African press review 4 July 2012
Can Zimbabwe's business indigenisation drive succeed? Why do investors keep coming to crisis-racked Nigeria? Is Boko Haram committing crimes against humanity? And what were two Iranians up to in Kenya?
In Zimbabwe the privately-owned NewsDay is looking at the government's official announcement that foreign companies have exactly 12 months to hand over 51 per cent of their shares to black ownership.
Banks are, of course, the main focus of attention but the new regulations will also affect tourism, engineering companies, those in the energy sector, telecoms, transport and the motor industry.
NewsDay says Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono’s battle to save foreign-owned companies from Zanu PF’s indigenisation crusade has suffered a major blow.
He has argued that such a move would be the final nail in the coffin of Zimbabwe’s ailing economy.
Gono, however, has support from Finance Minister Tendai Biti, who yesterday insisted that the mode of indigenisation proposed by the ministry of indigenisation and economic empowerment would simply not work. Tendai Biti said yesterday that the banks will not be touched.
President Robert Mugabe has said the indigenisation programme is a way of hitting back at countries that imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe.
There's an article headlined "Nigeria, a rugged road to high returns" on the opinion pages of this morning's Daily Trust.
It's a good news, bad news story, and it starts with the worst: bomb blasts, gun attacks, airline crashes, kidnappings, industrial-scale oil theft, armed robberies and fraud costing billions of dollars. That's just the opening sentence.
Such things might give pause to anyone thinking of opening a business, the article continues. In Nigeria they happen with alarming frequency and yet investors just keep coming.
The latest big deal, of course, being the nearly four-billion-euro agreement which will finally see Nigeria become a major oil refiner and petrol producer, rather than a simple exporter of crude oil.
The success is not hard to understand.
“We know it’s not risk free,” says Charles Robertson, chief economist at Renaissance Capital. “But look around the world and find another economy with 160 million people and a growth rate of seven per cent.”
“Nigeria is the best kept secret in the world. Anybody who doesn’t invest in Nigeria has only himself to blame if he misses out,” says Africa's richest man, Aliko Dangote. “I don’t really know of any place where you can make as much money as you can in Nigeria."
Dangote should know. Last year, the cement tycoon’s Nigeria investments boosted his personal fortune more than fivefold – a bigger rise than anyone else on the Forbes list of world billionaires – to more than 12 billion euros.
Also in the Nigerian papers this morning, the chief prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensounda, on Tuesday said the Hague-based court had put Nigeria under preliminary examination because of the Boko Haram insurgency in the north.
After her meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja, Bensounda told journalists that the terrorist attacks by the Islamic fundamentalists could be considered as crimes against humanity.
Bensounda stressed that the International Criminal Court (ICC) was happy with the way the authorities were dealing with the situation, saying that, as long as the Nigerian government is taking steps to address these crimes, the ICC will not intervene.
In Kenya The Standard's main story reports that two Iranian terror suspects in police custody have confessed that they planned to detonate a series of 30 bombs across Kenya.
The attacks were to have targeted local US, Israeli, Saudi Arabian and British interests.
Kenyan security officials have recovered a 15kg stash of explosives, which were to be used in the attacks. Each kilo was to produce two bombs.
The Standard also reports that the Commission of Inquiry investigating the helicopter crash that killed Internal Security Minister George Saitoti, his deputy Orwa Ojode, and four police officers did not collect the wreckage of the chopper as planned yesterday.
The team did not show up on Tuesday at the scene of the crash.
Lawyers representing the Saitoti family complained that failure to collect the wreckage was complicating the investigation and vowed to raise the issue when the commission starts sitting.
The wreckage is to be moved from the crash site to a secure location later today.