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Europe turns to Botswana for Coal as Russia/Ukraine war bites harder

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As the effect of the Russia/Ukraine war bites harder in Europe, the continent is exploring alternatives for products it once relied on Russia for, one of such is coal, and Africa is once again considered the go-to spot for energy resources.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi of Botswana on Tuesday claimed the ongoing war has forced Europe to pivot more to Africa for energy resources.

“We have received inquiries from Europe and so we want to (export),” Masisi said in an interview in Cape Town, where he was a key speaker at the Mining Indaba conference.

Masisi said Botswana has seen demand from both governments and the private sector in Europe and estimates that demand from Europe could reach more than 50,000 tonnes a month.

Botswana holds 106 million tons (MMst) of proven coal reserves as of 2016, ranking 59th in the world and accounting for about 0% of the world’s total coal reserves of 1,139,471 million tons (MMst). Botswana has proven reserves equivalent to 78.4 times its annual consumption.

Lefoko Moagi, Minister of Mineral Resources, Green Technology, and Energy Security, said in the same interview that Botswana could meet that demand, while Masisi said it wanted to do so “as soon as possible.”

“Typically what we’ve been getting is 50,000 tonnes a month is what they want to get, but we’ve also had others (inquiring about) long-term contracts, (we are) looking at a million tonnes a year from individual countries (combined),” Moagi said.

However, President Masisi emphasized that all parties were committed to reducing carbon emissions in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change.

“So, clearly, there will be some responsibility arrangements in how to use the coal so that we don’t cause a lot of pollution,” he said.

Botswana has been bombarded with inquiries to supply coal to Europe and estimates that demand from Western countries could top a million tonnes a year.

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COVID-19: Friendship renewed as Algeria opens land border with Tunisia

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Algerian President, Abdelmadjid Tebboune has announced that it will reopen the land border between the two countries in mid-July.

The border, which starts in the north at the Mediterranean coast, proceeding overland in a broadly southwards directions via a series of overland lines was closed in 2020 during the peak of Covid-19.

Abdelmadjid Tebboune made the announcement at Algiers airport alongside his Tunisian counterpart Kais Saied who was preparing to leave the country after attending the festivities marking the 60th anniversary of Algeria’s independence.

“We have taken a joint decision to reopen the land borders from July 15.”

Until the pandemic, more than three million Algerians travelled to Tunisia each year, according to local media.

Generally speaking, relations between Algeria and Tunisia have so far been homogenous. Although Algeria postponed the opening of it borders with Tunisia in May.

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The Gambia benefits from World Bank’s $68m grant to revive tourism industry

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The Gambia and the World Bank have sealed a $68m grant deal which will go to support the West African country’s tourism industry, hitherto the biggest contributor to its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), before the Coronavirus pandemic hit the global tourism sector, causing a near economic meltdown.

World Bank’s Managing Director of Operations, Axel Van Trotsenburg, who announced the signing of the deal at a ceremony in Gambia’s capital, Banjul, on Tuesday, said the grant is meant to support the diversification and climate resilience of the country’s tourism after the pandemic and economic crisis.

Trotsenburg added that promoting the diversification and climate resilience of tourism will help protect the Atlantic coastline of The Gambia from the effects of climate change.

About 20 per cent of The Gambian economy depends on earnings from its tourism as it is the largest foreign exchange earner for the government but the advent of the pandemic had caused the country’s economic growth to contract by 0.2 percent in 2020, according to the World Bank.

This was as a result of the global restrictions on travelling between 2020 and 2021, which prevented tourists and visitors going to the country, leading to the tourism industry taking a huge hit.

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