Headline: After visiting Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, 74, in London, Vice-President Osinbajo claimed that his boss's health is improving quickly and that he will return home shortly to resume his duties. Not everyone is convinced.
Economics: Meanwhile, days after rejecting the idea of Nigeria increasing its international borrowing to cover its 2017 spending programme and instead relying on domestic financing, finance minister Kemi Adeosun reiterated the plan to increase government tax revenues via a voluntary asset and income declaration scheme. Declarations and tax payments until December 31 will face no tax penalties or judicial sanctions.
Following downbeat manufacturing output and consumer confidence readings earlier in the week, today saw some positive news from South Africa with May mining output rising by a stronger-than-expected 3,6% on the year, after a downwardly revised 1.6% increase in April. The increase was driven by iron ore and diamond production while platinum output fell. Mining production, which accounts for 8% of GDP, declined during 2016Q4, but has risen for each of the last five months. Nonetheless, there may be tougher times ahead.
Industrial production in Tunisia declined by 2.9% y/y in April of 2017, following a 0.7% dip in May. Although industry output has fallen for 6 months in a row, we still expect rising agricultural output, phospate output and tourist inflows to drive a pickup in GDP growth to 2.1% in 2017 after a 1.1% print last year.
In contrast, industry output in Ivory Coast rose by 5.5% in the year to April, down from a 7.6% rise in March.
Headline inflation in Namibia continued its downward trend since peaking at 8.2% in January with a 0.2pp dip in June to 6.3% print in May.
Business: A mooted plan to end the recession and jump-start recovery in South Africa by finance minister Malusi Gigaba includes the partial privatisation of state-owned firms, possibly including South African Airways and the power company Eskom. Meanwhile, global brewing company, South African Breweries have announced a $221m project to expand packaging capabilities in Gauteng.
Another day, another $4bn spend for Nigeria's Dangote Industries. Yesterday, Group Executive Chair, Mr. Edwin Devakumar announced plans to invest over $4.5bn into boosting agricultural output across the continent. Today he has moved onto the cement industry with a promise of another $4bn to increase production capacity from an annual 45m tonnes to 80m by 2020. Chinese company Shangdong Ruyi Technology announced plans to invest $600m in developing the textile industry in the Kano state.
In praising President Lungu for a swathe of projects aimed at diversifying the economy away from its reliance on copper exports, including cement and cable-making production, Zambia's Association of Mine Suppliers and Contractors has appealed to "the President to consider awarding 20% of the projects to local suppliers and contractors".
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