South Africa: Latest News
Dana Sanchez, 9:52 am
The surprisingly strong bull market in commodity prices in 2016 contributed to increased activity in mining and metals deals in Africa, says Quintin Hobbs, Africa mining and metals transactions leader at Ernst & Young. Organizations ran leaner and more efficient, with stronger balance sheets. The outlook improved so significantly through the course of 2016, that the predicted level of divestments and assets listed at rock-bottom prices at the beginning of 2016 just didn’t materialize, another expert said.
Dana Sanchez, 2:37 pm
Marijuana is illegal in South Africa, but the country is a step closer to legalizing it for medicinal purposes. The South African government plans to soon publish proposed guidelines for production of cannabis, known locally as dagga. “This is a major breakthrough and fantastic news for freedom of choice,” said Narend Singh, MP for the Inkatha Freedom Party. The hemp industry is interested in legalizing the strain of cannabis used for hemp. SA imports $76 million worth of hemp products a year, Singh said. There’s also a case due to be heard in the Constitutional Court calling for full legalization including for recreational use.
Peter Pedroncelli, 5:14 am
The Confederation of African Football (CAF) proudly announced the backing of South African president Jacob Zuma this week in regards to current head of CAF Issa Hayatou, who is trying to remain at the continental soccer governing body for yet another term. The embattled South African head of state has pledged his support to Hayatou ahead of the confederation’s upcoming elections. On Saturday Zuma was paid a visit by Cameroonian Hayatou at his home in Pretoria ahead of the CAF Super Cup final, which saw the winners of the CAF Confederation Cup face off against the victors of the CAF Champions League, the continent’s two premier club competitions.
Kurt Davis Jr., 1:00 am AFKI Original
The number of urban Africans almost doubled between 1995 and 2015 and is expected to double again by 2035. Rapid growth is driving the African phenomenon of the megacity — an urban area with a population of at least 10 million. Megacities have economic benefits – economies of scale, innovation, clusters of skilled labor, and higher incomes. But they also struggle with congested slums, unemployment and out-of-control traffic. More than 50 percent of the African urban population lives in slums.
Staff, 1:01 am
Emerging markets such as Nigeria, Egypt, and South Africa are expected to grow twice as fast as advanced economies as technology improves productivity. SA and Nigeria are among the few countries expected to see a marked acceleration of annual average growth over the next few decades. However, PwC warns that to support this long-term sustainable growth, the countries need to diversify their exports to ensure their growth is not dampened by global price or demand shocks.
Dana Sanchez, 12:10 am
Immigrant communities in South Africa have been reporting an upsurge of xenophobic violence for weeks, raising fears that anti-foreigner sentiment could spark a recurrence of attacks that claimed 67 lives in 2008 and 2015. Residents have complained on social media that foreigners are selling drugs and forcing South African girls into prostitution. A demonstration is planned on Feb. 24 to protest against the presence of Nigerians, Pakistanis and Zimbabweans.
Karen Elowitt, 1:01 am
Africa’s vast landscapes beckon, but sometimes the roads themselves are the attraction. Angola’s Serra da Leba Pass is a favorite with cyclists. The most challenging part of the 6,053-foot climb is a one-mile section with 7 hairpin turns — one of the famous hairpinned roads in the world. Located 20 miles west of the city of Lubango on the road to Namibe, the road crosses three different climate zones. There’s little room for error on this road, which offers not much guard-rail protection and has been the site of many fatalities. You might want to give it a miss on a windy day.
Dana Sanchez, 11:07 am AFKI Original
South African media giant Naspers is launching its 18-month-old internet TV service ShowMax in Poland. It plans to provide hyper-local content and original productions rather than trying to compete with expensive shows designed to appeal to audiences worldwide. It’s competing with the much older, bigger, more established U.S. firm Netflix, which launched in 1998. Netflix is also commissioning original content, but it has an overseas problem, one commentator said. “It just doesn’t have the amount of local content that some of the (streaming and pay TV) competitors have.”
Peter Pedroncelli, 3:57 am
German motor racer Nico Rosberg was recognised ahead of South African sprinter Wayde van Niekerk this week in a tight contest for the Breakthrough of the Year award at the Laureus World Sport Awards in Monaco. Pundits and fans of sport are divided regarding whether Rosberg deserved to win it over the other nominees, but the fastest man of all time, Usain Bolt, is in no doubt as to who the recipient should have been.
Dana Sanchez, 2:10 pm
The South African rand lost almost half its value against the U.S. dollar over the past five years as the country struggled through economic crisis. Zuma welcomed the investigation, saying the government is prepared to act against distorted financial markets “to protect our country’s economy.” He said the financial sector needs new players to diversify, and the government plans to establish a state bank. South Africa’s competition watchdog recommends fines of 10% of banks’ annual in-country turnover.
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