six African nations among the 10 most corrupt countries of the 173 surveyed. These are Sudan, Chad, Burundi, Angola and Equatorial Guinea, with Somalia heading the list as the most corrupt nation of all those surveyed. These six may be the worst culprits on the continent, but the majority of African countries surveyed did not fare any better. TI scores countries on a 10-point scale, with zero being the most corrupt. Forty-four of the 47 African nations surveyed scored less than five on the index, indicating serious levels of corruption. The severity of Africa’s corruption problem is further evidenced by the least corrupt African nation, Botswana, only achieving a score of 5.8.

The scientific nature of scales and scores may have little meaning to the people affected most by the corruption the figures indicate. An additional report published by TI in 2010, The Anti-Corruption Catalyst: Realising the MDGs by 2015, puts the affects of corruption in perspective.(7) A bribe demanded by a teacher to enrol a girl at a ‘free’ elementary school could irreversibly block that girl's education and future opportunities. A hike in the local cost of drugs by newly elected parliamentarians whose campaigns were supported by pharmaceutical firms might put treatment out of reach of sick people, leaving them unable to work and earn a living. Amounts paid as bribes are often quite small, but the implicit costs are great.

The Anti-Corruption Catalyst report shows, through the statistical analysis of data from 42 countries, that where more bribes are paid, there is a lower literacy rate among 15 to 24-year-olds. A rise in reported bribery is also associated with higher maternal deaths in 64 states, regardless of a country's wealth or how much it invests in health. Data for 51 countries shows that people's access to safe drinking water falls as bribery increases. According to TI, reducing bribery has the same effect on improving access to clean water as increasing household incomes.

The effects of bribery and kickbacks in the education, water and healthcare sectors represent the implicit costs of corruption. These incidents transform corruption into a “regressive tax” on services that the poor cannot afford, making basic services unattainable.(8) Thus, it is the poor and vulnerable who suffer most due to corruption as they are more reliant on Government services and public systems to satisfy their most basic needs. In addition to the bribes that are demanded of those who cannot afford them, corruption results in the deviation of funds intended for development and undermines Government’s ability to provide basic services. It also undermines the rule of law, feeding inequality and injustice, discouraging foreign investment, further impeding development.(9)

A lack of transparency, integrity and accountability is related to economic under-performance and fetters progress toward poverty eradication in many developing nations.(10) As the world’s most under-developed region, the barriers to development and poverty eradication that corruption imposes are costs sub-Saharan Africa can ill afford.

In addition to the implicit costs of corruption due to bribery, there are also hidden costs associated with corruption. The costs of a form of corruption termed “quiet corruption” by the World Bank, adversely affect the poor in particular. The World Bank’s Africa Development Indicators 2010 shows that civil servants' failure to deliver Government-run health, education or agricultural services, further jeopardises Africa’s long-term development.(11)

This form of corruption, smaller in monetary terms and not usually involving powerful officials or large amounts of money, is particularly harmful for the poor. One example of this type of low-level corruption comes from Burkina Faso, ranked 98th in 2010’s CPI with a score of 3.8.(12) RENLAC, the Burkina Faso anti-corruption network, identified a primary school inspector who used to arrange for teachers posted to rural areas to be transferred back to cities if they paid her small sums of money, thus depriving the rural poor of much needed teachers.(13)

Low-level corruption in the education sector is of course not unique to Burkina Faso. In many African countries, teachers at Government schools stay away from class or do not take up appointments in remote regions. The results of this behaviour has devastating long-term effects, as children who are denied a proper education because of absentee teachers will suffer low cognitive skills and associated problems in adulthood.(14) It is clear then that corruption in all its forms is a crime against development that blocks attempts at growth and poverty eradication. Corruption impacts most heavily on the poor and vulnerable members in society, but underdevelopment affects the future growth and prosperity of all people. Thus, fighting on behalf of the disempowered and ensuring Africa’s development means that the responsibility for dealing with corruption falls squarely on all, from Governments and donors to civil society and citizens.

Corruption is endemic in most African societies but is worst in countries where:

• institutions such as the legislature and judiciary are weak;
• the rule of law is not strictly enforced;
• political patronage is the norm;
• the independence and professionalism of the public and private sectors have been eroded; and
• civil society lacks the means to hold perpetrators to account.(15)

These features may characterise many African nations, but the problem of corruption can nevertheless be addressed through the combined efforts of individuals in all spheres of society.

