JOHANNESBURG, Oct 2 (Reuters) – The recent downgrade to junk
of South Africa’s emerging market peer Brazil is a timely
warning that ratings agencies and investors will not hesitate to
punish signs of unwieldy budget deficits on a prolonged basis.
Closer to home, Zambia, whose currency skidded nearly 20
percent earlier this week after Moody’s cut its rating
, will give South Africa’s Finance Minister
Nhlanhla Nene cause for nervousness as he prepares his medium
term budget due later this month.
LUSAKA, Sept 21 (Reuters) – The endless drone and stench of
diesel fumes are daily irritants but Zambian barber Victor
Senti is grateful for the generator that has kept his business
going through months of electricity shortages.
The 35-year-old is worried about the future as the southern
African nation, the continent’s biggest copper producer after
Democratic Republic of Congo, grapples with what many say is the
worst economic crisis since the end of one-party rule in 1991.
LUSAKA (Reuters) – Zambia’s economy is likely to grow by less than 5 percent in 2015 due to a power crunch that has hit output from mining companies already grappling with a slide in global copper prices, Finance Minister Alexander Chikwanda said.
In an interview with Reuters, Chikwanda also said the government was reluctant to acquire more debt due to rising servicing costs, but if necessary would prefer longer-term loans as opposed to short-term IMF money.
LUSAKA, Sept 16 (Reuters) – Zambia expects to triple power
output to 6,000 megawatts (MW) in 2 years through expansion of
solar energy by foreign investors, the head of its investment
Erratic electricity supplies have hit mining in the
continent’s second biggest copper producer, where the bulk of
its generation capacity of 2,200 MW of power is water-powered.
JOHANNESBURG, Sept 11 (Reuters) – On paper, looming interest
rate hikes in South Africa should lift savings rates by boosting
returns, but in reality they will only make it harder for
heavily indebted households to repay loans, leaving little extra
money to set aside.
Africa’s most advanced economy already has one of the worst
savings rates in the world at less than a sixth of GDP, a legacy
of the apartheid system that excluded the black majority from
the formal financial system.
JOHANNESBURG, Sept 9 (Reuters) – Zambia’s revenue collection
in 2015 could be even lower than the 2 billion kwacha ($3.6
million) downward adjustment the finance minister made earlier
this year, as weaker copper prices take their toll, the revenue
head said on Wednesday.
A slide in global copper prices has put pressure on Africa’s
second biggest producer of the metal, with export earnings
depressed despite the kwacha’s 55 percent fall against
the dollar this year.
JOHANNESBURG, Sept 4 (Reuters) – South African equities have
marched ahead this year despite sluggish economic growth, with
local investors scaling back their bond exposure in favour of
shares that offer a hedge against a sharply weaker currency.
Central bank regulations limiting local investors to taking
only 25 percent of their assets offshore have prevented a mad
rush out of South Africa that might have ensued with the rand’s
nearly 20 percent fall against the dollar this year.
JOHANNESBURG, Aug 24 (Reuters) – The state-run corporations
that have shaped South Africa’s economy and been part of its
every day life for nearly a century are mostly in a state of
collapse, threatening to crush already weak growth.
Economists estimate that underperformance and inefficiency
in state-owned firms ranging from power utility Eskom to South
African Airways (SAA) to the postal service is lopping 2-3
percentage points off annual growth.
JOHANNESBURG, July 1 (Reuters) – South Africa’s government
has sold its stake in mobile phone firm Vodacom at a 10
percent discount to market prices to raise funds for
cash-strapped power utility Eskom, the Treasury said
President Jacob Zuma’s government has been seeking to sell
non-core assets to help plug Eskom’s funding gap of up
to 200 billion rand ($16 billion) through to 2018 as the utility
struggles to keep its ageing fleet of mostly coal-fired plants
MARIBANA, South Africa (Reuters) – For the residents of Maribana village, South African Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago is the embodiment of how life has changed for the better for blacks since the end of white minority rule two decades ago.
Appointed last year to the helm of Africa’s most important central bank, Kganyago has come a long way from the school boy who attended classes under a tree in the 1970s because the single block of classrooms could not house all the pupils.