Africa Briefs

23 June 2020 | Economics

Sudan to liquidate, ­privatise state firms

A Sudanese committee chaired by prime minister Abdalla Hamdok approved a plan to liquidate many of the country's 650 state-owned companies and privatise others.

It is the latest in a series of proposed reforms since Sudan began negotiating a non-funded programme this month with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that could pave the way for international financial support.

Under the latest measure, a large number of companies would be liquidated “because some do absolutely nothing at all, make no profit or have no justification for being owned by the state,” Adam Harika, an adviser to the prime minister, said in a cabinet statement.

A government inventory identified 650 companies owned by the state, 431 of which belong to ministries or executive authorities and 200 to defence and the military.

Only 12 of the companies provided revenue to the finance ministry, Harika said. – Nampa/Reuters

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Virus cuts Zambia mining revenue by a third

Zambia, Africa's second largest copper producer, saw its mining revenue drop by nearly a third between February and April this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the mining chamber said Thursday.

“Zambia's mining companies have suffered an alarming drop in revenue over the three months February-April 2020, illustrating the deep impact of Covid-19 on mining companies,” the chamber said in a statement.

Zambia Chamber of Mines (ZCM), an association of mining companies, said the 30% drop in revenue was due to “the severe global restrictions on movement [that] have played havoc on the mining supply chain and hindered exports and sale of copper. The collapse in copper prices experienced early this year added to the woes.

Revenue from mining - Zambia's economic mainstay - is projected to continue on a downward trajectory for another year, it said.

Zambia is Africa's second-biggest copper-producing country after the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the sector is a major employer.

 – Nampa/AFP

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Kenya says talks on trade deal with US delayed

Kenya has delayed talks on a trade deal with the United States until a pan-African trade bloc comes into force, president Uhuru Kenyatta said on Thursday, likely holding up what would be Washington's first such pact in Sub-Saharan Africa.

US president Donald Trump and Kenyatta agreed in February to start formal talks on a bilateral trade pact that might help offset concerns about China's expanding investment imprint on the continent.

Kenya wants to do a deal with Washington before the expiry of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which allows Sub-Saharan African states to export thousands of products to the United States without tariffs or quotas until 2025.

Kenyatta said Kenya had delayed discussions with Washington until the Africa free trade arrangement comes into force, originally set for July 1 but now delayed until later by the coronavirus pandemic.

It was not immediately clear how long the delay to the talks would last.

Two-way goods trade between the United States and Kenya totalled US$1.1 billion in 2019, up 4.9% from 2018. – Nampa/Reuters

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