In order to eradicate the negative effects of corruption on development, TI calls on all Governments, donors and non-Governmental organisations to adopt anti-corruption measures in all their development strategies.(16) In particular, the anti-graft organisation suggests that the first step in solving the problem is for Governments to implement the 2003 United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), ratified by 145 countries. UNCAC, which came into force on 14 December 2005, became the first legally binding, global anti-corruption agreement representing a significant achievement in the fight against corruption.(17)

The convention takes a holistic approach and includes a comprehensive array of anti-corruption strategies ranging from good governance and structural reform to the participation of civil society. Its four pillars - prevention, criminalisation, asset recovery and international co-operation serve to promote open, honest and efficient decision-making, fair competition and ethical procurement systems, supporting effective Government development strategies.(18)

TI also urges donors to be transparent to allow for greater public oversight of where and how their money is spent. This will help citizens to hold Governments receiving donor funds to account. TI further suggests that transparency can be improved by the regular publication of information on how governance and anti-corruption efforts are being implemented to achieve progress on the Millennium Development Goals. Transparency initiatives could also include national-level access to information laws, information campaigns on citizens' rights, and joining international initiatives to publish information on particular sectors, such as natural resource revenues.

Governments must include anti-corruption measures in their development strategies if progress is to be made in this field. However, Government action will not be enough. Key to fighting corruption is the inclusion of the private sector in the implementation of anti-corruption strategies. If the fight against corruption is to make any progress, the private sector cannot leave all the work to Government. Businesses must actively seek to eliminate corruption within their ranks, by keeping bribery out of the tendering and procurement processes and eliminating extortion, in accordance with the 10th principle of the UN Global Compact of universally accepted principles regarding human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.(19)

Public opinion must support anti-corruption strategies to be a major force in creating an environment in which corruption is not accepted or condoned. Too often in the past, corruption has been seen as a fact of life with corruption cases rarely being reported. Mechanisms must be put in place for citizens to hold authorities to account on matters of corruption. Furthermore, knowledge will empower communities to become part of the solution to the problem rather than the victims of corruption. According to TI, accountability on development progress can also be promoted through measures to increase the involvement of community members, including women and other vulnerable groups, in decision-making processes and monitoring Government pledges and aid projects.(20) The organisation suggests that tools like shadow reports and scorecards can be used to rate Governments against their commitments.

Concluding remarks

Worldwide corruption is a serious problem that weakens societies, ruins lives, and impedes development. As one of the world’s most corrupt regions, it is vital that Africa tackles the problem with increased vigour. Effectively addressing corruption on the continent must become a development imperative as African countries cannot bear the costs of corruption.

As ever, it is the poor and marginalised who suffer most from corruption, but as a threat to the development of the region, fighting corruption becomes the shared responsibility of every African. In addition to anti-corruption measures being made an integral part all development strategies at the State level, the private sector and civil society must assist Government in fighting the scourge. Only then will Africa be able to achieve the development, growth and prosperity required for the continent to reach its full potential.

Written by: Claire Furphy(1)

(1) Contact Claire Furphy through Consultancy Africa Intelligence's Eyes on Africa Unit (
(2) Lawal, G., Corruption and development in Africa: challenges for political and economic change, Humanity and Social Sciences Journal, 2(1), p.p 1-7, 2007.
(3) Sholain Govender-Bateman, ‘Corruption Africa: A crime against development’, Inter Press Services, 9 December 2009,
(4) Transparency International, Corruption Perceptions Index, Transparency International,
(5) United Nations, The Millennium Development Goals Report, New York: United Nations,
(6) Transparency International, Corruption Perceptions Index, Transparency International,
(7) Transparency International, The anti-corruption catalyst: realising the MDGs by 2015, Transparency International,
(8) Ibid.
(9) United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), United Nations convention against corruption 2004, New York: United Nations,
(10) Transparency International, The anti-corruption catalyst: realising the MDGs by 2015, Transparency International,
(11) African Development Bank, Africa development indicators 2010, Washington: The World Bank,
(12) Transparency International, Corruption Perceptions Index, Transparency International,
(13) George Fominyen, ‘African development hindered by "quiet corruption"- World Bank’, Reuters AlertNet, 15 March 2010,
(14) African Development Bank, Africa development indicators 2010, Washington: The World Bank,
(15) Lawal, G., Corruption and development in Africa: challenges for political and economic change, Humanity and Social Sciences Journal, 2(1), pp. 1-7, 2007.
(16) Transparency International, The anti-corruption catalyst: realising the MDGs by 2015, Transparency International,
(17) United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, United Nations convention against corruption 2004, New York: United Nations,
(18) Ibid.
(19) United Nations Global Compact Office, Corporate citizenship in the world economy: the UN Global Compact 2008, New York: United Nations,
(20) Transparency International, The anti-corruption catalyst: Realising the MDGs by 2015, Transparency International,

