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African press review 16 May 2015

President Pierre Nkurunziza is reportedly back in Burundi but he's keeping a low profile. So is the man who tried to topple him, Godefroid Niyombare, believed to be hiding in a southern district of the capital. South African mining companies are angry with their minister. And Egypt's economy gets a pat on the back.

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Regional paper The East African reports that the leader of the coup attempt in Burundi, General Godefroid Niyombare, has gone on the run after escaping capture by troops loyal to President Pierre Nkurunziza.

A police official says the authorities believe Niyombare to be hiding in a southern district of the capital Bujumbura.

Three other pro-coup generals have been detained.

Dossier: War in Mali

The presidency meanwhile announced that Nkurunziza   who was abroad when the coup was declared   was back in the country and was poised to address the nation. So far he has limited himself to a declaration on the internet, thanking the army for its handling of the crisis and warning against any further demonstrations.

More than 25 people have been killed and scores wounded since late April, when Burundi's ruling CNDD-FDD party   which has been accused of intimidating the opposition and arming its own militia   nominated Nkurunziza to stand for reelection in polls scheduled for late next month. Opponents say the president has already served the two terms allowed under Burundi's constitution.

It remains unclear how many people have died since the beginning of the coup and unrest could continue, with civil society activists calling for a resumption of demonstrations after the failure of the attempted takeover, says The East Africa.

Mining makes a big splash on the front pages in South Africa.

According to the Johannesburg-based financial paper BusinessDay, the South African mining sector is in turmoil. This because Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi surprised the Chamber of Mines by releasing his department’s findings that the industry has fallen well short of most of the targets of the 2014 Mining Charter.

The Chamber of Mines claims that it had been agreed that the department would not release its ownership data at this point.

THE BATTLE FOR LIBYA

Mining companies in South Africa were required to be at least 26 per cent owned by black shareholders by last year.

The minister says only 90 per cent of firms have met the target, with major shortfalls in health and safety obligations, and the community development clauses of the Mining Charter. Industry sources claim to have exceeded government requirements in most areas.

In a separate story, BusinessDay reports that a crisis threathens Sierra Leone’s mining industry and west African iron-ore producers in general.

A 60 per cent slump in iron ore prices over the past year, mostly due to a slowdown in Chinese consumption, brought a bonanza that had been expected to last 60 years to a screeching halt.

With analysts saying ore prices may stay low for years, BusinessDay suggests the crisis could sound the death knell for west Africa’s iron ore industry.

On a slightly brighter note, BusinessDay reports that local mining production rose sharply in March.

Output rose by a more-than-expected 19 per cent, the second-highest year-on-year increase since January 1980, supported by a strong rise in the production of platinum.

The extent of the rise is mostly explained by the lowering of the output base created last year when workers at South Africa's platinum mines halted production in a strike that dragged on for five months.

The front page of The Egypt Independent reports that Standard & Poor's ratings services on Friday changed Egypt's outlook to positive from stable and affirmed its B-/B long- and short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings.

Key drivers for the outlook change from stable to positive, are a stabilising political landscape and growth-supporting reforms, as well as continued support from some Gulf States, according to the Standard & Poor's analysts.

The ratings agency expects Egypt's economy to grow by more than four per cent each year until 2018.

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