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ADDIS ABABA, (Xinhua) -- Members of Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX) work at the exchange in Addis Ababa, capital of Ethiopia, Sept. 15, 2017. Ethiopian Exchange Commodity (ECX) on Friday disclosed it had managed to trade 1.7 billion Birr (about 72 million U.S. dollars) worth commodities during the month of August. According to ECX, 33,528 tons of coffee, sesame and beans were traded at the exchange. XINHUA PHOTO: MICHAEL TEWELDE

Kenya and Ethiopia could overtake Africa’s economic heavy weights

JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua) -- A report released by a global risk consultancy, Control Risks, on Thursday show that Kenya and Ethiopia might soon outshine Africa’s economic giants, Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt in the competition for investment.

The report Africa Risk-Reward Index, developed by Control Risks, was released in Johannesburg. The report noted that while Nigeria and South Africa have recovered, there are still some risks.

Ethiopia, which is one of the fastest growing countries in the continent, outperformed all African countries in the survey. The country attracted 3.2 billion U.S. dollars of foreign direct investment in 2016. Between 2010 and 2015, economic growth averaged 10 percent and was 6.5 percent last year.

“Experienced investors, not only in Africa but around the world, know that risk and reward are close companions,” said Paul Gabriel, senior analyst for Africa at Control Risks and lead-author of the report.

“While no serious investor should overlook the economic giants of the continent, real competitive edge can only be achieved when investors manage to stay ahead of the pack in knowing what’s next,” said Gabriel. “The Africa Risk-Reward Index helps investors to identify some of the more hidden investment opportunities in times where the heavy-hitters are struggling.”

Kenya had an average economy growth of 6 percent between 2010-2016 and is expected to be at 5.4 percent this year.

The report noted that risks have to balance opportunities. The fiscal concerns and a political system that remains closely tied to ethnic affiliation risks.

“A well-educated workforce and an innovative service sector, the government’s continued investments in upgrading critical national infrastructure, and deepening integration with its neighbors through the East African Community (EAC) all allow the country to act as a gateway into the larger East Africa region,” said the report.

The reported indicated that Nigeria’s energy sector gives the country an appeal. The report however noted some risks of insurgent attacks on Niger Delta and fall in oil prices. The economic growth fell from 6.3 percent in 2014 to 2.7 percent in 2015. Nigeria had a 1.6 percent economic growth and is expected to be at 1.1 percent this year.

“Whilst South Africa enjoys a deserved reputation as Africa’s pre-eminent constitutional democracy, several of its key institutions have gradually weakened over the past decade. Economic prospects are closely linked to the outcomes of the African national Congress (ANC)’s national conference in December. The forecasted real GDP growth of 0.5 percent for 2017 is below population growth and certainly insufficient to reduce South Africa’s staggering 27.7 percent unemployment rate,” said the report.

The report said Egypt has stable political position but economic and security challenges remain. They noted that the government have made progress in addressing fiscal problems. Last year the country’s economic growth was 4,.3 percent and is expected to grow to 3.8 percent.



Political risks dim business opportunities in South Africa: study

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- Escalating political risks in South Africa leads to doubts whether the balance between risks and opportunities in the country is still favorable for businesses, according to a new study released on Thursday.

South Africa’s risk score of 5.0 remains below the region’s average, but the reward score of 4.6 is also low, the Africa Risk-Reward Index shows.

The study is developed by Control Risks, a global risk and strategic consulting firm, in cooperation with Oxford Economics.

Whilst South Africa enjoys a deserved reputation as Africa’s pre-eminent constitutional democracy, several of its key institutions have gradually weakened over the past decade, says the study.

Economic prospects are closely linked to the outcomes of the ruling African National Congress’ (ANC’s) National Conference in December, in which a new party leader will be elected.

The forecasted real GDP growth of 0.5 percent for 2017 is below population growth and certainly insufficient to reduce South Africa’s staggering 27.7-percent unemployment rate, says the study.

The study lists South Africa, Nigeria and and Egypt as stumbling African giants which will be surpassed by Kenya and Ethiopia.

Egypt has seen rising security risks and political instability recently, while Nigeria has been hit by economic downturn and militancy, according to the study.

Ethiopia outperforms every African peer with its high reward score of 8.0, attracting 3.2 billion U.S. dollars of foreign direct investment in 2016 - more even than Nigeria, and double the figure for Morocco.

