South Africa: Latest News
Staff, 2:46 pm
Exclusively a South African gold producer until September 2015, JSE-listed Sibanye Gold is set to become the world’s fourth-biggest platinum and third-largest palladium producer. Sibanye hopes to acquire Montana-based Stillwater Mining for $2.2 billion. If completed, the acquisition will further dilute Sibanye’s portfolio. Sibanye began its expansion in 2016 with the purchase of platinum mines in Southern Africa. The Stillwater deal is in a whole other league. It’s much more valuable and involves mines far from Sibanye’s home country.
Joe Kennedy, 2:02 pm
The 28-mile Fanie Botha hiking trail is considered one of South Africa’s best. One of the country’s first officially designated hiking trails, it was originally imagined as the start of an Appalachian Trail-inspired hike stretching from the Soutpansberg in the north to the Eastern Cape escarpment. The big dream wasn’t realized but you can hike the Fanie Botha, named for the man who pushed for a national hiking trail system. Hikers often start in the town of Sabie. Four huts can be booked to spend the nights along the way.
Staff, 12:17 pm
Nigeria should be witnessing major investment into its commercial property industry, given its large economy relative to the rest of the continent, its population, which is more than 184 million people and its general development potential. Yet its reliance on oil and its volatile currency had hindered investment. South African investment groups invested in Eastern Europe at the expense of opportunities closer to home, to the tune of around $1.5 billion in 2016. This was more than the total investment volumes recorded in Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana for the past five years or so.
Dana Sanchez, 6:42 pm AFKI Original
Large numbers of Chinese migrants have followed the money to Africa, but no one really knows how many — not even close. Estimates range from 250,000 to 2 million. Experts say informed guesses are anything from speculative to “very problematic.” It’s a problem because inaccurate claims about the Chinese migrant population can contribute to xenophobic election rhetoric and violence, says a migration researcher. In many countries, statistics on migration are incomplete, out of date or nonexistent. “Statistics are political,” a stakeholder said. The data may be out of date but it’s the only data we’ve got.
Dana Sanchez, 1:43 pm AFKI Original
Barack Obama’s 2008 election as U.S. president inspired millions of Africans with hopes that strong ties to Kenya, country of his father’s birth, would mean increased U.S. involvement. Some believe Obama will leave office Jan. 20, 2017, falling short of those expectations. He has been blamed for not making African issues a top priority of his foreign policy. Others say he leaves a lasting legacy that will live on — especially in Africa’s young leaders.
Peter Pedroncelli, 8:00 am AFKI Original
African heads of state and politicians make use of social media to communicate with peers and the people which they serve. Twitter is becoming a popular short-message platform in which to connect with the masses, and Donald Trump is not the only world leader that loves to communicate with posts of under 140 characters. From South Africa to Nigeria, the high profile African heads of state tweet, retweet and reply to followers, offering their opinions on many issues while advancing their own agendas through social media. Here are 12 African heads of state who are on Twitter.
Dana Sanchez, 5:02 pm
In a sign that local credit ratings are becoming more lucrative in Africa, U.S. buyout firm Carlyle agreed to become the largest shareholder in Africa’s largest rating agency. GCR rates more credits on the continent than giants Fitch, Moody’s and S&P. Growth is constrained in the present credit ratings system, said the president of the BRICS New Development Bank. The Big 3 rate over 90% of the global sovereign ratings market. GCR specializes in national-level ratings, which rely less on a country’s sovereign rating.
Dana Sanchez, 1:55 pm
The African tech space is not immune to the economic pressures faced by other sectors, but it is proving resilient. Significantly more African tech startups raised funding in 2016 than the previous year, but the overall amount of recorded funds declined, according to a new report. Fintech startups were the winning sector, receiving the most investor funding in Africa in 2016. The economic downturn played a part in that. Fintech in Africa is different, a stakeholder said. It’s building new infrastructure rather than disrupting an existing one.
Staff, 3:53 pm
Recently renewed by U.S. President Barack Obama, the African Growth and Opportunity Act, or AGOA, allows qualifying African countries to export certain products to the U.S. duty free. U.S. exports to Africa, however, are subject to customs duties. Incoming President Donald Trump isn’t going to go for that, says Herman Cohen, a former U.S. ambassador to several African countries. “I have the feeling that he will ask African governments to accept reciprocity in trade relations,” Cohen said.
Dana Sanchez, 3:04 pm
At the World Economic Forum, where finance ministers attract as much attention as presidents, Pravin Gordhan’s presence this week in Davos is expected to be a show of strength, leadership and survival. Gordhan was asked to be SA finance minister after a bizarre, four-day, four-finance-minister sequence of firings by President Zuma. Deputy South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is leading Team SA at WEF. Cyril could use some “sparkle on his presidential ambitions,” a commentator said. Zuma won’t be attending.
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