OpinioniSenegal

Un bilancio economico dei sette anni di presidenza Macky Sall

SENEGAL – Il presidente uscente Macky Sall, eletto nel 2012, rimette in palio la sua candidatura all’appuntamento con le urne di domenica 24 febbraio. Per l’edizione settimanale dell’agenzia Ecofin è stato redatto, in lingua francese, un bilancio del primo mandato, in lettura soprattutto economica. InfoAfrica ne ripropone ai lettori la versione originale.

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  • AfricaOpinioni Free

    Elezioni Usa, cosa succede in Africa se vince Biden?

    Quali potrebbero essere le conseguenze del risultato delle elezioni statunitensi in Africa? Pubblichiamo di seguito un approfondimento in merito pubblicato sul sito della rivista Africa. Se alla Casa Bianca ci sarà un cambio della guardia, gli evangelici di Nigeria e Kenya piangeranno lacrime amare. Come riportato recentemente da Yomi Kazeem su Quartz Africa, e a conferma di quanto rilevato lo scorso gennaio dal Pew Research Center, c’è una significativa parte della popolazione dei due paesi che vede nell’attuale presidente un baluardo contro l’aborto, i gay e la religione islamica. E pazienza per le condizioni peggiorative imposte ai migranti (ai nigeriani in modo particolare) e le simpatie suprematiste. Al di là di questa “curiosità” ci sono molte altre ragioni per cui oggi, dall’Africa, si guarda con attenzione alle presidenziali americane. Basti pensare allo scontro, delocalizzato sul continente, tra Washington e Pechino o alla vicenda della Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, la diga sul Nilo al centro della disputa tra Egitto, Etiopia e Sudan. Se vincesse John Biden, cosa cambierebbe? Lo abbiamo chiesto a Giovanni Carbone,  ordinario di Scienza Politica presso l’Università degli Studi di Milano nonché responsabile del Programma Africa dell’Ispi, e a Aldo Pigoli, docente a contratto di Storia dell’Africa Contemporanea all’Università Cattolica di Milano ed esperto di geopolitica, geoeconomia, analisi delle relazioni internazionali e negoziazione internazionale. «Se pensiamo agli ultimi presidenti americani e alla loro relazione con l’Africa, possiamo osservare che sia George W. Bush sia Barack Obama, in modo diametrale ed opposto, hanno disatteso le aspettative. Bush, per contrastare il terrorismo, ha fatto più di quel che ci si aspettava; Obama meno», osserva Carbone. «Trump invece non ha sorpreso. Le sue azioni in Africa, dalla scelta di non metterci piede fino ai dissidi e agli scontri con Oms e Nazioni Unite, hanno rispecchiato il suo approccio generale, rivelando contestualmente, però, ben poca concretezza. Consideriamo la rivalità con la Cina: molte parole dure ma, alla fine, pochi fatti, con l’eccezione del Build Act del 2018 (che ha permesso di raddoppiare – arrivando a 60 miliardi di dollari – il tetto massimo dei progetti infrastrutturali privati che il governo degli Stati Uniti avrebbe potuto finanziare nei paesi in via di sviluppo, ndr). Il Build Act è stato un atto concreto ma comunque tardivo per controbilanciare il finanziamento delle infrastrutture africane da parte della Cina. Anche le dichiarazioni recenti a proposito della diga sul Nilo, che pure rivelano un nervo scoperto, sono apparse soprattutto come un’esibizione di muscoli». Biden potrebbe agire in un modo diverso? «Sul piano dell’immagine probabilmente sì», prosegue Carbone. «È chiara la sua intenzione di cambiare passo anche nella relazione con l’Africa. Se consideriamo le dichiarazioni pubbliche, fatta eccezione per un generico sostegno ad iniziative di urbanizzazione in grado di migliorare l’accesso all’energia, nei suoi interventi non troviamo però particolari riferimenti all’Africa. C’è da stupirsene? Probabilmente no. L’esperienza cui Biden attinge nella politica estera è quella di Obama. In definitiva, al momento ipotizzerei un cambio di tono più che di sostanza, anche se è possibile che, in caso di vittoria dei democratici, si torni a una maggiore presenza americana nel Sahel e nel Corno d’Africa per contrastare il terrorismo». In Africa e tra le diaspore, evangelici a parte, c’è tuttavia chi si aspetta “miracoli” in caso di elezione di Biden. Pigoli esorta però alla cautela. «La politica estera statunitense durante il mandato presidenziale di Trump non si è messa in luce per particolari iniziative né per lo sviluppo di una strategia ad ampio respiro. Tuttavia, neanche le precedenti amministrazioni si sono distinte nei confronti del continente, neppure quella del “Presidente africano”, Barack Obama. Vi è una generale e persistente perifericità del continente africano rispetto agli interessi nazionali statunitensi, che nel corso degli ultimi 20 anni ha visto quali elementi di attenzione in primo luogo la lotta al terrorismo e al radicalismo di matrice islamica (in Africa occidentale, Sahel, Corno d’Africa e Nord Africa); la diversificazione energetica rispetto alla dipendenza dal Medio Oriente (almeno fino alla cosiddetta rivoluzione dello shale oil/gas statunitense); la necessità di rispondere alle iniziative economiche e diplomatiche di Pechino, che hanno progressivamente incrementato ruolo e presenza della Repubblica Popolare Cinese, proprio a discapito di Washington. Trump non si è allontanato da questi “driver”. I più critici gli contestano una sostanziale assenza e anche le ben note infelici uscite che hanno profondamente offeso larga parte dell’opinione pubblica africana (si pensi ai cd. “shithole countries”!). Biden non ha espresso posizioni particolari nei confronti dell’Africa, mentre diversi esponenti democratici nelle istituzioni statunitensi hanno lasciato intendere un cambio di rotta da parte del futuro presidente, se dovesse uscire vincitore dalla competizione elettorale. È vero che Biden si è attorniato di una serie di esperti di politica estera, alcuni dei quali molto vicini al continente africano. Per esempio, Antony Blinken, che ha espresso il suo appoggio per una partnership “USA-Africa” più forte. Poi Nicholas Burns, veterano della politica estera USA con profonda conoscenza del continente africano. E, infine, l’ex ambasciatrice in Botswana, Michelle Gavin. Tuttavia, non penso che la politica estera USA verso l’Africa cambierà radicalmente». [Stefania Ragusa/Africa Rivista]
  • AfricaOpinioni Free

    “Che vinca o che perda, Trump è un pericolo per l...

