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IMF's gloomy outlook; electrifying Africa and South Africa's Spaza Shops on Business Africa

IMF's gloomy outlook; electrifying Africa and South Africa's Spaza Shops on Business Africa

Business Africa

In this week’s Business Africa we explore the International Monetary Fund’s call for major policy changes in sub-Saharan Africa; a new initiative that aims to provide reliable electricity across the continent and South Africa’s efforts to revive its struggling spaza shops.

Push to restart

The International Monetary Fund says there are tough times ahead for sub-Saharan Africa which is set to experience a second successive year of downturns after a prolonged period of strong growth.

It’s difficult to deny the “global money lender’s conclusions” as so-called “multiple shocks” have hit the region hard; namely low commodity prices, the cost of dealing with the Ebola crisis and a severe drought that’s wreaked havoc in several countries.

With financing constrained while fiscal and foreign reserves are depleting rapidly for many states, the IMF says serious policy changes can’t come quickly enough. Claire Muthinji and Johnson Wahany investigate.

Electric relaxation

In Nigeria, the former state-run energy firm, NEPA is synonymous with electricity cuts. The idea of “Never Expect Power Always” can equally be applied in several states, although few can match the billions the country’s spent, or some would say wasted, over decades trying to solve the problem.

That’s perhaps why the new Nigerian head of the African Development Bank has made it a priority to provide the continent with constant, uninterrupted power. Jean-David Mihamle and Kenneth Karuri have more on Africa’s power problems.

SOS – Save our Spaza shops says South Africa

Across the continent they’re known as mini-markets to some, general or tuck stores to others. They can be found by roadsides, in towns and in villages and inside you can often find anything and everything!

Michael Oduor and Brice Kinhou report on South Africa where they’re called Spaza shops, but in recent years local traders have been struggling in the face of foreign competition which has forced the government to act.