Friday 26 May 2017
(Financial Times 05/26/17)
Senate passes first of five bills aimed at unlocking billions of dollars in investment. Nigeria’s senate has passed the first of a series of laws aimed at overhauling the troubled oil sector in what lawmakers say is an initial step towards unlocking billions of dollars in investment. This bill’s passage comes after 12 years of attempts by the legislature to agree a new legal framework for the industry, on which Nigeria depends for 70 per cent of its revenues and nearly all of its export earnings. “This bill is not only for Nigerians but for our investors,” Bukola Saraki, senate president, was quoted as saying on Twitter. “We are proud of what has been done.”...
(Bloomberg 05/26/17)
South Africa forecast a record corn harvest this year as improved rainfall boosts yields and helps farmers recover from the worst drought since records began. The country will probably reap 15.63 million metric tons of corn this year, Lusani Ndou, a senior statistician at the Pretoria-based Crop Estimates Committee, said by phone on Friday. That would top 1981’s 14.66 million tons, according to data from the South African Grain Information Service. The committee raised its estimate by 7.5 percent from the previous 14.54 million tons in April due to increased expectations for yields in the Free State and North West provinces, Ndou said. South Africa’s corn harvest is rebounding sharply from last season’s nine-year low. Grain SA, a local producers’...
(Bloomberg 05/24/17)
Nigeria’s central bank will increase dollar sales to support the economy and bolster the naira after leaving its key interest rate at a record high level. “Interventions will be more vigorous and intense,” Governor Godwin Emefiele told reporters in the capital, Abuja, after announcing the Monetary Policy Committee’s decision to keep the benchmark rate at 14 percent. “Loosening monetary policy would exacerbate inflationary pressure” and reverse the naira’s gains on the parallel market, he said. The central bank has kept...
(Bloomberg 05/24/17)
Tanzanian President John Magufuli asked Mines Minister Sospeter Muhongo to resign after an audit of containers of mineral sands showed exports were understated. “I really like Prof. Muhongo and he is a friend of mine, but on this he needs to rethink and reassess without delay,” Magufuli said on Wednesday after receiving an audit of 277 containers seized at the port of Dar es Salaam in March. “I’d like him to resign.” An investigation initiated by Magufuli in March found...
(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.
(Financial Times 05/24/17)
The South African rand was boosted on Tuesday following reports that the African National Congress is discussing options to remove the country’s president, Jacob Zuma, from office, although some gains were trimmed after an ANC spokesman denied the claims. The rand, which was down as much as 0.7 per cent earlier in the day to $0.075, rallied as much as 1.5 per cent to $0.076 after Bloomberg reported that the ruling ANC’s national executive committee would raise the possibility of...
(Bloomberg 05/23/17)
A rebel group that’s waged a six-year war against Sudan’s government will ask the U.S. to postpone a sanctions review on the African country beyond a July deadline as it accuses President Umar al-Bashir’s forces of breaching a cease-fire and blocking aid to civilians. The Obama administration in January ordered the reversal of some of the economic sanctions the U.S. imposed on Sudan in 1997, four years after it was listed as a state sponsor of terrorism. The leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, which has fought in the country’s South Kordofan and Blue Nile provinces since 2011
(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...
(Bloomberg 05/23/17)
South African ministers met with S&P Global Ratings on Monday after discussions with Moody’s Investors Service last week as the nation seeks to avoid another downgrade. Africa’s most-industrialized economy was reduced to junk by both S&P and Fitch Ratings Ltd. last month due to concern over policy continuity and political instability. The moves came after President Jacob Zuma removed Pravin Gordhan as finance minister, replacing him with a minister with little financial experience. The changes to the cabinet would “weaken...
(Bloomberg 05/22/17)
Nigeria’s central bank will keep monetary policy tight as dollar shortages persist, Deputy Governor Joseph Nnanna said before an interest-rate announcement next week. Now is not the time to ease policy, he said in an interview Thursday in the capital, Abuja. Inflation slowed for a third month in April, but at 17.2 percent remains almost double the upper limit of the bank’s 6 percent to 9 percent target. “We are battling with liquidity as it were, so tight monetary policy...