Kenya has achieved a period of strong GDP growth amid relative political stability: real GDP growth averaged at 6.0 percent in 2010-16. The 2017 growth forecast is at 5.4 percent.

Kenya and Ethiopia might soon outshine these heavy-hitters in the competition for investment, the study concludes.

The Africa Risk-Reward Index helps investors to identify some of the more hidden investment opportunities in times where the heavy-hitters are struggling.


South Africa Chamber of Mines withdraws
interdict over controversial Mining Charter

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- The Chamber of Mines on Wedensday withdrew an urgent application to interdict Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane from implementing the controversial Mining Charter.

This came after the Chamber has reached an agreement with Zwane, in respect of the Chamber’s urgent interdict to prevent the implementation of the Mining Charter.

“In terms of the agreement, Zwane has given a written undertaking that the Reviewed Mining Charter will not be implemented until judgment has been handed down in respect of the Chamber’s review application, which has rendered the granting of an interdict by the court not necessary at this stage,” the Chamber said in a statement.

The minister has also undertaken that if he makes any reference in public to the Reviewed Mining Charter, he will simultaneously make reference to his written undertaking and that the Chamber has brought review proceedings to set aside the Charter, the Chamber said.

In the interests of expediting the review process, which is the industry’s primary focus, the Chamber has agreed that the matter be heard on December 13-14 this year by a full bench of judges, said the Chamber.

The minister’s written undertaking will be presented to the High Court of Gauteng in Pretoria on September 14 for noting, according to the Chamber.

Under the Mining Charter announced by Zwane on June 15, a new prospecting right must have a minimum of 50 percent plus one black person shareholding, including voting rights.

The Charter requires that a new mining right must have 30-percent black persons’ shareholding from the previous 26 percent, with the 30 percent shareholding to be apportioned between employees, communities and entrepreneurs in a specific manner.

The charter wants 70 percent procurement of mining goods and 80 percent procurement of services from BEE (black economic empowerment) entities. It also requires that analysis of 100 percent of mineral samples be done by South African based companies.

However, the mining sector expressed unhappiness for not being consulted properly before the charter was released.

The Chamber of Mines, which represents 90 percent of South Africa’s mines, claims that the charter is illegal and could destroy South Africa’s mining industry while undermining transformation attempts.

The Chamber took Zwane to court in July to stop the implementation of the Charter.


South African ruling party defends radical economic transformation

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- The ruling African National Congress (ANC) on Thursday slammed allegations that its program for radical economic transformation is nothing more than a “code name for theft.”

This came after South African billionaire Johann Rupert accused the ANC of trying to loot the state through radical economic transformation.

Rupert’s statement “is disingenuous, and extremely opportunistic coming as it does from a beneficiary of apartheid’s exclusionary policies such as Rupert,” the ANC said.

Rupert’s “arrogant attitude” is part of the privileged sections of the society that threaten the very idea of a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa, the ANC said in a statement.

“We condemn this arrogant attitude towards the majority of South Africans who have an active interest and are drivers of the change envisaged through radical economic transformation,” ANC national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said.

The ANC defines radical economic transformation as the quest for fundamental change in the structure, systems, institutions and patterns of ownership, management and control of the economy in favor of all South Africans, especially the poor, the majority of whom are African and female.

The discourse on radical economic transformation is informed by the racial inequalities which are a legacy of the social engineering and structural underpinnings of the Apartheid political economy that enforced a social order in which access to economic opportunity was an exclusive privilege of white people, according to the ANC.

The party has been trying to structurally change the fundamental features of South Africa’s political economy and dismantle an economic structure which continues to perpetuate inequality and monopolistic tendencies in favor of the whites.

Capital accumulation by a white minority has resulted in a systemic trap of an over concentration of economic assets in the hands of white people and a systematic exclusion of successive generations of black people from sustainable economic livelihood, said Kodwa.

The ANC will unapologetically continue to lead the people of South Africa towards improving the collective welfare of the South African people and will not be deterred by naysayers such as Rupert, Kodwa said.

“We will instead redouble its efforts to effect the change required to deal with the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality,” he said.

Kodwa said however that the ANC will ensure that radical economic transformation be done in a manner consistent with the stated objectives and within the confines of laws.

“For his part, Rupert would be well-advised to desist from derogatory, unfounded statements based on his innate inclination to preserve privilege and prosperity for a few,” Kodwa said. 



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