Top international headlines: Covid-19 hit low-income countries harder than 2008 financial crisis


Bitcoin protest in El Salvador, US spends billions on whistle-blower pay-outs, and more.

Pay-outs to whistle-blowers in the US tops $1 billion (R14.54 billion) while Roger Federer-backed shoemaker On makes a stellar trading debut in New York. Meanwhile, Nigerian lenders lack dollars to fund acquisition of Royal Dutch Shell oil assets and Salvadorans protest the introduction of Bitcoin as legal tender.

Nigeria’s lenders lack dollars for oil assets
Nigeria’s lenders likely don’t have enough dollars to fund clients seeking to acquire oil assets put on sale by the local unit of Royal Dutch Shell.

This is according to Guaranty Trust Bank, which doesn’t see the likelihood of any client raising the estimated $2.3 billion (R34 billion) needed to purchase the Shell assets, said Segun Agbaje, CEO of the financial group that owns the lender.

Shell said in May it would exit its onshore oil position in Nigeria, which it no longer considers compatible with its strategic ambitions, reports Bloomberg.

Shoemaker On climbs 46 percent on first day of trade
On Holding, whose proprietary cushioning technology has attracted tennis legend Roger Federer as an investor, climbed 46 percent on its first day of trading in New York.

The Swiss running shoemaker has become one of the world’s fastest-growing running-shoe brands since it was founded a decade ago.

The shoes have garnered somewhat of a cult following. Federer became a shareholder in 2019, and the company has unveiled a shoe he helped design which sells for about $200 (R2,909), reports Bloomberg.

Salvadorans protest against Bitcoin as legal tender
Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in El Salvador, angry at the introduction of Bitcoin as its legal tender alongside the US dollar.

President Nayib Bukele says the cryptocurrency will help Salvadorans working abroad to send money back home but demonstrators fear it will bring instability and inflation. Some protesters set fire to a brand-new Bitcoin machine, while others held signs reading “Bukele Dictator”, reports the BBC.

Poorest countries bear Covid-19 economic brunt
The world’s poorest countries will be left $12 trillion (R175 trillion) worse off by 2025 amid a weaker economic recovery from Covid-19 as wealthy nations limit their access to vaccines, the United Nations has warned.

In its annual trade and development report, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad) said low-income countries had been hit much harder by the pandemic than during the 2008 financial crisis, adding to their debts and piling pressure on their public finances, reports The Guardian.

SEC whistle-blower bounties top R14,54 billion
The US Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC’s) payouts to whistle-blowers has topped $1 billion (R15 billion). This follows the financial watchdog issuing its second-largest award to one person who was paid a combined $110 million (R1,600 million) for information and assistance that led to successful enforcement actions by the SEC and other entities.

The regulator began paying bounties to whistle-blowers in 2012, reports CNBC.

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