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5th November 2021 Trade and Financial Services Round Up

KENYA

Equity Bank signals plan to buy stake in local rival (Source: Business Daily)

Equity Group is ready to acquire a local rival if acquisition targets emerge, marking a shift to its previous strategy of seeking organic growth.

Equity Group chief executive James Mwangi said this is part of the bank’s growth strategy in the Kenyan market, an approach that had been focused in other regions such as the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda.

Mr Mwangi said the growth strategy through acquisition saw it gain a large market share of 27 percent in DRC, compared to organic growth in Kenya.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed lender, unlike most tier-one banks, has never acquired any lender in the local market, growing through increased customer base and physical branches.

MTN Uganda hits road to promote IPO in Kenya (Source: Business Daily)

MTN Uganda has kicked off a marketing blitz for its Initial Public Offering (IPO) in meetings with Kenyan professional groups and retail investors in Nairobi to bolster subscription.

The 27.6 billion ($250 million) IPO opened mid-last month and closes on November 22, 2021.

“Kenya’s Capital Markets Authority (CMA) has provided its ‘no objection’ for the MTN Uganda Initial Public Offering (IPO) to be marketed in Kenya, allowing the marketing of the shares to both professional investors and retail investors following the opening of the offer in Uganda on 11th October 2021,” the firm said in a statement on Thursday.

Investors can apply for shares through SBG Securities, a subsidiary of South Africa’s Stanbic Holdings Plc and Dyer and Blair which is the lead retail broker.

Kenya on high alert amid strife in neighbour countries (Source: The East African) 

Kenya has heightened security and vigilance along its borders and at critical installations in response to the fluid situation in some neighbouring countries.

In a statement released on Wednesday, Police Spokesman Bruno Shioso said the move is aimed at cushioning the country from the adverse effects of conflict.

“As an immediate neighbour to some of the affected countries, Kenya may be adversely impacted,” said Mr Shioso.

UGANDA

Airtel operating profit up 52% in East Africa (Source: The Independent)

Airtel’s operations in East Africa have recorded an approximate 52% surge in operating profits to US$279 million for the half year period ending September 30, riding on a balanced growth of almost all its product segments.

The company’s East Africa business region includes Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Though Airtel Money recorded the highest growth in revenue (43.9%) to post US$190 million, data and voice revenue remain the biggest contributors of the company’s revenue stream.

The company recorded a 24.8% growth in revenue to US$217million while voice revenues recorded a 20.7% to US$377 million during the same period under review.

Airtel’s operations in the region recorded a 24.7% growth in revenue to US$822 million during the period.

2020/2021 was tough for economy (Source: The Independent)

The financial year 2020/2021 was largely challenging due to the COVID-19 pandemic that negatively affected all sectors of the economy, stated the Bank of Uganda annual report for 2021 released on October 19.

Although Uganda gradually eased the lockdown measures during the first half of the financial year, the antecedent global and domestic supply chain disruptions led to a severe contraction in economic activity and a sudden decline in consumer demand,” reads the report in part.

It adds that the contact-intensive sectors continued to be affected by social distancing measures and heightened uncertainty.

TANZANIA

CRDB unveils TSh460 billion facility for financing tech on climate (Source: The Citizen)

CRDB Bank Plc has officially unveiled a $200 million (about TSh459.9 billion) facility to finance climate-resilient and adaptation projects in the country, targeting six million beneficiaries in Tanzania’s agriculture sector.

In November 2019, CRDB Bank Plc was accredited by the United Nations Green Climate Fund (UN GCF) as the financial intermediary for the implementation of green financing in Tanzania, making it only the 4th commercial bank in Africa to obtain such an accreditation, after Ecobank Ghana and Attijariwafa Bank of Morocco.

CRDB Bank Plc said in a statement yesterday that on October 7, 2021, the GCF Board approved a Tanzania Agriculture Climate Adaptation Technology Deployment Programme (TACADTP) proposal that it (CRDB Bank) had submitted through its Sustainable Finance Unit (SFU).

ETHIOPIA

US Suspension of Ethiopia from AGOA Disappointing, Regrettable: Investment Commission (Source: ENA)

The US government decision to suspend Ethiopia from Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is very disappointing and regrettable in many ways, said the Ethiopian Investment Commission.

The commission in a statement indicated that the suspension of Ethiopia from the initiative is against the US’s core principles of human and labour rights and primarily endangers the human rights of hundreds of thousands of the vulnerable as well as discourages investors.

“The suspension is against the core principles of the very initiative itself and its alleged interest to protect human and labour rights in the African continent.”

