Editor’s Note: April 01, 2019

South Africa gets a ratings reprieve

Credit ratings agency Moody’s has delayed a review of South Africa’s sovereign debt, originally scheduled for March 29.

No reason was given for the postponement, and no new date has been set, but it should be welcome news. 

Moody’s is the last of the three big ratings agencies to maintain an investment-grade ranking (Baa3 with a stable outlook) for South Africa. S&P and Fitch downgraded the country to junk in 2017, relegating it to sub-investment grade status.

The prospect of Moody’s following suit is very real. This would also have South Africa removed from Citi’s World Government Bond Index, making it even harder to attract sorely needed foreign investment.

The delay is a reprieve – time that must be put to good use. This was the message from a group of leading South African CEOs, calling on the government to work “relentlessly” to avoid any further downgrades.

Priorities should include more clarity on how it intends to reform the country’s state-owned enterprises – especially struggling power utility Eskom – and a clear strategy to boost growth and investment.

But the government already knows this. Pressure on president Cyril Ramaphosa to deliver on his promised post-Zuma ‘new dawn’ for the economy has been mounting for months.

Moody’s has just given him a bit more time.

From The Continent

The African Union plans to host a ‘reconciliation’ conference on Libya, aimed at bringing together the country’s main rival factions - the UN-backed government in Tripoli and forces led by Khalifa Haftar. The oil-rich North African country has been plagued by conflict since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011. More: Al Arabiya


Tunisia has raised fuel prices by around 4%, the fifth increase in the last 12 months, as the government tries to rein in a budget deficit and comply with IMF-backed economic reforms. The country took out a $2.8bn loan from the lender in 2016 to help stabilize the economy. More: Reuters

The Daily Stat

$116

Egypt’s new monthly minimum wage, up from $70. More: Africanews

The Global Perspective

Chinese digital TV provider StarTimes has announced plans to prioritize production and broadcasting of local content in Kenya to help boost its audience. The company, active in around 30 markets on the continent, has become a leading player in the sector since entering the market in 2002. More: Xinhua

UN Secretary General António Guterres has urged for a democratic transition in Algeria, amid renewed calls by the country’s military to declare its ailing 82-year old president Abdelaziz Bouteflika unfit to rule. Unprecedented protests against his 20-year rule have swept Algeria in the last month. More: Reuters

The Daily Follow