: African press review 4 December 2015

We begin in South Africa where the papers are all about the red carpet rolled out for visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping on his second state visit to the country.

The state visit came ahead of Saturday’s Forum on China-Africa Co-operation in Johannesburg which will be attended by several heads of states and business representatives from the rest of the continent.

While the forum is likely to throw the spotlight on the huge trade imbalance between Africa as a whole and China, Business Day says the Zuma government has trumpeted 26 agreements valued at R94bn (more than 6 billion euros).

Particularly welcome is the promise of foreign direct investment in SA by Beijing Auto Works, which will partner with the Industrial Development Corporation to establish new manufacturing facilities in South Africa.

The deals include a 500-million dollar loan facility for the cash-strapped electricity giant Eskom and a 2.5 billion dollar export credit facility for Transnet.

Mail and Guardian describes the agreements as the biggest foreign direct investment deals ever signed by China on the African continent in one day. But as the paper points out the waiving of the visa regulations for Chinese diplomats and Chinese citizens entering South Africa is set to cost the country’s tourism industry hundreds of millions of rands in estimated lost revenue.

Mail and Guardian argues that Africa would have had a better deal had they spoken with one voice when meeting and dealing with the Asian giant.

Officials say at least 41 heads of states including Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari are expected to attend the 2-day gathering. But as Kenya ‘s Daily Nation explains, Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, is not expected to travel to Johannesburg.

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He attended an African Union summit in the city earlier this year, leading to a huge furore when South Africa declined to arrest him despite a court order.

In Nigeria there is robust coverage of the explosive debate about the introduction of a minimum wage in the country, following the sharp drop in oil prices, which had resulted in a huge reduction in federal allocations to states.

The amount on the table is 18000 Naira amounting to 82 euros per month.

Nigeria’s minimum wage law was passed by the National Assembly when the price of crude was at about $118 per barrel but most state governors say the reform is no longer unsustainable now that the price has fallen to $41 per barrel.

Several papers report that receipts from the Federation Account last month showed that some states received N400 million or N500 million. This while some others received N55 million.

Punch reports that the Chairman, Nigerian Governors Forum, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, has called for a meeting with the unions to discuss the stand off. Yari, who is the governor of Zamfara State, spoke with State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja to discuss the explosive dossier.

According to This Day, there are strong indications that some state governors are considering reducing their states’ workforce in order to meet the benchmark. But as The Nation points out the President of the Nigerian Labour Union Ayuba Wabba, warned on Thursday that the organised labour would neither accept a downward review of the minimum wage nor any move to sack workers.

Source: rfi afrique