Archive for December 2006

Merry Christmas & a happy New Year!

December 22, 2006

Strategic Analysis -The official blog of RIEAS- wishes everyone merry Christmas and a happy new Year for the readers and their families.

My best wishes for health, love and prosperity -If you can fit them all in one size!-

I ‘ll be back shortly after the hollidays with the predictions for 2007. The analytical prediction report will appear in RIEAS-www.rieas.gr – in January 2007, and will provide briefings on issues of international strategic analysis for the year ahead.

Ioannis Michaletos

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Angola to join OPEC

December 22, 2006

Angola has announced its ambition to join OPEC as its 12th member (Algeria, Indonesia, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Venezuela, . The prezident of the country Hose Eduardo Dos Santos believes that such move will upgrade the profile and the influence of its state in the international energy market and consequently in the political level.

Angola has over 1.4 million barrels of oil exports per day and predictions are for a 50% in 2007. The economy of the country has expanded 18% last year and should the high oil prices keep, similar growth would be the outcome for the new year.

Angola is the 2nd largest oil producer in Africa after Nigeria and has recently received considerable investments from Chinese corporations that are eager to establish their presence in Africa, in order to meet the all-expanding needs of the Chinese economy.

World Bank predicts a healthy 2007 for Western Balkan investments

December 21, 2006

World Bank held a conference in Thessaloniki-Greece on the 20th of December, where important reports around the future of investments on the Western Balkans was made public.

According to the World Bank the prospects are bright for the region that saw its Foreign Direct Investments increase by 50% from 2002 to 2005. Also for 2007 the GDP increase for the are is calculated at around 6%.

The main advantages according to the Bank are:

Low labor costs

Entrance of Romania-Bulgaria to the EU

Closeness of the Balkans to the expanding markets of Russia-Ukraine and Central Europe (Over 300 million consumers)

Gradual stabilization of the political & social climate

Stable macroeconomic figures

Human resources specialized in electronics, sciences and medicine

The reports around individual countries for the region, were as follows:

ALBANIA

In this country 1 billion Euro have been invested since 2001 mainly in industry and minerals. One of the advantages for investors is the richeness of the country on herbs (30% of the European herbs species) and the very low labor costs.

BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA

This state saw 1.5 billion Euro of investments since 2001. The bulk of them was in the industrial sector and banking services. For the future the World Bank predicts increase in the automobile industry , as well as, in the industry related to wood (The country is 40% forested)

CROATIA

According to the World Bank there are considerable prospects in the fields of tourism , metal production and plastic industry. Since 2001 6.8 billion Euro have been invested in banks, telecommunications and pharmaceutical sector mostly.

FYROM

The FDI since 2001, is up to 900 million Euro, mainly in telecommunications, metals, and oil refineries. The World Banks points out to the opportunities investing in Food and Beverages, telecommunications and informatics.

MONTENEGRO

This country recently became independent and its FDI since 2001 can generally be accounted for 600 million Euro mostly in real estate projects and minerals. There are bright prospects according tot he Bank for tourism and organic farming.

SERBIA

Serbia attracted 3.8 billion Euro since 2001(The second largest share) mostly for the banking system, commerce and industry. Its GDP is currently increase with the fastest pace in the region-9%-.

For the future the World Bank is optimistic for investments in the Food and Beverages sector (Currently expanding 40% a year), high technology (Expanding 18%), transportation and furniture production.

IMB reports global piracy decrease

December 21, 2006

The number of reported piracy attacks worldwide in the first 9 months of 2006, decreased to 174 compared to 205 during the corresponding period in 2005; according to the ICC International Maritime Bureau.

In its “Piracy and armed robbery against ships” report, the IMB lists a total of 174 attacks on ships. Ships were boarded in 113 incidents and 11 ships were hijacked. 163 crew members were taken hostage, 20 kidnapped and 6 killed.

Source: IMB

New Masters in Security Sector Management

December 21, 2006

The new MSc in Security Sector Management has now been approved by the Cranfield University Senate and the first executive part-time course will begin in April 2007.  The full-time course will begin in September 2007.  The MSc is the first of its kind and aims to develop a student’s ability to understand key aspects of the wider security environment and how to design and manage an integrated security sector management programme which supports multifaceted strategic objectives.  The students will take part in project, simulation and research work focusing on current international issues which present challenges for both policymakers and practitioners in this field. Students will benefit from direct access to a wealth of knowledge from experts in the industry, international institutions and academia.

The April and September course are now accepting applications.  The deadline for April applicants is 26th Feb 2006.  Please visit our website for more details and information on funding programmes: http://www.ssronline.org/products_msc.cfm

Gazprom, Serbia Plan Building Gas Pipeline

December 21, 2006

Serbia and Russia’s energy giant Gazprom signed a memorandum of understanding in Moscow Wednesday foreseeing construction of a gas pipeline in Serbia.

Serbian Minister of Mining and Energy Minister Radomir Naumov and Alexander Medvedev, director general of Russian Gazpromexport signed the memorandum on building the 250-mile gas pipeline across Serbia, from its border with Bulgaria to Croatia, Serbia’s RTS radio-television reported.

The two sides agreed on forming a team of experts to review possibilities for building the pipeline to transfer natural gas from Russia, via Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia, to northern Italy.

The pipeline would have capacity of 20 billion cubic meters of gas per year and would cost $1 billion.

© 2006 UPI

Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina sign defense co-op agreemen

December 21, 2006

Slovenia and Bosnia-Herzegovina signed on Monday an agreement on the cooperation in the area of defense, dealing primarily with collective training of soldiers, crisis management training, and cooperation in peacekeeping missions.

    “The signing presents the strengthening of friendly relations between the two countries and their armed forces,” Slovenian Defense Minister Karl Erjavec was quoted as saying by the national news agency STA.

    Erjavec signed the agreement with his counterpart from Bosnia-Herzegovina Nikola Radovanovic in the Slovenian town of Otocec.

    According to Erjavec, the agreement, for which the final details were already defined in June, is a good foundation for the expansion of cooperation between the two countries, including assistance to Bosnia-Herzegovina on its way to NATO membership.

    On Thursday, Bosnia-Herzegovina joined NATO’s outreach program Partnership for Peace along with Montenegro and Serbia.

    Erjavec told the press that Slovenia supported the entrance of Bosnia into the partnership because it felt that Bosnia had been implementing defense reforms.

    One of the priorities of Slovenian defense policy is the region of Southeast Europe, primarily stabilization of relations and enhancement of cooperation among countries in the area, he said.

    Radovanovic said the agreement reflects good relations between the two countries, adding that the entrance into the partnership is a step towards NATO membership and long-term stability in the country.
 

Editor: Lin Li 
Source: XINHUA