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BRI Updates

BRI Update

Weekly BRI update May 27-June 3

Compiled by: Mark Bender

Edited by: Hussein Askary


Zimbabwe, Mozambican leaders meet [at Ramaphosa inauguration] - 25 MAY, 2019 - 00:05
President Mnangagwa last night met his Mozambican counterpart, President Filipe Nyusi, and discussed the forthcoming summit between the United States of America and African states to be hosted by the country’s neighbour next month, among other bilateral issues.
China denounces sanctions on Zimbabwe - 28 May, 2019
SANCTIONS imposed on Zimbabwe are not just illegal, but unjust and should be removed as they are causing underdevelopment and the suffering of innocent people.
Addressing delegates at the commissioning of the US$10 million brick and tile manufacturing plant at Sino Zimbabwe Cement Company (SZCC) on the outskirts of Gweru yesterday, Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Guo Shaochun said China, as an all-weather friend of Zimbabwe, will continue supporting the country so that it transforms into an upper middle-income economy by 2030.
“We hope that through our joint efforts, we will be able to provide more support for Zimbabwe to rebuild and restore its industry, achieve economic independence and alleviate the suffering of its people caused by illegal and unjust sanctions. “In any case, it’s unfair to impose unilateral illegal sanctions against another country and its people. This is a typical practice of power politics,” he said.


Tanzanian President in Zimbabwe: Magufuli optimistic of Zim economic revival - 29 May, 2019
ZIMBABWE is poised for economic boom and transformation on the back of practical measures unveiled by the Second Republic led by President Mnangagwa to revive the economy, visiting Tanzanian President Dr John Magufuli has said. Dr Magufuli said Zimbabwe’s economy had already registered growth since President Mnangagwa took over and implored the West to remove illegal sanctions for the country to realise its full potential. The Tanzanian leader, who is on a two-day official visit, said this at a banquet held in his honour by President Mnangagwa at State House.
Brazilians score following African Utility Week - 28th May 2019
Brazilian companies are expected to generate business of $5.3-million over the next year as a result of the recent African Utility Week and PowerGEN Africa conference and exhibition. The Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, Apex-Brasil, in partnership with the Brazilian Association of the Electrical and Electronics Industry, called Abinee, said business of $880 000 alone was generated through the event, which was held in Cape Town from May 14 to 16.
Refurbishment of Tororo-Mbale to Gulu railway in Uganda to begin in July - May 24, 2019
The rehabilitation and refurbishment of Uganda’s 375 kilometer Tororo-Mbale to Gulu meter gauge railway line is set to commence in July this year. This was announced by the states Ministry of Works and Transport after they managed to secure a US $26.8m grant from the European Union to fund the project. The line provided a link between the East African Northern Corridor to the port of Mombasa and Eastern Uganda to Northern Uganda, as well as South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It has however been out of service over the past two decades
Phase 1 construction of Dar Es Salaam SGR nears completion - May 22, 2019
Phase one works on US $1.9bn Dar Es Salaam Standard Gauge Railiway (SGR) between Dar es Salaam and Morogoro in Tanzania nears completion. Tanzania will be the third East African country to implement modern railway services after Kenya and Ethiopia who constructed them with the help of the Chinese. Kenya commissioned its SGR passenger services in June 2017, followed by the cargo element in January last year while neighbors Ethiopia has two elements, the 32km trans-city tram line commissioned in January 2017 and the 756km Ethio-Djibouti SGR commissioned in October 2016.
Chinese Contractor Ready For Kumasi-Bechem [Ghana] Railway Project - May 27,2019
On 28th April, 2019 the Minister for Railways Development, Hon. Joe Ghartey led a delegation to Beijing to meet with officials of China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) to further discuss how to develop and implement the multi-million-dollar project... The Kumasi-Paga railway line will be routed through areas such as Nyinahin, Bibiani, Goaso, Sunyani and other adjourning towns to the north. It will be on a Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) basis with funding by a China Development Bank (CDB) credit facility. In April, 2018, the Ministry of Railways Development signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Messrs CCECC to undertake feasibility studies and due diligence on the proposed rail line.   [Four additional progects detailed]
Rwanda seeks US $1.3bn to subsidize its portion of the Isaka-Kigali SGR line - 
The government of Rwanda is seeking US $1.3bn to subsidize its portion of the Isaka-Kigali SGR line that links Rwanda and Tanzania. Jean de Dieu Uwihanganye, the Minister of State in charge of Transport revealed the reports and said that the study for the project has been completed and the funds are needed to kick start the project.\
The 571-kilometre Isaka-Kigali SGR line travels in a general northwesterly direction from the inland container depot (ICD) at Isaka, in Kahama Rural District of Shinyanga Region, in Tanzania to the border town of Rusumo, in Kirehe District in the Eastern Province of Rwanda, where it then continues westward to end at Kigali, the capital and largest city of the country.
Kenya revises SGR revenue downward 44pc to Sh5.7bn - MAY 27, 2019
Kenya has revised downwards the earnings from the standard gauge railway (SGR) in the first full year of operations by 44 per cent, raising questions over the accuracy of reports on the performance of the mega project.
Official data released on Friday showed that SGR generated sales of Sh5.7 billion last year on the back of the cargo business. These figures are different from the numbers disclosed in March showing the SGR generated sales of Sh10.33 billion, a performance that was the basis of laudatory public comments by the new Chinese ambassador to Kenya Wu Peng last week.


