D.A. Barber, 3:10 am AFKI Original
If you’re an international energy investor eyeing Africa, you’re going to have a busy month in September nation hopping. Kenya, South Africa, DRC, Rwanda, Ghana and even China are all hosting major conferences targeting energy and infrastructure investment in Africa. The Eastern African region is undergoing an energy revolution, South Africa is leading renewable energy development, the Western region is ramping-up development of its oil and gas resources and China continues to spend lavishly on African energy and infrastructure projects.
D.A. Barber, 7:18 am AFKI Original
An international team of researchers has mapped the entire genetic code of wild African rice in an effort to develop new “super rice” varieties that are better able to cope with increasing environmental stress and help solve global hunger challenges. Until now, wild African rice had not been fully utilized in terms of all the different stress-tolerant traits it contains when hybrids were developed for cultivation. But, according to research published online in Nature Genetics July 28, rice production will soon be a whole lot easier. According to Wing, this means being capable of crossing Asian and African rice species to develop all new varieties of rice with the traditional high-yield traits of Asian rice and the new-found hardiness traits of African rice.
D.A. Barber, 6:36 am AFKI Original
While the current natural resource and infrastructure boom in Eastern Africa will contribute to different degrees of economic growth for individual governments, its impact on leveling out economic opportunities will depend on mature natural resource revenue governance that ensures accountability and transparency. The oil and gas boom in one of the world’s poorest regions of the world promises to free East African governments from their dependence on foreign aid once the natural resource revenues start to flow. But natural resources have been literally a “resource curse” for many countries in the past, resulting is little if any economic growth and development.
D.A. Barber, 2:28 am AFKI Original
Initially there was a lot of exuberance over the big oil and gas finds in East Africa, but now the reality is setting in, along with the challenges. The discoveries are important regionally for their potential to hasten economic growth through investments in road, rail and other infrastructure. While individual countries pursue their own developments, the plan for the region as a whole is to better integrate its economies across borders to enable investor companies to compete and export natural resources.
D.A. Barber, 1:05 pm AFKI Original
The U.S. Export-Import Bank’s charter is set to expire Sept. 30 if Congress doesn’t act and there’s debate as to whether it should continue to exist. Since 1934, the bank has filled gaps in private export financing by providing loan guarantees, export-credit insurance and direct financing to help foreign buyers buy American-made goods. Critics say the expiration will have little affect on U.S. companies doing business in Africa.
D.A. Barber, 10:52 am AFKI Original
The Tanzanian government and local officials promise the booming natural gas industry will mean jobs and electricity for locals, not another resource curse. Tanzania is on a boom trajectory due to ongoing natural gas discoveries offshore. But it’s not just about gas industry jobs. The natural gas boom is also viewed as a ticket to increasing access to electricity in a country where just 24 percent of Tanzanians are connected to the national power grid.
D.A. Barber, 3:55 am AFKI Original
President Barack Obama announced $33 billion in new commitments during the Business Forum on Tuesday, Aug. 5 with the bulk of the commitments from private-sector companies. That figure rose to $37 billion when Obama announced last minute additional funding at a press conference on Aug. 6.
D.A. Barber, 5:55 am AFKI Original
Some 25,000 elephants and 1,000 rhinos are poached each year in 10 African countries. That makes the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit under way in Washinton, D.C. awkward for Obama. Laws give him the power to enforce sanctions against some of the nations who are attending the summit.
D.A. Barber, 11:54 am AFKI Original
Some African leaders visiting the U.S. posted “wish lists” on the White House summit website prior to next week’s summit events. Faure E. Gnassingbé, President of Togo, said, “Togo and the U.S. may appear to have little in common. The U.S. is a vast country with substantial wealth. My own nation is half the size of the New York City area with a smaller population. What the Togolese share with the people of America is intangible, but fundamental — a high regard for freedom, peace and diversity. These values underpin both our societies.” Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal, said, “there is a vast potential for partnership, largely untapped, between Africa and the U.S. I therefore insist on partnership rather than assistance.”
D.A. Barber, 2:12 am AFKI Original
Early in 2014, the European Union faced a potential backlash – though it never came to pass – for its summit invitation list. Ahead of the European Union event, the African Union called for a boycott of the summit after hearing that Morocco, not a member of the AU, was invited while Sudan – an AU member – was excluded due to alleged human rights abuses. Critics claim the U.S. could potentially face similar challenges and questions have been raised as to whether some countries will “self-exclude” because of protocol sensitivities towards those countries that were not invited. “There was some talk about that, but I don’t expect that will happen,” Corporate Council on Africa’s Hayes told AFKInsider.