- Ethiopia is liberalizing its telecoms sector noting that it is the last in the continent to do so. The government recognized the importance of a competitive market in improving accessibility and affordability of telecommunication services to the people. Policy changes aimed at a key sector like telecoms often seek to rearrange existing power dynamics that can either enable or constrain its implementation.
- Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) reported that the use of mobile phones in making payments decreased in January 2020 on the back of low circulation of cash in the economy. The number of mobile payment deals declined by 04 MM KES (39,128 USD) reaching 150.204 MM KES (1.45 MM USD) in January 2020 compared to 154.243 MM KES (1.49 MM USD) in January 2019.
- The Kenyan Treasury had decreased pending bills by nearly 90% reaching71 BN KES (181.21 MM USD) compared to 152 BN KES (1.47 BN USD) to over the past 18 months, offering relief to suppliers and contractors that have been the target of auctioneers. This decision aims to improve the fortunes of small businesses and ease a cash crunch across all sectors.
- Kenyan insurance firms will not meet medical bills for victims of the deadly coronavirus after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the disease a pandemic. Standard medical insurance typically excludes epidemics and pandemics, meaning victims of the disease will not be able to recoup coronavirus-related expenses.
- Nairobi is the most favored investment destination for hostels due to high student population that prefers Parklands. However, Kenya could host more than 30,000 international students if it built well-located, high quality and affordable accommodation.
- According to the Central Bank of Uganda, the country’s gold exports were more than doubled in 2019 compared to 2018 reaching 25 BN USD worth of gold in 2019 compared to 514.8 MM USD in 2018. This increase was due to a growing international demand for gold and a boost in Uganda refining capacity.
- According to the World Bank, Uganda will find itself with a crisis of more workers than jobs unless the country's economy grows faster than its current pace. Adding that with the country's growing population, Uganda needs to implement a faster urbanization process through industrialization which should start with developing the commercial agriculture.
- The Zambian power utility Zesco reported that the country’s power supply deficit has grown by nearly 20% since September 2019 despite massive price hikes and government support for green energy projects to fight drought-induced electricity shortages.
- Kenya has received 369 MM KES (3.57 MM USD) from Japan for fighting desert locusts noting that the grant will be managed by the World Food Program (WFP) benefitting 80,000 people. Japan also has extended a similar support to Somalia and Djibouti, which have equally been ravaged by the migratory insects, bringing its entire package to the three African countries to 75 MM KES (7.5 MM USD).
- Kenya has confirmed its first coronavirus case last Friday, becoming the 11th country in sub-Saharan Africa and the 1st in eastern Africa to register a positive case. Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe stated that the patient is a Kenyan who travelled from the US via London, Britain.
- Stocks listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) have lost 573 BN KES (5.5 BN USD) of their value over the past two months as the spread of the coronavirus and other economic headwinds spark an exit of foreign investors. The value of all the stocks on the Nairobi bourse reached 2 TR KES (19.37 BN USD) on Friday compared to 6 TR KES (25.18 BN USD) on January 10.
- East African companies are facing hard times in raising capital from the regional markets as lenders are hesitant to explore corporate bonds due to defaults and governance-related issues. While the corporate bond market in Kenya has been choked by massive defaults by issuers, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzanian markets are struggling to attract companies to issue the debt instruments. Note: Weekly values are calculated on Friday of each week.
- Cooperative Bank of Kenya has opened talks to buy a 100% stake in Jamii Bora Bank, bolstering the listed lender’s asset base and increasing acquisitions in Kenya banking sector. The acquisition will strengthen both institutions leveraging a well-established domestic and regional corporate, public sector, retail business and the 15-million-member co-operative movement.
- Absa Bank Kenya has signaled its intention to shake up the banking market through its revamped SME proposition which offers up to 10 MM KES (96,852 USD) unsecured loans to entrepreneurs. Under the new proposition, known as Wezesha Biashara, entrepreneurs can also access LPO financing up to 12 MM KES (116,222 USD), unsecured invoice discounting up to 50 MM KES (48,4261 USD) and unsecured bid bonds up to 10 MM KES (96,852 USD).
- The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has threatened five top banks with multi-billion-shilling penalties over their dealings with Keroche Breweries in the push to collect 9 BN KES (87.16 MM USD) in unpaid taxes. The KRA has given the banks up to April 11 to transfer cash in Keroche’s bank accounts to the agency’s coffers.
- Zanaco Bank recognized that smallholder farmers are an important segment of Zambia economy, and partnered with the UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and Agrifin Accelerate (AFA)/Mercy Corps to develop and test the go-to-market strategy that offers farmers services to transact, save, send and receive money.
- The European Union (EU) will invest around 7 TR KES (646 MM EUR) in Uganda for the next five years. The EU will support and focus their investment on including skills and attitude development, access to finance, governance and corruption.
- African Development Bank has approved 7 MM USD loan and 3.3 MM USD grant from the Rural Water Supply Sanitation Initiative Trust Fund, to support ‘Water Sector Support Program’ in Namibia. The program is aimed at facilitating improved access to potable water for agricultural and industrial use, through sustainable production and transfer of water resources.
- Global Petroleum Ltd reported a narrowed loss in 2019 on lower exploration costs, as the company focused on unearthing seismic 2D data from its Namibian project. Global Petroleum's exploration & business development costs fell 45% y-o-y reaching 64,577 USD compared to 118,180 USD in 2018. Administrative expenses were down 8% to 494,003 USD in 2019.