Die nuwe koloniale magte – China is met “BRICS” hoog op in Afrika. Moeletsi Mbeki. verbonde aan IRRSA, het ook gehelp met tenders in Afrika vir die Chinese. Al die rekords is daar waar tenders aan Mbeki toegewys word maar die Chinese bou dit. Regbo van Afrika tot by ons in Suid-Afrika. Tender vir pad, spoor en hawe netwerke.
Die onlangse plase waar die Chinese in betrokke is, spreek boekdele, veral vir die minerale rykdom, hoe ons blanke boere vernietig word. Dit word in Suid-Afrika onder Grondwet en wetgewing van “hervorming” (lees ONTEIENING) gedoen. Omdat regering in beheer is, oefen hul magte uit volgens die “grondwet”. En dan steun liberales en klassieke liberales nog dieselfde grondwet wat ons menseregte skend. No second thought or doubt, the Chinese is here to stay “in Africa”.
Moeletsi Mbeki (IRRSA- financed also by Soros) do have various (FRONT) companies (since the arms deals) in Africa, he tendered on behalf of the Chinese to do the necessary infrastructures (road, train, etc). Millions of immigrants from Africa and Asia in South Africa.
Various trades are ongoing in Mocambique … read more in the article.
8 September 2018
China had signed memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with 37 African countries and the African Union (AU) on jointly developing the Belt and Road as of Thursday, an official said Friday.
The number of African countries who signed the MOUs account for 70 percent of all the 53 African nations that attended the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) that concluded Tuesday, according to Xia Qing, an official with the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
Xia, who is deputy head of the NDRC’s international cooperation department, noted that 28 African countries and the AU inked the MOUs during the summit while the other nine countries had signed before the summit.
China aims to sign cooperation documents on the Belt and Road development with all African countries and will steadily push cooperation to achieve tangible results and benefit African people, according to Xia.
So far, China has signed 123 cooperation documents on the Belt and Road development with 105 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the South Pacific region, and 26 such documents with 29 international organizations.
IRRSA is part of South Africa
READ ALSO / lees ander artikels
Debt trap – China and Africa
China is currently taking control of many African countries’ economies at the speed of light and Zambia has not been spared. Data available reveals that China has overtaken America as Africa’s economic powerhouse since 2009 and at this point you can’t call this relationship between Africa and China as a partnership.
There is actually an economic takeover happening and it is happening because of the way our leaders are negotiating these deal with China. There is far too much and huge kickbacks being offered and this is making it too difficulty for leaders to think properly. This trend can be seem by many loans China has given Zambia in the last five years.
Its difficult to understand why the whole country can be auctioned to such huge amounts in such a short period of time, more over, we cant even see the results equivalent to the money we have borrowed from China.
For crying out aloud, the following is the tip of the iceberg of loans that Zambia has contracted from China in last five years or so. There are many more secret loans that the PF government has acquired which keep mushrooming up each and every year.
Kenneth Kaunda International Airport: $360 million (2014)
750MW Kafue Gorge Lower Power Plant: $1.7 billion (2015)
360MW Kariba North Bank Power Plant Expansion: $430 million (2014)
Lusaka L400 roads: $300 million (2013)
Copperbelt International Airport (Ndola): $400 million (2017)
Lusaka de-congestion: $286 million (2017)
Communication towers – the Topstar deal: $280 million (2017)
Copperbelt C400 roads: $418 million (2015)
Chipata-Serenje railway line: $2.3 billion (2017)
Mongu-Kalabo Road: $287 million (2011)
2,000 Military Houses: $157 million (2017)
Mansa-Luwingu road: $242 million (2012)
Mbala-Nakonde Road: $180 million (2011)
Lusaka sanitation project: $130 million (2015)
Kafubu water and sanitation project: $104 million (2014)
National Heroes Stadium: $94 million (2011)
Levy Mwanawasa Hospital Expansion: $90 million (2015)
Kafulafuta Dam water project: $449 million (2017)
Housing project for security wings: $275 million (2015)
Up and above these loans, the PF government has signed up a number of PPP projects in Zambia, which has given the Chinese government through its Chinese controlled firms control of our strategic assets for nothing less than 30 years or so. Projects like our Lusaka Airport, all tollgate plazas and east park mall are just a few examples.
As the government continues to auction our country to the Chinese by acquiring loans we may not even need, All the while, small-scale Chinese entrepreneurs are also moving into all areas in Zambia and in large numbers and silently, opening up trading shops for just about anything and food included. They are also buying our land with impunity to farm, or erect manufacturing plants and the Zambian governments is welcoming them with open arms without any concern for the future citizens of this country.
The Chinese have become so powerful and influential in Zambia such that they can get anything they want at the expense of the citizens, their influence is so powerful such that a few months ago the Zambian government appointed 8 Chinese nationals into the police force, an act that brought out a national outcry.
