Africa Briefs

31 January 2018 | Economics

Angola leaves repo rate at 18%

Angola's central bank left its benchmark lending rate unchanged at 18% at a meeting of its monetary policy committee on Monday, the regulator said in a notice on its website.

The next meeting of Angola's monetary policy committee is on Feb. 28, the notice said. – Nampa/Reuters

Mozambique acts on US$2 billion loans

Mozambique's Attorney General has filed a legal complaint against officials and state-owned companies involved in securing US$2 billion in loans that were not approved by parliament or disclosed publicly, her office said on Monday.

Investigations into the debt found that the deals violated Mozambique's constitution, the AG's office said in a statement.

The alleged infringements included failure to comply with the procedures and limits established by law in the issuance of guarantees by the state, it said.

An independent audit of the debt showed in June last year that questions remained on how the US$2 billion was used and roughly a quarter of the money remained unaccounted for. – Nampa/Reuters

Liberia's Weah cuts his own salary

Liberia's newly sworn-in President George Weah pledged to cut his own salary by a quarter on Monday, in a nationwide address in which he warned of tough times ahead for a "broke" country.

"Our economy is broken; our government is broke. Our currency is in free fall; inflation is rising," Weah said. "Unemployment is at an unprecedented high and our foreign reserves are at an all-time low".

Weah had promised a crackdown on endemic corruption as he was sworn in a week ago to the cheers of thousands of exuberant supporters crammed into a stadium in the capital, Monrovia.

The announcement of a pay cut for himself is likely go down well on a continent long used to officials in high office awarding themselves fabulous pay rises and perks. – Nampa/Reuters

IMF pleased with Morocco's currency move

Morocco's new, more flexible hard currency system is a step in the right direction to make the kingdom more attractive to investment and turn it into a financial hub for Africa, a senior IMF official said.

Two weeks ago, Morocco launched a more flexible foreign exchange system under free-market reforms recommended by the International Monetary Fund to protect the North African economy against external shocks and safeguard its reserves.

Rabat has said it does not plan to follow the path of Egypt, which opted for a full float of its currency in one go.

Morocco is among the most advanced Arab countries in liberalising its economy, the IMF said. "They are on the right track. This is paying off." – Nampa/Reuters

Libya gets new central bank governor

Libya's eastern-based parliament swore in a new central bank governor on Monday, though the head of a rival assembly in the capital, Tripoli, quickly rejected the move.

The leadership of the Central Bank of Libya (CBL) has been divided since 2014, when rival political factions established competing governments in Tripoli and the east of the country.

The eastern-based parliament, or House of Representatives (HOR), set up a parallel central bank in the eastern town of Bayda, voting to dismiss Tripoli governor Sadiq al-Kabir.

After backing Kabir's former deputy Ali Salim al-Hibri to run the bank in Bayda, in December the HOR elected Mohamed Shukri as the new governor.

As he was sworn in on Monday, Shukri spoke of reuniting the CBL and working to emulate the National Oil Corporation (NOC), which has overseen a sharp increase in production despite continuing political divisions. – Nampa/Reuters

Ghana likely to hedge oil imports

Ghana will likely hedge its oil imports under a new risk management strategy to keep fiscal consolidation on track as global crude prices recover, a finance ministry source said.

The West African country has largely been a net crude importer, except last year when oil exports exceeded imports by around US$990 million, according to central bank data.

While future price recovery was partially good news for Ghana's oil exports, the government fears it could also derail price stability and spike fuel-related expenditures.

The major commodity exporter operates a deregulated consumer fuel pricing mechanism after the government reluctantly scrapped subsidies in 2015 under a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). – Nampa/Reuters

Nigeria injects millions into currency market

Nigeria's central bank said on Monday it had injected $210 million into the interbank foreign exchange market, extending efforts to boost liquidity and alleviate US dollar shortages.

The bank said in a statement it had released US$100 million earmarked for the wholesale market, US$55 million for small businesses and individuals, and US$55 million for certain dollar expenses such as school fees and medical bills. – Nampa/Reuters