Friday 20 October 2017
(Financial Times 09/28/17)
Albert Woodfox spent 44 years in solitary confinement in Louisiana. At 1,440 square feet, Albert Woodfox’s new house is nearly 27 times the size of the place he called home for more than four decades. When he meets me at the door, one of America’s most famous prisoners is smiling brightly, and squinting into the Louisiana sun. He has reason to be happy. It has been a year and a half since he was released after serving nearly 44 years in solitary confinement in one of the country’s most notorious prisons. “By any standards I am extraordinarily lucky . . . I lost family members but never the support of my family. The African-American community embraced me when I...
(Bloomberg 09/27/17)
Joao Lourenco was sworn in as president of Angola in a ceremony marking the first leadership change in almost four decades in sub-Saharan Africa’s second-biggest oil producer. The 63-year-old former defense minister takes over from Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who steps down after 38 years in office but will continue to lead the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola until next year. The MPLA won 61 percent of votes in elections last month, securing 150 seats in the 220-member parliament. “Joao Manuel Goncalves has been named president of the republic following general elections that expressed the will of the people,” Rui Ferreira, chairman of Angola’s Constitutional Court
(Bloomberg 09/27/17)
Studio 189, a label founded by actress Rosario Dawson and fashion executive Abrima Erwiah, is reinvesting in its African roots. It’s hard enough to build a fashion brand, let alone an empire. Rare is the person who makes a mission of using fashion to build communities. Such is the case with Studio 189, a label founded by longtime friends Abrima Erwiah (formerly a marketing executive at Bottega Veneta) and Rosario Dawson (an enduring star most recently seen in Netflix’s Marvel...
(Voice of America 09/25/17)
African first ladies and activists hailed progress that some governments on the continent are making on gender equality. They met on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. “We used to have 23 percent female representation in parliament but, with the stroke of a pen it went up to 48 percent. So, we managed to double our female representation with that decision,” said Namibia’s first lady Monica Geingos at a roundtable invitation-only event co-hosted by the...
(The Guardian 09/18/17)
Anna Jones says that, through selling its cocoa cheaply, Africa is exporting its wealth overseas; while Sue Banford claims that the soya moratorium in the Amazon has done nothing to halt deforestation. Only the final paragraph in your article on cocoa farming causing deforestation in Ivory Coast (Forests pay price for world’s taste for cocoa, 14 September) mentioned the most fundamental thing – the farmer’s livelihood, or lack of it. The low value of his (or more likely her) crop...
(Bloomberg 09/15/17)
Societe Generale SA, challenged on its home turf by Orange SA’s push into banking, is fighting back with a new mobile lender in Africa. The French lender started YUP, a new app for smartphones, in Senegal and Ivory Coast and plans to begin operating in four other sub-Saharan countries this year and next, the company said on Thursday. The bank aims to double its client base to 2 million in the region within three years. “Telcos have opened the way...
(Bloomberg 09/11/17)
The South African companies that dominate the U.K.’s growing private hospital industry are counting on more people like Katie Corrie. A children’s party entertainer, Corrie opted to use 13,000 pounds ($17,000) of her savings and inheritance to get a hip replacement rather than spend months on a National Health Service waiting list. Britons like her are forking out almost 1 billion pounds a year to cover their own medical expenses, a trend that’s giving at least one industry the scope...
(Voice of America 09/07/17)
Angola's first new president in decades has a big job ahead of him: He inherits a nation mired in recession, plagued with corruption, and home to some of the worst income inequality seen anywhere in the world. Worse still, the falling price of oil — the nation's main cash cow — means that president-elect Joao Lourenco has limited means to dig his nation out of this difficult situation. He also starts this historic epoch in Angolan history with a credibility...
(Bloomberg 09/07/17)
African Rainbow Minerals Ltd., the miner chaired by South Africa’s richest black businessman, will pay a record dividend this year as rising iron-ore and manganese prices boosted earnings at its ferrous unit. ARM will pay investors 6.50 rand a share, almost triple that of the previous year, and its 11th consecutive dividend, the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement Thursday. The company benefited from a 45 percent increase in prices received for exported iron ore and 93 percent more for...
(Bloomberg 09/05/17)
A surge in agriculture has helped lift Africa’s biggest economies out of their slumps, but the recovery may be weak. Gross domestic product in Nigeria, the continent’s largest crude producer, advanced for the first time in six quarters in the three months ended June from a year earlier, growing 0.55 percent, the statistics agency said. In South Africa, GDP expanded 2.5 percent from the previous quarter, ending the second recession in almost a decade. Both economies had agriculture largely to...
