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Zimbabwe cuts policy rate to 150% after inflation falls
  + stars: | 2023-02-02 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: 1 min
HARARE, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's central bank has cut its policy rate by 50 percentage points to 150%, it said in a statement on Thursday, driven by a downward trend in inflation since late last year. Monthly inflation fell to 1.1% in January from 2.4% in December, while yearly inflation dipped to 229.8% from 243.8%. "The moderation in interest rates is important and necessitated by the downward trend in the month-on-month inflation since the last quarter of 2022," said the bank, adding it expects the trend to continue into 2023. "The Bank will continue its tight monetary policy stance," it added. Reporting by Nellie Peyton and Nyasha Chingono Editing by Alexander WinningOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Eight killed in mass shooting at birthday party in South Africa
  + stars: | 2023-01-30 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +1 min
JOHANNESBURG, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Gunmen killed eight people and wounded three others at a birthday party in South Africa's Eastern Cape province, police said, adding that manhunt was underway to find the killers. The latest incident follows a spate of mass shootings last year that shocked the nation. In July, gunmen killed 19 people in random shootings within hours of each other. South Africa has one of the world's highest murder rates, with around 20,000 people killed every year out of a population of 60 million. According to campaign group Gun Free South Africa, there are about 3 million guns registered in the country, though there are many more unregistered.
[1/4] U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and South Africa's Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana attend media briefing ahead of bilateral talks, at the treasury offices in Pretoria, South Africa, January 26, 2023. He said Yellen's visit was a "momentous" occasion, noting the previous visit by a U.S. Treasury secretary was in 2014. South Africa has remained one of Moscow's most important allies on a continent divided over Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 last year. The Treasury secretary, who meets with South Africa's central bank governor later on Thursday, singled out South Africa's "Just Energy Transition Partnership," which was backed in late 2021 by the United States, Britain, France, Germany and the European Union. They pledged a combined $8.5 billion to accelerate South Africa's transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy, but the total bill will be much higher.
[1/6] U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen signs a guest book at the State House during her visit, in Lusaka, Zambia, January 23, 2023. REUTERS/Namukolo SiyumbwaLUSAKA, Jan 23 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Monday during a visit to Zambia that it was critically important to restructure the country's debt, and she believes progress could be made after her frank talks with key creditor China last week. Yellen added that Zambia's debt overhang was a drag on its whole economy and that China had been a barrier to resolving the southern African country's debt problem. "I specifically raised the issue with Zambia (with Chinese officials) and asked for their cooperation in trying to reach a speedy resolution. "We will continue to press for all official bilateral and private-sector creditors to meaningfully participate in debt relief for Zambia, especially China," she said.
IMF chief: it's time for creditors to restructure Zambia debt
  + stars: | 2023-01-24 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +1 min
LUSAKA, Jan 24 (Reuters) - International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said on Tuesday during a visit to Zambia that it was the time for the southern African country's creditors to restructure its debt as it was doing its part by implementing economic reforms. Zambia defaulted on its sovereign debt in 2020, becoming the first African country to do so during the COVID-19 pandemic. Georgieva has pushed hard for quicker movement on debt relief for countries like Zambia. On Monday at a meeting with Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema she commended his government for moving away from wasteful expenditure and said the IMF would like to work with Zambia to boost its economic growth. Reporting by Chris Mfula; Writing by Anait Miridzhanian; Editing by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo and Alexander WinningOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
[1/2] U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen gives a speech after she visited the House of Slaves (Maison des Esclaves) at Goree Island off the coast of Dakar, Senegal January 21, 2023. REUTERS/Ngouda DioneLUSAKA, Jan 23 (Reuters) - U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Monday during a visit to Zambia that it was critically important to restructure Zambia's debt, and she believed progress could be made after her frank talks with key creditor China last week. Yellen added that Zambia's debt overhang was a drag on its whole economy and that China had been a barrier to reaching a resolution on the southern African country's debt problem. "I specifically raised the issue with Zambia (with Chinese officials) and asked for their cooperation in trying to reach a speedy resolution. She said it was also critically important for Zambia to address corruption and human rights, and create a business environment that would promote investments and trade.
