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Kenya Nigeria Press review South Africa

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African press review 7 August 2017


There's a lot of economic speculation in the African press this morning, with editorials questioning South Africa's monetary policy and Nigeria's strategy to overcome recession. Meanwhile in Kenya, it's all about the impending general election...

Business Day begins the week with an economic dilemma - would a weak currency be the solution to South Africa's unemployment in the long term?

Unions have been critical of the Central Bank’s efforts to keep interest rates high, thus strengthening the rand, at the expense of investment.

But, on the other hand, the editor Ron Derby argues, we should be careful not to unleash an "inflationary dragon".

As long as South African industrial giants compete on a global platform, he says, they will have to continue adopting the latest technologies, meaning they will have to continue buying fixed equipment offshore, which would be all the more expensive if the country followed a weak rand policy.

“We need to think beyond the value of the rand in correcting South Africa's long-term structural faultlines", he concludes. "Devaluing the currency is but a short-term measure.”

How can Nigeria overcome recession?

Punch is running an alarming editorial regarding the state of the Nigeria's economy.

The Central Bank of Nigeria recently downplayed earlier optimism that the country was poised to emerge from recession to significant growth.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has also passed a less optimistic verdict, predicting that a 0.8 percent growth in 2017 will not be enough to reduce unemployment and poverty.

Unless a realistic stimulus plan is implemented, the IMF says a worse cycle of recession is imminent.

"But will the government heed this latest alert or allow the economic meltdown to continue?" Punch asks.

Suffice to say, the newspaper has little confidence in Muammadu Buhari's government.

"Inheriting a battered ship headlined by crashing global oil prices", it says. "The government failed to produce an emergency stimulus plan."

"The government has run out of options," Punch says. "It must come up with a robust short-term stimulus and medium-to-long-term reform plans, to turn the economy around".

The paper also calls for stronger fiscal and monetary policies.

Tension ahead of Kenyan election

Kenya’s Daily Nation is frantically covering the general election, which is due to take place tomorrow.

Its editorial begins with a quote by the American evangelist Robert Schuller: "I'd rather attempt to do something great and fail than to attempt to do nothing and succeed".

To read RFI's reports of Kenya's 2017 election click here

According to the author, Bitange N'demo, these words are especially relevant on the eve of Kenya's election.

He goes on to review the country's failures and successes, in its attempt to build a successful democracy since the botched 2007 elections.

He writes that these successes include "devolved governments, judicial reforms, land reforms and public service transformation".

But in the area of political process, the author says there's still a lot to be done.

"It is often said that elected leaders are a reflection of society", he says.

"As we approach the general election, the air is palpable with tension and copious amounts of intrigue, and no side is losing."

The editorial ends with a call for Kenyans to go out and vote with their heads and not with their hearts and prejudices.

Airbus training for African children

In its business section the Daily Nation has an uplifting report on Kenyan students, who will benefit from from a training programme organised by French-based European planemaker Airbus.

The aircraft manufacturer has picked Kenya and Nigeria as the next beneficiaries of a global training programme for schoolchildren looking to pursue a career in engineering.

In the two countries Airbus aims to help about 3,000 students between the ages of 10 and 16 to understand and appreciate science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The Kenyan chapter will be run in collaboration with Travelling Telescope, a company that educates children across the country about astronomy through school visits and public events.

The executive director of the Airbus Foundation says that “Africa has developed an innovation culture that is growing fast, with many social entrepreneurs”, and that the foundation wants to support and work with them.