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the-looting-machineThe trade in oil, gas, gems, metals and rare earth minerals wreaks havoc in Africa. During the years when Brazil, India, China and the other "emerging markets" have transformed their economies, Africa's resource states remained tethered to the bottom of the industrial supply chain. While Africa accounts for about 30 per cent of the world's reserves of hydrocarbons and minerals and 14 per cent of the world's population, its share of global manufacturing stood in 2011 exactly where it stood in 2000: at 1 percent.

In his first book, The Looting Machine, Tom Burgis exposes the truth about the African development miracle: for the resource states, it's a mirage. The oil, copper, diamonds, gold and coltan deposits attract a global network of traders, bankers, corporate extractors and investors who combine with venal political cabals to loot the states' value. And the vagaries of resource-dependent economies could pitch Africa's new middle class back into destitution just as quickly as they climbed out of it. The ground beneath their feet is as precarious as a Congolese mine shaft; their prosperity could spill away like crude from a busted pipeline.

 

 

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from The New Times (Rwanda)..By KENNETH AGUTAMBAApril 19, 2015 In October last year, 21 countries, led by China, signed an agreement to establish the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). On April 15, 2015, China’s Deputy Finance Minister, Shi Yaobin, announced that 57 countries had been approved as founding members of the bank. Western media have already nicknamed the initiative as a new ‘China-led World Bank’ and analysts have said ‘it will alter the existing global financial status-quo currently
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from The Guardian..By Agence France-PresseApril 19, 2015 Chinese president’s rare visit and huge investment is part of plan to expand Beijing’s trade and transport footprint across Central and South Asia Billboards set up to welcome the Chinese president Xi Jinping to Pakistan. Photograph: Anjum Naveed/AP The Chinese president, Xi Jinping, was due to make a rare visit to Pakistan on Monday where he is to unveil a $46bn investment plan which it is hoped will end the country’s
from The Jordan Times..April 19, 2015 AMMAN — Jordan's foreign trade index, covering exports and imports, rose 3.8 per cent last year reaching JD23 billion, compared to JD21.3 billion in 2013, according to a report issued by Amman Chamber of Commerce (ACC). The report showed that Jordanian exports in 2014 increased by 7.5 per cent to JD5.2 billion compared to JD4.8 billion the year before. National exports accounted for 33.3 per cent of the overall foreign trade
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from glObserver.. April 19, 2015 A cool $114 million has just found its way into Ghana’s struggling bank balance, courtesy of a new loan package with the International Monetary Fund. It’s not huge money in the grand scheme of things, but alongside the government’s own reforms – and with additional IMF funds on the way – it could be just enough to rescue Ghana’s free-falling cedi and stabilise its wobbly economy.  On Tuesday, the Bank of Ghana’s strained reserves

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from the Times of Oman..April 19, 2015 Muscat: Oman's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased 4.6 per cent at the end of December 2014, standing at OMR31.45 billion, compared to OMR30.06 billion in 2013, Government data released on Sunday revealed.   According to figures issued by the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI), 2014 saw a 2.4 per cent dip in petroleum production, reaching OMR14.84 billion, as against OMR15.20 billion a year earlier.  Crude oil contributed OMR13.78 billion,
from ArabianBusiness.com..By ReutersApril 19, 2015 Saudi Arabia's bourse surged in early trade on Sunday after the regulator said it would open the bourse to direct foreign investment from June 15. The main index rose 3.9 percent to 9,614 points, breaking minor technical resistance at the late March high of 9,377 points and standing above the 200-day average, now at 9,572 points. It has not stayed above the average on a sustained basis since last November. The kingdom
from Al Bawaba..April 19, 2015 Moody’s Investors Service said on Thursday it has downgraded Bahrain’s long-term government issuer rating to Baa 3 from Baa2 due to expected deterioration in the government’s finances as a result of the oil price shock. The rating agency said in a statement that it maintained the negative rating outlook as it feels that it reflects the uncertainty regarding the government’s response to the fiscal challenges posed by a prolonged period of lower oil prices.
from Al Bawaba..By: Bassem AounApril 19, 2015 The International Monetary Fund, the world’s lender of last resort, has recently released a report on the effect of financial panics on Islamic banks. The working paper, published in February 2015 by Moazzam Farooq and Sajjad Zaheer, comes at an interesting time for the banking sector. The Federal Reserve in the United States recently finished its stress tests for major banks around the globe, where each institution’s resilience against a financial crisis is
from EurasiaNet.org..By Joanna LillisApril 17, 2015 The Russian military is handing Astana more than a million hectares of land it has been renting in Kazakhstan, which hopes to use the territory to boost its extractive industries. During talks in Moscow on April 16, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and his Kazakhstani counterpart Imangali Tasmagambetov finalized the deal that will see 1.6 million hectares of land that is part of two military testing grounds ceded to Kazakhstan, Russian news
from Al Jazeera..By Nour SamahaApril 18, 2015 With tensions inflamed as the Saudi-led war in Yemen drags on, a fight for public influence is being waged in Lebanon. Beirut - In a rally held to protest the Saudi-led air campaign in Yemen, Lebanese Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah accused Saudi Arabia of being responsible for the emergence and growth of groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and al-Qaeda. "Where did the ideology of the