Western Union launched Nigeria’s first outbound remittance payment service, which is expected to boost business growth in the country.

Africa Brief: Western Union services Nigeria and more…

Western Union services Nigeria

Western Union launched Nigeria’s first outbound remittance payment service, which is expected to boost business growth and reduce transaction costs for consumers in the country. Prior to that, customers were only able to receive funds, whereas now, they are able to spend money anywhere in the world.

by Dineo Faku and Sapa published in The Star, Business Report on 25/08/2014

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Mining: Namibian gem cutters eager

Local gem cutters and polishers want to be allowed to process more of the stones produced in Namibia, according to the Namibian Diamond Trading Corporation. 90 percent of all gems are sold to De Beers, and the rest to 12 local cutters and polishers.

by Bloomberg published in The Star, Business Report on 25/08/2014

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Econet gives Zimbabweans more Twitter time

ZIMBABWEANS are likely to tweet more freely in the next three months after Econet Wire­less extended free usage of Twitter by its subscribers to November 20. Econet has more than 9 million subscribers on its network, and the company posted an 8% rise in revenue to $752.7m. Emerging technologies and cheaper communications (such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter) are however increasing pressure on the company’s executives. More and more people are using smart phones as a means of communication and for business and banking purposes at the deal to extend free Twitter usage until November 20 is seen as a precursor towards the company launching special bundles for the social networking site as it has already implemented these bundles for Facebook and WhatsApp.

Excerpt from Econet gives Zimbabweans more Twitter time published in The Star, Business Report on 25/08/2014

Ebola exacts heavy toll on west African economies

THE WORST outbreak of the Ebola virus is taking a heavy toll on west Africa’s economy as crops rot in the fields, mines are abandoned and goods can­not get to market. Over 1427 people have been killed and the virus has spread to all corners of Liberia, the worst-hit country. But beyond the death-toll the economic effects are being felt, threatening some the world’s poorest countries. Companies are suspending operations across Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria and many international airlines have suspended flights to these countries. Experts have warned that the economic effects in the region could be dire if the virus takes hold in Nigeria. So far its oil industry has not been threatened, but the service industries have been, with hotel bookings having dropped by 30% this month. The biggest threat is the long term pull out of global companies.

by Zoom Dosso published in The Star, Business Report on 25/08/2014

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SA chains eye riches of Africa to turn the tide

It was a watershed week for retailer as the blue-chip giants came face-to-face with how little money South Africans have in their wallets. Shoprite and Massmart were hit the hardest by this realization. Shoprite’s half-year results fell short of analysts’ expectations, however even given SA’s low economic growth prospects, the Shoprite group is well positioned to take advantage of an eventual upswing. A gloomier position for Massmart exists as its first half earnings could be 29% lower than expected. Shares in retailers have fallen in the past 3 months (Shoprite by 13.8%, PnP by 5%, Massmart by 5.9%) however Shoprite plans to open 30 further shops outside of SA. It is believed that investors will flock to retailers with a bigger punt on offshore growth.

Excerpt from SA chains eye riches of Africa to turn the tide published in Business Times on 24/08/2014

Exxaro shrugs off big Congo write-down

EXXARO will continue its diversification strategy despite suffering a R5.8-billion write­down on an iron-ore project in the Republic of Congo and pres­sure from some analysts to focus purely on coal. Exarro hopes to prove the value in becoming more diversified. The bulk of its earnings come from its 20% stake in the Sishen Iron Ore Company, but the company has interests in mineral sands and renewable energy, and is also investing to diversify its coal business. Exxaro is the biggest supplier to Eskom. In order to help increase coal exports the company would buy out Total Coal SA’s operations. The possibility of SA having shale gas in the future will effect coal prices, and will make it harder for coal producers to complete, as seen in the US in recent years. The company decided in June to write down all costs incurred in Mayoko, Congo after. Excluding this misfortune, Exxaro’s headline earnings were up 8% to R2.9bn.

Excerpt from Exxaro shrugs off big Congo write-down published in Business Times on 24/08/2014

David Okwara

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