Africa

The planned business rescue of South African Airways is in limbo because government attempts to raise 5.3 billion rand ($307 million) of immediate funding from commercial banks failed to elicit a response, a person familiar with the situation said, Bloomberg News reported. The administrators of the state-owned airline can’t hand over the business to management because it is insolvent, the person said.

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There is no recovery in sight yet for Africa’s worst-performing stock market as investors look to bank earnings this month to assess how hard the coronavirus pandemic hit Kenyan lenders, Bloomberg News reported. Net foreign-investor outflows and reduced dollar earnings led the Nairobi Securities Exchange 20 Share Index to slide for seven consecutive months through July, falling to the lowest in 17 years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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Zambia was once a model in Wall Street’s rush to issue debt for the world’s poorest nations, attracting bigger orders and lower interest rates than some more-developed countries. Less than a decade later, the Southern African nation is straining to pay back more than $11 billion in loans, The Wall Street Journal reported. The world is gearing up for a battle over developing-country debt like few it has seen before.

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Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. agreed to release some funds to a municipality in South Africa’s Free State province to help it cover running costs, after seizing its bank accounts earlier this week, Bloomberg News reported. The Maluti-a-Phofung Local Municipality owes 5.3 billion rand ($318 million) in unpaid electricity bills and must reach an agreement to service the debt and its current account by Aug. 7, Eskom said in a statement Saturday.

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All conditions for a rescue plan for South African Airways (SAA) have been met, apart from a guarantee letter lenders need from the government, the state-owned airline’s administrators said on Thursday, Reuters reported. The administrators will ask creditors at a meeting on Friday for the letter, stating that state guarantees will remain in force until the lenders’ claims are paid out in full, to be agreed by July 27, later than a previous deadline.

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Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production is in debt restructuring talks with its lenders, group managing director Victor Okoronkwo tells The Africa Report. All parameters of the company’s debt are under consideration as part of the talks, which began shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic, Okoronkwo said, The Africa Report reported.

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Moody’s has clashed with the UN after putting five countries on review for a downgrade in recent weeks, saying that a G20-backed debt suspension scheme poses risks to private creditors, the Financial Times reported. The rating agency took action against Ethiopia, Pakistan, Cameroon, Senegal and the Ivory Coast, after the countries opted into a G20-backed initiative that allows them to freeze official bilateral debt repayments due this year to member nations and members of the Paris Club, a group representing major credit countries.

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The South African government has not committed to fund a restructuring plan for struggling South African Airways (SAA), Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said in court papers seen by Reuters on Tuesday, Reuters reported. Administrators took over SAA in December after almost a decade of financial losses, and last week creditors approved the restructuring plan, which requires at least 10 billion rand ($600 million) of new funds, on the understanding the government would find the necessary cash.

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Some of the world’s largest developing economies are set to face a fiscal crisis in the coming years unless they can roll back huge increases in public spending enacted in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, analysts have warned, the Financial Times reported. The economic downturn caused by the pandemic, combined with rising healthcare spending to tackle the spread of the virus, have caused budget deficits to soar in many countries. They will have to face the choice of risking public unrest by cutting back on spending, or negotiating with investors to restructure their debts.

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