Zimbabwe to introduce new currency linked to FX, gold

Zimbabwe will introduce a new "structured currency" linked to foreign currencies and gold that it expects to provide more stability than its weakening dollar and help rein in inflation, its central bank governor John Mushayavanhu said on Friday.
As the Zimbabwean dollar tumbled this year from under 6 000 to above 29 000 to the U.S. dollar , annual inflation soared beyond 55% in March, evoking bitter memories of hyperinflation under former leader Robert Mugabe.

The new currency - called Zim Gold (ZiG) - will be backed by foreign currencies, gold and precious minerals, Mushayavanhu told a press conference in capital Harare, adding that it would circulate alongside a basket of other currencies.
He said the central bank would also introduce a market-determined exchange rate.
"If we implement these measures we expect them to have an impact on inflation," Mushayavanhu said.

The central bank also set its main interest rate at 20%, which it said was a re-calibrated rate, a drastic cut from the previous rate of 130%.
Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said in February that authorities were considering linking the exchange rate to hard assets such as gold and creating a currency board.
The announcement is the culmination of months of deliberations between the central bank and finance ministry about how to arrest inflation and stabilise the Zimbabwean dollar.

World Bank loans Ethiopia US$1.72 billion for power, water supply expansion

The World Bank and Ethiopia have signed loan agreements totalling $1.72 billion to enhance electricity and water supply, as well as to facilitate the movement of food to markets, the finance ministry said on Friday.
The bank will allocate $523 million to expand the Horn of Africa nation's electricity network and boost renewable energy generation, according to the ministry's statement.
An additional $500 million will go towards two projects aimed at boosting access to food markets, including improving road networks in rural areas, the statement said.

Ethiopia, which has also experienced foreign-currency shortages, continues to feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, a two-year war in the northern Tigray region, and droughts, floods, and locust invasions in parts of the country
The remaining World Bank funding will be allocated to improving water supply and supporting programs in towns that employ disadvantaged youths.
Typically, World Bank loans carry low to zero interest rates and have repayment periods of 30 to 40 years.

Detained Binance executive in court on Nigerian tax, money laundry charges

One of the two executives from Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, detained in Nigeria appeared in an Abuja court on Thursday to face tax evasion and money laundering charges.
Binance and two of its executives Tigran Gambaryan, a U.S. citizen and Binance's head of financial crime compliance, and Nadeem Anjarwalla, a British-Kenyan who is a regional manager for Africa, have been charged with four counts of tax evasion and with laundering over US$35 million.

Gambaryan and Anjarwalla were detained on Feb. 26 in connection with a criminal investigation into Binance's activities in Nigeria when they arrived in the country. Anjarwalla escaped from custody and fled the country.

Microsoft to face competition probe in South Africa

Microsoft’s Azure cloud business is set to be hit by a formal complaint from South African competition watchdogs amid growing concerns from regulators across the world that the US tech giant is abusing its market power to squeeze out rivals.

The Competition Commission will accuse Microsoft of charging too much for businesses to switch their cloud licences to other vendors, according to people familiar with the filing, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The move, likely in the coming days, could set the stage for a legal battle that may end up with a fine of up to 10% of the firm’s revenue in South Africa.