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Canada freezes out foreign house ownership for two years

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Foreigners wishing to buy homes in Canada will have to wait for a while as the North American country has imposed a two-year ban on foreign property purchases in a bid to curb a market that has left home grown buyers in despair due to unfavourable competition.

The ban which also comes with other measures aimed at protecting homegrown business people, was announced on Monday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office, highlighted the huge price increases across Canada’s real estate market where prices have soared by more than 50 per cent in the past two years.

In announcing the ban on foreign home buying and higher taxes for people who sell their homes within a year, the government said both measures, however, hold exceptions, including for permanent residents and foreign students.

According to a recent report in Bloomberg, “home prices in Canada have surged more than 50 per cent over the past two years and the housing market had a record monthly increase in February as buyers acted before rate increases by the Bank of Canada, taking the benchmark price of a home to the equivalent of US$693,000.”

What the ban means for would-be homeowners in Canada, especially migrants from Africa, is they would not be able to purchase houses in the next two years.

And even when the ban expires, owning a home will be more stringent as the country plans to do away with the practice of “blind bidding” where offers are kept secret when someone is selling a home, only for higher bids to spring up to knock out the smaller bids.

The secret bidding is being blamed for accelerating price gains with properties often selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars over the asking price, leading to a bidding war often won by foreign investors.

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Musings From Abroad

Niger, Turkey expand energy, defence cooperation

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Following Niger’s request for the departure of Western military forces and the cancellation of many Western countries’ mining contracts, Turkey and Niger decided to increase their collaboration in the areas of energy, mining, intelligence, and defence.

On Wednesday, MIT intelligence chief, Ibrahim Kalin, Energy Minister, Alparslan Bayraktar, Defense Minister, Yasar Guler, and Foreign Minister, Hakan Fidan, of Turkey paid a visit to Niamey, the capital of Niger.

The Turkish team also met with General Abdulrahman Tiani, the leader of Niger, who assumed office in July of last year following the overthrow of President Mohamed Bazoum by the military council he led and the country’s shift in allegiance.

The junta expelled the French forces, and the United States was instructed to remove its military men from the nation. Additionally, it broke security agreements with the EU.

Two months have passed since Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Niger’s Prime Minister Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine met in Ankara, where the Turkish officials are currently on a visit.

Following their discussions on Wednesday, Fidan informed reporters that officials from Turkey and Niger had talked about enhancing their defence intelligence collaboration.

Guler talked about measures to strengthen defence and military training cooperation between Turkey and Niger, an official from the Turkish Ministry of defense said on Thursday.

The energy ministry of Turkey announced on Wednesday that the two nations had inked a statement of intent to assist and motivate Turkish enterprises to develop the oil and natural gas resources in Niger.

Niger is the seventh-largest producer of uranium in the world and possesses the highest-grade uranium ores in Africa.

However, a Turkish diplomatic source stated that Ankara is not looking to purchase uranium from Niger for its first nuclear power station, which is being built in Akkuyu in Turkey’s Mediterranean area by Russia’s Rosatom.

 

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Musings From Abroad

IMF lowers Botswana’s growth projection for 2024

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In a statement, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reduced its earlier April estimate of 3.6% growth for Botswana to 1%, primarily because of decreased diamond production.

In addition, the IMF warned that a decline in mineral income would cause the budget deficit to balloon to 6% from 3.45% and urged the diamond-rich nation in southern Africa to think twice before embarking on new infrastructure projects to support the economy.

“The continued (economic) slowdown is mainly due to a fall in diamond production,” said IMF said in a statement released late on Friday.

“Some fiscal relaxation is warranted this year given the fall in mineral revenues, but the execution of the ambitious capital budget should be slowed down to contain the deterioration of the deficit and prioritize projects with the highest returns,” the IMF said.

 

The demand prognosis for diamonds, which are typically regarded as luxury goods, has decreased due to weaker consumer demand and a weakening in the global economy.

Finance Minister Peggy Serame predicted in February that the economy would expand by 4.2%, but a few months later the central bank issued a warning, stating that the ongoing challenges in the world diamond market made it doubtful that this goal would be met.

Diamond sales account for 30–40% of Botswana’s total revenue and 75% of its foreign exchange profits.

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