The Chinese police appointments were withdrawn within 24 hours of appointment due to the national outcry and the security concerns issued raised by the citizens who took the commissioner of police to task.
In June last years, some Chinese nationals, working for copper smelting companies on the Copperbelt Province were detained by police for suspected illegal purchase of copper tailing raw materials as well as for the torture of innocent illegal Zambian miners.
In show of authority and to prove the extent to which the Zambian government has sold its soul to China, China is said to have threatened to withdraw its investment and slash financial support to Zambia if it’s national arrested in Chingola for illegal mining activities were not released.
The threat forced Government to free the suspects and later deported them leaving many unanswered questions about illegal mining activities by foreign nationals on the Copperbelt.
After a heated diplomatic row, Government bowed to the pressure from Beijing, raising more questions than answers and in some cases confusion as to what exactly the Chinese were involved in and why they were released and deported without charge.
The arrested Chinese then where accused of, among other things, running unlicensed smelting plants and employing children. The arrests happened in a joint police and immigration operation in the town of Chingola.
Lin Songtian, the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s director-general for African affairs, said that while he supports measures to deal with illegal mining, in this case proof had not been provided.
But Government sources revealed at that time China used its muscle to force the release of its national with threats of withdrawal of investments if Zambia continued treating them with scorn.
There were reports of China giving Zambia an ultimatum to release the suspects after a heated meeting with senior Government officials from Home Affairs and foreign Affairs ministries.
Irate Chinese Embassy officials hoped Zambia could handle the incident ‘appropriately and as soon as possible’, and release the innocent as opposed to an aggressive and confrontational stance.
It is now becoming clear and evident that African countries don’t have the capabilities of repaying the debts contracted from China and these debts will continue to be a significant burden for the all governments in the coming years and decades. It is unfathomable how these governments will be able to undertake other infrastructural projects even if their economy grows in the midst of huge debts.
It begs the question, then, of how the Zambian government will possibly repay the Chinese for all this infrastructure construction. Given the ballooning amount of debt from more and more loans taken on to finance infrastructural developments now and in the future, Zambia is likely to require more than just a portion of our limited budget to complete repayment. More likely than not, we may have to resort to payments in kind. Refer, ZNBC, Tollgates, and NRDC, Kamwala shopping Mall, East Park shopping mall, Lusaka Airport and the AVIC land scandal.
The concept of “in-kind payments” smacks of colonialism in many absolute ways. The historical precedent of European colonists comes to mind. Europeans built infrastructure in Africa at the turn of the century, purportedly also for local economic development, but in essence the projects were used for natural resource extraction.
The copperbelt in Northern Rhodesia and Harare in Southern Rhodesia where all built up for mineral exploitation of our resources. The rail line from South Africa, through Zimbabwe into Zambia and through to the copperbelt connected inland regions with mineral deposits with major ports on the Indian Ocean through Tanzania, such was the extent of their foresight in mineral exploitation then and China has the same foresight on strategic assets though we are now being make to fall in the debt trap willingly.
For example, Enoch Kavindele’s construction of the Northwest railway line from Chingola in the Copperbelt province to Solwezi in North-western province, which was set to start in January 2017, has not take off (maybe it has silently). The project is expected to cost UDS 1.2 billion and is expected to create about 8,000 jobs during the construction period and over 3, 000 jobs after it is completed.
The project was going to be financed by the African Development Bank AfDB and the Development Bank of Southern Africa. Since the project has stalled, it is fair to say the problem has been financing and it may take the Chinese who have huge mineral interest in North-Western province to finance the project.
And there is no doubt that the Chinese also desires some of the same natural resources sought out by European colonialists a century or more years ago. While building infrastructure, the Chinese have also invested massively in local mines and processing facilities. Now we know without any doubt that, at least part of the cargo to be shipped out of Zambia by the new Chinese roads constructed with Chinese financing is expected to be natural resources to feed the Chinese industrial machine in China.
Viewed in this light, there cannot be any doubt as to the financial viability of providing loans to Zambia as China gains huge political leverage for debts owned to them, which in turn provides them the opportunity to exploit all our mineral resources and our land. By ensuring that these debts are paid in some form or the other, whether it is economic concessions, political agreements, or a combination of both, China may in the long term formulate a new kind of diplomatic relationships for us to part away with huge chunks of land and our sovereignty.
Our troubles have just begun and our children and grandchildren must brace themselves for modern economic slavery, but if we act now, we could make a difference.
*Daimone Siulapwa is the founder and Edito-In-Chief of the Voice Newspaper in Zambia. For comments, please email email@example.com.*
China has dangerously taken over strategically important physical assets and businesses in Zambia, which can later be collateralized in the event Zambia fails to pay its debts and this is most likely to happen because it is clear to see that our government is bankrupt. We are yet to see the impact and the magnitude of the Chinese economic slavery of our citizens within the next 10 years.
