Africa in Business: from court to cocoa

STORY: Here's what's been making the business news in sub-Saharan Africa this week.

1. More than 11,000 Nigerians from the Niger Delta have filed a compensation claim in the UK against oil major Shell alleging spills from its operation have destroyed farms, contaminated drinking water and harmed aquatic life.

Shell says the majority of the spills in this and another claim were caused by illegal third-party interference such as pipeline sabotage.

The claim is the latest step in a case that will test whether multinationals can be held accountable for the actions of their overseas subsidiaries.

2. Senegal's President Macky Sall says financing is in place to allow construction to start in earnest on a $1.13 billion deep-water port.

The project, around 30 miles south of the capital Dakar, is being developed by Dubai's state-owned DP World and is the biggest private investment in the West African country.

3. South African miner Seriti Resources - a top thermal coal supplier to struggling state power utility Eskom - has said it will build a 155-megawatt wind farm over the next two years.

The project, supplying 75% of the power required by Seriti's mines in South Africa's coal heartlands Mpumalanga, raises the prospect of mines mostly powered by wind producing coal for Eskom to then burn to produce electricity.

It's a stark illustration of the shift to renewables that has been hastened by Eskom's inability to meet demand - resulting in record power cuts.

4. Zimbabwe's central bank has said it will allow exporters, including mining companies, to keep 75% of their export earnings in foreign currency.

That's up from the current cap of 60%.

The forex-starved country requires all exporters to convert part of their earnings into local currency at an exchange rate significantly higher than that on the widely used black market - leading to losses.

5. And finally, Ivory Coast's cocoa farmers began receiving electronic cards on Thursday (February 2) to track their beans from farm to ports.

The exercise is part of a response to EU plans to ban imports of commodities and products linked to deforestation and rights abuses by 2024.