Pakistan in cross-hairs of Zuma state capture; Vodafone Africa money spinner; Discovery; Amplats; Zim

By Jackie Cameron

  • Pakistan could be put on an international black list for money-laundering, with evidence that one of its banks took on as a client Duduzane Zuma – the former president’s son who worked for the Gupta brothers. UAE staff of Pakistan’s Habib Bank skirted rules when opening an account for Duduzane Zuma, the son of former South African president Jacob Zuma, and for relatives of Gabonese president Ali Bongo, reports Bloomberg. The findings are contained in a State Bank of Pakistan report, finalised in the first half of 2019, on Habib Bank’s operations in the United Arab Emirates, says the news wire. The inspection was conducted after the Financial Action Task Force, a global watchdog for illicit financial activities, put Pakistan on its monitoring list. The task force, continues Bloomberg, is due to review whether to downgrade Pakistan a step further, to its blacklist, at a meeting in Paris that started on Sunday. That would have serious consequences for the nation’s economy and its bailout program with the International Monetary Fund.
  • The UK’s Vodafone has identified a $2 moneyspinner in Africa, which includes nano-loans in Kenya and funeral cover in South Africa. Vodacom sees its African financial-services business as a cornerstone of growth as the wireless carrier expands into products such as funeral insurance and loans of as little as $2, says Bloomberg. The company told Bloomberg that nano-loans are growing in popularity, with Kenya a particularly big market; funeral cover is popular among South African cultures that traditionally spend relatively large sums on ceremonies.
  • The Zimbabwe economy continues to implode, with warnings that more businesses are set to close as inflation shoots past 500% and the European Union continues to warn that human rights abuses must be investigated. The European Union has renewed its arms embargo against Zimbabwe and will maintain a targeted assets-freeze against the state-controlled armaments company, Zimbabwe Defence Industries, says Bloomberg. The decision takes into account the “situation in Zimbabwe, including the yet to be investigated alleged role of the armed and security forces in human rights abuses,” Council of the European Union said in a statement on its website on Monday.
  • The huge need for infrastructure in Africa has a silver-lining for banks, which are making a good business out of debt sales. Citigroup expects the value of deals from sub-Saharan Africa to exceed 2019 levels as governments, state-owned institutions and companies in the region raise more debt for much-needed infrastructure, telling Bloomberg “it is an exciting time across the continent”.
  • The Amplats share price perked up, even after Chris Griffith, CEO of Anglo American Platinum, one of the world’s largest sources of the metal, and a veteran in the Anglo American stable, resigned unexpectedly.
  • The Discovery share price was a big loser on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, after the group said its profit would plunge at its UK arm VitalityLife.