Nigeria to construct a US $99.7m dry port in Ibadan - May 27, 2019
Nigeria is set to construct an Inland Dry Port (IDP) in Ibadan at a cost of US $99m. Abiola Ajimobi, the Oyo State outgoing Governor announced the reports and handed over the vital documents for the 90ha of land approved for the construction of the project to Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transport. The port is aimed at decongesting Apapa Seaport, ease gridlock on the Apapa expressway and engender massive employment as well as improve the government’s Internally Generated Revenue.
Uganda to construct a dry port in Naivasha Kenya - April 5, 2019
Uganda has announced plans to construct a dry port for its cargo in Naivasha Kenya as part of the joint Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) project push between the two countries. Kenya’s President confirmed the reports and said Kenya will offer its neighboring country land to construct the dry port.
‘Zim Dry Port Facility to unlock opportunities’ - 29 May, 2019
The construction of a Dry Port Facility at Walvis Bay in Namibia to be opened by President Mnangagwa soon, is set to increase business and trade opportunities between Zimbabwe and the rest of the world, Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Joel Biggie Matiza has said. The construction of the Dry Port in Namibia is in line with President Mnangagwa’s mantra that “Zimbabwe is Open for Business”. Minister Matiza visited facility on Friday last week to inspect the construction works ahead of President Mnangagwa’s visit.
Nigeria to complete US $333m Bodo-Bonny road - May 27, 2019
The government of Nigeria has announced that the US $333m Bodo-Bonny road, the a decades-long abandoned project would be completed as scheduled. Speaking during inspection visit of the road, Mr Babatunde Fashola, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, said that the project was one of the critical projects in the country that needed to be completed due to its economic importance. The Bodo-Bonny project, was rejuvenated  after a tripartite agreement between the federal government, Nigeria LNG and Julius Berger Nigeria PLc (contractor) to oversee the completion works.


