Administrators at struggling South African Airways (SAA) said on Wednesday they have issued a 48-hour notice to prevent nearly 400 pilots from accessing the company’s premises until they agree to new employment terms and conditions, Reuters reported. SAA entered a local form of bankruptcy protection in December of 2019 after roughly a decade of financial losses, and its fortunes worsened after it grounded flights because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Efforts to rescue the state airline face resistance from trade unions, who are at loggerheads with the government over wages.
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The world’s policy makers must act urgently if they are to head off a looming solvency crisis that could cripple economies after the pandemic, according to a report led by two top former central bankers, Bloomberg News reported. Mario Draghi, previously president of the European Central Bank, and Raghuram Rajan, the ex-governor of the Reserve Bank of India, headed a Group of 30 study that looked at the response to the crisis.
South Africa’s government and trade unions are at loggerheads over unpaid salaries at South African Airways (SAA), which could lead to a messy court battle that may further complicate efforts to rescue the struggling airline, Reuters reported. State-owned SAA has not made a profit in almost a decade and was already under bankruptcy protection when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, exacerbating its woes. It halted all but repatriation and cargo flights in March before suspending all operations in September. Some employees have not been paid since March.
Jesuits in Africa are calling on the Catholic Church to press for better repayment terms on debt across the region after Zambia defaulted on a $42.5 million Eurobond coupon in November, America Media reported. The default sparked fears of a regional economic crisis and ripple effects on already struggling Zambians because of increased taxation and curtailed spending on social services, even as health needs increase because of the coronavirus.
Fitch Ratings has affirmed Mozambique's Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'CCC'. The 'CCC' rating reflects limited financing options combined with high fiscal and external financing needs that have been exacerbated by the coronavirus shock, high general government (GG) debt and ongoing unresolved public-sector debt liabilities, Fitch Ratings reported. Fitch expects real GDP to contract by 1% in 2020, after muted GDP growth in 2019 of 2.2% due to the damage caused by two cyclones.
South Africa started a fresh battle with labor groups in its effort to revive the bankrupt state airline, offering three months of wages to employees who haven’t been paid since March, Bloomberg News reported. The government’s Department of Public Enterprises and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa agreed to discuss the matter later on Tuesday, according to a spokeswoman for the labor group. Numsa and the South African Cabin Crew Association, another union, had expected members to be paid in full, in line with the country’s legal framework for a business-rescue process.
Zambian authorities formally requested a financing arrangement from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Fund said on Tuesday, to help the southern African copper producer navigate a debt crisis, Reuters reported. Zambia became Africa’s first pandemic-era sovereign default last month after it failed to pay a $42.5 million coupon on one of its Eurobonds. Zambia’s presidency released a photo of President Edgar Lungu meeting with the head of the IMF’s Africa department Abebe Selassie in the capital Lusaka on Tuesday.
Relations between the United States and China promise to be fraught even under President-elect Joe Biden’s administration, Bloomberg News reported in a commentary. There’s one area where the two rivals can and should cooperate immediately, however: to head off a looming debt crisis that threatens to hurl millions into poverty across Africa, Latin America and Asia. When many of the world’s poorest countries last found themselves unable to service their debts 25 years ago, the U.S. led a global effort — the 1996 Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative — to forgive much of that debt.
Global debt is set to reach $200 trillion, or 265% of the world’s annual economic output, by the end of the year, S&P Global has forecast - although it doesn’t expect a crisis any time soon, Reuters reported. The credit ratings giant said it amounted to a 14-point rise as a percentage of world GDP, having been amplified by both the economic plunge caused by COVID and the extra borrowing that governments, firms and households have had to resort to. “Global debt-to-GDP has been trending up for many years; the pandemic simply exacerbated the rise,” S&P’s report said.
The South African government has transferred 1.5 billion rand ($98 million) to administrators for national airline South African Airways (SAA) but the funds cannot be used yet, the administrators said on Thursday, Reuters reported. The administrators said the conditions the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) attached to how the money should be spent were in contravention of labour and companies laws. “We are unable to utilise the funds until the conditions have been amended by the DPE,” they added in a statement. A DPE spokesman said the department would comment later.