[1/2] South Africa's Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor shakes hands with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, ahead of their bilateral meeting in Pretoria, South Africa, January 23, 2023. Lavrov met his South African counterpart, Naledi Pandor, after flying in earlier in the day on a trip some South African opposition parties and the small Ukrainian community have condemned as insensitive. President Cyril Ramaphosa's government regards South Africa as neutral in the Ukraine conflict and has expressed a desire to mediate. The South African armed forces said last week the exercise is a "means to strengthen the already flourishing relations between South Africa, Russia and China". There was no official public comment from the Ukrainian embassy but officials said it had asked the South African government to help push President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's 10-point peace plan, which he proposed to the G20 in November.
South African rand slumps as power crisis takes centre stage
  + stars: | 2023-01-16 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +2 min
JOHANNESBURG, Jan 16 (Reuters) - The South African rand slumped on Monday as investor concerns mounted over a power crisis that prompted President Cyril Ramaphosa to cancel a trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos. The South African rand traded at 17.0775 against the dollar at 1230 GMT, about 1.4% weaker than its previous close. Shaun Murison, senior market analyst at IG, said softer prices for South African exports were also weighing on the rand. Later this week South African mining output (ZAMNG=ECI) and retail sales (ZARET=ECI) for November are due, as well as December consumer inflation (ZACPIY=ECI). The South African government's benchmark 2030 bond was weaker, with the yield up 13 basis points to 9.895%.
Ghana extends domestic debt exchange deadline for third time
  + stars: | 2023-01-16 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +1 min
ACCRA, Jan 16 (Reuters) - Ghana has again extended the deadline to register for its domestic debt exchange, this time to Jan. 31, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta said on Monday. The crisis-hit nation launched the debt swap plan at the start of December, days before clinching a staff-level agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a $3 billion rescue package. "Building consensus is key to a successful economic recovery for Ghana," Ofori-Atta wrote on Twitter, adding that registration for the debt exchange would be extended "pending further stakeholder engagement". The IMF has said its board will approve the deal only if Ghana undergoes comprehensive debt restructuring. The deadline for the debt swap, initially set for Dec. 19, had previously been extended to Dec. 30 and then to Jan. 16.
[1/2] Ethio Telecom employees serve a customer inside their call centre in the Bole neighborhood branch in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia July 29, 2022. REUTERS/Tiksa NegeriADDIS ABABA, Jan 12 (Reuters) - Ethiopia's state-owned Ethio Telecom on Thursday reported a 20% rise in half-year revenue to 33.8 billion birr ($633 million). Subscribers to its mobile phone-based financial service Telebirr, launched in May 2021, grew to 27.2 million out of its 70 million total subscribers, CEO Frehiwot Tamiru told a news conference. That was up from 21.8 million Telebirr subscribers in June 2022. Efforts to attract investment have been hampered, however, by a two-year war in the northern Tigray region, which has killed tens of thousands and displaced millions.
Uganda declares over Ebola outbreak that killed 55
  + stars: | 2023-01-11 | by ( Elias Biryabarema | ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +2 min
[1/3] Motorists and cyclists are seen at a traffic light intersection in Kabuusu area of the Lubaga division amid the Ebola outbreak in Kampala, Uganda November 16, 2022. "We have successfully controlled the spread of Ebola in Uganda," Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng said during a ceremony to mark the outbreak's end. The outbreak killed 55 of the 143 people infected since September, according to health ministry figures. Unlike the more common strain of the virus, Ebola Zaire, which has been behind several recent epidemics in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, the strain behind Uganda's outbreak, Ebola Sudan, has no proven vaccine. Even so, experts said Uganda's experience battling previous outbreaks of Ebola and its viral cousin Marburg helped its response.
[1/3] Motorists and cyclists are seen at a traffic light intersection in Kabuusu area of the Lubaga division amid the Ebola outbreak in Kampala, Uganda November 16, 2022. "We have successfully controlled the spread of Ebola in Uganda," Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng said during a ceremony to mark the outbreak's end. Aceng said this was Uganda's eighth Ebola outbreak since 2000, when the country recorded its first and most deadly one that killed more than half of the 425 people it infected. In the early weeks of the outbreak, cases spread beyond the epicentre of Mubende, 150 km (90 miles) west of the capital Kampala, to several other districts, including Kampala. Unlike the more common strain of the virus, Ebola Zaire, which has been behind several recent epidemics in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, the strain behind Uganda's outbreak, Ebola Sudan, has no proven vaccine.