    AFRICA - “Che vinca o che perda, Trump è un pericolo per l’Africa”: è questo il titolo, chiaro e netto, dell’editoriale scritto da Azubuike (‘Azu’) Ishiekwene Direttore responsabile del nigeriano The Interview e storico giornalista nigeriano.

    Nella sua opinione, rilanciata da diversi media africani e non solo, Ishiekwene passa in rassegna i toni della campagna elettorale americana, le accuse, le offese, i proclami. Il giornalista si sofferma anche in una interessante analisi comparativa tra i comportamenti dei politici USA (e soprattutto del presidente uscente) e quello di alcuni politici africani, evidenziandone similitudini, sottolineando i “doppiopesismi” (per dirla con Paolo Mieli) nel giudicarli e intravedendo il rischio di emulazione in terra africana.

    Pubblichiamo l’editoriale nella sua versione originale e integrale riportata dal quotidiano nigeriano ‘Leadership’.

    If Donald J. Trump were president of Wakanda on the eve of an election, that country would have received several warnings from the United States (US) State Department on the need for free and fair polls, and the necessity for all parties to play by the rules.

    But what is playing by the rules if parties will not accept an orderly transfer of power?

    During two recent off-cycle state elections in the south of Nigeria, for example, the US Embassy threatened to invoke visa restrictions on candidates, agents or security officials who impede the electoral process. It was not an empty threat and the junket-obsessed political elite knew it.

    Yet, as this welcome US fore-finger was wagging at Nigerian politicians, four other fingers of the same hand were pointing back at the US, where its own President, Trump, has threatened that he would not accept the result of the November 3 election, if he loses.

    He made the same threat in 2016, saying he would not accept the outcome in the race against Hilary Clinton because the system was “rigged”.  We may never know what would have happened since he won.

    As of the time of writing, Facebook was planning to implement stringent standards to prevent the shambles of 2016 or the likelihood of a repeat of Cambodia 2018 where the prime minister was accused of buying fake fans to boost his electoral chances – a clear indication of how low the US that prides itself on sterling democratic values has fallen.

    By this time next week, the US presidential election would be over. But there are a number of reasons why even days after the election, voters may still not be able to say for sure whether Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden won.

    One reason why is because aspects of the labyrinthine voting and counting process in US elections which gives states and counties considerable latitude in the conduct of elections are being challenged in court. While some states may still be counting mail-in ballots (and they would be significantly more in this COVID-19 year), others, especially Republican states, want mail-in ballot counting to end before or on voting day.

    The main reason why this election is fraught, however, is because Trump has hinted darkly that he would not accept the result, if he loses. He said that he could not guarantee an orderly transfer of power, if the outcome does not favour him. Trump’s base is listening and the violent elements among them are waiting. The US faces a dark winter of post-election chaos.

    Trump’s threat not to accept defeat is the main fuel stoking the flames. Yet, what he is doing and what is being done in his name are much worse. In a number of states across the US, especially in the battleground states, Republican governors are still desperately trying to use the courts to block counting of mail-in votes beyond election day, even where the law allows it.

    The Supreme Court weighed in with a precarious 4-4 ruling but the matter is not settled yet. The inauguration on Monday of the conservative-leaning Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court could tip over the final decision on mail-in votes – a consequential matter in a COVID-19 year and beyond.

    In other states, various voter suppression methods, including stringent voter ID requirements and last-minute gerrymandering have become a part of the kitchen sink.

    It doesn’t end there. Concerns about Trump’s race baiting, suspicion that he may yet again deploy the National Guard as he did after George Floyd’s murder, and the rush to confirm Judge Barrett on the eve of election, all look like ingredients from a dictator’s cookbook.

    But he does not care. Trump has said over and over again that “the system is rigged”, that he suspects serious fraud with mail-in ballots, that China is helping the Democratic Party compromise the system, that he is a victim of an Obama spy ring, all with barely a shred of proof. Yet, he seems determined to use self-help, if the results don’t go his way.

    At first, it was like a joke. But since he makes no distinction between opinions and facts, Trump has taught the world to take him by his jokes. He indulges in fiction, which he invents with a single-minded talent that beggars belief.

    Insisting – up till last week – that he would not accept an orderly transfer of power if he loses the election, is frightening.  He makes Guinea where President Alpha Conde has just foisted a third term on the country look like a beacon of democracy.

    Conde can, at least, argue that the Guinean parliament extended his mandate, even though he obtained the extension by fraud. But for a sitting US president to repudiate the prospects of an orderly transfer of power if he loses, is not just a dangerous precedent for that country, it increases the chances of more Condes rising in Africa and elsewhere. Has anyone noticed that the African Union (AU) has been resoundingly silent about Conde’s travesty?

    If Trump does not believe senior government officials across party lines and even independent think tanks that have insisted that his claim of mail-in fraud or a “rigged system” is false, why should incumbents in Africa or elsewhere not undermine the electoral system in their own countries on the excuse that every ballot must match their testosterone specimen?

    In the last two decades, a significant number of African countries have come under representative governments largely because of external pressure from the West, led by the European Union (EU) and the US. Even though more money has poured in from China – often with few questions or scruples – pressure from the west and improvements in technology have put more governments on the continent on the spot.

    Politicians may not have been altogether pleased with the outcome of the elections, but because they have seen the consequences of chaos elsewhere, because they have seen the US live up to its pledge to punish persons responsible for deadly election violence whether in Kenya, Liberia or Cote d’Ivoire, they have yielded to orderly transfer of power.

    Nigeria provided a spectacular example of orderly transition five years ago, when former President Goodluck Jonathan called Muhammadu Buhari and conceded defeat even before the final results were announced in an election that could have descended into chaos.

