Kingsley

Kingsley

Reforms currently sweeping through Ethiopia under the new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed have implications for the relationship between Ethiopia and its neighbours. Ethiopia is seen as the de facto leading state in the region. But it has a history of clashing with neighbouring states.

The current reforms have the potential to bolster Ethiopia’s leadership role in the region. And an Ethiopia that is perceived as a unifying force could lead to more stability.

Two recent announcements stand out: the normalisation of relations with the northern neighbour Eritrea and the signing of a peace deal with the Ogaden National Liberation Front, a separatist movement that has sought self-determination for the Somali region of Ethiopia.

The reasons these two developments are so important is that the tension between Ethiopia, Eritrea, and the Ogaden National Liberation Front have each contributed to instability in the region. The peace deal brokered between Ethiopia and Eritrea will not only affect internal tensions within Ethiopia. It’s also likely to signify a new chapter in the politics of the region.

For its part, the peace accord with the Ogaden National Liberation Front will end a long-standing conflict with the Ethiopian state. This conflict has shaped Ethiopia’s relationship with its Somali region, as well as Ethiopia’s relationship with the Republic of Somalia. The Somali region of Ethiopia is one of nine regional states under the current ethnic federal system in Ethiopia. It is mostly inhabited by Somali-speaking people.

Territorial statehood

Tensions – both within Ethiopia and between Ethiopia and its neighbours – are rooted in history. The formation of Ethiopia’s Empire state in the late nineteenth century was shaped by the absorption of smaller kingdoms in the south, east, and west of Shewa.

Shewa was Ethiopia’s political centre located north of the current capital Addis Ababa. By the late 19th century the incorporation of these territories was almost complete. By this time the capital had been moved to Addis Ababa.

This incorporation of territories is how the idea of the modern “Ethiopian state” emerged. But this imposition of state power on the new territories was contested. It has been the root cause of much of the country’s internal upheavals.

The importance of territory in Ethiopian statehood was further demonstrated by the 1952 incorporation of Eritrea as an Ethiopian province. Most Eritreans resisted the occupation and took up arms. The occupation was followed by nearly 30 years of conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrean liberation movements.

Ethiopia has also been in conflict with neighbouring Somalia since Somalia gained independence in 1960. Shortly after its independence, the new government in Mogadishu began to prioritise clan loyalties as it formed a new centralised state. This pitted various clans against each other and widened the chasm between clan loyalty and nationality.

The foreign policy objectives of the new Somali Republic were influenced by the level of influence it enjoyed in the Somali-inhabited regions of its neighbours. This included the Somali region of Ethiopia.

Eventually, the push and pull between the republic and its diaspora contributed to the rise of a separatist narrative within the Somali-inhabited regions. This spawned organisations such as the Ogaden National Liberation Front. The front is a separatist rebel group fighting for the self-determination of Somalis in Ethiopia’s Somali region.

Conflict and territory

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s Ethiopia was mired in conflicts that challenged its territorial integrity. One was the Ethiopia/Eritrea war.

Self-determination was at the core of the conflict between the Ethiopian government and Eritrean liberation movements. Throughout the conflict it was viewed as a civil war since Eritrea was regarded as a province of Ethiopia.

Similarly, the tension between Ethiopia and the Somali separatist movements was triggered by the Somali belief that their territory belonged to the Somali Republic.

These conflicts led to regional instability.

Ethiopia taking centre stage

Ethiopia has been on a path of reform since 1991. In the intervening years it has become the most economically dominant country in the region. This has cemented its leadership position. The current political reforms can be seen as part of a process of redefining Ethiopia’s role in the broader East African region – and the continent.

The governing Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front and the Ogaden National Liberation Front have been in peace talks since the early 1990s. The unsuccessful talks were accompanied by low-intensity conflict that severely affected the region.

That could be about to change. Thanks to Abiy Ahmed’s reform efforts, the front announced a unilateral ceasefire in August 2018, and by September peace talks had begun with the Ethiopian government and a peace deal was signed. There is cause for optimism that the deal will last because of the current leadership in Addis Ababa.

The peace deal with Eritrea has already had a number of positive outcomes that could contribute to regional stability.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Isaias Afwerki have met several times to announce concrete evidence of the peace deal. Abiy also recently hosted his Eritrean and Somali counterparts to cement regional ties.The Conversation

 

Namhla Matshanda, Lecturer, Political Studies, University of the Western Cape

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

A draft agreement on the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union has been reached between representatives of both sides, alongside an Outline Political Declaration on a future relationship. It remains to be seen whether the British government is able to survive, and gain parliamentary support for the deal. Here, though, academic experts consider what adoption of the 585-page draft Withdrawal Agreement would mean. Read about its implications for Northern Ireland, citizens, sovereignty, the transition, the UK economy and the EU.

