5th February 2021 Trade & Financial Services Round Up

February 5, 2021 - 5 minutes read
KENYA

Jambo Pay obtains licence to operate MVNO service

Online payments company Jambo Pay, owned by Web Tribe, has obtained a licence to operate an MVNO service, and says that its initial services will include IoT services such as ‘smart communications networks which will enable Kenyans to monitor their water and electricity meter services and pay for the bills as well as track their vehicles’, with a commercial launch expected in Nairobi in H2 2021. The company declared that it will ‘make available the IoT network to innovators, applications developers and device manufacturers’.

Source:Business Daily Africa 

Half of State agencies snub directive on tender listing

Nearly half of government ministries, departments and agencies are yet to comply with a directive to publish tender details on a designated public procurement website, undermining efforts to keep out shadowy contractors and curb corruption.

Mid-2018, Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua asked accounting officers in ministries, departments and agencies to consolidate and publish tenders’ information, on the 15th of every month.

The information on the portal should include the basis of awarding the tenders, parameters of assessment, names and details of tender committee members as well as the value of each contract.

A report by the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) – the official procurement watchdog – however shows that most State agencies snubbed the directive during the 2019/2020 financial year where tenders worth Sh232.77 billion were published on online portal.

Source:Business Daily Africa 

February Treasury bonds attract fewer takers as liquidity dries up

Investors undersubscribed this month’s Treasury bond sale by 16.3 per cent, blamed on tighter liquidity and saturation of medium tenor papers in the market.

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) received Sh41.86 billion bids out of a Sh50 billion target for the dual tranche bond that consisted a 15-year paper first sold in 2013 and 20-year paper whose initial sale was in 2012.

This means the effective tenor for the two papers is 7.1 years and 11.8 years, respectively.

CBK took up Sh32.12 billion at the rate of 11.25 per cent and 12 per cent for the two bonds respectively.

Source:Business Daily Africa 

M-Pesa revenues recover after charges reinstated

Revenues from the global mobile financial service M-Pesa have recovered following the reinstatement of fees on person-to-person transactions on the platform.

Kenyan telco Safaricom  runs M-Pesa in Kenya and also owns half of the business in the international markets in a joint venture with South Africa’s Vodacom Group Limited.

Kenya and other African countries suspended charges on certain transactions on M-Pesa to offer financial relief to their citizens besides seeking to reduce use of cash to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Vodacom says revenue from the international M-Pesa business, excluding Kenya, rose 10 per cent to Sh8.5 billion in the quarter ended December compared to Sh7.7 billion a year earlier.

Source:Business Daily Africa 

February Treasury bonds attract fewer takers as liquidity dries up

Investors undersubscribed this month’s Treasury bond sale by 16.3 per cent, blamed on tighter liquidity and saturation of medium tenor papers in the market.

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) received Sh41.86 billion bids out of a Sh50 billion target for the dual tranche bond that consisted a 15-year paper first sold in 2013 and 20-year paper whose initial sale was in 2012.

This means the effective tenor for the two papers is 7.1 years and 11.8 years, respectively.

CBK took up Sh32.12 billion at the rate of 11.25 per cent and 12 per cent for the two bonds respectively.

Source:Business Daily Africa 

Rich Kenyans triple dollar deposits in pandemic era

Well-off individuals and companies seeking to safeguard their wealth tripled their dollar deposits to Sh88.1 billion in dollars in the nine months to November last year when Kenya’s economy was in a Covid-linked slump and the shilling weakened steeply against the greenback.

Latest data by the Central Bank of Kenya(CBK) shows that the value of dollars stockpiled in banks crossed a record Sh714 billion in November compared to Sh625.9 billion in February just before the country reported its first case of Covid-19 infection on March 13 —triggering restrictions to curb the spread of the virus.

The value of the dollar deposits between February and November 2020 represents a 219 percent leap when compared to a similar period of the previous year when the equivalent of Sh27.63 billion was banked.

Source:Business Daily Africa 

UGANDA

Nile Breweries creates fund to support job creation

Nile Breweries Limited (NBL) has said it will soon open the 2021 call for proposals from youth entrepreneurs seeking support to create jobs.  

Mr Onapito Ekomoloitl, the NBL director legal and corporate affairs, said last week that as a business, they were concerned of youth unemployment, which is threatening to turn into a crisis. This, he said, has been worsened by Covid-19 that has created uncertainty around businesses in the beverages and beer value chain.

Source: Daily Monitor

AIG exits Uganda for second time

American insurer, AIG will exit Uganda for the second time, citing change in group’s business strategy. A notice signed by Mr Ibrahim Kaddunabbi, the Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) chief executive officer, said American International Group (AIG) will on March 30 wind up operations in Uganda.

