Africa

China is helping Africa develop, not pile up debt, a top Chinese official said on Tuesday, as the government pushes back against criticism it is loading the continent with an unsustainable burden during a major summit in Beijing. President Xi Jinping pledged $60 billion 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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South Africa’s unexpected slump into a second recession in almost a decade has boosted fears of another round of credit-rating downgrades that could see a sell-off in local-currency bonds, Bloomberg News reported. The cost of insuring the country’s debt against default for five years using credit-default swaps spiked to the highest since November 2016 while yields on the government’s benchmark local-currency bonds due in December 2026 rose to a nine-month high. The rand weakened the most against the dollar among major and emerging-market currencies.
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A wave of African nations looking to restructure debt with China on the eve of a major Beijing summit provides a reality check for the continent, where most countries still view Chinese lending as the best bet to develop their economies, the International New York Times reported on a Reuters story. China has denied engaging in "debt trap" diplomacy, but President Xi Jinping is likely to use next week's gathering of African leaders to offer a new round of financing, following a pledge of $60 billion at the last summit three years ago.
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Steinhoff's board will meet over the next two days to discuss asset sales to boost cash flow and pay down debt, its chairwoman said on Wednesday, months after creditors of the South African retailer threw it a lifeline, the International New York Times reported on a Reuters story. Steinhoff had been fighting for survival since December last year when it uncovered accounting irregularities that sent its shares crashing and left it scrambling for working capital.
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The liquidator of Ivorian cocoa exporter Saf-Cacao opened bidding for the company’s assets after the government turned down a request from lenders to halt the shipper’s collapse, according to two people familiar with the matter. Banks have made little progress in their attempts to prevent the demise of Saf-Cacao, one of Ivory Coast’s top cocoa exporters, which was placed under liquidation by a court in the country’s city of San Pedro on July 18 upon the request of industry regulator Le Conseil du Cafe Cacao, Bloomberg News reported.
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Angola has asked the IMF for talks on a bailout in return for more structural reform in Africa’s second-biggest crude exporter, the Financial Times reported. The IMF confirmed on Tuesday that Angola’s government under President João Lourenço asked “to initiate discussions on an economic programme” supported by bailout loans. The fund “stands ready to help the authorities address Angola’s economic challenges by supporting their economic policies and reforms”, it added.
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Ivory Coast’s cocoa regulator said indebted cocoa exporter Saf-Cacao and its lenders have not proposed repayment plans for the company, which is now undergoing liquidation, according to a memo sent this week by the regulator to the government, Bloomberg News reported. Le Conseil du Cafe-Cacao had “no choice” but to seek the judicial recovery of 75.6 billion CFA francs ($133 million) owed by the Saf group, the regulator said in the document sent to Bloomberg by the Ivory Coast government’s communications department.
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Futuregrowth Asset Management, South Africa’s biggest specialist fixed-income money manager, said it didn’t tell Transnet SOC Ltd. to remove Chief Executive Officer Siyabonga Gama after the state-owned rail and ports operator said auditors couldn’t give its 2018 financial results a clean bill of health, Bloomberg News reported. “The Futuregrowth team has had continuing engagements as a lender to Transnet over many months,” Chief Investment Officer Andrew Canter said in an emailed statement late Monday.
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Ghana will continue to subject its public finances to the scrutiny of the International Monetary Fund after its bailout program with the lender ends in April, Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta said. While the government doesn’t intend to ask for a second bailout deal, it will seek other forms of cooperation with the IMF such as the Policy Support Instrument program, Ofori-Atta said in an emailed response to questions, Bloomberg News reported.
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South Africa’s Land and Agricultural Development Bank has warned expropriating farm land without compensation could cost the government 41 billion rand ($2.8 billion) if it’s forced to repay the state company’s debt immediately, Bloomberg News reported. The lender has approximately 9 billion rand of debt that includes a standard market clause on expropriation as an event of default, the Land Bank’s Chairman Arthur Moloto said in the company’s annual report on Monday.
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