19th March 2021 Trade & Financial Services Round Up

March 19, 2021 - Reading Time: 5 minutes - By Wanjiku Mwai
  • Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Demeke Mekonnen told Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Ethiopia Sami Jamil Abdullahi that Ethiopia is keen to resume the negotiation under the leadership of the new chairperson of AU President Felix-Antoine Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
  • Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry expressed interest to engage in trade and investment activities in Ethiopia.
  • Former chief executive officer of the Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation (REREC) Ng’ang’a Munyu is among four current and former State officers arrested on Thursday morning over a Sh86.84 million illegal deal to supply solar systems to public primary schools.The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) arrested Mr Munyu, James Muriithi (head of Renewable Energy), Joel Omusembe (head of Procurement), and Simon Kirui (an economist), who it said will be arraigned on Friday.
  • British American Tobacco has lamented plans by Kenya’s Health ministry to classify its nicotine pouches as tobacco products regulated under the tobacco control law. The Health ministry in early February ruled the sale and distribution of BAT nicotine pouches, trading under Lyft brand, be done under the Tobacco Control Act —a move that would place the nicotine pouches under similar taxation and marketing restrictions that are imposed on cigarettes and other tobacco products.
  • Small and medium-sized enterprises have been advised to take advantage of external markets to grow their businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The High Court has said it has powers to hear a dispute between the Law Society of Kenya and the Federation of Kenya Employers which is seeking to offer legal counsel to its membership.
  • The Capital Markets Authority has dropped its push to have small businesses that access the government’s SME loan guarantee scheme compelled to list on the Nairobi bourse, and will instead put in place a long-term fund that will underwrite listing.
  • Airtel Africa is set to sell an undisclosed minority stake in its Pan-African mobile money business to private equity firm TPG for USD 200 million, underlining the huge value of mobile financial service platforms. The multinational announced the transaction Thursday through the London Stock Exchange where it is listed. TPG is investing in Airtel is investing in Airtel Money through its investment vehicle The Arise Fund.
  • KCB Group will provide an additional capital injection of KES 3 billion (approx. USD 27.3 million) to the National Bank of Kenya in the coming days, with the cash going to help the subsidiary comply with minimum capital requirements.
  • Prime Minister Édouard Ngirente is expected to appear in parliament on Thursday next week where he will shed light on the national economic recovery.
  • Information and Communication Technology grew by 29 percent in 2020, the latest figures from the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda show.
  • Tanzania has sworn in its first female President, Samia Suluhu following the death of President John Magufuli on Wednesday. According to the law, she takes over full powers as head of State and can appoint her own cabinet and even change some of Magufuli’s policies. She is the second Zanzibari since Ali Hassan Mwinyi to lead the United Republic.
  • President John Magufuli’s five-and-a-half years in office is a period defined entirely by his decision to ensure that the country’s resources benefit all Tanzanians — specifically the marginalized citizens wallowing in poverty.
  • Akiba Commercial Bank has pledged major and positive changes in services delivery after a takeover by National Bank of Malawi.
  • NMB Bank has said loans to farmers should be supported by financial education to kick-start the stagnated agricultural entrepreneurship.
  • Uganda Tourism Board has set an ambitious target in which it will seek to earn at least UGX 12.2 billion (approx. USD 3.3 million) as a return on investment in new business deals.
  • Uganda Airlines has disagreed with the Auditor General’s findings in which it had been indicated that the national carrier holds a debt ratio of 2.37 percent.
  • A membership civil society organization, Participatory Ecological Land Use Management Uganda has added its voice to the current debate surrounding the quality of maize grain traded in Uganda and Kenya.
  • Traders and civil society organizations in Uganda are urging the government of Kenya to allow entry of all goods made in Uganda into their market for as long as they meet all the required standards.
  • The South Sudan government has suffered a fresh setback after the Court of Appeal in Kenya ordered that its bank accounts at NCBA  and Stanbic  be frozen in the wake of a legal tiff with a firm linked to former Cabinet minister Cyrus Jirongo, which is demanding Sh5.4 billion from Juba. A three-judge bench Thursday restored the orders freezing the accounts after YU Sung Construction Company successfully appealed an earlier directive by the High Court that the South Sudan government be allowed to operate the two accounts on condition that it reserved the contentious Sh5.4 billion.
  • The Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Egypt decided to keep the overnight deposit rate, overnight lending rate, and the rate of the main operation unchanged at 8.25 percent, 9.25 percent, and 8.75 percent, respectively.
  • Egypt has set a number of green projects to accomplish within its Vision 2030. Those included in the fiscal year 2020/2021 amount to 691 projects receiving allocations worth EGP 447.3 billion (approx. USD 28.5 million).
  • Egypt and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development discuss ways to enhance private sector engagement in implementing the national development agenda.
  • Agriculture Minister Lobin Lowe has said weak tobacco prices in the last decade have forced many growers to stop growing the crop, resulting in the country producing few amounts of green gold year-in-year-out.
  • Disagreements between Illovo Sugar and some sugarcane growers refuse to die with the latter referring the issue to the Competition and Fair Trading Commission to address claims of unfair trade practices.
  • The United States Government says no amount of development assistance can help Malawi to attain the middle-income status in the near future.
  • The Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry has urged the government to consider reviewing tax measures in the next budget.
  • The National Planning Commission has recommended the formulation of policies and measures to harmonize, empower and structure commodity exchange markets if the agricultural sector is to realize meaningful economic benefits.
  • Small and Medium Businesses Association has commended some government departments, ministries, and agencies for complying with the Small and Medium Enterprises Order 2020.
  • The Financial Sector Conduct Authority has issued a second ‘health’ warning to South Africans about cryptocurrency transactions in the country.
  • Social Development Minister Lindiwe Zulu says her department has received widespread support for the introduction of a basic income grant, with proposals and financing options for the plan expected to be finalized within the next financial year.
  • Credit card data from FNB shows, through our spending habits, how the COVID-19 pandemic changed the lives of consumers in South Africa over the past year.
  • The Local market steadied on investor risk sentiment after the Federal Reserve sharply revised the US economic growth, inflation, and employment projections for this year.
  • Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe yesterday unveiled the preferred bidders for generating 2000 megawatts of emergency power procurement, including naming the eight projects that are expected to inject ZAR 45 billion (approx. USD 3.1 million) of private sector investment into the economy.
  • The Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority have published its Information and Communications Technology sector annual market report for the year 2020, and many of its findings and predictions are positive.
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