SA LIKELY TO RETURN TO IMF FOR A MUCH BIGGER LOAN – LEON

Author: Peter Fabricius, Daily Maverick

But the reforms that the IMF would impose as conditions for the loan would save the economy, says Peter Leon.

South Africa will probably have to go back to the IMF for a much bigger loan than it has just got and this would come with conditions such as deep structural reforms to the economy.

These reforms would, however, be the “silver lining” on the immense fiscal crisis which the country now faces, exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, said Peter Leon, senior partner and co-chair of the African group at the law firm Herbert Smith Freehills.

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THE YEARS OF ‘COVID CAPTURE’ CALL FOR VIGILANCE

Author: Cameron Dunstan-Smith

Governments and corporates must ensure delivery of vital goods and services to protect citizens and equip state facilities. 

The Covid-19 pandemic is the most challenging global economic disaster the world has witnessed in a generation. The pressure on individuals, governments and corporations is taking its toll, with the impact felt at macro and micro levels.

Unfortunately, as the call goes out for governments, corporate citizens and the person in the street to pull together to fight this pandemic, bad actors inevitably seize opportunities to unlawfully enrich themselves from government and corporate coffers.

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DO’S AND DON’TS FOR E-COMMERCE DELIVERY PERSONNEL, COURIERS AND COURIER COMPANIES

Authors: Rohan Isaacs and Tatum Govender

Although the country is moving to level 3, more and more suppliers had already turned to online or telephonic sales to get their businesses starting up again. This is because these types of sales were largely permitted during level 4, in terms of directions issued on 14 May, and because consumers feel more at ease ordering online rather than shopping in-store. More people have also become accustomed to shopping online. Directions issued by government impose numerous obligations on suppliers, couriers and consumers, which are additional to those already imposed in other laws.

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DO’S AND DON’TS FOR ONLINE AND TELEPHONIC RETAILERS

Authors: Rohan Isaacs and Tatum Govender

Although the country is moving to level 3, more and more suppliers had already turned to online or telephonic sales to get their businesses starting up again. This is because these types of sales were largely permitted during level 4, in terms of directions issued on 14 May, and because consumers feel more at ease ordering online rather than shopping in-store. More people have also become accustomed to shopping online. Directions issued by government impose numerous obligations on suppliers, couriers and consumers, which are additional to those already imposed in other laws.

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WEBINAR: POST-COVID-19: RE-IMAGINING THE SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA MINING SECTOR

Thursday 21 May 2020, 15.30 – 16.45 CAT

A lot has been said about the mining industry’s current travails and what mining companies must do to survive. The question remains: what do we do after the lockdown? We find ourselves at another kairos moment in the World’s history – an important crossroads where we are afforded a brief opportunity to reflect on what a post-COVID-19 world should look like.

In this webinar, Patrick Leyden (Director, Herbert Smith Freehills) will moderate the discussion between Peter Leon (Partner and Co-chair of the Africa Practice Group, Herbert Smith Freehills), Olivier Binyingo (Director, Herbert Smith Freehills), Fiona Perrott-Humphrey (Senior Mining Adviser, Rothschild) and Peter Attard Montalto (Director – Global Lead, Capital Markets Research, Intellidex) who will consider what the sub-Saharan Africa mining sector may look once the current lockdown period ends.

They will also indicate what steps sub-Saharan countries should take now to ensure that their mining sectors are placed on the correct trajectory to maximise future growth and development.

REGISTER NOW 

Please register at the above link.

We will then send you an email with a link to join the webinar and confirmation of your log-in address.

If you have queries about the webinars or the registration process please contact webinars@hsf.com.


Unable to attend on the day?

This webinar will be recorded so please register and you will automatically receive a link to the recording when it is ready.

All Herbert Smith Freehills webinars are recorded and are available for you to listen to again. Please contact webinars@hsf.com for a full list of archived events.

SA’S FATE IS IN ITS OWN HANDS, NOT THE IMF’S

Author: PETER LEON

Short-term relief will not be enough if the government does not jolt the economy into life with breathtaking reforms.

