African press review 20 June 2016
Issued on: Modified:
The money markets welcome Nigeria's devaluation of the niara. The authorities in Mozambique change their attitude to foreign mediators. Security forces in Zimbabwe are going to have to wait a while for this month's pay. And 600,000 Kenyans are at risk from food shortages because of drought.
The main story in Nigerian newspaper Punch reports that investors have reacted positively to last week's announcement of new foreign exchange guidelines by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
A decision to allow the naira to float was taken on Wednesday, following months of government insistance that the Nigerian currency was correctly valued.
Since Wednesday's announcement of the devaluation, which comes into effect this morning, the naira equivalent of three and a half billion euros has poured into shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
The ratings agency Fitch has applauded Nigeria’s planned shift to a more flexible foreign-exchange regime, saying it could aid the adjustment to lower oil prices on world markets.
Mozambique decides to accept outside mediation
Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi has accepted the presence of foreign mediators in talks to end his country’s conflict, in a move welcomed by the leader of rebel movement Renamo, according to the state news agency.
At a rally in the southern city of Matola last week, Nyusi abandoned the government’s longstanding opposition to foreign mediation in talks with Renamo.
The rebel group, which is also the official opposition in Mozambique, never completely disarmed after a civil war with the governing Frelimo party and launched a low-level guerrilla campaign in late 2012.
Renamo leader Afonso Dhlakama said he was pleased by Nyusi’s move. He said that he and the president agreed that guns would not solve Mozambique's problems.
Discussions in the presence of foreign mediators could start as next week, Dhlakama added, saying that Renamo’s preferred mediators were the Catholic Church, the European Union and the South African government.
Zimbabwe to pay soldiers and security staff late
Zimbabwe has postponed paying this month’s salaries for army and security staff by two weeks. Some civil servants will not be paid until next month, as the government struggles to raise money for wages.
Zimbabwe spends more than 80 percent of its budget on salaries, which the finance minister has previously said needed to be halved under proposed reforms aimed at winning financing from the International Monetary Fund.
Members of the army, air force, police and civil service have been informed by a senior official in the finance ministry that salaries, normally paid on the 12th of each month, will now be paid on 27 June. The average salary is about 420 euros a month.
Will Burundi leave the ICC?
Regional paper the East African reports that Burundi has threatened to reconsider its membership of the International Criminal Court after the ICC launched preliminary investigations into post-election killings in Burundi.
Foreign Affairs Minister Alain Nyamitwe said ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda had not taken into account the principle under which national courts should be allowed priority to investigate the killings that have taken place in Burundi since April last year.
Since violence erupted following President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a third term, more than 400 people have been killed and thousands have fled the country. International human-rights organisations have accused Burundi security forces of carrying out targeted killings of presumed opponents of the president’s third term.
Morsi verdict causes Cairo-Qatar friction
The main story in the Cairo-based Egypt Independent says the authorities in Qatar and Egypt have exchanged strongly worded statements after the Cairo Criminal Court on Saturday sentenced former president Mohamed Morsi to life imprisonment.
Morsi was accused of spying for Qatar.
A spokesman for the Qatari Foreign Ministry described the verdict as unfounded and unjust, saying it set a dangerous precedent for relations between Arab countries.
Danger of famine in western Kenya
The main story in the Kenyan Daily Nation reports that more than 600,000 residents in West Pokot County bordering Uganda are facing acute hunger following drought in the area.
Some locals have fled their homes in search of food and water.
The 430 million euros promised by the national government to feed the population in West Pokot is yet to be released, according to the county's deputy governor.