Earth Finds

Earth Finds

How Djibouti Like Zambia Is About To Loose Its Port To China

Beijing's cumulative loans to Africa since 2000 amounted to $124-billion by 2016, according to figures compiled by the China-Africa Research Initiative (CARI).

Djibouti is projected to take on public debt worth around 88 percent of the country's overall $1.72 billion GDP, with China owning the lion's share of it.

On March 2018, Djibouti signed a partnership agreement with a Singaporean company that works with China Merchants Port Holdings Co. or CMPort—the same state-owned corporation that gained control of the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka—to build the Doraleh Multipurpose Port.

In recent years, China has emerged as a key investor and a generous, ready and easy lender to African countries.

Beijing's cumulative loans to Africa since 2000 amounted to $124-billion by 2016, according to figures compiled by the China-Africa Research Initiative (CARI) at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in the United States.

Angola, Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of Congo respectively, were the top beneficiaries of these loans. Angola's oil-related loans worth $21.2 billion since 2000 total roughly a quarter of cumulative Chinese loans to the entire continent.

"Half of those loans were given in the past four years," Janet Eom, an associate researcher at CARI, told DW. "So Africa's debt to China is becoming more of a concern moving forward."

While African Presidents are  at least this time round somehow exempted from the indignity of being talked down while clutching their begging bowls at western capitals before a few notes is thrown into their bowls, the readily available Chinese loans are not entirely risk free. 

Economists and other international financial institutions are becoming increasingly worried that the East Asian giant under a careful disguised "debt trap" diplomacy is burying many developing and poor countries in massive debt and then forcing the highly indebted countries to hand over some of their key infrastructures' such as the case of Sri Lanka. 

One such African country that is exhibiting all the red flag signals of going Sri Lankan and now Zambian way is Djibouti. 

Djibouti lies more than 2,500 miles from Sri Lanka but the East African country faces a predicament similar to what its peer across the sea confronted in 2017, after borrowing more money from China than it could pay back. 

In both countries, the money went to infrastructure projects under the aegis of China's Belt and Road Initiative. 

Sri Lanka racked up more than $8 billion worth of debt to Chinese sovereign-backed banks at interest rates as high as 7 percent reaching a level too high to service.

With nearly all its revenue going toward debt repayment, in 2017 after being pushed to the wall, Sri Lanka threw in the towel and handed over the Chinese-built port at Hambantota under a 99-year lease with China having a 70 percent stake.

Djibouti is projected to take on public debt worth around 88 percent of the country's overall $1.72 billion GDP, with China owning the lion's share of it, according to a report published in March by the Center for Global Development. 

At the end of 2016 China owned 82% of Djibouti's external debt. 

On March 2018, Djibouti signed a partnership agreement with a Singaporean company that works with China Merchants Port Holdings Co. or CMPort—the same state-owned corporation that gained control of the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka—to build the Doraleh Multipurpose Port. 

That project was completed in May 2017. 

The port is significant not only because it sits next to China's only overseas military base  but also because it is the main access point for American, French, Italian and Japanese bases in Djibouti and is used — because of its strategic location — by parts of the U.S. military that operate in Africa, the Middle East and beyond. 

One concern is that the Djibouti government, facing mounting debt and increasing dependence on extracting rents, would be pressured to hand over control of Camp Lemonnier to China. 

In a letter to National Security Advisor John Bolton in May, Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), two members of the Senate Armed Service Committee, wrote that Djibouti's  President Guelleh seems willing to "sell his country to the highest bidder," undermining U.S. military interests.  

"Djibouti's now identified as one of those countries that are at high risk of debt distress. So, that should be sending off all sorts of alarm bells for Djiboutians as well as for the countries that really rely on Djibouti, such as the United States," said Joshua Meservey, a senior policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation.

And that's not all, China is not done yet with Djibouti, Beijing has been earmarked the country as one of 68 countries set to be involved in its ambitious One Belt and One Road Initiative (OBOR).  

Problem is eight of the 68 countries involved in the Belt and Road Initiative currently face unsustainable debt levels, according the Center for Global Development's report.  

The eight nations are Djibouti, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, the Maldives, Mongolia, Montenegro, Pakistan, and Tajikistan.  

As past experiences have shown the eight nations will certainly be enticed to chew more than they can swallow and by the end of it end up being even poorer than they are now. 

As the cradle of mankind continues to sink deeper into debt condemning future generations to economic slavery, the late Whitney Houston feat Deborah Cox classic 'Same Script, Different Cast'  has never rang truer.

Fish Farmers In Cameroon Get €84m AfDB Loan

The African Development Bank Group has extended a loan of €84 million to Cameroon to support livestock and fish production in the central African country in line with the Bank's strategies to create jobs and raise household incomes.

The loan, approved by the Bank's Board on Wednesday, will support the modernization of beef, pork and fish production, with significant improvements to food and nutrition in the country.

Both the Bank and the Government of Cameroon are implementing strategic policies aimed at improving food and nutritional security, reducing poverty and improving production infrastructure in rural areas.

The Bank's signature High 5s strategy includes policies to feed Africa, industrialize the continent and improve the quality of life of its people. 

The project approved by the Board will specifically target raising standards and competitiveness in such key livestock value chains as genetics improvement, feeding, slaughter, processing, conservation and transportation. For fish production, the focus will be on rearing, conservation, storage, and processing. 

While the project has a national scope, the Cameroon government has identified three main target areas – the North-West for production, and Central and Coastal for consumption. The impact of the cross-cutting actions involved will, however, be felt in the other regions of the country as well.  

Key beneficiaries of the project will be stockbreeders and their cooperatives who constitute 45% of the pastoral sector labour force; fish farmers, input producers and sellers, traders, women wholesale fishmongers and processing operators. In addition, up to 350 higher education graduates will be trained and settled as business leaders. 

The project's total cost is estimated at €99.27million (CFAF 65.113 billion. The bank will provide a loan of € 84.00 million (CFAF 55.100 billion) (while the government will contribute €15.27 million (CFAF 10 billion) in counterpart funding.

 

  • Published in Africa
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Discover Uganda Through The Different Varieties Of Food

Several million miles away from home and you are wondering what to eat. When you travel to a different continent, you don’t only deal with the change in weather, culture and lifestyle. You also have to adapt to the local food. 

Jumia, Africa’s leading online food delivery service looks at a couple of Uganda’s delicious foods: 

  1. Rolex - To prepare Uganda’s most popular street food, a chapati is made of whole wheat flour salt and water mixed into dough and then flattened. An omelette is then made to your preference and wrapped in the chapati. This snack can be found around almost every street corner and is known for being affordable, delicious and filling. 
  1. Matooke - This a starchy variety of banana that is typically boiled then mashed and is accompanied with a protein of some kind, matooke is popular in the central and western regions. 
  1. Katogo - Katogois a dish of boiled/ fried plantain with either beef, beans, groundnut sauce or offals served with traditional vegetables. It is traditionally a breakfast dish though it can be enjoyed at any time of the day. Though considered unconventional to the rest of the world, a heavy breakfast like this is popular in Uganda and is a great hangover remedy just in case you’ve been exploring the nightlife. 
  1. Groundnut sauce - This is a creamy paste made from sweet red peanuts and is typically served with a carbohydrate like matooke or sweet potatoes. Smoked fish can be added for an elevated experience. When you’re in Uganda, there is no buffet that doesn’t include this delicious sauce and with good reason! 
  1. Luwombo - This dish can be prepared with beef, chicken, groundnuts, smoked fish or goat. This Ugandan special meal is one of great heritage and tradition and cooking it in banana leaf is actually what gives this dish that unique taste. It is served over matooke, rice, sweet potatoes and pumpkin. 

If you are the kind of person who likes to snap your fingers and make things happen or are generally too lazy to cook on weekends for example, then just head to Jumia and with one click, these options will be available for you.

Huawei WTTx Wins 2018 ITU Global Corporate Award

At the ITU Telecom World 2018 held on September 10, Huawei's wireless to the x (WTTx) solution won the Global Corporate Award: Sustainable Development for the outstanding contributions in accelerating the global penetration of broadband connections and improving household and enterprise broadband connections.

This authoritative award aims to commend innovative technical solutions that improve global ICT indexes and speed up the development of broadband connections.

According to The State of Broadband 2017 released by the ITU, more than 53% of people around the world are connected to the internet. However, due to limited investment in ICT infrastructure and payment capability, 66.3% of households remain unconnected.

The home broadband penetration rate is only 42.9% in developing countries and 14.7% in underdeveloped countries. Improving home broadband penetration has become one of the top priorities for ICT transformation in all countries.

Innovative business models and rapid technological evolution are required to reduce the home broadband access cost and improve the population coverage rate. 

WTTx is a Huawei fixed wireless broadband access solution that supports continuous evolution. Based on existing mobile networks, WTTx uses Huawei's device-pipe synergy solution, service management and O&M tools, and innovative QoS differentiation technology.

These technologies help to provide stable, high-speed broadband access in various scenarios, such as households, small- and medium-sized enterprise VPN access, and wireless verticals.

Fixed broadband access on the mobile network with the largest population coverage will slash the costs of broadband deployment and user acquisition, increase revenue, and develop a win-win industry environment for governments, operators, and end users. 

The latest report published by Ovum, a market-leading data, research and consulting business, shows that WTTx has been deployed on over 200 networks in more than 120 countries to connect more than 50 million household users. WTTx is reshaping broadband connections, changing local communities, and economies.

WTTx also helps to provide better healthcare and education, create jobs, increase revenue, and is an important factor in building a smart city. WTTx aims to connect the unconnected and create a new and improved digital lifestyle for each household. 

General Manager of Huawei WTTx Domain, Qingwen Wang said: "It is a great honor for Huawei's WTTx solution to be so highly recognized by the ITU. WTTx can quickly provide basic broadband connections, upgrade the rate of existing fixed broadband connections, and continue to increase data rates.

Huawei hopes to strengthen WTTx industry cooperation with all its partners to bridge the digital divide and allow more household and individual users to enjoy an optimal WTTx wireless broadband experience." 

ITU Telecom Word is an annual telecom event attended by government telecom regulators, telecom operators, information providers, and small- and medium-sized telecom enterprises around the world. This global event aims to accelerate ICT innovations for economic growth, social equity, and social benefits.

The Global Corporate Award: Sustainable Development aims to applaud innovative solutions dedicated to enhancing the national broadband penetration rate, bridging the digital divide, and improving internet access. These solutions use ICT technologies to protect the environment, ensure social equity, and allow more people to access the internet.

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