Editor’s Note: March 18, 2019
South Africa’s post-Zuma grace period is over
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress is facing a backlash over the inclusion of politicians linked to corruption under former president Jacob Zuma in its candidate list for general elections in May.
The move is at odds with anti-corruption rhetoric under his successor Cyril Ramaphosa,
and the latest example of policy uncertainty that has shaken confidence in his pledge to turn around the country’s sluggish economy.
Business confidence slumped to a two-year low in the first quarter, hitting Zuma-era levels, with ratings agency Fitch recently warning about currency volatility amid high inflation and low growth.
Meanwhile the World Bank has cut its growth forecast for the country, citing policy uncertainty as a contributing factor, with the economy growing at an anaemic 0.8% in 2018.
This comes ahead of a possible downgrade by Moody’s – the only major ratings agency to still have South Africa at investment grade – at the end of March. This could see its government bonds removed from Citi’s World Government Bond Index, potentially resulting in outflows of between $8bn – $10bn.
A downgrade may be avoided, but the message is clear – the post-Zuma grace period is over.
From The Continent
Algeria’s newly appointed prime minister, Noureddine Bedoui, has started talks to form a new government following longtime president Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s decision to abandon his bid for a fifth term. The announcement is likely aimed at calming unprecedented nationwide protests against his 20-year rule. More: Reuters
The head of Tanzania’s main opposition has called the country a ‘police state’ having been detained and jailed for three month. It’s the latest accusation of growing authoritarianism under president John Magufuli. More: The East African
The Daily Stat
Zimbabwe’s year-on-year inflation in February, a ten-year high. More: Reuters
The Global Perspective
Japan is reportedly planning to propose new development assistance guidelines for the G20 when it hosts the group in June to counter the growing influence of China’s Belt and Road Trade initiative. Tokyo is expected to propose tighter conditions on infrastructure investment to encourage Beijing to follow international norms. More: Nikkei
Sudan has secured $300m in loans from the Abu Dhabi-based Arab Monetary Fund and Arab Trade Financing Program, part of government efforts to counter an acute economic crisis. This has helped trigger unprecedented nationwide protests against the 30-year rule of president Omar al-Bashir. More: AP