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Mugabe spies widen probe into fertilizer scam

Zim Online

Tuesday 21 November 2006

      HARARE - The government's spy Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)
has widened investigations into the importation of unsuitable fertilizer
into the country to include Grain Marketing Board (GMB) boss Samuel Muvuti
who the secret service believes could have been bribed to distribute the

      The CIO that reports directly to President Robert Mugabe is already
probing Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono and Agriculture
Minister Joseph Made over allegations the two connived to import 70 000
tonnes of poor grade Compound D fertilizer from a South African firm in
return for kickbacks.

      Gono and Made deny any impropriety in the importation of the
fertilizer and at a press briefing in Harare last weekend the two said only
800 tonnes of the imported fertilizer had been found to contain a lower
sulphur content making it unsuitable for Zimbabwean soils.

      But authoritative sources told ZimOnline that the CIO is pressing on
with the probe and was now also targeting Muvuti after the GMB chief
executive initially questioned the quality of the fertilizer only to
backtrack and allow it to be distributed to unsuspecting farmers.

      "Had he maintained his stance, this whole issue would have been
uncovered and stopped much earlier .. Muvuti has to explain why he changed
his mind," said a senior CIO officer, adding that investigators suspected
Muvuti, a former officer in the army, may have been bribed to allow
distribution of the fertilizer.

      Muvuti was not available to comment on the matter while the CIO would
neither confirm nor deny it was probing the GMB boss saying it never
discusses its work with the media as a matter of policy.

      But correspondence between Gono, said to have been the major sponsor
of the controversial fertilizer deal and Muvuti showed that the GMB chief
raised alarm about the poor quality of the fertilizer supplied by South
Africa's little Itshona firm and was sure to result in reduced yields this
farming season.

      In a letter to Gono dated July 12 and a copy of which was shown to
ZimOnline, Muvuti wrote: "We write to bring to your attention the inferior
Compound D (fertilizer) which was recently imported from RSA (Republic of
South Africa).

      "Our concern is that this product bought using scarce foreign currency
will be distributed to our farmers yet it is inferior. The impact of poor
quality fertilizer will be reduced yields, thus impoverishing the farmers

      But Muvuti relented later in August and agreed to distribute the
fertilizer through the GMB's countrywide branches, which the CIO now
suspects was because he may have been paid to co-operate.

      Meanwhile, further correspondence between key players in the
fertilizer scam made available this week appears to suggest that Gono and
his staff at the central bank masterminded the controversial deal.

      In a letter to Millicent Mombeshora - a senior aide to Gono at the
RBZ -- Ministry of Agriculture permanent secretary Simon Pazvakavambwa
denies knowledge of the source of the fertilizer, saying all information
about the supplier were known to the RBZ because it alone was the one that
had selected the supplier and handled payments for the fertilizer.

      Pazvakavambwa, who was responding to a November 6 request by
Mombeshora for details of the supplier so the RBZ could claim for a refund,
wrote: "Perhaps you know the source (of the fertilizer) as you are the ones
contracting these suppliers.

      "We have never been able to discuss the whole fertilizer supply
situation except in a crisis like now. This ministry believes that any
fertilizer imports should be conducted with the involvement of the local
fertilizer industry that has the required expertise. Right now we do not
know all your suppliers hence it is difficult for us to point the source."

       Gono - who is a blue-eyed boy of Mugabe but is frequently accused by
top officials in the ruling ZANU PF party and the government of behaving
like a prime minister - has denied acting alone and maintains he consulted
all relevant government departments before releasing funds to pay for the
fertilizer. - ZimOnline

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Russian investors to build mini-power stations in Zimbabwe

Zim Online

Tuesday 21 November 2006

      HARARE - A Russian power company, TurboEngineering, says it will build
ten mini-hydro electricity generating stations in Zimbabwe as part of an
investment deal signed with the Harare authorities.

      The Russians were in Zimbabwe last month for the second time after
initially visiting the country last July to explore investment opportunities
in the energy, mining and agricultural sectors.

      The two parties last October signed a memorandum of understanding
allowing the Russians to proceed with their investment plans in the southern
African country.

      The power deal is different from a highly publicized US$300 million
investment agreement signed between the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor
Gideon Gono and another Russian firm, Rusaviatrade, that later turned out to
be bogus.

      In correspondence shown to ZimOnline between the Russians and the
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA), the east Europeans expressed
keen interest in mini hydro-projects in Zimbabwe.

      But before committing substantial resources towards the building of
the power stations with a combined output of 100 megawatts, Turboengineering
said it needed to first receive a generation licence from the Zimbabwe

       "A generation licence is an authorisation to construct, own, operate
and maintain a generation station. We intend to build at least ten
 stations," TurboEngineering said in the correspondence.

      Sources at ZESA say the Russians last month entered into a 50-50 joint
venture with the Zimbabwe Power Company, a subsidiary of ZESA Holdings for
the construction of the mini hydro power stations.