(Bloomberg 09/04/17)
The worst may be over for Africa’s two largest economies as they likely emerged from a slump in the second quarter. Official data on Tuesday will probably show South Africa’s economy expanded in the three months through June, ending its second recession in less than a decade. Nigeria’s gross domestic product probably grew from a year earlier, and came out of its worst slump in a quarter of a century. South Africa and Nigeria together account for almost half of...
(Bloomberg 08/31/17)
Angola’s Petroleum Minister Jose Maria Botelho de Vasconcelos said it’s essential for the southern African nation’s economy that oil prices rebound to $60 a barrel this year. “That would be extremely important,” Botelho de Vasconcelos said Monday in an interview in the country’s capital Luanda. “We’ve been getting signs from the market that prices could reach $60 by the end of the year.” Angola, which depends on crude shipments for 97 percent of its exports, joined fellow OPEC members nine...
(Voice of America 08/30/17)
Angolans have elected their first new president in nearly four decades and they say he must address the glaring gap between rich and poor. Despite being Africa’s second largest oil producer, most of Angola's citizens live in poverty, amid runaway inflation and high unemployment. On a good day, Kialopo Feliciana brings in about $18 selling food at a market in an impoverished Luanda neighborhood. "The business is very expensive," she told VOA one recent morning, as she churned a large...
(Bloomberg 08/30/17)
One Thousand & One Voices LLC, a private-equity fund started by the great-grandson of the founder of Coors Brewing Co., said it bought a producer of sushi-quality trout that is the largest such facility in Africa. SanLei’s operations are on the Katse Dam in Lesotho, an enclave surrounded by South Africa, 1K1V, as the fund is known, said in an emailed statement Tuesday. The company didn’t disclose the value of the transaction. SanLei has secured a marketing and distribution agreement...
(Bloomberg 08/29/17)
Angola is in talks with banks to raise $2 billion via a Eurobond in what would be the OPEC member’s biggest debt sale on global capital markets. The government has yet to choose banks to lead the deal and media reports that Russia’s VTB Bank PJSC has the mandate are false, the Finance Ministry said in an emailed statement. The Eurobond issuance was approved by a presidential order on Aug. 4 and will help Angola lengthen its maturities, as well...
(Bloomberg 08/28/17)
Angola’s two biggest opposition parties rejected provisional results from an Aug. 23 election that gave the ruling Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola a majority of votes. The southern African nation’s second-biggest opposition party, the Broad Consensus for Angola Salvation - Electoral Coalition, known as Casa-Ce, said in an emailed statement that the vote count lacked transparency and wasn’t based on reliable information. Its refusal to accept the outcome came after the biggest opposition party, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, or Unita, said Aug. 26 that it didn’t consider the provisional results valid. The ruling MPLA won 61 percent of the ballots counted last week
(Bloomberg 08/28/17)
Angola’s main opposition party, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola, or Unita, said on Saturday that provisional results that gave the ruling party a majority of the votes in an election earlier this week weren’t valid. "The country doesn’t yet have valid electoral results," Isaias Samakuva, the leader of Unita, said at a press conference in Viana, on the outskirts of the capital Luanda. "The country still doesn’t have a president elect." The ruling People’s Movement for...
(Bloomberg 08/25/17)
As Joao Lourenco stands on the brink of realizing his 16-year ambition to become Angola’s president, many of his fellow citizens wonder whether he can bring about change in one of the world’s most unequal countries. Lourenco, who’s commonly known as “J-Lo,” first signaled his desire to hold the southern African nation’s top office in 2001 when Jose Eduardo dos Santos hinted he was ready to step down, and then changed his mind. Now with the ruling Popular Movement for...
(Quartz 08/25/17)
For the first time in 38 years, Angola is set to have a new leader—from the same old party. Provisional results announced by Angola’s electoral commission suggests that João Lourenço, the country’s erstwhile defense minister, is on track to become president. The ruling People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) holds a seemingly unassailable 64.5% share of the vote, with over 70% of ballots counted. (The top candidate of the winning party becomes president.) The MPLA’s apparent victory extends...
(Bloomberg 08/24/17)
Every African nation that’s sold dollar debt now has at least one junk rating, but it would be hard to tell by looking at the bond market. The average yield on sovereign Eurobonds in Africa has hovered near the lowest level in two years this month, according to a Standard Bank Group Ltd. index, even after Moody’s Investors Service cut Namibia to below investment grade on Aug. 11. The world’s biggest producer of marine diamonds had been the continent’s only...

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