Regulatory Energy Transition Accelerator launched at COP26
The International Energy Agency (IEA), the United Kingdom (UK) government and other international organisations have launched the Regulatory Energy Transition Accelerator (RETA) to accelerate and improve the regulatory capacity necessary to decarbonise energy systems. The RETA is a global initiative bringing together energy regulators to discuss the challenges they face and to share best practice in order to help keep the world on track for a 1.5 degree Celsius pathway. In addition to the IEA, it includes the UK’s Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem), the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the World Bank. The IEA will host RETA’s steering committee, which will determine its yearly work plan. The initiative is part of the Green Grids Initiative, or One Sun One World One Grid (GGI-OSOWOG) and has received broad support from regulators around the world. According to the IEA, regulators have an important role to play in clean energy transitions, both to encourage investment and to manage energy systems that increasingly rely on electricity from renewable sources.
Source: ESI Africa
AfDB projects economic growth in 13 African countries
Economies of Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and other East African countries are projected to grow by 4.1% this year, up from 0.4% in 2020, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has said. The bank’s East Africa Regional Economic Outlook 2021 released on 28 October says the increased growth rate in the 13 economies including Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Ethiopia is attributed to the ongoing global economic recovery. "East Africa is the only region on the continent that avoided a recession in 2020," reads the AfDB report. However, according to the lender, a slow rollout of COVID-19 vaccines and risks of spikes in infections that surface in the region could still dampen the positive outlook. Despite it being a global pandemic, the AfDB says COVID-19 has had different effects across the region. Commodity exporters such as Tanzania have been slightly resilient during the pandemic due to export price increases in commodities, particularly gold. Countries that depend highly on tourism like Seychelles and Zanzibar have been hit hardest. Kenya and other countries with more diversified economies have experienced lower impacts of the pandemic.
Source: The EastAfrican
East / Southern Africa
COMESA worries as NTBs boost low-value trade
Increasing informal trade among the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) states has resulted in 11% decline of the value of intra-COMESA total exports. A survey by the COMESA Secretariat led by consultant Dr Evarist Mugisa has concluded that the increasing non-trade barriers (NTBs) are to blame for the proliferation of informal trade and the decline in value of exports to USD9.7-billion in 2020 from USD10.9-billion in 2019. The 37th Meeting of the COMESA Trade and Customs Committee on 15 October heard that the low intra-regional trade was also a result of existing gaps in information on trading opportunities, regulatory requirements and factors that inform business decisions on production of goods and trade. The survey reviewed member states’ policies related to the formalisation of the informal economy, focusing on informal trade drivers, the impacts of informality on the economy, including on government revenue and on productivity. It also identified the policies that member states have instituted to address informality. The study is part of the implementation of the Small-Scale Cross Border Trade Initiative funded under the 11th European Development Fund.
Source: The EastAfrican
After greylisting, FATF shifts focus to ‘hidden’ investors
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is working on standards that will require countries to develop registers of beneficial owners, to further tighten gaps in the fight against global money laundering. Countries such as Botswana, which were only recently removed from the greylist for non-compliance with the FATF’s money laundering standards, will have to adopt the new beneficial ownership requirements at the same time as the other 200 or so FATF members. A ‘beneficial owner’ is defined as a person who directly or indirectly, through any contract, arrangement, understanding, relationship or otherwise is the ultimate beneficiary of a share or other securities in a company. A beneficial owner of a company enjoys the benefits or proceeds of a company or controls a company without being on record as the official owner. “The proposals will mean that countries must set up beneficial ownership registers and this information will have to be verified and updated,” FATF president, Marcus Pleyer told a briefing after a plenary where Botswana was removed from the greylist.
IoD-Gh launches project to develop national corporate governance code
A multi-stakeholder project to develop a National Corporate Governance Code to serve as a unified reference for ethical corporate governance practices in the country has been launched by the Institute of Directors-Ghana, (IoD-Gh). It seeks to harmonise the myriad of industry and sector-specific codes of ethics into a national code that will further enhance sustainable job and wealth creation in Ghana, as well as minimise, if not eradicate the ravaging effects of corporate governance failures, according to its sponsors. A draft of the code is expected to be ready by April 2022, for various levels of discussions and validation, to be eventually submitted for ratification by August. A committee to see to the drafting of the code will be inaugurated in January 2022, according to timelines shared by IoD-Gh. Launching the project which is being championed by IoD-Gh on Thursday, 4 November the second deputy governor of the Bank of Ghana, Mrs Elsie Addo Awadzi, said the harsh effects of poor corporate governance are widespread and that the initiative to instill good governance best practices should be embraced by all Ghanaians.
