Archive for November 17th, 2007

Nov 16 12:20 PM US/Eastern

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Japan and Botswana agreed to cooperate in the search for platinum and other rare metals in the African country Friday, a day after Tokyo reached a similar deal with South Africa.

Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Akira Amari, now visiting southern Africa, made the agreement with Botswana President Festus Mogae during their talks in Gaborone, the country’s capital.

Rare metals are indispensable for the manufacturing of some high-tech and high value-added products, and their prices have been rising on strong demand sparked by economic growth in developing economies.

Amari became the first Japanese Cabinet minister to pay an official visit to Botswana. The tour comes as part of Japan’s diplomatic efforts to secure a stable supply of certain types of nonferrous metals for use in such products as vehicles and home appliances including digital cameras, DVD recorders and flat-panel televisions.

“I hope Africa will become more self-reliant by using its resources as leverage and obtaining Japan’s advanced technology for exploration ” Amari said in a news conference following their talks.

Mogae was quoted as saying [continue reading]

source: allAfrica
Business Day (Johannesburg)

16 November 2007
Posted to the web 16 November 2007

Chris Van Gass

US businesses interested in investing in Africa were having to play “catch-up” with Europe and China, Robert Mosbacher Jr, president of the US government investment service agency, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (Opic), said yesterday.

Mosbacher was responding to questions at the US-Africa business summit on whether the US was lagging behind other countries in foreign direct investment into Africa, particularly because foreign direct investment on the continent had been increasing in recent years as growth improved.

He said matters needing attention in some African countries, and which would attract more US business, were the strengthening of judicial systems so that there was “clear enforceability of contracts and predictable rule of law”.

But he reiterated that the US would not compromise its principles to “perpetuate a higher degree of corruption because we desperately want access to these resources”.

He said while the US might insist on certain rules “by which game is played to make it as [continue reading]

source: SW Radio Africa
By Tererai Karimakwenda
16 November, 2007

In a move that has been strongly criticised by economic experts, the National Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC) recently ordered businesses to clear their existing stock of imported goods by Thursday next week and adopt new prices based on the official exchange rate. The order came with a warning that those who buy their foreign currency on the black market would be prosecuted. The move will affect many businesses negatively because the government does not have enough foreign currency to sell to them. Businesses in turn will not be able to afford new imported stock or inputs and consumers will see more severe shortages of already scarce essential goods.

Economist Erick Bloch explained that the new policy applies to retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers, and everyone who imports finished products or materials used to produce them.

The new regulations were announced by Godwills Masimarembwa, the recently appointed NIPC chairperson. He is quoted as saying: “We held a meeting with business last week on Friday informing them to clear stocks by November 22 on the basis of existing prices. From November 23 restocking should be [continue reading]

source: IOL
November 16 2007 at 09:43AM

Dozens of 2010 construction workers converged on Durban’s Moses Mabhida stadium on Friday to continue industrial action.

Talks with their building contractor failed to result in a resolution on Thursday.

Talks between the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) – representing most of the workers – and the contractor Group Five/WBHO Consortium are expected to resume on Friday.

The union’s Bonginkosi Mncwabe warned that if no resolution was met by the end of Friday, there would be repercussions next week.

“We are committed to a resolution, but if all else fails, we will not be stopped from carrying out a secondary strike – or demonstrating during the preliminary World Cup draw in Durban next week,” he said.

“If there is no resolution when the preliminary draw starts next week, we will tell the world what is [continue reading]