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African press review 21 June 2018

South Sudan peace talks took place yesterday between Salva Kiir and Riek Machar. But nobody's saying what happened. A glimmer of good news for South African consumers as inflation slows slightly. Would you rather be Mark Zukerberg or Warren Buffet? And, despite fake claims to the contrary, there's to be no tax on iPhones in Egypt, nor will it cost more to be buried there.


South Sudan President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar finally got to meet yesterday in the Ethiopian capital Addis Abeba.

The meeting was confirmed by the Ethiopian Prime Minister’s Office, but no details have been provided about the outcome of the encounter.

It was the first face-to-face meeting of Kiir and Machar in nearly two years.

Officially, the pair were to discuss outstanding issues in the power-sharing chapter of the peace agreement.

Un-named South Sudanese officials told the Sudan Tribune that the meeting was not successful and the two leaders didn’t agree on anything. They pointed to the fact that there was no statement on the outcome from the chairman and host, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. "If the meeting had been positive, Abiy would have been happy to issue a statement, but this was not the case," an official said.

President Kiir is scheduled to return to Juba tomorrow, but it is not clear if another meeting will take place between himself and Machar.

Eritrea and Ethiopia take first steps towards peace

Eritrea has responded to Ethiopia's offer of peace.

According to regional paper the East African, Eritrean President Isaias Afeworki is to dispatch a delegation to Addis Ababa for “constructive engagement” with Ethiopia following peace overtures from the authorities there.

The neighbouring countries fought a two-year war ending in 2000, and have been in a constant state of dispute ever since.

French newspaper Le Monde says that the latest moves towards appeasement are clearly positive, but stresses that a definitive peace agreement is still a long way off. Ethiopian troops, for example, continue to occupy the border town of Badmé, claimed by Eritrea.

An independent border commission gave Badmé to Eritrea under the peace deal which ended the 1998 war, but Ethiopia has never withdrawn its forces.

South African inflation slows slightly

For once, there's a bit of good news for South African consumers at the top of the front page of the Johannesburg-based financial paper BusinessDay.

Under a main headline reading "Surprise dip in inflation offers relief," we learn that inflation slowed very slightly in May after April’s increase of 4.5 percent. The Reserve Bank has set the limit at 6 percent over the next three years.

BusinessDay says the continuing high level of inflation is hitting the rich hardest.

South Africans in the 10 percent of the population with the lowest expenditure are suffering inflation of 2.1 percent. This rises to 4.7 percent for people in the richest segment.

Who wants to be a billionaire?

Speaking of the filthy rich, BusinessDay also reports that Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg is poised to leapfrog Warren Buffett to become the world’s third-richest person.

Zuckerberg, more than half-a-century younger than the investment ace is now worth 81.3 billion dollars, a mere 725 million bucks behind Buffet.

Zuckerberg also trails Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person with a $143.6bn fortune, and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, with $92.7bn. The Bloomberg index ranks the world’s 500 richest people and is updated after the close of each trading day in New York.

Plague of fake news hits Egypt

The Cairo-based Egypt Independent carries a rush of government denials of recent fake news stories.

We can thus confirm that there is to be no new tax on the users of iPhones, as recently rumoured on social media.

Minister of Finance Mohamed Moait pointed out that his ministry has not imposed any new taxes since 2016. He dismissed the iPhone story as a rumour feeding off anger and frustration.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s cabinet media center also denied similar social media posts claiming there were to be new fees for burying the dead, confirming that no taxes are levied on burial permits.

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