China-Africa cooperation across all areas

Rwandan Ambassador to China, Charles Kayonga has stated that Africa and China are enjoying cooperation “across all areas”, and that the mutual work should continue.

Kayonga said in addition to political exchanges that China-Africa cooperation is also vigorous in fields including infrastructure, industry and agriculture.

There are successful projects carried out under the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.

He cited two Chinese-built railways, including one linking Djibouti and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as well as “hundreds of Special Economic Zones across the continent, that bring many benefits to both sides”.

The ambassador told China Dailythat “we have had financing for a number of roads, and we have seen direct investment by Chinese companies in a number of businesses rise.”

Kayonga added that Africa is in need of infrastructure, among other things, to achieve sustainable economic transformation.

According to Kayango, the cooperation with China will help finance the infrastructure projects to spur the continent’s industrial development, which will in turn favour China in its vision of going global.

He has confirmed that Rwandan President Paul Kagame, also chairman of the African Union, will attend the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation taking place in October.

The Summit is expected to better align the Belt and Road Initiative with development strategies of African countries.

The Belt and Road Initiative, along with its related infrastructure projects on the continent, “will bring Rwanda and other landlocked countries in Africa out of isolation while facilitating integration of the continental economy into the global economy”, Kayonga said.

For Kayonga, by building such a community, China and Africa will be able to better complement each other.

“The concept of a shared future for China and Africa refers to strategies by both sides to ensure that they apply their respective advantages and opportunities for mutually beneficial ends,” he said.


Source: China Daily


Coca-Cola embarks on ‘healthy’ growth route

The world’s largest beverage maker, The Coca-Cola Co. is currently diversifying its product range in China by introducing healthier and more functional products to cater to the changing consumer preferences in the country.

The President of Coca-Cola Greater China, Curt Ferguson said this move, considered the “next big thing” in the Chinese beverage market,contains products with more functional benefits, especially those that focus on health and wellness.

He mentioned that the US beverage maker will also consider launching products based on traditional Chinese medicine.

Ferguson said that Coca-Cola, which is already the top juice provider in China,will expand its range of juice products with an added focus on premium brands.

The President added that the focus on functional beverages and premium products has been necessitated due to the rapid growth of the middle-income group in China and shifting tastes across various age categories.

According to Ferguson, Coca-Cola has introduced more than 60 products under 20 brands in China.

The double-digit growth of the company in the country during the second quarter of this year has to some extent proven the popularity of the newly released products.

He included that Coca-Cola’s growth momentum in China can be attributed to the general escalation of the consumer goods sector from last year on the back of government policies to boost consumption and further opening-up, consumer centric approach in the market and people’s increased disposable income.

Source: China Daily

China faces increased economic risks in second half of 2018

China’s economy is currently facing increasing risks in the second half of the year and policymakers need to step up efforts to hit key development goals as U.S. trade tensions intensify.

The Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, He Lifeng told the standing committee of the National People’s Congressthat:“targets in economic growth, employment, inflation and exports and imports can be achieved through effort. But to achieve growth goals in consumption, outstanding total social financing and urban disposable income will require bigger effort.”

Reuters informed that China’s economy is already starting to cool even before the trade fallout bites, with investment growth at a record low and consumers becoming more cautious about spending.

Lifeng included that China will continue its multi-year campaign to reduce financial risks and curb debt, but will control the pace and intensity of such efforts, echoing a central bank pledge that the country won’t resort to strong stimulus this time to prop up growth.

Source: Reuters


India’s economy seen growing at steady 7.6% pace in April-June

A Reuters report has indicated that India’s economy is likely to grow 7.6% in the April-June quarter. The poll results suggested that domestic demand was strong, driven primarily by manufacturing activity that remained solid despite elevated oil prices and a weakening Indian rupee. 

Economist and market strategist at Continuum Economics, Charu Chanana said: “India is a domestic-driven economy – so a recovery in private consumption can outweigh external headwinds.”

Last year, during the April-June quarter, India reported a relatively weak annual growth of 5.6%, as manufacturing activity contracted. 

According to Reuters, the Indian economy was hit by the November 2016 government decision to withdraw over 80% of cash.

The transition to a national goods and services tax, effective in July 2017 also impacted the economy. 

According to Chief economist at Yes Bank, Shubhada Rao, India is now seeing good momentum in manufacturing.

Rao added that the corporate results for April-June quarter have corroborated the improving demand conditions in the economy.

“Corporate earnings data, the PMIs have corroborated the expansion and the recovery story,” Rao added. 

Few economists are expecting a slight slowdown in growth due to greater global economic uncertainty and domestic political risks from national elections scheduled for May 2019. 

Source: Reuters



Colombia withdraws from UNASUR

The new President of Colombia, President Ivan Duque announced on Monday 27 August that Colombia has started a formal process to withdraw from the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR). To start the process, a member country needs to send a written notice to the bloc’s headquarters. The Colombian government did this by sending a letter to the Union Headquarters announcing its withdraw. 

The President, Ivan Duque, said on Monday: “Today with precise instructions, the foreign minister sent UNASUR the letter where we denounce the constituent treaty of that entity and in six months our withdrawal will be effective.” 

