Friday January 28, 2011
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I’m Shannon de Ryhove
Former South African President Nelson Mandela is undergoing specialised tests in hospital and there’s no reason to panic over his health, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said on Friday.
Mandela, 92, was admitted to hospital on Wednesday, prompting fears for the anti-apartheid icon who led South Africa as its first black president and is revered at home and abroad as a symbol of reconciliation and hope.
A source close to Mandela told Reuters on Thursday that he was recovering from a collapsed lung and could leave hospital as early as Friday. His foundation said he had been admitted for routine tests.
Motlanthe said Mandela was in good spirits and, given his age and medical history, the tests were needed to ensure he got the best care.
African economic growth is heading back to pre-crisis growth levels, propelled by strong demand for its resources and increased "South-South" investment, notably from China.
Mthuli Ncube, chief economist at the African Development Bank (or AfDB), said on Thursday that the world's poorest continent would see gross domestic product growth of 6,0% this year and, potentially, between 6,2 and 6,5% in 2012.
The AfDB won’t give its formal economic forecasts for 2012 for a few more months. But Ncube said it was clear African economies were picking up and were on track to hit the peak growth levels of more than 6% seen before 2009.
Sub-Saharan countries including Ethiopia, Angola and Rwanda boast some of the world's fastest-growing economies.
Standard & Poor's said on Thursday that Middle Eastern and North African countries that are most vulnerable to political unrest similar to what occurred in Tunisia are Egypt, Algeria, Jordan and, to a lesser extent, Morocco.
The ratings agency said it doesn’t expect "a wave of regional political instability," but said political and fiscal uncertainty are weighing on the sovereign ratings of several Middle Eastern and North African countries.
Protests were still taking place in Tunis nearly two weeks after President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was ousted amid protests over poverty, repression and corruption.
Inspired by Tunisia's example, thousands of Egyptians have taken to the streets to demand an end to President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule.
Egypt, Algeria, Jordan and Morocco all share the same risk factors that contributed to the events in Tunisia: young populations, high unemployment, weak economies, rising food prices, and a lack of political and civil liberties, S&P said.
Also making headlines:
Deeply indebted advanced economies urgently need to establish deficit-cutting plans before markets turn on them, the IMF warned on Thursday, singling out Japan and the US among the laggards.
Advisory firm Ernst & Young says that additional tax revenue is needed to kick-start South Africa’s New Growth Path.
And, Botswana's central bank governor says that Africa should have a greater presence in the Group of 20 nations rather than be largely excluded and simply told how to run their economies.
That’s a roundup of news making headlines today.