China to finance major projects in Latin America

China to finance major projects in Latin America
Updated 15 June 2014

China to finance major projects in Latin America

China to finance major projects in Latin America

SANTA CRUZ DE LA SIERRA, Bolivia: China, whose presence in Latin America until now was largely based on an appetite for raw materials, is diversifying investments by financing much needed development projects, analysts say.
At a summit, opened Saturday in Santa Cruz, the G77 + China group of developing nations met on its 50th anniversary to promote economic development.
Delegations from 133 countries and some three dozen heads of state were in attendance.
"China now acts in a different way with South American countries," said Gabriel Dabdoub, president of the chamber of commerce of the Santa Cruz region, Bolivia's economic engine.
The Asian powerhouse "no longer aims at only at buying raw materials, it wants to get into investing in industrialization," Dabdoub told AFP.
Bolivia, Latin America's poorest country, has experienced more than six percent growth in recent years and has plans for major infrastructure work.
"China is particularly attracted by industrialization projects that the country needs over the next 10 years and which cost an estimated $42 billion," Dabdoub said.
Chinese companies have expressed interest most notably in building a railway from Bolivia to Brazil, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, as well as in road and river connection projects.
In Brasilia, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently announced his country's interest in increasing its investments and relationship with Latin America and the Caribbean.
And although Chinese President Xi Jinping will be notably absent from the Santa Cruz summit, he plans to participate in mid-July in Brazil in a BRICS meeting of emerging economic powers Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Mass purchase of raw materials and sale of manufactured goods have made China the second trading partner of a number of countries in the region in recent years. And in 2009, China became Brazil's number one trading partner, ahead of the United States.
"Until recently Bolivia did not consider China a partner, it was very wary," Dabdoub said. "But now there is more trade, and, in fact, we've just acquired a satellite."
Bolivian President Evo Morales last December traveled to China with several ministers to attend the launch of Tupac Katari, his country's first telecommunications satellite.
China provided $102.2 billion in loans to Latin American countries between 2005 and 2013, particularly to Venezuela and Argentina, according to a report released in April by the Global Economic Governance Initiative at Boston University.
Last year, alone, China loaned Latin American governments, public enterprises and private companies $20.1 billion.
"Today, in terms of trade and investment, China is displacing the region's traditional partners like Europe and the United States," Gary Rodriguez, president of the Bolivian Institute of Foreign Trade, based in Santa Cruz, told AFP.
Bolivian analyst and former foreign minister Armando Loayza told AFP that China "certainly plays a greater role in the new millennium and will strengthen its commercial expansion by coming together with Latin America."
In neighboring Peru, one of the region's most dynamic economies, China's metal mining industry made its largest overseas acquisition earlier this year with the purchase of the Las Bambas copper mine, for around $5.85 billion.
In 2013, China also signed a contract with Venezuela — which sits atop the world's largest oil reserves — for a $28-billion project in the resource-rich Orinoco Oil Belt in the country's east.


Lebanon must fix debts, end prosecutor action or face power cut, says Turkish firm

Lebanon must fix debts, end prosecutor action or face power cut, says Turkish firm
Updated 11 May 2021

Lebanon must fix debts, end prosecutor action or face power cut, says Turkish firm

Lebanon must fix debts, end prosecutor action or face power cut, says Turkish firm
  • Turkey’s Karadeniz supplies electricity to Lebanon from power barges

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s Karadeniz, which supplies electricity to Lebanon from power barges, told Beirut to halt action by the Lebanese prosecutor to seize its vessels and said it must draw up a plan to settle arrears to avoid a cut in supplies, a spokesperson said.
The spokesperson for Karpowership, a unit of Karadeniz that operates floating power plants, was speaking on Tuesday after Lebanon’s Finance Ministry cited a lawmaker saying the country had been threatened with a cut to its supplies.
A Lebanese prosecutor issued a decision last week to seize the barges and fine the firm after TV channel Al-Jadeed reported corruption allegations tied to the power contract. The firm denies the charges and says it has not been paid for 18 months.


