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28th January 2022 Trade & Financial Services Round Up

KENYA

Treasury to pay part of defaulted mobile phone loans

The Treasury will guarantee mobile phone loans given to small traders in a bid to increase supply of credit under a scheme where the State will also pay part of the defaulted loans.

Mobile phone-based lending and sacco loans were made part of the State-backed Credit Guarantee Scheme after only a handful of small and medium-sized businesses accessed the State-backed loans.

The State now seeks to exploit the growing appetite for mobile loans to boost credit to the small traders, who account for more than 80 percent of all the businesses in the country and provide about 75 percent of jobs.

The scheme, whose first phase was rolled out in December 2020 with seven commercial banks on board, aims at derisking lending to credit-starved micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

The Treasury initially allocated Sh3 billion capital to the scheme in the financial year ended June 2021, but only 334 businesses tapped Sh634.5 million.

The Treasury will cover 25 percent of the credit in the event of default of the loan, which has a limit of Sh5 million per borrower with a repayment period of 36 months.

“We want to take advantage of the ICT infrastructure that is there amongst the telcos, which are also regulated (to broaden coverage of the scheme). The next coverage will, therefore, include saccos, microfinance institutions and, thereafter, the telcos,” director-general for Budget, Fiscal and Economic Affairs at the Treasury Albert Mwenda told the Business Daily.

Some Sh1 billion has been added to the scheme in the current year, bringing the total budget to Sh4 billion, with plans to scale it up to Sh10 billion in the medium term.

(Source: Business Daily)

CMA clarifies profit warning requirements amid breaches

The Capital Markets Authority (CMA) has clarified that listed companies must issue a profit warning beforehand if they expect that their full-year net income will drop by at least 25 percent.

The regulator says in a new circular that the notices will be based on the projected earnings after tax, improving on a 2016 directive that did not say whether the alerts will be on the basis of gross or net earnings.

“For avoidance of any doubt the Authority clarifies…that the level of earnings for purposes of issuing profit warnings…shall be earnings after tax,” said CMA chief executive Wyckliffe Shamiah in the circular to Nairobi Securities Exchange listed firms.

The regulator has now specified that chief executive officers will be responsible for complying with the profit warning publications.

The regulator also reiterated that listed companies will be required to issue a profit warning within 24 hours of becoming aware that their net earnings will drop by a quarter or more for their respective financial year results.

Such announcements are meant to give existing and prospective shareholders a guide to a company’s performance well in advance of what would otherwise be shocking results.

Failure to do so will result in penalties being set at the discretion of the regulator. The regulator has previously fined companies as little as Sh50,000 for failing to issue profit warnings.

(Source: Business Daily)

TANZANIA

Dar port eyes higher goal, ups efficiency

Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) is banking on technology and modern equipment it seeks to up the efficiency of the Port of Dar es Salaam and turn the country into a logistics hub in East and Central Africa.

TPA director general Eric Hamissi, said yesterday that so far the progress has been encouraging as the vessel turnaround improves significantly at the Dar es Salaam port.

“We used to receive a maximum of 50 vessels in the past, but in November, we received  77 of them. The number fell slightly to 67 in December. January numbers are also encouraging as off today already 19 vessels have unloaded its cargos and continue with other destinations,” he said.

He was speaking in Dar es Salaam when the deputy minister for Works and Transport, Mr Atupele Mwakibete, visited the port as part of his familiarisation tour. According to Mr Hamissi, the target is to handle 18 million tonnes of cargo this financial year, out of which, over 50 percent has already been achieved so far.

 “We have a target of collecting TSh1 trillion and so far, we have managed TSh508 billion already and we have already handled 9.1 million tonnes of cargo,” he said.

Currently, goods in transit account for 70 percent of all goods passing through the Port of Dar es Salaam.

In November last year, the Dar es Salaam Port got a major boost as it started receiving modern work equipment purchased at a cost of  TSh210 billion that the government had set aside for the purpose.

(Source: The Citizen) 

How CRDB recorded Sh 270 billion in net profit

CRDB Bank Plc has announced a record profit in 2021 – and the lender’s shareholders should expect lucrative returns on their investments.

At the group level, the bank – which boasts of assets worth Sh8.8 trillion – reported a net profit of Sh267.56 billion during the year that ended on December 31, 2021.

This was a huge leap from the Sh165.185 billion that it registered during the preceding year. To shareholders, this record net profit translates into more money in their pockets as dividends.