      There were fears in July that the Russians would not invest in
Zimbabwe's energy sector after officials from the firm expressed
dissatisfaction over the country's single buyer model for electricity and
erratic subsidies from the government.

      Zimbabwe has faced persistent power cuts over the past few years
because the cash-strapped ZESA has failed to expand generation capacity at
existing power stations or to build new ones.

       Southern Africa is expecting an acute energy deficit in about two
years time that will see neighbouring countries that have provided 35
percent of Zimbabwe's power requirements unable to do so because of rising
demand in their domestic markets. - ZimOnline

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Yet another torrid Christmas for Zimbabweans

Zim Online

Tuesday 21 November 2006

      HARARE - In normal times, the traditional Christmas shopping season
should have been in full swing at this time of the year in Harare.

      The city would have been draped in colourful decorations as shops
jostled to lure customers to part with their 13th cheques normally paid in

      Despite civil servants, who make up the bulk of Zimbabwe's labour
force, having been paid their bonuses last week, Harare is in a highly
disturbing mood.

      There is funereal mood gripping the city.

      Ellina Chiwara, a civil servant, told ZimOnline this week that the
grim atmosphere in Harare pointed to yet another bleak Christmas for

      "I have just been paid my bonus but this is no time to engage in
useless shopping sprees.

      "I have school fees to pay next year and my salary is not even enough
to cover next year's first term fees," she said.

      Chiwara, a mother of four from the poor suburb of Highfield in Harare,
says apart from putting food on the table for her family, she has struggled
all year to pay rent for her three-roomed apartment in Highfield.

      "I can't afford a lavish Christmas and I have told my children that
the important thing is just to buy the basics. Luckily, they seem to
understand the situation," she added.

      The situation appears so tough that even the cheap Chinese wares in
downtown Harare are not finding any takers.

      Tendai Chidori, a saleslady at one of the Chinese shops said business
was very low as compared to previous years.

      "The civil servants' bonus used to signal the beginning of brisk
business for us but things have changed. People are only concerned with
buying food.

      "These toys that we have here have not been bought for a long time,
even after last week's pay day for the civil servants," she said.

      Indeed, the era of full trolleys in supermarket chains and stampedes
at the food courts in the city is definitely over as Zimbabweans are forced
literally "tighten their belts."

      The majority appear too busy chasing scarce commodities such as
cooking oil without giving any attentions at beckoning mannequins in the
up-market departmental stores.

      Wilson Johwa, a Harare-based economist quipped: "You cannot afford a
party and a carnival atmosphere in a ship that has hit an iceberg.

      "The grim atmosphere in Harare's CBD is a reflection of the economic
situation on the ground. We are set for yet another tough Christmas," he

      Zimbabwe is in its seventh year of a bitter economic recession
described last year by the World Bank as unprecedented for a country not at

      The southern African country is grappling with the world's highest
inflation rate of over 1 000 percent, a collapsed health delivery system as
well as an acute shortage of foreign currency for critical imports such as
fuel, food and essential medicines.

      Major Western governments and the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party blame the economic crisis on mismanagement by
President Robert Mugabe, in power since the country's independence from
Britain 26 years ago.

      But Mugabe denies the charge blaming the crisis on sabotage by Western
governments which he says were unhappy over his policies.

      Even with the bonuses, the workers who earn average salaries of around
Z$35 000, say the money is still way off the barest minimum they would need
to buy the most basic of commodities.

      The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe says an average family of five needs
Z$112 000 per month to survive.

      "This is a serious crisis and all indications point to the worst
Christmas ever this year," said Wellington Chibebe, the secretary general of
the combative Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) which has been
fighting for improved salaries for workers in the country.

      "Previously, the 13th cheque used to bolster people's incomes to
enable them to buy food during the festive season but this time, even that
bonus pay is still far less than the $112 000 that an average family needs
in order to survive," Chibhebhe said.

       "We are headed for tougher times," he says ominously.

       For Chiwara and many others around the country, it appears the Mugabe
government is determined more than ever before to give suffering Zimbabweans
yet another torrid Christmas season. - ZimOnline

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Harare Parliament Launches Investigation Of Troubled Air Zimbabwe


By Patience Rusere
      20 November 2006

Even as Air Zimbabwe has announced plans to add a second weekly flight
between Harare and China, a parliamentary committee is launching an
investigation into the operations of the long-troubled state airline.

Chairman Leo Mugabe of the committee on transport and communications said in
an interview that his panel wants to ''understand'' what is going on at Air
Zimbabwe. Mugabe, nephew of President Robert Mugabe, declined to elaborate.

But another committee source said the investigation was prompted by the
cancellation of flights to London recently because of the airline's concern
that its craft were at risk of being seized for nonpayment of debts. The
source said Air Zimbabwe management has been given two weeks to prepare and
present a report to the committee.

