4th March 2022 Trade & Financial Services Round Up

March 4, 2022 - Reading Time: 7 minutes - By Amrit Labhuram

Sanctions block Sh10bn Kenya exports to Russia

Kenya’s exports of tea, flowers, coffee and fruits to Russia have been derailed in the wake of sanctions imposed on Moscow by Western nations after its invasion of Ukraine, hurting local smallholder farmers.

The blockade of the exports, estimated at nearly Sh10 billion annually, came after major container and shipping lines temporarily suspended cargo shipments to and from Russia in response to the sanctions.

Excluding Russian banks from SWIFT, the international payment system, and its central bank from international operations has made it harder for the country to pay for imports and receive cash for exports.

Russia is largely seen as a growth market for Kenya’s sluggishly growing exports. Tea is the leading export while Kenya’s coffee enters the country as re-exports from other countries.

Russia, for example, bought 29.61 million kilos of tea worth Sh6.25 billion last year from 25.14 million kilos valued at Sh5.02 billion in 2020, according to industry data.

(Source: Business Daily)

Interest rates on Treasury bills continue to climb

Interest rates on short-term government debt securities continued to rise in the latest auction, signalling higher returns for investors in the fixed-income instruments.

The 91-day T-bill came with an average interest rate of 7.265 percent in the latest auction, up from 7.254 percent in the previous sale.

The 182-day paper’s interest rate rose to 8.063 percent from 8.062 percent while that on the 364-day security jumped to 9.774 percent from 9.764 percent.

The Central Bank of Kenya, the government’s fiscal agent, had sought to raise a total of Sh24 billion from the auction but ended up taking up Sh26.5 billion.

Investors had made bids of Sh29.3 billion, indicating increased attractiveness of the returns on the securities which are at two-year highs.

(Source: Business Daily)


Indian investors are interested in Tanzania

Indian investors are increasingly seeking investment opportunities in Tanzania in their quest to grab the opportunities that come with President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s pro-business sentiments.

Data from the Indian High Commission in Dar es Salaam show that the value of goods and services imports from India to Tanzania had reached TSh2.77 trillion a year.

This is equivalent to an annual increase of 11.2 percent.

Areas of focus include energy, seaports, health – including specialised health-care – agriculture, manufacturing, education, oil and gas and agriculture, among others.

Bank of Tanzania (BoT) figures show that the value of Tanzania’s exports of goods and services to India was TSh1.214 trillion in 2021 from TSh1.212 trillion in 2020.

(Source: The Citizen)

TBL disburses TSh1.4 billion to protect water sources

Tanzania Breweries Limited (TBL) has disbursed a total of $600,000 (about TSh1.4 billion) as a part of money to finance the implementation of a bankable nature solution project.

The three-year project, which is implemented by Wami/Ruvu Basin Water Board (WRBWB) in cooperation with the World Wild Fund (WWF), focuses on improving water quality and quantity supplied to Dar es Salaam.

TBL’s country director Jose Moran said water is the number one ingredient in beer and that is why they were taking part in efforts meant to improve water access and security in the communities.

(Source: The Citizen)


Free zone exports grow to UgShs4.2t from UgShs542b – report

Export earnings from free zones grew to a record high of $1.2b (UgShs4.2t) in 2020-2021 from $154m  (UgShs542b) in 2019-2020, a new report has revealed.

The report, issued by Uganda Free Zones Authority shows that for two years in a row, semi-processed gold was the driver of exports in the free zone accounting for 93 percent of total export earnings at $1.1b  (Shs3.8t.)

Flower and horticulture exports ranked second to gold, accounting for 3.7 percent of exports at $46m (UgShs162b) as tobacco which is partly or wholly stemmed ranked third accounting for 3.1 percent of exports at $38m (UgShs133b), the report shows.

It, however, shows that wheat flour exports recorded a 65 percent decline to $1 m (UgShs3.6b) in 2020-21 from $4m (UgShs14b) registered in the financial year 2019-20.

Sandalwood essential oils earned $730,000 (UgShs2.6b) in 2020-21 an increase from $299,000 (UgShs1.07b) registered in 2019-20 while cocoa beans exports earned $160,000 (UgShs 576m) in 2020-21.

The exports that earned the least were underground natural calcium phosphates which brought in $5,000 (Shs17m).

(Source: The Monitor)

Mobile money accounts grow to 32 million

Mobile money accounts have reached 32.3 million, growing by an addition of 900,000 accounts.

However, according to details from Uganda Communications Commission, only 21.3 million out of the 32.3 million are deemed active.

UCC indicates only 21.3 million out of the total connections made at least one mobile financial service transaction in the 90 days preceding September 30, 2021, which represents at least 66 percent.  However, the report does not indicate how much in mobile money transactions have been recorded in the same period.

The growth in mobile money accounts is also in tandem with the number of active mobile money agents that grew by 11 percent from 285,371 in June 2021 to 315,895 as of September 2021.

In comparison to 2020, the agent footprint across the country has grown by 39 percent.

(Source: The Monitor)


Inside Rwf15bn deal to boost agricultural exports in Rwanda

Exports of coffee, tea, horticulture and spices commodities, and livestock products such as dairy and hides could soon boost following a new $14.8 million (approx…Rwf15 billion) investment to support public and private sector actors to attract, direct and leverage financing and investment towards increased agricultural exports.

