South Africa: Latest News
Dana Sanchez, 3:56 pm
Donald Trump’s election could not have been better news for the economic and political ambitions of China. Suddenly, all roads lead to China from Africa, Europe, most of Asia and most of South America. African manufacturers could profit from China’s growing power, but that may have more to do with rising labor costs in China than it has to do with retreating U.S.-Africa trade. Manufacturing salaries are rising fast in China, which is starting to outsource production to other countries. China has become a victim of its own success.
Dana Sanchez, 11:17 am
Hyperinflation in 2008 had Zimbabweans paying 50 billion Zimbabwean dollars for an egg and 100 trillion dollars for a weekly bus ticket. The U.S. dollar has been Zimbabwe’s main currency since 2009 but those are in short supply. Now it’s deja vu all over again as the Zimbabwe government forces bond notes into circulation, a move many feel is a ploy to bring back the Zimbabwean dollar. The central bank promised to keep a lid on issuing bond notes, insisting they are not an official currency and will have no value outside of Zimbabwe. The first test will be in the informal foreign exchange markets on the streets.
Ishay Govender-Ypma, 7:00 am
People often drive past the town of Sedgefield, Africa’s first and only certified “slow town,” without stopping. They’re headed for other Garden Route destinations, like Knynsa. Sedgefield wants travelers to slow down and stop there, and it’s hoping to do that by marketing its slow town designation. To qualify as a slow town, Sedgfield must preserve traditional food, control growth, promote healthy lifestyle. It doesn’t hurt that the town is in an exquisite setting. “The people of Sedgefield wholeheartedly embrace the concept,” a tourism stakeholder said. “They love the values and live by them.”
Tom Jackson, 6:56 am AFKI Original
A recent McKinsey report on “digital globalisation” found flows of data and information now generate more economic value than the global trade in goods. Essentially, this means that an industry that did not exist 15 years ago is now bringing in more value to a country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) than the centuries-old trade in goods. That is quite something.
Peter Pedroncelli, 4:44 am AFKI Original
The South African ultra-marathon team was on fire this past weekend, as Bongumusa Mthembu secured a second place finish overall, allowing the South Africans to triumph in the team standings at the IAU 100km World Championships in Los Alcazares, Spain on Sunday.
Dana Sanchez, 5:24 pm
Fidel Castro was no angel. He ran Cuba with “a strong arm and dodgy economic policies,” but for many in Africa, the Cuban leader was a friend in need. Castro is credited with helping pit Russia against the U.S. in a war in Angola that brought about the beginning of the end of apartheid. It wasn’t just about independence from colonialists but also from the perceived injustices of capitalism. “I find capitalism repugnant. It is filthy, it is gross, it is alienating,” Castro said.
Staff, 11:20 am
Though HIV has faded from the headlines since the development of antiretroviral drugs made the disease manageable, it is still a pandemic. Researchers in South Africa will begin Monday to inoculate thousands of volunteers in the latest — and, some say, most promising — effort to develop a vaccine that prevents HIV/AIDS. If the vaccine is 50-to-60 percent effective, experts say that would be enough for drugmakers to begin licensing negotiations with the South African government.
Staff, 7:13 am
Nearly 100 million people are now on the first steps of the energy ladder thanks to the rapid deployment of solar home systems in poor communities across the world. That’s incredible progress that marks the beginning, not the end, of clean energy access. With increasing attention being paid to the missing middle excitement about the opportunity to end energy poverty is palpable.
Dana Sanchez, 5:24 pm
Credit ratings agency Fitch on Friday revised its outlook for South Africa from stable to negative, citing political risks. Moody’s was also expected to release its outlook Friday, but had not done so by late afternoon. There are fears that South Africa will be downgraded to junk status. Junk status means high risk, and therefore, high borrowing costs. For fund managers representing investors, a downgrade to junk status means they will have to sell the assets (bonds) they hold. Their mandates require that they only invest in investment-grade assets. For ordinary South Africans it means paying more interest, leaving less money for savings or food.
Dana Sanchez, 2:06 pm
McDonald’s opened its first burger and fast-food restaurant in South Africa in 1995, and now has more than 200 stores. Chinese mobile messaging app WeChat is trying to compete with Facebook-owned WhatsApp, which dominates in SA, by collaborating with large merchants like McDonald’s. Customers can now pay at McDonald’s using mobile payments at some locations. WeChat is dominant in China, where 200M-plus use its mobile payment platform. Mobile payments have not caught on in SA like they have in China or Kenya.
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