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China eliminates poverty in 85 counties

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China, on Wednesday, announced that another 85 counties have been officially taken off the country’s list of impoverished areas, marking further steps toward its goal of eradicating poverty by 2020.

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The announcement, made by the State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development, came on the fifth National Poverty Relief Day, which falls on October 17 every year.

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This is the largest number of counties to shake off poverty since China vowed in 2015 to win the battle against poverty.

It brings the total number of counties removed from the poverty list since then to 153.

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Import route block throws Ethiopia into fuel scarcity.

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The Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa has been hit by a severe fuel shortage as at Tuesday (January 15), multiple local media outlets have reported.

Unusually long queues have been formed outside fuel stations that have supplies with many motorists waiting for hours to buy fuel. Government has yet to respond to the development.



The shortage is largely blamed on a current blockage on the road that links Ethiopia and Djibouti. Ethiopia, a regional economic giant imports most of its supplies through the Djiboutian ports.

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The blockage is staged by young people in the Afar region who are protesting against violent incidents reportedly perpetrated by an ethnic group of Somali extraction.

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The blockage was specifically in the cities of Semera and Awash with pictures showing people sitting right in the middle of the road with loaded trucks parked on either side.

A local portal said protesters were unhappy about a move that saw the federal government withdraw the region’s special forces from areas where the violence happened.

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South Africa Stands 77th in global economic freedom index.

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South Africa has been ranked 77th out of 100 world countries in economic freedom by the Heritage Foundation.



In terms of economic freedom, the Heritage Foundation indicates that with a world rank of 77/180, South Africa is 4th in the African region. The country’s over-all economic freedom score improved with 0.7 in 2017.

General Manager for Research for Brand South Africa, Dr Petrus de Kock, said the index provides some insight into dimensions of the South African economic environment as the country continues to grapple with historical challenges, and the need to spur on entrepreneurship and innovation.

“Notable improvements for South Africa in 2018 include the improvement in the area of investment freedom, and judicial effectiveness. The latter is significant coming in a year where the administration of President Ramaphosa made investment a key focal area of its work,” said de Kock.

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South Africa’s improvement in the rankings comes as a result of advancements in the areas of property rights which is up from 67.6 in 2017 to 67.7 for 2018; judicial effectiveness increased from 59.7 in 2017 to 65.9; fiscal health sees an improvement of +4.6 from 70.7 in 2017; business freedom advanced by +3.1 points from 62.0 in 2017; labour freedom improved by +1.2 in 2018 from 58.9 in 2017; and investment freedom significantly improved by +10.0 from 40.0 in 2017. Notable is South Africa ranks higher than two European nations, being – Italy (79/180), and Greece (115/180).

On the global front based on the measurements of this index, the Heritage Foundation finds that the global average economic freedom score is 61.1, the highest score since inception of the index 24 years ago.

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At an aggregate level, of the 180 economies measured by the index in 2018 – 102 scored better, while the economic freedom scores of 75 got worse. In the case of South Africa it can be noted that the country is one of the 102 that improved its economic freedom score.

Released on an annual basis by the Heritage Foundation, the Index of Economic Freedom provides insight into the extent to which governments enable an open and unrestricted economic environment for citizens and businesses to operate in.

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