South Africa Exits Recession

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Ugo Aliogo with agency report

Farms and factories dragged South Africa out of its first recession in almost a decade, data showed on Tuesday, as the economy grew by more than expected in the third quarter.

The positive data was a boost for President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has pledged to re-start growth after a decade of stagnation under his predecessor, Jacob Zuma.

South Africa’s economy expanded 2.2 per cent in the third quarter from the second, snapping out of recession after a revised 0.4 percent contraction in the previous quarter, data from Statistics South Africa showed.

The rand added to early gains, advancing to a session-best 13.5600 per dollar at 0935 GMT from an open at 13.6150.

The economic expansion will also ease fears of credit downgrades deeper into non-investment territory following warnings by agencies about the economy. All of the top three ratings firms have cited weak growth as a major threat.

Economists polled by Reuters had predicted a 1.6 percent expansion. Manufacturing expanded 7.5 percent, agriculture grew 6.5 percent. Mining contracted 8.8 percent, however.

Last month, the central bank cut its 2018 growth forecast to 0.6 percent, a touch lower than Treasury’s 0.7 percent forecast in the October budget.

Analysts said they expected the recovery to continue into 2019, but that recent electricity outages by ailing power utility Eskom posed a threat.

Eskom implemented a sixth day of controlled power cuts on Tuesday, putting more strain on the economy and raising fears of the blackouts a decade ago that reduced GDP by about 1 percent.

“In all, the data confirms our view that the South African economy is recovering,” said chief Africa economist at Standard Charted Razia Khan. “Renewed load shedding is a source of downside risk.”

An analyst at NKC African Economics Elize Kruger said: “The result was in line with our forecast of 2 percent quarter-on- quarter, which is good news and also means the 0.7 percent growth forecast for full-year is still on track.”

Applications for 2019 TEF Entrepreneurship Programme Opens Jan 1

The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) will begin accepting applications for the fifth cycle of its entrepreneurship programme from January 1, 2019.

1,000 selected applicants are expected to join the current 4,470 beneficiaries of the programme.

Since 2015, the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme – the only African-funded entrepreneurial catalyst of its kind – has empowered 4,470 African entrepreneurs, with seed capital of $5,000 each; 12 weeks of accelerated online business training; access to experienced mentors; and membership of Africa’s largest entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Beneficiaries of the programme have been profiled in global media, including the Forbes (Africa) 30 Under 30 list. They have attracted the attention of investors, as well as have been recipients of awards, including the Google Impact Challenge and the Chivas’ “The Venture” Award for Social Entrepreneurs.

The entrepreneurship programme has facilitated exchanges between African entrepreneurs and local and global public sector leaders, investors and development partners, raising their business profiles, scaling their opportunities, showcasing their innovation and identifying ways to further strengthen the business environment in Africa.

In June 2018, the Foundation convened a forum with President Emmanuel Macron of France and young African entrepreneurs. In October 2018, the Foundation was proud to have President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana and President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya address the gathering of young African entrepreneurs at the TEF Entrepreneurship Forum.

The Foundation’s investment, impact and commitment to advancing entrepreneurship is predicated on the belief that Africa’s entrepreneurs hold the key to unlocking the potential of the continent and facilitating the transformation of Africa.

“With this objective, the Tony Elumelu Foundation launched the TEF Entrepreneurship Programme, its US$100 million flagship programme to identify over a period of 10 years, 10,000 African start-ups and entrepreneurs, with ideas that have the potential to transform the African continent.

“Its goal is to invest in businesses that together can generate at least 1,000,000 new jobs and contribute at least $10 billion in new annual revenues across Africa,” a statement explained.

The TEF Entrepreneurship Programme is open to citizens and legal residents of all African countries, who run businesses based in Africa that are less than three years old. Business ideas that are yet to launch are also encouraged.