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Tuesday, 24 Mar 2020

How Tech Can Be the Saviour in Corona Lockdown


Insights Africa

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Economic Outlook

Economic Outlook

  • With most nations under either a full or partial lockdown to help contain the virus, governments are calling on people to embrace technology to keep key sectors in operation as monitoring of the disease continues. In Kenya, Covid-19 is reminding workers that the digital economy is one that best absorbs the shocks of any disease that discourages physical contact and social grouping.
  • African countries have so far lost an estimated 29 BN USD to the coronavirus economic disruption, an amount equal to Uganda Gross Domestic Product (GDP), according to UN estimates. The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has in its latest report predicted that coronavirus will cut 4% off Africa's 2.1 TR USD GDP, owing to widespread disruption of business on the continent and across the world.
  • The Kenyan Treasury received slightly more than half the targeted amount in reopened 20- and 25-year bonds in last week’s auction. The Treasury targeted 50 BN KES (469.6 MM USD) but investors bid 155 BN KES (330.19 MM USD) for both tenors. Investors last week as well offered 21 BN KES (197.2 MM USD) for Treasury bills as the government sought 24 BN KES (225.419 MM USD).
  • President Uhuru Kenyatta stated that fiscal measures including tax relied will be unveiled in coming days to cushion workers and businesses from the economic slowdown triggered by the virus outbreak. The Treasury is preparing undisclosed tax relief to traders and homes under bailout for coronavirus-hit businesses that will also allow personal borrowers who get into difficulties to extend their loans for up to a year.
  • Sustainable consumption and production have widely been acknowledged as the main driver of achieving long-term economic growth that is consistent with environmental and social needs. According to the World Resources Institute Climate Analysis Indicators Tool report, agricultural sector leads in greenhouse gas emissions in Kenya, contributing 8% of the total emission.
  • Donald Trump the president of the US announced a 1 TR USD stimulus package that will go directly to households and the small firms. This is meant to cushion the US economy against the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The Fed and most central banks have weighed in with a cut on the policy rate. Different governments and Central Banks are going flat out to cushion economies using both fiscal and monetary stimulus.
  • Kenya has improved by 13 points in cyber resilience, moving from position 45 out of 60 in 2018 to 29 out of 76 in 2019 and leading in Africa, according to a cybersecurity index report.
  • Uganda will request the World Bank for a loan of 190 MM USD to help cushion its economy from the impact of coronavirus pandemic. The government has cut its economic growth forecast this fiscal year to 2–5.7% from an initial projection of 6%.
Political Events

Political Events

  • The novel coronavirus can survive on some surfaces for days or in the air for several hours, according to a US-government funded study. Scientists found that the virus that causes the Covid-19 disease had similar levels of viability outside the body to its predecessor that caused SARS. This means that other factors like greater transmission between people with no symptoms might be why the current pandemic is far greater than the SARS outbreak of 2002-2003.
  • WHO Africa has issued an update on the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) in Africa. The organization reports that there is now a total of 1,396 confirmed coronavirus cases in 43 African countries as per 23rd of March. There has been a total of 122 recoveries recorded in Algeria (65), Egypt (42), Burkina Faso (5), Senegal (5), Morocco (3), Cote d’Ivoire (1) and Nigeria (1).
Stock Market

Stock Market

  • Companies listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) have started cancelling annual general meetings (AGMs) in compliance with the State directive to shun large gatherings for fear of coronavirus infections. Eveready East Africa Limited and formerly listed Rea Vipingo notified shareholders that the AGMs scheduled for next week have been called off.
  • Global stock exchanges are changing trading rules to protect their markets from intense volatility and speculative trading as the coronavirus pandemic hammers equities and threatens the world economy. There have also been calls to shorten trading hours or to shutdowns for a time to help calm stock markets.                         Note:  Weekly values are calculated on Friday of each week.
Companies Transactions

Companies Transactions

  • KenolKobil is willing to acquire a Zambian oil marketer, marking the second deal in under three months after it was last year bought by French multinational, Rubis Energie. The firm has been cleared to acquire Samfuel Limited through its Zambian subsidiary, Kobil Zambia Limited. Samfuel is a private limited liability company with operations in Zambia alone. Its core business is storage, distribution and supply of petroleum products, lubricants, bitumen and chemicals.
  • E-commerce platform Gobeba has recorded a tripling of orders as more Kenyans shift to online shopping rather than visiting stores in fear of contracting Coronavirus disease. The platform indicated an increase in groceries, gas and alcohol by 200%, 100% and 50% respectively, an indication that most Kenyans are moving online in pursuit of food stuff and other household items.
  • Standard Chartered Bank Kenya has raised its dividend by 26% after reporting a marginal growth in net profit for the year ended December 2019. The bank announced a final dividend of 15 KES (0.14 USD) per share, bringing the total payout to 20 KES (0.19 USD) compared to 19 KES (0.18 USD) in 2019 and 17 KES (0.16 USD) in 2018.
  • Online marketplace Jumia has stopped the use of cash for payments after noticing a rising number of shopping requests for essential products bought and delivered directly to homes as it has been found to be a major vector for Coronavirus infections. In this case everyone will need to pay upfront or await delivery to make payments via mobile cashless platforms.
  • Kenya Airways will only fly domestic routes as it moves to adhere to the international flights ban imposed by the government in its efforts to curb the coronavirus spread. All international services will be suspended effective midnight March 25, until further notice.
  • Batswana retailer Choppies Supermarket has put up for sale its retail equipment and property in Kenya weeks after scaling down local stores from more than 15 to two in order to pay some of its debts. Choppies fired 583 workers in recent months as it struggled to survive strained cash flows and heightened competition for Kenyan shopping basket.
  • Kenya Reinsurance Corporation Limited (Kenya Re) is turning 50 this year, having been established through an Act of Parliament in December 1970. It is the oldest reinsurer in Eastern and Central Africa.
  • Investors will wait longer for dividends and change of directors in companies after regulators started freezing annual shareholder meetings (AGMs) due to the coronavirus outbreak. The Sacco Societies Regulatory Authority (Sasra) has directed all savings and credit cooperative societies (saccos) to suspend AGMs.

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