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Zimbabwe: Bread scarcity increases in rural areas.

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Most remote and rural areas of Zimbabwe have not been getting any bread supplies as bread production in Zimbabwe has dropped by half owing to foreign currency shortages and a poor wheat yield.



Although bread used to be a luxury product‚ particularly among the urban and rural poor‚ it has over time become a staple food. As such‚ $30m in foreign currency is required each month for procurement of wheat‚ of which $7m should be allocated towards bread.

“Bread is currently at 50% supply and we are only able to supply mostly urban areas‚” said Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe chairperson Tafadzwa Musarara.

To avert the situation from worsening‚ a shipment of 30 tonnes is expected to dock in Mozambique.

Musarara said the situation became dire after Zimbabwe failed to pay for earlier shipments.

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Earlier this month the price of bread increased from $1 to $1.10 as prices of most basic commodities skyrocketed with the local bond note shedding more than 50% value against the US dollar on the black market. To avoid further increases‚ the Grain Millers Association appealed to the government for a $50 per tonne wheat subsidy.

The cost of making one standard loaf of bread is currently at US$0.84‚ composed of 38% for the flour‚ 16% for the premix‚ 18% for overheads‚ 10% distribution‚ 7% for bakery fuel and the remaining balance on other costs.

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24 Hours Across Africa

Elizabeth Warren, targets prospective plan to stop ‘looting’ of U.S. companies

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U.S. Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren on Thursday called for an overhaul of the private-equity industry as part of a new proposal targeting Wall Street.

“We need to shut down the Wall Street giveaways and rein in the financial industry so it stops sucking money out of the rest of the economy,” Warren said in a post on Medium.com announcing her proposal.

Warren and a group of Democrats also filed legislation on Thursday to implement the policy that the Massachusetts senator proposed through her campaign.

Warren, a relentless critic of the financial industry for much of her career, is one of more than two dozen candidates vying for the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican President Donald Trump in the November 2020 election.

She has distinguished herself in the crowded field by releasing reams of policy proposals.

The legislation, titled the Stop Wall Street Looting Act was filed in both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who also is running for president, is a co-sponsor with Warren but no Republicans joined in sponsoring the bill.

The proposal was greeted with opposition from industry and business groups, who would undoubtedly fight efforts to enact the legislation.

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24 Hours Across Africa

EU to probe Amazon over use of merchant data

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Amazon became the target of an antitrust investigation by the European Union on Wednesday over its use of merchants’ data, underlining the increasing regulatory scrutiny about how tech companies exploit customers’ information.

The European Commission has been seeking feedback from retailers and manufacturers since September into Amazon’s dual role as a marketplace for merchants and acting as a competitor following complaints from traders about Amazon’s practices.

The Commission said its investigation would focus on Amazon’s standard agreements with marketplace sellers and its use of data in choosing winners of the “buy box”, which allows consumers to add items from a specific retailer directly to their shopping carts.

European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who can fine companies up to 10% of their global turnover, said the issue was crucial as more and more Europeans shop online.

“E-commerce has boosted retail competition and brought more choice and better prices. We need to ensure that large online platforms don’t eliminate these benefits through anti-competitive behavior,” she said.

Amazon said it would cooperate fully with the EU investigation. The company reached a deal with Germany’s antitrust authority on Wednesday to overhaul its terms of service for third-party merchants.

Under its terms of service for Europe here set out on its website, merchants grant Amazon “royalty-free” rights to use in a range of ways their materials, such as technology, trademarks, content and product information.

“There have been concerns around the world that competition authorities have failed to appreciate the market power that comes from ownership of data,” he said.

In Amazon’s case, he said the Commission needed to show “the standard agreements with retailers were anti-competitive in somehow allowing Amazon to use the data to manipulate market outcomes, or that Amazon had in some way abused its dominance.”

The Commission had been struggling to define the market in which Amazon operates in order to identify where the competitive harm could have been, sources said.

This would not be Amazon’s first run-in with the Commission. Two years ago, it was told to pay back taxes of about 250 million euros ($280 million) to Luxembourg because of illegal tax benefits. That same year it settled with the regulator over its distribution deals with e-book publishers in Europe.

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