South Africa's rand strengthened against the dollar early on Wednesday (April 22) after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a 500 billion rand rescue package to cushion the continent's most industrialized economy.
In an address on national television, Ramaphosa said the current crisis requires an "economic response that is equal to the scale of the disruption it is causing." That response is equivalent to 10% of GDP, and has seen Pretoria approach global finance institutions such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and African Development Bank - primarily to fund healthcare interventions.
The rest of the package is made up of 130 billion rand from reprioritised spending and other local sources and 200 billion in loan guarantees in partnership with the central bank, finance ministry and commercial banks.
Sub-Saharan Africa's worst-hit nation responded firmly to the global crisis with Ramaphosa implementing some of the toughest measures anywhere in the world.
They included a five-week lockdown with the army deployed to enforce it, a ban on alcohol sales and mass testing.
While the measures appear to have been effective they have also wreaked havoc on an economy already in recession - threatening to push South Africa's poor deeper into poverty.
South Africa's largest trade union federation had urged the government to fund a roughly one trillion rand stimulus plan to prevent unemployment, in a country where a third of the population are out of work, rising above 50%.
Ramaphosa resisted that call, but has pledged to prioritize the quote "relief of hunger and social distress across our communities" including by increasing child-support grant payments and paying special benefits to those who are unemployed.
An intrepid traveller who survived swimming with sharks on the trip of alifetime told how he was so badly bitten by a venomous spider on the sameholiday that doctors threatened to amputate his toe. Super-fit Adam Knight,29, marked the end of an amazing 12 months in August 2019 - with two branchesof his Angel Swim London business, teaching swimming to babies and toddlersthriving and a year in to a great relationship with his former university pal,Erin Wigglesworth, 26, now a press officer - by jetting to South Africa for aweek. He and his friend, videographer Rob Murray, 33, had a ball, swimmingwith dolphins, humpback whales and even oceanic blacktip sharks, in thecoastal province of KwaZulu-Natal. And when Adam noticed a painful blister onthe second toe of his left foot on their last day, he assumed his flippershad rubbed - boarding a flight home, where he was due at his dad Carl'swedding on September 1 - without a second thought. Experiencing cold sweatsand tiredness on the 11-hour flight, he thought it was 'post-holiday fatigue'and, despite feeling even worse the next day, Adam, of Fulham, west London,refused to miss his 57-year-old dad's wedding to lettings director Caroline,56, at Tylney Hall Hotel and Gardens in Hampshire. "I still felt awful," hesaid. "But I put on my tuxedo, squeezed my foot into my loafers and performedmy duties as son of the groom, before dancing the night away."
Credit: PA - Press Association STUDIO Duration: 02:17Published
A humanitarian ceasefire between Azerbaijan and Armenia came into force at midnight on Saturday, only to crumble within a few hours - with both sides accusing the other of violations. David Doyle reports.
A U.N. report due to be published this week details the "strong financial position" of Somali militant group al Shabaab - including how it is moving millions of dollars through the formal banking system and investing in property and businesses. David Doyle reports.
Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan at World Bank Annual Meetings Virtual Event said the private companies with research institutes are expediting trials of vaccine candidates. "To address present and future challenges, public health research agenda for COVID-19 has been escalated to advance the development of an affordable vaccine as well as ensure its equal distribution. Our private companies in partnership with foreign and domestic research institutes are expediting trials of their vaccine candidates. We also plan to leverage an integrated IT platform for managing vaccine distribution," said Dr Harsh Vardhan.
The Information and Broadcasting Minister, Prakash Javadekar announced implementation of World Bank supported STARS (Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States Program) project in 6 states in a bid to improve the quality of education. "STARS project would be implemented as a new Centrally Sponsored Scheme, it covers 6 states namely Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Odisha," said Union Minister Prakash Javadekar Cabinet briefing. World Bank-supported scheme worth Rs 3,700 crore aims to improve the quality of school education. The project is supported by World Bank with amount of 3700 crore.
World Bank's chief economist, Carmen Reinhart, expects full global economic recovery to take as long as 5 years. At a virtual conference hosted by El Pais said "everything depends" on when a vaccine gets approved and how long it would take for global access. Reinhart pointed out that the pandemic-caused recession will be more prominent. She also said it would last longer in some countries than in others.