Official representatives from Jersey have made a number of visits to countries in Africa in recent years and African officials have also visited Jersey. Representatives from Jersey regularly attend Commonwealth Parliamentary Association events, most recently in South Africa, Cameroon and Kenya. Officials have also represented Jersey at the recent Indaba Mining Conferences. The Nigerian High Commissioner to the UK, His Excellency Dr Dalhatu Sarki Tafida, and Rwanda’s High Commissioner to the UK, His Excellency Williams Nkurunziza, conducted official visits to Jersey in 2014. Jersey’s Senator Sir Philip Bailhache met with the High Commissioners of Kenya, Swaziland and Ghana in London, whilst our Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst met the South African High Commissioner, His Excellency My Obed Mlabawith, at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Tax Information Exchange Agreements have also been developed with various jurisdictions including South Africa and shortly with Kenya, whilst Double Taxation Avoidance agreement negotiations have been requested/initiated with nine other African countries.
Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust was founded by conservationist and author, the late Gerald Durrell, in Jersey in 1963. In its mission to ‘save species from extinction’, the Trust has been working on projects in the African region for many years. The organisation’s attention is heavily focused on the island of Madagascar, including on the recovery of certain species of lemurs, tortoises and frogs, and on related habitat restoration. The Trust works extensively with Malagasy communities in its project areas, providing water aid, assistance with fisheries management, conservation scholarship and employment opportunities. Other notable projects in Africa include work in Comoros to save the Livingstone’s fruit bat, the rarest megabat in the world, and the ‘Gorilla Guardians’ projects in countries including Nigeria, Rwanda, Cameroon and Uganda. African gorilla rangers have also received scholarships from Durrell Conservation Academy in Jersey.
“The relationship between Jersey and Africa is long established, thanks to excellent political, commercial and community links”
Many individuals and organisations in Jersey have strong ties with African communities and provide valuable assistance where needed. The Jersey Overseas Aid Commission manages and administers funds made available by Jersey’s Government for overseas aid. It has supported numerous projects in African countries over the years through the funding of organisations and charities, by granting aid and emergency relief, and by organising frequent Community Work projects undertaken by Jersey volunteers. Many Jersey schools have developed links with counterparts in Africa, raising funds and contributing a wide range of educational materials, including desks, chairs, textbooks, exercise books and uniform. Numerous initiates have also been instigated by churches and charities in Jersey, including the development of schools and the introduction of feeding programmes.
The famous ‘Jersey Cow’
Jersey cattle are renowned for the quality of the rich, creamy milk that they produce and are also appealing because they are relatively small, easy to manage and can withstand hot climates. South Africa has the largest population of Jersey cattle in Africa, but breeding programmes are also firmly established in countries including Zimbabwe, Zambia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Kenya, Mozambique and Tanzania. In 2014, South Africa hosted the 20th World Jersey Cattle Bureau Conference, attended by over 160 delegates from 19 countries, and many other Jersey cattle events are held each year.
Companies operating in Africa
Jersey is an internationally recognised, highly reputable jurisdiction and a well-respected business centre. It has a long standing reputation for attracting successful companies and individuals to its shores. A number of businesses with operations in Africa have established here. These include Randgold Resources Ltd, a gold mining company; Bellzone Mining plc, an iron ore, copper and nickel exploration and development business; and Heritage Oil Ltd, an oil and gas exploration and production company. O3b Networks Ltd, a network communications service provider, also has its corporate headquarters in Jersey. In the banking sector, institutions with African heritage have been based in Jersey since the 1990’s including Standard Bank and Nedbank Private Wealth.