Trading And Investing In & Out Africa

ISSUE 98 - VOL 1
JUNE 15 - JULY 14, 2007

Dr. Bienvenu-Magloire Quenum
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By Bienvenu-Magloire Quenum

The yearly G8 Summit (June 6-8, 2007) ends at Heiligendamm / Germany, with a vague promise to make available US$62 billion to fight against AIDS / HIV in African countries.

As exposed at the beginning to this article, this is not the first time the most industrialized countries's Club promised to assist in the development of sub-Saharan African countries. But, year after year, one notices that successive promises remained unfulfilled. They are just promises, to be believed only by those at the "receiving" end.

Since the 1990s, most African leaders believed in these promises and hoped for the fulfillment. Now, quite 20 years later, it seems that they too are realizing that nothing would come out from G8 summits. For decades to come.

Strategic Power-shift from The West To The East

No substantial financing to developing sub-Saharan African countries would be decided upon, planned and executed by G8 western nations for decades to come. Because first, these nations are confronted with a harsh economic competition from emerging countries such as China, Asian Tigers and Brazil; and, second, they are also preoccupied by the dangerous volatile international political situation - the persisting political imbroglio in the Middle East, the war in Iraq turning into a major strategic disaster for the U.S. Not to forget the defiant and apparently irreversible decision made by North Korea and Iran to entering the nuclear club.

Indeed, Europe and America are at the crossroad. The economic, political and military supremacy they are accustomed to exercise over the world at large is challenged. They are having difficulties to cope with China's trading surplus and to police the world as they wish and did for centuries.

So, knowing that Europe and America are confronted to a strong competition from Asia and Latin America (and even from Russia, which regained political and economic power more quickly than expected after the collapse of the Soviet Union), does any African decision-maker really believe they will add to the burden assisting Africa to develop?

Believing it is naive and irresponsible. Europe and America prefer to have Africa as a permanent economic (and political) client as explained in Walter Rodney's book.

An Historic Opportunity To Take Advantage From The Power-shifting Process

Till now, western nations "pretend" assisting Africa to develop. Listing Africa as top agenda's item for G8 meetings, but never dealing thoroughly with the matter to delivering substantial financial assistance. They manage for decades to provide bilateral state to state "minimum" assistance to African countries, to show they are caring, and, in the same time, making sure that funds allocated are channeled back to the donors through tight trade and investment agreements.

To justify reluctance to do more, they put
conditions such as fight against corruption, good governance and promotion of "Democracy" - in accordance with rules they laid out themselves.

As if corruption exists only in Africa and not in Europe and America. As if bad governance exists only in Africa. What about the several big companies that went bankrupted in America and Europe because they had been mismanaged by corrupted CEO and directors? No need to list any corporation in particular. Each passing day, international media report about huge financial scandals and nepotism misdemeanors in America, Europe and Asia.

So, nothing really new under the sun. Africa is not the only corruption-plagued continent, and Oriana Fallaci, the late Italian journalist / reporter was right stating: "Scratch the shining blazons of old European big families; prominent, nowadays, in the world of finance and global entrepreneurial business and you shall find blood and shit."

Of course, the purpose of last two paragraphs is not to absolve corrupted African leaders, and to deny that corruption and bad governance are not responsible for the non-development status existing now in African countries. In a previous delivery the matter had been dealt with.

The purpose of these paragraphs is to denounce the double-standard ethic applied by European and American decision-makers to the black continent: the use of corruption and bad governance as final argument to refuse to "grant" sustained and "abundant" financial assistance to developing sub-Saharan African countries.

It seems that the exercise is a camouflaged dilatory tactic designed to counter the emergence of economic competitors in Africa. A strategy that is detrimental to the "security" and "safety" of America and Europe. A dilatory "non assistance" strategy that is already backfiring, for poor Africans will take all risks and do anything to migrate to what they see as greener pastures in Europe and America. In the contrary, a prosperous Africa would contribute to the political, social and economic stabilization of the world. This is a huge subject that cannot be further discussed in this article.

