- Kenyan remittances increased 2% reaching 75.6 BN KES (707.3 MM USD) in Q1-2020 compared to 71.13 BN KES (665.8 MM USD) in Q1-2019. The month-on-month flows recovered in March 2020, increasing 4.5% to 24.4 BN KES (228.9 MM USD) after a 15.6% slowdown in February to 23.4 BN KES (219.0 MM USD) compared to 27.7 BN KES (259.4 MM USD) in January.
- Kenyan traders spent around 77 BN KES (166.71 MM USD) on second-hand clothes imports in 2019, slowing down creation of new job opportunities in the textile’s subsector. The government focus on incentivizing struggling domestic textiles factories by targeting four sub-sectors under the manufacturing pillar “Big Four” economic transformation plan 2018-2022.
- The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) cut its benchmark rate further to a near nine-year low of 7% in efforts to boost flow of cheap loans in an economy affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Noting that the benchmark rate was cut from 25% in March and 8.25% in January.
- The CBK’s foreign exchange reserves decreased to a more than two-year low last week closing on Friday at 9 BN KES (7.858 BN USD). This is the lowest level since early March 2018 when the stock of dollars reached 729.81 BN KES (7.15 BN USD).
- The World Bank has revised Kenya 2020 economic growth forecast to 5% in 2020 but warned of possible contraction in case of prolonged Covid-19 outbreak. Tourism, agricultural exports are some of the hardest sectors hit by the outbreak-induced economic slowdown.
- Ugandan inflation increased to 2% in April 2020 compared to 3% in March 2020, according to Uganda Bureau of Statistics. This increase is largely driven by annual core inflation which increased to 3.4% in April compared to 2.5% in March 2020.
- Namibia will start to ease nationwide restrictions on movement stating from today, allowing economic activity under strict monitoring. Namibia has so far seen 16 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with no deaths. Businesses and productive activities can reopen.
- Since 2016, Rwanda has been leading the world in using drones to serve its people. Now that work continues with a new program delivering chemotherapy meds in the era of Covid-19 social distancing.
- The National Bank of Rwanda has decreased its lending rate to 5% from 5%, to stimulate economic growth amid the coronavirus pandemic that has halted economic activity. This decision will support commercial banks to continue financing the economy.
- The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) will maintain tight restriction on broad money supply growth, to avoid fueling already high inflation and exchange rate volatility, after loosening screws on key interest rate benchmarks.
- President Uhuru Kenyatta's administration cut back spending on the military by 2 BN KES (18.76 MM USD) for the first time in five years as the effects of a cash crunch took place on Kenya's defense bill. Nairobi's military expenditure reached 1 BN KES (1.095 BN USD) in 2019 which is 1.7% decrease compared to 119.1 BN KES (1.114 BN USD) in 2018.
- African leaders are asking what China can do for them as the coronavirus pandemic threatens to destroy economies and wipe out some 20 million jobs across a continent where Beijing is both the top trading partner and top lender. The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have (IMF) announced immediate relief measures, including freeing up billions in debt payments and expectations for help from China are high across resource-rich Africa, but Beijing has remained silent.
- The Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) 20-Share Index have shrugged off a tough business environment and economic uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic to pay shareholders more than 9 BN KES (965.38 MM USD) in dividends.
- The Nigeria stock market finished higher last Friday for the fourth day in a row, as the avalanche of corporate earnings reports continues to find their way into the market. The All-share index closed the last trading day of the month at 23,021.01 points, representing 67% increase. Market capitalization similarly increased by the same margin to close at 11.997 TR NGN (30.76 BN USD). Note: Weekly values are calculated on Friday of each week.
- Standard Investment Bank (SIB) has been ranked the top new hedge fund management company in Kenya by UK-based magazine. The SIB is the only company in Kenya that grants investors exposure into the global markets through its MansaX product. MansaX is a global multi-asset strategy fund that uses complex portfolio allocation techniques to optimize returns while also hedging on capital exposure.
- Safaricom net profit for the full year ended March 2020 jumped 54% to 74.7 BN KES (700.8 MM USD) on strong M-Pesa and mobile data revenue growth that offset a decline in voice and messaging (SMS) revenues.
- There are hundreds of insurance firms in Tanzania to insure your health, life, or business. The top 10 list of the best companies in Tanzania to aid you in the process are Jubilee, Reliance, Sanlam, National Insurance Corporation of Tanzania, Britam Insurance Tanzania, GA Tanzania, First Assurance, Bumaco, Insurance Group of Tanzania and Mayfair.
- National carrier Air Namibia is operating at close to zero revenue generation and has thus far lost 100 MM NAD (5.34 MM USD) in revenue for the past four weeks of lockdown.
- The African Development Bank (AfDB) hosted the first of its twice-yearly Business Opportunity Seminars (BOS) on Tuesday 28th of April to provide information to potential partners and contractors on its strategic priorities and procurement procedures.
- The Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) is set to rope in more commuter omnibuses (kombis) to operate under its franchise in a bid to address transport challenges under the Level 2 lockdown.
- In Namibia, the First National Bank has confirmed relief measures for SMEs with an annual turnover of less than 10 MM NAD (529,380 USD) and with initial lending facilities of less than 5 MM NAD (264,690 USD). In order to qualify, customers must have a good track record of honoring their payments prior to 1 March 2020.
- A Mastercard survey showed fear of contracting Covid-19 from ‘infected’ currency notes has fueled contactless transactions with 80% of payments below 2,500 KES (23.45 USD). The first quarter study that covered Kenya and other 18 Middle East and African countries found the transactions had grown by 40% revealing a major shift on small payments that are usually dominated by cash payment.
- The Metropolitan National Sacco, one of Kenya’s largest savings and credit co-operatives (saccos), has withheld dividends for members and put controls on exits as part of turnaround reform measures instituted last year.
- Bezant Resources PLC has acquired 30% interest in the Kalengwa exploration project in Zambia for 750,000 USD as part of a joint venture. Shares in Bezant closed 10% higher in London at 0.072 pence.