Africa

Namibian President Hage Geingob on Tuesday appointed an 11-member Business Rescue Task Force to review business and insolvency legislation with the aim of rescuing businesses in financial distress, Reuters reported. The Southern African nation, whose mining and tourism dependent economy has been ravaged by the COVID-19 pandemic, is in the midst of a deadly third wave of infections that is threatening to take more businesses under.
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The Cajee brothers, who ran a cryptocurrency investment platform from South Africa that the local regulator suspects of being a Ponzi scheme, are confounding both their family and desperate investors alike, Bloomberg News reported. It’s still hard to establish the whereabouts of Ameer and Raees Cajee, the pair that operated Johannesburg-based Africrypt since 2019. They appear to have vanished, along with an estimated $3.6 billion in Bitcoin -- an amount that a lawyer for the brothers said was inflated.
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The International Monetary Fund will release $407 million in new funding for Kenya’s government, citing the nation’s dedication to economic overhauls, Bloomberg News reported. The Kenyan authorities have shown strong commitment amid challenging circumstances and are acting to reduce debt vulnerabilities while maintaining support for the economic recovery, the IMF said in a statement after the executive board completed a review of its loan programs.

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Kenya expects a review of an International Monetary Fund program to be concluded successfully, in order to allow the release of $410 million in new funding for the government, Bloomberg News reported. “We expect the review to be successful given the progress we have made towards the goals we had set for ourselves under the programme,” Kenya’s National Treasury Secretary Ukur Yatani said in a statement on Twitter on Wednesday. The government plans to narrow its budget deficit for the year starting July 1 to 7.5% of gross domestic product from an estimate of 8.6% in the current period.
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A group of creditors that bought Etihad Airways PJSC-linked bonds are preparing to auction $463 million of claims against insolvent airlines Alitalia and Air Berlin to recover some of their investment, Bloomberg News reported. The trustee of bonds issued by EA Partners I and II -- two special purpose entities set up by the Abu Dhabi-based carrier -- hired Barclays Bank Plc to arrange the sale, according to a statement. Potential buyers will be able to access documentation on June 21 and the auction will take place within two weeks, it said.
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South Africa agreed to sell a majority stake in the country’s grounded national carrier to a local jet-leasing company and private-equity firm, ridding the government of an entity that has long been a drain on state finances, Bloomberg News reported. A consortium comprised of Johannesburg-based Global Airways, which owns recently launched domestic airline Lift, and private-equity firm Harith General Partners will take a 51% shareholding in South African Airways, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Friday. The government will retain a minority stake.
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South Africa’s government is set to announce that it has found a strategic equity partner for state-owned carrier South African Airways, Bloomberg News reported. Details of the announcement are expected on Friday morning. Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan was scheduled to brief the media on the matter Thursday, before postponing to the following day. The expected announcement comes about six weeks after the airline emerged from lengthy bankruptcy proceedings, having reduced its workforce by almost 80% and cut liabilities.
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South Africa’s official unemployment rate rose to a new high in the first quarter as the construction and trade industries shed jobs, Bloomberg News reported. The jobless rate rose to 32.6% from 32.5% in the three months through December, Statistics South Africa said Tuesday in a report released in the capital, Pretoria. That’s the highest number on record. Unemployment according to the expanded definition, which includes people who were available for work but not looking for a job, rose to 43.2% from 42.6% the previous quarter.
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Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., the beleaguered South African state power utility, reduced its debt by almost a fifth after repaying matured loans and benefiting from a more favorable exchange rate, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said, Bloomberg News reported. Debt fell to 401 billion rand ($29 billion) at the end of March, from 484 billion rand a year earlier, Gordhan said in a webcast speech to lawmakers on Tuesday. The utility has yet to release its financial results for the year.
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Offshore drilling rig contractor Maersk Drilling said on Thursday it saw some signs of market recovery as it reported that orders in the first quarter were at the highest level in more than three years, Reuters reported. The company, which had already on Wednesday lifted its 2021 earnings guidance, said it added $730 million in new contracts in the first quarter, including a $370 million contract awarded by Tullow off Ghana. That was the highest level of new contracts since the fourth quarter of 2017. Maersk Drilling's shares, which have risen 40% this year, rose 2% on Thursday.
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