|Africa News Digest
South Africa Invites Mitsubishi to Invest in PBMR
Dec. 4 (EIRNS)In order to help "unlock" foreign markets, and provide capital needed to build the first two dozen small pebble bed modular nuclear reactors (PBMRs), for domestic use and export, the South African government has solicited investment from Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, according to a release today by Business Report, published by the on-line Independent group of newspapers (IOL) in South Africa. MHI is already under contract to supply the turbines for the PBMRs.
Vimla Maistry, spokesman for the government's Department of Public Enterprises, said yesterday that it has "always been the government's policy to attract investment from strategic partners." Westinghouse, another partner, which has had a small stake in the PBMR project, recently increased its investment in South Africa's nuclear technology development. Maistry estimates that it could cost between $9.9 billion and $13.8 billion to build the first 24 reactors. She also warned that components were likely to become more expensive, as a result of bottlenecks in the global supply chain, as more countries order new nuclear plants.
Dollar Crash Hits Hard in Africa
Dec. 4 (EIRNS)The plunge in value of the U.S. dollar is hitting hard, especially in poor nations dependent on agro-commodity exports, which trade in dollars on globalized markets. Cotton is a prime example.
In West Africa, cotton prices have recently fallen by 9%. Cotton accounts for 5-8% the gross domestic product of producing nations in West Africa, with many rural areas in the Sahel entirely dependent on cotton exports. The decline in the cotton industry may trigger mass migration, according to the head of the National Federation of Cotton Producers in Senegal. Many younger West Africans will attempt to go overseas. The farmers are desperate; the ginning and marketing concerns have posted big losses over two seasons. In the poor cotton-producing areas, the population was already subsisting on less than one dollar a day. Under these conditions, a shift in the dollar exchange rate can eliminate a month's worth of food, Bloomberg reports.
In France, aerospace producers are warning about the threat of the falling dollar forcing them to outsource production to "cheap-dollar" areas. Today's lead editorial of the French daily Le Figaro, titled, "The Trap of the Dollar," by Nicolas Barr, asserts that those who rejoice in the fall of the dollar are tragically mistaken.