Rock Beats Scissors

Tomorrow Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana Mashabane will dedicate a statue of Nelson Mandela outside South Africa’s embassy on Massachusetts Avenue, an artery down which many of Washington’s most powerful denizens (not least, the vice president) pass on their daily commutes.

Mr Mandela’s daughter Zindzi will be there, as will ANC chair Baleka Mbete. Also Anant Singh, producer of the film version of Long Walk To Freedom, which is set for release here in November after a promising debut at the Toronto Film Festival.

Also expected are Mark Cutifani, CEO of Anglo-American, and other representatives of the project’s corporate underwriters. These include Old Mutual, MTN, Wal-Mart, Black and Veatch, the engineering company, Coca-Cola and California-based SolarReserve, which is part of the consortium developing the Jasper solar energy project with Google in the Northern Cape. Continue reading “Rock Beats Scissors”

More reason, please

You’re an oil or mining company listed on the New York Stock Exchange, or, in Securities and Exchange Commission parlance, a resource extraction issuer. How candid do you have to be about the royalties, rents, taxes, production shares, infrastructure improvements and other things of value you deliver to governments in Africa and elsewhere as the price of conducting business?

Very, said the SEC in its first stab at writing rules to implement section 1504 of the Dodd Frank Act, U.S. Congress’ effort to reregulate Wall Street after the 2008 financial meltdown.

Any payment over $100,000 would need to be reported annually on a country by country and project by project basis and made available for public inspection on the SEC’s Edgar database. There were to be no exceptions made for companies operating in countries such as Angola, Cameroon, China and Qatar which bar such disclosure. That, the rule writers argued, would encourage others to adopt similar prohibitions and so vitiate section 1504’s purpose – to empower citizens against resource-trousering kleptocrats. Continue reading “More reason, please”