South Africa's tech and telecoms stocks plummeted on Thursday as worries over the worsening spread of the coronavirus caused massive equity sell-offs.
The worst-hit local telecoms company was Cell C's major shareholder, Blue Label Telecoms, which saw its stock plummet by over 17% on Thursday to R2.03 (US$0.12). Pan-African operators MTN and Vodacom saw their stock fall by over 13% and 5% respectively, to R54.39 ($3.35) and R104.14 ($6.41) per share. Meanwhile Telkom's share price dipped by almost 7.5% to R23.39 ($1.44).
The negative sentiment associated with the US and Europe's slow policy responses to coronavirus have seen a sell-off sweeping through global equity markets, including South Africa.
According to Bloomberg, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange's (JSE's) benchmark stock index plunged the most since the market crash of October 1997. The FTSE/JSE Africa All Share Index fell by 9.7% by the close of the market in Johannesburg on Thursday.
South African media and Internet giant Naspers – which is also the biggest stock on the JSE – also fell 8% on Thursday, to R2283.13 ($140.54) per share.
There are over 134,000 cases of coronavirus globally and over 4,970 have died, according to the latest Reuters tally.
In South Africa 17 cases have been reported but there have been no fatalities so far.
Africa was the birthplace of Mobile Money and while it continues to rise in popularity, the industry is quickly evolving and launching more mobile-based financial services every day. In this Connecting Africa online event, local analysts and industry stakeholders will discuss how telcos are disrupting the financial services space and what the rise of Mobile Money 2.0 will look like for Africa.
From cash to mobile: heading towards a cashless society
Expanding MFS offerings beyond mobile money transfers
MNOs vs banks vs fintechs: an evolving competitive landscape
Unconnected and unbanked: fintech to improve financial inclusion
The rise of micro-loans and insurance through mobile platforms
Africa has the fastest growing population in the world and also the youngest, with 60% of Africans under the age of 25. It is clear that the next billion connected are going to be the mobile-only generation. This digital symposium will bring industry experts together to discuss Africa’s digital divide and how to get devices into the hands of young Africans and empower them to join the digital revolution.
Who’s Driving? The role of government & regulator, private tech companies, and public-private partnerships
Device affordability: are we reaching a tipping point?
Status check: Satellite vs Fiber and the enduring infrastructure gap
Exploring the wider societal and economic benefits of a connected, digitally literate continent