10 Jan

South Africa’s Zuma Says He’ll Name ‘State Capture’ Commission

South African President Jacob Zuma said he would appoint a commission of inquiry into allegations that the Gupta family was allowed to influence state decisions and that he would abide by a court ruling for the Chief Justice to select its leader.

The High Court in December rejected Zuma’s arguments that he alone can set up the commission and ordered him to pay the cost of the case. While the president has appealed the cost order and the judgment regarding the duties of the president to appoint commissions, he said in a statement on Tuesday he is taking further legal advice on this.

“I am concerned that this matter has occupied the public mind for some time now and deserves urgent attention,” Zuma said. “The allegations that the state has been wrestled out of the hands of its real owners, the people of South Africa, is of paramount importance and are therefore deserving of finality and certainty.”

Zuma’s about-turn comes a day before the new top leadership of the ruling African National Congress meets for the first time on Wednesday. A proposal to order Zuma to step down before his term ends in 2019 will be discussed at the gathering in the city of East London, according to three people who spoke on condition of anonymity. Zuma’s scandal-tainted tenure has eroded support for the ANC and he lost control of the party to his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, at an elective conference last month.

‘Political Interference’

Public Protector Thuli Madonsela said in November 2016 that Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng should appoint the head of the inquiry because the president had a conflict of interest. Mogoeng has selected Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, Zuma said on Tuesday. Zuma didn’t say who the commission’s other members will be.

Madonsela had ordered the inquiry into allegations that the Guptas may have influenced the appointment of cabinet members in Zuma’s administration and received special treatment for a coal business linked to the family and one of the president’s sons. Zuma and the Guptas have denied wrongdoing.

“The commission is a step towards ridding the country of corruption, and must do its work without delay,” Mmusi Maimane, the head of the main opposition Democratic Alliance said in a statement. “It must be properly staffed, fully funded and free from any and all political inference.”

Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-09/south-africa-s-zuma-says-he-ll-name-state-capture-commission

14 Dec

‘Make-or-Break’ Time for South Africa as ANC Chooses New Leaders

Almost a quarter-century after Nelson Mandela led the African National Congress to power at the end of apartheid and the world heralded the birth of the “rainbow nation,” South Africa stands at a crossroads.

As delegates of the ruling African National Congress meet this weekend to choose a successor to President Jacob Zuma as party leader, they face a clear choice: his ex-wife, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who favors the president’s push for “radical economic transformation” to redistribute wealth to the black majority, or his deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, who’s pledging to fight corruption and revive a moribund economy to cut a 28 percent unemployment rate.

The leadership conference comes as Zuma’s immersion in a succession of scandals is eroding the 105-year-old party’s support to such an extent that it’s now at risk of losing its majority in 2019 elections. The run-up to the vote by 5,240 delegates that’s scheduled for Dec. 17 and is too close to call has caused deep rifts in the ANC, weighed on the rand and nation’s bonds and unnerved investors seeking political and policy clarity.

“What’s really at stake now is the future of South Africa, not just the ANC’s continued governance of South Africa — everyone needs to understand that,’’ David Makhura, the 49-year-old premier of the nation’s richest province, Gauteng, where an overwhelming majority of ANC branches back Ramaphosa, said in an interview Tuesday. “Even people who don’t vote for the ANC are hoping that we will make one move that will bring South Africa back on track.”

Support for the party slipped to an all-time low of 54 percent in last year’s municipal elections, from a peak of almost 70 percent in 2004, and it lost control of Johannesburg, the economic hub, and Pretoria, the capital, to opposition coalitions.

Fifty-nine percent of 2,100 people who said they’d voted for the ANC favor Ramaphosa to take over as leader, while 19 percent backed Dlamini-Zuma, a computer-generated poll published this month by survey company RatePop found. The party will probably struggle to retain power in 2019 with her at the helm, according to the survey.

To read the full article, click here.

04 Dec

Zimbabwe: Mugabe’s Nephew Quits Politics

Former Public Services, Labour and Social Welfare minister Patrick Zhuwao is quitting politics and does not intend to return home soon after former president Robert Mugabe was toppled last month.