    Despite deep misgivings in the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) at the time that Jonathan was being wangled out of office by a conspiracy of the Northern elite, the former president endured his misery and walked away.

    Kenya and Zimbabwe followed suit. When Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia refused to accept the outcome of elections in that country, the regional body, ECOWAS, shooed the yam-head out of office. Until recent events in Mali, Cote d’Ivoire and Guinea threatened to spoil the broth, Africa has been looking like the fireside where the world could at last light its candle.

    A US president threatening to impede an orderly transition of power is a danger not just to his own country but also to politicians elsewhere who might copy his bad example. This year, out of five African countries holding major elections, the presidents of two of them – Alassane Quattara of Cote d’Ivoire and Conde of Guinea – have manoeuvred themselves into positions for a controversial third term.

    Which Trump would stand up to Quattara, Conde or any other political outlaw on the continent? The Trump begging China to help him win election at home or the one hiding his tax records in plain sight? The Trump crying wolf over a “rigged system” even before the first ballot was cast or the one that unleashed the National Guard on unarmed protesters? The Trump who bullies women and indulges in race-baiting or the one who pledged not to accept an orderly transfer of power, if he loses at the poll?

    Which Trump is the world modelling on the eve of November 3?

    After four years of “America First”, the world is learning to find its own path even in matters where the US used to provide leadership and direction. Yet, if this is the new face of American exceptionalism – a US presidential candidate who undermines the electoral system for the heck of it and refuses to accept an orderly transfer of power if he loses, then we must brace up for a bitter winter in global politics.

    Not even in shit-hole countries is it fashionable anymore to insist on victory as precondition for elections. Who needs elections if they must win before the contest, anyway?

    But that is what Trump insists on. It’s apparent that America’s problems are worse than shambolic race relations and COVID-19. Trump-mylitis or the new epidemic of electoral-victory-at-all-costs is also a new contagion the world must guard against.

  • AfricaOpinioni Free

    Opinioni: Perché le aziende non partecipano al Bando...

    Di seguito ripubblichiamo senza modifica alcuna un commento pubblicato la scorsa settimana dal sito Info-Cooperazione (la community italiana della Cooperazione internazionale) che, alla vigilia dell’uscita del nuovo Bando dedicato (già pubblicato, vedi notizia) al settore profit della Cooperazione, si interroga sullo scarso successo dell’iniziativa nelle prime due edizioni. Buona lettura L’Agenzia per la cooperazione si appresta a lanciare la terza edizione del bando per supportare le iniziative di cooperazione delle imprese italiane, si tratta della “Procedura aperta per la selezione di iniziative imprenditoriali innovative da realizzare nei Paesi partner di cooperazione per il perseguimento degli Obiettivi di sviluppo sostenibile”. Un bando per il quale ormai da tre anni l’AICS mette a disposizione una dotazione finanziaria di 5 milioni di euro con la speranza di attrarre l’interesse dell’imprenditoria italiana sul fronte della cooperazione allo sviluppo. Un percorso difficile che necessita sicuramente di un cambiamento culturale da parte del mondo imprenditoriale che fino ad oggi ha visto l’Africa e i paesi partner come mercati da conquistare o luoghi dove andare a fare shopping di risorse e lavoro a basso costo. Ora il paradigma deve cambiare, sono finiti i tempi del “business as usual”, fare cooperazione per le imprese vuol dire contribuire al raggiungimento degli SDGs non soltanto andando alla ricerca di nuovi mercati ma portando innovazione, investimenti, know-how e generando crescita e posti di lavoro nel rispetto dell’ambiente e dei diritti umani. Un nuovo orizzonte quello della cooperazione che però non sembra attrarre più di tanto le imprese italiane, almeno a giudicare dai risultati dei primi due bandi messi in campo dall’Agenzia. La prima edizione di questo bando nell’anno 2017 si è chiusa con l’assegnazione di poco più di 1,5 milioni della dotazione finanziaria complessiva di 4,8 milioni a 13 imprese selezionate su 25 partecipanti. Poco meglio è andata la partecipazione alla seconda edizione targata 2018, il numero di imprese partecipanti è aumentato sensibilmente, sono 40 gli operatori economici che hanno sottoposto un’idea progettuale. Purtroppo però anche questo secondo bando è riuscito ad assegnare meno della metà dei fondi disponibili. Saranno 20 le imprese che vedranno co-finanziati i progetti sottoposti sui tre lotti proposti dal bando, nello specifico 7 sul lotto 1 – “Nuove idee A”, 7 sul lotto 2 – “Nuove idee B” (start-up) e 6 sul lotto 3 – “Idee mature”. Come se non bastasse, durante l’iter di assegnazione dei contributi due imprese selezionate hanno rinunciato al contributo e in quattro casi si è dovuto procedere alla riduzione del contributo concesso in quanto questo andava ad eccedere le soglie “de minimis” previste dalla UE in materia di aiuti di stato alle imprese. Restano non assegnati ben 2.687.727 euro che secondo la recente delibera del direttore dell’AICS saranno utilizzati per “attività di monitoraggio dell’ufficio VIII e per l’assistenza tecnica che sarà necessario richiedere per il bando profit 2019”. Questa somma va ad aggiungersi al residuo generato con la prima edizione del bando che ammontava a 3.243.442 euro, anche questo destinato in parte alle attività di monitoraggio delle iniziative finanziate. Eppure il moltiplicarsi di iniziative dedicate all’internazionalizzazione delle imprese italiane verso i paesi partner della cooperazione (vedi la fiera Exco 2019 e l’Italia Africa Business Week che si svolge in questi giorni a Milano) sembrano testimoniare un crescente interesse del mondo imprenditoriale nell’ottica della cooperazione. Forse è arrivato il tempo di interrogarsi sull’efficacia dello strumento “bando” messo in campo fino ad oggi dall’AICS e destinare una parte del tesoretto residuo a studiare e implementare strumenti più efficaci per raggiunge gli obiettivi che ci si è preposti, ovvero quello di rafforzare il ruolo del settore privato profit nella cooperazione in partnership con gli altri attori del sistema italiano della cooperazione. Un bando come quello sperimentato in questi due anni sembra non essere adatto alle esigenze dei potenziali beneficiari e contiene vincoli e limitazioni che ne vanificano l’efficacia tanto da non risultare allettante per le imprese e comunque scoraggiare la partecipazione degli imprenditori. Che sia arrivata l’ora di ripensare a questo strumento e cambiare rotta?  
  • GabonOpinioni Free

    Prosegue il calo (2) ma il nuovo codice potrebbe...

