Africa

More than 100 million workers across the world’s top eight economies may be forced to change occupations by 2030 due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report released by consultant firm McKinsey & Company on Thursday, The Hill reported. The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated globally trending changes in the workplace, prompting McKinsey to raise its prediction for how many workers will likely need to switch jobs in the top eight economies by 12 percent.
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The COVID pandemic has added $24 trillion to the global debt mountain over the last year a new study has shown, leaving it at a record $281 trillion and the worldwide debt-to-GDP ratio at over 355%, Reuters reported. The Institute of International Finance’s global debt monitor estimated government support programmes had accounted for half of the rise, while global firms, banks and households added $5.4 trillion, 3.9 trillion and $2.6 trillion respectively.
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South Africa’s High Court ruled that Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. can recover 10 billion rand ($681 million) from consumers, enabling the state power utility to raise electricity tariffs by 16%, Bloomberg News reported. The ruling comes after Eskom and the National Energy Regulator of South Africa reached an agreement on the matter, the regulator said in an emailed statement Tuesday. It comes as Nersa appeals a ruling in July 2020 that enables Eskom to boost revenue by 69 billion rand over the next three years.
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South African Airways (SAA) has received a further 5 billion rand ($346 million) from the Department of Public Enterprises to help make severance payments to laid-off staff as part of its rescue plan, administrators of the plan said on Tuesday, Reuters reported. SAA entered a local form of bankruptcy protection in December 2019 after roughly a decade of financial losses, with its fortunes worsening after the COVID-19 pandemic grounded flights. The government committed to providing 10.5 billion rand to bailout the airline in October’s mid-term budget.
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Nigeria’s federal government has set the terms for the conversion of its stock of central bank overdrafts into long-term notes in a bid to create transparency around its dependence on that source of funding, Bloomberg News reported. The 10 trillion naira ($25.6 billion) debt will be exchanged for 30-year notes issued to the central bank, Patience Oniha, head of the Debt Management Office said by email. The agreement on timing for the conversion needs to be finalized to get the required approval from the cabinet, at the earliest in the second quarter, Oniha said.
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Kenya plans to raise more money from foreign than domestic loans as it takes advantage of global appetite for high-yielding debt, Bloomberg News reported. The East African nation intends to raise 123.8 billion shillings ($1.13 billion) from sovereign bonds sold to foreigners in the next four months and an additional 124.3 billion shillings during the fiscal year starting in July, according to the National Treasury. The funds will help finance the budget.

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Steinhoff said on Monday former auditor Deloitte has agreed to pay $85 million to certain claimants as part of the retailer’s proposed $1 billion global lawsuit settlement plan, and that a company opposing the plan had withdrawn its court application, Reuters reported. The announcement sent Steinhoff’s Johannesburg-listed shares soaring 15.70% to reach their highest in nearly two and a half years, while its primary Frankfurt-listed shares jumped by 18.55% by 1231 GMT.

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Debt-laden Air Namibia, which cancelled all flights earlier on Thursday, has been placed into voluntary liquidation, Finance Minister Iipumbu Shiimi said, calling the state-owned airline “unsustainable,” Reuters reported. Government said that it had considered all other options, which included potential investment from other airlines and turnaround strategies, before it decided to file for liquidation.

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South Africa’s National Treasury will probably keep the levels of its bond auctions constant until the end of the fiscal year, even with domestic-debt issuance running ahead of target, Bloomberg News reported. The Treasury is unlikely to “adjust its in-year bond auction levels due to the short time period remaining after the presentation of the 2021 budget,” its media desk said Wednesday in an emailed response to questions, while emphasizing that the department “does not front-run the budget.” Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is due to present the national budget on Feb.

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A 200 billion rand ($13 billion) loan program, one of the linchpins of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plans to shore up a South African economy devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, may not even reach 10% of its target, Bloomberg News reported. Banks have distributed 17.8 billion rand since the initiative started in May through to Jan. 16, the Banking Association of South Africa said in a statement on Wednesday. At the current rate, only 18.9 billion rand will be allocated under the plan, it said.

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