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IMF warns African countries against debt distress by borrowing.

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Sub-Saharan African nations are at growing risk of debt distress because of heavy borrowing and gaping deficits, despite an overall uptick in economic growth, the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday.

The sober assessment came as African countries continue to tap international debt markets and issue record levels of debt in foreign currencies, spurred on by insatiable investor demand for yields.



“What really we’re concerned about is the pace of increase, rather than the average,” IMFAfrica Director Abebe Aemro Selassie told Reuters at the launch of its economic outlook for the region in Accra.

“What we’re calling for right now is that those countries are going to need to go through fiscal consolidation,” he said, adding that oil producers and other resource-dependent economies were seeking the sharpest growth in their debt loads.

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The Fund projected the rate of economic expansion would rise to 3.4 percent this year, up from 2.8 percent in 2017, boosted by global growth and higher commodity prices.

Slower growth in South Africa and Nigeria – the continent’s two largest economies – weighed on the region-wide average, but the IMF expects growth to pick up in around two-thirds of African nations. However, under current policies, that rate is expected to plateau below 4 percent over the medium term.

GROWTH SEEN SLOWING

Meanwhile, around 40 percent of low-income countries in the region are now in debt distress or at high risk of it, the IMF report said. And refinancing that debt could soon become more costly.

“The current growth spurt in advanced economies is expected to taper off, and the borrowing terms for the region’s frontier markets will likely become less favourable … which could coincide with higher refinancing needs for many countries across the region,” it said.

African governments issued a record $7.5 billion in sovereign bonds last year, 10 times more than in 2016. And they have issued or plan to issue over $11 billion in additional debt in the first half of 2018 alone, the report said.

Foreign currency debt increased by 40 percent from 2010-13 to 2017 and now accounts for about 60 percent of the region’s total public debt on average, IMF data showed. Average interest payments, meanwhile, increased from 4 percent of expenditures in 2013 to 12 percent in 2017.

Six countries – Chad, Eritrea, Mozambique, Congo Republic, South Sudan and Zimbabwe – were judged to be in debt distress at the end of last year. And the IMF’s ratings for Zambia and Ethiopia were changed from moderate to “high risk of debt distress.”

The IMF conceded that Africa’s enormous needs will continue to demand heavy investments to build infrastructure and social development. But to do so while avoiding the risk of a debt trap, the continent, which currently has the lowest revenue-to-GDP ratio in the world, will need to become more self-reliant.

“Borrowing to finance spending is part of the macroeconomic policy tool kits which all countries use,” Selassie said. “But over the medium to long-term they have to rely more on domestic revenues, tax revenues to address their development spending needs.”

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Business

Absa became the new competitor on the Ethiopia market.

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Absa Bank Of South Africa’s  has become the Latest Multinational Corporation to show Interest in Organizing the Ethiopia market.

Ethiopia has since Prevented Foreign Ownership in Economic Sectors that Includes Banking but Abiy Ahmed has began to take fast Action on the issue since he came to power in April.



Jason Quinn, the bank’s chief financial officer, told reporters that Absa was investigating on how and where to enter in a number of populating market, including Nigeria and Angola.

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Am Entrance made into the Ethiopia market of 100 million People, would be part of a Scheme made by Absa after it break from Britain’s Barclays in 2017.

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Ethiopia has plans to liberalise state-owned companies including Ethiopian Airlines, Ethio Telecom, Ethiopian Shipping & Logistics Services Enterprise, and Ethiopian Electric Power, in order to attract foreign direct investment and stimulate growth.

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Motherland News

Black box of the Ethiopian Airline Crash recovered.

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The United Nations described the Sunday crash of the Ethiopia airline as disastrous saying it has cost them a great loss.



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Michael Moller, director-general of the U.N. European head garters said this was the worst loss suffered in years in Geneva in a statement where 150 people where gathered.

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Investigators in Ethiopia have recovered the black box from the ill-fated Ethiopian airline this Sunday.

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