|Africa News Digest
Sarkozy Offers To Build Nuclear Plants in Morocco
PARIS, Oct. 24 (EIRNS)At a state dinner given last evening, for visiting French President Nicolas Sarkozy, by King Mohammed VI of Morocco, Sarkozy said, "I have the great pleasure of announcing that France has decided to join together in another great industrial workplace, a great partnership, that of civilian nuclear energy."
"France will honor Morocco's ambition," he said. "We named two of our close collaborators to join the Moroccan and French framework" of cooperation.
A source quoted by Le Monde said the two representatives will elaborate the agreement "as soon as next week." The daily reported that "The number of nuclear plants and their locations, and the possibility they will not only provide energy but also desalinate sea water, will be discussed." Moroccan Energy Minister Amina Benkhadra might soon make a trip to France.
Earlier in the day, Sarkozy had told Moroccan MPs that he hoped that Morocco, with French cooperation, "can acquire a nuclear sector corresponding to its development needs.... The energy of the future should not be the exclusive possession of the most developed countries, as long as international conventions are respected" he underlined. To say this, "is also for me a way to tell Iran that cooperation is possible and that we're not condemned to confrontation."
France To Build 500-KM TGV Line in Morocco
PARIS, Oct. 22 (EIRNS)Patrick Kron, CEO of the French infrastructure giant Alstom, is heading a delegation of industrialists accompanying President Nicolas Sarkozy on a visit to Morocco today. Sources quoted by AFP indicate the two countries will sign a 3 billion euro contract for the construction of a 500 km high-speed rail line, similar to France's Train à Grande Vitesse (TGV) between Tangiers in the North and Marrakesh in the South. The rail line is planned to go into operation between 2012 and 2015.
Indian Firm, Tata, To Invest in South African Mining
Oct. 27 (EIRNS)The Indian conglomerate and steelmaker, Tata, could enter the South African mining sector, according to the Economic Times of India. Rawan Dhawn, managing director of Tata Africa Holdings, said that Tata would not like to restrict itself to gold or diamond mining, but is interested in all forms of mining, as a partner with a South African company.
Tata is looking for opportunities to mine chrome, manganese, coal, and iron ore, and has already acquired a 35% stake in Riversdale Mining's Mozambique Coal Project for $86 million. Tata Steel is also considering establishing a steel mill in South Africa. The company is said to be considering investing $450 million in South Africa.
Mugabe Will Attend EU Summit, If Invited
Oct. 27 (EIRNS)Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe told the Angolan news agency on Oct. 27 that he would attend the European Union-African Summit in Lisbon in December, if he is invited.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said he will not attend the summit if Mugabe is invited. On the other hand, member-states of the Southern African Development Community, which is mediating a conflict between the Zimbabwe government and opposition before elections next year, said after their summit in Zambia in August, that they would not attend if Mugabe was barred from the summit.
Mugabe said, "Europe should not choose who of us should come and who should not." If that were to happen, he said, "the we are a finished people." He added that Europeans "have lots of sins themselves, and we don't like many things they are doing," but "we will not say that if so and so comes to the United Nations, we will not go." He said that Britain and Zimbabwe have a conflict over land in Zimbabwe.
Bank Deal May Strengthen China-South Africa Nuclear Ties
Oct. 26 (EIRNS)The news that China's biggest bank, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, has agreed to buy a 20% stake in South Africa's Standard Bank, in a deal reported to be worth $5.5 billion, indicates a strengthening of relations between the two countries.
The strengthening of strategic ties began to flourish with Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to South Africa last February. The bank link-up may help both in the nuclear power sector: China is working with a number of African countries, including South Africa, in developing the pebble-bed modular reactor, based on technologies that are expected to generate greater safety and efficiency. The pebble-bed reactors could also be used to produce hydrogen, which many hope will emerge as a major alternative to oil in the transportation sector.
A Chinese company, Chinergy, established to develop pebble-bed reactors, has signed a memorandum of understanding with a South African company which has emerged as one of the leaders of the pebble-bed reactor technology. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has also joined R&D forces with China and South Africa. China and South Africa hope to work together to commercialize and export pebble-bed reactors in the future.
The banking deal is taking place as a new triangular cooperation alliance in nuclear power development has emerged among South Africa, India, and Brazil.