It will be many months before we are able to assess the extent to which the Covid-19 pandemic has damaged the global economy. An unprecedented supply and demand shock has already led to a projected 16% unemployment rate in the US, the world’s biggest economy, with 26-million unemployment claims last week alone. This is four-and-a-half times more than the February 2020 unemployment rate. If this continues, the US unemployment rate will reach levels not seen since the Great Depression in 1934.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) believes the global economy will contract 3% in 2020 — the worst global recession since the Great Depression. Dramatic reductions in supply and demand, falling commodity prices, outward capital flows and declining global growth all contribute to this. The fragility of many economies is evident, with developing countries suffering from an unhappy combination of a health, financial and fiscal crisis. SA is no exception.

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THE VALUE OF NIGERIAN FINTECHS IN A GLOBAL PANDEMIC

Author: Ifeoluwa Ogunbufunmi, Banwo & Ighodalo 

As the world braces for a “new normal” in the face of the global pandemic – COVID-19 – financial technology companies (“FinTechs”) have proved that “digital” is the new look for the financial sector in Nigeria.

On March 30, 2020, Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari issued a lockdown order directing the closure of all businesses (except for essential services providers) and the cessation of all movement in Lagos State, Ogun State and the Federal Capital Territory for an initial fourteen days (until April 13, 2020), followed by a further twenty-one-day extension until May 04, 2020 (the “Lockdown”). Following the recent announcement by President Buhari on April 27, 2020, there will be a phased and gradual easing of the Lockdown and a curfew from 8pm – 6am from May 04, 2020. Some states in the country (which are not covered by the Lockdown) have also implemented state-wide lockdowns, as precautions and in view of the rise in confirmed cases in some states.

Given the current situation, retail banking is now being run differently and the services which FinTechs offer have proved invaluable.

Simplified payment options availed to Nigerians by FinTechs, including mobile banking, Unstructured Supplementary Services Data (“USSD”) services and digital lending, have made these unprecedented times a little more bearable. The ability to perform banking transactions for personal and business activities through a mobile device or a computer (without physically being within the four walls of a bank) has also encouraged compliance with social distancing measures required during COVID-19. This also allays concerns on physical cash being a conduit for COVID-19. Already, online payment transaction volumes are witnessing surges, as consumers are confined to their homes during the Lockdown and turning to digital banking platforms.

These times have also shown that traditional banks and other financial institutions need to consider increased investment in middle and back-end operations to deliver a better customer experience, working with FinTechs to improve data retrieval and provide a more agile and reliable front-end experience.

Nigerian FinTechs are also implementing community-based initiatives in these times – from free advice, to cancellation or waivers of transaction fees, to donations to non-profit organisations, communities and hospitals and even the creation of customer-centered products. Digital lending platforms in Nigeria such as Carbon, Branch and Kiakia have communicated loan rescheduling options to their eligible customers (typically those with a history of prompt loan service), given that many of these customers are small and medium scale enterprises who have arguably been the worst hit in these times.

PalmPay, one of Nigeria’s fast-growing mobile payments companies, has suspended all transfer charges from its e-wallet to other PalmPay users and Nigerian banks. This FinTech has also established a ₦100,000,000 COVID-19 Support Fund (the “Support Fund”), to provide support to relief organisations in combatting the pandemic in the country. In addition, the Support Fund also qualifies every PalmPay customer for a ₦100,000 payout should they be diagnosed with COVID-19. Kuda, a Nigerian digital bank, has also launched a COVID-19 Fund in partnership with the Lagos Food Bank, a non-governmental charity, to distribute free food and other essentials across Lagos State. Some FinTechs are also in partnership with state governments to drive social investment programmes for the elderly and vulnerable in society.

COVID-19 has opened the door to a world of new possibilities and it has become evident that companies that survive this season will take hold of new opportunities and might become market leaders of the future. FinTechs in Nigeria seem to be leading this march.


For more information, please contact Ifeoluwa Ogunbufunmi or your usual Banwo & Ighodalo contact:

A SONG A DAY KEEPS THE DOCTORS OKAY

Author: Lewis McDonald

Lewis McDonald is a London lawyer used to travelling the globe working on energy deals but, during the coronavirus lockdown, he has become an internet singing sensation – for charity, of course!

At home with his young daughters Lewis, who is head of Herbert Smith Freehills’ Global Energy Sector, has been making music to raise money for doctors, nurses and volunteers in the UK’s National Health Service and Medecins Sans Frontieres.

“It started when the partners were having virtual drinks one Friday a couple of weeks ago. I sang them a song on my guitar about self-isolation for a laugh and our chief executive, Justin (Justin D’Agostino), flicked it around on Whatsapp. One of the senior partners encouraged me to post it on LinkedIn.”

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