Africa

The African Development Bank said it’s working with Zimbabwe’s government to find a “sustainable solution” to settle its debt arrears and enable the state to start borrowing again, Bloomberg News reported. Zimbabwe owes multilateral lenders about $1.8 billion. President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said he plans to prioritize the repayment of the loans as he sets about rebuilding an economy destabilized by almost two decades of mismanagement under his predecessor Robert Mugabe. Central bank Governor John Mangudya said last week he expects the arrears to be cleared by September 2019.
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Agro-industry firms Cargill, Wilmar and Touton have made offers for the liquidated assets of Ivory Coast’s top cocoa exporter SAF-Cacao, bankers and sources at the country’s cocoa board (CCC) said on Thursday. A court ordered the liquidation of SAF-Cacoa, which purchases between 150,000 and 200,000 tonnes of cocoa beans each season, in July over debts it owed to the CCC, Reuters reported. It owes about 80 billion CFA francs ($143.50 million) to the CCC and 160 billion CFA francs to Ivorian banks.
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Banks in Ivory Coast are considering whether to offer a discount on the debt of failed giant cocoa exporter SAF-Cacao to entice buyers, three bankers involved in the negotiations told Reuters on Tuesday. A court ordered in July the liquidation of SAF-Cacao, the top exporter in the world’s leading cocoa grower, over defaults on cocoa contracts during the 2015-18 seasons, Reuters reported. Banks are ready to offer discounts to buyers if it allows them to recover part of their claims estimated to be around 160 billion CFA Francs ($289 million).
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Britain will support Zimbabwe to get on to an interim IMF staff program to help the country quickly clear its foreign arrears, Britain's ambassador in Harare said on Tuesday. Clearing the $1.8 billion in arrears to the World Bank and African Development Bank is seen as a major step for Zimbabwe to start accessing foreign credit, especially for the private sector as well as foreign direct investment, the International New York Times reported on a Reuters story.
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London-based emerging market fund Gemcorp Group said on Monday it had extended a $250 million loan to Zimbabwe to help the country import essential goods like electricity, fuel and medicine, the company's CEO said. The southern African nation is facing its worst shortages of cash dollars since it dumped its own currency in 2009 in favour of the U.S. currency. This has made it difficult for companies, including mines, to pay for imports, the International New York Times reported on a Reuters story.
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Nigeria’s Finance Minister Resigns

Nigeria’s finance minister, Kemi Adeosun, has resigned following allegations that she used a forged certificate to avoid participating in the country’s mandatory year of youth service, the Financial Times reported. President Muhammadu Buhari accepted her resignation and appointed Zainab Ahmed, minister of state budget and national planning, to oversee the finance ministry in Africa’s largest economy.
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China has agreed to restructure some of Ethiopia’s debt, including a loan for a $4 billion railway linking its capital Addis Ababa with neighbouring Djibouti, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Thursday. Abiy described the rescheduling as limited, but added that repayment of the railway debt has been extended by 20 years, Reuters reported. Landlocked Ethiopia and the Red Sea state inaugurated the railway in January, with 70 percent of the total cost covered through a loan from the Export-Import Bank of China (EXIM).
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African leaders attending this week's summit with China don't think that cooperation between the continent and Beijing has added to their debt burden, the Chinese government's top diplomat said on Thursday. Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged $60 billion (46 billion pounds) to African nations at Monday's opening of a China-Africa forum on cooperation, matching the size of funds offered at the last summit in Johannesburg in 2015, the International New York Times reported on a Reuters story.
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Investor anxiety about a missed debt payment by one of the world’s largest developing nations is jacking up the cost of credit-default swaps from the "BATS" -- Brazil, Argentina, Turkey and South Africa -- to multi-year highs, Bloomberg News reported. Argentina’s implied default probability over the next five years climbed this month to 41 percent, the highest since Mauricio Macri’s government ended the nation’s decade-long legal battle with most holdout creditors. Turkey’s implied default odds during that span rose to 31 percent, the highest since the 2008 global financial crisis.
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Steinhoff International Holdings NV ex-Chief Executive Officer Markus Jooste said the origin of the global retailer’s near-collapse was a protracted dispute with former partner Andreas Seifert, the latest example of a senior figure blaming others for the crisis, Bloomberg News reported. The legal battle with Seifert, mainly over the valuation and ownership of German furniture chain POCO, led to investigations by European regulators and tax authorities that attracted the attention of Steinhoff’s auditors at Deloitte LLP, Jooste told lawmakers in Cape Town on Wednesday.
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