Tuesday, January 12, 2010
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Brad Dubbelman.
State-owned power producer Eskom moved yesterday to defend its highly unpopular application for price increases of 35% a year for three years, at the first of what will be nine provincial-based public hearings this month. The hearings form part of the second multiyear price determination period.
The power utility faced stiff opposition from all six organisations which made oral presentations in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga province, as well as some challenging questions from members of the National Energy Regulator of South Africa panel.
Defending the application, interim Eskom chairperson and CEO Mpho Makwana stressed that the higher tariffs were needed to sustain South Africa's current and future economic growth, which will depend heavily on the availability of electric power. Eskom has based its application on an average demand growth of 3% a year over the period.
Africa must push into Asian markets to support economic growth because the effects of financial crises in the US and Europe may drag on for two years, said Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz yesterday.
Speaking at an African Development Bank conference in Tunis, Stiglitz said that some African governments are still incapable of managing their natural resources in order to accumulate the reserves they need to resist the global economic downturn.
Africa's strongest economic links are traditionally with Europe, but its trade with Asian States has grown fast as China seeks access to the continent's oil and mineral wealth and Africans are drawn to cheap Asian consumer goods.
The ruling party of Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo called for the electoral commission chief Robert Mambe to resign yesterday, casting doubt on whether the Côte d'Ivoire will be able to hold long-delayed post-war elections on time.
Gbagbo's Ivorian Popular Front party accused Mambe of fraud in drawing up the voter list and called for his prosecution.
No authority has questioned or charged Mambe, but as the Côte d'Ivoire approaches an election nearly five years overdue, the last thing that most war-weary Ivorians want is a political spat causing further delays.
Also making headines:
Three education unions have proposed the establishment of a social contract to improve education in South Africa.
Nigerian President Umaru Yar'Adua speaks out for the first time in seven weeks on the state of his health, as the country faces political uncertainty in his absence.
South African President Jacob Zuma says that the separatist attack on the Togolese soccer team in Cabinda was opportunistic.
And, Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir retires as commander-in-chief of the army in a "procedural move" ahead of the upcoming elections.
That's a roundup of news making headlines today.