Nigeria approves $1bn Chinese loan for Hydropower project May 23, 2019
Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved $1 billion Chinese loan from Chinese EXIM Bank for the development of the Gurara II hydroelectric project in Kaduna State in the north of the country. The Gurara II hydroelectric dam will produce 360 MW. The Gurara River is already serving to generate 30 MW of electricity and provide water for irrigation in the northern state.
Uganda signs US $152m deal water and sanitation project -
Uganda’s state-owned National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) has signed a US $152m deal with Suez Consulting, a subsidiary of the French Suez group for the implementation of a drinking water, irrigation and sanitation project in southwestern Uganda. “We were faced with a long-standing challenge regarding water management in the cities mentioned. In collaboration with the Government of Uganda, the Ministry of Water and Environment, the Ministry of Finance and development partners, we obtained funding to implement the project,” Silver Mugisha, NWSC’s Executive Director confirmed the reports.
Proposed Warri port and Nigeria’s quest for new seaports
Nigeria is already building three new deep seaports. Two of these ports are located in Lagos – at the Lekki Free Trade Zone and Badagry. The third, the Ibom deep seaport is located in Akwa Ibom State, South South Nigeria. All these ports are being constructed to take the pressure off the Lagos and free the severely dilapidated access roads. They are also expected to help Nigeria maximize the benefits of shipping and import business. The Lekki and Badagry deep seaports are being built through a public-private partnership. The Ibom seaport, which is being championed by the Akwa Ibom State Government, is also being built with private sector inputs. It therefore beats the imagination why government is embarking on the construction of a new seaport with public funds, instead of channeling the whopping $3.9 billion it has earmarked for the construction of a new port in Warri towards making the existing ones functional.

Construction works on Tanzania’s US $10bn Bagamoyo Port project stalls - 

Construction  works on US $10bn Bagamoyo Port project in Tanzania has stalled after China and Tanzania disagreed on terms of infrastructure investment. Director General of the state-run Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA), Deusdedit Kakoko confirmed the reports and said that they were given commercially unviable conditions which they rejected. “We have rejected China’s offer and told them let’s meet halfway because it will lead to a loss. The Tanzania Government has officially written to the Chinese port operator on the disputed terms. We are still waiting for them to begin fresh talks when they are ready, we will resume negotiations,” said Kakoko.

Lekwa municipality water supply problems hit Astral Foods poultry processing plant - 28th May 2019]

Integrated poultry producer Astral Foods said on Tuesday the water supply constraints stemming from the deterioration of infrastructure in the Lekwa municipality which supplies its processing plant in Standerton were having significant cost implications for the company.
In its recently reported interim results for the six months ended March 31, Astral said the worsening infrastructure had led to water supply interruptions to its poultry plant, despite the proximity of Lekwa municipality to a substantial water source in the Vaal river.
Morocco to build 19 waste management centers by end of 2019 - May 24, 2019
The government of Morocco has announced plans to establish 19 landfill and waste recovery centers across the country and have them operational by 2019. Secretary of state for sustainable development, Nezhal El Ouafi revealed the plans and said that out of the 19 facilities set to be built, 11 were already under construction while the remaining will commence in the coming months.
AfriTin confirms Uis processing plant commissioning under way - 28th May 2019
Aim-listed AfriTin Mining on Tuesday confirmed that commissioning of the processing plant at its flagship asset, the Uis tin mine, in Namibia, had now started and was being conducted in a phased manner.
Phase 1 of the pilot plant project will start with the testing of mechanical installations and progress to continuous ore beneficiation. The plant consists of two main parts – a four-stage crushingcircuit and a three-stage concentrating circuit. The C4 stage of commissioning, which involves passing ore material through the circuit, is scheduled for the end of this month for the crushing circuit and the end of June for the concentrating circuit.
Armadale progresses towards graphite production in 2021 - 28th May 2019
Aim-listed Armadale Capital made notable progress in advancing its Mahenge Liandu graphite project, in Tanzania, in 2018. The company on Tuesday reported that it had completed a scoping study that highlighted a potential net present value of $349-million and an internal rate of return of 122%. Armadale expects to complete a definitive feasibility study during the fourth quarter of this year, with production to start in 2021. Armadale has signed its first memorandum of understanding toward an offtake agreement and discussions are under way with other potential customers.
Ziscosteel revival begins in earnest - 31 May, 2019
ZimCoke yesterday took over a coke oven at Ziscosteel in Redcliff as the $133 million deal starts bearing fruit. Industry and Commerce Minister Mangaliso Nqobizitha Ndlovu commissioned the ZimCoke (Private) Limited takeover viewed as the first real step towards the revitalisation of the steel giant. ZimCoke and Zisco signed an agreement of sale in 2017 under which ZimCoke bought the coke-making assets of Zisco — the plant and machinery, land and buildings, and associated infrastructure of coal handling and wagons.
The company, which is expected to inject a further $150 million after also taking over the $220 million Ziscosteel debt to Germany bank KfW that the company has almost cleared, is expected to commence refurbishments of the four coking ovens and production will begin in six months’ time. The ZimCoke investment is expected to create nearly 1 000 jobs in the system with many more in all associated industries and service providers.
Lonmin investors back Sibanye deal to create a platinum giant - 28th May 2019
JOHANNESBURG – Lonmin investors have backed the platinum producer’s takeover by Sibanye-Stillwater, bringing to an end a company that was once part of a business empire synonymous with British capitalism in Africa.
Sibanye’s all-share takeover was backed by 98.87% of votes cast at a meeting in London, based on provisional results, passing the required threshold of 75%. The vote is a triumph for Sibanye CEO Neal Froneman, a prolific deal-maker
Collective SA effort needed to spotlight platinum’s deftness in climate change battle - 28th May 2019
JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – More vehicle manufacturers are acknowledging that platinum-catalysed hydrogen fuel cells are the sole route to 100% carbon-free driving. But platinum’s own catalytic prowess is in danger of being under-acknowledged.

