- In Kenya, the cabinet has approved a5 BN KES (24.7 MM USD) budget for the upgrade of the Nairobi commuter railway network, as they will import faster trains from Spain. The move is aimed at growing the use of railway transport in the capital city.
- In Kenya, the value of furniture, and related items including bedding and mattresses, declined only marginally to 23 BN KES (61.59 MM USD) in the first nine months of 2019 compared to 6.47 BN KES (63.96 MM USD) in the same period the previous year.
- Kenyan traders spent 8 BN KES (17.59 MM USD) on second-hand clothes and footwear imports in nine months through September 2019. Expenditure on second-hand clothes, popularly called mitumba, grew by 500.9 MM KES (4.9 MM USD), or 3.91% in the review period reaching 13.31 BN KES (131.58 MM USD) compared to 12.81 BN KES (126.6 MM USD) in 2018.
- For the third time Kenyan treasury has raised domestic borrowing for 2019/2020 by 63 BN KES (836.67 MM USD) amid rising interest rates that could dim hopes of a fall in bank lending rates after the removal of caps on borrowing costs.
- Uganda plans to borrow 9 TR KES (1.89 BN USD) from external lenders in the 2020/2021 to partly finance its budget, which could come under pressure as veteran leader Yoweri Museveni seeks re-election.
- Tanzania records impressive success in exports of nontraditional goods. The country’s exports have improved recording an annual growth of 9% reaching 9.53 BN USD in the year ending November 2019.
- Zimbabwe economy is projected to shrink by a massive 9%, the worst-performing behind Venezuela, according to the Economist/Vantu News. The country is experiencing its worst economic collapse since 2008, with over half of Zimbabweans being food insecure.
- The World Food Program (WFP) has appealed to the international community to step up support to Zimbabwe to help millions of people facing hunger due to a prolonged drought and economic collapse.
- Britain will hold a major sub-Saharan Africa investment conference on January 20. It will be hosted by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Department for International Development (DFiD). The aim is to bring together businesses, governments and international institutions to show the quality of investment opportunities across Africa. The UK is aiming to become number one investor in Africa by the end of the decade.
- Securities across the East Africa region start another year with little cheer in terms of attracting new listings, increased participation from local retail investors and trading dominated by a few large firms. In a trend projected to continue in 2020, stock markets in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda have become captive to foreign investors and government bonds while experiencing lack of attracting new corporate listings.
- It was a successful and memorable year for Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE) – the country’s youngest market in the region. The Stock market, which just opened in 2011, has been growing steadily – despite being surrounded by a small economy with a GDP of less than 10 BN USD. As the RSE turns 8 years, it has raised 761 MM USD through primary market and 306 MM USD traded on the secondary market.
- PepsiCo has joined Veris Investment, an independent investment company that makes equity and investments in companies and projects with activities in the food value chain in Sub-Saharan Africa, as a major shareholder in Senselet Food Processing Plc in Ethiopia. Veris will continue to maintain a majority interest in Senselet and partner with PepsiCo to further grow the business and develop potato sourcing programs in Ethiopia.
- From February 1 Tyre distributor Sameer Africa will start laying off 52 employees as it struggles to survive, deepening the job crisis in Kenya corporate scene. Sameer now intends to close various tyre centers and offices across Kenya and release employees in batches between February 1 and end of April.
- Standard Chartered Bank of Kenya has cut the interest charge on old loans and overdrafts by 5 percentage points and committed to leaving new loans at a maximum of 13%.
- A proposed transaction between regional lender Equity Group Holding and Atlas Mara Ltd (ATMA) has collapsed after the parties failed to reach an agreement on the valuation of four banks in Zambia, Mozambique, Tanzania and Rwanda.
- Zambia’s state power firm Zesco will increase the price of electricity for residential and commercial customers starting next month as the African nation seeks to attract investment into power generation.
- The Emerald and Semi-Precious Stones Mining Association of Zambia (ESMAZ) has insisted that the Government should be flexible in taxes being imposed on the gemstone sector.
- The construction of Rusumo Hydroelectric Power Station generated 80 MW reaching 59% in December 2019 compared to 32% in June 2018. This was unveiled by the chairman of Energy Ministers from Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda.