July 25, 2012
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I’m Nomvelo Buthelezi.
Ghana’s president John Atta Mills dies.
The World Bank warns of more risks as it cuts its 2012 South African growth outlook to 2.5 percent.
And, Bill Gates says much more work is needed to turn tide of AIDS.
Ghana's President John Atta Mills, who won international praise for presiding over a stable model democracy in Africa, died suddenly on Tuesday.
Mills had celebrated his 68th birthday on Saturday and his unexpected death came months before he was due to stand for re-election in December as head of the world's number two cocoa grower, which is also a major African gold producer.
In line with Ghana's constitution, Vice-President John Dramani Mahama, took the oath of office as head of state before a sombre parliament hours after the announcement of Mills' death. Mahama will serve as caretaker president until the elections at the end of the year.
Ghana's election commission said December's presidential and parliamentary elections would go ahead as planned.
The World Bank has lowered its gross domestic product growth outlook for South Africa from 3.1 percent in November to 2.5 percent. It has warned that the performance of Africa’s largest economy could be weaker still if the eurozone crisis deepenes further.
The bank’s lead economist for South Africa Sandeep Mahajan said the 2.5 percent ‘base case’ was premised on world GDP growth of 2.5 percent during 2012 a 0.3 percent contraction in the eurozone and lower growth in the key emerging markets of China, India and Brazil. The base case is below the 2.7 percent forecast by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in February.
The World Bank also warned that South Africa was vulnerable to both the slowing economies of Europe, which consumed many of its industrial products, as well as to a slowdown in the rate of expansion in China, which consumed many of its commodities.
Philanthropist and AIDS prevention advocate Bill Gates says that there have been significant advances in the fight against HIV/AIDS. However he was not ready to say the world was "turning the tide" on the disease ", as the theme of this week's International AIDS Conference suggests.
Gates said the trajectory of the disease had certainly improved, noting figures the United Nations released last week. These figures show that global AIDS deaths last year fell to 1.7-million, down from 1.8-million in 2010.
He noted, however, that wealthy nations, which have been the primary engine for funding the research and the delivery of life-saving drugs to 8-million poor people, faced financial challenges that threatened AIDS funding.
Also making headlines:
A new World Bank report shows that location is a key determinant of South Africa’s opportunity inequality.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions calls for national debate on municipalities.
And, thousands flee from heavy fighting between Congolese rebels and government forces.
That’s a roundup of news making headlines today.