| Africatime
Sunday 26 March 2017
(Financial Times 03/24/17)
China’s oil companies move downstream as bid for upstream assets stumbles. Chinese oil companies are turning their focus to overseas retail and services markets, as slowing growth in domestic fuel demand makes their traditional home market less attractive. Sinopec this week agreed to buy Chevron’s 75 per cent stake in a Cape Town refinery, affiliated service stations and convenience stores in South Africa and Botswana for $900m. It was the only remaining bidder after a year-long tender process. The purchase puts Sinopec in the ranks of international oil companies including ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Lukoil, Kuwait Petroleum and PTT of Thailand that operate petrol stations outside their borders. It also marks a shift among Chinese...
(Bloomberg 03/24/17)
The rally that made South Africa’s rand the world’s best-performing currency this year might be nearing its end, according to Old Mutual Investment Group. The currency gained 10 percent against the dollar in 2017, supported by higher prices for metals mined in Africa’s most industrialized economy, and expectations that gross domestic product growth will rebound from the slowest expansion since the 2009 recession. Together with a 13 percent advance last year, the rand is close to almost wiping out its 2015 losses. “While the fundamentals are improving, which would suggest rand strength, we’ve probably seen quite a lot of it already,” said Hywel George, director of investments at Cape Town-based Old Mutual Investment Group South Africa, which oversees about 600...
(Agence Ecofin 03/24/17)
On March 17th, 2017, the South African government has revealed in the Government Gazette a bill to prevent foreigners from owning agricultural lands in the country. Entitled “Regulation of Agricultural Land Holdings Bill”, the bill should, according to Bloomberg, be submitted to the parliament for approval in April. Though it appears as a mean to tackle the growing issue of land grabs in Africa, the measure seems to bear a political message to those who are against the Zuma government...
(AfricaNews 03/23/17)
Brazil’s Agriculture Minister Blairo Maggi said the government had suspended exports from 21 meat processing units. The South African government on Wednesday suspended imports of meat from establishments suspected to be involved in the Brazil meat scandal. South Africa is joining a chorus of other countries after China, the European Union, South Korea and Chile on Monday announced restrictions of red meat imports from Brazil due to recent evidence showing that Brazilian meat-packers have been selling rotten and substandard produce for several years, especially to export markets.
(Reuters (Eng) 03/23/17)
China's Sinopec (600028.SS) (0386.HK) will pay almost $1 billion for a 75 percent stake in Chevron Corp's (CVX.N) South African assets and its subsidiary in Botswana to secure its first major refinery in Africa, the companies announced on Wednesday. China Petroleum and Chemical Corp, or Sinopec, Asia's largest oil refiner, said the assets include a 100,000 barrel-per-day oil refinery in Cape Town, a lubricants plant in Durban as well as 820 petrol stations and other oil storage facilities. Chevron Global...
(AfricaNews 03/23/17)
The mission is part of the department’s week-long trade and investment mission to Ghana and its neighbour, Nigeria. South African business people who participated in a trade and investment mission to Ghana have expressed confidence that they will soon see tangible results from the trip, the department of trade and industry (dti) said on Wednesday. The mission is part of the department’s week-long trade and investment mission to Ghana and its neighbour, Nigeria, which runs until Saturday, March 25. The...
(Bloomberg 03/21/17)
South Africa has proposed a new law banning foreigners directly buying agricultural land in the country as the government seeks to boost ownership for the black majority. Non-residents will be allowed to take long leases on the properties or the land should be majority owned by a black South African, according to the Regulation of Agricultural Land Holdings Bill, published in the Government Gazette on Friday. The proposal is open for public comment until April 17. The ruling African National...
(Eye Witness News 03/21/17)
Lawyer Damon Parker says the lawsuit is about ethics with people feeling cheated. A class action lawsuit in the UK over the VW emissions scandal could spark similar cases in other countries, including South Africa. More than 35,000 people in Britain are being represented with the number expected to grow to 100,000 or more. The carmaker used technology to misrepresent emission levels of nitrogen oxide. Lawyer Damon Parker says the lawsuit is about ethics with people feeling cheated. “People feel...
(Agence Ecofin 03/20/17)
At the Africa CEO Forum which opened this morning in Geneva, AFD Group – in partnership with the European Union – unveiled the “African Renewable Energy Scale-Up facility”, designed to boost private sector investment in on–grid and off-grid renewable energy production in Africa. In order to meet Africa’s constantly increasing energy requirements, support must be provided for mass development of the renewable energy technologies – especially solar energy – that will play such a key role over the coming years,...
