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Tuesday, 14 Apr 2020

Ugandan Scientists develop Quick, Low-Cost Covid-19 Test Kits

Insights Africa

Economic Outlook

Economic Outlook

  • Ugandan researchers have developed an inexpensive Covid-19 test kit that can deliver results quickly, offering hope for a “homegrown solution” to sub-Saharan Africa’s testing needs. The new test kit can produce results in a minute or two, compared to the four-to-six hours it takes to get results from the German and Chinese kits now in wide use.
  • Kenya trade deficit for the first two months of 2020 decreased by 16 BN KES (162 MM USD) to 175 BN KES (1.6 BN USD) compared to 192 BN KES (1.8 BN USD) reported over the similar period last year. The 9% reduction in the deficit was a result of growth in export receipts followed by a slowed down in import.
  • The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) reported that foreign currency bank deposits held by Kenyans jumped by 7 BN KES (138.7 MM USD) in February to reach a historic high of 625.9 BN KES (591 MM USD). This is an indication that the wealthy are protecting their value and hedging rather than seek new areas in which to invest their fortunes.
  • Retail chains, eateries and recreation centers suffered a 45% decrease in customer visits during the past month after Kenya imposed measures to combat the coronavirus. Google survey findings shows Kenyans opted to remain indoors and shied away from malls, fast-food outlets, theme parks, museums, libraries and movie theatres, among other areas prone to crowding.
  • Kenya is among member countries allowed to ask for 1 TR KES (10 BN USD) emergency fund announced last Wednesday by the African Development Bank (AfDB) to help alleviate sudden economic disruptions caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.
  • The proposed income and corporate tax cuts aimed at protecting the economy against the effects of the coronavirus pandemic will cost Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) 3 BN KES (12.27 MM USD) daily over the next three months.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared an outbreak of yellow fever in the southern part of South Sudan. The United Nations health agency stated that Epidemic spread of yellow fever is a risk in South Sudan as the estimated overall population immunity is negligible with nearly 0% immunity in Kajo Keji.
  • As scientists work around the clock to develop a vaccine for the world's most debilitating disease, Covid-19, Ethiopia is developing a cure. The new drug has passed through the basic research procedures and was successful in the laboratory modelling processes.
  • Covid-19 epidemic may wipe out about 195 million full time jobs or 7% of working hours globally in Q2-2020, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The sectors most at risk include accommodation and food services, manufacturing, retail, and business and administrative activities.
  • Fitch Ratings has downgraded Nigeria's Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to 'B' from 'B+. The Outlook is Negative. The downgrade and Negative Outlook reflect the aggravation of ongoing pressures on Nigeria's external finances following the recent slump in oil prices and the pandemic shock.
Political Events

Political Events

  • Global leaders have joined the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in a call to the Group of 20 (G20) major economies to hold off this year's debt interest payments to them by poor and developing countries amid worsening economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Kenya Consulate-General in Los Angeles, US has announced the death of Administrative Attaché Ruth Ogonda. In a communication signed by Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the death of Ms Ogonda, which occurred at the Olympia Medical Centre in California on Friday April 10, 2020.
Stock Market

Stock Market

  • Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) has extended suspension on trading of Mumias Sugar Company and fashion retailer Deacons East Africa shares. The continued suspension may signal a move to delist the stocks if the companies do not take remedial measures.
  • Rwanda Stock Exchange (RSE) has said that during this coronavirus pandemic, its trading activities will remain online but with a projection of increased investments and trade volumes. Rwanda closes Q1-2020 with slightly higher in traded volumes and the main all share index (ALSI) up by 7% and the RSI down by 1.2%.                          Note:  Weekly values are calculated on Friday of each week.
Companies Transactions

Companies Transactions

  • Agricultural firm Kakuzi PLC has become the first firm listed on the Nairobi bourse to announce it will pay dividend ahead of annual general meetings (AGM) that have been postponed in the wake of coronavirus. The firm has brought forward the day it will pay a dividend to May 18 from the initial date of July 15 with the AGM set for June 9.
  • Internet TV service provider Showmax has slashed the monthly subscription cost of its streaming service by up to 50% in Kenya. This comes in the wake of growing audience base owing to the stay-at-home orders to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
  • Safaricom and Vodacom announce that they have completed the acquisition of the M-PESA brand, product development and support services from Vodafone through a newly created joint venture. M-PESA is the largest payments platform on the African continent, it has 40 million users and processes over a billion transactions every month.
  • The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has ordered Absa Bank Kenya to stop foreign exchange dealing from Thursday 9th to 15th of April for failing to observe anti-money-laundering rules on some trades and will lose profits from the dealings. Absa Kenya forex trading income grew 11% to 64 BN KES (34.37 MM USD) in 2019, accounting for more than a third (34.4%) of non-interest income.
  • The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa) has begun a campaign dubbed ‘Flowers of Hope’ under its economic framework for Covid-19 response to grow demand in the local market. This aims at raising revenue margins and cater for the operational costs such as labour amid reduced international sales.
  • Kenya Airways is contesting a government deal allowing Ethiopian Airlines to operate passenger planes grounded by the coronavirus for shipment of cargo from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi to Europe and Asia.
  • The Rwandan businessman Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa, through his two companies in Uganda, the Meridian Tobacco Company based in Arua and Leaf Tobacco and Commodities donated 250 MM UGX (66,622 USD) to the Uganda National Response Fund to Covid-19.
  • Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE)-listed Advtech has bought additional shares in Makini Schools, giving it full control over the running of the 42-year old institution. Advtech has informed parents that its ownership in the school has increased to 90% after its other partners sold some of their shares to the South African company.
  • The African Development Bank (AfDB) approved a new Gender Equality Trust Fund (GETF) aimed at pushing forward gender equality and women’s empowerment across the continent.


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