Mubarak has resigned and Egyptians are dancing in the streets. The road ahead will be bumpy and Egyptians will face many challenges, but what the people have achieved today is truly breathtaking. Amazing, absolutely amazing. And, twenty years to the day after Nelson Mandela walked out of prison, a free man! Remember: February 11th is a special day.
Of course, I can’t help but think what implications Mubarak’s resignation may have for those leaders south of the Sahara who have also been in power for decades and who, seemingly, have no intention of vacating their posts. Continue reading . . .
Business news from Reuters. The Gulf of Guinea tempts investors, but the terrain is not without risk. I love business news — everything boils down to dollars and cents and risks are just part of doing business. Go somewhere else to find out why the area is so volatile. Maybe has something to do with all those profits that never seem to benefit local communities.
I’m reprinting this article nonetheless, because it is a snapshot of the region and what to watch for in the coming months. One note: The article mentions Ivory Coast and “political uncertainty”, but does not bring up the regional political calendar. This is an election year across much of the Gulf of Guinea and events in the Ivory Coast, Tunisia and Egypt may very well have repercussions on regional politics. (Consider Gabon, where demonstrators have been brandishing signs calling for President Ali Bongo to leave.)
Feb 1 (Reuters) – A stretch of West Africa’s coast spanning more than a dozen countries, the Gulf of Guinea is a growing source of oil, cocoa and metals to world markets.
But rising rates of piracy, drug smuggling, and political uncertainty in an area ravaged by civil wars and coups have made it a challenging destination for investors seeking to benefit from the massive resources.
The Gulf of Guinea runs from Guinea on Africa’s northwestern tip to Gabon in the south and includes Nigeria, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Cameroon.
NEW ENERGY FRONTIER?
Gulf of Guinea nations produce more than 3 million barrels of oil per day — about 4 percent of the global total — mostly for European and American markets, with the bulk coming from OPEC-member Nigeria (2.2 million bpd).
Smaller producers include Equatorial Guinea (300,000 bpd), Congo Republic (340,000 bpd), Gabon (230,000 bpd), Cameroon (66,000 bpd) and Ivory Coast (40,000 bpd).
While many of the region’s producers are struggling to maintain output, oil companies believe the deep seas along the coast west of Nigeria could be a new frontier.
Ghana joined the ranks of West African oil producers in December and is expected to ramp up output to 150,000 bpd in the coming months. Further out, Sierra Leone and Liberia hope offshore drilling will spell oil riches for them as well.
Washington estimates the Gulf of Guinea will supply about a quarter of U.S. oil by 2015 and has sent military trainers to the region to help local navies secure shipping.
What to watch: