Thursday, June 3, 2010

New Container Ports Planned For Africa's New Economy

Progress in Angola Despite Years of Strife and Continuing Problems
Shipping News Feature

ANGOLA – The country’s National Demining Institute, formed in 2004 to clear the thousands of munitions left scattered around the country after the debilitating civil war which wracked the nation between 1975 and 2002, have announced their progress toward ensuring the safety of the area designated for a new port at Barra do Dande, just north of Luanda.

According to GAC Angola , the head of the Institute’s office in Bengo province recently told a delegation from the Marshall Legacy Institute (MLI)that a target of 2,400 acres need to be cleared and 400 acres had so far been made safe with the removal of hundreds of explosive devices. The MLI has determined it will introduce a mine detection dog (MDD) programme into the country this year.

Angola is Africa’s fastest growing economy having received $2 billion in aid from China with additional Japanese funds recently refurbishing the country’s 3rd largest port, Namibe and plans to build a new container terminal there, plus Indian investment in the rail system.

Despite this apparently rosy picture however the rate of growth is not being achieved without massive problems for the man in the street. The rural poor are being forcibly relocated all around the country to make way for redevelopment, much of which they cannot afford, even at $250 for a building plot. Last week a Reuters report focused on the situation of hundreds of thousands of Luandan merchants who will see the open market at Roque Santeiro closed next month and relocated.

Angola, which has doubled its population in twenty years and at twice the size of Kenya and even larger than South Africa is being viewed as an expanding market by many, however with Chinese and independent money limiting the influence of the International Monetary Fund the social cost of developing the transport infrastructure in a state with appalling life expectancy and infant mortality rates needs to be carefully assessed.

Photo:- Luanda waterfront