Air Zimbabwe regional manager Chris Kwenda was quoted in the
state-controlled Herald newspaper on Monday as saying the airline would add
a second weekly flight to China early next year, to the industrial and
technological hub of Guangzhou.

Consultant Donald Schenk, president of New York-based Airline Capital
Associates, told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe
that Air Zimbabwe's difficulties are likely to continue as long as the
country itself remains in crisis.

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Iran, Zimbabwe vow to resist US 'dominance'

Khaleej Times


20 November 2006

TEHERAN - Iran and Zimbabwe vowed Monday to strengthen ties and press ahead
with resistance to the United States, which has vilified the governments in
Teheran and Harare as 'outposts of tyranny.'

'We do not accept US and British dominance in the world. We will cooperate
to put an end to domination,' Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said,
welcoming Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe at the start of a four-day
visit to Iran.

'We find ourselves against countries like the Unites States, which think the
world belongs to them exclusively ... we have to put out defence,' Mugabe

Zimbabwe and Iran have a common enemy in US Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice, who has branded Belarus, Cuba, Iran, Myanmar, North Korea and Zimbabwe
as 'outposts of tyranny.'

'Iran and Zimbabwe think alike and have been described (as belonging) to the
'axis of evil', who are they to judge us?' Mugabe said, in reference to US
President George W. Bush's remarks on Iran, North Korea and Iraq after the
September 11 attacks on the United States.

'Those countries that think alike should come together,' Mugabe added.

Iran is one of the countries Mugabe has been warming to as part of his
government's 'Look East' policy, partly forced by Zimbabwe's isolation from
the West over controversial land reforms and allegedly fraud-marred
elections in 2000 and 2002.

The United States' frosty relations with Iran have soured further over
Teheran's nuclear programme. Washington claims the Islamic republic's
uranium enrichment programme is ultimately aimed at producing fissile
material for nuclear weapons.

Iran insists it will use the enriched uranium only to fuel nuclear power
stations, something it is permitted to do as a signatory to the nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty.

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Air Zimbabwe introduces second flight to China

Yahoo News

Mon Nov 20, 6:57 AM ET

HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe's national carrier, Air Zimbabwe, is to launch a
second regular flight to China as it hopes to cash in on Harare's policy of
strengthening relations with Beijing, an official said.

"The flight will come as a second frequency in our China operation," Chris
Kwenda, Air Zimbabwe's regional manager for China was quoted as saying in
the state-controlled Herald newspaper.
"We will launch it mid-January. The plane will be flying to Guangzhou which
is of high economic importance to China.

"Guangzhou is China's industrial hub and it is the number one producing
region in terms of China's outbound tourism and there is potential business
for Zimbabwe there."

The southern city of Guangzhou, once known as Canton, lies next to the
former British colony of Hong Kong and is regarded as the gateway to China
by virtue of its location at the mouth of the Pearl river.

China is becoming an increasingly important destination for Zimbabwe as a
result of burgeoning economic ties between Harare and Beijing.

Air Zimbabwe launched its maiden flight to Beijing nearly two years ago.

"So far we have witnessed an increase in both passenger and cargo volumes,"
Kwenda was quoted as saying on the sidelines of the China International
Travel Mart in Shanghai.

Isolated by Western governments over the political crisis in Zimbabwe,
President Robert Mugabe has looked to foster new relations with Asian
countries such as China and Malaysia as part of a so-called "Look East"

The government said in September that it had acquired six more jet fighters
from China while Zimbabwe's national airliner took delivery last year of
three MA60 passenger planes from the Chinese state-owned AVIC aircraft

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MISA Highlights Continued Suppression of Freedom of Expression

Media Institute of Southern Africa (Windhoek)

November 20, 2006
Posted to the web November 20, 2006

MISA Zimbabwe highlights continued suppression of freedoms in Zimbabwe to

The following is a statement by the Media Institute of Southern Africa
(MISA) Zimbabwe to the 40th Ordinary Session of the African Commission for
Human and Peoples' Rights, Banjul, The Gambia, presented by Wilbert
Pfungwadzashe Mandinde (MISA-Zimbabwe Legal Officer) on November 15, 2006.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)-Zimbabwe is grateful, once
again, for this opportunity to address this Commission on the situation of
the enjoyment of the right to freedom of expression in Zimbabwe.

Over the past six months, Zimbabweans have continued to face various
challenges and experience repression in terms of the enjoyment of the right
to freedom of expression. The arrests of two journalists, Ndamu Sandu and
Godwin Mangudya, in two separate incidents during the scope of their
employment was enough demonstration of the police and state's intolerance of
media practitioners generally and citizens' right to freedom of expression
in particular.

