Growth in demand for credit by South Africa's private sector has increased according to media report. The Reserve Bank has increased rates by a total of 500 basis points since June 2006, partly to curb credit-driven consumer demand that was adding to inflationary pressure. Household indebtedness rose to a record 78.2 percent of disposable income in the first quarter of 2008.Tuesday's central bank data showed private sector credit growth was faster at 20.28 percent year-on-year in June from 19.74 percent in May, breaking a recent downward trend. Expansion in the broadly defined M3 measure of money supply however slowed to 20.12 percent compared to 20.90 percent previously.
Nets Help Cut Malaria in Africa
The United Nations has reported that great progress is being made in the fight against malaria in Africa. The UNICEF website says the area that is making the most dramatic improvement is sub-Saharan Africa. This is the region hardest hit by the disease. One of the biggest reasons for these gains against the killer infection is the increased use of special insect nets. This simple solution can reduce child deaths by as much as 20 percent. The report says the number of children using the insecticide-treated nets has tripled since 2000. UNICEF’s Executive Director Ann Veneman said: “Controlling malaria is vital to improving child health and economic development in affected countries…Studies show that malaria [unfairly] affects the poorest people in these countries, and…contributes to their [poorer living conditions]. UNICEF prepared the report together with the Roll Back Malaria Partnership. The report also provides a healthy picture of the use of drugs in reducing the number of malaria cases.
Militants Hit Major Pipelines In Nigeria
Nigeria's crude oil production, which currently hovers between 1.8 million and 2 million barrel per day, has dropped further, as Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) yesterday shut in production of 130,000 barrels per day owing to an attack on its Nembe Creek trunk line. The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) had last week vowed to renew pipeline attacks within 30 days in protest against a statement credited to the Acting Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Alhaji Abubakar Yar'Adua, that the corporation paid militants about $16 million to enable it access the damaged Chanomi Creek pipeline for repairs. The corporation has since debunked the report, insisting that it paid the communities and not any militant group in order to have access to the pipeline. Niger Delta militants had earlier blown up the Chanomi Creek pipeline, which feeds the Warri and Kaduna Refineries, in 2006. The development had forced the country to import all its petroleum products as the two refineries as well as the Port Harcourt Refinery were out of operation.
Somalia MPs Call for Somaliland Leader's Impeachment
Lawmakers in Somalia's separatist republic of Somaliland have launched serious accusations against President Dahir Riyale, including charges of violating the region's constitution and high treason. Legislators in Somaliland's lower house of parliament, the House of Representatives, met Sunday in the capital Hargeisa, where 43 MPs opened debate on Riyale's livestock export deal with Saudi Arabian company al Jabberi. Under that agreement, al Jabberi has exclusive rights to export Somaliland livestock from the port of Berbera. But the deal has angered local traders and lawmakers, some of who have openly called for Mr. Riyale's impeachment. The lawmakers cited Article 11 from the Somaliland Constitution, which states: "...the national economic policy based on the principles of free market.” The MPs argued that the al Jabberi deal provides a "monopoly" on livestock export for the Saudi company, while neglecting the commercial interests of local traders.