: African press review 23 December 2015

We begin in South Africa and Cape Times’ reporting of a downturn in consumer spending this Christmas. According to the newspaper, while shopping malls are at their busiest this time of the year, consumers are spending their money more wisely than previously due to the impact of unemployment and a weaker rand.

It quotes a prominent retail analyst at Redefine Properties, as saying that some retailers put out their Christmas displays as early as October, in anticipation of tough Christmas trading period.

This was while the chief economist at the Efficient Group predicted that people will be quite stingy this festive season than they have been before, the biggest factor being intriguing negative sentiments among shoppers.

Cape Times also lends credence to claims by South Africa’s most popular shopping destination in Cape Town, V&A Waterfront that annual visitor numbers at the tourist hot spot that hit 24 million last year was unlikely to progress, citing new security concerns.

In Kenya, Daily Nation says that most citizens will be spending Christmas at home not because of terrorism fears but due to hard economic times.

The paper publishes findings by the Kenyan market research agency Consumer Insight showing that a full 60 per cent of Kenyans to whom the festive end of year season used to be a time of road trips, lounging at the beach and general merry making, now said they don’t have money to enjoy themselves this Christmas.

According to the study, more than half of Kenyans polled said they intended to consecrate 54 percent of Christmas spending on food, a five per cent increase over last year.

Daily Nation says Christmas binge drinking appears to be going out of fashion, after the survey tracked only three per cent of respondents planning to spend more of their money on drinks. That constitutes a drop of almost 100 per cent from two years ago, according to the respected Nairobi-based publication.

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In Nigeria, this is bound to be a nightmare season for Nigerians waiting in long queues at petrol stations across the country as they prepare to travel to their home towns for Christmas .

Vanguard reports that President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday apologised to Nigerians for the problem while presenting the 2016 budget to a joint session of the National Assembly in Abuja.

According to the paper, Buhari appealed to Nigerians to be a little patient reassuring them that his government was working very hard to end these shortages and to bring fuel to the pumps all over the country.

Mail and Guardian has been watching the changing political dynamics in Zimbabwe and reports that the long silenced opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai hasn’t lost his fighting spirit.

The latest sign is a warning in his end-of-year message to Zimbabweans that Grace Mugabe had taken over from veteran husband Robert Mugabe in a “palace coup”. The newspaper quotes Tsvangirai as saying that no one in government is thinking of solutions to the national challenges as everyone is preoccupied with issues of who will succeed this tired man steering the ship of State”.

Mail and Guardian recalls that Mugabe, who is to turn 92 in two months, has been in power since independence in 1980.

According to the newspaper, while he appeared in relatively good health, he stumbled twice in public in 2015, adding that in the last 18 months, it is Grace Mugabe who as head of the ruling party’s powerful women’s league is calling the shots, after spearheading the fight against Joice Mujuru who was removed from her position as vice-president last year.

Source: rfi afrique