Northern Ireland

Katy Hayward, Reader in Sociology, Queen’s University Belfast

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has clearly had a powerful influence on the UK’s negotiating position over the past few months. The revised Withdrawal Agreement text reveals an extraordinary effort to allay the concerns of unionists in Northern Ireland. This effort is not merely tokenistic. Most notably, it entails a major shift from the EU side to allow the inclusion of an all-UK-EU customs arrangement as a legally secure backstop. The text says that the backstop will only kick in if a future permanent agreement that avoids a hard border on the island of Ireland can’t be secured.

The scenario in which, at the end of the transition period scheduled to end in December 2020, the UK stays in a customs union with the EU is outlined in the text’s Protocol on Northern Ireland/Ireland. Its primary purpose, therefore, is to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland. But by making this an all-UK arrangement in order to avoid checks “in the Irish Sea”, Theresa May has risked the wrath of the hardline Brexiteers in her own party.


Read more: Brexit backstop: this is why it's so hard to talk about a Northern Ireland deal


As part of the backstop, the protocol does allow for a minimal level of regulatory harmonisation between Northern Ireland and the EU necessary for the free movement of goods across the Irish border. This is stressed to be envisaged as a temporary arrangement, involving a small fraction of the EU rules that currently apply in Northern Ireland. But the DUP may well believe that its blood-red lines have been drawn too thickly to allow this. After achieving so much, the DUP’s stance and determination to vote down the deal in parliament could yet compound the risk of a no-deal scenario of the UK, the most disastrous effects of which would be felt in Northern Ireland.

Parliamentary process and sovereignty

Michael Gordon, Professor of Constitutional Law, University of Liverpool

Parliamentary approval for the deal is a legally required part of the ratification process. This follows the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 which stipulates that parliament must have a “meaningful vote” on the deal. The House of Commons, in particular, must now positively approve the lengthy, technical Withdrawal Agreement, as well as the shorter, and much more vague, political declaration concerning the future UK-EU relationship.

This debate in the Commons will provide a forum for different lines of critique of the draft deal, and the consequences of rejection are not clear. For while different groups of MPs may object to the terms of the deal in similar ways – a common theme so far being the UK’s loss of influence over the EU rules it must accept in the transition period and perhaps beyond – there is no prospect of agreement about an alternative to the PM’s attempted compromise.


Read more: What happens if parliament rejects a Brexit deal?


Some MPs may reject this deal in favour of no deal at all. Others want a further referendum with the option to remain in the EU. Others want a general election and a change of government. In principle, all of these options remain open if the Commons voted against the deal. But it is not clear which (if any) can attract majority support – or whether there is sufficient time (without extending negotiations) for new national votes, before March 29, 2019.

A particular point of legal controversy likely to be discussed in parliament relates to the “backstop”, which serves as a potential bridge from the transition to Britain’s future relationship with the EU. This could see the UK enter a “single customs territory” with the EU, and remain subject to aspects of EU law, without a unilateral exit clause for the UK.

Critics say this interferes with the sovereignty of parliament. But, to me, this is misguided. As a matter of domestic law, the UK parliament could always act outside the proposed review procedure, which makes any decision to end the backstop arrangements a joint matter to be decided with the EU. But if the UK did act unilaterally, it would have to accept significant international consequences, and almost certainly lose any chance at negotiating a future free trade agreement with the EU. That would be an expensive choice to make, but in this sense parliament should not see the backstop as a limit on its legal sovereignty.

The transition

Phil Syrpis, Professor of EU Law, University of Bristol

In legal terms, the Draft Withdrawal Agreement is quite an achievement. It enables the UK to leave the EU, while at the same time preserving some – but not all – the advantages of EU membership. The overall structure is as follows. First, the UK enters into a period of transition, during which a) the UK will not participate in the governance of the EU, and b) EU law will remain applicable in the UK.

Transition ends on December 31 2020, though the Joint Committee – co-chaired by the UK and European Union to oversee the withdrawal process – may “adopt a single decision extending the transition period up to [31 December 20XX]”. Next, with both parties alert to the fact that the Withdrawal Agreement cannot establish a permanent future relationship, there are complex provisions on the so-called Irish backstop. These provisions are, as the EU made clear throughout, to apply “unless and until” they are superseded by subsequent agreement.

