Angola + 1 more

Southern Africa: IRIN News Briefs, 13 January

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ZIMBABWE: IMF chief says economy is in a "very dangerous state"
Outgoing head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Michel Camdessus, said the Zimbabwean economic situation is "very dangerous" and the government has to reduce its military spending.

Camdessus was speaking from Washington to journalists in Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Nigeria via a 90 minute satellite link-up. During the session he said the IMF was willing to compromise with Zimbabwe over certain economic reforms, but the international community was growing increasingly impatient with the Zimbabwean government. "You have a very dangerous trend towards inflation, you have very dangerous trend to excessive public expenditure, and structural problems which prevent the country to go at the level you need it to go in making a difference in alleviating poverty," Camdessus said.

He also blamed the "impact of military spending" for Zimbabwe's inflation, which he said was the "most cynical way of taxing the poor."

ZIMBABWE: Newspaper reports troop reductions

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe plans to slash its troop numbers in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for cost reasons, according to a report by the 'Financial Gazette' on Thursday. The newspaper quoted an unnamed senior official as saying the government aims to have half of its 11,000 troops in the DRC home by April.

ANGOLA: Floods kill 14 people

Flooding in the southern part of Angola has killed about 14 people, the independent Catholic radio station 'Radio Ecclesia' said on Thursday.

According to the radio station more than 5,000 hectares around the Benguela town of Dombe Grande on the Coporol River had been covered by water, with an estimated 8,000 farmers now without work. It quoted the Angolan government as saying that it planned to distribute corrugated metal to provide shelter to those left homeless by the floods.

SOUTHERN AFRICA: Trade pact to be implemented by April

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) says that the free trade protocol for the region will be implemented by April.

SADC interim executive secretary Preg Ramsamy told journalists in the Botswana capital, Gaborone on Wednesday that Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe had all ratified the agreement. Zambia and Angola have not ratified the agreement. He said that because only a two-thirds majority was needed for the agreement to be binding on all 14 member SADC states, "the protocol will go ahead whether Angola and Zambia ratify it or not."

"We believe that the trade protocol is the linchpin of regional integration. What remains now is for the secretariat to notify the member states that the protocol has been ratified by the required number of countries," Ramsamy said.

[ENDS]

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