It’s rather pathetic how China is re-colonizing Africa by appealing to the ignorance and selfish interests of our leaders. Today, the Chinese are offering mouthwatering deals to Africa, both in cash transactions and the outmoded or rather defunct barter trade which seem very attractive on the outlook but dangerous in reality.
“The Zambian government is supposed to be contributing 15% of its own money to the Chinese-financed projects. Meeting this commitment is testing government finances to the limit and taking precedence over social expenditure. Even though Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe pledged to halt all Chinese-backed projects that were less than 80% complete, on 11 July President Lungu publicly told Chinese officials in Lusaka that there would be ‘no disruption in the ongoing projects’ financed by China,” read the report
The respected Africa Confidential has revealed that talks are underway for a Chinese company to takeover power utility ZESCO.
And Africa Confidential has warned that Zambia risks losing its sovereignty to China as that country will seize national assets once government defaults on loans.
Africa Confidential also reported that IMF representative Alfredo Baldini was asked to leave on accusations that he was “spreading negative talk.
“The government has all but expelled an IMF official, as the debt continues to spiral and the role of Chinese projects in it raises more concern. Having allocated US$500 million to external debt service this year, the government’s liquidity crisis drags on as relations with donors and international financial institutions plummet. Lusaka asked the International Monetary Fund to withdraw its resident representative Alfredo Baldini on the grounds that he was supposedly ‘spreading negative talk’ among the donors, a source in Lusaka said. The rift is a blow to any chance – practically non-existent though it already was – of a deal,” read the report.
And Africa Confidential revealed that Britain’s Department for International Development was investigating three ministries for fraud.
“Financial management across the ministries is under scrutiny. Britain’s Department for International Development is investigating fraud in three ministries, which could have serious implications for future funding, Africa Confidential has learned. And Zambian exposure to Chinese debt, especially project credit, is still causing concern,” read the report.
Meanwhile, Africa Confidential noted that government had continued spending lavishly despite the country being in debt distress.
“In mid-July Lusaka announced a supplementary budget of 7.2 billion kwacha ($721 mn.). Half of this is for debt service, which leaves only just enough only for public sector salaries, which it is struggling to pay. It missed most August salary payments, causing outcry among civil servants last week. Efforts to raise capital domestically are not going well. The auctions of Treasury Bills have been poorly subscribed on average although it has been using massive inducements to attract the banks. Government data shows that by the end of May it had spent $489 mn. on external debt service and on 19 July it announced a further $161.3 mn. was paid in June. It will need a further $360 mn. over and above the sum originally budgeted to cover debt service,” read the report.
Ministry of Finance insiders say that domestic measures now in train to re-allocate spending are not realistic and that at least another $300 mn. needs to come from fresh borrowing. Yet the government is spending as freely as ever, as in the lavish expenditure by the Patriotic Front on the election of Miles Sampa as mayor of Lusaka on 26 July, even though only 15% of voters turned out.”
China to take over Zambian international Airport for debt repayment default; neocolonialism?Signing a contract with China is like, ascribing to the boiling frog effect; a fable describing a frog being boiled alive slowly. If you drop a frog suddenly into boiling water, it will jump out, but if you put that same frog in a vessel of water and start heating the water gradually, it will adjust its body temperature accordingly until it reaches a stage beyond its capacity and dies foolishly.It’s rather pathetic how China is re-colonizing Africa by appealing to the ignorance and selfish interests of our leaders. Today, the Chinese are offering mouthwatering deals to Africa, both in cash transactions and the outmoded or rather defunct barter trade which seem very attractive on the outlook but dangerous in reality.The Zambian government contracted the Chinese, lazy-thought and glossed over details thinking they were granting consent to gernuine terms but the whole thing just morphed into modern day colonialism. China is now proposing to take over the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport should Zambia Government fail to pay back its huge foreign debt on time. The issue of whether Zambia posses the required economic muscle to repay that debt is in contention considering the amount involved. It’s typical of the Chinese strategy..
VIDEO oor die gebiede in Angola
Groot Chinese stede in Angola – leeg
China in Angola – beleggings “skuld”
China has granted Angola loans worth more than US$60 billion since the two countries established diplomatic relations on 12 January, 1983, the Chinese ambassador to Angola, Cui Aimin, wrote in an article published in state newspaper Jornal de Angola entitled, “Starting a new journey in the strategic partnership between China and Angola.”
“This amount,” continued the ambassador, “has been used to construct numerous infrastructure projects, such as power stations, roads, bridges, hospitals and houses, encouraging economic development and improving the lives of the people of Angola.”
The ambassador recalls that at the end of 2016 the China-Angola Investment Forum was held in Luanda, which resulted in the conclusion of 48 investment intention agreements totalling US$1.2 billion.
