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Expectation from South Africa’s Interest Rate Decision As Monetary Policy Committee Meets Today

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The Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is expected to hold the repo rate at 3.5% when it announces its policy decision on Thursday (19 November). That is today.

12 of 14 economists (86%) surveyed anticipates a hold when the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) makes the announcement despite nearly half of economists calling for a rate cut.

57% of economists think a hold is a right decision and 43% say the bank should cut the rate.

South Africa’s MPC meets as key data suggest gross domestic product may have exceeded its forecast for an annualised 45.2% increase in the three months through September, according to analysis from Bloomberg.

“Stricter lockdowns in advanced economies that pose a threat to exports and output in the final quarter, as well as the bank’s decision to front-load aggressive cuts in the first half of the year, could see it stand pat,” it said.

12 of 16 economists in a Bloomberg survey see the rate staying at 3.5%, with the other four predicting a 25 basis point cut. Forward-rate agreements, used to speculate on borrowing costs, predict a less than one-in-four chance of a quarter percentage point cut.

“Split decisions at the last three meetings suggest a lack of consensus among the MPC and that its signals are ‘becoming far less clear’, which supports the case for a pause,” according to Nicky Weimar, Chief Economist at Nedbank.

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Rwanda Cancels Plan to Increase RwandAir Fleet

The government says expansion of the airline’s fleet will wait until business goes back to normal.

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Rwanda has announced that it is putting on hold the acquisition of new airplanes for its national carrier RwandAir, mainly due to the impact of Covid-19 on businesses.


The additional planes were to enable RwandAir serve the increasingly opened skies through the Bilateral Air Services Agreement (BASA).


Due to the global pandemic, RwandAir was forced to suspend operations following the lockdown in March, and only resumed operations in August when the country started a gradual re-opening of the economy.


The airline has gradually re-opened routes, though passenger occupancy remains low as some parts of the world remain in a lockdown while in other countries, travel remain restricted.


The government says expansion of the airline’s fleet will wait until business goes back to normal.


RwandAir currently has 12 airplanes including two Boeing 737-700NG, two Bombardier CRJ-900 NextGen, four Boeing 737-800NG, two Bombardier Q-400 NextGen, one Airbus A330 – 300, and one Airbus A330 – 200.


Before the pandemic hit, the airline had planned to lease two Airbus A330neo and two Boeing 737 Max 8.

Read also: Rwanda, Qatar sign aviation pact


Rwanda’s Minister of Infrastructure Claver Gatete says “Even the planes we have are not being used to the maximum due to the Covid-19. We have to wait until the passengers are free to keep travelling in a safer environment, so that we can now expand as we cannot expand in this environment.”


He spoke during a press briefing on Friday after signing a bilateral air services agreement (BASA) with the Republic of Korea, bringing the total to 101 BASAs within and outside Africa. Out of these, 52 have been ratified, 17 signed, and 32 initiated.


According to the airline’s earlier plans, the A330neos were to be deployed on long-haul routes to Guangzhou, China, and New York, as well as boost capacity to Dubai, Lagos, and Johannesburg.


RwandAir recently secured clearance to serve New York on code-share and wet-lease basis; an arrangement where one airline provides an aircraft, complete crew, maintenance, and insurance to another airline or other type of business acting as a broker of air travel (the lessee), which pays by hours operated.


The 737 Max 8s were scheduled to serve Tel Aviv in Israel, and other regional flights such as Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.


Despite the halting of airplane acquisitions, the government says infrastructure investment to support the aviation sector will continue.
Qatar is set to acquire 60 per cent stake in RwandAir and is expected to complete construction of Bugesera Airport.


According to Gatete, negotiations with Qatar have advanced, and inking the deal between the two parties should take place anytime soon, under which the construction work should take off.

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NC Interview | African Startups Ecosystems

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Startups in Africa have become a phenomenon. The COVID-19 Lockdown encouraged many businesses to move online with the new normal of doing business virtually.

In the second quarter of 2020, African startups have raised more than $500 million according to Maxime Bayen of GreenTec Capital.

News Central had an exclusive chat with an investor and startup founder, Gulbet Kiros.

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Business Edge | Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA)

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Today on Business Edge, Tolulope Adeleru Balogun discusses the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) with Andrew Mold, Chief, Regional Integration and AfCFTA, Sub-Regional Office for Eastern Africa, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

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