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Published 1st August 2009

Vol 2 (AAC) No 10

The race for strategic minerals

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Africa's mineral reserves are drawing interest from Asian and Western states determined to secure supplies and counter wild price fluctuations

Strategic minerals are back in fashion and - along with oil and gas - at the centre of geopolitical rivalries between industrial economies in Asia and the West. New technologies have failed to free modern economies from their dependence on base metals and rare minerals: for example, fibre-optics are replacing copper cables, but demand for the associated cobalt for superalloys used in jet engines and gas turbines is growing fast. Competition is increasing over price and secure supplies between Asia's super economies - China, India and Japan - and with Western economies.

Strategic resources and global rivalries

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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All modern economies face the challenge of securing access to strategic minerals: cobalt, used to make superalloys; rare earth metals like neodymium, which is used in the manufac...

Wade's monumental error

A secret deal involving the sale of public land is financing an ugly statue and tourist centre, built under contract by a North Korean company

The latest grand projet from President Abdoulaye Wade - the US$30 million Monument de la Renaissance Africaine - has quickly become an extreme parody of bad government in the ey...

African officials ignore labour abuses

African Labour Research Network investigators found that many factory inspectors at Kenya's Labour Ministry took bribes from Chinese and other companies to overlook bad practices...

Labouring the point

A new report by African trades unionists accuses Chinese companies of breaking regulations on minimum wages and working conditions

African trades unionists are stepping up their criticism of the Chinese companies in countries like Algeria, Nigeria and South Africa. In mid-August the Congress of South African...


Gurjit Singh

India's Ambassador to Ethiopia (Retired)

Long-serving diplomat Gurjit Singh distinguished himself as one of the most activist ambassadors in Addis Ababa and personally raised the substance and profile of Ethiopia-India ...

Sizwe Nxasana

Chief Executive Officer, FirstRand Bank, South Africa

Sizwe Nxasana has just led negotiations for an alliance with China Construction Bank. The two banks have signed a deal which commits FirstRand (the second biggest bank in South ...

Yasukazu Hamada

Minister of Defence, Japan

As the political head of a more outward-looking Japanese military, the Self-Defence Forces, Yasukazu Hamada is taking a robust line against pirates based in Somalia. In March, h...

Jiang Weiqiang

Director-General, International Bureau, State Council Information Office, China

Jiang Weiqiang and his State Council Information Office colleagues will play a leading role in Beijing's media courtship of Africa ahead of the fourth Forum on China-Africa Coope...