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First-half sales down 16 % at Botswana’s Diamond Company

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Sales at Botswana’s state-owned Okavango Diamond Company (ODC) fell 16 percent in the first half of 2018 to $260 million, its managing director said, citing a high comparison base against last year’s record growth.

Marcus ter Haar said the company sold 1.778 million carats in the first half of 2018 compared with 1.808 million carats in the same period last year.

“A favourable rough diamond market over this period has meant ODC has generated healthy sales for the first half of 2018 despite not being able to offer larger volumes to our customers compared to the same period in 2017,” he said.

Ter Haar said customers from the United States and Far East largely drove demand in the six months through June.

Read Also: Tanzania, Uganda deepen economic ties with deal for supply of gas

Looking ahead, he said sales for the remainder of 2018 were unlikely to be as strong as in the first half due to an anticipated cyclical downturn in the market.

“Current indications suggest that a seasonal slowdown in the diamond market has now begun which will have somewhat of a dampening effect on the promising first half,” he said.

ODC, which holds ten sales auctions each year, sells 15 percent of Debswana’s production as Botswana develops its own price book through the independent window outside of De Beers’ channels to gauge the market.

Debswana, a joint venture between Anglo American’s De Beers and Botswana, recorded a 9 percent jump in production in the first half of 2018 to 12.08 million carats.

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World Bank predicts Mozambique economy growing at 5.7% on average

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The World Bank has predicted that the economic growth in Mozambique is expected to accelerate in the medium term averaging 5.7% between 2022 and 2024, as a result of demand recovery and economy benefits from the start of liquefied natural gas production this year.

In a report released Thursday, the World Bank said the start of LNG production at the offshore Coral Project and the expected resumption of other LNG projects would help spur the southeast African nation’s growth in the intervening year.

The World Bank said a three-year extended credit facility arrangement agreed by Mozambique with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and budget support from other partners would further help to strengthen its economic recovery.

The IMF’s executive board had, in May, approved a $456 million program for the country, the first since the global lender suspended support to Mozambique six years ago.

However, the World Bank warned that risks remained for Mozambique’s growth, especially from rising import prices due to the conflict in Ukraine, a possible surge in COVID infection waves, and insurgency in the north.

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Nigeria, Algeria, Niger to revive Saharan gas pipeline talks

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The governments of Nigeria, Algeria and Niger Republic have held talks to revive a gas pipeline project across the Sahara which had been put on hold for over 40 years, with the potential opportunity for Europe to diversify its gas sources as the world faces a short fall as a result of the Russian-Ukraine war.

The three countries, represented by their various Petroleum Ministers, met in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital on Wednesday and resolved to set up a task force to revive the project and designated an entity to update the feasibility study.

A statement by Niger’s Oil Ministry after the two-day meeting stated that the Trans-Saharan gas pipeline project estimated at $13 billion, could send up to 30 billion cubic metres a year of supplies to Europe.

The statement added that the energy ministers of the three countries will meet again in Algiers at the end of July to “validate the proposals of the newly installed task force.”

“The pipeline should allow Europe to diversify its sources of natural gas supply but also allow several African states to access this high value energy source,” the statement said.

“With a length of 4,128 kilometres (2,565 miles), the pipeline would start in Warri, Nigeria, and end in Hassi R’Mel, Algeria, where it would connect to existing pipelines that run to Europe,” it said.

The gas pipeline idea was first proposed more than 40 years ago with an agreement signed between the three countries in 2009, but progress stalled stalled following a lack of follow through by the countries.

Earlier this month, Nigeria also took steps to revive another gas pipeline project that would pass through West Africa, Morocco to Europe.

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