Source: Graphic Online
Kenyan banks tighten rules to cover risks in real estate
Borrowers will be required to provide additional security in the event that the value of collateral on loans, mainly land and building, depreciate during the loan period to cover for default. Kenyan borrowers with collateral whose value has depreciated will now be required to provide additional security as banks move to tighten lending terms. It is estimated that over USD37.1-billion worth of securities held by big banks are tied in real estate amid reports that the value of some properties has dropped. The EastAfrican has learnt that as part of the precautionary measures, the lenders will demand additional security from borrowers in the course of the loan repayment period when the value of the existing collateral drops to a level below that of the loan amount. According to the Kenya Bankers Association (KBA), lenders will carry out frequent revaluations of charged properties and in the event that the value of the property is found to be below the value of the loan, the borrower will be required to provide additional security.
Source: The EastAfrican
New fund to lift small businesses out of COVID-19 gloom
Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Kenya are set to benefit from a newly launched regional credit rotation fund. German Sparkassenstiftung Eastern Africa (DSIK), a non-governmental organisation, has partnered with SUMAC Micro Finance Bank and Jitegemea Credit Scheme locally in disbursing loans to small businesses to help them mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19 on their operations. The fund, which is also available in Tanzania and Burundi, will see eligible businesses benefit from two-year loans of varying amounts, depending on their ability to pay. “The loans have a payback duration of 24 months and a grace period of two months,” said Strategy and Sustainability Expert for DSIK in Eastern Africa Robert Rowohl. The credit facility also targets farmers and startups. The programme will run for a period of three years, with DSIK looking to secure more funds for its continuity. According to the Central Bank of Kenya, microfinance institutions have been hit hard by the pandemic after most of their clients who happen to be small business owners lost their livelihoods.
Source: The Standard
Kenya / Democratic Republic of the Congo
Equity plans to fund Kenyan businesses in DRC cities
Equity Group is partnering with the governments of Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) for a two-week trade mission that is expected to foster trade and investment relations following the latter’s application to join the East African Community. The lender, through its Kenyan arm and its DRC subsidiary EquityBCDC, is looking to fund businesses that are seeking opportunities in four DRC cities – Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Goma and Mbuji Mayi. The DRC is the sixth biggest export market for Kenyan goods, helped by historical trade linkages and direct air links between Nairobi and the DRC’s Kinshasa and Lubumbashi. “We have gained enough experience in the six markets we operate in and the region to support businesses that are looking to venture into the DRC and the larger East and Central Africa,” said Equity Group chief executive James Mwangi. It is targeting businesses in housing, infrastructural development, environment, agriculture, education, health, mining and energy to leverage on the country’s population size of over 100 million people for growth.
Source: Business Daily
Reserve Bank of Malawi prays for calm over forex situation
Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) deputy governor Grant Kabango has urged Authorised Dealer Banks in the country to be calm and avoid creating what he called undue speculation on the forex market which could propel further exchange rate volatility. He was speaking on Monday, 1 November, in Mangochi at the opening of the Institute of Bankers in Malawi’s annual lakeshore conference. Kabango assured traders and commercial banks that the central bank was working towards addressing the forex situation in the country. “Currently, gross official reserves received a boost through Special Drawing Rights allocation amounting to USD188.0-million from the International Monetary Fund in August 2021. This allocation increased the gross official reserves to USD605.5-million which is 2.4 months of import cover,” he said. Kabango said Malawi is currently facing increased demand for forex, mostly emanating from importation of agricultural inputs, fuel and medicines, besides other traditional imports by government and the private sector.
Source: The Times
NAB promotes sale of local produce
The Namibian Agronomic Board (NAB) has embarked on an initiative to promote the sale of locally produced fruits and vegetables. Conducted in collaboration with the Namibia Association of Traders in Fresh Produce (NATFP), it involves putting up eye-catching displays of Namibian fresh produce in stores across the country. According to a statement posted on the NAB's website, this initiative aims to promote the sales of locally produced products in the country. “The eye-catching display initiative is part of the Namibian Horticulture Market Share Promotion (MSP) scheme being implemented by the NAB,” reads the statement. NAB is a statutory body governed by the Agronomic Industry Act, Act 20 of 1992. It is mandated to promote the agronomic and horticulture industry and to facilitate the production, processing, storage and marketing of controlled products in Namibia. To encourage traders and fast-track the implementation of the initiative, NAB subsidises all NATFP members' purchases of standard signage. The subsidy entails the NAB paying the full cost of one shop per trader and if a trader has more shops, the NAB only pays NAD1 000 per shop.
