Friday 26 May 2017
(Bloomberg 05/24/17)
Ghana is seeking better terms for its debt-support program with the International Monetary Fund as the parties discuss an extension of the agreement beyond an April 2018 deadline, according to a person familiar with the matter. The government will agree to extend the deal in return for a bigger credit facility, said the person, who asked not to be named because the information isn’t public. West Africa’s second-biggest economy will take longer than planned to meet the objective of the program, the Washington-based lender said May 19. Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta didn’t answer calls seeking comment. A spokesman for the IMF didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment by phone and email.
(Bloomberg 05/23/17)
Ghana’s new central bank governor cut the benchmark interest rate to the lowest level in almost two years to help spur economic growth as inflation pressures ease. The Bank of Ghana reduced its key rate to 22.5 percent from 23.5 percent, Governor Ernest Addison told reporters in Accra, the capital, after chairing his first meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee since replacing Abdul Nashiru Issahaku early last month. That’s the lowest rate since July 2015. Five out of eight economists in a Bloomberg survey forecast a cut and the rest predicted borrowing costs will stay unchanged. The central bank reduced its key rate in November for the first time in more than five years even as inflation has been outside...
(Bloomberg 05/19/17)
Ghana’s new central bank governor, Ernest Addison, is likely to cut interest rates to an almost two-year low in his debut decision. The former African Development Bank economist, in office since the end of March, has room to act on Monday after the inflation rate fell from a record and the currency stabilized. That would extend an easing cycle started by former Governor Abdul Nashiru Issahaku, who cut borrowing costs at two of the six monetary policy committee meetings that...
(Bloomberg 05/18/17)
Steinhoff International Holdings NV plans to list its African assets separately as the acquisitive retailer seeks a new prize for shareholders following this year’s failed merger talks with Shoprite Holdings Ltd. The company said Wednesday it will seek to list businesses including clothing retailer Pepkor and furniture chain JD Group Ltd. on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, about 18 months after moving its primary listing to Frankfurt from the South African commercial hub. The new business could be worth as much...
(AL Jazeera 05/16/17)
When John Mahama stepped down as president of Ghana in January 2017, he became the first in his country's history to fail to secure a second term in office. Critics argued that Mahama, who was nicknamed Mr Power Cut because of a series of debilitating power cuts during his term, was unable to meet the expectations of ordinary Ghanaians. But Mahama has also been praised for the role he played during the Ebola crisis, and most recently for helping convince...
(AL Jazeera 05/12/17)
Former Ghanaian president says political problems in South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt will affect the entire continent. When John Mahama stepped down as president of Ghana in January 2017, he became the first in his country's history to fail to secure a second term in office. Critics argued that Mahama, who was nicknamed Mr Power Cut because of a series of debilitating power cuts during his term, was unable to meet the expectations of ordinary Ghanaians. But Mahama has also...
(Fox News 05/10/17)
After five years of no major attacks on merchant vessels, piracy around the Horn of Africa seemed to be on hiatus. Acts of piracy in those treacherous waters have fallen sharply since 2012, according to statistics released by the United States Navy. The Navy credits aggressive patrolling by international forces and increased vigilance by the commercial shipping industry for the decrease. However, in the past month, Somali pirates have intercepted five ships, raising concerns that piracy has returned to the...
(Dw-World 05/09/17)
A counter-extremist civil society group in Ghana has helped prevent more than 20 young people from joining the so-called Islamic State. Online recruiters often target vulnerable students who face poor job prospects. The radical militant group "Islamic State" (IS) is known for making headlines in Syria and Iraq, now they are also increasingly making their presence felt in West African countries like Ghana. With almost 24 percent of its population aged between 15 and 24, many vulnerable young Muslims are...
(Voice of America 05/05/17)
As Africa grapples with a severe drought, and famine threatens millions of people, experts at the World Economic Forum on Africa this week in the South African city of Durban say food security needs to be a major part of discussions on advancing the continent economically. The annual World Economic Forum in Switzerland is usually a high-powered event, but at this week’s Africa meeting of the international organization, the continent’s big players are welcoming the humble farmer, now known as...
