The African Development Bank will provide relief funds of about $1 billion to Tunisia this year. Tunisia has been rocked by political unrest since the resignation of former President Ben Ali. Ben Ali stepped down as leader of the North African country on Jan. 14 after weeks of protests over unemployment, high food prices and political repression. The funds will be used in hopes to provide budget support and finance programs that benefit people of Tunisia. The bank’s director said in a phone interview today from Tunis, the capital. “We are willing to support Tunisia through this process of transition through an engagement that could total $1 billion this year,” Kolster said. “We’re working at full-steam on a budget-support operation that could be submitted to our board for consideration by the end of June.”
Kolster went on to say “Economic and social governance is a domain that is very important to the new Tunisia and to the African Development Bank and it’s something we are working on with the interim government to improve on.”
According to a recent article by The New Times, Rwanda has recently seen a 26% increase in exports. The report notes that the percentage is only indicative of the first half of 2010 as compared to 2009. However, these numbers are exciting for the impoverished, Central African nation.
Government officials have said the rise can possibly be attributed to increased border trading especially with the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Francois Kanimba, the Governor of the Central Bank said, “Findings of cross-border trade study is impressive especially goods to DRC that are dominated by crop products and live animals.”
In fact, DRC has been so active in trading with Rwanda that the Congo now makes up 63% of Rwanda’s export business. Though export business has been growing for Rwanda, officials say the items traded are the same. Rwanda reported strong numbers in tea, coffee, and mineral exports, which are historically Rwanda’s “bread and butter” exports.
This seems to be very uplifting news to Rwanda who has been struggling to regain a stable economy since the rampant genocide of the 1990s. The country was economically decimated by the era, but the country has made a slow and steady climb to its pre-1990s economy. Though it will still take some time to repair the already-fragile economy, this is certainly good news for the country and for the agriculturally-dependent nation.
In a press conference given by an adviser to President Ali Bongo late on Thursday, Gabon, Africa’s seventh largest oil producer, stated they will create a national petroleum company to own and manage the country’s stakes in oil fields. ”The national petroleum company will consolidate all government positions and with these revenues invest in creating value-added production facilities,” the adviser told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity. “By the end of the year, it will be fully legally ready.”
Presently oil companies in Gabon, which produce around 250,000 barrels per day, include Total and Shell, and the government holds stakes in Gabonese oil fields. However, the new firm will group together and manage their revenues. ”The oil companies have been told. They have been waiting for this, not just a political counterpart but a business and technical counterpart,” he said.
The company will operate along the same guidelines of Sonangol, Angola’s national oil firm and the GNPC in Ghana, which severe as a “successful model” of a national oil firm. Currently, the nation relies on crude oil output for about 2/3 of its income, and ships around half of its total production to refineries stateside and in western Europe. President Bongo, who was elected last August, has made diversifying the economy to lessen its dependence on oil revenue a policy priority.
China will lend Congo around 700 million dollars (nearly 520 million euros) to build a hydroelectric dam in its north Sangha region, Congo’s energy ministry said Wednesday.
SinoHydro, Zeng Xingliang a Chinese company lent 700 million dollars to start construction in the Congo. SinoHydro is starting construction on the damn in 2011. It should provide hydroelectric power for the entire region of Congo. The cost hasn’t been found out exactly, but its roughly 700 million dollars. SinoHyrdo is already active in Cameroon and Gabon. China financed 85 percent of the construction of another Congo dam in 2003.