    GABON – Il 16 luglio 2019 un nuovo codice degli idrocarburi è stato adottato in via definitiva in Gabon, con l’obiettivo di attirare più investitori. Sul nuovo testo e le sue prime implicazioni scrive Maimouna Dia per La Tribune Afrique, in un articolo che InfoAfrica ritiene interessante condividere con i propri lettori.   [La Tribune Afrique] Pour attirer de nouveaux investissements dans les hydrocarbures, le Gabon adopte un nouveau code plus en phase avec leurs attentes. Les premiers résultats ne se sont pas fait attendre. Le 2 août dernier, le pays signe deux contrats d'exploration de blocs au sud du pays, « Yéti » et « Meboun ». Une première depuis cinq ans et un nouveau souffle pour un secteur en panne où le niveau de la production a baissé de 240 000 à 194 000 barils par jour sur la période 2008-2018. L'élan se poursuivra en septembre avec l'annonce par Vaalco d'un vaste programme d'exploration. La société américaine basée à Houston devrait entamer un programme de forage en 2019-2020 sur son permis Etam Offshore. Au cours de la même période, BW Energy, filiale de la société norvégienne BW Offshore annonçait une imminente prise de décision finale d'investissement (FID) dans le cadre de sa licence Dussafu, située dans le champ Tortue au large des côtes gabonaises. Cette série de bonnes nouvelles intervient moins d'un an après le road show gabonais à Cap Town en marge d'Africa Oil Week 2018. Le pays y a mis aux enchères 35 blocs pétroliers et gaziers jusqu'en juin 2020. Le Gabon a voulu accélérer la cadence à travers la promulgation du nouveau code des hydrocarbures signé le 16 juillet 2019, en remplacement de celui de 2014, jugé trop contraignant. La nouvelle législation baisse d'un cran les taxes et participations de l'Etat dans le secteur du pétrole et du gaz. « La démarche du gouvernement gabonais est compréhensible. Si vous avez un code des hydrocarbures qui ressemble à tout ce qui se fait sur le Continent, mais qui n'attire aucun investisseur, je peux comprendre que l'Etat décide de le modifier, de l'améliorer », explique l'économiste gabonais Mays Mouissi.   Un code pour les investisseurs La Loi n°002 du 16 juillet 2019 portant réglementation du secteur des hydrocarbures au Gabon offre des facilités aux investisseurs. Le nouveau texte baisse la part de l'Etat dans les contrats d'exploitation et de partage de production (CEPP), ainsi que sa participation. Désormais pour les CEPP, le taux minimal représentant la part de l'Etat est fixé à 45 % au plus pour la zone conventionnelle et 40 % en offshore dans l'exploitation pétrolière, contre 55 % et 50 % dans le code de 2014. Pour les hydrocarbures gazeux, ce taux est porté à 25 % pour la zone conventionnelle et à 20 % pour les zones offshores profondes. Dans les mêmes contrats CEPP, le partage de la production stipule que la participation de l'Etat ne peut plus dépasser 10 % dans les opérations, contre 20 % en 2014. Cependant l'Etat peut transférer la gestion de ses participations à l'opérateur national, la Gabon Oil Compagny (GOC). « L'opérateur national a le droit d'acquérir une participation qui ne peut excéder 15 % dans tout contrat de partage de production à compter de sa date de signature », ajoute le nouveau code dans son article 219, faisant que la part réservée à la société nationale des hydrocarbures GOC reste inchangée par rapport à l'ancien code. La nouvelle loi se distingue également par une réduction de la part de l'Etat dans le capital social. L'une des mesures phares du nouveau code reste la baisse des taxes et des coûts pour les investisseurs. Il supprime l'impôt sur les sociétés fixé à 35 % du profit oil dans l'ancien code et baisse la redevance minière proportionnelle (RMP), qui est la rétribution de l'opérateur à l'Etat pour le droit d'exploitation du sol. La RMP est désormais fixée entre 7 % et 15 % pour les hydrocarbures liquides produits en zone conventionnelle, et entre 5 % et 12 % pour l'offshore, alors que pour le gaz, ces taux sont compris entre 5 % et 10 % en zone conventionnelle et entre 2 % et 8 % en offshore. La nouvelle réglementation améliore également la récupération des coûts pétroliers pour les entreprises. Pour les hydrocarbures liquides, comme le pétrole, les taux sont fixés à 70 % en zone conventionnelle et à 75 % en offshore. Dans le secteur gazeux, la récupération des coûts est de 80 % pour la zone conventionnelle et de 90 % en offshore. Le nouveau code des hydrocarbures offre également la possibilité d'établir des conventions d'exploitation sur des gisements marginaux ou matures. Dans son article 72, « la convention d'exploitation est conclue prioritairement avec l'opérateur national et les entreprises autochtones. Toutefois, le contractant ayant réalisé une découverte marginale bénéficie du droit de préférence pour la conclusion d'une convention d'exploitation afférente à ladite découverte ».   Un code consensuel Un code à coups de ristournes qui fait grincer les dents alors que dans d'autres pays - Nigeria, RDC, Sénégal, Mali, Niger, Zambie, Tanzanie - les législations régissant les industries extractives ont été plus corsées au cours de ces dernières années. « Tous les pays africains ne sont pas logés à la même enseigne en matière de pétrole. Les réserves nigérianes, angolaises ou algériennes ne sont pas comparables à celles du Gabon, faisant que les pays n'ont pas les mêmes capacités de négociation [...] Le Gabon n'est pas non plus comparable au Niger, un pays enclavé qui a du pétrole onshore dont l'extraction est moins compliquée et donc plus attractive », analyse Mays Mouissi. Par ce nouveau code, le Gabon espère relever d'un tiers le niveau de sa production actuelle pour atteindre 300 000 barils par jour d'ici 2021, indiquait début août à la presse, le ministre des Hydrocarbures, Noël Mboumba. Les réserves pétrolières du pays sont passées de 2,6 milliards de barils en 2008 à 2 milliards en 2018, selon les chiffres le BP statistical report. Le pays qui a subi de plein fouet la crise pétrolière de 2014-2015 espère ainsi rebooster le secteur des hydrocarbures qui représente aujourd'hui près de 45 % des recettes de l'Etat.
  • AfricaOpinioni Free

    L’Africa potenziale leader mondiale nella filiera...

