Africa

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South Africa’s economy is 11% bigger than previously estimated, after statistics authorities changed the way they calculate gross domestic product, Bloomberg News reported. GDP at current prices measured 5.52 trillion rand ($369 billion) in 2020, compared with a previous estimate of 4.97 trillion rand, said Joe de Beer, deputy director-general of economic data at Statistics South Africa, told reporters Wednesday in the capital, Pretoria. The economy remains Africa’s second-biggest, lagging behind Nigeria.
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Zimbabwe will use more than half of the $961 million allocated by the International Monetary Fund in the form of special drawing rights to support its beleaguered currency, Bloomberg News reported. The government abandoned a 1:1 peg between a precursor of the reintroduced Zimbabwe dollar and the greenback in February 2019. The currency now trades at 85.82 to the U.S. dollar and even lower on the black market, a plunge that’s made it difficult for the government to get it accepted locally, and it’s generally not tradable outside the country.
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Nigeria will return to international capital markets next month to offer a portion of its planned $6.2 billion Eurobond sale, Finance Minister Zainab Ahmed said, according to a Bloomberg News report. The amount to be issued will depend on market conditions, Debt Management Office Director-General Patience Oniha said on Aug. 5. “We expect to issue in September, but that will depend on the advice of book runners and financial advisers,” Oniha said in an emailed response to questions on Thursday.
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The landslide victory for Zambian President-elect Hakainde Hichilema may help him make good on his promise to secure a much-needed deal with the International Monetary Fund to reduce debt and boost economic growth, Bloomberg News reported. Zambia’s Eurobonds and currency rallied on Monday after Hichilema beat incumbent Edgar Lungu by almost 1 million votes with nearly 60% support. The massive margin will make it easier to change policy, said Ray Jian, an emerging-market portfolio manager at Amundi Asset Management, which has an overweight position in Zambian debt.
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Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s Nigerian unit agreed to pay a community in the West African country more than $110 million to resolve a long-running dispute over an oil spill that occurred more than 50 years ago, Bloomberg News reported. The Anglo-Dutch energy giant will pay the Ejama-Ebubu people 45.7 billion naira ($110.9 million) in compensation to put an end to a legal case that began in 1991, the community’s lawyer Lucius Nwosu said by phone. Shell approached a court in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, on Wednesday to disclose the development, he said.
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Qatar National Bank QPSC, the Middle East’s biggest lender, asked a U.S. court to order Eritrea to pay nearly $300 million of debt after the Horn of Africa nation refused to participate in two lawsuits, Bloomberg News reported. The Doha-based bank requested a judgment by default from a federal court in Washington on Friday after Eritrea failed to respond to the bank’s claim seeking to enforce a U.K. ruling in 2019. QNB alleges that President Isaias Afwerki’s government went to drastic lengths to avoid being served with key documents.
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Ghanaians kicked off a series of planned protests aimed at pressuring President Nana Akufo-Addo’s administration to do more to create jobs for the youth, improve health-care and education standards, and bring down living costs, Bloomberg News reported. The demonstrations are being organized under the social media banner #FixTheCountry and were joined by thousands of people wearing masks and carrying placards, who marched in the streets of Accra, the capital, on Wednesday, a public holiday in the West African nation.
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Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., the state utility that supplies most of South Africa’s power, said it’s seeking to appoint advisers on how to restructure itself into three separate units, a reorganization that was proposed to let it to better deal with an untenable debt burden, Bloomberg News reported. The separation of the Johannesburg-based company into transmission, generation and distribution units was first raised by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa more than two years ago.
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A plan by 15 West African nations to link up their debt markets is on track to become a reality by the end of 2023, part of a wider push toward great integration for their economies and finances, a market regulator said, Bloomberg News reported. The aim is to open up the debt auctions of individual countries to investors from across the Economic Community of West African States, or Ecowas, as the bloc is called, Daniel Ogbarmey Tetteh, director general of Ghana’s Securities and Exchange Commission, said in an interview.

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Kenya has resumed servicing loans owed to China after Beijing’s six-month debt-repayment suspension expired in June, piling pressure on the exchequer, Bloomberg News reported. The government began 2021-22 remittances, with the first batch to the Export–Import Bank of China amounting to 82.7 billion shillings ($761 million), according to Kenya’s Controller of Budget Margaret Nyakang’o. Repayments are for debt taken for projects, including a railroad between Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, and the port city of Mombasa, Nyakang’o said in emailed responses to questions.
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