The Africa Report - - CONTENTS -

Pen­sion fund au­dits

HAN­NI­BAL CAN­NOT HELP but won­der when South Africa’s fi­nan­cial shenani­gans will come to an end. Public In­vest­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (PIC) boss Daniel Matjila, who man­ages the pen­sion funds of state work­ers, came out in Septem­ber say­ing that he was the tar­get of a po­lit­i­cal ca­bal and was un­der pres­sure to use funds to bail out fail­ing state-owned en­ter­prises like South African Air­ways (SAA). Fi­nance min­is­ter Malusi Gi­gaba – who said that noth­ing was amiss – ex­plained that he was au­tho­ris­ing an au­dit of the PIC to make sure that noth­ing was amiss. The end of Septem­ber marked another fi­nan­cial hic­cup for Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma’s gov­ern­ment as Gi­gaba had to dip into the Na­tional Rev­enue Fund to pay back one of SAA’S loans, as Citibank re­fused to roll over the fi­nan­cial life­line.

Oil is opaque

IN OC­TO­BER IT WAS RE­VEALED that Nige­ria’s oil min­is­ter Em­manuel Ibe Kachikwu has com­plained to pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari about dodgy deal­ings at the Nige­rian Na­tional Pe­tro­leum Cor­po­ra­tion (NNPC). Buhari was elected in 2015 on an anti-cor­rup­tion plat­form, but Kachikwu says NNPC man­age­ment signed off on $25bn in con­tracts with­out fol­low­ing the proper pro­ce­dures. The se­nate has promised to launch an in­ves­ti­ga­tion, but pre­vi­ous claims of bil­lion­dol­lar rot in the oil in­dus­try have not led to ma­jor shake-ups.

Corny causes

WITH AN ELEC­TION DUE be­fore the end of the month, Kenya’s Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta an­nounced in early Oc­to­ber that the gov­ern­ment would spend up to $60m to buy maize and sub­sidise the price of maize flour, a sta­ple food. He said the gov­ern­ment would buy “all the maize of­fered for sale by our farm­ers dur­ing this 2017/18 sea­son.” Such lofty prom­ises may not have been nec­es­sary – at least in terms of the elec­toral cal­cu­lus – as sev­eral days later op­po­si­tion­ist Raila Odinga an­nounced that he was boy­cotting the re-run of the Au­gust pres­i­den­tial elec­tion be­cause he does not be­lieve the elec­toral com­mis­sion will do its job prop­erly. Odinga had cam­paigned say­ing that the cost of liv­ing was too high and the gov­ern­ment was do­ing too lit­tle about it.

Death spi­rals and dol­lars

WITH PRES­I­DENT ROBERT MU­GABE an­nounc­ing a pos­si­ble cab­i­net reshuf­fle, vice-pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa claim­ing he was poi­soned and ru­mours swirling about the po­ten­tial col­lapse of the bond notes the gov­ern­ment has been is­su­ing to re­place scarce US dol­lars, the sit­u­a­tion is get­ting bleaker in Zim­babwe. Cen­tral bank gov­er­nor John Man­gudya has blamed “in­dis­ci­pline” and “rent seek­ing” for the fact that peo­ple have more con­fi­dence in cold hard cash than the gov­ern­ment’s word. Knives are out for Man­gudya, with more voices in the rul­ing Zim­babwe African Na­tional Union-pa­tri­otic Front say­ing pub­licly that a new fi­nan­cial man is needed to right the ship be­fore elec­tions in 2018.

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