Nothing and no one seems able to stop the rival factions of the ruling party from undermining each other as they position themselves for the presidential succession. The claimed victims range from the former Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Gideon Gono, whose bid for the Senate has been blocked by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, through to the prophets of a minor breakaway Apostolic sect, charged with sexual abuse and attacking the police. After several months of enforced silence, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo has been unmuzzled and his special brand of vitriol reactivated in the columns of the state media. Uncovering 'US [United States] agents and other gay gangsters'who have infiltrated the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) is the current obsession. Insults fly, tempers fray and even close relatives of the First Family have been drawn into the fights.
South Africa's state-owned Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) is being restructured to become the regional centre of the new development bank for the BRICS group of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, say sources close to the bank. The new institution is already being referred to as the New Development Bank (NDB) in official documents which Africa Confidential has seen.
AFRICA | URANIUM
A geographical shift in uranium production should, in theory, have benefitted Malawi, Namibia, Niger and South Africa as, together with the world's biggest producer, Kazakhstan, they have become the source for over half of the global supply. But although at the end of last month the yellowcake spot market price ticked up from a trough of below US$30 per pound of uranium oxide (U3O8) to US$34/lb., it remained well below the $60 level needed for many mines to be economic to operate. The construction of planned new mines has been delayed until prices recover, including at Imouraren in Niger and Trekkopje in Namibia, in both of which France's Areva is already working.
Dealing with bad debts from the Zine el Abidine Ben Ali era which threaten the banking system has proved so problematic that the government has been contradicting itself. On the morning of 27 September an official announcement declared that that the cabinet, chaired by technocratic Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa, had passed a decree to release 100mn dinars (US$55mn) on 13 October to shore up Banque de l'habitat (BH) and the Société tunisienne de banque (STB). But the decree, according to interim Minister of Finance Hakim Ben Hammouda, was withdrawn at the last minute with no correcting public statement being issued. Parliament has also failed to set up a ‘bad bank’ entity to absorb a rising tide of toxic loans. Enabling legislation has been stuck in parliament for two years now, with many blaming the individuals and institutions owing the unpaid loans for obstructing the measures.