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South Africa’s Zuma says urgent intervention needed to save mining sector

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PRETORIA (Reuters) – Consistently low commodity prices and the risk of job losses have forced the government to call an urgent meeting with labour and business leaders in South Africa’s mining sector, President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday.

The mining industry, which contributes around 7 percent to Africa’s most developed economy, is struggling with sinking commodity prices, rising costs and labour unrest, forcing a number of companies into mine closures and layoffs.

“We meet under difficult conditions. The global economy is experiencing a downturn which is posing a challenge for South Africa’s economy, which is a net exporter of key mineral commodities,” Zuma said in opening remarks at the Mining Sector National Consultative Forum in the capital Pretoria.

The meeting comes after a 10-point plan was signed by the mines ministry, labour and industry to stem a wave of job cuts triggered by falling prices and rising costs.

Zuma’s ruling ANC party is facing increasing pressure from the left-leaning parties who accuse him of neglecting the working class ahead of local elections next year.

Mines Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi told reporters he wanted to save mines while also conserving jobs and that the meeting with Zuma would hopefully yield solutions to the job losses.

“It is crucial, it is important and we have elevated it to the president’s level and that tells you the importance we have attached to this gathering,” he said.

Ramatlhodi has previously said almost 12,000 mining jobs were on the line in South Africa, which has an unemployment rate of around 25 percent and glaring income disparities.

South Africa sits on close to 80 percent of the world’s known reserves of platinum, a metal used in emissions-capping catalytic converters which is facing depressed demand.

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Nigeria’s New President Inherits a Country Without its Black Gold

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Paralyzed by gasoline shortages, Nigerian authorities appear close to reaching a solution. The crisis began in early March, weeks before the 29 March election that elected Muhammadu Buhari as Goodluck Jonathan’s replacement. Nigeria has long paid oil importers subsidies to control price and guarantee a steady supply. That, however, no longer seems to be working.

Oil suppliers’ credit lines were tightened amid the falling global price of oil, a slump in Nigeria’s currency, the naira, and the unpaid debt by the former President’s government. Suppliers claim that more than 900 million euros are owed in back-payments of government subsidies.

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Nigeria’s new president vows to fight endemic corruption

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Along with security and unemployment, Nigeria’s new president Muhammadu Buhari, has declared corruption as one of the top three challenges he plans to tackle during his term.

The 72-year-old former military ruler took office on 29 May after defeating incumbent Goodluck Jonathan in the race to run a country struggling with a waning economy, endemic corruption, rampant unemployment, and the on-going security threat from Boko Haram.

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Al-Shabab uses dirty energy to get dirty money

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In 2012, the United Nations banned wood charcoal imports from Somalia. Almost no-one took notice of the United Nations’ stand against terrorism in the horn of Africa: al-Shabab, the militant organization responsible for the horrifying attack on Garissa University in Kenya this April among other atrocities, funds the majority of its activities through the sale of wood charcoal.

Al-Shabab receives an estimated $50 million per year from charcoal exported through Somalia’s major ports.

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Why Morocco intervened in Yemen?

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In light of the downing of a Moroccan F-16 jet in Yemen, the question “Why is Morocco intervening in the Yemen crisis?” must be asked. The Foreign Ministry has abandoned its legendary discretion and The Royal Air Force – along with a Saudi Arabia led coalition- is engaging in Yemen against Houthi Shiite rebels. Why does Morocco have an interest in this? Here are some explanations.
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