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African press review 11 September 2018

Are some senior South African figures planning to bring back Jacob Zuma? Why does Tanzanian President John Magufuli want his nation's women to give up contraception? Will the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam ever start producing electricity?


The question of what South African ruling party boss Ace Magashule, deposed North West premier Supra Mahumapelo and ousted president Jacob Zuma were talking about at a hotel in Durban last week remains without a satisfactory answer.

The ruling ANC has denied that the three were hatching a plot to oust the current president, Cyril Ramaphosa. Well, they would, wouldn't they?

The editorial in the Johannesburg-based financial paper BusinessDay says that it is hard to imagine there was any actual party business that would require the presence of this array of divergent persons at an urgent meeting in Durban and, until evidence to the contrary emerges, it must be assumed to have been a meeting of the Committee to Re-elect President Jacob Zuma.

The paper goes on to say that it is easy to see why the meeting is causing nightmares for many. There is surely nothing more frightening, according to BusinessDay, than the prospect of the state being recaptured by Zuma and his cronies, which would see a return to the grand self-enrichment schemes that are being laid bare by the commission currently investigating the Zuma presidency.

The article ends by warning that, because of the way this crisis is being mishandled by the ANC, South Africa risks being pushed back into the jaws of the hyenas. Woof!

Be fruitful and multiply! It's good for the economy!

Tanzanian President John Magufuli has urged his nation's women to give up contraception, insisting the country needs more people.

According to the top story in regional paper the East African, Magufuli cites Europe as one of the zones adversely affected by birth control. He says some countries are now facing declining population growth and are short of manpower.

Tanzania has a population of 60 million people, up from 10 million at independence in 1961.

The United Nations predicts that Africa's population will double to around 2.5 billion by 2050, leading to warnings of a demographic time bomb if economic growth and job creation cannot keep up.

Is Ethiopian electricity a short circuit?

The East African also warns that regional neighbours hoping for cheap electricity from the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project may face a much longer wait than anticipated.

The four billion-euro project, which started in 2011, was supposed to be completed within five years. However, says the East African, no single turbine is operational seven years down the line.

And a recent critical assessment of the vast project by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has cast doubts over its eventual completion.

Not all emerging economies are equal

South Africa is one of seven emerging economies at risk of an exchange-rate crisis, according to the Japanese consulting company Nomura, reported in today's BusinessDay.

Basically, you're in the grip of an exchange-rate crisis when the local currency, in this case the rand, is so weak that you need an awful lot of it to buy real money or pay for imports.

The point of the study, says BusinessDay, is to convince international investors, currently greatly attracted by the emerging markets, that not all countries are equal.

Based on a variety of factors, including foreign-exchange reserves, debt levels, interest rates and import cover involving 30 countries, the number-crunchers at Nomura stress that the emerging market tag covers a wide range of risk situations.

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