(The Guardian 05/20/17)
Report questions why taxpayers should finance the project, which would have an export edge over Australia’s coal ports. An Australian government agency is considering a multi-million dollar loan to a South African coal mine that would be in direct competition with the Adani Carmichael coal mine. The Export Finance and Insurance Corporation (Efic) is considering the loan to develop the Boikarabelo coal project in Limpopo Province, South Africa. The Boikarabelo mine has approval to extract 32m tonnes a year of raw coal, making it of similar size to some proposals in Australia’s Galilee Basin. With Efic’s help, the project could lead to the development of one
(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 05/19/17)
The International Monetary Fund raised its forecast for economic growth in South Africa, saying that the end of the worst drought in more than a century will lift agricultural production while rising commodity prices will boost mining. The Washington-based lender forecast growth of 1 percent for Africa’s most-industrialized economy in 2017, up from the 0.8 percent prediction it made in April. The consumer inflation rate will probably fall below the 6 percent upper limit of the central bank’s target rate...
(Bloomberg 05/18/17)
The Bank of Zambia reduced its benchmark rate for the second straight time since its introduction five years ago as good rains improve prospects for lower food prices in coming months. The central bank cut the rate to 12.5 percent, the lowest since 2015, from 14 percent, Governor Denny Kalyalya told reporters Wednesday in Lusaka, the capital. Consumer inflation was unchanged at 6.7 percent in April, the lowest since 2013, after peaking at 22.9 percent in February last year. While...
(Bloomberg 05/18/17)
After months of attacks by opposition parties, labor unions and the courts, South African President Jacob Zuma now appears to be on a collision course with a more dangerous adversary: his own ruling African National Congress. ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe said this week that the party told Zuma’s administration to rescind a decision to reappoint Brian Molefe, who’d been implicated in a graft probe, as the head of the state power utility. Last month three of the party’s top six...
(Bloomberg 05/18/17)
Uganda, which wants to start building part of a multi-billion-dollar rail line to Kenya, must wait for its neighbor to decide on plans for its portion of the track before the project’s main funder makes money available, the country’s finance minister said. Export-Import Bank of China will arrange financing for Uganda only when it’s sure that Kenya “is willing and able to extend its railway to the border, so that they don’t fund a white elephant,” Finance Minister Matia Kasaija...
(The Guardian 05/17/17)
Libya’s National Oil Corporation chief also claims Wintershall colluded with unlawful efforts by Libyan government to take over sale of oil contracts. A German oil producer has been accused by the head of Libya’s National Oil Corporation of withholding more than $900m (£697m) from the Libyan state and colluding with unlawful efforts by Libya’s UN-backed government to take over the sale of the country’s vastly profitable oil contracts. The power struggle between the NOC and Wintershall – which denied that it owed any money and said it had always met
(Bloomberg 05/17/17)
Nigeria’s inflation slowed for the third consecutive month in April as gasoline prices declined. The inflation rate in Africa’s most-populous nation fell to 17.2 percent from 17.3 percent in March, the Abuja-based National Bureau of Statistics said in an emailed statement Tuesday. The median of 16 economist estimates in a Bloomberg survey was for the rate to decrease to 16.9 percent. Prices rose 1.6 percent in the month, while food prices climbed at a slower pace in March. Inflation accelerated every month for more than a year until January, partly because import prices increased due to dollar
(Bloomberg 05/17/17)
Kenya announced steps to rein in food prices that are rising at the fastest pace in five years and providing campaign fodder for the opposition ahead of elections in August. The government will spend as much as 6 billion shillings ($58 million) subsidizing corn prices and waiving duties on milk and sugar, Agriculture Secretary Willy Bett told reporters Tuesday in the capital, Nairobi. The measures come as the Treasury prepares a supplementary budget to deal with the surging cost of...
(Bloomberg 05/17/17)
The United Nations said it plans to deploy more peacekeeping forces in the Central African Republic diamond-mining town of Bangassou to stem a recent wave of violence. Almost three quarters of the 35,000 inhabitants of the southeastern town need humanitarian assistance following the unrest, Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said in an emailed statement Tuesday. The additional forces are being deployed to “neutralize attackers, protect civilians and facilitate critical humanitarian support to the population,” Dujarric said. The...

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