1. Zimbabwe has banned the use of the rand, the US dollar, and other currencies as legal tender in the country. Since 2009, Zimbabwe allowed these currencies as legal payment after its own dollar became worthless. Its interim currency - the Real Time Gross Settlement dollar (RTGS) or "zollar" – has now been renamed the Zimbabwean dollar and the central bank hiked its overnight lending rate to 50% to promote the new currency.

2. Amid reports that Soweto now owes Eskom R18 billion in unpaid bills for electricity, Eskom has confirmed that total municipal debt has increased by R7.5 billion since March 2018 to R21.1 billion at the end of May this year, according to a Fin24 report.

3. JSE Limited, which operates the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, suffered a meltdown on its own bourse yesterday – its share price fell by almost 10% to R133.92 after warning that its headline earnings could slump by up to 35%. The JSE is making less money as trading volumes decrease.

4. Last night, the US government hit Iran with more sanctions in retaliation for Iran shooting down an American drone last week. According to reports in the US, the Trump government also authorised cyber-attacks on Iran. The new sanctions target on senior military figures in Iran.

5. So far the newly announced sanctions have not had an impact on oil prices, with the Brent oil price down on the day. According to the latest calculations, the petrol price is still on track to fall by around 90c a litre in the first week of July – thanks primarily to a strong rand, which was last trading at R14.36/$.

The risk of travelling to every country in Africa, according to the US government

Reported by Ellen Cranley

The US State Department's public travel advisories let Americans know what countries are safe to travel to and which ones they should be wary of.

The State Department uses four levels of travel guidance to let Americans know what to expect in each country:

Level 1 - Exercise normal precautions;

Level 2 - Exercise increased caution;

Level 3 - Reconsider travel;

and Level 4 - Do not travel.

Fourteen countries around the world are designated "do not travel," mostly because of ongoing armed conflicts. In Africa, six countries are designated Level 4.

Here are the travel advisories for every country in Africa, ranked from most to least risky based on the State Department's designation levels.


Sudan - Level 4: Do Not Travel

The State Department warns of terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, armed conflict, and violent crime including armed robbery, home invasion, and carjacking.

In April 2019, the department ordered the departure of non-emergency US government employees.

Violence has flourished recently as protestors demonstrate against President Omar al-Bashir's 29 years in power. Government forces stoked chaos when they responded with unprecedented violence against civilians in the latest wave of violence since a 2013 response killed more than 170 protestors.

The country remains in limbo after al-Bashir declared a one-year nationwide state of emergency in February 2019 that would allow for uninhibited government actions against the protestors who are pushing back on his term that has seen atrocities against his own people.


South Sudan - Level 4: Do Not Travel

The State Department warns of armed conflict, kidnapping, and violent crime including carjackings, shootings, ambushes, assaults, and robberies.

Conflicts among various political and ethnic groups have created widespread armed disputes and fostered a restrictive atmosphere. Foreign agents like journalists and US government officials have found the country difficult to navigate given the conditions, according to the report.


Somalia - Level 4: Do Not Travel

The State Department warns of crime, kidnapping, piracy, and terrorism that could affect areas frequented by visitors.

Widespread terrorist attacks and the subsequent violent government responses have claimed hundreds of civilian lives. Wide stretches of the country have also been devastated by famine, displacing residents and leaving them vulnerable to extreme poverty and violence.


Mali - Level 4: Do Not Travel

The State Department warns of terrorism, kidnapping, and violent crime including kidnapping and armed robbery.

Ethnic violence has reached a fever pitch across the country after years of militia conflict. The government has proved largely ineffective in controlling extremist groups and protecting civilians from fatal violence.


Libya - Level 4: Do Not Travel

The State Department warns of terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, armed conflict, and crime.

Terrorist and militia groups including jihadist and Islamist militia collective Brigade Defend Benghazi and Islamist militant group Ansar al-Shariah are of particular concern for the threats they pose to travelers, including detaining them at random, without access to legal or embassy resources

The advisory says:

"Outbreaks of violence between competing armed groups can occur with little warning and have the potential to impact US citizens. The capital, Tripoli, and other cities, such as Surman, Al-Jufra, Misrata, Ajdabiya, Benghazi, Sabha, and Dernah, have witnessed fighting among armed groups, as well as terrorist attacks. Hotels and airports frequented by Westerners have been caught in the crossfire. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence."


Central African Republic - Level 4: Do Not Travel

The State Department warns of common violent crimes including armed robbery, aggravated battery, and homicide.

The warning also references armed groups that control large areas and often kidnap civilians, and the US government has limited ability to assist US citizens in the country.

The government has been largely rendered ineffective as regional militant groups ramp up the violence that has plagued the country since it gained independence in 1960.


Burkina Faso - Level 3: Reconsider Travel

The State Department warns of terrorism, crime, and kidnapping throughout the country, where the US government has limited abilities to assist travelers.

The warning also specifies several regions and neighborhoods in and outside of the capital city to which travel is completely prohibited due to a heightened threat of attack.

