- Personal loan defaults have nearly doubled over the past three years to 3 BN KES (508.2 MM USD) when Kenya economy has resulted in job cuts and near stagnant wages, leaving thousands of people in a debt trap. The latest Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) data shows that defaults from personal unsecured lending jumped 3.6 BN KES (34.9 MM USD) in the three months to June 2019, the biggest increase when compared to other segments like mortgages, trade and manufacturing.
- Kenya market is shielded by tariffs and import quotas that may need to be reviewed to make imports from alternative sources such as African markets affordable. Manufacturers have started feeling the cost pressures as a result of shortages of raw materials and intermediate goods after China put factories on a lockdown to manage the disease.
- Kenya current account deficit as a percentage of GDP increased to 9% in January 2020 compared to 4.6% in December 2019 on the back of lower earnings from transportation services. The increase is an indicator that freighters and the port have been feeling the negative effect of disruptions in global trade due to the coronavirus outbreak.
- Kenya Coffee earnings decreased 2 BN KES (19.4 MM USD) at the end of February 2020 compared to the same period last year following a slump in volumes and depressed prices at the auction. According to the Nairobi Coffee Exchange (NCE), the crop earned Kenya 6 BN KES (64.1 MM USD) in February 2020 compared to 4.5 BN KES (43.7 MM USD) in February 2019.
- Zimbabwe and Rwanda will hold a join Trade and Investment Conference in Kigali as the two countries seek to deepen bilateral ties and increased economic cooperation for mutual benefit. Zimbabwe and Rwanda relations are at all-time high and the two countries are already planning to set up a Joint Permanent Commission of Cooperation, which will strengthen economic and political engagements.
- The successful implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) could help Eastern African countries reap 8 BN USD and revive the region’s intra trade, according to the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
- The Central Bank of Uganda (CBU) pointed to “abnormally low” rates for U.S. Treasury securities as a major reason behind the reported loss of 2 TR UGX (545 MM USD) in the past 15 years. Over 90% of Bank of Uganda earnings are from interest income on foreign reserve assets raising concerns about the bank’s ability to deliver on its mandate.
- The European Union outlined a new partnership with Africa that seeks to build more equal relationship between the two sides. The strategy is still in its early stage. Many details still need filling in, including financial ones. European Union has outlined five key focus areas which are transitioning to and accessing green energy; the digital transformation; sustainable growth and jobs; peace security and governance; and migration and mobility.
- Sudan Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on Monday morning survived an assassination a car bomb, that seemed to target him, exploded moments after his convoy had passed the Cooper suburb, northeast of the capital Khartoum. No one in the convoy was injured in the incident.
- Bonds turnover at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) went up 28% reaching 47.6 BN KES (462.13 MM USD) in February 2020 compared to 37 BN KES (359.2 MM USD) in January 2020 as investors looked for safety in government paper when turbulence hit equity markets due to the negative effects of coronavirus outbreak.
- In celebration of the International Women’s Day, Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE), joined with counterparts around the world to ring the market bell to draw attention to the critical role that business and markets can play in tackling gender inequalities. According to RSE officials, the participation of Rwandan women on the country’s stock market is good; and there is no visible difference between the activity of the ladies and that of their male counterparts, and if they do better, there will be more benefit to the economy. Note: Weekly values are calculated on Friday of each week.
- Indian vehicle manufacturer Mahindra is planning to use Kenya as its African assembly hub as it aims to increase market share in both commercial and passenger segments. The firm unveiled its first batch of locally assembled double and single cab pick-up models, starting with a ceremony at State House yesterday and a customer event on Wednesday.
- The recent Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Expo hosted by National Media Group two weeks ago was an eye-opener. The forum highlighted not only the challenges that the SMEs face, but also the opportunities that are available for them.
- Kigali is planning to expand its national carrier RwandAir across the continent, and challenge the dominance of regional leaders, Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airlines. The airline has recorded sharp growth reaching 29 destinations across the globe but the problem for Kigali has been the Qatar government's recent fixation with Rwanda's aviation sector.
- Union Bank of Nigeria Plc has signed a share sale and purchase agreement (SPA) with MBU BidCo to divest its 100% equity stake in UBUK. MBU is an acquisition vehicle wholly owned by MBU Capital Limited. Subject to obtaining the relevant regulatory approvals in Nigeria and the United Kingdom, ownership of UBUK will be transferred to MBU. The proposed sale of UBUK is aligned with UBN’s medium term strategy to focus primarily on the Nigerian market.
- Safaricom will launch Kenya first fifth generation (5G) mobile internet services targeting major urban centers in 2020, making it the inaugural operator to offer commercial and superfast services in the region.
- Logistics firm Sendy, which operates an app linking delivery drivers with customers, has raised 2 BN KES (19.9 MM USD) in funding from a group of institutional investors including Japanese conglomerate Toyota Tsusho Corporation (TTC).
- Private equity firm Kuramo Capital risks losing a total of 699 MM KES (6.9 MM USD) worth of loans given to TransCentury, the parent company of East African Cables, which is facing a liquidation suit.