Africa

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as part of the retailer’s proposed $1 billion global lawsuit settlement plan, and that a company opposing the plan had withdrawn its court application, Reuters reported.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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Cash-strapped Air Namibia survived liquidation attempts by defunct Belgian flyer ChallengeAir SA on Friday when the two firms reached a 10 million euros ($12 million) settlement minutes before liquidation proceedings were due to kick off, MoneyWeb reported. ChallengeAir had filed for the loss-making flag carrier’s liquidation last year, arguing Air Namibia was insolvent and unable to repay about 253 million Namibian dollars ($17 million) in debt incurred for the lease of a Boeing 767 back in 1998.

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Developing economies borrowed at a blistering pace at the start of the year after a record 2020, prompting questions among investors about whether they are building up debt problems for the future, the Wall Street Journal reported. Governments and companies in developing countries have sold close to $100 billion of bonds so far in January, using the cash to plug budget deficits and shield themselves from the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according to data from Dealogic. In all of 2020, they borrowed $847 billion.

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Government debt around the world shot up last year to approach levels last seen in the aftermath of World War II, as nations stepped up spending to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and its economic fallout, the International Monetary Fund said yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported. Public debt as a share of global gross domestic product surged to 98% by the end of December from 84% at the end of 2019, before the pandemic struck, the IMF said in an update to its semiannual Fiscal Monitor report.

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Democratic Republic of Congo Prime Minister Sylvestre Ilunga’s government collapsed after lawmakers passed a motion of censure against his administration, Bloomberg News reported. The vote Wednesday in the capital, Kinshasa, marks another victory for President Felix Tshisekedi. He’s been trying to cut ties with former President Joseph Kabila, whose political allies controlled parliament and most government ministries in the cobalt- and copper-rich central African nation.
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Kenya’s economy is expected to expand this year as activity resumes following Covid-19 lockdowns, boosting tax revenue and government spending, Bloomberg News reported. East Africa’s largest economy will probably expand 6.4% this year and growth will slow to 5.5% in 2022, with scheduled elections likely to dampen activity, Treasury said in a report on its website. The Treasury estimates that gross domestic product increased 0.6% in 2020, which would make it one of few countries in the region that did not record a full-year contraction amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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