25th September 2020 Trade & Financial Services Round Up

September 25, 2020 - Reading Time: 6 minutes - By The Vellum Team

Financial institutions presented with climate metrics platform

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has updated its first-of-a-kind online climate impact measurement platform to make it easier for financial institutions to assess the climate eligibility of their investments and estimate the development impact of their climate-related activities. Version 2.1 of the Climate Assessment for Financial Institutions (CAFI) platform provides users with new insights through rich graphics, enhanced climate metrics, and improved key performance indicators. Users in low-bandwidth countries will benefit from a new “CAFI Lite” feature. The platform incorporates feedback from IFC’s industry experts and the broader community of financial institutions.


COMESA launches App to facilitate operations of the Regional Customs Transit Scheme

The Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Regional Customs Transit Guarantee (RCTG-CARNET) Scheme has launched a mobile Application to provide access to real-time information to clearing and forwarding agents in the region. The Application provides a one-stop shop for the agents in member countries to view current bond balance and active Carnets, get notifications on Carnet acquittals and expiry of RCTG Bonds. The scheme is a guarantee used for goods in transit as an undertaking to comply with customs obligations within each transit country. Its objective is to ensure that governments of transit countries can recover duties and taxes from the guarantors should the goods be illegally disposed of in the local market. The RCTG-CARNET offers customs administrations a secure regional system of control, replacing the nationally executed practices and procedures. COMESA member states introduced the Scheme in 2012 to address difficulties experienced by transport operators, freight forwarders and clearing agents. The COMESA RCTG-CARNET is the second of its kind in the world after the European Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR) Carnet and the only one in the region and the African continent. It is recognised by the World Customs Organization. The RCTG Scheme has 13 members, namely: Burundi, Djibouti, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Malawi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Currently, the Scheme is operational in five countries, namely: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.


Airtel, Telkom Merger Fall Out Affects Internet Use

Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) in its latest industry report says that there were 38.85 million internet subscribers as at March down from 46.46 million in similar period last year.

The regulator attributed the decline to proposed merger between the telcos with Telkom Kenya’s share of the mobile data market in the year to March shrinking 1.8 percentage points to 5 percent as its internet subscribers shifted amid the uncertainties.

Mobile internet subscribers in the year to March fell 16.38 percent on market uncertainties occasioned by the proposed merger between Telkom Kenya and Airtel.Telkom Kenya also scaled its investments in the mobile data market in preparation for a unified business approach with Airtel Kenya. The merger deal collapsed last month with Airtel Kenya and Telkom Kenya citing unacceptable conditions placed on the proposed amalgamation besides delays in receiving regulatory approvals. The companies had entered into an agreement on February 8, 2019 to combine their mobile, enterprise and wholesale divisions, a proposed deal that led to uncertainties on the fate of Telkom Kenya subscribers.

“Total data/Internet subscriptions dropped by 0.7 percent during the review period to stand at 39.3 million… This is mainly attributed to the decline in the number of mobile data subscriptions posted by Telkom Kenya Limited during the period under review,” CA says.

Investors report Cytonn to CMA over Sh122m default

13 investors claim Cytonn has delayed payments of between Sh500,000 and Sh25 million, prompting the regulator to petition the courts in the push to bar Cytonn from putting more cash in real estate projects. The regulator says it is concerned that one of the funds — Cytonn High Yield Solutions (CHYS) — and debt security raised from investors dubbed Cytonn Project Notes pose risks to investing public. The regulator warns that Cytonn is at risk of defaulting further on investors obligation, which is to pay the securities and interests on maturity. The revelations are contained in a court papers where CMA wants Cytonn to cut investments of the fund in two of its real estate properties, the Alma and Applewood, citing breach of guidelines.

This is in breach of regulatory guidelines that bar pooled fund from investing more than 25 percent in one single entity. Cytonn Investments has however obtained court orders stopping CMA from freezing any further investments in the funds held in SBM bank.

CMA admits FourFront Management Ltd to the Regulatory Sandbox

The Capital Markets Authority (CMA) has announced the admission of FourFront Management Limited to the Regulatory Sandbox, bringing the total number of firms admitted to the live-testing environment for capital markets innovations to seven. The financial technology (fintech) firm is a wholly owned subsidiary of Standard Investment Bank (SIB), a licensed investment bank.

FourFront Management Limited proposes to test a robo-advisory solution targeting 100 investors during a four-month period. A robo-advisor is a digital platform that provides automated, algorithm-driven financial planning and investing services with little to no human interaction. A robo-advisor collects information from its clientele about their financial situation and future goals through online survey and then leverages the data as a basis to offer investment advice and automatically invest client assets. Typically, robo-advisors offer easy account setup, robust goal planning, account services, portfolio management, and security features, attentive customer service, comprehensive education, and low fees.