Zhuwao, who is Mugabe’s nephew, said he had no regrets serving under the 93-year-old ruler who was forced to resign by the military on November 21. “I am proud to have served under President Robert Mugabe,” he said in an interview from South Africa at an undisclosed location.

“I was loyal to him during his tenure as president and I even today I am still loyal to him, much than loyalty I could have exhibited as his nephew,” Zhuwao added. “From a personal point of view, I am grateful to those who stood by Mugabe. “My political life existed for the duration of President Mugabe’s tenure.

“The options that were there politically for me was to become disloyal to him and that to me was not acceptable. “The decision by him to accept to be forced out was largely informed by his desire not to see the people of Zimbabwe go into a period of turbulence.

“My appeal to those that keep our faith, religious people, is for them to pray for those who are in power to be humane and not persecute people.” Zhuwao, a son of Mugabe’s late sister Sabina, said his safety was not guaranteed if he returned to Zimbabwe. He said workers at his farm outside Harare had been attacked during the army’s operation.

To read the full article, click here.
29 Nov

Paralysis Grips South Africa Government With ANC Facing Election

An acrimonious battle for control of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress has paralyzed several government departments, as ruling party leaders focus on electioneering and officials delay taking decisions until they learn who their new political masters will be.

The front-runners to replace Jacob Zuma as ANC leader next month are his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the former chairwoman of the African Union Commission and Zuma’s ex-wife. The victor will probably also succeed Zuma as president in 2019, or even earlier if the party decides to replace him before his second term ends. Ramaphosa has stressed the need to reignite growth and restore investor confidence, while Dlamini-Zuma has called for the nation’s wealth to be more equitably distributed.

These are some of the key issues that are likely to remain in abeyance until after the ANC’s Dec. 16-20 elective conference:

1. Resolving a standoff over black mine-ownership laws

The government and mining companies have been locked in dispute for months over a new Mining Charter, which seeks to compel companies to maintain a minimum 30 percent black shareholding. The industry argues that the previous threshold of 26 percent should be retained and sales of stakes to black investors who subsequently divested should be taken into account when assessing their compliance. Court hearings on the dispute are due to resume Feb. 19. Ramaphosa has called for the standoff to be amicably resolved.

2. Allocating new broadband spectrum to mobile-phone companies

While mobile phone companies have been clamoring for additional spectrum, the telecommunications minister sued the industry regulator last year to prevent it from holding a planned auction, arguing that the sale was premature and proper regulatory procedures weren’t followed. The case remains unsettled. Telecommunication laws are meanwhile being amended to give the government greater control over spectrum allocation.

To read the full article, click here. 

29 Nov

Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg Gem Smuggling Thwarts Revival of Central African Republic

In the lounge of a luxury hotel in Bangui, the capital of war-torn Central African Republic, soft-spoken diamond dealers cautiously sidle up to guests.

Their whispered offers of gems for sale are a visitor’s first hint of the thriving illegal market for the precious stones in a country that five years ago was ranked as the world’s 10th-biggest diamond producer and is now mostly controlled by armed militias.

The illicit sales are bad news for the Central African Republic as it lobbies for the removal of an international ban on exports of its diamonds. The embargo, which was partially lifted last year, was imposed because of concerns over gem sales funding conflict. Yet while diamond exports offer a potential source of desperately needed government revenue, authorities so far have been powerless to curb the underground trade.

The government is aware that smugglers come to Bangui to buy diamonds but doesn’t have the means to stop them, said Mines Minister Leopold Mboli Fatrane. He cited the example of an Italian traveler arrested recently with scales and other diamond-evaluation equipment in his luggage.

“If you’re caught in the act, we’ll deport you,’’ Mboli Fatrane said in an interview in Bangui. “But we have a big country and barely any means to investigate.’’