Funded by USAID, the five-year project dubbed “prosper while expanding markets” is expected to boost economic growth of Rwanda by promoting agricultural export growth and building resilience up to 2026.

The activity will work with and through the Government of Rwanda, the private sector, and civil society to facilitate an inclusive and resilient policy and regulatory environment, mobilise public and private investment toward increased high-value agricultural products.

It plans facilitation of $300 million in new investments into Rwanda’s high-value agricultural export sector.

USAID Rwanda Mission Director, Jonathan Kamin, said that the goal of the multibillion investment is to achieve at least 12 per cent annual growth in targeted agricultural commodities exported at a national level.

(Source: The New Times)

President Kagame holds talks with German envoys

President Paul Kagame on Tuesday held talks with the German delegation led by the Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Svenja Schulze, who also signed an agreement with Rwanda on climate change. .

Following the talks, the delegates headed to the Ministry of Finance and Planning where they signed an agreement on cooperation between the two countries in the field of urban development and tackling climate change.

Following the signing of the agreement, German Development and Economy Minister Svenja Schulze pointed out that the reason for this partnership with Rwanda is largely based on its behaviour in this area of ​​climate change.

“Rwanda knows exactly what to do to achieve the goal of combating climate change,” he said.

The agreement is for environmental cooperation, as well as two joint donations worth 56 million euros.

(Source: Rwanda Broadcasting Agency)


Ethiopia, Italy Sign €1 Million Grant Agreement

Ethiopia and Italy have signed €1 million (56,967,900 Birr) grant agreement for civil information registration service.

The agreement was signed between Finance Minister Ahmed Shide and Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy and Head of Italy International Cooperation, Marina Sereni.

Ahmed Shide and Marina Sereni have also discussed ways of further strengthening development cooperation between the two countries, according to the Ministry of Finance.

(Source: Ethiopia News Agency)

3air, K3, Secure $10m Contract to Build Telecom Infrastructure in Ethiopia

The internet connectivity service provider 3air and the Swiss company K3 Telecom have secured a $10 million contract to build new telecom infrastructure in Ethiopia. Following the signing of an MoU, 3air, as an official partner of K3, has started planning to roll out a network in Addis Ababa.

3air owns a secure, decentralised, high-performance blockchain network dubbed “SKALE”, which K3 Telecom intends to use to facilitate the project avoiding the laying of underground cable. Using its “Cable Through the Air” service delivery model, K3 Telecom claims it can install the infrastructure covering Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa with radio signals in six-months time. 3air and K3 aim to take part in the Ethiopian government’s digital transformation efforts, including its provision of digital ID.

K3 Telecom claims to have invented a Cable Through the Air service delivery model that, it claims, can install infrastructure within 6 months. It saves time and money by avoiding the laborious underground cable laying model and covering 90 percent of the capital city with radio signals. The Ethiopian government launched its digital transformation strategy in 2020 with the goal to digitise the growth and development of every citizen. 3air claims to be leading the change by providing digital identities, bankless payments, and microloans to individuals and businesses. It claims its SKALE blockchain network can process ‘lightning-fast’ transactions.

(Source: 2Merkato)


International Women’s Day commemoration

International Women’s Day, 8 March will be commemorated respecting the guidelines to control the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

Ms. Senait Mehari, head of Socio-Economic Service at the National Union of Eritrean Women, said that the commemoration event that already started from 1 March will include seminars, voluntary blood donation, and other programs.

Indicating that 90% of the projects initiated by the union have been successfully implemented, Ms. Senait said that various vocational training programs have been organised with a view to develop the overall capacity of women and over 47 million Nakfa loans have been distributed to disadvantaged women with the aim to enable them to improve their livelihoods.

Ms. Senait went on to say that bee hives have been distributed to 300 families, 350 families were provided with 25 chicks each and financial and material support has been extended to disadvantaged students.

Ms. Senait further noted that as a result of the sustainable awareness raising activities FGM practice that was over 95% in 2005 has been significantly reduced.

(Source: Ministry of Information Eritrea) 


Ethio-Sudan Border Via Gallabat-Metema Reopens for Movement of People, Goods

The Ethio-Sudan cross border trade and movement of people via the Gallabat-Metema resumed after several months, Amhara regional state government media reported.

In early April 2021, Sudan had closed the strategic crossing blaming an attack by Ethiopian militiamen against Sudanese custom officers in the presence of Ethiopian forces. After a brief reopening the border was again closed in July 2021 after Sudanese authorities accused Ethiopian militiamen of murdering a Sudanese military officer after he was kidnapped from the crossing point.

During the reopening meeting on March 2, Colonel Mohamed Abdel Madid, Gellabat Customs Office Head, said that security forces of the two countries should work together to solve security problems in the region including in areas of information exchange and joint survey to ensure mutual security.

Getu Seleme, head of the Metema Yohannes City Administration Peace and Security Office, on his part said that the two authorities will work together to stop criminal activities in the area and to ensure the peace and continue to strengthen business ties.

Movement of people and import and export of goods is allowed from 7:00 AM to 5:30 PM local time.

(Source: Addis Standard)

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