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Published 25th September 2009

Vol 50 No 19


Nigeria

Why the banks stay optimistic

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures
Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Oil, gas and Africa's biggest market keep the investors interested despite the increasingly desperate politics in Abuja ahead of the 2011 elections

After six weeks of billion dollar bail-outs, high-level sackings and the arraigning in court of five top executives, Nigeria’s financial sector is still robust enough to prompt paeans of praise from banks such as Goldman Sachs, Renaissance Capital and Standard Chartered. Not far behind in their pursuit of Nigerian business are South African banks such as Standard, ABSA (now controlled by Britain’s Barclays Bank) and First Rand – all of which are looking at buying stakes in troubled banks such as Intercontinental, Union and Oceanic.


A business and strategic foray

As Iran spreads its influence in Africa, Israel tries to return to a continent where it once had many friends

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s five-country trip to Africa on 2-9 September showed the extent of diplomatic ground which Israel has lost over the past three decades, since th...


The row over Aaron Ringera

The reappointment of the anti-corruption chief opens a rift between Parliament and President Mwai Kibaki as top politicians come under fire

For the first time in Kenya's history, Parliament has voted to reject a presidential order, duly noted in the official Gazette. At stake is the survival both of the Kenya Anti-Corr...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Despite its US$46 million settlement in London on 20 September of a class action brought on behalf of 30,000 Ivorians, British-based oil trader Trafigura still faces criminal charges in Norway and the Netherlands relating to the illegal dumping of toxic waste in Abidjan in 2006. In the settlement, Trafigura accepted no liability for the victims who, according to a UN investigation (AC Vol 50 No 18), had died or become ill after exposure to the waste. The action against Trafigura in the Net...
Despite its US$46 million settlement in London on 20 September of a class action brought on behalf of 30,000 Ivorians, British-based oil trader Trafigura still faces criminal charges in Norway and the Netherlands relating to the illegal dumping of toxic waste in Abidjan in 2006. In the settlement, Trafigura accepted no liability for the victims who, according to a UN investigation (AC Vol 50 No 18), had died or become ill after exposure to the waste. The action against Trafigura in the Netherlands, where its leased ship the Probo Koala tried to offload the waste before sailing to West Africa, is the most important. On 16 September, Greenpeace submitted a request to the Dutch prosecutor asking for Trafigura and its Chief Executive Claude Dauphin to be tried for illegally dumping toxic waste and corporate manslaughter. For now, Trafigura faces charges of forging documents to conceal the toxic nature of the cargo from Amsterdam port officials. Greenpeace argues that company emails, seen by Africa Confidential, show that Trafigura personnel were aware of the dangers caused by ‘caustic washing’ on the Probo Koala. A 28 December 2005 email to Dauphin says that ‘caustic washes are banned by most countries due to the hazardous nature of the waste’, and that the only plant capable of processing the waste safely was in Rotterdam. On 17 August 2006, an email was sent to Trafigura’s Abidjan subsidiary Puma Energy, saying that the Probo Koala was on its way and wanted to dump the slops in Côte d’Ivoire.
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Which vulture flies?

President Sassou spends millions of his country’s money on trying to stop vulture funds preying on bad debtors – like Congo

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Leaders in waiting

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A new diplomatic deal after four decades in power

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Sporting a rust-brown robe and a black cap, Moammar el Gadaffi opened his address to the General Assembly with a greeting to 'our son Obama' on behalf of the 1,000 African kings he...


Washington lobbyists stake claim

In the run-up to last year's United States' presidential election, the neo-conservative Michael Ledeen persuaded Democratic Party politicians (normally his sworn opponents) to sup...


Who's Who

Power in Libya is concentrated around Colonel Moammar el Gadaffi's family and a select group of politicians

Colonel Moammar el Gadaffi: the 67-year old Brother Leader of the Revolution is still in complete command. All speculation about his children's influence must be put in the context...


Britain's demanding ally in Tripoli

Britain's release of convicted terrorist Abdelbaset al Megrahi has prompted widespread criticism (especially from Washington), but Whitehall officials judged it worth the price o...


A King takes on the President

The Baganda people and their monarch are turning on the government and hurting its election prospects

The most serious challenge to Yoweri Museveni's presidency was always going to come from within his own coalition and that seems to have started in Kampala this month. A dispute be...



Pointers

Women at war

The fifth congress of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front in December will shape the party's leadership and policies for the next five years. National delegates ar...


Hybrid justice

The African Union Panel of Experts is to propose the establishment of 'hybrid courts' - which would include both Sudanese and international judges - to try those accused of war cr...


American airlift

When United States special forces landed near the Shabaab-held Somalian town of Barawe to assassinate and carry off several members of the Al Shabaab jihadist group on 12 Septembe...


A twist in the Thales

French defence company Thales has won US$150 million of business in Angola in partnership with Manuel Vicente, Chairman and Chief Executive of state oil company Sonangol, and Migue...