Africa Briefs

11 March 2019 | Economics

Zim denies new currency rate being fixed

The head of Zimbabwe's central bank denied on Thursday that it had fixed the exchange rate of the country's new transitional currency, whose value it said it would let the market decide.

The value of that currency, which authorities said they would float, has held unchanged at 2.5 to the US dollar since February 22. On the black market, the RTGS rate was 3.8 to the US dollar on Thursday, compared to 3.5 the previous week.

Concerns that the government is resisting moves to allow a further devaluation of the RTGS dollar has discouraged those holding US dollars from selling them at the prevailing rate.

"We have not fixed the exchange rate and we will not fix it," central bank governor John Mangudya told a parliamentary committee. – Nampa/Reuters

US indicts Mozambique's former finmin

The US Justice Department indicted Mozambique's former finance minister, along with eight executives, officials and investment bankers, over their alleged roles in a US$2 billion fraud and money laundering scheme, the department said on Thursday.

The alleged co-conspirators arranged for more than US$2 billion in loans intended to fund three maritime projects, but diverted more than US$200 million in loan proceeds in bribe payments to former finance minister Manuel Chang and other officials and kickback payments to three investment bankers, the department said. – Nampa/Reuters

Tunisia starting to put tourism crisis behind it

Tunisia's tourism business is on the road to recovery and visitor numbers have started to head back towards their pre-crisis levels, the country's tourism minister said on Thursday.

Tourism accounts for around 8% of Tunisia's economy and employs 400,000 people, but has suffered years of turmoil following the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011 and two militant attacks on holidaymakers in 2015.

Revenues from tourism jumped to US$1.36 billion in 2018 and a record 8.3 million visitors travelled to Tunisia from Algeria, Russia and other parts of Europe.

Major European tour operators started to return to Tunisia last year after three years of shunning the country after militants killed 39 tourists in an attack on a beach in Sousse and 21 people in a separate attack at the Bardo National Museum in the capital Tunis.

The number of foreign visitors rose almost 45% last year with arrivals from Germany up 52%. Tunisia expects tourist arrivals to reach 9 million for the first time in 2019. – Nampa/Reuters

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