Thursday, June 18, 2009
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Shona Kohler.
Standard & Poor's yesterday affirmed South Africa's sovereign rating, but said that the outlook remains negative owing to the financing requirements of the country's current account, as well as the recession.
S&P's credit analyst Remy Salters says that the affirmation reflects the sovereign's "prudent macroeconomic policies, a moderate debt burden, and stable political institutions." These are, however, balanced by "continued reliance on external portfolio inflows in the context of a significant current account deficit, and severe structural socioeconomic weaknesses."
South Africa's new administration under President Jacob Zuma has said that it will not change the conservative economic policies of the past decade that brought economic growth, despite increasing pressure from unions.
South Africa's main rating vulnerabilities continue to relate to the volatile financing of its current account deficit, explained S&P's. The agency expects that public sector investment will keep the gap at 5,4% of gross domestic product this year.
In its report on Trafficking in Persons, the US State Department says that millions of people around the world are living in bondage, and the global financial crisis has made many more vulnerable to labour and sex trafficking.
The report, which tracks "modern slavery" like forced labour and the sex trade, said that growing poverty around the world has sparked an increase in both supply and demand for human trafficking.
The department's Luis de Baca says that human trafficking can be valued at about $50-billion a year.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urges governments to work to eliminate all forms of human trafficking.
South Africa's National Planning Commission Minister Trevor Manuel is to take over responsibility for Statistics South Africa, which will have its role expanded to supply the information needed for government's strategic planning.
While Stats SA, together with the Treasury and the South African Revenue Service, previously reported to the Finance Ministry, it will now report to Manuel in the Planning Commission instead.
Statistician-general at Stats SA, Pali Lehohla, says that the organisation will have obligations to collect new types of statistics relevant to the work of the Commission, such as those of small business, rural development and local government delivery, as well as accurate administrative records.
Also making headlines:
Staffing solutions group Adcorp says that the employment outlook in South Africa will remain weak until 2010.
Public Works Minister Geoff Doidge says that the government's target of four-million work opportunities is ‘a conservative estimate'.
Denmark pledges $18-million in aid for Zimbabwe.
And, the African Union suspends crisis talks in Madagascar.
That's a roundup of news making headlines today.