Eyewitness News: Former Fidentia boss is broke - Lawyer

Eyewitness News: Former Fidentia boss is broke - Lawyer

One in three South African men admit to rape, survey finds | World news | The Guardian

One in three South African men admit to rape, survey finds | World news | The Guardian

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

South Africa's $2,5T minerals offer 90-year horizon – Abedian

South Africa's $2,5T minerals offer 90-year horizon – Abedian

South Africa's Rocket Man Elon Musk Scores A Historical First!

FAA Awards SpaceX First Ever Commercial License to Re-Enter Spacecraft from Orbit
Hawthorne, CA – Since the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Office of Commercial Space Transportation was created in 1984, it has issued licenses for more than 200 launches. 
On Monday, November 22nd, the FAA made SpaceX the first-ever commercial company to receive a license to re-enter a spacecraft from orbit.
Next month, SpaceX is planning to launch its Dragon spacecraft into low-Earth orbit atop a Falcon 9 rocket.  The Dragon capsule is expected to orbit the Earth at speeds greater than 17,000 miles per hour, reenter the Earth’s atmosphere, and land in the Pacific Ocean a few hours later. 
This will be the first attempt by a commercial company to recover a spacecraft reentering from low-Earth orbit.  It is a feat performed by only 6 nations or governmental agencies: the United States, Russia, China, Japan, India, and the European Space Agency.
It is also the first flight under NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program to develop commercial supply services to the International Space Station and encourage the growth of the commercial space industry.  After the Space Shuttle retires, SpaceX will make at least 12 flights to carry cargo to and from the International Space Station as part of a Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract for NASA.  The Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft were designed to one day carry astronauts; both the COTS and CRS missions will yield valuable flight experience towards this goal. 
The license is valid for 1 year from the date of issue.
About SpaceX
SpaceX is developing a family of launch vehicles and spacecraft that will increase reliability and performance of space transportation, while ultimately reducing costs by a factor of ten.  With the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 rockets, SpaceX has a diverse manifest of launches to deliver commercial satellites to orbit.  After the Space Shuttle retires, the Falcon 9 and SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft will start carrying cargo, including live plants and animals, to and from the International Space Station for NASA.  Falcon 9 and Dragon were developed to one day carry astronauts.
Founded in 2002, SpaceX is a private company owned by management and employees, with minority investments from Founders Fund, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Valor Equity Partners.  The company has over 1,100 employees in California, Texas and Florida.  For more information, and to watch the video of the first Falcon 9 launch, visit the SpaceX website at

Somalis on trial in Germany's first modern piracy case

Somalis on trial in Germany's first modern piracy case

Building cars and the difference a continent makes

Building cars and the difference a continent makes

GM restructures its African operations

GM restructures its African operations

China and Botswana sign economic, energy deals

China and Botswana sign economic, energy deals

Monday, November 22, 2010

British Mercenaries To Take On Pirates In Somalia

The Nation (Nairobi)

Somalia: British Mercenaries to Take On Pirates

Paul Redfern
21 November 2010

Nairobi — British mercenaries could be used in the fight against Somali pirates.
According to secret documents revealed yesterday, the plan has the approval of the UK government's Foreign Office.
The Daily Telegraph said that senior Foreign Office officials had held detailed discussions with a UK security firm employing former members of the elite Special Boat Service (SBS) about setting up and running the operation.
The plan would involve the former SBS soldiers training Somalis to take on the pirates along the Somalia coast but could also see them in action on Somali territory.
The Daily Telegraph said the proposal not only had the approval of the UK Foreign Office but also the transitional government in Mogadishu.
The report said that the ex-SBS men will act as 'mentors' to Somali troops on patrols going into action in armed encounters with the gangs.

