4th November Trade and Financial Services Round Up

November 4, 2022 - 5 minutes read

Kenya

Dollar crisis piles pressure on Sh75bn State firms foreign debt

State-owned enterprises (SoEs) are sitting on non-guaranteed foreign currency debt worth Sh74.9 billion, exposing them to higher financing costs due to the sharp depreciation of the shilling against the US dollar.

The dollar loans account for three quarters of the State-owned enterprises’ total non-guaranteed debt of Sh99.3 billion, according to the Treasury’s annual debt management report for the fiscal year ended June 2022.

Servicing costs for dollar loans have gone up for the parastatals due to the weakening of the shilling by 6.8 percent to the dollar this year, which has raised the cost of buying the greenback locally to pay external lenders.

Those looking to roll over existing dollar debt or contract new borrowing have also been hit with higher interest rate demands by potential lenders, largely due to higher rates on offer in safer, more attractive western markets.

The Treasury has in the past two fiscal years been reporting in more detail the loans contracted by the State-owned enterprises, some of which are guaranteed by the Exchequer while others are non-guaranteed, meaning their liability falls solely on the contracting institution.

(Source: Business Daily)

Tanzania

Vodacom foundation supports digital learning with Sh160 million

 Three secondary schools have received donated ICT equipment worth over Sh160 million from Vodacom Tanzania Foundation (VTF) as part of the organisation’s efforts to digital learning and increase access to information.

The donation, received by Dodoma regional commissioner Rosemary Senyamule went to Dodoma, Mbeya and Tunduma public secondary schools.

The donation is part of VTF’s School Connectivity Project drive which aims to set up e-Fahamu legacy schools across the country, according to the Vodacom Tanzania managing director Philip Besiimire.

“ICT is crucial in improving teaching and learning in secondary schools and the foundation has an agenda to reach 1,500 secondary schools. This donation will go a long way towards ensuring our students have access to digital education as well as Vodacom’s e-learning portal (e-Fahamu) which provides free digitised educational content,” he said.

In partnership with other stakeholders in the education sector, he said, the VTF has so far reached over 509 public secondary schools and spent over Sh1.1 billion in ICT equipment donations and digital skills development.

(Source: The Citizen)

Uganda

Data, mobile money cushion fall in MTN’s voice revenues

Data and revenues from Fintechs such as mobile money cushioned MTN’s reduction in voice earnings, registering an 11.5 percent growth in revenues to UgShs1.667 trillion. In details contained in the telecom’s financial results, MTN indicated that the increase in revenue was supported by continued momentum in data and Fintech segments, which posted double digit growth for the third quarter ended September. 

However, MTN noted, voice revenues declined by 2.3 percent, which was an improvement from the 3.5 percent drop posted during the second quarter. The growth, the report shows, was supported by growth in subscriber number, which during the three months, grew by 400,000 to 16.7 million, representing a 9.2 percent growth. 

Active Fintech users increased by 19.4 percent to 10.6 million while Fintech revenue grew by 23.2 to Shs470.4b with net additions standing at 809,000. In notes published along the results, Ms Sylvia Mulinge, the MTN chief executive officer, said the revamped mobile money drive, which seeks to increase cashless transactions had aided growth in Fintech subscriber transactions, whose value grew by 36.7 percent year-on-year to Shs54.4 trillion.   

Data revenue grew by 29.8 percent to Shs369.2b due to sustained growth in active data users by 28.8 or 300,000 additions as well as improved internet propositions and network quality. 

(Source: The Monitor)

Rwanda

Digitalised customs could boost intra-African trade, tax officials say

Digitalising the customs operations has potential to boost intra-Africa trade and ensure effective revenue collection, tax authorities have observed.

At a high level customs digitalisation forum taking place in Kigali, delegates said that for the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) to succeed, countries need to integrate ICT in their customs administration.

The forum, being held from Thursday, November 3-4 under the theme “Leveraging on ICT to Boost Intra-African Trade,” has been attended by customs and excise officials from 30 countries from Eastern and Southern Africa and across the world.

Though all countries in the Eastern and Southern Africa region have digitalised their customs services, according to the World Customs Organisation (WCO), only a few of them have advanced systems. These are South Africa, Mauritius, Kenya and Rwanda.

(Source: The New Times)

Ethiopia

Ethiopia expects over 160m quintals of wheat by July

The wheat harvest Ethiopia expects by early July 2023 will surpass a record 160 million quintals, Agriculture State Minister Meles Mekonnen disclosed.

The produce is expected to bring much needed relief for the country that shells out between 700 million and a billion USD every year for the purchase of wheat from the international market, he added.

Briefing journalists today, Agriculture State Minister Meles Mekonnen said the wheat harvest this year will fully cover the needs as Ethiopia, which is about 97 million quintals annually. The rest of the produce would be exported, he stated.

According to him, some 108 million quintals of the wheat produced during the last main rainy season is under harvesting stage in many areas. Effort is also well underway to produce over 52 million quintals of wheat with irrigation by July, 2023 he said, adding that 1.3 million hectares of land will be covered by wheat in 9 regional states.

Last Ethiopian year, the country managed to produce over 24 million quintals of wheat through irrigation alone. Meanwhile, Pulse Crops Production and Post Harvest Desk Head at Ministry of Agriculture, Sibhat Temesgen, told ENA earlier that the bumper harvest this Ethiopian year will be the biggest since the country started to implement the Wheat Production Initiative that started four years ago.

(Source: ENA)

Eritrea

Training on agricultural business administration to women

Eritrean Women Agribusiness Association in cooperation with the National Confederation of Eritrean Workers organized a training from 20 September to 31 October for over 40 women focusing on business administration and initiating agricultural activity.

According to Ms. Senait Tesfaldet, chairperson of the association, the objective of the training was to enable women that want to engage in the business to have basic knowledge and those that are already in the business to further develop their capacity.

Ms. Senait also called on the trainees to apply the training they received in developing their activities and expressed readiness of the association to stand alongside them in all their endeavors.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Arefaine Berhe, Minister of Agriculture, said that the Ministry of Agriculture in cooperation with partners will continue encouraging the participation of women in agricultural activities and expressed readiness of the Ministry to support them in all their agricultural activities.

The Eritrean Women Agribusiness Association was established in 2003 and comprises women that are engaged in agricultural business.  

(Source: Min. of Information)

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