Diamonds have been both a blessing and a curse for the Central African Republic since its independence from France in 1960, providing a crucial source of income for the poor while fueling corruption and armed conflict among the elite. Under Jean-Bedel Bokassa, who wore a gem-encrusted crown when he proclaimed himself emperor in 1976, diamonds became a byword for the megalomania of the nation’s politicians.

Read more: Diamonds Bring New Life to War-Torn Central African Republic

In his workshop where decades-old equipment is collecting dust, diamond-cutter Joseph Guinot, 65, remembers those days fondly.

To read the full article, click here.

 

 

28 Nov

Kenya Is Said to Seek Proposals for $2 Billion Eurobond Sale

Kenya’s government is seeking proposals from banks about a possible $2 billion Eurobond offering in the first quarter of 2018, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The East African nation’s Treasury asked banks for pitches on how to structure the sale, said the people, who asked not to be identified because they aren’t authorized to speak publicly about the matter. The deadline for proposals is Nov. 29, they said.

Kenya’s return to international capital markets would mark its first sale of foreign debt since a debut Eurobond in 2014. The Treasury is seeking to plug a budget deficit that’s forecast to narrow to 6.4 percent of gross domestic product in the fiscal year through June from 8.5 percent last year.

The government plans to re-enter the Eurobond market before the end of the current budget year, though a placement is likely from February onward as funds are required for spending purposes, the people said.

Proposals from banks must outline the costs of either a five- to 10-year issue to be repaid in bullet form, or 12- to 15-year securities amortizing in the final three years, the people said. A government roadshow is expected to start in January, said one of the people.

Treasury Principal Secretary Kamau Thugge didn’t respond to two text messages and four calls to his mobile phone seeking comment.

To read the full article, click here.

27 Nov

Mugabe Quit Over Fear of Being Zimbabwe’s Qaddafi

An emotional Robert Mugabe finally agreed to end his 37-rule in Zimbabwe when army generals who’d seized power told him they wouldn’t prevent protesters from storming his home unless he relented, three people familiar with the talks said.

The peril from the protesters was real. Three days before they’d approached the gates of his mansion, known as “the blue roof,” in the affluent northern Harare suburb of Borrowdale. Chris Mutsvanga, a leader of veterans of the liberation war against white-ruled Rhodesia in the 1970s, threatened to unleash a fresh wave of protests when Mugabe, confused and tearful during his final days in power, didn’t immediately resign after thousands poured into the streets on Nov. 18.

For Mugabe, an almost president-for-life figure, the scenes were difficult to believe. He’d always been accompanied by a motorcade of heavily armed troops, decoy cars, police vehicles, motorcycle outriders and a fully-equipped military ambulance. But in recent years, the fate of figures such as Saddam Hussein and Muammar Qaddafi, both of whom died or were captured after going on the run, had weighed on him, according to the officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Ailing health and frequent confusion hobbled Mugabe during the talks. He wept often and called out for his deceased first wife Sally, and Nhamodzenyika, his son who died of cerebral malaria as an infant, the officials said. His friend Father Fidelis Mukonori, a Catholic priest who was mediating talks with the military, consoled him and begged him to eat and bathe.

Mugabe’s decision to step down and end a week-long standoff with the military came as his ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front was preparing to impeach him in parliament. It marked an anguished end to the career of Africa’s second-longest serving leader who had led Zimbabwe to independence in 1980 and dominated its political scene ever since.

To read the full article, click here

22 Aug

Mozambique: Gas-Fired Power Station Plans to Triple Production

electricity generation

Maputo — The company Gigawatt-Mocambique plans to expand the electricity generation from its gas-fired power station at Ressano Garcia, on the border with South Africa from the current 120 to 350 megawatts.

Cited by the Maputo daily “Noticias”, the Gigawatt director of operations, Nazario Meguigy, said that an additional 60 megawatts of generating capacity will be added in 2018, with an investment of about 120 million US dollars.

The project to almost triple production, to 350 megawatts, will require a further 700 million dollars, and Meguigy, who was speaking during a visit to the power station by Deputy Labour Minister Osvaldo Petersburgo, said this sum is under negotiation with several financial institutions.