.ANGOLA : CHINASince 2014There are around 50 Chinese state companies and 400 private companies operating in Angola. They are supposed to use 30 percent Angolan labor but industry sources say this is rarely observed and Angolans tend to get the lowliest positions.“Always the Chinese will be the master and the Angolan the helper,” said Paulo Nascimento, a 29-year-old Luanda taxi driver. “This is our country. We should be in charge.”Chinese firms strongly deny accusations of exploitation, arguing that they have done more to rebuild Angola since the war than Western critics sitting on the sidelines.It is almost impossible to miss Beijing’s influence in Angola, from construction site signs in Chinese script to expensive Chinese restaurants and seedy “Asian-only” massage parlors in the capital’s alleyways.But the multi-billion dollar loans he signed with China last month have angered Angolans who say they have been left behind as politicians and China share the spoils and Africa’s second-largest oil producer becomes ever more reliant on Beijing.China has lent Angola around $20 billion since a 27-year civil war ended in 2002, according to Reuters estimates.Repayments are often paid with oil or funds go directly to Chinese construction firms that have built roads, hospitals, houses and railways across the southern African country.This means, however, dollars don’t end up entering the real economy, increasing costs for ordinary Angolans.“I think the president humiliates Angolans,” 35-year-old cook Marisa told Reuters as she bartered with a street trader over peanuts and bananas in the capital. “The agreements with China are a benefit for them and the president and not for us.”Police visibility has increased in the streets of Luanda in response to public suspicion and dissent over how much the government would concede to Chinese interests in its bid to revive an economy hit by low crude prices.More than a dozen people were arrested on June 20 for allegedly planning protests threatening “order and public security” in response to dos Santos’ China trip.FLEC, a militant group that wants independence of the northern oil-rich exclave of Cabinda, demanded China repatriate all its citizens from the region within two months or risk being “severely punished”.>2011Some independent estimates claim that there are more than a hundred thousand Chinese workers in Angola today. The majority of Chinese workers in Angola are engaged in reconstruction projects, but many thousands have branched out and become real estate developers, retailers, photocopy shop owners, street hawkers, and masseurs.In June 2010, the General Hospital in Angola’s capital of Luanda had to evacuate all medical personnel and patients when severe cracks appeared everywhere in the two-story building and bricks began to disintegrate, threatening imminent collapse. The 80,000-square-meter structure was the first public hospital built in the country since Angola became independent in 1975.It was built by the China Overseas Engineering Group Co. (COVEC) at a cost of $8 million, funded from a Chinese government credit line. Residents of Luanda noted that the shoddily constructed hospital contrasted with the $80 million state-of-the-art private clinic (built in 2006 by the Portuguese and sponsored by the national oil company Sonangol) that caters specifically to the ruling elite, oil workers, and the well-to-do.But the moral they drew from the story had little to do with the haves and have-nots, focusing instead on the short life span of public works undertaken by Chinese companies in Angola as part of the low-key economic and cultural offensive China is waging on the African continent.Last March, I drove more than five hundred kilometers of newly tarred roads from Luanda toward the Lunda provinces in northeastern Angola. By October, on a follow-up trip, the tar had been removed from different sections of this expanse as a result of poor workmanship by Chinese engineers. This was not an isolated occurence.Throughout the country, tales of the Chinese roads being washed away by rain or filling up with potholes within months of being opened to traffic are now the stuff of legend. On the return trip, while dodging potholes as I drove through the province of Malanje, I saw a new Chinese-built school whose roof had blown off in a recent rainstorm. The older neighboring houses kept their roofs even though some of them were thatched.
IVORY IN MOCAMBIQUE AND AFRICA
China has the largest illegal ivory trade of any nation in the
world. It is the most significant global destination for illegal ivory.
Ivory traders are now thought to be stockpiling elephant tusks
and ivory products for lucrative sales to the hundreds of
thousands of foreigners expected to attend the Beijing Olympics
in the summer of 2008. China’s long failure to crack down on its
massive illegal ivory trade makes a mockery of its claims to be
hosting a “Green Olympics”.Chinese nationals, companies – some government owned – and
organized crime syndicates are implicated in the smuggling of
vast amounts of illegal ivory and the consequent elephant
poaching afflicting much of Africa. Countries affected include
Sudan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo,
Chad, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi,
Mozambique, Nigeria, Cameroon, and Mali. Indications suggest
that Chinese involvement in illegal ivory trade extends to other
African elephant range states as well. With Chinese investment
and human presence in resource extraction operations across
Africa skyrocketing, demand for ivory will overwhelm the ability
of range states to conserve their elephants from poaching gangs
connected to Chinese ivory buyers, often in collusion with
corrupt government officials.China’s massive illegal ivory trade is not an accident. Failure by
the Government of China to ensure meaningful enforcement of
CITES regulations that prohibit the import and export of ivory
resulted in illegal ivory flooding onto the domestic market in the
1990’s. China’s demand for ivory is directly responsible for the
renewed poaching crisis facing many African elephant
populations, as this report shows.