"The plan is particularly sensitive because previous attempts to train Somali military recruits have seen them swap sides and join the pirates or Islamic insurgents, taking their weapons and equipment with them," the report says.
It adds: "Operating in fast boats capable of outrunning the pirates' converted fishing vessels, the plan is to retake the coastline and prevent the pirates from putting to sea or returning to shore with kidnap victims."
The initiative also reflects growing western government frustration with the escalating pirate menace and the cost -- in terms of naval protection and ransom payments.
But aid officials and seafarers unions say only dealing with poverty and insecurity in Somalia can solve the problem.

A Tribute To South Africa's Boers


"Give me 20 divisions American soldiers and I will breach Europe. Give me 15 consisting of Englishmen, and I will advance to the borders of Berlin. Give me two divisions of those marvelous fighting Boers (Meaning Farmer, originating from the Boer War) and I will remove Germany from the face of the earth."
Field Marshal Bernard L. Montgomery, Commander of the Allied forces during WWII.

"The Americans fight for a free world, the English mostly for honour and glory and medals, the French and Canadians decide too late that they have to participate. The Italians are too scared to fight; the Russians have no choice. The Germans for the Fatherland. The Boers? Those sons of bitches fight for the hell of it."
American General, George "Guts and Glory" Patton

"Take a community of Dutchmen of the type of those who defended themselves for fifty years against all the power of Spain at a time when Spain was the greatest power in the world. Intermix with them a strain of those inflexible French Huguenots, who gave up their name and left their country forever at the time of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. The product must obviously be one of the most rugged, virile, unconquerable races ever seen upon the face of the earth. Take these formidable people and train them for seven generations in constant warfare against savage men and ferocious beasts, in circumstances in which no weakling could survive; place them so that they acquire skill with weapons and in horsemanship, give them a country which is eminently suited to the tactics of the huntsman, the marksman and the rider. Then, finally, put a fine temper upon their military qualities by a dour fatalistic Old Testament religion and an ardent and consuming patriotism. Combine all these qualities and all these impulses in one individual and you have the modern Boer."
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

 Some notable comments by great men who, at the time, were witness to South African fighting abilities. They may have classed us all as “boers” but many were us loyal folk with English and other backgrounds brought up with similar values and patriotism.
Funny that folk who fought against us in the recent past also classed us all as “boers”.
 One wishes that everyone would learn that it would be better to unite with rather than fight against us “boers”.

Mmmm not sure with that comment, and I think there are two issues (or even more) here. You can read them, as I have written them in that I think we should all talk all the SA languages, or at least make an effort.
The first issue is English versus Afrikaans.
Amongst South Africans there is still some division as far as I can see, which originates back to the discovery of wealth in the earth. The English sent in troops, and that is when all the shit started. The Dutch never officially sent  in an army to take control of South Africa (but did in the Dutch East Indies), but I think that in that time period many established countries were trying to expand to get raw materials  etc. Colonialism was  big in Africa. Somehow the English and Afrikaans speaking groups today still like to stick to their cultures, but when the Boks (through the Dutchmen he he) win the rugby, it unites these groups, and you hear Afrikaans expressions coming out of English speaking mouths? So I find it ..........(comments in green) puzzling to read that the English South Africans do not really mind being grouped under Boers? I also hold the belief that these groups should unite, as you are now South African!
The second issue concerns the fighting! The dutch had to fight for their lives against the Spanish during the 80 year war. In South Africa the dutch had to fight again because of British Imperial expansion. The British army was sent here to take control, and their soldiers were paid to do this. IOW their heart was never in it! It was out of shear belief, fear and necessity that the dutch input was that more intense when, with the little material that they had, could hold off many organized army units.
This last comment (One wishes that everyone would learn that it would be better to unite with rather than fight against us “boers”.) is dangerous as it can lead to an extended period of friction.