On 13 September 2006, the police arrested members of the Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions (ZCTU), a labour movement, as they attempted to stage a
peaceful demonstration on poor working conditions and to demand the
provision of anti-retroviral drugs to workers in need. In a typical act of
barbarism, the police brutally and mercilessly assaulted them. To date, most
of the demonstrators are still nursing serious and, for some, permanent
injuries sustained on that day. As if that was not enough, His Excellency,
the President of Zimbabwe Robert Mugabe, castigated the labour movement for
the planned demonstration and commended the police for the brutal attack and
torture of the workers. We call upon the Commission to urge the Zimbabwean
Government to allow workers the right to stage peaceful demonstrations.
Collective bargaining without the right to demonstrate can be equated to
collective begging.

In both the 39th session and this one, the Zimbabwean Government announced
its intentions of setting up a Human Rights Commission. However, the
continued suppression of peoples' freedoms by the same government is a clear
indication of a lack of goodwill by the government. More so, we believe that
a human rights commission cannot be set and operate in an environment
replete with repressive legislation as in Zimbabwe. We urge the Commission
to advise the Zimbabwe government to repeal repressive legislation and come
up with conditions amenable to the enjoyment of human rights by Zimbabweans
before coming up with a human rights commission.

While we congratulate the Zimbabwean Government on its submission of the
combined state party reports since 1998, we note that the eight-year delay
is cause for concern. We call upon the Commission to urge the Zimbabwe
government and other African States whose reports are outstanding to remedy
the situation by submitting reports timely.

The Parliament of Zimbabwe is currently discussing the Interception of
Communications Bill, a highly intrusive form of legislation that is vague,
lacks sound justification, invades the private lives of citizens, is
unreasonable in a democratic society and blatantly unconstitutional. The
Commission is requested to urge the government of Zimbabwe not to pass this
legislation, which violates both the Country's Constitution and the African

The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) remains one
of the major hindrances to the development of the media in Zimbabwe. While
acknowledging the need for an access to information law for the benefit of
citizens, MISA notes that in its current form, this law is contrary to its
name and preamble. The shutting down of newspapers and the arrests of
journalists is enough evidence that the law has nothing positive to offer.

As part of its contribution to efforts to reform the media sector in
Zimbabwe, MISA-Zimbabwe consulted widely with journalists, lawyers and
members of civil society and consolidated their views and concerns to come
up with a model Access to Information Law. The model has since been
presented to the Parliament and two Ministries in Zimbabwe. MISA-Zimbabwe
takes this opportunity to thank the two Ministries which accepted the model
and is hopeful that such a process will help continue the recently-started
culture of consultation between the government and the Civic Society

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Zim safari operators held on graft charges

          November 20 2006 at 12:11PM

      Harare - At least nine safari operators have been arrested in Zimbabwe
for allegedly violating exchange control regulations for the sale of hunting
trophies, the Herald newspaper said on Monday.

      Three of those arrested, who include a retired army brigadier general,
Ben Matiwaza of Lalapanzi Safaris, have already appeared in court in the
second city of Bulawayo, said the state-controlled Herald.

      The other six unnamed operators are due to appear in court soon,
according to the paper.

      The report said that the operators allegedly made false declarations
to the Zimbabwean authorities concerning the value of hunting trophies
including lions and leopards sold to overseas clients.

      The excess payments were allegedly placed in the operators' overseas
bank accounts.

      Under local exchange control laws, foreign currency earned for
services rendered inside the country must be brought into Zimbabwe and
surrendered at the official exchange rate.

      Often, Zimbabweans with access to hard cash try to keep it out of
official channels and change it on the lucrative parallel market that offers
rates six or seven times higher than the official one of just ZIM$250 (about
R7) to the US.

      In a statement, Anti-Corruption Minister Paul Mangwana said arrests in
the key hunting and safari sector were set to intensify. Arrests and
prosecutions were going to escalate and the (anti- corruption) taskforce
would leave no stone unturned, he said in a statement.

      The governments much-vaunted anti-corruption drive was launched two
years ago, but so far mainly the private sector has been targeted.

      Although a major corruption scandal was uncovered in September at the
state-owned iron and steel company, there have been no arrests so far.
Government critics accuse the authorities of a cover-up. - Sapa-dpa

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'Army lying about soldier's disappearance'

      By Tichaona Sibanda
      20 November 2006

      A Zimbabwe National Army officer who has been in detention for
allegedly aiding a plot to assassinate Robert Mugabe has escaped from the
military barracks where he was being held.

      Captain Alfred Chiukira was due to appear before a military court
martial last week, but the trial was postponed and the army never gave any

      But the MDC MP for Mutare North Giles Mutsekwa, said he finds it
difficult to believe that Army captain Alfred Chiukira escaped from King
George VI barracks last week Friday.

      Mutsekwa, a former Major in the army said Chiukira's 'escape' is hard
to believe considering that he was being held inside a military fortress
which is more secure than Chikurubi, the country's top security prison.