Last year, CRDB Bank’s shareholders shared TSh57.46 billion in total dividends. Shareholders received Sh22 per share as dividend.

In 2020, TSh44.4 billion in total was shared as dividends among the bank’s shareholders from a net profit of TSh123 billion that was registered in 2019. The dividend per share was TSh17.

Its latest financial statement, which was published in the media, shows that CRDB Bank’s net profit of TSh267.56 billion for the 2021 calendar year was driven by double-digit growth rates in both funded and non-funded revenue streams.

While the net funded income stream grew by 11.2 percent – to Sh633 billion in 2021 from TSh569 billion in 2020 – the lender’s non-funded income stream grew by a significant 24.8 percent to reach Sh354.278 billion last year, up from TSh284 billion in 2020.

The CRDB Bank managing director, Abdulmajid Nsekela, attributed the performance to growth in lending to the private sector and the lender’s improved operations.

“This is supported by growth in lending to the private sector, focusing on SMEs, agribusiness, structured finance and micro enterprises. We also improved our operations focusing on more value adding activities,” he said.

Growth in non-interest income, said Mr Nsekela, was driven by increased transaction volumes mainly from digital channels.

“Our investment in technology and forefront innovative solutions allowed us to deliver strong customer experiences and value propositions during challenging times of the global Covid-19 pandemic. On a quarterly basis, our agent network grew by 3.4 percent to 19,165 agents at the end of year, being the largest network, driving the largest volumes in the banking industry,” he said.

Over 87 percent of total bank transactions were performed through digital channels.

(Source: The Citizen) 

UGANDA

Fuel marketers accuse URA of escalating fuel crisis

Oil marketers have accused Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) of escalating the fuel crisis currently facing Uganda. 

In a statement released on Tuesday, more than 40 oil marketing companies represented by Cristal Advocates, claim that URA is insisting on payment of unrealistic taxes,” which are likely to constrain supply. 

“If URA is unrelenting that the fuel importers pay these foreign transporters less of the 15 per cent, withholding tax, they are unlikely to provide the transportation services, potentially escalating the fuel shortages in the country,” a statement by the Association of Oil Marketers (U) Limited, reads in part. 

They further claim that if foreign transporters decline to receive their service payments less of the 15 percent withholding tax, it is likely that oil marketing companies in Uganda will shoulder the burden of this tax, which will increase their transportation costs. 

Inevitably, the statement reads, such a cost will be absorbed into pump prices. 

Fuel prices have escalated since the beginning of the year, with a litre of petrol selling at an average of USh6,000. 

This had been worsened by a more than 10-day strike in which truck drivers had rejected a decision by the government to charge them $30 (UShs105,819) to test for Covid-19 before accessing Uganda. 

However, the return to stable supply continues to elude suppliers days after the government scrapped the mandatory Covid-19 test requirement. 

In the statement, oil marketers indicated they have petitioned the Minister of Finance, to intervene in the tax dispute, fault URA for demanding 15 per cent withholding tax on all foreign transport payments. 

(Source: The Monitor)

GCC Services wins camp contract for major Uganda oil project

GCC Services, a leader in integrated remote site services, has been selected by international engineering and construction giant McDermott  to provide camp services for the Tilenga Project Upstream Facilities in the Lake Albert Basin of Uganda.

GCC’s work, to take place over six years, begins in February and is to include camp management, catering and camp support services for an international and local workforce that is expected to peak at 3,500 workers.

The Tilenga project, under the overall operation of Total Energies, is the centerpiece of oil projects projected to bring investments of over $10 billion to Uganda and Tanzania. It will eventually have the capacity to process 190,000 to 700,000 barrels of oil a day.

GCC has extensive experience as a provider and manager of services for large, complex projects in remote, hard-to-reach areas and conflict zones. In Papua New Guinea, GCC managed camp facilities at multiple locations, serving more than 22,000 workers on the country’s massive LNG project. As a supply chain and procurement specialist, GCC also has served as the food-supply contractor for peacekeeping forces in Africa and elsewhere.

Total Energies, the overall leader of Uganda’s Tilenga project, has pledged to act transparently in its development of the oil and gas resources of the Lake Albert region. The company has made commitments to use the highest international standards in land acquisition, consult with local communities, protect sensitive natural areas, and generate a “positive net impact on biodiversity” in the region.

During construction, the Tilenga project and related EACOP pipeline build are expected to generate 58,000 direct and indirect jobs, 2.1 million hours of training to build local skills, and $1.7 billion worth of work for local companies, Total Energies says.

