Africa

South Africa's embattled national airline on Thursday flew its first plane since March 2020 after emerging from bankruptcy proceedings, france24.com reported. Passengers on the South African Airways (SAA) flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town were greeted on their departure by singing and dancing airline staff. Once Africa's second-largest airline after Ethiopian Airlines, SAA had survived for decades on government bailouts and had been shedding routes even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

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South African Airways will need a more modern fleet to be competitive on routes outside its home continent following the Covid-19 crisis, according to interim Chief Executive Officer Thomas Kgokolo, Bloomberg News reported. The state-owned airline used to generate revenue on trips to cities such as London and Frankfurt, but its aging Airbus SE planes have prohibitive operating costs, he said in a panel discussion on Wednesday. “If we get the right fleet for those particular trips we should be able to minimize costs and become competitive,” Kgokolo said.
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The International Monetary Fund approved nearly $600 million in emergency lending for Tanzania’s health system and economic-recovery efforts as the nation battles the coronavirus pandemic, Bloomberg News reported. The fund’s executive board approved a total of $567 million in funds -- $189 million under the Rapid Credit Facility and $378 million under the Rapid Financing Instrument. The resources will help pay for the nation’s “urgent balance of payment needs” stemming from the virus, the IMF said.
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The International Monetary Fund wants Chad’s private creditors to engage in “credible” talks before approving a much-needed support program for one of the world’s poorest countries, Bloomberg News reported. Following two months of talks, China, France, India and Saudi Arabia agreed in June to restructure the credits and back an IMF loan program to shore up the central African economy under a Group of 20 debt-relief plan. But the IMF is still seeking “a strong commitment from private creditors on their willingness to negotiate” debt treatments, it said in a statement on Tuesday.
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Following a revelation that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) incurred a N9 billion deficit in three years as a result of market meltdown by the Director-General, Alhaji Lamido Yuguda, the Senate has raised the alarm over imminent insolvency, if nothing was done to salvage the situation, the Nigerian Daily Post reported. Yuguda explained that the global economic meltdown occasioned by coronavirus has affected the fortunes of Securities and Exchange Commission.
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South Africa said the private group looking to take a majority stake in the country’s dormant national airline is close to completing due diligence ahead of a planned resumption of flights later this month, Bloomberg News reported. The Takatso consortium has yet to identify any material issues that would scupper the South African Airways deal, the Department of Public Enterprises said in a presentation to lawmakers on Wednesday. The group is made up of Johannesburg-based Global Airways, which owns new domestic airline Lift, and private-equity firm Harith General Partners.
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Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema’s government is trying to uncover the full extent of its obligations as it prepares to seek a bailout from the International Monetary Fund and begin talks to revamp the African nation’s debt, Bloomberg News reported. Hichilema’s landslide victory in the election last month placed him in control of an economy with a “bigger hole” than he envisaged, having last year become Africa’s first pandemic-era sovereign defaulter.
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Ethiopia doubled the statutory reserve requirement for commercial lenders and increased the amount of foreign currency they must remit to the central bank, in an effort to rein in inflation, Bloomberg News reported. From Sept. 1, the reserve requirement will increase to 10%, according to Fikadu Digafe, the National Bank of Ethiopia’s vice governor in charge of monetary policy and its chief economist. Banks will also be required to transfer 50% of their foreign-exchange holdings to the central bank, compared with 30% previously, he said.
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Nigeria will work with Bitt Inc as a technical partner in its bid to launch its own cryptocurrency, the "eNaira", the Central Bank said on Monday, Reuters reported. The Central Bank announced plans to launch its own digital currency later this year after Nigeria barred banks and financial institutions from dealing in or facilitating transactions in cryptocurrencies in February. Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele has said the eNaira would operate as a wallet against which customers can hold existing funds in their bank account.
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Zambia’s new finance minister plans to more than double the southern African nation’s copper output in five years and strike a financing deal with the International Monetary Fund by October, Bloomberg News reported. Situmbeko Musokotwane, who President Hakainde Hichilema appointed to the job on Friday, said an economic program with the Washington-based lender will be key to restoring the nation’s credibility and help convince external creditors to extend payment terms.
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