      'The army should not lie that he escaped. They should tell us they
just let him go. The man had no case to answer. This was a man facing
charges of trying to kill the President. He was a priority prisoner, with
guards watching him every minute and we are told he escaped. This is a story
made up, I believe they just let him go,' Mutsekwa said.

      The Zimbabwe Standard reported that a soldier guarding Chiukira woke
up at King George V1 barracks on Saturday morning around 4.30 only to
discover the prisoner had disappeared.

      The paper added that Chiukira pretended he was taking a late night
bath, turned on the shower and fled. When his guard woke up hours later, the
shower had not been turned off. Chiukira had been languishing in detention
incommunicado, for the last six months. His plight came to light last week
when the Zimbabwe Standard made enquiries about his continued detention
without trial.

      He was detained in March following accusations that he was an
informant of Peter Hitschmann, an ex-Rhodesian soldier under trial for
allegedly masterminding a plot to assassinate Mugabe during this year's 21st
February celebrations in Mutare. It is alleged Hitschmann and his
co-conspirators intended to spill used oil on the Christmas Pass section of
the Mutare highway to cause an accident involving Mugabe's motorcade.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Opposition supporters denied food in Makoni East

      By Violet Gonda
      20 November 2006

      Zimbabwe has been breaking international records - but all for the
wrong reasons.

      The country has the fastest shrinking economy in the world for a
country not at war. It has the highest inflation at over 1000% . The United
Nations has also just announced that Zimbabwe has the highest ratio of
orphans to population of any country in the world. It's estimated that at
least 4 000 people die each week from HIV/AIDS related illness. And as if
this is not enough the country has the lowest life expectancy in the world -
most women won't make it past 34.

      To compound all this, reports of the ruling party politicising the
distribution of much needed food continue. This time it's in Makoni East in
Manicaland province. Loveness Makaure, the Tsvangirai MDC losing candidate
in the recent rural council polls, said scores of MDC supporters were being
denied access to food by the winning ZANU PF councillor Remias Muchineuta.

      The MDC candidate who was allegedly assaulted during the run up to the
elections by Muchineuta's supporters, said the Councillor takes a list of
people to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) to source maize. She said once he
is given the bags and goes back to the community the beneficiaries of this
staple food are ZANU PF supporters. Those who are known to be MDC
supporters, even though they have the money to pay for the food, are left

      Mrs Makaure said Ward 27 in Makoni East has a small community
therefore it's not difficult to know who supports which political party in
the area. She said at least 40 people came knocking at her house Monday
morning with complaints that they were being denied access to food.

      We were not able to get a comment from ZANU PF councillor Remias

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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Iran to Set Up Power Plant for Zimbabwe

            TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Zimbabwe has requested Iran to build
a 1600 MW power plant on the largest river of that country, Iranian Power
Minister Parviz Fattah said.

      Speaking to reporters after a meeting with Zimbabwean Energy Minister
Michael Nyambuya here on Monday, Fattah said that Iran is also due to
construct a coal-burning 600 MW power plant for Zimbabwe in the future.

      He further pointed out that the two sides have agreed on the
establishment of a branch of Iranian Transformer Manufacturing Company 'Iran
Transfo' in Zimbabwe.

      Fattah also pointed to the training of Zimbabwean energy and power
experts by Iranian experts and university professors as among other
agreements held concluded by the two sides, reminding that Zimbabwe is one
of the countries which have always accompanied Iran at the different
political scenes.

      For his part, Zimbabwean Energy Minister Michael Nyambuya voiced his
country's enthusiasm for the boosting of cooperation with Iran, saying that
Zimbabwe enjoys high potentials for the construction of hydroelectric power
plants, considering its huge roaring rivers.

      He also stated his country's willingness for the planning and
implementation of new projects by Iran in eastern parts of Zimbabwe.

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Are we living next door to new Kuwait?

Business Day

John Legat


IMAGINE the huge economic benefits for southern Africa if oil-rich Nigeria
or one of the Gulf states were magically to relocate to our region, with
petrodollars to spend, sophisticated financial-service needs to meet and
contracts to dole out to support mega-engineering and infrastructure
projects. Well, something similar is under way already, although many
commentators and investors have yet to notice. Impoverished, marginalised
and war-ravaged Angola could have the makings of the Nigeria or Kuwait of
southern and central Africa.

The possibilities are only just being explored, but huge strategic benefits
are already on the horizon; not only for Angola but for the neighbours,
including SA with its advanced financial systems, engineering expertise and
well-developed manufacturing base.

International investors - including the Botswana- and Zimbabwe-based Imara
African Opportunities Fund - are beginning to look at the strategic
potential should Angola emerge as "the next Kuwait".

Angola is going on to the "watch list" while investors catch up with the
pace of events in this fascinating country.

It was only in 2002 that a peace agreement ended 27 years of civil war.
However, the track record of the ruling MPLA, led by Jose dos Santos, is
much longer than that. President dos Santos has been in power longer than
Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe.

