South Africa: Latest News
Dana Sanchez, 9:34 am
There are just 37 black-owned wine brands in South Africa, the world’s seventh-largest wine producing country. The industry employs 290,000 people at 550-plus wineries. Empowerment and transformation has been slow to increase black ownership and leadership. Ntsiki Biyela, South Africa’s first black female winemaker, is a role model and symbol of change. She recently launched her own brand, Aslina wines, named after her grandmother in a rural KwaZulu-Natal village of 1,000 people. The wines are set for export to the U.S. later this year.
Reuters, 12:25 pm
Fitch said Zuma’s recent cabinet reshuffle will likely result in new economic policy. Downgrades to junk — first by S&P on Monday and today by Fitch — could see South Africa fall off some global bond indexes. This may force international funds that are prohibited from holding sub-investment grade securities to sell. There is still is a huge wealth gap between blacks and whites, Zuma said in his SONA address. Zuma’s presidency has been riddled with corruption accusations and money-related scandals. He has called for radical economic transformation.
Peter Pedroncelli, 4:24 am
Englishman Stuart Baxter seems set to be officially confirmed as the new South African national soccer team coach, having agreed to terms with the country’s soccer authorities in what will be a return for the SuperSport United manager. The South African Football Association (SAFA) has confirmed that the 63-year-old has concluded a deal to coach Bafana Bafana, and all that remains is for the confirmation to be made public via the media.
Dana Sanchez, 10:10 pm
Luanda is still the world’s second most expensive city for expats after Hong Kong, but rent for office space fell almost 50 percent in the past two years. Demand has virtually ground to a halt in the region’s top oil-producing country. Rent has has also fallen for office space and luxury homes in Nairobi, where there’s an oversupply. Kenya became a hotspot for oil and gas exploration in 2012. With the price of crude down more than 50 percent since mid-2014, Nigeria, the region’s second-largest oil producer, is in recession. One bright spot: industrial space rent is rising in Kenya.
Staff, 10:34 am
Tests developed to treat white people may be unsuitable for Africans. Ethiopia banned the painkiller codeine because many Ethiopians carry a gene variant that causes their bodies to convert the drug to morphine. Scientists have been pushing to improve health care by tailoring to the environment, lifestyle and genes of individuals. Few have taken this precision-medicine approach in Africa, but that’s changing. Precision public health is a new approach to precision medicine that bases decisions on populations and communities rather than on individuals. There’s a big problem though. Precision medicine is expensive.
Dana Sanchez, 10:34 am
S&P is the first agency to downgrade South Africa’s sovereign debt to non-investment grade. SA’s banks have proved that they can weather storms. “We have 50 percent more capital than in the global financial crisis and all South African banks came through that event fine,” a stakeholder said. March was a record month for trading volume in SA bonds. S&P’s decision doesn’t impact SA’s eligibility in global bond indices yet. But more ratings downgrades and increased trading volumes could. “The real issue is the impact on economic growth, industrial performance and employment,” a wealth manager said. “There is a negative relationship between economic growth and bank assets.”
Peter Pedroncelli, 5:42 am
South African rugby team coach Allister Coetzee is currently in search of the next captain that will lead the Springboks in this year’s list of fixtures, with previous skipper Adriaan Strauss having retired at the end of last year. Strauss captained the Boks during Coetzee’s first year in charge, but soon after he was appointed he made it known that he would retire from international rugby at the end of the season. His coach therefore had a great deal of time to consider his successor.
Reuters, 9:55 am
Zuma fired former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan over the weekend. The ANC party is blamed for inequality in a country where 80% of the population is black, but whites own most of the land. New Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said he will make unpopular choices to oversee radical economic transformation and redistribution of wealth. Gigaba also said said he will stick with budget plans to seek up to $2B per year in foreign funding. “We are not a bunch of wild gunmen running amok, gung-ho into Treasury…We are going maintain the programs that are being implemented,” Gigaba said.
Tom Jackson, 8:48 am AFKI Original
Uber says there’s enough room in Africa for all types of taxi and ride-hailing services. The US-based tech company headed off early competition on the continent, but new competitiors are rising. Uber hypes up the competition, saying it means more choices that are affordable, reliable, and produce jobs. One new Uber competitior, Africa Ride, offers drivers a share in the business, saying it empowers them more than Uber does. “Drivers will want to log in on the app which they own and have control over,” said Africa Ride founder Thabo Mashale.
Peter Pedroncelli, 9:00 am
World soccer governing body FIFA has proposed that Africa receive nine automatic qualification spots when the World Cup expands to 48 teams at the 2026 competition. The proposal would see four extra places for the continent, as Africa is currently offered five automatic qualifying berths. In addition to the nine places, a tenth African country will be able to take part in a six-nation play-off tournament between all of the global continental confederations to decide two additional spots.
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