Back ground:
The Spanish waged an eighty year war against the dutch to force catholicism down their throats. The protestants held them off (geuzen), or fled from them. This is why the south is catholic (who were converted or burned at  the stakes), and the north are protestant.
In SA the dutch came off the ships which traded spice (VOC)etc. from the Dutch East Indies, and used the Cape as a refreshing station. The Cape started with farming communities, on land that was taken??? However with the arrival of the English they trekked away from the Cape as it started to get ugly.  The scenario is basically the same as with the oil rich nations, where armies are engaged for so called democratic reasons, but are nothing more than establishing political influence by appointing their puppets in order to get to the wealth. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

BRIC's Role In Africa's Economic And Infastructural Development

Article by: Consultancy Africa Intelligence CAI
The lack of physical infrastructure in Africa is said to be the largest obstacle to the continent's global integration. The shortage of industrialisation and diversification in trade and business has in turn greatly disadvantaged Africa's ability to become regionally, as well as internationally connected. While the solution to this dilemma is making Africa more competitive, the issue of the continent's poor infrastructure must first be addressed. Up to now, many African Governments and multilateral agencies have begun allocating larger amounts of capital in an attempt to upgrade infrastructure areas, while private investment has allowed the continent to build stable foundations upon which clear commercial objectives can be created.

However, despite the growing optimism of a burgeoning African market, there still remains a large vacuum in significant funding. While it is clear that new sources of infrastructure funding and skills are needed for Africa to raise its economic standard, estimates have highlighted that the continent requires an additional US$ 31 billion each year to meet its basic infrastructure concerns, and finding that financial well has proven to be problematic.(2) Similarly, Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) are facing similar internal challenges, but have also over time accumulated enough experience that can be implemented in Africa. As a result, the BRIC's have engaged ambitiously in supporting the development of infrastructure in Africa that has brought about a reprioritisation on the continent, which will hopefully in time see these emerging economies integrate themselves in the international economic arena. This discussion paper will briefly examine Africa's infrastructural challenges and then identify the role of BRIC in assisting the continent with its economic development.

The depth of Africa's infrastructure crisis

The weakness of Africa's infrastructure is notorious, most notably in the power sector. The continent's unreliable power supply has created losses of industrial production valued at 6% of turnover and has, as a whole, reduced per capita growth by 0.11 percentage points (PPS) over the last few decades. Similarly, Africa's transport system has failed to meet growing demands. The inadequate supply of railways and paved roads have not only led to bottlenecks, but have also created an unreliable and dangerous trading system, leaving prospective businesses at the mercy of unsafe trade routes. Current figures show that Africa has the highest transport costs in the world, almost double in relation to the international average. Landlocked countries, of which Africa has sixteen, face even greater constraints, paying up to 50% more on transport costs than what coastal countries do.(3)

Public services such as water and sanitation that meet international standards have also created challenges for Governments across the continent, while corruption and inadequate border-control systems have eroded competition and generated unforeseen costs in doing business. In 1980, Africa's share of world trade stood at 5%, whereas BRIC's only stood at 3.5%. As the body began to build upon experience and diverge into infrastructure, 2010 figures have shown that Africa's share is now only 3.2% and BRIC's share is 15%. Similarly, BRIC's power consumption per capita is twice as high as Africa's and its road density is five times larger, thus halving logistics costs in relation to Africa's.(4)

BRIC's Engagement in Africa

Given the depth of the deficit, it is not surprising that an immense capital outlay is needed in order for Africa to enhance its connectivity through improved transport networks and reliable power sources. When private and public funding sources are combined, it is estimated that Africa is currently able to generate US$ 72 billion each year in infrastructure funding; however, it is unable to acquire the remaining US$ 31 billion. Here, at the base of BRIC's relationship with Africa is where that deficit is thought to be found. The BRIC's are adopting visibly softer approaches to their bilateral relations with Africa, playing on the South-South linkage and thus slowly reversing Africa's marginalisation in trade and investment.

Brazil has attempted to gain greater access to the continent's natural resources, foster South-South relations and create new avenues for the increase of its largely agro-based commercial offering. The development of Africa's infrastructure in relation to Brazil has immediately centred itself on natural resource extraction. In May 2010, Brazil pledged to support infrastructure development in the East African Community (EAC) and included energy, railways, environment construction and agriculture as areas of interest.

Russian trade in Africa stood at US$ 8 billion in 2008 and 2009, motivated by economic incentives, private capital and an improved domestic macroeconomic status. Currently, Russia is the fourteenth largest outward global investor with a foreign direct investment (FDI) stock of almost US$ 400 billion.(5) While it has not shown a dramatic interest in Africa, observers have predicted that this will change over the next few years, most notably in transport-related infrastructure and mining.