This dilatory non-assistance strategy could be summarized as follows: You see, we cannot assist African countries developing further and at high pace because African leaders are corrupted!

Since one decade at least, several sub-Saharan African countries made huge steps into Democracy, dismantling the one-party system and holding multi-parties ballots. Most of them have been submitted to Structural Adjustment Program and forced to practice good governance.

Nevertheless, the international community (another denomination for the G8 club dominated by western countries) granted these countries no substantial financial assistance bonus, to strengthen the democratic process, and accelerate the economic development to fight efficiently against poverty.

In the contrary, each time African countries move one step toward good governance, a new interference-criteria is put forward by western nations, to delay their contribution.

Then comes China, which steps into the development game in African countries posing no condition for assistance. China talks about investment, aid and trading with African leaders. No political interference. Not imposing an economic ideology.

And suddenly, western developed nations discovered that they are no more the only alternative for African countries. A new big-player had stepped in with economic muscles to stand a fight and counter western nations political and economic influence.

That is why the western nations are now worried that China is showing interest to Africa, investing and trading. The "presence" of China in Africa was even a top agenda's item for the summit at Heiligendamm. G8 western nations are pretending that they cannot reduce African countries's debts if China, in the meantime, is providing non-politically bound financial aid to Africa! China is, according to the reasoning, increasing Africa's debt load!

Of course, China also is taking care of its interests. No doubt about that. However, the interest China is showing to Africa, is a blessing, for we Africans now have the rare opportunity to choose partners.

African Countries Now Have Alternative To Choose Partners and Investors

Indeed, now is the time to take advantage of the rising of China as a superpower, that gives African countries the opportunity to "freely" choose partners.

Such opportunity existed in the past, during the Soviet Union's era, before the downfall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. After the independence in the 1960s, America and Europe were forced to show interest in African countries, to provide financial assistance to African countries, to contain Soviet Union influence in African countries, and block its access to African strategic raw materials: uranium, copper, and other minerals. The only drawback was that Soviet Union's Marxism ideology, adopted by some African countries, was not the most efficient one to developing.

But now, China is not imposing any political or economic ideology to African countries. It is not forcefully advocating for "Democracy," with Globalization of Poverty as background.

For a sober watcher of the international political stage, it is obvious that G8 western countries are not willing to provide huge amount of money and investment to African countries, to develop and become competitors on the global marketplace.

It is then up to African decision-makers to seize the opportunity of the economic-rise of China, to bargain and find international partners and investors.

For all their unwillingness to relinquish political and economic control over other continents, western countries cannot let go and ignore the development of African countries. Their businesses and companies are also in search for clients and markets. So, they cannot let "free hand" to China in African countries - if profit making projects are proposed by African countries.

Profit-oriented Project Find Investors and Partners

Therefore, one can deduct that an inevitable competition would emerge between China, Europe and America to conquering market-shares in African countries. This is an historic opportunity for African countries to take advantage of the competition and propose profit-oriented projects (included in national developing schemes) to international investors.

One fundamental criteria, in addition to proposing profit-oriented projects, is to have fully involved international partners who are instituted co-managers as here exposed.

This economic development strategy would require that projects included in national development schemes are first structured to generate profits, and second, managed by African private sectors representatives together with international partners /investors. African states being also equity-partners, investors and guardian of national interest; but not involved in day-to-day management of individual projects.

To implement such a development strategy would not be a difficult undertaking. Africabiz had, in several monthly issues, since 10 years, reported that profit-making projects are endless in African countries.

To take advantage of this historic opportunity resulting from the rise of China, African countries need to plan, short and long term. Planning short term, waiting to stir the interest of international partners, requires sometimes to start a developing project (on small scale) to show international partners the potentiality of said project. And planning long term is to have a master plan like the Strategy For African Countries exposed here, to show the international community of investors that the country is a good, profit making destination.

