Gabon moves to diversify economy

17 08 2010

Gabon has signed deals to diversify its economy in an attempt to be less reliable on its dwindling oil reserves.

The government has announced contracts with Asian companies worth $4.5bn billion dollars.

President Ali Bongo signed the agreements on the eve of the country’s 50th anniversary of its independence from France.

The projects will revamp infrastructure and create about 50,000 jobs.
New partners

Gabon’s oil output has been declining for years and the new deals are presented as the first steps towards diversification.

The largest deal is the with OLAM, a Singapore-based company which plans to develop a huge palm oil plantation in the south east.

The government wants to become the leading palm oil producer in Africa.

In terms of infrastructure, the OLAM deal involves the construction of a refinery, and there are plans for a possible port.

Continue Reading: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-10985014

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Australian unemployment in surprise pre-election jump

13 08 2010

Australia’s unemployment rate rose to 5.3% in July, according to official figures released just ahead of the country’s national elections.

About 24,600 more people were out of work, raising the rate from June’s 5.1%. Analysts had predicted no change.

The country’s Labor government has played on its economic record which saw Australia avoid recession – largely thanks to demand for commodities.

Some observers say the data will hurt the government in the 21 August vote.

However, experts said the unexpected rise may be partly explained by revised population figures which showed there were more people in the potential workforce than previously thought.

Continue Reading:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-10948845