These provisions establish “a single customs territory” between the EU and the UK, including a number of “level playing field” commitments, which will, while the backstop is in place, limit the UK’s ability to diverge from EU standards.

Finally, the Outline Political Declaration expresses the (non-legally binding) intention to replace the backstop with an agreement which ensures the absence of a hard border on the island of Ireland. To the extent that the Withdrawal Agreement refers to union law, it is to be interpreted in accordance with the case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Time will tell how this compromise solution, similar in many ways to the EU’s current relationships with Turkey and the Ukraine, will be assessed. I rather feel that there may be too much entanglement with the EU here for Brexiters to swallow; and too much of a step down from single market membership to satisfy Remainers.

What it means for citizens

Adrienne Yong, Lecturer at The City Law School, City, University of London

The text of Part Two on Citizens’ Rights in this version of the Draft Withdrawal Agreement is largely replicated from the version published in March 2018. This is unsurprising given that the UK and EU indicated in March that EU citizens’ rights was one of the few things that were agreed upon by both parties early on. As such, there are few surprises on this front.

The main point to highlight is that the rights to reside, entry and exit for EU citizens and their families largely derived from the Citizens’ Rights Directive 2004/38. If an EU citizen has not yet lived in the member state for the five years needed to get permanent residency, or arrives during the transition period (after March 29, 2019 and before December 31, 2020), then the agreement allows them the right to reside, assumedly subject to the rules under the EU’s settlement scheme. Children born after the UK’s withdrawal are also protected.

What is still unclear is whether those known as “Zambrano carers” of British citizens, namely citizens from outside the UK who care for British citizens and who they depend on, are covered by the agreement. It may well become a case-by-case analysis of whether they fall under the definition of a “family member” under Article 9 of the Draft Withdrawal Agreement.

What it means for the UK economy

Nauro Campos, Professor of Economics, Brunel University London

The draft Withdrawal Agreement would guarantee a transition period during which the UK economic relationship with the EU remains unchanged. A no-deal, disorderly exit will be avoided, at least until the end of the transition period.

Business will very much welcome this. It means it will not have to spend resources trying to minimise the severe economic disruption and significant negative effects of a disorderly exit.

Another aspect I suspect will also be welcome is the proposed “single customs territory”. This will remain in place from the end of the transition period until “the future relationship becomes applicable”. This means the UK’s tariffs and rules of origin are aligned to the EU’s and operate in an “agreed level playing field”, covering labour rights, tax, competition and environment.

One concern is how frictionless trade in goods will actually be. Another concern is that the single customs territory applies to goods not services. The latter of course includes financial services and the foreign investment inflows that come with them.

Although the Draft Withdrawal is mostly silent on services, the Outline of the Political Declaration document is more explicit, as it states the goal of “ambitious, comprehensive and balanced arrangements on trade in services and investment”.

Under financial services, it stipulates that equivalence assessments shall start as soon as the UK departs. The stated goal is to have them concluded “before the end of June 2020” (after which a decision to extend the transition period cannot be taken).

For business, the good news the deal brings is that short-term uncertainty has been minimised. Given the still very real possibility of a no-deal Brexit, this is arguably the best feature of the agreements. Yet the ad hoc and short-term features of these interim agreements do not bode well for long-term investment planning. The bad news is old news: a large part of the UK economy (financial services) still doesn’t know what the future entails.

The informed consensus remains that Brexit will make the UK permanently poorer over the long run and the agreement does little to change it. What the deal does is to establish that the economic costs will be smaller than in the case of a no-deal and that they are spread over a much longer period of time.

Maria Garcia, Senior Lecturer, Politics, Languages & International Studies, University of Bath

The Withdrawal Agreement sets out mechanisms to enable the smooth continuation of trade during the transition period (until December 2020), through the creation of a “single customs territory” made up of the UK and the EU customs union. During this period UK commercial policy would have to be in line with EU commercial policy, and the UK cannot make any trade deals with countries outside the EU.

The exact shape of the future relationship beyond 2020 will be the outcome of negotiations that will only start once the Withdrawal Agreement is approved by both the UK and EU. It is not sketched out in detail in either document that makes up the deal on the table.