    AFRICA – La filiera grafite sta vivendo una nuova era con una crescita continua legata alla domanda di veicoli elettrici. Da qualche mese, si assiste ad una corsa tra la Cina e l’Occidente per l’ottenimento di licenze su miniere africane. Il futuro per il prossimo decennio si preannuncia promettente, ma l’Africa saprà cogliere questa opportunità? Alcuni elementi di risposta sono offerti dalla redazione di Ecofin Hebdo in un’analisi che InfoAfrica desidera condividere, nella sua versione originale. (Ecofin Hebdo) - Le graphite est un matériau léger, flexible, malléable, compressible, inerte et non toxique. Il possède une forte conductivité thermique et électrique et d’une grande résistance à la chaleur. Qu’il soit naturel ou synthétique, il est essentiel dans plusieurs grands secteurs de l’économie mondiale, en l’occurrence la métallurgie, la sidérurgie, l’énergie ou encore l’automobile. Forme naturelle de carbone pur, on l’utilise dans la fabrication des écrans (ordinateurs, téléphones portables) pour évacuer la chaleur. Il est également utilisé pour fabriquer des cokes des hauts-fourneaux en sidérurgie pour son excellente résistance aux températures élevées. De par sa conductivité, le métalloïde est utilisé dans la fabrication d’électrodes, d’accumulateurs (piles alcalines et lithium-ion) pour des véhicules hybrides et électriques. Il fait notamment office de second composant dans la fabrication des batteries lithium-ion. Un marché en forte croissance Selon un rapport d’Investing News Network, la demande de graphite a continué de croître fortement en 2018, soutenue par le boom des véhicules électriques, en particulier sur le marché chinois. Le marché s’est précipité pour répondre à cette croissance de la demande, ce qui s’est traduit par une augmentation de l’offre en provenance d’Afrique, où de nouvelles mines sont entrées en production. «Pour la première fois depuis une génération, nous avons commencé à voir la Chine importer d'importantes quantités de graphite naturel comme matière première», a déclaré Albert Li, analyste chez la firme londonienne Benchmark Mineral Intelligence. Alors que l’empire du Milieu, qui a toujours la mainmise sur le secteur, a fermé temporairement plusieurs usines pour des préoccupations d’ordre environnemental, les utilisateurs chinois se sont intéressés au marché africain pour satisfaire leurs besoins. Le marché a ainsi connu une accélération de la production dans quatre nouvelles mines importantes de graphite en paillettes exploitées respectivement par Syrah Resources et AMG (Graphit Kropfmuhl) au Mozambique, Bass Metals à Madagascar et Imerys Graphite and Carbon en Namibie. En ce qui concerne les prix, ils sont toujours à la baisse en raison de la «sécurité» apportée au marché par l’augmentation de l’offre africaine. Il faut noter que les cours ont atteint 3000$/t en 2011 (+ 500% en 7 ans), avant d’être progressivement ramenés aux alentours de 1300 – 1400 $/t en 2016, ce qui reste tout de même 190% supérieur à 10 ans plus tôt. Quelles perspectives pour 2019 ? Selon Suzanne Shaw, analyste senior chez Roskill, la demande des batteries ne se relâchera pas en 2019. «L'offre et la demande seront plus qu'adéquates en 2019, mais cela dépend de la quantité de graphite mise sur le marché par Syrah Resources (et sa mine Balama au Mozambique, NDLR) et d’autres compagnies», a-t-elle expliqué. Pour Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, les perspectives de demande sur le marché du graphite sont également positives, compte tenu de la consommation croissante des marchés industriels et de l'émergence d'applications à valeur ajoutée. «Le graphite sera la matière première de base des anodes pour batteries lithium-ion pendant au moins les cinq prochaines années, mais de nouvelles technologies commenceront à gagner du terrain», a déclaré la firme londonienne. Pour répondre à cette demande croissante, elle estime que de nouvelles capacités de production de graphite naturel et synthétique sont nécessaires. «Un grand nombre de gisements de graphite en paillettes sont en cours de développement, dont plusieurs ont fait l'objet d'une étude de faisabilité définitive ou sont dotés d'usines pilotes - il s'agit maintenant d'une course au financement», indique Mme Shaw. Parallèlement, les prix continueront de baisser en 2019 à mesure que l'offre continuera d'augmenter, si l’on en croit la firme Roskill. Elle précise toutefois qu'ils seront à nouveau en hausse dans les années à venir, car les prévisions de croissance des batteries sont si rapides que la demande croissante mettra bientôt le marché sous pression. Ces pays africains producteurs de graphite… Le Mozambique, future superpuissance du graphite Le sous-sol mozambicain héberge d’énormes ressources de graphite. Les découvertes réalisées depuis 2013 multiplient par 3 les ressources mondiales alors que les réserves prouvées équivalent à environ 52% des réserves mondiales. Le pays abriterait à lui seul des ressources allant jusqu’à 2,7 milliards de tonnes, dont 124 millions de tonnes de réserves prouvées (données datant de 2016). Sur cette richesse se ruent plusieurs compagnies minières, notamment australiennes. Ainsi, Syrah Resources exploite déjà la mine Balama, qui pourrait représenter à elle seule le tiers de la production mondiale, une fois la capacité maximale atteinte. La société cotée à la bourse ASX a conclu en 2018 plusieurs accords de vente avec des groupes chinois, notamment sur le marché des anodes pour batteries. Outre Syrah, sont également présents en Mozambique des compagnies minières comme Triton Minerals sur la mine Ancuabe, Graphit Kropfmuhl (GK) sur un autre gisement à Ancuabe, Battery Minerals sur les projets Montepuez et Balama Central, ou encore Balama Resources sur le projet Caula. En dehors de GK, qui exploite déjà sa mine, les autres sociétés ne produisent pas encore, mais sont à des stades assez avancés. Il est prévu que la production mozambicaine de graphite atteigne 540 000 tonnes/an d’ici 2020, ce qui équivaudrait à 45% de la production mondiale de 2016 (1,2 million de tonnes/an). Cela pourrait permettre au pays de talonner la Chine et de devancer des pays comme l’Inde, le Brésil, la Corée du Nord ou la Turquie. Zimbabwe Le Zimbabwe a produit 7000 tonnes de graphite en 2015. Le pays était classé le premier producteur de graphite du continent africain et le 10e sur le plan mondial. La plus grande mine de graphite du pays demeure la mine de Lynx, opérée par la société allemande Graphit Kropfmuhl (GK). Madagascar Le pays a longtemps fait partie des plus grands producteurs de graphite d’Afrique. Il exporte en moyenne 10 000 tonnes de graphite par an, principalement vers la Chine, les États-Unis et l’Inde. Le plus grand gisement de l’île se trouve dans la province de Toamasina et quatre sociétés y exploitent du graphite, en l’occurrence Gallois, Bass Metals, Power Stand Development et Rostin. D’autres sociétés, BlackEarth Minerals par exemple, mènent des activités d’exploration. Tanzanie Plusieurs gisements de graphite ont été découverts cette décennie en Tanzanie. Le plus important est le projet Bunyu, piloté par la compagnie minière Volt Resources, avec une capacité de traitement de 400 000 tonnes par an. En plus du projet Bunyu, Volt Resources développe le projet Namangale. Magnis Energy Technologies, quant à elle, développe le projet Nachu, d'une capacité de 240 000 t/a et d'une durée de vie de 15 ans, tandis que Kibaran Resources développe le projet Epanko, capable de produire annuellement 60 000 t/a de graphite. Citons également Armadale Capital qui travaille sur le projet Liandu, Black Rock Mining sur le projet Mahenge, ou encore Graphex Mining et son projet Chilalo. Une fois pleinement opérationnels, les projets devraient positionner la Tanzanie parmi les trois premiers producteurs mondiaux de graphite. Et les autres… D’autres pays africains possèdent des ressources de graphite. Citons notamment la Guinée, où la société canadienne SRG Graphite gère le projet Lola, ou encore le Malawi, où Sovereign Metals pilote le projet Malingunde. [Louis-Nino Kansoun]
  • AfricaOpinioni Free