Recent statistics coming out of Angola are awesome.

Currently, 1,5-million barrels of oil are produced a day, rising to
2-million by next year. Even higher volumes are forecast after that. This
places Angola on a par with Kuwait.

Reserves are huge; the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimates them at
45-billion barrels.

Angola is now the largest supplier of crude to China. It's no surprise then
that China is throwing money at Angola, building infrastructure and
providing export-import bank financing to the tune of $14bn. That's 35% of
gross domestic product (GDP)!

Angola has also become the seventh-largest oil supplier to the US, which
explains the CIA interest.

As world concerns mount about continued tensions in the Middle East, it's a
fair bet the Americans and Europeans will cherish a source of supply on the
Atlantic seaboard in a region with less volatility.

In addition to oil, Angola has large reserves of gas, diamonds and other
minerals. The population is about 13-million, most crammed into Luanda to
escape the civil war. Two-thirds of the people live below the dollar-a-day
poverty line.

Though life remains hard for most Angolans, the economy as a whole is
buoyant. This $40bn economy enjoys double-digit growth; a situation that is
expected to persist until the end of the decade.

The fiscal surplus is about 5% of GDP while the current account surplus sits
at about 12% of GDP. External debt is about a third of GDP, with Paris Club
debt under negotiation. In African investment terms, Angola is destined to
become an important market. The view from a regional investment player is
that the economic and political dispensation could evolve into scenarios
resembling Indonesia or Nigeria.

Several factors support this view:

?The economy's most significant feature is the lack of an effective banking
system. This is a dollarised, cash economy much like Nigeria's. There are no
credit cards. In December 2002, Dos Santos appointed an economic team to
oversee home-grown reform; one outcome was a "strong kwanza" policy linking
the currency to the US dollar. Inflation is down to 15% as a result.

?State control is strong. One diplomat has described Angola as a "Portuguese
fascist bureaucracy on top of a Cuban Marxist bureaucracy". Corruption is a
major challenge.

?With roughly 95% of the nation's wealth concentrated among the top 5% of
the population, Angola has strong echoes of Indonesia. The diamond industry,
for example, is in the gift of the president. The biggest cellular company
is a family concern, as are some of the largest banks; a cement company is
now planned.

?A powerful military is in place and an all-pervasive state oil company
(Sonangol) owns a swathe of the oil- and nonoil economy - all under
presidential control.

Going on the Indonesian precedent under former President Suharto, we suspect
an equity market will provide the exit strategy for many of these industrial
assets. A stock exchange is planned.

Some observers may have doubts about Nigeria or Indonesia as role models.
However, investors could well take a more pragmatic approach. High returns
can be achieved when countries go from anarchy to stability and from bad to
less bad. Pragmatism is also expected to shape the regional response. After
all, having a gushing oil spigot next door means positive spin-off for the

Legat is CEO of Imara Asset Management, a member of the Imara financial
services group with offices and affiliates in Gaborone, Johannesburg,
Harare, London, Blantyre, Windhoek and Lusaka. In addition to asset
management, group activities include investment banking, advisory services
and stock broking.

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Cry, the beloved country

      Eddie Cross
      Bulawayo, 20th November 2006

      Breaking Records

      I spotted a short statement from the UN this morning. It said
"Zimbabwe has the highest ratio of orphans to population of any country in
the world." We seem to be making a habit of this just now - breaking all
sorts of records in the realm of development economics.

      Just the other day I heard we had the lowest life expectancy in the
world. I knew it was low and still falling, but I did not know we were the
worst in the whole world! Then I listened to a speech at a conference and
heard for the first time that we have been officially classified as a
"failed State".
      We already knew that our economy is the fastest shrinking in the world
and that we have the highest inflation - to this we must now add the
accolade that we are in that exclusive group of less than 10 countries who
are regarded as being in such a shambles that they are classified as "failed

      This week we have seen several detailed international media reports on
the Zimbabwe crisis. The Independent in the UK carried a blazing headline -
"Dead at 34" - not the latest casualty in Iraq but the epitaph on the grave
of a young women in Bulawayo. The story went on to detail a social and
economic crisis that has decimated the lives of millions of people. The
shortages and the cost of all basic foods, the collapse of the health
system, the impact of unemployment and high inflation and the lingering
affects of urban slum clearance campaigns that have destroyed the
livelihoods of millions and the homes of hundreds of thousands, are all
contributory factors.

      Diseases that were once considered no longer significant are back and
killing tens of thousands of people every month. The mortality figures for
this country - above those that we would have regarded as "normal" just 20
years ago, exceed the combined death toll in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Zanu
PF regime here is killing thousands of people every week - it is not
shooting them or blowing them up in front of roving TV cameras but it is
killing them just as emphatically as the Jangaweed in the Sudan or the car
bombers of Baghdad.

