South Africa faces budget crunch as downgrade looms

Skyline of Johannesburg's Central Business DistrictSouth Africa’s finance minister walks a tightrope on Wednesday as he presents a budget watched closely by ratings agencies that are on the verge of downgrading the country’s debt to junk status. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank predict South Africa’s growth this year will slide to less than one percent — far below levels needed to deal with unemployment running at 25 percent. Minister Pravin Gordhan is faced with the difficult balancing act of trying to please both the financial world and a government facing voters in municipal elections this year.

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