    Verità nascoste sulla presenza militare US in Africa,...

    AFRICA - Quanta verità c’è nelle comunicazioni ufficiali del Pentagono sulla presenza militare US in Africa? Dopo 10 anni di esistenza di Africom, si può ancora parlare di intervento a “basso profilo”, o è in corso una vera e propria militarizzazione del continente ad opera degli Stati Uniti? Alcuni elementi di risposta sono stati estrapolati dalla rivista online The Intercept a seguito di un’indagine giornalistica, che secondo gli autori mette invece in evidenza l’esistenza di una “vasta rete di basi” sul continente africano, per proteggere gli interessi americani. L’articolo originale di The Intercept viene qui proposto ai nostri lettori nella sua versione integrale. [The Intercept] THE U.S. MILITARY has long insisted that it maintains a “light footprint” in Africa, and there have been reports of proposed drawdownsin special operations forces and closures of outposts on the continent, due to a 2017 ambush in Niger and an increasing focus on rivals like China and Russia. But through it all, U.S. Africa Command has fallen short of providing concrete information about its bases on the continent, leaving in question the true scope of the American presence there. Documents obtained from AFRICOM by The Intercept, via the Freedom of Information Act, however, offer a unique window onto the sprawling network of U.S. military outposts in Africa, including previously undisclosed or unconfirmed sites in hotspots like Libya, Niger, and Somalia. The Pentagon has also told The Intercept that troop reductions in Africa will be modest and phased-in over several years and that no outposts are expected to close as a result of the personnel cuts. According to a 2018 briefing by AFRICOM science adviser Peter E. Teil, the military’s constellation of bases includes 34 sites scattered across the continent, with high concentrations in the north and west as well as the Horn of Africa. These regions, not surprisingly, have also seen numerous U.S. drone attacks and low-profile commando raids in recent years. For example, Libya — the site of drone and commando missions but for which President Trump said he saw no U.S. military role just last year — is nonetheless home to three previously undisclosed outposts. “U.S. Africa Command’s posture plan is designed to secure strategic access to key locations on a continent characterized by vast distances and limited infrastructure,” Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, the AFRICOM commander, told the House Armed Services Committee earlier this year, though he didn’t provide specifics on the number of bases. “Our posture network allows forward staging of forces to provide operational flexibility and timely response to crises involving U. S. personnel or interests without creating the optic that U. S. Africa Command is militarizing Africa.” According to Adam Moore, an assistant professor of geography at the University of California in Los Angeles and an expert on the U.S. military’s presence in Africa, “It is getting harder for the U.S. military to plausibly claim that it has a ‘light footprint’ in Africa. In just the past five years, it has established what is perhaps the largest drone complex in the world in Djibouti — Chabelley — which is involved in wars on two continents, Yemen and Somalia.” Moore also noted that the U.S. is building an even larger drone base in Agadez, Niger. “Certainly, for people living in Somalia, Niger and Djibouti, the notion that the U.S. is not militarizing their countries rings false,” he added. For the last 10 years, AFRICOM has not only sought to define its presence as limited in scope, but its military outposts as small, temporary, and little more than local bases where Americans are tenants. For instance, this is how Gen. Waldhauser described a low-profile drone outpost in Tunisia last year: “And it’s not our base, it’s the Tunisians’ base.” On a visit to a U.S. facility in Senegal this summer, the AFRICOM chief took pains to emphasize that the U.S. had no intension of establishing a permanent base there. Still, there’s no denying the scope of AFRICOM’s network of outposts, nor the growth in infrastructure. Air Forces Africa alone, the command’s air component, has recently completed or is currently working on nearly 30 construction projects across four countries in Africa. “The U.S. footprint on the African continent has grown markedly over the last decade to promote U.S. security interests on the continent,” Navy Commander Candice Tresch, a Pentagon spokesperson, told The Intercept. While China, France, Russia, and the United Arab Emirates have increased their own military engagement in Africa in recent years and a number of countries now possess outposts on the continent, none approach the wide-ranging U.S. footprint. China, for example, has just one base in Africa – a facility in Djibouti. According to the documents obtained by The Intercept through the Freedom of Information Act, AFRICOM’s network of bases includes larger “enduring” outposts, consisting of forward operating sites (FOSes) and cooperative security locations (CSLs), as well as more numerous austere sites known as contingency locations (CLs). All of these are located on the African continent except for an FOS on Britain’s Ascension Island in the South Atlantic. Teil’s map of Africa Command’s “Strategic Posture” names the specific locations of all 14 FOSes and CSLs and provides country-specific locales for the 20 contingency locations. The Pentagon would not say whether the tally was exhaustive, however, citing concerns about publicly providing the number of forces deployed to specific facilities or individual countries. “For reasons of operational security, complete and specific force lay-downs are not releasable,” said Commander Tresch. While troops and outposts periodically come and go from the continent, and some locations used by commandos conducting sensitive missions are likely kept under wraps, Teil’s map represents the most current and complete accounting available and indicates the areas of