Africa

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South Africa’s government plans to restructure state power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd.’s debt before elections in 2024, and will only provide additional support if the company sells assets and cuts jobs, Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana said, Bloomberg News reported. Eskom, which supplies almost all of South Africa’s power, has 392 billion rand ($26 billion) of debt. The utility has said the liabilities need to be cut to 200 billion rand for it to be sustainable and accept support pledged by rich nations to help reduce South Africa’s dependence on coal and cut carbon emissions.
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Zimbabwe has selected Kuvimba Mining House Ltd., a state-owned company, which has been shrouded in controversy, to revive one of the continent’s largest steel mills, Bloomberg News reported. The miner, which already has vast interests in gold and nickel, has been picked as the “investment partner” to breath new life into the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company, which has been shut for 14 years. At its peak, the plant produced nearly 1 million tons of steel a year.
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Zambia’s central bank left its benchmark rate unchanged on expectations that inflation will continue slowing and to support a fragile economic recovery, Bloomberg News reported. The monetary policy committee held the rate at 9%, Governor Denny Kalyalya told reporters Wednesday in Lusaka, the capital. It was Kalyalya’s second rate decision since being reappointed to the post in September. The decision to hold was supported by a “sharp decline in inflation since December” and due to “some fragility” in economic growth, Kalyalya said.
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South Africa’s government is considering taking over part or all of Eskom Holdings SOC. Ltd.’s 392 billion rand ($25.8 billion) debt as it seeks to restructure the cash-strapped power utility’s loan obligations, according to the International Monetary Fund, Bloomberg News reported. Eskom’s financial position is of particular concern and requires a decision on how to address its “unsustainable” debt levels, the Washington-based lender said in a statement published on its website following on-line meetings between its staff and South African officials.
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South Africa’s largest lender to farmers is seeking to exit default on its debt by the end of March, potentially marking the end of a two-year saga that’s raised concern other indebted state companies will follow suit, Bloomberg News reported. The Pretoria-based Land & Agricultural Development Bank of South Africa has been struggling to find a way forward since missing a loan repayment in April 2020 that triggered a cross-default in notes issued under a 50 billion-rand ($3.2 billion) bond program.
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Zambia’s creditors would have to take losses of about two-thirds if the country is to meet the International Monetary Fund’s requirements for a debt restructuring, according to a study by groups advocating for debt forgiveness, Bloomberg News reported. The southern African nation, which became the continent’s first pandemic-era defaulter in 2020, has capacity to repay about between $2.8 billion and $3.5 billion of debt over the next 14 years, according to the study published on Friday by an alliance of local activist organizations and the Jubilee Debt Campaign U.K.
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Kenya Airways Plc has selected financial advisers at Seabury Securities to help the airline evaluate options to restructure its debt load, Bloomberg News reported. The airline, in which the Kenyan government has a 48.9% stake, faces mounting debts and depressed passenger demand amid pandemic-related travel restrictions. A representative for Kenya Airways said the carrier is in talks with several consultants, including Seabury, but declined to elaborate further. A representative for Seabury Securities declined to comment.
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The International Monetary Fund approved a $455 million loan for Republic of Congo to support the country’s economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and a tumble in oil prices, Bloomberg News reported. The IMF executive board approved the package under a new three-year Extended Credit Facility arrangement, the lender said in a statement Friday. The decision will enable an immediate disbursement equivalent to about $90 million. “Reducing debt vulnerabilities while implementing fiscal policy that supports a strong and equitable economic recovery will be key,” the fund said.
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The International Monetary Fund urged public and private creditors to complete a renegotiation of Chad’s loans by the end of March, a critical step to restore the sustainability of the nation’s debt, Bloomberg News reported. The move follows a series of calls by the IMF and the World Bank for private creditors, including Glencore Plc, to agree on a restructuring of Chad’s debt on the same terms as those reached with its official creditors under a Group of 20 debt-relief initiative. About a third of Chad’s public external debt is owed to Glencore and other commercial lenders.
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Ghana’s inflation rate jumped to the highest level in almost five years in December, underscoring the dilemma the central bank faces in trying to balance its efforts to curb price growth and boost the economy, Bloomberg News reported. Annual inflation accelerated to 12.6% from 12.2% in November, Government Statistician Samuel Kobina Annim told reporters Wednesday in Accra, the capital. That’s the highest rate since April 2017, exceeding the finance ministry’s forecast of 8% and topping the median estimate of 12.5% projected by six economists in a Bloomberg survey.
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