Ethiopia Earns $42.75m from Manufactured Goods in First Quarter (Source: 2merkato)

Ethiopia’s Ministry of Trade and Industry announced that Ethiopia has earned $42.75 million from the export of manufacturing goods during the first quarter of the Ethiopian fiscal year that started July 8, 2021. The earning has almost hit the $42.85 million target set for the period.

The ministry credited a strong follow-up and support scheme in productivity with manufacturing factories for the 99.8 percent achievement of the target.

Moreover, the ministry is working closely with 14 factories that are striving to raise their level of productivity, as well as following up and providing support for three manufacturing projects currently under construction, it has been learned.

SOMALIA

Somalia, UN open centre to monitor desert locusts (Source: The East African)

Somalia and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations on Wednesday opened a centre to monitor desert locusts in the country.

The National Desert Locust Monitoring and Control Centre, which will be based in Qardho in northeast Somalia, will serve as the national desert locust early warning and control base.

Somali Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation Said Hussein said the government has prioritised control of the desert locust as well as other invasive species, stressing the government is in the process of enacting the required laws that will ensure Somalia is well protected against such pests.

Somalia gives African Union envoy seven days to leave country (Source: Al Jazeera)

Somalia has asked the African Union Commission (AUC) representative in the country to leave within a week after declaring him persona non grata.

In a statement on Thursday, Somalia’s foreign ministry said Simon Mulongo, the AUC’s deputy special representative in Mogadishu, was no longer welcome in the country due to his engagement “in activities [that are] incompatible with AMISOM’s (African Union Mission in Somalia) mandate and Somalia’s security strategy.”

SUDAN

Sudan’s entrepreneurs are early casualties of political crisis (Source: The National News)

The coup in Sudan last week has led to hostility, a deadly crackdown on protesters and an Internet blackout, which are proving costly to the country’s young entrepreneurs and emerging business community.

The political turmoil forced the closure of not just online stores, but also the suspension of contracts with western investors and multinationals, while international aid is threatened again.

Western Union resumes services in Sudan after coup (Source: Reuters)

Western Union Co (WU.N) said on Thursday it resumed services in Sudan on Tuesday, ending a week-long suspension in the wake of a military coup that saw Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok placed under house arrest and top civilians detained. 

“Effective November 2, 2021, the temporary suspension of Western Union services in Sudan has been lifted and we have resumed operations,” a Western Union spokesperson said in a statement.

RWANDA

Rwanda to benefit from £100 million climate finance (Source: New Times)

Rwanda is among five pioneer countries that have been selected to trial and find new ways for vulnerable countries to easily access climate finance.

The country was chosen due to its strong track record of effectively utilising climate finance and its bold vision to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 38 percent by 2030, and become climate resilient and stop carbon emissions by 2050.

The announcement was made at the COP26 UN Climate Change Summit in Glasgow, Scotland.

The taskforce is co-chaired by the United Kingdom and Fiji.

Parliament asks Prime Minister to solve Rwamagana steel factory emission issue (Source: New Times)

The Chamber of Deputies has requested the Prime Minister to solve, within two years, the issue of emissions discharged by SteelRwa – a steel manufacturing factory based in Rwamagana District – which nearby residents complain are harmful to them.

In a resolution passed on Wednesday, November 3, the legislators directed that the Premier presents to the Chamber of Deputies a progress report on efforts to address the problem every six months.

Findings by Parliament indicate that this problem has been affecting the residents for 11 years.

It is to note that Rwanda Environment Management Authority suspended the factory over harmful emissions in August 2019, but it was later allowed to resume operations.

ERITREA

29 test positive for Covid-19: MoH (Source: Ministry of Health Eritrea)

Twenty nine patients have been diagnosed positive for Covid-19 in tests carried out today at Quarantine Centers and Testing Stations in the Southern, Central, Anseba, and Southern Red Sea Regions.

Out of these, sixteen patients are from the Testing Stations in Adi Keih (6), Adi Quala (5), Enda Gergis (3), and Mai-Mine (2); Southern Region. Six patients are from the Quarantine Centers (3) and Testing Stations (3) in Asmara, Central Region. Five patients are from Quarantine Centers in Keren (4) and Adi-Tekelezan (1); Anseba Region. The last two patients are from a Quarantine Center in Assab; Southern Red Sea Region.

On the other hand, three patients who have been receiving medical treatment in hospitals in the Central Region have recovered fully and have been discharged from these facilities.

The total number of recovered patients has accordingly risen to 6,744 while the number of deaths stands at 45.

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