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November heralded the announcement of several promising developments for Zimbabwe, which could see the economy begin to move in a positive direction. Early in the month, it was announced that preliminary construction works on the 2400MW Batoka Gorge hydroelectric dam, which will be developed in collaboration with the government of Zambia, have begun. This cross-border hydroelectric project is expected to generate 10,215GWh of electricity a year to be shared between both countries. In the mining space Bravura Holdings, owned by Nigerian billionaire Benedict Peters, has noted plans to develop a platinum mine in Zimbabwe. The country has the world’s third-largest platinum group metals reserve and further investment into the mining sector could ignite its stagnant economy. In parallel to this in the hydrocarbon space, Invictus Energy, an Australian oil and gas exploration company, has commenced field operations in the Muzarabani prospect in preparation for the drilling of two test wells. Zimbabwe has high prospects for oil and gas discoveries as an additional economic driver of development.
Sources: Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines, International Hydropower Association, 2020
November has proven to be a busy month for logistics developments as key partnerships were established between various service providers. Early in the month, UK-based Pentagon Freight Services, and Swiss-based TLC SA Transportation Logistic Consulting announced the formation of a strategic alliance, which looks to leverage TLC’s global logistical expertise and Pentagon’s extensive office network to benefit logistics across Africa. The partnership will allow both companies to establish themselves in the African energy, resources and infrastructure sectors. In South Africa, bidorbuy, an online shipping and auction marketplace, has partnered with uAfrica.com, a technology company that assists online merchants with omnichannel solutions. The partnership will launch ‘bidorbuy shipping’, which will provide a centralised and easy-to-use facility to source quotes from courier companies and offer the most competitive rates. In parallel, Lori Systems, a Kenyan logistics start-up, has secured investment from Imperial Logistics. The investment will allow Lori System’s to expand and offer its services across Africa.
An Imperial Logistics truck transporting goods. Lori Systems Kenya have partnered with Imperial Logistics in order to expand and offer its services across Africa. Image courtesy: Trevor Plackett/Flickr
SOMALILAND AND SOMALIA SEE UPTICK IN PORT INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT
In a positive holistic move for the horn of Africa both Somaliland and Somalia are set to welcome investments to port infrastructure. The breakaway state of Somaliland has secured a partnership with Trafigura, a Swiss commodities trader, to supply hydrocarbons and upgrade the Berbera port. This adds to the investment in 2018 by DP World, an Emirati port operator, who conducted a US$442 million expansion of the Berbera port. Trafigura’s investment will go towards infrastructure modernisation to increase storage capacity and allow for larger ships at the Berbera Oil Terminal as a way to improve the quality and reliability of refined petroleum product supply into Somaliland. The port investment could see an uptick in regional and international trade thus providing a boost to the country’s weak economy. Likewise, in Somalia a new port will be constructed in the town of Hobyo. The Hobyo Port will have geostrategic interest because of its proximity to the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, a vital sea crossing, thus benefiting the local population with trade.
Sources: AfDB, 2014; Tralac, 2019; World Bank, 2018
RWANDA FORGES AHEAD WITH NUCLEAR INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENTS
The small yet highly progressive East African state of Rwanda has made its first concrete steps towards entering the nuclear industry in November. The Rwandan Presidency announced that the country has officially ascended to three key treaties that relate to codes of conduct surrounding nuclear accidents, fuel management and physical protection of nuclear material. The moves indicate Kigali’s commitment to its 2019 announcement that it would partner with Rosatom in the construction of the region’s first nuclear power plant to be finalised in 2023. Beyond the opportunities which this presents in nuclear energy, the development would also allow for the country to eventually become active in the manufacture of radiological tools for the medical and security industries. As one of several longer-term solutions to Africa’s energy crisis, the continent is poised to engage with the nuclear industry as an avenue of exports for its substantial deposits of chromium, uranium and thorium.
The Kazungula Bridge over the Zambezi River under construction. On 10 October it was announced that the bridge construction has been completed. It aims to link markets in eight African countries, and enhance trade, integration and spur global competitiveness in the region. Image courtesy: John Chandler/Flickr
TANZANIA EXPANDS RARE EARTH EXPORT PORTFOLIO IN A BID TO RAISE MINING REVENUES
Tanzania is in the final stages of granting Australian mining firm Peak Resources the rights to mine rare earth elements at the Ngualla site in the country’s south west. Once complete, the deal will cement the country’s position as both one of the only active rare earth producers in the East African region, and the fourth largest rare earth producer in Africa. The Tanzanian government like many others has felt the pinch of falling commodity prices and rising debt levels in recent years, prompting an expansion in the country’s revenue base. Aside from rare earth elements, Tanzania boasts substantial iron ore, gemstone and gold deposits. In recent years, Tanzania has been positioning itself as the preferred East Africa logistics hub, and has placed emphasis on revamping rail connections to nearby states to facilitate this. The country is well placed to also act as a key exporting hub for East African minerals to manufacturing zones in East Asia and the Middle East.
Tanzanite mining in Tanzania. Peak Resources is set to be granted the rights to mine rare-earth metal in the country. Tanzania will become the only active rare-earth producers in the region. Image courtesy: Eugene Lata/Flickr
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