The country has seen an uptick in violence perpetrated by Al Qaeda and other groups tied to the Islamic State that reached Burkina Faso after advancing from Mali and Niger. In May 2018, more than 12 people were left dead as national tensions over regional and religious differences that are stoked by extremist groups reached a fever pitch.


Nigeria - Level 3: Reconsider Travel

The State Department warns of crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and piracy breaking out in rural and urban areas.

US government authorities have limited access to provide emergency services to US citizens who may experience violence, according to the report.

Violence waged in the country by Boko Haram in 2018 included the unresolved abduction of 110 schoolgirls, the kidnapping and execution of two aid workers, and twin suicide bomb attacks.

Failed efforts by state and federal authorities have complicated counter-terrorism efforts amid violence between herdsmen and farmers. Citizens' trust in the state has eroded.


Democratic Republic of the Congo - Level 3: Reconsider Travel

The State Department warns of civil protests descending into violence and violent crime including armed robbery, armed home invasion, and assault sometimes committed by people posing as police or security agents.

The warning specifies threats of crime, Ebola, and kidnapping in the North Kivu and Ituri provinces in the northeast and armed conflict in the east of the country.

Ebola continues to pose a threat to the northeastern part of the Republic, where 1,506 people have died in the most recent 10-month outbreak. However, the US Center for Disease Control says the risk of infection for visitors is low.


Guinea-Bissau - Level 3: Reconsider Travel

The State Department warns of civil unrest and violent crime, usually perpetrated by aggressive vendors, panhandlers, and criminals who target foreigners at popular spots in the country, including the airport and public market.


Mauritania - Level 3: Reconsider Travel

The State Department warns of terrorism and violent crime, including mugging, armed robbery, and assault.

The terrorist group Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb launched several devastating attacks between 2005 and 2011, targeting diplomatic and government facilities and killing American and foreign tourists and aid workers.


Niger - Level 3: Reconsider Travel

The State Department warns of terrorism, kidnapping, and violent crime including armed robbery.

The advisory warns of heightened terrorist activity in the areas bordering Mali, Libya, Burkina Faso, and throughout northern Niger. The US government has limited abilities to provide emergency services to travelers as they are restricted to the country's capital and required to maintain thorough security escorts.

The country has worked to counter repeated attacks by groups like Boko Haram and its offshoot, ISIS-West Africa, who attacked both military and civilian targets, particularly in the south. Terrorist groups thrive among the expanses of rough terrain along which Niger's borders are drawn, which make border security a challenge to enforce.


Burundi - Level 3: Reconsider Travel

The State Department warns of armed conflict and violent crime, including grenade attacks and armed robbery, which are common in Burundi amid fiery political tensions.

US authorities have limited abilities to deliver emergency assistance to travelers, even in the case of police raids and violent clashes at the border.

Power struggles between the Hutu majority and the Tutsi minority have crippled the country since it gained independence in 1962. A 12-year civil war that began in 1994 further damaged the country's functions.


Uganda - Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

The State Department warns of kidnapping and violent crime including armed robbery, home invasion, and sexual assault, particularly in the country's major cities like Kampala and Entebbe.


Algeria - Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

The State Department warns of terrorism across the country, but specifically includes a Level 4 danger designation for travel in the Sahara Desert and to the country's eastern and southern borders, where there is an elevated threat of terrorism and kidnapping.

Years of devastating civil war between the Algerian government and Islamist rebel groups in the 1990s disrupted the country, and created regional instability with Algeria's neighbors Mali, Niger, and Libya, which have since experienced tensions and violence at their borders.


South Africa - Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

The State Department warns of violent crime including armed robbery, rape, carjacking, mugging, and "smash-and-grab" attacks on vehicles, particularly after dark in cities.

Widespread civil unrest in the country also poses a threat of demonstrations that could disrupt travel or spark violence.


Republic of the Congo - Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

The State Department warns of widespread civil unrest and crime, particularly armed robbery and assault.

The Pool Region in the southwest is of particular concern for its violence, as the report notes that US government employees cannot travel to the area without special permission, making it difficult to assist Americans.


Madagascar - Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

The State Department warns of civil unrest and crime that peaked around the country's elections in late 2018 into early 2019.

The warning specifies that crime is common in the Ankarana and Montagne d'Ambre national parks, in addition to the coastal areas of Antananarivo, Batterie Beach, Toamasina (Tamatave), Tolagnaro, and Mahajunga.

The country's May 2019 parliamentary elections came after months of fiery protests and allegations of rampant corruption in the country's latest bout of civil unrest.


Kenya - Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

The State Department warns of terrorism, kidnapping, and other violent crime including armed carjacking, mugging, and residential burglary.

The warning also bars travel to the Kenya-Somalia border due to the threat of terrorism and the northwest Turkana County due to crime. Nairobi, the country's capital city, also poses threats of crime and kidnapping, according to the warning.


