- Tanzania won the world’s best tourism destinations after taking the Best International Wildlife Destination award at the Outlook Travelers Awards (OLTA) held in India at the weekend beating its wildlife tourism South Africa and Kenya. Tanzania High Commissioner Mr Baraka Luvanda stated that the award will further cement the country’s status as one of the best global travel destinations.
- The Kenyan government raised 9 BN KES (275.9 MM USD) in February Treasury bond sale, missing its 50 BN KES (494.5 MM USD) target as the policy of rejecting expensive bids continued.
- Kenyan exports dropped to a three-year low on lower tea and coffee earnings. The Central Bank od Kenya (CBK) revealed that Kenya total exports decreased to 28 BN KES (5.88 BN USD) in the year to December 2019 compared to 612.88 BN KES (6.06 BN USD) a year earlier. Consequently, Kenya trade deficit decreased reaching 1.16 TR KES (11.47 BN USD) in December 2019 compared to 1.145 TR KES (11.32 BN USD) in 2018 despite a flat growth in imports.
- More than a third of Kenya youth eligible for work have no jobs in a business environment where the government is struggling to tackle the country’s unemployment problem. Census data showed that 5,341,182 or 9% of the 13,777,600 young Kenyans are jobless, further widening the gap between the rich and the poor.
- Uganda Central Bank has kept its policy rate at 9% at its first Monetary Policy Committee meeting of 2020. This reflects opportunities for stronger credit growth and a stable exchange rate but falls short of being an economic stimulus.
- According to the World Food Program (WFP) 7 million Zimbabweans are facing the worst hunger emergency in a decade. The situation has not yet reached the catastrophe of 2007 where people were dying of starvation and there was no food in the shops, but the staple food maize meal ran out last month, and many households are lucky if they have one meal a day.
- The forum on Sustainable Development Goals which runs from the 24 to 28 February in Zimbabwe has put the country on the spotlight and provided an opportunity to showcase some of the success stories in the implementation of the SDGs. The United Nations Economic Commission (UNECA) stated that there has been an oversubscription with the number of delegates expected to reach 3,000 compared to the initial estimate of 1,500 participants.
- Namibia has become the first African country to export red meat to the US after it sent 25 tons of beef to Philadelphia. Namibia will benefit economically from tapping into the largest consumer market with purchasing power of 13 TR USD, and US consumers will benefit from access to Namibia high-quality, free-range and grass-fed beef.
- Kenyans with old passports have until February 2021 to acquire the new digital ones after the government extended the deadline to 12 months. The extension was occasioned by the 1.8 million Kenyans mostly living abroad who are yet to replace their passports with the new East African Community biometric passport. The e-passports have more security features than the previous one.
- Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Sibusiso Moyo stated that Zimbabwe will continue with its push towards commercial diplomacy. Stressing that Zimbabwe is now pursuing commercial diplomacy as it has suffered years of economic stagnation because of illegal Western sanctions which have created a myriad of challenges which require collective action.
- Nigeria Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. Zainab Ahmed, stated that the government will soon introduce some tax incentives to boost investments in the country’s capital market. The minister added that the government will work closely with the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to put the policies in place that would boost investment and enhance the growth of the market.
- Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) annual trading volumes decreased by nearly a quarter reaching 8 billion shares in 2019 compared to 6.3 billion shares in 2018. As a result, equity turnover at the bourse decreased by 12.4% reaching 153 BN KES (1.5 BN USD) in 2019 compared to 175 BN KES (1.7 BN USD) in 2018. In contrast, the NSE 20 Share Index increased by 9.15% ending the year at 2,654.39 points. Note: Weekly values are calculated on Friday of each week.
- Absa Bank Kenya PLC formerly known as Barclays Kenya, will start offering 5% interest on savings made on its mobile phone banking platform, upping the battle for deposits in the country’s banking sector. The app, which was launched in 2018, allowed customers to only borrow up to 150,000 KES (1,483 USD) for 30 days using their phones.
- Guernsey-incorporated Shanta Gold is deferring payment of nearly 1 BN KES (9.8 MM USD) worth of loans to gain financial flexibility as it prepares to buy seven prospecting licenses in western Kenya from Toronto-based Barrick Gold Corporation in a 4 BN KES (13.8 MM USD) deal. Barrick will take 700 MM KES (7 MM USD) in cash and a 6.4% stake or 54.6 million shares of Shanta valued at 753 MM KES (7.5 MM USD).
- Cigarette maker British American Tobacco (BAT) Kenya has posted 9% decrease in net profit in 2019 on the back of higher taxes reaching 3.89 BN KES (38.47 MM USD) compared to 4.09 BN KES (40.45 MM USD). Noting that the decrease in earnings was despite gross revenue increasing 9.1% reaching 39.8 BN KES (39.36 MM USD).
- The energy watchdog has cut retail electricity prices for large manufacturers to make power costs competitive compared with other African nations such as Ethiopia, South Africa and Egypt. The energy watchdog is an organization responsible for making sure that companies that supply energy obey particular standards and do not act illegally.
- Kenya Airways (KQ) has lost around 8 MM USD in revenue in about one month since it suspended flights to China as a precaution against the deadly coronavirus outbreak. Noting that the coronavirus has so far infected more than 75,000 people globally and killed over 2,200.
- The Electricity Control Board (ECB) of Namibia recorded 6% increase in total revenue reaching 89.4 MM NAD (5.9 MM USD) in 2018/2019. ECB’s main source of revenue is derived from levies which accounted for 83.1 MM NAD (5.4 MM USD) in the total revenue figure while the remaining 6.3 MM NAD (416,738 USD) was generated from licence fees, interest, and other income.
- Intense negotiations are ongoing between Qatar Airways and the Rwandan government over a massive investment in the latter's state airline RwandAir by taking a 49% stake in the African airline.