(Bloomberg 05/04/17)
Ghana is considering reducing prices for the cocoa beans it sells to local grinders in a bid to boost processing volumes and create more employment. The world’s second-largest producer of the chocolate ingredient plans to raise local processing to 50 percent of national bean output from 20 percent currently, according to the Ghana Cocoa Board, the industry regulator. Ghana has about 12 cocoa-processing companies with an installed capacity that’s estimated to total about 400,000 metric tons, or about half the country’s average harvest over the last three years. Processors in the West African nation, including Barry Callebaut AG
(Voice of America 05/03/17)
African military expenditures have finally slowed down after more than a decade of steady increases, according to a new report on global defense spending. The main reason, the report found, is a drop in oil prices. “The sharp decreases in oil prices has affected quite a number of African countries, namely South Sudan and Angola. This has kind of driven almost the entire regional trend,” said Nan Tian, a researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI) Arms and...
(Bloomberg 05/02/17)
Saudi Aramco is seeking to boost its fuel-trading volume by more than a third as the world’s biggest crude exporter expands its capacity to refine oil to grab a bigger share of growing markets in Asia and Africa. Aramco, as Saudi Arabian Oil Co. is known, is building refineries in the kingdom and in Asia to help it increase sales and purchases of gasoline, diesel and other products to more than 2 million barrels a day, said Ibrahim Al-Buainain, chief...
(Voice of America 04/28/17)
Ghana's finance minister says investors were optimistic in meetings with senior government officials who accompanied Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia to the World Bank spring meetings in Washington. In an interview with VOA, Ken Ofori-Atta said investors detected a new energy, and a sense of hope in a team that is focused on getting Ghana out of its current predicament. He also said that with a new government in place, the world is ready to see Ghana shine again in a much more stable West Africa. "We came in on a platform of change and real hope that we will revitalize the economy and create jobs
(Voice of America 04/28/17)
A low-cost and widely available drug could save the lives of 1 in 3 mothers who would otherwise bleed to death after childbirth, according to a new study. Severe bleeding, known as postpartum hemorrhage, or PPH, is the leading cause of maternal death worldwide, killing more than 100,000 women every year. Even for mothers who survive, it is a painful and traumatic experience. The world's poorest countries, especially in Africa and India, are the worst hit. Drug from 1960s But...
(Bloomberg 04/26/17)
Ghana’s cocoa regulator ruled out cutting the price it pays farmers for the new harvest that starts in October, at a time when nations are working together to stem a rout in prices. The amount paid to farmers in the world’s second-biggest grower will be unchanged and may even rise in the new season, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, chief executive officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board, said in Abidjan, the commercial capital of neighboring Ivory Coast. Aidoo was attending an emergency...
(Bloomberg 04/20/17)
WorldRemit Ltd., a British money-transfer operator, sees revenue from transactions involving Africans doubling by 2020 as more people on the continent access mobile-payment platforms and expatriates send cash home. The seven-year-old company, in which Facebook Inc.-backer Accel Partners LP invested $40 million in 2014, will this year open a regional office in South Africa, its largest market on the continent in terms of money-transfer value, founder and Chief Executive Officer Ismail Ahmed said in an interview. Another site will start...
(Voice of America 04/17/17)
The Italian coast guard says it has rescued nearly 6,000 migrants on the Mediterranean since Friday, underscoring the continued flow of people along this dangerous route. A group of Africans living in Europe visited Cameroon this week to launch a campaign against illegal migration. The group is called “No More Death in the Desert or on the Sea.” Its mission is simple: to educate youth in Africa about the harsh realities of illegal migration. "We want to tell them that...
(Financial Times 04/13/17)
Ghana intends to end its three-year $918m loan deal with the International Monetary Fund as scheduled in April of next year, the country’s finance minister said on Thursday. Ken Ofori-Atta told a news conference that ending the IMF programme it inherited from the previous government “means a lot more hard work” and “some very tough decisions…regarding our deficit” in the 2017 budget. His carefully worded comments come after two weeks of talks in the capital, Accra, with the IMF and...
(Voice of America 04/05/17)
A Red Cross report says African countries are failing their internally displaced people. Reversing that trend was the subject of a high level meeting of the International Red Cross and the African Union that wrapped up Tuesday in Zimbabwe. Africa has about 13 million internally displaced people, a third of the global number of IDPs, and more than double the amount of refugees on the continent. By definition, refugees flee across a national border, while IDPs leave their homes but...
(Bloomberg 04/04/17)
The scores of giant potholes that scar the roads from commercial capital Abidjan to Daloa in the heart of Ivory Coast’s cocoa belt have become deep, muddy puddles, filled by heavy tropical showers. While drivers making the tortuous journey from the Atlantic coast into the hot interior have reason to curse the wet weather, for farmers in the world’s largest cocoa producer the rains mean the prospect of another record crop. "We’ve got beneficial rains this season," said Abdoulaye Baro,...

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