Morocco - Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

The State Department warns of terrorist activity that could mean attacks on public places frequented by tourists, including transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities.


Eritrea - Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

The State Department warns of landmines in several remote areas and the government's restrictions on travel rights and services for visitors.

The warning notes that Eritrean law enforcement often blocks communication between detained foreign nationals and their embassies and US government employees need special permission to travel outside of Asmara, the country's capital.

Mines have posed a threat to several areas across Eritrea since World War II, but most recently in the aftermath of the struggle for independence that lasted from 1962 to 1991 and its armed conflict at the border with Ethiopia in 1998 to 2000.

Removal efforts by the government and outside organizations have found mixed success, and mines still pose fatal threats to Eritreans.


Cameroon - Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

The State Department warns of violent crime including robbery and carjacking, which local authorities lack the resources to confront.

The report also identifies threats of armed conflict in the northwest and southwest regions and terrorism in the far north region.


Cote d'Ivoire - Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

The State Department warns of terrorism and violent crime including carjacking, robbery, and home invasion.

The agency also says that foreign government authorities are limited in their abilities to assist visitors, as "embassy personnel are prohibited from driving outside the major cities after dark."


Ethiopia - Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

The State Department warns of civil unrest and communications disruptions.

The warning also marks the Somali Regional State as off-limits, due to threats of civil unrest, terrorism, kidnapping, and landmines. Armed conflict and civil unrest plague several regions, including border regions and several ethnic regional states.


Guinea - Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

The State Department warns of civil unrest in Guinea, where demonstrations unravel into violence that can turn to criminals targeting travelers who happen to be nearby for muggings or robberies.


Egypt - Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

The State Department warns of terrorism that could mean attacks on popular public places, with which the US government can't assist those affected.

The threats are widespread across the country, but the warning cites an increased risk on the Sinai Peninsula.


Zimbabwe - Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

The State Department warns of widespread crime and civil unrest posing threats of violent crime including assault, carjacking, and home invasion. The warning also specifies that local police "lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents."


Tanzania - Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

The State Department warns of crime, terrorism, and targeting of LGBTQ people.

Terrorists can strike without warning on areas frequented by tourists, the agency warns, and LGBTQ people have been arrested, targeted, harassed, and/or charged with unrelated offenses upon suspicion of their sexual identity and activity.


Sierra Leone - Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

The State Department warns of violent crime including armed robbery and assault in addition to the limited abilities of local authorities and the US government to respond.


Angola - Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions

The State Department doesn't have any alerts set for the country as a whole but stresses caution in urban areas where crime and kidnapping are common.


Benin - Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions

The State Department doesn't have any alerts set for the country.


Botswana - Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions

The State Department doesn't have any alerts set for the country.


Cabo Verde - Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions

The State Department has no warnings for Cabo Verde.


Comoros - Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions

The State Department has no warnings for Comoros.


Djibouti - Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions

The State Department has no travel warnings for Djibouti.


Eswatini - Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions

The State Department has no warnings for Eswatini.


Equatorial Guinea - Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions

The State Department has no travel warnings for Equatorial Guinea.


Gabon - Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions

The State Department warns of a slightly increased threat of crimes such as robbery, vehicle break-ins, and home burglaries that are common in cities Libreville and Port Gentil.


The Gambia - Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions

The State Department doesn't have a warning for the whole country but warns that landmines common to The Gambia's southern border with Senegal pose a serious danger to travelers.


Ghana - Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions

The State Department doesn't have a country-wide warning for Ghana, but urban areas and intercity highways are marked Level 2 for crime. Some regions are marked Level 2 for civil unrest that erupts among local leaders.


Lesotho - Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions

The State Department has no warnings for Lesotho.


Liberia - Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions

The State Department warns of increased risk of violent crime in some urban areas and public beaches.


Malawi - Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions

The State Department has no travel warnings for Malawi.


Mauritius - Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions

The State Department has no travel warnings for Mauritius.


Mozambique - Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions

The State Department doesn't have any country-wide alerts set but warns of violent extremism in the northeast region, and crime in Maputo, Mozambique's capital.


Namibia - Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions

The State Department doesn't have any alerts set for the country.


Rwanda - Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions

The State Department has no travel warnings for Rwanda.


Sao Tome and Principe - Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions

The State Department doesn't have any warnings for Sao Tome and Principe.


Tunisia - Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution

The State Department warns of a widespread threat of terrorism that could target highly frequented public places, with increased risk in some areas.

The country's borders with Algeria and Libya and a military zone in the southwest are listed among the more restricted areas for travelers.


Senegal - Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions

The State Department has no warnings for the country as a whole but specified a Level 2 warning in the Casamance region because of the threat posed to travelers by crime and landmines.


Seychelles - Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions

The State Department doesn't have any travel warnings for Seychelles.


Togo - Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions

The State Department doesn't have a warning for the entire country but warns of terrorism and kidnapping in the northern border region and other areas where civil unrest is common.


Zambia - Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions

The State Department doesn't have any alerts set for the country.

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