Friday 26 May 2017
(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 as 60 billion rand ($4.5 billion), said Evan Walker, a money manager at 36one Asset Management in Johannesburg, although the valuation could also be as low as 40 billion rand depending on how much debt...
(Bloomberg 05/11/17)
Delta Corp Ltd., Zimbabwe’s biggest company by market value, said full-year revenue fell 10 percent as consumers struggling for cash turned to cheaper brands of beer and sparkling wine. Sales declined to $483 million in the year through March, while net income slumped 13 percent to $69.9 million, the Harare-based company said in a statement on Wednesday. Volumes of lager and sparkling wine fell 7 percent and 11 percent respectively, while sorghum beer declined 3 percent after heavy rains limited Delta’s ability to get the plant-based drink into bars and shops. “The company experienced significant challenges during the year,” including drinkers’ limited access to cash and changes to payment platforms, Delta said. “The country received heavy rains, which limited market...
(Financial Times 05/11/17)
Tourism minister tells South Africa that Marxism has had ‘dire consequences’. A Zimbabwean cabinet minister has warned South Africa against copying Harare’s disastrous land reform agenda. Zimbabwe collapsed into economic chaos after President Robert Mugabe implemented a land reform programme in 2000 that led to the seizure of white-owned commercial farms and the eviction of 5,000 mostly white farmers and 150,000 black farm labourers. This year President Jacob Zuma called for radical land reform in South Africa, abandoning “willing buyer,...
(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...
(Bloomberg 05/09/17)
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party is discussing using a press clampdown and intimidation in rural areas to thwart a newly united opposition’s challenge to its three-decade rule in elections next year, according to three senior officials with knowledge of the matter. Officials of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front are increasingly concerned the health of Mugabe, 93, may undermine his campaign and alternative candidates would struggle to beat a coalition of parties united behind opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement...
(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...
(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...
(Voice of America 05/02/17)
Thousands of South African workers today celebrate the workers day in various gatherings across the country, The fate of close to 200,000 Zimbabwean workers hangs in the balance in South Africa as their special permits expire within the next few months. Some of the affected workers, whose Zimbabwe Special Permits expire at the end of December this year, say they may lose their jobs if the papers are not renewed. If the documents expire, the Zimbabweans are expected to go...
(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...
(The New York Times 04/28/17)
“Heh, you people, you used to laugh at us. Look at you now. You can’t even buy a bottle of Coke!” It was the early 2000s, during the economic free-fall that had followed Zimbabwe’s Fast Track Land Reform program, which began 20 years after the country had won its political independence from Ian Smith’s settler colonial regime. My parents were visiting Zambia from South Africa and in the town of Livingstone met a woman who, upon discovering that they were...
(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 04/20/17)
Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and former Vice President Joice Mujuru signed a memorandum of understanding on talks to form a coalition to challenge President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party in 2018 general elections in the southern African nation. Tsvangirai leads the Movement for Democratic Change, while Mujuru, a former deputy to 93-year-old Mugabe, heads the National People’s Party. The ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, in power since independence in 1980, has been accused of human rights abuses, electoral fraud and widespread corruption by groups such as New York-based Human Rights Watch. “This is just the beginning of the building blocks towards establishing a broad
(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 04/19/17)
Zimbabwe marked 37 years of independence Tuesday. However, the country's persistent economic problems cast a shadow over the celebration, despite President Robert Mugabe's promise of better times ahead. In a speech to the more than 50,000 people gathered at a stadium in the capital, the president was hopeful that Zimbabwe's moribund agriculture-based economy will pick up thanks to above-average rainfall in the 2016-'17 growing season. The U.N. says about four million people in Zimbabwe remain dependent on food aid after a drought during the previous two growing seasons. But Mugabe said Zimbabwe would have a "bumper harvest" this year. "Comrades and friends," he told the crowd, "as we today celebrate our hard-earned
(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...
(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...
(Financial Times 04/04/17)
Countries should develop policies to attract labour-intensive production leaving China. China’s initial wave of investments in Africa focused on natural resource extraction. Their demand for metals and energy was so large that it actually boosted global commodity prices overall, which in turn accelerated growth across the African continent. These times of China propping up global commodity prices are now over, as it has built up excess capacity in many sectors and now faces slow investment growth. This lower demand has...
(Voice of America 03/30/17)
The United Nations chief in Zimbabwe has rejected recent allegations the U.N. is seeking to interfere in the 2018 electoral process. A majority-government-owned newspaper, the Sunday Mail, stirred controversy this month when it published an article accusing the United Nations of plotting to rig upcoming elections to remove President Robert Mugabe from office. Mugabe, who has been in office since independence in 1980, says he will run for another term next year. The Sunday Mail story came just days after an opposition protest in which demonstrators said they had lost confidence in the electoral commission and wanted an international body to run the 2018 polls.
(Voice of America 03/28/17)
The World Health Organization and U.N. children's fund are spearheading a massive immunization campaign across Africa to rid the continent of the last vestiges of polio. Tens of thousands of health workers will fan out across 13 central and western African countries to vaccinate more than 116 million children under age five against the crippling disease. The U.N. agencies report more than 190,000 volunteers, traveling on foot or bicycle, will go house to house across all cities, towns, and villages...
(Voice of America 03/25/17)
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has started rehabilitating some of the dilapidated Zimbabwe prisons, most built during the colonial era. The first one to be refurbished — Mlondolozi Prison, about 500 kilometers southwest of Harare — houses mentally ill inmates. Among the improvements, the prison now has better ventilation and natural lighting within patients' cells, as well as improved water and sanitation facilities, according to Thomas Merkelbach, the head the ICRC in Zimbabwe. In addition, there is more space for rehabilitation activities, and kitchens have been upgraded to improve

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