Flash Briefing: Thousands of new CT jobs at Amazon HQ; Absa CEO Mminele sudden departure; SA cryptocurrency ETF?

  • Amazon has announced that will establish its South African headquarters in the City of Cape Town, a project that has the potential to create up 19,000 jobs – more 5,239 during the construction phase alone – and will inject an estimated R4bn into the local economy. The Democratic Alliance says this is welcome news following the devastation of Covid-19 lockdown rules on businesses and that Amazon’s decision highlights that the City of Cape Town is making progress in attracting investment.
  • Absa CEO Daniel Mminele has left his job, with Absa Group Chairman Wendy Lucas-Bull, saying that a separation deal had been reached with Mminele – a former Reserve Bank deputy governor and Absa’s first black CEO. The reason given by Mminele is that he was not in complete alignment with the board on critical issues such as strategy and culture. Jason Quinn, Absa Group Financial Director, has been appointed as Interim Group Chief Executive with immediate effect.
  • Cell C has reported a full-year loss of about R5.5bn to 31 December 2020. The company is optimistic that the business is showing signs of improved profitability, with average revenue per prepaid customer increasing by 28% on a year-on-year basis, despite a decline in its prepaid subscriber base by 15% to 9.2-million customers,” Cell C said in a statement.
  • South Africa may soon have a Johannesburg-listed cryptocurrency ETF. MyBroadband reports that Sygnia is set to apply to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange to list a Bitcoin ETF tracks the price of the cryptocurrency and allows investors to buy into the digital currency without trading Bitcoin itself. It also removes the complexities related to storing Bitcoin and moving money in and out of cryptocurrency exchanges. Sygnia’s latest Bitcoin ETF plan follows an unsuccessful attempt in 2017 to list the world’s first cryptocurrency ETF on the JSE. “Unfortunately, at the last minute, the JSE decided not to proceed citing a lack of a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies as the reason,” Sygnia CEO David Hufton is quoted as saying. At the time John Burke, the JSE’s former director of issuer regulation, said the exchange was not ready to approve cryptocurrency listings. Sygnia’s fresh move to list a cryptocurrency ETF follows the listing of crypto exchange Coinbase, on the Nasdaq stock exchange. Coinbase boasts a market capitalisation of $87bn.
  • Bitcoin has nearly doubled since the beginning of the year to around $55,000. A cryptocurrency that was created as a joke exploded into plain view on Wall Street at the start of the work, with a surge in Dogecoin sending its 2021 return above 8,100% – more than double the gains on the S&P 500, including dividends, since 1988. In other developments in the cryptocurrency sector that indicate digital currencies are entering the mainstream: BizNews Premium partner The Wall Street Journal reports that a former top US banking regulator is set to join Binance, one of the world’s biggest bitcoin exchanges, in the latest move by a cryptocurrency company to deepen its ties to Washington. Brian Brooks, an acting head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency under the Trump administration, will become the new chief executive of Binance.US, the US affiliate of overseas crypto-exchange giant Binance. Brooks played a key role in the development of guidance clarifying that banks could provide cryptocurrency custody services and use stablecoins to facilitate payment activities, moves that helped make it easier for traditional financial institutions to get into crypto. Stablecoins are a type of digital coin backed by a commodity or traditional currency like the US dollar. For more in-depth analysis and news on cryptocurrencies, subscribe to BizNews Premium which gives you full access to The Wall Street Journal and other specialist investment insights.
  • As the number of Covid-19 deaths exceeds 3m and India reels from a deadly wave of cases, Tokyo plans to seek a state of emergency declaration in an effort to contain a surge in infections with the Olympics three months away, according to a newspaper report. Bloomberg reports that just over 5.22 million people in sub-Saharan Africa have been vaccinated, a region with a population of about a billion.Only about 17.5% of the doses available in Ivory Coast and 19% in Zimbabwe have found their way into arms. Already lagging behind the rest of the world in its inoculations, the wave of vaccine skepticism – made worse by a lack of trust in local governments and misinformation on social media – threatens to put the continent even further behind, says the news service.

Listen on iTunes 

(Visited 2,031 times, 6 visits today)