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Disabled Surfers Catch a “Wave” in South Africa

The International Surfing Association started the first adaptive surfing world championship in 2015

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French disabled surfer Eric Dargent competes - AFP

Pamela Hansford is a disabled 75-year-old surfer. A year ago, a steep wave slammed her into the shore at a Cape Town beach, breaking her neck. Today, a crowd cheers her on as she is reunited with the waves.

“It’s wonderful,” Hansford said. “To be in the water and to feel the movement again, it’s really special.”

Roxy Davis is South African surf champion. Davis’s surf school Surf Emporium has been hosting training clinics to introduce people with both physical and mental disabilities to the thrill of catching a wave. This school has been up and running since 2016.

A disabled surfer (C) prepares to compete on May 30, 2015 in the southwestern French town of Hossegor during the first qualifying session for the first disabled surfing championships AFP)

“Whether you are an able-bodied surfer or somebody with a disability, whether it’s your tenth time surfing or your very first, that joy and that stoke (thrill) is the same,” she said.

“It gives me the same goosebumps watching each wave at each session.” Roxy continued.

People with disabilities have been surfing for decades, but it wasn’t until the International Surfing Association started the first adaptive surfing world championship in 2015, that the sport began building momentum.

Enjoy and Compete

“Competition always advances a sport,” said Ant Smyth, who captained the South African team at the 2015 games.

After a car accident when he was five years old left Smyth’s right arm paralysed, doctors suggested he take up surfing. The paddling, they said, would encourage him to use both arms.

At the first adaptive world championship, Smyth took silver in his division. At the most recent event in December last year, he won gold.

Surfers, parents, and coaches wait for the start of an adaptive surfing event at Muizenberg beach, on January 20, 2019, in Cape Town, South Africa. – (Photo by RODGER BOSCH / AFP)

Smyth is now a technical advisor to national body Surf South Africa. He aims to increase the number of adaptive surfers, not only to show people with disabilities that surfing is possible, but making it practically accessible to them.

Teaming up with Surf Emporium’s clinics helped give the project some structure.

Steep learning curve

For Davis, the learning curve going from surf school to adaptive surf school has been steep.

“I’ve been surfing for about 22 years. I feel like I know a lot about surfing, but actually understanding different disabilities and how to put people on a board to facilitate their disability — it’s been really incredible,” she said.

Mental disabilities are not currently recognised in any of the official categories of competitive adaptive surfing, but Davis has an all-inclusive approach at her clinics.

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Business News

World’s biggest marine diamond mining vessel to be financed by African banks

Nedbank Namibia, RMB Namibia, Standard Bank, ABSA and Bank Windhoek agreed to provide 80% of the funding for the ship

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African banks to finance World’s biggest marine diamond mining vessel
(File photo)

Five African commercial banks have partnered in a $375 million financing deal to build a new diamond mining vessel for a subsidiary of Anglo American’s diamond unit, De Beers. 

Nedbank Namibia, RMB Namibia, Standard Bank, ABSA and Bank Windhoek agreed to provide 80% of the funding for the ship, which will be the world’s largest of its type. 

Debmarine Namibia – a 50-50 joint venture company between De Beers and the government of Namibia – will provide the balance of $94 million. 

The ship, to be known as the AMV3, will be the seventh in the Debmarine Namibia joint venture’s fleet, which mines high-quality diamonds from the ocean floor using hi-tech surveying equipment. 

The AMV3 has the capacity to add 500,000 carats of annual production from 2022, and is expected to contribute 2 billion Namibian dollars ($137.64 million) a year in taxes and royalties to the Namibian treasury in its first five years of production.

“The highest quality diamonds in the world are found in our ocean,” Debmarine Namibia Chief Executive Otto Shikongo said in a statement. 

“With this investment, we will be able to optimize new technology to find and recover diamonds more efficiently and meet growing consumer demand”.

Nedbank Namibia, which facilitated the arrangement, will contribute 40% of the financing and will also provide currency hedging for the deal, according to Karl-Stefan Altmann, an executive at Nedbank Corporate and Investment Banking and Treasury.

Mining, of which uranium and diamonds are a major part, contributed 14% of Namibia’s gross domestic product in 2018, according to the latest annual report of Namibia’s Chamber of Mines. 

Diamonds also accounted for 14% of Anglo American’s core profit in 2018.

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Business News

Zimbabwe’s inflation soars, stocks hit record high

Stocks are rising because local investors are desperate to hedge against inflation

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Zimbabwe's inflation soars, stocks hit record high | News Central TV
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Zimbabwe’s stock market has hit a record high, for all the wrong reasons as the country’s Industrial Index rose 5.6 per cent on Monday to extend its gain this quarter to 80 per cent.

Stocks are rising because local investors are desperate to hedge against inflation, which accelerated to 98 per cent in May. Prices are rocketing amid a scarcity of foreign exchange, which is causing shortages of fuel, medicine, and other imported goods.

In Zimbabwe, investors’ fears about inflation are heightened by a plunging currency.

The RTGS$, which the government de-linked from the U.S. dollar in February, has sunk about 57 per cent since March on the black market.

On the streets of Harare, the capital, it trades at 9.7 against the greenback. That compares with the central bank’s official and much stronger rate of 6.08.

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Africa News & Updates

Anadarko, Mozambique to proceed on $20 billion LNG export project

The gas liquefaction and export terminal in Mozambique will be the the largest single LNG project approved in Africa.

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An Andarko official looks on as Mozambique and Andarko seal LNG deal

U.S. energy firm, Anadarko Petroleum Corp on Tuesday, gave the go-ahead for the construction of a $20 billion gas liquefaction and export terminal in Mozambique, the largest single LNG project approved in Africa.

The announcement had been expected after Anadarko flagged the decision date last month.

“As the world increasingly seeks cleaner forms of energy, the Anadarko-led Area 1 Mozambique LNG project is ideally located to meet growing demand, particularly in expanding Asian and European markets,” Chief Executive Officer Al Walker said in a statement.

Anadarko has agreed to be taken over by Occidental Petroleum Corp. Once that deal goes ahead, Occidental has agreed to sell assets including the Mozambique LNG project to French oil major and large LNG trader Total SA. 

Natural gas use is growing rapidly around the world as countries seek to meet rising energy demand and wean their industrial and power sectors off dirtier coal. 

The project, which has committed long-term supplies to utilities, major LNG portfolio holders and state companies around the world, underscores the industry’s conviction that LNG demand will soar in years to come despite a slump in prices this year. 

Low prices for the gas that is super-cooled for transportation prompted fears final investment decisions (FIDs) such as Anadarko’s would be delayed or scrapped. But enough long-term buyers were gathered to underpin the project’s financing.

LNG prices slumped this year as a jump in supply from new terminals in the United States, Australia and Russia were not totally met by higher demand in Asia. 

The trade is also nowhere near as developed as the market for crude oil, causing erratic price movements and is expected to be transformational for Mozambique, beset by economic crisis, conflict stemming from a civil war and governance malaise, whose annual gross domestic product is just $13 billion. 

According to the government of Mozambique, the project is expected to create more than 5,000 direct jobs and 45,000 indirect jobs. 

With a 12.88 million tonne per year (mtpa) capacity, Mozambique LNG is one of the largest greenfield LNG facilities to have ever been approved. It involves building infrastructure to extract gas from a field offshore northern Mozambique, pump it onshore and liquefy it, ready for further export by LNG tankers. 

On the African east coast, the liquefaction plant will be able to sell LNG to both the lucrative Asian market, home to 75%of global LNG demand, and to the flexible European market, which helps balance global LNG trade by soaking up excess supply. 

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