AIG was licenced to operate non-life insurance business including motor-third party, fire and burglary, among others. In the notice, IRA said AIG will continue to service its clients till March 2023 but shall not register any new business.  

The announcement comes two years after AIG had returned following an earlier exit in 2016, in which it had said, it was creating a simplified organisation to achieve a global strategy based on capabilities.

Source: Daily Monitor

Google Internet project closes in Uganda 

Uganda will be among the 10 African countries that will lose out as Google winds up its Internet Balloon Project.

The closure follows an announcement in which Google said the project was “an unsustainable business model”.  

In 2019, Loon LLC, a subsidiary of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, signed a Letter of Agreement in Kampala with officials from Uganda Civil Aviation Authority, in which high altitude solar powered Internet balloons with floating masts over Uganda’s airspace, would be established at an altitude of 500,000 feet.

The balloons would create an aerial wireless network to provide Internet and telecom network connectivity to rural and remote areas.

Source: Daily Monitor

TANZANIA

Tanzania Rejects Covid-19 Vaccines, Promotes Herbs Despite Spike in Deaths

Tanzania’s health ministry this week announced it has no plans to accept Covid-19 vaccines, maintaining that the eastern African nation does not have the virus. However, Tanzanians speaking to friends and family say that a number of people have died from the virus.

“The sources we’ve been talking to say some of their colleagues and family members have passed on because of Covid-19, but this week they are saying that talking about Covid in

Tanzania is a taboo,” RFI Kiswahili service editor Emmanuel Makundi told Africa Calling podcast.

Source: Radio France Internationale

Tanzania Increases Pump Prices in Response to World Market

anzanian Motorists will have to dig deeper into their pockets to keep their cars moving as the prices of petroleum products increased starting on Wednesday.

The Energy and Water Utilities Regulatory Authority (Ewura) announced new cap prices for petroleum products in the country, indicating that the retail price of diesel and petrol imported through the Dar es Salaam port jumped by Sh134 and Sh53 per litre respectively.

Ewura Director General Godfrey Chibulunje said in a public notice that change in prices was attributed to changes in the world oil market prices and Bulk Procurement System (BPS) premiums.

Source: The Citizen

RWANDA

Rwanda: Covid-19 – 72-Hour Negative Results for Arriving Passengers

Effective Monday, February 8, every passenger arriving in Rwanda will be required to present a negative Covid-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of boarding their flights.

The new measure was taken by a cabinet meeting held on Tuesday, February 2, that, among others, extended the lockdown in Kigali until the end of this week.

The move (lockdown extension), according to the government, seeks to sustain the gains of the previous lockdown in the city.

Currently, all passengers arriving in Rwanda show a PCR negative test taken within 120 hours

before departure. Upon arrival, they are tested again and put in isolation at designated hotels for 24 hours as they wait for their results.

Source: The New Times

AFRICA

African trade Ministries urged to provide adequate information on AfCFTA

The executive director of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Policy Network, Louis Yaw Afful, has called on various Ministries of Trade and trade establishments of party states of the AfCFTA to publish their tariff offers, which are the list of products that each country says it is ready to liberalise under the 90% tariff liberalisation. He believes this will keep businesses abreast of products that fall within the 10% exclusive or sensitive categories and will attract duties when exported. “Local businesses should know what products have been liberalised so that when products are coming from other countries, they can be able to identify the products which are under the exclusives and, therefore, know whether they will be allowed into the country.” Speaking on Eye on Port, the executive director revealed that trading has commenced in the much-touted African continental free trade area with the rules of origin, which is the criteria needed to determine the nationality of a product, being 82% complete.

Source: GhanaWeb

WEST AFRICA

ECOWAS caps COVID-19 PCR tests for intra-regional travellers at USD50

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has capped at USD50 the cost of COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for nationals travelling within the region. This was agreed at the 58th Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS held on Saturday, 23 January 2021 via video conferencing. A communiqué issued after the meeting said, “The Authority approves the harmonised ECOWAS Protocol for cross-border movement of persons and goods during the pandemic and caps the cost of COVID-19 PCR test for travel within the region by ECOWAS nationals at a maximum of USD50.” Currently, the different countries within the ECOWAS region charge different amounts for COVID-19 tests for travellers within the region. The ECOWAS meeting, chaired by Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, also agreed to set up a fund, called the Vaccine Revolving Fund, to receive contributions from governments, development banks, the private sector and partners for the purpose of securing “anti-COVID vaccines in the region through short-term pooled procurement and medium-to-long-term regional manufacture.” ECOWAS also agreed to establish a COVID-19 Donor Working Group who will campaign to raise additional funds.

Source: BusinessGhana

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