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

v21/25 15 December 06

For subscription details ...


CONTENTS


Region:
EU shifts focus of partnership talks away from poor relations and onto SA

Region:
Trade direction shifting from SADC

Angola:
In furore over ‘conflict diamonds’ attention shifts to conditions of diggers

Angola:
OPEC membership likely to limit production

Congo :
Kabila promises an end to corruption but scepticism remains high

International:
Mbeki and Bush agree on Darfur, Somalia

Zimbabwe:
Presidential extension intended to quiet restive ruling party

Zimbabwe:
Women march to parliament

SA economy:
Old Russian nuclear warheads to fuel reactors

SA politics:
Government may move toward universal grant to counter poverty


Region:

EU shifts focus of partnership talks away from poor relations and onto SA

[© SouthScan v21/25 15 Dec 06] The European Union’s Economic Partnership Deals (EPAs) with seven members of SADC, the Southern African Development Community, are likely to shift focus substantially.

Instead of South Africa having merely a watching brief, it is now likely to be integrated into the process; its interests as a relatively developed economy may overwhelm the rest or will need to be disaggregated from them, say local analysts. ...

Differential access ...

Sugar aid from EU ... >>> Full report


Region:

Trade direction shifting from SADC

[© SouthScan v21/25 15 Dec 06] With SADC - the Southern African Development Community - in some degree of flux, its trade with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) is dropping sharply. Exports and imports between the two blocs have reached their lowest levels in five years.

At the same time COMESA is likely to welcome Libya as a new member, opening the way for cheaper oil in the region, while local agricultural exports to North African states are gradually increasing. This is part of a general shift away from trade to the south. ...

AGOA benefit ...

>>> Full report


Angola:

In furore over ‘conflict diamonds’ attention shifts to conditions of diggers

[© SouthScan v21/25 15 Dec 06] The Kimberley Process plenary meeting held last month in Botswana selected Angola to lead a new KP working group on artisanal alluvial diamond producers. Yet Angola’s diggings are still outside government control and are riddled with violence, while the state continues to benefit from the illegally produced stones, say critics.

Most of Angolan production comes from artisanal mining, and a year ago Angola attempted to take charge of the fields by the mass and often brutal expulsion of Congolese diggers. ...

Widening scope ...

Bad timing ...

Angolan diggers ...

>>> Full report


Angola:

OPEC membership likely to limit production

[© SouthScan v21/25 15 Dec 06] Angola is to become a full member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) from March 1, after the 11 members of the cartel approved the African country’s application on Thursday.

Angola, which is the second largest African producer, will, like the other members, be given a production quota, which in this case will be between 1.5 and 2.0 million barrels. Angola currently produces 1.4 million barrels of oil per day but should reach 2 million barrels per day in 2007, as new wells go into operation. ...

>>> Full report


Congo :

Kabila promises an end to corruption but scepticism remains high

[© SouthScan v21/25 15 Dec 06] Joseph Kabila, at his inauguration as president on December 6, warned that his election meant the end of impunity, called for a “deep” revolution in the national psychology, and announced that his government would fight corruption. But in this regard he has set himself a Herculean task.

A report by a commission on ethics and the fight against corruption claims that the “presidential space” grouping the transitional president, Kabila himself, and his four vice-presidents as the most corrupt institution in the state, followed by the judiciary, the customs office and the tax administration. The report highlights the corruption of the police, the immigration authorities and the army officers. ...

Bemba to seek senate seat ...

Call on donors ...

EU troops pack up ...

SA mediation offer ...

Local initiatives ...

>>> Full report


International:

Mbeki and Bush agree on Darfur, Somalia

[© SouthScan v21/25 15 Dec 06] SA’s President Thabo Mbeki emerged from a meeting with US President George Bush last Friday in lock-step agreement on the key African security issues affecting Darfur in the Sudan and Somalia.

“It’s very urgent, very necessary, and we will absolutely do everything to make sure that from the African side we remove any obstacle there might be to such bigger deployment in Darfur,” Mbeki said. ...

>>> Full report


Zimbabwe:

Presidential extension intended to quiet restive ruling party

[© SouthScan v21/25 15 Dec 06] The extension of President Robert Mugabe’s term of office to 2010 at the four-day Zanu-PF annual congress that began on Thursday (December 14) may dampen the succession battle and produce a new constitutional arrangement. The key decision was taken at an apparently heated politburo meeting ahead of the congress.

The 81-year-old president seems intent on being in power to the end, despite earlier assurances that he would quit in 2008. In 2004 he said on television that he intended to retire and concentrate on writing books. However, he is now apparently unwilling to leave his party in disunity. In a recent interview he said, “I can’t retire if my party is going to be in shambles.” ...

Succession issue ...

Rifts showing ...

Clash over printing money ...

World Cup  anxiety ...

>>> Full report


Zimbabwe:

Women march to parliament

[© SouthScan v21/25 15 Dec 06] More than 300 supporters of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) marched to parliament in central Harare Tuesday in what they said was a victory for non-violent protest.

They were stopped by riot police, but later allowed to disperse. This is the first time WOZA, which regularly stages protests in Harare and in Bulawayo city, has held a demonstration without its supporters being arrested or beaten. The videoed beating and arrest of trade unionists in September caused a flurry of international concern and this may have had an effect on police action, say observers (SouthScan v21/19). ...

>>> Full report


 

SA economy:

Old Russian nuclear warheads to fuel reactors

[© SouthScan v21/25 15 Dec 06] South Africa will use uranium downgraded from old Russian nuclear warheads to fuel its planned Pebble Bed Modular Reactors (PBMR), according to public enterprises minister Alec Erwin.

The target for building the first reactor was 2012, at the Koeberg site of the present nuclear power plant. From 2013 onwards, over a period of 15 years, the intention was to build 24 models producing 165MW each, he said. ...

>>> Full report


SA politics:

Government may move toward universal grant to counter poverty

[© SouthScan v21/25 15 Dec 06] There are growing indications that the government is moving closer toward the demand from the Left in the African National Congress for a universal adult grant as an immediate attack on continuing high levels of poverty.

Although the SA economy is growing at an unprecedented rate of over 6 percent not much of the wealth is trickling down and current government grants are not yet picking sufficient numbers out of absolute poverty. ...

Populist rivalUniversal hand-outs, however termed, will go a long way in undermining this support and arguments against them are growing weaker as the economy burgeons....

>>> Full report