But the list of topics when it comes to economic partnership beyond the transition period is comprehensive and in line with what the EU includes in modern free trade agreements (digital trade, intellectual property, government procurement, goods and services are all mentioned). The outline for future relations represents the special nature of this future agreement as it emphasises zero tariffs, fees, charges or quantitative restriction on all goods, and an ambitious customs arrangement.

How the customs arrangement will work after the transition period will be subject to negotiations and the degree to which there is alignment between UK and EU regulations. This would cover arrangements such as the levels of pesticides used in food and the chemicals allowed in paints. It should evolve from the single customs territory established during the transition period. But there is no reason to believe that the UK cannot have an independent trade agreement policy when the transition period ends. This depends on what long-term relationship the UK negotiates with the EU.

The references to services in the draft agreement indicate a desire on both sides to maintain as open a services trading regime as possible, although it is unclear what the ultimate negotiated outcome will be after the transition period. Indeed, the wording is not dissimilar to that found in other trade agreements (national treatment, non-discrimination, arrangements on professional qualifications), but the actual degree of market access normally appears in lists and annexes with exclusions, which, of course, have yet to be negotiated.

An important aspect is the inclusion of a commitment to begin work on equivalence assessments for financial services immediately after Brexit day, so as to limit disruptions to the sector. Both texts represent a compromise geared at minimising business and economic disruptions while the parties hammer out the practicalities of a future long-term arrangement.

What it means for the EU

Nieves Perez-Solorzano Borragan, Senior Lecturer in European Politics, University of Bristol

There has been cautious optimism in the European Union about the draft Withdrawal Agreement. As the president of the European Council, Donald Tusk, put it, for the EU, negotiating Brexit is about limiting its negative effects.

In this spirit of damage limitation the draft text delivers on the EU’s key priorities: an orderly Brexit, a mechanism to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, and no “cherry picking” once the UK leaves on March 29, 2019.

The challenges ahead for the remaining 27 EU member states – the EU27 – are threefold. First, to ensure that the UK signs on the dotted line. This is something the EU can only do so much about beyond watching events unfold on the other side of the channel. If a crisis situation requires it (such as a new general election in the UK) and if this is in the interest of the EU, it can extend the article 50 negotiation period. And it can continue its preparations for a possible no-deal scenario.

Second, to ensure that the disciplined unity that has defined the EU27’s approach to the negotiation process continues until the agreement is finally concluded. Concerns have been raised by some national representatives (the Netherlands, France, Germany and Denmark) about the lack of detail on the functioning of the single EU-UK customs territory, and on whether this confers advantages to the UK on environmental or social regulation. On the other hand, Spain has seen its position strengthened by the incorporation in the text of structures for bilateral co-operation on Gibraltar.

It’s also worth remembering that for the agreement to be concluded by the EU Council, not all governments need to agree to it. It will require a qualified majority, which means support from 55% of member states representing at least 65% of the EU27 population.

Finally, this draft text is just a stage in the long marathon of negotiating UK-EU relations. During the Brexit negotiations, the EU has benefited from a favourable asymmetrical balance of power set up by article 50. Once the trade negotiations start, there will be a level playing field that will likely require a change in negotiating tactics.

For more evidence-based articles by academics, subscribe to our newsletter.The Conversation

Katy Hayward, Reader in Sociology, Queen's University Belfast; Adrienne Yong, Lecturer at The City Law School, City, University of London; Maria Garcia, Senior Lecturer in International Relations, University of Bath; Michael Gordon, Professor of Constitutional Law, University of Liverpool; Nauro Campos, Professor of Economics and Finance, Brunel University London; Nieves Perez-Solorzano, Senior Lecturer in European Politics, University of Bristol, and Phil Syrpis, Professor of EU Law, University of Bristol

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Uber Technologies Inc said that growth in bookings for its ride-hailing and delivery services rose 6 percent in the latest quarter, the third quarter in a row that growth has remained in the single digits after double-digit growth for all of last year.

The San Francisco-based firm lost $1.07 billion for the three months ending Sept. 30, a 20 percent increase from the previous quarter but down 27 percent from a year ago, when the company posted its biggest publicly reported quarterly loss on the heels of the departure of Uber co-founder and former Chief Executive Travis Kalanick.

Uber is seeking to expand in freight hauling, food delivery and electric bikes and scooters as growth in its now decade-old ride-hailing business dwindles. The company, valued at $76 billion, faces pressure to show it can still grow enough to become profitable and satisfy investors in an initial public offering planned for some time next year.

Its adjusted loss before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization was $592 million, down from $614 million last quarter and $1.02 billion a year ago.

