The South African parliament elected wealthy businessman and African National Congress veteran Cyril Ramaphosa as the country's new president, after Jacob Zuma resigned Feb. 14.
The South African rand gained 1.06% to 0.0858 U.S. dollar as of 9:27 a.m. ET. The country's main stock market index also increased nearly 4% as Ramaphosa was elected unopposed.
Zuma reluctantly ended his scandal-plagued nine-year presidency after the ruling ANC threatened to support a no-confidence motion against him.
Meanwhile, S&P Global Ratings said South Africa's ratings and stable outlook were not immediately affected by the political transition. In November 2017, the agency downgraded the country's long-term foreign currency sovereign credit rating to BB from BB+ and the long-term local currency rating to BB+ from BBB-.
S&P said Ramaphosa could bring confidence and faster implementation of ongoing key reforms, but his administration will need time to design and implement measures aimed at improving economic growth and public finances.
"We think the government will attempt to introduce offsetting measures in an effort to improve budgetary outcomes, but these may not be sufficient to stabilize public finances in the near term," the rating agency said.
S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.