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4 African Business November 2019

Business Intelligence News

South Africa’s president Cyril Ramaphosa has revealed that the debt-ridden state-owned airline South African Airways (SAA) is in talks with potential equity partners. Despite a recently approved $376m government cash injection, the airline requires R2bn ($135m) by December just to fund working capital for its 2019/20 financial year. Speaking at the 2019 FT Africa Summit in London, the president said: “SAA for instance is pretty open to a strategic equity partner. In fact – as we speak now – we are talking to a few interested parties when it comes to SAA.”

Kenya’s $1.5bn railway line extension

Kenya has opened a new $1.5bn railway extension. The initial $3.2bn Standard Gauge Railway was launched in 2017 and ran from the port city of Mombasa to the country’s capital, Nairobi. The new 120km extension runs from Nairobi to Kenya’s western Rift Valley Province. The line, constructed and financed by China, has been dubbed “the railway to nowhere” as it ends in Suswa, a small town in the Rift Val le y.

South African Airways open to private investment

World Bank court orders Tanzania to pay $185m

The World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment has ordered Tanzania’s government to pay $185m to Standard Chartered Bank Hong Kong for the breach of an energy contract. The case originated with a legal battle between the Tanzanian government and IPTL, an independent power company. The East African government denied wrongdoing and said it does not intend to pay the damages, arguing that IPTL will have to pay Standard Chartered.

Nigeria’s land border closed for all goods

The Nigerian Customs Service confirmed the indefinite closure of all land borders in mid-November for the import and export of goods. The move is part of an effort to tackle the smuggling of goods, but critics say the ban also restricts the movement of goods that are moved legally. The government had implemented a partial border closure in August to tackle illegal trade with limited results. The vast majority of Nigeria’s oil is exported by sea.

The airline requires R2bn ($135m) by December just to fund working capital for its 2019/20 financial year.

$135m

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