Archive for January 19th, 2008

source: BBC NEWS

By Peter Biles
BBC Southern Africa correspondent

Man holding the new banknotes
A multi-millionaire but the new notes don’t buy much
Zimbabwe’s central bank is to introduce new higher-denomination banknotes in an effort to ease the critical shortage of cash in the country.

Zimbabwe has been in economic decline for the past eight years, with annual inflation widely thought to be in excess of 50,000%.

The highest value note that will go into circulation on Friday is worth 10m Zimbabwean dollars.

But that is worth less than US$3.90 (£2; 2.60 euros) on the black market [continue reading]

The introduction of the new banknotes, or “bearer cheques” as they are officially called, is a further attempt to stabilise the Zimbabwean economy.

Hyperinflation

There have been long queues every day at banks as people have struggled to withdraw cash.

The government’s only response is to print more money – and that is seen as the main reason for the hyperinflation.

There have been no official [continue reading]

source: IOL
January 18 2008 at 04:38PM

Power cuts are expected to continue over the weekend and into next week, Eskom said on Friday.

There was a “high possibility of load shedding over the weekend, as the electricity system is extremely tight”, the utility warned in a statement.

It said the planned cuts were likely to continue through next week, and called on consumers to use electricity sparingly.

“All South Africans need to pull together and save electricity because every little bit of saving counts,” it said.

Eskom said it was working with municipalities and regional disaster management committees to co-ordinate scheduling of the power cuts.

“We hope this will assist in minimising the inconvenience caused on the roads, and improve our forewarning to electricity consumers. We are also taking into account suggestions from consumers,” it said.

Consumers could view plans on where it plans to cut power [continue reading]

source: SouthAfrica.info
Gcina Ntsaluba 18 January 2008

South Africa and Mozambique are to open a R600-million, 24-hour, one-stop border post by 2009 to handle the growing movement of people and goods between the two countries.

Maputo Corridor Logistics Initiative CEO Barbara Mommen told BuaNews that the existing Lebombo/ Ressano Garica border post was not designed to handle the current load.

“The implementation of the 24-hour joint one-stop border post in 2009 will go a long way towards addressing both the infrastructure, processing and congestion constraints,” she said.

Over the recent festive season, there was a 25% increase in the number of passengers who crossed the border compared to December 2006. Altogether 580 116 passengers crossed the border in December 2007 compared to 465 600 people in December 2006.

The new one-stop border post will be built to ensure that there is enough space for the movement of both passengers and freight trucks.

Mommen said that currently, the processing of documentation in the two customs departments was also not consistent. “The speed of processing seems to depend on the capacity of staff on shift at [continue reading]

source: allAfrica

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks

18 January 2008
Posted to the web 18 January 2008

Dakar
Food prices at markets across West Africa are already high for the time of year and are still rising, market analysts warn, suggesting aid agencies should prepare for a potentially serious hunger crisis later in the year as people across the impoverished region may not be unable to afford to buy enough to eat, despite food being available.

Normally in January and February cereal and grain prices in West Africa are driven down as harvests from the year before start hitting the markets.

But production of cereals was low across the region in 2007 because of a late start and early end to the rainy season, which affected production of millet, sorghum and maize, and analysts say traders are seeking to maximise profit by hoarding stocks, because they know the low production will yield higher prices.

“Traders are still buying in as much as possible to hold onto it until the price has [continue reading]

source: allAfrica

Southern African News Features (Harare)

17 January 2008
Posted to the web 17 January 2008

The Year 2008 is set to be a momentous one for the region with the official launch of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Free Trade Area slated for August.

The Botswana-based Secretariat of SADC has confirmed that while the agreed tariff phase-down takes effect this month, the official launch will be in August, coinciding with the annual Summit of Heads of State and Government. South Africa, which takes over the rotating SADC chair in August, is expected to host the summit.

Progress on the Free Trade Area was discussed at a number of SADC meetings during 2007 with positive reports on the preparedness of the regional body and its member states.

The most recent was the Extra Ordinary Council in November in the Zambian capital Lusaka, which “noted with satisfaction that, the region is indeed ready to launch the SADC Free Trade Area next year [2008] as per the set milestones”.

Since 2000, the 14-member regional bloc has been implementing the SADC Trade Protocol, which provides the [continue reading]