With regards to India, infrastructure-related investments have only played an auxiliary role in India's emergence in Africa. While the country is planning to invest US$ 1.5 trillion in its own infrastructure, it can be said that certain synergies are emerging within India-Africa relations. The World Bank has estimated that Indian infrastructure deals in Africa averaged US$ 500 million per year between 2003 and 2007, the majority of which was channelled through India Exim Bank, which extends lines of credit (LOCs) to African Governments and regional institutions for infrastructure purposes.(6) As of 1 September 2010, almost two-thirds of India Exim Bank's total operative LOC's were in resource-rich African countries.

On average, China's infrastructure investments in Africa have primarily served two core purposes. Firstly, investing in Africa's infrastructure has allowed China to unlock natural resources and secondly, Africa has provided an outlet for excess engineering, construction and mechanical equipment capacity. China is the leading player in the BRIC grouping, and between 2003 and 2007, it allocated US$ 16 billion to sub-Saharan Africa, compared to the US$ 2 billion from the World Bank.(7) Between 2001 and 2007, China increased its overall infrastructure spending in Africa by 48%. In total, thirty-five African countries have received or are currently in the process of receiving Chinese financing for infrastructure projects.

Putting Africa on the map of global competitiveness

Given the importance of upgrading Africa's infrastructure, new and innovative avenues of finance, expertise and cooperation are imperative. China has given Africa priceless assistance, which is sure to only intensify, along with that of Russia, India and Brazil. Infrastructure firms in the BRIC's have been given important shares of fiscal support during the economic recession, which has allowed them to remain competitive in the face of noteworthy antagonism. As a result, these firms have sought new opportunities for economic gain, of which African economies will form a core element in this global strategy. Indeed, this BRIC-Africa relationship will allow the development of a closer and resourceful relationship to emerge, thus interlinking Africa to the competitive global market.

Written by: Daniela Kirkby(1)

(1) Contact Daniela Kirkby through Consultancy Africa Intelligence's Eyes on Africa Unit ( 
(2) Simon Freemantle and Jeremy Stevens, ‘BRIC and Africa', Standard Bank Group Economics Research, 15 October 2010
(3) Vivien Foster and Cecilia BriceƱo-Garmendia, ‘Africa's Infrastructure: A time for Transformation', 2010,
(4) Simon Freemantle and Jeremy Stevens, ‘BRIC and Africa', Standard Bank Group Economics Research, 15 October 2010
(5) Ibid.
(6) Renu Modi and Seema Shekhawat, ‘Indian and Chinese Investment in Africa - From no alternative to many alternatives', Issue 456, Pambazuka News, 5 November 2009, 
(7) Simon Freemantle and Jeremy Stevens, ‘BRIC and Africa', Standard Bank Group Economics Research, 15 October 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

African Infastructure-The Next Big Move For Chinese FIrms

Africa infrastructure next big move for China firms
By: Reuters
17th November 2010 
Text Smaller Disabled Text Bigger
The construction of transportation and power infrastructure across Africa could provide the next big opportunity for Chinese firms aiming to invest in the continent, a senior executive with South Africa's Standard Bank told Reuters.
Speaking on the sidelines of a mining conference, Andrew King, the bank's Asia chief executive, said the big advantage Chinese developers have over their Western counterparts is the Chinese firms' access to financing from government policy banks.
"If big mining is going to take place in Africa, it's going to require significant investment in infrastructure -- in ports, railways, roads and power," he said.
"For many of the contractors in China, it is going to be a great opportunity -- a lot of companies from Europe or Brazil could do it, but (Chinese firms) have the ability to provide funding through the policy banks."
The World Bank said in a report earlier this year that Africa had to fill an investment gap of $31 billion per year if it was to build the infrastructure it required.
Companies like the China Railway Construction Corp and China Harbour Engineering are already looking at opportunities across Africa, King noted.
China Railway signed a memorandum of understanding earlier this year with Standard Bank to cooperate on funding rail and infrastructure projects in Africa.
The bank also has an agreement with the China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corp to cooperate on nuclear projects in South Africa.
China has come under increasing scrutiny as it strengthens its presence in Africa, with many concerned that Chinese enterprises are only interested in shipping the continent's raw materials back to China, but King said the worries are exaggerated.
"One of the things that has struck me is that there have been a lot of MOUs signed about securing resources, but if you had to do an analysis of MOUs signed versus execution -- deals done, projects built -- I think the correlation is very low. I don't think it is nearly as big an issue as people make it out to be."
Many of the problems arise from misunderstandings, he added.
"The challenges for mining companies is they are not used to going offshore. It's new for them. In China they know what needs to be done, what the rules are, but if they go into these new jurisdictions they need a lot of time understanding local rules and what these countries are looking for."
The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China sought "a window into Africa" by buying a 20 percent stake in Standard Bank, and the agreement has already given the South African lender a bigger profile in China itself, King said.
But Standard Bank chief executive Jacko Maree told Reuters in September that he was "disappointed" by the failure to convert the partnership into concrete deals.
King agreed that progress has been slow so far.
"Building relationships in China is a long-term endeavour -- it doesn't happen overnight," he said.
"Our focus is cross-border transactions -- we are not trying to compete in China. And cross-border opportunities, if you like, are some of the most difficult types of transactions to do. A lot of hard work is needed to make (Chinese companies) comfortable with the risk."
Edited by: Reuters