For his part, the Chief Executive Officer of Gigawatt-Mocambique, Bruno Morgado, said the company intends to transfer knowledge from foreign technical staff to their Mozambican colleagues, so that Mozambicans can guarantee the company’s production.

“When the company began its operations, we drew up a plan to reduce the number of foreign workers”, said Morgado. “We are in the second year of the plan and we think that within the next three years the company’s operations will be 100 per cent managed by Mozambicans”.

He added that, whenever necessary, specialists will be hired to support the Mozambican workers in such sensitive questions as the maintenance of equipment. Currently the Ressano Garcia power station employs 112 workers, of whom 102 are Mozambican.

“We have no doubt that, within the next three years, the company will be run by Mozambican workers”, he stressed.

source allAfrica

22 Aug

Nigeria: Government Joins 71 Countries to Combat Tax Evasion

Combat Tax Evasion

Lagos — Nigeria has joined 71 other countries to combat tax evasion as the Federal Inland Revenue Service has signed two major multilateral instruments.

These instruments are the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (MLI) and the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement‎ (CRS MCAA).

Chairman, Mr. Tunde Fowler, Executive Fowler signed the agreements on behalf of Nigeria in Paris, with Mr. Ben Dickinson, head of global relations and development division of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), in attendance.

A statement issued by Pascal Saint-Amans, director of the OECD Centre for Tax Policy and Administration (CTPA), said the signing of the agreements makes Nigeria the 71st jurisdiction to sign the MLI and the 94th jurisdiction to join the CRS MCAA.

The agreements will give Nigeria automatic exchange of tax and financial information among 101 tax jurisdictions and enhance the country’s ability and those of the other countries to contain tax avoidance and evasion as well as share financial data.

The MLI is a legal instrument designed to prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) by multinational enterprises. It allows jurisdictions to transpose results from the OECD/G20 BEPS Project, including minimum standards to implement in tax treaties to prevent treaty abuse and “treaty shopping”, into their existing networks of bilateral tax treaties in a quick and efficient manner.

The text of the MLI, the explanatory statement and background information are available on OECD website along with the list of the 71 jurisdictions participating in the MLI and the position of each signatory under the MLI.

The CRS MCAA is a multilateral competent authority agreement based on Article 6 of the Multilateral Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, which aims to implement the automatic exchange of financial account information pursuant to the OECD/G20 Common Reporting Standard (CRS) and to deliver the automatic exchange of CRS information between 101 jurisdictions by 2018.

The text of the CRS MCAA, background information and the list of the 94 signatories are available on OECD website. Saint-Amans explained that the agreements will provide “automatic exchange of tax and financial information among 101 tax jurisdictions and enhance the ability of countries to contain tax avoidance and evasion.

It would be recalled that Fowler has said with the introduction of Voluntary Assets and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS), no Nigerian can evade tax payment.

According to him, the board has received positive response so far on the scheme. To improve tax compliance, the Federal Government said tax offenders stand to enjoy 29 per cent waiver on overdue taxes if they take advantage of VAIDS. The VAIDS programme is aimed at reducing tax payers’ liability and creates more awareness on the statutory function of every working citizen to pay tax.

The scheme which started July 1, offers a window for those who, before now, have not complied with extant tax regulations to remedy their positions by providing them limited amnesty to enable voluntary declaration and payment of liabilities.

source from allAfrica

22 Aug

West Africa: Morocco’s Controversial Plan to Strengthen Ties With West Africa

ECOWAS

Morocco is launching a charm offensive as the kingdom seeks to expand its influence in West Africa by joining the economic union ECOWAS. But Nigeria is reluctant to see Morocco join as it stands to lose power.

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI is making his country’s membership application to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) a top priority. Earlier this year, he visited Ghana, Ivory Coast, Guinea and Mali to promote his cause.

At its June summit in Monrovia, ECOWAS confirmed that Morocco’s membership was possible, at least in principle.