ONWETTIGE HANDELDRYF IN HOUTBEDRYF : CHINA
VERNIETIGING VAN NATUURLIKE BOSSE, OMGEWING EN PLANTEGROEIB
EXPORT OF WOOD TO CHINA FROM MOCAMBIQUE
The British NGO, Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), published a detailed report at the end of November called “China, appetite for destruction”. It reveals just how China’s appetite for wood has grown in the past decades as a result of consumption by the new middle classes, as well as an export-driven wood industry facing growing demand from major foreign furniture and construction companies.
Mosambiek is ‘n land van siklone, waar siklone gedurig skade aanrig. Hierdie is ‘n groot omgewingsgevaar, nie net vir die omgewing nie, maar veral vir die burgers wat vir jare in die land gevestig is. Met geen bome wat die grond bymekaar hou nie, gaan die land totaal en al wegspoel. Daar is al soveel hektare kosbare en boomryke omgewings verwoes, hoe lank sal dit neem om alles weer normaal te herstel?
Dis nie al wat verwoes word nie, heelwat ivoor word hiervandaan uitgevoer.
ILLEGAL TRADING OF WOOD IN MOCAMBIQU
In a 3km square piece of land located in Mocimboa da Praia, a port city in northern Mozambique, the ecological zone for now only has a sawmill and a wood-drying plant. According to Zheng’s plan, within five years, as well as ensuring a responsible attitude to timber resources, the site would host a complete production line for furniture and other wood products as he hopes to encourage other Chinese companies to set up in the zone.
Correia said: we have seized more illegal wood in one year than Mozambique has since independence,” he says. “We are passing a new forestry law and a new conservation law.”
In Gile National Reserve, situated in Zambezia Province, such measures are desperately needed. A total of 35 logging licences created a huge circle of harvested land around the reserve boundary for the 2,980km squared of protected area. After years of logging in the country, the reserve is the last area where Pau Ferro, a highly sought-after wood, still exists in Mozambique.
Video by Andre Swanepoel
This Video was taken at the Vanduzi checkpoint, Manica province, by a colleague of mine in Mozambique. This was only “One day” of trucks. It is happening every day at four different routes to the various ports in Mozambique: Nkala, Pemba, Quelimane and Beira.
2. How do you know they’re Chinese logging trucks?
This is general knowledge in Mozambique… and the official export figures speak for itself (see stats graph below).
The drivers are generally Chinese and the “juvenile” logs on the trucks are (in this case) Mopani timber. Only the Chinese – there are many many, logging accumulation yards along the E4 and other port roads in Mozambique – buy this species.
I will be posting on google maps the satellite pictures of all the Chinese Log yards in due course.
3. Do you know where it’s being sent?
Generally 99.9% of this timber ends up in China or, more recently, Vietnam (other species). See below Published Graph of Official Mozambique Export Stats vs Official Chinese Import Stats.
Mozambique forestry cover projection. Andre says: “2008 – 2017. The Chinese are Decimating the forests in Mozambique with the complacency of the Mozambique environmental and Forestry authorities.”.
Dis ook in Zambië te sien en ook in Zimbabwe – vir wie word die nuwe parlement gebou? Nkandla maak voorsiening vir die Chinese president – al ooit gewonder hoekom daar selfs ‘n restaurant is vir die ander land se president?
Hierdie brug is en word deur China beplan en gebou: Mosambiek
MAPUTO, May 13 (Xinhua) — The southern African nation Mozambique is set to launch in June the Chinese-built Maputo Bridge and Link Roads, a project that will become the nation’s key international passageway linking southward to South Africa.
The following are some key facts about the landmark project:
— The project of Maputo Bridge and Link Roads is built by the China Road and Bridge Corporation and designed and implemented with Chinese standard.
— It serves as the arterial highway that will directly link capital city Maputo to the border of South Africa. It includes north link road, north approach bridge, main bridge, south approach bridge and south link road, with a total length of 187 km.
Maputo has steadily tightened forestry regulation over the past decade, in order to protect environmentally sensitive areas and to ensure that the country benefits from its natural resources as much as possible by boosting tax collection. Maputo generated US$20 million in taxes in 2016, already a substantial figure, but expects this figure to rise to US$140 million by 2021 as more and more forestry is brought within the regulated system.
Maputo has steadily tightened forestry regulation over the past decade, in order to protect environmentally sensitive areas and to ensure that the country benefits from its natural resources as much as possible by boosting tax collection. Maputo generated US$20 million in taxes in 2016, already a substantial figure, but expects this figure to rise to US$140 million by 2021 as more and more forestry is brought within the regulated system.
