Africa

A U.S. judge on Wednesday quashed a bid to widen the scope of a civil lawsuit by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that accused miner Rio Tinto of fraud at its Mozambican coal business, a court filing showed, Reuters reported. The SEC filed a complaint against Rio in 2017 with allegations that it had fraudulently concealed the decline in value of the business. Rio had acquired Riversdale mining for $3.7 billion in 2011, on the premise it would be able to barge 30 million tonnes of coal per year down the Zambezi river, and rail a further 12-15 million tonnes of coal per year to port.
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Member countries of the World Trade Organization are aiming to resurrect a dormant system for resolving trade disputes that has been a point of friction between the U.S. and other nations, the Wall Street Journal reported. The WTO’s Appellate Body, the apex of the Geneva-based group’s dispute-settlement system, has been effectively shut down since 2019 after the Trump administration blocked the appointment of new judges. U.S. complaints about the system, which predate the Trump presidency, center on Appellate Body rulings against tariffs and other remedies, limiting what U.S.

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Lawyers representing defunct Belgian airline ChallengeAir moved on Friday to seize Air Namibia’s headquarters after the state carrier failed to honour a 10 million euro ($12.14 million) settlement agreement reached last month to save it from liquidation, Reuters reported. Air Namibia survived liquidation attempts by creditor ChallengeAir SA in January when the two firms reached the settlement agreement minutes before liquidation proceedings were due to kick off.
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Nedbank Group Ltd. is leading discussions to restructure South African power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd.’s 464 billion ($32 billion) debt load, Bloomberg News reported. The parties met in recent days, and one of the options is to transfer at least 100 billion rand of debt to a special-purpose vehicle that would be overseen by the Public Investment Corp., Africa’s biggest fund manager.
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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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