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14th May 2021 Trade & Financial Services Round Up

KENYA

Public debt relief helps cut Kenya payments by Sh78bn

Kenya projects savings of up to Sh78.17 billion after it signed debt repayment moratoriums with several rich countries, lifting pressure on its thinned domestic revenue collection.

The National Treasury estimates that deferred repayments for loan principals will amount to Sh42.23 billion in the current financial year ending June while reliefs on interest payments would hit Sh35.94 billion.

Source: Business Daily Africa

Kakuzi to resume UK avocado exports after rights boycott

Agricultural firm Kakuzi will soon resume exports of avocados to supermarkets in Europe which stopped buying its produce in October last year when the firm was accused of serious human rights abuse.

Supermarket chains Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Lidl suspended Kakuzi supplies in the wake of reports of rape and violence at Kakuzi by The Times of London.

Camellia Plc, the parent company of Kakuzi, says actions and reforms taken since then have made it possible for the Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed firm to be taken back as a supplier of the major retailers.

Source: Business Daily Africa

New digital tool to ease mass payments for firms

Interswitch Group has launched a digital payment platform that allows firms to make mass payments to multiple recipients.

The firm said the platform, Autopay, will enable banks, Sacco’s, digital lenders and corporates to perform one-off or recurring direct credit multiple payments to vendors, contractors, suppliers, and staff, across multiple banks and mobile wallets like M-Pesa and Airtel Money.

To use the system, businesses will need to log into an Autopay web-portal provided by Interswitch or integrate the Autopay platform to their existing business systems like mobile banking, internet banking and Core banking systems.

Source: Business Daily Africa

Interest rate cap removal fails to excite borrowers

A majority of banks are yet to register increased demand for lending despite the lifting of interest rate cap 17 months ago to accommodate riskier borrowers.

A credit survey for March by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) shows that 82 percent of credit officers drawn from different lenders had not witnessed an increase in loan requests despite the move.

“Eighty two per cent of the respondents indicated that after the repeal of interest rate capping law, the demand for credit remained unchanged while 18 per cent noted that demand for credit increased,” shows the survey.

Source: Business Daily Africa

UGANDA

Lycamobile gets national licence in Uganda

Lycamobile has been awarded a National Telecommunications Operator (NTO) licence in Uganda to make it the country’s fourth national operator alongside Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL), MTN and Airtel. As an NTO licensee, Lycamobile must deploy networks covering 90% of Uganda within five years, while it must also commit to listing 20% of its shares on the local bourse.

UK-based Lycamobile Group entered the Ugandan market in January 2020 when it acquired fixed-wireless operator Tangerine, and it went on to launch commercial services in April that year using Tangerine’s existing concession.

Source: TeleGeography Comms Update

Why govt raised financial deposit insurance from Shs 3m to Shs 10m

The Uganda government recently raised the insurance cover on deposits in financial institutions from Shs 3 million to Shs 10 million. This concerns all types of accounts: savings, current and fixed deposit.

The Deposit Protection Fund of Uganda (DPF) is the government agency charged with insurring the safety of customers’ deposits in financial institutions.

The change was made in the financial year 2019/2020. This led to a wider catchment net that now fully covers 98 percent of the accounts in the concerned financial institutions. DPF insures depositors’ finances in three categories of deposit-taking financial institutions regulated by Bank of Uganda. These are commercial banks, credit institutions and microfinance deposit-taking institutions (MDIs).

Source: The Observer

PostBank net profit up 16.7%

Tier II lender, PostBank Uganda has reported an increase in profit after tax from Shs8.3bn in 2019 to Shs10bn in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

According to its financial results released on May 03, this performance was penned from earnings from interest on deposits which grew from Shs5.8bn to Shs10.3bn.

Other supporting income areas include; earnings from loans and advances which increased from Shs72bn to Shs77.3bn; interest on investment securities which grew from Shs1.7bn to Shs3.3bn in 2019 and 2020 respectively.

Source: The Independent

TANZANIA

Bolt Tanzania set to expand its network

BOLT Tanzania has pledged to continue expanding its network in the country in a bid to make urban transportation more accessible and convenient.

This was unveiled in Dar es Salaam Wednesday by the Country Manager for Bolt in Tanzania, Remmy Eseka while explaining various issues to editors on the ride-hailing platform.

“We are currently present in four regions namely Dar es Salaam, Dodoma, Arusha and Mwanza, but our target is to expand reliable and affordable urban transport services to other regions,” he said.

Source: Daily News 

RWANDA

Rwanda’s economy to recover this year, more spending seen – official

Rwanda’s economy is expected to grow 5.1% this year after contracting 3.4% in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a senior finance ministry official said on Wednesday.

Growth is seen accelerating to 7.0% in 2022 and an average of 7.8% in 2023-24, driven by robust activity in agriculture, industry, mining and construction, Richard Tushabe, the state minister in charge of the National Treasury, told the parliament in presenting a draft budget for the 2021/22 fiscal year.

Tushabe also said Rwanda plans to increase spending in the fiscal year starting July 1 by 10%, to 3.807 trillion Rwandan francs ($3.82 billion). Donors will fund 16% of the budget, with the rest coming from tax revenues and debt, he said.

Source: Reuters

EAC to provide hotline for cross-border traders to report challenges

The East African Community will have a hotline through which traders crossing partner states borders can register their challenges and get prompt feedback, the secretary general has said.

“There is need to resolve persistent Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) and reduce time spent in the movement of goods and persons, hence increasing intra EAC trade, which currently stands at 15 percent,” said Dr Peter Mathuki on Monday when he visited Kenya-Tanzania border at Namanga.

“This emergency number will be set up for feedback and follow-up on trade issues, and we hope it will provide an avenue for traders to register their challenges.”

The EAC secretary general urged government agencies at the Namanga border to hold regular consultative meetings with traders to identify and address factors that affect intra-regional trade.

Source: Rwanda Today

ETHIOPIA

Ethiopia makes U-turn on blocking M-Pesa bid

Ethiopia Wednesday made a U-turn and allowed foreign telecommunications companies to launch mobile phone-based financial services, setting the stage for Safaricom to introduce its popular M-Pesa in the market of 110 million people.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said the mobile financial services in the country will be opened to competition from next May, with foreign firms free to battle with State-run Ethio Telecom.

This marks a departure from last year’s directive that only allowed locally-owned non-financial institutions to offer mobile money service, dimming the hopes of foreign firms like Safaricom that are seeking a presence in Kenya’s neighbouring country.

Source: Business Daily Africa

ArifPay wins Visa Everywhere Initiative’s Challenge in Ethiopia 

Visa, the global leader in payments technology, announced on Wednesday ArifPay has won the first Visa Everywhere Initiative (VEI) challenge in Ethiopia. At least 59 fintechs companies participated in the first ever Visa Everywhere Initiative in Ethiopia.

The challenge was part of the Ethiopian edition of VEI which is the first country specific VEI outside of the US. Visa announced ArifPay as winner on Wednesday. Arifpay is a universal mobile Point of Sales (mPOS), an electronic payment platform designed for use by merchants, banks, and consumers in Ethiopia.

Source: Ethiopian Monitor

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