After all the excitement of the last post, and our revelations about Kate Middleton’s connections to Eritrea, I bet you can’t wait.
We’ve gone through the list of attendees at the FCO’s recent roundtable event with the Eritrean Ambassador. (We got the list after making a Freedom of Information request.)
There are a couple of individuals who are clearly there at the invitation of the Embassy: someone who’s involved in their annual trade and investment show, and a travel agent/stockbroker.
But the rest may have came at the FCO’s invitation:
- one geothermal energy company, Cluff Geothermal (see last post)
- one investment adviser, Ian Cunningham (LinkedIn here) from Scottish International Investment, who appears to live in France. No idea what he was doing there. They help expats hide (sorry, “manage”) their money.
- Two shipping/port company: Nectar and Astbury Marine Services (to improve Assab or Massawa?)
- Four banks: BMCE Bank International, who “ structures private sector deals that are below the radar of larger investment banks and beyond the scope of local banks” – which sounds about right for Eritrea; a division of Standard Bank, called Frontier Markets Fund Managers; Investec; Copper Tree Capital;
- Lord Valetine Cecil (ooh eer!), from the East Africa Assocation, who help UK companies to work in the region, and appears to have close links with UK Trade & Investment – the commercial face of the FCO. Lord Cecil also works for Wilken, a telecomms company from Kenya. I expect he’s on the books for every event the FCO run – they get a ‘name’ and he gets a free cup of tea.
- Seven consultancy companies, Maxwell Stamp (who provide economic advice to the public sector, and who’ve worked in Ethiopia, Sudan and Djibouti); IMC Worldwide (who appear to specialise in managing transport projects); a specialist in public-private finance arrangements, John Davie, from Altra Capital; an agribusiness consultancy called Cadno; an infrastructure construction project manager, Nataim; a company which will improve remittance payment systems, Developing Markets Associates; a company which bridges the gap between Western companies interested in Africa and entrepreneurs in the region, Sub-Saharan Consulting Group;
- And some extraction companies: Andiamo, who’s already in Eritrea; Arabian Nubian Resources (only been going for 7 months); and Simba Energy (a Canadian coy with an African focus)
- And a cancer specialist from Dundee University
We’ll do some further analysis tomorrow.