SAfrica upbeat

JOHANNESBURG: The South African government said on Monday it was confident that the continent’s most advanced economy would avoid a downgrade to junk investment status, even as unemployment hit a new high. “Our economy which is currently at its lowest growth path since the 2008 world economic crisis, can and will be fixed,” Jeff Radebe, a senior advisor to President Jacob Zuma, told foreign correspondents. He spoke as the national statistical office released figures showing that unemployment for the first quarter of the year reached the highest level in at least eight years. “Employment declined by 2.2 per cent ... which combined with an increase in number of unemployed persons of 521,000 resulted in an unemployment rate of 26.7 per cent,” StatsSA said.