Source: The Namibian
FG rates mining environment investor friendly
Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Olamilekan Adegbite, has described the local environment as friendly for new investment in mining. Adegbite revealed that the cost of gold mining, which is less than USD700 in Nigeria, is comparatively cheaper than in other countries that require between USD2 000 and USD4 000 to take gold to the market. The minister, at a press briefing ahead of the fifth edition of the yearly Nigerian mining week, scheduled to hold virtually from 16 to 17 November 2021, said Nigeria already grants investors 100% ownership of mined minerals, to attract both foreign and local investors in the sector. He said the mining week would create an opportunity for the ministry to tell investors about Nigerian mining and how to partner with it. “There is capital in Nigeria, but a lot of Nigerian investors are not aware of the benefits of investing in mining. We are giving them this opportunity to attend this year’s mining week because the week will attract local investors with the capital to let them know that it is not just the mining itself but also participating in the process,” he said.
Source: The Guardian
Tanzania / United Kingdom
Tanzania, UK eye trade growth
President Samia Suluhu Hassan has expressed the government’s commitment to forge stronger ties with the United Kingdom (UK), in the promotion of trade between the two countries. According to a press statement issued by the Directorate of Presidential Communications, the president revealed this during her talks with the UK's Trade Envoy to Tanzania Lord John Walney in Glasgow, Scotland. She pointed out that the two countries have continued to enjoy long standing business relations, noting that the UK is among the largest investors in Tanzania. On his part, Lord Walney said their meeting has equipped him with knowledge on the various priorities set by the government of Tanzania and eased his task of promoting trade and investment. He pointed out that the information has better positioned him to encourage more UK business people to invest in Tanzania’s trade and tourism sectors. The UK Prime Minister Borris Johnson’s special envoy said the goal of meeting with President Samia focused on introducing himself as Tanzania’s important link with the UK in trade, investment and tourism.
Source: Daily News
New export tax on gold costs Uganda USD720-million
Uganda has lost an estimated USD720-million in missed gold exports since July as exporters boycott a new tax. In July alone, the country did not export any gold for the first time in six years, and now the government is seeking to reverse the new tax that was announced this year. In April, the government imposed a levy of 5% on every kilogramme of refined gold and 10% on unprocessed gold for export. The new requirement became operational in July, forcing gold exporters to hold back stock to protest the tax. Gold has for three years now overtaken coffee to become Uganda's leading export commodity earning an average of USD180-million per month in revenues for the government. According to sources at the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, the government has yielded to the demands of the gold exporters and a team of technocrats from the ministry, their finance counterparts and the sector players are now looking for a solution before year end. At the same time, President Yoweri Museveni has issued a directive to the Finance ministry to stay the collection of the new levy pending the ongoing review of the new tax requirement. The president suggested that the exporters should in the meantime, be allowed to sell their gold under the old tax law as the review goes on.
Source: The EastAfrican
Uganda / Kenya
MTN Uganda hits road to promote IPO in Kenya
MTN Uganda has kicked off a marketing blitz for its initial public offering (IPO) in meetings with Kenyan professional groups and retail investors in Nairobi to bolster subscription. The USD250-million IPO opened mid-last month and closes on 22 November. “Kenya’s Capital Markets Authority (CMA) has provided its ‘no objection’ for the MTN Uganda IPO to be marketed in Kenya, allowing the marketing of the shares to both professional investors and retail investors following the opening of the offer in Uganda on 11 October 2021,” the firm said in a statement on Thursday, 4 November. Investors can apply for shares through SBG Securities, a subsidiary of South Africa's Stanbic Holdings Plc and Dyer and Blair which is the lead retail broker. The IPO is open to citizens of the East African Community member states, with each investment, pegged at a minimum of 500 shares which if fully allocated, results in a minimum investment of UGX100 000 (about USD28). “All East Africans who apply for shares will receive five bonus shares for every 100 shares they are allocated,” said MTN.
Source: The EastAfrican
Zambia / Uganda
Zambia lifts ban on Uganda’s Lato Milk, Kenya set for talks
Zambia has now allowed imports of Uganda’s Lato Milk whose sale was stopped in Kenya over standard concerns. The deal opens up a new market for Ugandan dairy farmers that remains out of reach for their Kenyan counterparts, with Zambia having barred milk imports from Kenya 13 years ago, also on quality concerns. Uganda’s Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries Frank Tumwebaze said countries that doubt Uganda’s capacity to produce quality products should visit the country and ascertain for themselves that it is able to meet the quality demands. “People deny us a market for our milk and dairy products on account of quality… we are ready to be inspected. Pearl Dairy is an example of one of the good investments. Let them come,” he said. “Zambia sent their inspectors here and that is why they were able to certify that this is a good product for their market.” A Kenyan delegation is slated to visit Uganda this month to discuss the impasse on milk trade between the two countries, as well as carry out a verification mission to authenticate if Uganda has the ability to produce surplus and quality product.
Source: Business Daily