Throughout his election campaign, President Duque vowed that once he is in power he will ensure that Colombia leaves the bloc. The bloc started in 2008 as an attempt to counter the US influence in the region and create a harmonious cooperation between the 12-member states. The South American Presidents decided to form their own bloc to oppose the proposal backed by the US for a Free Trade Area in North and South America, also highlighting that the bloc will help the South American countries move towards economic and political union.

President Duque says the reason his country left the bloc was due to the failure of the bloc to deal with the political crisis in Venezuela, he labels the UNASUR as the Maduro’s (President of Venezuela) administration’s ‘greatest accomplice’. In April 2018, 6 of the 12-member countries (; Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru and Paraguay) suspended their membership of the bloc for a year, due to the differences in choosing the new secretary general of the bloc, making Colombia the first to finally terminate their membership.

Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Uruguay, Guyana and Suriname are the only states that remain in the bloc.

Additional Reporting: NewsGrid



Russia says BRICS countries are chasing weakening US dollar status

During an interview with a local television station, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov stated that BRICS member countries are determined to put an end to US dominance over global finance.

The Deputy Minister referred Washington’s abuses of the US dollar’s privileged position as reserve currency, saying: “We need to find ways to mobilise the international community and make it more resistant to this trend.”

According to Ryabkov, the current situation is the result of “negligence on the part of the rest of the international community,” which did not provide for the possibility that US political elites would begin to abuse this position to the detriment of other countries.

He said that many nations, including Russia, have already felt the effects of this abuse and emphasized the conclusion that “it is necessary to diversify the world’s reserve currencies, expand trade in other currencies, and adopt schemes to dodge American banks.”

Ryabkov also noted that it is impossible to ignore the status of the US as a superpower, also in the field of finance, so common efforts are needed to change the situation.

Source: MNA/Sputnik


Putin confident Russia can make scientific and technological breakthrough

Speaking at the 6th International Forum of Technological Development Technoprom in Novosibirsk, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that his country can make a technological breakthrough in its development.

“The viability of entire nations, societies and states, the countries’ positions in the world, especially such major states like Russia, depend on the cutting-edge technologies and their efficient development and most importantly, their quick implementation,” Putin said.

He stressed that scientific and technological breakthrough has become one of Russia’s key national priorities.”I’m confident that we can make it by uniting efforts of the state, businesses, scientific and educational society, and widening freedom for initiative and creativity of our people,” Putin added.


Brazil’s Arco Platform seeks to raise up to $200 million in IPO

Brazilian learning systems company, Arco Platform is planning to raise up to $200 million in an initial public offering (IPO) on Nasdaq expected in September.

According to a document the company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, they will only issue new shares in a so-called primary offering, and the amount raised will go to Arco’s coffers.

Arco was founded in 2004 and sells learning systems to 1,140 Brazilian private schools with more than 400,000 students. The company’s content is delivered to schools through both digital and hard copies.

According to Reuters, Arco posted a net income of 54.3 million reais ($13.88 million) in the first six months of 2018 and a net revenue of 195.1 million reais.

The company has hired the banks Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Itaú BBA, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Allen & Company, BTG Pactual and UBS to manage the offering.

A second source revealed that banks would like Arco to raise the size of the offering to up to $300 million, but the company prefers to keep it smaller.


Source: Reuters

China cabinet announces plan to restrict risks in online finance

The Chinese State Council has confirmed that the country will continue to resolve financial risks in online lending and the use of shares as collateral for financing activities to protect market stability.

China’s cabinet stated that the government will speed up the development of a long-term regulatory mechanism for internet finance.

The cabinet spoke in a meeting of the state cabinet’s Financial Stability and Development Commission (FSDC) chaired by vice Premier Liu He.

The meeting comes a few days after a central government work group tasked with cracking down on online finance risks and proposed 10 new measures to curb risks caused by the troubled peer-to-peer (P2P) lending sector, to protect social and financial stability.

The state council committee also said in a statement that China will further deepen reforms of its capital markets to better serve the real economy. This includes taking the necessary measures to improve the quality of listed companies, reform stock issuance system, and broadening the long-term and stable funding sources for the country’s capital markets.

Source: Reuters

Kganyago open to second term as SARB head

South African Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago said that if asked to, he would serve another five years at the helm of the central bank when his term comes to an end in November 2019.

Kganyago was appointed by former President Jacob Zuma almost four years ago and another term will extend his stay as head of the Reserve Bank until 2024.

The governor and his three deputies are appointed by the leader of the country for a fixed five-year term and legislation makes no provision for their removal.

“If the appointing authority tells me that somebody else could do the job, it is in the hands of the appointing authority,” Kganyago said.

“That is why you are appointed for a fixed term, so that during that term, you know that no one will interfere with you.”

Credit-rating companies have continuously cited the Reserve Bank and its leadership as institutional strengths for South Africa, even as they cut the nation’s debt to junk last year.

Kganyago said there was never pressure on him to step aside, even with changes at the National Treasury, and Zuma appointing people seen to be loyal to him to top positions at the revenue service and the National Prosecuting Authority.

“I can tell you that no one tried,” he said. “But if they were to try, they would have a fight on their hands.”

Source: Bloomberg