You will not give money to your best friend, just like that, if he comes to you asking for a loan. You would certainly wish to know what he plans to do with the money. If the money is for fancy wedding or "show-off" expensive burial ceremony, you would turn down his request. However, if your friend demonstrates to you that he is setting-up a profit-making business, you would show some interest and even express the willing to participate as an equity-share partner. And to make sure that your money is used for the business, you would want to have a seat on the management board.

Most African countries are begging G8-club to provide huge amount of financing, without showing a master plan on how they plan to use the money.

Look at Nepad. Since 2002, the date of its inception, have we seen any credible master plan to promoting the economic development of the members states?

Some African leaders are even speaking of the "moral responsibility" of G8 to assist the development of Africa. Complaints to which G8 western leaders and decision-makers had, till now, turned a deaf ear. In the contrary, they think, and they are right,
that African leaders have the moral responsibility to reverse the economic stagnation and decline of Africa.

Thanks to the rise of China as an economic powerhouse, African leaders are now obliged to fulfill, at last - 50 years after gaining formal political independence - the moral responsibility to improve the plight of African citizens. Now is the rare opportunity for Africa not to surrender to T.I.N.A

"CONTRIBUTOR'S GUIDELINES" are available here. We invite you to contribute to AFRICABIZ ONLINE MONTHLY ISSUE - with articles related to "How Africa Could Bridge The Developing Gap".

About the author: Dr. Bienvenu-Magloire Quenum is the principal/ managing director of Dr. Quenum & Associates, IBC. He is an experienced Investment & Business Planner with 25 years consulting practice in African countries. He is the editor in chief of Africabiz Online

Your feedback / objection / contribution is welcome. Visit WorldWide BizCenter, and choose General Information (as topic) to create a thread for discussion. On the top of the WorldWide BizCenter page, there is a HELP link to assist you making an efficient use of the discussion board. This link also is useful

Many thanks for subscribing to Africabiz. See you here on July 15, 2007.

  Dr. B.M. Quenum
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Business Opportunities


This series' first issue outlined the importance of sugar-cane as Economic Catalyst to developing. The current delivery deals briefly with the preliminaries about a labor intensive medium-scale operation - to produce brown sugar from sugarcane juice - as an alternative to capital intensive facilities.


This is a critical process that determines final product's yields. Small-scale producers in Asian countries perform it in large pans over open fires or simple furnaces. It is essential to use clean pans and tools, for once the juice has been heated, impurities would speed the sugar-inversion process, and lead to reduced yield of sucrose/ sugar. Therefore, the boiling pans and tools should be thoroughly cleaned between uses.

Sediment settles to the bottom of the pan during boiling and is dredged out. Scum rises to the top and is skimmed off. (These wastes can be used to feed cattle). The end point of the boiling process corresponds to a Brix (sugar content) of 90-95%. [Source]

The "perfect" control of the boiling process is therefore critical in order to obtain a quality-stable final product that is appealing to consumers. It requires experienced and skilled workers who have the adequate know-how to transferring the juice from pan to pan, to ensuring (a) the maximum clarification of the juice, (b) the maximum concentration of juice into syrup and from syrup to massecuite, and, finally, (c) the development of bigger and maximum number of sugar crystals in the massecuite (RAB).

Therefore, investment estimate exposed in
next delivery - July 15, 2007/ Issue 99/100 will consider the utilization of modern technology - yet affordable - Open Pan Boiling/ Evaporating System to establishing a medium-scale operation to producing brown sugar/ muscovado.

The production chart-flow available here shows that the Centrifugal process yields 50 kg of lightly colored brown sugar and about 80 kg of brown sugar (melted) with molasses - from one ton of sugarcane sticks.

Next delivery (Issue 99/100 July 15, 2007) will give more information about the centrifugal process and expose data and economics to sizing up a medium-scale operation to producing brown sugar (from sugarcane juice) - based on labor intensive modern technology.

