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Vol 45 No 20

Published 8th October 2004

South Africa

That golden moment

A foreign take-over of a local bank could mean the end of exchange controls

Barclays' planned purchase of ABSA (Amalgamated Banks of South Africa) is set to be the biggest foreign investment in post-apartheid South Africa. It cheers economic liberals, who argue it will bring more jobs and foreign investors, and might push the government to end exchange controls. However, the still powerful economic nationalists and trades unionists are more cautious: they question why SA's highly profitable banks need foreign partners to help them scoop up the earnings.

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