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A New Britain Outside Europe’s Customs Union

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2021 is an unforgettable year for Britain after successfully walking out of Europe’s Customs Union and single market bringing an end to almost fifty years of corrosive relationship with her neighbours.

“We have our freedom in our hands and it is up to us to make the most of it,” said Prime Minister Boris Johnson as his country ushered in the New Year.

This entire move means EU rules have become invalid and the free movement of more than 500 million people between Britain and the 27 EU states has suddenly ended.

The EU has lost 66 million people and an economy worth $2.85 trillion, but Brexit, with its appeal to nationalist populism, also triggered fears other disgruntled members could follow suit.

As well as ensuring tariff- and quota-free access to the EU’s 450 million consumers, Britain has recently signed trade deals with countries including Japan, Canada, Singapore and Turkey.

It is also eyeing another with India, where Johnson plans to make his first major trip as prime minister next month, and with incoming US president Joe Biden’s administration.

However, Fear of disruption at the ports has stoked concerns about food and medicine shortages, as well as delays to holidaymakers and business travellers used to seamless travel in the EU.

The British government said some border controls will not be implemented for months as part of Britain’s staged plan, and it was not expecting much disruption around the ports until next week, with traffic light due to the holiday period.

However, it also warned that around 50 percent of small and medium exporters might not yet be ready for the new trading arrangements.

British fishermen are disgruntled at a compromise to allow continued access for EU boats in British waters.

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Business

Ecobank Transnational Incorporated Lists On LSE For US$350M

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Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (“ETI”), the Lomé based parent company of the Ecobank Group (www.Ecobank.com), was hosted today by the London Stock Exchange for a market opening virtual ceremony to celebrate the successful listing of the Tier 2 Sustainability Notes on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) main market.

This represents the first ever Tier 2 Sustainability Notes by a financial institution in Sub-Saharan Africa.

This Tier 2 issuance is the first to have a Basel III-compliant 10NC5 structure outside of South Africa in 144A/RegS format and is now listed on the main market of the London Stock Exchange.

The bond, which matures in June 2031, has a call option in June 2026 and was issued with a coupon of 8.75% with interest payable semi-annually in arrears.

An equivalent amount of the net proceeds from the notes will be used by ETI to finance or re-finance, new or existing eligible assets as described in ETI’s Sustainable Finance Framework, available at https://bit.ly/3j4xrlb on which DNV issued a Second Party Opinion.

Investor interest for this Sophomore Eurobond issue was global, including United Kingdom, United States, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa, achieving a 3.6x oversubscribed orderbook, of over US$1.3 billion at its peak.

Ade Ayeyemi, Group Chief Executive Officer of ETI, stated: “The strong global interest in our issuance reflects investors’ confidence in Ecobank’s strategy and our commitment to sustainable financing. We thank the LSE for hosting ETI today and look forward to value creation for all our stakeholders. ”

The Joint Lead Managers and Bookrunners in the transaction were Citi, Mashreq, Renaissance Capital and Standard Chartered Bank.

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Botswana Finds Another Diamond Larger than 1000ct

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Botswana has delivered another diamond at 1 174.76 ct from Karowe mine a producer of high-quality rough diamonds.

It is the third diamond weighing more than 1,000 ct to be recovered from the South Lobe of the AK6 kimberlite since 2015.

In recent years, Lucara had recovered the 1,758 ct Sewelô and the 1,109 ct Lesedi La Rona diamonds from the South Lobe.

Lucara’s latest find also follows hot on the heels of the recovery of a 1,098 ct diamond by Debswana at its Jwaneng mine, in Botswana.

When Debswana announced the find on June 16, that diamond was said to be the world’s third-largest.

The 3,106 ct Cullinan diamond recovered in South Africa in 1905 is the largest diamond ever to be recovered.

“Lucara is delighted to be reporting another historic diamond recovery and its third diamond over 1,000 ct – a world record for Karowe.

“Although complex, these diamond recoveries do contain large domains of top-colour white gems that will be transformed through our partnership with HB Antwerp into valuable collections of top-colour polished diamonds, very much in high demand in the market today,” comments Lucara CEO Eira Thomas.

Lucara notes that the 1,174 ct diamond was recovered in the Mega Diamond Recovery XRT circuit at Karowe.

“On the same production day, several other diamonds of similar appearance – a 471 ct, a 218 ct and a 159 ct – were recovered at the main XRT circuit, indicating the 1,174 ct diamond was part of a larger diamond with an estimated weight of more than 2,000 ct,” the company points out.

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Swiss Glencore Plc Hints On Reopening Idle Cobalt Mine In DRC

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Glencore Plc could reopen its Mutanda Mining copper and cobalt project in Democratic Republic of Congo by the end of 2021, about two years after idling the mine.

Congo’s new mines minister, Antoinette N’Samba Kalambayi met with representatives from the Swiss company Monday to discuss the restart of the mine, which closed in November 2019, the ministry said in a statement sent to reporters.

Mutanda “will start the commissioning of operations towards the end of this year in order to allow the return to production in 2022,” Glencore said in a separate emailed statement.

A reopening of Mutanda, one of the world’s biggest cobalt mines, comes when there’s renewed demand for battery metals as automakers focus on metal-intensive electric vehicles and global economies shift away from fossil fuels in favor of cleaner technologies that use electricity for energy.

Cobalt and copper are key metals in that transition.

Glencore said in August 2019 that it would close the mine for two years to carry out care and maintenance after prices of cobalt slumped.

Mutanda was responsible for a fifth of global cobalt production in 2018, according to Darton Commodities Ltd., a U.K.-based firm that specializes in the metal.

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