In March, the Ministry of Land, Environment and Rural Development (MITADER) banned the logging and use of three species: Nkula, ironwood and Mondzo; while another three, Chanfuta, Umbila and Jambire, can only be felled for domestic use and not exported. This distinction will place yet more pressure on the port authorities.
The big challenge is tackling illegal felling. In one of the most comprehensive studies carried out in recent years, an environmental NGO, the Environmental Investigation Agency, calculated that 93% of all of the timber taken in 2013 was illegally felled. Illegal logging is worst in Tete, Zambézia and Sofala provinces, with the timber shipped out of the ports of Nacala, Beira and Maputo, as well as smaller harbours that are not generally considered international ports. Estimates vary, but it is clear that about half of the illicit timber ends up in China, with most of the rest shipped to Southeast Asia. China also accounted for 90% of Mozambique’s licit timber exports last year.
The Minister of Land, Environment and Rural Development, Celso Correia, said: “Even after the announcement of zero tolerance on illegal logging, illegal operators do not respect the Mozambican authorities and insist on the clandestine devastation of timber, including protected species. Trucks reveal the quantities of wood that still leave the forest conservation areas. This wood is illegally cut, passes through many inspection posts and exported to China through Mozambican ports, without observing the criteria established by law.”
Some of the finds have been enormous. During one inspection at the Port of Nacala in December 2009, 543 containers full of unprocessed hardwood were found at the port: 333 of them were returned to exporters for the timber to be processed; while 210 were retained by the authorities. Criminal investigations were launched and eight Chinese firms fined a total of US$500,000.
This is not a peculiarly Mozambican problem. Chinese demand for timber has boomed since the turn of the millennium, with imports of both illicit and regulated timber from the east coast of Africa and Southeast Asia rising in response. The only variable is the level of regulation and inspection, plus the effectiveness of law enforcement and the judicial authorities. Fines are set at a level in Mozambique, for instance, that could be considered a business cost by those involved in the trade. Fines totalling US$2.1 million were levied for illicit timber offences in the country in 2016.
There are indications that the illegal timber trade in Mozambique could be spreading into neighbouring states. A gang comprising dozens of illegal loggers was arrested in Malawi’s Lengwe National Park last year. The equipment they used was brought in on an illegal logging road from Mozambique and the timber appears to be exported via Beira and Nacala. Park rangers found that about 1 million protected mopane trees had been cut in the area where the gang was working. While the Mozambican courts have handed out fines, those in Malawi have opted for prison terms of more than a year with hard labour.
A report by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) titled Boosting governance in Mozambique’s forests: Options for more sustainable forestry among Chinese timber traders and Mozambican partners, which was published last year, found that the government lost US$146 million in potential revenue between 2007 and 2013 through illegal forestry operations. The IIED report made six recommendations to tackle the problem:
- Tightening law enforcement, such as through timber tracking and training of forest law enforcement officers, customs officers and judiciary.
- Setting up clear systems of legality assurance; in particular, by developing Sino–Mozambican timber legality verification systems and due diligence requirements.
- Introducing more stringent licensing and licence-renewal procedures; for example, by specifying the duration and requirements of different operator licences and increasing the inspection of management plans prior to approval.
- Insisting on certain minimum qualified staff or national staff quotas, such as proficiency in forest management and processing; and/or Mozambican nationality.
- Training of operators in sustainable forest management.
- Encouraging business associations and networking platforms. Best practice membership groups to improve market efficiencies and dialogue between the private sector and government.
There are few logging inspectors to cover the many remote areas where trees are felled; so much of the responsibility for controlling the trade has been thrust on the port authorities. As a result, port operators have installed new container scanners, including at Maputo and Beira, in order to control the export and import of various illicit cargoes.
Electronic scanners quickly check the actual contents of a container or truck against the declared contents using x-ray imaging. They have become increasingly popular over the past few years as a means of uncovering everything from contraband such as illegal drugs, arms and ivory, to attempts to avoid customs’ duties by mis-declaring container contents.
Mozambican ports had no scanners until relatively recently, so officials had to rely on intelligence operations and random container searches to prevent illegal ivory and timber exports. Since they were installed, however, there here have been fewer reports of timber being seized at the coastal ports, although the number of inland seizures appears to have increased.
It is therefore difficult to determine whether the problem is getting worse or improving. It is likely that the scale of illegal logging is at least as big as previously but that the timber gangs have found other ways to get their timber out of the country: either avoiding the main ports or using fake or stolen permits.
Government targets are to be welcomed but the real difficulty is enforcement. MITADER has set a target of just 350,000 cubic metres of timber being felled this year, with exports capped at 436,000 cubic metres of timber and wood products, allowing for the export of wood products processed last year. However, 600,000 cubic metres was felled in the first quarter of this year alone.