(Source: The Independent) 

RWANDA

Rwanda to export grain seeds to DR Congo, Central Africa Republic

Rwanda could start exporting different varieties of maize seeds to Central Africa Republic (CAR) and DR Congo, according to the Rwanda Agriculture and Animal Resources Development Board (RAB).

Rwanda has already shipped samples of seeds for trials in the two central African nations, Patrick Karangwa, Director General of RAB told The New Times.

“We have already started the adaptability trial phase of the seeds in these countries, so we can see the kind of harvest these seeds yield and how they adapt to the environment in these countries,” Karangwa said.

DR Congo, he disclosed, is the biggest potential market because it is a big agricultural country and most of the soil type there is like the one in Rwanda.

Early this week, Rwandan officials held discussions with CAR’s institute in charge of agriculture to see how the seeds are doing in the country.

(Source: The New Times) 

Is UK based fin-tech poised for Rwandan market debut?

Nala, a UK based mobile money transfer targeting Africans worldwide, could be planning its debut in Rwanda in coming days.

Doing Business  understands that Fin-tech, which was founded by a Tanzanian entrepreneur has been conducting tests in Rwanda. The fin-tech runs a mobile money application that allows users to make transactions without an internet connection.

NALA co-founder Benjamin Fernandes last week announced on social media that they had run their first successful test in Rwanda.

The firm supports transfers between The UK and US to countries including Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya and Ghana. The ongoing tests could see Rwanda become their next market.

The firm is seeking to tap into the growing remittances and international payments market by creating a money transfer platform that uses USSD technology, it is not dependent on internet availability. This is in direct response to the cost of mobile data in some parts of the continent Africa.

The interest by the firm comes at a time when Rwanda’s fin-tech sector has been expanding with a number of firms such as SAVE, a platform by Exuus Ltd which facilitates saving groups through an open and user-friendly saving groups ledger handling.

(Source: The New Times) 

ETHIOPIA

World Vision, USAID to implement $309m joint project in Ethiopia’s Amhara, Oromia regions

World Vision and USAID announced a $309 million joint project to be implemented in Ethiopia’s Amhara and Oromia regions.

The joint project, which is to be implemented in the course of five years, aims to support food security efforts in the two regions.

Specifically, the joint project is expected to be of benefit to people exposed to social and economic problems, it was learned.

(Source: 2merkato)

Harvest collected from 11.9 million hectares

Ethiopia’s Ministry of Agriculture announced that harvest has been collected from 11.9 million hectares of land during the past two crop years, out of 12.9 million hectares that have been cultivated.

Germame Garoma, Agricultural Extension Director at the Ministry of Agriculture, said the harvest has been collected using both machinery and human labor. He added that there are certain crops that are yet to be collected, such as chickpeas and lentils. 

The collection of crops is undergoing without any problems, the Director noted. Although there are fears there may be an out-of-season rainfall, he said it will have no negative impact on the crop collection.

Ethiopia has obtained $1.32 billion from the export of agricultural products in the past six months, accounting for the lion’s share of 70 percent of the total export earnings.

(Source: 2merkato)

ERITREA

Date palm plantations progressing to semi-commercial stage

The Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) has been promoting date palm plantations in different parts of the country since 2003. To date, it has distributed more than 20,000 seedlings.

Began in 2016, the date palm production project has involved the production of seedlings through tissue culture and suckers. It has also included different training programs and workshops, along with awareness raising campaigns for farmers and other institutions throughout the country. Invariably, it has been received with great enthusiasm and encouraged more farmers to take up date palm farming.

According to Mr. Mussie Fekadu, Head of the Biotechnology Unit at the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI) and the National project coordinator of date palm production, the project hopes to reach a satisfactory level of production within five years. In order to achieve this goal, the MoA, in cooperation with various development partners, has organized regular theoretical and practical capacity-building programs. As a result, researchers at NARI have been able to multiply the date palm through embryogenesis.

The main sites of the project are the Northern and Southern Red Sea regions (NRS and SRS). Plantation of date palms began in 2017 with 2000 quality seedlings imported through the assistance of the FAO. The seedlings planted in Foro, Afabet, Shieb, Massawa, Gahtelay (all located in the NRS region) are progressing well. Besides, seedlings were distributed to farmers in the SRS region, with the beneficiaries similarly making the project a success in their areas. 

It is noted that since the project was launched, more than 600 farmers and extension workers have benefited from theoretical and practical training programs. In addition to households, the project has secured the participation of institutional and semi-commercial enterprises. Overall, a total of 20,575 date palms were cultivated in the NRS and SRS regions.