(Voice of America 03/18/17)
Each year, the University of Southern California hosts the African Global Economic and Development Summit, bringing delegations from Africa to meet with business leaders, government officials and others in the U.S. But this year, the African summit has no Africans. All were denied visas. Visa issues are not uncommon for people traveling from African nations. During her prior three summits, Mary Flowers saw a high percentage of her attendees unable to attain visas. "Usually we get 40 percent that get...
(New Zimbabwe 03/17/17)
Zimbabwe owes South Africa's power utility ESKOM more than $12 million and is struggling to clear the debt, it has emerged. Harare does not generate enough electricity to meet its needs and relies on imports from the region to plug the supply gap. However, with its economy in the tank and government struggling with its finances, supplies from the region often come under threat due to unpaid bills. The country's supply deal with Eskom is nearing its end and energy...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/17/17)
China Petroleum and Chemical Corp (Sinopec) is nearing an agreement to buy a majority stake in Chevron Corp's South African assets, which are estimated to be worth $1 billion, two people familiar with the transaction said. The sources said Sinopec, Asia's largest oil refiner, was the last bidder remaining, and close to a deal with Chevron after an auction that spanned more than a year. The people declined to be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the matter...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/16/17)
South African President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday there was no "crisis" as doubts mount over the government's ability to make welfare payments on April 1 to 17 million needy people because of a service-provider dispute. Dominated by more than 11 million child support grants, the welfare system is a lifeline for South Africa's most vulnerable. Each month long queues form at pay points across the country as people wait for the money that is often the difference between going...
(News24 03/15/17)
Although fuel prices are set to drop in April, most of the benefit of the decreases will be wiped out by the increases in the general fuel and Road Accident Fund (RAF) levies. This is according to the Automobile Association (AA), which was commenting on unaudited mid-month fuel price data released by the Central Energy Fund. Based on the current data, the AA is predicting that petrol will decrease by 51c per litre, diesel by about 27c/litre, and illuminating paraffin...
(Eye Witness News 03/15/17)
The SAPS told Parliament’s police portfolio committee that government’s approach to the litigation is aimed at reaching settlements of the claims as quickly as possible. The state is facing claims amounting to more than R1 billion arising out of the Marikana massacre four years ago. Thirty-four miners lost their lives after police opened fire on protesting mineworkers near the Rustenburg mine. The South African Police Service (SAPS) and Independent Police Investigative Directorate are updating Parliament’s police portfolio committee on their...
(The Wall Street Journal 03/15/17)
Ndalo Media founder Khanyi Dhlomo and Mara Group founder Ashish Thakkar on where the potential is and what’s blocking it How is innovation in Africa different from innovation in Silicon Valley? And how can innovation in Africa be encouraged? Dan Keeler, frontier-markets editor of The Wall Street Journal, discussed those questions with Khanyi Dhlomo, founder and chief executive of Ndalo Media, a publisher based in South Africa, and Ashish Thakkar, founder of Mara Group, a pan-African investment group with operations...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/14/17)
South Africa's Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Tuesday he was "fairly confident" social security payments will be paid on April 1 despite a service-provider dispute that has cast doubt over the welfare benefits. The South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) is scrambling to ensure that as many as 17 million people continue to receive their money, despite concerns that retaining the existing service provider is both unlawful and costly. "I am fairly confident grants will be paid," Gordhan told...
(Bloomberg 03/14/17)
The crisis swirling around South Africa’s system of welfare payments to the poorest third of its people has become a game of chicken. Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini insists that Net1 UEPS Technologies Inc. must continue to distribute the payments after its contract, which the Constitutional Court ruled illegal, expires on March 31. An inter-ministerial task force voided a new agreement between the South African Social Security Agency and Net1, and will conduct future talks with the company. Net1 said...
(Bloomberg 03/14/17)
South Africa’s banks have gone on the offensive after being criticized by some politicians over their lending practices and records in addressing racial inequality. Attacks on the lenders have been led by President Jacob Zuma, who’s accused them of monopolizing the financial services industry, and questioned whether they colluded when closing accounts belonging to members of the wealthy Gupta family, who are his friends and are in business with his son. Parliament’s finance and trade and industry committees held hearings...
(eNCA 03/14/17)
CNN reports that the South African government is planning to implement a sugar tax to help curb the country's growing obesity epidemic. There is a marked increase in obesity and overweight rates across developing countries, surpassing the rate of obesity in developed states. The Overseas Development Institute says the number of overweight and obese people in the developing world has grown from 250 million in 1980 to a billion in recent years. South Africa isn't the only country that is...

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