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South African Consumers Face Rising Debt Levels Following COVID-19 Lockdown

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South African Consumers Face Rising Debt Levels Following COVID-19 Lockdown

South African consumers are seeing a rise in debt levels as their net incomes have drastically declined following COVID-19 lockdowns that took effect in April.

The finance minister said in an emergency budget in June South Africa’s economy is expected to decline by 7.2 percent this year because of the pandemic, its worst performance in nearly a century.

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Consumers in the country have gone deeper into debt, affecting more of those with higher incomes.
Many South Africans are now having trouble making ends meet as a result of poor economic performance

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Data from the central bank confirms an increase in unsecured loans which has become a concern to many economists and analysts.

Mid and lower income families are said to be in a relatively better position and their debt levels haven’t escalated to the same levels as the high-net-worth families.

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The sluggish economy has also triggered a rise in unemployment.

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Bah Ndaw Sworn In As Mali’s Transitional President Following Coup

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Bah Ndaw Sworn In As Mali’s Transitional President Following Coup

Mali’s new interim president Bah Nda`w has been sworn into office today, Friday at a ceremony in the nation`s capital, Bamako.  The former defence minister and retired army colonel was picked by coup leader, Colonel Assimi Goita, to head a transitional government until elections are held. Colonel Assimi Goita, will serve as deputy president.

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Nda`w said, in his inauguration speech, that he will end militant insurgency in the country’s north and stop organized crime.

The military junta in Mali took over power and forced Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta out of office five weeks ago. ECOWAS leaders have overseen negotiations for a return to democracy.  The appointment of a civilian president was a condition for the west African regional group, ECOWAS, to lift the sanctions it earlier imposed after the coup.

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Mali leaders are hoping ECOWAS will lift sanctions on the country after the inauguration. The new government is expected to be in office for a transition period of 18 months that will lead to an election.

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Ethiopia Charges 2,000 Over Violence After Musician’s Murder

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Haacaaluu Hundeessaa

In Ethiopia, nearly 2,000 persons have been charged over deadly violence that followed the killing of a popular singer in June.

More than three months ago, at least 166 persons were killed when violent protests erupted following the murder of Haacaaluu Hundeessaa, some in protests against authorities and some in ethnically-targeted attacks.

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Speaking at a news conference on Thursday, the country’s attorney general, Gideon Timothewos said the arrested persons are being charged for their conduct that resulted in the death of hundreds of citizens.

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He did not give details on the charges or on whether any prisoners had been released without charge.

On June 29, Haacaaluu was shot dead while driving in the capital Addis Ababa. He was one of Ethiopia’s biggest musical stars and a powerful political voice, with many of his songs speaking out on behalf of his Oromo ethnic group and calling for more freedoms.

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South Africa To Reopen International Travel

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South Africa To Reopen International Flight

South Africa says it will reopen its borders to international travel next month.  President Cyril Ramaphosa says the country has seen a significant drop in daily new coronavirus infections.

South Africa is the worst hit nation on the continent with more than six hundred sixty-five thousand confirmed COVID-19 cases. The virus also claimed more than 16,000 lives in the country. So far, more than 4 million coronavirus tests have been conducted.

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Transport minister Fikile Mbalula said travellers must present a 72-hours certification of covid-19 negative result.

Authorities say airports in Johannesburg and Cape Town are the only other two airports that will be open to let locals travel abroad and receive foreign visitors from countries deemed non-high-risk.

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