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ON THE RECORD

President Akinwumi Adesina in Niamey: The AfDB is working with Niger to speed up its development

During the meeting, the two leaders highlighted the convergence of the priorities of the host country and the AfDB Group. Africa's $6.8 billion reinsurance market is expected to recover markedly in 2018

This is the outcome of the second edition of the Africa

Reinsurance Pulse, launched today at the 22nd African Reinsurance Forum in Port Louis, Mauritius. In 2016, Africa's GDP growth dropped to 1.8 per cent, below the global average of 2.5 per cent. Insurance premiums declined by 15.3 per cent to $61 billion.

Rx Healthcare Fund announces anchor investors

Rx Healthcare Fund, an Africa-focused healthcare private equity fund currently under establishment, announced that GE Healthcare is set to become an anchor limited partner in Rx. This follows a commitment to Rx by the African Development Bank, the proposed minority investment by GE is subject to completion of fundraising.

Africa's economic performance improves in 2017

Africa's economic outlook improved in 2017 compared with 2016 and is expected to gain momentum in 2018. GDP growth in 2017 is expected at three per cent up from 2.2 in 2016 and projected to expand to 3.7 per cent in 2018, the African Development Bank said in an updated forecast released in Abidjan on Thursday, 12 October 2017.

RATINGS REVIEW

BANKS AND BUSINESSES

Capital Intelligence Ratings announced that it has affirmed Arab African International Bank's (AAIB) Long- and Short-Term Foreign Currency Ratings (FCRs) both at 'B' with a 'Stable' Outlook. CI Ratings recently upgraded the Bank's Long-Term FCR to 'B' in line with the upgrade of Egypt's Sovereign Long-Term FCR to 'B'.

Fitch Ratings has affirmed Credit Agricole Egypt's (CAE) Support Rating at '4' and National Long- and Short-Term Ratings at 'AA+(egy)' and 'F1+(egy)', respectively. CAE's Support Rating reflects a limited probability of support from the bank's ultimate shareholder, France's Credit Agricole (CA; A+/Stable/a+). While CA's propensity and ability to support its Egyptian subsidiary are currently high, they are constrained by Egypt's Country Ceiling of 'B'.

Fitch Ratings has affirmed Commercial International Bank's (CIB) Long-Term Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) at 'B', Viability Rating (VR) at 'b', Support Rating at '4', Support Rating Floor at 'B' and National Long-Term Rating at 'AA(egy)'. The agency said that CIB's IDR is driven by its VR. CIB's financial metrics are stronger and less volatile than peers, although the bank is significantly exposed to sovereign debt.

Fitch Ratings has upgraded Telecom Namibia Limited's (TN) Long- Term Local-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to 'BB+' from 'BB' and National Long-Term Rating to 'AA(zaf)' from 'A(zaf)'. The Outlooks are Negative.

Moody's Investors Service has placed on review for downgrade the B1 global scale long-term local-currency deposit ratings and the b1 baseline credit assessment (BCA) of three Kenyan banks: KCB Bank Kenya Limited, Equity Bank Kenya Limited, and Co-operative Bank of Kenya Limited. The rating action is driven primarily by a potential weakening of the Kenyan government's credit profile.

SOVEREIGNS

Fitch Ratings has downgraded Gabon's Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to 'B' from 'B+'. The Outlook is Negative. The downgrade of Gabon's IDRs reflects the sharp deterioration of the country's fiscal and external positions, an accumulation of large domestic and external arrears and a sharp rise in public debt, following the oil price shock starting 2014.

Moody's Investors Service has today placed the B1 long-term issuer rating of the Government of Kenya on review for downgrade. Moody's expects that Kenya's government debt burden, which has risen to 56.4 per cent of GDP in June 2017, up from 40.5 per cent five years ago, will continue to rise due to persistently high primary deficits and borrowing costs.

A QUICK WORD

[DIB] worked alongside the regulator and now have a licence to operate, the bank is up and running, it is already open and we have ambitious plans for East Africa. Kenya is just the start, we are also looking at the East African belt, but we have to walk before we can run, so we are taking it at the right pace and making sure that the organisation actually comes out of this gestation period. Kenya is going to be a country we will be focussing on in years to come.

--Dr Adnan Chilwan, GCEO, Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) featured in the Banker Middle East 100.

For these stories and more, visit www.bankerafrica.com

IMF and Bank Al-Maghrib extend investment agreement to support IMF's lending to low-income countries

Bank Al-Maghrib agrees to extend its investment agreement for the benefit of the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust until 2022 in support of IMF's concessional lending to low-income member countries.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), as Trustee of the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT), has entered into an amendment of its 2012 investment agreement with Bank Al-Maghrib, through which Morocco committed to provide a subsidy contribution of SDR 1.1 million to the PRGT. To achieve this goal, the investment agreement with Morocco was extended on 13 October by up to five years.

This amendment, made effective on 13 October 2017, constitutes the first PRGT investment agreement that takes into account the new investment strategy for PRGT assets approved by the IMF Board in March this year.

Greater security for UAE commodity and finance trade with Africa

The Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Courts have brought additional certainty to UAE companies operating in southern Africa by signing a cooperation agreement covering contract enforcement with the High Court of Zambia.