At least a dozen Ministry officials have already been arrested in conjunction with illegal forestry this year, in some cases for illegally issuing logging licences. Minister Correia said that community leaders, MITADER officials and other “influential figures”, were all involved in harvesting and transporting wood out of the country.
Elephant poaching is most prolific in two areas of Africa, the savannas of Mozambique and Tanzania, in East Africa, and in West Africa, a forest region called TRIDOM, which spans Gabon, Congo Brazzaville, and Cameroon. Weak governance in these countries enables poachers to operate with relative impunity. Poachers are paid $80 to $100 per kilo of ivory. Research by the Environmental Investigation Agency reveals that most ivory from Mozambique is shipped from the city of Pemba. Traffickers typically bribe custom officers $70 per shipment to turn a blind eye. Tusks are hidden amongst legitimate cargo in shipping containers. 70 percent of the world’s ivory is destined for China, but investigators have discovered traffickers use indirect routes to avoid detection. A typical route could be via South Korea, where the shipment is less likely to be searched by customs. Once in South Korea, corrupt freight agents take a cut of around $450,000 to help move the shipment on to its next stop, Hong Kong. Here, customs officials clear what appears to be to be a routine shipment that originated from South Korea. The shipment will be moved one more time, by sea, to Shanghai. On arrival, the gang will transport the tusks overland to its final destination, the Chinese city of Shuidong. Most of the world’s illegal ivory comes here. By now, the ivory is valued at $750 per kilo. The gang can expect to make upwards of $1.3 million for their shipment. The illegal ivory trade is worth millions of dollars a year. If it’s not stopped, African elephants could become extinct within decades.IVORY SMUGGLING
The deal to transform state owned fishing company Empresa Moçambicana de Atum (Ematum) has thrust Mozambique’s fishing industry under the spotlight. The government is keen to boost the volume of fish caught to create employment and generate income. It is also about to take centre stage on regional efforts to tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Yet current levels of fishing may already be unsustainable because of both regulated and illicit operators.
The fishing industry has been at the centre of Mozambique’s debt scandal over the past few years. Tuna fishing boats were bought with $850 million in loans for Ematum, which is owned by the national intelligence agency. This financing, together with 2 others that were done in secret, pushed the national debt beyond sustainable levels and severely affected international confidence in the government’s fiscal policy, yet the boats have hardly operated.
Maputo has now rubber stamped the restructuring plan for Ematum, although the solution has come from a fairly unlikely source – and one that is likely to attract press interest. A private equity company, Frontier Services Group (FSG), is to take a 50% stake in the venture, which is to be renamed Tunamar. FSG was founded and is chaired by Erik Prince, a US businessman who previously set up and operated Blackwater, a private security company that was heavily involved in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Mozambican Prime Minister Carlos do Rosario told parliament that the fishing boats will be operating by the end of this year.
It seems likely that a high proportion of the fish caught will be exported to China, as Chinese state investment vehicle CITIC is now the biggest investor in FSG, with a 28.4% stake.
Chinese state owned insurance company China Taiping has also invested in FSG.
FSG, which is listed in Hong Kong, is also to provide security services to Chinese state owned companies operating overseas but Prince has said that its employees will not be armed, although it might manage armed guards from the areas within which it operates.
The industry accounts for 4% of GDP but the government is keen to increase this. For 2018, Maputo forecasts a 7% increase on the volume of legally-caught fish exported to 14,000 tonnes, just under half of all fish caught in the country. Other new investment in Mozambique’s fishing industry will greatly increase the number of fish taken from the sea.
For instance, work on building a new fishing port at Beira should be completed by this June, providing services to 16 industrial scale vessels and the capacity to handle 70,000 tonnes of fish a year. The port’s original fishing facility was destroyed by a cyclone in 2000 but is now being rebuilt with $120 million in funding from Beijing. The temporary fish harbour at Beira currently serves just eight vessels catching a total of 300 tonnes of fish a year. The fish caught will be exported, mostly to Asia by sea and also air.
The global fish crisis
However, there are doubts over whether the launch of the 24 Ematum vessels will be sustainable for fish populations in the area, given that Maputo has admitted that tuna catches are already on the verge of becoming unsustainable in Mozambique’s own waters.
Worldwide, the numbers of many fish species have fallen to dangerous levels as factory ships hoover them up more quickly than they can replace themselves. As one area becomes fished out, the giant vessels move on to another. According to figures from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, 32% of the world’s fisheries are overexploited, depleted or recovering from depletion. This is caused by:
- illegal fishing;
- poor management;
- massive by-catch of juvenile fish;
- subsidies that result in too many fishing boats operating;
- destructive fishing practices; and
- unfair partnership agreements that allow foreign fleets to overfish the waters of developing countries.
