African press review 15 September 2015
South Sudan could be on the way to full membership of the East African Community; fewer candidates have applied to run in Egypt's next parliamentary election; South Africa is losing its place in a global business index and failing to attract foreign investment, mainly because of labour unrest and red tape.
The main story in regional paper The East African says South Sudan could be given observer status by the East African Community (EAC) and is now reviewing its laws on human rights and governance before its application for full membership is considered.
The review would bring the country’s laws into line with those of other EAC member states with regards to democracy and the rule of law which South Sudan has been accused of ignoring in the past.
An official of the High Level Task Force negotiating the country’s admission into the the regional club said that since South Sudan is a member of the "Northern Corridor", a trading area which is part of the EAC, the country is likely to get observer status at the regional level to give it time to fully prepare to join the community.
The Egypt Independent in Cairo reports that the number of candidates applying to run in the parliamentary election to be held on 18 October has declined compared to past polls, according to an alliance of election observers.
The total number of applications by the Saturday deadline had reached 5,936, an average of 10.4 applicants per seat, according to the Mission to Observe Parliamentary Elections. It said this represents a decline from previous elections.
The observer group said increased registration costs for candidates, more complicated regulations concerning the formation of electoral lists and a general fear that court rulings could lead to a suspension of the elections helped to explain the decline in candidate applications.
South African financial paper BusinessDay says stocks and currencies in emerging markets rose yesterday as traders bet the US Federal Reserve would hold off on raising interest rates this week. This has boosted demand for riskier assets, which had tumbled because of signs that China’s economic slowdown was worsening. The Fed meets tomorrow and Thursday, with a majority of New York traders betting against any change in interest rates.
Labour unrest, along with legal and business regulations are robbing South Africa of higher levels of foreign investments and economic growth, according to a global index released yesterday. This is also on the front page of BusinessDay.
South Africa is ranked 96th of 157 countries in the latest annual economic freedom of the world index prepared by Canadian public policy think tank, the Fraser Institute. The country was in 89th place in 2012. These levels are far worse than the 42nd place that South Africa recorded in 2000.
South Africa is also losing its place in sub-Saharan African rankings, at 12th place on the economic freedom ranking in the region, down from third place a few years ago.
The index measures economic freedom by considering the size of government, the legal system and security of property rights, inflation and money growth, freedom to trade internationally and commercial regulations.
The fight over who should pay for millions of euros worth of work to improve President Jacob Zuma's private home at Nkandla has taken a new twist with the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) filing papers in the Constitutional Court in which it describes the president’s response to the public protector’s report on the case as "deplorable". The public protector found that Zuma had personally benefited from public expenditure and should repay at least some of the several million euros spent on upgrading his home.
Yesterday the Democratic Alliance applied to join another opposition group, the Economic Freedom Fighters, in making a direct approach to the Constitutional Court over the Nkandla affair.
The last Nkandla committee in parliament saw the ruling ANC close ranks and endorse Police Minister Nathi Nhleko’s finding that the president need not repay any money.
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