Southern African: IRIN News Briefs, 16 Dec 1999

Report
from IRIN
Published on 16 Dec 1999
ANGOLA: South Africa says no illegal arms went to Angola
The South African government said this week there had been no breaches of arms control procedures that could have led to South African weapons illegally reaching Angola or the Great Lakes region.

Kadar Asmal, chairman of the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC) told a news conference that although the NCACC did not have "official knowledge" of illegal arms shipments, there had indeed been instances of weapons exported legally finding their way to third countries. He gave no further details.

ZIMBABWE: Britain warns on economy

The British government has warned of worsening economic problems in Zimbabwe unless government policies change.

According to the 'Financial Times' in London, the report describes declining foreign reserves, a growing budget deficit and inflation which is more than 70 percent. "The Reserve Bank's holdings of usable foreign exchange are said to provide only 2-3 days' import cover," it said. It also said that government and state enterprises were in arrears to almost all creditors. The report added that the budget deficit was expected to reach 10 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for this year.

Peter Hain, the British Foreign Office Minister responsible for Africa said London was "very concerned" about the economic situation in Zimbabwe.

Loan saves fuel supplies

The government has secured a loan of about US $100 million for the National Oil company of Zimbabwe (NocZim) to enable it buy fuel and prevent a full-scale shortage, media reports said on Thursday.

The loan comes from a consortium of European banks and is part of an overall agreement to renew a US $60 million credit facility granted about a year ago. "The consortium did not only agree to renew the facility but to increase the amount involved to US $100 million," a spokesman for the consortium was quoted as saying.

ZAMBIA: Copper deal

In a pivotal deal for Zambia's ailing copper industry, a subsidiary of the South African mining giant Anglo American this week said it had signed an agreement to purchase Zambia's most productive copper mines.

Through a new company called Konkola Copper Mines Plc, Zambia Copper Investments will take an 80 percent interest in the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines assets of Konkola, Nchanga and Nampundwe mines. ZCCM will receive 5 percent free and 15 percent repayable delayed participation in Konkola Copper Mines Plc, as well as a cash consideration of US $30 million payable by 31 January 2,000. It will also take a deferred consideration of US $60 million and the benefits of copper and cobalt participation schemes with a cap of US $125 million over the life of the company.

"Our signing shows that Anglo is committed to the completion of this deal. We intend to keep to the January 31 deadline," Jack Holmes, chairman of Anglo subsidiary, Zambia Copper Investments, told a news conference after a signing ceremony on Wednesday.

[ENDS]

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