No. 165: 3AMReads: Moody’s Downgrades Eskom | DRC Asks for Joint Bid | Ghana President Wants More Parliament

Moody’s downgrades South Africa’s power utility Eskom

South Africa continues to face challenges as bad news continues to emerge from week to week. On Monday, Eskom’s chairman resigned. On Tuesday, Moody’s downgrades the power utility’s credit rating.

The question in my mind is what is the path forward for South Africa. President Zuma, who has played a central role much of these recent issues, will be stepping down as leader of the ANC next year, hopefully. He is then to step down as President in 2019. Who will fill that void?

The ANC is still pretty firmly in Zuma’s control, evinced by the ANC voting not to remove him from the presidency a few weeks ago. Who within the ANC could step up? The party’s Youth League has put its weight behind Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, but she is also backed by President Zuma. Who outside the ANC could step up? One of the most high profile political leaders in the country, Helen Zille, just apologized for a problematic tweet about colonialism being good for Africa. I think it’s pretty safe to bet she won’t be getting a ton of votes.

South Africa needs leadership to right the ship over the next several years and it’s not apparent that folks are in position to take on that mantle. Hopefully, someone emerges over these next couple years.

Congo tells consortia to form joint bid for Inga 3 hydro project

The Inga 3 dam has been under development for what seems like forever, something like 14 or 15 years. The Democratic Republic of Congo just asked two massive companies from China and Spain to work together on a joint bid, and it seems like a pretty strange request. Let’s see what more information comes out about this.

Ghana Leader Favors Constitutional Change to Boost Finances

President Nana Akufo-Addo wants parliament to have more oversight of the country’s public finances, which would require constitutional changes. Ghana already has a central audit agency structure. I think a nice addition would be to create an agency similar to the Government Accountability Office, an independent agency that works for Congress and investigates how the government spends public dollars. GAO has already done with staff at Ghana Internal Audit Agency, and I’m sure would be more than happy to help establish a similar organization that works for Ghana’s parliamentary structure.

No. 42: Nigerian Fashion Makes a Statement: This Week in African Markets

From LinkedIn.

ECONOMIC PAIN CONTINUES – Moody’s downgraded South Africa’s five largest banks, nine of its municipalities, its two development finance institutions, following the firm’s downgrading of the government’s debt ratingand Eskom’s bond rating last week. While the outlook remains stable for the banks and one of the development institutions – the Industrial Development Corporation – the South African government continues to take hits. COSATU (Congress of South African Trade Unions) voted to expel NUMSA (National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa) over the weekend, potentially further weakening the African National Congress as elections loom and the party continues to experience fissures. Labor strikes have hit the mining industry and broader economy hard over the past year. What will it take for South Africa to hit an upward swing? Thegovernment expects its GDP to rise 1.4 percent, revised down from the already low 2.4 percent. Send any interesting articles my way covering what the country needs to do to get out of this rut.


FIGHT NIGHT – The Democratic Republic of Congo’s Finance Minister and Industry Minister almost lost their jobs Monday. Members of parliament came close to losing a couple teeth. Sixty-three assembly members signed on to a motion for a vote of no confidence on both ministers, arguing that they are mismanaging the country. The motion did not succeed due to 18 MPs withdrawing their support. Here’s a placeholder for side-eye. Last year, Last year, Prime Minister Matata Ponyo survived a no-confidence vote with similar charges. Similarly, several MPs withdrew their support for the no-confidence vote. President Joseph Kabila, since winning a controversial election in 2011, has faced pretty heavy political pressure from opposition groups. Recently, there has been debate on whether he would try tochange the constitution and make another run for the presidency, and what impact recent events in Burkina Faso would have on his decision. I suppose we’ll know soon enough.


DOROBUCCI – The beautiful people came out in full force at Lagos Fashion & Design Week last week. Founded by @OmoyemiAkerele, the show was hosted by@GTBank and organized by Ms. Akerele’s Style House Files. The show was one of the higher profile events to take place in Lagos since the World Health Organization announced the end of the Ebola outbreak in Nigeria, and highlighted the growing significance of Lagos as a global fashion destination. @DAdjaye, lead designer of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, is designing a concept store for Reni Folayiwo’s Alara, which will house luxury designs from across Africa and the West. As Ms. Akerele and Ms. Folayiwo attract more attention to Nigeria’s fashion opportunity, the hope is that wealthy Nigerians will do more of their shopping at home, as opposed to shopping in Europe. The demand is certainly there.

Have insight on this week’s news, like President Jonathan officially announcing his candidacy for next year’s elections? Post them in the comments section.