Africa

Steinhoff said on Wednesday investors who are suing the crisis-hit firm had agreed to suspend litigation until next year, allowing the retailer time to focus on its recovery, Reuters reported. The lawsuit brought in the Netherlands was aimed at compensating investors for the more than 14 billion euros ($16 billion) wiped off Steinhoff’s market value since the retailer uncovered accounting irregularities last year. Steinhoff said the suspension of legal proceedings would be until April 3, 2019.

Read more

The Nigerian government faces a daunting challenge to close a shortage of 17 million houses, Bloomberg News reported. Gripped by poverty, Nigeria has no formalized title-deeds registry and most homes consist of informal structures on land passed down through generations. Rapid urbanization is also causing a proliferation of slums and shanty towns. Buhari’s drive to clear a backlog of mortgage applications comes ahead of a tough re-election bid next year and as the economy struggles to recover from 2016’s contraction.

Read more

Banks that arranged billions of dollars of loans to government companies in Mozambique have proposed to restructure some of the now-defaulted debt, as the government of President Filipe Nyusi struggles to relieve financial pressure on Mozambique’s economy, The Wall Street Journal reported. Credit Suisse Group AG proposed the deal in recent weeks on behalf of a group of institutions holding a loan that the Swiss lender and Russia’s Bank VTB Group arranged in secret for a Mozambican government-owned company five years ago, people familiar with the matter said.

Read more

South African retailer Steinhoff, has asked creditors for a one-month extension relating to its debt restructuring as it negotiates documents required to implement the plan, it said on Monday. An accounting scandal wiped more than 90 percent off Steinhoff’s market value and forced it to sell assets to generate working capital. Creditors agreed in July to hold off on their debt claims for three years, throwing the company a lifeline, Reuters reported. As part of the deal, all parties sought to start restructuring within three months of the lock-up agreement date of July 20.

Read more
The World Bank and IMF have endorsed Zimbabwe’s plan to clear $2.2 billion in arrears to international creditors, the finance minister said on Wednesday, but U.S. sanctions may still prevent fresh loans to support the rebuilding of a shattered economy, Reuters reported. President Emmerson Mnangagwa has promised to revive the economy, pay foreign debts that the country has defaulted on since 1999 and end the international pariah status that Zimbabwe acquired under Robert Mugabe’s near four-decade rule.
Read more
Debt stress in Zambia is set to escalate next year as the burden of hefty borrowings from China starts to weigh, throwing the copper-exporting African nation into a struggle to avoid default on its hard currency debt, analysts said. Opinions diverge on whether default can be evaded, partly because certain factors are subject to both market fluctuations and political uncertainties, the Financial Times reported.
Read more
The global financial crisis left lasting scars on the world economy, including slower growth, higher government debt and even lower fertility rates, the International Monetary Fund said. A decade after Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy in 2008, output in more than 60 percent of the world’s economies remains below where it would have been if the crisis hadn’t occurred, the fund said in a report Wednesday. The drop was steepest in the 24 countries that experienced financial crises, the Fund said in an analytical chapter accompanying its latest World Economic Outlook, Bloomberg News reported.
Read more
Zambian Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe is no longer having sleepless nights over an International Monetary Fund loan the southern African nation has been trying unsuccessfully to secure for the past two years, Bloomberg News reported. “I’ve talked about four things that keep me awake. Four months ago I was saying IMF. I don’t say that anymore,” she told business leaders Tuesday in the capital, Lusaka, after delivering the 2019 budget last week.
Read more
South African construction firm Group Five will cut more jobs as it seeks to trim loss-making divisions, it said on Tuesday, highlighting an industry-wide slump in its home market that has left many companies fighting for survival, Reuters reported. South African construction companies have been hit hard in recent years as stagnant economic growth has hobbled public infrastructure spending, prompting some of them to file business rescues, similar to chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States.
Read more
When President Trump tweeted in August that South Africa was engaged in “the large scale killing” of white farmers to seize their land, the nation’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, didn’t respond personally. A fabricated accusation from the leader of the free world was the least of his problems, Bloomberg News reported. Ramaphosa probably felt his time was better spent doing his job.
Read more