Gabon has signed investment contracts worth over $1.7-billion with the Singapore-based multinational Olam International Limited.fertiliser plant

The money will be spent on a new fertiliser production plant in the free trade zone in Port Gentil, palm oil and rubber plantations and infrastructure projects.

The deal follows a recent trip by president Ali Bongo to Singapore, which was aimed at strengthening economic relations between the two countries.

President Bongo is striving to attract a mix of investors to boost his government’s modernisation and diversification programme.

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By Wendell Roelf

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) – Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping signed an energy deal with resource-rich South Africa on Wednesday in a visit aimed at obtaining minerals the Asian giant needs to fuel its blistering growth.

signing energy dealChina is South Africa’s biggest bilateral trading partner and the focal point of its plan to divert more trade and investment from traditional markets in Europe and North America to the world’s fastest growing economies.

Xi, touted as China’s next president, had a three-day visit to Africa’s largest economy, which is seeking to reduce a deficit in trade with China that hit $2.7 billion last year, skewed in Beijing’s favour.

South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and Xi co-chaired the 4th China-South Africa bilateral commission and signed a number of agreements, including an energy deal.

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Ajibola Abayomi

Lagos — The replacement insurance on Nigeria Communication Satellite 1 (NIGCOMSAT 1) has been valued at $46 billion.

satelliteThis was disclosed in an interview with Daily Independent in Lagos by the managing director of Nigeria NIGCOMSAT), Timasaniyu Ahmed-Rufai.

Speaking on criticism against government over the non-functioning of satellite installed during the regime of ex-president Oluseguun Obasanjo, Ahmed-Rufai argued that the failure of SAT 1 was not peculiar to Nigeria or the fault of the Chinese firm that put the satellite in orbit, but was due to an international crisis.

The NigComSat-1 was launched on May 13, 2007 and was sub-Saharan Africa’s first communications satellite.

NigComSat-1 provided a backbone for both upstream and downstream telecommunication services.

He said the SAT 1 replacement would be commissioned in September 2011 saying work on the satellite was almost complete.

Reiterating his optimism that the SAT 1 would function effectively when commissioned, he disclosed that the space engineers “contacted to manage the satellite for the country had signed a replacement insurance valued at $46 billion should anything go wrong this time around.”

“These are space engineer experts from America, Britain and Russia, the risk analysis has been done, for Nigeria to invest N256 billion is no joke” he said.

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Moses Michira

Nairobi — The government will link investors in the energy sector with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund for funding.

financeFinance minister Uhuru Kenyatta said Treasury was keen on reigning in public debt and would not give the investors any guarantees on funding, a position that contradicts a cabinet approval of financial backing for firms involved in electricity generation.

He said the government would talk to the Bretton Woods institutions to facilitate securing alternative credit risk underwriting.

“We have established an inter-ministerial committee with World Bank and IFC participation to assist investors secure available alternative risk mitigation products,” he said.

It is the first time that Treasury has publicly stated its refusal to extend sovereign guarantees to developers in the power sector, after it emerged last month that the Ministry of Finance was not comfortable with the cabinet position announced in mid September. The reversal in policy is likely to dent Kenya’s capacity to generate power to meet the rising demand.

Mr Kenyatta told private investors they will have to turn to risk underwriters as Treasury was keen on reigning in public debt. “As a government, we have to ensure that we maintain macro-economic stability and also our public debt at a sustainable level,” he said, adding; “It is imperative for players in the energy infrastructure to think beyond conventional approaches to raising finances.”

Kenya’s rising demand for energy is linked to growing economic activity, with annual power consumption expected to hit 1,620 megawatts (MW) by 2012 from the current peak demand of 1072 MW.

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Luanda — Five Southern African countries, including Angola, will gain climatic changes adaptation centres and sustainable use of soils as from 2011, Angop learned recently in Luanda.

EnvironmentThe information is contained in the conclusions from the second round table on creation of the Regional Centre on Science and Services (RSSC), a Germany-sponsored project estimated at 50 million Euros, attended by representatives of Angola, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Zambia.

The future centres research centres will focus on the sectors of waters, use of soils, biodiversity, climatic changes, training, information and services, with a view to regional integration.

The group of researchers will include technicians from the ministries of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Environment, Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries from the five mentioned countries, already working on the project since 2009.

Of the total of the funding, 75 percent (37.5 million Euros) will be channelled to capacity building, research and services, 20 percent (10 million) to infrastructures and five (2.5 million) to contingency.

Addressing the closing of the round table, the Angolan minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology, Maria Candida Teixeira, said the project honours Angola and the other four countries involved as the works so far done will serve to develop the scientific field and reinforce regional integration.

According to the official, during the two days, the participants analysed the ways of structuring the centres, including their financial plan, safeguarding the freedom of each country that joined the German Government initiative to design its own plan of action

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