#ZumaMustFall continued during the week despite South African President Jacob Zuma’s move to appease South Africans and the falling rand by appointing Pravin Gordhan to replace little-known lawmaker David van Rooyen, whose appointment on Dec. 9 sent the rand to a record low against the dollar. While the rand responded well to Zuma’s u-turn, the people didn’t. As worries about the South African economy continued as the key mining industry struggle persists, the U.S. Federal Reserves raised interest rates, raising apprehension over the future of currencies in developing countries and emerging markets, from South Africa to Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy.
The Nigerian naira reached an all-time low of 280 to a dollar on Thursday as desperate measures to hold the currency’s value continued. Weird moves coming from the central bank leaves the Nigerian economy in a bad position in the short and medium term. Low oil prices are largely responsible for the naira’s poor position. The commodity accounts for over 90 percent of Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings. The country also struggles to fund its economy because oil accounts for over 85 percent of its revenue. Despite the importance of this sector, it has been mismanaged. This will stop. Nigeria will sell its refineries as it blocks other leakages in the oil and gas sector. In the meantime, the country will need external funding next year and may, therefore, sell Eurobond. In what many see as a desperate attempt to raise money, the issue of a $3.9 billion fine slapped on telecommunications giant MTN is taking new dimensions. The company has suffered a drop in its value since an initial $5.2 billion fine was first announced. Its credit rating has also been cut due to risks associated with the fine.
While the economies of South Africa and Nigeria struggle, their female scientists are making Africa proud. This should make South Africa value its women the more and address the divisive issue of race.
Ethiopia has been hard hit by El-Nino and it needs a lot of humanitarian assistance which it is now getting but it needs to calm the Oromo protests, as the country does not need an additional crisis right now.
South Sudan dumped dollar peg, devaluing its currency by 84 percent and Mozambique raised interest rates to highest level since 2012. Botswana is privatising its telecommunications company and African leaders agreed on a trade deal. Guinness will now distribute all of Diageo’s international premium spirits brands.
The Fernandez house brings back memories of Afro-Brazilian history and South Africa’s best- performing property developer expects to make as much from the dead as it does from the living.