the continent of greatest concern to Africa Command. “The distribution of bases suggests that the U.S. military is organized around three counter-terrorism theaters in Africa: the Horn of Africa — Somalia, Djibouti, Kenya; Libya; and the Sahel — Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso,” says UCLA’s Moore, noting that the U.S. has only one base in the south of the continent and has scaled back engagement in Central Africa in recent years. Niger, Somalia, and Kenya Teil’s briefing confirms, for the first time, that the U.S. military currently has more sites in Niger — five, including two cooperative security locations — than any other country on the western side of the continent. Niamey, the country’s capital, is the location of Air Base 101, a longtime U.S. drone outpost attached to Diori Hamani International Airport; the site of a Special Operations Advanced Operations Base; and the West Africa node for AFRICOM’s contractor-provided personnel recovery and casualty evacuation services. The other CSL, in the remote smuggling hub of Agadez, is set to become the premier U.S. military outpost in West Africa. That drone base, located at Nigerien Air Base 201, not only boasts a $100 million construction price tag but, with operating expenses, is estimated to cost U.S. taxpayers more than a quarter-billion dollars by 2024 when the 10-year agreement for its use ends. Officially, a CSL is neither “a U.S. facility or base.” It is, according to the military, “simply a location that, when needed and with the permission of the partner country, can be used by U.S. personnel to support a wide range of contingencies.” The sheer dimensions, cost, and importance of Agadez seems to suggest otherwise. “Judging by its size and the infrastructure investments to date, Agadez more resembles massive bases that the military created in Iraq and Afghanistan than a small, unobtrusive, ‘lily pad,’” says UCLA’s Moore. The U.S. military presence in Niger gained widespread exposure last year when an October 4 ambush by ISIS in the Greater Sahara near the Mali border killed four U.S. soldiers, including Green Berets, and wounded two others. A Pentagon investigation into the attack shed additional light on other key U.S. military sites in Niger including Ouallam and Arlit, where Special Operations forces (SOF) deployed in 2017, and Maradi, where SOF were sent in 2016. Arlit also appeared as a proposed contingency location in a formerly secret 2015 AFRICOM posture plan obtained by The Intercept. Ouallam, which was listed in contracting documents brought to light by The Intercept last year, was the site of an SOF effort to train and equip a Nigerien counterterrorism company as well as another effort to conduct operations with other local units. Contracting documents from 2017 also noted the need for 4,400 gallons per month of gasoline, 1,100 gallons per month of diesel fuel, and 6,000 gallons of aviation turbine fuel to be delivered, every 90 days, to a “military installation” in Dirkou. While the five bases in Niger anchor the west of the continent, the five U.S. outposts in Somalia are tops in the east. Somalia is the East Africa hub for contractor-provided personnel recovery and casualty evacuation services as well as the main node for the military’s own personnel recovery and casualty evacuation operations. These sites, revealed in AFRICOM maps for the first time, do not include a CIA base revealed in 2014 by The Nation. All U.S. military facilities in Somalia, by virtue of being contingency locations, are unnamed on AFRICOM’s 2018 map. Previously, Kismayo has been identified as a key outpost, while the declassified 2015 AFRICOM posture plan names proposed CLs in Baidoa, Bosaaso, and the capital, Mogadishu, as well as Berbera in the self-declared state of Somaliland. If locations on Teil’s map are accurate, one of the Somali sites is located in this latter region. Reporting by Vice News earlier this year indicated there were actually six new U.S facilities being constructed in Somalia as well as the expansion of Baledogle, a base for which a contract for “emergency runway repairs” was recently issued. According to top secret documents obtained by The Intercept in 2015, elite troops from a unit known as Task Force 48-4 were involved in drone attacks in Somalia earlier this decade. This air war has continued in the years since. The U.S. has already conducted 36 air strikes in Somalia this year, compared to 34 for all of 2017 and 15 in 2016, according to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Somalia’s neighbor, Kenya, boasts four U.S. bases. These include cooperative security locations at Mombasa as well as Manda Bay, where a 2013 Pentagon study of secret drone operations in Somalia and Yemen noted that two manned fixed-wing aircraft were then based. AFRICOM’s 2015 posture plan also mentions contingency locations at Lakipia, the site of a Kenyan Air Force base, and another Kenyan airfield at Wajir that was upgraded and expanded by the U.S. Navy earlier in this decade. Libya, Tunisia, and Djibouti Teil’s map shows a cluster of three unnamed and previously unreported contingency locations near the Libyan coastline. Since 2011, the U.S. has carried out approximately 550 drone strikes targeting al Qaeda and Islamic State militants in the restive North African nation. During a four-month span in 2016, for example, there were around 300 such attacks, according to U.S. officials. That’s seven times more than the 42 confirmed U.S. drone strikes carried out in Somalia, Yemen, and Pakistan combined for all of 2016, according to data compiled by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, a London-based nonprofit news organization. The Libya attacks have continued under the Trump administration, with the latest acknowledged U.S. drone strike occurring near Al Uwaynat on November 29. AFRICOM’s 2015 posture plan listed only an outpost at Al-Wigh, a Saharan airfield near that country’s borders with Niger, Chad, and Algeria, located far to the south of the three current CLs. Africa Command’s map also shows