Analysis and reporting on key policy issues from Southern and Central Africa

v21/16 11 August 06

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CONTENTS

CONGO:

As dust settles on election the scramble for mining riches begins    

CONGO:

Vote counting 'chaos' as foreign forces prepare to stay on    

CONGO:

Fresh uranium smuggling claims    

REGION:

Nepad sets up parallel diamond body

ZAMBIA:

Large contenders list may ease the way back for Mwanawasa    

ZIMBABWE:

Currency reform generates shambles    

ZIMBABWE:

Zanu-PF sets up China-aligned party school    

INTERNATIONAL:

Government grapples with S. African military activities abroad    


Congo:

As dust settles on election the scramble for mining riches begins

[(c) SouthScan v21/16 11 Aug 06] With the election done mining companies are preparing to scramble into the DR Congo to make deals in the world's richest minerals sector, in a country soon to have a legitimate government and likely to be stabilised by UN forces remaining on. The main hurdle will be the outcome of a World Bank audit of all mining contracts made earlier by the transitional government.

International mining companies including South African, Canadian and US firms are in the race, some with the backing of their home governments at a time when access to minerals is seen as a strategic necessity - metals prices are likely to stay high amid continued demand from China and India.She also said that the UN force MONUC should stay on to ensure "a stable consolidation of democracy". UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has already asked for the European Union force there to extend its stay and it has agreed to remain four extra months (SouthScan v21/14). There are 18,000 UN troops remaining in the country and they constitute what is still the UN's biggest peace-keeping mission. The EU, principally through France and Germany, sent in 800 troops, with an additional 1,200 stationed in neighbouring Gabon....

Contracts auditedIn a major guarantee of support BHP Billiton, the world's largest mining company, said last year it would open an office in Kinshasa....

Non-confrontationalOne solution, proposed by Robert Crem, chief executive of Gecamines in 1982-84, is that all the 'majors' set up a mining and metallurgical consortium for Central Africa, headed by a DRC holding company, a solution also proposed by the Lutundula Commission. Crem called the smaller companies "adventurers' and said that the mining licences had been awarded without regard for technical competence and financial capability. "The current situation, characterised by weak state authority facing the mining operators, amounts to a real disaster", he said....

Copper ...

Tin ...

GoldAustralian mining giant BHP Billiton is also present....

Diamonds ... >>> Full report


Congo:

Vote counting 'chaos' as foreign forces prepare to stay on

[(c) SouthScan v21/16 11 Aug 06] The European Union has agreed to keep its troops on in Kinshasa to help ensure stability as votes are counted in the historic election. At the same time the US has said it will press the UN force MONUC to remain.

The assurances came amid confusion about vote counting in the country, with the main contenders alleging fraud while the incumbent Joseph Kabila appears to be ahead. ...

Quick certification ...

Challenging the vote ...

>>> Full report


Congo:

Fresh uranium smuggling claims

[(c) SouthScan v21/16 11 Aug 06] Allegations that Congolese uranium ore has been smuggled out have again surfaced, this time in a British press report from Tanzania.

The Kinshasa government on Monday denied that a uranium shipment from the closed Shinkolobwe mine in Katanga left its territory last October bound for Iran and stressed all nuclear activities were under the control of the International Atomic Energy Agency.This time the British Sunday Times newspaper reported that a smuggled shipment of uranium 238 was intercepted in Tanzania last October. The report cited a "senior Tanzanian customs official" and an unpublished report by the UN from July 18....

>>> Full report


Region:

Nepad sets up parallel diamond body

[(c) SouthScan v21/16 11 Aug 06] A new body to curb the misuse of African diamonds has been established by Nepad (the New Partnership for Africa's Development) and the Belgian International Economic Strategy (IES) consultancy group.

The Diamond Producers of Africa (DPA) initiative came after consultations on the development of a common platform for African diamond-producing countries "in the context of conflicts and instability", they said. ...

>>> Full report


 

Zambia:

Large contenders list may ease the way back for Mwanawasa

[(c) SouthScan v21/16 11 Aug 06]  Former Zambian vice president Nevers Mumba this week withdrew from next month's presidential elections, saying he did not have enough time to launch a meaningful campaign.

The presidential election on September 28 is now being contested by 11 candidates according to a preliminary nominations list released on Monday, leaving the possibility open that the incumbent, the ailing President Levy Mwanawasa may slip through against a badly divided opposition. ...

>>> Full report


 

Zimbabwe:

Currency reform generates shambles

[(c) SouthScan v21/16 11 Aug 06] The money economy of Zimbabwe has been in a state of confusion since the at-a-stroke reform of the currency two weeks ago (SouthScan v21/15). Then Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono struck three noughts off the old currency to cut the over thousand percent inflation rate.

After one week in operation the police had arrested over two thousand people for illegal currency holdings while banks and shops appeared to be in confusion amid calls for the three-week transition period to be extended. Local economist and opposition figure Eddie Cross called the exercise a "shambles" and no long term solution to hyper-inflation. ...

>>> Full report


 

Zimbabwe:

Zanu-PF sets up China-aligned party school

[(c) SouthScan v21/16 11 Aug 06] Zimbabwe's ruling party is to set up a political school to train cadres along the lines of China's Communist Party.

Elliot Manyika, Zanu-PF's national commissar, made the announcement following a lecture by visiting academics from the Communist Party of China (CPC) last week. ...

>>> Full report


 

International:

Government grapples with S. African military activities abroad

[(c) SouthScan v21/16 11 Aug 06] Britain is putting pressure on SA to exempt the around 700 South Africans fighting in British forces from a revamped 'anti-mercenary' law. At the same time the government is seeking to remove South Africans fighting in the Israeli army in Lebanon.

According to media estimates in SA between 4,000 and 20,000 South Africans are engaged in security related work abroad, including in Iraq. ...

Iraq war ...

Commonwealth...

>>> Full report