Back in January, Morocco had rejoined the African Union after 33 years. Since then, the king has been busy signing dozens of bilateral trade agreements with other African countries.

In recent years, at least 85 percent of Morocco’s direct foreign investment went to African countries. In 2016, it was the largest African investor on the continent, to the tune of $8 billion (6.8 billion euros). Of this, $2.7 million went to Ivory Coast alone.

However, trade with Africa overall is stagnating: In 2015, just 1.4 percent of Morocco’s imports and 7 percent of its exports were traded with sub-Saharan Africa. If Morocco were to join ECOWAS as a full member, it would have access to the 15-member free market.

A ‘win-win’ situation

From an economic standpoint, there is nothing preventing Morocco from achieving ECOWAS membership – the country is far better off than most other members in this regard. According to the economic community’s constitution, geography is also not a criterion to exclude the North African country.

Christoph Kannengießer, the chief executive officer of the German-African Business Association, says it’s a win-win situation: “ECOWAS will not be weakened by an economically strong country such as Morocco, and as an ECOWAS member, Morocco would be better able to fulfill its desired role as a bridge between Africa and Europe.”

However, before Morocco can formally join ECOWAS, the organization says the political, economic and social implications should be thoroughly considered. Although it is primarily considered an economic-based group, members of ECOWAS also aim for political integration. Morocco and ECOWAS already have opposing views on important issues: ECOWAS recognizes Western Sahara as an autonomous state, while Morocco believes the annexed region is a legitimate province of its kingdom. Although the June summit openly discussed the possible membership of Morocco, King Mohammed VI did not attend due to the presence of Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. The Moroccan government explained the monarch’s absence by saying that Morocco had no official diplomatic relations with Israel.

Searching for new allies

Morocco is currently a member of the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU). However, economic and political disagreements – especially between Morocco and Algeria – have prevented the group from making any real progress. No major meetings have taken place since 2008.

In addition, the economy of Morocco’s most important trading partner, the European Union (EU), is faltering. New allies and new markets for Moroccan products are needed – and with a combined population of 350 million, ECOWAS could turn out to be the perfect partner.

“The Moroccans are pursuing a double-edged political strategy,” Kannengießer told DW. On the one hand, the country is seeking a privileged relationship with Europe. On the other hand, it is also trying to strengthen its integration with other countries on the African continent.

“The Moroccans know that the African continent, especially West Africa, is an important region of growth, not only from an economic perspective, but in terms of political influence as well,” he says. He says it is necessary to discuss whether economic intergration necessarily leads to political integration.

‘An attack on Nigeria’

However Nigeria, the strongest economic player in ECOWAS, is reluctant to see Morocco receive membership. A number of interest groups have already lobbied the government in Abuja, calling on it to try and stop the North African country’s admission.

Nigeria currently makes up more than two-thirds of ECOWAS’ economic power. If Morocco were to join, it would become the second-strongest member, with more economic clout than Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Mali combined.

“Morocco’s accession to ECOWAS is clearly an attack on Nigeria and its strategic position in West Africa,” says former Nigerian Foreign Minister Bolaji Akinyemi. He argues that supporters of Morocco’s candidacy want to weaken Nigeria’s influence in the region and that in the event of its accession, Nigeria should leave ECOWAS.

“I don’t think ECOWAS would survive that,” says Akinyemi. In order not to jeopardize economic cooperation, he instead recommends the development of bilateral agreements between Nigeria and Morocco.

“I think that economic pragmatism will play an important role in Nigeria as well,” says Kannengießer.

He says he can imagine several possible outcomes of Morocco’s application to ECOWAS, including full membership, privileged integration status or even simply observer status as an interim solution.

“But perhaps the whole thing could fail in the event of Nigeria’s veto,” he added.

Source from allAfrica

Global Symbology Paperback + ebookTHE LEI HANDBOOK:
Exchange Data's Guide to Financial Codes

Invaluable for everyone in finance, this unique handbook will give you a full understanding of the world’s codes, helping you to decide which code to use and when.

THEI LEI HANDBOOK