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Published 28th March 1997

Vol 38 No 7

Going with the flow

West Africa is becoming the most important region for oil exports after the Middle East and is beginning to exploit its gas

Exports of crude oil from Sub-Saharan Africa are set to grow fast in the next few years. Production was just under 3.5 million barrels a day in 1996; capacity in the year 2000 will reach almost 5 mn. b/d. The upward trend should continue, as producers move out of the shallow coastal waters and (if the geologists are right) start exploiting deeper offshore fields. Most of the activity is in West Africa and oil ministers, oil companies and bankers are meeting in Accra(1) from 2-4 April to work out how to manage the new oil rush. Also under discussion will be the agreement between the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation and Chevron, signed last month, for the sale and purchase of gas from the offshore Mefa and Okan fields as part of the West African gas pipeline project.

Kabila's long march

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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Mobutu is going and Zaïreans are asking questions about his would-be successors

As they go from victory to victory, Laurent-Désiré Kabila and his forces are having to face some tough political questions: firstly, about the composition of their Al...

The new order

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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The 'government' or Executive Committee of the Alliances des Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Congo-Zaïre, which now administers about a quarter of the...

Talking of votes

West Africa's peacekeepers have at last cleared the decks for an election

The peace process known as Abuja II is moving unsteadily towards success. The goal is free and fair elections on 30 May. The main faction leaders now say they want to take part and...

Ghankay versus the rest

The man who most wants to take control of Liberia, by whatever means, is Charles Taylor of the National Patriotic Front (NPFL). His most fervent rival warlord is Alhaji G.V. Kromah...

No peace, no war

Somali leaders juggle their shrinking options while outsiders compete to make peace

Two competing peace processes are under way in Somalia, each linked to a neighbouring state. Supporters of January's agreement at Sodere, Ethiopia, are trying to create a political...


Kolimba and critics

A hero's funeral was accorded to Horace Kolimba. Yet when he died on 13 March, he was central to a fierce row in the traditionally united ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi. Controversy br...

Baker's new brief

United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan hopes former United States' Secretary of State James Baker, whom he appointed Special Envoy for Western Sahara on 17 March, has enough c...

The Zaïre effect

The war in Zaïre has brought more violence to Rwanda: some 600,000 Hutu fled home, among them many Interahamwé and former Rwandan troops. The killing goes on: people ta...