"We had another strong quarter for a business of our size and global scope," said Nelson Chai, Uber's chief financial officer, who joined in September after the job had been vacant for three years. He emphasized the "high-potential markets in India and the Middle East where we continue to solidify our leadership position."

But broader economic conditions and sustained losses could push Uber to merge with rivals in India and the Middle East, particularly as Uber and India-based Ola share an investor in SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T).

Uber's gross bookings were $12.7 billion, up 6 percent from the previous quarter and up 41 percent from a year ago. In late 2016, Uber's quarterly bookings growth approached 30 percent, and in early 2017 it still sustained double-digit growth quarter-over-quarter. At the start of this year, however, bookings growth slid into the single digits.

Revenue for the quarter was $2.95 billion, a 5 percent boost from the previous quarter and up 38 percent from a year ago. That trailed the second-quarter year-over-year revenue increase of 63 percent.

As a private company, Uber is not required to publicly disclose financials, but last year started releasing selected figures.

 

-Reuters

The longest suspension bridge in Africa, the cross-sea Maputo Bay Bridge with its link roads in Mozambique, was officially open to traffic on Saturday.

The three-kilometer twin-tower suspension bridge extends with a main span of 680 meters over the Maputo Bay of the Indian Ocean. The bridge is part of the Maputo Bridge and Link Roads project built by the China Road and Bridge Corporation, with Chinese financing and standards.

Speaking at the inauguration, President of Mozambique Filipe Jacinto Nyusi said that the project will facilitate transport and connectivity between the country with other parts of the African continent.

The president expressed his gratitude to the government and friendly people of China for the support in funding this infrastructure and care given to the project.

Nyusi also highlighted that the bridge has fulfilled the wish of the people, with its potential to contribute to the sectors of tourism and logistics, the national economy and the global idea for regional integration.

Chinese Ambassador Su Jian said the project is a remarkable mark in the development process of Mozambique and it has potential to promote social and economic development by forming a transport artery from south to north across the country.

The ambassador also noted the project's domestic contribution, including jobs creation, transfer of technology to local people and auxiliary projects such as building classrooms for local schools, houses for resettled families and actions for environment protection.

Maputo-Catembe Bridge impact on South Africa

The Maputo-Catembe Bridge is guaranteed to cut travel time between Maputo in Mozambique and KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.

KwaZulu-Natal’s Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs confirmed that this development, which involved South African engineers, would stimulate trade and tourism between the two countries, saying:

“The road will see the travel time between Maputo to Kosi Bay, KwaZulu-Natal’s East coast border post, drastically reduced, from 6 hours to 90 minutes.

This is a huge achievement. It will boost trade and tourism between South Africa and Mozambique.”

 

Credit: Xinhua

Taxify, a European-based rival to Uber and the leading app-based taxi-hailing platform in Africa, expects to grow its African business ten-fold over the next two years while it works to dethrone Uber in Europe, its chief executive told Reuters.

Markus Villig said his firm, which has 15 million customers and half a million drivers on its platform in more than 25 countries, was on track for its drivers to rake a combined 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) from rides this year.

The Estonian firm is looking to add more services and more countries in 2019, he said during this week’s Web Summit conference in Lisbon, without disclosing details. Taxify opened in Lisbon earlier this year.

“We see massive potential in Africa to grow at least ten times in the next two years,” Villig said. “We grew our number of rides ten times in 2017 and will be one of the fastest growing companies in the industry this year as well.”

In May, Taxify secured $175 million in funding from a group led by German automaker Daimler to help its battle against Uber.

As for Europe, where Taxify has sought to capitalise on mounting driver resistance to Uber over pay and other issues to get into new markets, including some abandoned by Uber such as Slovakia and Hungary, Villig is aiming to overtake Uber in both the number of users and rides.

“When you look at other regions in the world you have a local champion win in that place. We want to be that leader in Europe, that’s our focus,” he said.

San Francisco-based Uber is active in more than 80 countries and is the market leader in Europe. It takes around a 25-percent cut of fares from drivers using its app.

Taxify typically charges a 15 percent commission, arguing happier drivers provide a better service.

The company has been working with European regulators to try to amend strict public transport laws and rules, saying consumers benefit from the flexibility and competition brought by taxi-hailing platforms.

To increase flexibility, Taxify is working on different solutions for different types of trips, such as using smaller vehicles for city centres.

