By Tim Bamberger (Kings College London)
GENERAL NEWS ON AFRICA - TRENDS
The global pandemic continues to pressure economies and society on the continent of Africa. Case numbers range from approximately 382,000 in South Africa to about 100 in Seychelles. To what extent low case numbers in many African countries are influenced by very low testing will be up to interpretation.
The World Bank has predicted economic growth for the continent of Africa at an average of 3.2% for the fiscal year 2020. Recent estimates by Deloitte’s Africa-team indicate a decline of -0.8%, which in comparison to the average decline of -10% in Western developed economies, does not seem too bad overall.
Recently, some social unrest in Nigeria has made global headlines. There were 69 reported civilian deaths during the first protests against the SARS (Special Anti-Robbery Squad) government task force, which is majorly criticized for discriminatory, racist, and sexist affairs.
ZAMBIA – DEBT DEFAULT
Zambia could be the first African country to default on debt during the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe. The government has tried to persuade creditors to agree to a debt-payment holiday.
Three billion dollars worth of Eurobonds from the Zambian government will be due for a 42.5 million US dollar coupon payment on November 13th, as the last deadline. The government has already declared, they will most certainly not be able to service this debt unless a group of key investors and stakeholders grant them a 6-month interest payment relief. The Financial Times has reported that most key stakeholders have not agreed to an interest payment relief agreement. A major hedge fund investor has commented, “the government has provided no credible medium-term framework that explains how the country intends to address the country’s long-standing macroeconomic imbalances and restore debt sustainability”. Zambia has later announced that they will consequently have to prepare for default.
SUDAN – PEACE DEAL WITH ISRAEL
The prime ministers of Sudan and Israel have announced to terminate the state of belligerence between their nations. Both are determined to make an effort to sustain a normalization of their political relations.
President Donald J. Trump has played a very active role in the negotiation between Sudan and Israel, since it is vital for his public opinion polls ahead of the US election to secure foreign policy victories. Sudan’s Prime minister Abdalla Hamdok has thanked the USA for removing his country from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, which ultimately lifts the trade embargos previously imposed.
Sudan’s struggling economy gives good reason to expect billions of dollars in aid from the US, the world bank, and the EU. Furthermore, Sudan’s finance ministry has announced hopes to write off 60 billion dollars of past debt incurred by the state under its former dictator. Israel has indicated they will be “tapping into Sudan’s economic poten