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SSA news through May 23

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SSA news through May 23

* London Stock Exchange Group PLC officials are seeking to increase the bourse's African listings and strike partnerships with several African exchanges, including those in Kenya and Nigeria, for dual listings, Bloomberg News reported, citing Ibukun Adebayo, the LSE's director of emerging markets and international markets.

* U.S. private equity firm Eaton Partners LLC appointed Steve Eaton head of Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

EAST AFRICA

* Kenyan bank KCB Group PLC reported first-quarter unaudited group profit after tax and exceptional items of 5.77 billion shillings, up from 5.18 billion shillings a year ago.

* Co-operative Bank of Kenya Ltd. reported unaudited first-quarter group profit after tax and exceptional items of 3.60 billion shillings, up from 3.45 billion shillings a year earlier.

* Johnstone Oltetia, interim CEO of the newly established Kenya Mortgage Refinance Co, said the company is looking to raise roughly 5 billion shillings on capital markets in the next year or two after it draws down funding from the World Bank and the African Development Bank, Reuters reported.

* Kenya's Employment and Labour Relations Court stopped African Trade Insurance Agency from firing its CEO before his initial term expires, Daily Nation reported. CEO George Otieno's term is set to expire in 2021, but the company reportedly amended the terms of contract to three years from five years.

* Shareholders of HF Group PLC approved a proposal to increase the Kenyan mortgage finance provider's share capital to 5.00 billion shillings from 2.50 billion shillings through the creation of an additional 500 million ordinary shares of 50 cents each.

* A Kenyan court ruled that Mohammed Zafrullah Khan, former chairman of collapsed lender Chase Bank (Kenya) Ltd., granted loans of more than 1 billion shillings to companies linked to him without securities, Business Daily Africa reported. Khan, along with several others, is charged with conspiring to defraud the lender.

* Kenyan lawmakers are seeking an explanation from National Bank of Kenya Ltd. on why it failed to submit itself for statutory audit by the country's auditor-general, Business Daily Africa reported. Lawmakers suspect it could be an attempt by the lender, which has declined the auditor-general's audit requests, to cover up malpractices.

* Kenya's Retirement Benefits Authority has granted Cytonn Asset Managers Ltd two licenses to offer personal retirement benefit schemes with a monthly payment platform, Business Daily Africa reported.

WEST AFRICA

* Nigeria's National Insurance Commission more than tripled the minimum capital requirements for insurers. Existing companies have until June 30, 2020, to meet the new requirements, which are effective immediately for the issuance of new licenses.

* The Central Bank of Nigeria retained the monetary policy rate at 13.5%. The regulator also retained the cash reserve ratio and liquidity ratio at 22.5% and 30%, respectively.

* Ghana's finance ministry has released roughly 1 billion cedi earlier this month to assist with the cleanup of the country's microfinance and rural bank sectors, insiders told Joy Business.

* Togo-based Oragroup SA named Ferdinand Ngon Kemoum CEO, replacing Binta Touré Ndoye, Financial Afrik reported.

* Nigeria's stock exchange said it received approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission for the introduction of several new rules and amendments of existing ones, including rules governing free float requirements.

SOUTHERN AFRICA

* Moody's downgraded Zambia's long-term issuer ratings to Caa2 from Caa1 and revised the outlook to negative from stable, saying the downgrade reflects increasing external and liquidity pressures that raise the probability of default over the near term. The negative outlook, meanwhile, reflects the risk of material losses in case Zambia defaults, the rating agency noted.

* The South African Reserve Bank kept the repurchase rate unchanged at 6.75%, although two members of the central bank's five-strong monetary policy committee favored a reduction of 25 basis points.

* The Bank of Zambia raised the policy rate by 50 basis points to 10.25% in a bid to counter inflationary pressure and support macroeconomic stability.

* Cyril Ramaphosa has been elected unopposed as South Africa's president after his political party, the African National Congress, won the May 8 general election and the right to pick the country's president, Reuters reported.

* Former Credit Suisse Group AG banker Detelina Subeva pleaded guilty on a U.S. charge that she conspired to launder money from a scheme involving $2 billion in loans to Mozambican state-owned firms, Reuters reported. Fellow former Credit Suisse bankers Andrew Pearse and Surjan Singh are also charged in the case, along with former Mozambique Finance Minister Manuel Chang.

* The U.S. Embassy in Pretoria urged the South African government to extradite former Mozambican Finance Minister Manuel Chang to the U.S. and reverse a decision by the country's justice ministry to extradite him to Mozambique.

* South Africa-based financial services firm Alexander Forbes Group Holdings Ltd. said it plans to exit the Ugandan market and that it is reviewing its operations in emerging markets, The East African reported.

* Former Public Investment Corp. Ltd. CEO Dan Matjila and two other executives of the South African state-owned investment fund are facing allegations that they facilitated an irregular payment of nearly 100 million rand to businessman Kholofelo Maponya, Moneyweb reported.

* The Bank of Botswana has expanded the mandate of the country's sovereign wealth fund, including allowing it to invest in more currencies and buy stocks, to help ensure the nation does not miss out on lucrative investment opportunities, Bloomberg reported, citing Matthew Wright, the central bank's head of financial markets.

CENTRAL AFRICA

* BGFIBank Gabon SA has increased its share capital to 100 billion CFA francs from 75 billion CFA francs, becoming the first and only commercial bank in Central Africa to hold such a high level of capital, Agence Ecofin reported.

* Former Democratic Republic of the Congo Finance Minister Sylvestre Ilunga Ilukamba was named the country's new prime minister, the Financial Times reported, citing state television.

Sophie Davies contributed to this report.

This S&P Global Market Intelligence news article may contain information about credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings. Descriptions in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings.