Editor’s Note: June 06, 2019

South Africa doesn’t need any more confusion on the economy

“Why are we saying things we know are going to destabilise markets?” This was South African finance minister Tito Mboweni on Wednesday, following a public spat about the future of the country’s central bank.

On Tuesday ruling African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General Ace Magashule said the party had agreed to expand the country’s central bank mandate beyond price stability, to include employment and growth.

Hours later an exasperated Mboweni rebuked the idea, saying “nobody” is talking about changing the Reserve Bank’s mandate.

He’s right to be frustrated.

Talk of meddling with the central bank’s mandate, a move most observers agree is a bad idea, dates back to 2017. Despite repeated denials the issue keeps coming up, contributing to concerns about policy direction in Africa’s most advanced economy.

The timing is particularly bad, coming on the back of news that the economy contracted by 3.2% in Q1 of 2019, the most in a decade. It also follows a critical IMF report, and high profile CEO resignations at troubled state-owned power utility Eskom and South African Airways.

All of this is sapping momentum from freshly-elected president Cyril Ramaphosa’s efforts to restore confidence in the economy – already an uphill battle.

Unnecessary confusion about the central bank is the last thing South Africa needs right now.

From The Continent

Protest leaders in Sudan have “totally” rejected an offer by the military to resume transition talks, following a crackdown that has reportedly left 100 people dead, drawing widespread condemnation. Negotiations about a transfer of power to civilian rule have broken down amid disagreement over who would lead the transition. More: Al Jazeera


Mozambique’s Constitutional Council, the country’s top court, on Wednesday ruled that an $850m Eurobond issued by state-run fishing company Ematum in 2013 was illegal. The loan is at the centre of a high profile debt scandal, which has hobbled the country’s economy. More: Reuters

The Daily Stat

53

The number of African countries expected to attend the first China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo, scheduled for June 27-29. More: Xinhua

The Global Perspective

Italian energy services company Saipem  has won a $6bn contract for a liquefied natural gas project in Mozambique. The company will lead a joint venture with Houston-based McDermott International and Japan’s Chiyoda Corporation. More: Financial Times

San-Francisco based payment startup Flutterwave is expanding into South Africa in June, its ninth market on the continent. The company specializes in providing payment services for merchants, payment service providers and banks. More: IT Web Africa

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