The presidents of Sudan and South Sudan agreed at the weekend to the unconditional and speedy implementation of deals reached in September last year to demilitarise their shared borders and allow oil exports to flow from South Sudan’s oilfields north through Sudan’s pipelines, AU mediator Thabo Mbeki said yesterday.

He said the two presidents had agreed to the “speedy, unconditional and co-ordinated” implementation of the agreements. “We are very, very pleased indeed with the outcome of this because it has indeed opened the way for the implementation of all of these various agreements,” Mbeki said. – Sapa-AP


Lagarde backs Banda reforms

Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, arrived in Malawi on Friday on a three-day official visit to “support the president and government” with an economic recovery programme. “I am coming to see how we are partnering with the government and how better we can support economic reforms that are being implemented,” Lagarde said. Malawi’s economy, powered by agriculture and aid inflows, is recovering from global aid suspensions and President Joyce Banda has instituted an economic recovery plan. – Sapa-AFP


Mines asked to cut power use

Zambia’s state-owned power utility Zesco had asked mining companies in Africa’s top copper producer to cut back on electricity use to help ease a power shortage, its managing director said on Friday. Zambia generated 1 746 megawatts of electricity but demand exceeded capacity by about 70MW at night peaks caused by increased power usage from households, Cyprian Chitundu said. Zesco has asked mining firms to reduce power usage by about 100MW. There has been no reply yet from major mining houses. – Reuters


Toyota cans all new factories

Toyota Motor had decided to halt the construction of new factories for the next three years in a shift from its previous policy of building new plants almost annually, reports said yesterday. The company would concentrate its capital investment on existing factories, the Nikkei business daily said. The paper said the new policy would basically shelve through the end of the 2015 fiscal year all plans for building new factories other than those already announced. – Sapa-AFP


Coal firms face royalty scrutiny

Two influential US senators have asked the Interior Department to examine whether coal companies are dodging hundreds of millions of dollars in royalty payments on lucrative sales to Asia, citing a Reuters investigation into the matter. The legislators who lead the Senate energy and natural resources committee want officials to find out whether coal producers are short-changing taxpayers when they tap the coal-rich Powder River Basin. – Reuters