a contingency location in neighboring Tunisia, possibly Sidi Ahmed Air Base, a key regional U.S. drone outpost that has played an important role in air strikes in Libya in recent years. “You know, flying intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance drones out of Tunisia has been taking place for quite some time,” said Waldhauser, the AFRICOM commander, last year. “[W]e fly there, it’s not a secret, but we are very respectful to the Tunisians’ desires in terms of, you know, how we support them and the fact that we have [a] low profile…” Djibouti is home to the crown jewel of U.S. bases on the continent, Camp Lemonnier, a former French Foreign Legion outpost and AFRICOM’s lone forward operating site on the continent. A longtime hub for counterterrorism operations in Yemen and Somalia and the home of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF–HOA), Camp Lemonnier hosts around 4,000 U.S. and allied personnel, and, according to Teil, is the “main platform” for U.S. crisis response forces in Africa. Since 2002, the base has expanded from 88 acres to nearly 600 acres and spun off a satellite outpost — a cooperative security location 10 kilometers to the southwest, where drone operations in the country were relocated in 2013. Chabelley Airfield has gone on to serve as an integral base for missions in Somalia and Yemen as well as the drone war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. “United States military personnel remain deployed to Djibouti, including for purposes of posturing for counterterrorism and counter-piracy operations in the vicinity of the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, and to provide contingency support for embassy security augmentation in East Africa,” President Donald Trump noted in June. Cameroon, Mali, and Chad AFRICOM’s strategic posture also includes two contingency locations in Cameroon. One is an outpost in the north of the country, known as CL Garoua, which is used to fly drone missions and also as a base for the Army’s Task Force Darby, which supports Cameroonian forces fighting the terrorist group Boko Haram. Cameroon is also home to a longtime outpost in Douala as well as U.S. facilities in Maroua and a nearby base called Salak, which is also used by U.S. personnel and private contractors for training missions and drone surveillance. In 2017, Amnesty International, the London-based research firm Forensic Architecture, and The Intercept exposed illegal imprisonment, torture, and killings by Cameroonian troops at Salak. In neighboring Mali, there are two contingency locations. AFRICOM’s 2015 posture plan lists proposed CLs in Gao and Mali’s capital, Bamako. The 2018 map also notes the existence of a CSL in Chad’s capital N’Djamena, a site where the U.S. began flying drones earlier this decade; it’s also the headquarters of a Special Operations Command and Control Element, an elite battalion-level command. Another unidentified contingency location in Chad could be a CL in Faya Largeau, which was mentioned in AFRICOM’s 2015 posture plan. In Gabon, a cooperative security location exists in Libreville. Last year, U.S. troops carried out an exercise there to test their ability to turn the Libreville CSL into a forward command post to facilitate an influx of a large number of forces. A CSL can also be found in Accra, Ghana, and another CSL is located on a small compound at Captain Andalla Cissé Air Base in Dakar, Senegal. “This location is very important to us because it helps mitigate the time and space on the continent the size of Africa,” said AFRICOM commander Waldhauser while visiting the Senegalese capital earlier this year. Only one base lies in the far south of the continent, a CSL in Botswana’s capital, Gaborone, that is run by the Army. To its north, CSL Entebbe in Uganda has long been an important air base for American forces in Africa, serving as a hub for surveillance aircraft. It also proved integral to Operation Oaken Steel, the July 2016 rapid deployment of troops to rescue U.S. personnel after fighting broke out near the American Embassy in Juba, South Sudan. “We Have Increased the Firepower” In May, responding to questions about measures taken after the October 2017 ambush in Niger, Waldhauser spoke of fortifying the U.S. presence on the continent. “We have increased, which I won’t go into details here, but we have increased the firepower, we’ve increased the ISR [intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance] capacity, we’ve increased various response times,” he said. “So we have beefed up a lot of things posture-wise with regard to these forces.” This firepower includes drones. “We have been arming out of Niger, and we’ll use that as appropriate,” Waldhauser noted this summer, alluding to the presence of armed remotely piloted aircraft, or RPAs, now based there. AFRICOM did not respond to multiple requests to interview Waldhauser. After months of reports that the Defense Department was considering a major drawdown of Special Operations forces in Africa as well as the closure of military outposts in Tunisia, Cameroon, Libya and Kenya, the Pentagon now says that less than 10 percent of 7,200 forces assigned to AFRICOM will be withdrawn over several years and no bases will close as a result. In fact, U.S. base construction in Africa is booming. Air Forces Africa spokesperson Auburn Davis told The Intercept that the Air Force recently completed 21 construction projects in Kenya, Tunisia, Niger and Djibouti and currently has seven others underway in Niger and Djibouti. “The proliferation of bases in the Sahel, Libya, and Horn of Africa suggests that AFRICOM’s counterterrorism missions in those regions of the continent will continue indefinitely,” UCLA’s Adam Moore told The Intercept. Hours after Moore made those comments, the Pentagon announced that six firms had been named under a potential five-year, $240 million contract for design and construction services for naval facilities in Africa, beginning with the expansion of the tarmac at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti.