| Africatime
Saturday 25 March 2017
(Bloomberg 03/24/17)
Ghana’s central bank may have space to cut its benchmark interest rate for a second time in four months as the cedi started to recover from record lows and inflation slowed to the lowest rate in more than four years. Governor Abdul Nashiru Issahaku has enough room to cut the West African nation’s main rate by as much as 100 basis points, according to Courage Kingsley Martey, an Accra-based economist at Databank Group. Two of the four economists in a Bloomberg survey forecast the central bank will reduce the policy rate from 25.5 percent on Monday. The central bank reduced its key rate in November for the first time since May 2011 even as inflation...
(Bloomberg 03/24/17)
After overseeing sub-Saharan Africa’s fastest-growing economy and six years of relative peace, Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara is in the midst of a year from hell. First soldiers staged a mutiny, then public workers went on strike and now cocoa prices have fallen. All told, the West African nation is facing the worst social unrest since Ouattara, 75, assumed power in 2011. With cocoa prices in London dropping more than 30 percent from July, the government in the world’s top producer may have to take a decision that could overshadow the achievements of Ouattara’s first term: cut payments paid to cocoa farmers as soon as next week. That will affect about 6 million people -- a quarter of the population...
(Bloomberg 03/23/17)
Slumping cocoa prices are testing to the limit top producer Ivory Coast’s efforts to ensure stability for farmers, heightening risks for the domestic economy and world markets. Authorities have warned they’ll have to cut payments to growers. That follows a wave of defaults by local exporters who’d bet on higher prices, costing the government more than $300 million and pushing cocoa futures even lower. The more than 30 percent drop in London benchmark prices from a six-year high in July...
(BBC News Africa 03/21/17)
A footballer whose post-match interview went viral after he thanked his wife and girlfriend has denied being unfaithful. Ghanaian Mohammed Anas, of South Africa's Free State Stars, told the BBC he was referring to his daughter. "My family knows that I call my daughter my girlfriend. That's what I was talking about. I don't have a girlfriend," he said. Anas said he was not worried about his wife's reaction. He said he was surprised how many people had watched the...
(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...
(Voice of America 03/17/17)
One of the enduring legacies of the Barack Obama presidency will be the relationship built between the United States and young Africans. As part of Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), each year 1,000 young people from sub-Saharan Africa travel to the United States to spend six weeks at a U.S. college or university. The program will continue this summer. But building enduring relationships is a two-way street, and many in Africa want to see Americans coming to their continent...
(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...
(The Independent 03/06/17)
Th term was coined by sceptical officials, worried about the importance given to Commonwealth trade deals ahead of Brexit negotiations. Plans by government ministers to boost trade links with African Commonwealth countries are being internally branded “empire 2.0” by sceptical officials who are worried about the importance being placed on such deals ahead of the UK’s negotiations of leaving the European Union (EU). International Trade Secretary Liam Fox is expected to promise to build better links with the whole of...
(Bloomberg 03/03/17)
Polar Star Management Ltd., which runs one of the best-performing African and Middle East hedge fund over the past five years, plans to start a private-equity unit that will invest in agriculture to exploit rising demand for food. The Cape Town-based firm plans to use its own money to buy small farms and processing companies in South Africa this year, then increase efficiency through consolidation and better management, said Murray Derksen, a director at Polar Star. It aims to raise...
(Bloomberg 03/01/17)
Ghana’s new finance minister faces having to fulfill election pledges to spend more on education and job creation while trying to raise investor confidence eroded by fears about the nation’s finances. After promises of free high-school education and tax cuts in the run-up to a December vote, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, 57, will present the 2017 budget on Thursday following last month’s discovery of about 7 billion cedis ($1.5 billion) in unplanned spending by the previous administration. That startled markets,...
(BBC News Africa 03/01/17)
Ghana have installed Maxwell Konadu as caretaker coach until a permanent successor to Avram Grant is appointed. Konadu, 44, held the position in 2014 after Kwesi Appiah left, and he has also been Ghana assistant coach, Under-20 coach and Under-23 coach. The Ghana Football Association announced its decision on Tuesday as well as the appointment of Professor Joseph Mintah as assistant coach. Mintah will also continue in his role as the team psychologist. Israeli Grant ended his time as Ghana...
(Bloomberg 02/21/17)
The new Ghanaian government’s pledge to provide free secondary education at public schools, less than a month after it said it found a budget hole of 7 billion cedis ($1.5 billion), could compound the nation’s financial trouble. After initial reports, citing Senior Minister Yaw Osafo Maafo, that an oil-savings fund would be used to underwrite free education, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta said in a broadcast on Citi FM on Feb. 17 the government won’t touch the so-called Heritage Fund and that schooling would be funded from the budget. President Nana Akufo-Addo, whose New Patriotic Party won a general election in December
(Bloomberg 02/21/17)
Ashish Thakkar, who co-founded Africa banking conglomerate Atlas Mara Ltd. with ex-Barclays Plc head Bob Diamond, lost a ruling over the ownership of family assets in a London divorce case, with a judge questioning Thakkar’s truthfulness. Judge Philip Moor ruled that Thakkar, and not his mother and sister, was the owner of disputed assets in the divorce. He found that the 35-year-old owned 100 percent of Mara Group Holdings Ltd. and other corporate entities. The result will have ramifications in...
(Voice of America 02/14/17)
U.S. President Donald Trump made his first phone calls to African heads of state Monday, speaking with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and South African President Jacob Zuma. Nigeria and South Africa said the calls were made at the request of the U.S. president, who until now has said little about Africa or African issues since assuming office last month. The Nigerian presidency said Trump and Buhari discussed issues of terrorism, and said Trump assured Buhari the United States is ready...
(AL Jazeera 02/08/17)
The EU must espouse a transnational approach with a clear development agenda that replaces its current security policy. One year ago, 22-year-old Patrick left Douala, the largest city in Cameroon, to become a football star in Europe. A talented midfielder and an ambitious young man, Patrick felt compelled to reach Europe to help him to realise his dreams. But, as he passed through Agadez in Niger, which has become a major transit hub for migrants taking the Central Mediterranean route,...
(Bloomberg 02/06/17)
Ghana’s worse-than-expected budget deficit will heighten currency volatility and elevate the nation’s funding demands to finance previously undisclosed arrears of 7 billion cedis ($1.6 billion), according to Moody’s Investors Service. The discovery of the payment arrears reverses Ghana’s progress on consolidating its fiscal deficit since 2015 under an International Monetary Fund program, Moody’s said in an e-mailed statement on Monday. The shortfall is also weighing on debt dynamics and will undermine the cedi, “all credit negative for the sovereign,” it...
(Bloomberg 02/06/17)
The West African nation’s ballooning budget gap has dismayed investors betting the combination of a new government and an International Monetary Fund program would bring the country’s finances under control. The discovery of a 7 billion-cedi ($1.6 billion) hole is reviving memories of 2015 when Ghana’s economy was in tatters amid a slowdown in commodity prices and excessive spending. “There were some hopes that finally, under the previous government, and with the IMF’s watch, fiscal slippage wouldn’t have been that...
(Bloomberg 02/06/17)
Prem Watsa’s Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. is expected to raise about $500 million for its new African investment fund, attracting less than its original goal as investor interest in the region proved weaker than anticipated, according to people familiar with the matter. The Toronto-based insurer sought to raise as much as $1 billion at $10 a share for Fairfax Africa Holdings Corp. in an initial public offering on the Toronto Stock Exchange, according to a regulatory filing in December. Fairfax...
(Bloomberg 02/01/17)
Ghana’s budget deficit could be twice as big as previously forecast, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta said a day after the government revealed a 7 billion-cedi ($1.6 billion) hole in the budget. The disclosure sent bonds tumbling. The shortfall as a percentage of gross domestic product could be close to “double digits” for 2016, Ofori-Atta said Wednesday in an interview in Accra, the capital. “We’re still in the process of gathering information” on the undisclosed expenditures, said Ofori-Atta, who will propose...
(Bloomberg 01/30/17)
Ghana targets creating 1.5 million jobs in the next two years with plans to invest in agriculture as the West African nation seeks to produce more of its own food to cut the cost of imports, according to the minister for agriculture. The plan comes after President Nana Akufo-Addo was elected in December after pledging to boost the agricultural sector and create jobs in a country where almost half of people between 15 and 24 years are unemployed. While Ghana...

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