National Oil Sh108 billion stake sale faces longer delay

Kenya’s plans to raise $1 billion (Sh108 billion) through the sale of a stake in the National Oil Corporation of Kenya (Nock) face longer delay, with the government remaining non-committal on the expected conclusion date of the deal whose proceeds are meant to acquire a stake in the Turkana oil blocks.

In November 2017, the Energy ministry disclosed that it was seeking to list its oil firm on the Nairobi and London stock exchanges by early 2019 through an initial public offering (IPO). Noc had already advertised for a consultant to guide the deal. President Uhuru Kenyatta also said in 2018 that the company would dual list on both bourses by 2019.

This week, the Petroleum ministry Petroleum Principal Secretary Andrew Kamau said “the process is ongoing,” without divulging further details. The dual-listing would be facilitated by a May 2017 memorandum of understanding between LSE Group and NSE, enabling cross-listing of Kenyan shares and bonds in London.


Ethiopian government to award foreign companies that buy 40% stakes of Ethio Telecom by February 2021

The Ministry of Finance on Wednesday revealed that it will issue invitation for bid to international telecom companies to award two bidders that take over 40 percent stakes of Ethio Telecom in October 2020. This was said after the ministry held a consultative meeting with private, financial and IT sectors to get their feedback on the privatization process, particularly in the telecom sector during the past two years. The bid document for the two new licenses will allow the winners to build, own and operate  telecommunications networks.

Some 40 percent of Ethio Telecom stakes are to be transferred to two winning companies and 5 percent will be sold to Ethiopian nationals. The competition and the partial Ethio-Telecom sales are expected to be completed by early February, 2021.


TTCL, ZICTIA sign communication broadband deal

TTCL Corporation has signed an agreement with the Zanzibar Information Communication Technology Infrastructure Agency (ZICTIA) to connect the National ICT Broadband Backbone (NICTBB) with the Zanzibar communication backbone to enhance efficiency of communication services of the two sides of the country.

CRDB slashes agriloan interest, collaterals

CRDB Bank has slashed agricultural loan interest rate and removed collateral for farming machines. The lender said on Tuesday that the rate dropped from the current 20 per cent to 18 per cent in a move aiming to empower farmers to increase capital base and expand their businesses. The bank also abolished collateral for agri-machines and equipment that will act as loan assurance and one can borrow up to 3bn/-.


Bank of Uganda wants uniform ATM charges

The Central Bank wants commercial banks to harmonise fees charged at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) as part of the work plan that seeks to embrace digital transactions. High costs of transactions have for a while been blamed for the increased reluctance among the public to embrace digital transactions.

Bank of Uganda, through the National Payment Systems Policy is seeking to at least have achieved a cashless economy by 2021. 75 % of payments in Uganda are still made through cash and the Central Bank has recently indicated that achieving the cashless economy might take longer than planned.

Telecom firms quarterly revenues cross Shs1tn mark

The latest Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) report indicate that Uganda’s telecom sector has posted the highest total quarterly revenues on record, crossing the Shs1 trillion mark amidst the ravaging coronavirus pandemic, according to  This is an increase from Shs937bn recorded in the fourth quarter, Shs 858bn in the third quarter and Shs 843bn in the second quarter of 2019, due to an increase in mobile phone subscribers.

The revenues lines, according to the report, included retail and input or wholesale revenues like tower lease sales, international bandwidth, mobile financial services as well as voice and data services. The growth in quarterly revenues represents a quarter-on-quarter growth of 12% between the fourth quarter 2019 and the first quarter of 2020.

However, within first quarter of this year, the telecom sector revenues continued to grow at an average monthly rate of 3% in the quarter January to March 2020.  For instance, in the month of March, the telecom sector posted Shs361billion in gross revenues from Shs328 billion recorded in the month of December last year.


I&M Bank, SPENN launch new savings product

SPENN, a financial technology firm with operations in Rwanda and I&M Bank (Rwanda) Plc on Thursday introduced a new savings product in the local market in a bid to drive up savings. The new savings product is free of charge, has unlimited withdrawal options and funds saved will earn a 4 per cent annual interest.

The new product is an intervention to change the low savings culture in Rwanda often attributed to few products tailored to clients’ needs. The savings account allows users to set savings goals, check the progress of their savings, and does not require a minimum amount to receive interest, the firm said. In Rwanda, SPENN is powered by I&M Bank which facilitated the debut of the firm in the local market in 2018.

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