For more on the matter click here.

1- Sugar Cane Industry, The (Cambridge Studies in Historical Geography)
by J.H. Galloway (Paperback Sep 23, 2005)
2- The House Surrounded by Sugar
by Leanna Williams (Paperback - Mar 8, 2006)
3- From Cane to Sugar (Start to Finish)
by Jill Braithwaite (Hardcover - Aug 2004)
4- Cane Sugar Handbook: A Manual for Cane Sugar Manufacturers and Their Chemists
by James C. P. Chen and Chung Chi Chou (Hardcover - Nov 8, 1993)
Sugar Cane
by Alex Morgan (Paperback - Aug 28, 2002)
6- The Sugar cane factory: A catechism of cane sugar manufacture for the use of beginners
by Frederic I Scard (Unknown Binding - 1913)

7- Sugar Cane Cultivation and Management
by Henk, Bakker and H., Bakker (Hardcover - Jan 1, 1999)

8- Sugar Cane (Tropical Agriculturalist)
by R. Fauconnier (Paperback - Feb 24, 1993)
9- Management Accounting for the Sugar Cane Industry (Sugar Sciences, Vol 8)
by A. E. Fok Kam (Hardcover - Mar 1988)
10- The nature and properties of the sugar cane
With practical directions for the improvement of its cultures, and the manufacture of its products)
by George Richardson Porter (Unknown Binding - 1831)
11- Sugar-cane and Sugar Industry in Nigeria
The Bitter Sweet Lessons
by Abdul-latif D. Busari (Paperback - Nov 2005)
12- The 2007-2012 World Outlook for Sugar Cane Mill Products
by Philip M. Parker (Paperback - Oct 13, 2006)

Adobe Acrobat Reader is available here

Click here to read more about the matter

More on the matter

Control Your Desktop


Click following link for Part I of this series: Update Your Graphic Card Drivers To The Right Ones Compatible With Your Operating System

To troubleshoot, we have to explore four lanes for solutions: (1) Detect what is (eventually) wrong with the graphic card; (2) Investigate CODECS (Compressing Decompressing Software) to see if the right (efficient) one is installed on the system; (3) Make sure that the right or latest Adobe Flash Media Player(s) update/ upgrade are installed, and (4) Verify that there is no memory-leak when playing videos.

Current issue deals with (possible) problems linked to Codecs installed on the system. The subject had already been exposed in a previous delivery titled: Do You Have The Right Codecs?

CODECS? Compressing Decompressing Software, in plain English, are utilities that assist the DVD device and other media player /programs to smoothly read and play movies and video clips. For more on te matter visit this link.

More on the matter

Freebie Of The Month


There are score of sites on the WWW that proposes movies and films to download. Some have proprietary software you should install for speedy download and decompressing of downloaded films and video. Many other propose download link - particularly for DivX videos and films that do not need decompressing.

So, visiting such sites, it would take "ages" downloading film and video, which minimum size is around 500-7000MB to more than 1GB.

Indeed, using Windows operating systems' download agent, you would be waiting for more than 24 hours to get your film. Fortunately there are software called Download Accelerator or Download Manager that assist performing the task in less than one hour, some can even download large-size files above listed in about 20 minutes.

However, most Download Accelerators operate by opening multiple downloads threads of the unique download link. And some sites - particularly eCommerce platforms - may deliberately prohibit multiple threads of a single download link. Therefore, some Download Managers cannot be used to speed-up the required download.

Orbit Downloader does not open multiple download threads to the single download link. It grabs the file in "one-go" and drags it at rocket speed to your desktop. Further, Orbit Downloader is the perfect tool to download embedded streaming video files, FLV, FLA and SWF files. It works fine for such purposes.

Visit Orbit Downloader's programmers-website to grab a copy of this marvelous piece of software


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