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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Eurozone inflation hits 20-month high

16 08 2010

Inflation in the eurozone hit a 20-month high last month, European Union data has shown.

Annual inflation in the 16-nation bloc rose to 1.7% in July, up from 1.4% in June and the highest rate since November 2008, Eurostat said.

The figure was boosted by more expensive fuel costs for transport, and higher alcohol and tobacco prices.

Across all 27 nations in the European Union, prices were up 2.1% in July, compared with a rise of 1.9% in June.

Some countries – Finland, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Romania – raised their rates of VAT in July, which also helped to push prices higher.

“The core inflation rate is slightly higher but with the VAT hikes that there have been in the eurozone, that’s not surprising,” said Astrid Schilo, Europe economist at HSBC.

On a month-on-month basis, prices in the eurozone fell 0.3% in July, and in the wider EU fell 0.2%.