HARARE, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe on Tuesday signed a bill into law that outlawed organised protests by healthcare workers who could now face a fine or an imprisonment of up to six months. The signing by President Emmerson Mnangagwa comes after health workers were locked in a protracted fight with the government over poor salaries last year. An exodus of doctors and nurses has left Zimbabwean hospitals understaffed, with over 4,000 health workers leaving the country since 2021, the country's Health Services Board said in November. Many nurses in Zimbabwe earn less than $100 a month. Reporting by Nyasha Chingono; Writing by Bhargav Acharya; Editing by Alexander Winning and Conor HumphriesOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
A copy of court papers filed by Ramaphosa's lawyers in the Constitutional Court showed Ramaphosa wanted the panel report "reviewed, declared unlawful and set aside." Ramaphosa also wants any steps taken by the lower house of parliament, the National Assembly, over the panel report to be declared unlawful and invalid, the papers showed. South Africa's parliament postponed by a week to Dec. 13 a debate that had been scheduled for Tuesday on the report. [1/5] South African President Cyril Ramaphosa leaves the African National Congress (ANC) National Executive Committee meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, December 5, 2022. That we will not support this report," Mashatile told reporters.
South Africa's Ramaphosa: ANC executive to decide my fate
  + stars: | 2022-12-04 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +1 min
JOHANNESBURG, Dec 4 (Reuters) - South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday it was up to the governing party's National Executive Committee (NEC) to decide his future in the face of allegations of misconduct against him. Ramaphosa has denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged with any crimes. The president's allies have rallied around him and on Saturday his spokesman said he would not resign. The governing African National Congress (ANC) party's National Working Committee (NWC) was meeting in Johannesburg on Sunday to discuss the panel's report. "It is up to the National Executive Committee, to which I am accountable, to take whatever decision (it deems fit)."
JOHANNESBURG, Dec 2 (Reuters) - Senior officials in South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) were gathering on Friday to decide whether President Cyril Ramaphosa should stay on after an inquiry found evidence of misconduct over cash hidden at his farm. The president's future has been in doubt since a report by a panel of experts was made public on Wednesday. The South African rand stabilised on Friday, after closing 2% weaker against the dollar on Thursday on speculation that Ramaphosa was going to resign. Local media reported widely that he was considering quitting on Thursday but was then convinced by his own supporters within the NEC to stay. "We are quite determined that the president has to stay," Mathole Motshekga, an NEC member, told local Radio 786.
[1/3] South African president Cyril Ramaphosa speaks at the Green Hydrogen Summit at Century City in Cape Town, South Africa, November 29, 2022. The inquiry centred on the theft of a millions of dollars of cash from the billionaire president's farm in 2020, which came to light in June. The country's biggest opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, has called for an early election and the report has plunged the governing African National Congress (ANC) into crisis. The ANC's executive committee is due to meet to discuss the panel report on Thursday evening. Asked by Reuters about a local media report that Ramaphosa was due to address the nation on Thursday, Ramaphosa's spokesman Vincent Magwenya said: "An announcement is imminent.
[1/2] South African President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his State of the Nation Address at parliament in Cape Town, South Africa, June 20, 2019. REUTERS/Rodger Bosch/Pool via REUTERSJOHANNESBURG, Dec 1 (Reuters) - President Cyril Ramaphosa, the anti-apartheid champion who become one of South Africa's wealthiest businessmen and then its most powerful politician, was battling for his political survival on Thursday. Ramaphosa was the leading negotiator for the African National Congress (ANC) during talks that led to a peaceful end to apartheid in 1994, which enabled Nelson Mandela to become South Africa's first Black president. Shanduka Holdings, which is unlisted, has become one of the biggest black-owned groups in the country, holding 10% stakes in South Africa's biggest bank, Standard Bank, and insurer Liberty. Ramaphosa's negotiating skills at constitutional talks in the early 1990s won him grudging respect from South Africa's last white president, F.W.
