Africa in brief

28 September 2018 | Economics

World Bank approves first grants to Somalia

The World Bank has approved US$80 million in grants to Somalia to fund public finance reforms, marking the first disbursement to the government of the conflict-ridden country in 30 years, the bank said.

The Washington-based lender, which suspended ties with the country when war broke out in 1991, resumed support for Somalia in 2003, at the time saying it would focus on HIV/AIDS and livestock programmes with other organisations, but it has not approved any direct lending to the government to date.

It reopened direct ties with Somalia’s federal government in early 2013.

Its board had approved financing of US$60 million for the Recurrent Cost and Reform Financing Project and US$20 million for the Domestic Revenue and Public Financial Management Capacity Strengthening Project, it said in a statement late on Tuesday.

“They represent a milestone in Somalia’s development and reconstruction,” the bank said.

-Nampa/Reuters

IMF sees Ethiopian economic growth rising

Ethiopia’s economy is forecast to expand 8.5% in the July 2018-June 2019 period, from 7.5% in the previous fiscal year, the International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday.

In its first assessment since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office in April, the IMF said Ethiopia was benefiting from easing uncertainty and improved domestic and foreign investment.

Abiy has signed a peace deal with neighbour Eritrea, lifted a state of emergency and promised to partially open up the government-dominated economy by attracting foreign capital to the state telecoms company and airline.

-Nampa/Reuters

Half of SA’s stimulus plan to come from spending shift

South Africa’s shifting budget priorities will provide roughly half of the 50 billion rand (US$3.5 billion) in stimulus spending it plans to make by the end of its fiscal year in March, finance minister Nhlanhla Nene told Reuters.

The rest of the fund would come from internal development finance institutions (DFI), he said on Wednesday, outlining for the first time the basic structure of the fund.

Nene said half of the funds would come from reprioritizing money away from underperforming government programs and the rest from internal DFIs.

“We don’t want whatever is on the chopping block to be announced before the process has concluded,” he said after an investor forum on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York.

-Nampa/Reuters

South African rand falls in early trade

South Africa’s rand retreated early on Thursday as the dollar firmed after the latest US Federal Reserve interest rate increase, while domestic investors awaited details of amendments to the mining charter.

The rand was 0.35% weaker at 14.1835 per dollar by 0702 GMT, having closed in New York at 14.1325.

The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies edged up by 0.4% to 94.574.

Minister of mineral resources Gwede Mantashe will brief journalists on amendments to the long-awaited mining charter on Thursday.

The mining charter - introduced to provide redress for the exclusion of black people in the mining sector under apartheid - could yet be subject to legal challenges if mining companies are unhappy with its contents after publication.

-Nampa/Reuters

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