The agreement signed by DIFC Courts Chief Justice Michael Hwang and High Court of Zambia Chief Justice Irene C. Mambilima in Dubai, clarifies the procedures for the mutual recognition and enforcement of money judgments between the two courts.

"Zambia is an emerging gateway to southern Africa for UAE businesses, while imports from the country have increased markedly in recent years. Underpinning both trends are an increasing number of contracts, of which, inevitably, some will result in disputes. This agreement gives additional confidence to businesses operating in both the UAE and Zambia that a breach of contract will be enforced. It also reaffirms the DIFC Courts' position as one of the world's most connected judiciaries," said Hwang.

Ecobank launches mVisa across 33 African Countries

Ecobank has partnered with Visa to launch Ecobank Scan+Pay with mVisa solutions to their consumers. Ecobank Scan+Pay with mVisa delivers instant, secure cashless payment for goods and services by allowing customers to scan a QR code on a smartphone or enter a unique merchant identifying code into either a feature phone or smartphone. The payment goes straight from the consumer's bank account into the merchant's account and provides real-time notification to both parties, whilst the mVisa solution enabels customers to send money to any Visa cardholder worldwide.

"We are fulfilling our commitment to give every African the right to participate effectively in the global economy at an affordable price and in a convenient manner. Ecobank Scan+Pay with mVisa helps merchants-- particularly small and micro merchants--to grow their sales without the risks of carrying cash whilst also giving consumers the ability to pay for goods and services in a cashless manner from their phones. Consumers can also conduct person-to-person payments and instantly transfer money to their friends and family via their phones at very low cost," said Ecobank Chief Executive Officer Ade Ayeyemi.

Lighting Africa/Tanzania launches new campaign to promote solar lighting and energy

Lighting Africa, a joint World Bank-IFC programme and innovation, today announced the launch of a two-year consumer education campaign to promote solar off-grid lighting and energy products in rural communities not connected to the grid.

The campaign, titled 'Ngaa na Sola - Ndo Mpango Mzima," (shine with solar, it is the complete deal), aims to raise consumer awareness about the benefits of modern, quality off-grid lighting, helping communities make informed purchasing decisions.

"This campaign announced by IFC today has come at an opportune time in the quest of accelerating the uptake of the highest quality off grid solar lighting products and services at the least possible cost. This campaign will help to demonstrate that renewable energy especially solar is both affordable and good for the economy. We are also happy to note that this campaign will advocate product quality something which will be useful in restoring consumers' confidence," said Prof. James E. Mdoe, Ag: Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Energy and Minerals while officiating the launch.

STANDARD CHARTERED APPOINTS PRIVATE BANKING HEAD FOR AFRICA AND EUROPE

Standard Chartered Private Bank has appointed Demir Avigdor as Managing Director and Market Head, Africa & Europe. Commenting on the appointment, Ian Gibson, Managing Director, Regional Head Africa, Middle East & Europe, Private Banking, said, "Across our network we're investing in our Private Banking business, and building our talent and expertise. As such I'm delighted to have Demir join the team. He brings with him a wealth of experience and will be key to building our franchise in Africa and Europe."

According to a statement from the financial institution, Demir spent over 16 years at UBS in a variety of wealth management, advisory and leadership roles, with a particular focus on High Net Worth clients. He will commence his role on 30 October 2017, reporting to Gibson.

AfDB approves $200 million to IDC to support industrialisation projects in Africa

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has approved a private sector multi-currency line of credit of $100 million and ZAR 1.3 billion to Industrial Development Corporation Plc (IDC) of South Africa. The operation will support industrialisation projects in both South Africa and other Regional Member Countries (RMCs).

IMF Executive Board concludes 2017 Article IV consultation with Zambia

On 6 October 2017, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Article IV consultation with Zambia.

The near-term outlook for the Zambian economy has improved in recent months, driven by good rains and rising world copper price. The economy was in near- crisis from the fourth quarter of 2015 through most of 2016, reflecting the impacts of exogenous shocks and lax fiscal policy in the lead up to general elections. Low copper prices reduced export earnings and government revenues, while poor rainfall in the catchment areas of hydro-power reservoirs led to a marked reduction in electricity generation and severe power rationing. A sharp depreciation of the kwacha fuelled inflation which rose from an annual rate of seven per cent in mid-2015 to nearly 23 per cent in February 2016.

Tight monetary policy succeeded in stabilising the exchange rate and slowing down inflation to 6.3 per cent in August 2017, but contributed to elevated stress in the financial system evidenced by a sharp rise in nonperforming loans and a plunge in the growth of credit to the private sector. Stress tests suggest that the banks are resilient to credit and liquidity pressures, but the financial system faces considerable risks, owing to high dependence on copper exports, rising public debt and funding pressures.

IDC is a South African development finance institution (DFI), owned by the South African government. Its mandate is to promote industrialisation in Africa by investing in, and developing the industrial base of South Africa and other RMS, thereby helping to scale-up the AfDB's High 5 agenda, particularly "Industrialize Africa". Fifty per cent of the funding (the rand tranche) will be used for projects in South Africa and the balance (the USD tranche) will be directed to regional projects in Mozambique, Malawi, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Mauritius, Swaziland and Sudan.

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Publication:Banker Africa
Date:Oct 31, 2017
Words:1943
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