Namibia says China can buy Rio's uranium stake if it respects laws - 29th May 2019

WINDHOEK – Namibia's Mines and Energy Minister said he has no objection to Rio Tinto's sale of its uranium mine stake to China provided it respects the African nation's laws. Rio, which is seeking to divest less profitable assets, said last November that it was selling its 69% stake in the world's longest-running open pit uranium mine to China for up to $106.5-million and expected the deal to be completed in the first half of 2019.
Uganda’s Karuma power project soon to be commissioned - May 27, 2019
Sinohydro Corporation Ltd, the Chinese firm undertaking the construction of the 600MV Karuma power dam in Kiryandongo District, has revealed that the project is 95% complete. The project which commenced in 2013 is due for commissioning in December 2019.
Karuma power dam is being financed by both the government of Uganda and Exim Bank of China. The government of Uganda is contributing 15% while China is financing the other 85% component. The dam, which is built at Karuma Falls, on the Victoria Nile will also be the first underground power plant in East Africa.
Batoka Gorge power project construction to start next year
The long-awaited construction of the Batoka Gorge Hydroelectric Power Station is finally set to begin next year after Zambia and Zimbabwe secured funding partners for the massive plant, which is expected to produce 2.400 megawatts at its peak.
Elizabeth Karonga, the public relations and communications manager for Zambezi River Authority (ZRA), which manages the Zambezi water, said the African Development Bank is advising the authority on raising funds for the project and it is likely that it will reach financial closure by the end of the year. The project is estimated to cost US$4 billion.
Karonga said the engineering and legal assessments for the power plant were successfully carried out in 2016.
Zimbabwe power cuts may deepen as water levels fall at Kariba Dam - 30th May 2019]
Zimbabwe's largest hydroelectric plant, Kariba Dam, will suspend output in 14 weeks if water levels continue to fall at the current rate, the energy minister said on Thursday, paving the way for deeper power cuts in the country. The Southern African nation has endured its worst rolling power cuts in three years, and although its mines have been spared so far, analysts say the cuts will hurt economic revival efforts.


