China increases investment and aid to Africa

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang

In continuation of Chinese investment, engagement and cooperation in Africa, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang unveiled extra aid for Africa totaling at least $12 billion on Monday, and offered to share advance technology with the continent to help with development of high-speed rail,  boost collaboration in industry, finance, poverty reduction, ecological protection, people-to-people exchanges, and peace and security.  Speaking in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, Mr. Li also reaffirmed Beijing’s support for Africa’s infrastructure sector: “Infrastructure is the precondition to industrial development. China will actively participate in projects such as roads, railways, telecommunications and power in Africa”.

Li said that the new $12 billion credit line would be on top of the existing $20 billion already offered when former President Xi Jinping made loans of $20 billion to African nations from 2013-2015 when he visited in March 2013.

He also said China will discuss with the African Development Bank the prospect of establishing a joint fund to support infrastructure development.

China’s direct investment in Africa reached $25 billion at the end of last year. With Africa having four of the top 10 fastest growing economies in the world, expect more investment and commitment from not just Africa, but many other nations.

 

Piracy drill off Africa larger than ever

As piracy in the Gulf of Guinea off west Africa soars, professionals from over 20 nations are taking part in Obangame Express, a naval-exercise aimed at improving maritime safety and security in the region.

The issue of piracy and enforcement is one that needs to be tackled due to the fact that it’s a growing problem. This is mainly due to lack of ships and trained personnel which is required since large areas of water need to be patrolled and watched over. The more training done with various nations and navies, only helps in curbing the problem. More cooperation and training is needed, and such exercises will only help.

Big Men: The Story Of Oil In Africa

A new documentary highlighting African oil corruption in the Niger Delta is set to open across the U.S. this week in theaters.  It was filmed by Rachel Boyton in late 2006 as she was trekking through the oil-rich Niger Delta region of southern Nigeria and tells her chronicle of the petroleum-fueled pursuit of wealth and status in Africa. Below is the trailer to the film.

The central narrative of the film is that it takes place in Ghana, some 200 miles to the west. Boynton somehow convinced Dallas oilman James Musselman and his British-born colleague Brian Maxted–the chief executive officer and chief operating officer, respectively, of a privately held exploration company called Kosmos Energy–to let her shadow them with cameras and microphones as they drilled their way through layers of Ghanaian politics and bureaucracy, and the white-hot core of Wall Street, in order to reap the financial rewards of an amazing discovery. Kosmos had raised $825 million in private equity investment from Warburg Pincus and the Blackstone Group and located the country’s first known oil reserves: a multi-billion barrel, deep-sea deposit, 40 miles off the Ghanaian coast in the Atlantic Ocean and dubbed the Jubilee Field.

As to why oil executives would have a documentary film maker follow them around, Musselman explains that “Rachel is very persuasive, She was passionate about the story. I thought it was a good story that just got better, frankly, as time went on. We don’t enjoy great reputations a lot of the time. I thought this was a good story to show how in Ghana, we could transform the lives of a whole lot of people for the better. And I thought her contrast back to Nigeria was really good. I’d seen some of her previous work and I thought she’s gonna do a good job. It wouldn’t be any kind of expose’ or anything bad. I trusted her.”

I look forward to seeing this film myself.

Germany’s security assistance in Mali

Since the military coup last year, Mali is considered one of the most dangerous states in Africa. For several months, Germany has been part of an EU-led mission to provide logistical support and training for Mali’s troops. Here’s video report on the mission

Rwanda’s health insurance as a model for Africa

Proper health and nutrition is key to good living no matter where you are in the world. That isn’t always the case though, especially throughout Africa but Rwanda is highlighting what can be done as a model throughout the continent in this video report.

Africa’s Cowboy Capitalists


Great documentary from VICE about the untapped potential of Africa, and individuals whom are making the journey throughout the continent to create their own success stories. Photographer and filmmaker Tim Freccia followed around Ian and the guys he hired for this job. Cowboy Capitalists” documents their attempts to navigate the continent’s dangerous roads and bureaucratic chaos. Though some of their methods are unorthodox, none the less, they give great insight and understanding no matter how much or little you know about Africa.

Rwanda to build 4G network with South Korean’s Telecom KT Corporation

Rwanda’s government is to build high-speed 4G internet, to cover entire country with partnership of South Korea’s KT Corporation, within three years. KT Corp will spend about $140 million in the LTE broadband joint venture network, which will cover 95% of the country. Today only 8% of the country has internet access although 1,865 miles (3,000km) of fiber optic cable(s) have laid since ’09. A 95% rate of broadband penetration can possibly add 10%-13% to the country’s GDP.

Youth and ICT minister Jean Philbert Nsengimana, said: “This agreement with KT marks a major milestone in Rwanda’s drive to become a modern, knowledge-based economy – and by expanding our information infrastructure, we will create jobs, support social progress and propel economic growth.”

Chief executive of the Rwanda Development Board Clare Akamanzi,, added: “Rwanda’s citizens and businesses must have access to the tools that will enable them to seize the opportunities of the digital age – and none is more important than fast, reliable and accessible broadband. “We are pleased to partner with KT in this unique initiative to make available high-speed broadband to all Rwandans.”.

This is welcome news, especially as a user of the internet, who has recently visited Rwanda where the internet speeds need improvement (According to Internet World Stats, Africa still has the world’s lowest internet penetration rate at 15.6%). President Paul Kagame is clearly moving the country in the right direction when it comes to technology and the importance that it brings to economic development. Although up to a dozen countries in Africa operate 4G networks, Rwanda’s 4G network will be the first that is truly built from the ground up with help from one of the world leaders in internet connectivity, South Korea.