Wednesday, October 20, 2004


Money talks loudest along prized coast

GEORGE — This country’s scenic Garden Route region is witnessing tensions as developers buy up land for elaborate golf courses, polo fields and other luxury facilities while poor residents lose access to areas that they have enjoyed for generations.

The 156-mile-long stretch in South Africa’s southern coast, famed for its natural beauty and exotic plants and wildlife, has experienced a boom in golf courses, with 40 in business and 13 more being planned.

The Southern Cape Land Committee, a nongovernmental organization fighting for the rights of blacks and mixed-race people whose land was taken under apartheid, says local residents rapidly are losing access to land and leisure sites.

“The richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor are competing for the same land, and we know who is going to win,” said committee director Angela Conway.


Government furious at ‘corruption’ rating

ABUJA — Nigeria angrily rejected the results and methodology of the world’s best-known corruption study yesterday after being named the third most corrupt of the 145 countries surveyed.

Nigeria, the oil-rich but socially poor West African giant, has been anchored at or near the bottom of Transparency International’s annual “Corruption Perceptions Index” since it was first published 10 years ago. Five years after President Olusegun Obasanjo, an ex-dictator, led the country back to elected rule with a promise to clean up public life, it is still languishing near the foot of the index, above only Haiti and Bangladesh.

The information ministry hit back in a strongly worded statement, branding the index “fundamentally flawed, irrelevant and of little use to reforming countries or those interested in a genuine war against corruption.” It added that the group examines a limited sample of countries and a small number of respondents — about 1,000 — to make its judgements.


BP affiliate expects to pump oil by 2007

LUANDA — The Angolan affiliate of energy giant British Petroleum is expecting to pump more than 500,000 barrels of oil per day by 2007, its president, Jose Patricio, was quoted yesterday as saying.

BP Angola will start taking oil from its Block 18 oil field about 124 nautical miles offshore from Soyo in the first quarter of 2007, Mr. Patricio told the Journal of Angola. He said BP’s activities in Angola are limited to partnering with other groups such as Exxon Mobil of the United States and the national oil firm Sonangol.

Angola is sub-Saharan Africa’s No. 2 oil source after Nigeria, pumping more than 1 million barrels per day, which makes up 90 percent of the country’s total exports.

Weekly notes

South African President Thabo Mbeki will meet with Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and other African leaders in Johannesburg tomorrow to take stock of gains made under the New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development. The two-day meeting will allow leaders to review projects set up under the continent’s homegrown economic-rescue plan since its creation in 2001. … Senegal wants to improve living conditions for its people and aims to double per capita income over the next 10 years, Prime Minister Macky Sall said yesterday in his first policy speech since taking office in April. The government’s “main objective is to double, in the next 10 years, the per capita income of the people, which is today at around $580, with a growth target of at least 8 percent,” said Mr. Sall. “I take this opportunity to tell you that our country will organize in Dakar a scientific conference on locusts in 2005.”

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