The African Union is doubling down on deepening its relationship with Huawei - 
Huawei is currently fighting a ban in the US aimed at curtailing purchases on its equipment and limiting its global reach. But that’s not the case in Africa, where the company has rapidly expanded since starting operations here over two decades ago. The Chinese telecommunications giant today announced a three-year memorandum of understanding to improve the technical expertise of the African Union and to cooperate on key issues related to information and communication technologies.
As part of the agreement, Huawei will partner with the continental body to strengthen sectors including internet of things, cloud computing, broadband, rolling out 5G networks, and artificial intelligence. The initiative will also train young people in tech skills, and offer AU departments support in dealing with cybersecurity, as well as digital health and education.
Kenya partners with Djibouti to construct US $59m submarine cable - May 27, 2019
Kenya has announced plans to partner with Djibouti to construct Kenya’s fifth submarine cable at a cost of US $59m. The Director of Shared Services at the ICT Authority Robert Mugo confirmed the reports and said that the project dubbed ‘the Djibouti Africa Regional Express (DARE) is aimed at powering an inclusive digital economy.
The DARE is set to run from Djibouti to Mombasa and will act as a compliment to the current subsea optical fibers SEACOM, Easts African Marine Cable System (TEAMS)Eastern African Submarine Cable System (EASsy) and Lion2 that links Madagascar to Kenya. One of the cables will run from Pakistan in Asia to Mombasa, then through the Suez Canal to Egypt and Europe. According to Kenya’s Digital Economy blueprint, it is estimated that the digital economy will be worth US $23 trillion by 2025 and that returns on ICT Investment will be 6.7 times higher than other sectors.

Tanzania, Zambia plan $1.5 billion oil products pipeline: Tanzania minister - May 28 2019

Medard Kalemani said in a presentation of his ministry’s 2019/20 (July-June) budget that the pipeline would run from the commercial capital Dar es Salaam to Zambia’s mining city of Ndola, some 1,349 km away. Kalemani, speaking in Tanzania’s administrative capital Dodoma, did not give a time frame for when the project would kick off, but said that in the coming fiscal year, they planned to complete a feasibility study. He also gave no details on how it would be financed.

Ghana commence construction of 250,000 housing units countrywide

The government of Ghana has commenced construction of 250,000 affordable housing units across the country as part of measures to wipe out the two-million housing unit deficit facing the country.
Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Samuel Atta Akyea confirmed the reports and said that the ongoing project formed part of an eight-year government affordable housing project to deliver 250,000 housing units a year to address the housing deficit. The Minister further pointed out that the government was considering modern technologies such as prefabrication that facilitated construction within days and months.
“Ghana, like many other countries in the developing world, has serious housing challenges. This is why the government of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has identified housing as a critical sector of the economy for reducing poverty and guaranteeing social stability and national security,” said Mr Samuel. He also gave an assurance that it would complete all affordable housing projects started by past governments. Other interventions in the housing sector to include the upgrading of all slums into modern communities,
Murtala Muhammed International Airport to undergo US $38m rehabilitation - May 28, 2019
The Federal Government of Nigeria has revealed plans to invest US $38m in rehabilitation of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos terminal. Minister of State for Aviation, Hadii Sirika, disclosed the report at the 2019 Stakeholders’ Forum. The Minister explained that the airport needed a revamp due to its poor state which has outlived its usefulness. He further noted that the terminal was built to handle 300,000 at inception but the passengers it handles have grown to 8 million in the past three years.
ED [Zimbabwe] opens US$10m tile, bricks plant - 27 MAY, 2019
President Mnangagwa is today set to officially commission the US$10 million brick and tile manufacturing plant at Sino Zimbabwe Cement Company (SZCC) on the outskirts of Gweru. Minister Mavima added that the company will be making bricks from the by-product of the cement manufacturing plant, which means it will contribute significantly in the campaign to go green.
Sino-Zimbabwe Cement Company (SZCC) is a joint business venture between a Chinese Foreign Direct Investment partner, China Building- Material Corporation for Foreign Econo-Technical Co-operation (CBMC), and the Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe Limited (IDC). CBMC contributed 65% of the original funding in the form of modern technology and expertise while the IDC provided land, civil works, as well as highly educated, skilled manpower, coupled with management intimate knowledge of local conditions.
Enel’s fourth South African wind farm to start operating in 2021 - 27TH MAY 2019
Energy company Enel’s renewables subsidiary Enel Green Power (EGP) South Africa has started construction on its 140 MW Oyster Bay Wind Farm, in the Kougamunicipality, in the Eastern Cape. The €180-million wind project comprises 41 turbines and will generate around 568 GWh/y, which effectively avoids 590 000 t/y of carbon dioxide emissions.
Construction of 140MW Oyster Bay wind farm in South Africa begins -
Construction has begun on the 140MW Oyster Bay wind farm, in the Kouga Local Municipality, in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province. Antonio Cammisecra, Head of Enel Green Power (EGP)announced the reports. The project which is Enel’s fourth wind project in the country, will involve an investment of approximately US $201m. It will 41-turbines and will be capable of generating around 568GWh of power per year and eliminate around 590,000t of carbon dioxide annually.
Secretive traders netting Chinese delicacy leave Nile perch under threat - Mon 27 May 2019 
Last modified on Mon 27 May 2019   Highly prized for its swim bladder – served in soups and stews – the fish could disappear altogether from Africa’s Lake Victoria thanks to the lucrative trade
Ironically, Nile perch is an invasive species. It was introduced to Lake Victoria in 1950, and has been blamed for the disappearance of the native fish and interfering with the lake’s ecosystem


