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IMF, Congo Republic provisionally agree on three-year loan deal1 minute read

The IMF mission also states that Congo’s economy is projected to grow more than 5 percent in 2019, up from less than 1 percent in 2018

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has agreed to a three-year loan facility with the Congo Republic with conditions that the government in Brazzaville will implement some reforms. Since 2017, the country had been in talks with the international lender to get the facility on the basis that they are doing enough to tackle national debt and corruption.

The government found a way to reduce its mostly crippling debt of, $2 billion to China. This eventually convinced the IMF to wade in. The agreed measures include submitting a report to the nation’s lawmakers on bad oil loans that the state petroleum company has taken out with private banks.

The IMF mission also states that Congo’s economy is projected to grow more than 5 percent in 2019, up from less than 1 percent in 2018, mainly because of an expected rise in oil production and prices. This could bring in more investors to the Central African country. 2014, the economy was hurt by a sharp drop in oil prices, causing debt levels to balloon to 118 percent of GDP in 2017. In the first five months of 2019, last month oil prices hit their highest level, helping Congo cut debt levels to less than 85 percent of GDP.

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Heavy rains threaten Uganda’s coffee crop quality

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Uganda’s coffee crop quality could see a decline in the coming months as heavy rains across the country have reduced the amount of sunshine necessary for bean drying.

Uganda is Africa’s largest exporter of coffee followed by Ethiopia and grows mostly robusta variety.

The country has been pounded by unusually heavy rains that started in August resulting in deaths, displacement and extensive damage to roads and other infrastructure.

Western Uganda, including the foothills of the Rwenzori mountains , some of the biggest coffee growing areas, has received some of the most intense rains.

Uganda Coffee Development Authority (UCDA), the state-run regulator, forecasts Uganda’s bean exports will climb 16 percent to 5.1 million 60-kg (132-pound) bags in the current crop year ending September.

The country’s coffee output has surged in recent years, the fruition of a government programme that has been distributing free seedlings to farmers to expand acreage and replace aging trees.

Authorities say their target is to help boost annual production to 20 million bags by 2025.

The beans have traditionally been Uganda’s biggest commodity export but were recently overtaken by gold which now annually earns the country over $1 billion.

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Business rescue team rule out mid-June return for SAA flights

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South African Airways business rescue practitioners have rejected an “unvetted” statement released by the state-owned airline indicating plans to resume domestic flights from mid-June.

The national carrier had on Tuesday, announced that its planes will be back in the skies between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

But Les Matuson and Siviwe Dongwana, the business rescue administrators, say the airline had breached communications protocol by issuing a statement which “created an unfair expectation on our relevant stakeholders, including SAA’s customers, as well as employees who are on unpaid absence as a result of the travel ban which led to the halting of the company’s operations, compounding its financial distress.”

SAA’s media statement had gone out without the approval of the practitioners as demanded by the business rescue procedure.

With the government of South Africa announcing that the country will enter into lockdown alert level 3 from June 1, domestic air travel will be permitted but only for business purposes.

The business rescue practitioners said SAA planes will remain grounded until a better understanding of what the level 3 regulations entail.

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Tanzania, France sign water supply loan agreement

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Tanzania has signed a loan agreement with France to finance water supply projects that will benefit about 770,000 people in the country’s Morogoro municipality.

The French government will extend the loan worth about $76 million to Tanzania through its French Development Agency (AFD), according to Dotto James, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Planning who signed the agreement on behalf of Tanzania.

“Upon completion, the water supply in the Morogoro municipality will increase from the current 37,000 cubic meters a day to 108,000 cubic meters a day,” James told a press conference following a signing ceremony in Morogoro.

AFD Country Representative for Tanzania, Stephanie Mouen says the project will improve the well-being of the people in the municipality and it will also improve the environment.

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