Regional neighbours, South Africa and Botswana have agreed to fund the improvement and extension of rail links between the countries.
South African state-owned logistics firm Transnet said revealed on Friday that the agreement is in a bid to boost trade and better connect Botswana to export markets.
There has been scabbles across Europe to meet coal needs after a ban on imports of the fossil fuel from Russia, and coal-rich countries like Botswana are looking to cash in on the surge in demand.
South African firms, Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) will collaborate with Botswana Rail (BR) to fix parts of the 126 km (78 mile) rail line between Swartruggens, in South Africa’s North West province, and Mafikeng, on the border with Botswana, helping South Africa’s landlocked northern neighbour get its minerals, including thermal coal, to market.
Although the actual financial terms were not disclosed, the project is expected to revamp will enable heavy haul trains to travel from Botswana to South Africa’s ports of Richards Bay and Durban, TFR said. The project aims to be up and running in the next 24 months.
According to TFR, the two rail companies will work together to fight the “scourge of cable theft and infrastructure vandalism” that is impacting rail services.
South Africa and Botswana recently celebrated twenty eight years of bilateral relations, it is hoped that the new train agreement will further enhance the relationship.
Nigeria: President Buhari makes U-turn on approval of Exxon unit acquisition by Seplat
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has made a U-turn in his earlier position that grant approval of Exxon Mobil’s sale of local offshore shallow water assets to Seplat.
President Buhari had on Monday approved the $1.28 billion transaction, only for the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission to say it opposed the deal, although it did not give a reason.
Presidential spokesman Garba Shehu, told newsmen that “the president has decided to allow the regulator to do their work. He is withholding his earlier given approval, for now, to allow the process to be completed, that is basically it.”
In February, Seplat Energy Plc, unveiled plans to acquire the entire share capital of Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited (MPNU) from Exxon Mobil Corporation Delaware (USA Incorporated). That includes all of Exxon’s entire shallow water assets in the Niger Delta.
Seplat on its side said it is yet to received no official notification of President Buhari’s U-turn and is seeking clarification from authorities.
Nigeria climbs to fourth position on World Bank’s list of most indebted nations
Nigeria has moved into the fourth position of World Bank’s list of countries with the highest debts, according to the Bank’s financisl report released on Monday.
Going by the World Bank Fiscal Year 2022 audited financial statements for International Development Association (IDA), Nigeria now owes a debt stock of $13bn as at June 30, 2022.
The country also moved up one spot from the fifth position it was rated as of June 30, 2021, with an IDA debt stock of $11.7bn.
The global bank also revealed in its audited financial statements that Nigeria has accumulated about $1.3bn IDA debt within a fiscal year, adding that the debt is different from the outstanding loan of $486m from the World Bank’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
What this means is that Nigeria now has the highest IDA debt in Africa, and is only bettered by the likes India with $19.7bn debt, Bangladesh, $18bn
and Pakistan, $15.8bn, all from the Asian bloc.
The Washington-based international Financial Institution also disclosed that Nigeria’s debt which may be considered sustainable for now, is fast growing into a state of vulnerability and could become costly.
“Nigeria’s debt remains sustainable, albeit vulnerable and costly, especially due to large and growing financing from the Central Bank of Nigeria,” it said.
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