The scale of global fishing activity became apparent in February, with the publication of the results of the first study to use satellite data from the automatic identification systems used by vessels. Reported in the journal Science, the study found that between 55% and 73% of the world’s oceans were being fished by industrial scale vessels. Chinese vessels accounted for 43% of all those identified.
As elsewhere in the world, it is difficult to be sure exactly how much fish is being caught in Mozambique. Research focused on Mozambique and Tanzania, which was undertaken by the University of Western Australia’s Dirk Zeller and the University of British Columbia’s Daniel Pauly, and published in the journal Marine Policy earlier this year, concluded that the total volumes of fish caught worldwide have been falling sharply for 20 years but that this decline has been obscured because the figures for past years severely underestimated the amount of fish caught illegally.
Lead author Zeller, said: “Our reconstructed data have shown that globally, the catches have been declining by about 1.2 million metric tons a year since the mid-1990s.” The government of Mozambique’s annual catch estimate jumped by 800% between 2003 and 2004 because it began to use a new data collection system but such figures seem unlikely to be accurate. It is far more likely that it had previously underestimated the volume of fish illegally caught. If Pauly and Zeller are correct, then Maputo’s belief that current fishing levels are sustainable – if only just – may be misplaced.
Whether or not it is sustainable to encourage more fishing, the government is right to crack down on illegal fishing. Mozambique’s Ministry of the Sea, Inland Waters and Fisheries estimates that illegal fishing accounts for 10-15% of total tuna fishing. The figure for other species may be significantly worse. Last year, the Ministry’s National Operations Directorate reported that the state lost an estimated $67 million a year to illegal fishing.
The government’s measures to tackle this include:
- Strengthening domestic regulation and inspection regimes;
- The introduction of mandatory licences and the use of vessel monitoring systems;
- Concluding bilateral agreements to tackle the problem;
- Regional cooperation through FISH-i Africa and a new regional monitoring centre, to be built in Mozambique.
In November 2017, the Mozambican parliament passed the new Regulation of Fisheries Act, which introduced fixed term licenses. Mozambique’s Minister of the Sea, Inland Waters and Fisheries, Agostinho Mondlane, said: “This decision brings stability to the owners of the fishing industry, because they know with accuracy the period of validity of fishing rights, which ranges from a minimum of three to a maximum of 20 years.”
The government now requires licensed large scale fishing vessels to use a vessel monitoring system, so that they can be tracked. Factory ships account for a large proportion of illicit fishing but even small scale fishermen are employing illegal practices, such as using mosquito nets treated with insecticide to catch fish. The National Institute of Fish Inspection (INIP) insists that it is carrying out inspections to seize nets that are unsuitable because they take juvenile fish.
Maputo is seeking to fund inspections through taxes on large fishing vessels, which were set at a maximum of 2.5% of the value of the catch in 2017, depending on the species targeted, but are being increased annually to a maximum of 5% by 2021. Small scale, local fishing boats pay a set fee of 1,000 meticais ($16.47) a year.
In April, the governments of Mozambique and Madagascar announced that they would soon sign a memorandum of understanding on tackling illegal fishing in the Mozambique Channel, the offshoot of the Indian Ocean that separates the two countries. Mondlane said “satellite, radar and port inspections will be used to crack down on illegal fishing in the Indian Ocean, where tuna catches have reached the maximum sustainable limits.” Similarly, Maputo and Pretoria are working together on the issue through the Interpol Fisheries Crime Working Group.
Only security monitoring, including by patrol boats, can tackle unlicensed and unregulated fishing. Mozambique has long lacked sufficient patrol boats to monitor its vast maritime territory. Eight African countries bordering the western Indian Ocean, including Mozambique, have now come together in FISH-i Africa, which allows their various fishing authorities to share information via an internet platform on fishing boats fishing illegally, using banned equipment, or using forged licences.
FISH-i Africa has its own investigation teams, who are sent to inspect suspect boats. The platform also allows national inspectors to provide support to each other on the ground, boosting numbers where required. A recent report by FISH-i Africa stated: “It may be those vessels are fishing with the right gear in the right place and taking the right species, but the whole operation is fundamentally illegal because it’s not the vessel it’s saying it is, or there are three vessels fishing under the same name using a single license.”
Regional efforts should also be given more teeth following the signing of an agreement to set up the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Monitoring Control and Surveillance Coordination Centre. The centre will be set up this year in Mozambique.
In a statement issued in March on behalf of all signatories, South Africa’s Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said: “Fisheries crime is not just a national challenge but it is also a global scourge that undermines governments’ poverty eradication efforts. The fact that fisheries crime is largely transnational in nature raises a need for organised global communities to work together in addressing illegal fishing.” SADC members are currently discussing whether to incorporate FISH-i Africa into the new centre in Mozambique.