South Africa’s economy slows as record drought hits farming

(FILES) This file photo taken on November 10, 2015 shows South African President Jacob Zuma attending a press conference following talks with the German Chancellor at the chancellery in Berlin. Beleaguered South African President Jacob Zuma faces on March 1, 2016 a no-confidence vote in parliament for a second time in less than a year and a legal bid to reinstate corruption charges against him. The mounting pressure on the president comes against a background of economic crisis sparked by his firing of two finance ministers within days in December 2015. / AFP / JOHN MACDOUGALL

(FILES) This file photo taken on November 10, 2015 shows South African President Jacob Zuma attending a press conference following talks with the German Chancellor at the chancellery in Berlin.<br />Beleaguered South African President Jacob Zuma faces on March 1, 2016 a no-confidence vote in parliament for a second time in less than a year and a legal bid to reinstate corruption charges against him. The mounting pressure on the president comes against a background of economic crisis sparked by his firing of two finance ministers within days in December 2015.<br />/ AFP / JOHN MACDOUGALL

South Africa’s economy grew at an annualised 0.6 percent in the last quarter of 2015, as the country battles the worst drought in a century, official statistics showed Tuesday.

The growth was a slight drop from 0.7 percent posted in the previous quarter as President Jacob Zuma struggles to tackle high unemployment, a sharply weakened currency and falling commodity prices.

The worst drought in over 100 years saw the agriculture sector contract by 14 percent, said StatsSA.

The statistics agency said the economy grew by 1.3 percent in 2015, down from 1.5 percent the previous year.

Economists forecast that Africa’s most developed economy will continue to be fragile, with the World Bank and the IMF predicting growth will be less than one percent in 2016.

Headline inflation jumped one percentage point to 6.2 percent in January, breaching the central bank’s target of six percent.

The country’s energy regulator on Tuesday approved a 9.4 percent-electricity tariff hike.



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