Bureau Chief, Southeastern U.S. and Caribbean
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Jul 18, 2014

In BES saga, the Angolan connection emerges from silence

LISBON/JOHANNESBURG, July 18 (Reuters) – Angola has broken
its silence over its connection to Portugal’s troubled Banco
Espirito Santo, but its admission of bad loans in the
local subsidiary focuses attention on a generous state guarantee
covering most of this flawed loan portfolio.

The crisis affecting one of Portugal’s best-known banking
institutions had highlighted its exposure in
former colony Angola, where subsidiary BES Angola (BESA) is a
major financial player with links to the ruling elite and family
of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

May 29, 2014

Africa must tackle poverty to share benefits of strong growth-IMF’s Lagarde

MAPUTO, May 29 (Reuters) – Africa is “taking off” with
strong, steady growth but poverty is unacceptably high so that
governments need to build infrastructure and institutions and
educate people to share the benefits more widely, the IMF’s head
said on Thursday.

Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to grow by around 5.5 percent
this year – well above the global average – with some of its
poorest countries expanding by closer to 7 percent, Christine
Lagarde, International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director,
told an IMF conference in the Mozambican capital Maputo.

May 20, 2014

Africa investors looking beyond negative headlines: World Bank

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Investors in Africa are increasingly able to see beyond negative headlines of violence in nations like South Sudan, Nigeria and Kenya, but they also seek more protection against risk for their business ventures, a senior World Bank official said.

“There was a time when Africa for many investors was just like a big, big country,” Michel Wormser, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the World Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), said.

Apr 28, 2014

Nigeria can handle Boko Haram, part of ‘raw democracy’, says minister

ABUJA (Reuters) – Nigeria is preparing a special development plan for its poor, violence-hit northeast and increasing spending to counter an Islamist revolt there that could dent growth in Africa’s No. 1 oil producer if it worsens, the country’s finance minister said.

Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala told Reuters that although the impact of the five-year Boko Haram insurgency had cut half a percentage point off Nigeria’s GDP last year, she believed it could be contained and insisted the country was not facing a wider conflict as it heads for elections next year.

Apr 10, 2014

Africa still rising but must cut poverty, create jobs

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – African presidents and policy makers are pushing back against pessimism to tell the world their continent’s economic boom is real and sustained, but they say it must work harder to roll back poverty and create jobs for its restless youth.

From Senegal to Nigeria and Rwanda, officials play down the impact on investment and capital inflows from the U.S. Fed’s unwinding of its economic stimulus programme, or from signs of slowdown in China and its appetite for African commodities.

Apr 8, 2014

Retailers chase reward in booming but volatile Africa

KANO, Nigeria (Reuters) – Opening a modern supermarket in a city under threat from an Islamist insurgency, with the added uncertainty of wobbly public power supplies, may sound like a retailer’s nightmare.

But what if that city stands on one of the oldest trade crossroads in Africa, offering a major chunk of one of the largest and fastest-growing retail markets on the continent?

Mar 31, 2014

Nigeria is on the rise, don’t talk it down, minister says

ABUJA, March 31 (Reuters) – Nigeria has a strong, buoyant
economy receiving billions of dollars of foreign and domestic
direct investment in power, petrochemicals, agriculture and
consumer goods, but it needs to grow faster to reduce poverty,
its finance minister said,

In a spirited response to what she called a trend of
“talking down on Nigeria”, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said she was not
concerned about short-term outflows of portfolio investment
which did not reflect the macro-economic fundamentals and
long-term prospects of Africa’s No. 1 crude producer.

Mar 25, 2014

Africa still rising, but needs economic discipline: AfDB

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Sub-Saharan Africa’s economy will grow more than 6 percent this year, the African Development Bank said on Tuesday, but its president urged governments to build resilience to capital outflows and commodity price shocks.

In an interview with Reuters, Donald Kaberuka rejected as “premature” suggestions the ‘Africa Rising’ narrative might have lost momentum as a slowing China economy depresses prices for commodities such as copper, and the run-down of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s bond-buying programme squeezes the flow of cheap capital into emerging markets.

Mar 14, 2014

U.S. philanthropist Howard Buffett takes aim at rhino poaching

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – American philanthropist Howard G. Buffett donated $24 million to South Africa’s national parks service on Friday to fund a high-tech campaign against rhino poaching which he compared to the United States’ war on drugs on its southern border.

Buffett, son of billionaire investor and Berkshire Hathaway Inc chairman Warren Buffett, one of the world’s richest men, presented the 255 million rand cheque to South African authorities at Standard Bank offices in Johannesburg.

Mar 10, 2014

Insight – Equatorial Guinea seeks to shake off ‘oil curse’ image

MALABO (Reuters) – On land cleared of tropical forest, gleaming new office towers, apartment blocks, homes and highways dazzle the eye in Equatorial Guinea, Sub-Saharan Africa’s No. 3 energy producer where oil and gas revenues have fed a frenzy of construction.

But cutting away the jungle is proving easier for President Teodoro Obiang Nguema than shedding his central African nation’s dark image as a reclusive, repressive and graft-ridden poster child of the “resource curse”.

    • About Pascal

      "I am based in Miami, heading the editorial reporting team covering the southeastern United States and the Caribbean. This includes Cuba and Haiti and we are also in charge of covering the annual Atlantic hurricane season and Space missions from Cape Canaveral. Previously, I was Chief Correspondent for West and Central Africa, and chief correspondent, Venezuela, following earlier postings in Cuba, Brazil, southern Africa, Portugal and Spain."
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