Top business stories from Sub-Saharan Africa from the pages of the regional press – April 8

Nigeria/Shell – “International oil major, Royal Dutch Shell, and its subsidiaries paid the Federal Government of Nigeria over $5.6 billion which, at the exchange rate of N307/$1, comes to N1.7 trillion, the company disclosed in its sustainability report for 2019. This amount, which represents about 20 percent of the 2019 budget, comprises payments for fees, royalties, production entitlements and taxes. It is also the highest payment to any government in the 28 countries Shell disclosed,” Business Day reports.

Nigeria/IMF – “Nigeria’s Finance Minister disclosed yesterday that the country will seek as much as $3.4 billion from the IMF to shore up its finances at a time the coronavirus pandemic is taking a toll on economies globally, especially oil producers,” Business Day reports.

Ethiopia/Liberia – “Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous nation, and Liberia declared states of emergency on Wednesday to help curb the spread of the new coronavirus, a day after cases on the continent surged past 10,000,” Reuters reports.

Ethiopia – “The desert locust, which has been damaging crops in some east African countries, is now moving from Somali to Ethiopia to hit the country once gain. ‘Currently hopper bands and a new generation of immature swarms are forming in the Oromia and Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ (SNNP) regions, including the Rift Valley – the nation’s breadbasket. Desert locusts are currently active in 161 woredas (districts), down from 172 in February 2020,’ stated desert locust situation report of FAO for the month of April 2020,” New Business Ethiopia reports

S. Africa/Eskom – “Debt-stricken power company Eskom told investors it does not need to approach the government for more support, even as a Covid-19-related national shutdown slashes revenue. The company needs to raise R89bn this year and R56bn of that will come from an existing state bailout, CEO Andre de Ruyter and CFO Calib Cassim said on the call, according to investors who listened to it,” South Africa’s Business Day reports.

Ghana Economy – “As the coronavirus pandemic bites countries around the globe by grinding trade and other productive activities to a halt, Ghana’s economy is expected to experience its slowest growth in about four decades – making it the worst year since the historic 1983 economic retrogression,” Business and Financial Times reports.

Zambia/Glencore – “The Zambian government yesterday said mining giant Glencore’s move to shut its copper mines will not go ahead. The government says the company has declared ‘force majeure’ to shut its copper mines, which if allowed to go ahead, would leave at least 11 000 people jobless. Mines minister Richard Musukwa said the government would block this move,” The Namibian reports.

E. Africa/Logistics – “The logistics sector is reeling from the coronavirus pandemic as 31 countries in Africa have imposed full border closures, with the others allowing only cargo and basic goods into their countries. In East Africa, transporters are experiencing increased delays in ferrying cargo from the port of Mombasa due to delays in clearing after Customs officials, Kenya Ports Authority and Kenya Trade Network Agency (KenTrade)—the only state agencies mandated to facilitate cross-border movement of goods—reduced their workforce as a precautionary measure against contracting the virus,” The East African reports.

Kenya/Safaricom – “Peter Ndegwa has started his tenure as Safaricom chief executive officer with a vote of confidence from investors after the company’s stock gained 1.7 per cent on his first day in office. A day after the telco closed its financial year that ends on March 31, Mr Ndegwa heads a company that is the heartbeat of trading at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) and which must keep re-inventing to maintain its position as East Africa’s most profitable company,” The East African reports.

Liberia/Gas – “The Capital Vessel carrying 10MT ( 3,500,000 gals) of gasoline berth at the LPRC jetty Saturday, in what is seen as a major step toward easing consumers worries about an apparent gasoline shortage in Liberia. Mrs. Marie Urey-Coleman, Managing Director of the Liberia Petroleum Refining Company(LPRC) told FrontPageAfrica Saturday that additional vessels are scheduled to berth tomorrow and mid next week,” FrontPage Africa reports.

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