      I had always imagined that the leaders of the world would sit up and
take notice when a crisis of these proportions occurs. They do not have the
luxury of not having information or not fully understanding what is going
on - they do know. But somehow it is only when the images come up on that
little screen and CNN or the BBC capture the stark reality on electronic
disc that leaders suddenly take notice and seek action.

      Just look at the disproportionate effort being made in the Darfur
region of the Sudan -

      Population affected Darfur - two million, Zimbabwe - ten million.
      Physically displaced Darfur - 200 000 people, Zimbabwe - 2,4 million
      internally displaced people and at least 3 million externally
displaced refugees.
      Deaths Darfur - 20 000 people in 3 years, Zimbabwe - 550 000 deaths in
      three years.

      The response by the UN - direct intervention by the Security Council,
the Secretary General takes personal charge of negotiations. The AU sends in
7000 troops and the global community demands that this be strengthened with
thousands of UN troops and peacekeepers. The media exposure is daily -
graphic pictures of sprawling camps and men in uniform on camels and pick up
trucks. The response to the crisis in Zimbabwe, a one hour talk with Mugabe
on the sidelines of the AU summit and a half hearted effort to appoint an
ineffective mediator in the form of Mkapa. The response of the AU and the
SADC - silence.

      As we slide towards the abyss several things come to mind. Could P W
Botha and Ian Smith have got away with this in their lifetime? Why the
difference in response just because those doing the killing and abusing our
rights are black? Or does Mugabe have some sort of Juju that makes him
invisible - just like the original rebel groups in the Congo?

      We are told by all our critics that Zimbabweans must change things
themselves - on their own. Would the ANC, Zanu and Zapu have ever argued
that in their day in opposition to a grossly unjust and tyrannical regime?
      The answer of course is never - they asked for, nay demanded, full
international support and solidarity and got it - in big measure. UN
resolutions, global mandatory sanctions, the threat of force and finally
political and economic threats that crushed the remaining sources of
resistance to change in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

      The final outcome - negotiated assumption of democratic, social and
economic reforms that brought the majority to the ballot box and peace to
the streets.

      When I hear the deputy Foreign Minister of South Africa (who seems to
have a special mandate to deal with Zimbabwean issues) pontificate on the
situation in Zimbabwe I just cringe. He has said repeatedly that this is a
crisis - but one that must be resolved by Zimbabweans. He wrings his hands
and says, "What do you want us to do? Send in the troops?" as if there were
no alternatives to physical intervention. Just recently he was quoted as
saying that South Africa was aware of the nature and extent of the crisis in
Zimbabwe and was concerned - but that the matter was now in the hands of the
SADC troika - I assume he was referring to the group made up of former
Chairmen of the SADC who head up the SADC Organ on Security and Politics.

      Any Chief Executive of a major Corporation, who ignored a threat of
the magnitude that is represented by the crisis in Zimbabwe to the region as
a whole, would soon find himself looking for another job. Unfortunately the
same rules do not apply in politics.

      So here we are - at the start of a new wet season, facing a continuing
crisis that threatens the stability of the State and the region as a whole.
      Zanu PF is disintegrating and there are now so many leaks of sensitive
information that it is clear that the sailors on this particular ship no
longer have any faith in the Captain. No life rafts or boats on this
vessel - if you want to get off you have to leave the ship at the next port
or not at all. But then at least we will still be breaking records - the
wrong sort, but still world records, we will be remembered for some of the
things we did - even if it was always the wrong thing.

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UNESCO and HP launch project to counter brain drain in Africa


            Editorial Contact: Roni Amelan, Press Relations Section, tel +33
(0)1 45 68 16 50

            20-11-2006 4:30 pm UNESCO and Hewlett-Packard have launched a
joint project to help reduce brain drain in Africa by providing grid
computing* technology to universities in Algeria, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal
and Zimbabwe. I.S.G. Mudenge, Zimbabwe's Minister of Higher and Tertiary
Education, took part in the launch of the "Piloting Solutions for Reversing
Brain Drain into Brain Gain for Africa" project, at UNESCO Headquarters on
20 November. The representatives of Senegal and Ghana to UNESCO, as well as
Peter Smith, Assistant UNESCO Director-General for Education, and Bernard
Meric, Senior Vice President of Hewlett Packard for Europe, Middle East and
Africa, took part in the launch (9.30 a.m. - 12 noon, Room VIII) of the
project to provide university laboratories and research centres with systems
of interconnections that will enable students and faculty to work with
researchers and professionals around the world.

            The project aims to establish links between researchers who have
stayed in their countries and those that have left, connecting scientists to
international colleagues, research networks and potential funding
organizations. Faculties and students at beneficiary universities will also
be able to work on major collaborative research projects with other
institutions around the world.

