Africa briefs

14 June 2018 | Economics

Rand slips to 6-month low

South Africa’s rand slipped to a 6-month low against the dollar early on Wednesday, with investors waiting for local retail sales figures and the US Federal Reserve’s policy decision later in the day.

At 0615 GMT, the rand traded at 13.3650 per dollar, 0.3% weaker than its close on Tuesday.

The unit is trading at its weakest level since December 15, according to Thomson Reuters data.

-Nampa/Reuters

Group mulls US$1 billion steel plant in Zimbabwe

China’s unlisted Tsingshan Holding Group on Monday signed a US$1 billion outline agreement with Zimbabwe to build a steelmaking plant there after completing a feasibility study.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government is trying to woo foreign investors, especially in mining, as part of efforts to revive an economy that suffered in the later years of Robert Mugabe’s rule.

Mines minister Winston Chitando, who signed the agreement with a Tsingshan official, said the plant would produce 2 million tonnes of steel a year for 25 years.

Tsingshan will carry out the project through its local subsidiary Afrochime, which produces chrome ore.

A flurry of foreign investors have sought opportunities since Mugabe’s downfall in November, but many appear to be avoiding committing funds until after elections next month.

Zimbabwe’s only integrated steel plant, ZISCO, shut down in 2008 at the height of an economic crisis and China’s R&F has said it plans to invest up to US$2 billion to revive the operation.

-Nampa/Reuters

Zimbabwe drops call for Mugabe to answer on diamond mines

Zimbabwe’s parliament on Monday backed down from its demand for former president Robert Mugabe to answer questions related to diamond mining operations during his time in office.

In what would have been his first public appearance since being ousted in a de facto military coup in November, parliament had wanted to question Mugabe about his pronouncements that the state had been deprived of at least US$15 billion in revenue by mining companies operating in the eastern Marange gem fields.

-Nampa/Reuters

Tanzania orders unregistered bloggers to take down sites

Tanzania ordered all unregistered bloggers and online forums on Monday to suspend their websites immediately or face criminal prosecution, as critics accuse the government of tightening control of internet content.

Several sites, including popular online discussion platform Jamiiforums, said on Monday they had temporarily shut down after the state-run Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) warned it would take legal action against all unlicensed websites.

Regulations passed in March made it compulsory for bloggers and owners of other online forums such as YouTube channels to register with the government and pay up to US$900 for a licence. Per capita income in Tanzania is slightly below US$900 a year.

-Nampa/Reuters

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