Five fascinating business facts – Part 40
October 23, 2017 | 2:30 am| | | Start Conversation
Ninety nine percent of the data we use travel under the oceans where there are now over 420 submarine cables in service, stretching over 700,000 miles or 1.1 million km around the world. And the first transcontinental cable was laid in would you believe, 1858 and ran from Ireland to Newfoundland making telegraph communication between England and Canada a reality. Today the world’s highest-capacity undersea internet cable, called ‘FASTER’, lies quietly along a 9012 km stretch linking Oregon in the US with Japan and Taiwan and owned by Google and a consortium of other communications companies.
A “secular increase” in African public debt is bringing several governments towards a debt-servicing threshold beyond which they should not borrow, says Patrick Njoroge, governor of the central bank of Kenya. In some cases, debt-service worries have been exacerbated by weakening currencies, increasing payments in dollar-denominated loans. Nigeria, where non-oil state revenue is minimal, has a very low debt-to-GDP ratio of below 15 per cent, but has seen debt-service payments soar
Between 2010 and 2015, countries including Angola, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia raised commercial debt totalling more than $20bn, economists said. The median level of debt in sub-Saharan Africa had risen sharply from 34 per cent of gross domestic product in 2013 to 48 per cent and most of the “pronounced increase” in debt had happened in oil-exporting counties following a deterioration in their economic conditions.
Last week Donald Trump dispatched a tweet to his 40m followers that declared “WOW!” Below, was a red banner crowing “Dow passes 23,000 for the first time!” — and a striking animated market graph, with jaunty background music. What should investors make of this? One conclusion is that Mr Trump seems — belatedly — to be getting some professional advice on his twitter feed; his comments have rarely featured these smart designs before. The second, more important, point to note is that this is a president who views the stock market as a crucial — if not the crucial — barometer of policy success and vindication. Mr Trump also tweeted, “The US has gained more than $5.2tn in stock market value since election day!” And Steven Mnuchin, Treasury secretary, predicted that US equities will “go up higher” if Congress implements his tax reform proposals, which call for some $1.5tn of tax cuts.
At least 50 people want to become Zimbabwe’s hangman, a job that fell vacant over a decade ago, officials said on Tuesday, stressing that applicants were “very interested” in the role.
The country, which has an unemployment rate of more than 90% by some measures, last executed a prisoner in 2005, after which the serving hangman retired.
South Africa’s rand led emerging-market currency declines against the dollar Friday amid speculation that President Jacob Zuma is preparing to fire his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa days after removing another critic from his cabinet. The rand dropped as much as 1.3 percent and traded 1.1 percent weaker at 13.6309 per dollar by 9:37 a.m. in Johannesburg, bringing its slump this week to 2.7 percent, the most since the five days ending Aug. 4. Rising political uncertainty ahead of the ruling African National Congress’ leadership election in December is roiling the rand at a time when prospects of rising interest rates in the developed world are weighing on emerging-market currencies generally.
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