Suez Canal boss reveals expansion plans as revenues jump on trade rebound

Suez Canal boss reveals expansion plans as revenues jump on trade rebound
Updated 11 May 2021

Suez Canal boss reveals expansion plans as revenues jump on trade rebound

Suez Canal boss reveals expansion plans as revenues jump on trade rebound
  • Revenues rose almost 16 percent in April to $551million

RIYADH: Suez Canal revenues rose almost 16 percent in April to $551 million compared to a year earlier, Asharq Business reported, citing Suez Canal Authority Chairman Osama Rabie.
Rabie also discussed plans to expand and deepen the southern sector of the canal in which the container ship Ever Given was stuck in March, creating chaos across the global supply chain.
That incident which brought a large proportion of seaborne trade to a near halt for a week, highlighted the need to ensure the  smooth operation of the key trade artery.
Rabie also revealed plans for dredging works for the maintenance of the navigational channel of the canal.
A plan is being implemented to restructure the authority’s companies, he said.
This year witnessed a slight increase in the number of ships passing through the waterway to 1,840 in April 2021 from 1,731 in April 2020, Al Arabiya reported.


Egypt jobless rate rises amid pandemic second wave

Egypt jobless rate rises amid pandemic second wave
Updated 11 May 2021

Egypt jobless rate rises amid pandemic second wave

Egypt jobless rate rises amid pandemic second wave
  • The size of the workforce was estimated at 29,284 million, compared to 29,965 million during the previous quarter

RIYADH: Egypt’s unemployment rate reached 7.4 percent of the total labor force in the first quarter of 2021 — up from 7.2 percent in the previous quarter.
The new data from the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), reflects the impact of the second wave of the pandemic.
The size of the workforce was estimated at 29,284 million, compared to 29,965 million during the previous quarter, representing a decrease of 2.3 percent, Al Arabiya reported.
The labor force in urban areas reached 13,034 million, with 16,250 million living in rural areas.
Gehan Saleh, economic affairs adviser to Egypt’s prime minister said in April that the second stage of the country’s economic reform program would be launched soon.
She said the plan aims to improve the quality of life of citizens and tackle unemployment through job-creating investments.


Smugglers post gold from Dubai to India hidden in Tang

Smugglers post gold from Dubai to India hidden in Tang
Updated 11 May 2021

Smugglers post gold from Dubai to India hidden in Tang

Smugglers post gold from Dubai to India hidden in Tang
  • It is the latest ruse by smugglers trying to avoid hefty import duties for the precious metal by employing increasingly intriguing methods

DUBAI: Indian customs have foiled an attempt to post gold from Dubai disguised in containers of the popular Tang drink.

After sieving the contents of the drink mix, Chennai customs officials discovered it had been mixed with gold granules, according to a statement from the Commissioner of Customs at Chennai International Airport.
Officials probing the racket found that the address of the receiver had been misused.
It is the latest ruse by smugglers trying to avoid hefty import duties for the precious metal by employing increasingly intriguing methods.
Earlier this year officials at Chennai airport also nabbed two men trying to smuggle gold through the airport underneath their wigs.
The hapless pair were nabbed after their unusual hairstyles caught the attention of officials.

They were found to be carrying two gold paste packets weighing almost 700 g


UK-based tower operator to acquire Omantel sites in $575m deal

UK-based tower operator to acquire Omantel sites in $575m deal
Updated 11 May 2021

UK-based tower operator to acquire Omantel sites in $575m deal

UK-based tower operator to acquire Omantel sites in $575m deal
  • The move signals Helios Towers’ entry to the Middle East market as a major tower infrastructure provider

DUBAI: British telecommunications company Helios Towers has signed a deal with Omantel to acquire 2,890 sites for $575 million from the sultanate’s largest mobile network operator.
The move signals Helios Towers’ entry to the Middle East market as a major tower infrastructure provider.
The deal is expected to bring in a $59 million bump in revenues in the first full year of operations.
It also involves a $35 million plan to add 300 new build-to-suit sites over the next seven years.
“We view Oman as a very attractive and supportive market for foreign investments, with strong growth and exciting future prospects,” the UK-based company’s chief Kash Pandya said in a statement.
He said the acquisition strengthens its business through “further hard-currency revenues and diversification” in what the CEO described as the fastest growing markets in the region.
“We look forward to working with Omantel and the other MNOs over the coming years to further develop next generation mobile infrastructure solutions and services in Oman,” he added.
The partnership reflects Oman’s FDI aspirations, Omantel CEO Tala Said Al-Mamari said, adding it will create jobs and opportunities in the country.
“This move also allows the monetization of our towers at attractive valuation levels, de-lever our balance sheet, and will accelerate network development in next generation advanced technologies,” he noted.
He said it would allow Omantel’s management to focus on innovation and product development while outsourcing infrastructure management to an independent firm.
The transaction will close by the end of 2021, and the long-term partnership will last for an initial period of 15 years.