[1/2] Foreign Minister of South Africa Naledi Pandor addresses the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. Headquarters in New York City, U.S., September 21, 2022. REUTERS/Mike SegarJOHANNESBURG, Dec 1 (Reuters) - A panel report that found preliminary evidence that President Cyril Ramaphosa may have violated his oath of office is a "troubling moment" for the government and governing party, South Africa's foreign minister Naledi Pandor said in an interview at the Reuters NEXT conference. Ramaphosa has denied any wrongdoing and has not been charged with any crimes. Pandor added that she was still reading the panel report on the robbery at Ramaphosa's farm and that she did not want to rush into the public space with additional comments. Reporting by Tim Cocks and Bhargav Acharya; Editing by Alexander Winning, James Macharia ChegeOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
[1/2] Zambia's Finance Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane attends the Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington, U.S., October 15, 2022. Zambia's Finance Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane told Reuters that China had sought clarification from the Zambian government and the IMF on their debt agreement, he said. At the end of 2021, Chinese creditors accounted for almost $6 billion of Zambia's external debt, which was then $17.27 billion. The Export-Import Bank of China is representing all Chinese creditors in their restructuring negotiations with Zambia, Musokotwane said. These include commercial banks, the Industrial & Commercial Bank of China (601398.SS), Jiangxi Bank (1916.HK) and China Minsheng Bank (600016.SS).
JOHANNESBURG, Nov 30 (Reuters) - Zambia is pushing hard to restructure its debt in the first quarter of next year, Finance Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane said in an interview at the Reuters NEXT conference. Zambia became the first African country to default on its sovereign debt during the COVID-19 era in 2020. Musokotwane added in the Reuters NEXT interview that private creditors were cooperating very well in debt relief discussions and that active engagements were happening with Chinese creditors. To view the Reuters NEXT conference live on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, please click here. Reporting by Rachel Savage and Bhargav Acharya Editing by Alexander WinningOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
[1/2] A motorist drives on top of the Kariba Dam wall in Kariba, Zimbabwe, February 19, 2016. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo/File PhotoHARARE, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's prolonged power shortage is set to worsen after the entity that manages southern Africa's biggest dam ordered suspension of electricity generation at its main hydro plant because of a water shortage. The ZRA manages the Kariba Dam on behalf of the Zimbabwean and Zambian governments. Zimbabwe has suffered acute power shortages for several years, as successive droughts have resulted in poor inflows into the Kariba Dam and as ageing coal-fired power stations have repeatedly broken down. Kariba South has an installed capacity of 1,050 megawatts but has been producing well below that due to low water levels in the dam.
Ramaphosa said South Africa was speaking to international partners to identify additional funding sources, calling for "a significantly larger grant component" in support pledges. The 1.5 trillion rand plan includes about 1 trillion rand of electricity financing needs, 128 billion rand for new energy vehicles and 319 billion rand for green hydrogen. The head of South Africa's presidential climate finance task team said there was a funding gap of about 700 billion rand for the plan. If successful, South Africa's energy transition plan could be a model for other coal-dependent emerging economies in the global fight against climate change. ($1 = 17.9540 rand)Additional reporting by Anait Miridzhanian Editing by James Macharia Chege, Kirsten DonovanOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
[1/3] A destroyed tank is seen in a field in the aftermath of fighting between the Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF) and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) forces in Kasagita town, in Afar region, Ethiopia, February 25, 2022. Earlier on Wednesday, the AU had invited media to what it described as a briefing by Obasanjo. It was only when the event began, about three hours behind schedule, that it became clear a truce was about to be signed. Implementation of the peace agreement signed today is critical for its success," said Obasanjo, adding that this would be supervised and monitored by a high-level AU panel. Neither Eritrea nor the regional forces participated in the talks in South Africa and there was no mention at Wednesday's ceremony of whether they would abide by the truce.
REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/File PhotoNAIROBI, Oct 24 (Reuters) - An Ethiopian government delegation and rival Tigray forces were due to meet in South Africa for the first formal peace talks since war broke out two years ago. Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com RegisterThe conflict has killed thousands, displaced millions and left hundreds of thousands on the brink of famine. Kindeya Gebrehiwot, a spokesman for the Tigray forces, said the Tigrayan delegation had already arrived. Both sides had committed to the talks in South Africa earlier this month, but they were delayed for logistical reasons. Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com RegisterReporting by Nairobi Newsroom Editing by Alexander WinningOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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