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AssessmentsJul 2, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
People stand in line to receive grant payments from the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) in Khayelitsha, a township located near Cape Town, on May 4, 2020. 
South Africa's Budget Outlook Paints a Picture of a Lost Decade
South Africa will likely miss its recently adjusted budget targets as the country’s escalating COVID-19 outbreak delays much-needed austerity measures, leaving the South African economy in shambles for at least another five years. President Cyril Ramaphosa and his pro-business allies in the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party had planned to rein in government spending and the country's sky-high debt levels over the next three years. But South Africa's likely extended health and economic crisis could make that goal politically untenable, given that any budget cuts and potential layoffs would most acutely affect the ANC's support base of labor unions and their poorer Black constituents. 
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SnapshotsMay 6, 2020 | 19:48 GMT
The U.S. Looks to Mine the Moon on Its Own Terms
With the United States and China gearing up to send astronauts back to the moon and beyond, the competition of space resources between Washington and its rivals will heat up, as will the race to define the international rules, standards, laws and regulations governing the final frontier. But the White House's attempt to lead the development of space resources by negotiating a moon-mining pact with like-minded countries will struggle, and ultimately fail, to gain global acceptance.
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AssessmentsApr 22, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
People wearing masks gather in a granite quarry in Antananarivo, Madagascar, for an Easter celebration while practicing social distancing on April 12, 2020. The capital city has been on lockdown since March 23 to curb the spread of COVID-19.
COVID-19 Shakes Up Southern Africa’s Mining Sector
Current COVID-19 disruptions may provide only a short-term challenge for Southern Africa's lucrative mining operations. But they will come just ahead of a longer-term blow to revenue caused by the pandemic-induced global recession and the subsequent drops in demand for mineral resources. After soaring throughout 2019, platinum prices, for example, have already dropped roughly 20 percent since the beginning of the year. Meanwhile, the world’s largest producer of platinum, South Africa, has been forced to shutter its massive mining sector in the hopes of containing its own fast-evolving outbreak. Some countries such as Tanzania and Namibia have managed to benefit from the new influx of export traffic afforded by South Africa’s COVID-19 crisis. But it may be only a matter of time before widespread outbreaks force more mining firms across the region to choose between securing their profit lines or the safety of their workers. Regardless of the direct health impacts, however, steep losses
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AssessmentsMar 26, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (center) addresses the media in Pretoria after concluding a meeting with various business and political leaders on matters relating to the COVID-19 outbreak on March 22, 2020. 
A Perfect COVID-19 Storm Closes in on South Africa
With only 709 confirmed coronavirus cases as of March 25, South Africa may be lagging a few weeks behind the outbreaks now unfolding in Europe and North America. But when the pandemic does eventually hit the country, it will hit hard. With high rates of people living with HIV or tuberculosis, much of South Africa’s population is immunosuppressed and thus believed to be at risk of dying or in need of significant medical care if they contract the virus. Such a widespread outbreak could, in turn, quickly collapse the country's already fragile health care system and economy, forcing the government to abandon its new austerity budget for expensive relief efforts.
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AssessmentsMar 19, 2020 | 19:21 GMT
The Goptivka checkpoint, near Kharkiv on the Ukrainian-Russian border, on March 16, 2020.
In Russia, COVID-19 Border Closures Risk Cutting Off Its Public Works
As Russia starts to see its number of COVID-19 patients rise, it has started to impose more stringent measures to contain the virus and limit the fallout. As elsewhere, some measures to slow down the disease will have major economic impacts. Russia closed its border to foreigners on March 18, and will stop processing requests for work visas. While this will surely stem the potential flow of COVID-19 carriers into Russia, it will also likely hit its construction sector, which heavily depends on migrant labor. And this, in turn, could upend Moscow's long-term plans for Russia's economy.
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AssessmentsFeb 27, 2020 | 15:47 GMT
Tradesmen stand on the side of the road in Johannesburg, South Africa, seeking work.
South Africa's Grim Economic Reality Shrinks Its Budget Aspirations
South Africa’s newest budget review paints a bleak picture for the country’s economy over the next three years. The budget plan for the 2020 fiscal year, unveiled Feb. 26, projects economic growth over the next three years of just 0.9 percent, 1.3 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively – and this may be optimistic, compared with the International Monetary Fund's projections. The new budget dramatically alters South African expectations in terms of fiscal and debt consolidation over the next year, as it no longer views balancing its primary budget by 2022 as possible. The new budget also attempts to curb years of wage and expenditure growth – setting up more confrontations between the government and labor unions.
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SITUATION REPORTFeb 14, 2020 | 17:03 GMT
South Africa: Ramaphosa Pledges Broad Economic and Electricity Reforms in National Address
In his annual state of the nation address, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa called for a number of new measures to improve the country's embattled economy and electricity grid, including allowing big power-consuming companies, such as mining firms, to build their own power generation capacity, Reuters reported Feb. 14. 
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