Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Bear comes to Africa

Joining the West , China and India to gain access and control of the natural resources and wealth of Africa it is reported that Russia has expanded its commercial inroads into the continent .

According to rough estimates, the investments of four companies alone - Rusal, Nornikel, Alrosa and Renova - in Sub-Saharan Africa constitute about $5 billion. Others are also active, including metal group Evraz, oil giant Lukoil and a number of banks.

Renova is one of the most dynamic Russian players in Africa. Its largest African project is the development of a manganese deposit in the Kalahari Desert. Renova's head, Viktor Vekselberg, member of the International Investment Council for South Africa, is known to local journalists as Mr South Africa in Russia.

Russian banks are also moving into Africa. The Vneshtorgbank has opened the first Angolan bank to have predominantly foreign ownership. In the meantime, the Renaissance Capital already owns 25% of the shares in Ecobank, one of the most advanced Nigerian banks, with branches in 11 African countries. The Renaissance Bank is actively promoting the idea of Russian investment in Africa and is even about to launch an African investment fund.

Like hyenas and vultures , big business , no matter what nationality , seek out rich pickings

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