Zimbabwe's new ZiG currency starts trading


Zimbabwe's new gold-backed currency started trading on Monday amid doubts that the country's third such re-launch in a decade will have any more success in ending repeated, crippling bouts of high inflation.The Zimbabwe Gold (ZiG) was announced on Friday by the central bank with an initial rate of 13.56 to $1, replacing the Real Time Gross Settlement Dollar (RTGS), which had lost about 80% of its value this year and had been trading at 28 720 to US$1 before the change.

Bank balances were transferred into the new currency over the weekend while their customers will have 21 days to do so, and the new banknotes will enter circulation at the end of this month, according to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
The RTGS, also known as the Zimdollar , was launched in 2019 after a decade of dollarisation, which included so-called bond coins and bond notes, notionally pegged to the U.S. dollar and introduced in 2014 and 2016 respectively.

Nigeria bars lenders from using FX-denominated collateral for naira loans


Nigeria's central bank has barred commercial lenders from accepting foreign currency-denominated collateral to grant naira loans, a move that could protect the banking system against a strengthening of the local currency, it said on Monday.
The regulator said in a circular that the practice it had observed of bank customers using foreign currency as collateral for naira loans was "prohibited".
The central bank on Monday said it approved Eurobonds issued by the government or letters of credit issued by an offshore bank as eligible foreign currency collateral.
It told lenders to wind down all loans currently secured with dollar-denominated collateral within 90 days or face sanctions.
The naira has gained sharply against the dollar on both the official and parallel markets after suffering its second devaluation in less than a year in January.
The currency strengthened after the central bank raised interest rates in February and March, and lifted restrictions on foreign participation at its fixed-income auctions.

Sub-Saharan Africa growth not enough to dent poverty, says World Bank


Economic growth is set to rise for the next two years in Sub-Saharan Africa, but not enough to make a significant dent in poverty on the continent, the World Bank said in a report on Monday.
The region's economy is set to expand 3.4% this year and 3.8% in 2024 as falling inflation boosts private consumption, up from 2.4% in 2023, the World Bank said in its biannual Africa's Pulse report.
Many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa were hit hard by the shocks of COVID-19 and Russia's war in Ukraine, which pushed up inflation at the same time as rising global interest rates made borrowing prohibitively expensive. Drought and conflict have also affected swathes of the region.

"Growth is set to bounce back in Sub-Saharan Africa but the recovery is still fragile," the report said. "The pace of economic expansion in the region remains slow and insufficient to have a significant effect on poverty reduction."
"Per capita GDP growth of 1% is associated with poverty reduction of only 1% in the region, compared to 2.5% in the rest of the world."
South Africa's growth rate is forecast to double in 2024, but just to 1.2%, while Angola's is set to pick up to 2.8% from 0.8% last year, driven mainly by the non-oil sector amid falling oil production.