South Africa's Rocket Man Elon Musk Honored By Popular Science Magazine

Popular Science Names Falcon 9 Best of What's New in 2010
Praises Innovation of “The First Astronaut-Worthy Private Rocket In Orbit”
HAWTHORNE, CA – SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket has won a 2010 Popular Science Best of What's New award in Aviation & Space.
“At SpaceX, we have ambitious goals for the future of human spaceflight.  We are working every day to bring about significant breakthroughs that will improve the reliability and cost of space transportation,” said Elon Musk, SpaceX CEO and CTO.  “It is a tremendous honor for the Falcon 9 to be recognized by the world’s largest science and technology magazine as one of the best innovations of 2010.”
Popular Science calls Falcon 9 The First Astronaut-Worthy Private Rocket In Orbit” and goes on to explain, “When NASA retires the space shuttle next year, the only American-owned option the U.S. government will have for getting cargo to the International Space Station is to ride with a private spaceflight company.  Such an arrangement became viable in June, when SpaceX’s Falcon 9—a 180-foot, kerosene-and-liquid-oxygen-fueled rocket capable of delivering six metric tons of cargo or seven astronauts to orbit—made its maiden voyage to space.”
Why is SpaceX so proud?  As Popular Science says, “SpaceX engineers designed nearly every piece of the rocket from scratch.”
“For 23 years, Popular Science has honored the innovations that surprise and amaze us − those that make a positive impact on our world today and challenge our views of what’s possible in the future,” said Mark Jannot, Editor-in-Chief of Popular Science. “The Best of What’s New Award is the magazine’s top honor, and the 100 winners − chosen from among thousands of entrants − represent the highest level of achievement in their fields.”
SpaceX is featured in this December’s special issue, now on newsstands and online at
Watch a video of the Falcon 9’s June 4th launch:
About SpaceX
SpaceX is developing a family of launch vehicles and spacecraft that will increase reliability and performance of space transportation, while ultimately reducing costs by a factor of ten.  With the Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 rockets, SpaceX has a diverse manifest of launches to deliver commercial satellites to orbit.  After the Space Shuttle retires, the Falcon 9 and SpaceX’s Dragon spacecraft will start carrying cargo, including live plants and animals, to and from the International Space Station for NASA.  Falcon 9 and Dragon were developed to one day carry astronauts.
Founded in 2002, SpaceX is a private company owned by management and employees, with minority investments from Founders Fund, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Valor Equity Partners.  The company has over 1,100 employees in California, Texas and Florida.  For more information, and to watch the video of the first Falcon 9 launch, visit the SpaceX website at
About Popular Science
Founded in 1872, Popular Science ( is the world's largest science and technology magazine, with a circulation of 1.3 million and 7.1 million readers. Each month, Popular Science delivers "The Future Now," reporting on the intersection of science and everyday life with an eye toward what's new and why it matters. Popular Science is published by the Bonnier Corporation (, one of the largest consumer publishing groups in America and the leading media company serving passionate, highly engaged audiences through more than 40 special-interest magazines and related multimedia projects and events.
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