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IMF, Congo Republic provisionally agree on three-year loan deal

The IMF mission also states that Congo’s economy is projected to grow more than 5 percent in 2019, up from less than 1 percent in 2018

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has agreed to a three-year loan facility with the Congo Republic with conditions that the government in Brazzaville will implement some reforms. Since 2017, the country had been in talks with the international lender to get the facility on the basis that they are doing enough to tackle national debt and corruption.

The government found a way to reduce its mostly crippling debt of, $2 billion to China. This eventually convinced the IMF to wade in. The agreed measures include submitting a report to the nation’s lawmakers on bad oil loans that the state petroleum company has taken out with private banks.

The IMF mission also states that Congo’s economy is projected to grow more than 5 percent in 2019, up from less than 1 percent in 2018, mainly because of an expected rise in oil production and prices. This could bring in more investors to the Central African country. 2014, the economy was hurt by a sharp drop in oil prices, causing debt levels to balloon to 118 percent of GDP in 2017. In the first five months of 2019, last month oil prices hit their highest level, helping Congo cut debt levels to less than 85 percent of GDP.

SOURCE: NEWS CENTRAL AND NEWS PARTNERS

 

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Zimbabwe’s inflation rate climbs to 175%

Supplies of essentials such as bread, medicine, and petrol are regularly running short in the country

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Zimbabwe's inflation rate climbs to 175%

Zimbabwe’s annual inflation rate hit 175 per cent in June, official data showed Monday, stoking fears of a return of the hyperinflation that wiped out savings ten years ago when the economy collapsed.

Official inflation is the highest since hyperinflation forced the government to abandon the Zimbabwe dollar in 2009.

Supplies of essentials such as bread, medicine, and petrol are regularly running short in the country.

“The year-on-year inflation rate for the month of June 2019 as measured by the all items consumer price index stood at 175.66 per cent, while that of May 2019 was 97.85 per cent,” the Zimbabwe National Statistical Agency said in a statement.

Millions of Zimbabweans have fled abroad in the last 20 years seeking work.

Many others are now seeking to leave as conditions worsen under President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who had promised an economic revival after succeeding long-ruling Robert Mugabe in 2017.

Mnangagwa vowed to end the country’s international isolation, attract investors and create growth that could fund the country’s shattered public services.

But the economy has declined further, with shop prices rocketing and long power cuts.

The U.S dollar has been the national currency since 2009.

But last month, Zimbabwe, in theory, ended the use of U.S dollars and other foreign currencies and replaced them by two local parallel currencies — “bond notes” and electronic RTGS dollars, which would combine to become the new “Zimbabwe dollar”.

The new “Zimbabwe dollar” does not yet exist in paper form.

Hyperinflation hit 500 billion per cent in 2009.

SOURCE: NEWS CENTRAL AND NEWS PARTNERS

 

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Central African Republic panel calls for closure of Chinese-run gold mines

The nature of the ecological disaster discovered onsite justifies the immediate, unconditional halt to these activities

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Four Chinese-run gold mines should be closed in the Central African Republic because of pollution threatening public health, a parliamentary panel said in a report published Saturday. 

“Ecological disaster,” “polluted river,” “public health threatened,” were some of the phrases used in the report.

“Gold mining by the Chinese firms at Bozoum is not profitable for the state and harmful to the population and the environment,” the commission found after its investigation into mining in the northern town. 

“The nature of the ecological disaster discovered onsite justifies the immediate, unconditional halt to these activities,” the report found.

A local missionary, Father Aurelio Gazzera, has published a video showing the state of the river and named the four firms concerned as Tian Xian, Tian Run, Meng and Mao.

Members of the commission spent four days in Bozoum a month ago in response to “multiple complaints from the population.”

There, they found a badly polluted River Ouham, shorn of several aquatic species following the excavation of its riverbed.

They discovered that a rising death rate in fishing villages as well as shrinking access to clean drinking water.

The commission also turned up suspicions of accounting irregularities during its investigation. 

“Average production is between 400 grams (1 lb) to 1 kilo per site per month. This situation seems unacceptable with regard to daily production costs,” the report says.

The investigators also voiced fears that the country’s “resources are being squandered with the complicity of certain ministry of mines officials.”

The C.A.R is rich in natural resources but riven by conflict which has forced around one in four of its 4.5 million population to flee their homes.

Under those circumstances, exploitation of the country’s natural resources is difficult to monitor effectively given that the state only has partial control of its own territory.

SOURCE: NEWS CENTRAL AND NEWS PARTNERS

 

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Airtel listing pushes Nigerian stock exchange market capitalisation up

Airtel Africa’s share price rose by the maximum daily percentage change of 10 per cent to close yesterday at ₦399.30 per share

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Airtel listing pushes Nigerian stock exchange market capitalisation up
(File photo)

Airtel Africa Plc started trading on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) with strong enthusiasm, rallying a ₦136.4 billion gain in the immediate hour after its shares were listed on the Exchange.

Airtel Africa’s share price rose by the maximum daily percentage change of 10 per cent to close yesterday at ₦399.30 per share.

The NSE listed 3.758 billion ordinary shares of Airtel Africa on its main board at ₦363 per share, the offer price for the telco’s initial public offering (IPO). Airtel Africa had last week listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), its primary listing exchange, at 80 pence.

As against the weak start on the first trading day at LSE, Airtel Africa’s dual listing on the NSE started on a positive note, with the telco leading the Nigerian market to a total gain of ₦1.38 trillion.

Airtel Africa’s debut trading on the LSE was, however, weak dropping by as much as 16 per cent during the first trading session.

Airtel Africa set out with an initial listing value of ₦1.36 trillion and closed the first day at the NSE with a market capitalisation of ₦1.5 trillion.

Under its IPO, Airtel Africa had allotted 39.23 million ordinary shares to qualified institutional investors and high net worth investors in Nigeria while 704.82 million shares were allotted to other global investors in various jurisdictions outside Nigeria.

Chief Executive Officer, Airtel Africa Plc, Raghunath Mandava, says Airtel Africa is delighted to be listed on the main board of the Exchange.

READ: MTN Nigeria debuts in $6.5 billion stock exchange listing

“This is an exciting time for Airtel Africa in the 14 countries it operates in and an important milestone in our development as a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services in Africa”, Mandava says.

Speaking on the floor of the Exchange, Managing Director, Airtel Network Limited (Airtel Nigeria), Mr. Segun Ogunsanya, noted that Nigeria has been a great place for business and Airtel Africa remains committed to building a leadership position in Nigeria.

Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr. Oscar Onyema, noted that Airtel Africa has made history as the first telecom company to simultaneously list on both the LSE and NSE.

He said the listing on the Exchange reaffirms Airtel Africa’s long-term commitment to expanding opportunities for Nigerians in addition to providing everyday services to them.

“This listing serves to deepen the telecoms and technology sector for investors and provides an opportunity for a wider group of Nigerians to be part of the African telecoms growth story.

This listing is a promising development in Africa with Airtel Africa being the second company to have its ordinary shares listed on both the London Stock Exchange and the Nigerian Stock Exchange,” Onyema said.

SOURCE: NEWS CENTRAL AND NEWS PARTNERS

 

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