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Zimbabwe insists on selling elephant ivory, host lobbying conference, threatens to quit CITIES

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Zimbabwe has threatened to quit the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) if it is not allowed to sell its stockpile of seized ivory.

Zimbabwe is lobbying CITIES by opening an international conference to try to win international support for its campaign to sell the part of elephants.

The southern African country has 130 tons of ivory, estimated to be worth $600 million.

The three days conference started on Monday at the Hwange National Park, the country’s largest wildlife park which is in southwestern Zimbabwe. Representatives from 16 African countries, as well as Japan and China, major consumers of ivory, are to attend the gathering, said officials.

The conference is an additional effort of Zimbabwe to get support to sell ivory. Last week, Officials from the Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority showed ambassadors from EU countries the stockpile of ivory tusks that have been seized from poachers and collected from elephants that have died.

The Zimbabwean officials also appealed to the European Union and other countries to support the sale of ivory which has been banned since 1989 by CITES, the international body that monitors endangered species.

The conference has however been criticized by said a coalition of 50 wildlife and animal rights organizations from across the globe in a joint statement issued Monday.

The coalition argued that the conference “is sending a dangerous signal to poachers and criminal syndicates that elephants are mere commodities and that ivory trade could be resumed, heightening the threat to the species.

“Legalizing the ivory trade, including by authorizing another ‘one-off’ sale could have similarly disastrous consequences,” the groups said.

Zimbabwe’s position is that it needed to raise funds to adequately cater to its growing elephant population which has exceeded the capacities of its parks. The elephant population is growing rapidly at between 5% to 8% per year.

Opposition is coming from Kenya and other members of the

Countries that made up the African Elephant Coalition, whose 32 members are mostly East and West African countries with fewer elephants have argued against Zimbabwe’s push, with the stand that reopening legal international trade in ivory trade, even for a single auction, would result in increased poaching.

CITES banned the international commercial ivory trade in 1989. Then, in 1997, recognizing that some southern African elephant populations are healthy and well managed, it permitted Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe to make a one-time sale of ivory to Japan totaling 50 tonnes (the sales took place in 1999 and earned some $5 million).

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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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