            "This project harnesses the enormous potential of the
information and communication technologies to bring people together and to
spread the benefits of research and development across the north south
divide," said the Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura. "We trust
that such projects and such partnerships will enable us to reduce
significantly the devastating effects of brain drain on some of the weakest
societies in the world," he concluded.

            "HP has a unique, long-standing relationship with UNESCO, and
the two organizations have worked jointly on several projects in different
countries. This new African project builds on the success of a similar
UNESCO-HP initiative launched in 2003 in South East Europe to alleviate
brain drain in the region that now includes eight countries," said Bernard
Meric, Senior Vice President External Affairs, HP EMEA.

            The African project was developed by UNESCO's Education Sector
in response to requests by Member States. Over the past decades, African
countries have suffered greatly from the emigration of skilled
professionals, scientists, academics and researchers who are estimated to be
leaving the continent at the rate of 20,000 a year. After its first two-year
implementation phase, the project may well be extended to cover other

            The Education Ministries of the countries involved, along with
UNESCO, will choose the universities that will benefit from the project.
Preference will be given to university departments with important
information technology components. HP will provide equipment - including
servers and grid-enabling technologies - and local human resources to the
universities, as well as training and support, until the projects become
self-sustainable. It will also donate PCs and monitors and fund research
visits abroad and meetings between beneficiary universities. UNESCO will be
in charge of overall coordination and monitoring of activities, as well as
administrative management; evaluation and promotion of results.

            This new project in Africa follows the successful joint
HP-UNESCO "Piloting Solutions for Alleviating Brain Drain in South East
Europe" project, launched in 2003 to support faculties and students in
harnessing the power of grid computing. Three years after its launch, the
project has resulted in the development of websites, databases and new
research projects at several of the universities involved. Academics and
students from across South East Europe have collaborated with international
colleagues, improved research capacities and shared scientific knowledge,
encouraging scientists to remain in the region. Four universities
(University of Split in Croatia, University of Montenegro, East Sarajevo
University and the University of Sarajevo) have become self-sustainable in
the use of grid technology and the project continues in three other
universities (University of Belgrade, University of Skopje and the
University of Tirana).

            * Grid computing is a hardware and software infrastructure that
clusters and integrates high-end computer networks, databases and scientific
instruments from multiple sources to form a virtual environment in which
users can work collaboratively. The grid concept was developed in the
mid-1990s as a shared computing approach that coordinates decentralised
resources and uses open, general-purpose protocols and interfaces to deliver
high-quality service levels.

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African Trade Group Comesa to End Non-Tariff Barriers

International Business Times

            By Isabel Goncalves

            Posted 20 November 2006 @ 01:29 pm EST

      (International Business Times) - The Common Market for Eastern and
Southern Africa, or Comesa, agreed to eliminate non-tariff barriers and end
conflicts that weaken trade within the 21-member grouping, a statement
issued at the close of a two-day summit of member countries said Monday.

      Leaders met in Djibouti, Nigeria from November 15-16 for the 11th
annual Comesa Summit where members were urged to form a common customs
market by the end of next year.

      Recommendations were made to create a tax band on imported products
into the trade bloc. Comesa will also work towards speeding up a regional
payment and compensation scheme before the end 2007.

      "The bloc urges member states to speedily draw a road map to eliminate
non-tariff barriers. In addition, members should formulate a strategy for
regional industrialization...and for the promotion of cooperation between
them," said a statement by participants of the summit.

      Comesa is the largest African economic bloc, grouping Angola, Burundi,
Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Eritrea,
Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Swaziland,
Sudan, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. It has a total population of about 374
million and a total GDP of $203 billion. Kenya will host next year's summit.

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Evicted Zimbabwe refugees sleeping outside church

      By Tichaona Sibanda
      20 November 2006

      As many as 20 Zimbabwean refugees evicted from the Methodist church in
Braamfontein last week are now camped outside the church premises.

      Solomon Chikohwero, vice chairman of the Zimbabwe civic society
organisation, said he saw women with little babies sleeping by the road side
outside the church.

      To make matters worse he said it was raining heavily on Monday and the
evicted refugees were using cardboard boxes to cover themselves from the
downpour. The mayor of Johannesburg, Amos Masondo, last week gave the
refugees a 24-hour ultimatum to leave the church. Most of them had been
sheltered in the church for more than a year.

      'This is an urgent issue which needs a solution quickly because we
have women who are breastfeeding, sleeping with their babies out in the
cold. When I visited the refugees they told me they had nowhere to go,' said

      He said he would try to convene an urgent meeting of CSO's in
Johannesburg to work out a plan of addressing the situation. The refugees
were part of a large group that was asked to leave following several clashes
with the church community.

      The issue came to a boiling point last week Sunday when church elders
threatened to cut the power supply, water and other essential services to
the building after accusing the refugees of being disobedient and violent.
There were other allegations that there was prostitution going on at the
church, claims that were vehemently dismissed by the refugees as baseless
and unfounded.

      SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news

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