An attempt to enter the highly competitive London market ground to a halt last year when transport regulators there denied it a licence to operate. But Villig said the application was “in progress, and we’re working with Transport for London to show that we’re best-in-breed”.

- Reuters

TymeBank, owned by South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe, has started signing up customers for its new online bank, one of a number of entrants planning to steal clients away from traditional lenders such as Standard Bank Group Ltd. and Absa Group Ltd.

The Johannesburg-based company has signed up 1,800 clients in the first week of an unofficial launch, Chief Executive Officer Sandile Shabalala said in an interview in the city on Friday. The official opening is scheduled for the end of the first quarter next year, he said.

TymeBank, controlled by Motsepe’s investment vehicle African Rainbow Capital Investments Ltd., joins at least two other companies seeking to challenge the country’s top five lenders through digital business models. Discovery Ltd., the nation’s largest health-insurance administrator, has said it plans to introduce its banking unit to the public next week.

Tyme’s account does not charge a basic monthly fee. Instead clients pay for specific services as they use them, with the most expensive transaction in its fee structure, cash withdrawals at ATMs of other banks, costing R8 rand.

“People normally don’t understand bank charges, but this is simple to understand. There are no hidden fees,” Shabalala said. “What we are driving to the market is transparency.” The bank isn’t targeting a specific segment of the market, he said.

Clients will be able to download Tyme’s mobile app for free at any of its 730 self-service kiosks, located in outlets of retailer Pick n Pay Stores Ltd. The bank also pays for data costs related to the app, Shabalala said.

“The next step in the journey, obviously, is to get into the lending space and we want to take our time around that,” Shabalala said. “We don’t have existing customers and first want to understand the profiles of the customers we want to lend to” by offering them transactional accounts, he said.

While the Prudential Authority of the South African Reserve Bank, which oversees the industry, may not have traditionally allowed a bank to operate solely online, it has permitted Tyme to move ahead with its plans, Shabalala said.

“Traditionally they would not even have considered for a bank to put its core banking platform on the cloud, that was a definite no-no,” he said. “But we are the first bank” to be able to do it in South Africa.

China on Friday rejected the false allegation that “China had been monitoring the African Union building’’, urging the relevant news organisation to objectively report facts instead of fabricating lies.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying made the remarks during a daily news briefing.

Hua asked for comments on a German media report published on Thursday that accused China of “installing listening equipment at the headquarters of the African Union building; also of intending to increase political influence by assisting African countries.

She said such lies had already been refuted by leaders of African countries.

“The African people know best and are in the best position to say whether China-Africa cooperation is good or not,’’ Hua said.

She said that during the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in September and during the 73rd UN General Assembly, many African leaders publicly refuted the accusation that China-Africa cooperation had increased the continent’s debt burden.

“They believe that China’s support and assistance is not attached to any political conditions and does not interfere in their internal affairs.

“They added that China is the most reliable partner for the development and revitalisation of African countries,’’ Hua added.

Former President of the German Parliament Norbert Lammert visited Namibia not long ago and expressed his concerns about the rising influence of China in the African nation. However, Namibian President Hage Geingob said the concern that other countries have about Chinese influence in Namibia is “annoying’’.

Hua, referring to the president’s words, said the international community “should not underestimate Africa’s intelligence’’.

The spokesperson also expressed confidence that media organisations would correct their attitudes and objectively report on the cooperation between China and African countries. She said media if organisations ignored the fundamental facts and kept fabricating lies “it would only damage their own credibility.’’

Credit: Herald NG

South Africa’s high-speed rail network is seeking 4 billion rand ($290 million) to increase its number of trains by 50 percent ahead of a potential expansion to other parts of Johannesburg and Pretoria.

The Development Bank of Southern Africa Ltd. is leading the fundraising, a spokeswoman said in an emailed response. Canada’s Bombardier Inc., CRRC Corp. of China and local firm Egoli Rail are among the bidders to supply the trains, she said. The government-owned Gautrain is also planning to build a second depot.

The purchases will come ahead of a wider expansion that could see the Gautrain add a further 150 kilometers (93 miles) of track to its 80-kilometer network. The service, which was built ahead of the 2010 soccer world cup in South Africa, currently runs from Pretoria to central Johannesburg and would extend as far as Soweto in the southwest under the proposals, which the National Treasury is considering.

The Gautrain currently has 96 coaches and is run by the Bombela Concession Company, which won a maintenance and operation contract in 2006. It’s shareholders include Murray & Roberts Holdings Ltd.

 

Credit- Bloomberg

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