Potash to pipelines: Africa’s top business stories

STORY: Here are five business stories making headlines in Africa this week.

Kenya’s president hiked the country’s minimum wage by 12% on Sunday (May 1) to help workers cope with a surge in consumer prices, in part driven by the war in Ukraine.

Uhuru Kenyatta said the raise was necessary as the minimum wage had not been reviewed in three years and the cost of living has increased.

Nigeria’s oil minister said on Monday (May 2) that Russia has expressed interest in investing in a Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline project.

Besides linking the two countries, the over 3,000 mile long pipeline is expected to connect other African countries to Europe.

Power cuts and floods have hampered growth in South Africa’s private sector, with activity expanding at a slower rate in April, a survey showed on Thursday (May 5).

The S&P Global South Africa Purchasing Managers' Index - or PMI - fell to 50.3 in April from 51.4 in March - its lowest in four months.

Data also showed S&P’s clients were increasingly struggling with rising prices.

Also in South Africa - mining companies have resorted to trucking coal to ports to meet a surge in European demand, bypassing the deteriorating rail infrastructure, which they blame for billions of dollars in lost revenue.

Trucking coal costs about four times more than rail, according to mining companies. But they say they have no choice.

Poor maintenance, a lack of spare parts for trains, copper cable theft and vandalism have disrupted state logistics firm Transnet's freight rail services, causing coal exports to fall in recent years.

And finally, Nigeria had to buy emergency supplies of Canadian potash after being unable to import the fertilizer from Russia, due to Western sanctions.

Russia's Uralkali, a major global producer of the crop nutrient, has been Nigeria's exclusive supplier since 2019.

Spot prices today are up more than 250% for deliveries to West Africa compared to last year, according to commodities pricing agency Argus Media, dealing a further blow to the country's finances.

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