GLOBAL MARKETS Asian shares rose to a one-month high on Thursday and were on track for their best annual performance since 2009, while commodity-driven currencies were buoyed by a strong copper, which held near a four-year peak. WORLD OIL PRICES Oil prices were stable on Thursday with trading activity drying up ahead of the New Year weekend. EMERGING MARKETS For the top emerging markets news, double click on AFRICA STOCKS For the latest news on African stocks, click on SOUTH AFRICA MARKETS South Africa's rand rallied to its strongest in nine months on Wednesday, still riding the wave of positive sentiment after Cyril Ramaphosa's election as the leader of the ruling African National Congress and a global rise in resources prices. NIGERIA USA The United States has formally agreed to sell 12 Super Tucano A-29 planes and weapons to Nigeria, the West African country's air force said, confirming the resurrection of a deal frozen by the Obama administration over rights concerns. KENYA MARKETS The Kenyan shilling was under pressure against the dollar on Wednesday due to dollar demand from oil and retail importers as money markets resumed trading, traders said. CAMEROON SEPARATISTS A prize-winning New York-based Cameroonian novelist will be freed from jail and expelled from his native country after being held for nearly three weeks on charges of insulting and threatening the president, his lawyer said on Wednesday. GHANA STOCKS The Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) has put on its watch list three distressed companies including Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) for possible delisting if their financials do not improve by the end of May, the exchange said on Wednesday. AFRICA PASSPORTS/COMOROS The Comoros government has asked Interpol and the U.S. authorities for information related to foreigners, including two people accused of breaking sanctions on Iran, who have bought the country's passports to facilitate their activities, the foreign minister told Reuters. CONGO ECONOMY Congo Republic's government said on Wednesday it planned to cut spending next year by 8.6 percent to 1.38 trillion CFA francs ($2.5 billion), following a 45 percent cut to the 2017 budget this month, as it seeks an International Monetary Fund bailout. LIBERIA ELECTION Former soccer star George Weah's camp said on Wednesday he was set to win Liberia's presidential election run-off over Vice President Joseph Boakai, based on precinct-level vote tallies it said were trickling in from across the country. ZIMBABWE POLITICS Retired army chief Constantino Chiwenga and veteran politician Kembo Mohadi will be sworn in as Zimbabwe's vice presidents on Thursday, state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation said on Wednesday.