(Source: Ministry of Information Eritrea)

Eritrea and UN launch Development Cooperation Framework

Eritrean and UN Agencies launched a five-year Development Cooperation Framework on the sectors of infrastructure, agriculture, energy, industry, health education as well as capacity building.

At a ceremony held at the Denden Guest House Tuesday, January 25, in which Regional Directors as well as other senior officials of the UN in Africa took part, Dr. Gergis Teklemicael, Minister of Finance and National Development, gave briefing on the medium and long term of the national development objectives issued in the 1994 National Charter.

Dr. Gergis went on to say that soon after independence the development objective as well as the strategies made a good start with GDP growing at a rate of 6-7% before the war unleashed over Eritrea in 1998 to 2000, which followed by the so-called no-war-no-peace situation for almost 20 years.

Dr. Gergis noted that the no-war-no-peace state of affairs was a mixed situation of nation building process on the one hand and a threat of war on the other and what Eritrea asks the United Nations in general and African brothers is working in cooperation and support in the implementation of the set out national development objectives.

The ceremony was also attended by Ms. Sophia Tesfamariam, Permanent Representative of the State of Eritrea to the United Nations.

During their stay in Eritrea, the Regional Directors and senior officials of the United Nations will hold meetings with Ministers and other senior officials focusing on mutual cooperation in various sectors. They will also visit various developmental sites and projects.

(Source: Ministry of Information Eritrea)

SOMALIA

Egypt & Somalia hold bilateral consultations in Cairo

Deputy Foreign Minister for African Affairs Ambassador Hamdi Sanad Loza and Somalia’s Deputy Foreign Minister for International Cooperation Mohamud Abdi Hassan chaired on Monday 24/1/2022 a bilateral consultations session in Cairo.

The two sides reviewed ways to promote ties between both sisterly African nations as well as the prospects of mutual cooperation over the period ahead, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Cairo International Center for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping and Peace building (CCCPA) will on Tuesday 25/1/2022 host a special two-day event to discuss future security arrangements in Somalia, with the participation of representatives of the UN, the EU, and the Somali government, the ministry added.

(Source: State Information Service Egypt)

Foreign minister meets with the Chinese ambassador to Somalia 

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, H.E Abdisaid Muse Ali, met with the Chinese Ambassador to Somalia, Fei Shengchao, on Thursday. 

The Foreign minister and Chinese ambassador discussed the historical ties and bilateral relations, as well as cooperation between the Federal Republic of Somalia and the Government of China in the areas of politics, security, countering terrorism, economy, development projects, and other regional related issues in the Horn of Africa.

In addition, the meeting focused on the possibility for Somalia and China to jointly implement developmental projects in the country as part of the bilateral cooperation between the two countries to achieve the national aspirations of the two nations. 

On his part, the Chinese Ambassador described Somalia as strategically, underlining the Chinese government’s commitment to continue supporting Somalia’s state-building and respecting the sovereignty of Somalia. In the end, the minister thanked the government of China for its support and role in safeguarding unity and respecting the sovereignty of Somalia.

(Source: Radio Dalsan) 

SUDAN

US officials condemn use of excess force on protestors, say aid to be withheld longer

The US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs and the Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, who are currently visiting Sudan, have strongly condemned the use of disproportionate force against protestors, and stressed that the US will not resume the currently suspended assistance to the Sudanese government without the restoration of a civilian-led government.

In a statement via the US Embassy in Khartoum today, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Molly Phee, and newly appointed Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, David Satterfield, say that after meeting with a wide cross-section of Sudanese civil society, they “share the deep concern of the Sudanese people about the disruption of the democratic transition“.

Phee and Satterfield strongly condemn the use of disproportionate force against protestors, especially the use of live ammunition and sexual violence and the practice of arbitrary detention. They call for transparent and independent investigations into the deaths and injuries that have occurred and for all those responsible to be held accountable.

During their visit to Sudan, Assistant Secretary Phee and Special Envoy Satterfield met families of those who lost loved ones in violence against pro-democracy demonstrators, and underscored that the USA will not resume paused assistance to the Sudanese government without “an end to violence and restoration of a civilian-led government that reflects the will of the people of Sudan”.

The USA suspended all aid to Sudan following the military coup d’état of October 25. At the time, US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said that “the United States is pausing assistance from the $700 million in emergency assistance appropriations of Economic Support Funds for Sudan. Those funds were intended to support the country’s democratic transition.”

(Source: Dabanga)

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