Tuesday 19 September 2017
(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 is undoubtedly the cause of this problem. But cocoa farming could also provide the solution. Recently, I was in Ivory Coast for the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Abidjan. It united many different parties...
(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 and they’ve gotten ahead,” Alexandre Maymat, who oversees Societe Generale’s operations in French-speaking Africa, said at a press briefing. “We’re catching up” by redefining the retail strategy and providing a broader offering than telephone companies. Chief Executive Officer Frederic Oudea...
(Bloomberg 09/13/17)
Walking through rows of macadamia trees on her farm in eastern Zimbabwe, Shalet Mutasa proudly displays a set of soil-quality results showing the fields’ conditions are improving. This will be her third harvest of the creamy white nuts after switching from less-profitable corn. Mutasa, who is in her mid-50s and was allocated the previously white-owned land by the government, is targeting 20 metric tons of production. That’s nearly double last year’s crop and a big jump from the half a...
(The Guardian 09/12/17)
Zimbabwe first lady denies assault on Gabriella Engels, saying she was protecting herself after being attacked with knife. Zimbabwe’s first lady, Grace Mugabe, has denied assaulting a South African model in a hotel suite in Johannesburg last month, saying she acted in self-defence after being attacked with a knife. In a previously unreported deposition from 17 August, Mugabe countered the version of the incident given by Gabriella Engels to police and media. According to Mugabe, she was protecting herself after...
(Bloomberg 09/11/17)
Zimbabwe’s government is using money earned from diamond exports to fund its Central Intelligence Organisation, blamed for a raft of human-rights abuses as it’s helped to keep President Robert Mugabe in power since 1980, Global Witness said. Diamonds dug from the Marange fields in eastern Zimbabwe are channeled through Dubai, India, the Netherlands and South Africa by a complicated web of cross-owned companies based in places as diverse as Mauritius, Hong Kong and Johannesburg, the London-based group said in a...
(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...
(Bloomberg 09/08/17)
Political violence has flared in Zimbabwe as the southern African nation gears up for elections next year that may see a united opposition seek to end President Robert Mugabe’s near four-decade rule. The Zimbabwe Peace Project recorded attacks on 745 people last month, up from 435 in July. The ruling party, military, police and intelligence services were responsible for 94 percent of the assaults, according to the human-rights group, which is based in the capital, Harare, and has 420 observers...
(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 08/30/17)
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 08/24/17)
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...
(Bloomberg 08/22/17)
All eight South African Airways flights between Harare and Johannesburg were canceled on Saturday when the Zimbabwe government demanded a foreign operators permit, a day after an Air Zimbabwe plane was grounded in the South African city for similar reasons. The decisions to halt the flights came as Zimbabwe seeks diplomatic immunity in South Africa for President Robert Mugabe’s wife, Grace, after she was charged with assault in Johannesburg. The Wednesday request is being considered, officials said. On Friday, the...
(Bloomberg 08/21/17)
GreenWish Partners, a renewable energy company run by a former Morgan Stanley executive, is planning to invest $800 million on solar-powered telecommunications towers across Africa. The project could fuel economic growth by providing power for essential services. Sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest rates of energy access in the world and is home to about half of the world’s 1.2 billion people without reliable electricity, according to the International Energy Agency. The problem extends to businesses as well as households, cutting...
(Bloomberg 08/14/17)
One of Zimbabwe’s two deputy leaders is receiving treatment in South Africa after falling ill at a political rally over the weekend, President Robert Mugabe said. “The vice president is still in a hospital in Johannesburg,” Mugabe said Monday at a Heroes’ Day function televised by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corp. It was the first official government statement on the health of Emmerson Mnangagwa. Mnangagwa’s condition is stable, Zimbabwe’s Health Minister David Parirenyatwa told reporters in the capital, Harare, on Monday...
(Bloomberg 08/14/17)
The U.S. will probably maintain its current levels of aid to Africa despite President Donald Trump’s proposals to slash funding, according to Bill Gates, the world’s richest man. Trump said in May his government would no longer allocate funding for family planning, a move that has the potential to undermine aid programs in the poorest countries in the world. However, with Congress in control of the budget, it’s unlikely that all cuts proposed by the Trump administration will go ahead...
(Financial Times 08/04/17)
Move raises fears notes are paving way for return of country’s dollar. Zimbabwe’s central bank said it would more than double the printing of “bond notes” as cash shortages worsen in the dollar-dependent southern African nation. John Mangudya, the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, said on Wednesday that the bond notes, a parallel currency launched last year that is officially equal to US dollars in value but trades at a discount, would be printed “on a drip-feed basis”...
(Voice of America 08/02/17)
The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization has called an emergency meeting this Wednesday in South Africa of all countries in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) following an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). Aid workers are concerned what this could mean for food security in the region, where a fall armyworm invasion and drought have decimated crops in recent years. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says besides Zimbabwe, the other countries in the region hit by...
(Bloomberg 08/02/17)
Julien Ochala can’t live without his morning cup of Joe. But not just any coffee will do. For the past five years, the 37-year-old physiology lecturer at King’s College London has visited the same store every week to grab a pack of his beloved Kenyan brew. And he’s not put off by the cost: at 37 pounds a kilogram ($22 a pound), it’s more than double a similar supermarket product. "I take Kenyan coffee every morning," said Ochala, who buys...
(Bloomberg 08/01/17)
British American Tobacco Plc faces a formal probe by the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office following reports that the maker of Dunhill cigarettes bribed African government officials to influence tobacco legislation. BAT said Tuesday it is running its own investigations, via external legal advisers, into allegations of misconduct and is cooperating with the U.K. prosecutor. A BBC report two years ago said BAT had a lobbyist arrange bribes totaling $26,000 for three public officials in Rwanda, Burundi and the Comoros Islands...

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