Africa

Mozambique is unwilling to convert a loan extended to a state-owned company into sovereign debt to avoid a default, according to an official familiar with the situation, who asked not to be identified because he’s not authorized to speak on the matter, Bloomberg News reported. Talks between the government and creditors to restructure the $535 million loan to Mozambique Asset Management, or MAM, were still going on, the official said from the capital, Maputo.
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Plummeting oil prices have set off an economic unraveling in Nigeria, one of the world’s top oil producers, and the collective anger of a fed-up nation was pouring out, the International New York Times reported. “Starvation in the land of plenty,” said Tony Usidamen, a public relations consultant waiting for fuel. For months, many Nigerians have endured painfully long lines for gasoline and power failures that last for days — with no fuel for backup generators. Scant power means water cuts for homes that rely on electricity to pump it.
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Until recently, Mozambique appeared to be riding a natural gas-fuelled wave, with predictions of vast riches filling the coffers of the impoverished southern African nation. Today, the country is facing what analysts describe as its worst crisis since a civil war raged more than 20 years ago, triggered by revelations that state entities borrowed $1.4bn — equivalent to 10 per cent of gross domestic product — in previously undisclosed loans. The saga is being described by observers as one of Africa’s worst cases of hidden borrowing in recent years.
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The Ghana Association of Restructuring and Insolvency Advisors (GARIA) has called for the speedy passage of the Corporate Insolvency Bill which is currently before Cabinet into law, to prevent companies from premature liquidation, Ghana Business News reported. The Association is of the belief that an effective law on corporate insolvency would enable companies to fall on options to recuperate rather than closing the company, as is the common prescription under the country’s current laws. Mr.
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The World Bank is suspending direct financial aid to Mozambique, joining the International Monetary Fund in cutting off budgetary assistance after learning of more than $1 billion in previously undisclosed loans, a person familiar with the matter said, The Wall Street Journal reported. The bank will continue to fund individual investment projects, but it is holding back payments of approximately $40 million this year for direct budgetary support, the person said.
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To stem an ongoing fall in foreign reserves caused by the oil price crash, Nigeria’s central bank introduced restrictions last summer that have effectively blocked imports of hundreds of items that typically enter Nigeria through its ports, the Financial Times reported. The policy, backed by President Muhammadu Buhari, also aims to boost local manufacturing and agriculture. The country has long used its oil revenues to bring in essential items such as steel and palm oil that the Buhari administration says should be made locally.
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Mozambique faces a deepening crisis after the International Monetary Fund suspended funding to the southern African nation following the discovery of more than $1bn in previously undisclosed government debt, the Financial Times reported. The scandal will heap pressure on Maputo, which is dependent on donors to finance about a quarter of its budget. Mozambique is battling to narrow a wide fiscal deficit, its currency has plummeted and its foreign reserves are dwindling.
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Angola will turn to the International Monetary Fund for a bailout to help cope with the oil-price rout that has hit its economy hard, joining a growing list of commodity-dependent African economies seeking assistance from the institution to weather the adverse economic climate, The Wall Street Journal reported. The announcement represents an about-face for a government that had previously rejected the idea of seeking IMF assistance and ends months of speculation over how the West African country will cope with a looming financial crisis on the back of record-low oil prices.
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Kenya's Uchumi Supermarkets Ltd is on the verge of insolvency as efforts to negotiate a cash injection hit a snag in the first quarter of 2016. Its debt to suppliers has skyrocketed to Ksh3.6 billion ($36 million), double the Ksh1.8 billion ($18 million) quoted last year, according to the management, AllAfrica.com reported. "Settling a significant part of this debt requires funds outside our normal operating activities. We are working on this through disposal of land and sourcing for an investor.
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Kenya's central bank said on Thursday it would require another three months of investigation to determine the fate of Imperial Bank, which was put into receivership in October, delaying a resolution that had been scheduled for the end of this month, Reuters reported. The Imperial Bank receivership, which came two months after the liquidation of a smaller bank, rattled confidence in a financial sector where more than 40 foreign and local banks operate.
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