Zimbabwe will upgrade its main airport at a cost of $153 million in an effort to attract more visitors, state media reported on Thursday, as authorities renamed the airport in honour of 93-year-old President Robert Mugabe.
State-owned Herald newspaper reported that China Export and Import Bank will provide a $153 million loan that will, among other things, be used to expand the runway to allow multiple planes to land at the same time.
Accepting the honour, Mugabe said renaming the airport was “a great gesture” to him and his family. In the last few months, Mugabe’s vocal ruling ZANU-PF youth wing has been pushing the government to honour Mugabe by giving public institutions his name.
The government has said from next year the veteran ruler’s Feb. 21 birthday will be known as Robert Mugabe National Youth Day, a public holiday.
On August 9, the cash-strapped government announced plans to build a $1 billion university named after Mugabe, a move that was criticised by the opposition as a waste of resources.
Mugabe is the only leader that Zimbabwe has known since independence from Britain in 1980 and despite his advanced age, he remains the most influential political figure in the country.
South Africa’s economy faces major challenges and government needs to win back the confidence of businesses and investors by tackling policy uncertainty and corruption, central bank governor Lesetja Kganyago said on Thursday.
Kganyago said in a speech at an investor conference in New York that weak business confidence had shaved an estimated one percentage point off South Africa’s economic growth last year. He said that the central bank would like to see inflation expectations anchored at around 4.5 percent, compared with 5.1 percent now. The volatile rand currency is the biggest risk to inflation forecasts, Kganyago said.
“Inflation today in South Africa is within the target. The highest it should be in terms of our forecast is 5.2 percent,” he said in a subsequent interview with Reuters. “That gives us room within the inflation target band...Inflation could rise but would remain within our inflation target,” Kganyago said.
The Governor of the South African Reserve Bank deflected questions on where he thought interest rates would move, saying there is no target.
The central bank kept its benchmark repo rate at 6.75 percent on Sept. 21, defying expectations at the time of a cut based upon easing inflation pressures and a sluggish recovery from a recession in the first half of the year.
“Everybody talks about are you close to neutral or off neutral? When the world over, nobody knows what neutral is because the world as we know it is different from the world we knew before the global financial crisis. Everybody is trying to find neutral,” he said.
The central banker, in his position since 2014, said that inflation would remain in the 3 to 6 percent target zone for the next two years.
“We are currently at 4.8 percent and the outlook is that inflation will average 5 percent this year. But we still expect to reach the bottom of 4.6 percent in the first quarter of next year. Over the policy horizon of 2018 and 2019, the highest inflation will be is 5.2 percent for the year,” he said.
With inflation remaining subdued, Kganyago also highlighted the improvements in the narrowing current account deficit. He said indications are that for the third quarter it should remain, at worst in the 2 percent area.
”And at best could actual decline as low as 1 percent.
Ericsson has successfully completed a live deployment of Business Support Systems (BSS) with MTN Cote D'Ivoire. The deployment includes Ericsson Charging System, Ericsson Dynamic Activation and Ericsson Multi Mediation. The system modernization process also includes the replacement of legacy BSS platforms.
As part of this complex transformation project, the Ericsson solution was introduced to provide MTN with a real-time view of all its business support processes and enables real-time convergent charging, policy control and fast service creation. The flexible and highly scalable solution allows MTN to better control credit while providing users with simplified control over their costs through flexible packaging, bonuses and discounts.
In addition to the BSS rollout, Ericsson has deployed Ericsson Converged Wallet Mobile Money platform.
'Ericsson's support systems portfolio provides a complete view and roadmap for MTN's goal of providing internet for all, underscored by a drive towards financial inclusion for our loyal subscriber base,' says Freddy Tchala, CEO, MTN Cote D'Ivoire.
Ericsson Charging System enables a host of new services like catalog orchestrated charging, flexible refill and community charging, and new voice and data offerings for MTN's 220 million prepaid customers.
The modular Ericsson Charging System is a scalable, online mobile broadband charging system that gives MTN a real-time, competitive advantage in the new Networked Society environment. This data charging and yield management capability was previously only available in separate offerings.
Rafiah Ibrahim, Head of Market Area Middle East and Africa, Ericsson, says: 'Mobile operators need to be fast, flexible and in control of their environments to deliver great experiences to customers, operate efficiently, and deliver innovative new offerings to stand out in today's highly competitive marketplace.
'Ericsson's end-to-end solutions help operators meet these challenges by helping them quickly develop new products, new packaging, and pricing models that target specific user preferences, thereby reducing time to market,' she adds.
Ericsson Multi Mediation is a convergent data solution handling file, event, and online collections by transforming and distributing data from the MTN network and making it available for a range of purposes such as charging and billing, service assurance, fraud detection and statistics. Ericsson Dynamic Activation is a next-generation provisioning platform supporting evolving wireless and wireline networks, resilient and dynamic activation, model-driven configuration, and cloud and virtualization deployment. It provides MTN with fully automated real-time fulfilment capabilities.