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The Week in Review: Kidnapping in Nigeria, Crime in Kenya and Construction in the Congo

Chinese ambassador to Gabon Hu Changchun handed over a giant key to the newly-refurbished parliament (paid for by Beijing) to National Assembly President Faustin Boukoubi in Libreville. Image via Xinhua.
  • A Swedish pension fund with almost $90 billion under management divested its shares in the Chinese state-owned Power Construction Corporation due to “violations of environmental norms” in Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve. The firm, A7, also dropped Huaneng Power International for expanding its coal power operations. The company said the moves were taken as part of a regular review of its holdings that takes every June and December. (PENSIONS & INVESTMENTS)
  • Gunmen attacked a Chinese mining facility in the northeastern Nigerian state of Taraba late Wednesday night. Two people including a police officer were killed and a pair of Chinese nationals were abducted. Authorities say they are looking for the assailants but don’t have any leads at this time. This is the latest in a string of kidnappings of Chinese nationals in Nigeria this year, both on land and at sea. (PUNCH)
  • Chinese national Deng Pangfei is in custody in Nairobi after he was stopped at a roadside checkpoint where police discovered a weapon in his vehicle.  Authorities then proceeded with a search of his home where they found four other guns and 205 rounds of ammunition. Although Deng did have a permit for one of the guns, he’s now facing charges for the others and the bullets.(THE STAR)
  • Congolese officials on Tuesday confirmed that the long-stalled Inga III hydroelectric dam project will be taken over by the Australian mining company Fortescue Metals Group. This includes contracts to build portions of the 4,800mw hydroelectric dam that had already been awarded to Chinese and Spanish companies. “Fortescue will be the sole operator for the entire Grand Inga. Chinese & co are welcome to join Fortescue,” said Alexy Kayembe De Bampende, President Felix Tshisekedi’s top infrastructure advisor.  (REUTERS)
  • President Samia Suluhu Hassan broke ground on Tanzania’s newest Standard Gauge Railway line that will be built by two Chinese contractors for $1.3 billion. Although Chinese construction companies are building the new 341-kilometer line between the inland city of Isaka and the Lake Victoria port city of Mwanza, Chinese creditors are not financing the project. Construction is expected to be completed sometime in Spring 2024. (@CHINESEEMBTZ)
  • China’s ambassador to Gabon, Hu Changchun, handed National Assembly President Faustin Boukoubi a giant cardboard key to the newly refurbished parliament building in Libreville. The newly-renovated building is a “monument of Sino-Gabonese friendship,” said Hu at a ceremony in Libreville on Monday. China has either built or renovated dozens of African government buildings including the AU and Ecowas headquarters as well as new foreign ministry annexes in Tunisia and Ghana, among many others. (XINHUA)
  • Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed suddenly seems eager to be seen embracing Chinese-built projects. For the second time in a week, the PM on Sunday commissioned the opening of a new Chinese-owned venture. Also, Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen spoke by phone with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, with “non-interference” emerging as the key takeaway from the call. All of this may be intended to send a message to U.S. and EU stakeholders who are threatening to impose sanctions on Ethiopia for its handling of the war in Tigray. (XINHUA)
  • The China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) is coming under mounting pressure from the Kenyan government to ease traffic congestion around the massive construction sites for the future Nairobi Expressway. Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia renewed an order for the company to maintain at least two lanes of traffic through the construction site. That apparently isn’t happening, leading to hours-long traffic jams and forcing business closures. CRBC, for its part, says it’s doing everything it can to expedite construction and reduce disruptions. (KENYANS.CO.KE)
  • One of the world’s largest lithium producers, China’s Ganfeng Lithium Company, is making its first investment in the African market with a $130 million stake in a Mali lithium mine. As part of the deal, Ganfeng will buy 50% of the output from the Goulamina mine, located 150km from Bamako. It’s a high-stakes deal. Lithium is a key ingredient for electric vehicle batteries, but extracting it in a country that’s had two military coups within the past year is potentially very risky. (REUTERS)
  • While G7 countries were meeting in Cornwall to discuss ways to limit the impact of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Foreign Minister Wang Yi spoke with his counterpart from Burkina Faso on how to bring the small West African nation into Beijing’s global trade coalition. Wang met with Foreign Minister Alpha Barry late last week and said he hopes the two countries “will sign documents on the Belt and Road cooperation as soon as possible.” Three years ago, Ouagadougou switched ties from Taiwan to China. 36 countries, or two-thirds of the continent, are BRI members. (XINHUA)
  • Zimbabwe’s Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development Polite Kambamura said 800 villagers in the central region of Chikomba are going to be evicted to make way for a new billion-dollar Chinese iron ore mining project. Tsinghan Holdings plans to begin construction of the new mine and a 600mw power plant in the area before the end of the year. Acting Chief Chirumhanzu, Fidelis Mudzengi, said although the community is anxious about moving, the first priority is to ensure the new mine provides employment for local residents, particularly young people. (MASVINGO MIRROR)
  • The head of Nigeria’s main opposition party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Uche Secondus said he’s eager to work with China when, as he predicts, the PDP returns to power in 2023. “We are returning to power in 2023 and hope to do business with you as we did when we were [previously in power,] Secondus told Chinese ambassador Cui Jianchun during a meeting at PDP headquarters. China’s been very effective in recent years in building ties with various opposition parties in African countries, which has helped to stabilize relations during transitions of power. (NIGERIAN TRIBUNE)
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