A World Bank arbitration court has ordered Tanzania to pay $185 million to the Hong Kong subsidiary of Standard Chartered for breaching an energy contract.
Adding to pressure on the East African nation which faces at least two other multi-million claims from international investors.
In 2014 the case which led to the dismissal of several cabinet ministers stems from a legal battle between the Tanzanian government and privately-owned independent power producer IPTL.
The award by the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes is less than the $352.5 million sought by Standard Chartered Bank Hong Kong, which was not immediately available for comment.
Reacting to the court ruling released on Tuesday, the government of Tanzania denied any responsibility and said it was not planning to pay the damages.
On Wednesday, Tanzania government spokesman Hassan Abbasi said on Twitter “neither the government nor (state power company) TANESCO, have a legal liability in these cases.”
According to Reuters, Tanzania’s attorney general Adelardus Kilangi said that IPTL, not the government, would have to pay Standard Chartered.
“When the award says that the Tanzanian government should pay Standard Chartered Bank, the actual meaning is that the government should supervise IPTL to make the payment,” he added.
There was no immediate comment by IPTL. Tanzania faces at least two other cases at the World Bank tribunal.
Covid-19 Pandemic: World Trade To Fall By Up To 32% In 2020 – WTO
World trade is expected to fall by between 13 and 32 percent this year as the covid-19 pandemic disrupts normal economic activity and life around the world.
The World Trade Organization has said in its annual trade statistics and outlook report that that the decline would likely exceed the trade slump brought on by the global financial crisis of 2008.
The report’s estimates of the expected recovery in 2021 are equally uncertain, with outcomes depending largely on the duration of the outbreak and the effectiveness of the policy responses.
WTO director-general, Roberto Azevedo says “the immediate goal is to bring the pandemic under control and mitigate the economic damage to people, companies and countries. He recommends policymakers begin planning for the aftermath of the pandemic.
Azevedo said a rapid and vigorous rebound is possible if countries work together rather than if each country acts alone.
Zimbabwe Reintroduces Use Of Foreign Currencies
Zimbabwe has reintroduced the use of foreign currencies for domestic transactions, in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. The country had banned foreign notes in June last year.
Authorities announced the move on Thursday saying it is expected to help the country access private foreign exchange savings as it gears up for the battle against coronavirus.
The country’s central bank has also reduced its main lending rate to 25% and set a fixed exchange rate as part of measures to support the economy against the pandemic.
Central Bank Governor John Mangudya said he expected banks to cut lending rates to customers.
Zimbabwe had used a number of foreign currencies since hyperinflation forced the government to ditch the Zimbabwe dollar in 2009. Last year’s ban on foreign currencies was intended to restore normalcy to the economy.
Officially, Zimbabwe has so far recorded five cases of coronavirus, including one death.
Hit By Power Shortages, South Africa’s Economy In Recession
South Africa has plunged into recession and widespread power cuts are being blamed for it. Official statistics released on Tuesday shows South Africa’s economy, the continent’s most industrialized, falling into a decline. Its economy shrank by 1.4% in the fourth quarter of 2019 from the previous three-month period.
South Africa’s nationwide power blackouts are blamed for the larger than expected decline in the fourth quarter. State-owned power utility, Eskom, has been unable to meet demand and has had to implement rotating cuts in electricity to residences, factories, mines and businesses.
A recession is commonly defined as two consecutive quarters of economic decline.
South Africa’s economic growth forecast for 2020 has been cut to just under one percent.
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