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Tuesday, 01 Sep 2020

Hyperinflation and Currency Collapse Fears After Zambian President Fires Central Bank Governor


Insights Africa

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Economic Outlook

Economic Outlook

  • Zambian President Edgar Lungu fired the country’s central bank governor Denny Kalyalya last week triggering fears that government wants to end the institution’s independence. Kaylalya was immediately replaced by Christopher Mvunga who reportedly has close ties to the President. The decision affected the country’s currency, the Kwacha, decreasing 7% against the greenback to reach an all-time low of 19.20 kwachas to a single U.S. dollar.
  • The East African Community (EAC) has kicked-off national launches of the 50 Million African Women Speak Networking Platform (50MAWS), a digital platform aimed at empowering millions of women in Africa to start, grow and scale up their businesses.
  • African businesses are shifting towards new technologies in response to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new report published by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). According to the report, the top three challenges faced by African companies in the wake of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic are reduced opportunities to meet new customers drop in demand for products and services, as well as lack of cash flow.
  • The Covid-19 pandemic, and measures implemented in Ethiopia to slow its spread, have significantly constrained many poor households’ access to cash income. Many poor households are gradually re-engaging in income-generating activities despite continued movement restrictions.
  • Ethiopia will receive around 210 MM USD as the second disbursement of the 3 BN USD program from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to support the country's balance of payments.
  • The Central Bank of Uganda reported that although the country's economy contracted in Q2-2020, there are indications that the economy is picking up as the country eases the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. The bank also announced that the lending Central Bank Rate (CBR) for August 2020 contracted by 2% in Q2-2020 as a result of a combination of COVID-19 containment measures and floods.
  • Zimbabwe apex bank, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), has extended by a year the deadline for local financial institutions to meet the new minimum capital requirements. The regulator had taken into consideration the impact Covid-19 has had on the financial services sector.
  • Namibia has approved an additional 342,000 NAD (19,700 USD) as part of the grant to bail out the country's arts sector, which has been grounded by a state of emergency imposed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The country first approved 5 MM NAD (335,786 USD) grant to bail out the country's arts sector.
Political Events

Political Events

  • The Sudan government and the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF), a coalition of rebel groups from the western region of Darfur and the southern states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, signed a peace agreement covering key issues around security, land ownership, transitional justice, power sharing, and the return of people who fled their homes because of war.
  • China and Ghana are continuing to promote bilateral trade despite the Covid-19 pandemic, as the two sides actively push several programs ahead including a double taxation-avoidance agreement. In addition, both sides are actively coordinating to resolve resource problems in areas such as workforce and equipment.
Stock Market

Stock Market

  • The volume of shares held by foreign investors at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) has decreased in 2019 following sustained selling by the investors in a bear market. Foreign investors held 18% of the issued shares at the Nairobi bourse by the end of June 2020, down from 9% in June 2019. The stock exchange currently has 98.6 billion issued shares, meaning that the foreign held stock stands at 17.7 billion units, with the remainder (88%) in the hands of local and East African investors.
  • Despite the size of the Nigerian economy, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) is not in the bracket of the top four stock exchanges in Africa. The Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the largest, with a total market capitalization of 33 BN USD is 29 times bigger than the NSE.

                         Note:  Weekly values are calculated on Friday of each week.

Companies Transactions

Companies Transactions

  • Guinness Nigeria Plc, a leading Nigerian producer of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, is struggling with managing its 23 MM USD debt This is due to the lack of foreign exchange liquidity in the local FX market that has made it difficult for the company to refinance the loans.
  • The Nigerian Bottling Company Ltd (NBC) has announced the successful installation of a new high-speed canning line at its Ikeja plant. This is in line with its business optimization and transformation plans. The Director, Public Affairs and Communications, NBC, Ekuma Eze, noted that the move and the supporting capital investment are in line with the company’s commitment to continue investing in the country.
  • Kenya top seven banks listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) have set aside 7 BN KES (292.9 MM USD) in H1-2020 and expected to further increase due to the rise in bad loans in order to combat Covid-19. The provisions, which increased by 22.8 BN KES (210.68 MM USD) in H1-2020 compared to 9 BN KES (83.16 MM USD) in H1-2019, represent the amounts of banks that expect to lose from lending to households and corporates.
  • In Kenya, hotels are likely to eye the AirBnB market in order to increase bookings and raise revenue following prolonged closure due to Covid-19 pandemic, bringing a new threat to home owners who have been relying on the service to raise additional income. The crisis has seen profits plunge in the travel and hotel industry over reduced numbers of both domestic and international tourists due to restrictions on travel and closures of borders.
  • MTN Group Limited has appointed Ralph Mupita as Chief Executive Officer, to pilot the company’s operations in Africa. This is in line with the company’s policy of appointing internal candidates. Mupita will take over from Rob Shuter on September 1, 2020.
  • Stanbic Bank Zimbabwe jumped from 624 MM USD loss posted in H1-2019 to 2 MM USD adjusted profit after tax for H1-2020. A subsidiary of Standard Bank Group of South Africa, the bank attributed the impressive performance to an improvement in its non-funded income that includes trading revenue, fee and commission income and fair value adjustments on investment properties.
  • The Zimbabwean government is happy with the “tone of discussions” during the annual meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB), which demonstrated the bank’s determination to support the country. Recently, the AfDB board of directors approved 13,7 MM USD grant to finance the Covid-19 response in Zimbabwe.
  • The Development Bank of Rwanda (BRD), the World Bank, and the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) have announced a strategic fund-raising and collaboration to raise capital for Ignite Power. Ignite Power is a Rwandan renewable energy firm with investment in solar energy. The firm also has presence in other African countries.

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