Politics: Latest News
Global Risk Insights, 4:15 pm
Investors continue buying Nigerian bonds despite economic recession for the first time in 25 years, and urgent calls for reform. In March, high-profile investors competed on the London Stock Exchange for Nigerian debt, a 15-year $1B eurobond issued while President Buhari was being treated in London for an undisclosed illness. S&P affirmed a stable economic outlook. If Buhari leaves office abruptly, the administration’s gains in the fight against Boko Haram could be reversed, an analyst said. The president’s mystery illness is generating uncertainty.
Peter Pedroncelli, 1:19 pm AFKI Original
Following the turmoil of the last few weeks in South African politics, and an unpopular cabinet reshuffle imposed by president Jacob Zuma, the country has a new finance minister, with Malusi Gigaba now in charge of treasury. Popular previous minister Pravin Gordhan was axed from the role, and Gigaba is expected to fill the void left by the hard-working MP who Zuma saw as a threat. We take a look at 12 things you might not know about South Africa’s new finance minister, Malusi Gigaba.
Staff, 6:40 pm
South African President Jacob Zuma has emptied his cabinet of his critics. Now that he has collaborators in all key cabinet spots, we know the country’s path if he stays in power. South Africa will move ahead with a deal for a large number of Russian nuclear plants. Property rights for farmers and mines will be further diminished so that Zuma allies can participate in once-thriving South African industries now in decline because of a lack of business confidence. Foreign investors will look elsewhere, and South Africans will move their money out.
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.
Kurt Davis Jr., 2:33 pm AFKI Original
Investors are strategically betting on the upside in Francophone Africa due to strong economic growth rates and a stable CFA franc. Lusophone Africa also presents opportunity. Low assets prices have replaced the exorbitant numbers of the oil-and-gas heyday, particularly in Angola and Mozambique. Debt restructuring can restore some confidence in Mozambique’s economic system. Private investors are finding a government more willing to deal on better terms, and companies that are pricing assets at fairly digestible prices.
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.”
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.
Peter Pedroncelli, 2:18 am AFKI Original
Many countries in Africa have extremely high central bank interest rates compared to most of the world, but there are some who boast lower rates that compare favourably on a global scale. Lower interest rates allow the people of that country to be able to afford loans and pay them back at more favourable rates versus countries where the interest rates are much higher. In comparison, the United States federal reserve has an interest rate of 1 percent, while the United Kingdom’s rate is currently set at 0.25 percent. We take a look at 13 African countries with the lowest central bank interest rates.
The Conversation, 2:38 pm
Blockchain, an almost incorruptible digital ledger of transactions, has the potential to be both foundation and springboard in Africa for a new developmental infrastructure. The blockchain can be “the ledger of everything.” A house can become an intelligent entity registered on a secure, distributed database once it’s tagged with a geospatial reference and sensors that monitor its continuing existence. The owner of the asset can, through an Ethereum-based smart contract, secure a loan to expand a startup enterprise. Property and financing aren’t the only areas where the new Internet of Intelligent Things has the potential to compensate for Africa’s legacies of underdevelopment.
Reuters, 11:31 am
The ANC is having its most difficult time since the end of white-minority rule. Zuma agreeing to leave early could heal some wounds. “This could be the long-awaited compromise where Zuma agrees to go in return for some protection,” a political analyst said. Zuma’s offer appears as a way out but may not be enough to satisfy opponents. “We don’t need his offers. He must just go before destroying our country,” a senior ANC member said. In a sign of how divided the party is, Zuma was asked not to attend the funeral of anti-apartheid stalwart Ahmed Kathrada on Wednesday. Gordhan got a standing ovation.
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