New Silk Road could surge to million TEU in 2025, but with subsidies.

This prediction was uttered by Andreas Schwilling from research institute Roland Berger at the RailFreight Summit in Gdansk. Ideally, the Eurasian rail cargo volume could increase to 800,000 – 1,000,000 TEU in 2025. Without subsidies, the forecasted volumes are 550,000-750,000 TEU, he said, noting that there was no clarity about the continuation of the Chinese subsidies at the moment.

The general belief is that without subsidies, rail freight traffic on the New Silk Road will continue to move, although with fewer players on the market. “The smaller companies with irregular shipments will disappear. At the moment, these companies are fighting for Chinese support. Without subsidies, the market will be more realistic and demand-driven”, said Uwe Leuschner from Db Cargo Eurasia during a panel discussion at the summit. https://www.railfreight.com/specials/2019/06/04/new-silk-road-could-surge-to-million-teu-in-2025-but-with-subsidies/


‘Ukraine best solution for China traffic to Central and Southeast Europe’

The main route of the New Silk Road bypasses Ukraine, but this is not necessary.  The country has a lot of opportunities in transporting containers via its territory, especially to countries in Central and Southeast Europe. This was claimed by Anton Sabaleuski, Director for Strategic Development and Investment Policy at Ukrainian Railway at the RailFreight Summit 2019 in Gdansk.
Port of Hamburg: almost a third of cargo to or from China
In 2018, the Port of Hamburg had a total sea freight volume of approximate 8.7 million TEUs, of which some 2.6 million are related to China, according to statistics released by the port. Nowadays, around a third of total cargo through the port is bound for China or originates there. The lionshare is seaborne, but Eurasian rail freight is starting to impact the figures as well.

Direct train now runs between Mannheim and Xi’an

Beijing Trans Eurasia International Logistics (BTE) has started operating a blocktrain between Xi’an, China and Mannheim in Germany. The two hubs were not previously connected, but function as hubs in the respective countries. The train provides a direct connection in both directions. Currently, the journey is made once per week, but there is potential for a service twice a week. If this is realised, it will be in September, the company informed. The journey takes 15 days and takes the train through the tradition New Silk Road via the Polish-Belrussian border of Malaszewice-Brest. The train is already up and running. https://www.railfreight.com/beltandroad/2019/05/29/direct-train-now-runs-between-mannheim-and-xian/

From Kazakhstan to Belarus in 4.5 days now possible
New Silk Road operator UTLC ERA has announced plans to increase container transit through Kazakhstan up to 1 million TEU per year year in 2020–24. This will be made possible due to the digitalisation and optimisation of cargo transport on the 1520 mm gauge railway section, the company said. Towards this aim it established the ‘One million club’ initiative, realised together with UTLC ERA shareholders, partners and customers.
Hussein Askary

Hussein Askary

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