Top business stories from Sub-Saharan Africa from the pages of the regional press – April 22

South African Airways – “South African Airways (SAA) is set to lay off all of its employees at the end of April. A document detailing the airline’s severance package, obtained by Bloomberg, shows  that 4,700 employees will leave the company by the end of this month. The collapsing airline will reportedly make sales of its assets to foot the salary pay-outs,” Bloomberg/The Standard reports.

Africa/Covid-19 – “COVID-19 has now spread to all corners of Africa and, as the rate of infections increase, the continent’s economies are coming to a crashing halt, risking the reversal of two decades of economic progress. Trade has been the heartbeat of Africa’s economic success, with the UK alone importing £12.7bn in goods and services from Africa in 2016, much of which from the agriculture sector,” The Africa Report reports.

Nigeria Oil – “For weeks now Nigeria has been engaged in an usual battle to find enough buyers for its oil, and now global storage for crude oil is filling up with the harsh reality coming back home soon to hit homes, businesses and jobs as government finances collapse in Africa’s most populous nation. Tens and probably hundreds of millions of barrels of Nigeria’s flagship crude grade Bonny Light are held up inside ocean-going vessels in international waters around the world and buyers, when they come, are offering as low as $12 a barrel in the physical market, cheaper than a basket of tomatoes,” Business Day reports.

RwandAir – “RwandAir has resumed cargo flights to Guangzhou, China, as the airline embarks on a recovery path following suspension of passenger flights in March to stop the spread of Covid-19. The airline has been operating cargo flights only to Brussels and London at least once a week using its A330 jets, and had suspended cargo flights to China in February,” The East African reports.

East Africa – “All five East African Community countries should brace for drastic drops in their economic growth rates this year as a direct result of the global coronavirus crisis. The International Monetary Fund’s latest World Economic Outlook projections for 2020 pegs Kenya and Tanzania’s respective GDP growth rates at one per cent and two per cent respectively in 2020, down from 5.6 and 6.3 per cent respectively in 2019. Uganda will maintain a 3.5 growth rate this year, compared with 4.9 per cent in 2019,” The East African reports.

South Africa/Aviation – “The South African government will work with trade unions to ensure that a new financially viable and competitive airline emerges from South African Airways (SAA) business rescue process, the public enterprises ministry said on Tuesday,” Reuters reports.

S. Africa/Super Group – “S&P Global Ratings downgraded the long-term national scale rating of Super Group from zaAAA to zaAA due to the effects of Covid-19 and its negative impact on the transport and motor industries worldwide,” The Star reports.

Ghana Ratings –  “Fitch Ratings has affirmed Ghana’s Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at ‘B’ with a Stable Outlook,” Fitch Ratings reports.

West Africa Migration – “The Covid-19 pandemic has affected mobility across West Africa. As of the end of March, borders remained open only in Benin, the Gambia, Guinea Conakry, Liberia and Sierra Leone. International air travel was also almost entirely halted; only Benin and Togo were still open to international flights, and Sierra Leone’s airport was open with restrictions. Border closures have stranded travelers in a variety of locations across the region,” ReliefWeb reports.

East Africa Locusts – As the East African Community partner states are continuing to grapple with the effects of Covid-19, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has warned of a possible re-invasion of locusts in the region,” The Tanzania Daily News reports.

Nigeria/Covid-19 – “Confirmed cases of the deadly coronavirus reported in Nigeria jumped by 117 on Tuesday night, the highest daily figure reported by NCDC since it recorded the first case in February,” Business Day reports.

Kenya Debt – “The amount of debt falling due this year has dropped by Sh29 billion after reconciliations passed through the supplementary budget by the National Treasury. The drop has revised what Kenya planned to pay this year to Sh253.2 billion, down from the Sh282.3 billion that was contained in the original budget for 2019/20,” The Daily Nation reports.

Uganda Reserves – “Bank of Uganda has said foreign reserves are expected to decline from 4.2 months import cover to 3.5 months. In his presentation during the Stanbic Bank webcast discussion on the impact of Covid-19 last week, Dr Adam Mugume, the Bank of Uganda executive director for research, said there was need to mobilise resources to support foreign reserves that are expected to take a hit due to Covid-19. The decline, he said, will also be experienced in the case international reserves that will fall to 3.6 months import cover in the 020/21 financial year,” The Daily Monitor reports.

Zambia Gold – “THE Bank of Zambia (BoZ) says preparations to start keeping gold as an alternative foreign reserve with a mining firm have advanced,” Zambia Daily Mail reports.

Zimbabwe Cotton – “Stakeholders in Zimbabwe’s cotton industry are seeking a subsidy on cotton producer price during the forthcoming season after international lint prices crushed to historic levels due to coronavirus,” The Herald reports.


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